July 29, 2010

Chelsea Brings Attention To Hudson Valley

The wedding of the summer is happening this Saturday only twenty-five minutes from Vassar. Chelsea Clinton will be getting married in a still-unconfirmed location at a private estate in Rhinebeck, NY. The wedding has brought much attention to our beloved Hudson River Valley. Here's a run-down of what the media is saying...
  • Rhinebeck is "quaintly antique." Everything is secret, even to the guests, who won't receive directions until the day prior (USA Today).
  • The location is rumored to be the 50-acre Astor Courts. The event will cost $2 million. Two Norweigan journalists were arrested for poking around the area (Gothamist).
  • The reception playlist includes Cat Stevens, U2, and a whole lot of Michael Jackson (TMZ).

Too bad Chelsea didn't choose Pougheepsie, just down the river. It's not that uncommon for weddings to take place on the Vassar campus, although we've never seen one. It turns out that Vassar has an official "wedding policy" through Campus Activities:

"Vassar College students, alumnae/i, employees, and immediate family of those groups may get married on campus. 

Alumnae House has its own set of regulations, and couples not qualifying to be married on campus may call the Alumnae House for further information."

 A wedding at Vassar made headlines in The New York Times back in 1895. That is, a "farcical reenactment" of the wedding between the Duke of Marlborough and Miss Consuelo Vanderbilt, performed by the Strong house residents. According to the Times archives:

"The seniors rigged themselves up in bloomers and powdered tresses and came to represent the nobility." 

We wonder if the nobility at Chelsea's wedding will be quite as classy.

Update: Gawker just posted pictures of the Astor estate where the wedding will take place.

Photo via Life.

July 28, 2010

From The Vault: Rye Rye

In 2008, long before M.I.A.'s song was on the soundtracks of Pineapple Express and Slumdog Millionaire, her Grammy performance, or her marriage, pregnancy, retirement, comeback, and controversial new video, she took the stage at Vassar's ACDC with an up-and-coming named Rye Rye. Last Saturday the two performed on Governor's Island to thousands of concert-goers, including many Vassar students.

"She is fun, outgoing, always geeking," Rye Rye told us about M.I.A. back in 2008. In honor of Saturday's concert, check out our interview with the rapper from when she was just getting started in the business.

Photo of Rye Rye at Saturday's show via NY Times.

"Mad" Man Coming To Vassar Next Week

More Mad Men news: next week, the actor Jon Hamm, who plays Don Draper on the show, will be participating in the Powerhouse Theater’s Readings Festival 2. Hamm will read for the play “Friends with Kids” by Jennifer Westfeldt on August 1st in the Shiva theater.

Other television celebrities who have appeared at Vassar for Powerhouse include David Schwimmer and the guy who played Ryan’s brother on The OC

Update: Broadway.com has more on Hamm's performance. Apparently Westfeldt and Hamm are an item.

Photo via IMDB.

$25K Raised So Far For Krissa

While Krissa Wiechmann ’12 continues her difficult rehabilitation after a serious rugby injury in June, coach Tony Brown posted on Facebook that the Wiechmann family has so far received $24,666.00 in donations. In addition, after the successful New York fundraiser last week, which raised $1,000, organizers are planning to have a fundraiser in Rhode Island in mid-August.

And some good news: Krissa posted on Facebook that she will be attending Vassar this fall. She is set to live in Strong, but may have to switch dorms because of the lack of an elevator.

Click here to donate to help Krissa's family pay medical expenses.

Photo via Facebook.

July 26, 2010

The Liberal Arts Education of Mad Men

In re-watching the last three seasons of Mad Men, we noticed that liberal arts schools - including Vassar - are often popping up in characters' lives. The show's creator, Matt Weiner is a Wesleyan alumnus, which probably influenced this trend. (Wesleyan, which was all-male at the time in which the show is set, has yet to be mentioned.) In honor of the show's grand return last night (as well as the lack of important Vassar news in the middle of the summer), we’ve put together this analysis of which characters are associated with what liberal arts schools and what those associations say about the characters.

Don Draper clearly has a thing for liberal arts women (or just all women).  Suzanne Farrell, one of Don's love interests in season three (and Sally's teacher) is briefly shown jogging in a Bowdoin tee shirt. It's never confirmed whether she went there or not, but the shirt makes her youthful - as does her dancing around the May pole in an earlier episode - which attracts Don. Joy, the myserious nomadic teenager who captures Don's interest in California in season two went to Pembroke before dropping out. Her interest in Faulkner impresses Don, although not enough to make him stay after a two night fling. Don's wife is a former liberal arts girl too. Betty Draper attended Bryn Mawr, one of Vassar’s fellow Seven Sister schools. Betty's association with the school emphasizes her WASPy upbringing, completely different from Don's clandestine past.

Another alumna of the Seven Sisters is Helen Bishop of Mount Holyoke. Helen is Betty's rival in seasons one and two (remember when Betty slaps her in the supermarket?), which is not unlike the rivalry between the two schools.

References are thrown in even for minor characters. In season two, it is briefly mentioned that the daughter of Jimmy and Bobbie Barret attends Sarah Lawrence.

As for Vassar, unfortunately we've gotten only a vague reference. As we posted last October, in season three Betty Draper reads The Group, Mary McCarthy's famous book about a group of Vassar alumnae living in New York City in the 1960s. The book includes issues such as feminism and suicide, which portrays the personal crisis that Betty is dealing at this point in the season. According to the offical Mad Men blog, the book was so controversial when it was published in 1963 that Vassar threatened to revoke McCarthy's degree.

While the female characters come from liberal arts backgrounds, the Mad Men come from the Ivys. Pete Campbell went to Dartmouth and Ken Cosgrove went to Columbia. In season three the two men compete for the position of Head of Accounts, which mirrors the rivalry between the schools.


Edit: We seem to have missed a few. One savvy commenter reminds us that Don's date in the new season is also a Mount Holyoke girl. Another commenter remembered that Rachel Menkin, the department store heiress and Don's love interest in season one, went to Barnard. Finally, another minor character - horseback rider Arthur Case's fiancee Tara in season two - went to Wellesley.

Top photo via AMC.

July 21, 2010

Vassar In Brief...

Here are a few Vassar-related stories from the last few days that you may have missed...

Looks like the Twitter impersonators aren't the only ones pretending to be Vassar reps. The Vassar alumnae/i network sent an email to alumnae/i and parents yesterday warning about "fraudulent phone calls." "The caller, a woman who claimed to be a paid representative calling on behalf of Vassar, asked the alumna to consider making a pledge to be paid off monthly with her credit card," writes Catherine E. Bear, the AAVC Vice President.

Krissa Wiechmann '12 continues her rehab after her rugby accident last month. Last Friday former women's rugby captain Lorraine DeGraffenreidt '10 organized a fundraiser for Krissa in New York City. According to a post on the Facebook group for Krissa's recovery, the fundraiser raised $1,000.

In an article for The Huffington Post, Michael Koretzky discusses why college newspapers are better in print than online. Koretzky writes that even the best college newspaper websites - including Vassar's Miscellany News - feature "very similar designs and nearly identical content" (something we pointed out back in February 2009). He continues, "Print articles are tossed online without much thought. Or pictures, graphics, or video. What's so weirdly depressing is that I've seen many of these newspapers in print -- and they kick ass."

Send tips to madsvassar [at] gmail.com.

July 13, 2010

What We're Reading: Can College Presidents Be Cool?

The Washington Post featured an article yesterday on the recent phenomenon of college presidents trying to become closer with students. "In an effort to be more cool, presidents across the United States are starring in YouTube videos, serving hot dogs, starting blogs, hosting parties and eating with the masses in dorms," the article states. The piece mentions several presidents who reach out to students through social media or school functions, including Wesleyan's president Michael Roth who performs at open-mic nights and GW's Steven Knapp who participates in snowball fights.

"E-mail, text messaging and social media give students unprecedented access to a chief executive, who can no longer hide behind a secretary and an office door," the article states. Some college presidents, like Wesleyan's Roth or University of California's Mark Yudof frequently make use of Twitter, something Cappy does not do, despite the recent impersonation attempts.

So where does Cappy fit in to all of this? It's true that she often eats at the Retreat and attends sporting events, gives out cider on Halloween and serves midnight breakfast with the other administrators. But to students really feel close to her? Is she trying to be cool?

July 11, 2010

Kunstemporary Preparing For First Release

Kunstemporary Records, the project of John McCartin '11, is preparing to release its first record. In an email to Mads, McCartin describes Kunstemporary as a "punk/noise/contemporary composers record label." The record will feature Goldmansacksdotcom and Hiep Hiep Hoera (Elodie Blakely '12, a Music Director for WVKR), who both performed at 148 College Ave. last February. Only one hundred copies will be released.

Kunstemporary is asking for donations to help get the project moving. Donations also serve as pre-orders for the record. According to the label's website, the project is 81% fudned and they will accept donations for another 35 days.

Another record label started at Vassar, Neon Gold Records, launched the careers of artists like Passion Pit and Marina and the Diamonds. There is also Lovepump United Records, which Mookie Singerman ’06 and Jake Friedman ’07 started in 2004.

July 5, 2010

"Cappyvassar" Not Giving Up

Those fake Vassar Twitter accounts were suspended last week, but now the anonymous creator (or creators) tell us that they're not giving up. "We are preparing our response to Twitter in defense of our legitimacy," they wrote to us in an email, adding, "we expect our accounts to be reinstated shortly. We will succeed."

As for the goal behind the accounts, the creator tells us, "Our recent web presence is to take over the world."

Edit: It's still unclear who exactly is behind the accounts. In their email to us, "cappyvassar" signed the name of a 2010 alumnus. We spoke to the recent graduate, however, and he denies any involvement, so it seems that the person behind the accounts is still impersonating others.