What to do this week: November 10 – 14

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Tuesday, November 11:

Event: Startups: The pros and cons of chasing your dreams
Time: 6:30 – 7:30p.m.
Location: CIT 368

The Brown CS DUG and iXperience CEO Aaron Fuchs are co-hosting a discussion and interactive workshop on launching a successful startup. Looking to learn about some helpful tools you can use to enter the startup world? RSVP to the event here.

Event: Right2Education: Student Voices from Occupied Palestine
Time: 7:30-9p.m.
Location: List 110

Two students from Birzeit University in Palestine will come speak as a part of the first-ever US Right to Education Tour – a tour in which Palestinian students will spend two weeks touring college campuses across the US to speak about their experiences as students and youth activists. A Q&A will follow the presentation.

Wednesday, November 12:

Event: Celebrate the 250th day of Brown’s 250th: Cans 4 Cupcakes
Time: 11:30a.m.-2p.m.
Location: Main Green

“Cans 4 Cupcakes” is a food drive sponsored by Brown’s 250th Anniversary to benefit the RI Community Food Bank – bring a can of food or non-perishable food item, and receive a cupcake in return! The event will also feature hot cocoa and a photo booth.

Event: Beyond Bias: A Different Approach to the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Time: 7p.m.
Location: MacMillan 117

A panel is being held in response to concern about the degree to which the discussions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are biased polarized. It will feature an Israeli scholar, a Palestinian scholar, and a third scholar who teaches a course on the Arab-Israeli conflict at Brandeis University. 

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Sock and Buskin Presents: Sweeney Todd

Photos by: Danielle Perelman

It doesn’t look like you’re on Fleet Street when you enter Leeds Theater for Sock and Buskin’s production of Sweeney Todd. It looks more like Wall Street during the Occupy movement. 

Cast members are kicked out of chairs by policemen as the show begins, and soon we see that the show’s villains are the beneficiaries of the income gap, while its heroes (if you can call them that), reside significantly lower on the income bracket.

In the production, director Curt Columbus, the Artistic Director of Trinity Theater down the hill (so he’s kind of a big deal), breaths new life into the old Tim Burton Sondheim tale of a man (Sweeney) returning to London to exact revenge on the judge who sentenced him to life imprisonment on false charges. You all know the meat pie part. 

The set evokes a city on the brink: cardboard signs — one reads, “WHY?” and another reads “MRS. LOVETT’S PIE SHOP” — graffiti, and an enormous ad for McDonald’s that looks like it was reimagined for a horror movie.

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Imagine 250+: ‘Indomitable’ and the History of Brown University’s Mascot

Brown Bear and Cubs!

In the ongoing, nationwide debate about what kind of bear is best, the sensible answer is always the brown bear. There’s nothing more intimidating than a 1,500 pound male grizzly, and even polar bears have been hopping on the grizzly train of late.

More importantly, the brown bear is perfectly representative of the Brown University student: social, fierce, and possessing large, curved claws that may reach up to six centimeters in length. As the fall events of Brown’s 250th anniversary grow near, it’s important to look back at the history of this noble mascot, particularly with last year’s installation of ‘Indomitable’ – the massive statue of a Kodiak bear – outside the Nelson Fitness Center.

According to Encyclopedia Brunonia, the first mascot of Brown University was actually a burro, given to the student body by “real estate man” Isaac L. Goff and “valued at $100.” Introduced at a game against Harvard in 1902, the burro was found to be not only frightened of crowds but a totally laughable mascot, and was replaced by a brown bear at the suggestion of Theodore Francis Green in 1904-1905.

A series of brown bears were presented at sporting events in the following years, a number of whom did such typically bearish things as snarling at the opposing teams and (in the case of Bruno III) climbing trees in an attempt to escape the crowds. Plainly, this was back before people realized that keeping live bears on leashes at crowded public events was an incredibly idiotic idea. By the 1960s, students had to be content with humans dressed in bear suits at sporting events.

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Our cake is bigger than yours

You may or may not have caught a glimpse of Brown’s 250th anniversary cake/monstrosity last week. Without my glasses, I could behold only a blurry, brown structure before the equally-out-of-focus podiums and rainbow flags flying high on the 3rd floor of Faunce (bravo, kids). Amidst hangry students struggling to appreciate synchronized slam poetry, I could take the time to imagine what our culinary masterpiece looked like. It wasn’t just a replica of University Hall. It was a Cake Boss rival. It was the real Ace of Cakes. It was our very own sculpted dessert straight from a bona fide bakery, Oakleaf Cakes.

My imagination didn’t have to run too far, for Brown really did take the cake. After I made it tore my way through the crowd and tried the not-so-delectable treat, I researched its competition. Here are the cakes Brown surpasses (and a few we didn’t quite beat). Sorry I couldn’t sugarcoat it for you.

Unseating the Incumbent

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The 500-pound inaugural cheesecake

At 650 pounds, Brown’s University Hall outweighed Obama’s inaugural 500-pound cheesecake created by Chicago-based Eli’s Cheesecake Company. The three-tiered Democratic dessert featured a replica of the Capitol Dome topped with a gold Statue of Freedom. But the part-chocolate chip, part-original plain cheesecake, crafted from 155 pounds of cream cheese, 50 pounds of butter, and 20 dozen eggs, among other gargantuan amounts of ingredients couldn’t hold a smoking candle to Oakleaf’s masterwork.

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Commander-in-Chief cake weighed only 50 lbs 

The second inaugural cake made by Charm City Cakes (of Ace of Cakes fame) for the Commander-in-Chief Ball doesn’t even come close to Brown’s cake prowess. At a measly 3-4 feet to our 5 feet, the six-tiered (that’s right, six tiers couldn’t top us) red velvet, lemon poppy seed, pineapple coconut, and pumpkin chocolate chip confection weighed in at a surprising 50 pounds.

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Overheard at the 250th anniversary cake cutting celebration

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It was MAYHEM.

There are moments in your life when you just want to drop everything, lie down in the fetal position, and cry yourself to sleep. Brown’s 250th Anniversary cake cutting definitely qualifies as one. As I waited in the crowd for a slice of this infamous cake, I found myself smothered in a sea of feverish, hungry college students (think Spring Weekend but not as arousing fun). Still, I stood my ground and braved the mosh pit pushes and questionable odors — that cake just looked so darn yummy. Hearing the hilarious comments from everyone around me was the only thing that kept me sane. Really. So behold! I give you a list of the best student remarks during The Cutting of the Cake ‘14.

Minutes before The Cutting:

“Do you think it’ll actually be any good?”

“I came all the way from London, so, like, I should definitely be the first one to get this cake.”

“[Getting closer to the steps] I am going into the inferno, wish me luck.”

“I am ashamed.”

“I am pitiful.”

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The 10 events you can’t miss from this weekend’s Brown 250th kickoff celebrations

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In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen the gigantic crane operating in front of University Hall, Brown is kicking off its celebration of its 250th year this weekend. The University has set up a ton — well, a quarter ton in some cases, but more on that later — of programming. Way too much for a hung over busy Brown student to get to, so we’ve boiled down this absurd brochure of events into a nice top 10 to guide you through the weekend, presented in (mostly) chronological order:

1.  Jim Kim ’82’s keynote address. The current president of the World Bank and former president of Dartmouth should have plenty of wisdom to drop on us. 2:30-3:50 p.m. in Salomon 101. Tickets are sold out, but you can still watch on a live stream. Worst case scenario, we get this:

2. “The Brown Difference” premiere. This film, directed by Oren Jacoby ’77, P’17 and Betsy West ’73, P’17, will probably be about how Brown is different from other schools. Look for mentions of student activism, and open curriculum, and naked people carrying donuts. Hopefully it doesn’t stray into these obnoxious stereotypes. Curtains up at 5 p.m. in Sayles.

3. Cake. I don’t know how to explain this so I’m just going to come out with it: There is a 600 pound cake in the shape of University Hall coming at us. It’s 3 feet high and 5 feet wide. My God. The cake cutting will take place on the Faunce steps at 6:30 p.m. Friday night.

4. Fireworks. Students in Hope and Slater have been asked to ditch their dorms for the event. We don’t know what exactly is in store, but that leads us to believe that whatever it is is going to be REAL. The fireworks are part of the same extravaganza as the cake, at 6:30 p.m. on the Faunce steps.

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