Musical Forum Presents: Urinetown

IMG_5348

Desperately seeking something to do this weekend sans Halloween-themed debauchery? Suffering October-withdrawal and looking to fill your monthly costume quota? Urine You’re in luck! Musical Forum’s Urinetown is happening all weekend in the PW downspace.

You may know Urinetown from its 3 Tony Awards, or as the sole “U” answer in all ‘Broadway Musical by Alphabet’ Sporcle quizzes… just me? You may know musical theatre from its series of campy cliches and tropes, many of which are satirized and subverted in Greg Kotis’s biting script. Urinetown takes place in a semi-dystopian society in which water has become a scare-enough resource to warrant the privatization of bathrooms and stringent enforcement of the commodification of the right to pee (less outlandish in light of the California drought).

Consequently, the ‘privilege to pee’ exists as a right reserved for the wealthy elite and serves as a comedically-heightened escalation of modern-day class inequality (or perhaps not hyperbolic at all given the very real existence of disorderly conduct laws including public urination penalties designed to target and criminalize the base needs of survival of those without access to private homes …too Urban Studies for this post?)

Regardless, Urinetown explores issues no less topical than class warfare, submission to authority, and the potential naiveté of revolution. The set itself, designed by Josh Cape ’17, uses levels to comment on the dominant and un-checked status of big business as it controls those below. Under the direction of Ada Dolan-Zalaznick ’17, Urinetown offers something for everyone.  Fans of traditional musical theatre will enjoy musical numbers, directed by Erin Reifler ’17, featuring a vocally-strong ensemble, and backed by the show’s true unsung heroes (literally), the musicians. Fans of less traditional narratives and darker humor, will enjoy a cynically-appealing second act.

Continue Reading


How To: Write a Reading Response Without Doing the Reading

confused-college-student

Perhaps the most important skill a college student will acquire in their four years of higher learning is the ability to accomplish large amounts of work in a thorough and timely fashion effectively convey an air of confidence and opinion about work they have not done. This ability is tested each time said student arrives at class un-prepared, but is never as threatened as by reading responses typically required for small, weekly seminars.  Here, a senior who has very legitimately not had time to do the 900 pages of reading assigned to him as a result of his active job search and binge-drinking, is asked to review and engage with this reading all on his own. Of course, this senior is a senior and has had three years to cultivate his own unique style of response, which flies subtly under the radar while still appearing substantiated. For those who need a little more help, here goes:

1. Don’t be a hero. Your response doesn’t need to be the longest on Canvas. You haven’t done the reading so every claim you make is tenuous, and has the potential to betray your web of lies. Keep it short, and keep it simple. Medium-length responses display the confidence of someone who has, in fact, done the reading and has nothing to prove, without the arrogance of someone who actually enjoyed the work and has something to say. This is your sweet spot.

2. Start with a clarification/question. Another way of demonstrating a level of confidence that can only be associated with someone who has, in fact, done the reading, is to admit that you did not understand something about the text. This will make you seem grounded, secure in your own intelligence, and, most importantly, like you have done the reading. Ex. “I found Smith’s piece about Houston slightly inaccessible as someone who has never been to Texas. His references, I felt, relied on knowledge of southern architecture and climate, without which I lacked context.”

confused-teen_small

3. Pull quotes. Obviously you need to fill up space somehow and there is no better way than by directly quoting the text itself. Any time spent word-for-word citing the author is time not spent making assertions that may turn out to be embarrassingly incorrect. Of course, too much textual citation will instantly raise suspicion so be wary of going overboard. Additionally, make sure your quotes are from varying texts and portions of text. Quoting only the first two pages of a 200-page essay is a rookie mistake, and everyone in the class will laugh at you behind your back and volunteer you first for their next ritual sacrifice. One final quoting strategy is two pull two quotes from separate texts and open a dialogue about their similarities and differences. Ex. “So when Smith says Houston is hot, and Bensinger mentions that J. Edgar Hoover was ‘cold’ how can we look at weather in these distinct pieces as a common thread in this week’s discussion of gender?”

Continue Reading


Audition Roundup: Upcoming Dates and Deadlines You Won’t Want to Miss

hectic schedule

For many, the first few weeks on campus can be a whirlwind of names and faces coupled with a barrage of dates and deadlines. As a student of any grade it can be hard to keep track of audition times and locations, and it can be extremely disappointing to realize that a deadline has come and gone for an organization that recruits only once a semester/year. The chaotic nature of these first weeks often gets exacerbated by the disparate locations of audition information, resulting in deadline whiplash. For this reason, Blog presents a (hopefully comprehensive, but in no way exhaustive) roundup of fast-approaching audition/deadline dates.

NOTE: many organizations are not featured on this list. There are literally hundreds of awesome groups on Brown’s campus, many of which have yet to release audition deets or have more rolling acceptance policies. Additionally, for the sake of space and sanity, we were unable to include extensive info for each audition/application process–this is just a list of names, dates and locations. If you’re looking for more info (or any info at all) regarding a club not on this list, you should reach out to it directly, search online for a Facebook event, or actually read consult Morning Mail!

Continue Reading


FlogDailyHerald: This unseasonably nice weather

winterfleetrink

Downtown should look like this.

I know that this opinion will not be popular, but neither am I. Just kidding, I have lots of friends. But even they probably do not agree with what I am about to say, which is that I am sick of this nice(ish) weather. It is November and I am ready for the slow descent into frigid winter. It’s bad enough that I am writing this on November 12 while wearing sandals, but if it does not snow by Christmas I will fall apart.

The list of reasons why it should be colder outside are as numerous as they are polarizing (that’s a pun) but first and foremost, this mild weather is absolutely KILLING the Christmas (and holiday) spirit. Sorry if you’re from California, but the holiday season is not the holiday season without snow. Just look at some of these (non-religious, I’m half Jewish so calm down) top Christmas Carols:

Winter Wonderland

Continue Reading


5 Reasons Your Sims Have A Better Life Than You

The_Sims_Coverart

You may or may not know this, but Sims 3 (and a host of expansion packs) is available for download online for $25–a small price to pay to relive the glory days of your youth. The nostalgia alone from the fact that the game takes two hours to load, once opened, is enough to reduce me to tears every time. Nothing makes a late-90s,  early-2000s kid happier than drowning their virtual likeness in their massive pool, and trying to make the Grim Reaper take their unwanted love child instead. But playing The Sims does have its downsides. No matter how similar you make you and your Sim, you will never be able to type “rosebud;:;:” in the upper-left-hand corner of your life and get millions of dollars to buy thousands of genie lamps. Here are the top 5 reasons your Sim’s life is better than yours:

1. Promotions

MTS_feyerin-1370779-ForagingOffer

Ever wished that instead of a waitress making minimum wage and living for tips, you could be a world famous chef worth millions? According to The Sims, all you have to do is read a cookbook, and wait for your boss to call with your next promotion. Wish that instead of a test subject for other people’s experiments, you could be a top scientist working on curing the latest global epidemic? Easy, play chess with your neighbors one afternoon! You’ll be amazed at how the logic acquired from your game translates directly to your job saving lives with science.

2. Children

1

Think $250 a day is too much to pay for a maid? So does your Sim. Luckily, they have an adoption process that requires no paperwork or vetting whatsoever. There are no child education requirements in The Sims world and DCFS basically only shows up if you starve the kid. So why not use your child as your personal housekeeper? No reason. Children can take out the trash, clean up the leftovers from when your Sim “served breakfast,” and even recycle the newspapers that have accumulated on your lawn because the paper boy just can’t take a hint.

Continue Reading


A Misanthrope’s Guide To The Movies: The Judge, Gone Girl, and Men, Women & Children

Fall break is gone, taking with it any and all fleeting excuses to pretend midterms don’t exist. Reality is back and it feels an awful lot like midnight cramming for a stats exam that you’re hard-pressed to care about. In the meantime, you’ll have to look elsewhere to find the enjoyment and excitement of life. For some of you, this may mean a virtual reality, for others, the hallowed halls of your local movie theatre. Or any movie theatre. Luckily, there happen to be several highly anticipated, star-studded films on the silver screen right now, and even luckier, I happened to have seen almost all of them. Here are the movies I saw over Fall Break (in between important dinners and being really popular), and how I felt about them:

Men, Women and Children

MV5BMTAwMzc2OTgwOTZeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDg2ODA4NjIx._V1_SX214_AL_

Men, Women & Children was the first movie I saw this weekend, and perhaps the one for which I had the highest hopes. Despite the bad reviews, I didn’t really believe that the man (Jason Reitman) who brought us JunoUp in the Air, and Thank You For Smoking could make a movie that was all that bad. [Ed.: Did you read the reviews for January’s Labor Day?] I was wrong. Men, Women & Children is possibly worse than all that bad. The movie features strange, overwrought narration from Emma Thompson, who is not an actual character in the movie and seems to think that she is back on the set of Love Actually and has switched roles with Hugh Grant. Her narration is set to images of the Challenger shuttle hurtling through space, which does precious little for the actual plot of the film except to remind us that even if we’re just small specks on Earth, irrelevant in the course of time and space, our life can’t possibly be any more pointless than is Men, Women, and Children.

Featuring a cast led by Adam Sandler (you know him from Blended fame), Jennifer Garner, Dean Norris (you actually know him as Hank from Breaking Bad), and Judy Greer, Men, Women & Children aims to tackle the dangerous role of technology in modern society and how it negatively impacts our relationships. Unfortunately, for a movie trying to uncover a societal truth with which we can all relate, very little of the movie feeels grounded in truth, and the characters and circumstances are wholly unrelatable. The teens don’t talk like teens, but rather caricatures of high schoolers ruined by the Internet and created by a middle-aged parent writing a script. The adults in the movie behave perhaps even less realistically. One mom sells illegal, risque pictures of her underage daughter online, her neighbors both engage in virtual, technology-driven affairs on a nightly basis, and the mom down the block treats the Internet like the devil incarnate and her daughter like an inmate.

All in all, I would obviously not recommend seeing Men, Women & Children, though if you need firsthand experience to confirm that the newest Reitman film is nowhere near Juno, I understand. But be warned, by the end of the movie you’ll be wishing Ellen Page and Michael Cera were there to save you.

Continue Reading