A Light Touch

Award-winning filmmaker teaches Yalies to let go.

Film, says Laura Poitras, “takes over your whole world.” Poitras is young-looking, with pretty, thick-lashed brown eyes. She gestures delicately with her long, pale fingers, speaking softly and lifting her voice to curl statements into questions: “I think we should just talk about ideas?” She is fond of saying “like” and “totally,” and there is something girlish about the way she forms her l’s—lightly, with the very tip of her tongue. She is hardly the picture of a war-zone reporter. Yet she is now working. . . Read more
Amy Fish
Prince of the Elmhurst

One man’s twenty-year reign over Yale’s unofficial 13th college.

During the last few days of August, while the majority of Yalies awkwardly haul boxes up residential college stairwells, those not living in dormitories can be found in the neighborhoods surrounding the university, moving into their first apartments, buying kitchen gadgets, and dreaming of dinner parties and queen-sized beds. According to the Yale Daily News, a third of Yale seniors move off campus, and the Elmhurst, a large brick building on Elm Street, becomes home to many of them. One resident of the Elmhurst, however,. . . 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
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
Into the Woodshop

Mark Messier whittles while he works.

What you have to do is put these together,” says Mark Messier, pointing to pieces of freshly sawed wood sitting on an unfinished shelf. “Capisci?” A freshman listens silently, wearing a look of bewilderment and stubborn resolve. “No capisci!” Messier continues emphatically, grabbing the two slabs to ready them for gluing. It’s a typical Saturday in the Gosselin Woodshop tucked into the basement of Berkeley College. For nearly years, Messier, a professional woodworker and cabinetmaker, has made the hour-long commute from Coventry once each week. . . Read more
Sarah Nutman
Toy Story

Ulysses fan finds home in play.

Some years ago, in late December, a little boy of four confided in his mother that he knew where his Christmas present had come from. “It came from Santa Claus,” he said. His mother was amused. “And how do you know that?” she asked. The boy answered, “I saw it in his shop.” Richard Stack laughs-a great, hiccupping sound-as he tells the story in his mild English accent. Though the toy store owner’s physique-his windswept white hair, his lively laugh, his Clausian girth-certainly invites the. . . Read more
Laura Yao
Dicking Around

A Connecticut P.I. enjoys the spy life.

Gil Whitlock wears a leather jacket and aviator shades. On his website, he poses toughly in front of a black sedan, arms crossed and chin tipped slightly upward. His face, complete with husky moustache, has the jaded, callous glaze of a man who’s seen it all- and perhaps he has. Whitlock is a private investigator, based about 25 miles outside of New Haven in Newtown, Connecticut. Fifteen years ago, armed with several decades of crime-fighting experience, raw determination, and a big dream., he founded Associated. . . Read more
Laura Bennett
Last Taps of the Typewriter

Manson Whitlock preserves a lost art on York Street.

Manson H. Whitlock peers into the typewriter on the table, a big avocado-green IBM Selectric from the sixties. Something is jammed and pieces are scattered around the machine. Eventually, Whitlock finds what he’s looking for—a screw has fallen in, causing the type mechanism to stick. Out goes the screw. Using a spring-hook, an implement that would be more at home in a dentist’s office than a Dell factory, he reassembles the typewriter—plastic cover plates, the metal paper tray that directs paper onto the main roller,. . . Read more
Michael Birnbaum
The Contender

Minutes after arriving at Yale, Ned Lamont asks the crowd: “Who am I?”

Ned Lamont strolls into the Branford Common Room. Robust and confident, he seems a bit too polished for the casual space. His smile is self-satisfied without being smug. The boyish 52-year old businessman-turned-politician is the first challenger to Senator Joe Lieberman since the latter’s election in 19th. Lamont projects the image of the spirited politician who captures both the support of both the old and young in one fell swoop—a would-be JFK of Connecticut’s Democrats. “Who am I?” Lamont asks the crowd minutes after arriving. . . Read more
Lauren Harrison