Meg Cabot, the bestselling author of the <i>Princess Diaries</i> series, has recently released her latest book, <i>Queen of Babble in the Big City,</i> a sequel to her 2006 novel <i>Queen of Babble</i>. It should come as no surprise that both of these novels fall under the "chick lit" category; in fact, if you look up the definition of "chick lit," I wouldn't be surprised if you found a picture of these books.
L<i>ast summer, I was fortunate enough to read and review The Glass Castle, a memoir by MSNBC journalist, Jeanette Walls (the review is available at http://www-tech.mit.edu/V126/N27/27Castle.html). In the work, Ms. Walls describes growing up well below the poverty line with her alcoholic father and creative mother. This entertaining work that seemed more like fiction than reality was beautifully written and made me so much more appreciative of my "normal" family. Needless to say, when I found out Ms. Walls would be speaking at a local event held by Parenting Resource Associates' COMPASS for Homeless Families (http://www.parentingresourceassociates.org ) to raise awareness and funds for homelessness in Massachusetts, I was delighted to be able to hear her speak and talk with her after the event. After Ms. Walls shared some of her personal experiences with homelessness and poverty, I sat down with her and the following is an excerpt from our conversation.</i>
It's hard not to like jewelry. The familiar shape and feel of it against your skin and the memories it brings make wearing jewelry a small everyday pleasure. The glances and admiration it sometimes elicits are not to be underestimated, either. But those of us who love jewelry don't quite know what it is to really love jewelry until we've visited the new Museum of Fine Arts exhibit showcasing it: "Jewelry by Artists: The Daphne Farago Collection."
There are a few things every MIT student should experience before leaving Boston. The Freedom Trail, the Museum of Science, the Museum of Fine Arts, and walking through the Esplanade are obvious choices, if only because they’re free. But equally essential to get that authentic Boston experiences we out-of-towners pay so much tuition for is witnessing the power and awesomeness that is the Boston Pops.
At first glance, Brookline Lunch doesn’t look like much. It looks a little cruddy, and it isn’t in the most charming of locations amidst the liquor stores and homeless of Central Square. But more important than the décor is the food, of course!
Watching <i>Spider-Man 3</i> is like dating a hermaphrodite: no matter what you’re into, you’re bound to find something that you like. The Spider-Man franchise has been mostly based on cheesy romance and violence, and this third installment is no exception, delivering all of the 3-D panning fight scenes and life lessons that one could ever want. Throughout the film, Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) fights with his best friend Harry (James Franco), evil villains, his girlfriend Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), and the demons in his own soul, which, as Dr. Phil could tell you, are the hardest to excise. The Spider has obviously bitten again.
This past weekend, the MIT Musical Theatre Guild opened their spring musical, <i>A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum</i>, with a bang. The musical, which was written by Stephen Sondheim, is a classic comedy about an ancient Roman slave, Pseudolus (Timothy I. Abrahamsen ’06) as he attempts to win his freedom by getting a girl, Philia (Kathleen McEnnis ’07) for his young master, Hero (Jonathan Arie Gray ’10). Since this is a comedy, Pseudolus’ plans are continually (and humorously) foiled by all of the other characters — including a pimp, courtesans, three Greek chorus members, a nagging wife, an unhappy husband, a powerful Captain, a blind neighbor, and an uptight slave — and confusion ensues. While the plot is interesting enough, it is a bit predictable and overshadowed by the humor of the dialogue. In fact, despite the title, I’m pretty sure no one even went to a forum; and if a character did, it was of no consequence to the work as a whole.
I don’t know about you, but it is easy to get depressed about the current state of American cinema. <i>Disturbia</i> is number one for the third week in a row and somebody actually finances the likes of <i>Kicking it Old Skool</i> and the Nick Cage atrocity, <i>Next</i>. Before you decide to send a pipe bomb to Universal studios, keep in mind all the great smaller filmmakers pursuing innovative and interesting cinema! Last week, some of these brave filmmakers descended on Boston for the fifth annual Independent Film Festival of Boston. With over 70 shorts, documentaries, and narrative features including some premieres, the event has become a great destination for anyone who likes movies and is sick of the crap in wide release. Beyond the films, there were also panel discussions, Q&A’s with the filmmakers after most screenings, parties every night, and lots of free Utz potato chips.
The highly acclaimed and accomplished Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre gave an unusually awkward performance on opening night of Ailey Week 2007 in Boston. Alvin Ailey founded his modern dance company in 1958. Following his death from AIDS in 1989, the company, under the artistic direction of Judith Jamison, remains true to its origins by re-staging original works by Ailey alongside more modern works by other choreographers.
Toscanini’s may be known for its ice cream, but the Main Street location in Cambridge also offers brunch on Saturdays and Sundays until 2 p.m.. Brunch at the Big Table, as this weekly event is known, consists of freshly prepared main dishes as well as traditional breakfast pastries and accompaniments. These pastries and sides include scones, muffins, sticky buns, yogurt, fruit, granola, and an assortment of jams.
Mira Nair's films, like Indian festivals, tend to be indulgent and excessive. Writer Jhumpa Lahiri's stories about Indian-Americans are sparse and understated by contrast. For her adaptation of Lahiri's best-selling novel <i>The Namesake</i>, Nair finds a compromise between the two styles, but her otherwise effective directing is undercut by an overambitious yet bland screenplay.
I must have walked by Miracle of Science Bar & Grill on Massachusetts Avenue at least a hundred times, but didn't know it until last week. It took my fiancée, who doesn't even live here anymore, to tell me about this place and why we should eat there when she came to visit on her spring break. Apparently, the restaurant is famous enough that her friends in the Midwest suggested we try it out, and I'm glad they did. It's a fun little restaurant with good food, a nice atmosphere, and reasonable (if not for everyday) prices.
Trying to describe "Grindhouse," Quentin Tarantino's and Robert Rodriguez's double feature B-movie homage, is kind of like describing the Grand Canyon: sure, throw enough words out there and you can get the idea across, but why not just go out and see for yourself? Of course, the Grand Canyon won't have zombies, lots and lots of blood, and a hot girl with a gun for a leg; whether that's a good or bad thing pretty much determines if you should see "Grindhouse" or not.
Love — true love, head-over-heels, seeing stars love, til-death-do-us-part love — only lasts a year. Don't believe me? Researchers showed that some chemical or protein (excuse this MIT student's highly technical explanation) is found in the brain at high levels for the first year of romance. We read an article about this phenomenon during my writing course last semester, and the facts all seemed in place. After reading, my outraged classmates presented numerous arguments against this stoic and un-storybook-like viewpoint. After a group discussion, we concluded that perhaps the intensity and excitement of first love fades with time, but it is then replaced with the satisfying feeling of familiarity. I think I can live with that definition.
There is a lot to love about "Year of the Dog." It features well-written characters, good acting, decent cinematography, and lots of adorable canine companions — but is it a good movie? One thing is certain, it is a movie that is almost impossible to categorize. Is it a comedy or a drama? Is it worth seeing or not? I have no idea! Just for this ambiguity, "Year of the Dog" is an interesting film — it is unusual to sit through a movie and afterwards not have any idea whether you liked it or not. This also means that the film will not appeal to most moviegoers who venture to the cinema with one goal — entertainment.
One of the things I like most about MIT is finding out about the varying career paths that alums take. Mark Driscoll '92 is one who took the path less traveled. Mr. Driscoll started the Hollywood based Look Effects, a visual effects company that has worked on films including "Apocalypto," "Blood Diamond," "The Fountain," and the upcoming "Next" and "Gone Baby Gone." I talked with Mr. Driscoll a few weeks ago about what he actually does and how he went from MIT to making movies.
Last week, the Irish/Scottish alt rock band, Snow Patrol, came to Boston University's Agganis Arena to promote their most recent album, <i>Eyes Open</i>. Best know for 2004's "Run" (<i>Final Straw</i>) and "Chasing Cars," the first single from <i>Eyes Open</i>, this group's sound is best characterized as emotionally packed lyrics against a "soft-core" rock backdrop that gives them a unique sound in mainstream popular music.