Brown, meet the Underground Coffee Shop

The Underground, that space directly under the Blue Room whose name you might have forgotten, has a storied history. Evidence of its past as a key player in Brown social life is on display today. Take the bar on the room’s wall: do you think that was just for show? Nope. Back in the Wild West days of legal drinking for all those 18 years of age and older, there was a genuine bar down there. Indeed, the Underground might be worthy of its own Ra Ra Brunonia post. It has been the host of everything from Funk Nites to IFF screenplay reads, with a few desperate last-minute study breaks in between.

On Monday, however, the Underground will take on a new role. Just in time to revive Brunonia from a crippling post-Spring Weekend group hangover, a group of students will be launching a coffee shop that has been months in the making. Katie Murphy ’16, Yousef Hilmy ’16, and Viktor Gavrielov ’15 have been working with SAO, the Blue Room, and even President Paxson to radically reimagine the space.

The grand opening is on Monday at 9 a.m., and they’ll be serving until 2 p.m. Though Opening Day will only be 5 hours long, Hilmy promises they will eventually be open for “long hours.” If you can’t make it to the Underground before the early closing, don’t fret, because there will be an opening party from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. that night. You can find more information about the Underground Coffee Shop on their (freakishly popular) Facebook page here.

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Stop thinking and go watch Furious 7

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Yes. That is a car flying between two buildings.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

On a superficial level, it’s fair to call the The Fast and the Furious franchise just another action movie franchise. Indeed, it has grossed over $3 billion at the box office, and the several sequels have ridiculous, incongruous titles (why did they go from Fast Five to Fast & Furious 6 to Furious 7??). The latest installment, Furious 7, has made a record breaking $801 million since it’s release just two short weeks ago. So if ticket sales and sheer longevity are good indicators, The Fast & Furious franchise is certainly a hit.

But there’s more to these films than just the mindless explosions; indeed, at their heart, these are street racing films, centered around unadulterated vehicular chaos. Furious 7 continues in this vein, with a new slew of cars that range in quality from American muscle to Japanese agility to… I guess we can call it a tank.

The film opens up with a nostalgic nod to The Fast and the Furious‘s “Race Wars,” which seems to be the Burning Man of quarter-mile races. Positioned in the middle of the desert, it’s almost exactly what it sounds like. There are women in bikinis, men with too many tattoos, and, of course, a diverse and jaw-dropping ensemble of gorgeous cars. And Iggy Azealea, because this is actually the type of place she would hang out.

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Last Call: Abby Plummer

Then + Now

Then + Now

As the semester progresses at the speed of light, the senior class is beginning to make peace with that fateful day in May: Commencement. Until the class of 2015 leaves us, BlogDH wants to highlight all the interesting things they’ve been up to. To this end, we’re (re)starting the series Last Call, which features seniors reflecting on their experiences at Brown. Each featured senior will tag another senior for the next installment. Find this year’s other “Last Call” chain here and our RISD “Last Call” chain hereWe’re restarting one of our chains with this post.

People might know me as… Mara? Emily? For some reason people often really confidently mistake me for other people. I think it’s my hair color.

In my time at brown, I am most proud of… The class that my incredible, inspiring GISP-mates and I crafted this year, Race and Gender in the Scientific Community. I learned so much from them, and am bursting with pride at what we accomplished last semester. Check us out!

On Friday night, you might find yourself… Snuggling.

3 things you wish you knew freshman year:

  1. It’s okay to stay up really late once in a while. A good conversation is worth way more than a good night’s sleep.
  2. That being said, the amount you sleep is definitely correlated to your mood. So make sure to sleep, especially two nights before an exam. Also, you’re going to develop some weird superstitions about sleep. Try to make friends who will not make fun of you too much for them. You will inevitably fail at this task.
  3. Don’t tell so many people you have mono. A shocking number of them will still remember and bring it up senior year.

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New Jim Crow selected as First Readings book for Class of 2019

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In an email to the Brown community this morning, Dean of the College Maud Mandel announced that Michelle Alexander’s 2010 bestseller, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness, will be the First Readings book for the incoming Class of 2019. Alexander’s book has won rave reviews for its searing, comprehensive look at how the incarceration system in the United States consistently and deliberately targets black Americans, turning many into second-class citizens without basic rights, including the right to vote. Mandel called the selection “compelling and timely,” and she is “confident that this choice for the First Readings Program will inspire productive discussions among students and their seminar leaders.”

Bluestockings published a petition endorsing the selection last December. The letter argued for The New Jim Crow‘s selection on the basis of its merits as a powerful conversation starter for incoming Brown students:

We identify the first-reading as a critical opportunity to begin redefining a culture at Brown that would ask students to constantly grapple with the myriad social constructs that each of us exist within. Brown’s institutions, just as those in the academy and American society at large, perpetuate systems of inclusion and exclusion that are not yet bled of their racist and classist roots. While Michelle Alexander specifically handles the case of contemporary anti-black and anti-brown policing and incarceration strategies, embedding these strategies in historical racism and classism, her book can offer lessons for the immediate Brown community. It is our hope that the conversations that stem from the first-reading discussion groups will introduce students to engagement with the intersections of race and class (within Brown and beyond) as well as spark a sustained interest in examining these and other systems of oppression.

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12 Days of Spring Weekend: Yeasayer

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I like surprises. Well, good ones at least. Without question, Yeasayer’s playing at Spring Weekend was a good surprise. Due to contract negotiations, Yeasayer was announced after the initial release of the Spring Weekend’s lineup — but if one name had to be announced late, this was the one to pick. The addition of Yeasayer to the existing lineup of What Cheer? Brigade, Waka Flocka Flame, and Hudson Mohawke injected some much-needed rock(ish) to Friday night. At least one former BlogDH writer/semi-professional flogger would have been very pleased. The concert really has something for everybody now.

But Yeasayer’s presence in the Spring Weekend lineup represents much more than a simple filler designed to check the box of something-resembling-a-rock-band on some fictional list of Spring Weekend artist requirements. The Brooklyn-based band, which formed in 2006, has constantly pushed the boundaries of genre — they once described themselves as “Middle Eastern-psych-snap-gospel;” Pitchfork calls them “art-pop,” but I’m not sure anyone knows what that is besides a thoroughly mediocre Lady Gaga album. Their songs range from this out-of-left field cover of Seal’s “Crazy” to the more radio-friendly “O.N.E.” of FIFA ’11 fame.

The quartet of Chris Keating, Ira Wolf Tuton, Anand Wilder, and Cale Parks delivers a unique sound that will get you dancing without delivering bass so heavy that you think you’re having a heart attack. Basically, they’re the anti-Brick Squad.

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Students Who Do Cool Things: Nate Parrott ‘17.5, creator of Ratty App

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Everyone’s been there: you’re painfully, paralyzingly hung over, and you NEED to get to the Ratty for some TLC/CT Crunch. Your laptop is an insurmountable 6 feet way on your desk, but you simply must know what’s at the Ratty. It’s a very specific, yet, for many Brown students, shockingly common crisis.

Enter the Ratty App, the creation of Nate Parrott ‘17.5. Now, iPhone users (sorry, Android et al. owners) can check what’s cooking at the school’s biggest dining hall on a very aesthetically pleasing interface. In addition, you can add the menu to your phone’s Notification Center to check whether or not they’re serving grilled cheese (Ed. – probably.) with a simple downward swipe of a finger.

Even the most hung over Brunonian can figure that one out. That is, unless your phone is dead, in which case God help you and your poor soul.

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