Art-in Exhiliration

Today, well rather yesterday, Thursday, the Bates community put creative thought into action and completely came together for what was called an “Art-In.” Two seniors, Grif Peterson and Jake Lewis, teamed up to put on some what of a guerilla performance/exhibit/gathering in Chase Hall, posing the question “Where can our art go?”

The tagline “Find this art a home” had been utilized throughout the week in advertisements ranging from costumers working on mannequins outside of lunch as fabric fluttered in the wind to musicians marching around alumni walk trying to play their instruments, to paintings being created wedged in snowbanks. The word had gotten out: Chase Hall, Thursday, 4-6.

This reflects a greater attitude amongst Bates students to revive the arts (!) — the enthousiasm and the creativity exists in the student body, now we just need to augment the support that Bates gives the arts in order to better insulate this excitement. The space, Old Commons, is HUGE and empty, save a Bates Musicians Union practice room that, since being put up, is booked nearly all the time.

Jake and Grif sought to get any and everyone who participates in the arts at Bates to get involved. And it worked. The event was sponsored by (and featuring students from) the Bates Musicians Union, Bates Public Art Club, Robinson Players, WRBC 91.5FM, The Dance Club, Deansmen, Strange Bedfellows, SEED, The Photography Club, Studio Art Majors, Film Club, The Ronj, etc.

Proudly donning my Robinson Players tshirt, I showed up an hour early to set up / generally help out as much as I possibly could. From the second Jake introduced the idea at a Robinson players meeting a few weeks ago, I knew that I wanted to help. And I could, it was so easy– and everyone was really happy to have help, too! After taping down drop cloths under tables that would be painted upon, a pottery wheel that would be thrown on, and a great big canvas on the ground for improvisational paint dancing, I got prepped for my real job: guided tours of the space!

I was in a different mindset than a great percentage of the attendees of the event, since I was never at Bates when old Commons was in use. I have no fond memories of spending my days there, nor did I, before today, have any idea of what kinds of space and possibilities lie in the vast expanses of building that exists behind closed doors. Along with the president of the Rob Players, I gave tours on the half hour bringing people around the space, showing them all the room, allowing them to see the emptiness and let their own imaginations run wild with what could happen there. My last tour was the most exciting– President Hansen came along to see what it was all about.

There lies perhaps the best part– attendance to this completly student run initiative was insane! Hundreds of people came in and out over the two hour span, including students, deans, prospective students who wandered through from admissions, and the President of the college! They watched student films, wrote collective poems, saw dance performances and musicians, took part in Strange Bedfellows improv comedy workshops, painted their faces, suggested bands for the WRBC to bring for concerts, appreciated countless artist’ work displayed on every wall and much more.

I can’t imagine a way which it could have gone better. I didn’t want it to end, I was actually having so much fun. This is the kind of thing that, in reality, could happen any day at Bates¬† – the arts exist at Bates, it’s just a question of nourishing them and letting them explode.

WRBC Wednesdays

I love Wednesdays. Sure, it’s a very easy day to hate– middle of the week, no sign of the weekend yet, lots of classes– but I have to say that each Wednesday i’ve had this semester hasn’t been all that bad.

I have my weekly radio show from 8-10 am on Wednesdays at Bates’ radio station, WRBC 91.5 FM. I love the radio, like I cannot express into words how great a feeling it is to be… completely in control of airwaves that people actually listen to. For example… I would never DARE take an 8 am class. 9h30’s I’m a huge fan of, but I will say that I can’t fathom being coherent and in a learning kind of mood that early.

Since the third week I was at Bates, once a week my dear friend (we met on AESOP !)  and Co-dj Hannah and I convene at Commons at the frighteningly bright and often cold hour of 7h30 to grab coffee and cereal before heading over to Frye street, where the radio station broadcasts from the basement of the Office of Career Services.

The WRBC itself is totally wonderful — I couldn’t say enough good things if I tried. But this specifically is for me to say this: I cannot start a day any better than doing a radio show. Sure, it’s two hours at a time that for many college students is unimaginable, but between station ID’s and PSAs Hannah and I catch up what we’ve missed from the week, we dissect new music found on the New rack at the station, we laugh and dance and scream songs so loud that we swear we wake up all of frye street.

After a super fun show this morning that included approximately three inappropriate dance parties, we came out into the morning and the day. It was warm, the snow was melting– I knew that today was going to be great.

WRBC streams live 24/7 — check it out! if you’re ever awake Wednesdays from 8-10 give a listen for Hannah and Nora !

Our first radio show-- what nerds!

Our first radio show-- what nerds!

Dis-decisions

Last night the Bates community was faced with, well, a dis-dilemma. Two events were being put on : 2/3 of the band Dispatch were performing, put on by the Chase Hall Committee, and then there was Discharge.

Discharge was created by the WRBC, Bates Musicians Union, and Bates Public Arts Committee as not a concert, but “an audiovisual exhibition of what can only be called performance art because it will synthesize music, images, and bodies into a psychedelic experience.” Don’t let that frighten you; there was music and people dancing and laughing and screaming and strobe lights and bodies and all that.

Three stations set up in corners of the room worked the music from different performers (all Batesies, of course) into each other, rotating and adding and forming cohesive beats and melodies for the hundreds of people who were packed in the Silo, dancing as hard as they could.

I literally had the most fun I’ve had in months. And it was ALL done by Bates students– they organized impeccably, they performed exceptionally, they populated the dance floor with enthousiasm and vigor, AND it was free.

I danced for three and a half hours straight and while my body aches today, I am so pleased about what a totally epic night it was. Moral of the story: Batesies like to dance.

Getting out, getting going

This past weekend I had the oppurtunity to do something I’d rarely taken advantage of. I’ll start off my saying that the past two Saturdays have been so beautiful it makes me want to do nothing but bask all day on the porch of Parker hall with my friends, looking out to the quad, which, while still snowcovered, is showing the signs of spring.

Instead of sticking around this week, two of my friends and I decided to GO. After a deliriously happy saturday trek to Commons and a walk around campus in dodging puddles, mud and ice while wearing only light sweaters, we got ourselves oranganized and set off for Portland. Two friends were taking a car in, so we caught our way in thus.

The weather was perfect for driving- sunny, mid 40s, clear– a totally great feeling of hope just overwhelmed us all as we drove down 95.

Once we got there we ate delicious food, shopped around a bit, just took in the whole atmosphere. Portland is a great city. It’s not inapproachably large, but there’s definitely a city vibe. I wish I got out there more– I actually hadn’t been since the very first weekend I was officially a college student, where two cars full of girls invaded the city high off of the freedom

of college and got all the piercings their parents had told them they couldn’t get. (i got my tragus).

We were back on campus by eightish… and while i was exhausted by the end, it made my weekend one of the best I’d had in a long time.

Me and my friend Kit posing with street art

In sickness and in health

I don’t get sick. In general. I just tend to be a very healthy person. However, this week, I finally succumbed to a virus that’s been circulating amongst my friends as the season of sickness and colds draws to a close. Early in the week, I began to lose my voice– which, as my friends will tell you, is my most important tool or at least something I use CONSTANTLY. As my nose ran and my limbs ached with a fever, I realized I actually had to acknowledge the fact that yes, I was sick.

I managed to only miss one class, a class in which my professor was sick with the same cough too, anyways! So it was finally time for me to go to the health center… for the first time. I’ve been at Bates for over 6 months and have never needed anything from them before. I was nervous, awkward, coughing, and carrying two giant packages I’d just picked up when I hobbled in. Immediately the friendly staff of the health center swept me up and when I left a half an hour later I felt refreshed, reassured and already on the road to recovery, knowing that I didn’t have Strep throat and that I was actually on the tail end of the viral assault.

So, yes… being sick is no fun, but as it is a part of life we can’t ignore, good thing the health center loves me and my teachers understand. !

Supersecret

Tonight I was lucky enough to attend a lecture that I never thought I’d be able to see. A website that I’ve been following for the past three years, that I’ve bought books from, that I’ve literally lived Sunday to Sunday waiting for the newest posts, PostSecret, was brought to Bates for a talk by the inspiring and extremely amiable founder Frank Warren.

A very much student spearheaded event, while sponsored mainly by Bates Multifaith Chaplaincy, took co-sponsorship from countless Bates departments and student clubs. Everyone knew that Frank was worth getting– the responses to his lectures by fans in the past clearly made it to be an emotionally stirring event, and that it was.

While I was certainly one of the more eager amongst my friends, pushing us all to get tickets, to get there early, to be quiet when it started, I honestly didn’t really know what to expect. There was so much hype that I admittedly bought into, however I knew only that it would be an emotional, positive experience, but I wasn’t sure HOW it would work.

Frank is a wonderful, friendly man that just exudes trust in a way that you cannot be surprised that he has been called “the most trusted stranger in America.” The talk ended with questions, secret reveals and an all around open forum for audience members to speak up, uncensored. I’m so glad I went.

No, my life wasn’t changed. No, I didn’t cry. But hearing about secrets for an hour from someone who has become an expert on the subjects was wildly comforting, and as we walked back to campus from Lewiston Middle School, my friends starting asking themselves and each other– what secrets did they have?

If you’ve never been before, I promise it will be worth it. Postsecret!

Electionperfection

This week, the student theater organization, The Robinson Players, held their elections for next year’s board. Theater is one of my favorite extra curriculars here at Bates, and I seriously look forward to the monthly club meetings– purely because of the dynamite personalities all put into one room and allowed to interact (and usually explode) over logistics and theatrical choice and preference. By these standards, I was so ready for an extra exciting, tense and truly fun to watch meeting to elect the board members for the 2009-2010 year.

After a hilarious, conflict filled, dramatic and sensationalist hour and a half, we reached decisions and — hooray! — I was elected to my first official position at Bates college!! It’s awesome that, even as a first year, I’ve gotten involved enough in only a semester and a half to be elected as the “Outreach Coordinator” for the Rob Players next year. For me and my theatrical partner in crime, Michelle, the elections were simply the next step in our secret planned trajectory to take over the theater department by senior year. She’ll be kicking butt and taking names as the technical director next year, world domination the year after?

It may be the inevitable middle month of March – between breaks and seasons and always full of work, but at least there are rewards aplenty!