The Page & Popcorn: A Retrospective

Next June, the Page & Popcorn Book & Movie Club will turn ten years old. That makes it 8.5 years old right now, which is not quite as big a milestone, but I (Andrew, BE ’02) am in the mood to reminisce (and analyze data).

P&P was born when NYMAAC Brothers and Beta Epsilon (Syracuse University) alumni Lindsay (’04) and I both read Christopher Buckley’s Thank You For Smoking and then watched the movie together. Lindsay thought, this is awesome, and we decided to start a book club where we choose only books that have been made into movies, and then gather to watch the movie and discuss both. For our second selection, we chose Augusten Burroughs’ Running With Scissors, and opened membership up to members of NYMAAC and their friends and partners.

Over the past 8.5 years, P&P has read and discussed 31 books and watched 33 movies (two adaptations each of The Manchurian Candidate and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland). Surprisingly, we have never repeated an author. Although we’ve read a rich variety of genres, we most often return to the realms of fantasy (8), science fiction (6), and historical fiction (4). Half of the books we’ve read were published in the last 20 years, but we do go as far back as 1865 (Alice). As for movies, we significantly favor those produced after 1990 (26), some exceptions being Breakfast at Tiffany’s and To Kill a Mockingbird.

The nature of our book & movie club allows us to choose dinner and a movie out, or a night in with the DVD and usually board games at someone’s apartment. Although it’s exciting to choose movies out in theaters with current celebrities and all that present cinematography and effects have to offer, we more often opt for the latter where we can gather and stretch out and relax in the comfort of a Brother’s home (13 out vs. 20 in). These numbers would actually be closer if not for the complicated reality of scheduling a trip to the movie theater. On two occasions (Blindness and The Perks of Being a Wallflower), a movie night out turned into a movie night in (plus a delay of a few months) when the movie left theaters before our scheduled event.

Our most frequent host was the erstwhile home of Lindsay and myself (and for a few months Kate), affectionately known as Puddhaven. From 2007 to 2013, 11 P&P gatherings were held there. Our other gracious hosts have included Sue (BE ’00), Kate (GPhi at OU ’07), Jon & Jeremy (BPi at UConn ’00 & BE ’04), and Stella (DChi at Lehigh ’04). All but one of our movie nights out have taken place in theaters (usually Union Square or Lincoln Square), the exception being the Movies Under the Stars series on the Riverside Park piers (The Princess Bride).

Although P&P discussions can be described as scholarship events, like everything we do, they are primarily social. Folks are always welcome to come whether or not they’ve read the book, because what we’re really after is a good time. Besides, reading a book is a big commitment, and if you’re like me, your to-read list is already as long as your life will be. Plus, sometimes the movie actually is better than the book (almost never, actually).

For more information on what we’ve read, check out the PSP wiki and the Goodreads group. And if you want to join us for the next discussion/viewing, pick up a copy of P.D. James’ The Children of Men, and stay tuned for the date announcement in the NYMAAC Facebook group.

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We went to #pspnc14 awesome and we came back awesomer

Hello Brothers,

A little over a month ago, several of your NYMAAC Brothers (Andrew, Hillary, Kate, Patrick, Jeff, and Covin) attended PSP National Convention 2014 in Atlanta, GA (#pspnc14).  Here are the highlights.

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Kate, Hillary, and Andrew being #awesome

Triple Awesome
NYMAAC is three for three on Outstanding Alumni Chapter awards.  We won the inaugural Outstanding Alumni Chapter award in 2012, we won it again in 2013, and this year we took the award home for the third year in a row.  Although our frenemies in the Middle Tennessee Alumni Chapter (MTAC) are plotting our demise as we speak, NYMAAC fully intends to continue our Pursuit of Awesome.

Minding Our Own Business
Some notable things happened during Grand Chapter business.  We adopted A Resolution to Embrace Gender Inclusion.  We discussed options for a new National Philanthropy and decided to review three proposals at the next Grand Chapter business meeting in 2015.  We elected new National Officers, among them our own Patrick Herron (Vice President of Philanthropy Development).  Lastly, we amended the National Constitution within an inch of its life, as usual.

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NYMAAC and video contest winner Epsilon Alpha Chapter

What the Heck is a NYMAAC?
We were able to recognize the video-making talents of the Epsilon Alpha Chapter at Kutztown University, this year’s winner of the “Show Us Your Awesome” Undergraduate Music Video Contest.  Their video was entitled “Show NYMAAC Our Awesome,” thus demonstrating the understanding that we totally NOUNED the word “Awesome” and therefore used the right spelling of “Your,” (we meant it to be possessive, grammar nerds!), so how could we not love it.  The Epsilon Alpha Chapter won one free quad registration to next year’s National Convention (paid for by alumni donations). You can view their award-winning video here (after which the title of this paragraph will make sense) and also check out the awesome submissions from Delta Tau Chapter (Mississippi State) and Beta Delta Chapter (NC State).

There’s plenty more to say, but I’m through saying it!  After all, the National Office did a great job with their recap post, so go read more about #pspnc14 there.  I hope you’ll join us next year!

Fratastically yours,
Andrew Berman
Your Once and Possibly Future Recruitment Coordinator

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NYMAAC Welcomes New President and Secretary

Hey Bros!

I’m pleased to announce the election of our 2013-2014 NYMAAC Executive Board!  A longtime member but first time board member, Jonathan Chin (Beta Pi ’00) joins us as our new President.  NYMAAC also welcomes recent NYC transplant Gretchen Mengeringhausen (Epsilon Alpha ’12) as our Secretary.

We also congratulate new member Kathryn Lieber (Delta Chi ’08) for winning her election for Communications Coordinator.  Sadly, she must step down as she is off to Boston to pursue a career opportunity there.  We’ll miss you and we wish you the best of luck, Kathryn!

I, Andrew Berman (Beta Epsilon ’02) am resuming my role as Recruitment Coordinator, and two other familiar faces are taking on new roles on the e-board: Hillary Nicoll (Alpha Theta ’10), who joined the board last year as our Secretary, is moving over to Social Coordinator; and Jeremy Shepard (Beta Epsilon ’04), most recently our Communications Coordinator, will now serve as our Service Coordinator.

NYMAAC owes a debt of gratitude to our three outgoing board members.  Marissa Gernett (Alpha Pi ’08) joined NYMAAC two years ago and became our Service Coordinator right off the bat, serving for two years.  Alex Spirer (Beta Epsilon ’99) has served on the e-board non-stop since NYMAAC’s founding (she is a founder herself) serving as the chapter’s President, Social Coordinator, and Service Coordinator.  Finally, Kate McConnell (Gamma Phi ’07) joined the board in 2009 as our Communications Coordinator, and then served three consecutive years as our President, two of which culminated in receiving the Outstanding Alumni Chapter award at National Convention.  Please join me in thanking these dedicated Brothers for their years of service to NYMAAC and Phi Sigma Pi.

Great things are ahead for NYMAAC in 2013-2014!  Come join us at an event soon!  For example, at our Ice Cream Social tomorrow.

Brothers for life,
Andrew Berman

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NYMAAC Helps PS 59 during New York Cares Day 2012

Contributed by NYMAAC brother Gretchen Mengeringhausen

On Saturday, October 13, 2012, I met some of the loveliest individuals New York City has to offer.  Having been in the city for only two months, I was excited to meet some of my fellow alumni here in this chapter.  So when someone dropped out at the last minute, I was more than happy to take his place at this year’s New York Cares Day.  This year’s location was at a school in Brooklyn, PS 59.

Upon arrival, we were treated to a very nice breakfast by the overwhelmingly thankful staff of the school.  They explained to us their school had not performed to standards, and the top floor of the school was to be turned into a charter school.  All of the stuff- books, desks, and teaching materials- had to be sifted through in order to make room for the charter school.  Also, a mural was to be painted along the outside of the building.  After we finished our meal and made our introductions to the other wonderful volunteers, we headed upstairs to begin the long and tedious process of combing through the rooms.  We were very blessed to have a few of the teachers who gave up their Saturday to help us determine what was important and what could be tossed.  So after being serenaded by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons (thanks to Kate’s iPhone) to keep our spirits going, we were sufficiently tired and covered in dust and dirt; we were anxiously awaiting the news lunch had arrived.

Following a graciously provided meal, the groups switched and we were sent out to finish work on the mural.  Thanks goodness, at least in my case, the mural was basically set up as a paint-by-number situation.  Since the other groups had pretty much finished the painting, all we were tasked to do was to go over the outline.  Then it was time for the cleanup.

All in all, I would have to say that this experience was pretty great.  I got to help out a school that was in dire need of assistance and I got to meet some of the awesomest people, I don’t care if that is not a word-it is the only way to describe the members of NYMAAC.  Hopefully I will be able to participate in other activities like this one with the friendliest and most welcoming people in NYC.

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(Part of the fearless NYMAAC crew)

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(The BEFORE)

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(The AFTER)

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NYMAAC’s Annual Holiday Party

Contributed by Nick Christy, Member Services Coordinator, Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity

I am so glad I had the opportunity to attend NYMAAC’s Annual Holiday Party.  It was so much fun to meet so many wonderful Brothers who make up the award winning Alumni Chapter we all know and love today.   My first Dino-BBQ experience was phenomenal, but what made it even better was being able to connect and catch up with Brothers from all over the city.   The white elephant gift exchange was also a highlight, as I was delighted to receive a Whinny the Pooh coffee mug that will go to great use while I review Form 110s.  The one thing that also made the night special was seeing that the Chapter not only came together to enjoy the company of great Brothers, but gave back by collecting donations for Toys for Tots.  All around this was an amazing tripod themed experience and I couldn’t have asked for a better way bring in the holiday season and kick off my Alumni Chapter visits!

Cow Popper

(A popular white elephant gift this year was the “Ellen Cow Popper”)

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Page and Popcorn – The Perks of Being a Wallflower Recap

Submitted by Ally Hirschkowitz
PerksThe recent selection of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a book by Stephen Chbosky that many of us read in high school and a movie that was recently released, was an interesting choice. It was requested because, aside from the new movie coming out, many of us remembered the story as one we could relate to and loved as teenagers.
For the first time since I joined Page and Popcorn (with the exception of Where the Wild Things Are, which we read together) nearly EVERYONE had read the book before watching the movie together! Some felt that the book “must have been more relatable to our teenage selves.” It left most of us uninterested, disconnected with the main character, and also feeling maybe a little pity towards him. The movie, while cinematically pretty and cast awesomely (re: Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller and Emma Watson), seemed to be missing a lot of elements from the book, including the most weird events and things that explained the title character. All and all, it was a great afternoon with brothers! The next pick is A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, and we will watch the movie based on the book, Simon Birch.
Special thanks to Andrew for hosting!
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What are the benefits of NAA membership?

We’re glad you asked! Just to name a few, you get a year subscription to the Lampadion/Purple & Gold, discount admission to National Events (like Alumni Convention in Nashville!), scholarships and other exclusive discounts, and eligibility to represent alumni at the Grand Chapter. More questions? Comment below. Heard enough? Make your $31 or more contribution at www.phisigmapifoundation.org/donate
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