The Columbia Chronicle

Esteemed guitarist rocks students

By Shardae Smith

October 3, 2010

Students in the Music Department had the opportunity to learn from American guitarist, singer and songwriter Charlie Sexton Sept. 27 through Sept. 30.As a guest of the department’s Contemporary, Urban and Popular Music (CUP) program, Sexton was invited to spend the week as part of the Artist in Residence series to teach master classes with the department’s student ensemble bands.“The difference between what goes on [d...

Cops don’t need CAPS to find out issues

By Editorial Board

September 26, 2010

The day after a group of more than 300 officers picketed the Chicago Police Department headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave., complaining of manpower shortages, the city announced it will cut several positions in its Chicago Alternative Police Strategy program to free up more police for street patrol. CAPS Director Ronald Holt said the exact number of reassigned officers is not yet clear, but Mayor Richard M. Daley announce...

Workhorse Kings ride the ‘Carousel’

By Luke Wilusz

September 26, 2010

Dan Dougherty is a man of many talents. When he’s not busy writing and drawing his daily comic strip, “Beardo,” or illustrating the ongoing zombie Western comic book “Rotten,” he’s writing, practicing and playing guitar with Workhorse Kings. Dougherty recently took some time away from his art, his writing and his music—not to mention planning his wedding—to talk to The Chronicle about the blues rockers’ fir...

When worlds collide

By Brianna Wellen

April 18, 2010

Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood was swarming with shouting Cubs fans searching for a place to celebrate their home team’s first win April 12. Making their way through the crowded streets were a select few who trickled up to the second floor theater at Links Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield Ave., to enjoy an evening of improvised music and dance as a part of the collision_theory series curated by Links Hall’s Artistic Ass...

Magic turns muggle

By Colin Shively

November 16, 2009

A new trend of sports is taking flight at Northwestern University. Like most sports, it has balls, goals and teammates—yet unlike all other traditional sports found at colleges and universities, these games are played on broom sticks, and a little imagination.Marc Bourgeois, a sophomore at Northwestern, is in the beginning efforts to create a coed Quidditch team at the school where the Residential College Board has already ho...

How we believe what we believe

By The Columbia Chronicle

October 18, 2009

When fact and faith conflict, how do we move forward?  We usually don’t.A much-cited Oct. 2006 Time magazine poll showed that 64 percent of Americans would “hold on to what their religion teaches,” even in the face of scientific evidence.  In the 1980s, two Arizona State physics faculty showed that students didn’t learn from physics labs thatcontradicted their day-to-day experience. “As a rule, students held firm to mistaken beliefs, even when confronted with phenomena that contradicted those beliefs.” And we all have a friend who just knows the moon landings  were faked.One particularly troubling, but common belief is that pharmaceutical companies and public health officials are hiding the fact that vaccines cause autism, a conspiracy theory that many cling to,  despite mountains of data showing no connection between the two (and no convincing evidence to the contrary).But there are anecdotes, lots of them. You don’t have to look very hard to find empathetic stories from grief-wrought parents claiming that the MMR vaccine—or mercury, or formaldehyde, take your pick—changed their child.  Or, as Jenny McCarthy puts it, “The light left his eyes.”The fact that autism’s most visible signs occur in the same period when children receive the bulk of their life-saving vaccines becomes,  for these parents, evidence of cause rather than what scientists rightly call correlation.  This conspiracy theory survives the strongest kinds of repudiation.It turns out that Andrew Wakefield, the British doctor who first published reports suggesting the link between autism and vaccines, faked data for his article, which he wrote on behalf of lawyers hoping to sue the vaccine manufacturers. When scientists removed the supposed cause of the epidemic, thimerosal, autism rates continued rising. Then conspiracists shifted their claims—it must be something else in the vaccines.  Even as preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough make a comeback and study after study fails to find any credible evidence of harm, anti-vaccination forces continue spreading the same misinformation.I’m interested in the way these beliefs endure. Why do we cling to faith in the face of controverting facts? Perhaps it’s because we often perceive faith as fact. Everyone has strong vested interests with the debate over vaccines. Most of the anti-vaccine advocates innocently, but wholeheartedly believe their arguments; we on the other side hold our views just as deeply. When humans strongly believe something, we no longer distinguish it from fact. We believe in both God and ice cream.But the secret at the heart of theEnlightenment was a shift in that faith,  away from faith in facts toward faith in method.  To “believe” in science is not to believe that the Earth is round, that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon or that we came from monkeys. It’s to believe in shared facts, verifiable evidence and the most convincing explanation of these.It’s strange to espouse a faith in a system that could shift worldviews overnight, but I take comfort in it. We’re a species who looked into the heavens, and by the shifting of the stars above, we came to better understand our place in the universe. Then we turned those telescopes inward to discover entire universes inside.We have only been able to do that because we understand that we interpret what we see, hear and experience, and that our interpretation can be wrong. We’re at our best when we put faith not in a specific view of the world, but in how we know which view to believe.Brendan Riley is an Assistant Professor of English who teaches writing, new media and popular culture courses. He has faith in facts.

Sitar creeps into Western culture

By KatherineGamby

September 20, 2009

The Beatles, Stevie Wonder and The Rolling Stones are all known for their innovative and award-winning music. What most people don’t know is that at some point in all of these artists’ careers, they included the delicate sounds of the sitar, a foreign instrument that, over the years, has slowly merged into American culture.The sitar has also played a major role in the music of artists today, including Lenny Kravitz, Janet...

Makeshift Prodigy creates diverse musical styles

By Colin Shively

September 12, 2009

The Chicago band scene is eclectic, yet within the local music scene, some bands have adopted their own musical style to represent multiple genres—Makeshift Prodigy is one of those bands.Made up of five members, Joe Bauer (drums), Jake Foy (lead guitar), Anthony Bagnara (vocals), Brandon Fox (ambient keyboards) and Dave Fister (bass), who have created their own musical environment and culture that is put on stage for the ...

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By Evan Minsker

May 3, 2009

It’s been eight years since the members of Sig Transit Gloria have played a show together. They split in 2001 after two successful years in Chicago’s music scene, and now they are reuniting to play show again. They played shows at Metro and at the now, defunct The Fireside Bowl, where they had numerous record release shows.Their melodies are charming, even years later. The crunchy guitar blends well with the rhythmic piano that collaborates kindly with the bass to act as the back-bone to Sig Transit Gloria’s success. The band said they draw their musical influences from all across the board.The group is playing their first show on March 29 at The Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont Ave. Bassist Jason Waclawik recommends dressing like it’s 2001 in spirit of the show, which may include “baggy pants and a one striped Old Navy sweater.”The Chronicle had a chance to sit down with Waclawik and talk about the group’s reunion show and what the future may hold for Sig Transit Gloria.The Chronicle: How did the band get started?Waclawik: We all went to high school together, then we ended up playing together and it worked out pretty good.How did you pick up Sig Transit Gloria for a band name?It was a reference from the movie Rushmore, which we were really into at the time. Now, I could do without seeing it ever again. It was a little overkill. We found out quickly that we spelled it wrong, but we kind of liked it. It kind of had the fraternity sound to it, with the “G” instead of the “C,” so we just stuck with it.Why did you break up?We were young, and I think we weren’t sure what we wanted to do with ourselves. We kind of figured with [the drummer] being back from California we should play again, then we got through talking and figured let’s give it another try. It’s been a lot of fun, and the biggest thing is, at this point, if this wasn’t fun we wouldn’t be doing it.What inspired the band to play again?We were all in town, and we hung out one night and tried it out. It was a lot of fun rehashing the old songs and stories. We didn’t know what to expect, like if we were to play shows with anyone, and would people be interested? It’s kind of funny seeing all the excitement from old friends and people we don’t know.What influences the band musically?We are all over the place. At the time, we were listening to popular bands around the city like Alkaline Trio and Lawrence Arms. [The guitarist] was really into classic rockers like Tom Petty. We’re pretty open minded; we also like Buddy Holly, Big Bopper and all that stuff.Do you plan on playing more shows?I think we do but I think we just want to take it one show at a time. I know it’s been eight years and we all have songs and ideas that are different. It’s always fun playing shows. we don’t take ourselves too seriously so we’ll see what happens after this show.”Catch Sig Transit Gloria at The Beat Kitchen 2100 W. Belmont Ave. March 29 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $5. For more information, visit

When church & art collide

When church & art collide

By Meryl Fulinara

October 12, 2008

In an unassuming building, nestled between condos and commercial space, sits a foundation unshaken, even from the wrath of the Great Chicago Fire, but not by the gentrification of Chicago's University Vi...

Music, not ‘rock’-it science

By Meryl Fulinara

September 21, 2008

Chicago-based Overman is trying to innovate the university science scene with their music, while also achieving musical success as science advocates with a scientific method of sorts."Evolution Rocks," a song written by Overman's bassist, Aaron Kelly, for a biology class at Columbia, is the basis for how Overman plans to climb the evolutionary music ladder."Here I am the night before the presentation and I'm putting toget...

Chicago becomes worldly

By Kaylee King

September 21, 2008

Musicians, artists and craftmakers from around the world will gather in Chicago this week for the 10th annual World Music Festival.The festival runs through Sept. 25 and is hosted by more than 20 venues throughout the city. Big name bands like Calexico will play, as well as many acts that U.S. music charts fail to highlight. Festival creators hope people from Chicago's ethnic neighborhoods will come out and enjoy the music of th...

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