Category: City

Hip Hop at Harvard

For Nas, the search starts at Harvard University./PHOTO VIA Flickr user Jonene Taddei Photography

Hip hop at Harvard? I’m sure you never expected to hear those two words in the same sentence.

Rap icon, Nas, ventured to Harvard University last week to introduce the Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellowship, a scholarship awarded to two scholars dedicated to inciting change through hip hop music.

The fellowship is designed to help visiting scholars partake in hip-hop related research at the Cambridge institution. The scholarship is the result of a substantial endowment from an anonymous donor who wanted Nas to be the poster child of the unique program.

The donor got his wish when the Queens native agreed to lend his name to the fellowship following an email request from Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates (the current host of PBS’ The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross).

During the introduction ceremony, Nas said, “Hip-hop is important like computer science. The world is changing. If you want to understand the youth, listen to the music. This is what’s happening right underneath your nose.”

I totally agree. If you want to understand why the current generation of young adults and adolescents act the way they do, check out the music they listen to. It’s not the main reason, but it’s a good indicator. Nas’s involvement with this program showcases his support of music as a cause rather than pure entertainment.

It may be ironic that the 18-time Grammy nominee is the face of an Ivy League scholarship despite never obtaining a high school diploma but Nas’s successful rap career epitomizes the belief that music is more than just lyrics and tempo.

Nas claimed that he was drawn to hip-hop because it is an education in it itself, aiming to address different problems. Despite being a middle school dropout, Nas used hip-hop to abandon his past mistakes and channel his struggles into songs that uplifted others.

Throughout his career Nas appealed to millions of people with message-filled songs like “The World is Yours” and “I Can.” Now he wants to open the door for others to do the same. Who would have thought he’d start the search at Harvard?

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My First Time Seeing The “Rocky Horror Picture Show”

By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
@katreenz

Before they lost their Rocky Horror Picture Show virginities./PHOTO VIA Katrina Uy

On Friday night, I went to AMC Boston Common with a group of friends and finally lost my virginity. My “Rocky Horror Picture Show” virginity, that is.

“Rocky” virgin: n. anyone who hasn’t seen “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” performed “live.”

Let’s backtrack for a second. For other virgins out there, “Rocky Horror” is a cult film first released in 1975 that falls under a jumble of comedy, horror, and musical genres. It’s still shown at certain theaters at midnight with actors acting out the scenes while they play out on the big screen.

Audience participation is a huge part of what makes it such an interesting (to say the least) experience – for example, you’re guaranteed to hear people yell “SLUT!” whenever Janet is mentioned, and “ASSHOLE!” whenever Brad appears.

Not going to lie, I was more nervous than anything when we arrived. I mean, I sort of knew what to expect – I knew there would be a lot of sexual moments, so that didn’t surprise me. But I wasn’t expecting it to be so fun.

After we got our fill of popcorn and soda, we walked to our theater and each bought a “bag of [expletive]” for a dollar, filled with props to use during the showing.

Before the show started, the cast got everyone on their feet and picked out ten virgins to perform the famous “virgin ritual.” I chickened out of this one, but it was still fun to watch, as the cast brought them all up to the front, divided them into pairs, and made them act out sex positions that ranged from “The Kitty Litter” to “Breaking Bad” to “Polish Kielbasa.” At the end, they deflowered everyone and the show began.

The actual movie made zero sense to me, but just going felt like one big bonding experience with the entire audience. We threw rice and playing cards from the aforementioned “bag of [expletive]” at the screen, shouted lines back at the actors, and pulled newspapers over our heads just like Janet does when she’s walking in the rain. I even learned how to do the “Time Warp” dance by around the fifth time the song started playing in the movie.

I’ll admit it was intimidating at first. But you get used to it, and in the end, it was the perfect way to kick off our Halloweekend.

Narrative Lede: The story behind the David Ortiz Photo

David Ortiz runs the last part of the Boston Marathon. Photo by Meredith Perri

David Ortiz runs the last part of the Boston Marathon. Photo by Meredith Perri

On Saturday, at the Red Sox Rolling Rally, Meredith Perri captured David Ortiz running across the Marathon finish line. Instinctively, she Instagrammed it. Little did she know what would happen to it.

From her blog: The Narrative Lede: The story behind the David Ortiz Photo

I’m, quite honestly, a bit shocked right now. When I posted the photo of David Ortiz onto my Instagram, I never imagined that an hour later it would have gone viral. As some of you know, though, there is a non-social media reason why I’m overwhelmed. Before anything happened with that picture, I had decided I was going to make this post. Now it seems even more relevant.

Top Heroes of 2013 – Boston Edition

By Brandon Lewis, Staff Writer
@Brandon_S_Lewis

These heroes have made Boston./PHOTO VIA Flickr user DKOphotography

Earlier this month, CNN released its Top 10 Heroes of 2013 list, shedding light on average individuals attempting to make a difference.

This year’s winners partake in a wide range of causes such as providing shelter for disabled veterans and helping inner-city children stay off the streets. Each hero is rewarded $50,000 for their philanthropic efforts and will be honored at “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” airing on Dec. 1.

2013 has been a crazy year for Boston and there are plenty of people who deserve to be recognized for their efforts to keep our city intact. Here are my “Top 3 Boston Heroes of 2013”:

RED SOX

No matter how the World Series turns out (preferably with a title), the success of the Red Sox is arguably the best sports story in Boston this year. Following their worst season since 1965, the Sox had a strong 2013 season with 97 wins to only 65 losses. They became the 11 team in major league history to go from worst in the division to first the following season. They finished this year tied with the Cardinals for the best record in baseball. What a year for the team!

MAYOR MENINO

With the mayoral election coming up next week, it’s only right to salute the man who has kept Boston in check for the past two decades. As Thomas Menino enters his final months in office, the 70-year-old Boston native remains a popular figure amongst city residents. Some of his accomplishments include improving the Boston Schools system and founding the Innovation District. And the little things, such as fixing potholes and revitalizing neighborhoods. Many are sad to see him go but he felt it was time to pack up the cleats. Mr. Menino, we’ll miss you!

Boston Police Department, Watertown Police Department, First Responders, and Good Samaritans at the Boston Marathon

The unthinkable occurred at this year’s Boston Marathon. A day of celebration and triumph quickly turned into a tragedy. Two bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three and injuring over 260. Instead of fleeing the area, many bystanders ran to helpless individuals injured on the ground to keep them calm and ensure that help was on the way. The help came in the form of first responders. Their primary goal was identifying injured individuals and getting them to hospitals as fast as they could. Four days after the attack, the Watertown Police Department along with the Boston Police Department killed Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the suspects, and captured the other, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. On behalf of Boston and the state of Massachusetts, I would like to salute all the heroes, recognized or unsung, of the Boston Marathon.

Boston is a tough and resilient town, and so are its heroes.

This Little Piggy Went to the SoWa Market…

Foolin’ around at SoWa, Halloween style/PHOTO VIA Karina Marttin

By Sabrina Katz, Staff Writer
@sabrina_katz

The month of October has officially marked the transition from summer to fall here in Boston. I’m definitely not used to it getting this cold this early in the year (I’m a Southern girl, folks!).

In order to take full advantage of this sweater weather, some friends and I decided to take a trip to Boston’s SoWa Open Market. The market is located in the South End, which means it’s just a hop, skip and a jump away. Actually, it was more of a stroll, subway ride, then trek away, but because it was a sunny day, we didn’t mind.

Upon arriving at the vintage market, we noticed the two sections: one side had food products while the other had all the fun knick knacks you’d expect to see at an outdoor market.

We began by exploring the food section and discovered all the local food fare that Boston had to offer. Fresh harvest fruits and veggies, tons of jellies and preserves and even hot sauces were an option in this parking lot-turned-market. As we looked around, the vendors gave out plenty of samples, which helped fill our bellies after the long walk it took to get there.

When we finished checking out each stand, we decided to move on to the dark side (yes, they did have cookies thanks to the “Cookie Monstah” food truck!).

It wasn’t really the dark side, just the other section of the market that sold non-food items. We saw tons of vendors selling clothes, scarves, accessories and other home decor. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the posing boards! You know, the ones where there’s a hole cut out for someone’s head and there’s a funny body on the front? After a couple pictures with those, our day was officially made.

While searching for something special, I noticed a fashion truck that was selling clothes inside its little trailer body. That’s where I found them: fleece-lined leggings. That’s right people, LEGGINGS LINED WITH FLEECE.

There is definitely a rule somewhere that says that you can’t just walk away from such a tremendous purchase, there’s no way! After handing over a mere $20 for these soft, fuzzy tights, I emerged from the truck victorious. It ended up being the only thing I spent money on all day, which is a pretty cool thing to say as a young college student.

I really wish I could tell you all to go to the SoWa market because I had an amazing time there. Unfortunately, this past weekend was the last opportunity to visit, which means we’ll all just have to go back next year. And there’s not a doubt in my mind that I will!

MUSE: Fitz and the Tantrums To Play House of Blues Monday!

By Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Staff Writer
@bufoodist

Fitz and the Tantrums may be called retro, but for saxophonist and co-collaborator James King, there’s more to it than that.

“You have to draw from something, but to the extent that people feel that it’s touching them now and it’s applicable to their daily listening, I think that you can be retro and current at the same time,” he said in a phone interview with the Daily Free Press.

King is on tour again, a state that’s become all-too familiar after the three-year period of tours between the band’s first album, “Picking Up the Pieces”and their most current album, “More than Just a Dream.” The tour for the new album began earlier this month, and they return to Boston Monday night to play House of Blues with Capital Cities for their “Bright Futures” tour.

“To show up in Boston and have people know who were are and sing along with our songs… It’s all really humbling,” King said.

The band will mainly feature songs from their newest album, which fuses the repurposed ‘60s soul vibe of “Picking Up the Pieces” with ‘80s synth pop and modern indie dance music. While writing “More than Just a Dream,” all of the members of the band exchanged iPods and talked about a new sound for a new album – and the change is drastic.

While just as catchy as “Picking Up the Pieces,” “More than Just a Dream” is designed for the live audience, as lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick verified in an interview with the Charleston City Paper. Still in the early days of the tour, it’s hard to say how this ideal will play out, but the reputation the band has for an energetic live show suggests a fun evening at House of Blues tonight.

Tickets were still available at the time this article was published. Check out the band’s latest music video, “The Walker,” before the show tonight below:

Life Hacks: Navigating Boston

By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
@shizupates

Do yourself a favor and explore Boston the ol’ fashion way./PHOTO VIA Flickr user Peter Blanchard

Hello, hello! It’s time again for advice from yours truly.

On today’s agenda, we have the ever confusing (but necessary) topic of transportation. As a non-Bostonian, I can tell you how difficult it was to accept that a car was not the only means of transportation. At first, I didn’t understand how anyone got around.

However, I realized that one of the great things about Boston is that the public transportation is top notch. If you don’t believe me, try coming to California – there’s a reason we only use cars.

For you clueless souls, here’s a breakdown of some of the public transportation around BU:

1. The T (Subway)

The T is just a subway that can take you to just about anywhere you desire around Boston, whether that’s Newbury or the Financial District. The best part is, there are stops everywhere up and down Commonwealth Avenue (conveniently right in front of West and Warren).

Here’s where you ask me how do you differentiate between inbound and outbound.

Inbound means that you’ll be heading towards Government Center, and outbound means you’ll be traveling away from Government Center.

To make things easier, get a Charlie Card from the nearest T station (Kenmore) and load some money onto it. This way, the fare is cheaper and you don’t have to spend precious minutes getting a ticket.

2. BU Shuttle

One of the best and worst parts of BU is the BU Shuttle. Best part? It’s free, and it makes many stops up and down Commonwealth Avenue. It’s incredibly convenient when you have back-to-back classes (especially if they’re from East to West campus or vice versa).

Bad part? They are so unreliable. More often than not, they’re a couple minutes late due to traffic which doesn’t seem like a big deal but when you’re in a hurry, it’s going to be a huge deal.

There are a few apps that facilitate catching the bus – the schedule on the actual BU app & an app called BU Transit (which tells you simply how many minutes you’ll have to wait for the next bus).

3. Walking

Boston isn’t known as a walking city for nothing. It’s free – a college student’s dream. Plus, this way, you really get to experience Boston by seeing and exploring the city you’re going to be living in for the next four years. Also, it’s guaranteed that you won’t get off at the wrong stop (though you getting lost is a different story).

Hopefully you’re not as scared to take a leap of faith on get on the T or trust that the BUS will come on time after this. And of course, always look both ways and especially watch out for bicyclists when you’re walking or even when you’re trying to walk over to a T stop.

MUSE: Book Festival

By Deborah Wong, Staff Writer

For those of you with a voracious appetite for reading, look no further!/PHOTO VIA Wikimedia Commons

Gather around, book lovers and inspiring artists!

It’s that time of that year in Boston where book lovers unite at Copley Square to share their love for the power of words. The fifth-annual Boston Book Festival will be bustling with people attending fiction-writing seminars, listening to inspiring authors about their artistic endeavors and swaying to the music of a local band. Here are the top five events that will inspire all you young writers, artists and visionaries out there:

#5 Readings in the Forum: Secrets and Lies

11 a.m., Oct. 19

Trinity Forum, Copley Square

Authors Andrew Goldstein, Douglas Kennedy and Randy Susan Meyers will read their newest novels that explore the topics of lives, secrets and lies. Each author will taking the audience through a roller coaster ride of suspense and leaving them pondering over psychological questions by the end of the seminar.

#4 The Great Gatsby: Revisualizing a 1920s Classic in 2013

3 p.m., Oct. 19

Boston Common Carver, 40 Trinity Place

Sam Wolfe Connelly, the illustrator of the new Folio Society edition of “The Great Gatsby”, will describe his creative journey of putting the classic novel into modern society but also staying true to that lifetime’s style. This event is perfect for illustrators, graphic designers and layout designers (or even those who love the style of the 1920’s).

#3 Flash Fiction Open Mic

2 p.m., Oct. 19

Old South Mary Norton, 645 Bolyston St.

For those writers who are looking for a breakthrough, bring your best fiction stories, stand in the spotlight with the microphone in front of you and present your masterpiece. The Drum, an audio literary magazine, will record each story and choose the best ones for publication in their magazine.

#2 Art and Technology

2:15 p.m., Oct. 19

Boston Public Library, Rabb Lecture Hall, 700 Boylston St.

Living in the technology era, it’s important (and absolutely riveting) to discuss how digital technology will change how we create and display art. This event is for artists who need to know how to use the newest technology to help break through their creative boundaries. Multimedia artist Clifford Ross and photographer Abelardo Morell will present how they used technology in their artworks.

#1 BBF Unbound: The Boston Marathon – Telling Tragedy’s Story

3:30 p.m., Oct. 19

Boston Common Hancock, 40 Trinity Place

Journalists and witnesses of the Boston Marathon will come together and unfold what was going through their mind as they were covering one of the biggest stories of the year. Prepare to come with questions for the panelists, which include Carlos Arredondo, Kristen Daley, Marc Furcarile, Scott Helman, Charles Krupa and Jenna Russell.

50 Shades of Pink

By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
@katreenz

MFA’s Think Pink on display./PHOTO VIA Katrina Uy

Cherry blossoms, cotton candy and girls in frilly lace dresses are just some of the many possibilities that might come to mind when one thinks of the color pink.

From the palest shades of amaranth to the more vibrant fuchsia and magenta, since the later half of the 20th century, the color pink has been associated with romance, flowers, delicateness, femininity and even boldness.

Think Pink,” the newest exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, prompts visitors to reflect on the meaning of the color pink as it has evolved through time, be it through its evolution in the use of fashion and accessories, or its association with social and gender classification. The exhibit highlights several dresses from the collection of the late Evelyn Lauder, who was known for creating the pink ribbon as a symbol for breast cancer awareness in 1992. It also showcases a handful of works from other influential designers, such as Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior and Dolce & Gabbana.

On Friday, I went to the Museum of Fine Arts for the very first time in an effort to get a much-needed breath of fresh air and explore areas off-campus. As someone who’s had a lifelong aversion to all things pink, I was pleasantly surprised by how fascinating I found the exhibit.

Though it was smaller than I was expecting it to be, its size by no means limits the message it aims to create. Rather than overwhelming visitors in a splash of pink, the exhibit draws one’s eyes to the artfully selected pieces on display. It doesn’t fail to capture one’s attention and stir intriguing topics to dwell on, with captions explaining how pink hadn’t been associated with femininity until the 1920s. Before that, both boys and girls wore pink undergarments and it wasn’t uncommon for men to wear pink formal suits. It wasn’t until the 19th century when darker business suits became trendy for men.

“Think Pink” opened last Thursday, coinciding with the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The exterior of the museum will also be illuminated in pink every night for the rest of October.

The exhibit can be found in the Loring Gallery (Gallery 276) and will be open to the public until May 26, 2014. Entry to the Museum of Fine Arts is free for BU students with identification.

MUSE: 19th Amendment’s Flash Fashion Shows: Organized Chaos Serving a Bigger Purpose

By Olivia Shur, Staff Writer

A model gets made up on-the-go./PHOTO VIA Olivia Shur

Within two seconds after stepping through the backstage area of 19th Amendment’s fashion show on Saturday, I was surrounded by complete chaos or, shall I say, organized chaos.

Clothes were hung all along the top of dressing screens, waiting for models to slip into them. The entire right side of the room had been taken over by hair and makeup artists, who were hastily beautifying away – and making the entire room smell like hairspray. Designers were running around, making sure all of their outfits were runway-ready. I approached one of the calmer-looking ones, and she not only eagerly showed me her collection, but explained the woes of the fashion industry as well.

“The fashion world can be so crucial sometimes. Either you’re in or you’re out,” said Jesenia Lopez, designer and Lasell college graduate. “It’s just really hard sometimes for emerging designers to get that credit.”

Amanda Curtis, the founder of advocacy-fashion-brand 19th Amendment, is looking to change that.

“The 19th Amendment gave everyone a voice to the democratic process. We give everyone a voice in fashion,” Curtis said.

Last summer, Curtis founded 19th Amendment, an organization that gives new designers a platform to launch their collections. She recognized the need for designers to get a foot in the door of the industry – without breaking the bank. The organization’s first ever “flash fashion shows” (more on that later), took place Saturday on Newbury Street, the Prudential Center and Quincy Market. In order to be a part of 19th Amendment, designers had to submit their work to a “virtual studio” on the organization’s website. Their designs were then featured in the fashion shows at a cost that can’t be beat: completely free.

“Compared to what the registration is at Boston Fashion Week, it’s like, $7,000 just to get into the show,” Curtis said, “And you’re maybe showing in front of 70 people, who are probably there for other reasons besides buying your stuff.”

The chaos continued as the first flash fashion show took place on Newbury Street. A 40-foot catwalk rolled out onto the sidewalk and a DJ set up alongside the buildings line Boston’s fashion avenue. Curious onlookers began to gather around the area, taking photographs and tweeting about what was happening – which was exactly what Curtis intended to happen. By having the shows out in the open, it was free for the designers to participate and for street-goers to watch. The only problem? Curtis chose not to obtain permits for using the public sidewalk; hence, a “flash fashion show”, a quick, runway-style show that lasts no more than 10 minutes. Cue, music, models, photographers and then move on to the next location – before the police come.

Curtis explained why this type of opportunity is great for emerging designers — and why Boston is the place to do it.

“If you’re in New York, you really need the money [to launch your designs]. Here you can do it without the money. This is their opportunity to show their fashion that they may not have gotten otherwise,” Curtis said.

Lopez also concurred with Curtis’ statement.

“This is that little platform, that push, just having someone standing behind you in order to get out there,” Lopez said.

In the future, Curtis has high expectations for 19th Amendment. She plans on expanding to a nationwide level, and to continue helping designers launch their careers. Curtis wants her designers to not only have success on the runway, but also have an income they can live off of through their work.

“We really want it to be a platform for designers to launch themselves into a career, where they’re not just achieving success from a Vogue standpoint, but from a financial standpoint, as well,” Curtis said.

While the chaos completely overwhelmed me, Curtis was not bothered by it in the slightest.

“This is absolutely nuts upstairs,” Curtis said, as her eyes widened with excitement, “But I love it.”