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October 2008 Archives

October 1, 2008

The city that votes—and often

If you know one thing about Chicago elections, you know "vote early—and often." The phrase is variously attributed to such masters of clout as Al Capone and the first Mayor Daley, but whoever said it, it stuck. As Langdon D. Neal, chair of the city's Board of Election Commissioners, told the Know Your Chicago group visiting the commission's West Washington Street headquarters last Wednesday, "We have quite a history with voting in Chicago—but that's been a long, long time ago."

Today, Neal said, Chicago is "a model jurisdiction," consulting to election boards around the country. A three-hour look behind the scenes—including a visit to the Pershing Road warehouse where the city's state-of-the-art voting machines are stored, tested, and readied for each election—showed why.

  • It's big. The city (the rest of Cook County is its own jurisdiction) has 2,575 precincts and some 1,700 polling places.
  • It's trilingual. Chicago is one of two jurisdictions in the nation (Los Angeles County is the other) whose ballots are printed in three languages: English, Spanish, and Mandarin [See comment below—Ed]. After the 2010 national census, it's expected that ballots will also be printed in Korean.
  • It's organized. Beginning two weeks to ten days before Election Day, a blue Election Supply Carrier (ESC in board lingo) is delivered to each polling place. About the size of an armoire, the locked ESC contains a touchscreen voting unit, ballot scanner, and vote-card activator; shrink-wrapped ballots; collapsible voting booths; supply boxes; and an American flag. The ESC also doubles as a locked box where ballots can be inserted if the scanner goes down.
  • It still believes in voting early. Early voting for the November 4 election begins October 13 and runs through October 30, Mondays through Fridays, 9 to 5, at 51 sites around the city. The board hopes 160,000 citizens will vote early, easing pressure at the polling places in what they expect to be a record turnout.
Early voting ends a week before the general election so that voters' names can be crossed off the precincts' lists. Once is now often enough.


October 3, 2008

Eating locally, thinking globally


Wednesday's Div School lunch, the first of the new school year, added some locally produced items to its standard vegetarian menu. The tomato-and-spinach quiche, roasted potatoes, and apple crisp were the same—but the bread, usually store-bought, was baked in the kitchen attached to the Swift Common Room, and the Disciples Divinity House residents grew the herbs used to season the dishes.

After the meal Dean Richard Rosengarten, AM'88, PhD'94, introduced another local: his former classmate Phil Blackwell, DMN'86, pastor of the Loop-based Chicago Temple, First United Methodist Church, who talked about the nature of an urban ministry—accommodating thousands of visitors of diverse faiths while staying true to his Methodist worldview. The oldest church in the city with more than 1,000 members, the Chicago Temple shares a multiuse building with more than 15 floors of lawyers and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which moved a little less than a year ago from its previous spot at 60th and Kimbark. The basement houses an organization independent of the church but with similar missions of dialogue and tolerance: the Silk Road Theatre Project. Founded in 2002 by GSB-student-turned-producer Malik Gillani and Jamil Khoury, AM'92, the company showcases playwrights of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean backgrounds. Said Khoury, who spoke after Blackwell: "[Phil] is in the business of storytelling; we are in the business of storytelling—it's a great complement."

Some things at the lunch were imported—one of the guests, for example: a first-year MDiv student who commutes weekly from Rochester, NY (yes, you read correctly—that's New York), where he used to work for Bausch & Lomb. Flying to Chicago every Monday for classes, he returns home Thursdays to spend the weekend with his wife and two children.


Yohen is the first play of the Silk Road Theatre Project's 2008–09 season. It runs through November 2.

Photo courtesy the Silk Road Theatre Project

October 6, 2008

A new dam generates new art

When it becomes fully operational in 2011, the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River will generate the same amount of power as 15 nuclear power plants, making it the largest hydroelectric project in human history. But the human cost of the dam—including about 1.3 million people displaced by its 410-mile-long artificial lake and thousands of years of archaeological sites and contemporary buildings destroyed by its flooding—is also great.

The Smart Museum exhibit Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art opened Thursday and features four artists whose work addresses the dam's effects. Curator and art-history professor Wu Hung gave an opening lecture to a crowd packed into the Cochrane-Woods Art Center.

For the artists he selected, Hung said, the exhibit was “not something external” but rather an opportunity to “respond and think about the issue” of the dam and how it affected them and their subjects. Zuang Hui, for example, was “thinking of the future in the future past tense,” said Hung. In 1997 the experimental artist traveled by boat down the Yangtze River and drilled patterns of holes in the rock near the dam construction. He photographed each hole, abstracting the circular shape in the rock. In 2005, after the government flooded the area to create an artificial lake, Hui sent a photographer back to the sites for new pictures. In Hung’s words, the images are now “only water, water, water.”

The exhibit's three other artists all work in different media. Chen Qiulin, a video artist born in a town displaced by the dam, made a series of mournful films, the first of which Hung said represents “the death of a place and the death of a woman.” Painter Yun-fei Ji used traditional Chinese scroll-painting techniques to depict and fragment contemporary subjects into the linear image shown on the scroll. And a massive 20-foot oil painting by realist Liu Xiaodong looms across the largest gallery wall, showing construction workers playing a card game. Using a long brush and “skilled determination,” Xiodong painted the canvas in three weeks at one of the construction sites. The “site-specific work,” Hung said, conveys how “the artist cannot remain inactive” when presented with such an overwhelming subject.

Rose Schapiro, ‘09

displacement1.jpg displacement2.jpg
One of Zuang Hui’s photographs; a panel from Liu Xiaodong’s larger painting.

Images courtesy the Smart Museum of Art.

October 8, 2008

Perfect symmetry

There’s a certain symmetry in the numbers: Tuesday the number of University of Chicago Nobel laureates rose to 82, the number in physics to 28.

Symmetry has long been a cornerstone of physics theory, as Yoichiro Nambu told an attentive audience yesterday morning, “but sometimes symmetry looks like it’s broken.” He offered a real-life example: “When you have a large crowd of people like here”—a Reynolds Club lounge filled with reporters, cameramen, colleagues, and well-wishers—“and they’re all facing toward me, not the other way around, there’s no physical reason they should all look the same way at the same time. That’s symmetry breaking.”

There was, of course, a reason to face toward Nambu, who shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics with two Japanese researchers. Asked to explain “for a general audience” the concept of spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB) that won him the prize, the 87-year-old Chicago professor emeritus offered this caveat: “It’s rather difficult because it’s a concept, not an application, something concrete.”

But, as 1980 Nobelist James Cronin, SM’53, PhD’55—an experimental physicist who has known Nambu since the Japanese-born theoretician came to campus in 1954—told the Reynolds Club crowd, SSB is a concept with solid applications “in superconductivity, in condensed matter, in magnetism.” He also emphasized the work’s larger meaning: “These basic ideas were really the foundation of beginning to understand the [Standard] model that works so beautifully in particle physics.”


It took several years of hard work to develop his theories, Nambu said, and reaction in the scientific community also took time. Cronin agreed: “It was not like a Eureka moment,” but “as experimental data came in and people tried to understand how it all fit together,” the work’s value became plain.

Nambu's Nobel, Cronin said, brought its own symmetry: “It's just a thrill from the bottom of my heart to see that the guy who started these ideas is recognized."


Out of the shadows: The University's newest laureate, physics professor emeritus Yoichiro Nambu, is introduced to the media by his colleague James Cronin, SM'53, PhD'55.

Photos by Dan Dry

October 10, 2008

Books, glorious books!

"Great Book Sale This Way," screamed the neon-orange sign taped to International House’s front door. A large arrow pointed the way to I-House’s Assembly Hall. A smaller, handwritten sign hailed, “Buy 1 Get 1 Free. Today Only!” The occasion: University of Chicago Press’s first book sale in more than 20 years—an opportunity for the press to get rid of some overstock—and for readers to purchase titles ranging from natural history to legal scholarship to critical theory.

Inside Assembly Hall, 20-odd tables held books nestled in brown boxes. In the background a live Johnny Cash album played. Around noon on the sale's second (and last) day, thousands of titles remained, and the room seemed more like a library—browsers quietly combed through the boxes of books—than a store with a fire sale. Although the selection was what one undergraduate repeatedly called "esoteric" as she peered into the cardboard boxes and mumbled to herself and her companions, the opportunity to strike upon true treasures did present itself—though of course, for every customer such a treasure was a different book. Some cooed over Lee Siegel’s Love in a Dead Language, while others pounced on Richard Posner’s Aging and Old Age.


As they scanned the titles, customers studiously avoided eye contact. Some filled up their own boxes with dozens of volumes, eager to cart home volumes upon volumes of critical texts. I picked up, among others, a book on 1960s psychedelics and rock and roll (Tomorrow Never Knows by Nick Bromell), which I found discarded in the natural-science section—it belonged in popular culture. I seriously considered but eschewed, for space concerns, a large art-and-architecture book on how hotels influenced the Cold War (Building the Cold War: Hilton International Hotels and Modern Architecture by Annabel Jane Wharton). I was more selective than most of the crowd, picking up only a half-dozen books—with the sale, it was difficult to leave with fewer. The only challenge came when the most eager customers, after purchasing a box filled with texts, had to figure out how to carry them home on the back of a bicycle.


October 13, 2008

Truthiness in numbers

When I first met Nate Silver for a July–Aug Magazine article, he asserted strong opinions about Barack Obama’s ability to transform the red-state/blue-state divide in the general election. “If you look at the electoral map,” he said back in April, “Obama’s coalition could help him pick up Colorado and Virginia.”

One month earlier, under the pseudonym Poblano, Silver had started the political blog FiveThirtyEight.com, named for the 538 Electoral College members. The site features a forecasting system that weights polls based on a pollster’s track record, the survey’s sample size, and the poll’s age. But Silver wasn’t yet “out” to the public as a political forecaster. To the people who knew his name, he was the stats nerd who created PECOTA—a system that projects baseball players’ career arcs by comparing them to similar players from the past—and the man in charge of Baseball Prospectus, the Rolls-Royce of the sport’s numbers analysis.

But since unmasking himself in the June 1 New York Post, Silver's techniques have challenged the way pundits parse political polls. He’s been hailed as the “rookie of the year in this year's presidential campaign coverage” by Time’s Joe Klein and called "indispensable" by the Washington Post’s E. J. Dionne. And it looks as though his April prediction is holding up—he suggests Obama holds 10 and 8 percent leads in Colorado and Virginia, respectively. But he hadn’t truly arrived until last week, when he was grilled by Stephen Colbert, the purveyor of “truthiness” and leader of the Colbert Nation. After hearing Silver compare Obama’s emergence to the startlingly successful Tampa Bay Rays, I'll stay tuned to see where Silver appears next.


Video courtesy Comedy Central.

October 15, 2008

Return of the seniors

Last Wednesday the first blast of cold air started to turn the quads’ leaves yellow, and around 5:30 p.m the Class of 2009 gathered in Hutchinson Courtyard. Open grills around two of Hutch’s entrances emitted the familiar smells of cooking hot dogs and hamburgers. As students trickled in from their afternoon classes, the grassy slopes lining the stone courtyard filled with crowds. Students perched on the side of the drained fountain and waited to hail their friends.

The College Programming Office, which hosted the welcome-back barbecue for fourth-years, advertised complimentary Class of 2009 water bottles for the first 500 attendees. Helpful CPO members gestured to permanent markers next to the bottles: “Don’t forget to put your name on it!” Printed on each bottle was a cartoon gargoyle perched atop a tower and reading a book—perhaps a timely prophecy for how many in the senior class have already been spending fall quarter: overstuffed schoolbags were as common a sight as overstuffed students.

After queuing up for bratwurst, chicken, hamburgers, and veggie burgers, some seniors jostled to fill their new water bottles with iced tea from bright-orange coolers set up on tables. The whole courtyard was awash with returning students munching on food while comparing summer adventures and plans for the new school year—presumably their last as undergraduates. The festivities spread into the Reynolds Club, where seniors lounged on the stairs that lead to the second floor. Even as the sun set and the quad lights turned on, scores of students returned for seconds and thirds before heading back to their residences or the library. By 7:30 p.m., although the garbage cans were stuffed with paper plates and empty condiment packages, the courtyard itself was almost empty.

Rose Schapiro, ’09

The Class of 2009 poses for its first-year photo in fall 2005.

October 17, 2008

Faculty convene over Friedman

The first Faculty Senate meeting in more than a decade ignited the Hyde Park campus Wednesday, as students rallied on the quads and big-name professors gathered to debate the University's new Milton Friedman Institute. While backers say the institute will be a place for path-breaking research in economics, business, law, and public policy, some faculty members worry an institute named after Nobel laureate Friedman, AM'33, would tie the University to the free-market economist's politics. The controversy has heightened as some academics blame Friedman's ideas for the current financial crisis.

The media weren't invited to the two-hour meeting, which more than 200 faculty members (out of 1,200 faculty with senate membership) attended, but some spoke with the Chronicle of Higher Education afterward. “It was calm and collected,” said social-sciences dean Mark Hansen. “It was the kind of discussion that one expects from mature adults who are very smart.” History of religions professor Bruce Lincoln, a leader of the anti-institute faculty group CORES (Committee for Open Research on Economy and Society), estimated the room was about evenly split for and against. Most supporters were from economics, statistics, business, or law, while those opposed, the Chronicle reported, "represented a much broader range of disciplines."

The meeting, and the intense feelings its topic provoked, brought together heavyweights from several academic areas. Afterward the debate continued in the hallway: Lincoln traded concerns with economics Nobelists Gary Becker, AM’53, PhD’55, and James Heckman; economist Lars Hansen; anthropologists Marshall Sahlins and John Kelly; historian Moishe Postone, SB'63, AM'67; and public-policy professor Bruce Meyer.

Before the meeting, about 70 students convened on the rain-soaked quads to protest the institute. They marched from the center circle to Ida Noyes, where they passed out flowers to entering faculty members, sucked pacifiers to signify the University saw but didn't really hear them, and held signs saying, "Will we all become 'Chicago boys'?" and "Students for Ideological Stubbornness." The CORES group meets Friday to discuss its next steps.




Chicago heavyweights (see above) gather after the Faculty Senate meeting; Students line the Ida Noyes stairs in protest.

Photos by Dan Dry

October 20, 2008

Muslim grassroots

"Many American and British non-Muslims believe that Islam and democracy are incompatible," said Amédée Turner, a former member of the European Parliament for Britain and the Queen’s Counsel. Turner, who also advised the Macedonian Parliament in 2001 on democratic procedures, presented to a dozen Divinity students the results of his recent study “Muslim Grassroots in the West Discuss Democracy,” which he carried out in 2005-06 while sitting on the Advisory Council of the Anglican Observer to the United Nations. Turner's talk in Swift Hall last Thursday was one stop on a tour including the World Affairs Council of America in St. Louis, the Middle East Institute in DC, and the London Houses of Parliament.

The study gathered 400 Muslims from different U.S. and British communities into 38 anonymous round-table discussions to consider whether democracy and Islam are compatible. The groups, set up by local Anglican and Episcopalian clerics, included "business and professional people, school teachers, their spouses, and students." For his study Turner defined democracy as one person, one vote; secret ballots; and government that follows the electorate. The groups were not asked to come to an agreement or to vote but only to discuss. “On the question of democracy,” Turner found, “they spoke with a unified voice,” agreeing that there is no clash between their religion and democracy. Their statements, compiled in a 90-page report recommended by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, echo Winston Churchill: "Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

Democracy is compatible with Islam, said the participants, as long as the government doesn't contradict the Qur'an. In the Islamic text, "most punishment is in hell,” Turner pointed out, “so it’s not a problem for a democratic parliament.” Certain rules about modesty for women, he noted, and the requirement to cut off a thief’s hand could come into conflict with a democratic government.


After Turner spoke, Graham School Asian-classics instructor Omer Mozaffar addressed those two potential conflicts of women and thieves. Less than 10 percent of the text of the Qur'an deals with legal matters, Mozaffar said. “The majority is focused on what we would call worldview, not law or governance. There’s a body of law that developed after the text, so the text may say, ‘Cut off the hand of a thief,’ but can that mean imprison them? What is literal and what is metaphorical?” There is no legal or scholarly consensus on these questions, he added; applying Qur'anic laws to the modern day “is a community project" that is "democratic in spirit.”

Shira Tevah, ’09

Omer Mozaffar and Amédée Turner spoke last Thursday about Islam and democracy.

October 22, 2008

Party under the portraits


By 5:35 p.m. Friday, the Chicago Weekly staff had moved the Hutchinson Commons tables to the room’s edges and stacked hundreds of chairs on top of one another, so we thought we were running ahead of schedule for the 7 p.m. start time. Next we put together the dance floor—big enough to accommodate 13 middle-school step-team members and sturdy enough to remain in place while several ballerinas jétéed across its expanse. Turns out that it takes a half-dozen U of C students about an hour to put together a floor.

We were preparing Hutch for Reorientation, an annual event thrown by the Chicago Weekly, where I’m the arts-and-culture editor. Chicago Weekly focuses on Chicago’s South Side: campus culture and news, but also neighborhoods outside Hyde Park. Reorientation showcases some of the best of what we cover. This year, aside from Off-Off Campus and University Ballet, we invited a nationally ranked step team and two local rock bands to perform. The event also served as a release party for our zine, the Midwestern Edition, which features art, fiction, and nonfiction from both Weekly staff and others who submit work—an attempt to, as Weekly editor-in-chief Sean Redmond, ’09, put it in the first issue, “offer a bit of artistic achievement, unmediated, from our hands to yours.”

University students began showing up for Off-Off, who opened our show, at 7:10. Although Hutch’s high ceiling and somber portraits were not quite conducive to improvisational comedy, the troupe garnered laughs from the dozens of students in the crowd. The members of the KIPP Ascend Charter School team took the stage next and performed a 15-minute routine that showed their stepping skills, which incorporates dance elements and keeps rhythm with hand-clapping, stomping, and chanting. When they finished, visual-arts editor Yennie Lee, ’10, took the microphone and exclaimed, “I can promise you that the portraits on this wall have never seen something like that!”

After a performance by the Names that Spell, a Hyde Park–based rock band, headliners Brilliant Pebbles took the stage. Tossing the audience gifts such as a troll doll, pom-poms, and a bright-purple boa, the four-person, new-wave-glam band delivered an enthusiastic set. Often performing as an opening act and at Bridgeport art shows, the band enjoyed headlining. “You’re the most genuine audience we’ve ever had,” noted lead singer Monika Bukowska to the remaining crowd of about two dozen stalwarts, composed partly of dancing Weekly staff. The band finished at 10:45 p.m. and stuck around—handing us all psychedelic business cards and more glittery goodies. As they packed up their gear, we moved the large wooden tables back, and by midnight Hutch was its old somber self.

Rose Schapiro, ’09

The KIPP step team performs its routine; Brilliant Pebbles sings to us.

October 24, 2008

Open market

Andrew Cone, AB’06, and Steven Lucy, AB’06, have established a new produce store at 55th and Cornell. But Open Produce, now about a month old, offers more than fresh vegetables. Cone and Lucy also have plans to make information available to customers about how they run the shop and buy their goods—the theory is that if people know how the produce gets and stays on the shelf, they might not mind paying a bit more for it. On the blog that the partners have used to document the store’s opening, Lucy says they have set a January 1 goal for total transparency: “bank account statements, wholesale receipts, sales data, and everything else.” Before the partners decided to become social entrepreneurs, they worked in banking and information technology—and the idea of “open” business comes from open-source programming, when the source code for software is made available for public collaboration.


I stopped by the shop on an overcast Friday morning with the single mission of acquiring pumpkins for a carving party I’m hosting tonight. According to Lucy’s blog, the store had recently purchased about 700 pounds of carving pumpkins (the bin cost $115, about twice as much as it would have last year—pumpkins are among many goods that have seen rising prices). They’re selling the pumpkins for $5 apiece, and because my party is not BYOP, that price sounded good to me. Recent graduate David Richter, AB’08, was working in the store—moving tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and eggplants across the shelves. “I originally walked in to buy produce,” said Richter. “And then it occurred to me that they might be hiring.” Open Produce, he added, already has cultivated some appreciative customers. “People tend to be happy when they’re about to make dinner,” he said. “Transparency is a big part of it and a good business practice.”

I browsed the store: a bag of leeks was retailing for $1, and the store’s eccentric variety of non-produce items included kimchee, vegan cheese, and Mexican candy bought in Pilsen. Much of the produce comes from the Chicago International Produce Market, but the owners use several dry-goods wholesalers. Shortly I realized there was no way I would be able to carry home the requisite number of pumpkins—they are gigantic and heavy. Instead I settled for a few huge heads of red cabbage and some plump Asian pears, and happily sidled home. I’ll have to come back for my jack-o-lanterns.

Rose Schapiro, '09

October 27, 2008

Metaphor is forever

When the clock struck 4:30 p.m. this past Saturday—quitting time for the third and final session of the University’s 29th annual Humanities Day—dozens of liberal-arts enthusiasts who'd come to hear Chicago professors talk about Socrates and King Lear, J-pop, Erich Auerbach, African American literature's “Chicago Renaissance,” and the looting of the Baghdad Museum, put on their coats and walked out of Stuart Hall or the Classics Building into the afternoon chill. But in Harper 140, where philosopher Ted Cohen was discussing the Mystery of Metaphor, nobody stirred. An hour into his talk, Cohen was still unraveling nuances and delivering one-liners: "Thomas Hobbes inveighs against metaphor in a book he calls The Leviathan"; "Nietzsche likes metaphor, but as always with Nietzsche, it's very hard to tell what he's talking about." At 4:30 Cohen hadn't yet gotten to the Q&A.


Over the next hour, a few listeners trickled out of the standing-room-only lecture, but most stayed put as Cohen roamed from jazz to politics, poetry to moral philosophy. He quoted Hemingway, Churchill, Shakespeare, Donne's Meditation XVII ("so good, it's enough to make you a Christian—almost"), the Song of Songs, Joyce's "The Dead" ("the best short story written in English"), Rilke, and T. S. Eliot, whom Cohen, recalling the bleakness of The Waste Land and "The Hollow Men," teasingly called "you desiccated bastard."

In the end, metaphor remained mysterious. Cohen concluded that to function, a metaphor must break the rules of logic and language—"Macbeth doth murder sleep" is as impossible syntactically as it is practically—and argued that perhaps metaphors "aren't giving you meaning, but a picture of the world. ... 'Figurative' means, like a drawing." But truly, he lamented, "we can never solve any of these things." A few minutes later, however, he gave it another try: "A metaphor, even a pretty humble metaphor—'Juliet is the sun'; 'Mussolini is a utensil'—is a very small-scale work of art," Cohen said. "It took a certain kind of creativity to make it, and it takes a certain kind of appreciative talent to understand it. I like that idea. It's a romantic idea, but I like it."

And then, looking at his watch: "We probably should go. It’s nearly 5:30."


Expounding on the topic of metaphor—"a way of saying something you can't say in any other way"—Ted Cohen kept a packed audience engrossed and in stitches during his Humanities Day talk.

October 28, 2008

A maize maze

On the grass in front of Walker last Wednesday afternoon, nine students braved the chill for a higher purpose. Members of Brent House, the Episcopal Center on campus, they were hosting a labyrinth walk for students and passersby.

“It’s a spiritual meditative practice,” said Katy Fallon, ’10, “and an ancient metaphor for life.” The labyrinth consisted of a circular pathway—sprinkled lines of cornmeal so the birds and squirrels could later consume it—that wound around itself, changing directions many times before reaching the center. Spanning only 10 yards, the complex maze required five or 10 minutes to navigate.


Although the labyrinth is a “tool used in Christianity and other religions,” Fallon explained, the event was not meant to push students toward any particular practice. Brent House organizes a labyrinth walk every fall and spring quarter, skipping winter for obvious reasons. Usually arranged in front of Classics—that quad is currently under construction—the walk provides students an opportunity to step out of their hectic academic lives. The organizers offer hot chocolate or some other treat for meditators; Wednesday’s reward was a plate of homemade cookies at the maze’s center.

“You can go into it and think about whatever you want,” said Brent House member Nick Currie, ’11, after completing the circuit. Currie was one of the hosts; he noted that it was important for them to remember to participate and not just invite others. “The idea," he said, "is to center yourself and recognize that you’re on a journey of some kind.”

The maze—advertised via e-mail—attracted a handful of participants throughout the day, and even some unintentional ones, said Brent House intern Ben Varnum, AB’06, a third-year student in the Divinity School. “Some people walked across, on a mission, and then all of a sudden they looked up and realized they were in it.” Although some kept to their accustomed path, others chose to join the maze they’d stumbled upon.

“We didn’t mind,” Varnum said, “but in general we preferred students to start at the beginning” and follow the lines.

Shira Tevah, '09

Nick Currie, '11, walks through the labyrinth.

October 31, 2008

Boo! Chicago


Even though we’re in the middle of midterms—I’ve got a French test and a paper on developing countries coming up next week—Chicago students are still ready to trick-or-treat. From the Center for the Study of Languages, decked out in pumpkin lights and skeleton cut-outs, to bowls of candy in classrooms and the pumpkins that decorate the student-run coffee shops, the campus is hauntingly festive.


Tonight at 8 costumed students will catch a screening of The Phantom of the Opera at Rockefeller Chapel, with live organ accompaniment for a spooky atmosphere. At 10 p.m. the Organization of Black Students will throw a “Back in the Day”–themed Halloween party, with music and dancing until the wee hours of the morning. At midnight Doc Films will show the 1982 version of The Thing, featuring a sullen Kurt Russell, adorable dogs, and ancient mutating aliens. After the movie, a costume contest will earn one lucky person a free yearlong Doc pass. A definite treat.

Rose Schapiro, ’09


Photos: The language center shows scary movies all day long; skeletons decorate the hall of Cobb; in Cobb coffee shop, a lone pumpkin lingers.

About October 2008

This page contains all entries posted to UChiBLOGo in October 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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