Our blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Newborne Artists

While the majority of our most recent graduates took a practice GRE or headed off to their 9-5 last week, Ari Blinder 11C sat in his kitchen running lines before his audition for the new GI Joe movie.

One floor below, his roommates Matt Lipkins 11C, Scott Schwartz 11C and Adam Hoffman 11B began rehearsal for their band The Shadowboxers. And his fourth roommate, Matthew Fennell 11C, sat with his business partner Matthew Ryckman 11B and answered emails for the feature film they are currently writing and directing.

These six have been our list to watch for a long time. But wait until you hear of their most recent adventures.

The Shadowboxers began their summer with packing their bags and touring across the country as the opening act for The Indigo Girls, alumnae Amy Ray 86C and Emily Saliers’ 85C Grammy-winning band.

Blinder booked exciting roles on My Lifetime’s TV show Drop Dead Diva, and on Showtime’s new series Homeland, while Fennell authored a novel for his thesis and worked as a cinematographer for a short thriller that Ryckman wrote and directed called “The Visitor”.
And, after starting their company called Fifteenth Floor Pictures (LLC) with Blinder, Fennell and Ryckman have been busy working on their upcoming full-length feature film named “Newborne County” that Blinder will star in.

The first film all three collaborated on went on to win not only Best Picture at Emory’s chapter of Campus Movie Fest (CMF), currently the world’s largest student film festival, but also Best Drama at the competition’s international finale in 2010. Check out “The Gerstein Report" by clicking on the link below!

Their next idea? A full-length thriller about a teenage girl trapped in an unforgiving town desperate to both avenge her sister’s death and salvage her family. The two have been busy this summer fundraising and holding casting calls, and will begin filming this fall in a small county in Georgia. Hear more from Ryckman and Fennell about the story behind “Newborne County” and their vision in this short clip.

“The film is a modern western hidden in the guise of a southern murder mystery,” said Fennell. Ryckman attributes this twist to casting decisions that place unexpected characters in traditional roles.

Emory film professor Eddy Von Mueller worked with Blinder, Fennell and Ryckman on “The Gerstein Report” and will continue to give them guidance on Newborne County as Executive Producer of the film. Other Emory alumni and students are teaming up with Fennell and Ryckman to work on the project, though the project requires a wide range of talents and they are on the lookout for anyone interested in helping. (Contact newbornecounty@gmail.com for more information)

Though still deep in the middle of the casting process, Ryckman and Fennell already know that Blinder will play the role of Kevin, the main character’s brother who is haunted by ghosts from his days as a marine.

When asked when he knew he wanted to be an actor, Blinder laughed. “I tried everything under the sun my first couple semesters. One day it just occurred to me that the reason I loved doing so many different things is because I love acting and stepping in to other people’s shoes.” He added, “It just made sense”.

Though he may not have had the transformation in to Lt. Gerstein, a German Nazi destroyed by guilt, in mind, that’s exactly what happened next with “The Gerstein Report”. Check out our blog post from when the movie first premiered, we gave Blinder’s acting two thumbs up!

In addition to its success at Campus Movie Fest, a competition founded by alumni Dan Cost 01B, David Roemer 02B, Ajay Pillariseti 02C, and Vijay Makar 02B, “The Gerstein Report” was also the only film from Atlanta to be selected for the 2011 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, co-chaired this year by Matthew Bernstein, chair of Emory’s Film and Media Studies department.

Blinder additionally starred in Ryckman’s creation, “The Visitor”, which will premiere at various film festivals this fall, and you can spot him on episode 12 on the current season of Drop Dead Diva, the new series Homeland, and even in a recent Mitsubishi commercial! Keep an eye out for his upcoming roles here; we know we will…

Though you may not be able to catch them with on TV like Blinder yet, The Shadowboxers are back in Atlanta after two summer tours and are busy with upcoming shows in the area! Check in above to read about their new CD, their summer with Saliers, and what it’s really like to live in a house with so many creative people!

-- Liz Speyer 14C, communications intern, EAA

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Photos of the Day

Our CEBA walkers aren’t the only one staying in excellent shape. Congratulations to Emory Men’s and Women’s Tennis for their amazing seasons and for placing 2nd and 3rd respectively in the National Championships! Also special congratulations to Chris Goodwin 12C for winning the NCAA Division III Men’s Singles Tennis Championship, and to Gabrielle Clark 14C who was named NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Rookie of the Year by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Meet My Family

As a native-bred northerner, I think it’s fair to say that my parents were a little worried about me traveling alone one thousand miles in to the land of the peaches. However after almost a year away from home, I have a confession to make. Though I temporarily left one family of four, I walked straight into the arms of another a mere 28 members larger.

I know you’ve met them through their hard work on all of the programs that make up the Emory Alumni Association. But like all families, I bet there’s a side you don’t know yet. Let me introduce you.

If I could wave a magic wand and turn someone in to the big sister I never had, I would choose Drew Dotson. I think I’d fill the little-sister role perfectly as I already fill the only criteria for the job: I want to be her. From her sense of humor to her unique ability to take 50 of your words and say them better in five, you name it, I’m officially jealous.

And while we’re on the topic of people I want to be, if I could have even an ounce of the organization and sweet nature the Fiona Reidl embodies or the hospitality that comes with Carey Smith-Marchi 09C I’d be beyond incredibly lucky, though it’s really Kelley Quinn’s concentration I’m after. How she manages to get anything done with the amount of giggling, story telling, and racing that goes on right outside her office door (guilty…) and still manages it with a smile I’ll never know.

If that magic wand came with a fairy godmother, a lot more about my life would make sense, as I decided a long time ago that Charlene Hyman is a guardian angel in disguise. I turn away for a minute and popcorn, brownies, cake, jokes, compliments, smiles, and Emory paraphernalia (you name it) pop up in front of me out of the blue! I think its safe to say she’s magic.

Michael Parker and Shawn Scott 09T have reassured me that its perfectly socially acceptable to hold on to certain parts of childhood, such as frequenting Disney Land annually or jumping up and down in the hallway screaming in excitement over a new toy (Ipad2 anyone?). Also, I swear on my life that if you’ve never indulged in at least one bite of Valrie Thompson’s I’m-pretending-to-be-cake-but-I’m-really-a-slice-of-heaven-in-a-dish creations, you haven’t lived.

I admit it, Ariane Fitch intimidates me in a big way. As managing this blog is one of my summer projects, one of the first days on the job I was responsible for uploading her witty blog post on the Boston Leadership Conference. It took me three days to write my first contribution (a one paragraph spotlight) because I was so nervous about trying to meet the precedent she had set. I’m still working on that one.

I don’t know how Laura Weekly and Kate Gregory have figured out a way of getting paid to party but it’s pretty unfair. And genius. Though I’m glad that I have this blog as an excuse to go out and see some of their plans in action, I’m still waiting for the day when I find an excuse to travel with them, (hello…official nametag ripper?) Then again I have a feeling that those evenings wouldn’t be nearly as fun without the life and personality these two incredible women bring to their events…

Please don’t tell anyone, but I have secret plans to sneak on to every single trip that Allie Hill has organized over seas next year (I assure you I’m not joking.)Though on the topic of inventing excuses, a lot of the time I’ll take the long way somewhere and walk through the upstairs hallways just so I can jam out to Chardina Choate’s radio, and if I’m lucky overhear one of her jokes. On my way back down the stairs I have to admit that I’ll always pop in and make up something to ask Jule Taylor just so I can slip my most embarrassing office questions in to the conversation (my all-time superstar moment: “Jule how do you dial an extension?!”). She may be the only person I know who makes me feel better when she makes fun of me because her laughter is so incredibly contagious…

If the world were to end tomorrow, we would all be in the absolute best hands possible with Martha Fagan, Carolyn Bregman 82L, and Leslie Wingate 82C in the building. These three women anchor the entire staff with their smiles, wealth of experiences, and voices of reason.

I want to thank Tom Brodnax from the bottom of my heart for giving me such a different perspective on both this city and the world. From hiking trails to new and intriguing ice cream flavors, Tom has the incredible talent of making you stop and pay attention to amazing details that you overlook everyday. And while I’m speaking of the end of the world and incredible knowledge bases, I’m pretty sure our world here at the EAA would end if Frances Stanfield just didn’t show up one day.

Our other two summer interns, Dylan Jackson 14C and Ben Weinstein, are the reasons why I want to come in early and leave work late. Dylan has the unique capability of turning your entire day around with a simple smile or joke, while Ben embodies the word reliability both as a friend and an unbelievable project manager.

There is only one word in the English language that I could possibly use to describe Jennifer Crabb 98Ox 00C and that word is superwoman. People need things from her 24/7, and yet she still goes completely out of her way to give to others beyond the incredible amount that is required from her. There is absolutely nothing in this woman’s heart but kindness.

Miles Cliatt is honestly the most patient person I have ever met. With a mountain to do since the minute he started, he quietly stays here until all hours until the job is done and asks questions until he has all the answers. And speaking of close to effortless transitions, Carol So has amazed me with how gracefully and thoroughly she’s stepped up to the plate. Mea culpa, I was expecting to really not like her as her start date meant I had to snap back to reality and return to my cubicle after a month or so of playing office and feeling important. With anyone else it might have taken quite a bit to win me over…

Missy Rodil and Tania Dowdy 08Ox 10C are two of those rare people who you know that you can genuinely trust with anything. They will always, without fail, go out of their way to help you with anything and everything. The amount of patience and kindness they have put together seriously make me wonder if there’s any left for the rest of us.

I have never met anyone who can tackle problems so thoroughly, patiently, and brilliantly as Stacey Gall. No matter how trivial or pressing the inquiry she gives each the same level of careful thought and attention. I am also completely amazed at Sarah Cook’s ability to keep a discussion on topic (though admittedly staff meetings did get a lot more productive after she discovered our love to free food from Willies and our tendencies to trade tangents for tacos in its presence.)

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but all I knew about Allison Dykes was from books, pictures, and letters from her sprinkled all over the house. I have to say though the confident, eloquent, and welcoming voice from her writing was only better in person…

After an entire school year of working for her, I’ve yet to see Gloria Grevas at rest. And yet she’s never too busy to check on you and get the details of how things are really going. And how Veronica Roman 09Ox 11C is always smiling and so friendly when I know the unbelievable daily to-do-list she has I honestly can’t tell you.

So there you have it, Mom and Dad. You’ve left me in good hands among a plethora of genuinely kind, beautiful, and wonderful people. By the way, the truth behind why I’m always one of the last ones in the building at night? I can honestly say I don’t really feel like leaving.
-- Liz Speyer, communications intern, EAA

Friday, July 8, 2011

Photo of the Day

Dozens gathered on Jenkins Courtyard outside Goizueta Business School with blankets, picnics, and friends in tow last Thursday evening for the first of the annual “Twilight Concerts” this summer. The program, featuring the Emory University Summer Concert Band under the direction of Scott A. Stewart (Director of Wind Studies at Emory), included numbers such as Overture to La Forza del Destino (1862), a Porgy and Bess selection (1935), and selections from The Music Man (1950). Join us next Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. for the second and final Twilight Concert of the summer!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

CEBA in Central Park

The most recent Emory Health Walk, sponsored by the New York chapter of the Caucus of Emory Black Alumni (CEBA), turned out to be a fun, healthy, and early-morning success. The turnout at Central Park on Saturday, June 26 included alumni representatives from various class years between 1990 and 2010. Though a few of us battled some slight handicaps from the conclusion of a Friday night out on the town merely hours before, everyone braved the heat and arrived bright and early ready to walk.

As an added bonus, our group was treated to an up-close view of the finish line to the annual Pride Run. Seeing these runners complete the home stretch was quite an inspiration to all of us (some ran the entire race in under 25 minutes!)

With breakfast bars and new Emory T-shirts in hand, our crew was ready to get its pre-walking stretches on. We met our guide Lon at our starting point, the North Meadow Recreation Center, where he taught us the importance of good posture and premptive stretching before we started out on our journey. Lon was so impressed that so many of us had come out together to walk for our health (especially on a weekend morning) that he decided to give us our own private walk!

What we thought would be a mere stroll in the Park turned out to be quite a workout, however, as keeping our arms high and our feet light proved to be quite a challenge. “Stay loose as a goose!” Lon would cheer periodically as arms dropped or feet lagged. Thanks to our athletic fervor and a rather unrelenting June sun, it’s safe to say that we were all sweating by the time the 45-minute trek through the hills and paths of Central Park came to an end. Nevertheless, we all agreed that this was a great way to start out our Saturday morning.

After a group cool down stretch, we handed out some extra Emory T-shirts to other walkers out on their own strolls. “Emory… Hey, that’s a great school!” shouted one man, as he proudly held up his new T-shirt. “Thank you, sir!” He didn’t need to tell us…

Couldn’t join us last week? The North Meadow Recreation Center leads weekly Central Park walks every Saturday morning from 9:30 am to 11:00 a.m., no pre-registration required. We’ll see you out there!

- Montshona Edwards 07C