Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Sunday, April 14, 2024 — Houston, TX

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Strong acting makes Merchant of Venice a success

(03/08/13 12:00am)

Last year's Baker Shakespeare cast and crew failed to impress in The Winter's Tale with both poor enunciation and technical execution. This year, under the command of Haley Cooper, who co-directed 2011's Hamlet, the cast and crew bid adieu to the execution flaws of yesteryear. Cooper and company tackle the Bard's controversial yet comedic play The Merchant of Venice in the 44th annual production of Baker Shake. Judeo-Christian tensions flare, and revenge and mercy take center stage in this three-hour production.

Allison Hunter, Uniting Art and Nature

(02/21/13 12:00am)

There is an elephant in the room in the BioScience Research Collaborative, and it cannot be ignored. Actually, there are several elephants, and they are featured in "Untitled (elephants 1 & 2)," as part of Humanities Artist in Residence Allison Hunter's photography exhibition. On Feb. 13, Rice University Public Art hosted a reception for Hunter in the first-floor lobby BRC pop-up gallery. 

Phamily Bites adds island flair to food truck fare

(02/01/13 12:00am)

I am not ashamed to say it: I like spam. Though I have grown to appreciate Texas' crawfish tails, chicken fried steak and turkey legs, my distance from the Aloha state has induced a furious craving for the spam and eggs breakfast plate from McDonald's; spam, chili and rice from beach potlucks; and spam musubis (fried spam atop a block of rice and wrapped in nori dried seaweed) from mom's kitchen. When I first read "classic spam musubi, $3" on Phamily Bites' menu, I had three immediate reactions: 1) Is this real life? 2) This is the world's best food truck; and 3) Phamily Bites better not mess up the spam musubi; it is already a stigmatized snack and does not need another blow to its delicious ego.

Casual Dating

(11/09/12 12:00am)

Our second casual date was a mess. Pumpkin innards and seeds were strewn across the tabletops of the Hanszen College sundeck as our dates and friends carved out designs ranging from an elephant to a Rice University owl. Christmas music hummed from a laptop as seven couples got down and dirty carving up their pumpkins. Against a backdrop of powderpuff teams playing on the intramural fields, pumpkin carving with a group of friends on campus bore little semblance to a date night. Indeed, one of us had not even mustered the courage to ask out a date and opted instead to invite a friend. Throughout the course of the evening, it became very apparent that only one of us was on a real date and that the distinction between a real date and a friend date makes all the difference in successful casual dating.

Casual Dating: Swing at Melody Club

(10/25/12 12:00am)

Rice University has that well-known curse that students either find a partner during Orientation Week and date him or her until marriage or constantly hook up with random people at parties and never settle. This curse is an exaggeration, of course, but the Rice social culture seems to have no semblance of a third realm in this dichotomy of committed couples and hook-ups. What if you are not keen on the random hook-up, but also do not care to spend the rest of your life with the next person you date? The answer: casual dating.

Matchbox Gallery Salon attracts an artsy gaggle

(09/14/12 12:00am)

Though salons historically were gallery spaces run by committees of pompous judges who boldly rejected works of Paul Cezanne and Edouard Manet, the Matchbox Salon snubbed tradition with a campus-inclusive showcase that opened Sept. 6. With a concept akin to the CelebrateART festival last spring, the Matchbox Gallery is currently featuring work by students of all majors in a salon-style show until Sept. 16. "We really wanted to kick-off the school year and our time as directors by opening a show that really celebrates the arts at Rice," co-director Alexandria Fernandez said. "We felt that it was important to get as many students and Rice affiliates represented as possible and think that the show illustrates our diverse arts community." Though Rice's only student-run gallery space is a single room off the second floor of the Sewall Hall Courtyard, directors Fernandez and Lisa Biletska transformed its white walls into a collage of two-dimensional photos, paintings, prints and drawings. "I love how Alex and Lisa arranged the artwork," Lovett College senior Annie Hsiao said. "It was such an eclectic group of images, and I think they assembled it in a very coherent and interesting way." Open picture frames encircle multiple art pieces, and the large charcoal drawing of a horse with a naked woman's body is just as pronounced as the painting of a sitting lamb. Hsiao, an anthropology and visual and dramatic arts major, submitted a series of photographs of Freedmen's Town in the Fourth Ward. She was first introduced to the community during an archaelogy excavation, and returned to capture the town for a photography assignment. "The town was established right after the Civil War and has been occupied since," Hsiao said. "There was this complex interaction between the historical community and its modern aspirations. There were all these 'shotgun' houses in various states of disrepair, more modern-looking buildings and lots of interesting people." Baker College sophomore Tori Laxalt said she thought the Matchbox Gallery opening succeeded in attracting students and faculty outside of the visual arts department. On the same night, the visual arts faculty and Glassell School of Art Core Fellows also hosted their Fall Art Kick-off in the Sewall Hall Courtyard with a slideshow "jam" of their work. Laxalt, an English major, had one piece featured in the Salon: a drawing of a 1970s-era girl skateboarding. "It was nice to be able to put something up that I worked hard on, to be able to show my friends what actually came out of having charcoal dust all over my face all those times after class," Laxalt said. Hsiao matched Laxalt's sentiment of the opportunity to showcase her work. Though commissioned and student artworks on campus are becoming more prominent, Hsiao said she thinks Rice can improve on making student art more visible. "Seeing our friends' art around campus not only gives us something to work toward, but also encourages other students to explore art, especially those that are engineering and science majors who may have never considered taking an art class," Hsiao said. Luckily for art enthusiasts, from the physics major who paints as a hobby to the Shepherd School musician who wants to host an open-air concert, the Matchbox Gallery provides an outlet for students to engage with the arts, whether through appreciation or participation. "Matchbox is a testament to the freedom Rice students have on campus to pursue what they are interested in and experiment with it," Fernandez said. "We hope the gallery will continue to develop into a reputable flexible art space in the Houston community."

Men's XC takes their mark

(09/07/12 12:00am)

The Rice University men's cross country team is back this year with seasoned fifthyear program veterans and a large contingent of lowerclassmen. The men open their season at home next Friday, Sept. 14, at the Rice Invitational, but their sights are set for the C-USA championships and NCAA South Central Regional championships on Oct. 29 and Nov. 9, respectively. The Owls lost only one man from last year's roster, Michael Trejo (Sid Richardson '12), who led the team to a fourth-place finish at the C-USA championships last year. This year the men will look to veterans fifthyear senior Gabe Cuadra and Jones Business School Masters of Business Administration candidate Matthew Carey (McMurtry '12) to lead the Owls to a successful season. Though Cuadra's cross country season last year was hampered by injuries, his third place finish in the 10,000 meter run at the C-USA outdoor track championships in the spring proved he was back in racing form. Carey had a strong showing at the end of last fall when he placed 32nd at the NCAA regional championships, leading the team to a sixth place overall finish. The apartment-mates and training partners have pounded the streets of Houston this summer, running upwards of 90 to 100 miles per week."If we stay relatively healthy, this can be a special season for us," Cuadra said. "We have a mix between an older group of guys that are really hungry and a younger group of guys that are really starting to see how good they are and how good they can be." Rounding out the trio of senior leadership is civil engineering graduate student James Llamas (Jones '12). The young team returns junior John Cavallo and talented sophomore William Firth, both of whom earned points during the CUSA and NCAA regional championships. "Both John Cavallo and Will Firth had really good summers and are in great shape for the season," Carey said. "They were huge last year and I think they'll contribute even more to our success this year." In the past, the Owls have had decent showings at the conference and regional championship meets, usually placing in the middle of the overall team rankings. This year, however, the Owls have high expectations, which includes making a bid for the NCAA national championship.With six of the top seven runners returning from last year, including juniors Wyatt Doop and Travis Roberts, Carey believes this is one of the strongest teams the program has seen in a while. "It's safe to say our goal is to earn an atlarge slot for nationals after upsetting one or more of the top four teams in the South Central Region: UT, A&M, Arkansas, or Lamar," Cavallo said. Unlike other fall season athletes, such as football and soccer players, cross country harriers have no pre-season practices and thus are accountable for their own summer training. Interval workouts and 15 mile runs at the beginning of the school year become the true tests of summer mileage and so far, every returning runner seems to have pushed themselves, Cavallo said. Though most of the freshmen are taking a redshirt season and are not listed on the official roster, their ethic at the six a.m. practices creates a competitive yet supportive team dynamic. The younger talent keeps the upperclassmen on their toes and the limited number of spots on the traveling team will be hotly contested, Cavallo said. Nonetheless, the men who are assured to run in uniform welcome the friendly internal competition. "It's a team that you look forward to working and training with every day," Cuadra said. "And hopefully that dynamic will help us maximize our potential on race day."

Q & A with Jessica Walker

(08/31/12 12:00am)

While many Rice students anticipate heading to Lovett College's public party this weekend, McMurtry College senior Jessica Walker plans to return home to Tomball, Texas. The German Studies and Sociology double major has a passion that extends outside of the classroom: music. On weekends, she spends hours in the studio back home, perfecting harmonies and re-writing verses for her upcoming full-length album, tentatively due out in October.

The Sammys

(05/23/12 12:00am)

From murderous playwrights to misplaced Shakespearean characters, a quarrel between high schoolers to a debate between Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, Rice University Theater 2011-12 dabbled in everything ordinary and extraordinary. Though the actors on stage captivated audiences with memorable performances, they were the tip of the iceberg that made this year's Rice theater season successful.

Group works to end sex trafficking in Houston

(04/20/12 12:00am)

Houston has more strip clubs and illicit sex stores that serve as fronts for sex trafficking venues than Las Vegas, according to freeourcity.org. Though Rice University is nestled between the museum district and the Texas Medical Center, the campus also neighbors massage parlors and spas that force their women workers to give "happy endings."