On November 13th, Lisa Cohen, A87, won the Boston Jewish Film Festival’s Short Film Competition for her informative, poignant, and downright fun “B-Boy,” a documentary about a break dancing adolescent from Connecticut. Cohen, who studied Fine Arts at Tufts and currently resides in Seattle, was reconnecting with old friends at a Tufts reunion when she gained the inspiration to undertake “B-Boy,” an ambitious project that has kept her researching, filming, and editing for four years. “B-Boy” tells the story of Eli, a teen from the suburbs who furiously prepares for his bar mitzvah – and consequently experiences the anxieties of reaching Jewish adulthood – while also pursuing his passion for artistic expression on the side, dazzling his friends and family on the dance floor.
The film has received wide acclaim throughout the US: it received the Audience Choice Award at the Seattle Jewish Film Festival, and was also an official selection at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Cohen plans to continue showing the film this winter, with upcoming screenings at The Jewish Museum in New York, as well as at several venues on the West Coast. She is thrilled about the film’s success, and excited about the film’s groundbreaking subject matter.
In a director’s statement, Cohen explained: “What I found, after four trips to the East Coast to shoot interviews, the bar mitzvah and two breakdancing battles, was that Eli was able to cross boundaries and bring seemingly disparate worlds together with a grace and maturity that was far beyond his years.”
Check out the trailer for “B-Boy” here:
The new Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center was formally dedicated on October 22, after months of anticipation and preparation. The building, which features state-of-the-art equipment, spacious rooms for training and recreation, and full-length windows overlooking the athletic fields, took several months to build and was completed this summer.
In this time lapse video by Steven Eliopoulos, A89, director of Gravity Boston, you’ll experience the construction project from start to finish, all in the span of three minutes! Check it out here:
It’s been about two weeks since Loren Brichter, E06, launched his first-ever mobile game, Letterpress, and it has already reached the ranks of #14 most popular app and #1 most popular Word Game in App Store charts. Before launching Letterpress, Brichter created the Twitter iPhone app we know and love today before it was officially Twitter’s.
His new game revolves around taking turns with a friend spelling words on a 5×5 grid of letters. Each time you use a letter, you claim its tile, but if your friend uses the letter in his or her word, he or she can steal the tile back. The game has been called “the next Words with Friends” and was recently featured in the New York Times’s Business of Technology, BITS, blog. The game has been so well-received it has inspired a new form of poetry and off-line game for those addicted but without power during Hurricane Sandy.
Brichter has also found a way to give back to his loyal customers: he is donating all sales of his Letterpress t-shirt to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief. To follow his work, check out his website.
Danielle O’Connell, J00, G01, is a graduate of Tufts and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts who has made a career out of inspiring young artists. O’Connell is currently an art teacher at Garfield Elementary School in Revere, MA, and she recently started a blog to showcase her students’ work.
The blog covers projects her students are working on and she has included photos of their work, like Aztec-inspired portraits and African masks. Her students recently embarked on a new project and she introduced it on her blog:
Glass is one of my favorite art mediums. I’ve made my own stained glass windows, kiln formed glass, and I’ve even blown glass! The third, fourth and fifth grade are about to start a large group art project based on one of my favorite glass artists- Dale Chihuly. Students can see a really Chihuly sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Be sure to visit Mrs. O’Connell’s Art Room and check out her students’ gorgeous work!
Robert Sternin, A77, and Prudence Fraser, A77, are the writers behind “Under My Skin,” a new comedic play that opened in Pasadena, CA last week. “Under My Skin” provides a humorous look at the healthcare industry, and – at its core – is a hilarious and sexy love story with some serious attitude.
Sternin and Fraser met in a directing class at Tufts in 1977, and moved to California upon graduation to pursue careers in entertainment. The duo has been married for 31 years has also worked on a host of different projects together. They’ve written for hundreds of different television shows, everything from “Three’s Company” to “The Simple Life,” and they were the co-creators and executive produces of “The Nanny.”
Sternin and Fraser wrote “Under My Skin” in 2007 and have taken it on the road for various readings and performances. Check out the “Under My Skin” blog, which includes tons of photos, reviews, interviews, and more!
This homecoming, Tony Massarotti, A89, received the Tufts Athletics Distinguished Achievement Award, an award that recognizes “extraordinary contributions to sports by individuals with Tufts and/or New England identities.” He is the 29th recipient and one of many Jumbos awarded in recent years.
A double major in English and classics, Massarotti began his career covering sports for the Tufts Daily during his freshman year. After gradation, he landed a spot writing for the writing for the Boston Herald and later moved to the Boston Globe and Boston.com. Today, he is a co-host of the Felger and Massarotti afternoon drive talk show from 2–6 pm on 98.5 The Sports Hub (CBS). Tony has won the Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year award twice, and is the author of four books. His most recent work, Knuckler: My Life with Baseball’s Most Confounding Pitch, is a memoir of Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield.
For the celebration of his Distinguished Achievement Award, take a look back at Massarotti’s rise to the top:
For more information on Massarotti, check out Tufts Athletics’ information on the celebration.
Produced for Tufts by Steven J. Eliopoulos, A89, Gravity, Inc Film Video & Digital Media – http://www.gravityboston.com
Pitch Perfect, an edgy new film about college a cappella, hits the big screen next week. When you hear the film’s fun mashups and rockin’ tunes, know that two former Jumbos are behind the movie’s unique soundtrack–Ed Boyer and Deke Sharon, former members of the Tufts Beelzebubs, collaborated on Pitch Perfect’s pop rhythms and bubble gum remixes. Boyer, who did the musical arrangements for Glee’s Warblers, and Sharon, who is often considered a leader in the a cappella community, worked to make Pitch Perfect’s unique mash-ups into a cappella masterpieces. And with a star-studded cast–including Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow–Pitch Perfect is all about showcasing vocal talent: It’s a grown-up Glee, of sorts. Make sure to check it out on October 5th!
Here’s the cast performing an a cappella mash-up of Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way you Are” and Nelly’s “Just a Dream”:
Following up from their explosive performances on and off the stage last year, Hamlet the Hip-Hopera is back and looking for new students to add their talents to the mix and join their cast. The play itself “puts a modern, still-reverent remix on the Bard’s classic. The core of the text remains intact (as does its setting), but its means of communication – rap battles, dueling verses, slam poetry – are entirely new.”
Directed by John-Michael Sequeira, A12, with the musical direction of Tucker Delaney-Winn, A12, the Hip-Hopera is an independent production featuring performers from the greater Boston area with the help of the Tufts Drama Department. The cast hopes to compete at the regional level of the American College Theater Festival in Cape Cod, MA.
Check out their 2012-2013 trailer:
Interested? Click here for audition information.
This spring at the 2012 Alumni Awards ceremony, Tufts Alumni honored ten alumni, all outstanding in their fields. Dr. Jonathan Epstein, V02, MG02, the associate vice president of conservation medicine at EcoHealth Alliance and the executive director of the Consortium for Conservation Medicine based at EcoHealth Alliance, received the Young Alumni Achievement Award.
Watch this video as Jon shares stories of his many adventures in wildlife medicine:
In an economic climate where a bachelors degree no longer guarantees a job after graduation, one Jumbo has taken it upon herself to go above and beyond in the hiring process – she created a blog, “How to Market to Me: Your Guide to the Millennial Market.”
In her blog, Lindsey Kirchoff, A12, profiles select Boston companies, talks marketing, and breaks down what makes millennials tick with insights that could only come from from being part of the hard-to-reach generation herself. One of these insights came from an unlikely source: superhero movies:
It seems strange to think of movies as narratives for our time, but hey, I’m an English major. In response to the hardships of the Great Depression, escapist movies, such as The Wizard of Oz dominated the 1930s. Superhero movies provide an ideal narrative for a generation facing enormous challenges.
Think about it. Millennials were raised in the time of everyone-gets-a-trophy parenting. We were told that we were being special just for being our unique selves. Social networks, like Facebook, encourage us to promote our inherent individuality for the world to see. In short, we were told to believe we were special because we were ourselves.
Now, take superheroes. With the exception of self-made heroes like Batman and Iron Man, the majority of superheroes received their powers for chance, not merit. Whether it’s a spider bite or a gamma ray accident, the origin of most powers are through no action of their own, but rather an event beyond their control. Superheroes are ordinary people randomly granted extraordinary abilities. The merit wasn’t earned, but they use it for greatness.
Despite the Great Recession, high unemployment rate, polarizing political division and climate change, millennials remain a surprisingly optimistic generation. Whether it’s naivete, ignorance or just the faith in ourselves, we plan to take on this great responsibility–even if we don’t necessarily have great power.”
You can check out Lindsey’s blog here.