Film to feature fictional Brown alumni

Oscar-nominating producer Noah Baumbach‘s next film centers on the lives of three Brown alumni—a writer struggling to complete a novel, a television producer, and a freelance critic—as they transition into their 30’s with personal and professional woes. The film based on Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Child (2006) is praised by literary critics (“near-miraculous perfection”), but apparently loathed by Amazon reviewers who gave it two-and-a-half stars.

After scanning the novel (thanks, Google books!), I’m going to have to side with Amazon-ers on this one. Not only are the fictional Brown alumni pretentious (and self-absorbed) but the writing is. I had trouble turning the pages–er pressing the arrow key–because of the unreadable prose. Maybe I’m just an unsophisticated reader of contemporary literature. Maybe this epic sentence is actually literary genius!?:

“She was writing, in this chapter, about the long-standing Western habit of dressing a child like someone else: like an older child, or like a parent, or like someone entirely; and she was comparing this to those ventriloquists whose dummies were attired to match them, among other things, and making, or attempting to, a broader point about how children have been seen as emanations of their parents, and she needed to fit in there somehow the inverse argument, based around, say, the Laura Ashley ensembles of the seventies, in which mother and daughter both were swathed in frilly floral smocks in a reenactment—or curiously ironic restatement, perhaps, in the era of women’s sexual liberation—of Victorian girlhood, in which case the question was, were they all, mothers and daughters, celebrating the repression of their sexuality, or its untrammeling”?

I’ll probably watch the film adaption anyway because I liked Baumbach’s most recent work Greenberg. Hopefully he’ll tweak the characters in The Emperors’ Child so they’re not so whiny and dull.


The same ten questions we always ask: Alex Payson ‘03.5, co-owner of Blue State Coffee

Name: Alex Payson

Age: 28

Occupation: Chief Operating Officer of Blue State Coffee

What’s your job description, in one sentence: Carrying out Blue State Coffee’s mission of philanthropy, education, zero waste, and of course, keeping you caffeinated!

What’s the best part of your job? Getting to share our passion for great coffee with customers and teaching people about alternative brewing methods (cold brew tower, pour over, etc…) Continue Reading


Brown researcher studies fly U-turns

Fruit flies can turn several U-turns, without much thought, in the time it takes you to blink, according to a study by Attila Bergou, postdoctoral research associate in engineering. Bergou is the first author of the paper, “Fruit flies modulate passive wing pitching to generate in-flight turns.”

Watch the “aerial stunt” here!


The same ten questions we always ask: Stuart le Gassick, director of squash

Name: Stuart le Gassick

Age: 51

Occupation: Director of squash

What’s your job description, in one sentence? I coach the Men’s and Women’s squash programs at Brown

What’s the best part of your job? Working on a daily basis with the incredible students of Brown

The worst? I cannot think of one

How long have you lived in Providence? 20 years

What’s your ringtone? I do not own a cell phone, but my family does possess a cuckoo clock

Your homepage? Brownbears.com

What newspapers and magazines do you subscribe to? The Economist and the Wall Street Journal

Nice slice or Antonio’s? Nice Slice

Blue State or Starbucks? Blue State

Which three words would you use to describe Brown students? Energetic, inventive, happy


Top ten ’10 commencement speakers

“Unlike most colleges and universities, Brown imports no Commencement speaker for the College ceremonies,” according to the university’s Commencement website (though we’ve ‘exported’: President Simmons has given commencement speech at multiple campuses). Last year, we got journo Fareed Zakaria for the baccalaureate address, (which is apparently very similar to, but not the same thing as, commencement?!), and the year before that it was Dave Eggers. This year’s speaker — who addresses only graduating seniors in a small ceremony, rather than the whole mess of PhDs, MDs, and family and friends at the big Commencement — has yet to be announced, but here’s a — completely subjective — list of the most interesting people addressing the class of ’10 on other campuses:

10) Vanderbilt University: Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns

9) Western Connecticut State University: Wyclef Jean, musician and producer

8 ) Vassar College: Lisa Kudrow, actress Continue Reading


The same ten questions we always ask: Dietitian Gina Guiducci

Name: Gina Guiducci

Age: 30

Occupation: Registered Dietitian

What’s your job description, in one sentence? Menu planning and development; being a resource to students, especially those with food allergies; supporting efforts in regards to local food movement and sustainability, and much, much more!

What’s the best part of your job? Helping students and learning from students. Each day is new and exciting!

The worst? Sometimes a day just isn’t long enough and I am always wishing I could do more. Continue Reading