Getting chummy at Blacklist coffee house
The editors of Blacklist Magazine hosted a coffee house at Cholmondeley's on Saturday to celebrate the publication of their first issue of the semester. Blacklist, formerly Where the Children Play, is the University's longest-running literary and arts magazine. Bad Grammer warmed up the growing crowd with a combination of slapstick humor, raunchy jokes and laughably bad puns. They were followed by Sarah Lavin ’21, who sang two original songs, “Who Am I” and “How Can I Write a Love Song,” accompanied by her ukelele. Next was a stand-up bit by Max Everson ’19, who shared his heartwarming, hilarious experience of seeing “The Longest Ride” in theaters with his best friend. In addition to making the audience members laugh, he left them with a message: try to share your friends’ interests rather than be critical. Everson later explained, “If my material isn’t funny, at least it has a moral.” Then Jordan Mudd ’20, playing his guitar, performed a mashup of “Autumn Leaves” and “My Funny Valentine,” as well as Amos Lee’s “Learned a Lot.”
After several relaxing minutes of Mudd’s folksy, acoustic vibe, Sumner Alperin-Lea ’18, the poetry editor of “Blacklist,” took the stage and announced, “These are some poems I found in the trash.” He proceeded to read four short original poems: “Elephant Mausoleum,” “Tyrannosaurid,” “Burial Rite” and “Poem from the Nuclear Basement.” As soon as he finished reading each poem, he unceremoniously cast aside the wrinkled scrap of paper on which that poem was written. His casual stage presence, Alperin-Lea explained, was created in an effort to remove “any false sacredness you put into the object of the work” without sacrificing his own vulnerability.
Following Alperin-Lea, Elyse Hahn ’20 made her stand-up comedy career debut with a description of the centipedes in East Quad. Imagine your funniest friend telling you a story — that was Hahn’s stand up style. The audience was very responsive, shouting out requests for Hahn to give her opinion on other kinds of Brandeisian quirks.
The last act of the evening was Henry Goodridge ’18. There were several announcements before Goodridge even began; Alperin-Lea, Goodridge, and alumna Etta Surrette ’17 all warned that the performance would, among other things, be “loud,” “swampy” and “very loud.” Due to the noise level, most audience members chose to experience his musical stylings from outside the castle, literally looking in through the window. Goodridge could be seen and heard stumbling around the room, occasionally walking into audience members, pouring out his feelings screamo-style into the microphone. He patiently explained afterwards that his music is a combination of “noise, synth-punk and industrial.” Ideally, Goodridge told the Justice, his music would be experienced as one experiences a horror movie; that is to say, the audience can derive enjoyment out of “strong, abrasive” sensations in a controlled setting. Unfortunately, many of the coffeehouse attendees were not appreciative of this opportunity and simply left.
The publication of Blacklist, according to Alperin-Lea, was “something we never really foresaw as being possible until we went and did it.” The coffeehouse was a decided success; there was a full house for the majority of the show, and the audience positively engaged with the acts. As the night was winding down and the stragglers were deciding what to do with the extra donuts, Alperin-Lea happily told the Justice that he was “proud that this could be an evening that could challenge and excite.”