If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On!
The American Shakespeare Center’s traveling troupe visited Loyola again on September 26th-28th, staging three plays and visiting several classes, thanks to the generous support of the Center for the Humanities. In this, their seventeenth consecutive year of presenting shows here, these thespians performed a wild version of Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi (incest! mass murder! pop songs at intermission!), along with two bardic staples, Twelfth Night and Love’s Labour’s Lost. Drs. G. Lobo and B. Crockett organized the event.
Croquet on the Quad - A LoCoLitSo Event
On October 3rd, students, faculty, and Dr. Forni’s sons played croquet on the quad. Cathy Carroll, our resident croquet aficionado, kicked off the event by showing everyone the ropes—or wickets. Although the participants’ enthusiasm was not matched by their expertise (except for Dr. Norman, who proved to be a fierce malletman), the dozen or so players enjoyed the games, even as they spryly intercepted (sometimes with their noggins) stray football throws from Jesse and Jack Glanz—thereby proving proved that croquet can be a contact sport.
A Ghostly Little Feast
On December 10th, students and faculty celebrated the holidays with “A Ghostly Little Feast.” As always, the theme emerged from the topic of the Senior Honors Seminar. Given that this year’s seminar was devoted to Dickens and Film, taught by Dr. McGlamery, a Christmas gala featuring the specters of Christmases past and present seemed appropriate.
Seminar students dressed as Oliver Twist’s thieves darted in and out of the crowd; these scamps then led the eager group (around 100, all told) in a pickpocket game. Once all possessions had been restored to their owners, the urchins unveiled a slide show displaying photos of faculty and students celebrating yuletides of yore. Here was a cuddly Julius Lobo pounding a xylophone; there was a surprisingly hirsute twentyish Mark Osteen standing sullenly beside a Christmas fir; over there was a beaming baby Gayla McG in overalls and bib (de rigueur infantwear in Oklahoma). The student photos were more numerous and jsut as endearing.
Once all “aws” had been expressed, a glee club of faculty (Osteen, Cole, Crockett, J. Lobo, McGlamery, Miller and Michael) and students (Leah Rosenzweig, Gianna Mautone, Kacie Plants, Lauren Hallman) entertained the throng with robust renditions of “The Roast Beef of Old England” and several carols, the latter with improved lyrics by Bard Crockett. Ebenezer Osteen (accompanied by Jean “Ivory” Cole) tickled the masses with a melodramatic performance of “I Hate People,” from the musical Scrooge, a selection well-suited to both singer and season.
Although England is not renowned for its cuisine, the repast was more than satisfactory: crispy turkey and stuffing, herbed potatoes, carrots with horseradish, dates wrapped in bacon, and Brussels sprouts (for the occasion renamed the English metropolis). The pièce de résistance was Miss Havisham’s wedding cake, complete with a clock set at 8:40 and small figures of Miss H and the evil Compeyson (with the requisite spiders and mice - plasice, of course). Animated conversations accompanied the deglutition, as faculty and students exchanged stories (some of them true), jests and advice.
When all were sated, the remaining celebrants gathered to sing “The First Noel” and “Silent Night,” the latter featuring a record-breaking glissando on “Pee-eeace.” As the hordes dispersed, one young man piped up to offer this benediction: “God bless us, every one!”
View the slideshow >>
Gin a Body Meet a Body
In January, Drs. Michael and J. Lobo, using funds granted by the Center for the Humanities, brought a handful of hardy students to Oxford, MD, to attend the annual Robert Burns Supper. After a raucous bagpipe greeting, the guests consumed something called Cullen Skink Soup (mmm . . . skinks), as well as the inevitable haggis. Brave-hearted senior Frankie Gerham led the culinary charge by delivering Burns’s “Address to a Haggis” (Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, / Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race,” etc). After devouring the neeps and tatties, the clan recited a raft of Robbie B’s poems. That portion of the evening was a terrific way to show students that poetry can be part of a living tradition, not just something lying there on a page; it also brought home the truth in William Carlos Williams’s famous declaration, “if it ain’t a pleasure, it ain’t a poem.”
How He Carried Himself
On March 20th, poet/memoirist/novelist Jimmy Santiago Baca visited Loyola for a reading and several class visits. Thanks to the indefatigable labors of Dr. Giuseppina Lobo, the visit was a smashing success. An estimated eighty students and faculty attended the reading. Many students were moved and charmed by his work, by his pep talks, and by his lengthy but pointed anecdotes about his experiences inside and outside of prison. Dr. Lobo planned this event to coincide with her new sections of EN 203 devoted to prison literature.
Wickets, Tiles and Pies
This was the most active year in memory for LoCoLitSo; the society’s collaborations with the Cura Personalis and Student Futures faculty committees guided many majors toward career goals and shored up our community spirit. Besides the aforementioned Croquet contests, the folowing activites were sponsored by LoCoLitSo.
On October 10th, 22 a dozen students attended an alumni panel presentation featuring five alums in various careers and career stages, including law, sports marketing, student development, writing, editing, and technology. Attending students not heard about the successful if circuitous paths of grads in action; they also learned about and practiced informal networking and mentoring. Along with sage advice, pizza was consumed.
On January 23rd, LoCoLitSo and the Student Futures Committee held a workshop in conjunction with the Career Center. The twelve attending students were enlightened about career planning. Afterward, faculty sponsors vowed to mount a more concerted effort to involve all Humanities studies in career planning. More pizza was consumed.
On February 19th, LoCoLitSo sponsored “Scrabble the Scholars,” in which students and faculty engaged in some friendly word competition—while again wolfing down the ubiquitous Italian pies.
Interns, in Turns
On April 8th the Student Futures committee convened a panel of five student interns (Courtney Cousins and Emily Barbo from EN 099, Gianna Mautone from EN 097, Jazmine Carey from EN 098, and Ryan.) They were joined by Vicki Franz, Emily’s supervisor from Stone House Publishing; Martha Amenti, Gianna’s supervisor from City College High School; and Danielle Baron, Ryan’s supervisor from ABET. After Dr. Cole described the English internship program, each panelist recounted her/his experience and provided one “do” and one “don’t” for prospective interns. Eight students attended, as did Dr. Norman. Even more pizza was consumed: by May, every student in LoCoLitSo had gained seven pizza pounds.
Bennets Beat Whalers, Send Milton to Minors
On March 13th, in collaboration with the Cura Personalis Committee, LoCoLitSo sponsored the departmental Readathon, which constitutes our contribution to the Relay for Life. Organized chiefly by Dr. Miller and Dr. G. Lobo, this year’s text was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The text was selected by a student vote in which Austen’s novel narrowly edged Moby-Dick and Paradise Lost. (I’m pretty sure the voting was rigged: in a fair fight, Satan and Ishmael would whoop up on the effete Mr. Darcy.) Faculty and students took advantage of this chance to practice their British accents as they read in half-hour stints from 7 am to 7 pm in the Student Center, collecting donations for a worthy cause while sharing Austen’s delightfully ironic text with largely uncomprehending passersby.
Study is Like the Heaven’s Glorious Sun
Also in March, Drs. Miola, G. Lobo, Miller and Mr. Lou Hinkel accompanied 20 students (and the esteemed Mrs. Carroll) to the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA. The group witnessed The Two Noble Kinsmen by Shakespeare (and John Fletcher, also known as “the player to be named later”), and Wycherly’s The Country Wife; they also spoke with actors and learned much about the Center. “A riotous time was had by all,” writes Dr. Miller. One hopes that “riotous” is merely a figure of speech. This enlightening excursion was generously funded by Loyola’s Center for the Humanities.
On December 10th, 2011 about 100 students and faculty came together to perform, to dance, and, of course, to eat. This year’s theme was drawn from Dr. Osteen’s course, Modern Classic Revisions, which paired texts and their rewritings (e.g., Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea). The seminar’s students designed the invitation, program, events and menu, drawing food selections primarily from Southern US cuisine: red beans and rice, corn bread, barbecued chicken, and sweet potato pie, among other down-home goodies. The seminar students (and a few brave faculty) dressed in costumes adapted from the course texts: there was Mr. Rochester, disguised as a Gypsy (Bill Callis); here was the carbuncular Christopher Chubb, from Peter Carey’s My Life as a Fake (Thomas Johnson); yonder was ol’ Anse Bundren (Chris McCune), smiling broadly to show off his brand new teeth. And was that Prospero (Dr. Robert Miola) and his lovely daughter, Miranda (Rose Miola)? Two seminar students, Chris Taylor and Bill Callis, were also members of the Loyola Jazz Combo, and, along with Dr. Osteen, they played several jazz and blues numbers to begin the evening. These appetite-whetting performances were capped by an amusing short Christmas play written and performed by students in Dr. Crockett’s Tom Stoppard seminar. Then it was time to do the limbo! As the Combo played, students and faculty impersonated Elastic Man and Woman; Dr. Miller was the limbo-est pedagogue. No injuries were incurred. After dinner, the throng was further entertained by a student-faculty vocal group and by more music from the Combo. The evening ended with a blues shuffle called “Great Wheel” (from Suzan-Lori Parks’s Getting Mother’s Body) that had the whole crew singing and clapping along. To paraphrase the words of another modern literary luminary: it was all right; as a matter of fact, it was a gas.
- 2010: A Winter's Wasteland
This year’s Christmas Feast grew out of Dr. Nick Miller’s senior honors seminar on T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and took as its theme “A Winter Wasteland.” The result was a memorable event that several colleagues called among the best feasts ever. As in past years, the food was prepared entirely by teams of faculty and students. The members of the seminar, dressed in costume as characters from Eliot’s poem, performed ragtime and jazz music, taught a flapper dance (“The Bunny Hug”), and led teams of attendees in a Waste Land-inspired word game. Dinner included such Eliotic treats as “Dry Salvages Clam Chowder,” “Get-the-Beauty-of-It Hot Gammon” (fresh roasted ham), “That-Corpse-You-Planted-in-Your Garden Sprouts,” “Unreal Ziti,” and “I-Didn’t-Mince-My-Words Mincemeat Pies.” The evening was capped off by an appearance of T. S. Eliot himself (Prof. Miller), reading a decidedly dour Christmas poem, and a rousing rendition of the beloved carol, “Walkin’ in a Winter Waste Land,” with parody lyrics concocted by the seminar students. Just over 120 students and faculty attended the Feast. The Feast fosters community within the English Department and appreciation for diverse forms of literature. Support from the Center for the Humanities was gratefully acknowledged in the student-designed program.