Spotlight: Alex Slanko

By Stefan Deeran

I never thought I could engage in friendly discourse with a Russian speaker. Let alone a Ukrainian! I discovered Mr. Stanko still attends Macalester College as he was escaping his Russian Senior Seminar. We chatted in the underutilized Humanities Resource Lab.

SD: What are your majors?

AS: I’m just a Russian Major. Umm…Well I pretty much had the Russian major completed by sophomore year. I knew when I showed up at Macalester that it wouldn’t take much to complete the major and by me having to fulfill so few requirements I would have the latitude to take whatever classes I wanted. It seems like certain students are stuck in the labs all the time but I knew I could take a theater class and still graduate on time.

SD: So are you Russian?

AS: No, I am Ukrainian, you know a lot of my relatives were adopted but I know I have some Ukrainian in me so I am justified in my cause…at the moment at school I am a Russophile.

SD: Your Mac career began on the varsity soccer squad. Can you speak of your experience as a scholar/athlete?

AS: You know when I showed up I didn’t have any expectations but when I began starting and we achieved great success, going far in the national tournament, it became an important aspect of my life at Macalester. But after that first year it was pretty much all downhill to the point which came in my junior year when the team was doing miserably. I personally wasn’t seeing any playing time and no one could offer an explanation why. So my senior year when I needed to decide whether to come back to Macalester (after study abroad) or not, soccer didn’t play into that decision.

SD: You took last semester off. What were you doing?

AS: Well it was sort of an attempt to regain my sanity after studying abroad.

SD: So where did you lose your sanity?

AS: Somewhere between St Paul and Irkutsk.

SD: How was studying abroad in Siberia last spring?

AS: It was cold in most respects. It was difficult to meet people I could talk to. I’ve never spent that much time alone. The family I was placed in was…they were inhuman. The mother was a retired police officer. I don’t know what that means in the communist framework. It’s hell on earth, you’re surrounded by gorgeous women, beautiful nature…. but you’re scared for your life.

SD: What do they eat in Siberia besides children?

AS: I tried horse.

SD: Where were you and what were you doing last fall semester 05?<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />AS: I was living in rural Pennsylvania for most of the week and commuting to New York City to take classes at the New School and also working in Pennsylvania. I was definitely the youngest student in any of my classes. I had a lot of older women telling me my writing was sexy.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />SD: Let's hear a synopsis of your trademark piece of erotic fiction.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />AS: I guess it would have to be my story concerning a distraught teenage dwarf who seduces one of her classmates. In the climax of the story she…uhhh gives him oral release.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />SD: You're originally from New Jersey. What's your favorite joke about your state?<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />AS: I never heard a joke about my state. People just trash it, you know:Is there vegetation in the Garden State?’ `Isn’t the whole state built on a landfill?’ I don’t go around trashing other peoples’ states. I don’t know where that comes from.

SD: It’s Grammy time. What tunes are you listening to right now?

AS: I am big on this band Clouddead. They’re from Minnesota, it’s a rap collective. Couple o’ white guys. I’ve heard their music being called dadaist.

SD: Tell me something about Katherine Tylevich in Russian.

AS: [[email protected]]

SD: Do you want to talk about your diving skills?

AS: Not really, since I haven’t shown my face in the Natatorium since I got back from Turkey (the Classics adventure this January).

SD: You were in Turkey. Wow! Turkey is great! I’ve heard lots about the Baklava. Tell me more about the trip.

AS: It was good for two credits. Never would I willfully travel to Turkey with 30 some-odd sophomores if I wasn’t getting credit for it. It was also an amazing cultural experience.

SD: Whose celebrity baby wins in a death match? Brangelina’s, Britney’s or Tomkat’s?

AS: (Laughs)…Tomkat, who the fuck is Tomkat?

SD: Any movies lately?

AS: I saw Bubble last night. Well, I mean the thing people are making a big stink about is that it’s being released in the theaters, on DVD, cable TV—all at the same time. It was really low-budget. I dunno, it didn’t “wow” me, you know.

SD: Any tips for the children?

AS: It’s really easy to make your own wine, which I was unaware of. Buy the Alaskan Bootleggers Bible and become versed in its ways. Seriously, it’s about making ever type of alcoholic beverage you’ve dreamed of…of things you have in your house.

SD: Favorite Mac Prof?

AS: Probably I’d say I’m an (Classics Prof. Andy) Overman devotee. The man’s just as crazy as I am.

SD: On the streets you are known as A-Rap. Can you kick us a preview from your new album?

AS: (Mr. Stanko spontaneously drops a rhyme) Just got back from jet-settin’/ with Prof. A. Overman/ The cat’s as vicious /as a pair of rabid Dobermans

SD: Have any suggestions for books without pictures?

AS: “Satan Burger” by Carlton Mellick. It’s the last book I read that blew me away. It’s about a couple of punks with superhuman powers. Satan’s prominently featured in the book. He’s the main character. There’s a huge vagina portal that spews God’s play toys onto the earth.

SD: Do you have any post-grad plans?

AS: Yea, I think I’m gonna go to culinary school in New York City. I’m pretty handy with Bison meat.

SD: Where is the best place on campus to eat a burrito?

AS: Where would one even get a burrito on campus?

SD: Any final thoughts about your experience at Mac?

AS: I met a few decent people and had a few decent professors and I guess that’s all I can ask for in retrospect. I am just waiting for the freaks to come out of the framework. You know, when I decided to come to Macalester, I heard about the Naked Club, this and that. There was Naked Camp, which I was a participant in. But in my day to day I am not meeting people that are taking it to the max…people that are willing to go there.