BU Quad Senior Bucket List

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Starting on March 1, the senior editorial staff  from the Quad began contributing weekly posts outlining the activities, places and trips all Boston-area college students should have on their bucket list.  A total of 10 posts makes up what these graduating seniors believe to be the most compelling, noteworthy “must-do’s” for all underclassmen to accomplish before graduation.  Here is the list in its entirety:

Cupcake_no burger_no JP_no
beer_no popcorn_no skywalk_no
bike_no music_crimson outofboston_crimson
southie_crimson

Cheat Sheet:

1. Party Favors, a hidden gem 2. Splurge on a great meal 3. Explore local culture in Jamaica Plain 4. Beer me, Boston. 5. Boston’s Alternative Movie Theaters 6. The Skywalk Observatory 7. Urban Biking Adventures 8. Explore music venues for every genre 9. Getting out of Boston 10. South Boston Street Festival

Photo credits:

1. Kara Korab 2. SweetonVeg 3. Mr. Ducke 4. compujeramey 5. D’Arcy Norman 6. whisperwolf 7. joeldinda 8. bradsearles 9. Rice Bear 10. animalvegetable

All photos, except Kara Korab, courtesy Flickr/Creative Commons.


Special Coffee & Conversation today on Obama announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death

In reaction to President Obama’s announcement late last night of the death of Osama bin Laden, the Dean of Students (DOS) office is hosting a special Coffee & Conversation today from 3-5 PM ET in the Howard Thurman Center (George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Ave, Lower Level).  Can’t make it?  DOS will be live-streaming it via UStream on their Coffee & Conversation channel.


BU Quad Bucket List #10: South Boston Street Festival

By David Bragha, the Quad writer

If I had to pick one thing for everyone to do during their time in Boston, I’d probably tell them to attend the South Boston Street Festival. It isn’t necessarily the most fun thing to do in the city, and it doesn’t carry the obligatory blood alcohol content level that the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade mandates (although you are certainly free to challenge that notion), but as an experience overall, it’s been one of the few that’s really stayed with me over the last four years.

"South Boston from Afar" Courtesey of Wikimedia, Luciof

"South Boston from Afar" Courtesey of Wikimedia, Luciof

Part of this is because of the randomness of circumstance. I had no idea I’d be going to the festival when I went, and when I got there, I had no idea what to expect. My idea of Southie, founded mostly on the movies and Dennis Lehane novels, was far different from the reality. And so when my traveling companion went off to interview people for an article for the Free Press, I meandered about on my own, taking in the event on my own and finding that it was quite to my liking.

The festival itself isn’t anything out of the ordinary. There are street vendors, community groups looking for membership, food, drinks, and a stage for music and dancing. It stretches a few blocks of East Broadway and runs for a few hours in the afternoon. The food is acceptable street grub, sausages, sandwiches and other snacks (I couldn’t find a funnel cake to save my life, but perhaps I wasn’t looking hard enough), and Guinness is available at every street corner bar within eyesight. It’s a perfect recipe for a easily enjoyable afternoon, but still it becomes something more.

It ends up being the particulars of the area that make the festival so enjoyable. The people selling their paintings on the sidewalk who are more than willing to talk to you about their artistic war against the government. The toddlers in ‘Southie Pride’ shirts. The people watching from the porches of their homes, enjoying the weather and taking it all in. More than anything else, you get a strong sense of community from the street festival, and that’s what matters.

"Thomas Park, Bringing the Noise to a Wandering Crowd" Photo was taken by Sarah Sanders

"Thomas Park, Bringing the Noise to a Wandering Crowd" Photo was taken by Sarah Sanders

You see people talking to one another, laughing and enjoying life together, but actually being sincere about it. This isn’t just small talk. These are people that know and care about one another. When Thomas Park (Southie’s premier classic rock cover band) plays “Sweet Home South Boston” and tweaks the lyrics to honor a fallen neighborhood hero, it isn’t cheesy, it actually means something. I, being a somewhat southern man, take my Skynyrd seriously, but I was won over by this rendition. I could tell the band and the audience meant every word of what they were singing and saying. It is an honesty and respect that isn’t easy to come by.

I was once told by a half drunk ex-Bruins player that the reason he loved Boston was because he felt that it was “the biggest small town” in the world. I liked that idea. That, more than anything, is the reason I’d go to the South Boston Street Festival. It gives us an idea of the meaning of a community that many of us (myself included) have never felt before. It also gives you the chance to see Southie, an area of Boston that has been somewhat unfairly saddled with a bad reputation, as a real, living and pleasant place. A place where things may not always be great, but where people know and care about one another, and things are all okay in the end because it’s a community that lives together. It’s something to see.


The Power of Narrative: The Rebirth of Storytelling

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This weekend, Pulitzer Prize winners and best-selling authors will convene here at BU for the Journalism Department‘s annual conference, The Power of Narrative: The Rebirth of Storytelling. There, some of the nation’s most celebrated writers will discuss the art and future of narrative nonfiction.

2011 speakers include:

The conference takes place today and tomorrow in the Kenmore Classroom Building. For registration information and a complete schedule of conference events visit here.


The Life of [Kerin] Riley celebrates Easter Irish style and visits Cork

The Life of [Kerin] Riley continues her musings on packing up life abroad, cooking scones and visiting beautiful Cork:

Since Monday was Easter Monday we all had the day off of work.  A week or so ago Evan and I bought scone mix at the grocery store because we wanted scones.  So this Monday we decided to make them!

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Unfortunately, I was too busy eating to remember to take a picture of the finished product so you’ll just have to take my word that they were delicious! read on…


BU Quad Bucket List #9: Getting out of Boston

By Deanna Falcone, the Quad writer

There are so many great things to do in Boston that it may seem pointless to leave at all. However, it is sometimes nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of a big city and relax in a quieter, yet equally interesting town or city. New England is full of great tourist destinations but there are a couple great ones within reasonable distance of Boston.

Newburyport
I first visited Newburyport with my family on vacation a few years ago and I fell in love. It is a small coastal town about an hour north of Boston and is home to great shopping, food, and of course beautiful vistas. Easily accessible by car or train, Newburyport is a fun place to get away for the day and it is easily the quietest out of these locales. Homemade fudge, home decor, clothing, kitchen wares – all these and more are for sale in this cute port town.

Provincetown
At the northern tip of Cape Cod is Provincetown, a culturally thriving tourist town filled with great seafood places, souvenir shops, quirky locals and of course a beautiful view of the ocean. Provincetown is accessible by car and bus, but it takes three hours – so if you dont get too motion sick I would suggest taking the fast ferry which cuts the trip down to 90 minutes. Commonly referred to as “Ptown,” this place is great all year round but is best in the summer or spring and even early fall. Ptown has a vibrant hippie-alternative flavor unique to the rest of the cape and is not a trip to miss.

Salem
Probably the most popular out-of-town trip for Boston University students, Salem comes alive in the month of October for Halloween festivities. I have visited three times myself and I can never get enough of it. Museums, haunted houses, great food, souvenir shops and of course, street performances, make this town one that you could easily spend the whole day in. With these modern tourist attractions also comes the plethora of history that characterizes Salem and there are plenty of sites to see, including the old Burying Point cemetery. For the best cinnamon buns A&J King Bakery is a must.


Robert Lowell Memorial Lecture tonight

The Creative Writing Program will host its annual Robert Lowell Memorial Lecture featuring former Poet Laureate and 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner Kay Ryan and program alumna Katherine Hollander tonight at 7:00 PM in the Photonics Center, Room 206.  The Lecture was established to bring distinguished writers to campus to read alongside recent graduates of the program.  It is funded by Nancy Livingston and Fred M. Levin through The Shenson Foundation, in memory of Drs. Ben & A. Jess Shenson.  The lecture is free and open to the public.


Roméo et Juliette: A New Twist on a Classic Tale

romeo and Juliet

Everyone is familiar with the classic story of “Romeo and Juliet,” but this weekend CFA is spicing it up with an all-French opera rendition of the Shakespeare classic with English supertitles by Allison Voth. The performance is a collaboration between CFA’s School of Music Opera Institute and the School of Theatre and is hosted by CFA graduate students. The music is by Charles Gounod and the Libretto by Jules Barber and Michel Carré.

The performance will run from April 21-24, beginning at 7:30 PM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2:00 pm on Sunday at the Boston University Theatre. Tickets are free with a BU ID, so don’t miss out. Tickets for BU alumni, WGBH members, Huntington subscribers, students and senior citizens are $15, and $20 to the general public.

The Huntington Theatre is located at 264 Huntington Avenue. To buy your tickets online, visit the Boston Theatre Scene or call the Box Office at (617) 933-8600.


Celebrated writer Walter Mosley at GSU tonight

mosleyThe Friends of the Libraries will host celebrated writer Walter Mosley tonight at 5:30 PM in Metcalf Hall (2nd Floor of George Sherman Union, 775 Comm Ave).  Mosley is the author of more than 34 critically acclaimed books, including the bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins and Devil in the Blue Dress, which was adapted as a film starring Denzel Washington.  Mosley has been the recipient of the O. Henry Award, a Grammy and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  Prizes for the prestigious Lawrence G. Blackmon Student Book Collecting Contest will be awarded before the lecture.  The event is free to Friends of the Libraries members and BU students, $25 per person for the public.


BU Quad Bucket List #8: Explore Music Venues for Every Genre

By Meghan Ross, the Quad writer

For some reason, as soon as I graduated high school, I decided it was time to mark my newfound freedom as a college student living on my own in a different city by becoming an avid concert-goer. Also, I really needed to experience live music beyond just the 2 NSYNC concerts I went to as a kid. Lucky for me, Boston is not only a major city stop on a lot of great bands’ tours, but also boasts a ton of cool concert venues. And I’m not talking about going to TD Banknorth Garden or Bank of America Pavillion. In fact, the only time I’ve been to a concert in a huge venue in Boston was at Fenway Park, which personally I thought was more exciting to watch than a baseball game.

Thanks to my reliable “New England Concert Update” emails from Live Nation and Ticketmaster, I’ve been able to see some of my favorite musicians and artists at a range of different venues (as well as reminders of what shows I’m too broke to afford at the time). Each location makes the live music experience unique from the others and my recommendation for BU students is to try them all and see for yourselves. And another plus to going to concerts in smaller venues is that most of the time, you don’t have to break the bank for a couple tickets because the prices are usually significantly less than you’d pay to see a performance at a place like TD Banknorth.

So here’s my list of some of the best places to see a concert in Boston, including both new and old establishments, as well as some that are too close to campus to not check out. Most of these venues don’t have assigned seating, so go early if you want to snag a spot near the stage.

1. Paradise Rock Club – Located right near the CityCo in West Campus, this historic venue has been around since the great rock ‘n roll days of the 70’s and was the first U.S. venue that U2 performed in. Aside from hosting music icons like The Police, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Elvis Costello, and Billy Joel back then, in recent years they’ve had Kings of Leon, Of Montreal (which was an epic visual acid trip when they performed on Marathon Monday in 2009), and Bruno Mars. This is one of my favorite concert venues of all the places I’ve been to in and outside Boston because its smaller size allows performers and the audience to have a more intimate experience with live music. Take it from someone who saw a Bruce Springsteen cover band TWICE here (that’s soccer mom status right there), as well as Blitzen Trapper and Of Montreal Marathon Monday madness.

2. House of Blues – One of the newer venues in Boston with locations all over the U.S., HOB is right next to Fenway Park down on Landsdowne St. When I first went to see Matt and Kim here last fall, it immediately reminded me of a place called Koko that I went to in London during my semester abroad. Both have big theatre-like stages and a higher level in addition to the main floor for people to watch the band perform from. BU chose HOB for the Scarlet Fever concert featuring Big Boi and Vonnegut this year and seniors will also get a chance to go to HOB during senior week events. The trainwreck that is Ke$ha recently performed here the other night and upcoming shows include Iron & Wine, Diddy Dirty Money, and Guster.

House of Blues

3. Wilbur Theatre – This venue located on Tremont St. in Boston’s theatre district became the new home to the Comedy Connection, which used to be located inside Quincy Market right before I came to BU in 2007. While they mostly host wickedly hilarious comedians (including Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, Doug Benson, and Kathy Griffin), Wilbur also books some well-known (and random) musical groups, including Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons and Boyz II Men (I assure you this is their 2011 concert calendar I’m referencing). I first saw The Fray here during my sophomore year, which was probably the perfect venue for their music. The stage design was full of all different size and shaped lamps that were mostly kept dim, which added to the historic old-theatre vibe during the performance. An awesome place to check out live music as well as stand-up.

Wilbur

4. The Middle East – For the live music fanatic who doesn’t mind venturing further off campus to Cambridge, this is definitely a spot to check out. The Middle East has several sections to it, including a huge downstairs area where big shows take place and a couple lounge sections where you can catch some live jazz music or even some stand-up comedy. It used to be a place mostly known for booking good indie rock lineups, but more recently it has become a haven for electronica gigs with DJ sets and their biddie-filled Throwed dance party nights. There’s also a restaurant and bar area to hang out in before or after shows.

5. Great Scott – While it’s technically more of a bar that happens to showcase a mix of live music, DJs, and sometimes even stand-up, their weeknight shows are usually 18+ while weekends are 21+. It’s located right across from the Harvard Ave. T stop on the green line in Allston, so expect a crowd full of college students on most nights. The Great Scott is an ideal place to check out local and up-and-coming bands in a smaller venue and it’s pretty budget-friendly, though sometimes you’ll have to pay a cover charge at the door in addition to tickets for shows priced between $5 and $12. If Throwed at Middle East isn’t your type of dance party, you can check out The Pill dance parties here on Friday nights for “vintage-pop and modern indie.”

6. Brighton Music Hall – Formerly Harper’s Ferry, the people who own Paradise Rock Club recently took over this venue, which is located on Brighton Ave. in Allston. While one of the smallest of these venues listed, tickets for shows generally cost only between $10 and $15. A lot of the bands that come through here may not be as recognizable as performers at Paradise or House of Blues, but there’s still a lot of good live music listening to be experienced in this music hall with a dive bar-feel. And once in a blue moon, they’ll even have a night of comedy, including a past performance by 2/3rd of comedy trio Stella – Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black. I’m still kicking myself for not getting tickets to that show.