Tiffany: Favorite Places in Boston

Tiffany ImageCongratulations COM class of 2016! I can’t wait to meet you all at the Open Houses coming up in the next couple weeks. Open House is not only a great time for you to learn more about all the exciting classes, programs, clubs, and activities at BU and COM, but its also the perfect time for you to fall in love with this city that has stolen my heart. I know many of you will only be in town for a couple days so here’s a short list of some of my favorite places in Boston that I recommend you visit during your short stay:

  • Newbury Street: Great shopping, beautiful scenery, and delicious restaurants
  • Fanieul Hall: Historical sites + architecture, delicious food in Quincy Market
  • Legal Seafood: My favorite Boston clam chowder
  • North End: Dessert at Mike’s Pastry
  • Boston Public Garden: On a nice day, take a relaxing stroll and see the historical Swan Boats

Safe travels to those who are coming out of town and I can’t wait to meet you in a couple weeks! Congrats, again!

Julianna: Boston- The Ultimate De-Stress

Julianna ImageFirst and foremost, CONGRATS on your acceptance to BU COM! Time to attend Open House, submit your final decision and rock your new BU gear in school. Next up is finishing senior year on a high note and attending summer orientation. Believe me when I tell you that once you go to orientation you’ll never want to leave Boston for the rest of the summer. By the time the weekend is over you’ll be planning lunch dates with your new friends for September. While at orientation you will get a small taste of Boston’s vibrant culture. Just wait until you get here in the fall when you can fully explore (and eat and shop your way through) the different neighborhoods.

Take advantage of the city as much as you can because as the semester goes on and your workload builds up, you may venture out into the city less and less. Here’s my advice: the best time to actually enjoy Boston is when you’re super stressed. Manage your time, hide out in a quiet space in-between classes and then at night unwind by taking a mini shopping trip to Newbury or attending a concert. You’ll see that by taking a few hours off from assignments will feel incredibly therapeutic.

On a recent Monday night my best friend and I went to the Chairlift concert at Brighton Music Hall. Getting the chance to dance just a few feet away from one of my favorite current bands not only helped me to de-stress for a few hours, but gave me a boost of energy for the rest of the week. So be spontaneous, enjoy Boston. YOLO.

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Jon: Game On: PAX East Invades Boston

Jon ImageHi all! Spring is in the air, and you know what that means: time for PAX East. What is PAX you ask? Well, for those of you who don’t know, Penny Arcade Expo, or PAX, is a three-day gaming convention created by the writers of the Web Comic Penny Arcade. The convention, originally launched in 2004, was created as a celebration of everything gamer culture-related. From Halo to Ski-Ball, PAX had a niche for every type of gamer.

Unfortunately for us east-coasters, the original PAX, now known as PAX Prime, is held on the west coast. However, in 2010 the creators of PAX launched a brand new event: PAX East. Held in Boston, PAX east was to be a chance for Atlantic fans of video games to enjoy the pure awesomeness that PAX had to offer, and it lived up to that ideal, with more attendees in its first year than the 6-year-old PAX Prime.

Since 2010, PAX East has flourished, and from April 6th to April 8th, it invades the massive Boston Convention and Exhibition Center(BCEC) with music, lectures, Q&A’s, slammin’ dance parties, and, of course, a massive dose of gaming.

PAX is going to be a great experience, both personally and professionally. For anyone interested in the entertainment business, there will be something relevant to your chosen career field going on. For me, this is the Star Power in Marketing lecture, which will discuss the role and effect of celebrities in video game marketing campaigns (an issue that is certainly relevant with the recent Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 trailer featuring Sam Worthington and Jonah Hill). For others it might be Video Games Aren’t Just for Playing panel on pro gaming and e-sports broadcasting/spectating. Or maybe it’s even the Community Management 2012 talk by a group of P.R. professionals working for major gaming studios and developers. These amazing opportunities are not your average industry panels. This is all without mentioning the plentiful opportunities to network with professionals in the gaming business.

PAX East is going to be chaotic and amazing. The weekend-long gaming-oriented event will be a chance to party up, groove out, and game on. It’s going to be a weekend to remember. And of course, I’ll be live-tweeting the whole thing from @JonMayer249.

Until Next Time,

~Jon

Steph: Big City, Big Opportunities

Steph ImageOne of the biggest factors I considered when looking for the perfect school was location. Early on in my search, I was convinced that I wanted a secluded campus with lots of lawns, brick, and vines. However, that quickly changed once I arrived on Boston University’s campus. For me, BU was the perfect combination: it had that collegiate, campus feeling while being in the middle of a big, exciting city. Once I walked down Comm Ave for the first time, I decided that with my eyes set on a degree in Communication, I couldn’t pass up all the amazing opportunities being in a big city would offer me.

Almost a year later (I can’t believe its gone by so fast), I’m absolutely positive that my decision was the right one. The fact is, through BU, COM, and the prime location, I have had so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had if I had chosen a different school in a different location.

Last night, my friend Anneliese and I hopped on the T right outside of our dorm and rode over the river to Cambridge. We were on our way to see a special screening of the movie Boy, a New Zealand film by director Taika Waititi, who also wrote and starred in it. Immediately following the screening, Waititi was there to do a Q&A. This was no ordinary night for Anneliese. Waititi is her favorite filmmaker, and inspired her love for the tiny country of New Zealand. Through the COM Study Abroad program, Anneliese plans on studying abroad there while having an internship in Film and TV. Because Boston is such a major city in the US, many filmmakers set their eyes on it for screenings and to help get the word out. Anneliese never thought that in her first year at college, she’d get the change to interview her favorite filmmaker from New Zealand. After contacting Waititi through Twitter, Anneliese was promised an interview with him after the screening for the profile she is writing on him for The Buzz, BU’s magazine.

Putting her COM 201 Writing for Communication skills to work, Anneliese dominated the Q&A and impressed Waititi with her professional questions. The producer of the film was also there, and approached us after the session. “Are you doing an article?” he asked her, clearly noticing the preparation and care had gone into her questions. She explained that she’s writing a profile for BU, and the producer instantly offered to give Anneliese Waititi’s contact information so that she could get the rest of her questions answered. While we were calm, collected, and professional on the outside, on the inside, we were BURSTING with excitement. She even got a kiss on the cheek from Waititi!

This is just one example of the incredible opportunities that come with studying in a major city. One more quick one: this past week, there was a pilot for a new ABC show filming—right on campus! Especially as a COM student, getting the chance to really put yourself out there and gain hands on experience in what you are studying is essential. COM encourages it, and so do I!

Come see for yourself how awesome it is to go to school in Boston—our COM Open Houses for admitted students are April 14th and 21st. Hope to see you there!

Anna: The Best Spots in Boston

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As I come to the end of my time here in Boston, all of my friends from high school/home seem to be making last minute attempts to come see me and the city. Obviously, I have been trying to get them all to visit for the past 3.5 years, but you know how it is. No one ever has money or time or (fill in your friends’ favorite excuses here).  Nonetheless, my best friend since the age of 10 is coming to see me next month, so in the spirit of having a visitor (YAY!), I figured I’d share some of my favorite things to do around the city with out-of-towners. Full Disclosure: There really are only so many times you can walk the Freedom Trail, so get creative with your guests for your own sake!

Institute of Contemporary Art:

The ICA is located on the waterfront near the courthouse, but it’s worth the short trek. Pretty much everyone (your parents) wants to see a museum when they come into town, so you might as well take them to a cool one. The ICA has all sorts of awesome exhibits. For example, this past summer they had a really extensive display of some of the best music album art.

La Famiglia Giorgio:

Going to the North End is a must for every visitor, so save some money and go to my favorite spot La Famiglia. The portions are huge. Honestly, they are ginormous. I have never seen anyone be able to finish a plate of pasta there, and yet, my friends still claim that they can. There is also a secret 20% student discount, so anyone with a college ID can spend less for leftovers for days.

Brattle Book Shop:
For any of your friends interested in antiquing or vintage anything, the Brattle Book Shop is the place to take them. There is a ton of really cool used books and an amazing selection of first edition books.  Even if you aren’t into books like I am (I know it’s weird), I promise you and any visitor will love it here. It’s also a really cool place to pick up a unique gift or souvenir since a good section of the books are about New England and Boston.

SOWA Open Market:

This South End market is only open on Sundays, but contrary to popular belief, the fun lasts all year ‘round. In the summer, you can bring your friends and family to the outdoor market that features a lot of art and clothing stands and all of Boston’s best food trucks. In the winter, though, it transforms into more of an indoor farmers market. Still, it’s a cool place to visit. Plus since you’re already in the South End on Sunday, you can stop at one of the neighborhood’s many amazing restaurants or cafes for brunch.

Anna: Good Music is Right Around the Corner

Anna ImageWith Coachella fast approaching and the Lollapalooza lineup leaked this week, I’ve been feeling some serious music envy lately.  Really, though, to all of you flying out to California for Coachella in April, stop telling me about your plans. I’m too jealous. If you’re like me and are struggling to find a couple of dollars for your Starbucks order each morning, you probably won’t be headed out to any major festival this spring or summer. Have no fear though! There are some great acts coming to Boston in the coming months. Best of all, these shows are relatively cheap.

As I did with my very first blog post last year, here are my recommendations for five worthwhile concerts coming to a venue near you throughout the spring semester:

Oberhofer

3/22

Brighton Music Hall

$12.00

Known mostly for being featured in endless commercials, Oberhofer is still working on gaining popularity outside of the advertising world. Led by Brad Oberhofer, the band has an upbeat sound that will keep you dancing and happy throughout the show. Check out the songs “Away From You” and “Gold” for a solid sample of the group.

Gotye with Kimbra

3/29

House of Blues

$25.00

I can’t go a day without a new cover of Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know” being posted on facebook. The original song, which features New Zealand artist Kimbra, was a huge hit this past summer in Gotye’s native Australia and is slowly becoming popular here in the U.S. Both artists have amazing voices and should put on solid performances separately and together.

Of Montreal 4/1

Paradise Rock Club

$25.00

Even though they’ve been around and popular since the ‘90s, ticket prices for Of Montreal are still shockingly low. With their eleventh album released earlier in the month, the band is continuing their signature psychedelic-pop sound with great results. I wouldn’t hesitate to check out any of their new songs but make sure to listen to some old stuff too. They tend to go retro during their lives performances.

M83 5/9

House of Blues

$22.00

This French electronica band is insanely catchy. The highly addictive single Midnight City has honestly had me dancing by myself for the past couple of months.  Similar in sound to a lower-key MGMT, the group has an eclectic mix of songs that range from slow and sad to fast and fun. They also tend to do spontaneous remixes on stage, so they never disappoint live.

Dom 5/11

Brighton Music Hall

$14.00

I saw this band last summer when they opened for the WFNX Clambake, and even though I had no expectations for them, they wound up being fantastic. Hailing from nearby Worcester, their local flavor makes their shows a ton of fun. Maybe it’s because I first saw them in June, but Dom’s sound definitely has a carefree summer-like feel for me. Check out one of their first singles “Living In America,” though, and see for yourself.

Alexa: A Night at TD Garden

Alexa ImageThere are so many things that I hope to accomplish here in Boston, and one is to catch an NBA Lakers/Celtic game at the TD Garden. However, it wasn’t that easy to accomplish – it took some research, planning and execution. Back in December, about ten minutes after the Celtics schedule was released, I figured out the day the Lakers would be playing the Celtics. I saw that they would be playing February 9th, which was extremely convenient because my birthday’s February 11th. Now for the planning part, I knew the odds of attending the game were likely because I could use the gift of Lakers tickets as an early birthday/late Christmas present. So I called my parents in California and told them about my amazing idea. They told me to remember why I was in Boston (for a great education) and I refuted that it would be an educational experience to witness such a rival team and observe how journalists report on such an intense game. Long story short… I was in attendance at the Lakers Celtics game on February 9th.  (Thanks again Mom and Dad!)

While I don’t want to give too much away since most of my wonderful adventure at the TD Garden will be featured on COMlife Episode 5 (premiering February 24th!) I was fortunate enough (thanks to media contacts I made as a BU COM student last semester) to be given a tour of the Garden with my friend, Sonali. She is also from California too and she could not be talked out of wearing a Lakers jersey no matter how much I begged her.

The tour was great and I was lucky enough to go on the court where I could see some of my favorite players: Jason Kapono, Troy Murphy and Steve Blake, who had just been released for play three hours prior. Since I’m from California and see celebrities I take a lot of pride in the fact that I don’t go senseless over them. I could easily pass by actors at Starbucks in Montecito without bothering them or nonchalantly pass by Oprah at the local grocery store she frequents in the summer without telling her how much I adore her. (Ok, the Oprah encounter has never happened… but if it did, I’d like to think I would be civilized). However, while on the Celtics court, I found it to be a huge struggle to restrain myself from not walking right out on the court to high-five Troy Murphy and hug Steve Blake and tell him that he needs to perfect his crossover if the Lakers want any chance of making it far in the playoffs this year. Other than getting to go on the court level and watching warm ups, the game was incredible. It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of the Celtics or not, the atmosphere they create for the game is phenomenal.  The fans are so devoted and even though the crowd was mixed with green and white and purple and gold we were all just there to watch a good sports game. I remember my dad explaining to me the deep rivalry of the teams when I was younger but the way I witnessed it, the two teams were really just friends playing a basketball game. When Celtics player, Kevin Garnett and Lakers player, Ron Artest, sorry, I mean Meta World Peace, both fell after diving for a loose ball, Lakers guard, Kobe Bryant offered a hand to both players which was a huge gesture of sportsmanship and as my mom would say, “That’s my boy!”

To add to this educational experience, I also learned to keep your eyes out for the videographers that shoot video for the above the court Jumbo Tron screen. Sonali and I were featured in slow motion devouring nachos on the Jumbo Tron and then laughing about it (great photo op) and I may have forgotten exactly who won the game… but I posted a link just so we can all double check…

http://espn.go.com/nba/recap/_/id/320209002/la-lakers-lakers-vs-boston-celtics

Taking in the game in person ranks high up there in the greatest experiences I have had in Boston so far. It also helped me realize that sports journalism is something I want to continue to pursue at BU because the energy I felt in the Garden is something that I want to share with others whether it be by putting together pregame feature stories on players, and/or reporting during and after the games. BU offers me the opportunity to learn, develop and tighten the skills to make this a part of my future career.

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Brittany: The Beanpot

Brittany ImageIn my last blog, I spoke about my Hockey East internship with NESN. Over the course of the last few months, my big project has been to work on Beanpot feature stories—this year was the 60th Anniversary of the Beanpot, and I spent hours working on footage of interviews with past and present Beanpot players for the celebration of that anniversary. The culmination of the project came this past Monday when BU met BC in the Beanpot Finals.

For both teams, there was a lot on the line for the game: either BU was going to with its 30th title overall (half of all 60 Beanpot tournaments ever played!) or BC was going to win its 3rd straight. As I walked through the Garden on Monday night, I recognized the faces of many Beanpot greats—many faces that I had become very familiar with while logging their interviews. The atmosphere was exciting, and I knew it was going to be a good game.

Being a current BU student and a NESN intern presents an interesting situation—I’m really supposed to be unbiased, but in a crowd of scarlet and gold it gets a little tricky. During the overtime period, I was watching the game on a tiny screen right outside of the BC locker room. Every time something happened, I would make the opposite reaction of the people around me, prompting the NESN producer I was with to say, “Let’s go over to the BU side.” (Good idea.) So for the rest of the overtime period I watched with some of the BU athletic staff in the setting below:

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With about 10 seconds left in overtime, BC retained possession of the puck and skated it into BU’s zone. The man standing next to me started saying, “Don’t do anything stupid…don’t do anything stupid—” and then BC sophomore Bill Arnold put it in the back of the net with 6.4 seconds left to give BC the win. Because I was there with NESN and not with BUTV, I had to run back over to the BC side of the locker rooms, where I watched the celebrations, postgame interviews, and trophy presentation from the BC bench. Talk about rubbing salt in an open wound.

The Beanpot taught me an important lesson on being a sportscaster in a situation where I might be biased. Journalism needs to be impartial, but I can’t imagine myself wanting to work anywhere besides in Boston. If everything eventually works out and I end up back in the Bean as a professional journalist, I will have had this time to practice my internal cheering and external neutrality. But for now—GO BU!

Steph: Night at the Movies

Steph ImageAlright, first COM Ambassador Blog! With the Oscars just around the corner, I’ve decided to talk about all the seriously awesome movie theaters there are in the Boston Area. If you’ve read my bio or know anything about me, you know that I’m crazy obsessed with movies—and Boston has some of the best places to go see them! Here are my favorites:

Regal Fenway

Located about 10 minutes from where I call home, Warren Towers, Regal Fenway is the perfect cure for the mid-week blues. My friends and I needed a break from homework one Wednesday night last semester and decided to walk over to the Regal Fenway and see 50/50. Even though 50/50 was an emotional rollercoaster, (I laughed, I bawled, I swooned over Joseph Gordon-Levitt), it was definitely awesome to be able to catch a quick movie on a weekday. So college.

Coolidge Corner Theater

Coolidge Corner is one of the cutest areas I’ve seen around Boston, and the Coolidge Corner Theater doesn’t disappoint when it comes to cuteness. From the outside, you can tell that the CCT is a cultural landmark, with its neon lights and art-deco style exterior. If you’re dying to see that indie flick that isn’t playing anywhere else, chances are Coolidge Corner will be more than happy to indulge in your indie needs. You have to be prepared, though—my friends and I tried three times to go see A Dangerous Method starring the genetically perfect Michael Fassbender, and it was sold out every time, because it was playing in their 14 seat theater. Talk about intimate. Other fun stuff includes midnight showings of old horror movies and the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show.

AMC Loews Boston Commons

If the Coolidge Corner Theater were a one-bedroom studio, the AMC Loews Boston Commons would be a McMansion. The place is MASSIVE, and so beautiful. Not only does it have a concession stand that would satisfy any sweet tooth, it also includes an ice-cream stand where you can have custom-made milkshakes. As you make your way to your theater, constant reminders of why you love movies surround you. Famous movie quotes are painted onto the ceiling, and vintage movie posters advertising Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and James Bond are framed on the walls. Larger-than-life black and white portraits of Marlon Brando on the set of The Godfather and James Dean on the set of Rebel Without a Cause lead you to your seat. For someone who loves movies as much as I do, it’s a magical place.

Somerville Theater

The Somerville Theater is a bit far off campus, but it’s definitely worth the trip. Located in Davis Square, the Somerville Theater is very reminiscent of Coolidge Corner Theater in terms of old-time charm. The main theater is a converted stage theater, complete with gold curtains and balconies. The other theaters are just as quaint, with light fixtures shaped like owls. And it isn’t just for movies—the Somerville Theater also continues to host live performances. And if you have some time after your movie, you can make your way downstairs to the Museum of Bad Art. Yup, it’s exactly what it sounds like.

So if you’re craving some popcorn and a good movie, there are tons of options at your fingertips. See ya at the movies!

Kaitlin: Bending Over Backwards for Yoga

Kaitlin ImageHello friends! I’m so excited to be writing as a COM ambassador for the first time. I hope you’re getting excited about starting your COM journey with all of us! It’s going to be an amazing experience that I’m sure you’ll never forget. And with that, there are few moments in our lives that can truly be considered milestones. Finishing high school, entering college, obtaining your first job, getting married. But for me, my biggest milestone so far in my life was reached last weekend. After 200 hours of training in six months, I officially became a certified yoga instructor.

I’ve been a yoga practitioner for quite sometime now, but I have Boston to thank for my pursuit of a teaching certification. At the beginning of my freshman year, I started to miss going to the yoga studio all the time as I did back home on Long Island; I had the blues. So, I started to explore the Boston yoga scene on the internet, eventually leading myself towards Back Bay Yoga Studio (BBY), which is right off of the Arlington T stop on the Green Line. First off, if you’re looking to begin practicing and don’t know where to start, this is the place to go. BBY offers an awesome new member special, which includes two weeks of unlimited classes for only $25. This is exactly how I got my start. I found myself going everyday, sometimes more than once, diving into the awesome facilities the studio has to offer, and learning from the city’s best and most well-known teachers. I learned so much, and I automatically rediscovered my deep passion for the practice.

My decision to go through teacher training wasn’t a hard one. I was profoundly inspired by my main teacher Ame Wren, and when I learned she was leading a training with the studio’s owner Lynne Begier, I called my dad right away, and told him I was investing the $3,000 that I barely had to my name into the training. It was the first time I found myself so incredibly excited and ready to begin a new journey.

But it wasn’t so easy.

As I mentioned, it was a 6-month long endeavor. I often found myself in the studio for more than 20 hours on the weekends. I was assigned various book reports and other extra homework on top of my work here at BU. Nonetheless, I cannot explain how worthwhile the reading and writing was. I had the pleasure to work alongside thirty wonderful people, all of whom were going after the same achievement as me. We shared unlimited tears and laughs, and I feel so lucky to have them all a part of my life!

This experience transformed the way I think, look, act- basically my whole way of life. I pay so much gratitude to every thing I learned about yoga, myself, and the world around me. I’m so eager to start teaching, of course, but I also simply look forward to growing my own practice and to continue expanding my mind and keep learning.

If you’re interested in starting yoga, please don’t hesitate to let me know! I’d love to help out and give some suggestions on where to go, who to see, what to wear, etc. Among the stress that comes with being a college student, sometimes all we need to do is sit on a mat, close our eyes, and breathe.

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