Category: Mutimedia

Two Schools, Two Pianos

By Alex H. Wagner

Although the idea of dueling pianos tends to share connotations with a Bugs Bunny cartoon, in reality the act of playing music in a pair or group brings unlikely groups together. In this instance, that divide is the Charles River separating Boston University and Harvard.

For the first time, BU and Harvard students played a joint recital at Boston University’s Tsai Performance Center, as part of the Two Piano Project, a collaborative effort between piano programs at the two schools. The projected was formulated last summer by BU’s Piano Department chairman Boaz Sharon, BU doctoral candidate Anna Arazi and George Ko, Co-President of the Harvard College Piano Society.

Auburn Lee, one of the Harvard pianists, agrees that the shared recital between schools is something special. Having pianists from both schools “coming together to make music…that’s really the coolest part.”

When asked what his personal goals were for the evening, Lee kept it simple: to play well, and to tell a story.

The Two Piano Project turned out to be quite a treat, especially after several pianos hit the streets of Boston last Fall for the “Play Me, I’m Yours” art project.

Check out BU and Harvard battle it out on the piano below:


Accepting the Challenge: Rhett’s Challenge

Could you eat one triple bacon cheeseburger, one order of fries, one root beer and one eight-scoop super sundae in 30 minutes or less? On Tuesday, three Boston University students representing different groups on campus took on the feast known as Rhett’s Challenge. Former managing editor and current men’s hockey writer Tim Healey stepped up to the plate, or more appropriately the tray, to represent the FreeP.  Watch the video to find out if Tim succeeds.

Sequester, explained

By Brandon Lewis, Staff Writer

During the first few months of 2013, the “sequester” has been a hot topic in the media, economic debates and White House conversations. Many Americans believe the term refers to government budget cuts but there’s more to it than that. Do you feel confident about your definition of “sequester”? Here’s what I think you need to know.


  • In 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act which contended that if Republicans and Democrats could not agree on a plan to reach the $1.3 trillion goal of reductions in federal spending to pan out over the next ten years, dramatic budget cuts would be implemented. It was deliberately created to have severe affects and was intended to inspire collaboration and agreement. However, since the goal was not met, the sequester was put into effect.

Sequester is… 

  • The sequester is a group of cuts to federal spending that went into effect on March 1. Throughout 2013, over $85 billion worth of cuts will be implemented across American agencies.

What will be affected? 

  • There will be an even split in spending cuts between domestic and defense programs
  • Everyone, essentially, will be affected by indiscriminate spending cuts
  • No programs are eliminated, but federal investment in the programs across the board is drastically reduced. 

Possible Solution 

  • Compromise between Democrats and Republicans
  • Balanced plan to reduce deficit

The sequester is in effect because the Republicans and Democrats can not compromise. Republicans and Democrats in Congress were supposed to come to an agreement on how to reduce the country’s financial deficits. Since they weren’t able to agree on any proposal, arbitrary automatic cuts (aka the sequester) were implemented.  Hopefully, Congress can come to an agreement soon because they brought this crisis on themselves (and us) and only they can fix it.

I asked a few students about the sequester to see if what they knew about it.

Opinion in news coverage: good or bad?

By Brian Latimer, Staff Writer

If you have ever been in a newsroom or in a journalism class, editors and professors will tell you to avoid editorializing as much as possible. People do not want to read what you think. They want to know: What happened? What is the result?

You have to report the facts. You cannot report your own opinion. The people need to read and judge a news outlet solely on the way they present information — not opinion.

But the advise of professors and colleagues aside, how much of a role does opinion actually play in news coverage?

 Forbes recently reported a PEW Research study that said out of all the major broadcast networks, MSNBC relies the most on opinion programming. Up to 85 percent of all the shows on MSNBC in 2012 broadcasted opinion instead of cold, hard, unbiased reporting packages.

Opinion does not only entail any of Keith Olbermann’s infamous rants or Bill O’Reilly’s explosive temper. O’Reilly even openly criticizes media bias even though his program is considered a talk show.

It’s everywhere. If you read the Huffington Post, you read NBC News or you read USA Today, you will find writers and reporters slipping in their points of view or shouting their thoughts at the teleprompter.

So is media bias somewhat necessary in reporting the news?

Frankly, it spices up debates on prominent social issues. It invigorates people and pushes them to discussion. That fire in your belly, that one that sparks every time you disagree with someone on minimum wage requirements or drug laws, is stoked daily by the bias in the media.

It also contributes dramatically to the polarity of the nation.

Networks now consistently cater to their viewer audience and broadcast what their demographics like to hear. It keeps the news alive and ensures that advertisers will return.

Media bias buffers the audience’s opinions, but it stonewalls other views from broadcasting on their programs.

Major broadcast networks have found stability in their programming by locking in their respective audiences. What we need is a far left host like Rachel Maddow, a far right host like Rush Limbaugh and an intermediary like Anderson Cooper to come together and form their own network.

Let us form our own points of view by listening to all sides of an issue. Hard news with no slant is the most informative, but opinion is also so much zestier.

In the video below, the media takes on the issue of opinion in reporting the news. Interestingly, the report is done by Bill O’Reilly.

Tinder takes over: the dating app becoming popular among BU students

By Samantha Wong, Staff Writer

Boston University remains a mixed-bag dating scene, with lots of different people wanting a lot of different things, from hook-ups to relationships and everything in between.

The classic method of asking someone out is when one person invites another person out.  But, in both the figurative and literal sense, with so much to do and so little time, it seems that students are more inclined towards an easier approach.

That’s where Tinder comes in.

The new location-based “dating app,” and its counterpart Grindr, described on its site as an “all-male location-based social network,” has been appearing on smartphones across BU’s campus.

The application works by connecting a user’s Facebook profile to the application once it is downloaded. Tinder takes the user’s profile picture on Facebook and allows other Tinder users to ‘like’ or ‘pass’ the user’s profile picture.

If two users ‘like’ each other then they have the option to go into a private chat room to meet. Some people choose not to meet and continue to ‘like’ or ‘pass’ others. Tinder does not post if the application is being used on Facebook and does not publish any of the user’s information to other users, other than age and first name if available.

Certainly, a virtual world may seem like a better way to ease into the dating scene, especially for students who have had bad previous experiences.

An anonymous female student from the School of Management recalls how a random male student asked her about the schedule of the bus and then proceeded to accompany her on the journey home uninvited. He then chatted her up the entire journey, not letting the fact that this could be a potentially awkward situation bother him. The male student then asked for the female student’s number when they were to part ways, which she felt obliged to decline.

Kayla Gillespie, College of Arts and Science freshman, said she was set up on a terrible blind date. Halfway through dinner, Gillespie’s date started yelling out obscenities, and then implied that they should go back to his residence and do “other things.” Gillespie’s date proceeded to ask her to pay for his dinner because he did not bring any money and then followed her to the nearest T stop— all the while attempting to convince her to change her mind about coming back with him. It is no surprise that Gillespie said “needless to say I will not be going on a blind date again, anytime soon.”

However, some students are fortunate enough to have found a significant other (traditionally- in person) while at BU. Adrien Gates, College of Arts and Science sophomore, whose boyfriend is in the School of Management, believes that dating at BU is not as difficult as it seems.

“Maybe I just got lucky. I think what really impresses a guy is when you initiate things, especially with the 2:3 ratio [of guys to girls] BU has,” said Gates.

The general consensus of dating at Boston University is that there is no general consensus. Some people meet each other without the use of dating sites and apps, and some find them fun and useful.

People should not feel pressured by the presumed college dating scene to do something out of their comfort zone. These dating apps may make it easier for people to approach each other in ways that they wouldn’t usually do in person.

LOLThursday: ‘real’ endings to Disney classics

By Jasmine Ferrell, Staff Writer

As if you couldn’t get enough, yet another Disney YouTube video has gone viral. First there were the hipster princesses now there are alternative endings to our favorite Disney Princesses. Featuring the heroines of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, and Aladdin, this one man creates an amazing a cappella arrangement that suggests some more realistic endings. For instance, the movie Aladdin failed to show that Aladdin actually gets taken to Guantanamo Bay, isn’t that scandalous? So if you like your fairytales as depressing as everyday life can be (but still set to some catchy melodies), you might want to mosey on over and take a gander.

‘Whose Line’ to return to TV

By Maya Devereaux, Staff Writer

Whose Line veteran Wayne Brady took to Twitter to express his excitement about the show's return/ PHOTO VIA Twitter and @waynebrady

Whose Line veteran Wayne Brady took to Twitter to express his excitement about the show’s return/ PHOTO VIA Twitter and @waynebrady

Scenes From a Hat, Foreign Film Dub, Props, oh and Wayne Brady. Do these terms ring any bells? Well the rumors are true! Whose Line is it Anyway, the improvisational comedy show that launched in 1998, will be returning to your TV, according to Gawker.

The 22-minute comedy show that ran for nine seasons on ABC and subsequently on ABC family has been picked up by the CW. Another key change which viewers should take as they will is Drew Carey’s departure. Carey will not be returning for the reboot and will be replaced by Aisha Taylor, comedian and TV personality.

What about the other Whose Line veterans? Well, Wayne Brady, Collin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles will all be returning. Wayne and Collin have enthusiastically taken to their Twitter accounts by announcing the good news.

So say so long to reminiscing about hilarious Whose Line moments via scattered clips on YouTube! Sure, there are many fans who will be upset by the fact that Carey won’t be hosting, but at least the rest of the talent is the same. Plus, every a special guest will participate in each episode. Remember the episode with Robin Williams?

LOLThursday: hipster Disney princesses

By Devon Delfino, Staff Writer

Everyone knows the Disney princesses: Belle, Ariel, Snow White, Cinderella, etc.

Well, they’re real. And they’ve gone hipster.

That’s right, all of your favorite royal songstresses are encouraging us to “be a hipster” by drinking Starbucks coffee, shopping at thrift stores (a.k.a Urban Outfitters), drinking Kombucha tea and buying vinyl records.

The princesses emphasize their “uniqueness” in the typical hipster fashion, and encourage others to “embrace your inner irony” and be an “individual.” The video features several pointers on how to become a hipster and leave the mainstream behind.

It features a sushi-loving Little Mermaid, plenty of princesses wearing oversized frames and Snow White bragging about talking to birds before the Twitter craze. Not to mention an organic bra and a subtle nod to the hipster-crazed bloggers on Tumblr.

The video has well over 3 million views on Youtube, and already has a few parody video’s imitating it. Its creators, the AVbyte brothers, post tri-weekly musical videos, including “Google is Your Friend,” “Slender Real Life!-The Musical,” and “Disney Princess Leia.”

Now you too can be “so unique that [you’re] all the same!” So sit back and relax to the sound of Disney beauties singing their little hipster hearts out.

Oscars observations

By Seline Jung, Staff Writer

Ouch. The Twitter-sphere was buzzing with some not-so-nice commentary about Anne Hathaway last night/ PHOTO VIA Storify and Twitter user Jen Doll

Ouch. The Twitter-sphere was buzzing with some not-so-nice commentary about Anne Hathaway last night/ PHOTO VIA Storify and Twitter user Jen Doll

The 85th Academy Awards were pretty much like every other Academy Awards. Nothing groundbreaking happened, although good moments were made better because of reactions and coverage on social media. Here are some quick personal observations of the ceremony on Sunday. All opinions are my own:

  1. The gowns were quite underwhelming this year. Anne Hathaway literally wore a satin pink slip. What happened to dramatic haute couture? My best-dressed picks were: Amy Adams, Sally Field, Naomi Watts and Alicia Vikander. For a night like the Oscars, I appreciate “Go big or go home.”
  2. All the controversy around Seth MacFarlane’s hosting job being sexist or inappropriate has no basis. At all. What do you expect from the creator of the most inappropriate show on television? He was actually funny and I didn’t want to pull my hair out from sheer cringe-worthiness, as was the case with Anne Hathaway and James Franco last year (fail). Also: “We Saw Your Boobs” was hilarious. As a woman, I found no offense in it.
  3. Facial hair was abundant, and I wasn’t against it.
  4. Anne Hathaway hate on Twitter was rampant last night.
  5. Ben Affleck’s thank-you to his wife Jennifer Garner was sweet, honest and sincere, even if it may have come off wrong in the moment. But it didn’t.
  6. Daniel Day-Lewis is 55 and he’s never looked better.
  7. Quvenzhane Wallis is adorable. I secretly wish she won best actress just for the bombshell shock factor. Also, how amazing would her speech have been?

View a Storify of Oscar Twitter reactions here.

Boston “bar crawl”

By Hilary Ribons, Blog Editor @hilaryalexisr
and Seline Jung, Multimedia Editor @selinejung

Some of the DFP staff ventured out on a Friday night for a “bar crawl!” Check out the list on our Foursquare map to see where you’re headed. Here’s what we found:

A cozy atmosphere awaits at Tommy Doyle's/ PHOTO BY Hilary Ribons. CLICK PHOTO FOR FULL PHOTO SLIDESHOW

A cozy atmosphere awaits at Tommy Doyle’s/ PHOTO BY Hilary Ribons. CLICK PHOTO FOR FULL PHOTO SLIDESHOW

Tommy Doyle’s:

Located on the side of a small street in Cambridge, Tommy Doyle’s looks like a house from its warm interiors to its wood siding. There was and upper and lower level, but on the night we were there, the upper level had a cover charge and the lower level was a private event. The atmosphere on the main floor is in between a nice sit-down place and a club. It’s a good place to hang out with friends and casually sip drinks before heading to a full-fledged club.

Hong Kong:

From the outside, this bar/club looks like your average neighborhood Chinese food restaurant. But don’t be fooled by the Hong Kong‘s looks. Once you pass the bouncer, make a sharp left, and go up some stairs and you’ll get to a second level. A well decorated bar is packed with people in their twenties and thirties socializing, standing in groups or sitting in offset corner booths with tables. The bartenders are friendly and interactive. But wait, there’s more.

There is a third floor as well. The night we attended, there was a long wait for the floor and most of our party did not get to go up. Part of the excitement surrounding the third floor was the hype that was created amongst the people waiting to go up.

The dance floor was pagoda-themed, and smaller than the lower two floors. Perhaps the biggest allure of the Hong Kong it feels like you have discovered a new scene each time you ascend the stairs.

A cosmo at Mass Ave Tavern/ PHOTO BY Hilary Ribons. CLICK PHOTO FOR FULL PHOTO STORY.

A cosmo at Mass Ave Tavern/ PHOTO BY Hilary Ribons. CLICK PHOTO FOR FULL PHOTO STORY.


There are plenty of dance clubs/bars in Boston, but few have no cover charge. This is one of the few. Storyville usually has a small line. Once inside, you descend a flight of stairs and have the option of entering one of two rooms. The first is lit with red lights and has a bar, and, behind a half-wall with rentable booths, a dance floor. The second room has blue lighting, its own music and a different, calmer yet still dance-worthy atmosphere. This club is good for decent drinks at a decent price, dancing, and saving money. The age group can be a little older, but if you go with a group of friends it’s a lot of fun.

Mass Ave Tavern:

Spacious sports bar/restaurant on Mass Ave and Newbury St. The service at Mass Ave Tavern is fast and friendly and the ambience is laid back but a bit nicer than your average sports bar. It’s not a typical college crowd, but if you don’t want to be bothered by anyone and just want to throw back a beer or two and eat nachos (seriously, the nachos could feed a party of 10) with your friends, Mass Ave Tavern is your place. There is also a foosball table and an array of board games to play, a fun and laid-back addition that mad Mass Ave stand out. Specialty cocktails include the Bee Keeper, which our fellow FreeP staffer described as “rye whiskey [with] fresh lemon and honey [to] really balance it out. It’s palatable and complements it instead of drawing attention to the alcohol.”

Grendel’s Den:

In our opinion, this was by far the best place of the night. Located right in the heart of Harvard Square, Grendel’s is located in the basement of a charming white building. It does sort of feel like a den – prepare to feel cozy but not suffocated, as can be the case in many bars frequented by college students. The crowd is young, the bartenders are trendy and tattooed, and prices are wallet-friendly. But beware of the specialty drink called “Kanye’s Workout Plan” – it sounds cool, but according to our taste-tester, it tasted more like watered-down mint syrup mixed in with some vodka than a refreshing lime-infused drink.

Click for a full photo slideshow

CLICK PHOTO FOR FULL PHOTO SLIDESHOW. Patrons sit inside Mass Ave Tavern/ PHOTO BY Hilary Ribons

Patrons sit inside Mass Ave Tavern/ PHOTO BY Hilary Ribons