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January 30, 2014 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, January 30, 2014 - 3B

CO-OP
From Page 1B
"The good times in the co-ops
are when people just sporadically
make stuff," says recent alum Jay
Lonski, who lived in Debs for two
years.
"Everything is pretty happy
go-lucky as far as dinner goes,"
Stinavage adds.
And while there might be some
last minute spice substitutions,
Debsters are clearly committed to
providing nutritious and satisfy-
ingmealswithout meat.
"There's a stigma against being
vegan or vegetarian that there's
not enough to eat or that there's
not enough diversity," Stinavage
says.
The batter is ready, so Barber
and Stinavage heat up a portable
griddle, grease it with vegan but-,
ter, and start pouring out the
batter. Because the griddle can
only accommodate three or four
at a time, the cooked pancakes
are transferred to a platter in the
oven. Stinavage snags one of the
couked flapjacks and hands me a
piece, which I pop into my mouth.
It tastes just like carrotcake.
Nakamura
The John Nakamura Coopera-
tive House is, in many ways, the
exact opposite of Debs - at least
to an outsider like me. I'd only
been to Nakamura once before, to
a Halloween party my freshman
year. I enter again, this time with-
out a costume, under the watchful
eye of a pterodactyl perched on
the roof. The house is bigger than
Debs (29 members), and dimly
lit inside. Every surface appears
to be a canvas for the artistically
inclined, most noticeably the
basement dining room, where an
entire wall is taken up by a huge
mural depicting Meso-American
gods and tropical lushness. Hunt-
er Thompson would have felt at
home here.
Nakamura, while undeniably
"alternative," doesn't have the
organic or vegetarian focus of
Debs. In fact, they proclaim on
their website that they "are more
carnivorous than most houses."
Thus, dinner at Nakamura could
resemble dinner at any campus
apartment, but on a larger scale.
Tonight: chicken and vegetable
stir fry, plus tofu for the few veg-
etarians.
The Nakamura kitchen and
dining room are in the basement,

set off from the living areas. As
I walk into the kitchen, past the
huge dining room table (actually 5
tables put end to end), I'm greeted
by the two cooks for the night:
fourth year Rackham student
Aaron Sciore and LSA sophomore
Tyler Whittico. Sciore and Whit-
tico have cooked for the house
many times before, so this dish
should be easy.
"I've made it for myself a bunch
of times," Sciore says.
Sciore puts on some music that
can only be described as psyche-
delic techno, and together they
get to work. Whittico was thaw-
ing two bigbags of frozen chicken
breasts in the sink, and now is
cleaving them into dozens of sea
scallop-looking cubes. He moves
like a professional, which he is; he
works as a chefinthe morningat a
restaurant on Main Street. Mean-
while, Sciore is busy collecting a
kaleidoscope of vegetables (broc-
coli, peppers, onion and peas),
chopping scallions, and mixing up
his "special sauce," a heady mix-
ture of sriracha, brown sugar and
soy sauce..
Nakamura's kitchen and cup-
boards look like an exaggerated
version of any college house -
bagels, coffee, bananas and peanut
butter are everywhere. Thus, for
food steward Sarah Caruso, shop-
ping is a biweekly quest she must
embark on, armed with $850.
"I am notused to spending that
much money," she laughs.
Like most co-ops, Nakamura
has a system where food in the
house is divided between GUFF
(free for anyone to use), and non-
GUFF (people's personalpurchas-
es or food requested by cooks for
a specific meal). GUFF is a ubiq-
uitous term in co-ops, yet no one
is quite sure where it came from.
General Unspecified Free Food,
perhaps?
But Nakamura is different from
a co-op like Debs in two ways.
First, is the relative "normalness"
of the food.
"We have a meat-eating culture
that's probably the biggest in the
co-ops," says LSAsophomoreYas-
mine Zein-Phillipson.
Second, the rigor of the dinner
schedule. Sunday through Thurs-
day, dinner is always supposed
to be ready at 7:00 p.m. Tonight,
Sciore and Whittico are on track.
Almost twogallons of rice, cooked
the night before, are now frying in
a huge wok of peanut oil. To this,
Sciore adds beaten eggs, and then
that cornucopia of vegetables. The
chicken and tofu cubes sizzle in

On Malevick,
Suprem atism
and vomit

Ratatouille at Lester co-op.
differentpans, havingbeenglazed
with the sauce. By now, dinner
is almost complete, and the wok
resembles one of those steam
trays at Panda Express. Sciore and
Whittico quickly divide the wok's
contents in half, add chicken to
one and tofu to another and ring
the dinner bell.
"We got done early," Sciore
says.
Within the minute, over a
dozen members amble into the
dining room, pile their plates
high, and sit down. I do the same,
but before anyone starts eating,
there's a big round of applause for
the cooks.
Lester
I must admit that I was half-
dreading my visit to the Muriel
Lester Cooperative at the corner
of Oakland and Arbor. Lester is
officially a vegetarian house, but
unlike Debs, Lester allows no
meat in the house and the com-
munal meals are usuallyvegan. As
a carnivore since birth, I've been
inclined to agree with Anthony
Bourdain that "vegetarians, and
their Hezbollah-like splinter fac-
tion, the vegans ... are the enemy
of everything good and decent in
the human spirit." ButI also heard
theyhad Zingerman's bread - how
bad could itbe?
Lester is certainly the oppo-
site of a hostile environment. The
house is small but immaculately
clean, with a palpable sense of, I
don't know, gemntlichkeit. I arrive
ten minutes late, and house secre-
tary Helen DeMarsh is well into
her dinner preparation.
"This is a highly experimental
dish," she says.
This experiment is a ratatouille
of sorts. She coated the bottom of
a baking pan with tomato paste,
green lentils and onions, and now
is layeringonslicesoffennel, sweet
potato, zucchini and beet, form-
ing an almost polka-dotted pat-
tern on top, which she then dusts
with spices. Roundinguout the meal
will be brown rice and peanut but-
ter cookies. Even with so many
ingredients forone meal, DeMarsh
manages to keep it both vegan and
gluten-free and avoids having to
make alternatives.
"It's way easier to make just one
thing," DeMarsh says.
Unlike Nakamura, where the
cooks coordinate their meals with
the food steward, Lester's cooks
typically make do with the (exten-
sive) pantry.
"We justcbuy food and the cooks
use what food we have to make
dinner," says Lester co-op presi-
dent and LSA senior Sara Boer.
And what goes in the pantry is
the responsibility of food steward
Katy Hollobaugh. Every week,
she takes a house poll of what veg-
etables are wanted, and then has

a local produce purveyor deliver
them to the house. Other items,
like beans or sugar, are ordered in
bulk through the Student Buyers
Association. But there's one item
that Lester usually doesn't order at
all; because most chocolate is pro-
duced using unethical labor prac-
tices, Lester won't use house funds
to purchase it.
"If somebody buys chocolate for
the house with their own money,
they have to label it 'slave choco-
late,"'"Hollobaugh says.
On the flip side, Lester has an
absolute dream of a deal worked
out with Zingerman's Deli; every
Friday, a house member drives to
Zingerman's to pick up free bread
leftover from the day before. The
waiting list for this deal is years in
the making, and one missed pick-
up would move Lester back to the
bottom, so god help whoever miss-
es their shift.
"You're probably going to be
banished from the house," Hollo-
baugh saysnwith alaugh.
Art and Design senior Anya
Klapischak is kind enough to show
me Lester's food stocks. First, she
pulls open that mythical drawer
which, sure enough, is filled with
a half dozen types of tantalizing
bread. I consider grabbing the larg-
est loaf and making a break for it.
She then leads me to the recently
renovated basement, where Les-
ters sanctum sanctorum of dry
goods is located. Stored in large
plastic buckets, I find at least a
dozen varieties of beans, rice, flour
and a mustard-colored powder
called "nooch," which is shorthand
for nutritionalyeast.
"It all looks sort of primitive,"
Klapischak says.
Allthis looking at food is making
us hungry,so wegoupstairs, where
DeMarsh has pulled the "gangster
ratatouille" out of the oven. Some
house members couldn't make din-
nertonight, soshequicklycompos-
es plates for them, which she wraps
and places in the fridge. Then, she
rings the bell, and everyone cuts
a hunk out the pan and sits down
at the dining room table, less than
half the size of Nakamura's.
While I tuck into the zesty cas-
serole and nibble my cookie, two
thoughts come to me. First, my
fears of vegan food were (mostly)
unfounded; while I wouldn't want
to eat like this at every meal, I
certainly would like to do it more
often. Second, there's something
more than just bulk cooking here.
I don't know if it's the chocolate
or the bread or the nooch or the
lack of animal products, but here
at Lester, I finally understand
that a co-op is more than just a
bunch of people living together
in a big house; each one has its
own culture, its own vibe, its
own indescribable spirit that, as
I discovered in the past week, is
expressed through its food.

azimir Malevich,
I've spent too
much time reading
up on your work lately and
wasted toomuch energydespis-
ing you.
In my
mind,
Suprematism
- your e arly
19th-century
Russian art
movement - !
embodies anJ
ethos that JOHN
I've always LYNCH
struggled to
comprehend.
With your radical Black
Square painting in 1913, you
told artistic convention to fuck
off and just painted a damn
black square on a white canvas
and called it an indisputable
masterpiece. I envy confidence
- that senseless degree of self-
assurance and life purpose
- because I don't have it
inherently and because I'm
generally lost at all times. So
here I sit without certainty,
typing a column to a dead
man that had tons of it, when
I should be researching the
internships and careers
that will lead me on a path
toward financial success and,
ultimately, greater misery.
As someone interested in
art and letters, though, I do
pay special attention to any
renowned creative mind to
assess what made that mind
important and measure mine
up against it.
See, I actually created a per-
formance art masterpiece last
week. I was running late to my
Art History section - running
for the first time since taking
a permanent vacation from
health & wellness this summer
to make smoking and eating
terribly part of my daily regi-
men - and I found a canvas
on the pavement of Tappan
St. when I ceased my vigorous
sprinting to throw up violent-
ly on the sidewalk in front of
three beautiful women.
Eventually, I arrived late
to the class that has nothing

to do with my major, and by
some sickening chance, found
myself treated to a lecture on
your art. Mouth acidic and
struggling to catch a breath,
I felt an unfathomable hatred
surge through me when I saw
your Black Square appear on
the projector screen. When
I heard the word, "Supre-
matism," I almost threw up
again and imagined that you
must have been some demonic
incarnation of conviction - a
faceless, self-sustaining entity
with the power to completely
ignore any perceptions from
the outside world.
In reality, though, you were
just a painter, a supporter of
the Russian Revolution. The
Bolsheviks incorporated your
Black Square as a symbol of
freedom and umodern truth, and
today, your legacy is cemented
in the pretentious drawls of art
historians everywhere.
Learning
from a radical
Russian artist.
So what am I doing with my
life then? Fittingly enough, I
too find undue importance in
squares - filtering, focusing,
unfocusing Instagram posts
and constantly refreshing my
feed to see if anyone under-
stands my genius - but I do
plan on doing something bigger
at some point. I'm far too timid
and chemically imbalanced by
nature, so what Suprematism
could I possibly muster? All
I know is that I love writ-
ing more than anything, and
someday, I might clear this
hazy, depressive mind, stop
throwing up on sidewalks and
start creating something great.
Best,
A Black Square
Lynch is looking for his
own Suprematism. To help,
e-mail jplyn@umich.edu.

DO YOU ENJOY
WATCHING AND
WRITING ABOUT
MOVIES?
JOIN THE DAILY FILM STAFF.
E-mail jplyn@umich.edu
to request an application.

NICHOLAS WILLIAMS/Daily
Helen DeMarsh who graduated from LSA in May serves vegan food at Lester.

TRAILER REVIEW

MUSIC VIDEO REVIEW

Christoph Waltz now has
as many Oscars to his name
as Tom Hanks. Almost over-
night, the
distinctly -
Austrian
actor has Thee
gone from
being just T
another S
European
sounding
name to one of the most rec-
ognizable ones in modern
cinema. There's no one else
who possesses a similar ability
to bring Quentin Tarantino's
paranoid, eccentric character
to life, but over the past two
years, it seems as if Waltz has
shoehorned himself into that
role, So the question arises:
Can he do anything without
Tarantino? With Terry Gil-
liam's "The Zero Theorem," it
looks like he's finally ready to
move away from those "Pulp
Fiction"-esque scripts.

It's tempting to drawhasty
conclusions from a start-to-
finish viewing of the "Goodnight
Kiss" music
video, Randy
Houser's latest
single release Goodnight
from How Kiss
Country Feels.
It's acon- Randy Houser
tinually repro-
cessed country Stoney Creek
formulaof
SONY back-and-forth footage between
see in the 150-second trailer, Houser jamming with the band
whether it's Waltz's bizarre and a young couple's love story.
appearance or the casual The director, Wes Edwards, does
way with which every char- more recycling than an environ-
acter approaches the equally mentalist when it comes to coun-
twisted dystopia they're living try musicvideos.
in. The film itself may be an Before decking Edwards in the
exhausting, detached viewing face, howeverlet's dial it back.
experience, but if there's one Literally, dial it back and look at
thing that's looking certain, Houser's past two singles from
it's the depth of the perfor- this record. The videos for titular
mances and visuals. single "How Country Feels" and
-AKSHAYSETH "Runnin' Outta Moonlight" both
feature the same female actress

Set in a dystopian, corpo-
rate-defined universe, the new
sci-fi pic follows a mathemati-
cian, played by Waltz, as he
attempts to find an all-pow-
erful formula to discern the
meaning of life. It's abroad,
potentially pretentious prem-
ise, but Gilliam's gripping
"Blade Runner" influenced
environments look to embrace
the patchwork nature of the
plotline. No matter where
you look, there's something to

as "Goodnight Kiss." Each is also
directedby Wes Edwards. Tril-
ogy? Trilogy indeed. Well played,
Edwards and Houser, intention-
ally reusingstoryboard concepts
and characters to tietogether the
album's three single releases.
Despite this, the young
couple's segmentwithin the
video leaves a bit to be desired
substance-wise, butnsucceeds at
charming viewers with a mid-
night stroll through the forest.
"Charming" borderson cheesi-
ness, however, when the young
lad blindfolds the gal and leads

STONEY CREEK
her to a surprise party celebra-
tion. Not to mention there's a
raised eyebrow dedicated to any
girl who thinks it's wise to let
some guy blindfold her in the
middle of a nighttime forest.
As for Houser's performing,
there's a drastic improvement
from the singer's previous work.
Eye-level close-ups with shots
changing at a sporadic pace
transform Houser into a real-
deal artist - something that
shouldn't even require mention-
ing.
-GREG HICKS

t

I

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