The Oberlin Review

Femme Musicians of Color Confront White Male Industry Dominance

Femme Musicians of Color Confront White Male Industry Dominance

February 24, 2017

When people think of electronic music, their minds often go reflexively to a handful of middle-of-the-road, white male DJs and producers such as Diplo, Calvin Harris or David Guetta. One group on Oberlin’s campus, Femme Artists Breaking Boundaries, founded last year by College juniors Rayna Holmes and Hannah Halpern, is looking to subvert the norms of electronic music culture by showcasing women, people of color and queer people who are doing innovative work in the field. According to the gro...

On the Record: Jennifer Hoock, OC ’83, Cat in the Cream Founder

May 6, 2016

Jennifer Hoock, OC ’83, aided in the re-establishment of the Cat in the Cream with roommates Charissa Smith, OC ’82, and Cheryl Serrone, OC ’83. She graduated from the Duke University School of Medicine and earned her MPH at the University of Washington. In addition to being associate director at Group Health Family Medicine Residency in Seattle, she is a founding member and director of development at Guatemala Village Health, a nonprofit organization that promotes education, better health car...

Alum Ishikawa Returns as Solo Artist

Paul Mehnert

April 8, 2016

Upon returning to Oberlin, a place she once called home, touring electronic musician and 2014 alumna Rachel Ishikawa felt the bittersweet taste of self-realization and towering student loans. “I learned a lot at Oberlin and met some of the most wonderful people,” she said. “I am grateful that [the school] is bringing me back as a paid musician, but at the same time, I will be paying money to Oberlin forever.” Ishikawa, also known by the stage name Shakai Mondai, will perform at the Cat in the Cream on Monday with supporting act Uxvie. Students may be familiar with Ishikawa from her work in the band Peaks. The indie and alternative rock quintet was a staple of the Oberlin student music scene before its members...

At Oberlin’s Fourth Feline Riot, Girls Own the Night

At Oberlin’s Fourth Feline Riot, Girls Own the Night

April 8, 2016

Are you a woman or femme-identifying? Want to start a band? Never performed in front of a live audience? Visiting Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Nancy Boutilier says, “Come join us!” Boutilier and Associate Director of Admissions Kristen Surovjak were members of the punk band Backbone for five years before they first organized Feline Riot at the Girls Rock Camp in Portland, OR. Since moving to Oberlin four years ago, the Feline Riot annual concert has showcased women’s talent...

Canadian Singer Serenades Cat

Canadian Singer Serenades Cat

April 1, 2016

Singer-songwriter Safia Nolin opened her performance at the Cat in the Cream on Monday with “La Laideur,” from her debut album Limoilou. The song’s calming but somber chords resonated with Nolin’s lyrics well: “Toute seule, je m’en vais toute seule / Sans peur, j’avance sans peur / Mais j’ai menti parce qu’au fond / j’ai peur,” (All alone, I go alone / Without fear, I advance without fear / But I lied because in my heart / I’m scared), she sang. Such sentiments are charact...

Feature Photo: A Mighty Good Time

Feature Photo: A Mighty Good Time

March 11, 2016

The High and Mighty Brass Band blasts a jazzy tune at a packed Cat in the Cream. Though the audience was sitting at the beginning of the nine-piece band’s set on Friday, nearly every attendee was standing and dancing by the end of the fun-filled performance. The HMBB boasts a sound that combines classical big band jazz with hip-hop and R&B. The band covered a number of popular, recognizable tracks in its performance, displaying the influence of contemporary musical genres on its style...

Smith’s Poetry a Bible Verse, Queer Anthem

Louise Edwards, Arts Editor

March 11, 2016

Slam Poet Danez Smith, hailing from St. Paul, MN, opened their performance at the Cat in the Cream Saturday with “Genesissy,” a piece that was part Bible verse, part hymn and part queer anthem. They balanced humorous lines like, “And on the tenth day, God wore a blood-red sequin body suit, dropped it low, named it Sunset,” with serious sentiments like “Jesus wept at the mirror, mourning the day his sons would shame his sons for walking a daughter’s stride.” Like a church service, Smith transitioned from reading their own recreation of the Bible to singing a mournful prayer: “I am on the battlefield for my Lord, for my Lord.” The dynamic textures of Smith’s work make it clear why Smith is a widely...

Folk Musician Sings of Childhood, Self-Love

Folk Musician Sings of Childhood, Self-Love

March 4, 2016

The lulling drone of pre-show chatter immediately ceased as Nakaya, cast in blue light, took the stage at the Cat in the Cream on Saturday night. She began her set with “Dear Skin,” a hauntingly mesmerizing track from her newest EP, Out of Breath. Airy acoustic guitar riffs paired with Nakaya’s echoing vocals, sending a message of self-love as she addressed her skin in a rhyming, ode-like form. “Dear skin, you are so lived in / Dear skin, forgive my flaws / I’m sorry for the pain I’ve c...

Johnson Converts Insults to Compliments in Poetry

Louise Edwards, Arts Editor

February 26, 2016

Editor’s note: This article contains a racial slur. Spoken word poet Janae Johnson opened her performance Saturday at the Cat in the Cream with a “basketball poem.” She filled the room with empowering lines: “She’ll be picked last, but she’ll outshoot the entire team” and “He mad — she on the sixth grade team as a fifth grader.” While slam poetry can often be emotionally draining because of its heavy themes, Johnson’s piece, which focused on the achievements of Black female athletes, set a tone of success and triumph. “She win,” the closing line of the poem, was a theme that resonated throughout the evening. Johnson herself has gained much recognition within the slam community. Original...

Feature Photo: Melodies of the Soul

Feature Photo: Melodies of the Soul

February 19, 2016

Double-degree sophomore Raffi Boden on cello, Conservatory sophomore Max Weiner on bass, double-degree sophomore Theo Rosenfeld on saxophone, Conservatory junior Zoe Cutler on trombone and double-degree senior Emily Kuhn on trumpet perform at the Cat in the Cream. On Tuesday, the Jewish Art Collective hosted Melodies of the Soul: An Explosion of Music, which allowed students to express their spiritual identities through music. The event was based off of nigunim, a Hebrew word for wordles...

On the Record with Francesca Blanchard, Singer-Songwriter

On the Record with Francesca Blanchard, Singer-Songwriter

February 12, 2016

French singer-songwriter Francesca Blanchard has received praise from a number of publications, including Seven Days, for her signature brand of acoustic folk music, which incorporates influences of jazz and rock ’n’ roll. Fresh off her most recent LP, deux visions, released last October, Blanchard came to the Cat in the Cream for an intimate show backed by her current band. The Review sat down with Blanchard for a chat about writing lyrics in multiple languages, life as a touring musician and...

Feature Photo: PI Series Guest Recital with Ingrid Jensen

Feature Photo: PI Series Guest Recital with Ingrid Jensen

December 4, 2015

Jazz trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, left, performs alongside College sophomores Amal Ghulam and Daniel Gonzales, Conservatory junior Jared Hochberg and Artist Diploma student Theodosia Roussos. The Cat in the Cream hosted Jensen, who collaborated with these students and others, at a PI Series guest recital Tuesday. A North Vancouver, BC native and Juno Award winner, Jensen is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and has worked with artists such as Professor of Jazz Percussion Billy Hart, Bob Berg, Frank...

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