Author: Charles Mayo

Imminent Brewery vs. Stav Hall: who wore Randy better?

Last semester saw the exit of Bon Appetit’s board supervisor Randy Clay so that he could open his long-awaited business, Imminent Brewing. This has led to hundreds of upperclassmen both enjoying Clay’s delicious craft beers and also lamenting the supposed downfall of Stav Hall in his absence. It has also created a discourse that alienates all the first years who have no idea who the heck Randy Clay is.

If only we could have our cake and eat it too. But alas, one man can only run so many successful service establishments. So let us compare them side-by-side: Stav Hall vs. Imminent Brewery – who wore Randy Clay better?

Round One – Dress Code

Stav: Randy would often wear a blue button-down shirt and khaki pants. A fairly typical work uniform. Professional, but lacking a personal or creative flair.

Imminent: At his own establishment, Randy is regularly seen walking around in flannel shirts and old, roughed-up baseball caps. Untidy, but intentionally so. It gives off a folksy and ultimately more approachable vibe.

Winner: Imminent.

Round Two – Beverages

Stav: None of the beverage options contain alcohol. Ice machine runs out after the first hour of any given meal.

Imminent: Mostly beer and consistently served cold.

Winner: Imminent.

Round Three – Food

Stav: Several different food lines. Some change daily or even every meal. Paid for with card swipes. Three meals every day, seven days a week.

Imminent: Food trucks on the weekends. Only one line. Paid for with real, tangible money. Would have to get food elsewhere on weekdays.

Winner: Caf.

Round Four – Space

Stav: During peak hours, you can never find a goddamn place to sit.

Imminent: During peak hours, you can never find a goddamn place to sit.

Winner: Draw.

Round Five – Ambience

Stav: Eat to the tune of the collective chatter of hundreds of your peers.

Imminent: Occasional live music!

Winner: Imminent.

Round Six – Coolness

Stav: I mean, everyone eats there every day. However cool that is at first inevitably fades away.

Imminent: Has yet to stop being cool.

Winner: Imminent.

Round Seven – Alcohol

Stav: Once again, no alcohol. It’s not even allowed.

Imminent: Primarily based around alcohol.

Winner: Imminent.

Conclusion

While it is really easy to pine for the days of Randy’s caf reign, it’s important to remember that his talents are better used at Imminent and we never truly deserved his magnificence in the first place.

× Featured

Proposed SGA Constitution changes put to the vote

Student theater show interrupted, nearly stopped

The St. Olaf Muse Project’s production of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” was one of several campus events that was scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 29, when hundreds of students gathered in Buntrock Commons for a stand-in protest that lasted through the night. Continue reading “Student theater show interrupted, nearly stopped”

× Featured

Proposed SGA Constitution changes put to the vote

Honeybee campaign fails

When you are trying to read your college newspaper, but you remember that bees are dying at an alarming rate.

Since the diagnosis of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) among honeybees circa 2006/2007, the internet memelords have taken the fate of these pollinating insects as their recurring pet project – usually as a sort of symbol for the underlying anxieties of modern society. This semi-fixation on the bee problem has only been exacerbated recently by a Cheerios marketing campaign that offers to send folks free packets of wildflower seeds to help “save the bees.”

The problem with this, however, is that the bees don’t really need saving – at least not in the way Cheerios is trying to do it. First of all, let’s acknowledge that there is a difference between honeybees and bumblebees and that they face different issues.

Honeybees are actually doing just fine. Despite the scare over CCD a decade ago, the population has bounced back and is even the highest it has been in 20 years. Beekeepers have done an excellent job at managing their bee populations to compensate for the fluctuation. This was an easy fix; CCD was not just the random disappearance or mysterious death of honeybees, it was an increase in the population drop that naturally occurs in a hive during the winter. Because of this, beekeepers were able to fix it with their normal methods of repopulation, just to a larger degree. Although it did lead to an increase in the production costs of honey for a time, the honeybee population was never in a state of crisis. This, in conjunction with the substantial decline in CCD over the past five years according to the EPA, makes it seem that the pointed removal of Buzz the Bee from boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios is a hyperbolic and, quite frankly, sensationalist move.

So honeybees are doing okay, but what about the bumblebee? This is where the trouble lies. Some types of bumblebees are in fact facing decline. Just last month we saw the first entry of a U.S. bumblebee onto the Endangered Species List – an action that was delayed for about a month by the Trump administration’s attempts to dismantle environmental regulations. This is an actual issue that does need to be grappled with. But the solution that Cheerios is pushing is a comically ineffective one. Planting some seeds is going to save the bees? It is not a lack of garden flowers to pollinate that is threatening honeybees, it is the excessive implementation of commercial pesticides in the agriculture industry as well as habitat loss caused by climate change. We need to save the bees so that they can help us pollinate our plants, not vice-versa. To think that planting the Cheerios seed packet is going to do anything to save the bees is like thinking that a “COEXIST” bumper sticker is going to in anyway solve worldwide religious conflict.

By promoting this hollow, empty gesture masquerading as environmentalism, Cheerios is inadvertently drawing attention, focus and resources away from the real actions that can be taken to save the American bumblebee. Perhaps the money used to package and ship thousands of free seed packets could have been better spent towards accurately educating the public on the issue and encouraging them to write their local representatives to implement substantial environmental legislation that can truly address the issue at hand.

Chaz Mayo ’18 (mayo1@stolaf.edu) is from Rice Lake, Wisc. He majors in theater with a concentration in film studies.

× Featured

Proposed SGA Constitution changes put to the vote

Theater dept. season finale rife with familial turmoil

“It’s been a lot of fun working on it, which sounds bad because it’s so dark of a show,” Bess Clement ’18, who stars as Violet Weston in the Theater department’s upcoming “August: Osage County,” said.

The 2007 play by Tracy Letts will run in Kelsey Theater for five performaces between April 6 and 9. The show concludes the Theater Department’s 2016-17 season and is the first ever play to be directed at St. Olaf by new faculty member Assistant Professor Michelle Cowan Gibbs.

“It’s been a lot of hard acting work. Professor Gibbs is holding us very accountable for knowing what we’re doing on stage at all times and forming relationships between characters. It has made this a challenging acting project but one that I have found incredibly rewarding,” Maddie Sabin ’17, who plays Ivy Weston, said.

One notable and immediately striking aspect of the production is its set. The show’s set crew has constructed a three story house on the Kelsey stage for the action to take place in.

“The level of detail and realism in this set presents specific challlenges for making sure the fit and finish is at an acceptable level and that everything looks as it would architecturally,” Theater Department’s technical director Todd Edwards said. “It is kind of the perfect storm of size and detail and amount of props make it the biggest show since I’ve been here. We’ve had shows comparable in size, we’ve had shows comparable in detail. But when you take into account the size, the detail and the amount of props and other specialty items, and again the fit and finish of the realism, it is probably the biggest undertaking the shop has made since I’ve been here.”

However, this large-scale implementation technical elements does not mean that the show will be consumed by its own spectacle.

“The acting’s great, the lights are great, the set is fantastic but it’s such a well-written show that the words are able to carry themselves,” Avery Evangeline Baker ’19, who plays Mattie Fae Aiken, said.

Though “August: Osage County” is considered a dark comedy, many cast members reiterated the heaviness of a lot of the play’s content – such as suicide, incest and toxic familial strife.

“It takes your heart and then flips a porcupine over it and the sets the porcupine ablaze as it lies supine on your heart,” Josh Horst ’19, who plays Steve Heidebrecht, said.

“It’s a wild ride of hectic family drama,” Jeffrey Nolan ’20, who plays Little Charles Aiken, said.

“The support offstage is really crucial, and everybody gives that to each other and its a beautiful, beautiful thing. Example: after I fight Bess and physically attack her, the lights go down and I can see her smiling at me as the lights go down and then we hug,” Claire Chenoweth ’20, who plays Barbara Fordham, said.

“It’s a super fun show. Come see it. It’ll have have you laughing, then crying, then questioning why you were ever laughing,” Coleman Foley ’17, who plays Charlie Aiken, said.

Tickets for “August: Osage County” are available at the Theater Department box office or online at https://www.stolaf.edu/apps/tickets/.

mayo1@stolaf.edu

× Featured

Proposed SGA Constitution changes put to the vote

“Doctor Strange” rings oddly familiar

This fall, Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” was easily one of the most buzzed about films of the season. Not only was it produced by Marvel Studios – which creates instant hype for any film – it also raised intrigue in audiences with a dazzling trailer featuring surreal visuals in the ilk of “Inception.”

Another allure of the film, and to me the most important, was its potential to be something outside of the typical Marvel fare. The trailer indicated that “Doctor Strange” could finally break free from the formulaic approach that the studio has adopted over the years.

Marvel Studios is in a position where anything that they make is a guaranteed financial success, and the fact that they haven’t used that advantage to introduce more interesting films into the mainstream has always confounded me.

However, unfortunately, it seems that was not to change with “Doctor Strange.” I will admit that sitting in that theater did alter my sense of time, but certainly in the way the film intended: rather than challenge my temporal perception with interesting filmmaking, I felt time move at a painfully slow rate as I watched a movie I’ve essentially seen a million times.

Though a fun, albeit flitting film featuring enjoyable performances from Tilda Swinton and Benedict Cumberbatch, “Doctor Strange” is not any more substantive than your average Marvel movie. The plot is still just a collection of scenes that alternate between expository dialogue and elaborate fight sequences (although now with kaleidoscopic visual effects!).

The screenwriting leaves a lot to be desired as well. None of the characters are ever really developed beyond the surface level. Even more disappointingly, the script fell prey to the exact kind of lazy melding of multi-dimensional and physics and Eastern philosophy that the film tries to make fun of in an early scene.

I think that one of the big problems at play in this movie was its complete lack of thoughtful exploration. “Doctor Strange” taps into a variety of different philosophical and scientifoc concepts, but avoids fleshing out the implications of any of them.

This is particular notable in what is supposed to be a climactic plot twist in the film, when one of the protagonist’s allies is revealed to have been using magic to make themselves immortal – the exact thing the bad guys are trying to do. To be clear this is not presented really as a betrayal; they are still helping to fight the bad guys. And I guess the other good guys are somewhat upset, but it plays bizarrely inconsistent, as if the actors themselves weren’t really sure what to make of it. And why should they? By all accounts, it seems like the script gave them little to work from.

The film did, however, have one impressive and interesting scene, during the “bargain” between the protagonist and a large cloud-like demon toward the end of the film. Though it was well-played and the clear highlight of the film, it came a little late to make up for the disappointments of the other 90 percent of the movie. Rather, it served as a sort of cruel ghost of what the entire film could have been.

Don’t get me wrong, “Doctor Strange” was still an enjoyable romp. If you are seeking another fun super hero movie to watch, go ahead and see it. But if anyone was hoping to experience something new or unfamiliar to the genre, they would do best to either seek elsewhere or brace for disappointment.

mayo1@stolaf.edu

× Featured

Proposed SGA Constitution changes put to the vote