Fresh off their new album release, <i>Wincing the Night Away</i>, The Shins are in the midst of a whirlwind tour, and last Thursday they graced Boston with their presence. I was lucky enough to witness this, and what follows is a (mostly) accurate representation of what went down. Interviewing fans leaving the venue, I gathered the following: the show was "fucking awesome," "really great," and "smokin'."
During my time at MIT, I have learned that the best thing to do on a Friday night is to grab some friends and go to a MITSO concert, which is possible about twice a term. When I got to Kresge last Friday, I was delighted to see a large audience that apparently felt the same way despite the surprisingly inclement weather. Under the baton of conductor Paul M. Biss, MITSO again delivered an uplifting performance, featuring the all-time favorites Grieg's "Peer Gynt Suite" and Stravinsky's "Firebird." The program also included Beethoven's "Symphony No. 1" and Mozart's early masterpiece, the cantata "Exsultate, Jubilate", with soprano Elisabeth Hon G, winner of the MITSO concerto competition.
A new romantic comedy opening at Kendall Cinema gets its enigmatic title, "Starter for 10," from the British game show, "University Challenge." Apparently, British people would catch this reference and it would mean something for them. However, the reference is lost on us Americans, but that isn't too important because "University Challenge" isn't really the focus of the movie, and the storyline never really pans out. Then again, I am not really sure what the focus of "Starter for 10" is<i>.</i> The main point is that there is a college freshman, Brian (James McAvoy) and he has two love interests, Alice (Alice Eve) and Rebecca (Rebecca Epstein).
ArsLatina and Sony Classical have recently presented an homage to Ennio Morricone's masterpieces, interpreted by a surprisingly heterogeneous group of musical masters, from Yo-Yo Ma to Metallica. The anthology could hardly have a more auspicious timing: it comes on the heels of the Italian composer receiving an honorary Oscar at the 79th Annual Academy Awards. Furthermore, the album opens with "I Knew I Loved You," the same song that Celine Dion sang on the same Oscar Night that the composer received his award. In it, Dion still displays the warmth and shine of her prime, which when combined with flawless orchestration, make this the best song of the album.
Have you ever had the experience of seeing a photo of something and knowing immediately that it was for you? Maybe you noticed a picture of a restaurant and declared it would become your new favorite, though you'd never tasted the dish depicted. Or how about seeing the cover of a book and knowing you want to read it, even though you've never even heard of the author (forgetting what they say about not judging a book by its cover)? Dear Reader, I want you to know you're far from alone. Humans rely on vision more than any sense (unless, of course, you're a human without sight, in which case this review will be relevant in just a moment, so bear with me) and so it's perfectly plausible that sight serves as a "gateway sense" for other perceptive experiences.
This past Sunday afternoon, a cappella fans crowded into the beautifully restored Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College, and tuned in to WERS 88.9 to listen to four Boston area a cappella groups compete at the All A Cappella Live competition. The four groups were selected as some of the best in the area and included the MIT Logarhythms along with the Brandeis Voicemale, Harvard Low Keys, and the Tufts Beelzebubs ("Bubs"). While this competition had judges, they only provided comments; it was the live audience of 1200 that would actually decide the afternoon's winner.
Perhaps it says something about me, but <i>Dirty Rotten Scoundrels</i> has been one of my favorite movies since the age of seven. Starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin, this movie about two con-men trying to one up each other in the French Riviera was just about the funniest thing I’d ever seen. Thus when I heard a musical based on it was coming out, I was both thrilled and worried. Since I love the original and I love musicals, it had the potential to be magnificent. Of course, if they messed it up and tarnished the good name of <i>Scoundrels</i>, it would be a bitter disappointment on the order of <i>The Matrix Reloaded</i>. Finally, after years of fear, I bit the bullet and saw the show. My hopes were realized: it was really good.
It was my first time at Bad Taste and I had no idea what to expect. I had heard tales of offensive skits, outrageous songs, and lines snaking through the MIT buildings, but, quite frankly, I believed none of them.
The two of us have always loved the North End as a romantic place to go out for a nice dinner. After all, what could be more romantic than stepping into Boston's own Little Italy, with plenty of beautiful and elegant dining areas seen through almost every window? The only problem is, many of the restaurants with the nicest atmosphere also have prices that are far more expensive than a student could afford, even for a special occasion.
Last Friday, MIT chamber music enthusiasts had the special opportunity to hear the highly acclaimed Audubon String Quartet perform in Kresge Auditorium. In addition to Mozart's string quintet K.515, the program also included two string quartets by Mozart (K.458) and Shostakovich (No.5). The captivating performances, the intimate music, the large and enthusiastic audience, all contributed to a decidedly worthwhile musical experience.
What's different? More specifically, what did the flagship indie pop band of this decade lose or gain by waiting almost four years in between releases? The crest of the Shins' popularity was arguably the prominent use of their songs in the hit 2004 film<i> Garden State</i>. A sensible band would've put something out soon after either to capitalize on their newfound recognition or to quickly and decisively steer their music away from any association with idiot-savant/idiot Zach Braff, or — if they're particularly devious — both. Thankfully, the Shins' newest album, <i>Wincing the Night Away</i>, is good enough — great enough, in fact — to make their intentions irrelevent.
George Balanchine's ballet, <i>A Midsummer Night's Dream</i>, conveys Shakespeare's tale of love and magic through a compelling interaction of vibrant visuals, exquisite choreography, and Mendelssohn's stirring score. The ballet debuted in New York City in 1962 and has finally found its way to Boston for the first time.
Last week marked the sixth annual MIT production of the <i>The Vagina Monologues</i>, a series of short skits designed to break the cultural taboos surrounding women's issues. Specifically, the production addresses worldwide violence against women and related atrocities by exploiting the power of theater as a forum for uninhibited speech. Young women — typically one at a time, as the title suggests — deliver stories of love, terror, happiness, strife, and hope as told through their adopted characters, most of which are based on the accounts of actual women interviewed by playwright Eve Ensler.
Back in the proverbial day, things were different. You didn't have the Internet to tell you any little thing you ever wondered, you could get on an airplane without having to take off your shoes, and you didn't need computer graphics to be entertained by spectacle. Heck, you didn't even need electricity. Yes, hard as it may be for us to believe, there was a time when a single person could tell a story so interesting, so vivid, so engaging, that one could sit entranced for hours just listening.
With a nonlinear, unconventional attitude towards storytelling that approaches genius, Suzan Lori-Parks is becoming one of America's foremost contemporary playwrights. After the recent successful premiere of her "365 Plays/365 Days" project in over 600 theatres across the country, Parks now begins her spring 2007 appointment as MIT's artist-in-residence. It is therefore fitting that MIT Dramashop has selected one of Park's earliest plays, Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom, as the first production of 2007.
This was an unusual concert. If the audience had come for an enthusiastic, hyped show, then they should have left after the opening acts. Those who left feeling satisfied, on the other hand, were those looking for familiar old songs along with previews of new songs on their upcoming album. For a band still working to build up a solid fanbase, Augustana performed surprisingly many new songs. <i>All the Stars and Boulevards </i>came out<i> </i>over a year ago without much success until recently, leaving the group plenty of time to work on new material. Other new songs that the band played that night, "Cocaine" and "Either Way I'll Break your Heart Someday," had a fresh and lighter sound that will hopefully be represented on their next album.
I’m not one for revelations, especially those of the self-referential kind, but I’ll let you in on a little trade secret: writing reviews about concerts is essentially formulaic. I wonder whether rock critics sit down at their desks with a grocery list-like set of criteria for an article. Have I located and named the band’s current stomping grounds? Did I scour my music library for several reminiscent artists, and did I mention these artists nonchalantly? Have I eloquently and convincingly described the band’s redeeming abilities despite its clear weak point? Have I picked a member who is most vital to the band’s survival? Can I see where this band is going and set a projected timeline for its success? If you answered yes to all these questions, you may have written a rock review!
With low ceilings, rich wood, and calming earth tones, the atmosphere at Atasca in Kendall Square is warm and inviting, even during the cold winter months, when the radiance of sunshine cannot be enjoyed on the restaurant’s large patio. Atasca’s menu is authentic Portuguese with an emphasis on seafood, including cod, shrimp, and sardines, among others.