Sunday in the Park with George: A Review

“White, a blank page or canvas. The challenge: bring order to the whole.” So starts the musical by Stephen Sondheim chronicling the life and work of George Seurat. The show focuses on the subjects of Seurat’s iconic painting: “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte,” and how the relationships depicted may have affected his work.  George Fox University’s (GFU) theatre department presented this show as their Winter Musical; it was shown from 26 Jan. to 5 Feb.

As the lights dim, the show opens with Nate Ayers, playing George Seurat, in the center of the stage. He launches into a monologue in which he explains the magic he sees in design. The audience sits in rapt attention as he pulls trees from the darkness of backstage with what seems to be pure willpower (in actuality, it is the work of a masterfully hidden stage crew). He reveals intricately painted walls and within moments, the audience is transformed into passersby in a French park. Together Ayers, as Seurat, and Sarah Aldrich, as Dot, weave together an unconventional and semi-tragic love story. It is a story of love between two people as well as the love between a person and his or her endeavors. Director of the show, Rhet Luedtke, said in an interview with GFU’s news release blog, “When does my creative drive and passion to create meaningful work negatively impact my relationships with my family and friends? Is compromise possible in the quest for excellence?” These are the essential questions explored in the show. From the park, to the studio, to a gallery, and back to the park, the audience experiences a full circle.It is a 100-year story of what it means to be passionately human, to endeavor to balance the pursuit of beauty with one’s own inherent flaws.

Tim Timmerman, artist and professor, praised the show. He specifically loved the opening song of Act Two: “It’s Hot up Here,” in which the cast appears in its entirety, replicating the poses of their counterparts in the original painting “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.” As they sit and stand in their poses, they sing to one another in a humorous and accurate portrayal of the façade that melts away when people lose their ability to tolerate each other.

“The actors were very talented and it was a good story. I enjoyed that part of it,” said one theatre minor at GFU. His critique of the show was more toward the writer than the cast. He said that it was a bit long, and the off-kilter soundtrack was not his favorite for a musical. Overall, Roy commended the cast for their acting and the meticulous portrayal of their characters.

Those who did not get a chance to see GFU’s portrayal of “Sunday at the Park with George” can see the next production, Deus Ex Millennia, a student-written play. Opening night is April 6 at 7:30 p.m.

Double Take

Photo Story by Katie Culbertson


Audrey O’Farell arrives at our photo shoot with her arms full. Soft knit sweaters and shimmery blouses in shades of pink, mauve and black spill out of her hands in a snuggly, wintery waterfall; she lays the sweaters over the sofa and hands me a bag. “I have more stuff,” she says, “and that bag is just shoes.”

Pink velvet booties, black pointy-toed shoes, gold loafers–for a second I’m a little jealous, but my attention shifts like a magpie to the vintage suitcase of fantastic statement pieces twin sisters Erica and Amanda Guest have just opened. These two appear to be inspired by menswear: I see cropped dress pants, striped turtlenecks and beautiful oversized coats in subdued tones of camel and gray.

I’ve given the models freedom to choose whatever they want to wear for this project, and what they select is a beautiful and intimate glimpse into their identities. What inspires them to dress outside the lines at college? “Part of me likes to stand out a little bit, but I also don’t want to be too…is ostentatious a good word?” said senior Maddie Hayes,  ”I kind of like the double take. Like, ‘oh, that’s kind of cool.’” Hayes describes her approach to style as classic with a splash of edge; on a typical day, she’ll layer combinations of chunky knits, high-waisted trousers, and softer pieces in chiffon or satin. “I like to take certain silhouettes and kind of expand on them,” she says.

Junior fashion design student Johnny Kang’s favorite color is pale pink, a color he’s drawn to in his designs and in his wardrobe. O’Farrell, Erica, and Amanda style an outfit for him that include his favorite go-to’s: black straight-leg jeans, a black tee, an oversized denim jacket and, of course, a cozy hoodie in ballerina pink. “I don’t want to dress like every other guy,” he says.

For Kang, Hayes, O’Farrell,  Erica, and Amanda, clothing represents self-discovery, art, and freedom to express themselves boldly. Each one of them finds uniquely artistic way to communicate their complex selves using fashion.
As we wander into an empty field to take pictures, the models blend into the Northwest landscape almost magically. The wind whips their coats about, and they laugh; their smiles and confidence are just as beautiful as the mist tumbling over the mountain behind them.

Residence Hall Recipes

Let’s face it: cooking in residence halls is almost impossible. And for me, cooking in general is pretty impossible. So when faced with the task of feeding myself in college, the prospects were pretty bleak.

And I’m a student who doesn’t even like to cook. I feel bad for students who love to cook, but don’t have a place to do so successfully. Because let’s be honest, the community fridge is sort of a free for all (although I admit to nothing).

Also, where are you supposed to store cooking utensils? Storage space is limited as it is. Perhaps you could leave your cooking supplies in the floor’s kitchen, but there are definite trust issues there. I wouldn’t necessarily want my pot to become the community pot; that would be plain unsanitary. I’m assuming. Or maybe I’m just selfish with my saucepans.

With all of this in mind, I have scoured the internet, researched for hours and hours, just in order to bring to you the best recipes that would be easy to make in a dorm room, recipes I will be sharing and detailing my own possibly-disastrous experiences with. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

So, first on the list (drum roll please…): Top Ramen!

No, but actually. This recipe is what I will call ‘upscale’ ramen— special ramen made all within the comforts of your own residence hall. This recipe is ridiculously easy, not even I could mess it up this time around.

Needed ingredients:
Ramen (duh)
One egg (or two if you like eggs)
Spice of your choice (I chose a nice Creole seasoning, on sale at the local Fred Meyer)

The first problem I encountered while making this meal was what to cook it in. At first I thought I was going to resort to the microwave, but luckily there was a clean pot in the kitchen unattended on the stove (see, this is why I would have trust issues).

Once you have a pot, it should be relatively smooth sailing.

Step one: boil water. How much water you may ask? Good question. I just eyeballed it, the package says two cups but nobody left any measuring cups in the kitchen for me to use.

Step two: put the block of ramen into the pot. Or crush it up first, whatever works best for your ramen needs.

Step three: beat your egg in a cup, and then remove ramen from stove top when done. Then, (this is the really fun part) pour the egg slowly into the ramen as you stir. This was my first time making ramen with egg in it, and watching the egg cook itself just about blew my mind.

Step four: pour ramen into a bowl, then add spice to taste (I recommend Creole but that’s just me).

Step five: enjoy!

If I’m going to be honest here, I was not expecting this recipe to go well. I thought it was going to be kind of disgusting, but I was ready to try residence hall cooking and see how it worked out. Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the end result. It was a solid 7.8/10, would make again, if only to use more of the large container of Creole seasoning I bought.

The final product. Look at that steaming bowl of mediocrity.

The final product. Look at that steaming bowl of mediocrity.

Needed ingredients: egg, ramen, and seasoning. Simple as that.

Needed ingredients: egg, ramen, and seasoning. Simple as that.

Oregon’s Slice of Middle Earth

The Columbia River Gorge is known for being a giant evergreen playground for hikers, and for scarcely being able to look any direction without seeing a majestic waterfall right in front of your face. It’s also known for being the birthplace of windsurfing which, if you happen to go out there without checking the weather first, will become apparent as soon as you step outside and start chasing your hat: the wind is pretty extraordinary!

But what a lot of people don’t realize is that just past Cascade Locks, Middle Earth makes a small appearance. When heading east on I-84, take exit 44 into Cascade Locks and take a right towards downtown. After continuing on Frontage Rd. and taking a left on Wyeth Rd. you will soon come to a stop where the road ends at a gate.

This place is called Government Cove. There are several paths that go up and around the short cliffs that make up the small peninsula. The rock formations are unlike anything else that can be seen in the area. The short, moss-like grass covering the tops of the cliffs and the small fields on the ground appear to be imported straight from New Zealand or Scotland. At times, it seems as if all that’s missing is Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli riding up to Rohan, or warg riders charging at men on horses.

Government Cove Oregon

All of this lies right in the middle of the Columbia River Gorge, with dramatic mountains that be seen on either side, just so you don’t forget completely that you are still in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to the cliffs there are to explore, there is a jetty that extends out from here, allowing you to get an amazing view of the cove with the mountains in the background. It also give you an opportunity to experience the Gorge from the middle of the river, without having to take a ride on a boat.

A great way to cap off the day here is to build a fire in one of the many fire pits dispersed throughout the peninsula. This spot proves to be a great place to get a solid dose of exploration, without being tired after a hike or running into crowds taking selfies. Or running into orcs for that matter, most likely.

School Style: Letterman Jackets



Ah, the nostalgia of a letterman’s jacket. This classic wardrobe staple, a man’s jacket with elasticized sleeves, a boxy shape, and a snap closures, has been around since as early as the 19th century, when Harvard University brought them into vogue for their baseball team.

The bright school colors, raised emblems and football numbers of this garment, sometimes also called a varsity jacket, bring to mind crisp fall afternoons spent at football rallies eating cracker jacks and caramel apples. In former days, a player would often lend his letterman’s jacket to his girlfriend, who would wear it proudly to show others that she was “taken.”

Today, lovers of vintage fashion can enjoy experimenting with the letterman’s jacket. Below I list a few ideas to try; but don’t limit yourself to just one or two looks, because the possibilities are endless!


Go classic

Wear your letterman’s jacket like a gal in the forties would have: paired with a pleated skirt, a crisp blouse, and penny-loafers or brogues. To be even more authentic, try curling your hair and tying it back with a ribbon. Add red lipstick to turn up the forties effect!

varsity jacket


Go edgy

Take a cue from artists and celebrities like Gabriel Aplin and Gigi Hadid, who combine the vintage kitchiness of the letterman jacket with modern edge. In her music video “Home,” Aplin wears ripped jeans, a graphic tee, sheer socks, and block-heel sandals. Her hair is cut in choppy bangs and is styled to look mussed and undone.

Hadid pairs her distressed, dark-toned jacket with jeans and black ankle booties, along with a sweater slung casually around her hips. Her hair is sleekly parted down the middle and her makeup is modern and simplistic. For this look, the jacket is clearly the focal point to an otherwise streamlined outfit.


Go fancy

Nothing is so unexpectedly elegant as the pairing of a fancy dress with a menswear coat. So if you’re feeling especially daring this Friday night, add a little masculine to your feminine by throwing a varsity jacket over your going-out ensemble. For maximum effect, wear a bodycon-fit dress and keep your shoes and accessories simple; this will help to balance the bulkiness of the jacket.


Every era leaves future generations with defining cultural expressions in the form of clothing. The letterman jacket is one of those classic garments that keeps us both warm and stylish more than one hundred years after its invention. Have fun experimenting with this iconic fashion staple!

“Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights” Review

Sir Salman Rushdie is a prize-winning British-Indian writer best known for his novels “Midnight’s Children” and “The Satanic Verses,” the latter of which led to accusations of blasphemy against Islam in 1988, sending him into hiding for several years.

Nonetheless, he never stopped writing; since his first book in 1975, Rushdie has written eleven novels, as well as children’s books, a collection of short stories, and four non-fiction books. His twelfth novel, “Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights,” was published in September by Random House.

In “Two Years,” the sky splits open and a war between the jinni and the humans breaks out, raging on for two years, eight months, and 28 nights – or, in other words, 1,001 nights. Stories unfold to reveal other stories and weave into and around one another, defying proper summarization. The book opens with Ibn Rushd, a Muslim philosopher from the twelfth century, for its outermost layer, and at the center of it all lies Dunia the jinni, the Lightning Princess, blending history and mythology together.

Rushdie’s work of magical realism brings “One Thousand and One Nights” into the modern world, drawing on its narrative frame structure, the struggle of life and death, and folktale storytelling. The novel combines satirical wit with unflinching thoughtfulness to create a tone of intimacy with the reader, like a story told between close friends. The story invokes Arab, Persian, and Indian mythology and spans across millennia and cultures to reach out to as many audiences as will answer its enchanting call.

Newcomers to Rushdie’s fiction may have a difficult time deciphering some of the messages and images he implants into his conflict between good and evil, faith and reason; Rushdie suggests that human imagination relies upon hate and violence – that the balance between humanity’s ability to create and ability to destroy is a crucial facet of the human experience, both individually and collectively. Many other such philosophical and spiritual ponderings are subtly imbedded deep into the prose. The disorganized story-within-story structure may also turn away those who prefer a straightforward plotline.

“Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights” is a captivating novel with layers of satire, philosophy, theology, and symbolism. Whether the reader is a devoted follower of Rushdie delving into his ideological depths or only wants to pick up a unique experience to pass the time, the novel is an entertaining and captivating read.

Nathaniel Burmeister: Mad DJ at Everything

natty burmeister photo


Last Saturday night, George Fox University hosted a talent show where several people were allowed to put their talents in the limelight and bask in the applause. Among those talents (and carrying an impressive amount of praise) was Nathaniel Burmeister. Burmeister beat boxed to the tune his choir team sang and the audience was changed and impressed.

He is a Cinema and Media Communications major with a minor in Computer Science and a member of the William Penn Honors Program. If that doesn’t sound like a plate full, he also juggles photography, singing, choir, and RA Life.

“Ranked from third to first I would love an internship in Portland, Seattle,” said Burmeister, “and my first choice would be going with the CTO program over to Nashville and spending a summer over there working either in the studios or doing a partnership with Belmont University.”

Several people will agree that Burmeister’s natural excitement and passion for life rubs off on the people around him. His drive and hard earned talent gives him energy unique only to him.

“My mom and dad,” said Burmeister, “definitely put a lot of emphasis on, ‘You try a whole bunch of things,’ and did not put any emphasis on, ‘if you fail then it’s just not meant to be.’ Persistence is one of the biggest things they emphasized.”

During the quiet hours Burmeister finds himself turning to his stress relievers. Burmeister calls himself an extraverted-introvert and turns to singing, reading, or watching TV to recharge.

“My favorite book for a while has been The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis,” said Burmeister. “There have been very few books that I’ve read and have kept me up in the very early morning hours reading. That’s one of them.”

Burmeister finds a way to inspire the people around him either with the talent he show’s in his music or the passion he puts into his studies.

School Style: ’90s Grunge


A young woman walks across her college campus wearing a short black dress with torn, knee-high black stockings and clunky Doc Martens. A few years ago, she might have been the recipient of some judgmental stares. But in 2015, ’90s grunge is a real thing, and her fashion sense is right on the money.

What is ’90s grunge, anyway? Acid wash blue jeans and chokers come to mind, as do short, choppy haircuts and plaid shirts slung lazily around hips. Think back to movies like Clueless, and shows like My So Called Life; the decade of the ’90s had a distinct look that was both carelessly simple and purposefully frumpy.

The 2015 take on ’90s grunge thrives on minimalism, so when you’re shopping online (or in your parents’ basement), look for shades of black and white. A white tee with rolled sleeves tucked into a pair of slightly baggy high-rise jeans is a perfect place to start.

If I could choose a word to describe 90’s grunge, it would be “substantial.” Nothing about it is frilly or ethereal; the fabrics of grunge are hefty denim, wool, and stiff cotton. This look has to come across as carefree: you got up this morning, grabbed a mug of black coffee, and threw on your clothes before hurrying off to band practice.

This style is not for the faint of heart, but it is blessedly easy, and the sturdy fabrics and full coverage silhouettes are perfect for the colder months. The look goes from frumpy to luxe when silhouettes like boxy turtleneck sweaters are recreated in quilted cotton, in various shades of soft pink, mustard, and baby blue. Even baggy overalls get a fresh interpretation with gold hardware and cuffed hems.

If you’re needing inspiration for your own foray into ’90s grunge, check out sites like NastyGal, Asos, and Sabo Skirt.

’90s grunge might be a style none of us thought would come back. But back it is, with brushed-cotton vengeance; I’m sure Claire Danes would be proud.

George Fox Film Society Has High Hopes

Austin Coates, president of the George Fox Film Society (GFFS), is a transfer student from San Jose State University. As a student of animation and illustration, he found the lines quickly blurred between class and extracurricular club in his experience there. Looking back, he sees the relationship between large clubs (nearly 600 students) and lackadaisical faculty as a dysfunctional, even harmful, product of club dynamics.

He brings a sense of democracy and relational growth to the GFFS. The club meets every Tuesday at 8 p.m. in EHS 102. While some may easily dismiss , Coates sees it as somewhat more spectacular, more glass half-full. He insists that this is not just a CMCO club; accounting, theater, computer science majors, and more have all attended to share in cinematic art and life perspectives.

Coates leads the group with Christ at the center of his heart. It is one of his three main pillars for the club. His other visions are increasing the value of visual literacy – the individual interpretation of art or images – among students pursuing art or any other skill, and to keep the discussion of cinema’s core going on: the thinking, the talking, and the experiencing of life.

As a brand new club, getting established has been more of a tightrope walk than a cakewalk. The group, open to any and all, hopes for more students to engage in the meaningful conversations the club hosts.

At the end of the day, Coates just wants people to know about his passions. He believes in the joy of discussion groups, and he wants to see the GFFS shine from here on out.


“If Eve Only Knew” Review

George Fox University’s own Melanie Springer Mock co-wrote the book “If Eve Only Knew” with Kendra Weddle Irons. Published in July, “If Eve Only Knew” investigates evangelical Christianity’s conception of gender and the biblical basis (or, as the book contends, the lack of a biblical basis) for such perceptions.

Mock is a professor of English at GFU and teaches creative nonfiction, journalism, and other writing courses. She has published three other books and her essays have appeared in numerous academic and popular presses.

Irons is a professor of Religion and Humanities at Texas Wesleyan University, a contributor to the Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Caucus website, and author of “Preaching on the Plains” (2007).  Together, Mock and Irons run the blog “Ain’t I a Woman?” to engage with popular culture from a feminist Christian perspective.

Each chapter of “If Eve Only Knew” delves into a different myth of biblical womanhood, beginning by breaking down the first few chapters of Genesis and reinterpreting Eve’s role in what traditionally has been called “the Fall.”

It goes on to tackle such iconic biblical figures as Ruth and Boaz, address the pitfalls and double standards inherent in the concept of sexual purity, challenge the Christian patriarchy, and more. In the end, the book redefines biblical womanhood within the new, broader parameters it has now explored.

“If Eve Only Knew” makes a well-organized argument in witty, conversational prose that is accessible to readers unfamiliar with either evangelical or feminist terminology. It provides a fresh perspective on biblical interpretation, based almost exclusively in close readings of the Bible itself and supported with other scholarly works and the experiences of women in the church.

The book has received largely positive reviews, and according to Gary Tandy, chair of GFU’s English and Theatre departments, the book allows for different ways of thinking about women and equality from a Christian perspective.

While the ease of reading may make it more accessible to the average reader, “If Eve Only Knew” may be jeopardized by its own niche perspective. Secular feminists uninterested in theology – especially a theology that is so historically patriarchal – and evangelical Christians wary of feminism – which is often viewed as a threat to the sanctity of the nuclear Christian family – will both be prone to passing it by on the bookshelf.

As the authors themselves write, being Christian feminists is to inhabit a space that “is not well worn.” The feminist slant presents an undeniable bias, but “we always bring our own lens to the Bible,” said Tandy, and more widely accepted interpretations are no different.

“If Eve Only Knew” opens up a much-needed dialogue by challenging many of the ideologies and practices within the evangelical Christian church that have gone unchallenged for generations. Mock and Irons strive not to attack Christianity, but to empower and engage those who follow traditional practices and interpretations without examination.

At its core, “If Eve Only Knew” is a hopeful book about expanding our understanding of Scripture in order to fulfill everything we – not as men or women but as humans – are meant to be.