Friday, February 27, 2009

Music Journalism, or an Attempt to Take Over the World?

by Laura Spencer

Chris Anderson just wants world domination.

The new Special Topics class, Music Journalism, has found a home at Chester College of New England. Studying a variety of things from movies to books to songs, Anderson plays with the lines of literature and music. With their new blog launching March 4th, Sticks and Stones will let them go public. People everywhere will be able to see the pages. From reviews, to reading where they can find their favorite bands play, to listening to sample of songs chosen by the class, the Chester College Music Blog may have it all. The section titled "Love," however, might be Anderson's favorite. This is where the heart comes in.

"People discuss their favorite all time record. The one that has lasted years without losing its ability to move, the record that changed the way you saw the world. We're hoping to get a wide range of people to write for our Love section, from published authors to faculty and students from Chester College. I also hope to include brief essays by musicians about their favorite books."

While they aren't busy getting ready for their internet debut, Anderson has the class reading a variety of books, writing reviews and papers on different topics, interviewing a musician and keeping track of the latest times in music. He understands that music is such a personal thing, so the class had a risk of getting a bit heated, though it was too important a topic to not focus on, and that the touch of personal material may in the end make it better.

"We want nothing less than world domination," Anderson says. "Well, at least I do, and think everyone in the class is certainly capable."

For more information and to take part in the happenings, visit Sticks and Stones.

Their Myspace is also available to make contact with the class and stay up to date.

SO Good, Vol. 2

The staff of SO Good is pleased to announce its choices for Volume II. If your name is on this list, please send a short bio (60 words or less) to today.

Fiction: "Bittersweet," Sérah Carter; "Nonevent," Marie Stern

Poetry: "Positraction opossums getting killed by cars," Venessa Rotondi; "An English Tide Flat," Maggie Alerding; "Overripe Blackberry," Ashley Kreutter; "Suicide Weather," Rebecca Vitkauskas; "Existential Cladogenesis," Dan Keating; "Zingaro," Nick Kimball

Nonfiction: "Cubs," Eric Notaro; "Air Tower," Kristen Koczarski

Visual Art: Untitled image by Julia Maranto; "Gym" and "Doctor's Office," Madison Mastri; "Peony," Emily Couture; Untitled photograph by Jesse Cloutier; Two untitled black and white portraits by Krystle Belanger; "Human Landscape 4," Zach Shields; Untitled oil pastel by Alexa Patrick; "Relapsed Recovery," Joe Brown; "Lust" and "Misery," Amy Mauriello; "Homage," Jamie Cheney; "Rainforest Irony," Vanessa Laboy

Faculty Favorites

Fiction: "Like Gravity Falling Up," Jeff Metcho, nominated by Chris Anderson; "Cashmere," Beth Ann Miller, nominated by Chris Anderson

Poetry: "When he sleeps he dreams of fields, wild," Matt Williams, nominated by Eric Crapo; "Plenty a Wonderful Beautiful Thing," Vanessa Laboy, nominated by Monica O’Brien; "The Real Parts (I fell in love with a wordsmith)," Vanessa Laboy, nominated by Monica O'Brien; "Dearest Lover –or-(To Whom it May Concern)," Ryan Hoarty, nominated by Monica O’Brien; "this time" and "the simplification of attraction," Stephanie Libby, nominated by Chris Anderson

Nonfiction: "A Letter to Edward Abbey," Gregor R-Baugh, nominated by Eric Pinder

Visual Art: Collaged Narrative, Jessica Eastman, nominated by Liz Buckley; Installation featuring screenprinting with found objects, Amy Beth Gradewicz, nominated by Alexis Adams

Coming Soon

cover image by Amy Mauriello
cover design by Rhiannon Lombard

Chester College of New England on Facebook

Chester now has a facebook page! Become a fan, join a student or alumni group or leave a comment on our wall.

Friday, February 20, 2009

History of Pornography

by Jessica Eastman

“Which of the following represents the greatest threat to society?”

A. Larry Flint – the publisher of the adult magazine Hustler
B. Clarence Thomas – a Supreme Court justice accused of sexual harassment with an alleged pornographic movie viewing habit
C. Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU)

The answer, as Dr. Nanette Thrush presents, is Law and Order: SVU. Its consistent themes of sexual deviance and pedophilia numb audiences to the true impact of the situations. This is just one of the ideas she presents within “a class that raises eyebrows.” For, as Thrush says, “Traditionally my job would be to uphold the canon and teach standards, but now my job is to pull the rug out from underneath.” It’s all about the “'and maybe we should' factor.” Maybe we should go there. Maybe we should take it to the next level.

This semester is the second run of the course at Chester College of New England. Last year, when the class first ran, the Board of Trustee’s required students to sign content waiver forms to participate. Since then, many have felt the positive impact of such a course on campus. Raising questions such as “What makes an image pornographic,” and “How do society’s morals influence these definitions,” the course contributes to students’ understanding of their own artwork. Like Dr. Thrush asks, “What does it mean politically and socially to do a figure drawing? For a writer to write porn?” It is always important to discuss the censorship of artwork. How else would artistic styles grow?

As for the content covered within the class, it is never the same twice. Since last year, Thrush has “telescoped down coverage of the ancients to include more contemporary pieces.” She has also added a film section this time to discuss pornographic videos and what they mean within the grand scheme of things. As Thrush explains, “It’s partially reactionary.” She always feels the need to build material into the curriculum to “challenge generational taboos or dislikes.” Thrush not only questions the current taboos herself, but really challenges students to think about them in relation to their own ideas and artwork.

Needless to say, Dr. Thrush’s History of Pornography course raises eyebrows for all the right reasons. Even when asked to pick an image to represent the course, she picked two images that many may consider unsuitable to be published with such an article as this. However, for the sake of art and its argument, the images are presented below, edit free.

"The Origin of the World"
Gustave Corbet, 1866

"The Negation of the Universe"
Richard Phillips, 2001

Professor Diessner's Work in Northampton, MA exhibit

Work by Nancy Diessner, associate professor of interdisciplinary studies, is part of "Touching Space (flow)," an exhibition of 40 prints curated from the Flat Files Project by guest artist/curator Karen Dolmanisth at the Gallery at Zea Mays Printmaking in Northampton, MA. Dolmanisth selected work based on an intuitive response and perceived relationships between the pieces, and the non-traditional installation of the work extends her vision of how the works “touch space and flow” into the physical space of the gallery.

"Touching Space (flow)," which opened on January 27, will close Friday, February 27, with a reception and a gallery talk/performance by Dolmanisth from 6-8 p.m.

Alexandria Peary reading March 4th

Chester College of New England’s Visiting Writers Series will host a reading by Alexandria Peary at 6 p.m., Wednesday, March 4 in Powers 29. Admission is free for students with ID and a $5 suggested donation for all others.

Peary writes and publishes in a range of genre including poetry, magazine writing/ creative nonfiction, and scholarly writing. Her first book of poems, Fall Foliage Called Bathers & Dancers, was published in September 2008. Her poems have appeared in journals including The Gettysburg Review, The Massachusetts Review, jubilat, Poetry Northwest, Verse, and Crazyhorse, has received the Joseph Langland Award from the Academy of American Poets and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her most recent magazine article was published in late 2008 in the parenting magazine Brain, Child.

Junior Matt Williams and sophomore Ashley Kreutter will be opening for Peary.

excerpt from "i beg for rationalization"
by Matt Williams

san francisco. i have pieced this memory together
from the shreds of old photographs i found in carpet
strands in my room. this was before his mouth could
learn syllables and we understood each other, mystic
symbiosis – varied synaptic impulses charted us
guidelines to understand simply, we were brothers.
there was a spill of translucence on his brow,
and on mine, like a halo? like a white golden swathe.

Student Work Featured in Wadleigh Gallery

This semester, Chester College of New England's Wadleigh Gallery will feature a variety of student work from March through May.

Kicking off the exhibitions will be the student Graphic/Photo/Printmaking show, March 2-13. It will open with a reception on March 4 at 6 p.m. After spring break, the gallery will host a student video installation March 23-27, which will open with a reception on March 25 at 6 p.m. Rounding out the schedule will be five weeks of senior shows, from March 30 through May 4. These shows will feature the best work of Chester College's class of 2009. Openings are Wednesdays at 7 p.m., and will feature readings by graduating seniors from the Writing and Literature department.

For more information about the exhibitions, contact Megan McNaught, visiting assistant professor of fine arts; for information about the readings, contact Monica O'Brien, chair of the Department of Writing and Literature.

Professor Matsumoto Included in National Juried Exhibit

Darrell Matsumoto, associate professor and chair of the Department of Photography/Media Arts & Design at Chester College of New England, is included in The 6th Photographic Image Biennial Exhibition at East Carolina University.

Jurors Robert and Shana Parke Harrison selected Matsumoto's Untitled (container), from the series White. The exhibition will be on view in the Wellington B. Gray Gallery through February 18.

Faculty Member's Work Featured in Turbulence Spotlight, by Scarlet Electric (the work of Chester College of New England faculty member Rachelle Beaudoin and Jeanne Jo) was featured in a recent Turbulence Spotlight.

Turbulence is a project of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. Now celebrating 12 years, Turbulence has commissioned over 150 works ($600,000) and exhibited and promoted artists' work through its Artists Studios, Guest Curator, and Spotlight sections. As networking technologies have developed wireless capabilities and become mobile, Turbulence has remained at the forefront of the field by commissioning, exhibiting, and archiving the new hybrid networked art forms that have emerged. Turbulence works have been included in the Whitney Museum of American Art's Biennial ('00, '02, '04), and its Bit Streams and Data Dynamics exhibitions; Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea; C-Theory, Cornell University; Ars Electronica, Austria; International Festival of New Cinema and New Media, Montreal; European Media Arts Festival, Germany; and the Sundance Film Festival, among others.

Of Beaudoin and Jo's project Turbulence said: "Part fansite, part cultural critique, part exercise in stalking, '' is a website devoted to Cory Arcangel. Featuring animated gifs, collage, and textured backgrounds, ""embraces an aesthetic deemed by Arcangel as 'dirt style.' Dirt style, as Arcangel defines it, is the 'true spirit of the web.' The site includes interpretations of Arcangel's projects-instead of endless SuperMario clouds, Princess Toadstool endlessly waiting for Mario. Instead of Number of the Beast compressed 666, the song 500 Miles by the Proclaimers compressed 500 times."

Faculty Member Awarded Humanities Grant

Christopher Volpe, a faculty member in the Integrated Liberal Studies department at Chester College of New England, has been named the humanist in a grant by the New Hampshire Humanities Council to extend the N.H. Seacoast's annual "Jazzmouth" poetry and music event to the greater Portsmouth area.

Volpe will lead a public book-discussion at the Portsmouth Senior Center on Carolyn Cassady's "Off the Road," a memoir by the wife of the real-life protagonist of Jack Kerouac's "On the Road." The discussion will center on the women of the Beat Generation: who were they and in what ways did they contribute to the body of work that has come down to us? Topics may also include the position that women generally occupy in the canonical works of the Beat Generation, the contribution that reclaimed narratives such as Carolyn Cassady's make to our understanding of the blurred line between life and art, and the uses and misuses of memoir, fact, and fiction in general in historical and contemporary letters.

Volpe also will lead a session for children and their parents on "Jazz ABZ," an alphabet primer by contemporary jazz legend Wynton Marsalis which teaches fundamentals of reading through the marriage of music and poetry. For the latter event, Professor Volpe will be joined by music expert Bruce Pingree and several musicians for a demonstration of musical instruments, group singing, and first-hand proof that learning and creativity need not be confined within the borders of any given genre. At the heart of this event will be an introduction to the sheer freedom and joy of language, music, and improvisation, as well as the importance of passing down to children an appreciation for the American art forms of jazz and poetry that predate them.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Faculty Reading

Powers 29 was packed the night of February 4th when three faculty members read to a room of students, colleagues, and friends.

Dean of Students Dr. Byron Petrakis read several poems and a short speculative fiction story.

Writing and Literature teacher Mark Sleiter read a chapter from his manuscript which is still in progress.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing and Literature Chris Anderson read his newly edited short story "First Night".

The night wrapped up with a Q&A and discussion about creative processes.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Chester College to Present The Vagina Monologues

Chester College of New England, will host its second annual performance of The Vagina Monologues at 7 p.m., Friday, February 13 in Wadleigh Library. Admission is $2 for students and $5 for the general public. All proceeds will benefit A Safe Place, which provides support and services to victims of domestic abuse.

Chester College’s performance is part of the global V-Day movement to end violence against women and girls. In 2008, more than 4,000 V-Day benefit events took place produced by volunteer activists in the U.S. and around the world, educating millions of people about the reality of violence against women and girls. To date, the V-Day movement has raised more than $60 million and educated millions about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it, crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns, launched the Karama program in the Middle East, reopened shelters, and funded more than 6,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic Of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt and Iraq. V-Day was named one of Worth magazine's "100 Best Charities" in 2001 and Marie Claire’s “Top Ten Charities” in 2006. The 'V' in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.

For more information about the V-Day campaign visit

Chester College Student Finalist in Photo Contest

For the second consecutive year, a photograph by Krystle Belanger, a senior photography major at Chester College of New England, is a finalist in the Nikon and Photographer's Forum Best of College Photography photo contest. The photo, seen here, will be featured in the annual book of finalists' work.

Belanger is from Derry, NH.