What to do this week: February 1-7

Monday, February 1

Event: Brown Dems x BPR Present: Iowa Caucus Viewing Party (with Snacks!)
Location: Wilson 102
Time: 9:30 PM- 11:30 PM

Interested in learning more about the confusing caucus system? Want to be surrounded by politically-minded individuals? The Brown Dems and Brown Political Review will be co-hosting an Iowa Caucus results viewing party! Come for the political fun, stay for the snacks.

Tuesday, February 2 (Groundhog Day)

Event: Upspace Oddity, or Bowie Week
Location: PW
Time: 8:30 PM

Beginning on Tuesday night, join PW in celebrating Bowie. You can make a Bowie-inspired collage while listening to Blackstar and other releases. For the complete list of activities each night this week, click here.

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Event: BUFF + MES Present: A Separation
Location: Joukowsky Institute
Time: 7 PM

BUFF has partnered with the Middle Eastern Studies Department for the continuation of the popular Middle Eastern Film Series from last year. On Tuesday, they will present the Oscar winning film, A Separation.

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Sign up for Spring Market Shares!

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Eating healthy in college can be hard. There are only so many times you can pick through the salad bar in the Ratty or slurp a smoothie in Poppy’s (have we determined if this exists yet?) without wanting to just give up and grab a spicy with. Luckily, there is a solution to be found. If you missed the sign up for Brown Market Shares Program (BMSP) in 2015, there is another opportunity to join this semester.

Market Shares is an initiative that connects Brown students and faculty with weekly shares of local and sustainably-grown produce. In addition to yummy fruits and vegetables, there are also eggs, dairy, meat, and bread from producers and farmers across Rhode Island. Sample shares this spring might include sweet potatoes, butternut squash, kale, and carrots.

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Brighten: 2015’s most adorable app

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There is something about the last two weeks of school that makes you want to curl up in bed and sleep. Or pull out your phone and scroll endlessly through the deep recesses of social media. Chalk it up to a combination of looming finals, the 4:30 p.m. darkness (wtf), or the mysteriously gross plague hitting everyone, but overall, it’s clear that motivation is at an all-time low. 

So on a nicer note, are you the kind of person who enjoys small tasks that lead to mega rewards? Interested in the idea of making someone’s day without getting off the couch? There’s an app for that.

Brighten just hit the app store and is already sweeping across college campuses. Its goal is simple: to provide an outlet for friends to say nice things to each other. On this app, you can follow your friends, like and comment on their posts, and send your own messages (called “brightens”) to those you care about. Adorable, right? Austin Kevitch, the app’s founder and CEO, explained that Brighten is “the first social app based on positivity and the easiest way to make your friends smile.”

According to the Brighten page, “anonymity can be used for good.” Each commenter has a color, but that’s it. Although “brightens” can be sent to anyone in your contact list, your name will never be shared. Instead of reading nasty Yaks or those (occasionally) freaky Brown Bear Admirers Posts, Brighten exists for friendship vibes only. Hate speech is not tolerated and romantic posts are definitely the exception, not the rule. 

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uhhh… no thanks?

During this final stretch, small acts of kindness can go a crazy long way. What’s more, there is scientific evidence that making your friends happy actually boosts your mood. Amazing. 

Good luck on finals, everyone! Remember you are so, so loved.

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Images via and via.


What We’re Reading

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This week, The Atlantic featured a stunning video of a group of friends who made a proportional model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits. Usually, depictions of the solar system are incorrect and display the planets too closely together. In order to amend this error, the team took over a dry lake in Nevada and constructed a model by drawing huge circles scattered across the desert. Even for those of us not studying STEM or are not interested in space (despite the buzz around the new Star Wars trailer), this video is an absolute treat.

On Friday, America witnessed another tragic mass shooting. In Colorado Springs, an armed man killed three people and wounded nine others at a Planned Parenthood clinic. Vox  explains why certain pro-choice groups are petitioning President Obama to call these acts against abortion providers domestic terrorism. “The technical term really reflects the use of violence against limited targets to scare a lot of people into doing their bidding,” explained Sasha Bruce, a leading strategist for a large pro-life lobbying group. “These actions are intended to scare women away from seeking an abortion. It fit the bill even before the awful, awful incident Friday in Colorado.”

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What we’re reading

What we're reading

The second Democratic debate will take place this Saturday, and pollsters have been going crazy trying to predict who the nominee for both parties will be. This week, the New York Times asked readers to predict who they think will win each party’s nomination. Sorry Trump, but according to this piece, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Marco Rubio were most often mentioned. The Times also took into account the predicted VP choices.

In a similar vein, The New Yorker discussed the importance (if any) of Donald Trump’s appearance on Saturday Night Live last week. When the iconic show secured the candidate on the show, ratings soared; however, as the article argues, “the show didn’t, in any truly cutting way, make fun of Trump: it made fun of Trump voters, or at least the people it imagined them to be.” Make sure to check out future SNL skits surrounding the presidential election.

The climate surrounding racial issues on college campuses has been prominent in national and campus dialogue recently. From the Yale president telling Black students, “We failed you,” to the president of the University of Missouri system’s resignation on Monday, the conversation spans many topics and has incited action on the part of certain university administrations.

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Sock&Buskin Presents: The Road Weeps, The Well Runs Dry

Although The Road Weeps, The Well Runs Dry is nearly three hours long, this play is jam-packed with action. And it’s completely wild. Like, grab onto the side of your seat, bring a friend to clutch sort of deal. It has Brown written all over it; from the  family dynamics to the shifting gender roles to the unconventional narrative style. Unsurprisingly, it is the brainchild of a Brown Professor, Marcus Gardley. Director Kym Moore explains how Gardley “created a myth culled from our collective past as balm for the soul.”

Here are ten of my takeaways from The Road Weeps, The Well Runs Dry:

1. The set is one-of-a-kind. Before the show began, the audience was invited to walk on the stage and have a look around. There were rocks scattered on the ground, headless torsos, and a massive hole in the ground. Perplexed, we settled into our seats. Soon, an overhead voice alerted us that “the museum is now closing.” Were we pretending this was a museum because Native peoples are always so on display? Or was it just because the stage was so interesting? Already, the play was thought provoking, forcing us to ask questions that couldn’t be answered. Philosophy friends, where you at?

2.The lighting technicians killed it. The creamy watercolor effect immediately established the mood. And as the plot moved forward, the set became drenched in red. The shadows were threatening and distorted our sense of place and time. Going for unsettled? Success.

3. Every sentence in this script drips with metaphor; I found myself scrambling to commit certain lines to memory. Many of the phrases are violent. When the characters argue, they spit out words like bullets, attacking one another mercilessly. But when young Sweet Tea, played by Julia Newitt ‘19, tries to explain her love, we are fully convinced that her feelings are pure.

4. This play is full of badass ladiesThe witch Half George, played by Oyindamola Akingbile ‘17, was particularly striking. Captivated by her strong melodic voice, we are in her clutches the entire show. She reckons that her heart is “hard and rotten” and she’s not wrong. The argument scene between her and Mary South (played to perfection by Crystal Kim ‘16)  is especially terrifying.

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