Home again, home again

So I’m officially half way done with college. That’s totally wild to think about. I arrived home yesterday and am having such a serious Bates withdrawal that I spent my afternoon in a doctor’s office. Well, maybe it’s a mix of Bates withdrawal and my immune system finally throwing in the towel after making it all the way through short term without breaking down.

So, I’m home. I’m sick. I haven’t unpacked.

The last week of school, as per usual, was a mixture of lots of fun and lots of sadness. In addition to saying goodbye to the graduating seniors, this year I experienced a new sort of goodbye: the abroad switch. Somewhere around 60% of Bates students study abroad, and most of that is Junior year. I’ll be spending my spring semester in Paris next year, (hopefully!) but the college makes sure that the students studying abroad are split equally between the two semesters. That means when I was saying some of my goodbyes, they were those of “see you senior year??” That’s kind of scary. Lucky for me, most of my close friends are going in the spring, but there are a few key people that for whatever reasons will be away in the fall.

Maybe that will make the reunion that much sweeter? Tales from abroad, plus filling in on all the Bates stories from the semester that was missed? Then again, abroad supposedly changes people (in a good way, or at least an awakening way) and what if some people come back and are very different? Like different to the point of unfamiliar? This is all happening very far in the future, but it’s something that came up frequently in the saying of goodbyes.

Anyways, congrats class of 2010 for graduating! Where did the year go??

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Stages for All Ages

This week, from Wednesday until Friday, the Robinson Players put on a production of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Here’s the best part: the production, geared towards children, was free to area schools and over three performances, we were able to offer a fun, theatrical experience to almost 900 elementary school children!

It’s really cool to be able to give something like that to young kids. I’m a person who has always grown up around theater—I was very lucky to have parents who took me to shows and sent me to camps and even sewed squirrel costumes for a crazy production of Sleeping Beauty in 1999 (thanks again Mom). But, at a recent Rob players board meeting, while reflecting upon how excited everyone was for the kids, we realized that for many, this could be their first time seeing a play in a theater. When you’re young, there’s something so incredible about seeing the magic of a play put on—especially when there’s lights, sounds, and other production surprises.

I have many memories of being in elementary school and going to Creative Arts camp every summer. We had dance, drama, music and art classes, but to be honest, we mostly cared more about going to the pool. However, the bigger kids, the 6th-9th graders existed above us. Surrounded by an air of indelible coolness, they put on three shows over the course of the summer that we, the younger kids, got to see every Tuesday. During talkbacks, every little kid would have a question to ask. “So in that part where she disappears, like, HOW does that work???” or “How did the Princess change her dress SO quickly??” And hearing these cool, older, talented kids telling us all their secrets, letting us in on their artistic process and the way they made the sound effects and light cues… it was the coolest thing. Ever.

For the record, now I spend my summers working at said performing arts camp. And every Tuesday when I see the shows, my heart swells when an 8 year old girl tugs at my sleeve eagerly to point out just how magical the theater is.

But, back to the chocolate factory. This production is an annual project the Rob players does during short term. Last year we did “Honk,” the year before was “Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing,” etc. The shows are always geared towards a 1st-4th ish age group, but the schools can send whichever grades they please.

So I wasn’t in the show, although I’d had wild plans of trying out and being in my first musical since 9th grade. Unfortunately, my brother’s college graduation happened to run at exactly the same time as the last performance (which explains why I’m writing this blog from New York. Congrats Sarah Lawrence class of 2010!). However, despite my inability to be a cast member, I had an equally important task: I had to fill the seats.

Remember how I said 900 kids? Yeah, I did that. I spent hours on email and the phone with principals and secretaries of all the elementary schools within an hour of Bates. Offering a free field trip was so fun, and many schools were eager to send their students. A lot of students. While overwhelming and a bit difficult to logistically place everyone, in the end, it was pretty incredible to be able to say, “yeah, so I organized 900 kids to come see free theater.” But that is what my job requires. This will have been my final task as the Outreach Coordinator on the board for the Rob players 09-10. Someone else will be responsible for this next year. My only regret is not being able to see any of the kids squealing with laughter and their faces in awe by the magic of theater come the end of the show.

Ronjstock, how I love thee

Yesterday was one of my favorite days of short term, one spent in the sun with free food, live music, and fun activities: Ronjstock. This annual outdoor event is put on my the Ronj, a student-run coffee house on campus. While the weather seemed a little sketchy for a while, it held for the entire day and students were able to mingle on the ronj’s lawn all afternoon enjoying the day.

Last year, this event was combined with another event as the Block party. Read my post about it here. Again, I have to admit, my favorite performer was Computer at Sea. He came back again this year! How sick is that! And, since I knew what to expect this year, I was not skeptical at all when he began creating music out of the craziest set up. When I say crazy, I mean really wild. Proof:


Photo by Brad Gee, May 15 2010.

I even got to chat with him afterwards! It was kind of a bummer because only about 8 or so people were brave enough to get dancing during his set. (Which, of course, means the other like hundred there at the time were staring at us like we were crazy…guess what? it was worth it).

Anyways, it was a lovely way to spend a short term Saturday. And my Sunday? Well, I have a sunburn and sand stuck in everything, so i obviously took advantage of Range Pond today! Finally. I’m so glad the weather is beginning to warm up, I’ve been waiting for it to do so for weeks!

Short term, concerts, hooray!

Short term is well underway, and I’m already finding my favorite things filling each of my days. I’m really enjoying my class, learning about the theories of Brecht on theater and reading plays etc. But, this past Monday I did something very quintessentially short term to me, and I wanted to share.

On Monday, i went down to Boston and joined a great Bates crew at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston to see Yeasayer. SO AMAZINGLY GOOD! My friend Meredith and I had bought tickets during first semester, so this concert had been something to look forward to for a long time. The opening band, Sleigh Bells, actually opened for Major Lazer when I saw them three weeks ago, so it was an extra special musical opportunity.

I had an amazing time! Yeasayer was so great, and they played a mix of their old stuff and their newest album, Odd Blood. The band has done a lot in the past year, and they’ve become pretty famous. Interestingly enough, WRBC brought Yeasayer to play a small show on a Thursday night in the fall of my freshman year. Their opener, Chairlift, was a nobody until the week before their performance when an ipod commercial aired featuring their song Bruises. Basically, it was another instance in which my dear and beloved Bates College radio station has been really on top of things when it comes to concerts. But it was really nice to see Yeasayer again, in a professional context at a real-life club, with half of the board of directors of WRBC there to nod along in agreement at the great booking from the year before.

SHORT TERM, and a little bit of Maine College love

Hello and welcome to Short term 2010. Already a week has gone by? I can’t even believe it. Just like last year, I’m finding myself with seemingly tons of free time, but never having a second to spare! I really like my class, Politics in theater. I already had to write a paper, though! Anyways, I’ve been doing very short term-y things lately- spending hours in commons, steering clear of the library, going to lounge at Range pond… So lovely! For a while, the weather wasn’t cooperating with us (to all prospective students who came up for accepted students day— the weather was such a bummer… it’s not usually like that!!!) but luckily it got beautiful just in time for the weekend.

I spent today outside having a blast– but it was at Bowdoin. A great thing about being a small liberal arts school in Maine is that you’ve got two other friends nearby– Colby and Bowdoin. This is a great resource when it comes to CONCERTS. Often, our events are open to the public and students from Colby and Bowdoin will come down to see the cool act. In this same way, I’ve had the pleasure now twice of heading up to Bowdoin to see a sick show. Last fall, we got to see Deerhunter in an amazingly intimate venue (their student center) with a TINY crowd, for FREE! And today, for their annual Ivies weekend, I hung out and saw PASSION PIT, COOL KIDS and REEL BIG FISH, again, all free. Just a thirty minute drive away, all my friends got in cars and caravanned into Brunswick. Now, I don’t know ANYONE at Bowdoin, but we all got checked by Bowdoin students who offered to get us in as their guests. Super great. Everyone was outside, all day, having a great time. The concert was held on their football field, with a stage set up and one end, and the dance floor forming on the outdoor track (by the way, a great surface to dance on!) I had SO MUCH FUN! And, just like the last time I saw Passion Pit, they covered the Cranberries again. It went a little like this.

Short term, short term. What adventures will week 2 have in store for me?? We’ll see…