Johns Hopkins Gazette: April 17, 1995

Calendar Romp!

     Our intrepid young reporter
     takes in the diversity of 
     activities across the campuses

     "The calendar listing has been a central feature of the
Gazette since it first hit the street in 1971. Each week,
lectures, meetings, concerts, gatherings get entered in our
calendars, and most go unattended. 
     So, we jumped on an idea from our intrepid young reporter--a
solidly humanities-type fellow, Mike Gluck--to be our eyes and
ears on the campuses for one week and report back just what's
going on across the university. He attended at least one activity
each day for seven days, trying to be as representative as
possible. And here's what he found out."

By Mike Gluck

     Once I planned my week so that I wouldn't miss any classes,
I was ready to start.

     I went to 11 events, taking enough notes to write an article
that would fill this entire paper. Needless to say, there's a lot
I didn't get to, and not everything I got to is reported here.

     One thing I can tell you is that I was surprised at  how
many different kinds of fun you can have at Hopkins, national
surveys to the contrary.

     My week began with a rather embarrassing moment.

     For my first event, I went to the Medical School to check
out one of the Dean's Lecture series talks. When it was over, I
wanted to know more about the program (since I understood next to
nothing in the lecture). So I decided to approach the man who had
given the introduction, which was about all I understood.

     He looked like a nice man, and I thought he would be a good
source for my article.

     "Excuse me," I said, "are you in charge of running this

     He got a puzzled look on his face and turned to a colleague,
then slowly back to me. "I guess you could say that," he replied.

     I guess you could. Turns out I was speaking with Michael
Johns, who happens to be dean of the Johns Hopkins School of
Medicine. I'm a Writing Sems major. Who knew?

     Was I embarrassed? Sure. But he wasn't. In fact, Dr. Johns
was more than willing to share information, an attitude that
exemplified one of the most interesting things I would learn
during my romp through the calendar. 


     "Immunologic Mechanisms of Organ Transplant Rejection and 
     Acceptance," a Dean's Lecture by Fred Sanfilippo;
     Hurd Hall, School of Medicine

     My mother always said that if I couldn't pronounce something
that was on the menu, I probably shouldn't order it. That was
good advice then, and it still works today. 

     The slides that the lecturer used had titles such as "F1 and
TO CLASS I MHC." The television show ER looked like Sesame Street
compared to what this guy was talking about. 

     My technical ignorance notwithstanding, I honestly had fun.
I saw lots of people in white lab coats and listened to the
mechanical chirping of their beepers, neither of which I can do
on a regular basis at Homewood. One of the two pianos in the room
was being used to support a metal tripod that held one of the
projection screens. I wasn't sure what this image said about the
relationship between science and the arts, but it gave me
something to think about as I pressed on.


     Homewood Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual 
     Discussion and Social Group; 
     18 Gilman, Homewood

     "You're going where?" 

     "Are you, um..."

     "Why are you going to that?"

     These were just some of the responses I got when I told my
friends about my plans to attend the weekly gay/lesbian/bisexual
discussion group meeting. I guess you could say this was the one
event where I was truly out of place, since I didn't fit into any
of the categories in the program's title.  

     I learned that the meetings usually attract approximately 20
graduate students, young professionals and (occasionally)
faculty. When I was there, discussion topics included the
treatment of gays in the U.S. military vs. foreign militaries and
the role of same-sex companions at corporate retreats and company

     My advice? If you're gay, lesbian or bisexual and you want
to talk about related issues, then go to these meetings. Go even
if you're just interested in these issues. The members are
courteous and intelligent, and a moderator keeps the conversation
flowing efficiently. 

     Plus they had cookies.


     The Sidney W. Mintz Lecture, "The Sadness of Sweetness, 
     or the Native Anthropology of Western Cosmology"
     by Marshall Sahlins, University of Chicago; 
     Mudd Hall Auditorium, Homewood

     I went to this lecture thinking that I'd be able to
understand most of it. After all, the main topic dealt with
anthropology, which is one of your basic humanities-type
subjects. I'm a humanities type of guy. No problem, right? 

     Not quite. About halfway through the speech, the speaker
said something about Foucault, and everyone in the room laughed.
Except me. I'd like to tell you what the lecture was about, but
all I understood was that man is a slave to his needs, which has
something to do with Adam's fall from grace. 

     Speaking of man's needs, there was a reception following the
talk. It was here that I spoke with History Professor Robert
Forster and his wife, Elborg. Professor Forster enjoyed the
lecture because it touched upon one of his areas of interest_the

     My only enlightenment was that I knew as little about
anthropology as I did about the immunological whatevers that I
heard about over at the Medical School. But everyone else seemed
to be enjoying themselves. They probably were enlightened. 


     Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Symphony Orchestra 
     Series Concert by the Peabody Symphony Orchestra; 
     Friedberg Concert Hall, Peabody

     Free. Free. Free. Free. Free.

     Get the point? Most Peabody concerts are, well, you know,
free for Hopkins students with ID, according to Peabody director
of public information Anne Garside. Even alumni get in for half
price, provided they show their Alumni Association membership

     I won't try to critique the actual performance, since I
don't know much about classical music (it usually takes me two
tries to spell Tchaikovsky correctly). But I will say that if
you've never been to a Peabody concert, you should go. The
Friedberg Hall is beautiful, and the sound is good. And these
guys are serious; they have harps.

     The composer of the evening's first symphony was actually at
the performance, so I figured everyone was on top of their game,
or music.

     Peabody concerts are perfect for an upscale (but cheap)
date. You can get dressed up and pretend that you're cultured.
Even if you can't tell Mahler from Mozart, the Mount Vernon area
offers a huge variety of local landmarks and trendy restaurants,
most within walking distance. 

     But you'll have to pay for those, unless you can convince
your date that walking around is actually more fun than going
into one of the trendy spots. Good luck on that one.


     Astronomy Open House, 
     Bloomberg Center Observatory, Homewood

     Imagine a slumber party in your backyard, only with a really
big telescope inside your tent. 

     That's what it was like under the dome of the Bloomberg
Center observatory on a Friday night. A few red bulbs were the
only source of light (other than the stars, of course), and
whispers were the preferred method of communication, I don't know
why. I half expected someone to putt through.

     The constantly changing crowd, which usually hovered at 10
or so people, studied star charts and posters on the walls and
waited their turn to look through the telescope. Each person got
about a minute or so to look at each object. 

     Ryan Newcomer, a first-year astrophysics graduate student,
works in the observatory, answering questions and operating the
telescope. He has even fixed the motor that rotates the overhead
dome. He seemed to enjoy pointing out constellations, double
stars and craters to the undergraduates and retirees who filled
the dome. But while he tried his best to please everyone, he
acknowledged that there are times when he just can't.

     He told me a story about one young boy who came to see Mars.
The kid looked through the telescope for a minute, then stepped
away. "I'm not impressed," he said.

          But that's OK. I sure was. 


     Chamber Music Marathon; 
     Friedberg Concert Hall, 

     While this event lasted 12 hours, I wanted to get there
fairly early because one of the first acts featured a guy playing
the euphonium. What's a euphonium? Well, since you asked, a
euphonium is, as the gentleman sitting next to me wrote in his
program, a "big horn!"  

     The program, which, like many Peabody events, was the
subject of a complimentary article in The Sun, attracted a fair
number of students, scholars and others who wanted to hear works
by Brahms, Beethoven and other, lesser-known, composers. 

     Kinnery Ardeshna, a Peabody Preparatory student and
11th-grader at McDonogh High School, went to the concert with her
mother. "I've never really been to anything like this," said
Kinnery, who is studying to be a pianist. She wanted to learn
more about chamber music, and added that one of the reasons she
came was because "I haven't seen some of these instruments." 

     That's funny. Neither had I.    

     There was even an open house (with cookies!) in the
breathtaking Peabody Library. If you love books, you have to hop
the shuttle one day and see this place.


     "A First Glimpse at the Petra Scrolls," 
     A Near Eastern Studies lecture by 
     Ludwig Koenen, University of Michigan; 
     Mudd Hall Auditorium, Homewood

     As accurate as the calendar is (I was asked to get that in
somehow), the one thing it can't account for is acts of God.  

     On a beautiful spring Sunday, I got to the Mudd Hall
auditorium exactly on time for a talk on a topic that seemed
pretty interesting. But the speaker didn't show. While I was
lamenting the fact that I was stuck inside on an 85-degree
afternoon, Dr. Koenen was stuck in a sudden ice storm that hit
Detroit that morning. The lecture had to be postponed. I was
disappointed to miss my last calendar event, and thought about it
and the week as I tried to decide where to buy sunblock.

     This situation made me realize that no matter how technical
our lives become, no matter how many computers, fax machines and
electronic mail accounts we have, we still depend on people for

     And Hopkins does have and does attract an abundance of
talented people. From everywhere in the world doing and talking
about anything in the world.

     Were it not for one man named Johns Hopkins, we wouldn't
have a past. Were it not for the thousands of individuals who
have upheld his legacy over the years, we wouldn't have a future. 

     But perhaps we should focus on the present. After all, there
are a tremendous number of events happening right now, and we're
invited to many of them.

     Musicians are thrilled to have an audience for their
performances. Scientists are eager to speak about their latest
discoveries. Scholars, who have devoted decades to research, are
excited to share their findings with others. 

     And not just people in the know or people like themselves,
but anyone who has an interest in learning. 

     The fun for me was realizing that I could walk into any of
the events in the calendar and be welcomed. I might sit there and
not know exactly what was going on, but in all cases I came out a
little more well-rounded.

     But maybe that was just because of the free cookies.   

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