« July 2005 | Main | September 2005 »

August 2005 Archives

August 1, 2005

Poster girl


She stands in front of the Ellis Avenue Barnes & Noble each weekday morning, flanked by three friends and wearing a poster that covers much of her small frame. Her sign, in colored markers, reads, “God, Creator Of Heaven & Earth, Made You Breath-Takingly Beautiful. You Are His BELOVED.” From 8:30 to 9:30 she displays her sign; when the hour is up, she packs it into a large blue plastic bag and leaves. Rebecca Wei has to be on time for class.

For the past four weeks Wei, 16, a Naperville Central High School rising junior, has been commuting to campus for the Young Scholars Program, a free, intensive, four-week math workshop for Chicago-area seventh through twelfth graders. In the hour before classes start and from 2:30 to 4 p.m., Wei shoulders the poster. She got the idea from “the circumcision guy” who stations himself in front of the bookstore each afternoon. “I thought, well, if he can stand on a corner for something he believes in, so can I.” A member of a nondenominational church, Wei said that the poster idea “isn’t my church.” She and her friends “just thought it up.” In the afternoon she finds other campus spots because, she said, “I don’t care either way about circumcision. I don’t want to be associated with it.” Last week, for instance, she stood in the Regenstein Library lobby (she couldn’t enter without a University ID) for about half an hour before she was “kicked out.” She’s often parked at the bus stop in front of the Cancer Research Center.

“Some people are really encouraging and some people will, like, lower their eyes,” said David Chang, a Naperville Central rising sophomore who stands with Wei each morning. One person pulled a book out of his bag for “ten seconds” as he passed, avoiding eye contact. On the other hand, “We got a taxicab driver who wanted to shake our hands.” Although the poster’s purpose is evangelism, Wei said, one person thought it had to do with birth control.

Wei, who also attended the Young Scholars Program last year, will likely return next summer. If so, she said, “I will definitely do the poster thing.”

Hana Yoo, ’07

Photo: Poster-clad Rebecca Wei, fellow Naperville Central High School students David Chang and Emily Sheu, and seventh-grader Vincent Chang take a break in Cobb's coffeeshop.

August 3, 2005

Math buzz


“What’s purple and commutes?” Nathan Czuba, AB’05, asks his four boothmates, at Ida Noyes Pub. Joe Ochiltree, ’06, suddenly straightens up in his seat—he knows the answer but allows Czuba to release the punch line, “An abelian grape!” Interrupted by occasional trips to the bar for another pint, Czuba and Ochiltree keep their booth entertained with a series dueling math jokes.

It is the last Pub Night of the summer, and by 6:30 Arthur Lundberg, AB’04, the ORCSA coordinator of the event, runs out of tickets for free beer and pizza. Scanning the room, dimly lit by Miller Lite Tiffany-style lamps, Lundberg estimates that 150—200 people had already taken advantage of the give-aways. Students huddle in booths and crowd around the foosball, pool, and shuffleboard tables, devouring baskets of 20-piece buffalo wings and onion rings.

Around 6:45, back in the math booth, Czuba rounds off the math wit marathon with, “What is the contour integral around Western Europe?” He waits for a response, but no one has a guess. “Zero because all the Poles are in Eastern Europe,”Czuba declares. He reassures his table, “Its okay. I’m Polish.”

—Meredith Meyer, ’06

Under the Miller neon, ORSCA coordinator Arthur Lundberg surveys the scene; Joe Ochiltree awaits a punchline.

August 5, 2005

Movie circuit


A sign reading “Shhhh! Filming in progress” hangs on the entrance to the Max Palevsky Cinema lobby. Beyond the heavy wooden doors, Andy DeJohn, AM’03, talks through the staging of the next scene with his six-man crew. “I don’t think we need any more light in that area.” This is the first day of filming for his 25-minute Fire Escape film, La Chevelure, based on the 19th-century short story by Guy de Maupassant.

Five extras sit on the floor—knitting, reading Life magazine, and munching on challah bread; they wait their turn in front of the camera or their turn to go home. “Do you know what time it is?” an extra asks her friend. “Three hours left,” he responds, fishing a sweet from a Dunkin Donuts container. DeJohn, pacing up and down the lobby with a white terry-cloth towel in one hand and a bottle of water in the other, wipes the sweat from his brow and shouts, “Can I have the principal cast!” Three actors jump up and take their places. A half hour later, with the cameras, lights, audio, and actors adjusted, DeJohn calls, “Extras, pleeaaase!” The extras form a line in the lobby behind the principal actors. There is more adjustment. The actors and extras grow listless as the minutes tick away. Readjustment. Thirty minutes later filming begins, lasting five or so takes before the crew blows a fuse. The monitor and cameras go dark.

DeJohn takes the setback in stride. If things are “a little hectic” he isn’t worried, he says, because “they usually are on film sets.” He expects to continue shooting and editing through the summer and early fall and have “a finished product around beginning to mid-October.”

Meredith Meyer, ’06

Waiting for the shoot (top). Lights, camera, action (bottom).

August 8, 2005

Hiroshima remembered

Before Hiroshima Day 2005, a two-hour program in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombings, began this past Saturday, audience members promoted their own causes. As Chicagoland folk artist and activist Dave Martin strummed a tune from the chancel, another man roved the aisles, instructing people to make a phone call and five copies of a flyer claiming the United States is dumping uranium on Iraq. “Imagine having a child born without an eye because the United States dropped bombs on your country,” he said. A man wearing a gray “Free Tibet” T-shirt and toting a National Resources Defense Council Member carryall showed Addicted To War to those seated around him, explaining, “It’s designed like a comic book, but the historical content is deadly serious.”

During the ceremony, Chicago singer Maggie Brown regaled the crowd with Vaughn Monroe’s “When The Lights Go On Again,” the title song from the 1944 film, before a series of speakers took the stage. “We gather here today in remembrance,” said Reverend Laura Hollinger, Rockefeller’s associate dean. “We gather here today in repentance. We gather here today in sorrow. And we gather here in hope.” The speakers, drawing parallels between the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and the ongoing Iraq war, emphasized the dangers of nuclear proliferation and warfare. David Cortright, president of the Fourth Freedom Forum and a fellow at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, called nuclear weapons “instruments of terrorism,” warning that more than 40 nations have the full capacity to build them. “We’re here to renew our commitment to a world where Hiroshima and Nagasaki can happen never again,” said Illinois State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie, AB’68, AM’73. “The threat today is just as real as it was.”

The commemoration, organized by Illinois Peace Action, concluded with a march to Nuclear Energy, the Henry Moore sculpture marking the campus site of the first controlled self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. “You have come here to light a flame of hope and extinguish the flame of death,” said the Reverend Calvin Morris. Attendees dropped candles into a bucket of water, symbolically putting out the atomic flame.

Hana Yoo, ’07

Singer_thumb.jpg Image_2_thumb.jpg Image_3_thumb.jpg

Photos (left to right): Folk singer Dave Martin; beginning the march to the Henry Moore sculpture; extinguishing the atomic flame.

Photos by Hana Yoo, ’07.

August 9, 2005

Tables of tapas


After the Spanish soft rock music stopped pouring through the speakers at Emilio’s Tapas, Alumni Association Executive Director Christine O’Neill Singer, X’72, reminded the dozens of students at the mixer, sponsored by the Alumni Association and the Office of Minority and Student Affairs (OMSA), about the “alumni community, waiting to welcome you with open arms.”

Scanning the room, where undergraduates coagulated in cliques around food tables, Ten Chu, a part-time student at the Graduate School of Business, was struck by the generation gap. “These guys are all kids to me.” Richard Tung agreed with his friend that the event had a different flavor than GSB functions. Juggling an Ambar beer in one hand and a chicken kabob in the other, Tung said, “At GSB events, parents are there with kids in strollers sometimes.” Chu noted another difference: “There are a greater number of professions here too.”

Career paths were on the minds of the event organizers and the 130 students and alumni who attended. Interspersed between tapas-stained napkins, brochures advertising the “14,000 alumni strong” Alumni Careers Network littered tables in the private dining room. Ana Vazquez, the OMSA director and deputy dean of students in the University, also reminded the group of the Chicago Multicultural Connection, a new alumni mentoring program for minority students.

Tung was not overly concerned with flexing his mentoring or networking muscles Thursday evening. “Have you tried this potato thing?” he asked. “It’s so good—I’ve been eating it all night.” He had more on his plate to think about.

Meredith Meyer, ’06

August 12, 2005

Night vision


A video of Faith Hill in concert lit up the movie screen outside Rosenwald Hall Tuesday night as Dashboard Confessional’s song “So Long Sweet Summer” filtered through the sound system. For students attending the quads premiere of The Incredibles, the summer quarter does not officially end until August 27, and for three boys waiting for the movie, time is measured not in seasons but in yards.

“It’s football time!” yelled a young boy in a blue Wizards jersey as he tossed the pigskin to his friend in a red jersey. “I’m the wide receiver. I’m the all-time best wide receiver,” he declared before establishing the boundaries of the field. “This tree to that post is ten yards.” Throwing his hands up in exasperation, the third boy—bespectacled with a mop of red hair—protested, “No, that’s too far!” Pointing to a sapling near University Avenue, the redhead adjusted the proposed yard line. "OK, OK! The movie is going to start soon. Let’s play football,” the Wizard acquiesced. Without further ado, he yelled a throaty “hike!” and tossed the ball in the air.

By 8:45 students began to gather benches from around the quads, making a semicircle facing the screen. The football players, fumbling by the dim light of lampposts, called it a night and hustled up to the corral of benches, blankets, and tiki torches, where 50 or so students had situated themselves. As the Rockefeller bells announced the arrival of the nine o’clock hour, Mr. Incredible appeared on the screen and a few last bikers rolled onto the quad staring straight ahead at the bright animation, like moths attracted to the light.

Students will have their sixth and final chance to catch an ORCSA-sponsored movie on the quad August 24, with a showing of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Meredith Meyer, ’06

Think it's easy to take a photograph of a night screening (top) of The Incredibles (bottom)? Think again.

August 15, 2005

A little lawn music


Alumni Association project coordinator Lisa Ballard stood at the western edge of Millenium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion, holding a maroon “University of Chicago Alumni” banner and waiting for early arrivals. One hundred and one alumni had registered for the free, “family-friendly” event, Ballard said, including an 11-person group from Kankakee. Attendees swarmed the lawn for the Grant Park Orchestra’s 6:30 “American Romantics” concert, featuring music by Gershwin, Hailstork, Barber, and Hanson. Among them was Julie Burros, AB’86, Chicago’s director of cultural planning, who spearheaded the Wednesday evening get-together. “It was kind of natural for me to help organize this,” she said. Burros offered optional nametags to alumni trickling in: a family, carrying Subway sandwiches and sodas, who kicked off their shoes before sprawling on a green throw; a gray-haired couple who settled into their lawn chairs, one reading the paper while the other tackled a crossword; and another couple who lay down mid-concert on a yellow blanket, sharing a makeshift briefcase “pillow” and cradling cell phones.

After the last strains of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue faded away, David McNutt, MBA’04, president of Chicago-based db Integrated Systems, explained the pavilion’s sound systems—which he helped perfect—to the alumni encircling him, his words somewhat obscured by departing concert attendees. The speakers had been wired, McNutt said, so that wherever an audience member sat—from the front row of seats to the back of the lawn—the sound was the same, and so there was a real sound difference “outside” the open-air venue—say, on the concrete—and “inside.” The sun’s last rays struck the Frank Gehry–designed silver trellis as alumni gathered their belongings and left the pavilion.

Hana Yoo, ’07

Photo: Julie Burros and Alumni Association staffer Kimberly Masius hold the U of C sign (top); GSB alumni share a suitcase pillow (bottom).

August 17, 2005

Midwestern chic


Tucked into a booth below a flat-screen television featuring the Chicago Bandits against the New England Riptide, a flimsy paper sign with “U of C Alumni” scrawled across it designated the nerve center of the fourth young-alumni happy hour in as many months. Marc DeMoss, AB’03, and Erin Onsager, AB’03, manned a table watching for anyone who “looked U of C,” Onsager said. By 7:30 a group of alumni gathered upstairs at the downtown Rockit Bar, where exposed brick, exposed pipes, and exposed limbs provided the decor. “We don’t have the official U of C nametags because Erin left them at home,” DeMoss explained to David King, AM’04, one of the ten or so alumni who stopped by. DeMoss had gone to Kinko’s and bought tags with maroon borders before the event, and he asked each new arrival to sign in on a clipboard, which by the end of the night boasted Jacques Chirac as an attendee.

As alumni drifted to a nearby pool table, DeMoss took a break from meeting and greeting and sipped his $10 mojito. Frowning and looking down at his glass, he remarked, “It’s not very strong for how expensive it was.” Onsager shot back, “Well, this is no Jimmy’s.”

By popular request, the next alumni happy hour is slated for September 8 in Hyde Park—at Jimmy’s.

Meredith Meyer, ’06

Photo: DeMoss, Onsager, and their expensive drinks.

August 19, 2005

UT fever


Fanning herself with her hands under the bright ceiling lights in the Reynolds Club’s third-floor Frances X. Kinahan Theater, Hannah Kushnick, ’07, director of Noel Coward’s Hay Fever, notes that the play’s cast and crew have become very attached to the fan. Not an electric fan, but the giant Chinese fan suspended above the stage. Below it, an assortment of items—tennis rackets; a velvety couch; a wooden table; a gold-colored gramophone; two fringed ottomans; a headless, one-armed female statue; a white-and-blue vase bursting with colorful flowers atop an old piano; and a stand with wine bottles and glasses—fight for floor space.

Soon the lights go down and the stage comes alive in a flamboyant, frenetic performance of the British play about the eccentric Bliss family and their weekend houseguests. The nine student actors swerve from polite chitchat to soap-opera drama—marked by lighting changes to blue or red—in the blink of an eye, hamming it up with exaggerated facial expressions and gestures while hardly flubbing a line. The three acts are punctuated by two intermissions, featuring 1920s period music and an original tune by Dan Sefik, ’08, which he sang through paper tubes, called “Isn’t It Bliss?”

In summers past, the Music Department organized a Shakespeare festival, but it dwindled until a single play, performed by University Theater (UT) in Hutchinson Courtyard, remained. This year, because of money issues, staff turnover, and renovations of the Reynolds Club’s first- and third-floor theaters, the Shakespeare show went “on hiatus,” according to Kushnick and production manager Reid Aronson, ’06. That’s why Kushnick is directing Hay Fever, UT’s only summer 2005 production, now; she originally planned to propose it for the school year.

“It’s been a great experience,” says Kushnick, who laughed a great deal during Wednesday’s final dress rehearsal and says the actors “do a really good job of keeping it fresh and doing it differently every night.” She enjoys the more relaxed summer atmosphere. “Everyone doesn’t have homework and school tugging beneath them,” she says, “so we can just have a good time.”

Hay Fever opened Thursday night and has three more $2 performances: Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m. and Friday of O-Week, September 24, at 3:30 p.m.

Hana Yoo, '07

Photo: Hay Fever’s cast dances off the stage after curtain call.

Photo by Brian Klein, ’07

August 22, 2005

U of C’s answer to the Facebook


If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg should be feeling mighty flattered right now. WhoUp, a student-made Web site reminiscent of the Facebook, sprang up this past year at the University. The original article is a wildly popular online network of college students, a bit like a continually updated yearbook. Users’ profiles feature a photo and information like the classes they’re taking, their musical tastes, and their relationship status. Aside from tweaking their profiles, students can browse other students from their school and request to add friends, acquaintances, crushes, or even strangers as their Facebook “friends.”

Anthony Pulice and George Michalopoulos, both AB’04, introduced WhoUp January 16. Besides browsing profiles—the Facebook, some students say, has become a de facto dating service—students can search for things to do at several different campuses in the site’s News and Events section, now in a summer lull. WhoUp strives “to pool campus resources in order to create one larger, more-informed, more connected campus,” its mission statement reads. Currently, users from five campuses other than Chicago—Northwestern, Michigan State, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Michigan—have registered.

Hana Yoo, ’07

Photo: WhoUp's Home page.

August 24, 2005

Scoring Chicago


The numbers are in and the word is out: U.S. News and World Report’s 2006 rankings of America’s best colleges have hit newsstands, ready to be seized by anxious swarms of college-bound high-schoolers and their parents. Dropping one spot from last year, the University tied with Brown for 15th among national universities. Harvard and Princeton came in first, while Chicago’s Evanston neighbor, Northwestern, ranked 12th.

U.S. News compiles data such as student-faculty ratios, alumni-giving rates, and acceptance rates from colleges and universities to determine their standings. Though the rankings have become a major part of the college-application process since their 1983 debut, many observers dismiss them as limited and deeply flawed.

Also this month, competing college-score guide Princeton Review rated Chicago the third best college library, 12th most politically active—and 14th most unpopular or nonexistent intercollegiate-sports program.

Hana Yoo, ’07

Photo: U.S. News's best-seller.

August 26, 2005

Rummage sale


The Magazine is cleaning out its basement and offering its found booty. Up for grabs is the coveted “How many University of Chicago students does it take to change a light bulb?” T-shirt—the souvenir of a February 2002 contest asking readers to provide the answer. Paul L. Sandberg, JD’82, MBA’82, sent the winning retort, depicted on the back of the shirt: “Quiet! We’re studying in the dark.” Unfortunately for petites, there are no smalls available. Medium, large, and X-large T-shirts can be yours for $8, including shipping and handling.

A less-limited supply of editor Mary Ruth Yoe’s favorite goody, sets of three robust University icon magnets, featuring the Chicago insignia, the “C,” and the ubiquitous gargoyle, are available for $6, including shipping and handling.

Please send a check to: University of Chicago Magazine
c/o Rummage Sale
5801 South Ellis Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637

Meredith Meyer, ’06

Photo: The winning T-shirt entry.

August 29, 2005

Chapbook and verse


The backroom of Danny’s Tavern, faintly lit by candles and a single lamp that looks like an estate sale find, appears split-pea-soup green. Shadows of the dozen or so lounging undergrads and thirty-somethings cast themselves upon the walls at the Poetry Center of Chicago’s fourth anniversary poetry reading. By the time Eric Elshtain, a PhD student in the University’s Committee on the History of Culture, takes to the microphone, donning sunglasses, the spectators have moved on to their second round of drinks and made themselves at home; a pack of Lucky Strikes, Drum rolling tobacco and papers, chapbooks, and pints of Newcastle and Guinness litter the tables. The third of four poets to read, Elshtain declares in verse, “I’m the one bent on magnum bonum city,” and offers his chapbook, “The Cheaper the Crook, The Gaudier the Patter,” for free “so as not to be undersold.”

Fellow Chicago PhD student Matthias Regan winds up the evening. He not only offers his chapbook, “Worktown, being a small region of the North American Labyrinth,” for free, but also promises the audience members a penny for each copy they take. Take they do, grabbing the shaggy-haired author’s booklets, including a poem whose narrator aspires to “buy a Rolls & get a / Nubian chauffeur in a / leopard-skin jockstrap & / hustle w/ all the lights on / & a cigarette-holder a mile long.”

The Poetry Center’s next reading is slated for September 21.

Meredith Meyer, ’06

Photo: Eric Elshtain takes the mic (top); Josh Baldwin, '06, and Sarah Hack enjoy the live verse (bottom).

August 31, 2005

Houses of cards

David Barker_thumb.jpg

David Barker, adjunct professor at the GSB, has researched the frequency of the term “housing bubble” in the headlines or leads of major newspapers. Pointing to a steeply inclined graph during a lecture last week, Barker explained, “After bouncing around at a couple of mentions a year from 1988 to 2002, it’s just taken off, and now, boy, everyone is writing articles about it. By the way, most of the articles are saying this housing bubble is about to pop.” He and fellow speaker Michael Munley, MBA’05, a business economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, believe recent concern over the housing market may be in part manufactured by the media.

Ninety-five curious University alumni packed into a basement auditorium at the Gleacher Center to hear Munley and Barker’s talk, “What Housing Bubble? Perspectives on the Shape of the Real Estate Market.” The economists offered cautious reassurance to homeowners and investors: “I don’t want you to think that I’m an ideological purist and that you can’t have a housing bubble because markets are perfect,” said Barker. “There have been times that asset markets have fallen apart. It does happen and it is worth thinking about and worrying about. The question is, is it going on now?”

Some local real-estate markets, he admitted, are out of whack—“when Florida cab drivers are talking to people about flipping condos,” it’s a sign that the converted-condo market in the Sunshine State might be inflated. The country’s strong marcroeconomic growth, good financing conditions, and ever real American dream, he and Manley argued, will sustain housing growth. Only a handful of what Barker referred to as “rogue economists” think otherwise. “However,” he offered, “if you still believe in a housing bubble, look for a decline in sales volume.” Historically, he explained, homeowners are reluctant to bail out on their sinking ship before a housing crash.

Meredith Meyer, ’06

Photo: Barker explains the bubble myth.

Photos of the Week: August 2005 (Postcards from the Quads)

Hutch Courtyard 8/31

Continue reading "Photos of the Week: August 2005 (Postcards from the Quads)" »

About August 2005

This page contains all entries posted to UChiBLOGo in August 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

July 2005 is the previous archive.

September 2005 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.31