Category Archives: Art

What’s With the Proctorbowl Instagram Celebrity?

Proctorbowl1As the infinite struggle to keep proctor bowls in their designated locations (no, your desk is not a designated location) wages on between the dining staff and Middlebury students, the infamous dish is traveling extensively, spreading Middlebury spirit to the far corners of the United States. Documenting these adventures is the anonymous Instagram account @proctorbowl whose bio reads: “Proctor bowls: where they’re at.” They’ve traveled pretty far from Middlebury, and it might be awhile before they come home. Sorry Proctor Staff.” The mysterious proctorbowl would like to remain anonymous to maintain the elusive and difficult to find nature of proctor bowls but Middbeat was able to score an exclusive interview with the student behind the account to answer some of your questions about the far-flung explorations. 

Middbeat: So, what is Proctor bowl?

Proctor Bowl (hereby referred to as PB): It’s sort of a hemispherical, hollow object that you can put soup in or water, if you’re out of cups.

Middbeat: Why did you start the Instagram?

PB: The original idea came from the Crampus with the back cover of their 2013 issue. It was a map showing Proctor bowls after they left Middlebury- where they were at. So I wanted to document that.

Middbeat: What kind of pictures do you post?

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TODAY: Visiting Architecture Lecturer: Jim Cutler

Grace Episcopal Church, designed by Cutler Anderson Architects. Father of Blake Harper '15 is pastor at this church!

Grace Episcopal Church, designed by Cutler Anderson Architects. Father of Blake Harper ’15 is pastor at this church!

As we’ve been recently discussing on middbeat, place, space, and architecture can seriously impact the ways the environment, communities, social groups, individual people, and even strangers act and interact. Certainly we’ve all got ideas on how Midd’s architecture and public space ought to be tweaked so to re-vamp social life and community building, but we could certainly use advice from an expert. Enter Jim Cutler, founding principal of Cutler Anderson Architects in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

As their site explains, “Established in 1977, Cutler Anderson Architects (formerly James Cutler Architects) is internationally renowned for its environmental awareness and attention to detail. Their approach to design can be stated simply as an attempt to reveal the nature of every circumstance – the nature of the institution that we house, the nature and significance of the place in which it is located, the nature and power of the materials with which we build.”

As founder and principal of Cutler Anderson Architects, Jim Cutler, FAIA has won numerous design awards, and is known for his sensitive engagement of land and place. More, Cutler served as the Cameron Visiting Architect-in-Residence here at Middlebury in fall 2009. Today, Cutler will be speaking about his firm, his architectural work, and his theories behind space, place, and construction. Be there.

Date: Today, October 30
Time: 1:30 – 2:30 pm
Place: BiHall Room 216
Cost: Nada

MIDDBEAT RELEASE: MCAB Fall 2015 Comedians Will Be…

Middbeat’s breakin the news, the MCAB Fall 2015 Comedians have been released! MCAB Social Co-Chairs Claudia Esteva ’15 and Nitya Mankad ’16 write in to let us know the details:

Attention Middlebury Students! On Saturday, November 22, MCAB is delighted to present comedic duo Jake and Amir from College Humor. Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld are the writers/actors/editors behind the Webby award winning Internet series “Jake and Amir.” The duo have released two videos a week for over four years, with each episode now averaging more than 500,000 views. As a series, “Jake and Amir” has won several awards including the Webby’s People Voice for Best Web Series in 2010 and has been named one of PCMag’s top 15 best web-only shows. Their series has also appeared on television on MTV’s “The CollegeHumor Show.” The two have recently released their first ever half hour special, “Fired” available for online streaming and in DVD form.

They will be joined by special guest Jon Rineman, who is currently the head monologue writer on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. He has appeared as a stand-up and performer on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and tours the country performing stand-up in comedy clubs and colleges.

Jake and Amir will be performing their podcast “If I Were You.” Join our hosts as they dispense wisdom on areas of life they are qualified to talk about. Also in areas they are not qualified to talk about.

Tickets go on sale at the Box Office this Monday, November 3rd, at 6 am. They will be $12 online, and $15 at the door.

Sounds awesome, thanks MCAB! We be thur. 

Date: Tickets: November 3, Performance: November 22
Time: Tickets: 6 am, Performance: Doors open 8:30 pm, show starts at 9
Place: McCullough Social Space

We Bought a Zoo! Student Music Tonight!

From Womp to Alpenglow, we’ve certainly had a semester packed with great student music. Prepare to be wowed, as Middlebury’s favorite folk septet, Iron Eyes Cody is back again, bring us live music. This time they will be joined by bands Mount Philo, Newt Gingrich and the GOP Allstars, & Drums on Fire.  The theme of the show Halloween; costumes are encouraged. The show will be at 8:30 PM, tonight night in the Hepburn Zoo!

Get Stoked!!!!


What: Live Music!
Date: Thursday, 10/30
Time: 8:30 PM
Place: Hepburn Zoo
Cost: Free!

Ambiguity, Inquiry, Dialogue: The Visual Thinking Strategies Teaching Method and Higher Education

Image from VTS website, they ask: What's going on in this image?

Image from VTS website, they ask: What’s going on in this image?

Sarah Larsen writes in to tell us about a fascinating lecture being held today by Dabney Hailey, a curator and educator who promotes Visual Thinking Strategies, a program that “transforms the way students think and learn through programs based in theory and research that use discussions of visual art to significantly increase student engagement and performance.” If you’re interested in art history, museums, educational theory, or creative thinking at large, this lecture should be worth checking out. As Sarah explains:

Curator and educator Dabney Hailey will facilitate a discussion about an artwork to demonstrate the teaching method, Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). She then will address some key questions: What is visual thinking (or visual literacy), why does it matter, and how might it be developed in undergraduate students? How can open-ended, rigorous discussions about art, such as VTS conversations, enable academic museums to more effectively meet and influence curricular needs across disciplines? Describing the ways in which VTS cultivates the process of inquiry, creates comfort with ambiguity, and fosters collaboration, Hailey will draw on her experiences applying the method in a range of classes (Anthropology, Biology, Business, Neuroscience, Philosophy, and Public Policy, among others) at Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum. This lecture is Sponsored by the Museum of Art and the Department of History of Art and Architecture. The Museum will remain open until 7:00 PM for post-lecture visitors.

Date: Today, October 29
Time: Lecture 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Museum open until 7 pm
Place: CFA Room 125

Awkward Family Photos Co-Founder Visits Midd on an Appropriate Weekend

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Mike Bender (’97), the co-founder of the Awkward Family Photos website, book, and photo exhibit is a Middlebury graduate. This past Saturday, Oct. 25, Bender gave a “Gallery Talk” about his career as a curator of awkward family photos. His talk was especially relevant because it was Fall Parent’s Weekend.

About 80 people filled Wilson Hall in McCullough auditorium to hear Bender articulate what has motivated him to collect more than 2,000 awkward family photos over the past five years. “We’ve all been awkward at some point in our lives,” he said, eliciting laughter from a crowd comprised mostly of parents accompanied by their college-aged offspring. With regard to the forced happiness that people try to conjure for family portraits, Bender said, “family is not all smiles, it’s all the things in between.”

One of Bender’s guiding tenants is that “family is awkward… When a group of people with the same last name and different personalities are forced to spend most of their lives together, plenty of uncomfortable moments are sure to follow.” Surveying the immediate milieu of Middlebury family units, however, the adjective “awkward” didn’t jump out immediately. Instead, I saw a sea of people that could stand in for Gap models: preppy fall coats, smart eyewear; mothers with tidy haircuts of convincingly youthful hues wearing Lululemon exercise jackets and clogs; fathers sporting college baseball caps, sensible slip-on Merrell shoes, pastel button-up shirts, and of course, sweater vests.

But maybe the acute conventionality of the average Middlebury family translates into some incongruous family photos. Michelle Yang ’17.5 particularly appreciates the medium of the family portrait because “It’s one snapshot that doesn’t capture the intricacies of a family,” she says. “You don’t know who’s on good terms with whoever, or if dinner sucked last night. You don’t get that.” In other words, family photos are most interesting when they communicate dynamics that the family is not trying to advertise. The discrepancy between the sought-after impression and the unintentionally implied reality makes us laugh.

The live portraits of student-parent relationships provided over Fall Parent’s Weekend at Middlebury probably reflect Yang’s opinion. They are most interesting to observe when they reveal clues to the tone of interaction at the dinner table, to internal antagonisms and alliances, to mutually tolerated nuisances – the things that represent us sincerely, if uncomfortably.

In the spirit of unapologetically embracing family awkwardness, middbeat invites you to submit photos of yourself or your family. Preferably aged ones, because your recent family photos could only be graceful and alluring, right?

All photos can be submitted to middbeatATgmailDOTcom with the subject heading FAMILY PHOTOS. The photos will be featured on middbeat and the most awkward or entertaining photo will receive a prize!

Ron’s Closet: Capturing the Spirit of Middlebury College Through Apparel and Design

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There’s a new Middlebury alumni-led fashion endeavor in the works, and if you haven’t heard about it, you definitely should. While recent regulations have spurred many of us to criticize Middlebury campus traditions (or lack thereof), Ryan Brewster ’14 is determined to do the opposite, reviving and celebrating what Midd traditions we do retain through creative design. Enter Ron’s Closet Apparel Company

The ethos is simple. As Ryan explains:

Ron’s Closet Apparel Company aims to capture the spirit of Middlebury through graphic and clothing design. Channeling the innocent desires of a “Proctor Crush” or the unabashed disrobing that is “Like a Prayer,” our products are informed by the timeless themes that define our wacky, yet endearing culture.

Community. Tradition. Self-Expression. These are the core principles of Ron’s Closet, and embody the ethos of a brand created by and for Middlebury students. Consistent with these values, everything we produce will be sold at the cost of printing (i.e. we don’t care about profit), and any money that is contributed on top will be set aside for local charities.

Sounds pretty cool, and the designs (some featured above) are pretty awesome. After freshman year it seems we all get a bit sick of sporting that classic Middlebury sweatshirt, the emblem of college acceptance purchased within minutes of receiving the big envelope in the mail. This being said, there’s undoubtedly value in identifying with the aspects of our institution we do like, and Ron’s Closet designs provide a platform to do so, it’s mission being “to create apparel that is inspired by the lifestyle and pulse of Middlebury College.”

Plus, because Ron’s Closet is not profit-driven, you can feel good about your investment, knowing any surplus money will be donated to local charities. The company will be using the crowd-funding site Tee Spring, where shirts can be ordered individually on the basis of separate campaigns. Products will be printed and shipped once the minimum threshold of buyers is reached. More information regarding Tee Spring policies can be found here.

Ryan writes in to reinforce that Ron’s Closet is currently recruiting graphic designers (or any creative minds) who are interested in contributing to our collection. An additional arm of Ron’s Closet is that of a pro bono design service for events/organizations/you name it seeking branding and marketing materials. Among recent collaborators have included the Student Government Association, the Middlebury College Emergency Medical Services and the Islamic Society of Middlebury College.

Sounds like this start-up could really take off, so it could be a smart move to get involved fast. Contact for information! And, to learn more about the project, check out Ron’s Closet Facebook page here.

P.S.: Ryan, middbeat would certainly love our own design!

Tom the Record & Vintage Clothes Man Here Today


It can be hard out there for a hipster. But, if you’re in need of new vintage clothes and records, we’re informed “Tom the Record Man” will be selling his goods on Proctor Terrace today from 9-5. We’re not positive who Tom is but his familiar description on go/events convinces us he’s a regular presence here at Midd. So stop by and stock up, friends.

Date: Today, 10/27
Time: 9 am – 5 pm
Place: Proctor Terrace

Possession is Nine Tenths of the Law

PINTOTL poster


Come check out another amazing M Gallery Exhibition featuring Sam Tolzmanm, ’14.5

When: Saturday, October 25 from 2 to 8 PM
Where: M Gallery | The Old Stone Mill | #3 Mill Street | Middlebury, VT 05753
Cost: Free

Here is the press release from M Gallery:




M Gallery Exhibit Press Release

Possession is nine tenths of the law | Sam Tolzmann


  • We should never include a phone number on public listings. Contact the gallery directors if such a situation should arise.
  • If an email address will be publicly visible it should be:

Possession is nine tenths of the law

Sam Tolzmann, ’14.5

Saturday, Oct. 25th


Brief Description:
Samuel Tolzmann ’14.5′s final exhibition at Middlebury, Possession is nine tenths of the law. combines drawing and interactive performance within a specifically engineered, highly manipulated spatial environment designed to be both disruptive and immersive. It is an intensely private meditation on the essential horror of sexual embodiment. Obsessively figural and thoroughly allusive, the exhibition twists domestic and gallery routine as it attempts to express queerly fraught visions of failure: of illegible masculinities, unattainable fantasies, alien nourishments, botched exorcisms, pointless labors, ineffectual communication, and malfunctioning or altogether insufficient boundaries. The artist probes the psychological value and social contexts of punishment, performance, (pro)creation, and other repetitive actions that frequently occur in the home, ambiguously troubling the conventional power dynamics motivating identity and intimacy. His range of depicted, assumed, and imposed postures appear violently degrading, subjugating, and self-abnegating, but this reading is complicated by their deliberate intentionality, voluntary dutifulness, and willful urgency.

The M Gallery opens at 2:00 PM and at 3:00 PM SHARP Tolzmann will debut two new performances back-to-back, Power failure and Bread alone. Family members visiting for the weekend are encouraged to attend as well, however, please note that due to the adult nature of the work, no one under 18 years of age will be admitted. Light refreshments will be served.


M Gallery | The Old Stone Mill | #3 Mill Street | Middlebury, VT 05753


Emerging Adulthood: Psychology and Portraiture

This Friday, Professor of psychology Barbara Hofer will be joining artist Kate Gridley for a collaborative, interdisciplinary talk given in conjunction with a viewing of Gridleys exhibition, Passing Through: Portraits of Emerging Adults. Many psychologists now view individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 as inhabiting a newly defined life phase between adolescence and adulthood—a period termed “emerging adulthood.” This series of life-sized oil portraits will feature an artist-led tour by Gridley herself in the lower lobby immediately following the talk (also at Town Hall Theater at 4:00 PM).

And yes, on top of an exhibition well respected and locally produced art, refreshments are sure to be provided.

When: Friday, October 24 12:30 pm

Where: Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Theatre

Cost: Free