Author Archives: apaceborah

Noir Inspiration, take 2

I know that I promised you a post about fedoras, but I’ve spent the past hour looking through a bunch of film noir trailers, and some of them are just too good to pass up.  Here are a few for your viewing pleasure:

Double Indemnity (1944), Directed by Billy Wilder

“How could I have known that murder can sometimes smell like honeysickle?”

The Big Sleep (1946), Directed by Howard Hawks

I love that this begins at the public library with Bogart picking up “Raymond Chandler’s best seller, The Big Sleep,” which has “everything that the Falcon had and more.”






The Killers (1946), Robert Siodmak 


“Raw! Rugged! Ruthless Drama of a man who gambled his luck–his love–his life–for the treachery of a girl’s lips!”



Call Northside 777 (1948), Directed by Henry Hathaway

I like this one because it’s set in Chicago and because it has Jimmy Stewart back when he was still called James.  The trailer calls the story “one of the most unusual, but factual dramas, ever to come to public attention.”  The trailer also relentlessly admires self-sacrifice for the good of others (“the courageous woman who slaved and slaved for eleven years to prove her son’s innocence”)… making it a weird candidate for the noir genre.


Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Directed by Alexander Mackendrick

“I’d hate to take a bite of you.  You’re a cookie full or arsenic.”


NOIR Inspiration (fashion, take 1)

This year, MAPH will be holding our annual prom at the Frank Lillie house, built in 1901 for UChicago embryology professor Frank Rattray Lillie by the brothers Irving and Allen Pond, two of Chicago’s most creative architects at the beginning of the 20th century.  The Pond brothers coined the term “builded beauty” as a way of talking about their simple, straightforward designs which would forthrightly proclaim the manner of their construction.  This National Historic Landmark has fallen into a state of disrepair, ironically decaying the functional uprightness of the “builded beauty” concept.  What kind of prom could we have, we at MAPHcentral wondered, at this place that bespeaks the romance of Chicago at the turn of the century, even as its walls shed their paint in shreds?  Continue reading

Just around the corner…

So we’ve come to the end of week ten.  And maybe you have thirty… forty… fifty! pages of writing to do before you can bid winter quarter adieu.  BUT don’t despair!  Spring Break is just around the corner and the sun is waiting until almost six o’clock to set these evenings and we’re Springing forward tonight and yesterday I saw a bright green stalk making its way out of the mucky snow.  Yes, there is more work to be done, but trust me, you can afford to take a few minutes to daydream about all of the liberating, life-giving adventures you will have over Spring Break.  Here, I’ll help you.

If you’re staying in Chicago over break, you should check out some or all of the following:

1.) The Chicago Cultural Center is holding an exhibition of photographs by Vivian Maier, a Chicago nanny who took over 100,000 photographs in her lifetime and whose prolific work remained undiscovered for years after her death.  The exhibit contains about 72 black and white prints shot in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.  According to Chicago magazine, “Most of Maier’s photos are black and white, and many feature unposed or casual shots of people caught in action—passing moments that nonetheless possess an underlying gravity and emotion.”  (Click here to read the entire article.)  This is something you should make a point to see over break especially because the exhibit, which has been up since January, will close on April 3rd.  Admission to the Cultural Center and the exhibit is free, and while you’re there, you may as well check out their breathtakingly beautiful glass domes.  You can learn more about the Chicago Cultural Center at their website.

2.) Grab a sticky bun (and perhaps a loaf of sourdough for home) from Flourish Bakery.  Why make the trek all the way up to Andersonville for this?  Well for one thing, Flourish’s master bread baker Ehsan Ganji has recently been featured in the Reader for his patient, no-knead process, in which he allows bread to ferment for a 12-18 hour period “building flavor rather than forcing it out.”  Be sure to ask which breads are of the no-knead variety when you go.  From what I hear, the chili at Flourish is pretty unstoppable too.

3.) So I’m not going to be able to hide my weird Texas roots with this one, but nothing says Spring like some good ol’ Western Swing.  Seriously, if you go hear the Hoyle Brothers at the Empty Bottle (they play there every Friday night from 5:30-7:30 pm for FREE) you will begin to understand the inadequacy of country music’s mainstream representatives AND you’ll have a helluva good time in spite of your misgivings AND someone just might teach you to two step, which is pretty much the easiest dance step around.  Go there and smile at a stranger.

4.)  Because Chicago may not be completely lush and blooming in time for Spring Break, you should take the Green Line to Garfield Park Conservatory.  When it was originally conceived by Jens Jensen in 1905, Garfield Park’s was to be the largest publicly owned conservatory under one roof in the world!  It’s simple structure was apparently designed to resemble Midwestern haystacks, though the effect of thriving gardens under glass strikes me as much more elegant. Inside and out, the conservatory occupies over four and a half acres where thousands of plants are grown for displays in the city’s parks.  Admission to the conservatory is always free, and you can sit and breathe in the clean air of ferns all day long if you like.

5.)  If reading Deleuze left you with little time to see any of the Oscar-nominated movies this year, now is your chance to watch a few of them for really cheap at Logan Theatre.  Yes, the floor is a little sticky.  And the arm-rests don’t have cup holders.  And maybe the ticket-taker is a little cranky.  Do not be dissuaded.  Logan Theatre is currently showing Blue Valentine, True Grit, and Black Swan, (and Yogi Bear, if you’re a masochist) and somehow the tickets are like, two bucks.  I’m not sure how that works exactly, but it does.  And I am very glad.

6.) Okay, this is kind of an obvious one, but if you haven’t visited Hull-House yet, it’s time.  When Jane Addams and Ellen Gates-Starr opened Hull-House in 1889, they initially envisioned a place to offer artistic and literary education to their neighbors.  Their project quickly blossomed into a center for social engagement, education, and activism which was continually responsive to the needs of the surrounding community.  Today, Hull-House offers a number of ongoing programs aimed at social justice and enrichment, from their weekly “re-thinking soup” lunches to their “sex+++” documentary film screenings.  Click here to see upcoming events at Hull-House.  In addition to their ongoing programs, the entire second floor of the Hull home has been converted into a museum with all kinds of cool exhibits, including some of Ms. Addams childhood drawings, a collection of photographs by Wallace Kirkland, and Sonic Landscapes of Hull-House at the turn of the century.  Go learn about the lasting impact of Jane Addams’ work in the city you call home.

7.) For those of you who might be looking to make a day-trip, Starved Rock State Park is a short hour and a half drive south-west from Chicago.  Located in Utica, Illinois, the park contains 13 miles of trails, canyons, waterfalls, and views of the Illinois River.  Plus, you can bring your dog there if you have a dog.  Plus, apparently it’s a popular winter hang out for bald eagles (so maybe a few stragglers are still around?)  Plus, it is totally free to enter the park!  We’re coming out of our long hibernation period, guys.  Let’s go outside!

Feel free to add your Spring Break recommendations to this list.  Regrettably, I haven’t come up with a good place to go drink a beer this break, so I’ll trust you all to fill in the many gaps.  Whatever you do, have a lovely, happy break!

Close to Home

The sun is shining.  It’s a balmy 37 degrees outside.  Give that heavy puffer coat a break, and dig out your old Fall jacket!  This would be a good time to start DOING THINGS again (beyond the necessary reading, sleeping, and coffee drinking, that is).  And while it can be great (truly sustaining!) to actually leave Hyde Park, the hibernators among us may need to move at a more bear-like pace.  Let’s start by prowling around the neighborhood.  Here are some good things to do around campus and Hyde Park in the coming weeks:

This Wednesday (tomorrow!), Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson is giving a lecture in the Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes, starting at 4:30.  Robinson is the author of three novels: Housekeeping, Gilead and Home. Her most recent book is a work of non-fiction entitled Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self. Click here to learn more about this event.  Admission is free!

This Thursday, February 18th, Joelle Biele will be giving a reading from her book, Elizabeth Bishop and the New Yorker: The Complete Correspondence. Poem Present, the organization sponsoring the event, says that Elizabeth Bishop and the New Yorker “provides an unparalleled look into Bishop’s writing process, the relationship between a poet and her editors, the internal workings of The New Yorker, and the process of publishing a poem.”  The event will take place at International House starting at 6 pm.  (And just in case you’re wondering, yes, it is free!)  Click here to read an excerpt from the book.

This Friday: Remember the Talent Show!!! With a little practice, you could probably work up something like this!  Or at least sway and clap along!  And to top it all off, there will be pizza!  This event will justify all of these exclamation points!

Next Tuesday evening, February 22nd, the Hyde Park Arts Center is hosting the Goat Island Dance film screening.  Goat Island is a Chicago-based performance art group featured in four short films which will be screened.  One of the collaborators on this project, Sarah Best, is a MAPH alum, and she’ll be around to answer questions after the screening (along with co-collaborators Mark Jeffrey and Lucy Cash.)  So, this is an especially good event if you’re interested in film, performance art, or curation.  And it’s a good one to go to if you don’t have much cash, because… it’s free.  Here is the Goat Island website for your perusal.

Finally, on February 24th and 25th the Center for Latin American Studies will host a film series focusing on Cuban Directors.  The series, which is thematically aimed at questions about national film making in the digital era, will kick off on the 24th at 5 pm with screenings of The Hands and the Angel and They Exist (at the Franke Institute).  On Friday evening, the series will continue with a screening of Long Distance, which starts at 7pm at the Film Studies Center.  A MAPH preceptor and MAPH alum both worked on coordinating this series.  For more info, visit the series blog here.

Okay, one last little thing: we’re having a CLOTHING SWAP on the afternoon of Friday, February 25th in Classics 110.  You can start picking through your closet now for stuff you’d like to give away.  This makes for a nice short homework break (depending on how many clothes you have, I guess.)  AND if you don’t have anything to give away, come anyway and grab some new-to-you clothes.  And then you can take just as much joy in planning tomorrow’s weather appropriate outfit as this little one.

The epic starting-your-thesis post

As you already know, it’s winter quarter—time to stand at the window, watch the snow fall, make a large pot of coffee, read, make soup, write, eat aforementioned soup, etc. (repeat until March).  As lovely as this all sounds, one anxiety-inducing thing about winter quarter is that there are A LOT of unknowns.  Who will my thesis advisor be?  How will I find this person?  How can I turn my current questions, which are likely big enough to fill a dissertation, into something that I can manage in 30 pages? I don’t know about you, but my heart rate is increasing already.  So, after taking a few deep breaths, remember that you’re always welcome to come by the office and talk to any of us.  But if you’re snowbound, here are my answers to some questions you might have about getting started on your thesis.

*After working on this ever-expanding document for a while, I realize that it may be overkill.  Many of you have already navigated some of these difficult tasks beautifully.  This Q&A amounts to a re-hashing of all of the things that I found stressful when I was starting my thesis.  I hope that it is helpful.

How should I approach potential advisors?

This can happen in a number of ways.  Whether you have already taken class with this professor, are currently taking their class, or have never interacted with them at all, your first meeting should be about gathering information.  That said, approaching a professor that you know only through their profile on the U of C website can feel a little strange.  Keep in mind that for most of these professors, advising student projects is an important part of their job and they have likely done a lot of this in the past.  In other words, even if you’ve never met a professor, s/he will not be surprised to receive the kind of introductory email that you will send.  BUT you will do well to give this email some thought. Continue reading

A Very MAPHtastic Thanksgiving

Since the dawn of time, people from all over the world have held celebrations to express gratitude for the abundance of the fall harvest.  Modern Americans have just such a holiday: it’s called Thanksgiving…

Just kidding.

Kind of.

Whether you're packing your bags to get on a plane, bracing for a long road trip, scrubbing your apartment like mad in preparation for guests, or anxiously awaiting the calm that will ensue when everybody else leaves for the holiday, this post has the answers to all (some… a few…) of your Thanksgiving queries.  So let's get started.

Q: What easy, yet festive Thanksgiving craft can I make while my pumpkin pie is in the oven?

A: As Hilary so eloquently explained in her lecture on Althusser, we are always already interpellated as subjects... so what could be the harm in making one more HAND-TURKEY?  Supplies for this project can be found in the MAPH office.  Oh, and be sure to hang the finished product on the bulletin board and include your name, so that you can re-experience the pain/pride of your investment in “good work”.

And if after this you’re still in the mood to make Thanksgiving crafts, why not design a centerpiece for your thanksgiving dinner table?  I kinda like these creepy little dudes...

Q: Okay, next question.  What is the most effective way to antagonize my fellow travelers?

A: I don’t know if it’s the most effective way, but certainly the most Thanksgiving-y way to annoy folks travelling with you (it matters not whether they are relatives or total strangers) is to belt out a few rounds of the classic Thanksgiving song, “Over the river and through the woods.” As you may have heard, the lyrics to the song were written by Lydia Maria Child in the form of a poem, “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day,” which appeared in the volume Flowers for Children published in 1844. What you may not have heard is that there are actually THREE verses to this song (not just the first verse that everybody knows).  The tune may also serve as an antidote to potential tensions around the dinner table, uncomfortable silences, well-meaning, anxiety inducing questions about thesis topics, etc.

Q: Okay, but where can I find a really awesome, epic-ly long Thanksgiving song that is actually more about hippies dodging the draft and that will make me laugh until I cry?

A: Look no further.  (Note: this is in two parts.  Stick with it, guys.) (Alice’s Restaurant)

Q: But seriously, where can I purchase some delicious local produce for my Thanksgiving meal?

A: It just so happens that the Chicago Botanic Garden is holding a Winter Farmer’s Market this coming Sunday (the 21st).  I’ll admit it’s a bit of a trek to get over there from Hyde Park, but this will give you a good excuse to get your mind off final papers for a few hours.  And it’s free to get in!  Click here to learn more.

Q: That sounds pretty good.  Now tell me this: how can I make stuffing like Marilyn Monroe used to do?

A: Click here to see Marilyn Monroe’s insanely complicated stuffing recipe, which includes a half pound of chicken livers and apparently takes two hours to prepare.  Have fun with that...

Q: Well, what should I actually cook then?

A: Good question!  How about this Spicy Mexican Squash stew?  Or this Potato-Fennel Gratin.  Or maybe some cranberry, ginger, and orange chutney. Mmmm…

Q:  Cool… Well… I think that’s all the help I need.

A: Alright, then.  If all else fails remember that there’s always toast and popcorn.

(Have a nice Thanksgiving, everyone.)

TYPEFACE SCREENING this Friday, post-social hour

MAPH and the 64th Street Print Shop are very pleased to announce that we’ll be holding a screening of the documentary film TYPEFACE this coming Friday (10/22) at 6:30 in Social Sciences 122.  Several 2004 MAPH alums collaborated in the making of TYPEFACE including producer and director Justine Nagan.  It was recently nominated for a regional Emmy for best documentary.  The film focuses on a museum and print shop in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, as a central location in the continuing evolution of printmaking, and it raises questions about the connection between past and future craft practices, the convergence of modern design and traditional technique.  You can read more about the film by checking out their website.  OR check out the official trailer here!

After the screening, several MAPH alums who took part in the making of the film will be available for a brief Q&A session.  Participants will include Justine Nagan, Associate Producer Starr Marcello, Director of Cinematography Tom Bailey, and researcher/photographer Brendan Kredell.  Do not miss this opportunity to learn more about the great work that MAPH alums are doing (and to see a wonderful film as well)!