At the end of September, Primus released a brand new album, The Desaturating Seven, marking the band’s first album since 2014’s Primus & The Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble, its first album of original material since 2011’s Green Naugahyde, and its ninth LP together. The new release has also spurred a fall tour, which is currently ongoing, and today, the band clued fans into where they’ll be ringing in 2018.Primus Shares New Album “The Desaturating Seven” Inspired By Rainbow GoblinsFor Primus’ New Years’ Eve celebration, the band fronted by bassist Les Claypool will return to the Bay Area for the 26th year in a row with a special show dubbed “A Goblin In The New Year.” December 31st will see Primus headline Oakland’s Fox Theater with support from supergroup Legend Of The Seagullman, a band featuring Danny Carey of Tool and Brent Hinds of Mastodon. Legends Of The Seagullman has been a relatively inactive project, with the group releasing a number of songs in 2015. Primus’ “A Goblin In The New Year” will mark the live debut for the supergroup.Dean Ween Sits In With Primus For “Southbound Pachyderm” Encore [Audio]The title for the concert, “A Goblin In The New Year,” is undoubtedly is pulled from The Desaturating Seven, as the album was inspired by a 1978 children’s book, The Rainbow Goblins. Much like Primus’ tribute to the Willy Wonka soundtrack in 2014, the book’s “vibrant and intense and eerie and somewhat creepy” vibe inspired Claypool, who told Rolling Stone, “I remember being incredibly impressed with the artwork and the storyline and the content and the message, and I thought, ‘Wow, this would make a great piece of music.’”He continued, “I would look at the artwork and read the lyrics, and it’s very difficult to sing about goblins and rainbows and not have it come off being a little cornball…So I was tiptoeing the line of not necessarily being literal, but referring to elements of the story and using it more as a metaphor, when I could.”Tickets for Primus’ New Year’s celebration at the Fox Theater in Oakland go on sale to general public on Friday, October 20th, at 10 am (PST) here. The Fox Theater will also be running a pre-sale starting on Thursday, October 19th, at 10 am (PST) with access to the sale granted with the password “pattern”. You can watch a recap of Primus’ past twenty-five New Year’s Eve shows in the Bay Area below, courtesy of the band.
[H/T JamBase] Oteil Burbridge is out fresh on the road in support of his recent Water In The Desert release. The touring band consists of JGB keyboardist Melvin Seals, Lettuce/Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno, Furthur guitarist John Kadlecik, Primus/RatDog/Electric Beethoven drummer Jay Lane, former Nth Power and current Trombone Shorty percussionist Weedie Braimah, and vocalist Alfreda Gerald for a few dates this November. The highly-anticipated New York City stop at Le Poisson Rouge was rescheduled for Dead & Company’s last-minute appearance at Band Together: Benefit Concert For North Bay Fire Relief on November 9. As promised, the date has officially been rescheduled.Oteil Burbridge Releases Magical Studio Record “Water In The Desert” [Stream]Oteil Burbridge & Friends Make Highly Anticipated Debut At The Ardmore On Halloween [Full Audio]Oteil & Friends will officially return to New York City on January 15, 2018. While guitarist Eric Krasno is unable to make this date, guitarist Scott Metzger (Wolf!, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead) will perform in his place.All original tickets to the 2017 show will be honored for the rescheduled date. If ticket buyers are unable to make the January, 15th show, they are entitled to a full refund as long as the request is made by the end of this month.
Lake Street Dive will release their second album with Nonesuch Records, Free Yourself Up, on May 4th. Coupled with their announcement of the upcoming album, the band comprised of drummer Michael Calabrese, bassist Bridget Kearney, singer Rachael Price, and guitarist/trumpeter Michael “McDuck” Olson also shared a performance video of a song from the new album, “Good Kisser”, and a number of new tour dates spanning from May to October.Lake Street Dive’s Free Yourself Up was self-produced at Nashville’s Goosehead Palace Studios with Dan Knobler. As explained in a press release, “For this album, the quartet drafted touring keyboardist Akie Bermiss to join them in the studio as well as on stage. Adding another player to the process freed up the band members to explore a wider range of instrumental textures, construct more full-bodied arrangements, and build on their well-known background harmonies.”“This album is based in the realities in our time,” Kearney reflects, “which have inevitably become part of everyone’s daily life. It’s something you think about and obsess over — and write songs about. Free Yourself Up is about empowering yourself, emboldening yourself, no matter what’s going wrong.”In support of Free Yourself Up, Lake Street Dive will embark on an extensive cross-country tour, which will also contain stops in Canada and London. To get fans excited about the new album, every ticket purchased online for headlining shows will include a CD of the new album. For those who can’t wait, Free Yourself Up is available for pre-order now at iTunes, lakestreetdive.com, and nonesuch.com (those who pre-order from the Nonesuch Store will also receive an exclusive print autographed by the band).To give fans a taste of this new effort, the band also dropped a performance video for the first single off Free Yourself Up, “Good Kisser”. Take a listen, check out the album’s tracklisting, and peep Lake Street Dive’s upcoming tour dates below.“Good Kisser”Lake Street Dive’s Free Yourself Up Tracklist:Baby Don’t Leave Me Alone With My ThoughtsGood KisserShame, Shame, ShameI Can ChangeDudeRed Light KissesDoesn’t Even Matter NowYou Are FreeMusta Been SomethingHang OnLake Street Dive Upcoming 2018 Tour DatesEvery ticket purchased online for Lake Street Dive’s headline shows includes a CD of the new album Free Yourself Up, released on 5/4/18. Instructions for redeeming albums will be sent via email shortly after ticket purchases.May 4 – Boston, MA The Sinclair*May 5 – Turners Falls, MA Shea Theater*May 6 – Kingston, NY Ulster Performing Arts Center*May 8 – Burlington, VT Higher Ground*May 9 – New Haven, CT College Street Music Hall*May 10 – Brooklyn, NY Brooklyn Steel*May 12 – Philadelphia, PA The Fillmore*May 13 – Pittsburgh, PA Mr. Smalls*May 15 – Chicago, IL Thalia Hall*May 17 – St. Paul, MN Palace Theater^May 18 – Des Moines, IA Simon Estes^May 19 – St. Louis, MO The Pageant^May 21 – Albuquerque, NM Kimo TheaterMay 23 – Los Angeles, CA Ford Theater*May 24 – Anaheim, CA House of Blues*May 25 – San Francisco, CA The Fillmore*May 27 – Napa Valley, CA Bottle Rock FestivalMay 29 – Vancouver, BC Commodore*May 30 – Seattle, WA Showbox at the Market*June 1 – Ogden, UT Ogden Music FestivalJune 23 – Ottawa, ONT Ottawa Jazz FestivalJune 25 – Toronto, ONT Toronto Jazz FestivalJune 28 – Rochester, NY International Jazz FestivalJuly 8 – Marshfield, MA Levitate FestivalSeptember 6 – Morrison, CO Red Rocks AmphitheatreOctober 11 – London, UK 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire*Mikaela Davis supports / ^Liz Vice supports
Mumford & Sons, Childish Gambino, Arctic Monkeys, Odesza, and Janelle Monáe are among the acts that will perform at the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience when the festival takes over New Orleans’ City Park from October 26th through 28th. Founded in 1999, the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience will celebrate its 20th edition when it returns this Halloween weekend. This year’s incarnation will also include appearances by Martin Garrix, A Perfect Circle, Modest Mouse, Marilyn Manson, The Revivalists, 21 Savage, Tipper, Zeds Dead, Third Eye Blind, Lettuce, and many more.Much like year’s past, the 2018 Voodoo Music + Arts Experience will showcase over 70 bands on four stages as well as food from local and regional Louisiana restaurants. The festival will feature numerous carnival rides and a variety of large-scale art installations, including The Mortuary Haunted Experience (considering its timing, Voodoo Fest has always had a Halloween theme). Tickets for the festival are now on sale. Check out the lineup below.
The White Light Foundation is a non-profit organization inspired by the music of Vermont’s Twiddle, with the intention of spreading love, healing, and kindness. On Wednesday, September 12th, Twiddle and the White Light Foundation donated $10,000 dollars to the University of Vermont’s Children’s Hospital.The sizable donation was raised during Twiddle’s annual Tumble Down Festival, which is held each year at Burlington, Vermont’s Waterfront Park. At the festival, the White Light Foundation partnered with Martin Guitars and artists from the Twiddle community, organizing raffles to raise money in addition to hosting a charity disc golf event. As an added bonus, Fiddlehead Brewing Company released a Twiddle-inspired pale ale titled “Relax and Dream” and then matched $2,500 of White Light Foundation’s fundraising, bringing the total gift to $10,000.Both guitarist Mihali Savoulidis and drummer Brook Jordan were on hand to present the donation, in addition to representatives from the University of Vermont’s Children’s Hospital—including Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Lewis First—as well White Light Foundation and Fiddlehead Brewing Company. Following the donation, Savoulidis and Jordan stuck around to perform for the children’s hospital’s patients and staff.Noted Steve Perlah, President and CEO of the White Light Foundation, “it was an incredible privilege to represent Twiddle fans and our partners today in making this donation to the UVM Children’s Hospital.”
Kiss has officially announced the first leg of their “End of the Road World Tour”, which they say will be their last ever. The band’s current lineup features original members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons as well as Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer. After a 45-year career, the band’s initial retirement announcement was made on an episode of NBC’s America’s Got Talent after performing their hit “Detroit Rock City” to open the show’s season finale.The first leg of Kiss’s “End of the Road World Tour” will span from January 31st through July 16th, 2019 across two continents, with stops in North America, the U.K., Europe, and Russia. The original announcement stated that their final shows will be part of a multi-year “End of the Road” world tour, so stay tuned for more announcements. Pre-sale tickets will open up tomorrow at 10 a.m. local time, with a general on-sale this Friday, November 2nd. Head to the band’s website for more information.Kiss expressed in a press statement:All that we have built and all that we have conquered over the past four decades could never have happened without the millions of people worldwide who’ve filled clubs, arenas and stadiums over those years. This will be the ultimate celebration for those who’ve seen us and a last chance for those who haven’t. KISS Army, we’re saying goodbye on our final tour with our biggest show yet and we’ll go out the same way we came in… Unapologetic and Unstoppable.Don’t forget, though, that this is actually the second time that Kiss has called it quits. The band had their first “farewell tour” in 2000 and 2001. As Rolling Stone previously pointed out, bassist Gene Simmons said in 2000, “There just aren’t any more mountains to climb. We want to go out in style with the people that put us here, the fans.” While band members returned to the road a mere two years later under the Kiss moniker, that was the final tour that featured all four original members.In 2002, guitarist Paul Stanley said: “People change their minds, and in this case that goes along with being a living, thinking person. What one says one day with total commitment may at another time turn out not to be so. Am I doing this for the money or the fans? Both, and let’s not forget I’m doing this for me.”The four original members, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley, appeared together in 2014 for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, though they did not perform together.However, Stanley seems to think a real reunion is not out of the question. As Consequence of Sound reminds us, Stanley recently said, “This will be a celebration of KISS and not any individual lineup or any individual members. I wouldn’t rule anything out.”For more information on the upcoming “End of the Road World Tour”, head to Kiss’s official website.KISS 2019 Tour Dates:01/31 – Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena02/01 – Portland, OR @ Moda Center02/02 – Tacoma, WA @ Tacoma Dome02/04 – Spokane, WA @ Spokane Arena02/07 – San Diego, CA @ Viejas Arena02/08 – Fresno, CA @ Save Mart Arena02/09 – Sacramento, CA @ Golden 1 Center02/12 – Anaheim, CA @ Honda Center02/13 – Glendale, AZ @ Gila River Arena02/15 – Las Vegas, NV @ T-Mobile Arena02/16 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum02/19 – Corpus Christi, TX @ American Bank Center02/21 – Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center02/22 – New Orleans, LA @ Smoothie King Center02/23 – Memphis, TN @ Fedex Forum02/26 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Chesapeake Energy Arena02/27 – Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center03/01 – Milwaukee, WI @ Fiserv Forum03/02 – Chicago, IL @ United Center03/04 – Minneapolis, MN @ Target Center03/06 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Denny Sanford Premier Center03/07 – Omaha, NE @ Centurylink Center03/09 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Van Andel Arena03/10 – Moline, IL @ Taxslayer Center03/12 – Louisville, KY @ KFC! Yum Center03/13 – Detroit, MI @ Little Caesars Arena03/16 – Columbus, OH @ Nationwide Arena03/19 – Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre03/20 – Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre03/22 – Uniondale, NY @ Nassau Coliseum03/23 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun03/26 – Boston, MA @ TD Garden03/27 – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden03/29 – Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center03/30 – Pittsburgh, PA @ PPG Paints Arena04/02 – Quebec, QC @ Centre Videotron04/03 – Ottawa, ON @ Canadian Tire Centre04/06 – Raleigh, NC @ PNC Arena04/07 – Atlanta, GA @ State Farm Arena04/09 – Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena04/11 – Tampa, FL @ Amalie Arena04/12 – Jacksonville, FL @ Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena04/13 – Birmingham, AL @ BJCC Arena05/27 – Leipzig, DE @ Leipziger Messe05/29 – Vienna, AT @ Stadthalle05/31 – Munich, DE @ Konigsplatz06/02 – Essen, DE @ Georg Meiches Stadium06/04 – Berlin, DE @ Waldbuhne06/05 – Hannover, DE @ Exo-plaza06/07 – Norje, SE @ Sweden Rock Festival06/11 – St. Petersburg, RU @ Ice Arena06/13 – Moscow, RU @ Dinamon Stadium06/16 – Keiv, UA @ NSA Stadum06/18 – Krakow, PL @ Tauron Arena06/25 – Amsterdam, NL @ Ziggo Dome06/27 – Oslo, NO @ Tons of Rock06/28 – Trondheim, NO @ Trondheim Rocks07/02 – Milan, IT @ Ippodromo Snai San Siro07/04 – Zurich, CH @ Hallenstadion07/06 – Iffezheim, DE @ Reenbahn07/09 – Birmingham, UK @ Birmingham Arena07/11 – London, UK @ O2 Arena07/12 – Manchester, UK @ Manchester Arena07/14 – Newcastle, UK @ Newcastle Arena07/16 – Glasgow, UK @ SSE HydroView All Tour DatesKiss End of the Road Tour Announcement Video
From here, Widespread Panic’s next slated gigs are their New Year’s Run at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia. Before returning home, Jimmy Herring returns to New York City to play two Halloween shows with Phil Lesh & Friends at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY on November 1st and 2nd.Judging by Dave Schools and Duane Trucks’ comradery in the opening skit, those two are probably going to stay in Vegas a little longer. How much longer? No one can say, but they have two months until their next gigs. JoJo has a meeting with his financial advisor to revisit his accounts and gauge how close he is to buying the New York Jets (please do). John Bell spent a night gambling in the poker halls and disappeared with the two go-go dancers and a half-full bottle of whiskey in hand. Sonny was seen at a premier day spa in the wee hours of the morning for a day of relaxation. Until next time, goodpeople, stay well and look after one another. Have a Haunted Halloween!Thanks to PanicStream, you can check out a detailed setlist and notes from the performance below.Setlist: Widespread Panic | Park Theater | Las Vegas, NV | 10/28/18Set One: Video Intro (Laugh-In), Godzilla, One Arm Steve, Imitation Leather Shoes, Better Off, Time Zones > Diner > Blackout Blues, Jumpin’ Jack Flash*Set Two: Aqualung, Pigeons* > Here Comes The Judge* > Pigeons*, Sundown Betty, Four Cornered Room > Slippin’ Into Darkness*^ > Henry Parsons Died*, Mercy > Jam > (Don’t Fear) The Reaper^^* > North*Encore: Tiptoe Through The Tulips*, Drift Away*, Ain’t Life Grand^^^* (14 mins)Notes:* w/ GoGo Dancers on stage^ w/ Steve Lopez (Tour Manager) on percussion^^ w/ Ben Draper (Asst. Tour Manager) on cowbell^^^ w/ JB on tiny guitar– ‘Godzilla’ LTP 10/31/11 Chicago (377 shows)– ‘Jumpin Jack Flash’ FTP (Rolling Stones 1968)– ‘Aqualung’ FTP (Jethro Tull 1971)– ‘Here Comes The Judge’ FTP (Pigmeat Markham 1968)– ‘In Memory of Elizabeth Reed’ tease by Jimmy during ‘Four Cornered Room’– ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’ FTP (Blue Oyster Cult 1976)– ‘Tiptoe Through The Tulips’ FTP (Tiny Tim 1968)– ‘Drift Away’ FTP (Dobie Gray 1973)– Entire show with Edie Jackson, ASL interpreterCostumes:JB: Dick MartinDave: Dan RowanJimmy: Dodgers playerSunny: Home TeamJoJo: Joe NamathDuane: Dude Love (Mick Foley)Stage: Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (Comedy show 1968-73) On the final night of their Las Vegas run, Widespread Panic took their audience back in time to the late ’60’s for a Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In-style Summer of Love-themed Halloween show. Just like the Los Angeles Dodgers’ World Series contention, all things must end. Speaking of the Dodgers, Jimmy Herring came out in full L.A. Dodger baseball attire, while the rest of the band sported costumes from classic variety show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In to close out Widespread Panic‘s Halloween run at the Park Theater.John Bell as Dick Martin and Dave Schools as Dan Rowan came out with slicked-back hair, traditional black suits, and clean-shaven faces (except for a crisp, dyed mustache and goatee, respectively). JoJo Hermann was dressed in a New York Jets jersey as “JoJo Namath,” Duane Trucks as Dude Love (Mick Foley), and Sonny Ortiz as the “Home Team”. Beloved American Sign Language interpreter Edie Jackson was costumed as a Goldie Hawn, keeping up with the theme of the evening.The stage was constructed to mirror the Laugh-In set, and the band opened the show with a humorous skit that featured individual bandmates making one-liners and cheap jokes at each others’ expense—In the introductory skit, Jimmy Herring wisely enlightened the audience that if you watch Godzilla backwards, it is about “a benevolent lizard who rebuilds Tokyo and then moonwalks into the ocean.”That being said, the Widespread Panic boys kicked off the final night with an exhilarating cover of Blue Öyster Cult’s “Godzilla.” This song has only been played by Widespread three times before, all on Halloween, with the last time coming at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom 2011. It has never opened a show before, and the original movie was shown on the visual backdrop.To follow, JoJo Hermann recounted his personal story about his first show with the band in the comical tale known as “One Arm Steve”. The hard-hitting original tune “Imitation Leather Shoes” featured a prominent Dave Schools dropping bass bombs. The song is based on Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and fit perfectly with the paranormal vibes of Halloween.A jumping rendition of “Better Off” preceded the crowd-favorite “Time Zones”, which was co-written by Jerry Joseph and opened the 2nd night of the band’s recent St. Augustine run. Another fan-favorite, “Diner”, followed with John Bell improvising an extremely funny and rare “Hatfield” rap and humbly admitting, “No, no, no, I think you’re thinking of another song… Sometimes, I think of all the songs together, Ms. Lee; voices, so clear on some days, other days just a subway full of conversations.“JoJo Hermann dazzled through the drunkard’s anthem “Blackout Blues” before the band closed the first set with a never-before-played cover of the Rolling Stones‘ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” complete with two scantily clad Vegas showgirls dancing onstage. However, it quickly became obvious that the bust-outs and Halloween weirdness had just begun.When the band returned for the second set, they aced another debut with a percussive cover of Jethro Tull‘s “Aqualung”. The song’s opening lyrics (“Sitting on a park bench”) described a creepy stage prop: a mannequin lady sitting on a bench between Jimmy Herring and JB.Threatening to return to normalcy, the boys kicked into a raucous “Pigeons” with the go-go dancers back on the wings of the stage dancing along. However, it soon got weird again, when the band dropped into a cover of Pigmeat Markham’s “Here Comes the Judge” for the first time ever. After wrapping it up, the Panics finished the second half of “Pigeons” in a rare sandwich.For the 6th time ever, the band whipped up a trance-inducing version of their original tune, “Sundown Betty” which debuted at Panic en la Playa in Mexico earlier this year. Giving the hungry fans more treats, the boys covered back-to-back War songs for the first time with a slick combination of “Four Cornered Room > Slippin’ Into Darkness”. During “Four Cornered Room”, Jimmy Herring teased the Allman Brothers Band‘s “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”, which must have been fresh in his mind from his recent guest appearance with the Tedeschi Trucks Band at the legendary Beacon Theater in New York City a few weeks ago. Tour Manager Steve Lopez came out next to assist with percussive duties on “Slippin’ Into Darkness”.Returning to southern tradition, the boys revived an elegiac cover of Bloodkin’s “Henry Parson’s Died” before John Bell’s haunting vocals cut through a hair-raising version of “Mercy”. A mysterious transitional jam led into another debut of a second Blue Öyster Cult gem, “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”, featuring the Assistant Tour Manager, Ben Draper, on the song’s iconic cowbell part. One last spooky segue landed on Jerry Joseph’s “North” to finish off the second set.Widespread Panic – “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” [Blue Öyster Cult cover, Debut][Video: MrTopdogger]Keeping the setlist innovative and weird, Widespread Panic debuted Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” as the first encore with an extraordinarily strange John Bell on vocals. Yet another Widespread Panic first followed with a cover of Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away” as the second encore tune. To conclude the festive Halloween run, John Bell brandished his tiny guitar for an appropriate performance of “Ain’t Life Grand”, though Dave Schools had the last laugh with a maniacally evil chortle.Widespread Panic – “Drift Away” [Dobie Gray cover; Debut][Video: MrTopdogger]
You can’t get past the door at Quincy House without getting to know Paul Barksdale. That’s not because the Harvard security guard will stop you, but because the residents likely will, singing his praises.Barksdale is a fixture of the House and a welcoming friend to the 500-plus students who call the residence hall home during their sophomore, junior, and senior years at the University. It’s a home made warmer by the light of the man who knows everybody’s name.From 4 p.m. to midnight, Barksdale mans the guard desk at the side of the building on Plympton Street, handing out care packages or parcels too big to fit in a small mailbox. He assists students with forgotten keys, lends them the House vacuum cleaner, or helps them locate a lost item. But, perhaps above all, he is a friend.Students can’t get through the door without Barksdale getting to know them. Since he started in 2003, he has made a point of memorizing the name, face, and concentration of every incoming sophomore.“He knew my name right off the bat,” recalled senior Janet He. “He is so friendly and outgoing. If I am having a bad day, he will still come and ask me how I am doing. … He brings so much happiness to my life at Quincy House.”Barksdale occasionally plays matchmaker if he senses there might be an unexpressed interest between two shy undergraduates, and regularly attends the House’s formals, dances, and variety shows.Prior to coming to Harvard, Barksdale worked with local homeless shelters, and HIV/AIDS and substance abuse programs, helping to counsel and support those trying to get back on their feet, or cope with a difficult disease. The skills he developed through those experiences, he said, translate to his interactions with students, who so often just need the supportive ear of a friend.“Whether someone is marginalized or a wonderful achiever, there is a sense of presence that you want to give a person, that sense of dignity and respect that everyone needs.“So often you are powerless to change people’s lives, … but by just being this presence to someone, you can affirm them. I can’t change if an exam didn’t go well, but I can listen.”In his spare time, Barksdale is an avid walker and loves to read. His current reading list tends toward the spiritual and includes the religious scholars Thomas Aquinas and John Henry Newman.His passion for books is something he shares with his students. On a recent afternoon, he and junior Matt Cavedon compared notes on the memoir of former Quincy House resident and New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. “If I can find my copy at home, I will bring it in for you,” Barksdale told Cavedon with a smile.“It must feel good to have that thesis done,” Barksdale quipped to another passing student, senior Ari Hoffman, who recently finished his English literature thesis. A die-hard Yankees fan, Hoffman said some of his happiest memories at Quincy House involve watching baseball games with Barksdale, an ardent Red Sox Fan.“Paul has been a real highlight of my time at Quincy House and my college undergraduate career,” said Hoffman, who added that when his Yankees won the World Series Barksdale offered kind congratulations. “It was above and beyond the call of duty.”When trying to describe what the job means to him, Barksdale gets emotional.He recounted a 2004 conversation with graduating senior David Lippin. Noticing Lippin outside the House early one morning during senior week with a contemplative look on his face, Barksdale stopped to say hello.“He said, ‘Paul, I can’t tell you what an honor it has been to be here, to be part of this.’“Those were his words, but if you saw his countenance, his face when he was saying this, it tells you about the magic of Harvard,” recalled Barksdale. “Harvard cannot be ensconced in a brand name. Harvard is much bigger than that. It’s this dynamic, living, creative organism that every student and professor is part of. It’s magical, and I think the most important thing is to be grateful to be part of it in any way. That’s what I feel. I feel like it’s an honor to work here, in whatever small role I play.”
For the first time in Harvard’s history, more than 30,000 students applied to the College; 2,110 were accepted into the Class of 2014. More than 60 percent of the admitted students, benefiting from a record $158 million in financial aid, will receive need-based scholarships — a demonstration of Harvard’s commitment to providing access to a Harvard education to promising students from across the globe.“When alumni and friends give immediate-use funds in support of financial aid at Harvard, they are providing what are, in many ways, the most valuable gifts that we receive,” said William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard College. “This same generosity made it possible for me to attend Harvard, and I see the gratitude that I felt in the extraordinary students whom we admit each year and support through financial aid.”While large current-use gifts intended specifically for financial aid were previously relatively rare, alumni now recognize and focus on aid as a primary goal and priority. Longtime financial aid benefactors Beatrice Liu ’81, M.B.A. ’87, and Philip Lovett ’83, M.B.A. ’87, led the way, providing early support for this vital student resource, and more donors are following suit.Despite increasing costs and growing student need in the current economic climate, Harvard is determined to continue providing access for talented students. Offering this level of support would not be possible without the many contributions from alumni, including significant immediate-use gifts toward financial aid from Michael Kerr ’81, M.B.A. ’85, Sumner Redstone ’44, LL.B. ’47, and Joseph O’Donnell ’67, M.B.A. ’71. All of these gifts help increase access to Harvard for students across the income spectrum.“Such gifts,” said Fitzsimmons, “demonstrate the unwavering and generous dedication of alumni in sharing Harvard with future generations of students. It’s inspiring to see, and we are enormously grateful for their continued support.”In addition to providing direct support to students, current-use gifts are also used to enrich the student experience, channeling funding to unique courses, new faculty initiatives, and undergraduate research opportunities.The immediate-use funds contributed to Harvard’s financial aid program help individual students through the Harvard College Fund Scholars Program. As part of this program, donors can connect directly to the students who benefit immediately from their generosity.“Giving exceptional students the opportunity to access all that Harvard has to offer is one of my primary responsibilities as an alumnus,” said O’Donnell. “By making a current-use contribution in support of the financial aid program, I know that I can start helping students right away.”
A genetic clue uncovered by Harvard researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute enables doctors to predict, for the first time, which children with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) are unlikely to benefit from standard chemotherapy for the disease and should therefore be among the first to receive new treatments in future clinical trials.In a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, which was published online today (July 19), the investigators report that young people with T-ALL whose leukemia cells harbor an intact TCR-gamma gene generally have a poor response to “induction” chemotherapy — the first course of drugs given at the time of diagnosis to spur cancer remission. Patients with this high-risk marker will be prime candidates for clinical trials in which therapies currently in development are tested.“Even though we can cure a large subset of children with T-ALL, about 25 percent of pediatric patients with the disease die of it, either because first-line chemotherapy fails, or because they relapse after being in remission for a year or two,” said the study’s lead author, Alejandro Gutierrez, a Harvard Medical School (HMS) instructor in pediatrics at Dana-Farber. “Until now, there has been no way of determining ahead of time whether a patient is likely to be helped by the standard regimen of front-line drugs.”ALL, a cancer of the white blood cells, is the most common malignancy in children. T-ALL, which affects lymphocytes (lymph cells) known as T cells, accounts for about 15 percent of all pediatric ALL cases, or about 1,500 new diagnoses annually in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society.To see if T-ALL cells contain any hints of their likelihood to resist traditional chemotherapy, investigators performed genomic tests on leukemia cells from 47 children with T-ALL, 25 of whom were long-term survivors, nine of whom failed to achieve complete remission after induction chemotherapy, and 13 who relapsed after going into remission. The molecular test, known as comparative genomic hybridization, probes thousands of genes to see if any are present in unusual quantities in the cells.“We found that patients whose cells did not have rearranged DNA in the TCR-gamma gene were the most likely to fail induction therapy. Of the 47 samples studied, eight had this particular high-risk marker. Six of those patients did not respond to first-line chemotherapy,” said Gutierrez.Tumor samples from patients whose disease relapsed after going into remission were found to have TCR-gamma rearrangements at the time of diagnosis. In some of these patients, however, rearrangements were not found after relapse. Researchers believe that such patients almost certainly had a small number of leukemia-initiating cells without rearrangements at diagnosis, but in quantities too small for detection, said the study’s senior author, A. Thomas Look, an HMS pediatrics professor at Dana-Farber. After the DNA-rearranged cells died in response to chemotherapy, the remaining chemo-resistant cells came to predominate.Other molecular studies are giving scientists leads as to which genes and gene pathways are responsible for the ability of some T-ALL cells to defy conventional chemotherapy, said Gutierrez. Some of these genes are known to be targeted by drugs currently being studied in clinical trials for other diseases, raising the possibility that they might be effective for certain T-ALL patients as well.“Given the relatively high failure rate of conventional induction therapy for this disease, there is an urgent need to test alternative chemotherapy agents in patients,” Gutierrez remarked. “Routine testing for rearrangements in TCR-gamma,” which could be accomplished fairly inexpensively with a standardized test, “would enable us to identify which patients could gain the most benefit from these agents.”The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the William Lawrence Foundation, and the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region.Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a principal teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School.