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Who’s There
Photo by Jenn Walker

Who’s There

Go ahead‚ get lost in the eccentricity outside the office of George Toles.

The collage that’s overtaken his door in University College over 20 years is “a maze-like‚ secret autobiography‚” says the English‚ Theatre‚ Film & Media professor.

Glimpse places and people‚ from the street where he grew up in Hamburg‚ New York‚ to Hollywood greats like Greta Garbo—the topic of many conversations in his classes.

You might spot a 16th-century sculpture that makes him ponder “how the face both reveals and fails to disclose at the same time.”

Or postcards from films he wrote scripts for‚ countries he’s visited—even a photo of him playing baseball that‚ deceptively‚ makes him look proficient.

“It reminds me of a childhood friend who encouraged me to play‚ without ever letting me know how inept I was.”

Toles loves the well-known refrain defamiliarize the ordinary. “I hope my door‚ in its own small way‚ accomplishes that.”

He’ll sometimes swap something out but not his mainstays: Ernest Hemingway dressed in a cowboy outfit‚ Alfred Hitchcock talking to Andy Warhol—“I can’t imagine what the two were discussing but it always charms me”— and a woman looking like she’s about to attack a cluster of grapes.

“I’ve never seen anyone look more ecstatically famished.”

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