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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Elizabeth McAvoy, the face of Alex Katz’s High Line billboard

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Katherine and Elizabeth

 

If you’ve strolled along the High Line in the past six months, and managed to look up between sips of Blue Bottle Coffee and captioning the perfect #highline ‘gram, you’ve probably seen Alex Katz’s public art commission on the side of the TF Cornerstone building in NYC’s Meatpacking District. Katz’s installation of Katherine and Elizabeth (2012) is part of a long-term public art collaboration between the High Line and the Whitney Museum that introduces new art to the space every eight to twelve months. Thus, it is no coincidence that Katz’s work is installed directly across from the Whitney Museum’s new home, set to open on May 1. Katz’s works were first displayed at the the Whitney in 1974 and the museum hosted the artist’s first major retrospective in 1986. While the Katz installation serves to link the current Upper East Side space with the museum’s new digs, the public art collaboration project between the High Line and the Whitney is about more than just bridging uptown and downtown. The Whitney director Adam Weinberg said that the installation is part of “‘reconnecting with the neighbourhood where we had a deep historical connection,” noting that the Whitney’s brand new Renzo Piano building is just blocks from the museum’s original home on West 8th Street in Greenwich Village. Katz’s history with the Whitney as well as his previous involvement in public art projects, such as the 2005 installation of the Give Me Tomorrow billboard above the ever-popular B Bar and Grill and the 2010 New York City Taxi Project, made him a natural choice for the collaboration’s first installation. But how did Katz’s work featuring RISD’s own Elizabeth McEvoy make the cut? The curators chose Katz’s 2012 painting, Katherine and Elizabeth, given that it would read well from a long distance. But if you haven’t had the chance to check out the scaled-up 17-by-29 foot digital print of Elizabethyou might have the opportunity to run into the real-life version on College Hill. Well actually, Elizabeth McAvoy is currently studying abroad in Italy, but keep an eye out for her next Fall. In the meantime, check out my interview with Katz’s RISD-raised muse after the jump!

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BlogDH: How long have you been a subject of Alex Katz?

E: I started sitting for him in 2010, so I guess five years now.

BlogDH: What it’s like to sit for and be Katz’s subject?

E: His studio is beautiful. He has a summer home in Maine, which is where I’m from, so the painting sessions take place in his studio on a small lake. While he paints I have to sit very still for a couple of hours. So, for entertainment, he tells me various stories from his life as an artist, people he’s met, and just general thoughts on pop culture. He’s hilarious.

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Students Who Do Cool Things: Julie Christian, policewoman extraordinaire

Julie Christian is full of unlikely combinations. She can look you in the face with utmost humble sincerity and say, “I am so proud to wear a uniform.” Her favorite part of being a police officer is “witnessing the positive impact one can make in every event or call.” Julie is 49 years old. Oh, yeah, and don’t let me forget to mention—she’s a student at Brown.

Julie is able to study at Brown through the Resumed Undergraduate Education (RUE) program, which admits a small number of students who have been out of high school for six years or more and are looking to complete or begin a college education.

Clearly, Julie is a bit more than six years out of high school. In the time that elapsed between then and now, a lot’s happened that made her into who she is today: a police officer, police dispatcher, Eucharistic Minister, mother, and a Brown University first-year.

You might be shocked that someone so prim and put-together is a policewoman on the side. You might be shocked that this ex-stay-at-home-mom is a college student. You will be even more shocked to know that all of this—returning to school, becoming a policewoman—has only happened in the last three years of Julie’s life.

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Students Who Do Cool Things: Tanner, the male stripper

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Tanner has actually never seen Magic Mike and cannot confirm whether or not it’s an accurate portrayal.

In our raciest edition yet of Students Who Do Cool Things, we sat down with Tanner, who works as a male stripper. Just because Valentine’s Day has passed, doesn’t mean we have to turn the heat down. Before we begin, just know that this Brunonian’s stage name is Tanner; don’t strain a muscle searching for him on Facebook.

BlogDH: Would you mind telling us what factors contributed to your decision to go into this line of work?

Tanner: Most people have the impression that strippers are doing it for the money and out of desperation. For me, I wanted to explore something new, something that has always–well not always, but has recently fascinated me.

BlogDH: When did your fascination with this start?

T: I started pole dancing at the beginning of last semester. I’d like to clarify that pole dancing and stripping are totally different things. I guess the crossover started to interest me after I went to a few clubs and people started suggesting that I should try this out, so I did.

BlogDH: How are you getting along with your fellow employees?

T: Actually, they are really nice, and we’ll go out to pizza after dancing. Some of them have really big personalities, as you might imagine, but we’re a diverse group. A lot of them give good advice about staying away from certain people, and we teach each other different moves. My first day, when I went to work and was meeting all of the other dancers, one guy said, “I’d shake your hand, but I’m putting on a cock ring”, and I thought, “Oh, this is going to be a fun group of people.” Continue Reading


Now Here This is live!

10933954_331628020371703_3994028759200166041_nNow Here This, co-founded by Sophie McKibben ’16 and Liza Yeager ’17, is an online platform for student-produced audio stories. New pieces will be released weekly, “featuring memoirs and interviews, investigative journalism and live storytelling, slam poetry, and more,” on the website designed by Emma Funk ’16.

The concept of Now Here This originated this past fall, when McKibben and Yeager realized that Brown was missing a platform – “an audio platform to host all kinds of the audio stories they loved to listen to.” The idea of creating such a project caught fire, and soon enough, a team assembled to make this dream a reality. Now, the organization has grown through collaboration with Brown Storytellers and support from the Dean’s Office, the Transformative Conversations Initiative at Brown, advisors Professor Beth Taylor from the English Department and Alex Braunstein from the Swearer Center, as well as from the Brown community at large.

Audio stories on the site will tap into a variety of formats and topics. Some “Features” pieces will perhaps remind listeners of podcasts like This American Life or Radiolab, featuring personal stories and investigations into science topics, for example. Some stories will have producers narrating, in the style of 99% Invisible, and others, such as the “Creative Nonfiction” pieces, may remind listeners of recordings by David Sedaris. Though inspired by the podcasts McKibben and Yeager grew up listening to, Now Here This is “not quite a podcast and not quite a radio station,” while aiming to carve out its own genre of audio content. The platform hopes to combine all different kinds of audio storytelling, not limited to a specified format or subject.

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Brown community continues to show solidarity with Ferguson and New York

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In the weeks since the non-indictments of the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner, we have seen all kinds of protests against a justice system that is rarely applied equally to all Americans. In Providence alone, there have been die-ins, marches, and a massive petition to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse demanding reform.

Though finals period often takes our attention away from just about everything outside of our looming exams, many members of the Brown community have continued to stand up and demand a more equitable justice system–one in which black lives matter. You can see as much on your news feed every day: our classmates are traveling to New York to join the Millions March, sharing posts about how best to be an ally at a time like this, and expressing their rage and sorrow at the events of the past month. Some have led their own protests, lending a hand in the best way they know how.

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