The Colgate Scene
People on the go
Joe Berlinger '83, second from left, with The Who, from left, Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle. Last June, Berlinger filmed the band's last rehearsal and conducted the last interview with Entwistle, who died one week later. [Photo courtesy of Joe Berlinger]
Eyewitness to rock history
When award-winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger '83 was hired to create a five-minute documentary about The Who, he had no idea he would be present for an historic and poignant moment in the legendary rock group's four-decade history.
Late last June, Berlinger filmed The Who's final rehearsal in London before the start of the band's 2002 tour. It was the last time Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle -- the band's surviving original members -- would play together.
"I was literally putting on the finishing touches, listening to the final playback of the mix, doing all the things you do to get something ready for delivery, when I got the phone call that John Entwistle had just died suddenly and that everything was on hold," Berlinger said. (Entwistle, the group's bassist, was determined to have died from a heart attack caused by cocaine use.)
The loudspeaker manufacturer sponsoring the band's U.S. concert tour had hired Berlinger to make the documentary, which was meant to be a behind-the-scene look at the band as it prepared for the tour. When the band decided to go ahead with the tour, Berlinger was asked to re-edit the film.
"Each concert still opened with the film, but it obviously had more of a tribute feel than a commercial one," said Berlinger, who was also the last person to interview Entwistle.
The filmmaker was able to witness the crowd's positive reaction to the film when he was invited to The Who's concert at New York's Madison Square Garden.
"They weren't cheering my film; they were cheering John Entwistle," he said. "Still, it was a thrill, but it was bittersweet. These guys were my heroes when I was a kid."
Berlinger has worked with dozens of rock musicians during his career, especially through Fan Club, a show he created that ran on VH1 for three seasons. The musicians he's worked with include some of his adolescent heroes, such as The Who, The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen. He worked with the Rolling Stones and Springsteen when he directed a 1998 television special on the 30th anniversary of Rolling Stone magazine. Later, he directed the video of Springsteen's "The Ghost of Tom Joad."
Berlinger believes two films he directed for HBO after his breakthrough 1992 documentary Brother's Keeper also helped to bring him to the attention of rock musicians. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and its sequel, Revelations: Paradise Lost 2, were about a small southern town reeling from the horrifying murder of a child. The teenagers convicted of the murder were labeled as Satanists in large part because of their fondness for heavy metal music.
"The point of view of both films is that these kids are innocent," he said. "They were rounded up because, God forbid, they have long hair, wore black T-shirts and listened to Metallica. In that small Arkansas town, that made them Satanic baby killers."
Berlinger contacted Metallica to seek permission to use their music in the first film because "in many ways, heavy metal music was on trial." The band was familiar with Brother's Keeper and made the "almost unheard of" decision to license their music for free to Berlinger's production company, Creative Thinking International.
Revelations focuses on the one defendant on death row, Berlinger said, because the "clock is ticking" on his execution. New DNA evidence could exonerate the young man, and there is a groundswell of public opinion favoring the defendants, he said, thanks in large part to the Internet and Revelations.
These days, Berlinger is, as usual, juggling several projects, including a six- or eight-part mini-series on Metallica for Showtime to coincide with the band's next release, due out in June. A two-hour feature film version will be released later in the year.
"It's an intimate portrait of what it's like to be a mega-rock star," Berlinger said.
The heavy metal group has been successful for two decades, and the documentary is, among other things, a look at how a rock band deals with growing older, he said.
"How do you remain vital musically, especially with their kind of music, which is borne out of anti-authoritarian, youthful rage?" Berlinger asked. "How can you be anti-authoritarian and anti-establishment when you're worth many millions of dollars and starting to worry about being a father?"
Berlinger recently completed another documentary for HBO, Judgment Day, which looks at the parole system in the United States. The film combines footage of the parole hearings of people convicted of "heinous" crimes, he said, with recreations of those crimes using dramatic film techniques. He is also working on a film, Gray Matter, which focuses on the Austrian physician Heinrich Gross, who led Nazi eugenics experiments in Vienna during World War II.
The filmmaker freely confesses that he is drawn to dark tales about human nature.
"I couldn't imagine doing these horrible things to other people, so I'm fascinated by what makes people tick. How is it that we have such a barbaric element to our society?" asked Berlinger. "The classic reason is having a rough childhood. Well, I had a rough childhood and grew up to become a loving husband and father. It fascinates me why people are attracted to evil. I guess that's my outlet." -- GEF
Christina Lyndrup '90 [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]
Helping New York's needy
As director of public funding development for New York City's Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), Christina Lyndrup '90 is charged with securing and distributing money for programs that support some of the city's neediest residents.
"It's mostly a contract agency," Lyndrup explained, "so we get money and then we sub-grant it out to non-profits to work in the communities." The Youth Services division maintains a broad network of development and delinquency prevention service providers in the five boroughs and provides funding for recreation, substance abuse prevention, runaway, homeless and other programs for those under age 21. Community Development programs address education, employment, health, housing and other needs for low-income families and individuals. Most of the grants supporting DYCD programs come from federal and state agencies.
Lyndrup, who holds an M.P.A. degree from the University of North Carolina, began working in government, as a legislative assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives, shortly after her Colgate graduation. She has worked for the city of St. Petersburg, Russia, the New York City Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice and the NY/NJ High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
Most recently, she was deputy director, then acting director, of the New York City Mayor's Office of Grants Administration, supporting 54 city agencies and offices. She also helped to coordinate the creation of the Twin Towers Fund established by former Mayor Giuliani to support the families of uniformed services heroes affected by the September 11 catastrophe.
Her new job is more focused. "It appealed to me because it was in a specific agency," said Lyndrup, "and also, coming from the criminal justice side of things, it balances out my experience." She likes it because "this agency formed in 1996 as the merger of two agencies, and it's still going through a lot of growing pains. I've been setting this unit up and running my own shop, which is nice."
She's taken the job during a significant fiscal crisis for the city, which, she acknowledges, "raises the pressure. The city's budget -- though shrinking daily -- is about 40 billion dollars. But this is a small agency, and even if we get a multi-million- dollar grant, it's still a small part of the overall budget. The idea of grants is that they supplement projects, not that they replace them. But, obviously the temptation, and the reality, is that budget people sometimes try to fill in gaps with grants, which can be kind of tricky."
Lyndrup noted that, in addition to the budget crunch, and a new administration in the city, her job is also impacted by changes at the federal level. "For us and the community-based organizations, it can be tough to respond to new mandates or program ideas," she said. President Bush's education plan, for example, includes mandates affecting DYCD's longtime afterschool programs. "Nobody questions the value of afterschool programs anymore, but there are different philosophies on how to fund and run them. The Leave No Child Behind Act has changed the way that money comes down and the way we respond. Some programs are now going to the state as opposed to coming straight to the city."
The concern is continuity of programs. "You don't want to be responding to proposals just because there's money there, and negate what happened before," Lyndrup said. "In some areas, we just wouldn't go after the grant."
Lyndrup cites increased collaboration and cooperation as a recent success. For example, in the past, she said she might work only with representatives of the police department to write a criminal justice grant. "Now you bring in hospitals, foundations and the private sector," she said, "which makes it more difficult, but also much more rewarding. The projects are really institutionalized, and they're better programs, because it's not somebody like me figuring out what kids in Brooklyn need, it's talking to kids. Anytime you have more perspectives, you're going to have a stronger program." -- RAC
Jenny Molina '03 [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]
One wouldn't expect a chance encounter in an airport to lead to a spot on an international sports team. But that's exactly what happened to Jenny Molina '03.
The Methuen, Mass. resident, who began playing soccer at age five, started goalkeeping in high school, and has played for Colgate's women's soccer team for four years. A dual citizen, she was born in Mexico City and moved to the United States when she was three. "My mother is Irish American and my father is Mexican -- he had played semi-professional soccer in Mexico," she said. "We'd watch games on the international channel, and that connected me to soccer."
That chance encounter happened when Molina's father ran into the Mexican women's soccer team at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport. "He goes up to the coach and asks, `Are you looking for any players?' and gave him our number," she said. "The coach invited me for a tryout my sophomore year [at Colgate], and I began practicing with their team."
Compared to other countries, Mexico's pool of female soccer players is small, Molina explained, so to flesh out the team they rely on Mexican Americans. Nevertheless, she's one of five goalies, and for each tournament she must wait to be selected by her coach, Leo Cuellar. "I'm competing every time I go to a training camp," she said. "Your position is never set in stone on a national team. That's the hardest part, but it makes me want to work harder and be prepared for the next camp."
It's been an opportunity for Molina to explore her cultural background. "I'm Americanized," she said, "and being on the team has been helpful for my identity, because it helps me identify people that are part of my culture." On the field, all the players must speak Spanish, she said, "which is totally understandable. They don't want us to be playing the U.S. and have me screaming `Get the girl!' It's neat, working on my Spanish and realizing that there is a part of me besides my Irish American heritage. It has been really interesting to be faced with it -- it was nerve-wracking at first, but I think I handled it well."
Molina said she feels patriotism for both the United States and Mexico, although she acknowledges that it is "kind of strange." That feeling manifested itself most significantly last fall when she played in the Gold Cup (the qualifying tournament for the ultimate competition in the sport, the 2003 Women's World Cup) and their first game was against the U.S. team. Molina found herself defending the goal against the world's most famous women's soccer players, including Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain.
"The U.S. is such a powerhouse, and these are the girls that I grew up watching," she said. "Playing against the U.S. was just surreal, but after a while I wasn't scared, I was just thinking, `All I have to do is save a ball . . . just keep it out of the net." Although Mexico lost 3-0, Molina's performance certainly was noticed, including these kudos in the Washington Post: "The score remained close primarily because of Mexican goalkeeper Jennifer Molina, who was shelled all night but fended off 22 of 25 shots on goal, making several spectacular saves."
In January, Molina was selected to compete in the Australia Cup. Later this spring she'll be with her team in tournaments in Japan and Mexico.
Playing on an international team is the opportunity of a lifetime, but for a full-time college student it comes at a cost. In addition to having to train on her own in the middle of winter, with little opportunity to actually play, and give up her breaks to train in Mexico, Molina must also take time away from school -- a week or more at a shot -- for tournaments, so keeping up with her academics has been a challenge.
The environmental biology major said she works hard to keep a balance and to be proactive about coordinating makeup work with her professors. "I came to Colgate primarily for academic reasons, and I'm trying to do my best. I think I've been doing fairly well and my professors are so helpful." Her B-plus average is nothing to sneeze at, and her professors praise her work ethic.
Geography professor Adam Burnett, with whom Molina took Weather and Climate last fall, said that a student request to take several weeks off during the semester is certainly "most unusual. But I'd had Jenny in a prior class and she proved herself to be a serious, dedicated student," he said, "so I knew I could trust her to do whatever she could, and she did very well." He posted his course materials online in advance; Molina was able to check in whenever she could access the Internet during her travels.
On Colgate's soccer team, Molina earned Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week several times. She recorded five shutouts and 147 saves as a sophomore, the year she had the most time on the field.
When asked the differences between playing for Colgate and an international team, Molina said, "I think I play the same way for both teams, and the girls on both teams are great. But while you play at college because you love it, at the same time you want to do other things. It's a different feeling when you put on the Mexican jersey. We're trying to get to the World Cup. And I think for a lot of the girls in Mexico, especially because they have this opportunity to play on their national team -- that's all they want to do."
After graduation, if the team makes it to the World Cup, Molina will have a focus through next fall, and if the opportunity to turn pro were to arise, she'd likely take it. If not, she's considering graduate school for environmental education or environmental management.
"There are so many possibilities, and Colgate has given me so many things that I think I'm ready." -- RAC
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