Get Your Green On: Earth Day Festival at GSU Plaza Today

More than 2,000 students are expected at today’s Earth Day Festival on the GSU Plaza. Photo by Jackie Ricciardi
More than 2,000 students are expected at today’s Earth Day Festival on the GSU Plaza. Photo by Jackie Ricciardi

Today marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day and this year’s theme is It’s Our Turn to Lead. That theme will play out today during BU’s celebration of Earth Day at the GSU Plaza, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Hosted by sustainability@BU, the annual celebration is the culmination of a two-week effort to promote environmentalism at BU. Students are encouraged to stop by between classes to score free goodies, like reusable grocery bags and water bottles, exchange inefficient incandescent light bulbs for energy-saving LED bulbs, make their own bike-powered smoothie, try their luck at lawn games like cornhole, and nibble on complimentary food.

For the first time, BU’s Earth Day Festival will extend its reach digitally with a clean energy tweet-a-thon. “Students can write their ideas for a clean energy future on giant blackboards and share using the hashtag #cleanenergyu,” says Lisa Tornatore, BU’s sustainability outreach coordinator. Several environmental specialists, including David Tulauskas, General Motors global sustainability manager, Joel Makower, chairman of Greenbiz Group, and Anastasia Schemkes,Sierra Club campaign representative, will monitor the hashtag from noon to 4 p.m., responding to ideas and engaging students in a conversation about sustainability. “It’s a pretty exciting lineup,” Tornatore says.

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Nightlife: Boston’s Unscripted Musical Project

Twice a month, a rotating cast from Catalyst Comedy improvises a musical based on a suggestion from the night’s audience. Photo courtesy the Boston Unscripted Musical Project
Twice a month, a rotating cast from Catalyst Comedy improvises a musical based on a suggestion from the night’s audience. Photo courtesy the Boston Unscripted Musical Project

If you’re a fan of both improv comedy and musical theater, you’re in luck. On the first and third Friday of every month (tomorrow night being the third) audiences are treated to a hilarious improvised Broadway-style musical, courtesy of a rotating cast of quick-witted comedians who also happen to be good singers. The small cast and band of Boston’s Unscripted Musical Project create a laugh-out-loud one-act musical on the spot, based on an idea from the audience.

Wanting to find out what the improvisational theatrical event was all about, we recently headed over to the makeshift Catalyst Comedy Club in the Fort Point district’s Button Factory for a look. The project’s founder, Pablo Rojas (CFA’04) describes what they do as “Whose Line Is It Anyway and Glee meet off-Broadway.” It’s an apt description.

Dance music streamed from a speaker system set up near the makeshift stage as we arrived. Guests were mingling and sipping beer (the event is BYOB for the 21 and up crowd). We found a pair of front row seats in plastic fold-out chairs. (The intimate space accommodates only about 50 people, heightening the fun). The performers, a quintet dressed simply in black-and-white, took the stage and got down to business, asking the audience to shout out title suggestions for the hour-long musical. Past storylines have been concocted around suggestions ranging from Snow Globe: An Inside Story to The Mayor of Toronto and Zombie Apocalypse Gone Wrong. Each performance is unique, featuring a range of musical styles and songs and jokes tailored to fit that night’s idea.

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Zeke: The Magazine of Global Awareness

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ZEKE Magazine. The world explored through photographs, ideas, and words, by leading documentary photographers from across the globe, published by the Social Documentary Network. The first issue features the best work from SDN from the previous year combining photography with essays about the issues explored by the photographers.

Feature articles, abstracts, and photo captions by Paula Sokolska.

The first issue of ZEKE draws from featured work submitted to SDN in 2014:

  • Three feature articles exploring:
    WATER/SCARCITY with photographs by Rudi Dundas and Daniel Roca
    BANGLADESH GARMENT INDUSTRY with photographs by K.M. Asad and Suvra Kanti Das
    RIO/BRAZIL with photographs by Tiana Markova-Gold and Dario De Dominicis
  • Winners of our 2014 call for entries on Narrative Documentary.
  • 12 Featured Photographers of the Month.
  • SDN trending photographers
  • Interviews with Ed Kashi and Matt Black.
  • Other content relevant to the documentary community.

Click here for more information and to purchase a copy. 

Lunch, Anyone? Veggie Galaxy

We first stumbled upon Veggie Galaxy last semester, when the popular vegan- and vegetarian-friendly diner partnered with BU’s Dining Services for its Visiting Chef series at Marciano Commons. The fresh, tasty, meatless lunches (a Reuben sandwich was made with grilled shaved corned-beef seitan; the stuffed French Toast with vanilla vegan cream cheese) made a big impression. Eager for another taste, we recently made our way to the Central Square, Cambridge, diner.

The Melt, featuring mildly spicy tofu and veggie salad with whole-grain mustard, pickled carrots, onions, and cheddar cheese, is a healthy spin on a classic diner staple. Photos by Esther Ro (COM’15)
The Melt, featuring mildly spicy tofu and veggie salad with whole-grain mustard, pickled carrots, onions, and cheddar cheese, is a healthy spin on a classic diner staple. Photos by Esther Ro (COM’15)

With its vinyl-covered booths and stainless steel accents, Veggie Galaxy has the look of a classic diner. The interior’s color palette—neon greens, slick silvers, and midnight blues—is reminiscent of Space Jam, no doubt a nod to the restaurant’s cosmic moniker. As the hostess seated us, she asked if we’d like gluten-free menus. It was the first of many indications that the place caters to customers’ dietary restrictions.

Veggie Galaxy offers a classic diner lunch menu, but with a twist. Think a BLT made with house-made tempeh bacon or burgers made with chipotle black beans or mushroom chickpeas. There are several sandwiches and salads, along with a handful of starters and soups. Nearly every ingredient is house-made, from buns and salad dressings to vegan cheese and even ketchup, underscoring the restaurant’s commitment to serving fresh, wholesome food.

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Nightlife: Stage American Vaudeville Nightclub

Stage American Vaudeville, the newest addition to Boston’s nightclub scene, boasts four bars, a main stage, and three side stages. Photos courtesy Stage Nightclub.
Stage American Vaudeville, the newest addition to Boston’s nightclub scene, boasts four bars, a main stage, and three side stages. Photos courtesy Stage Nightclub.

Prepare to be dazzled at Stage American Vaudeville Nightclub, the newest addition to Boston’s late night scene. Visitors to the club, which opened in January, are met with Gatsby-era grandeur (chandeliers, a secret entrance, leather banquettes) and vaudeville-inspired entertainment (knife throwers and illusionists, for example). Intrigued by the promise of a Cirque du Soleil–style immersive entertainment experience, we stopped by the much-ballyhooed hotspot on a recent Friday for a night out on the town.

Stage is in the Theater District, across from Boston Common in the alley below the Transportation Building. The club aims to make the old new again by having knife throwers and flappers perform in a sleek, contemporary nightclub pulsing with electronic dance music.

We came off the street into the Library, a long, dimly lit room outfitted with dark wood, a wall-length bar on one side and a collage of vintage programs and posters of bygone singing, dancing—even self-decapitating—acts on the other. Velvet ropes and a red carpet give an aura of opulence and class, which is reinforced by staffers elegantly fitted out in top hats, tuxedos, and suspenders. One stood by a nondescript bookcase, which we thought nothing of until the wall of books began shifting outward, revealing the secret entrance to the rest of the club.

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Nightlife: Sacco’s Bowl Haven

Obscure New England sport meets restaurant and bar…

Sacco’s features candlepin bowling, where participants use a grapefruit-sized ball to knock down tall, thin pins. Photo by Flickr user Logan Ingalls
Sacco’s features candlepin bowling, where participants use a grapefruit-sized ball to knock down tall, thin pins. Photo by Flickr user Logan Ingalls

Nothing says New England quite like candlepin bowling. As ubiquitous to the area as lobster, baked beans, and the Patriots, the sport has remained a regional specialty since it was invented in Worcester, Mass., in 1890 (Boston newcomers, used to tenpin bowling, are often flummoxed when they first lay eyes on the small balls and slender pins). Itching to learn more about the game, we recently headed over to what may be the best candlepin alley in the Boston area: Sacco’s Bowl Haven in Somerville.

Sacco’s has been a Davis Square institution since 1939, when candlepin bowling was at the height of its popularity. At one time, the Sacco family owned 19 candlepin alleys, but over the years public interest waned, and the family slowly closed or sold all but the Somerville location. In 2010, it was sold to the Flatbread Company, a local chain specializing in gourmet, organic flatbread pizzas. Determined to preserve the bowling alley, Flatbread closed some lanes to accommodate its bar, restaurant, and giant clay ovens.

Today, the combination of retro bowling, gourmet pizzeria, and bar has made it a popular Boston area nightlife destination and a favorite for families with young kids.

We witnessed that popularity on a recent Saturday night. The cold winter chill had drawn a huge crowd seeking a cozy night out: the result, an unbelievably long waiting list—an hour for the dining area and more than four hours for a lane. The host advised us that for a walk-on spot, it’s best to avoid peak bowling times. (Lane reservations are available only to groups of eight or more.)

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New Major in Cinema and Media Studies: Program open to CAS and COM students

Roy Grundmann, director of the newly minted Cinema and Media Studies major, says that by combining the joint resources of CAS and COM, the program embodies the University’s “one BU” mantra. Photo courtesy of College of Communication
Roy Grundmann, director of the newly minted Cinema and Media Studies major, says that by combining the joint resources of CAS and COM, the program embodies the University’s “one BU” mantra. Photo courtesy of College of Communication

BU’s College of Arts & Sciences and College of Communication launched a jointly administered program this fall that provides students enrolled in either college a unique and multifaceted education in film and media. The new major, Cinema & Media Studies (CIMS), “offers students a rigorous and comprehensive education in the history, aesthetics, theory, formal practices, and sociocultural dimensions of moving-image media,” according to the program’s website. CIMS also marks the first time a BA degree has been offered within COM. The program is also available as a minor for students enrolled in either college.

“Film studies were in two different worlds with two different cultures,” Roy Grundmann, a COM associate professor of film and television and the program’s director, says. “We’ve been doing very similar things, but divided by Commonwealth Avenue.”

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is a freelance journalist. She writes, shoots, edits, asks questions, and tells stories.

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