8 things we learned at An Evening with David Sedaris

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David Sedaris, humorist and essayist, came to the swanky Providence Performing Arts Center Monday night for a reading of new and past works and a book signing. Sedaris is the author of the bestselling personal essay collections Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, and also frequently contributes to The New Yorker magazine and blog. With a stack of books and papers under his arm, Sedaris wandered onto the massive PPAC stage to read, teaching us a few things:

1. Tumors make good turtle food. Sedaris had a benign fatty tumor in his side called a lipoma. He had taken a liking to a particular snapping turtle, which had a growth on his head, near his house in Emerald Isle and came to the conclusion that he had to feed his tumor to the turtle. He went to a doctor who said he could take the tumor out, but could not give him any removed body parts due to Federal law. Sedaris had the tumor removed in the middle of the night by a fan who approached him at a book signing, who explained that while she was not a surgeon officially, she learned it for a year in med school. After his trip to her clinic after the show, Sedaris kept the tumor in his freezer for almost a year, as the turtles were hibernating. But, when springtime rolled around and he returned to Emerald Isle, Sedaris discovered that his favorite snapping turtle had died over the winter. Sedaris somewhat reluctantly fed the tumor to other turtles in the area, and they gobbled it up!

2. Sedaris is a local litter hero. As described in his 2014 essay in The New Yorker, “Stepping Out”, Sedaris loves his FitBit. When he first got it, he loved it so much that he started picking up trash on his long walks, upping his self-imposed litter-patrol shifts to about nine hours a day, around 60,000 steps, and about 20 – 25 miles. Sedaris shared that he once collected garbage for 30 miles in one day, taking him 11.5 hours. Sedaris has collected so much garbage around his village in West Sussex, England that the local council has named a garbage truck after him and he was invited to Buckingham Palace last May to meet Queen Elizabeth II. 

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Concert Knowledge: 7 things I learned at Bo Burnham’s MAKE HAPPY tour

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Bo Burnham came to Providence Friday night, for the third stop of his Fall 2015 MAKE HAPPY tour. Burnham is a comedian, musician, and writer. Starting out of YouTube at the age 16, Burnham was the youngest comedian to record a Comedy Central special at the age of 18. He’s recorded two hour-long specials since then – Words, Words, Words in 2010 and what. in 2013. Burnham also wrote and starred in the MTV series Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous, is hilarious on Vine, and wrote a bestselling poetry book, EGGHEAD.

Burnham performed Friday night at the gorgeous VETS auditorium, and he killed it. Here are the 7 things I learned at MAKE HAPPY 2015:

1. WolfCop is a must (?) see

Burnham’s opener, Adam Newman from Comedy Central, gave a hilarious raving review/reenactment of WolfCop, a Sharknado-esque 2014 movie on Netflix that’s fairly self-explanatory (read: werewolf and cop). However, as Newmann animatedly described, this werewolf movie is the only one where the protagonist transforms into a werewolf wiener-first. WolfCop (aka Lou Garou) transforms into a werewolf mid-pee, and the transformation is a progression of approximately “wiener to potato to explosion.” My friend and I started watching it after the show, and it’s definitely, as Newman argued, a must see. The Netflix description: “After being transformed into a werewolf, a boozy cop uses his new powers to tangle with devil worshipers, shape-shifters, and other minions of evil.” I mean…

2. Bo is tall, so very tall (and also very fluid)

Yes, Bo is ridiculously crazy tall in person, a friend you’d definitely want to take apple picking. At 6′ 5″, Bo was easy to see on stage, sporting his signature white T. The man is just a lot of limbs and is also a very animated performer and dancer. His long legs and arms form a whirlwind of Bo, a fluid octopus of comedy, dance, and sound, if you will.

3. Straight white men have a lot of problems

Bo sat down at his piano and prefaced a song with, “I have a lot of problems, and I like to share them with people,” beginning a satirical, self-aware song from the perspective of a straight white man. Bo belted out a drawn out and melodic, “Straiiiightttt whiteeeeeeee mannnnnn” chorus throughout the song, singing, “Can’t you just leave us alone, and also, no, to the things you asked for” to all the gays and the women’s rights activists.

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What to do this week: September 28 – October 4

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Monday, September 28

Event: The High Line, Supergentrification and the Street
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Petteruti Lounge

The Urban Studies DUG brings you this lecture on a very hip topic: Manhattan’s west side High Line and “the role of supergentrification in current and planned developments” of it.

Tuesday, September 29

Event: Fall 2015 Tech Careers Fair
Time: 12:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Location: Sayles

Tech employers looking for computer scientists and developers will be here scooping out the future Bill Gates. Happy coding! (As a senior Philosophy concentrator, I am jealous of people who can attend this event. I’m also available for dates.)

Event: Farm Fresh Rhode Island Benefit Night
Time: 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Flatbread

A portion of the proceeds from pizza bought this night will go towards Farm Fresh RI.

Event: IFF Presents: Screening of The Hunting Ground + Panel
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Granoff Auditorium

IFF and React to Film are cohosting this screening of The Hunting Ground, a documentary on sexual assault on U.S. campuses and institutional cover up. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

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Tips to get up front at Spring Weekend

Assuming you were able to snag tickets amid the free-for-all online scrum on Monday, it’s still likely that you won’t end up directly in front of center stage. If you want to high five Isaac Brock or kiss/fight Waka Flocka Flame, you’re going to have to get creative. Here are our suggestions for how to get up to the front of a Spring Weekend concert without overtly looking like an asshole:

“Uhhh… I don’t feel so good.”

Proclaim how dizzy and sick you are feeling as you move forward through the crowd. Throw in a “I think I’m gonna…” here and there. If people don’t respond, bend over and cover your mouth with your hands.

Effectiveness:✯✯✯✯ Getting puked on is one of many things that can immediately ruin someone’s spring weekend experience. Anyone paying attention will step aside once aware of the ticking vomit-bomb.

Act distressed.

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Yell “Fuck” while repeatedly covering and uncovering your face with your hands. Pretend that you lost your phone and/or significant other at the front of the crowd.

Effectiveness:✯✯ People on Spring Weekend are generally in a pretty good mood. The sight of someone distressed will conflict with built up positive energy; this might leave them annoyed for a second but they’ll be happy once you’re out of sight.

Crowd surf.

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Get some friends to hoist you atop the crowd and succumb to the will of those underneath you.

Effectiveness: ✯✯✯✯✩ This strategy may not get you to the front but you can make progress if you are persistent. Crowd surfing will also leave a gap between the people behind you, which your friends can use to make their way forward.

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12 Days of Spring Weekend: Don’t Sleep on Waka Flocka Flame

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In a rather bizarre turn of events earlier in the semester, it was leaked that Waka Flocka Flame would be performing at this years spring weekend concert. In the last two years, BCA has booked artists, specifically hip-hop artists, at pivotal points of their careers. In just the short time since his performance here, Kendrick Lamar has surged into the hip-hop scene and is fighting for the title of best rap artist of our generation, if not all time. Chance, too, has started to collab with bigger names and is receiving more widespread acclaim in mainstream media.

So when I found out about Waka’s spot in the lineup, I was a bit surprised. I couldn’t help thinking back to my freshman year of high school, when I thought blasting “Hard in da Paint” made me cooler than I actually was (let’s not forget I was a chubby kid from the suburbs who thought Waka’s lyrics spoke to me). After reliving my glory days, it became clear to me why my memories of Waka Flocka stopped after my first year in high school: Flame’s last mainstream record success, Flockaveli, was released in 2010.

At first, the BCA’s decision confused me. Why would they book an artist whose career was anything but taking off? That was until I realized that Waka has been steadily producing mixtapes since his major debut, has been collaborating with EDM artists like Steve Aoki, and has become one of the most consistent rap artists of the last five years. Though he has not had as much mainstream success since Flockaveli, Flame has continued to produce and create music. What became clear is that though his career may not be about to leap forward, it has definitely not lost its spotlight it once had. Let’s start in the beginning.

Born in New York, Juaquin Malphurs, aka Waka Flocka Flame, soon relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, where he grew up and eventually developed his sound. Atlanta is often considered the birthplace of trap, and Flocka fit right in, starting his relationship with established trap artist Gucci Mane by the age of 19. In 2009, Flame had his first breakout single, “O Let’s Do It,” which eventually peaked at no. 62 on Bilboard’s Hot 100. This spark launched Flame’s career into the spotlight, and he never looked back. After his initial success, Flocka released his debut album Flockaveli in 2010. With Flockaveli, Flame crashed into the hip-hop scene with unapologetic lyrics about living in the trap and his life as a member of the brick squad (other notable members include Chief Keef and Gucci Mane). Known for its boisterous sound and party anthems, some of the album’s more notable songs include “Hard in da Paint,” “Grove St. Party,” and “No Hands.” The album debuted at no. 6 on Billboard’s Hot 200, and Flame was named the eighth-hottest MC of 2010 by MTV.

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A Cool Thing You Shouldn’t Miss: The Brown Wind Symphony Concert with Mark Steinbach

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Looking for a little on-campus cultural advancement? The Brown Wind Symphony is holding a free concert tonight from 8-10 p.m. in Sayles Hall. Conducted by Mr. Mathew McGarrel, they will perform works by Mozart, Percy Grainger, and Jaromir Weinberger, as well as a special performance by a percussion ensemble.  What makes this concert even better is that Brown’s resident organist, Mark Steinbach, will perform alongside the Wind Symphony. In case you didn’t know, Brown is home to our very own Hutchings-Votey pipe organ, which happens to be the world’s largest, with over 3,300 pipes.

The Wind Symphony concert is a great way to get your Friday night started, and it ends just in time for you to catch the better part of most pregames, in case that’s a concern of yours. You can also try to impress a date by pretending to know who the heck Jaromir Weinberger is (he was actually a badass Czech composer who wrote over 100 works such as operas, choral works, and symphonies). If you haven’t had a chance to check out a student performance or an organ concert, now is your opportunity. The tickets are free, and the doors open at 8:00 p.m.

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