Things to Do in Los Angeles When You’re Dead, or, The Radio Station Only Plays Red Hot Chili Peppers

Over the last three weeks, I have eaten Del Taco* twice, In-N-Out four times, and Pink’s Hot Dogs once. I have driven to get Jack in the Box at one in the morning and have been to Target six times. I’m not sure why that last part is important, but I wanted you to know that moving and building a homestead in the Los Angeles Basin is fattening and expensive, and that to date, I have found no traces of any gold.

Somewhere between driving through the Rockies, the Great Basin, and the Mohave Desert in one fell swoop during a late night thunderstorm, I began to rethink my decision to drive to Los Angeles. I never reconsidered moving to Los Angeles, only my choice to drive there in three days.**

Still, since I’ve arrived, I’ve never doubted my decision. For filmmakers and screenwriters, Los Angeles is Mecca. While the city is filled to the brim, if you’re worth your weight in precious metals (and I believe that because of my time at Boston University, I am), the transition will be easy. Like me, you’ll almost certainly take an internship writing coverage, but the opportunity to work alongside production executives and writers is not to be missed. The BU in Los Angeles program, too, has enabled me to meet industry professionals. The first week of classes, for example, my class sat down with one of the script reviewers for NBC’s new show “The Blacklist” in order to
further explore what script development looks like as a career.

After almost a month in Los Angeles, I feel more than prepared to call myself an expert on this smallish coastal village. Given your devoted readership, I hope to further regale you with my experiences as I continue to unlock the few-and-far-between mysteries of this charming town, including, but not limited to:
• The logic by which Del Taco has determined that chili-cheese fries are a topping for every item on their menu.
• How a city of four million people can navigate on every street using a simple textmessaging service.
• The location of–please–a Dunkin Donuts chain restaurant.
• The forbidden secrets by which a Korean BBQ can provide you with unlimited meat for the low, low cost of $19.99 (and the time it takes you to cook it.)
*Del Taco is German for “Whale Taco.”
**Assistant Dean Micha Sabovik requires me to tell you that not only are there many affordable flights between Boston and Los Angeles, but also that there are many conveniently located hotels across the country. Just, really, pick anywhere. Forty-nine of the fifty United States of America. No promises about Seward’s Folly.
(P.S. I can see the Hollywood Sign from my house’s front balcony. I just want you to know that.)

Jack Falla Speaker Series: Mark Feinsand

On Monday afternoon I had my first experience with the Jack Falla Speaker Series, as New York Daily News Yankees beat writer Mark Feinsand came in and spoke. Having never been to a Jack Falla Speaker Series event, I didn’t know what to expect, but was very pleased with the event.

Let me first give a little background to the speaker series. Jack Falla was a sports journalism professor at COM, who sadly passed away five years ago. Jack was known for many things; among them were his 8:00 a.m. classes (to make sure only dedicated students enrolled), the great contact he kept with his former students (or his “mafia” as they came known as) and the great speakers he would bring in, many of which were COM alums. To honor Jack and his dedication, the series was started to continue the tradition of great speakers.

Getting back to Monday’s speech, I was very impressed with Mark. He began by mentioning how nervous he was about speaking, but you would never have known this wasn’t a regular occurrence for him. He did a great job of going back and forth between stories and lessons he learned at BU (and Jack in particular) and advice from his years working, leading up to his current position with the Daily News.

The stories were funny and relatable, the advice was helpful and honest (especially since we share majors: sports broadcast journalism), but what made the biggest impression was how emotional he got when talking about Jack. Mark had to take a minute to compose himself at one point, which showed the amazing affect that Jack Falla had on the people he touched.

That’s what makes this series great. Not only do you get experienced, passionate speakers with great stories and advice, but you see the affect that a single person can have on so many. From Mark’s speech I learned things that will help me as I embark on my career in sports broadcast journalism, but it also was a reminder to take advantage of all the resources I have here, and that includes the amazing people. I am very happy I was able to attend Mark’s speech, and cannot wait for the next Speaker Series event.

 

Fall Events

A new school year is upon us here at COM.  And while that may conjure thoughts of cramming for tests, agonizing over group projects, and struggling to meet deadlines for some, for me it brings one of my favorite parts about the fall: grad events.  Don’t get me wrong, I am very enthusiastic about another semester in the classroom, but to me nothing beats a good old grad event.  Not only are these a chance to explore the city that makes BU so unique, but it is also a great way to get to know your classmates throughout the COM community.

I know the list of the events can be daunting to look at, and knowing which ones (if any) you should go to can keep anyone up at night.  So here is a guide to this fall’s grad events from a grizzly veteran to make everyone’s decisions easier.

Tavern in the Square Reception- Monday, Sept. 2 : 6:00pm- 8:00pm : Free The Tavern in the Square event is a great way to begin the semester.  First off, it’s right after orientation (which is mandatory for new students) so you might as well come by with everyone else.  Second, you get a chance to get to know fellow COM students in a setting that isn’t in a classroom setting.  And finally, the first drink is on COM.  Even if free drinks aren’t your thing, it’s a great way to rewind after orientation and prepare for the start of classes.

The Hyatt Event- Friday, Sept. 6 : 7:00pm-11:59pm : Free (with ticket) Ah the Hyatt, so many wonderful memories.  For those of you not familiar, the Hyatt is the hotel across the river from BU.  At the Hyatt event, COM rents out the top floor for an evening of food, drinks, dancing and one of the best views of the city.  Oh and did I mention it’s space themed?  Costumes are not required (though always appreciated), but it’s a great way to relax after your first week of classes and show your moves on the dance floor.

The Maine Event- Saturday, Sept. 14 : 10:00am-7:00pm : $45 Lobster.  That should be enough to get most of you to pile up for this event, but there’s more.  Not only do you get to travel to Maine for delicious lobster, but there is a stop at the outlet malls as well. Shopping and shellfish?!?!?! Sign me up!

Pub Trip and Red Sox Game- Tuesday, Sept. 17 : 4:00pm-6:00pm & 6:30pm-Game end : $10 & $28 Two separate events, one great time.  You can do either or both.  It all starts with a trip to the BU Pub, located a block from COM.  Stop by for a drink or two before heading to Fenway to watch the Red Sox take on the Orioles.  Seeing a game at Fenway is a must for anyone who lives in Boston, so why not go with your fellow COM grads?  Adding to the excitement of the game will be the fact that the Sox will be in the home stretch of the season looking to win the AL East.  A luxury the event did not have last

Freedom Trail Pub Crawl- Saturday, Oct. 26 : 1:00pm : Free Peanut butter and jelly.  Macaroni and cheese.  Rocky and Bullwinkle.  Sometimes things are just destined to be together.  So combining a walking tour highlighting 17 of Boston’s most significant historic sites and drinking at bars just makes sense.  It’s learning about the history of the city with a few drinks, or hitting the bars while getting an education of Boston.  Either way, it’s a great way to spend a Saturday in October.

Bell OUT of Hand- Wednesday, Dec. 11 : 8:00pm-11:00pm : $20 The final event of the semester is always a great one.  Classes are done, and before people head away for greener pastures or just winter break, it’s always nice to be able to see everyone for a last time.  It’s the perfect way to close out the semester, at America’s oldest bar.

There you have it, an easy to follow guide of the great grad event offerings this fall.  If you haven’t gotten tickets yet, email comgrad@bu.edu for more information.

Before you finish reading, I leave you with one final piece of advice: go to as many as possible, you won’t regret it.  Take that advance from someone who knows.

Summer in Boston

This is my first summer as a Bostonian, and the final season in my first year here in town. I moved here last fall, I braved the winter and its blizzards, and I sneezed my way through the spring with the help of lots of Claritin. But now it’s summertime, and Boston is a very different place this time of year.

A big part of the difference is that Boston is chock-full of students for 9 months of the year. With over 30 colleges, there are 150,000 students living in the city.  This is what makes living here so much fun during the school year. With so many people of similar age, there is something fun going on 7 nights a week.  But when school lets out at the end of May, the mass exodus turns Beantown into a much quieter city…which is great!! Without actually going anywhere, I feel like I am getting a summer vacation right here at home. There are no lines to get into bars, I never have to wait for a table at restaurants, and the train is so empty I feel like I paid for a first class ticket. What is really great about the smaller crowds, is now that classes are out I actually have time to enjoy all the fun sites the city has to offer. We have been to Charlestown to see Bunker Hill. We have gone to Fenway to see the Red Sox. We went to Maine for a weekend where we saw a moose.  There is so much to see and do in the city and the surrounding area that it’s great to have the summer to explore.

There is work to be done, however. That’s what we are here for after all.

Plenty of BU COM Grad students stay here in the summer for internships. My buddy/classmate Greg works for the Red Sox television broadcast. My friend, and PR student, Emily is interning with a local PR firm. My friend, and Journalism student, Loren is working for a travel blog as their social media guru. I was lucky enough to convince the general manager of the campus radio station, WTBU, to let me do a daily sports radio show for the summer. Two of my fellow broadcast journalism classmates and I do a show Monday-Friday from 3-5 PM. The experience has been invaluable, as I don’t know many students who are getting the opportunity to do a live radio show every day. Between the hours of practice, the interviews we are doing, and the technical skills we are learning, we are getting a crash course in how to do live radio.

I have really enjoyed my first year in Boston, and each season has shown me something that I’ve never seen before. Fall was filled with new experiences, since I was just moving here and starting classes. Winter taught me what it really means to be cold, and that college hockey is amazing. In the spring the Red Sox got off to a hot start and showed me what it’s like to live in a great baseball city. And now it’s summer, and while the heat is giving me a true appreciation for air conditioning, Boston is proving to be a great place to live year round.

 

Finding Your New Home: Boston Housing

As an incoming graduate student at Boston University, one of the major steps that you will take will be finding a place to live. There are a number of options in terms of neighborhood, housing type, cost, roommates, etc. that will play a factor in your decision, but the best thing you can do is to start thinking about housing and working on finding a place as soon as you can.

As a student who just finished up my first year at BU, I will share with you a handful of things that I wish I had known when I was moving here.

Neighborhoods

Brownstone Apartments
BU South Campus

South Campus- is exactly what it sounds like, a portion of the BU campus, located just south of the College of Communication. The housing units are made up of BU owned brownstone apartments (studios and 1 bedroom units) that are about a 5 minute walk from school. The proximity to campus, and the fact that BU owns and operates the buildings are huge pluses. The only down side is that the cost is slightly higher than you will find in other neighborhoods.

Brookline- a very nice neighborhood south of campus. There are bars, restaurants, parks, good access to the C-Line of the Green Train, which runs right near campus, and it’s the birthplace of Conan O’Brien. The area is made up of some students, but mostly young adults and families, and has less of a college feel than other areas close to BU. Brookline is truly a great option for BU graduate students, but is also more expensive than other neighborhoods. If you are interested in Brookline I would suggest seeking a roommate to help split the cost.

Brighton- a couple miles west of campus, and is easily accessible via the B-Line of the Green Train. This area is mostly students, although there are some young

South Street

Quiet Brighton Street

professionals and families as well. Brighton is about halfway between BU and Boston College, so it is a good mix of students from both schools. The prices in Brighton are less than those in Brookline, and there are plenty of grocery stores and restaurants to amuse. Full disclosure, I live in Brighton and I really like it. The only downside is that it’s slightly further from campus than other neighborhoods where students live. My commute is about 25-30 minutes on the train each morning. If you don’t mind taking a little longer to get to school each day, then Brighton is a very nice option.

Allston- the area just west of campus. It is very convenient in terms of location to the school and there are many restaurant and shopping options. Prices are also pretty reasonable. Depending on what you are looking for in terms of your neighborhood Allston might be right for you. We do find however, that some graduate students don’t prefer Allston due to the high volume of undergraduate students and bars. I don’t want to discourage anyone from checking out Allston, or even living there, but for me as a graduate student it didn’t seem like a good fit. I wanted an area that is slightly quieter, which is why I picked Brighton.

Harvard Square

City of Cambridge

Cambridge/Somerville- These two area offer reasonable prices and lots of restaurants and shopping. The downside is that they are pretty far away from BU. You would have to plan for a much longer commute if you decided to live here, but it might be worth it in terms of apartment value.

Now how about roommates

As far as finding roommates there are a number of options. We offer a roommate sign up list in the College of Communication which can be found here.

Some students have found roommates through mutual friends, and others have used craigslist. But we suggest adding your name to the sign up list if you are interested in living with another person.

The process of searching

Once you decide which neighborhood you like, and if you want to live with a roommate, it is time to actually find a place. There are a handful of different ways to go about this. One way is to simply take to craigslist and try to find listings yourself. We have a number of students who have had success finding housing this way, but it can be tough due to the fact that most apartment complexes are run by management groups. What I did to find my apartment was contact a realty company. I used SCS Realty in Brookline, but I am sure other companies are similarly good. These companies work with the management groups to help find renters. The realty company will schedule a handful of apartment viewings for you in your chosen neighborhood and in your specified price range. While they do charge a fee for their services, using a realty company is an effective way to find a place.

We also offer help finding housing through the office of rental property management, which you can find here.

Also, if you can’t make the trip to Boston to search for housing and you are going through this process from another part of the country, we are happy to help. Sometimes realty companies won’t allow you to sign the lease without seeing the unit, and we are happy to go see it for you. We can text pictures and videos of the place to you, as well as offer our opinion of the value.

Hopefully this was helpful. There are a lot of great places to live near BU, now that you are armed with all of this info that I wish I had last year, you should have no problem finding a nice place to live.