Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nude pyrotechnics: An Interview with Bottle Up and Go

Bottle Up and Go is a blues-rock duo out of Brooklyn, composed of recent Wesleyan grads, Keenan Mitchell and Fareed Sajan. Known for a rollicking sound and raucous gigs, the band has been praised by the Washington City Paper for “its half-naked bombast, epileptic gyrations, and fuzzed-out, stomp-box howling.” Intersections talked to vocalist and guitarist Keenan Mitchell by phone (incidentally, at 1 am while he was in a bubble bath) in anticipation of BU&G’s performance tonight at Terrace F. Club.

Q: How would you describe your music? Any specific influences?

A: We’re named after a Leadbelly song. Blues hollers, prison gang songs – I’d describe us as a blues band. Our music is really loud.

Q: Jersey Beat has described you guys as “neanderthalic, barbaric and down-right unrestrained rock ‘n’ roll.” What do you make of that? Backhanded compliment or welcome praise?

A: I think barbaric is a compliment. I’m “neanderthalic”? That’s ok with me; I think that’s accurate. Our music’s pretty stripped down, exceedingly simple. And rock, yes, we are also a rock ‘n’ roll band.

Q: You guys met at Wesleyan. Beyond that, how’d you guys get started?

A: We lived on the same hall so I met Fareed about an hour into my first day at school. I saw that he was moving in a drum set, and I said, “Hey we should set that up and maybe we could jam today,” and we worked out a song or two that day. So we started a band about the first moment we met.

Q: Do you have any advice for fledgling college bands?

Make ’em dance. Be louder.

Q: What’s your writing process like?

A: I write the guitar and the vocals and then I bring it to Fareed, and Fareed plays whatever he wants, and then we have a song. I usually start with one little piece of a guitar or a single phrase that I picked up. Sometimes I look at the Bible and grab a phrase out of there and then expand that into a full song. I never tell Fareed what to play. We all basically write our own parts.

Q: Your music’s very upbeat, but your lyrics seem sort of preoccupied with death? Is there a story behind this morbid interest?

A: I read a lot about death and bringers of death. I’ve also come close to death a few times. One near-death experience is good for a few songs.

Q: Brooklyn seems like such an exciting place to be making music right now. How do you guys find the local scene?

A: All of our friends are in famous bands, everybody we went to school with. It’s fun. Every single night I can go out and see one of my friends play an amazing show. We’re really living the dream here. You can start a band, and you can just be famous. Everyone I know is doing it – seems pretty easy.

Q: Are there any new bands you’d really recommend?

A: Keepaway, Pony Castles, Bear Hands, Wild Yaks (they’re exquisite; you’ll like them if you like our music), The Shining Twins.

Q: If you could tour with any band out there right now, who would it be?

A: Wild Yaks.

Q: What’s your most memorable performance experience?

One time we were playing some sort of party on the outskirts of Brooklyn in an abandoned warehouse space, and they were giving away free whisky. We’d also brought our own liter of whisky to split before the show. I lost my [guitar] slide so I made a slide out of a broken bottle, and at some point, I looked down at the set list to see what song was next, and drops of blood kept falling . And I looked up, as if maybe blood would be falling from the ceiling. That was not the case; I realized it was falling out of my face. At some point early the set, I guess, I sliced my cheek open with the broken bottle that I was using to play. I still have a big scar from that. A bloody show - it was gnarly. I threw up before I got on stage, and then I fell down at the end. It was a memorable performance in pictures, but I don’t actually remember playing the show per se.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I’m working on getting Fareed to move back to New York [He lives in Allentown, PA]. That’s one of my primary projects. We just recorded a couple new downloads that are just me and the saxophonist. We’ve got some new songs to record. Hopefully we’ll have a new EP in the next little bit.

Q: If you were having a dinner party and could invite three people –dead or alive, fictional or real – who would they be?

A: Dead: Leadbelly

Fictional: Jesus

Real: My girlfriend

Q: What can we expect from the show?

A: I’m going scream a lot, going to climb on stuff. I’m going to probably fall down on the floor a lot. Going to do a lot drinking, before and after the show. I’m going to break my own equipment. (I might break something of theirs, I don’t even know.) Hopefully I’ll get to fight with somebody. We’re also just going to play heartbreakingly beautiful songs and bring a lot of girls in the front to tears. A lot of nudity. Pyrotechnics. Some witty and glib little banter. It’s going to be fucking wild! I hope everybody comes.

Bottle Up and Go will be playing tonight at Terrace Club at midnight.

Interview conducted, condensed and edited by Cristina Luzarraga '11


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Study Spaces: Anywhere and Everywhere

Some days you end up studying anywhere you can find a spot to sit down. Sometimes, you don't even need that.

You know, there are those days when you keep reading as you walk down the hall to get a drink of water (don't trip!). There are those days when you set your laptop on the floor of the dressing room and work from there. There are those days when you find yourself editing a paper while you wait at the grill for dinner.

For me, today is one of those days. It's not ideal, but it happens.

- Meghan Todt '11


Monday, March 29, 2010

Trend of the Week: March 29, 2010

As the weather improves – slowly but surely – Princetonians are tastefully starting to reveal more skin. No, it’s not quite miniskirt and tank top weather, but it may be time to retire the long sleeves until next fall. The most stylish women on campus are responding to the not-quite-spring temperatures with one-shouldered dresses.

The one-shouldered look can be sexy in a subtle way, which is what makes it so appealing: sexy usually translates to slutty and subtle to boring. So, sexy plus subtle? Sign me up! Not too much skin is revealed – in most one-shouldered frocks your décolletage will indeed be appropriately covered. So what makes it so sexy? The one shoulder bare, one shoulder covered combo is playful and leaves just enough to the imagination.

The two ladies pictured above show how it can be done. There are sleeveless, short-sleeved, and even long-sleeved versions of the one-shoulder trend. Shimmer and bright colors make the look fun.

Celebrities have also jumped on the one-shoulder bandwagon. The recent awards season has showcased many one-armed looks: from Marion Cotillard’s structured white frock at the Screen Actors Guild Awards to Lea Michele’s flirty navy dress at the Grammy Awards.

As this spring’s formal events approach, girls should be sure to consider the one-shoulder trend. Then, even if the weather stays down in the dumps, at least one of your shoulders will be warm!

-Allie Weiss ‘13


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pearls of Wisdom: A Compilation of Prince Comments

Annnd we’re back.

I am happy to report that, while post-spring break stress might be causing some to refocus on scholarly pursuits, plenty of Princetonians are remembering to comment.

These people have their priorities straight. In the long-run, online commenting is what matters. For when you are gone from this world, your comments will remain.

Comments on “The Prepsters”

“Do these guys go to Princeton?

When you are in the Frist dining room, and look at the passing cross section of the student body passing by, it is apparent that the prevailing style is neo homeless.

My personal favorite are the endless parade of those in rubber shower shoes and grungy cargo shorts.”

– Posted by Intrepid, who was beaten to the punch by this random blogger I found named “V’ (, who appears to have coined the phrase “neo-homeless” to describe a “style about sloppy fitting clothing, more flow, long skirts, warped proportions, eccentric mish-mash and dingy flaws.” I would love to see a Princeton boy with the fashion-balls to pull that off. Do cotton-mouth and two-day-old stubble count as “dingy flaws?”

“WOODY IS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOT!!!!!!!!!!!! I'd love to get "prepped" by him

– Posted by prepidemic ADDICT, whose wordplay is slightly vague but gets the point across.

Comments on “RandomDorm offers spin on ChatRoulette for collegiates”

“I graduated Rutgers in 1978 and have an email address.”

– Posted by Illogical is right, in acknowledgement of the fact that alumni with .edu email addresses can access RandomDorm.

“yeah…but what loser alum is gonna want to peep in on undergrads…oh, wait…”

– Posted by tiger101. Rutgers alum was just pwned.

Comments on “MLIP (My Life is Princetonian)”

“ ‘A lot of people complain about being single, but based on the sheer number of complaints, the solution seems obvious.’

You mean a dating agency?”

– Posted by Sophomoric, who is onto something. GoodCrush and PFML are free, and that undermines capitalism. I’d feel better about my desperate, existential loneliness if somebody were cashing-in on it (besides the porn industry).

“specifically, one run by the moderator’s bedfellow.”

– Posted by Scarlet Knight in reference to Sophmoric’s comment. I don’t see the logic. But “bedfellow” is a funny word.

“The only thing I learned from Princeton FML is that aside from the trivial differences you noticed, "everyone" here unnecessarily follows trends, complains about the same banal things, and is a poseur or tool. It no more captures the Princeton zeitgeist than the pre-precept discussion or the brief conversation one has with a passing acquaintance. The only difference is that it allows you to call someone out for their stupidity or banality. In other words: unlike the Prince, it's all about the comments.”

– Posted by AH, whose comment is relevant to my interests since it is about comments. Also, doesn’t opting for the French-like “poseur” instead of simply “poser” suggest that you might yourself be a pose(u)r?

-Allie Shea '12


Singles of the Week: Mar 27, 2010

Pop: Rihanna - "Fire Bomb"

Rihanna's new album, "Rated R," has been blasting out of people's car radios and in eating clubs for a couple months now. Let's be honest - "Rude Boy" is everywhere. But a couple of the songs on the album are hidden in the background and get easily lost. This week, I finally decided to buy the record and came across "Fire Bomb," an electric guitar-based power ballad that has a different sort of sound than we are used to hearing from RiRi. An excellent addition to that unnamed playlist you have sitting in your iTunes between "pump up" and "relax.”

-Jess Turner ‘12

The National – “Bloodbuzz Ohio”

The National’s new album "High Violet" is out May 11, but the band posted “Bloodbuzz Ohio” on their website this week for all of us who have a hard time with the whole “patience” thing. “Bloodbuzz Ohio” proves the National has perfected the art of producing songs that build. The track kicks off with driving drums and piano, and grows quickly with frontman Matt Berninger’s signature seductive crooning. Eventually he piles on subtle horns and delightfully messy guitar riffs. By the end, it feels like you’ve either just discovered yourself in a movie scene or planted your flag at the top of a treacherous mountain. Even if you’ve never been to Ohio – the band’s birthplace – the tune’s lyrics and overall vibe will make you feel nostalgic for the good old Ohioan adolescent days. You’ll be convinced that you, too, were “carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees."

-Sara Wallace ‘12

Ellie Goulding -- "Starry Eyed"

Welsh crooner Ellie Goulding's debut album "Lights" topped the UK charts in less than a week, and for good reason. The singer's music, which she describes as "folktronica," is a smooth fusion of acoustic and electronic tendencies that are like the sonic equivalent of a rainbow of Skittles falling down into a field of daisies. Sound crazy? It is. But trust me, this is one rainbow you won't want to miss.

-Kiran Gollakota ‘13

She & Him – “Thieves Among Us”

Whether or not you’ll like this song can be determined by whether or not you like Zooey Deschanel. If this doe-eyed actress tickles your fancy, then you’ll probably enjoy her 50s style crooning with collaborator M. Ward. But if you’re one of many who find her so cute as to be annoying, well, this won’t convince you otherwise because put bluntly, it’s about as syrupy as a bottle of Aunt Jemima. Still, for the Deschanel admirers, this acoustic prom-ballad is pretty irresistible. It’s simple and twangy and evokes the lovesick slow dancing of a bygone era. “Will you go steady with me?” Deschanel seems to ask. It’s a divisive question but somehow endearing all the same.

-Cristina Luzarraga ‘11


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Creating “Copenhagen”: An interview with Cara Tucker ‘12

Cara Tucker is an English major who loves her books. “Copenhagen” is a play about World War II, physicists, and the atomic bomb. Even Tucker admits that they are an unlikely pair. But starting tomorrow, March 25, you can see how this up-and-coming director has taken on this Tony award-winning play. In the midst of tech week, Tucker sat down with Intersections to talk about how she read “Copenhagen” on the floor of a Barnes & Noble and how she knew this play couldn’t just be her “vision on a stick.”

Q: First of all, can you tell us a little bit about “Copenhagen”?

A: It was written fairly recently, around 2000, and it’s centered on historical events from 1941. It’s about Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr, physicists who worked together until Heisenberg became a professor. Niels Bohr was half-Jewish, and Heisenberg basically snuck around the Gestapo to visit him in Copenhagen. No one knows how they lost their SS tail, but in Copenhagen, they had a conversation, which is the subject of much speculation. Bohr had to flee to America, while Heisenberg went back to Germany and essentially worked for the Nazis. It’s believed that he undermined nuclear programming.

I hate to say that the play takes place in a “post-death” space, because that’s such a cliché. But it is a rehashing of the event, of the conversation between Heisenberg and Bohr. It questions what this conversation meant and if something that small can have such a large impact.

Q: What is your theater background? Have you directed any shows before?

A: Oh holy moly. I was in my first play in the fourth grade. I played a singing ladybug. My high school had a very small theater program, where you basically did everything. When I got here, I knew that I really wanted to direct. I figured that I would work my way up, so I did production work, costumes, design, and stage-managing for PSC [Princeton Shakespeare Company] and Intime. I was in Freshman One-Act festival last year and in PSC’s “The Miser” this year. I thought it would take longer to get to the stage where I could actually direct a show, but they gave me the opportunity this year. So I took it and ran. I’ve directed shorter things before, but I’ve never done a full play.

Q: Why “Copenhagen” and why now?

A: It’s always difficult to answer the “why now” question with a historical play. And the biggest risk with this play would be to try to interpret it in terms of modern events. But we’re in such a climate now where we can’t see everything clearly. When we look to the past we tend to think in terms of black and white, and if there is one conflict that we see in black and white, it’s this. It’s Hitler; it’s the Nazis. They’re the bad guys. But this play forces you to see everything as a gray area. There isn’t ever a clear answer.

The story of “why ‘Copenhagen’” is fun. Initially I wanted to propose Neil LaBute’s “Fat Pig,” but I knew it wasn’t suitable for Intime. So I went to Barnes & Noble and just sat in the store reading all their plays. When I picked up “Copenhagen,” I couldn’t put it down. But I also couldn’t find a chair. So I sat on the floor of Barnes & Noble and read the play from cover to cover. There was an instant moment of “I don’t understand this. I need to direct it.”

Q: Tell us a little bit the process of putting “Copenhagen” together.

A: With a play like this, I knew that it couldn’t just be my vision on a stick. A production team is always essential, but I knew that this had to be a huge collaboration. So it was sort of a powwow of ideas. None of the cast members is studying physics, but one of the set builders is a Physics major, the set designer is a Computer Science major, and our stage manager’s mother works is a physicist. We talked to her to imbed the cast members in the physicist role.

In terms of putting the set together, the set is all white and built to be a metaphysical, disorienting space. It actually resembles an atom. There is a fair amount of sound in the play that is historically grounded. We play sound clips from propaganda and from banned films. There is a play between this concept of being outside of time, but still stuck in a particular moment.

Q: How is working in theater at Princeton different from working in theater elsewhere?

A: I would say that the biggest difference is the audience. You can’t get away with a show about physics and history anywhere else. We don’t have to walk people through this. We’re smart. The community’s smart. The community understands and is willing to take risks. It’s very freeing.

That, and the fact that everyone here is awesome at something.

Q: What was the first production you saw at Princeton and what is your favorite production you’ve seen at Princeton?

A: That’s so hard. The first production I worked on was “Richard III” for PSC. The first production I think I saw was “tick, tick…BOOM!” [Princeton University Players]. And my favorite production from this year was “God’s Country,” because Dominique [Salerno ‘10] is just a fantastic director.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I’m stage managing Sophie Gandler’s [‘10] thesis production “On the Verge.” And I’m trying to figure out what to propose for next year. I might be abroad in London in the fall, which would be awesome. There, I could follow “Mrs. Dalloway” [Viginia Woolf novel about a day in the life of a woman post WWI-England]! But I’ll propose for the spring, regardless. I have a long list of plays that I want to direct before I die.

Q: What would be your dream play to direct?

A: It changes daily. Right now, it’s “Fefu and Her Friends” by Maria Irene Fornes. Yes, that’s the one that’s occupying my mind at the moment.

Q: Is there anything else that you want people to know about “Copenhagen”?

A: Come see it! Don’t worry about it being about physics or history or about it being weird or uncertain. It’s extremely engaging and extremely powerful. Everyone can grasp on to something in it. It’s a play for everyone.

“Copenhagen” runs Thursday-Saturday, March 25-27 and Thursday-Saturday, April 1-3 at Theatre Intime. All shows at 8 p.m., with an additional 2 p.m. show on April 3.

Interview conducted, condensed, and edited by Meghan Todt ’11.

Pictured: Jenn Onofrio GS, Josh Zeitlin '11, and Brad Wilson '13 in "Copenhagen"

Photo by Francesca Furchtgott '12


Welcome to the Machine: An interview with Bachelorette

Bachelorette is the brainchild of songwriter and musician Annabel Alpers. Since 2005, Alpers stunned the psychedelic electro-pop world with her poignant vocals coupled with the intricate and surprising sounds that come out of her computer. Bachelorette has released three CDs and two full albums, the most recent being “My Electric Family,” released in 2009. Singing about everything from relationships with guys to relationships with machines, Bachelorette has toured with the biggest names in electronic music including Animal Collective and Beach House, and her own critical praise has been impressive to say the least. Pitchfork magazine has called her music “delicious, even ecstatic” and Mojo Magazine has dubbed her vocals to be “the female equivalent of Syd Barrett…A real treasure.” Street catches up with her on her career, her songwriting, and her performances in preparation for Saturday’s show at Terrace.

Q: Can you describe your music in three words?

A: Psychedelic, computer, folk.

Q: If you could have a conversation with any musician alive or dead who would it be?

A: John Lennon

Q: Where do you get the inspiration for your songs? What are they about?

A: I just write about what I’m think about or stuff that’s bugging me, and often that might be about guys. Otherwise I write about stuff that I’m interested in or what I’ve been reading about-general human interactions with each other, relationships with each other, and relationships between humans and machines or between humans through machines.

Q: How did you first get into music? Did you think that you’d be doing this when you were a kid?

A: I still remember when I was a kid I really liked Pat Benatar and I had this fantasy of being like Pat Benetar and playing at the ChristChurch Town Hall. I never made a completely conscious decision to do music but it was just something I just kept coming back to. It was just what I wanted to spend my time doing. Even when I thought I needed a more respectable job and tried to study other subjects, I kept going back to music, and here I am!

Q: How has your music changed since the release of your first CD in 2005?

A: In terms of playing live, I’ve changed my live set around a lot, and it keeps changing. As far as recording goes, I’ve done more of it since then so I’m more used to using computers and recording on computers. It just depends on what you think about and I think it’s natural for the music to change too.

Q: What do you think your show at Terrace will be like?

A: Basically what people can expect on this tour is that I’ll be playing my music through a couple of laptops and recording into them as I play. A lot of the time I’ll be looping the things I record, and I process the sound with the computer as well. I just kind of stretch the songs as I play.

Q: What is the best venue you’ve ever played at?

A: I really enjoy a lot of shows for different reasons. Sometimes my favorite shows are really small, intimate ones with just 15 people in the audience and other times I’ve really enjoyed playing in theaters supporting a bigger act. Recently, in December, I supported Animal Collective on their Australian tour and some of those shows were pretty awesome to play at.

Q: If you could tour with any band out there right now, who would it be with? Do any bands stand out to you?

A: I probably would say Animal Collective, actually. I was really happy to play with them and see them play so many times because I think they’re doing really amazing stuff, making really amazing music, and they’ve got their live set up so that it was a joy to watch each time.

Q: Do you have any plans for the future?

A: I’m working on a new album, which is sort of being put to one side as I tour. But I’ll be working on it some more after I head to Europe, and I’m going to hopefully finish recording in Europe while I’m staying with my mother.

Bachelorette will be playing at Terrace F. Club Saturday at midnight. Big Bear Chase Me will be opening.

Interview conducted, condensed and edited by Lisa Han ’13.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Study Spaces: Friend Center

It’s clear that I’ve been favoring the humanities’ libraries. So today, after ballet class at 185 Nassau, I figured that it would be convenient to head over to the Friend Center – to be fair to all of the engineers out there.

I have studied here before. Freshman fall, my Spanish class met on the third floor, and I sometimes worked in the library afterwards. Come to think of it, that was quite an interesting class. I was the only girl out of ten students. But that has nothing to do with studying in Friend this afternoon. Right now, the library is quiet and crowded, and I’m wondering how to take a picture for this post without disturbing anyone and looking like a complete weirdo. (I usually write, take the picture, revise, then post.)

In terms of accommodations, Friend is a great place to study. There seems to be every possible option of tables, couches, carrel-like desks, and armchairs, each with easily accessible lights and outlets. I do think it’s odd that some of the desks make you face just one other person, but that doesn’t seem to stop people from coming here. (At the moment, all of these desks are occupied, but only on one side.)

Friend is also noteworthy because it is one of the few study spaces on Princeton’s campus that is open past midnight – until 2 am. Interestingly enough, I think I have seen more students sleeping in this library than in any other.

But I, for some unknown reason, always feel distracted here. Today, I suppose it’s because my mind is trying to sprint between midterm papers, JP drafting, and thoughts about room draw (typical Princeton sentiment, I know). But whatever the reason, it’s telling me that I need to wrap this up and get out of here. In the next couple of days I’m going to be doing some interviews and reviews for Intersections and Street, so stay tuned!

Friend Center: Engineering Library Hours

Monday-Thursday, 8:30 am-2:00 am

Saturday, 9:00 am-9:00 pm

Sunday, 1:00 pm-2:00 am

- Meghan Todt ‘11


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Singles of the Week: Mar 22, 2010

Broken Bells – “Vaporize”

The Shins probably won’t be changing your life again any time soon. The band, which has been in dissolution since 2008, appears to have died since the departure of frontman James Mercer for his new Broken Bells side project with Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse). But fans of the indie crossover giants need not despair. The debut album from Broken Bells is terrific, although given that it involves musician-producer Brian Burton, this should not come as a surprise. Burton, who is one half of Gnarls Barkley, and who has served as producer to Gorillaz, Beck and The Black Keys, proves here again that he is one of the most ingenious collaborators in the business. In “Vaporize,” Burton takes Mercer’s acoustic guitar and signature yearning voice and heightens it with bouncy organs, punchy synths, and even at the end, a trumpet solo. The result is a Shins song made extra lively, which is sort of funny in light of the break-up-themed lyrics. Mercer sings about a failed relationship, possibly with his former band mates, but Broken Bells proves that there is a silver lining.

-Cristina Luzarraga ‘11

MGMT - "Flash Delirium"

Squeezing five distinct musical sections into four minutes and 16 seconds seems impossible, but that’s exactly what MGMT does on their new track “Flash Delirium.” As the first song off their sophomore album “Congratulations” (due in April), “Flash Delirium” departs sharply from the hook-heavy and Prospect Avenue-popular “Kids.” The song is chaotic, the chorus hardly identifiable, and it boasts prominent horn and flute parts. But amid all the building commotion, the lyrics are actually pretty cool. According to MGMT, we should “dance until the heart explodes and we’ll make this place ignite”….even if we feel a bit delirious after listening to their new track.

-Sara Wallace ‘12

Broken Social Scene – “World Sick”

After the massive success that musical collective Broken Social Scene achieved in 2005, the expectations for their upcoming album, “Forgiveness Rock Record,” are higher than ever. Five years of waiting is enough to drive any fan insane, but luckily, first single "World Sick" doesn't disappoint. Suspended and highlighted by the crisp ring of a picked guitar line, “World Sick” is drowning in layers of harmony, movement, and grace. Vocalist Kevin Drew sings with just the emotion to match the reservoir of sound that propels the track higher and higher with each minute, until it eases away at the end with the same delicacy from which it began.

-Lisa Han ‘13

Taio Cruz – “Break Your Heart”

What is it with British pop singers topping the charts these days? Just a few months ago, West Londoner Jay Sean hit number one with the horrendously catchy “Down,” and now, just as that earworm finally seems to be dropping off from Street playlists, Taio Cruz looks set to follow in his footsteps. There's no other way to put it: "Break Your Heart" is catchy as fuck. It's the kind of song that's so indestructibly, unremittingly infectious that it doesn't need to be interesting (it's not), original (it's not), or even remotely appealing lyrically (just listen to the opening verse -- this guy sounds like a total asshole). Point is: get used to this one. You’ll be hearing it for a while.

-Adam Tanaka '11


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Trailer of the Week: Tron Legacy

OK, full disclosure: the main reason I care about "Tron Legacy" is because the score is being done by those illustrious robot gods of music known as Daft Punk. But surprisingly enough, the rest of the film doesn't look terrible! It looks like director Joseph Kosinski has done a nice job of updating the goofy aesthetic of the original with a fair amount of panache (and more than a little influence from Lady Gaga, it would seem), Jeff Bridges is involved in both grizzled old-man version and a rather impressive digitally young-ified version, and young lead Garrett Hedlund manages to avoid embarrassing himself immediately (which is more than others in his generation can say). Time will tell if Kosinski actually has filmmaking chops to back up his substantial trailer-making skills, or if he's just another Zack Snyder.

And yes, it looks like there's a minute of new Daft Punk here, which initially seems like generic trailer music with the oh-so-dramatic drums and brass, but contains hints of adventurous new directions in a subtle droning bassline and a few harsh electronic grinding buzzes. Let's just hope it's not quite as deranged as the score for opening credits of "Enter the Void" by Daft Punk member Thomas Bangalter. Do NOT watch this if you're at all sensitive to insane explosions of flashing lights.

Enter The Void - (Knock Out!) Opening Credits from Kurt_Halfyard on Vimeo.

-Raj Ranade '10


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Study Spaces: Marquand Library

With the glorious weather we’ve been having, all I want to do is be outside. But whenever I try to study outdoors, I find that the concept is better in theory than in practice. So today I’ve chosen the next best thing: studying in Marquand.

Although I’ve been to the Art Museum, I had never ventured into Marquand before. I feel that it’s one of the quintessential Princeton libraries, like Firestone, which somehow makes it untouchable. (Don’t worry - I’ve been in Firestone! Many, many times.)

But now I sit with the most perfect scene before me: Nassau Hall, East Pyne, and Murray Dodge. This definitely gets my vote for library with the best view. I always thought that it would be weird to sit in full view of everyone strolling along McCosh Walk. But really, people are wrapped up enough in their own lives to want to watch others study.

In addition to the idyllic view, there is something very elegant about Marquand itself. I particularly like the dark wood of the tables and shelves. The chairs are nice and high, and there’s plenty of room to spread out. On the first floor alone, there are seven large tables, six computers, four armchairs, and outlets built into the lamps on the tables (finally!).

For those of you who haven’t been to Marquand before, be forewarned that your bags are checked when you enter. Monica Greco’s column in the Prince last month made me expect something of the sort. But somehow I ended up carrying around three bags today – one with books, another with ballet clothes, and another from a CVS run. The people at the front desk must love me.

You may also have noticed that the photo for this week is a bit different, lacking a certain blogger with a random one-armed shrug. There are a good number of other students in Marquand today, and I don’t want to disturb them as they study for midterms. Good luck on your exams and papers, everyone, and I’ll see you after break!

Marquand Library Hours

Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-11:45 pm

Saturday, 10:00 am-10:45 pm

Sunday, 12:00 pm-11:45 pm

- Meghan Todt ‘11


Monday, March 8, 2010

Trend of the Week: March 8, 2010

So, it’s midterms week. And we’re all a little bit stressed. As the days of all-nighters, cram sessions, and general panic begin, there is a noticeable change in fashion trends around campus. Yes, we’ve all gotten a bit lazy in the style/personal hygiene department (school comes first, right?), so naturally the trend of the week is … sweatpants.

Sweatpants may not be particularly stylish, but for this week, they fit the bill. When you’re watching the sun rise from Frist (which conveniently is open 24/7 this week) the day of your econ midterm, you’re going to want to be in something comfortable. People will understand if you don’t have the energy to put on a stylish outfit in the mornings. In fact, why not just wear the clothes you slept in?

There are ways to make the sweatpant trend less schleppy and more presentable. Avoiding the slippers/robe is a good first step. Next step – choose a theme to go for. Go sporty, with baggy sweatpants and interesting sneakers, or go preppy, with a cardigan and scarf look. Either way, try to be consistent, and add an interesting accessory that draws the eye. Yes, you can be a stylish sweatpant-wearer!

It’s now time for me to go back to my midterm studying. And, to be honest, I kind of wish I was wearing sweatpants.

-Allie Weiss ‘13


Our "ALiCE" is better than Tim Burton's!

Seeing student playwrights get produced on Princeton’s campus is always encouraging. When the work is as smartly written and brilliantly acted as Veronica Siverd ’10’s “ALICE: A New Play,” it makes for a delightfully memorable night of theater.

Siverd’s reading of Lewis Carroll’s timeless coming-of-age story is guided by the observation “that the Victorian twelve,” as she writes in her program notes, “has a lot in common with today’s twenty-one.” Inspired by this premise, Siverd recasts Alice as an ambitious but unsure twenty-one-year-old navigating the pitfalls of academia, finding a career, and transitioning from adolescence to adulthood. Her script manages to deftly update the story to advance a contemporary message while still preserving the original’s most endearing and familiar aspects. The Queen (Dominique Salerno ’10) still shouts “Off with her head!”, the Mad Hatter (Becca Foresman ’10) still has a tea party, and the White Rabbit is still, well, Heather May ’10 sporting a white body suit and bunny ears.

Under the direction of Tim Vassen, the quartet of senior actresses, highlighted by Siverd playing her own title character, all turn in outstanding performances. Salerno, Foresman, and May each play multiple parts and transition between roles with ease. The group’s impeccable timing and cohesion is repeatedly illustrated by the numerous complicated sound effects, most executed by members of the cast standing to the side or in the wings.

Where the show particularly shines are the many instances in which great acting brings to life the script’s new take on Carroll. Salerno plays a Queen who has traded her throne for an ergonomic desk chair in a “Career Services” office and spouts clichés like “on paper,” “across the board,” and “nobody who’s anybody starts at square one” to the job-hunting Alice. A couple of buffoonish truckers, played with creative puppets designed by Anya Klepikov, Martha Ferguson ’11, and William Martinez ’11, embarrass themselves in a clumsy attempt to woo Alice. Salerno, now an erudite Humpty Dumpty, exhorts Alice about the importance of close reading and leads her in a hilarious feminist deconstruction of the “Jabberwocky.” Siverd’s writing and Salerno’s acting are so appropriately over-the-top that serious feminist literary criticism is spared the ridicule, and the scene becomes a strong meditation on the perils of academic excess.

In a break from these parodic vignettes, May movingly portrays a White Rabbit who can’t quite let go of Alice, a nurturing authority figure who too must grapple with Alice’s march to adulthood. In a pathetic but charming attempt to preserve their connection, she negotiates with Alice about when she is allowed to approach Alice to have a conversation.

In a nice crowning touch, Siverd occasionally weaves meta-dramatic elements into her script. Like everything else in “ALICE,” they are fresh and funny but never obtrusive or gratuitous. Indeed, one of the most entertaining moments in the show comes when the Queen exasperatedly jettisons her chair off the front of the stage, only to have a techie sheepishly retrieve it moments later.

Although Alice often appears bewildered, she ultimately comes off as an appealingly empowered female protagonist. The root of her indecision, Siverd’s meticulous dissection of contemporary society reminds us, is the world around her, and Alice, which Siverd’s luminous performance captures exquisitely, is just resourceful enough to make it through. A real feeling of urgency and relevance permeates the production, perhaps driven by the fact that in mere months the cast will don orange-and-black robes eerily similar to the one Alice puts on in the final scene.

I counted more toddlers and seniors in the audience than I have ever seen at a Princeton student production. Staging “ALICE” in the Berlind certainly helped draw in the community, but the diverse house is also a testament to the broad appeal of Siverd’s catchy but thought-provoking play. Seeing many of the spectators dancing merrily on stage with the cast and crew after the performance to the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” was a powerful reminder of theater’s power to bring people together.

5 Paws

Pros: Smart, creative adaptation of a classic supported by exceptional acting.

Cons: House should have been fuller.

-Joseph Dexter '13


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pearls of Wisdom: A Compilation of Prince Comments

I am going to completely ignore the elephant in the room – a certain column about sex that has so far generated well over 300 comments. That particular topic does not lend itself to taking cheap shots at commenters.

Instead, here are comments from a grab-bag of articles. The common thread tying them together is simply this: all provide lulz. Sometimes it’s good to take a break from intense, thoughtful discussions about sexual ethics.

“Awkward turtle and friends”

awkward muffin

what to do: stretch out your left hand as if you are going to shake someone’s hand, then make a fist. make a fist with your right hand, as if you are going to punch something, and place it on top of your left fist (palm facing down).

When to make it: when you are passively observing an awkward situation and wish to acknowledge the awkwardness but want to draw minimal attention and remain an innocent bystander. best done in large groups to maximize passive acknowledgementness. also good for practicing shaking someone’s hand and punching them in the face at the same time.

– Posted by dennis, who is a genius. Despite the fact that I was expecting “awkward muffin” to be somehow sexual (thanks, dirty imagination) I fully intend to use this as much as possible. Awesome. Also, the word “acknowledgementness” is cool.

“The daily value of veganism”

For every animal you don’t eat, I’m going to eat three.

– Posted by so there, who had better start eating. Because that is a shitload of animals.

and think of all the things the turkey could have lived for. Justice, Freedom, peace between fowl.

– Posted by ‘ocho, who reminded me how awesome "Chicken Run" was. I should watch that again.

“Snowed in at Princeton”

Why are freshman inundating the Prince’s opinion section? I’m sure you’re nice people, but you still don’t’ know how to write a coherent essay. The University should clear paths…no poop sherlock.

– Posted by 10, whose use of the phrase “no poop sherlock” was momentarily confusing, then hilarious.


Life Advice from this Year's Best Film Nominees

"An Education" - drop out of school
"The Hurt Locker" - join the army
"Inglourious Basterds" - kill Nazis
"Up in the Air" - get married
"Up" - when your wife dies, make a young Asian friend
"Precious" - actually, school is important - re-enroll
"The Blind Side" - join the football team
"Avatar" - defend the environment
"District 9" - stop racism
"A Serious Man" - die in a tornado

-Zach Zimmerman '10


Friday, March 5, 2010

YouTube Video of the Week

Nothing like Skatey Gaga....

-Jess Turner '12


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Music Video of the Week: Gorillaz - "Stylo"

Part of the joke with Gorillaz (who unveiled their rather excellent new album on Monday) has always been that immense amounts of efforts have gone into fabricating a band that is the height of entitled rock-star apathy - few Grammy gestures have been as hilariously anarchic as lead singer 2-D texting during their show-opening performance. That's a clever enough conceit, but it has occasionally resulted in their music videos being somewhat static and occasionally dull.

Thankfully, the new video for their single "Stylo" finds the group at its most, well, animated as they find themselves in a plot that's one part "Mad Max" and two parts Quentin Tarantino's "Death Proof". Reproduced as CGI characters driving through a live-action desert, our disheveled, possibly hung-over heroes enter in a bullet-hole-ridden muscle car that looks like the result of a drug deal gone wrong. There's a nice attention to facial detail in the animation here, such as the twitches on bassist Murdoc's curdled-milk-colored face (also, guitarist Noodle was apparently a robot all along). Director Jamie Hewlett also brings a nice tension to the proceedings, particularly through his direction of a well-known cameo-ing actor who is clearly having a ball hamming it up here. The single may not have the same kind of monstrous catchiness that "Clint Eastwood" or "Feel Good Inc."did , but the video is as good as anything Gorillaz has done to date.

-Raj Ranade '10



A Sit-Down With Savoir Adore

Savoir Adore is not your typical pop-rock duo. Deirdre Muro and Paul Hammer came together "by accident" when they met at NYU in a songwriting group and decided one weekend, on a whim, to take a pilgrimage up to Paul's childhood home in upstate NY and record some collaborative works. Their joint musical efforts would continue to be spontaneous and exploratory for the next few years; Savoir Adore has been described as a group that writes "lyrics that border on mystical and has a sense of musical adventurousness that takes them through fairly straightforward folk, cutesy electro-pop, and some other stuff that sounds half like gypsy music and half like Joanna Newsom." In fact, their sound is about as fluorescent as their album cover. After they sent their first couple songs around to their friends as a sort of joke and started performing around the city, good feedback encouraged them to take this seriously, and Savoir Adore the "official" group was born. Deirdre and Paul are on tour for their new album, "In the Wooded Forest," and will perform at Terrace this Thursday night, March 4th, at 11:30.

Q: What makes your duo work? How do you guys have such a great collaboration going on?

Paul: We both started writing and playing music with a love of experimentation and developing a whole new genre. And we have really good chemistry as people and respect each other's interests. We each bring something different to the table.

Deirdre: We both find joy in exploring different kinds of music and are on the same page in a lot of respects.

Q: If you could describe your music in three adjectives, what would they be?

Savoir Adore: Magical, sparkly, and adventurous.

Q: How did going to NYU influence or change you as musicians?

P: We found ourselves in a very musical community – New York has so many different places to see music and perform.

D: We met at NYU in a singer-songwriter's club. People would come and play songs for each other.

Q: How did you come up with your name? What does it mean?

P: It was actually a very quick thing. We had recorded a track for fun and Deirdre had sung a couple lines in French in the middle. When we needed a name a few weeks later, we had been talking about how beautiful the French language is, so we went back to that line she sang in French.

D: It's funny; we decided to make a Myspace page for one dinky song and created a name then and there. "Savoir Adore" means "knowing love."

Q: Do you guys actually share full control, or is one of you bossier?

P: It's pretty equally shared. We also tend to compromise quickly and both trust each other musically.

D: But we do have our moments of being ridiculous. Still, if we let something get in our way, we haven't gotten anything done. What's funny is that right now, I know when the answers to these questions can end, but then Paul will jump in with something we're not always on the same page...although most of the time we are.

Q: Do you have any embarrassing performance memories?

D: Yes! (laughs) Recently, we played at a college at the end of last year where the night was kind of disorganized and a weird night overall. Paul got very drunk and was playing all kind of crazy chords and singing at the wrong time. He even melted a part of his amp by accident and broke a string. A general disaster.

P: That was definitely the most embarrassing moment for me, but the most memorable was when we drove 30 hours in a car to see a music festival. Weird things happen when you've been sitting in a car for that long.

Q: What were your childhood dreams? Did you ever anticipate being musicians?

P: I wanted to be a weatherman.

D: I always wanted to be a musician. My 5th grade yearbook says I was going to grow up to be a rock star.

Q: What's next?

P: Tours and a new album! We already have a bunch of new songs that we can't wait to record.

Q: You say Savoir Adore happened by you remember the first time you guys ever met?

D: I was a frosh and Paul was a soph. I was kind of a slacker and didn't go to the songwriters club get-togethers very many times, but I remember thinking he was so cool.

Q: Where do you usually get inspiration?

D: Actually, we often seek inspiration from own work. Our first EP ("The Adventures of Mr. Pumpernickel and the Girl with Animals In Her Throat") that we made a couple years ago is a very narrative, conceptual piece. It was the first time we had ever collaborated. We sometimes tap back into that kind of place. It fits with what we do now.

Q: How did you write this album? What was the process?

D: It revolves around a fabricated location - the forest - with characters and locations. So we really just sat and used our imaginations as much as we could to find inspiration for songs/characters/new worlds on this album.

Q: Who would you ideally want to collaborate with?

D: Jack White.

P: Jack White. Brian Adams. (They are on the same page!)

Q: What's the show on Thursday gonna be like in a couple words?

P: Loud, fun, exciting, memorable. And sparkly.


-Interview conducted, condensed, an edited by Jess Turner ‘12


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Street's Albums of the Month: February 2010

Bomb the Music Industry! - Adults!!!: Smart!!! Shithammered!!! And Excited By Nothing!!!!!!!

Since 2006, Bomb the Music Industry! has been dropping albums faster than most bands release singles, and if "Adults!!!" isn't their strongest offering yet (I'm like 90% ready to say it is), it's undoubtedly their most accessible. "Adults!!!" piles on the instruments, from the thunderingly fuzzed-out guitars on “All Ages Shows” to the unreasonably high energy horns on “Planning My Death,” even throwing in a chiptunes-y interlude in “Big Ending.” It's clear Bomb! has hit its stride lyrically, clinging to a kernel of unbelievable earnestness in the face of deeply embedded cynicism. Clocking in at just over 20 minutes, every track's a winner, and, since it's free, there's no legitimate reason not to give it a listen. Download the album through

-Dan Abromowitz ‘13

Chew Lips - Self-titled

Granted, the name is awful and the album art is even worse, but Chew Lips’ self-titled debut is a rare thing: emotionally-complex electro-pop. In a genre usually reserved for fluffy divas and disco balls, Chew Lips carry themselves with a distinctive, sophisticated art-rock swagger. Yes, there are synths and bleeps and drum machines, but the melodies are sinewy and skeletal, and singer Tigs sounds wise beyond her years. Even better, no two songs here are alike. The dirge-like “Gold Key” sounds like TV on the Radio, “Seven” bumps and bleeps and bounces like Hot Chip, and “Slick” is a smirking, deceptively lightweight pop gem. I saw the band live in London during Intercession and their CD has more than lived up to my expectations. If you thought all electro-pop was just disposable fun, think again.

-Adam Tanaka ‘11

Munford & Sons - Sigh No More

Riding against the wave of electronic production that is currently sweeping the music industry, Mumford & Sons' "Sigh No More" is a refreshingly original work and an impressive debut for the London-based band. Almost wholly comprised of acoustic instruments and boasting a developed, textured folk sound, the band has an inimitable energy and enthusiasm that makes their music infectious. Listening to their album was the first time I've found myself grooving to pure, straight-up folk music. I'm betting you'll feel the same way.

-Kiran Gollakota ‘13

Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me

When I first heard Joanna Newsom’s “Ys,” I was instantly giddy at the prospect of hearing, for the first time, something stunning and unique. Naturally, I dispensed mix-tapes to all of my friends, only to receive confused looks and judgmental laughs. So I cried over the spilt milk, waited four years, and bought her next album - because “Have One On Me” is brilliant for the same reasons that Newsom’s last two albums are brilliant. Her quasi-classical style, the playful harp, and those astonishingly clever, naturalistic lyrics are nothing short of blissful. This time, however, Newsom’s voice is a touch more delicate. “Kingfisher” is a perfect example of this newfound elegance: “In this life who did you love/ beneath the drifting ashes/ beneath the shifting banks of air/ that barely pour out rations.” “Have One On Me” is perfect for any brave listener’s mix-tape.

-Lisa Han ‘13

Spoon – Transference

After waiting two and a half years, die-hard Spoon fans still living off the brilliance of 2007’s "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" get to hear the band up close and personal on its seventh album, "Transference." The album is as raw as they come – about half of the tracks are the original demos with just guitar, vocals, and percussion. With this lack of polish and run-of-the-mill hooks comes an experimental freshness that is rare in today’s heavy-edited world of music. Singer Britt Daniel’s lyrics are simple and brooding in true Spoon fashion, and the driving steady beat of songs like “Got Nuffin” will remind you of past albums no doubt. "Transference" may not be the right gateway album for those just beginning Spoon addictions, but it’s damn good if you’re already hooked.

-Sara Wallace ‘12

Various Artists – Download to Donate to Haiti

Musicians, painters, authors - creative beings of all sorts - have been releasing works at a breathless pace to benefit Haiti in the months since the devastating earthquake. Celebs have gotten involved too, and the recently released "Download to Donate for Haiti" is just one of several compilations for Haiti relief. However, out of all the benefit albums out there, this is the one to check out - it's worth listening to even without the humanitarian aspect, which is more than can be said for a lot of releases like this. You can actually download the album for free and then choose how much you'd like to donate (Yes, you have to be accountable and actually donate after downloading, but that's kind of the beauty of this project). "Download to Donate for Haiti" is a 13 track compilation of diverse and talented artists, including Weezer, Metric, Enrique Inglesias, Lupe Fiasco, and Jack Johnson. And here's the kicker: all of the songs on the album are unreleased! Check it out: there are enough compelling reasons for you to take your pick. Here's the link:

-Jess Turner ‘13

Yeasayer – “Odd Blood”

Since “Odd Blood” leaked last December, the blogosphere’s been all a tizzy about the alleged pop transformation of (one of) the critic’s favorite Brooklyn-based indie bands. (Sidenote: Is it possible in this day in age for a Brooklyn-based indie band to be anything other than
critically adored?) “They’re using 80’s style synths!” some shrieked. “And inspirational lyrics!” wailed others. The general angst: what happened to those apocalypse-singing hippie-folk weirdoes we fell in love with back in 2007? Well, their sound has certainly become more electronic, and their worldview rosier – but neither of these things are bad, merely different. And in fact, once fans get over their expectations, they’re bound to Yeasayer’s sophomore album just as rich and compelling as its predecessor. Top tracks: "The Children, "Ambling Alp, "Madder Red, "ONE"

-Cristina Luzarraga ‘11


20 Sweet: Initial Songs

This week we give you 20 Sweet songs with initials/acronyms in their titles. Brownie points to those who know what the tricky ones stand for. Enjoy, and feel free to add your own!

1. “
C.R.E.A.M.” – Wu-Tang Clan
2. “
The W.A.N.D.” – The Flaming Lips
3. “
O.P.P.” – Naughty by Nature
4. “
U.R.A.Q.T.” – M.I.A.
5. “
DLZ” – TV on the Radio
6. “
D.G.A.F.L.Y.F.” – Super Mash Bros.
7. “
WhipC.R.E.A.M.” – K-Os
8. “
L-O-V-E” – Nat “King” Cole
9. “
L.A.VA” – Panacea
10. “
B.O.B.” – Outkast
11. “
O.S.T.” – People Under the Stairs feat. Odell
12. “
L.E.S. Artistes” – Santigold
13. “
D.A.N.C.E.” – Justice
14. “
ELT” – Wilco
15. “
PDA” – Interpol
16. “
P.Y.T.” – Michael Jackson
17. “
TKO” – Le Tigre
18. “
ABC” – Jackson 5
19. “
SOS” – Rihanna
20. “
TBTF” – Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew


Study Spaces: The Creative Writing Library

I’m starting to think that I should call this segment “Serene Study Spaces” or “Secluded Study Spaces.” It seems like those are the types of spots that I seek out. Next week, in honor of midterms, I’ll find someplace where everyone is studying, one of those pressure-cooking locales. But for today, I’m in the one-room Creative Writing Library at 185 Nassau Street, alone but surrounded by authors and poets.

Seriously, I love this room because of the books that fill its shelves. In 1995, Professor Joyce Carol Oates chose the library to receive a complete set of Penguin Classics; so here you study in the company of Dante, Dickens, and Dostoyevsky (the D-shelf is at eyelevel). But I believe that equally intriguing for a Princeton student are the works shelved next to these classics: creative theses dating back to 1988, some over 300 pages long. A myriad of similar black spines symbolize so many hours of work done by students in our positions. It’s particularly fun to look at those written in the past few years, with names I recognize embossed on the covers. Does any other department have their theses out on display like this?

There’s only one table in this library, but like I’ve indicated, its tiny size is part of its charm. The large windows on one wall overlook Nassau Street, which can often be a welcome change from campus scenery.

The cons? There’s no telling when this library will be open or available. Creative Writing seminars take place in this room, so you may come here intending to study and be greeted by a renowned author or poet and ten Princeton students basking in that person’s presence. The room also has the possibility of being locked at any given time. I’ll update this post later if I can get information regarding the library’s hours. But for now, let’s think of the unpredictability as part of the adventure.

Creative Writing Library Hours:


- Meghan Todt ‘11