Author Archives | mclark19

Xiu Xiu’s radical new album takes no precautions

If the most memorable works of pop culture over the last few years have one thing in common, it’s a creeping suspicion that our world stands on a precipice. Has there been a superhero movie in recent memory that hasn’t shown a city get reduced to rubble? Is Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed” a harbinger for the end times that sees radical action as the only means of preventing planetary collapse? Hell, not an episode of “Chapo Trap House” goes by without the hosts reminding us of the economic and environmental catastrophes capitalism leaves in its wake. Pop culture that “really says something about our day and age” feels like a gift sometimes, like something that commodifies existential torment and sells it back to you through the Sunny D Twitter page, but experimental rock outfit Xiu Xiu aren’t disingenuous. They weren’t back when people were shoving Freedom Fries down their maws in solidarity with George W. Bush, and if “Girl with a Basket of Fruit” is any indication, they’re one of the only artists that can truly capture the world’s horrors in 2019.

I wouldn’t ever describe any Xiu Xiu record as unchallenging, but even by their standards this album is harsh, with a crushing atmosphere largely indebted to industrial and glitch music. At times this album’s instrumentals sound like if Death Grips got tired of their usual production trickery and just started beating you over the head with their Casio drum machines. Frontman Jamie Steward is as unnerving as ever — no small feat if you’re acquainted with their discography — shouting himself hoarse, doing an MC Ride impression so remarkable that it even gives the rapper (screamer?) himself a run for his money and whispering ominously to you like you’re his victim in a slasher flick.

Most albums like this start off innocently, luring you into a false sense of security, but the opening title track here doesn’t even do that. Occasionally you’ll stumble upon some genuinely beautiful sounds, like on the stunning track “The Wrong Thing,” but even that only acts as a prelude for the song most likely to haunt your dreams, “Mary Turner Mary Turner.” This song recounts the tragic story of a young black woman who, while eight months pregnant, was lynched and killed by a white mob. In scary times like today, it’s often an easy habit to look to the past, but what Stewart does here is remind us the past is no stranger to the worst of humanity. He concludes the song with the couplet “Fuck your guns/fuck your war/ fuck your truck/fuck your flag” and it feels heart-wrenching as it does therapeutic, while being completely on brand for a group that was never one to shy away from ruffling feathers for civility’s sake. By exploring the new harsh and mechanical sounds of today while doubling down on everything that made them great in the first place, Xiu Xiu have shown themselves to be in a late-career renaissance.

Andrew Kilbride, a Staff Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at AKilbride21@wooster.edu.

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“BlacKkKlansman” earns its place in history

Elena Morey

A&E Editor

“BlacKkKlansman,” a controversial historical comedy, took general moviegoers by surprise.  Overall, it was a phenomenal film.  With cast members like John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, a renowned director Spike Lee, who won his first Oscar for co-writing the film and great writers Charlie Wachtel and David Rabinowitz, this film was destined to be powerful.  At this year’s Oscars, the film was up for best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay, best original score and best film editing.

 This true story follows undercover detective Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) who was the first “colored” police officer in very conservative Colorado Springs, Colo.  He struggles with finding his identity as a black American as well as someone who must hide who they are in the times of extreme racism and prejudice. Stallworth is assigned to monitor a Black Student Union group of college students.  The police department fears they are going to militarize, but Stallworth confidently reports that they are non-violent.  He then directs the department’s efforts toward a truly aggressive organization: the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).  Stallworth contacts the chapter leader over the phone, and with the help of Flip (best supporting actor nominee Adam Driver), he infiltrates the organization successfully.  The two officers piggy-back off one another to keep their story straight and to prevent the organization’s plans, but the main driving force is Stallworth’s moves against the KKK.

The suspense built as the officers attempt to avoid discovery will, as well as the high-stakes scenarios they prevent, keep audience members enthralled. On and off moments of light-hearted comedy keep the dark material from being too heavy, but the film also uses it as a tactic to comment on issues the movie touches on but does not fully tackle.  Flip is Jewish, but never felt connected to his heritage, he finds an inner battle that emerges as he vocally denies his heritage to go undercover.  Stallworth manages a love interest who is closely connected to his case, while still protecting his  true identity from the organization.  Real moments of intensity and philosophical debates light up the screen and stay with the viewer long after the screen has gone dark.

Stellar acting on top of the writing makes this film really stand out.  As an actress myself, tackling your own beliefs and comforts can sometimes be hard when the role calls for you to really put yourself out there.  Most of the actors playing supporters of the KKK commit 100 percent to their role and display the ugly truths of the era with bravery.

Deep thematic issues are obviously a large part of the film and the purpose behind it.  Harsh issues are tackled and displayed openly, making audiences think.  Modern-day references chill moviegoers, as subliminal anti-Trump themes are mentioned almost in passing.  This subtly makes this film truly spectacular for an intellectual who might catch them all.

The musical score is beautiful.  The “Stallworth Theme” repeats over and over, sometimes monotonously, but quite beautifully. The ambiance fills the room and seems to deepen the believability of the images on the screen.  The score perfectly brings tension to the scenes as well as a sense of honour and duty.

As a united piece, the film is a beautifully done, strong and powerful work contributing to the ongoing discussion of race, religion, prejudice and the harsher realities of our world.  Its message is hopeful, however, and brings to light a figure and endeavor that history has hidden.  It allows one to reflect on how far we’ve come as a species, yet also comments on how much work we still must do to make this world united beyond the constructs and walls that divide us.

 

Pictured is the real Ron Stallworth, the man who bravely infiltrated the Klan and prevented many acts of terrorism (Photo from The Washington Post).

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Campus Council announces election results

Samuel Casey

News Editor

On Monday, Feb. 25, Secretary of the College Angela Johnston, released the results of the Campus Council (CC) election via email to the student body. CC is one of the two student-run governing bodies on campus, and is responsible for creating legislation in the areas of student life and extracurricular affairs, while also making recommendations to the President, Board of Trustees and other divisions. Nine CC student members were elected by students during the election which took place Feb. 20-22.

Matt Mayes ’20, Emmy Todd ’22, Seven Townsel ’22 and Annays Yacamán ’22 were elected as At-Large representatives.

Mayes is currently the Student Government Administration’s co-chair for student advocacy but decided to run for CC to take more of a direct role in creating legislation and having the opportunity to meet regularly with administration. “CC is a great organization because it acts as a bridge between students and administrators, which I think is something we dearly need with new challenges emerging in recent years,” he said.

The political science major also addressed a few of the projects he would like to see accomplished during his upcoming term. “I’d like to raise the student activity fee to a level comparable with colleges similar to Wooster,” he said. “A larger pool of money for allocations would give groups on campus more opportunity to contribute to the Wooster community and make groups more accessible for low-income students.”

Mayes also added, “I’d like to continue advocating for changes to mental health services on campus, including more options for students who need [it].”

At-large member Todd decided to run because she believes she can represent the student body and their interests because of her involvement in multiple clubs. Her platform was focused on bettering sustainability efforts. “During my term, I hope to accomplish an increased awareness of sustainability on campus,” she said. “I also want to turn that awareness into action and have the student body more involved.”

Townsel was encouraged to run as a self-described double minority who often knows what it is like to not have your voice heard. “I plan to be one of the unifying voices that connects the student body to the administration,” Townsel pledged. “My first plan of action is to strengthen the relationship between students and CC to really understand what they need from us! Every opinion matters.”

Yacamán ran for the position because she felt like there was disconnect between representation and marginalized groups on campus. “The administration at The College of Wooster has done a great job recruiting this diverse body of students, but they have not done an adequate job securing the livelihood and retention of these students,” she explained. “As a college student identifying as Latinx, Middle-Eastern, first-generation, low-income and queer, I have felt first-hand inequities that have yet to be dealt with [in] a meaningful way on this campus.”

Yacamán has several goals for her term, which include creating programs that would allow first-generation, low-income students to travel home for breaks and helping their families visit Wooster during events like Black and Gold Weekend, flagging first-generation low-income students to prevent them from paying late fees for tuition, sending payment information to first generation, low-income students as early as possible, creating affordable housing and meal options when the College is not in session and hiring more counselors of color.

Additionally, five other students were elected as representatives in particular areas: Halen Gifford ’21 for Service and Civic Engagement, Stachal Harris ’21 for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, Rondell Mackey, Jr. ’22 for Gender and Sexual Diversity, Gargi Mishra ’20  for International Diversity and Pragya Mittal ’22 for Selective Organizations. Gifford and Harris were re-elected.

Gifford described her decision to run for re-election. “[Members of] CC [have] a historically high student turnover rate with many of our elected student [representatives] being seniors. As a sophomore, I am in the position where I was able to continue my work on Council.” 

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Prince selected as new VP for Finance and Business

Samuel Casey

News Editor

After an extensive search, the College recently hired James Prince as the new vice president for Finance and Business effective June 24 of this year. According to a list provided by President Sarah Bolton, Prince will oversee facilities, grounds, dining and conference services, the business office, purchasing and the bookstore at the College.

Bolton described the search process for the new vice president. “We had a very strong pool of candidates from around the country, and [we] brought three finalists to campus in early December. They met with the staff committee, with those who lead the various departments within their division, and also held open meetings,” she said.

Wayne Webster, vice president for Advancement and chair of the search committee, defined some of the committee’s goals during the search. “The committee … felt that given the current climate and financial pressures facing higher education, it was important to have someone in this role who could help us look at things differently but also within the context of understanding what kind of institution we are,” Webster said.

When asked how Prince exemplifies these standards, Webster replied, “Jim comes with decades of experience at similar colleges, including a GLCA [Great Lakes Colleges Association] peer, and he demonstrated that he understands the importance of communication and collaboration in an environment of shared governance.”

Prince has worked at Kalamazoo College in the same role since 2009 and has over 30 years of experience in higher education administration. Because of this, he was familiar with the College’s reputation before applying. 

“I am aware of Wooster’s commitment to a high level of academic excellence,” Prince said. “The fact that you do things centered around student involvement in research projects and involvement on campus is really important.”

When asked what led him to the College, Prince explained that he looks for similarities with Kalamazoo. “I look for an institute that values strong fiscal management and how [the College] treats its employees,” he said.

President Bolton explained what made Prince stand out and why he is a good fit for this role. “He cares deeply about the liberal arts and the ways that we can enable transformative experiences for students,” Bolton said. “At the same time, he is deeply experienced in leading the important finance and business areas of colleges like ours — areas that are absolutely crucial to our functioning and to our ability to make this a good place to live and learn.”

Bolton continued, “[Prince] is wise about how to plan for a strong future, despite the challenges that all colleges and universities face, and thoughtful about ways to steward and invest our resources in the best ways, so that the College is great for current students as well as for students in decades to come.”

Webster added that there are several topics that have come up for discussion in which the finances of the College will play a significant role in the upcoming year. “I’m confident that Jim can carry on the work that Charles Ingram [interim vice president for Finance & Business], President Bolton and others have begun this year in making our budget and our various priorities more transparent to the campus community,” Webster wrote.

Regarding the future of the position, Ingram stated, “I’d hope the College continues to gather data and utilize systems to make informed decisions [and] being open to new ideas and ways of doing business.”

Prince would agree that sometimes change is necessary, but not without first undergoing the due diligence. “I don’t believe in doing radical change for the sake of change, but rather see what areas are opportunities for improvement,” he said. “I think for me what’s important is that I come in there and I listen. How does The College of Wooster operate? What are the key things that it needs to operate? I want to take the time to visit with groups on campus and see how the campus functions.”

Prince concluded that he is excited to begin this new job opportunity. “I believe that the College had choices, and I am honored that they selected me,” he said. “I look forward to getting there at the end of June.”

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Heartbreak at Timken, Scots fall to Witt by four points

Fighting Scots Men’s Basketball lose NCAC Tournament Final 79-75 to the Wittenberg University Tigers

 

Matt Olszewski

Sports Editor

Although the NCAC tournament did not go quite as well for The College of Wooster men’s basketball team as they had hoped, there was plenty to be proud of. The team was the top seed going into the tournament, as they had the best conference record out of all the NCAC teams. This meant that they had earned home court advantage all throughout the tournament. 

On Tuesday, Feb. 19, the team defeated Allegheny College 91-89 in the Quarterfinal game. A few nights later on Friday, Feb. 22, they calmly handled DePauw University 73-52 to advance to another NCAC championship game against the Wittenberg University Tigers. In the game against DePauw, Danyon Hempy ’20 was the leading scorer with 24 points, and the Scots built up a comfortable 44-21 lead going into halftime. Although the second half was more competitive, the Scots ended up winning the game by 21 points. Wooster shot 51.7 percent from the field, while the Tigers shot a poor 29.0 percent from the field.

The third game of the season against Wittenberg and NCAC Championship game was an instant classic and went down to the wire. It marked the 26th time in the 35-year history of the NCAC that Wooster played in the NCAC Championship game. 

Trey Miller ’19 was asked about what the team felt like after the win against DePauw. “We felt confident. We played well the whole game and felt that our intensity and execution was at the highest level,” he said. He then remarked on how it felt to be in front of the Scots’ home crowd during the game against Wittenberg: “It gave us motivation and encouragement. Playing in front of 2,000+ fans both nights was great. Having that amount of support is a great feeling,” Miller said. Eric Bulic ’19 also noted the environment of the home crowd: “The crowd was amazing. We really appreciate all of the students coming out and supporting us like they did. It raises the level of intensity and makes it a really tough place to play. It was awesome to see Timken like that.”

In the first half of the game, Wooster built up an eight-point lead with 8:44 to go after a 10-0 run. Bulic, who earned a spot on the all-tournament team, was an important part of the Scots’ success offensively. He dished out two of his game-high four assists during the run and seemed to be one of the centerpieces to Wooster’s offense during that span in the game. One of his assists came from a steal that he picked up. He then passed the ball to Khaylen Mahdi ’22 and Mahdi connected from deep. The Scots maintained their lead throughout the rest of the first half and the team went into the locker room at halftime with a 41-36 lead.

The Tigers came out strong in the second half, going on a 16-2 run to build up a 52-43 lead on the Scots. Blake Blair ’19 talked about this sudden change in momentum at the start of the second half. “The momentum shifted their way at the start of the second half after scoring on 9 straight possessions. We had to step up our defense to gain back the momentum,” he said. Reece Dupler ’19 added onto this. “It was a grind-it-out kind of game, and we played pretty well the first half. We knew to get it done it would have to be with defense;” he said. On the defensive side, Dontae Williams was a force to be reckoned with in the paint. He had four huge blocks over the last five minutes and change. The Scots tied the game up at 72 with 1:30 left after Reece Dupler ’19 hit one of two free throws. Then Danyon Hempy ’20 drained a three-pointer to answer Jacob Bertemes’ three-pointer.

The Scots ended up losing by a narrow margin to Wittenberg this time around by a score of 79-75. Mitchell Balser ’19 of Wittenberg led the team with 19 points, while Connor Seipel ’20 added 18 points along with a team-high eight rebounds. One Wooster player especially stood out: Reece Dupler. He finished the game with 33 points. Danyon Hempy added on 14 and Eric Bulic had 10 rebounds in the game. Dupler had a very successful shooting night, connecting on 13 of his 19 field goal attempts, good for 68 percent, and shooting 5-for-7 from three-point land for 71 percent. He also, just like Bulic, earned a spot on the all-tournament team. His 33 points marked the second-most in any of Wooster’s NCAC Tournament games in program history. Notable as well was Dupler joining the 1,500 points club. He is the 11th Wooster player in history to do so and achieved the mark on a three-pointer with 5:26 to go in the first half.

Wooster’s all-time lead in one of D3 college basketball’s top rivalries now sits at 60-59. Last Saturday’s game was the 13th meeting between the two teams in the NCAC Tournament championship game and the 48th game decided by five or less points. Bulic described the most challenging thing about Wittenberg’s team. “They are just a gritty team with a lot of weapons, I think that is what made them tough for us,” he said. He then said that the biggest positive to take away from this season for the Scots is how gritty of a team they have. Blair’s biggest takeaway from this season is the fact that all of his teammates are his best friends. “I don’t know what I would do without them,” he said. He was also asked about what the team learned most as a result of the regular season and the NCAC tournament. “We learned we are a great team. We just need to stay focused to ensure future success,” Blair said. 

The Scots were selected as one of the at-large bids to play in the NCAA D3 Tournament and will face Baruch College on Friday, March 1, at Timken Gymnasium. This marks Wooster’s 17th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. If the Scots win on Friday then they will take on the winner of Wheaton College Ill. vs Hanover College also at home on Saturday, March 2

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D&G continue to bridge gap between generations

Camryn Rosenstein

Contributing Writer

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana (D&G) have been a powerhouse collective in the fashion industry for the last 34 years. Through minor hiccups, such as filing for bankruptcy and being hacked on social media, D&G continues to be one of the most successful and well-known fashion brands in the world. This past Sunday, Feb. 23, D&G revealed their latest collection, bringing their traditional Italian couture roots back to the runway. 

The 100-piece runway collection starts off with 15 black and white suits. However, these are not ordinary suits; every suit is representative of an era. The first two suits are clearly meant to represent the 1920s gangster, but with a feminine twist. The trench coats are fitted for the female form and the hats are wider to accentuate the feminine facial features. Look 12 presents a mix between suit and pyjama, which I believe is meant to foreshadow the second phase of the collection — the nightgown section. The pyjama look mostly comes from the top which looks like the night top that Audrey Hepburn’s character, Holly Golightly, wears in the 1960s film, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” 

Something that makes D&G so special is the way they use time in their designs — their inspiration spans years of fashion. The nightgown/pyjama section of the collection clearly emulates 1960s style because D&G use beautiful bright satins, lace and furs to create their chic and luxurious sleepwear. In the middle of the collection, runway looks 58-73 show an assortment of 1980s fashion with a touch of 60s in there and the jewel-tone-colored dresses, Madonna bustier tops and satin ruching draw from the 80s. For the 60s style, D&G integrate the sheath and shift midi dresses and long wool and tweed petticoats to emulate Jackie O’s style. 

Another thing that D&G often implements in their designs is artwork. Runway looks 74-79 all include art illustrations. When D&G use artwork, they typically design the clothing pieces around the focal point of the art. What makes these designs special is the way D&G contrast the artwork with unique fabric or material to create an extraordinary piece of clothing. D&G’s ability to incorporate artwork into their designs shows their ability to create one of a kind designs that bridge the gap between generations. 

It is not uncommon for fashion designers, especially D&G, to include a wedding or special occasion dress section into their collection. However, I do find the placement of the these dresses particularly interesting; instead of placing them at the end of the show, they were put as runway looks 80-84. The oddity of this placement is worth noting because most designers put their special occasion dresses as the show’s finale. But D&G are not most designers. In their runway show, the last 15 looks show off D&G’s traditional baroqueness.  What’s a Dolce and Gabbana collection without black and gold peacock feather suits, sequins sheath dresses, bows galore, lace detailing, loafers and oxfords and, of course, that signature Italian rose design?

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