Taylor Halperin: Springstreeter, Senate intern, and former ESPN contributer. This senior’s interests are not only varied, but impressive; he takes everything he does to the highest degree. From competing within the a capella circles to bumping into a somewhat befuddled-seeming John McCain in D.C. to jetting off on an impromptu trip to Isreal, Halperin has done it all. The Record sat down with him to hear all the tales he had to offer.
So tell me about a cappella. You’re in the Springstreeters, right?
I am! It’s good, I like singing. I do most of the arrangements, so that’s cool. And it’s fun because I get to exercise power over the group. Like a lot of times I can just be like, “Yeah, this song won’t work.” And they’ll be like, “Oh, he would know.”
What made you audition initially?
Hubris. Because someone texted my JA and said, “We hear you have a singer in your entry” or something, and then she told me, and I was like, “I’m flattered! I’m going to try out.”
What’s your favorite part of being in the Streeters?
Well, the Streeters is kind of like my varsity sport. I’m a very competitive person, but I’m not on a sports team here, so my favorite part of the group is getting to be, in a friendly way, competitive in the group and with the other groups – all just friendly fire. I kind of realized at a certain point that I like the drama that goes along with being in student groups. So the more groups I can be in and discuss the happenings – it doesn’t matter what we discuss. I am also in the Jewish Association. Sure, it is fun to have meetings and Shabbat Dinner, but the most fun part is like talking about the weak link. [Laughs.] I’m not gonna lie, it’s fun. And it’s problem solving. I really like problem solving.
Any crazy stories from your four years with the Streeters?
Most of the crazy stories happen over the Streeter road trip, and we have this rule, though, that what happens on road trip stays on road trip, so I don’t think that I’m legally at liberty to share most of those stories.
I hear you’ve worked in the Senate?
I actually worked literally around the corner from my friend Chris Riegg [’15]. We could share our experiences. So, I was in Senator Cambell’s office because I’m from Seattle. It was cool. I did get the sense that we were a sort of reserved office. There weren’t ever any office parties. And I would hear Chris say, “Yeah we get out at 3 on Fridays.” And I was like, “What! We get out at 6, like every normal day.” And he was like, “Yeah, everyone is talking and someone brings snacks.” And I was like “No, we don’t have snacks.” But I was a press intern so I dealt with transcribing the senator’s speeches in hearings. I sent out this email every day. [Laughs.] It is not the most glamorous job, but it was a really good experience. There is this “casual Friday” thing that they would do, and I definitely took advantage of that to be ridiculous. I have these sort of neon pink, salmon pants, and I wore those. So now I can say I wore pinkish salmon pants in the Senate office buildings.
Did you get to meet anyone any cool people?
I saw John McCain walking around. That was cool. Not a huge John McCain fan, but allegedly he sort of sometimes will just walk around, and people will be like “Hey, Senator, where ya going?” He’ll be like, “I don’t know!” Apparently, that is a recurring thing. He looked pretty lost whenever I saw him.
You’re from Seattle. Is it tough being from across the country?
When it comes to traveling, yes. Otherwise, no. I don’t remember ever being homesick. I’ve been going to summer camp all through my childhood, so I am used to not being at home.
What type of camps, exactly?
I went to a lot of theater camps. [Laughs.] One of them was in Oregon. That was weird. But then I went to a camp in upstate New York. It was the place that Zach Braff and Lea Michelle and I want to say Robert Downey Jr. all went, called Stage Door. The only reason I went is because my grandparents are classic New York Jews and they have a ramshackle run-down house in that town and they were like, “Go to the theater camp!” Turns out it was pretty sweet.
Have you gone abroad at all?
Yes! Last spring, I was in Marseille, France, which was awesome. It is a very strange city, in the sense that a lot of people there are foreigners. There are a lot of people who are classic French, like their families have been living there for centuries. But there are also 30 percent or something that are Muslim, a huge influx from North Africa and the Middle East. My grocer was Iraqi and there are a lot of people from Spain and from Italy. It is becoming a very popular city, even though it was dangerous for a period of time. My dad has a bunch of friends from when we lived in France when I was a kid for a year. So all of them were like, “Don’t go to Marseille, you will get robbed and die.” So I went to a bar, had a couple beers, and was like mostly there, and walked back at like 2:30 in the morning. And I am a short guy, and not particularly threatening, but nothing ever happened.
Did you travel besides that?
I did. In chronological order, before Marseille, I went to Brussels for a few days and I got sick, lost and was alone when it was 20 degrees out. It was a miracle I found my friend’s house. I remember thinking if I didn’t find it, my plan was to just lay down in the snow and die. But I managed it. So that was sort of my questionable beginning to time abroad. But on breaks, I also went to Paris and Madrid. I stayed with my host brother in Morocco. I feel like we got pretty close. Then, I went to Istanbul to stay with my friend Josh. And then while I was there, because we are both nominally Jewish, we thought it would be so cool to go to the motherland. So in Istanbul he ambushed me and was like, We are getting the plane tickets now! So we then we went to Israel. It was the greatest.
And you also have written for ESPN? How did you get involved with that?
I was writing for a random blog when I was in high school and I sent an email to a kid I met on the Internet through this baseball … this sounds so nerdy. It really is. [Laughs.] But then I sent an email to an ESPN affiliate with writing samples and I got to write for them on the board! One of the perks of the site was that you got to cycle through writing the blurb on the ESPN power rankings. So like the first time I ever did it, I got a bunch of Facebook messages and tweets and texts. Everyone was like, “Oh my god, is that you?” I got to write one article on the front page on social media. I have always found it super weird that there was a period of time, where professional athletes would kind of read the tweets of fans, because it kind of wasn’t understood yet that you don’t respond to that. I just thought the relationship between fans and athletes was weird. And it was a pretty analytical website. So I thought, why not do something different.
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