That summer of ’77: His mind spins with memories of Rhino Records

At laobserved, Claremont native Joel Bellman waxes nostalgic about his long-ago summer dream job working behind the counter at the legendary Rhino Records in the Claremont Village just a few blocks from the Pomona College campus. Writes Bellman:

One Saturday morning, I’d just opened and the store was still empty when a kid wandered in with an old Beatle album he wanted to trade in: “Yesterday and Today” – the first pressing, with the notorious pasted over “butcher cover” I’d only heard about but never before seen. Another Saturday morning, the singer Iggy Pop unexpectedly walked through the door, joined by one of his former bandmates in the Stooges who’d become a friend of one of my co-workers.

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More Rhino Records news from The Student Life.

Light and space artist James Turrell ’65 is definitely in the spotlight

The work of light and space artist James Turrell, Pomona College Class of 1965, is under a very bright spotlight at the moment. Turrell, whose on-campus Skyspace draws visitors from a wide area, was featured in this past school year’s “It Happened at Pomona” exhibitions. Now his latest Skyspace, the pyramid-like “Twilight Epiphany,” has just opened at Rice University in Houston. Also in Houston, his “Six Holograms” exhibition opens in July at the Hiram Butler Gallery. Plus Turrell has an ongoing exhibition, “The Light Inside,” near Stockholm, Sweden.

And, in a new Q&A with Los Angeles County Museum of Art Director Michael Govan in Interview Magazine, we learn that Turrell (pictured here on the left at the 2007 dedication of Pomona’s Skyspace) will be the subject of a retrospective exhibition to be shown next year at LACMA, the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Govan interviewed Turrell at an Arizona Route 66 truck stop near the artist’s famous Roden Crater project.


Adam Conner-Simons ’08 on the controversy over culinary copyright.

In an interesting new piece for Slate, Adam Conner-Simons ’08, a frequent contributor to PCM,  looks at attempts to patent edible innovations ranging from new cuts of beef to no-crust sandwiches.

The recent influx of culinary copyright and plagiarism cases—cookbook authors bickering about recipes, New York chefs suing each other over lobster rolls—reflects rising financial stakes in the industry. … The only way to figure out which inventions can be patented and which ones can’t is through trial and error. McDonald’s’ ‘toasting of a bread component?’ No, thanks. ‘Edible cardboard?’ Welcome to the club.”

Conner-Simons concludes:

… nothing about intellectual property is cut and dried—not even massive slabs of cow carcass. We can’t determine if a food innovation should be patented by looking at its surface: It’s about the context, not the concept. Provided an invention is creative and original enough, it deserves legal protection, whether it’s a hunk of beef or double-sided sheets of inkjet sushi.


Students give vinyl records a spin at KSPC

Digital rules these days in commercial radio, but the turntables are still turning at KSPC (88.7 FM). Last Friday, the campus radio station held a “Vinyl 101” workshop to “encourage students who didn’t grow up with records to get to know” the medium, says station director Erica Tyron. “There are a lot of things that we have that were never re-issued digitally.”

 While visitors hung out and played old records from the station’s still-extensive collection, Tyron noted that some students find working with LPs a tad intimidating because of the direct contact with the surface of the record:  “People just get nervous that you’re going to break something.”

Not so for jazz deejay Nathan Schauer ’12, who likes records, in part, because they make it easy to play a particular part of a song. When Schauer was growing up, his dad sometimes played LPs, but “I never really knew how vinyl worked until I started here.” He is one of the roughly 30 percent of KSPC deejays who still make use of the vinyl collection. And with the medium’s recent comeback, the station is even seeing more new releases arrive in LP form these days. 

Still, for student deejays the thrill is often found in thumbing through the well-worn album sleeves of yore. “It’s a lot of fun to just find something,” says Ella Schwalb ’14, who has an underground music show. “You don’t really know what to expect.”


Oscar at Pomona: short film winner holds campus Q&A night after the Academy Awards

The night after Saving Face won the Academy Award for best short documentary, the film's co-director Daniel Junge (center in photo) and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Mohammed Ali Jawad (right), who performed the work featured in the film, visited Pomona College to screen the 40-minute film and take questions from the audience in the packed Rose Hills Theatre. According to the Pomona press release, Saving Face is the story of two survivors of acid attacks in Pakistan, "their battle for justice and their journey of healing. Saving Face follows their personal stories and that of the nation of Pakistan, which is attempting to tackle this vexing social problem." Co-directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the movie marks the first Academy Award win for Pakistan, notes the International Herald-Tribune. But on Monday night, that golden Oscar statue was held aloft here at Pomona.

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Art Professor Mark Allen’s latest experiment: music from the movement of babies

A new musical movement may be in its, well, infancy. Pomona College Art Professor Mark Allen, who runs The Machine Project in Echo Park, on Saturday (Feb. 18) will put on an unusual experiment using the movement of babies to make music with help from a computer, reports Pasadena-based KPCC (89.3 FM) in a web article.

Collaborator Scott Cazan has written software that uses a camera and a computer to track the movement of babies aged 6 months to 18 months, and convert that information into different sounds. Of course, the symphony will also include the natural sound of babies babbling, giggling and crying.

Allen and Cazan will premiere the results between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. this Saturday. Mark Allen says he makes no guarantees about the quality of the performance.

“We haven’t done this before,’ he says. ‘It could sound terrible, not work, be boring, embarrass everyone and end in tears — like most everything at Machine Project.”

We went in-depth about The Machine Project and Mark Allen, “The Curator of Cool,” in the fall 2009 issue of PCM.

Sharon Paul ’78 will take the baton as Pomona hosts choral festival for first time

Sharon Paul ’78 may never have launched her career in choral conducting if the late William F. Russell, Pomona’s music director from 1951-82, hadn’t been tardy to choir practice. Paul serendipitously took the baton in his stead, unaware of her professor’s arrival. “I think he watched from the back and thought, ‘Oh! That’s what Sharon should do with her life,’” Paul says. “He saw my abilities, felt I had strengths and nurtured them. I don’t think I would have found conducting if I went to any other school.” Since then, Paul has carved out an illustrious career in choral conducting and, in February, will return to the Pomona campus as clinician of the 2012 Pacific Southwest Intercollegiate Choral Association (PSICA) Festival. Pomona, a founding member of the association in 1922, is hosting the festival for the first time in the College’s recorded history

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It Happened at Pomona, Part 2

The second part of the year-long exhibition “It Happened at Pomona: Art at the Edge of Los Angeles 1969 to 1973, ” began earlier this month, and this part focuses on Helene Winer’s time as museum director from 1970 -72. Winer talked to Art Forum about her Pomona days, when she showed work from Allen Ruppersberg, William Leavitt, Bas Jan Ader, John Baldessari, Chris Burden, William Wegman and many others

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Char Miller on the rise of the turkey industry

On his regular blog for KCET, Pomona College Environmental Analysis Professor Char Miller explains how the turkey biz became a multi-billion dollar industry, and then the professor reaches an unsettling conclusion:

Because industrialized agriculture has allowed us to break free from nature’s cyclical hold on our appetite, we’ve gone corpulent. We’ve repeatedly skimmed off the fat of the land and slapped it on our bodies … America the Bloated is a direct result of the global conveyor-belt flow of foodstuffs from factory farm to groaning table. We are what (and how often) we eat.

As a salubrious break from our waist-thickening behavior, as a chance to show our gratitude for having survived our gluttony, perhaps this Thanksgiving we should skip the bird and all its trimmings; even forgo the holiday meal. In short: fast.”

Alumna’s film about South African artists and apartheid’s aftermath lands awards, screenings

Last March, we announced the Los Angeles premiere of The Creators, a documentary about artists in South Africa that Laura Gamse ’07 originally began as her senior thesis project. Since that screening, Gamse’s film has continually racked up awards, screenings and recognition. The film follows six artists—from musicians to visual artists—in modern South Africa, who use their art to re-craft history and the impacts of apartheid in their own unique voices.

 The film has had premieres in South Africa, Germany, Zanzibar, Malaysia and Trinidad and Tobago, in addition to the United States. It will soon premiere at the Bahamas International Film Festival, and in the coming months Gamse will speak and screen the film at Emory University, the University of Colorado and the University of North Carolina. Recently, Gamse presented the film at the San Francisco DocFest and to 100 students from social justice programs in New York City, at a screening/discussion sponsored by HBO and the Museum of Natural History.

 In September, the National Geographic Society honored The Creators as Best Documentary in its All Roads Film Project, and in August, the World Music and Independent Film Festival named it Best Music Documentary. The National Geographic All Roads blog says “this uplifting film leaves you with a sense of hope” and Huffington Post notes that the film “shows people who refuse to toe the line, whose music will not be silences, who use their art to combat brutality and injustice.”

 The work began as Gamse’s thesis, “South African Countercultural Arts at the Fuel of Activism,” which grew out of her self-designed major, Social Activism Through Media and Art. Gamse received a Fulbright grant, which led her to begin filming in South Africa. Says Gamse in our previous article on the project: “I was interested in the protest art that seeped through apartheid’s censors and affected change in South Africa’s various subcultures. I applied for a Fulbright to research the modern day artistic subcultures in South Africa, and this film is the result of two years living and working in Cape Town.”

 The film is available on DVD and will soon be available for digital download. View the trailer here.


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