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Friday, April 30, 2010

Philadelphia freedom

Faculty Destinations: Philadelphia with Cahoon Family Professor of American History Patrick Allitt was another successful event for our alumni in Eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.

Guests arrived at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, registered, enjoyed a wine and cheese reception in the seminar room, and moved over to the auditorium for Allitt's enlightening lecture, “Picasso in Paris.” Afterward, those who had not seen the exhibit yet were able to take a guided tour with Allitt.

I do feel compelled to write about my trip getting to the museum, though. I had attended the Salman Rushdie event in New York the night before and needed a quick and easy way to get to Philadelphia. An alumna had told me about the BoltBus, which runs between NYC to Philadelphia. I checked it out online and it seemed simple enough, so I reserved a round trip ticket. I left New York at 2:30 p.m. with an expected arrival time of 4:30 p.m. in Philadelphia.

Everything was going great for me in my oversized leather seat by the window (which included free wi-fi and a power outlet for my laptop). Then, we arrived in Philadelphia.

I thought Atlanta had the worst traffic known to mankind, but it is nothing compared to traffic on a Friday afternoon in Philadelphia when living legend Wayne Shorter is performing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art at 5:00 p.m.!

Once the bus crept through the streets to the bus stop, I hopped in a cab to the museum. There I sat in a sea of traffic along with the other 2,000 people trying to get to the museum by 5:00 p.m.

Traffic was barely moving.

I sat…I sat…and I sat.

What made the situation so frustrating was that the BoltBus had passed the museum on the way in. The cab ride was not supposed to be a long trip, mileage wise. I could still see the museum sitting on the hill taunting me like a kid wanting me to chase after them, “na na na na boo boo you can’t catch me!” I finally made it to the museum around 5:40 p.m. with just enough time to setup before everyone started arriving.

My unfortunate battle with the clock did not end there. Afterward, I waited ... and waited for a cab outside the museum, but not a single one came by. The taxis must have not been able to get through the traffic jam at the bottom of the hill. I desperately needed to get to the bus stop to catch my bus back to NYC, so I just started walking in that general direction, not really knowing where I was headed. Luckily, I stumbled upon a cab at a stoplight, which saved me from having to try my luck at hitchhiking.

All of that rushing around in an unfamiliar city reminds me of one of my favorite television shows, “The Amazing Race.” Coincidentally, one of the competitors this season, Jordan Pious 09B, is a recent Emory graduate; he and his brother Dan are still in the race.

Each week I sit in the comfort of my living room watching the show and I tell myself that “I know I could win the race.”

After all, I love to travel, right? My trip to Philadelphia has enlightened me! I now see that there’s definitely a difference in leisure travel and business travel. Knowing that I have to be somewhere at a specific time and being at the mercy of someone else with uncontrollable factors is much more stressful than just wanting to get to my resort as quick as I can so that I can get a head start on my tan.

I have a new-found respect for all of the contestants on “Amazing Race.” It really is that difficult navigating in an unfamiliar city when you're pressed for time.

-- Michael Parker, program coordinator, alumni programs, EAA

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Photo of the Day: Which way do I go?

Signs point to ... a lot of places. The campus at Oxford College is compact, so it's tough to get lost, but if for some reason you get turned around, we have nice signage to point you in the right direction.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Meanwhile ... back east

Those of us without tickets to the TCM Classic Film Festival were still fortunate enough to spend a night out at the theater.

New York's Hudson Theatre, specifically. Sandwiched between 44th and 45th Streets, the theatre is just a chip shot away from Times Square. That's where Booker Prize-winning (and Emory Distinguished Writer in Residence) Sir Salman Rushdie headlined an EAA Faculty Destinations event on Thursday, April 22.
Some 200 guests came out to meet Rushdie and listen in on his creative conversation with Deepika Bahri, associate professor of English, director of Asian studies, and curator of "A World Mapped by Stories," the exhibition celebrating the opening of Rushdie's archive at Emory.

We'll have full coverage of that conversation in the May issue of EmoryWire, which hits the web (and emailboxes if you are an Emory alumnus) on Tuesday, May 4. Today, I'm just interested in the atmosphere.

One of the great benefits of my job is that it takes me to places like the Hudson Theatre, a venue with a pretty impressive bio. Opened in 1903, the theatre has hosted Broadway shows, spent some time as a rock club and was even home to The Tonight Show. It's now part of the Millennium Broadway Hotel, whose low-key facade (it's easy to walk right by) belies its snazzy interior.

And considering it's more than 100 years old, the Hudson Theatre still looks mighty pretty. Of course, it'd look pretty if had opened last Thursday. Three stories straight up, red velvet seats and curtains, it reminded me of classy, Old World European opera houses. (I've only been to one, but I've seen pictures).

The stage was stark--two chairs and a table lit by simple spotlights--which only made Rushdie's and Bahri's words more prominent. And their conversation, which included references ranging from why anyone would want to read the contents of the aforementioned archive to the inherent coolness of Darth Vader, was riveting.

But like I said, more about that next Tuesday.

Decorations included large, poster-size renditions of Rushdie book covers and other assorted memorabilia. Following the Rushdie-Bahri conversation, a drawing was held to determine who would take those posters home. Rushdie kindly stuck around to sign them and chat up alumni and their guests (if you click on the photo above, you can just barely make out Rushdie's signature at the bottom of the poster).

The crowd was electric and the signing line (which included fans who brought books ... Rushdie signed those, too) was so long that it crashed into the dessert line. But judging from the constant hum of conversation, no one appeared to mind.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Photo by Annemarie Poyo Furlong 90C

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's a wrap (sixth in a series)

So, I am back in Atlanta and no longer experiencing “Hollywood moments.” Should this term, “Hollywood moments,” require any definition, here is a quintessential “moment” that happened to us on the last day of the TCM film festival.

On Sunday night, following the screening of Metropolis (1927), a final party took place at the Roosevelt Hotel. We walked over from Grauman’s to find a sea of people swimming through the lobby. Partly in self-defense, we squeezed ourselves into an anteroom between the main lobby area and the Roosevelt’s bar. Suddenly an attractive young woman in a terribly short dress came running in the front door. She nearly stampeded David McClurkin 74C and me, literally pushed us aside, and for what?

She was not a festival organizer needing to convey something of tactical importance to another festival organizer. She was not even a passholder or a resident of the hotel. Why, then, was she pushing people aside as if a theater were on fire? Simple. She needed to use the mirror.

Yes, the mirror.

For the next five minutes, she tousled her hair, then just as quickly as she blazed in, she stampeded out in her suede boots. Our toes were still tingling from being stepped on, but we were laughing despite the pain. That, my friends, is a Hollywood moment. And I suspect that this one actually ranks fairly low in the outrageousness department compared to some.

Strange as it seems to say, I am almost sad to give up those moments—not to mention these blog postings. The reactions to the festival, which began to bubble up in earnest on the last day, were interesting. For Paige Parvin 96G and me especially, as graduates of Emory’s Film Studies program, there was nothing ordinary about this festival. It was a unique opportunity; and we are grateful to our VP, Ron Sauder, for understanding that—beyond the mirror gazing—serious work is done on that other coast and that we were there to do some. For Genevieve McGillicuddy 96G, the appreciations went beyond what even Paige and I could muster.

Participants told her and Paige (Genevieve’s eyes and ears) about what this festival meant in a way that was surprising and emotional. For one man, it was a reason not to kill himself. For another participant, it got her through a bout of cancer. For yet another participant, TCM the network and then the festival got her through a year of unemployment. If you think about it, TCM has assembled a vast array of supporters for classic cinema that has been united, to this point, only by tuning into the same film on their televisions at the same time. That is community of a sort, but not the highest-order community.

In the main auditorium at the historic Grauman’s Theatre, we all sat together—roughly 1,100 of us. Seeing the restored A Star Is Born (1954) and all the films that followed wasn’t something that I could watch on my iPad. I was elbow to elbow with my fellow viewers. And what happens in that darkened space is much more than the sum of actions on the screen. Indeed, the applause at the end was as much for the delight we took in one another’s company as for the actors.

I already miss it, but I have a day job to which I must return. Again, I thank everyone who made a contribution: the impressive alumni in the industry who granted us interviews (please stay tuned for the fruits of those conversations in the summer Emory Magazine), the high-achieving alumni who came out to our networking reception on Saturday night, and—finally—to Genevieve, who surely is passed out somewhere from exhaustion. Shhh. Let her rest.

Out of deference to Genevieve, I will whisper my parting lines. In a festival replete with (to borrow TCM’s favorite term) “classic” lines, one of the best I heard was this one. During the panel “Casting Secrets,” one of the audience members quoted Milton Berle, who offered the following advice to actors: “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” Words to live by—in Hollywood or anywhere.

Read part 5; Read part 4; Read part 3; Read part 2; Read part 1

-- Susan Carini 04G, executive director, Emory Creative Group

Monday, April 26, 2010

Breakin' up is hard to do (fifth in a series)

I liken the TCM festival to summer camp. For four days now, we have worn the same T-shirts and shared bug spray. At this point, we all have a good idea of who we don’t want to get stuck eating lunch with.

For starters, there was the woman so obsessed with Norman Lloyd that, in today’s session after the screening of Saboteur (1942), she clapped every time he said a word, including uneventful and small words such as “and” or “the.” At the end, she stood and shouted “bravo” over and over. I am pretty sure that if she had had bug spray, she would have doused him with it, wanting to be helpful, of course.

So, what am I getting at? Merely this—that all the good manners at the start inevitably begin to fray. Yesterday afternoon at Leave Her to Heaven (1946), I could have clobbered the old ladies next to me. They piped up every time Gene Tierney did something selfish or evil, which was nearly every second of the 110-minute running time.

If you can believe it, even the popcorn that looked so welcome to our big eyes on opening night was waning in popularity. I heard a woman leave a screening today and lament to her friend, “I’m just not doing well on this popcorn and Coke diet.” To boot, the panelists—who look so distinguished on paper—were starting to seem more gossipy and less on point (not that gossipy is ever truly bad; it’s darned interesting).

Beyond the unraveling of good manners due to tiredness, there is the fact of just plain oversaturation. TCM attracted a large group of people who love the movies with uncommon passion, yet a man at Saboteur snored through the screening, despite the fact that the women all around me, who were strangers to him, kept taking turns poking him.

When I first had spied the three-and-a-half-hour showing of Cleopatra (1963) on the roster for Sunday morning, my attitude was “just try and stop me. I’m there.” As the morning dawned, wild horses could not have dragged me into that theater. I suddenly remembered that I can hardly bear to see a headshot of the frowsy Liz Taylor in the tabloids anymore.

Silliness is another unflattering byproduct of doing the same thing for four days. The most heavily promoted film in town right now is A Nightmare on Elm Street. As David McClurkin 74C and I stood in line for popcorn tonight, we were aware that some of our compatriots were getting buckets of popcorn with a very nifty cardboard version of the Krueger claw in them. I suddenly wanted one with all the urgency that a child wants a pacifier. We ordered a large popcorn, thinking that we would get one. The clerk shoved a huge bag at us.

“Where’s the claw?” I demanded. Turns out you had to get a medium popcorn. (Go figure.) Patrons behind us grew restive. But I had to have the claw. Once inside the theater, I gave the claw its own seat and seemed to have enough of a crazy glint in my eyes that no one asked the claw to give up its seat.

Yes, the people dressed like Shrek, Spidey, and Marilyn on the sidewalk outside Grauman’s looked even sadder on day four than on day one, but the closing screening of the festival returned us to our best selves. At the final film, no one snored or talked or complained about the popcorn. Instead, just as happened on opening night, we were enchanted.

The last screening was of Metropolis (1927), a film that marks a gap in my own cinema education. I am darn glad that I waited. What we saw tonight was an impeccably restored version of this groundbreaking film, complete with the brilliance of the Alloy Orchestra, which is listed in the program as “North America’s premier silent film accompanists.” Believe the claim.

Between the hours of seven and ten Sunday night, all the magic and majesty of film returned. You could have heard a pin (or a claw) drop. The audience applauded the end of every major section of the film, then went wild at the end. When Robert Osborne announced that TCM has decided to repeat the festival next year, there was bedlam.

I am hoping that, from his place on stage, Osborne could see the claw held high.

Read part 6; Read part 4; Read part 3; Read part 2; Read part 1

-- Susan Carini 04G, executive director, Emory Creative Group

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Star power without the stretch limos (fourth in a series)

Last night we were well removed from the glitter. We gathered at a watering hole on West Sunset that frankly wasn’t even up to the standards of Buckhead or Virginia Highlands. But you know what? An even more potent kind of star power shone there last night.

David McClurkin 74C, Paige Parvin 96G, and I met with a group of fellow alumni at a networking reception. The style of dress was mostly jeans and wrinkled shirts for the guys, better for the women. All our guests kindly tolerated the clich├ęs of this networking reception: the fishbowl into which they were supposed to drop their business cards and the table with Emory literature, etc.

The point is, no one was stylin’. No one acted as if they were in the middle of a screen test or a pitch. They were open, friendly, and smart. When they heard the problem we had set before them—how to begin getting product placements for Emory—they dug right in. “Thought of this?” What about that?” A moderate temblor of ideas took place at Cat ‘n’ Fiddle; the fish bowl was rattling.

David, as the business-development guy, shook every hand. I, as the reclusive writer, shook fewer, but those I did, I really enjoyed. (Really.) Brian Zager 06B (above right) was our host. He has gone on to do a master’s at USC in producing. I also met Roger Green 06C (above left) of William Morris Endeavor and Josh Small 04C of Alcon Entertainment. Alcon is an independent film company aligned with Warner Bros. We know that capable people work there. Why? Their last film was The Blind Side (2009).

Had I stared into the fishbowl, I could recite every name. Alas, I cannot. However, I can tell you this: every one of these engaging alumni was still interested in Emory and graciously willing to accept our hors d’oeuvres as payment for all their good thinking.

David passed out, as he calls it, “Emory swag” for the assembled. By that act alone, we have ratcheted up product placement tenfold over what it was the day we arrived—two sweatshirts, his and mine.

With the help of Genevieve McGillicuddy 96G, the festival organizer, we had arranged for a showing after the reception. Though Paige had lobbied for The Graduate (1967) for our graduates, instead we got permission for Singin’ in the Rain (1952). Most alumni politely begged off the screening, saying that they had seen the film. And, truth be told, I got the strong impression that this sharp group—equal parts entrepreneurial and creative—has more of a yen for active doing than passive viewing.

To everyone who attended, thanks so much for leaving with a homework assignment and for embracing our swag with something close to wild enthusiasm. David told me that Mark Goffman 90C (yes, the Mark Goffman of The West Wing, The Beast, and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit) wanted to leave wearing an Emory hat. David raced to lop off the tag. We cannot have Mark Goffman (the Mark Goffman) on the streets of West Sunset with a tag hanging in his eyes.

While our alumni dashed off to draw up a business plan for our new venture, David and I succumbed to the lure of passive viewing. Just for a couple of hours. The 10:00 p.m. showing at the festival was an un-missable chapter from our own youth: Saturday Night Fever (1977). I, who normally (as David says) sit like a statue in movies, straining to catch every word, was tapping my feet pretty boisterously to the music. As were the many other fans of the Bee Gees.

You might recall the now-legendary way the film opens: with Travolta swaggering down a Brooklyn street carrying a can of paint to his place of business. David has promised me that he will learn to walk like that.

A word to the wise: first ditch the Hush Puppies.

Read part 6; Read part 5; Read part 3; Read part 2; Read part 1

-- Susan Carini 04G, executive director, Emory Creative Group

Photo by Jon Rou

Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's only a 'Paper Moon' (third in a series)

Today I heard more stars speak than a Dalmatian has spots. Fritz Lang. George Cukor. Jimmy Stewart. Orson Welles. “Hitch.”

Wait, that’s not quite true. They were all being channeled through the same mouth—that of Peter Bogdanovich. He sat down with critic Leonard Maltin for a conversation, and what a talk it was. Though Bogdanovich was one of the young rebels of 1970s filmmaking—along with Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and others—he also has the distinction of being one of the cinema’s most eminent historians. He has published widely, including portraits of Orson Welles and John Ford.

His history lessons go down easier than most because he is a talented mimic. And achingly funny. Maltin had the easy part. All he had to do was mention a well-known Hollywood name or film. Then Bogdanovich would say, “Can I tell a story?” At the end of the hour, with the audience hanging on every word, Bogdanovich was still asking that question, still spinning yarns.

From talk of Tatum O’Neal’s “lettuce cigarettes” (which she smoked at the tender age of eight) to describing the time that his house guest Orson Welles put a lit cigar in his robe and nearly started the entire mansion on fire, Bogdanovich had us in the palm of his hand. David McClurkin 74C and I had left a poolside table at the Roosevelt Hotel (above) to come to that conversation, but we didn’t want to go back for all the free appetizers in the world. We were tempted to lock the doors from the inside.

One of the best stories in Bogdanovich’s repertoire was about Hitch. Bogdanovich describes meeting Hitch and his wife at a New York hotel. After several frozen daiquiris, none of the parties was feeling any pain. They then were headed out to dinner, so they got in the elevator. The conversation had revolved around usual topics until the first time the doors opened and other guests got on. Hitch started talking (imagine the accent, of course): “It was an awful sight. The man was bleeding from his mouth and ears, limbs akimbo.” All other conversation ceased in the elevator. Each time the elevator stopped and new guests stepped in, he ratcheted up the crime scene in greater graphic detail. When they got to the lobby, no one wanted to get off. They knew it was Hitch.

Bogdanovich, who usually didn’t drink, was completely befuddled. As they walked out of the hotel, he asked, “Who was the man?” Hitch waved him off, saying, “You have heard of elevator speeches? Well, that was mine.”

Bogdanovich is not the only funny man whose company I had the pleasure of today. As David and I walked to the Roosevelt Friday morning, we came upon what clearly was some sort of media event associated with the festival. A growing crowd milled around. It eventually became clear that a new star was being dedicated on the Walk of Stars. With the delightful dry wit for which he is known, David said: “I’m pretty sure the star must be for Lindsay Lohan, honoring her for her life’s work.”

Peter, meet David.

Read part 6; Read part 5; Read part 4; Read part 2; Read part 1

-- Susan Carini 04G, executive director, Emory Creative Group

Photo by Jon Rou

Friday, April 23, 2010

Deeper into LA-LA Land (second in a series)

They had Grauman’s Chinese Theatre looking like hell Thursday, and the several times I went by it here on Hollywood Boulevard, I grumbled. Grauman’s, along with the Egyptian and Mann’s Chinese theaters, are primary venues for the TCM Classic Movie Festival.

Grauman’s is a gorgeous landmark—the place for premieres since 1927—which is why seeing what looked like a large cellophane worm in front of it was upsetting, despite my brief acquaintance with the theater.

It was all for crowd control, you see, as I discovered when I arrived at 5:30 p.m. for the screening of the re-restored (yes, I have my prefixes right) A Star Is Born (1954). Here is the genius of what Genevieve McGillicuddy 96G and her TCM compatriots have done. They have made ordinary people into celebrities. I know. I became one.

Last night an unexpected knock on my hotel door brought me a pass to use a free town car service during the festival. I thought little of it and figured I probably would walk anyway. What was I thinking? I am in the city where a proper entrance to an event is everything.

Luckily, a potent combination of laziness and faint stirrings from my own Film Studies days at Emory (I am an 04 alumna) compelled me to take the car, to do the arrival something like right. Even so, I wouldn’t have been shocked had the driver dropped me off a block from the mobbed theater with a gruff “you better walk from here.”

Instead, “Danny” hugged the curb protectively as we approached Grauman’s, telling an endless succession of serious-looking men dressed in black and mumbling into walkie-talkies that he was dropping off “Mrs. Carini” (somewhere between my hotel and Grauman’s, I mysteriously acquired a husband). They bought it. Not one of the men in black said, “Turn this car around.” At dead center of the cellophane worm, the car stopped, my door was opened, and the well-manicured hand of a tall man reached out for mine.

No sooner had I stepped from the car than a TCM employee was assigned to me. Her job was to get me from point A (the red-carpeted curb) to point B (my seat). First, though, we had to swim a sea of leggy starlets posing for paparazzi. Tucking my arm chummily in hers, my sherpa to the stars paused momentarily, then ran me across the sight lines of dozens of whirring cameras.

I expected the clicks to halt immediately. Frankly, I expected crickets. But behold, they continued. Somebody—I’m betting Genevieve—told them that, on this night, everyone is a celebrity. And I sort of started to believe it.

The B-list, then, consisted of me, the sweet, movie-obsessed mother-and-daughter team from New Orleans who sat next to me (bragging about how well they do on the People magazine crossword), and everyone else who felt secretly surprised and delighted by their newfound celebrity. The A-list consisted of Robert Osborne, Leonard Maltin, Eli Wallach, Tony Curtis (in a wheelchair), Alec Baldwin, Cher, and Judy Garland’s son and daughter, Joey and Lorna Luft. There undoubtedly were others. As far as I could tell, they had no special seating. After all, it’s a thin line between A and B.

Before the film, we saw a charming kinescope of all the celebrities turning out for the opening of A Star Is Born at the Pantages Theatre. These were real celebs—Joan Crawford, Lucille Ball, Clark Gable, Tony Curtis.

Garland’s performance is luminous. No stranger to adversity in her own career, she used this film to battle back to a top spot after MGM dropped her. She was heavily favored to win an Oscar that year. But she lost to Georgie Elgin. You heard me. Of course, no less than Grace Kelly played Elgin in The Country Girl (1954). Still, according to AMC Filmsite, Kelly was “frumpy, slatternly, dowdy, embittered” and—as if all that weren’t lacking in the usual grace—additionally burdened with “horn-rimmed spectacles and a shapeless cardigan sweater.”

Garland took the loss like the champ she was, informing her fans that her real present that year was her son Joey, who had just been born. Well, guess what? Joey was my present tonight too, along with free popcorn and Coke.

I can’t wait for tomorrow’s lineup. Well done, Genevieve. I expect the flash blindness to wear off by then. It does, right?

Read part 6; Read part 5; Read part 4; Read part 3; Read part 1

-- Susan Carini 04G, executive director, Emory Creative Group

Photo by Jon Rou

Thursday, April 22, 2010

L. A. story (first in a series)

I’m not laid back, and I’m not friendly, and I’m in LA. Problem? Perhaps not.

I’ve got six days to get the hang of niceness—six days in which I am extraordinarily privileged to be part of a major event that Genevieve McGillicuddy 96G (yes, her last name is the same as Lucy Ricardo’s maiden name) has helped organize for Turner Classic Movies (TCM).

Arguably, TCM is curiously late to the dance. They, who are seemingly so mindful of dates (launching their network on April 14, 1994—exactly one hundred years to the day from the time of the first public movie showing in New York City), have taken their sweet time organizing a festival in this most movied of cities.

But, heck, they’re here, so I will stop complaining. Friday begins a movie festival of epic proportions—as if Genevieve were channeling Cecil B. DeMille. Although I will provide glimpses day to day, please do check out the full range of offerings right here.

Emory Magazine is here providing coverage of our alumni in the industry for the summer issue. Paige Parvin 96G, EM’s editor and a classmate of Genevieve, will be shadowing her during the festival and watching that single, harried human being attend to a multitude of details while the rest of us squirm in our seats as the lights go down.

Already, the aura of celebrity has gone to Paige’s normally sensible head. She asked the other members of the team out here if we could pick her up at the airport “bearing flowers and a sign with my name and the letters VIP.”

I wish I were kidding.

Tomorrow morning I have the honor of interviewing Sy Rosen 69C, a decorated television writer who has written for The Bob Newhart Show, The Wonder Years, Sanford, Maude, and many others. After that conversation comes an interview with a promising young actor, Chris DesRoches 02Ox 04C, who—along with his twin brother, Joshua—had a part in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008).

I haven’t seen any stars yet, but as the photo proves, I have stepped on quite a few. Now that I know from Paige how they act, I think that I will be a good spotter.

In addition to Paige and me, we are joined by our Communications and Marketing colleague David McClurkin 74C, who is investigating possibilities for product placement of Emory-branded merchandise.

Right now we are the only ones wearing the Emory sweatshirts. But the festival is young.

Read part 6; Read part 5; Read part 4; Read part 3; Read part 2

-- Susan Carini 04G, executive director, Emory Creative Group

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A trip down Emory lane

Well Emory, the time has come to say goodbye—but just for the summer. I’ll be back as the EAA’s communications assistant in the fall. So before I bid you adieu, I’d like to wax nostalgic about blogging for the EAA.

From the first time I introduced myself to this bittersweet post, I’ve had some singular experiences.

Browsing the pages of Emory’s ancient yearbooks in the Schley Library, I learned a thing or two about Emory’s rich history. I bet you don’t know what pushball is (and if you do, then you don’t have to click on the link).

And who can forget the post about my celebrity meet-and-greet with the great Third Eye Blind? I hope you all could sense my clammy hands as you read about my encounter with lyricist legend, Stephan Jenkins (He’s a blogger, too.).

Next up, I got to attend my very first poetry reading featuring Emory alumna Stacey Lynn Brown 92C and her Southern poetry. Even better, I interviewed her by phone. It’s all true what they say about that Southern charm.

I gave you all a nice run down about Founders’ Week back at the beginning of the spring semester and then came my favorite blogging time of year: Dooley’s Week. From a classy Emory tasting to maniacal mobs fighting for t-shirts to funnyman Kevin Nealon, blogging about the week was almost better than the week itself … well, not quite, but I did get to relish in the spirit (Get it? Dooley’s spirit!) all over again in the blogosphere.

When people ask me where I work, I say the alumni association and they say, “Oh, the Telefund?” Then I respond with “I’m the communications assistant, so I get to write articles, copy edit, and blog.” Then they respond with a “Hey, that’s pretty cool.” But they don’t know the half of it.

I think the real value of working at the alumni association is the almost subconscious ability to know and recite random Emory facts. I also get to find out early on about what prestigious visitors will be coming to campus and what interesting events will be occurring. And I get to share that with all of you.

This summer, I’ll be located in the outskirts of the South, far away from Georgia, in the state with the biggest everything. Yup, you guessed it: Texas. Austin, TX to be exact, and I’ll be working as an intern for the Austin American Statesman.

Now, I know that Dooley can’t come with me, but don’t fret. When I get Emory-sick, I’ll take a look at Eaavesdropping and check up on you fine alumni. Until September, have a great summer!

-- Lindsey Bomnin 12C, communications assistant, EAA

Monday, April 19, 2010

How not to drive President Wagner's Model T

I recently had one of those moments in life that I will never forget. No, much to my mother’s continued dismay, I did not get married or have a child. Even better…I got to drive President Jim Wagner’s vintage Ford Model T!!

As a kickoff to its Class Gift Campaign, Emory’s Candler School of Theology Class of 2010 held a silent auction in which students could bid on items donated by faculty and staff. The auctioned goods included coveted experiences such as fly-fishing with David Petersen, Franklin Nutting Parker Professor of Old Testament; dance lessons with Brooks Holifield, Charles Howard Candler Professor of American Church History; and an afternoon sailing with the Rev. Barbara Day Miller 88T, assistant dean of worship and music and assistant professor in the practice of liturgy, on her yacht.

However, the item that immediately caught and kept my attention was the tour of Lullwater and ride in the Model T with President and Mrs. Wagner. After a competitive bidding war with current Candler student Alison Amyx 10T, we decided to split the cost and go together. (That's us with President Wagner above.)

After waiting for warmer weather to get here, the day of our excursion with the Wagners finally arrived last Friday, and it was a gorgeous day. The thrill of disregarding the signs warning of the illegality of driving through Lullwater Park (per Mrs. Wagner’s instructions, of course) was soon exceeded shortly after we arrived and President Wagner looked at us and asked, “Do you want to try to drive the Model T?”

Needless to say, I haven’t been that excited since I found out Zack Morris is speaking at this year’s Class Day.

Following a quick jaunt to the local QT (in the Model T – yes, we have pictures) to gas up, we made our way through campus, down Eagle Row to Peavine Creek Drive, where we decided would be a good place for us to have a go at driving the Model T. Now, before I mention this next part (against my better judgment), let me just say one thing. The Ford Model T was one of the first cars ever made, and so, though similar to the cars you and I are used to driving daily, there are some significant differences between the Model T and today’s automobiles.

That being said, things were going along splendidly with me behind the wheel, but the feeling of having mastered the machine soon came to an abrupt halt … and so did the car … when it came time to turn around to head back down the Peavine Creek Drive. That’s right, I may or may not have hit a curb in the President’s antique car … and I was absolutely mortified as I saw any future career at Emory, or anywhere, quickly vanish into thin air.

I believe my exact words were, “Oh my God, I broke the president’s car.”

If anyone remembers the so called Steve Bartman Incident (and how could Cubs fans forget…), that’s something like what I felt like. After what were the longest eight minutes of my life and several failed attempts at cranking the car back up, it finally started again and we were back on our way…and I was a little more cautious.

Luckily, in Jim Wagner we have a president who is incredibly gracious and kind, and he did not fire me on the spot, but merely shrugged off the incident in a lighthearted way. Even more luckily for me, the Model T is an incredibly durable automobile, and no damage was done.

One thing I know for sure, however, is that not only will I never forget this experience, I’m pretty sure President and Mrs. Wagner will always remember this theology grad … even if it is only as “that guy who tried to destroy our car.”

-- Shawn F. Scott 09T, coordinator, program development, Emory Annual Fund

Friday, April 16, 2010

Two days in Florida

Our first stop on the Presidential Destinations: South Florida tour was at the home of Barbara and Richard Garrett 70C 73L in Coral Gables on Wednesday evening, April 14. The EAA staff arrived early as usual to set up for the event. Thanks to Barbara Garrett, we had hardly anything to do except put out the name tags and greet the arriving guests.

As the program coordinator, I am usually the one who works behind the scenes with the caterers, event rentals, and other vendors to make sure everything comes together seamlessly, but not this time. Barbara coordinated absolutely every detail for the event on Wednesday evening and exceeded everyone’s expectations.

The event started around 6:30 p.m. with networking and hors d’oeuvres reception. The crowd was a great mixture consisting of alumni from the class of 1954 all the way through 2009, their guests, and even some prospective students. The food was amazing, but the highlight of the evening was President Jim Wagner’s talk on “Leading in the New Economy.”

As a new Emory staff member, this was my first opportunity to hear President Wagner speak. I found him to be dynamic and engaging. I especially found the part of how Emory addressed the economy in 2009 to be particularly interesting. Instead of “weathering the storm,” Emory saw not a storm, but a climate change.

The University did not do anything temporarily, and when layoffs became necessary, Emory consulted with the Center for Ethics about the ethics of layoffs. “You should not layoff people unless you can demonstrate to them and the people left behind that you are improving the institution, not just maintain the status quo,” Wagner said.

Our next stop was in Palm Beach for an April 15 luncheon at The Colony Hotel. Palm Beach was absolutely stunning! The audience at the luncheon included alumni as early as 2007 and as far back as 1932! Emory Williams 32C (namesake of the prestigious Emory Williams Teaching Awards) and his wife Janet were seated at the president’s table, front and center.

President Wagner’s address was equally as engaging in Palm Beach and was followed by another lively Q&A with the audience. After the luncheon, I was determined to make it to the beach to at least snap a picture. Thankfully, it was only a half a block away and made it back to the car to depart for the airport as scheduled.

My first two Presidential Destinations events were a success, although I cannot take much of the credit for our event in Coral Gables. The Garretts have definitely raised the standard on our future events and the EAA is grateful for them being such gracious hosts. This presidential trip will be a tough act to follow, but I’m always up for a challenge!

-- Michael Parker, program coordinator, alumni programs, EAA

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Photo of the Day: Springy spring has sprung ...

... outside the Miller-Ward Alumni House. Pollen not included.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Walking the dinosaur at Fernbank

If you grew up in the greater Atlanta area like I did, it’s likely that your memories of the Fernbank Museum of Natural History focus on elementary school field trips, complete with sack lunches, playing with the giant bubbles in the Sensing Nature exhibit, and all the dinosaurs you can imagine.

Well, imagine Martinis and IMAX as a field trip for adults, minus all those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It’s a chance to enjoy live music and company under their dinosaurs, followed by a larger-than-life IMAX film, with a martini in hand.

This was the setting for a recent Young Alumni and Emory Gay and Lesbian Alumni (GALA) event. Guests were welcomed to an Emory reception area, complete with some rather tasty hors d'oeuvres. It quickly became crowded due to the large group in attendance, causing guests to disperse among the many tables the museum had neatly positioned around the dinosaurs.

Have I mentioned the dinosaurs? I may be one of those rare adults who never grew out of their childhood dinosaur phase (so what if I have a T. Rex in my apartment), but I think everyone in attendance will admit that they provided a delightful backdrop for the evening.

The band was great, the drinks were better, and after a couple of hours of mingling guests were ushered upstairs to see Arabia. I wish I could tell you what the film was about, but I spent most of it amazed/grossed out by the camels. They have two joints in their back legs, allowing them to bend in the weirdest way possible. Maybe someone else who was there can speak to the actual purpose of the film, since I may have missed the point.

All in all, it was an excellent event and a perfect way to kick off the weekend. I’m always a fan of doing something new and can’t wait to see what the Young Alumni come up with next.

-- Kelley Quinn 08B, coordinator, Emory Alumni Board

Tuesday, April 13, 2010



What? Were you expecting something else? This is a family blog.

There was lots of glee on Friday, April 9, as the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts hosted the seventh annual Barenaked Voices concert, featuring all of Emory's student a cappella groups, including the University's Concert Choir.

Six groups: Dooley Noted, Aural Pleasure, AHANA a cappella, The Gathering, and No Strings Attached, plus the concert choir got their chance on stage and wrapped up the night with a all-group performance of Michael Jackson's classic Man in the Mirror.

For photos of each act, please visit the EAA's Facebook fan page. Feel free to sing along.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Friday, April 9, 2010

Wine ... women ... career growth

A group of 45 Emory alumnae, friends, and colleagues enjoyed a wine tasting at New York Vintners in Tribeca while a panel of women representing legal, finance, publishing, and creative fields discussed their experiences as successful women navigating through their careers.

The March 22 panel discussed the current state of female participation among the management and executive roles in various fields. Panelists recounted their own personal experiences throughout their careers, and provided advice to the audience on how to find success and happiness in their chosen fields. Popular tips included identifying the right career, choosing a mentor, and how to network with other women and within the larger corporate world.

Closing remarks were provided by Carolyn Bregman 82L, the director of alumni career services for the Emory Alumni Association, who discussed the variety of career coaching and support offered by the University.

-- Carey Bertolet 96L, Alumnae and Women of Emory, New York

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A ripe issue on a green lawn

This year's Classroom on the Green, formerly called Called Classroom on the Quad, centered on an issue hotter than the current heat wave spreading through Emory's campus: health care reform. The green part of the title came from its location on the quad of the School of Medicine (the "green" is on the other side of the building at left).

As its annual signature event, Student Government Association (SGA) invited prominent speakers, like Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and keynote speaker Rear Admiral Steven Solomon, the director of the Coordinating Center for Health Information and Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, four other speakers with health care-related backgrounds formed a panel that later participated in a Q&A session with those in the audience. Nursing school professor Marcia Holstad moderated the whole event.

Each of the panelists approached the issue in a non-aggressive way, encouraging those in the audience to be patient and hopeful for the future of health care. The following Q&A entertained plenty of open-ended questions about the panelists' opinions of the costs, benefits, and effects of the newly-passed bill.

Despite high temperatures and pollen-crazed bees hovering about, an audience of about 100 students and faculty made their way to the tent on the medical school quad throughout the afternoon. A definite attendance lure, SGA gave out free t-shirts to students who signed up for them. Ironically--or intentionally--the shirts were also green and on them, posed the question of being able to survive health care reform in America.

Although the event was intended to answer that question, the take-home message was this: these are the beginning stages of new legislation and the only thing to do is wait and see what will happen next.

-- Lindsey Bomnin 12C, EAA communications assistant

Monday, April 5, 2010

Field of dreams

Today is Opening Day here in Atlanta for the hometown Braves , who face the Chicago Cubs at 4:10 p.m. at Turner Field. So there's no better time for a baseball post ...

The late W. Clyde “Doc” Partin 50C 51G was a beloved Emory icon for more than 50 years—a teacher, coach, athletics director, and historian known for his remarkable contributions to the athletics program. Now that his family has given his personal papers, books, and sports memorabilia to Emory’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL), he will have a permanent place within the University.

Keep reading for more about the Partin papers. or you can click here for the full story. That is unless you're watching the Cubs/Braves game, which is OK by us ...

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Partin’s son Clyde Partin Jr. 78C 83M 86MR , an Emory alumnus, physician, and professor who has been a member of the MARBL Literary Collections board for the past 10 years, was instrumental in arranging the gift. He and his mother, Betty Partin, and his two siblings, Keith Partin of Charlotte, N.C., and Betsy Partin Vinsor of Gainesville, Fla., are making the gift as a family.

Partin said the family has been touched by Emory’s welcoming response. “We are incredibly pleased that Emory has shown an interest in preserving the sports collections of my father. He was a keen competitor who was devoted to Emory University, the study of baseball, and the history of athletics.”

The archive includes essays Doc Partin wrote about baseball Hall of Famers such as Babe Ruth, Earle Combs, and Frank Robinson, as well as drafts and research notes for those essays. It also includes posters, documents, and baseballs signed by Hank Aaron, Satchel Paige, Buck O’Neill, and many other legendary players, along with a substantial collection of books related to African American athletes.

These materials will form the nucleus of what the Partin family hopes will evolve into a major collection exploring the role of African Americans in sports and the role of athletics in the struggle for human and civil rights.

“Doc Partin had a hand in nearly every major athletic development in Atlanta for years, from the Atlanta Braves to the Olympics,” said Randall Burkett, curator of MARBL’s African American collections. “One of the lesser known but profoundly important aspects of Partin’s career was his eagerness to break down barriers to the success of African American athletes in sports at every level.”

The Partin archive also includes extensive records related to the Atlanta Chiefs, the soccer team from the late 1960s that was the brainchild of Partin’s close friend Richard Cecil, a former executive with the Atlanta Braves. Cecil played a key role in conceiving the idea of a sports archive at Emory.

Partin earned a bachelor’s degree from Emory in 1950 and a master’s in education in 1951. During his tenure as athletics director from 1966 until 1983, Emory athletics saw unprecedented growth that culminated in the construction of the Woodruff P.E. Center, which opened in 1983. He expanded the number of intercollegiate sports, particularly for female students, with women’s tennis being added in 1975 followed by women’s cross-country and track and field in the early 1980s. Partin also founded the Emory Sports Fitness Camp, now in its 45th year.

From 1986 until his retirement in 2002, Partin was a professor of physical education. Over the course of his career, he mentored hundreds of young student athletes. Even after his retirement, he kept an office on campus and often manned the press box, announcing during Emory baseball games. Partin’s book on the history of Emory athletics, Athletics for All: The History of Sports at Emory, was released in 2006. He passed away in June 2009.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Peep, peep, peep, peep, peep

Emory's mascot is the Eagle, but, really ... maybe it should be the Peep.

What would the holidays be without them? But ... what do we really know about Peeps?

Back in 1999, two Emory alumni, Gary Falcon 91C and James Zimring 92C 98PhD 99M 02MR, wanted to find out. The groundbreaking research they conducted on Peeps back then remains remarkably popular today. (More than 12.6 million visitors popular, if you believe those odometer counter things.)

Emory's eScienceCommons blog picked up on it a little while back, and recently posted a survey you can take, gauging your Peepness. (Is that even a word?)

EAAvesdropping is just happy that spring has come to Georgia ... the Peeps like being outside. That said, the Peeps are really happy anytime. After all ... they're always in season.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Photo of the Day: Nice mortarboard

We're glad Bishop Warren A. Candler 1875C still likes to show off his gold and blue accessories.

To see Bishop Candler up close, visit Emory's Candler School of Theology Building.