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When Is a College Reunion Not a College Reunion?

5 Jun

brandeis_reunionSo, here’s the thing about college reunions. Mine, anyway.

Ten years out of school is a significant milestone. Which is probably why, at my 10-year reunion, there was great attendance — in addition to many members of our class, there were lots of spouses and kids in tow. And it very quickly turned into a disappointing, awfully superficial affair: Many people overdid it with the hyperbole (they had “the most wonderful husband” and “the best kids”) to show off how well they were doing, and made all kinds of excuses about why they hadn’t stayed in touch over the years. It was kind of like the old-fashioned cliché of reunions, complete with social anxiety and lots of one-upmanship. (Remember: This was in 2006, when most people weren’t using Facebook.)

Suffice it to say, as a single guy who was frustrated personally and professionally at the time, it really wasn’t my scene. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, there were folks there I didn’t care to see (like, ever), who I went out of my way to avoid. So I didn’t enjoy that reunion very much. No surprise. And I skipped my 15-year reunion altogether.

This weekend, at my 20-year college reunion (a fact I’m still trying to wrap my head around), it was a very different scene. Continue reading

“Don’t Be Afraid to Let the Experience Find You.”

6 Apr

Everybody Wants Some posterThe best Richard Linklater movies have always emphasized dialogue and character over plot. And the fleeting nature of time has often been a dominant theme.

Boyhood, Linklater’s Oscar-nominated 2014 social experiment, beautifully documented in subtle fashion what it was like for a young boy to grow up over the course of 12 years.

The films in his Before trilogy (Sunrise, Sunset, and Midnight) each focus squarely on the same couple, and we watch as these two walk and talk and talk and talk, examining their own relationship as it evolves.

Dazed and Confused, the instant classic saga of Austin, Texas, high school kids in search of a party on the last day of school in 1976, featured a cast of up-and-coming actors mostly talking, driving around, and hanging out — when they weren’t getting high, of course.

Now, Linklater returns to school with Everybody Wants Some!! (yes, there are officially two exclamation points in the name), what the writer/director is calling his “spiritual sequel” to Dazed. That means we’re still in Texas (natch), but it’s four years later and none of the characters are the same. Continue reading

Let the Right One In

20 Mar

admission-posterGrowing up, one of my favorite movies was How I Got into College.

It provided a light-hearted look (to put it mildly) at the college admissions process, and while some of the humor was typical of lame 1980s comedies, it touched a chord for this young applicant.

Cut to 24 years later, and the new film Admission tackles similar ground — albeit from the perspective of an admissions officer. But unlike that ’80s “classic,” this one won’t be earning a special place in my movie memories. Continue reading

Organized Nerd Singing

28 Sep

Midway through Pitch Perfect, there’s a scene that’s symbolic of my feelings about the movie.

A group of older (i.e., 20- or 30-something) singers is performing in the hallway at an a cappella competition, and they’re mocked by the college kids because they’ve graduated and are still performing.

A cappella is a college thing, the students are saying, and anyone who’s into it after that is just lame. (They probably shouldn’t see the movie Sing Now or Forever Hold Your Peace.)

There you go: Apparently, you can be too old for a cappella. It’s a fact I learned for myself during my junior of college (I was a fan, not a performer). Since then, with the exception of Straight No Chaser’s two Christmas albums, I’ve still been able to appreciate it, but I just haven’t been as into a cappella music as I used to be.

So alright, Pitch Perfect is not a movie for my demographic. But it’s one that captures the moment in your life when a cappella is the be-all-end-all of the collegiate experience — the glories and the annoyances.

Continue reading

A Reunion I Could Watch

2 Jun

It may be hard to believe — I know it is for me — but this year marks 15 years since I graduated from Brandeis University.

In less than two weeks, members of my class will gather on campus for our 15-year reunion. Of course, if you’re a longtime reader of this blog, then you won’t be surprised to learn that I have no intention of attending any of the events.

Not after the great time I had at our 10-year reunion (munch munch munch).

Still, I’m a sucker for nostalgia, so over the Memorial Day weekend, I got out my home videos from senior year and watched them, start to finish.

That’s right: I have video footage (shot on a hi-8 camera that I got for my 21st birthday) of those so-called “good ole days.” It includes orientation, graduation, some BBQs and parties, random wandering around campus, lots of silliness in my mod, midnight buffets, and much more. Continue reading

Just Like I Remembered It

31 Mar

After the Marta Kauffman event last night at Brandeis, I decided to swing by the office of the Justice to say hi to the staff, see what was up, and, well, loiter for a little bit.

It was a Monday night, which meant the folks were working hard to wrap things up so they could put the issue to bed and head out to decompress over pancakes and whatnot at IHOP.

(Or maybe that’s just something we did back in the day.)

To my surprise, the kids were welcoming and happy to have an alumnus in the office — a change from previous times I’d been there.

(Sigh. I really called them “kids,” didn’t I?) Continue reading

“When I Drive on Campus, I See Money”

31 Jan

A videographer for visited the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis today and compiled a video that shows a) an increased number of visitors, b) sadness/anger/frustration on the part of those visitors regarding the closing of the museum and the possible sale of its collection, and c) protest signs hung in the entryway.

Thought I’d share a link so you can watch if you’re interested. Continue reading

Bloom Is Off the Rose

27 Jan

I’m not much of an art fan — heck, I practically sprinted through the Louvre and wasn’t all that impressed by the ICA — but the news yesterday that Brandeis, my alma mater, will be closing the Rose Art Museum still came as a real bummer.

I think I can count the total number of times I’ve browsed through the museum on one hand (if I even need that many fingers), but I’d like to think that when I was a student, I still could appreciate the value it added to the campus.

I was arts editor of the Justice and I wrote or edited stories about the Rose often. Each time, the passion with which people would discuss the collection or a new exhibit was inspiring. (One exhibit involving an entire tree was particularly memorable for me.)

So to hear that the university will not only be closing the museum, but will also be selling off the entire collection — one worth around $350 million and including works by such artists as Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein — seems to me like more than just the end of an era.

The Rose is a campus institution, and a much-respected cultural landmark in the Boston area. Its shuttering creates a real void in the art scene, and also lessens the cultural significance of Brandeis itself — a school that has played host to such greats as Leonard Bernstein.

As Justice writer Daniel Orkin wrote in today’s issue, “While the Rose may not be as profitable as any of our famed butter-substitute-generating research labs, it remains an absolutely vital component [of] our history, prestige and identity as a respected institution of learning and as a celebrated center of art and culture.”

I hope that before the doors are closed for good this summer that I’ll make it back over to the campus to give the Rose one last look and pay tribute to an overlooked gem that will definitely be missed.

Update: If you want to join the cause, click here: Save the Rose Art Museum, or join the Facebook group.

He Said to Speak More Gooder

19 May

Because it happened in my ‘hood, I thought I’d call attention to David McCullough’s very amusing commencement address today at Boston College.

Apparently, he spoke about the use of language among America’s youth, and called upon the graduates to speak better, without using words like “like,” “you know,” “totally,” and “actually.”

“Just imagine if in his inaugural address John F. Kennedy had said, ‘Ask not what your country can, you know, do for you, but what you can, like, do for your country actually,” he said.

Ha ha ha … that’s pretty funny.

It Is??!?

18 Oct

Did you know the Head of the Charles was this weekend? Yeah, neither did I.

Didn’t this event used to be a big deal around these parts? (I said the same thing two years ago.) Hmmmmm …

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