The Van Vechten Files

The scrapbooks of Carl Van Vechten, luminary of the twentieth-century New York arts scene and notorious provocateur.

“This is it.” Cut out of newsprint like a ransom note, the words sprawl across the top of the page. Below lies a large black and white photograph of a young, pale-skinned man wearing nothing but a garland. His lips shine; his pelvis thrusts forward in bold display. There’s no getting around the focus of the picture: The penis, standing proud at center stage. I furtively scan the Beinecke reading room: Has anyone looked up from his medieval manuscripts? The coast is clear. I look. . . Read more
Amy Fish
Real to Reel

Trying out for The Real World.

At 10 a.m. on February 15, precocious teenagers and under-employed young adults from across Connecticut began to convene en masse in front of New Haven’s BAR restaurant. Most of the women seemed to have applied Sephora’s entire make-up and perfume inventory prior to the pilgrimage. Some fumbled in handbags for tissues, while others smoked pink and turquoise packs of Camel ultralights. The fur protruding from their coats was on par with the décor of a Ukrainian hunting lodge. The smattering of men compensated for their. . . Read more
Ben Lasman
The Family We Choose

An animal lover visits the pet hospital.

On Sunday, December 2, at the Central Veterinary Hospital in New Haven, there are few patients and a lot of bodies. “It’s just been sad lately,” Danielle, a vet technician, says with a tired sigh in the open “Emergency Care” area in the hospital’s basement. “It’s ’cause the holidays are coming,” she admits, and, before I can open my mouth, she turns back to her computer. I don’t understand the connection. Inside the bright, linoleum emergency care area, a silver boom box on a shelf. . . Read more
Sophia Lear
Living on the Edge

Yale develops plans for new colleges, but will it develop Lower Hillhouse?

Yale’s twelve residential colleges are arranged in concentric rings around the University’s core, each facing the central axis of Old Campus, Cross Campus, and Commons. The colleges along the University’s eastern and western rims, sitting with their backs exposed to the city, are encircled by waves of urban development. Morse and Ezra Stiles are overlooked by Payne Whitney Gymnasium from across the arc of Tower Parkway. Rows of Park Street student apartments, Lynwood fraternities, and Howe Street restaurants border Pierson and Davenport. Silliman and Timothy. . . Read more
Mitch Reich
Class Consciousness

Yale College Reevaluates Freshman Seminars.

It begins with a blue book. Each July, reluctant hands flip through pulpy pages. Corners are folded, pages are marked, highlighters run dry. At the end of summer, every moment is bittersweet, but the arrival of the Yale College course catalog heralds the end. Except for freshmen. I remember my first Blue Book, dog-eared within hours and scrawled full of marginalia within the week. I declined Directed Studies that summer, deciding I had too many choices to be directed. Instead, I applied for a freshman. . . Read more
Alex Hemmer
Espresso Self

Formerly homeless artist finds his fix at Starbucks.

There are hundreds of pens and pencils spread out on the table in front of Isaac Canady. They are a parade of plastic, of thin strips of color; some are metallic, and many look like they’ve seen better days. He stores them all in a large, battered Ziploc bag. These are his tools, collected carefully and painstakingly through the years, through homelessness and starvation, mental illness and hospitalization. He calls them tools because it is through them that he earns an income, unsteady as it. . . Read more
Laura Yao
Sketches of the Doodle

Creating our favorite coffee shop.

I picture the Yankee Doodle Coffee and Sandwich Shop as a predictably adorable American diner—it is warm inside, the coffee is oily, and a man in a paper sailor hat keeps refilling my cup. There are sticky leather seats and a chrome-lined counter and stains on the cook’s white apron. I eat French toast and drink chocolate milkshakes. There is music playing, and the background noises of a baseball game on the television. When I come in after class, the cook says, “Hey there, Rachel!. . . Read more
Rachel Engler
Curl Talk

Hairdresser cuts hair and pulls legs.

Dickie and I are flipping through an old edition of Playboy when his next customer comes in. I start with embarrassment as the door to Dickie’s second floor atelier opens, but he continues poring over the pornography. He turns a glossy page with his right hand while beckoning with the other to the middle-aged woman arriving for a trim. “Take a seat over here and Nancy will give you a wash,” he says, and in the same breath asks me to guess the identity of one. . . Read more
Laura Zax
Bills, Bills, Pills

Birth control prices get knocked up.

On October 18, 2007, the office phones of Senator Christopher Dodd and US Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro started ringing off the hook. Yale students, upset at a sudden and dramatic increase in the price of birth control prescribed through Yale University Health Services were calling their Democratic representatives to protest. The 2005 Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), a law originally aimed at curbing Medicaid fraud, had simultaneously ended a long-standing tradition whereby pharmaceutical companies sold birth control to university health centers at deeply discounted prices. The arrangement had. . . Read more
Miranda Popkey
Town Bicycle

Bike Collective offers Fair Haveners a free ride.

Chris Shirley is determined to teach me how to ride a bike. A friendly Davenport sophomore who sports a black turtleneck over a pair of tight-fitting women’s jeans and a blue fanny pack in place of a belt, Shirley is one of the cofounders of the New Haven Bike Collective. The group, which is currently thinking of changing its name to Cyclismo, began last fall, with the aim of providing free bikes and bike repair training to local residents. Though the Collective has yet to. . . Read more
Mai Wang