Arts &amp; Humanities https://mag.uchicago.edu/topics/arts-humanities en Eve Ewing is everywhere https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/eve-ewing-everywhere <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/18.12.20_Chung_EveEwing.jpg" width="2000" height="1097" alt="Eve Ewing" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/rsmith" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">rsmith</span></span> <span>Wed, 12/19/2018 - 16:57</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>(Photography by Nolis Anderson)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/jeanie-chung"> <a href="/author/jeanie-chung"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Jeanie Chung</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/web-exclusives" hreflang="en">Web exclusives</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">12.20.2018</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>UChicago’s multi-hyphenate hosts a poetry reading-lecture-conversation.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Social scientist-poet-activist-comic book artist-<a href="http://networkfeeds.wfmt.com/BughouseSquarePodcast">podcaster</a>-<a href="https://twitter.com/eveewing?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">Twitter influencer</a> Eve Ewing, AB’08, is busy. She’s <a href="https://ssa.uchicago.edu/ssascholars/e-ewing">an assistant professor in the School of Social Service Administration</a>. Her book <a href="https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/G/bo27506579.html"><em>Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side</em> </a>(University of Chicago Press, 2018) came out this fall. And <em><a href="https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/1295-1919">1919</a></em>, a collection of poems addressing the Chicago race riots in the summer of that year, will be out in June 2019 from Haymarket Books.</p> <p>With so much on her plate, Ewing has to multitask. So in a December lecture, “Ghosts of 1919: Rendering a City and a Riot in Poetry and Prose,” she put her recent book and her forthcoming one “in conversation with one another.” (A third publication, her comic book <em><a href="https://news.uchicago.edu/story/sociologist-eve-ewing-authors-marvel-comic-ironheart">Ironheart</a></em>, came out in November.) The lecture was part of the fall series hosted by the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture, cosponsored by the Committee on Creative Writing.</p> <p>During the hour-long talk in the Logan Center—“perfectly architecturally designed to contemplate the South Side,” Ewing notes—she played multiple roles:</p> <h2>Teacher</h2> <p><em>Ghosts in the Schoolyard</em>, which focuses on the closing of 50 Chicago public schools in 2013, grew out of Ewing’s doctoral dissertation at Harvard: “Shuttered Schools in the Black Metropolis: Race, History, and Discourse on Chicago’s South Side.”</p> <p>To explain why the city wanted to close the schools and why communities resisted, Ewing went back well into the 20th century. In the lecture she presented a slideshow with statistics, maps, and photographs about everything from restrictive housing covenants in Bronzeville to the Chicago Housing Authority’s <a href="https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/plan-for-transformation-public-housing-photo-essay-cha-architecture-biennial/Content?oid=30833806">Plan for Transformation</a>. Before discussing Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Chicago Public Schools’ chief executive officer in 2013, Ewing gave a brief history of the public school system, including the controversial mobile unit classrooms known as <a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1357.html">“Willis Wagons”</a> in the 1960s.</p> <p>The lecture happened to fall the day after a judge <a href="https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-chicago-schools-national-teachers-academy-injunction-20181203-story.html">ruled </a>that National Teachers Academy, an elementary school on Chicago’s South Side, could stay open. Ewing’s dissertation was among the evidence presented by the community.</p> <p>In other words, Ewing’s got the facts down. But she also still has elements of the middle-school teacher she once was.</p> <p>“Raise your hand if you’ve never heard of the <a href="https://interactive.wttw.com/dusable-to-obama/1919-race-riot">1919 Race Riot</a>,” she said. (About a third of the audience did.)</p> <h2>Poet</h2> <p>While researching <em>Ghosts in the Schoolyard</em>, Ewing came across a report, <em>The Negro in Chicago</em>, written by a state commission to study the 1919 Chicago Race Riot. She found a lot of “unintentional poetry” in the report.</p> <p>The poems in <em>1919</em> are inspired by passages from the report. For example, the line  “the presence of Negroes in large numbers in our great cities is not a menace in itself” led to a poem, “<a href="https://therumpus.net/2018/06/rumpus-original-poetry-three-poems-by-eve-l-ewing/">The Train Speaks</a>,” from the point of view of a train bringing African Americans to Chicago from the South.</p> <p>“They know not the cold, my babies. / They know not the men who are waiting / and angry. They know not that the absence / of signs does not portend the absence of danger.”</p> <p>Unlike “The Train Speaks,” most of the poems Ewing read have not been published or even widely shared.</p> <p>They take different forms: “Jump Rope,” building on the idea of ropes used to lynch as well as play, drew on children’s jump rope songs. “Keeping House” is a series of <a href="https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poems?field_form_tid=425">tanka poems</a> in response to this portion of the report: “White persons are generally uninformed on matters affecting Negroes and race relations.”</p> <p>Ewing read: “My mother taught me / to be silent in their homes.”</p> <p>While sociologists must often deal with grim realities, “Anything can happen in a poem,” Ewing said.</p> <h2>Activist</h2> <p>Ewing is working with other community members on a project to commemorate the centennial of the riot in 2019. It’s in keeping with the activism of Gwendolyn Brooks, whom she calls “my No. 1 biggest influence.” She said Brooks is a role model not just as a poet, but for “what she demonstrated about what it means to be a writer in the world.”</p> <h2>Multi-hyphenate</h2> <p>“I don’t know any other way to be myself,” Ewing said of her multiple outlets. “I think people give me a little too much credit.” She thinks of herself as following in the black intellectual tradition of sociologist-activist-novelist W. E. B. DuBois, anthropologist-novelist-playwright Zora Neale Hurston, and sociologist-author Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot, her dissertation adviser at Harvard.</p> <p>How does she do it, an audience member asked?</p> <p>She knows when to compartmentalize—she didn’t write any poetry while working on her dissertation, for example.</p> <p>Ewing also understands that the academic world is still publish or perish, and poetry doesn’t count as scholarly work.</p> <p>But, she said, “the alternative is to not make art, and that’s not a viable option.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/arts-humanities" hreflang="en">Arts &amp; Humanities</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/poetry" hreflang="en">Poetry</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/school-social-service-administration" hreflang="en">School of Social Service Administration</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/eve-ewing-everywhere" data-a2a-title="Eve Ewing is everywhere"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Farts-humanities%2Feve-ewing-everywhere&amp;title=Eve%20Ewing%20is%20everywhere"></a></span> Wed, 19 Dec 2018 22:57:38 +0000 rsmith 7028 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Skin care tips from celebrity aesthetician Joanna Vargas, AB’93 https://mag.uchicago.edu/vargas <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/18Fall_Allen_VargasTips_0.jpg" width="2000" height="1268" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/09/2018 - 12:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“I wish everybody would wash their face at night before they went to bed, without fail,” says Joanna Vargas, AB’93. (Photography by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/mickyboyc/5582015641/in/photolist-9vghLZ-fMqtWC-7WAwTS-8vMsAY-9Krv3S-NuB1xd-8rW6p4-5Wp6yU-a3KhE4-8rZg4j-9fkoHz-6HbFcn-79hNEW-8rZDCj-8rZGvU-FAbHLb-7PTQ8g-e1ZbR3-9iBow3-e1WCnd-YiTCc2-6vw3PG-7X4oet-e1VYqU-e1Ty3e-e1TvZp-93pSKx-9htbCW-e1QZMR-bPrXDZ-e1Zci1-9gFYT9-29kV77q-e1WAKb-ad3ytE-cNp3LL-8oSwrS-2bM4dyE-8oSw3N-b7R2wp-e1WEAu-e1Zdpu-8pmzdv-oRUqad-e1ZbLd-27VeYDg-ZohdWd-87gjvg-e1QnVi-7zNABG">Mike C. [CC BY 2.0</a>])</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <a href="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Susie Allen, AB’09</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/web-exclusives" hreflang="en">Web exclusives</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">11.13.2018</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The facialist to the stars gives a thumbs-up to K-beauty and DIY masks</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>In our Fall/18 issue, we <a href="https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/everyone-can-have-great-skin">profiled</a> <strong>Joanna Vargas</strong>, AB’93, an aesthetician whose celebrity clients include Mindy Kaling, Elisabeth Moss, and Naomi Watts. But we couldn’t let her get away without answering a few skin care questions. Here’s what Vargas had to say about why actors have such great skin, the Korean beauty craze, eye creams, and more. (Her comments below have been edited and condensed.)</p> <h2>Yes, Korean skin care products live up to the hype.</h2> <p>The average Korean consumer is extremely savvy when it comes to knowing about ingredients, wanting to see results. In Korea, facial places are like Starbucks. They’re on every corner. It’s a part of the culture to take care of your skin, like going to the gym every day after work. And because the average client is so savvy and so knowledgeable, those companies have to service that highly intellectual, knowledgeable person. A lot of the products really are amazing.</p> <h2>There’s no magic behind celebrity skin. It’s the result of time and effort.</h2> <p>I do know a lot of celebrities. I can attest that they are just regular people. It’s not to say that they’re not beautiful. But they have the same concerns that you or I do. You have to keep in mind that it is part of their job to look good. It’s what we expect when we see them walking a red carpet.</p> <p>They all take extremely good care of themselves. They’re all on a very specific regimen in terms of diet and exercise. A lot goes into that. It’s not just magic. When I’m prepping somebody for the Oscars, we’re doing treatments, and we’re doing a lot of them.</p> <h2>There are excellent, affordable skin care products in your kitchen right now.</h2> <p>You can make a scrub with brown sugar, honey, olive oil, and use it on your face or body. It really is a very effective exfoliant.</p> <p>Yogurt is a natural anti-inflammatory. It’s also antibacterial, so if you’re having a breakout or you’ve had an adverse reaction to a product, putting yogurt on your face and leaving it on for half an hour helps the healing process.</p> <h2>It might be worth having a separate eye cream.</h2> <p>When I released my first line, I designed my products to be used in the eye area, because the skin needs certain nutrients no matter what. Why would you really need the extra step of putting on an eye cream? But I found that most women that came to my office wanted a special eye cream. So when I designed my eye cream, I tried to design it with specific qualifications in mind. I wanted it to address puffy eyes, but I also wanted to address hydration level.</p> <p>Technically speaking, when you’re talking about a day cream versus a moisturizer, a day cream is supposed to be a barrier layer. It’s supposed to protect your skin against the elements outside. It’s not meant to be penetrating. An eye cream is designed to be penetrating.</p> <h2>She has one simple request.</h2> <p>I wish everybody would wash their face at night before they went to bed, without fail. Believe it or not, a lot of people don’t do that.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/arts-humanities" hreflang="en">Arts &amp; Humanities</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/beauty" hreflang="en">Beauty</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/college-alumni" hreflang="en">College alumni</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/vargas" data-a2a-title="Skin care tips from celebrity aesthetician Joanna Vargas, AB’93"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Fvargas&amp;title=Skin%20care%20tips%20from%20celebrity%20aesthetician%20Joanna%20Vargas%2C%20AB%E2%80%9993"></a></span> Fri, 09 Nov 2018 18:43:58 +0000 admin 7020 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Everyone can have great skin https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/everyone-can-have-great-skin <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/18Fall_Allen_Facialist.jpg" width="2000" height="1000" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/09/2018 - 12:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“I wish everybody would wash their face at night before they went to bed, without fail,” says Joanna Vargas, AB’93. <a href="https://mag.uchicago.edu/vargas">See more of her tips.</a> (Photography by Roderick Angle/Courtesy Joanna Vargas, AB’93)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <a href="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Susie Allen, AB’09</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Fall/18</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Start by eating healthy and wearing sunscreen, says Hollywood’s go-to aesthetician <strong>Joanna Vargas</strong>, AB’93.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Any of us can have the glowing complexion of a Hollywood star. That’s the heartening message of aesthetician <strong>Joanna Vargas</strong>, AB’93, who would know—Vargas spends her days tending to the skin of various (and luminous) actors including Mindy Kaling, Elisabeth Moss, and Naomi Watts. Her signature facials, which include microdermabrasion, microcurrent, and oxygen therapy, are in frequent demand in the weeks before the Oscars and the Met Ball.</p> <p>“Earlier on in my career there was more of a notion that you had to be born with good skin in order to have it,” says Vargas, who has her own line of products and sees clients at her salons in New York and Los Angeles. But she’s found that a healthy diet, the right lotions and potions, and sunscreen (“the sun causes most of the damage that you’re going to complain about later in life”) can keep skin clear and youthful.</p> <p>Vargas gained her customers’ trust with innovative but noninvasive techniques. She’s partial to LED light therapy, in which a machine emitting different light wavelengths, each with its own benefit, is placed over the face. Her clients were so happy with the results that Vargas developed and patented an LED light bed for the full body. (Several clinical studies support the effectiveness of light therapy for antiaging, and the American Academy of Dermatology has deemed it effective against acne.)</p> <p>She wants to see people “think less in extremes,” Vargas says. “In the past 15 years in the beauty industry there’s been a lot of focus on invasive stuff—on filler, on Botox, on a ton of laser, on surgery.” In her view, radiant skin can be achieved without those measures, and without their side effects.</p> <p>Vargas keeps her eyes and ears open for new tools and ingredients, scouring (or should we say exfoliating?) scientific publications for information. She reads the studies submitted to the FDA before it approved a device—“What are the side effects, if any? What are the contraindications, if any?”—and tries new treatments on herself before offering them to clients.</p> <p>Vargas has been her own beauty product guinea pig since childhood. Growing up, “I definitely was the girl who had the most bubble bath and lip glosses.” Her interest in beauty deepened as she took courses in women’s studies at UChicago; her BA thesis focused on the commodification of the female image. In it, Vargas argued that women dress and wear makeup for their own pleasure, not solely in response to societal pressures.</p> <p>The connection between looking good and feeling good was apparent to Vargas when she entered beauty school after a career in fashion photography didn’t work out. “The thing that I fell in love with immediately was the idea that I could transform somebody in terms of just how she felt about herself,” she says.</p> <p>Today Vargas is an evangelist not just for the collagen-promoting benefits of LED, but also for taking unexpected career paths. “Younger people think that they have to have everything decided very, very early in life,” she says. “Sometimes being curious is the best education, once you finish school.”</p> <hr /><p><a href="https://mag.uchicago.edu/vargas">See more skincare tips</a> from Joanna Vargas, AB’93.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/arts-humanities" hreflang="en">Arts &amp; Humanities</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/beauty" hreflang="en">Beauty</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/college-alumni" hreflang="en">College alumni</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/everyone-can-have-great-skin" data-a2a-title="Everyone can have great skin"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Farts-humanities%2Feveryone-can-have-great-skin&amp;title=Everyone%20can%20have%20great%20skin"></a></span> Fri, 09 Nov 2018 18:43:58 +0000 admin 7015 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Art and artifice https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/art-and-artifice <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/18Fall_Monaghan_Art-Artifice_0.jpg" width="2000" height="980" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/09/2018 - 12:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>From this magazine in the 1920s to the <em>New York Times</em> when he died in 1973 to current accounts, Hayakawa’s UChicago bona fides have been widely accepted. (Everett Collection)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/amy-monaghan-am93"> <a href="/author/amy-monaghan-am93"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Amy Monaghan, AM’93</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Fall/18</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Matinee idol and Oscar nominee Sessue Hayakawa is widely remembered as a UChicago alumnus. But was he? We tried to separate fact and myth in the storied actor’s biography.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A giant of the silent screen whose career stretched into the sound era, Sessue Hayakawa starred in more than 100 movies. Perhaps best remembered today for his Oscar-nominated 1957 performance as Colonel Saito, the Japanese commandant of the prison camp in <em>The Bridge on the River Kwai</em>, Hayakawa was the only Asian actor to play romantic leads in American silent pictures—although because of anti-miscegenation laws he always had to relinquish the girl in the final reel.</p> <p>Hayakawa’s place in motion picture history is well documented. Harder to know is the man behind the legend. Even harder to untangle is the star’s status as a UChicago alumnus.</p> <p>Born Hayakawa Kintaro in 1886, the son of a wealthy fisherman in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture, he came to the United States in 1907 to join his brother, who was fishing for abalone in California. The following November he enrolled in two Principles of Political Economy correspondence courses offered by the University’s Home Study Program. The registrar’s office has no record of his enrollment in any courses held in Hyde Park.</p> <p>In his 1960 memoir, <em>Zen Showed Me the Way … to Peace, Happiness, and Tranquillity</em>, Hayakawa tells a very different story. He details his life on campus, including two seasons as a 132-pound tackle for the football team under coach Amos Alonzo Stagg. After using illegal jujitsu manuevers too many times, he writes, he was kicked off the team. But Hayakawa appears on no team rosters—or anywhere else—in the <em>Cap and Gown</em> yearbooks of the day.</p> <p>Hayakawa seems to have inflated and elaborated the University connections he wove into his life story, and his version of that story has stuck—leading the actor’s narrative to become embedded in the University’s as well. His myth making offers a lens on American and Hollywood culture during his lifetime.</p> <p>Hayakawa claims to have left Chicago for California in 1913, intending to return to Japan. But, he wrote, after seeing a play at a Japanese theater in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo district, he canceled his ticket and joined the company, despite having no acting experience. Dropping the name Kintaro for Sessue, he staged an English-language play with an all-Japanese cast.</p> <p>The play caught the eye of producer Thomas Ince, who turned it into a silent film. By 1914, Hayakawa writes, he earned $1,000 a week making movies, an amount he deemed sufficient to allow him to marry Tsuru Aoki, an American-raised Japanese stage and screen actress.</p> <p>According to Daisuke Miyao, professor of Japanese language and literature at UC San Diego and author of <em>Sessue Hayakawa: Silent Cinema and Transnational Stardom</em> (Duke Unversity Press, 2007), Hayakawa’s turn to acting was in reality less dramatic. It followed a series of odd jobs in California: dishwasher, waiter, ice cream vendor, and factory worker. His theatrical appearances seemed like another temporary pursuit. Both memoir and Miyao agree that the movies Hayakawa first appeared in were Ince’s.</p> <p>In those short films, the actor portrayed Native American and Japanese characters, but never in a starring role. In 1915 he left Ince for the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company—later Paramount. There Cecil B. DeMille cast Hayakawa in <em>The Cheat</em> (1915), and a matinee idol was born.</p> <p>In contrast to the broad pantomime then common in Hollywood, Hayakawa played to the camera instead of the balcony. His acting stood out for its restraint; audiences knew how he felt because of the subtle play of emotion across his features in close-ups.</p> <p>In <em>The Cheat</em>, Hayakawa’s coolly wicked Japanese ivory merchant lends money to an American socialite who has gambled away Red Cross funds entrusted to her. When she attempts to repay him in cash instead of the more personal compensation she’d promised, Hayakawa’s lecherous villain brands her bare shoulder with the mark he uses to identify all his possessions.</p> <p>The scene elicited screams of ecstasy from the audience; some women fainted. Hayakawa’s effect was said to be even more electric than that of Rudolph Valentino in <em>The Sheik</em> six years later.</p> <p>Following <em>The Cheat</em>, Hayakawa’s silent film roles hewed closely to Western stereotypes about Asians. The late film historian Robert Sklar once quipped, “He was a valet; he was a valet who was also a spy; he was a spy who was also a diplomat. (He does not seem to have played a University of Chicago graduate.)”</p> <p>Hayakawa saw his roles as an opportunity to dispel stereotypes of the “Oriental” as sinister and mysterious. He also played other ethnicities: a Mexican bandit, a Spanish matador, a Persian author. From 1916 to 1918—a period of growing US nativism—he became an unlikely leading star and the industry’s go-to exotic. Theaters advertising <em>Hidden Pearls</em> (1918), in which he plays the son of a Hawaiian princess and an American trader, were encouraged by a trade journal to use the phrase “Sessue Hayakawa adopts another nationality.”</p> <p>In March 1918, when his contract with Lasky expired, Hayakawa formed Haworth Pictures Corporation, Hollywood’s first Asian-owned production company. His strategy at Haworth, Miyao writes, “was a simultaneous campaign of winning the hearts of American audiences by clinging to his already established star image and convincing Japanese American communities of his more authentic depiction of Japanese characters.”</p> <p>Around this time Hayakawa went full Hollywood, according to fan magazines and his memoir. He purchased a mansion, took up golf, threw parties with bootleg liquor he’d wisely laid in before Prohibition began, and bought two Cadillacs, a Ford, and a gold-plated Pierce Arrow. The magazines reported breathlessly about the actor and his wife, who were active in Liberty bond drives during the First World War.</p> <p>The showy lifestyle was in part a response to rising postwar anti-Japanese sentiment in California, intended to show Americans he could live up to their lavish standards. But however Hayakawa tried to demonstrate his Americanness, his popularity couldn’t survive increasing nativist sentiment in the United States. By the time he left Hollywood in March 1922, he had lost control of both his star narrative and his company.</p> <p>Now a “free agent,” Hayakawa wrote, he visited Japan, acted in French and British movies, and gave a 1923 royal command performance before King George V and Queen Mary of England.</p> <p>Returning to the United States in 1926 to appear on Broadway—and later in vaudeville and his first talkie—Hayakawa opened a Zen temple and study hall on New York’s Upper West Side. He then lived in Japan before finding himself trapped in Paris during World War II, where he’d gone to shoot a movie. As a Japanese national with a long career in the United States, Hayakawa was suspected by both sides.</p> <p>Even so, Hollywood came calling once more when Humphrey Bogart, a fan, cabled him to offer a part in <em>Tokyo Joe</em> (1949). He took the role but would spend most of the rest of his life in Japan. There, he writes in his memoir, his long study and practice of Zen, and particularly his work on its behalf in the United States, prompted Tokyo’s Zen masters to choose him to enter the priesthood.</p> <p>Miyao isn’t so sure. Like his University of Chicago education, Hayakawa’s Zen priesthood seems well tailored to fit a persona he wanted to promote. “I think the life of Hayakawa as a star was always a process of creating his own myth,” says Miyao.</p> <p>When invited to join the cast of <em>The Bridge on the River Kwai</em>, Hayakawa was living largely out of the public eye. The role of Colonel Saito appealed to him: not a sympathetic character but a decent man. The performance thrust the actor back into the spotlight, and he made seven more films, the last released in 1967. He died six years later at the age of 83. Hayakawa’s own account of his early years in the United States, buttressed by decades of publicity, proved convincing enough that his <em>New York Times</em> obituary noted that—as recorded in his memoir—he graduated from the University of Chicago in 1913.</p> <hr /><p><em>Amy Monaghan, AM’93, teaches film at Clemson University.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/arts-humanities" hreflang="en">Arts &amp; Humanities</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/film" hreflang="en">Film</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/memoirs" hreflang="en">Memoirs</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/history" hreflang="en">History</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/college-alumni" hreflang="en">College alumni</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/art-and-artifice" data-a2a-title="Art and artifice"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Farts-humanities%2Fart-and-artifice&amp;title=Art%20and%20artifice"></a></span> Fri, 09 Nov 2018 18:43:58 +0000 admin 7006 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Historian with a camera https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/historian-camera <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/18_Fall_Allen_Historian-with-a-camera.jpg" width="2000" height="1000" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/09/2018 - 12:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Crop of a photo by Henry Horenstein, EX’69. See the full photo below.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <a href="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Susie Allen, AB’09</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Fall/18</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Henry Horenstein, EX’69, captured the end of a country music era.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>Henry Horenstein</strong>, EX’69, is explaining why documentary photography is like studying history when he pauses. “Hmm, interesting,” he says. We’re talking by phone as he drives through Pennsylvania on a photographic road trip. An unusual house has caught his eye. He decides to double back. “This is the photographic process, right here,” he says.</p> <p>Horenstein likes what he sees. “No kidding, I really have to,” he says. “Can you hold on one second?”</p> <p>A few minutes later he returns, satisfied. “It’s actually pretty good,” he says. “A little <em>Let Us Now Praise Famous Men</em>”—Walker Evans’s famous book of Depression-era photography.</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="151c191c-404b-4266-b237-35e262167d7f" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18_Fall_Allen_Historian-with-a-camera_SpotA_0.jpg" /><figcaption>When Horenstein photographed Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner in 1972, he asked Parton about her bold fashion choices. “People don’t come out to see me looking like everybody else,” she told him. (Photography by Henry Horenstein, EX’69)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>Horenstein, a professor at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), believes in following his instincts. He’s spent his career heeding the advice of his RISD teacher Harry Callahan, who once asked Horenstein what he loved. “I said, ‘Music and horse racing,’ and he said, ‘Shoot those things. … Even if you get a bad picture, you’ll have a good time,’” Horenstein says. “I’ve kind of taken that for my goal in life.”</p> <p>Callahan probably didn’t intend for Horenstein to take him so seriously (“I think he just said it as a blow-off line—he was trying to go out for a cigarette and a student was bugging him”), but the advice worked out. Horenstein is the author of more than 30 books, including several widely used photography textbooks.</p> <p>He photographed plenty of musicians and horse races before moving on to wildlife, burlesque performers, and drag kings. “The subject really rules, in my opinion,” he says. “Some people don’t agree with that, but that’s how I look at it. And if you have a really great subject, things can be forgiven.”</p> <p>Take his 1980 portrait of Emmylou Harris. “It’s a good picture in a lot of ways, but it’s not that it’s a good picture that you remember it,” he argues. “It’s because it’s Emmylou Harris.” Still, Emmylou or no, the image grabs you: the singer’s gaze is fixed on something or someone unseen, her expression inscrutable.</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Emmy Lou Harris" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="a9a062d4-dd9f-4d41-9c99-c3fbb5c43a96" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18_Fall_Allen_Historian-with-a-camera_SpotB.jpg" /><figcaption>In 1980 Horenstein assisted the legendary photographer Elliott Erwitt with Emmylou Harris’s <em>Country Music</em> magazine cover shoot. He couldn’t resist sneaking a few candid shots of his own. (Photography by Henry Horenstein, EX’69)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>His 2012 book <em>Honky Tonk: Portraits of Country Music</em> (W. W. Norton) includes that image of Harris alongside shots of Dolly Parton, Porter Wagoner, and Jerry Lee Lewis. But much of the collection, which was compiled over 40 years, is devoted to fans and honky tonks, backwater bars with jukeboxes and occasionally live music. These dives are disappearing, and Horenstein wanted to capture them before they were all gone.</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Jerry Lee Lewis" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="a18f6aa0-4426-4d51-871f-7978d2b97ace" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18_Fall_Allen_Historian-with-a-camera_SpotC.jpg" /><figcaption>Jerry Lee Lewis had his own ideas when Horenstein photographed him in 1975, Horenstein recalls. “He’d do poses and say, ‘Take this one,’ ‘take this one,’ ‘take this one.’” (Photography by Henry Horenstein, EX’69)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>Horenstein’s urge to document history goes back to his days at UChicago, where he took classes from Jesse Lemisch, then an assistant professor of history. Lemisch was part of a movement that advocated studying the history of ordinary people—“history from the bottom up,” as he described it. On Lemisch’s advice, Horenstein spent several months in England studying under E. P. Thompson, author of <em>The Making of the English Working Class</em> (Pantheon Books, 1963).</p> <p>“He was writing about the workers during the Industrial Revolution, but he was singing my song,” Horenstein recalled in his memoir. Thompson’s work “offered me an entry into photography. I had no art background, but I did know a thing or two about history. Maybe I could be a historian with a camera.”</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="The Lovers" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="91fbe06f-881a-4e2d-ba3e-ee187e75fde5" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18_Fall_Allen_Historian-with-a-camera_SpotD.jpg" /><figcaption>Horenstein’s love of country music and horse racing guided his early photography career. Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville, 1975. (Photography by Henry Horenstein, EX’69)</figcaption></figure></div> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Man at a racetrack" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="02729ef4-2f39-4b59-b77d-e4ed2cf36dec" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18_Fall_Allen_Historian-with-a-camera_SpotE.jpg" /><figcaption>A racetrack in Northampton, Massachusetts. (Photography by Henry Horenstein, EX’69)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>That plan got unexpected encouragement in 1969, when Horenstein was expelled for participating in a sit-in protesting the denial of tenure to Marlene Dixon, a leftist sociologist. He left Chicago and enrolled at RISD to begin his formal photographic training.</p> <p>After art school, Horenstein took on a motley assortment of freelance assignments. He worked on and off for the Americana label Rounder Records, which played to his strengths. He also worked on a title called<em> Drugs and You, Too</em>, which didn’t. The book was intended to convince kids to steer clear of drugs, but “I doubt [my pictures] convinced anyone not to do anything except maybe never to become a photographer,” he jokes. In between he took photos for himself, gathering the images that would be included in collections such as <em>Honky Tonk</em>.</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Henry Horenstein's parents" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="04c7be9a-8a0e-4294-b6bd-54a085cf2a47" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18_Fall_Allen_Historian-with-a-camera_SpotG.jpg" /><figcaption>When Horenstein was starting out, he was too nervous to ask strangers to pose for him. He turned to friends and family, including his parents, “because I knew they’d agree to be subjects.” (Photography by Henry Horenstein, EX’69)</figcaption></figure></div> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="A drag king lighting a cigarette" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="3b72ba09-9599-488b-a7ec-7f257adb9504" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18_Fall_Allen_Historian-with-a-camera_SpotF.jpg" /><figcaption>By the 2000s, his shyness a thing of the past, Horenstein began to photograph burlesque performers and drag kings. (Photography by Henry Horenstein, EX’69)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>Today Horenstein’s work from the ’60s and ’70s looks rough and unfinished to him—“I didn’t know what I was doing”—but there’s a purity to it. He could take the same photos again today, and they’d be better, technically, but not so much from the heart.</p> <p>His skills have improved with time, but his approach hasn’t changed; nearly 50 years after hearing the advice, Horenstein continues to shoot what he loves. “I like to be alone and I like driving. I like to see different parts of the country,” he says. So from time to time he leaves his home in Boston and takes trips like the one he’s on now.</p> <p>“I’ve never really been through the Alleghenies,” he says. So far, at least, “it’s kind of boring for pictures.” But suddenly—again—his fortunes change. “I just saw another picture I want,” he says. He decides our call is bringing him good photographic luck. “Would you stay on the line for my whole trip?”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/arts-humanities" hreflang="en">Arts &amp; Humanities</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/photography" hreflang="en">Photography</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/music" hreflang="en">Music</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/historian-camera" data-a2a-title="Historian with a camera"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Farts-humanities%2Fhistorian-camera&amp;title=Historian%20with%20a%20camera"></a></span> Fri, 09 Nov 2018 18:43:58 +0000 admin 7005 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Smear tactic https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/smear-tactic <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/18_Fall_Demanski_Smear-tactic.jpg" width="2000" height="1000" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/09/2018 - 12:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“Ordered by the Inquisition to erase the name of the condemned author of this treatise on logic, the censor has instead changed Balduino to Babboon, using humor instead of erasure.” (From the exhibit <i>Censorship and Information Control: A Global History from the Inquisition to the Internet </i>at the University of Chicago Library Special Collections Research Center)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/laura-demanski-am94"> <a href="/author/laura-demanski-am94"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Laura Demanski, AM’94</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Fall/18</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Rubbed-out doodles in the pages of a medieval manuscript show that the human impulse to censor plays out on scales large and small.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>In the margins of an introductory Latin grammar manuscript, someone scribbled ribald, sometimes explicit, little line drawings. Then the dirty bits were smudged out. Who and why? Renaissance scholar <strong>Ada Palmer</strong>, associate professor of history and in the College, can’t say for sure.</p> <p>But this micro battle between artist and censor illustrates a point explored in <a href="https://voices.uchicago.edu/censorship/exhibit/"><em>Censorship and Information Control: A Global History from the Inquisition to the Internet</em></a>, an exhibition Palmer curated at the library’s Special Collections Research Center: to help viewers think about what counts as censorship. The exhibit, she says, “is organized around George Orwell’s 1984, which is such a powerful tool for teaching vigilance against authoritarianism and for the way we think about censorship. But it describes a very particular kind of censorship, which is very atypical for real history.”</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Regulae grammaticae et rhetoricae" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="896bbf8c-e393-43cb-a442-1b509f9a8856" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18_Fall_Demanski_Smear-tactic_SpotA.jpg" /><figcaption>(University of Chicago Library Special Collections Research Center, MS No. 99, <em>Regulae grammaticae et rhetoricae)</em></figcaption></figure></div> <p>The specifics of this instance of sort-of censorship are lost to us, but Palmer can make some educated guesses. It likely happened between the mid-1400s and the 1520s, when printed textbooks had largely supplanted manuscripts like this one.</p> <p>And the student was probably just setting out on his or her studies. “Anybody who’s going to go to university to study any subject, whether it’s medicine or law or theology, Latin grammar is the 101-level thing you do first,” Palmer says. That included sons of the aristocracy but also of the “ambitious upper-middle class.”</p> <p>Some men and women from wealthier families studied Latin with tutors in the home. Manuscripts owned by schools or rental services typically bear many notes in many hands, so this one was likely owned privately rather than shared.</p> <p>The erasure of a medieval vandal’s drawings may not be Orwellian, but it represents a subtler and more pervasive kind of suppression. Censorship often occurs on the fly, Palmer points out, with governments “improvising new forms in response to a perceived crisis” or commercial interests shaping, for instance, publishing practices that affect the limits of expression in unintended ways. The exhibition asks, “how does censorship operate in reality as opposed to how we imagine it?”</p> <p>It is open through December 14. A related series of dialogues, Censorship and Information Control During Information Revolutions, takes place fall quarter and will be available at <a href="https://voices.uchicago.edu/censorship/dialogueseries/">voices.uchicago.edu/censorship/dialogueseries</a>.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/arts-humanities" hreflang="en">Arts &amp; Humanities</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/censorship" hreflang="en">Censorship</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/special-collections-research-center-0" hreflang="en">Special Collections Research Center</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refformats field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/formats/original-source" hreflang="en">Original Source</a></div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/smear-tactic" data-a2a-title="Smear tactic"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Farts-humanities%2Fsmear-tactic&amp;title=Smear%20tactic"></a></span> Fri, 09 Nov 2018 18:43:58 +0000 admin 7003 at https://mag.uchicago.edu The new romantics https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/new-romantics <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/18Fall_Allen_The-new-romantics_0.jpg" width="700" height="376" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/09/2018 - 12:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Director Claire Scanlon, AB’93, says she tries to make her sets inclusive and democratic. “If I’m a jerk on set—throwing out commands, yelling and hollering—how on earth are you supposed to be funny in that scenario?” (Courtesy Netflix)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <a href="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Susie Allen, AB’09</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Fall/18</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>How <strong>Claire Scanlon</strong>, AB’93, made a romantic comedy for the modern era.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>At first blush, the Netflix romantic comedy <em>Set It Up</em> feels familiar. Its two protagonists follow a well-worn cinematic path: they bicker, then they bond. Will they or won’t they? Of course they will.</p> <p>But, like the unassuming bookstore owner or the hard-charging attorney who’s given up on love (pick your trope), there’s more to <em>Set It Up</em> than meets the eye. The film earned praise for its diverse casting and portrayal of an interracial romance, as well as its subtle subversion of romantic comedy expectations: the gay best friend has a sex life, and the promiscuous female sidekick is never reduced to a punchline.</p> <p>Behind the scenes, <em>Set It Up</em> was even more radical. At a time when women hold a fraction of key movie production roles, <em>Set It Up</em> was written, produced, cast, and edited by women. The film’s production designer, costume designer, set decorator, and composer were women too—along with its director, Claire Scanlon, AB’93. (As if to underscore the point, Scanlon was eight months pregnant when filming concluded. She jokes that anytime anyone complained on set, “I’d just gently turn and show them my profile, my very big belly, like, ‘Yeah, how’s it going?’”)</p> <p>For her first film, Scanlon was determined to make something that felt different. Before <em>Set It Up </em>landed at Netflix, studios questioned the casting choices the creative team had in mind. Scanlon told them it was a nonnegotiable point for her. The film is set in New York, and she wanted it to look that way. “When I open my door in Manhattan, I see diversity. … That was really important to me, to portray the world as it is,” she says. If executives wanted a whitewashed film, “I’m not your person.”</p> <p>At 46, Scanlon has arrived at an enviable point in her career—the point where she doesn’t have to compromise about the things that are important to her. “I’m not a young hot-shot 20-year-old who’s desperate for their first break,” she says. “I’m someone who can walk away from a project because I’ll be just fine.”</p> <p>Still, you get the sense that she wouldn’t have taken guff at any point in her career. In talking to Scanlon, it’s obvious why she became a successful director: she is direct, and knows what she likes and doesn’t. She’s honed those instincts for decades, first as a moviegoer and fan (she’s got a deep knowledge of classic Hollywood and popular film), then as an editor, and ultimately as a director for shows including <em>Black-ish</em>, <em>Fresh Off the Boat</em>, and<em> Brooklyn Nine-Nine</em>. They’re good instincts, judging by the enthusiastic response to <em>Set It Up</em>. Netflix is famously secretive about releasing viewership data, but they’ve told Scanlon the movie has done “<em>quite</em> well.”</p> <p><em>Set It Up</em> follows the travails of Harper and Charlie, two overworked personal assistants who attempt to, in their words, “parent trap” their bosses into falling in love. Along the way, Harper and Charlie catch feelings too. It’s a tried-and-true formula that led some critics to compare <em>Set It Up</em> to mainstays like <em>You’ve Got Mail </em>(1998).</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Film still from Set It Up" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="635a4638-edb8-46e0-ac8c-3b5c53a942ec" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18Fall_Allen_The-new-romantics_spotA_0.png" /><figcaption>Here’s looking at you, kid: Boy meets girl meets pizza in Claire Scanlon’s (AB’93) romantic comedy <em>Set It Up</em>. (Courtesy K.C. Bailey/Netflix)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>But Scanlon says that she thinks <em>Set It Up </em>hearkens back even further, to the romantic comedies of the ’30s and ’40s. “For me, it was <em>His Girl Friday</em>,” she says. “There’s a certain cadence and a rhythm to the way they speak.” She instructed actor Zoey Deutch, who plays Harper, to emulate Rosalind Russell’s rat-a-tat style. “Zoey really ran with that.”</p> <p>In those classics, “women were on equal footing with men, if not one step ahead.” In <em>His Girl Friday</em>, Russell’s Hildy is well aware that Cary Grant’s Walter is trying to win her back. “She knows what he’s doing. She calls him out on it all the time,” Scanlon says. The fun comes from watching the back-and-forth. Will they or won’t they? Of course they will.</p> <p>There’s a good reason Scanlon knows <em>His Girl Friday </em>so well—she edited the 2004 <em>American Masters </em>special “Cary Grant: A Class Apart.” It was one of several <em>American Masters </em>documentaries Scanlon worked on, several years after finishing film school at the University of Southern California. While cutting “Bob Newhart: Unbuttoned” and “Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character,” Scanlon got an inadvertent education in comedy. “I watched everything they ever did.”</p> <p>Her mentor, documentarian Arnold Glassman, always emphasized the need for a laugh or two. It didn’t matter what the movie was about. “You cannot have two hours with no jokes,” she says.</p> <p>Editing PBS documentaries was creatively satisfying but not lucrative. To pay the bills, Scanlon cut reality shows including <em>Last Comic Standing</em>, <em>Top Chef</em>, and <em>The Apprentice</em>. (She knows what you’re wondering, and the answer is, no. Although she’s no fan of the current president, she never saw any footage of Donald Trump saying anything particularly incriminating.)</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Graph showing the percentage of women working in certain roles in the top 500 domestic grossing films of 2017" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="917faae3-39bd-4197-8c34-43728aedbc68" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18Fall_Allen_The-new-romantics_spotB_0.jpg" /><figcaption>Scanlon didn’t intentionally choose a mostly female creative team for<em> Set It Up</em>. They were “the best people for the job and just happened to be available,” she told <em>Variety</em>. Still, it set the film apart. According to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, women hold a minority of key behind-the-camera roles.<br /><br /> But these numbers look different when women direct. For instance, on male-directed films, women made up 8 percent of writers. On films with at least one female director, women made up 68 percent of writers.<br />  </figcaption></figure></div> <p>Between her documentary, reality show, and comedy experience, Scanlon inadvertently crafted a perfect résumé for <em>The Office</em>, the mockumentary about a fictional paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Scanlon was hired as one of <em>The Office</em>’s editors and got some of her first directing experience on the show.</p> <p>Editing is a delicate art. It requires balancing the artistic priorities of directors and actors with the attentional limitations of the audience. In comedy, an editor’s timing can matter as much as an actor’s. “There’s a joke that all editors have to be good dancers,” she says—because you have to have rhythm.</p> <p><em>The Office</em> was an editor’s heaven. Showrunners Greg Daniels and Paul Lieberstein “really respect the art of editing,” Scanlon says. Although the script’s language was sacrosanct, Daniels and Lieberstein trusted their editors to tinker with structure, for instance moving the episode’s “talking-head” interviews to play up a particular joke or story point.</p> <p>Toward the end of her time on <em>The Office</em>, Scanlon was ready for the next challenge. Other editors from the show had directed episodes, so Scanlon felt comfortable asking if she could try too. She got her chance with season eight’s “Angry Andy” and season nine’s Halloween episode, “Here Comes Treble.”</p> <p>That led to a “massive break”—a directing opportunity on the first season of Mindy Kaling’s <em>The Mindy Project</em>. Like <em>Set It Up</em>, <em>The Mindy Project</em> didn’t fit the Hollywood mold. At the time, “to have someone that was the romantic lead of a network show that was not white, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and a size two was unusual,” Scanlon says. “That was a big, groundbreaking show.”</p> <p>Before long, Scanlon had a hefty list of directing credits, many of them on shows created or cocreated by women, including Tina Fey’s <em>Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt</em> and Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch’s <em>GLOW</em>.</p> <p>“I’m rooting hard for all women,” Scanlon says. “I was so glad when <em>Wonder Woman</em> did well.” She names several female-directed comedies—<em>The Spy Who Dumped Me</em>, <em>Like Father</em>—that she hopes will succeed, “not only because I want all comedies to do well, because I think we need more comedies out there, but in the sense that I want women-directed comedies to do well. I want women-directed everything to do well.” Otherwise, she fears, the opportunities will disappear. Men get lots of chances to make a successful movie, but for women, “it’s still that thing of, ‘We gave her a shot and it didn’t work out.’”</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Graph showing the percentage of women working in certain roles during the 2017-18 television season" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="a878c757-048f-4a0e-a806-7d54d36a0ce1" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18Fall_Allen_The-new-romantics_spotC_0.jpg" /><figcaption>The lack of gender diversity behind the scenes affects what happens on screen. On TV shows with no women executive producers, women made up 33 percent of major characters. Add just one woman executive producer and that figure jumps to 42 percent.</figcaption></figure></div> <p>If editors have to be good dancers, directors have to be good at a little of everything. The job is at once intuitive and logistical. A typical day can include both counseling an actor through an emotionally complex scene and figuring out how to get permission to shoot at Yankee Stadium, as Scanlon did for <em>Set It Up</em>. At one point in our conversation, I offhandedly compare the work of a director to being the general of an army. Scanlon immediately pushes back. “I can’t think of an analogy less like a set I work on than the military,” she says. “Because you can’t be funny when you’re afraid.”</p> <p>Scanlon’s sets are democratic. If a production assistant has a good idea, great. She also tries to protect her team by resisting the tendency to “hose a scene down”—that is, shooting it from every angle to give yourself more options. “You think that could be a good idea, but it’s folly,” Scanlon says. “Because what you end up doing is burning out your actors, burning out your crew, and then your editor gets all this mishmash with no real vision or insight into how to tell the story.”</p> <p>Scanlon is, in general, skeptical of auteur theory. She tells a (possibly apocryphal) story about the director Frank Capra, who argued for the “one man, one film” approach. Capra’s frequent collaborator, the screenwriter Robert Riskin, who knew Capra wasn’t much of a writer, “was so fed up with hearing it, he threw a ream of white paper at Capra, and said, ‘Hey, let’s see the Frank Capra touch on this.’”</p> <p>When Scanlon got the script for <em>Set It Up</em>, it “popped off the page immediately. It was just such a no-brainer.” In making the movie she fulfilled nearly all of her aspirations, with one exception: Scanlon, who grew up in Chicago, pitched for the movie to be set in her hometown.</p> <p>It wasn’t in the cards. One of the film’s stars, Lucy Liu, lives in New York, and Chicago’s tax incentives weren’t competitive. “Which is too bad. Because of course I’m dying to go back to Chicago, desperate,” Scanlon says. <em>Set It Up</em> was intended as a love letter to Manhattan, but “I want to do a love letter to my town.”</p> <p>Scanlon grew up in Boystown in the ’70s and ’80s, then a more rough-and-tumble neighborhood than it is today. Sex work was out in the open, and street crime was commonplace. She once got jumped at the corner of Broadway and Aldine.</p> <p>Still, she remembers her Chicago upbringing fondly. “I would jump on the 151 or the 146, … and I would go to a movie at Water Tower Place and then I’d hit Burger King, and then I’d go to the Esquire movie theater.” She loved John Hughes’s teen-focused comedies, which were released at a steady clip throughout her own adolescence.</p> <p>Scanlon spent her first two years of college at the University of Iowa, then transferred to the University of Chicago, where the classes were smaller and gave her the academic challenge she wanted. While at UChicago she got her first job in TV, transcribing the PBS series <em>The New Explorers</em>, hosted by legendary television journalist Bill Kurtis. Kurtis told the <em>Chicago Tribune</em> he remembered Scanlon as “bright, industrious, with a great future in this business, and apparently that is true.”</p> <p>For the moment, Scanlon’s future involves directing the pilot and season finale of <em>American Princess</em>, a show about a young woman who joins a Renaissance fair, cocreated by Jenji Kohan of <em>Weeds</em> and <em>Orange Is the New Black</em> fame.</p> <p>She’s also navigating fans’ calls for a sequel to <em>Set It Up</em>. If there were to be one, Scanlon says she’d want to follow Lucy Liu’s character, who doesn’t fully get her happy ending. “We opened a door for her, but she didn’t quite yet walk through,” Scanlon says. “So it would be interesting to see.” But Scanlon isn’t convinced there needs to be a sequel at all. “Don’t you think you should always leave people wanting more?” She’s still mulling. It’s a real will-they-or-won’t-they.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/arts-humanities" hreflang="en">Arts &amp; Humanities</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/film" hreflang="en">Film</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/romance" hreflang="en">Romance</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/diversity" hreflang="en">Diversity</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/womens-rights" hreflang="en">women’s rights</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/college-alumni" hreflang="en">College alumni</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/new-romantics" data-a2a-title="The new romantics"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Farts-humanities%2Fnew-romantics&amp;title=The%20new%20romantics"></a></span> Fri, 09 Nov 2018 18:43:58 +0000 admin 7002 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Bonnie Jo Campbell, ABʼ84 https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/bonnie-jo-campbell-ab84 <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/18Fall_UChicagoan_1.jpg" width="2000" height="808" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/09/2018 - 12:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Fall/18</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Questions for the award-winning novelist and short story writer.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h2>What surprising job have you had in the past?</h2> <p>One summer I traveled with the circus. I sold snow cones and lived on the Ringling Bros. and Barnum &amp; Bailey Circus train. If I recall correctly, work was profitable through September, so I was late getting to my fall classes in my junior year. The job involved running up and down stadium stairs for six hours a day with a heavy tray over my head, so I was in great shape, and I made quite a bit of money. My voice has never quite recovered in these 36 years from yelling above the noise of the crowd and the show music, “Get your snow cones, red hot snow cones,” and “There’s no balls like snowballs.”</p> <h2>What would you want to be doing if not your current profession?</h2> <p>Teaching mathematics. Though I was a philosophy major in college and though creative writing was my passion, my favorite weekly event at UChicago was Math Tea every Friday, and so naturally when I went to graduate school it was to study mathematics. By the time I figured out how to write good fiction, I was in a PhD program focusing on graph theory. It was my PhD adviser who suggested I take a writing class. To bring matters full circle, I am currently writing a novel about a young woman who loves math.</p> <h2>What do you hate that everyone else loves?</h2> <p>If you’re talking about food, I love every single thing.</p> <h2>What do you love that everyone else hates?</h2> <p>Loading hay. We’re a farm family, and when I was young every summer involved loading and unloading thousands of bales of hay. Now we only have a couple of donkeys, and we need something like two hundred bales of hay, but it always comes without warning, just a call from our farmer friend saying we’re baling now. Everybody else dreads loading and unloading and stacking the hay in the barn, but I just love this physical activity. Though at age 56, it wears me out, it somehow makes me feel young. Once there was rain on the way and everybody else was tied up, so I brought in 110 bales from the field by myself.</p> <h2>What was the last book you finished?</h2> <p>Jeanette Winterson’s memoir <em>Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?</em> Before that it was <em>The Underground Railroad</em> by Colson Whitehead. Loved both. Since I started this questionnaire, I just finished <em>Train Dreams</em> by Denis Johnson. Picking up three brilliant books in a row thrills me!</p> <h2>What was the last book you recommended to a friend?</h2> <p>Min Jin Lee’s <em>Pachinko</em>. It’s epic. Her narrative follows a fictional Korean family for five generations, and we see how the members of that family suffer and thrive through World War II, the partitioning of Korea, right up until the present-day situation of Koreans living in Japan. I learned a lot to carry away with me, but during the reading I was mostly just caught up in this story of survival and desire. The author got her law degree at Georgetown, but telling stories lured her away.</p> <h2>What was the last book you put down before finishing it?</h2> <p>This happens more as I get older, that I discover a book that other folks love might not be good for me, or not at a certain time. I got halfway through <em>A Prayer for Owen Meany</em> (John Irving) and decided to put it back on my shelf. I love the characters and the good humor of the writing, but it’s long and I thought the women in the story were not fully realized. I don’t mind if a book’s material just doesn’t include women, but if the women characters get short shrift, I think the book might not be for me.</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Bonnie Jo Campbell" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="6cf1458d-06fd-4c4f-bf28-532df8eb02ea" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18_Fall_campbell_UChicagoan_spotA.jpg" /><figcaption>(Illustration by Nigel Buchanan)</figcaption></figure></div> <h2>What UChicago course book left the biggest impression on you?</h2> <p><em>The Structure of Scientific Revolutions</em> by Thomas Kuhn. Hands down. He introduced the idea of scientific paradigm shifts. He would disapprove of my borrowing his ideas about science to describe sociological issues such as the American political situation. He showed how the facts go on to support one view of the world and how they will stretch and stretch to accommodate that view, until it becomes clear that they no longer can. If only politicians were as earnest as scientists and could see the strain, we might progress socially as we progress scientifically.</p> <h2>What book changed your life?</h2> <p>I took a class that I believe we called “Trashy Fiction of the ’30s,” in which we read Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Caldwell, etc. When we read The Grapes of Wrath, I was blown away by how compassionately an author, Steinbeck, could treat poor, struggling people. This gave me an idea that I might have something to write about.</p> <h2>What person, alive or dead, would you want to write your life story?</h2> <p>George Saunders. I would want my biography to be a work of fiction, of course, and Saunders would be just the guy to blend the quotidian, the extraordinary, and the surreal. And he would make my story his own, and that is the job of a writer.</p> <h2>What’s your least useful talent?</h2> <p>I’m good at cleaning and at organizing a mess of objects into their categories and putting them away where they belong (and creating the places they belong). If you have ever seen my messy house, this might surprise you. Let me explain. Cleaning and organizing takes a lot of time away from my writing, and my writing is way more important to me.</p> <h2>Tell us the best piece of advice you’ve received—or the worst.</h2> <p>When I was a kid, my mom told me to take every opportunity. For a while that was great advice. I grew up poor but traveled the country by hitchhiking. I led bicycle tours in Eastern Europe when I was 17—seems unreal, now that I think about it. Turns out that if you’re not trying to play it safe lots of opportunities arise. Now I have so many opportunities I have to turn them down all the time, and it makes me a little melancholy, thinking about what I might have passed up, what my world might have been like if I’d said yes.</p> <h2>What advice would you give to a brand-new Maroon?</h2> <p>Take a deep breath. Because I have a problem with anxiety, I used to take long walks at night around the campus telling myself, “Relax, it’s okay if you don’t get an A in every class,” but I imagine today’s students are all well adjusted and well rested, so I would just tell them to be their brilliant selves and keep a journal—time is going to fly, and you will want to remember everything.</p> <h2>What did you learn at UChicago that still benefits you today?</h2> <p>To take my work seriously. Before getting to Chicago, my friends all said I was too serious and worried too much about my studies. Chicago allowed me to indulge my intellectual obsessions. As far as writing, I had to take my work seriously myself for a long time before I got any accolades from the outside world.</p> <h2>What’s your most vivid UChicago memory in two sentences or less?</h2> <p>My first fiction-writing class ever was with Richard Stern, and it was a workshop situation, providing very little instruction but just reading one another’s work. When it was my turn, Stern said, authoritatively, “This work epitomizes all that is wrong with fiction-writing today.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/arts-humanities" hreflang="en">Arts &amp; Humanities</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/writing" hreflang="en">Writing</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/college-alumni" hreflang="en">College alumni</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refformats field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/uchicagoan" hreflang="en">The UChicagoan</a></div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/bonnie-jo-campbell-ab84" data-a2a-title="Bonnie Jo Campbell, ABʼ84"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Farts-humanities%2Fbonnie-jo-campbell-ab84&amp;title=Bonnie%20Jo%20Campbell%2C%20AB%CA%BC84"></a></span> Fri, 09 Nov 2018 18:43:58 +0000 admin 7001 at https://mag.uchicago.edu The steps to 55 Steps https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/steps-55-steps <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/18Fall_Rosen_The-steps-to-55-steps.jpg" width="700" height="700" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/09/2018 - 12:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>(Illustration by Brian Stauffer/theispot)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/mark-bruce-rosin-ab68"> <a href="/author/mark-bruce-rosin-ab68"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Mark Bruce Rosin, AB’68</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Fall/18</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>When <strong>Mark Bruce Rosin</strong>, AB’68, visited mental hospital patients as a College student, it opened the doorway to his 2018 screenplay.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Early in my freshman year in 1964, a student in my Soc II class, <strong>Heather Tobis Booth</strong>, AB’67, AM’70, told me about a student organization, VISA, that visited patients at a psychiatric institution. The next Saturday, I joined her and other VISA members on the bus to Chicago State Hospital, where I was assigned to visit patients in the closed women’s ward.</p> <p>I’d never been to a mental hospital before, nor, to the best of my knowledge, had I met anyone who had ever been a patient in one.</p> <p>I remember stepping off the bus and following other students to the building that contained the closed women’s ward. I remember the unpleasant smell of the building and doors being unlocked and relocked by the hospital staff as we proceeded from one corridor to another. I remember walking past a room where, I inferred from the multiple showerheads, several patients showered at the same time. Some of the tiles were cracked, and the room was dingy and decrepit.</p> <p>We were led to a large high-ceilinged, linoleum-tiled room, where women patients sat in chairs, mostly doing nothing. I don’t remember if there was a television, but there might have been.</p> <p>A few memories are particularly vivid. The most intense are of a woman I used to talk with every Saturday, starting the first day I was there, and of a teenage girl who was admitted to the ward later in the year.</p> <p>The woman was in her 60s. She had an Eastern European accent. She told me she was from Lithuania and that she had been a meat packer. She also said she had been married. She felt extremely isolated in the hospital, and I had the impression that her husband had divorced her or perhaps was still married to her but had abandoned her to the institution. I never asked her to clarify this because her former life was clearly a painful subject for her, and I didn’t want to cause her any more suffering. We student visitors were never told what the patients’ lives were like before entering the hospital or what their diagnoses were, so I had no idea why she was there. What I noticed about her was that she was always sad. Perhaps she had been institutionalized for depression.</p> <p>The teenage girl who came into the closed ward that spring was 16 years old. She was outgoing, impulsive, and very energetic. I believe she might have had a mild intellectual disability. I gathered from her conversation with me and other VISA members that her parents had institutionalized her because she had allowed boys to become intimate with her, and they were afraid she would get pregnant. On subsequent Saturdays, I watched her deteriorate in hygiene, dress, and spirit. I felt that she did not belong there, that whatever her diagnosis, she should not be in a ward where she was at least 20 years younger than any other patient. I spoke to a nurse about it, but she said there was nothing she could do.</p> <p>I also vividly remember the hospital staff going around with a tray of medication in tiny pleated paper cups, dispensing one to each patient. We student visitors never knew what kinds of pills were in the cups or how the nurses knew which cup to give to each patient. But many of the residents were so medicated that they seemed to be sleeping while awake.</p> <p>When I returned to college for sophomore year, I didn’t resume my weekly visits to the hospital. I also gave up my former goal of becoming a psychiatrist. I changed my major from biology to that most practical of majors, English. I loved the literature courses I was taking, and reading was far more pleasant to me than inorganic chemistry—a requirement for premed.</p> <p>It was a time of social activism on campus. I became involved in demonstrations opposing the Vietnam War. Instead of attending the official graduation ceremony in 1968, I participated in the anti–Vietnam War graduation ceremony in another building on campus, where we students wore black arm bands and Noam Chomsky gave the address. I graduated with the conviction that social activism on behalf of justice and human rights can help improve the world.</p> <p>Twenty-four years later, in 1992, I was living in Los Angeles and working as a screenwriter. One day, listening to public radio while driving in LA’s endless traffic, I heard an interview with Jim Preis, executive director of Mental Health Advocacy Services in Los Angeles. He was telling the interviewer how fulfilling his job was. He’d started doing it while he was in law school, and was still working at the same organization years later because the work meant so much to him.</p> <p>As I listened, I found myself immersed in memories of the closed women’s ward at Chicago State Hospital. I remembered the elderly woman from Lithuania and the teenage girl. I remembered patients sitting in the visiting room in a medicated stupor. Through the radio station, I got a phone number for Jim and arranged to meet him. When we got together, I asked him if there was a case he’d worked on for people with mental disabilities that might be the basis for an inspiring film.</p> <p>Jim told me about Eleanor Riese, a woman diagnosed with chronic paranoid schizophrenia, who became the plaintiff in a lawsuit to improve the treatment of patients in psychiatric hospitals. He told me about her lawyers, Colette Hughes and Mort Cohen, who, like Eleanor, lived in the Bay Area. Jim had filed an amicus brief in the case. As he talked about the lawsuit, I knew I had to write a film about Eleanor, the remarkable woman at the center of it.</p> <p>So began the process that led to my writing <em>55 Steps</em>, which stars Hilary Swank as Colette, Helena Bonham Carter as Eleanor, and Jeffrey Tambor as Mort, and is directed by Bille August. My wife, Cynthia Hoppenfeld, has a featured role as Eleanor’s best friend, an older nun who shares Eleanor’s devout Catholic faith. When Cynthia read my completed screenplay all those years ago, she loved the role but was too young to play it; when the film was finally made, almost 25 years later, she was just the right age.</p> <p>Eleanor Riese is a born protagonist, a woman whose life demands to be written about. In 1985, when she initiated her landmark human rights case to give involuntary, competent mental patients in nonemergency situations in California hospitals the right to informed consent to medication, she was 41 and had been on antipsychotic medications for years. Most of the time she lived on her own in an apartment where, following the tenets of her faith, she devoted herself to making rosaries for prisoners of conscience and to caring for homeless people in her neighborhood, providing them with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and the use of a bathroom. At times, she said, she would become overwhelmingly afraid and anxious, and would admit herself to a hospital. The experience that made her file the lawsuit occurred when, after one such occasion, the hospital staff wouldn’t listen when she told them that they were overmedicating her. Suffering many severe side effects of these medications, she wanted the hospital to respect her desire not to be given the drugs that she knew would hurt her and didn’t always help her. In her statements for the case, her insight into this is impressive; her eloquence is powerful.</p> <p>Ultimately, what kept me working for so many years to get <em>55 Steps</em> made was my respect for Eleanor and for her lawyers, Colette and Mort. I wanted to make the film to honor them and this important civil rights case.</p> <p>The impetus to work all these years to tell this story began with my visits to Chicago State Hospital with the other students in VISA. It is an experience that never left me. Other experiences in the College, too, were indispensable. The ability to do the necessary research and to write the screenplay owe much to my time writing and editing at the <em>Maroon</em> and studying English lit. Four years of Doc</p> <p>Films screenings deepened my engagement with film and my desire to tell stories through film. And directing plays for University Theatre honed my sense of what makes characters come alive on the page and what brings them to life in performance. One of those plays, presciently, was Middleton and Rowley’s Jacobean tragedy <em>The Changeling</em>, in which aristocrats indulge in the demeaning practice of going to a mental hospital to watch patients as an entertainment.</p> <p>It was a thrilling day when, a week before starting to film in San Francisco, we had our first table reading of the script for Hilary and Helena. Hilary, Helena, Bille, and I sat at a table in a hotel room in Los Angeles, our scripts in front of us, pencils in hand, a pitcher of water, and four glasses. I’d never heard the lines I’d written for Eleanor and Colette read aloud, although I’d lived with them for so many years. Even in this reading, which was casual and meant to give the actresses an opportunity to discuss any lines they’d like me to polish, it was moving to see and hear them breathing life into their characters, interpreting lines in ways I hadn’t imagined, in ways that I loved. It was also moving to see the rapport they already seemed to be developing as collaborators. Everything I felt that day I’ve continued to feel since.</p> <p>At the first prerelease screening of the film, the audience of 1,900 gave <em>55 Step</em>s a standing ovation. As I rose from my seat to stand with them, I couldn’t stop smiling—all these people standing and applauding to pay tribute to Eleanor, Colette, and Mort.</p> <p>After the screening, one woman thanked me for writing it. Several people told me they were excited about the theme of social activism for human rights, because it is so important in today’s world. I was especially moved by audience members who told me that through meeting Eleanor in the film, they realized that their past views of people with mental disabilities were far too limited and that Eleanor had opened their eyes.</p> <p>Just as Cynthia and I were about to leave the theater, a woman came up to us to say that she had had psychiatric problems over the years and had been in institutions several times. She told us that Eleanor’s story was her story, and that she was so glad it had been told.</p> <hr /><p><em>Mark Bruce Rosin, AB’68, is an author, editor, screenwriter, and producer. He dedicates this essay to the memory of Jim Preis, executive director of Mental Health Advocacy Services in Los Angeles, who died October 12, 2018.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/arts-humanities" hreflang="en">Arts &amp; Humanities</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/mental-health" hreflang="en">Mental health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/film" hreflang="en">Film</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/college-alumni" hreflang="en">College alumni</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refformats field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/formats/alumni-essay" hreflang="en">Alumni Essay</a></div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/steps-55-steps" data-a2a-title="The steps to 55 Steps"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Farts-humanities%2Fsteps-55-steps&amp;title=The%20steps%20to%C2%A055%20Steps"></a></span> Fri, 09 Nov 2018 18:43:58 +0000 admin 6997 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Ethical photojournalism https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/ethical-photojournalism <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/18.10.05_Nagler_Ethical-Journalism.jpg" width="1950" height="1300" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/rsmith" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">rsmith</span></span> <span>Thu, 10/04/2018 - 16:58</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Nina Berman’s (AB’82) latest book is a collaboration with Kimberly Stevens, Berman’s friend of more than 25 years. <em>An Autobiography of Miss Wish</em> chronicles Stevens’s struggles with addiction and homelessness. (Photography by Nina Berman, AB’82)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/brooke-nagler-class-2020"> <a href="/author/brooke-nagler-class-2020"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Brooke Nagler, Class of 2020</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/web-exclusives" hreflang="en">Web exclusives</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">10.05.2018</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Nina Berman’s (AB’82) new book is a true collaboration between photographer and subject.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“Often the power dynamics and intention of photographers, and rules of collaboration and consent, are not transparent,” Nina Berman said in <a href="https://www.pdnonline.com/features/photographer-interviews/right-thing-nina-berman-ethical-choices/">an interview with <em>Photo District News</em></a><em> </em>last year. A documentary photographer, filmmaker, and <a href="https://journalism.columbia.edu/faculty/nina-berman">associate professor at the Columbia Journalism School</a>, Berman, AB’82, is conscious of and vocal about establishing transparency and trust with those she photographs.</p> <p>This attention to the dynamic of photographer and subject is clear in Berman’s latest book—recently shortlisted for the <a href="https://aperture.org/blog/2018-photobook-awards-shortlist/">Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook of the Year</a>—<em>An Autobiography of Miss Wish</em> (Kehrer Verlag, 2017). It is a collaboration between Berman and Kimberly Stevens, Berman’s friend of more than 25 years and the subject of the work.</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Cover of An Autobiography of Miss Wish" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="b889dc6b-31eb-4c8b-8018-0012e0e151c7" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18.10.05_Nagler_Ethical-Journalism_SpotA.jpg" /><figcaption>Berman’s latest book, <em>An Autobiography of Miss Wish</em> (Kehrer Verlag, 2017)m is a collaboration between Berman and Kimberly Stevens, Berman’s friend of more than 25 years and the subject of the work. (Image courtesy Nina Berman, AB’82)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>The two met in London in 1990 when Berman was photographing young drug addicts there. Stevens has since relocated to New York, where Berman has advocated for her care and safeguarded her art. The book chronicles Stevens’s life, detailing her chronic homelessness and the long-term effects of childhood abuse. Throughout the process of making it, Berman needed to make sure “we would tell [Stevens’s] story in a way that she felt validated and safe.”</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Photograph of Kimberly Stevens by Nina Berman" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="990ce633-5912-403a-a070-49e6c2094602" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18.10.05_Nagler_Ethical-Journalism_SpotB.jpg" /><figcaption><em>Miss Wish</em> chronicles Stevens’s life, detailing her chronic homelessness and the long-term effects of childhood abuse. (Photography by Nina Berman, AB’82)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>The book is filled with art created by Stevens and color photographs Berman took of Stevens going about her daily life—on the streets, in her first apartment in midtown New York, in the hospital. Stevens’s creativity was an important element of the collaboration. There are drawings she made of scenes from her childhood in England—one labeled “flashback” depicts a knife, another shows a crying baby in a stroller as an adult walks away, back turned—as well as diary entries and other writings about her dreams, flashbacks, and experiences.</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="A drawing by Kimberly Stevens " data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="357f136f-a594-4f72-a12e-18a9507829dd" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18.10.05_Nagler_Ethical-Journalism_SpotC.jpg" /><figcaption>The book is filled with art created by Stevens, including this one of a scene from her childhood in England. (Drawing courtesy Kimberly Stevens)</figcaption></figure></div> <p>Stevens is used to people doubting what has happened to her, so she’s always saved items from her past. The book, which compiles some of that work, serves as proof of Stevens’s experiences. “I’ve spent my entire life collecting evidence,” Stevens <a href="https://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/11/16/a-photographer-and-her-subject-share-a-journey-over-the-decades/">told the <em>New York Times</em></a>. “I used to go with my family and take things from various places—in a constant fight to prove what happened.”</p> <p>The collaborators hope the book might also change people’s attitudes toward people living on the streets. Instead of judging or ignoring those they pass, Berman wants people to “step back and say wait, maybe something really terrible happened and they’re just trying to get through the day.”</p> <p>Much of Berman’s work highlights issues of social justice. She documented veterans seriously wounded during the Iraq war in the series Purple Heart, one of her many series related to the war. It’s part of her “lifelong ongoing conversation with the US military and our militarization of our society.” She has photographed antifracking activists, Syrian families in the Za’atari refugee camp, and opponents of the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy. In 2009 she joined <a href="http://noorimages.com/">NOOR</a>, a photo agency and collective that documents struggles for human rights and social justice.</p> <p>Her interest in political photojournalism stems from her time in Chicago, when she joined activists fighting the Democratic Party machine in support of progressive local candidates—a struggle that resulted in the election of Harold Washington. During that time, Berman photographed for the left-leaning arts and politics publication <em>Haymarket</em>. “That experience in Chicago, being very politically oriented, I think has defined a lot of my work,” she says.</p> <p>Berman is drawn to stories of people fighting for righteous causes who feel unheard and unseen. Throughout her work, it is clear she devotes time and energy to hearing those people’s perspectives, producing photographs that communicate more than simply the moment they capture. For example, in one of Berman’s images from <em><a href="http://www.ninaberman.com/fractured-the-shale-play">Fractured: the shale play</a></em>, which documents the effects of hydraulic fracturing, a couple is shown lighting the methane-filled water from their kitchen sink on fire. The blaze illuminates the far-reaching effects of fracking on individuals and communities.</p> <p>When she contemplates the people she photographs, and the photographer-subject dynamic in general, Berman argues the term “subject” itself might need replacing. “I think it’s about time that people should consider more the subject’s feelings, and that the subject maybe shouldn’t even be called a <em>subject</em> but a <em>partner</em>,” she says.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/arts-humanities" hreflang="en">Arts &amp; Humanities</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/photography" hreflang="en">Photography</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/ethical-photojournalism" data-a2a-title="Ethical photojournalism"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Farts-humanities%2Fethical-photojournalism&amp;title=Ethical%20photojournalism"></a></span> Thu, 04 Oct 2018 21:58:42 +0000 rsmith 6990 at https://mag.uchicago.edu