Feature Stories Campus Events

W&L's World's Fastest Nudist

Kyle Overstreet ’02 was unmasked in a New York Times blog on Thursday as the actor who played the world’s fastest nudist in a marketing campaign for Zappos.com. Kyle, a psychology major at W&L and a fullback on the Generals football team, landed the part of the nude runner who streaked around New York “clad only in running shoes, tube socks and a strategically positioned frontward fanny pack,” as the Times described him. The campaign, created by the independent agency Agent 16, featured YouTube videos that got 60,000 hits and wound up on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 as well as blogs like Gothamist, The Huffington Post and  Gawker. Here’s Kyle’s account of unusual gig:

A van would drop me off in my shorts, with my shirt off,” Mr. Overstreet said. “I really didn’t know what I had gotten myself into until those shorts first came off and I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is insane.’ But I would drop trou, run, and try not to run into any policemen or children.”

He was not quite nude.

“I had this thing called a ‘Houdini,’” said Mr. Overstreet, who also works as a bellman at the Bowery Hotel. “And I was wearing sheer panty hose, too, so with the nudity laws I could sort of defend myself to a cop.”

When he isn’t acting or streaking, Kyle works as a bellman for the Beverly Hotel, according to the Times post. He’s also got a part coming up in November in the soap opera, One Life to Live. He’s going to be a cop — clothed.

W&L Hosts International Theater Festival and Symposium

Some big international names in the theater world will be attending the 10th National Symposium of Theater in Academe at Washington and Lee University from November 11-14.

Titled “Performyth,” the symposium has expanded this year to include the First International Theater Festival. All performances and events are free and open to the public, but those who wish to attend three or more events, should pay the registration fee of $50. W&L students and faculty will have free access to all events.

Looking back at the symposium’s development over the years, Domnica Radulescu, W&L professor of Romance languages and the symposium’s founder, recollected that, initially, the symposium consisted largely of talks and presentations given by teachers and scholars who were using theatrical techniques in order to teach language and literature. It then developed to include combining theory and practical ways of teaching theater. Later, it included more practical elements and workshops, with the occasional show. “Now this year I’ve expanded it into a full-fledged theater festival,” she said.

The over-arching theme of this year’s festival is reinventions and recreations of myths on the themes of war, violence and sexuality. Radulescu has added her own subtitle of “performance in times of crisis and violence.” She described it by saying, “it’s a statement that in times of crisis and violence maybe we need theater performance even more than ever and that we are doing it with panache.”

Among the highlights of the theater festival will be a performance by the Chicago troupe Trap Door Theater of the play “Horses at the Window” by world-famous Romanian-French playwright Matei Visniec. A talk and question and answer session by the playwright will follow.

Another celebrity at the festival will be Deb Margolin, the Obie award-winning playwright, performance artist and professor at Yale University. She will present three plays. The first two dealwith the Gaza conflict from both perspectives. The third is “Madoff: a Fictional Memoir,” a dialogue between convicted financier Bernie Maddof and Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel, played by Hank Dobin, dean of the college.

Famous Mexican playwright Guillermo Shmidhubar will also give a talk and readings from his play “Never say Adios to Columbus.”

A commedia dell’arte workshop with masks on the theme of the war of the sexes will be led by Norma Bowles, award-winning theater activist and founding director of the Fringe Benefits theater for social justice group.

Festival-goers can also enjoy a talk with readings from the plays of playwright Joan Lipkin, theater activist and director of That Uppity Theater Company in Saint Louis, Mo.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the fall of communism, Radulescu also invited a troupe of Romanian theater artists to showcase Romanian actors, directors, playwrights and the Romanian school of acting.

Radulescu said that the symposium has become an institution and “people who come here say it is a unique event.”

Joining Radulescu from the W&L faculty this year in separate talks and performances will be Owen Collins and Shawn Evans, both associate professors of theater.

A full schedule of events can be seen at: http://www.wlu.edu/x36147.xml

For more information, contact Professor Domnica Radulescu at (540) 458-8030 or e-mail radulescud@wlu.edu.

MOMIX Ultimate Date Event and the Best of MOMIX at Lenfest Center

The Lenfest Center for the Arts at Washington and Lee University will present the MOMIX Ultimate Date event on Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 8:30 p.m. in the Keller Theatre, Lenfest Center. During this performance the audience will have the unique opportunity to be on stage with the dancers.The Best of MOMIX will be Nov. 11, at 8:30 p.m. in the Keller Theatre.

This intimacy creates a cutting-edge interactive event that bridges the gap between dancer and audience by merging the two. Tickets for the MOMIX Ultimate Date can be purchased online at lenfest.wlu.edu or by calling the Box Office at (540) 458-8000.

In addition to the MOMIX Ultimate Date, Lenfest presents the Best of MOMIX on Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 8 p.m. in the Keller Theatre. Best of MOMIX assembles a quarter century of choreographic highlights from the celebrated dance troupe’s repertoire – Lunar Sea, Opus Cactus, Baseball and other full-length works. Tickets for Best of MOMIX also can be purchased online at lenfest.wlu.edu or by calling the Box Office at (540) 458-8000.

2008 with the performance of the Cedar Lake Ballet Company, an edgy contemporary danceroupe from New York City, and continued in 2009 with the arrival of Lula Washington and her dancers from the West Coast. The MOMIX event rounds out the Ultimate Date experience with an intimate evening of illusion and dance followed by a champagne reception that offers the audience the opportunity to meet Moses Pendleton and the MOMIX Company in person.

The live performances of MOMIX are astonishing and unique unto themselves, yet the opportunity to interact so closely with the dancers takes their characteristic skill for blending the physical elements of light, space, sound, and movement to the next level.

MOMIX repeatedly blurs the fine line between illusion and reality with mind-blowing inventiveness; athletic dancers fool the naked eye with an amazing array of black-light illusions, acrobatic choreography and fantastical props. The troupe of performers takes arabesques and pirouettes beyond the limit in performances that a New York Times critic recently noted, “defy the impossible.”

Moses Pendleton, the choreographer and founder of MOMIX, is known for his creative work and dazzling vision. As he puts it, he likes to “go into the studio and set it on fire with possibilities and see what the dancers do. I’m already torching the place.”

Pendleton, also Pilobolus/Aeros co-founder, has worked with numerous dance companies of varying types. He has choreographed for ballet companies, modern companies, music videos, movies in the U.S. and in Europe, and even dairy cows to create different works for the public. Throughout all of his work and his life, he operates on a philosophy of possibility.

As Pendleton says, “If you want to find material with dancers you have to free them up with possibilities.” When choreographing, he says that while he may have an idea of what potential hides in the dancers, it cannot be forced.

“It is a process of revealing what is there instead of actually creating it. It is more than telling them what to do, it is getting them willing, and giving them the confidence and the freedom to discover and react to the imagery so that they can respond to it intelligent and naturally and make it their own. And that is part of the collaborative process. That is how anything gets done.”

Home Cooking on Parents & Family Weekend

When the mother of first-year Washington and Lee student Lauren Schultz makes her Mediterranean Salad during summer, at home in Holliston, Mass., she uses one 14-ounce box of bow tie pasta.

This Saturday, Washington and Lee’s Dining Services will need to expand on that recipe just a bit – by using 60 pounds of pasta to produce enough Mediterranean Salad to feed the 1,400 or so guests at W&L’s annual Parents and Family Weekend Luncheon.

The recipe from Allison Schultz won the Recipes for Home contest, held again this year by W&L’s Dining Services.

Last summer, Dining Services asked parents of entering students to enter the contest by sending a favorite recipe for one of three dishes: chili, cold salad or brownies.

According to Dennis Fowler, assistant director of operations for the Marketplace, one of W&L’s dining facilities, the contest drew 75 entrants, which represents more than 15 percent of the class of 2013.

“It was by far our largest pool of recipes,” Fowler said. And that made the selection process harder.

Earlier this month, members of Fowler’s staff selected three finalists in each of the three categories and made the dishes for a taste test. Members of the campus community nibbled away and selected the three winners-Mediterranean Salad, Cincinnati Chili and Oreo Brownies-that will be served this Saturday.

Lauren is excited to have the Mediterranean Salad on the menu.

“It’s one of my favorite recipes,” she said. “My mom makes it a lot in the summer when there are plenty of fresh vegetables, like tomatoes and cucumber, so the salad always reminds me of summer. I think I will be interested to hear how everyone likes it.”

The Cincinnati Chili recipe from Sarah Gorman’s family in Moores Hill, Ind., will take 60 pounds of ground beef, 30 pounds of ground pork and two gallons of beer.

“I love almost anything my mother cooks for our family,” said Sarah. “I really like the chili. It was the first chili I ever had and is one of two types of chili I actually like. I am super excited that it will be served to so many people. I know that my mom is an amazing cook. I am happy that other people will get to taste it, too.”

Scaling the family recipes for use with the large luncheon takes a computer and some experimentation.

“We use a computer program to make all the calculations, of course,” said Marketplace Chef Geraldine McCutcheon. “The most challenging part about expanding a recipe so much is the spices and seasons do not work quite the same in big batches, so the cook needs to go a little lighter on those than the computer calculates, and adjust the finished project.”

William Smithson, a first-year student from Cary, N.C., thinks that his classmates and their families will agree that his family’s Oreo Brownies will garner the same rave reviews he always gives.

“Their chewy decadence never ceases to blow my mind,” he said. “They are best when washed down with an ice-cold glass of milk.”

For the students, the taste of home is always welcome.

“My mama’s a really good cook, so I miss coming home to home-cooked family dinner after school and sports practice,” William said.

Iranian-Born Scholar Lectures on Iran’s History

Thirty years after Iranian students, in the aftermath of the revolution of 1979, occupied the American Embassy and took American hostages, Hossein Sheiban, a professor of history and visiting scholar at Washington and Lee University, will give a talk that looks back over Iran’s history and examines the country’s situation today.

His presentation, titled “After the Revolution: Iran 30 Years Later” will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5, in W&L’s Northen Auditorium in the Leyburn Library. The event is free and open to the public.

Sheiban left Iran in 1982 and started a journey that took him through Pakistan and Italy and eventually, under the auspices of the United Nations, to Sweden, where he is a history professor at the University of Stockholm.

Sheiban’s talk will examine the current democratic movement in Iran that questions the basic idea of combining a republic with government by Islamic clergy.

“It is a paradox,” he said. “On the one hand Iran is a modern state that was rebuilt into a republic through the revolution of 1979, and has to have a democratically elected president and parliament. On the other hand, the Iranian state claims to be an Islamic republic, which practically means that an unelected patriarchal institution of the clergy controls the elected institutions. This political authority is guaranteed for the clergy through the constitution of the Islamic republic, but, in practice, clerics have gained much more power.

“The Supreme Leader, chosen by an advisory chamber of clerics, limits the authority of the elected president. And the unelected conservative Guardian Council, named by the Supreme leader, oversees the parliament and limits its legislative function. Further, it claims the authority to select appropriate candidates to the presidential and parliamental elections. The result has been a paradoxical and complicated system where the authority of elected and unelected institutions is determined by the political balance between different factions inside the regime.”

Sheiban said that throughout the history of post-revolutionary Iran, all the chiefs of state have been in conflict with the Supreme Leader. This situation prevailed until 2005 when Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad came to power.

“Some people may have voted for Ahmadi-Nejad in the 2005 elections, but in 2009 he is widely believed to have been chosen by fraud. The Supreme Leader and revolutionary guards wanted him in power,” said Sheiban. “We have a situation now where a powerful democratic movement in Iran – with the central slogan of ‘where is my vote?’ – is emphasizing the republican character of the regime. But the leading conservative factions of the clergy and the ideologically-organized revolutionary guards are acting against that possibility, trying to resolve the paradoxes of the regime in their own favor.”

Sheiban is a Swedish citizen and is visiting W&L for the 2009 fall term as part of the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT) exchange program.

Formed in 1999, the STINT foundation aims to introduce Swedish institutions of higher education to the American concept of a liberal education. W&L has hosted four academics through STINT over the last five years.

Lichtfuss '74 to Launch New D-III Program

Skip Lichtfuss, a three-time lacrosse All-American at Washington and Lee and a member of the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame, has just signed on for a new challenge — he’ll launch the new lacrosse program at Hanover College in Indiana. According to the release from Hanover, Skip will spend this year recruiting and the Panthers will field their first team in 2011. Skip is a member of the W&L Athletic Hall of Fame. In addition to leading the Generals to a 40-5 record, the best three-year period in the school’s history, from 1972 to 1974, Skip also led the Generals basketball team in scoring for three years. Hanover is a Division III school that plays n the Heartland Collegiate Athletic conference and will be only the second D-III lacrosse team in Indiana, joining Trine Univrsity.

Law Professor’s New Book Chronicles Execution of Juvenile Offender

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New Law School Organization Explores Economy and Politics of Arab World

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Wind Ensemble Featured in Teaching Music

The October edition of Teaching Music, which is published by the National Association for Music Education, prominently features a photograph of Washington and Lee’s 65-piece University Wind Ensemble, and the backdrop is definitely not the Colonnade. The photo was taken last spring when the group toured and performed in Egypt.  According to Barry Kolman, associate professor of music and music director and conductor of the University-Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra and the University Wind Ensemble, this marks the first time an nstrumental ensemble from W&L was featured in a national music magazine. Barry is quoted extensively in the accompanying article (sorry, it’s not on line), “Finding Your Musical Oasis,” which describes the way he and other music directors search for music that is appropriate for their groups. You can listen to some audio clips of the Ensemble, including its version of the swing, on its Web page here.

Sally Lawrence Elected to W&L Board of Trustees

Sally P. Lawrence, of Greenwich, Conn., joined the Board of Trustees of Washington and Lee University on Oct. 22, 2009, during the board’s fall meeting.

She is a graduate of Smith College and holds an M.B.A. from New York University. She worked at IBM for 14 years, retiring as a systems engineering manager.

Lawrence and her husband, Larry, have three children: Peter, a 2008 graduate of W&L; Ben, a senior at the university; and Christina, a W&L sophomore. She and her husband are class co-chairs of W&L’s Parents Leadership Council.

Lawrence also serves as a trustee and board secretary for the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich and Reach Prep and as co-chair for the Annual Grant Awards Luncheon for the Fund for Women and Girls, Fairfield County Community Foundation. She has been a trustee of the Greenwich Country Day School and the Greenwich Family YMCA.