Elfbar Ideology: Reimagining the Death Drive

Slavoj Zizek, a proponent of Jacques Lacan, describes the psychoanalytic concept of the death drive as “the fundamental libidinal stance of the human individual for self-sabotaging; the basic idea of psychoanalysis is the pursuit of unhappiness, people do everything possible not to be happy.” Plainly, the death drive is that tendency for rational beings to engage in self-destructive behaviors as a refusal of mortality. A medieval footsoldier will charge into certain death with the reassurance that God waits in the afterlife. The people of Gaza now stand their ground in the face of bombardment with that same reassurance. This is an archaic instantiation of death drive ideology to those that live in the contemporary West, in the heart of empire. But mortality transcends time and place.

Joe Gatto: That Funny Guy from Staten Island

On Friday, Dec. 1, comedian Joe Gatto graced the stage of the State Theatre of Ithaca. That’s right, Joe Gatto formerly of the show Impractical Jokers, which famously advertises to contain “scenes of graphic stupidity among four lifelong friends who compete to embarrass each other,” has visited Ithaca on his Night of Comedy tour. Although Gatto left Impractical Jokers in 2021, the show is still his most well-known work. I have been an Impractical Jokers fan for many years, so it was hard for me to imagine how Gatto would perform on his own, without the other members of the Tenderloins comedy troupe: Sal Vulcano, James “Murr” Murray and Brian “Q” Quinn.

Dead and Company’s Epic Farewell to Cornell

When Dead and Company confirmed a few days after their mysterious post that they would, in fact, be playing a concert at Cornell this spring, the question hung in the air for students, alumni and deadheads alike: Will the 2023 concert be able to compare to the 1977 performance at Barton Hall, widely agreed to be one of the Grateful Dead’s best performances? I answer with reverence for the Grateful Dead’s musical legacy, yes.

Locally Grown Dance Takes a Bold Leap

American modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham once said that “great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.” While watching the Performing and Media Arts Department’s recent production of Locally Grown Dance, I experienced the dancers’ visceral joy and passion for the work they were showcasing. 

Held in the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts’ Kiplinger Theater on March 9, 10 and 11, Locally Grown Dance featured a series of student dance performances choreographed and spatially organized by student, faculty and guest choreographers. These nine pieces were comprised of four longer performances, Ariadne’s Noose, Beautiful Monsters, Unraveling and CRICKET, that were interspersed with five shorter pieces or interludes. All of these works were supported by live and pre-recorded music, beautiful costumes, vivid lighting and scenic design. 

Although all of the performances were captivating to watch, some of the standouts of the night included Ariadne’s Noose, Beautiful Monsters, CRICKET and the interludes that introduced the audience to the atmosphere of the pieces following them. Starting off the production, Interlude No. 1 (Prelude) drew the audience into this bold world of dance.

The 2023 Academy Awards Return to the Mellow Ceremony We Know Them As

The 2023 Academy Awards marked the 95th anniversary of the annual award ceremony, and unlike last year, the night was calm and drama-free. The previous year’s ceremony gained attention for the “slap heard around the world” when Will Smith, who won “Best Actor” later that night, slapped actor and comedian Chris Rock on stage while he was presenting an award. This year’s Oscars were much more mellow, with celebrities on their best behavior and no real surprises as far as who took home awards and who left empty-handed. Of course, host Jimmy Kimmel made a few references to last year’s drama in his opening monologue, but luckily, nothing like that incident was seen this year. Instead of being overshadowed by scandal, this year’s ceremony celebrated some deserving and historic wins across all categories.

Much to Say About Much Ado

On Friday, Feb. 10, I had the opportunity to see the Cornell Shakespeare Troupe’s rendition of Much Ado About Nothing. This production was originally stated to debut on Dec. 2, but several unforeseen circumstances pushed the opening night back by a little over two months. The wait was worth it. 

For those who are unaware of this classic Shakespearan production, as I was, let me explain what this play is about.

Turkish Students Raise Funds in Klarman Hall, Dozens Walk on Unconcerned: The Performative Activism Issue

Following the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, the Turkish Student Association students set up a table in Klarman Hall to inform passersby of the incident and collect donations on behalf of the victims. As of Tuesday morning, the death toll in Turkey has risen to almost 36,000, with many injured and still trapped under the rubble. Combined with Syria, the death toll has reached more than 41,000. And yet, Cornell students walked on, disinterested. Friends of Turkish students waved and continued on their merry way. But of course, the Instagram posts detailing the catastrophe and calling for donations received empathetic messages and sincere concerns. 

As the clock hit 5 p.m., a business fraternity set up a banner next to the TSA table.

An Afternoon with Solmaz Sharif — Worth It?

For poetry newcomers and seasoned enthusiasts alike, Solmaz Sharif’s reading was delightfully provocative in its presentation of beauty, oppression and violence in cultural and political landscapes.