Beyond the Books

Your Guide to student life

Kites glided through the sky at the fifth annual Blossom Kite Festival held at the Washington Monument on Saturday.

The festival started at 10 a.m. and lasted until 4 p.m., featuring kite makers and fliers in various competitions and demonstrations.

The Blossom Kite Festival is a part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs from March 20 to April 12.

Video by Eric Osman.

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Saturday, March 28, 2015 2:47 p.m.

Fashion, food and fun at International Night

GW Class Council offered a taste of cultures from around the world all under the roof of the Marvin Center’s Continental Ballroom for “International Night.”

Ten student organizations represented their cultures with food, dance performances and activities. The featured event of the evening was an international fashion show, where students modeled typical clothing from countries across the globe.

Video by Clare Hymes.

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More than 100 students went to the Textile Museum on Monday for student night, an event hosted by the Student Association, Program Board, Class Council and the Residence Hall Association. Students were invited to see the museum’s artifacts as well as watch a student jazz performance.

The museum, which officially opened this weekend, has over 19,000 textiles and carpets.

“The goal of tonight was really to emphasize that this museum is in and of George Washington University and is a space that students should feel comfortable coming to,” said Lauren Shenfeld, a presidential administrative fellow.

Video by Haley Lloyd.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015 8:30 p.m.

What We’re Watching: ‘The Hunting Ground’

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Riley Londres.


“The Hunting Ground” left me speechless, but at the same time, I wanted to shout out in rage. The 103-minute film is a shocking, emotionally charged account of the prevalence of sexual violence on college campuses.

Promotional poster for "The Hunting Ground."

Promotional poster for “The Hunting Ground.”

In the documentary, dozens of college students are interviewed about reports that may have been brushed under the rug to ensure schools maintain a reputation for being safe. That’s to encourage future high school seniors to apply or keep key sports players from sitting on the sidelines.

It begins with footage of high school seniors’ reactions to acceptances from the schools of their dreams followed by shots of various welcome weeks from campuses across the United States.

But the hopeful tone is quickly sobered by the introduction of two students from the University of North Carolina, Andrea Pino and Annie Clark, who share the first of many testimonies that make the documentary so compelling.

The riveting film, written and directed by Kirby Dick, follows Pino and Clark, survivors of sexual assault, and includes intense interviews with other survivors, parents, professors and even a convicted rapist.

Pino and Clark endeavor to make their school, the University of North Carolina, as well as colleges and universities across the country, take the crime of rape more seriously. Interviewees lament that the financial incentives for institutions to cover up rape reports is a greater than the motivations to protect students.

As the New York Times noted, the documentary is largely one-sided, though that could be because many university officials declined to be interviewed.

During the screening at E Street Cinema, the audience’s collective distress was palpable. One member of the audience scoffed at the screen at points. No one moved until the last credit rolled.

The film ends with footage of recent marches and protests on campuses across the country to show that sexual violence is now an issue that prompts students to demand change. The final message is that victims can become survivors, and from there they can become activists, but there is more work to be done.

“The Hunting Ground” is playing at Landmark E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW.

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Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Sophie Ota.

Melt Shop ups the ante of the classic white bread and American cheese combination, adding ingredients like truffle mayo and sourdough toast to sandwiches at its first D.C. restaurant.

The sandwich shop opened on L Street last month after operating five locations in New York.

The store has a minimalistic look with a modern punch. A high-tech soda machine allows customers to chose from more than 100 beverage options, and murals on the white-tiled walls urge visitors to “cheat on your mom’s grilled cheese.”

Melt Shop’s menu continues this trendy twist.

“We’re a sandwich shop with a grilled cheese base, but we use artisanal ingredients, and make pretty much everything from scratch here,” manager Brian Tolisano said.

The shop combines sandwiches with comfort food. One creation, the Maple Bacon sandwich, includes aged cheddar, Wisconsin brick cheese spread and maple glazed bacon on white bread ($7.12).

But traditionalists, fear not: The menu also includes a “Classic” sandwich ($5.05), made only with American and white cheddar cheese.

“Everything on our menu goes with the perfect grilled cheese,” Tolisano said, citing the sides like tater tots, tomato soup, milkshakes and speciality beer.

Though it’s not the first grilled cheese speciality shop in the District, Melt Shop offers a more casual atmosphere and significantly lighter fare, not to mention it’s a little closer to campus.

And with the price of sandwiches ranging between $5 and $9, you’ll still be able to eat out with whatever money you have left after spring break.

Additional Melt Shop locations in Dupont Circle and on Connecticut Avenue are in the works and catering options are set to debut in the next two to three weeks. The restaurant does not accept GWorld, though Tolisano hopes to be able to take it soon.

I tried the Fried Chicken sandwich and the Buffalo sandwich ($9 each) per Tolisano’s recommendation. The sandwich featured its namesake plus pepper jack cheese, crunchy red cabbage and Melt Shop’s speciality sauce between two slices of crispy sourdough bread. While I questioned the inclusion of cabbage, which was more waxy than tasty, the chicken was satisfyingly moist.

I preferred the Buffalo sandwich: The tangy buffalo sauce united the distinct flavors of fried chicken, pepper jack cheese, blue cheese and sourdough bread. Combined with the sharp cheese and perfectly toasted bread, I could see myself warming up with the sandwich on a chilly day.

To complete my meal, I sipped on Melt Shop’s signature Nutella shake. The best part was the frozen swirls of Nutella, which gave the beverage a thick consistency. Filling and rich, I could see Melt Shop shakes competing with those at other favorites near campus like Burger Tap & Shake.

Melt Shop is located at 1901 L St. NW.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015 12:29 p.m.

You’re in luck: St. Patrick’s Day deals

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Christina Carpenter. 

If you’re struggling to squeeze in a full day of St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans, you don’t have to stray too far from campus. Grab a green beer after class at one of these bars, which all offer early deals during the day. Sláinte mhaith!

“Beat the Clock” at Sign of the Whale: This green beer special is a steal, but prices increase by the hour. Sign of the Whale will offer $0.17 beer from 10 to 11 a.m., $1.17 for the next hour, $2.17 beer from noon to 1 p.m. and $3.17 beer from 1 to 2 p.m. Guinness and Crown Apple cost $5 from open until last call.
Sign of the Whale, 1825 M St.

Party at Rí Rá Irish Pub: The Georgetown establishment claims to host the biggest celebration on M Street. Begin with traditional Irish breakfast at 10 a.m. and jig your way through the day to live music featuring Irish dancers and bag-pipers. There will also be an ice luge of Jameson Irish Whiskey.
Rí Rá Irish Pub, 3125 M St.

Celebrate at Fadó Irish Pub: The motto for Fadó’s 17th St. Patrick’s Day in the District is “Don’t hold back, hold beers.” Ice Wagon FLU will play at 2 p.m., and band Lloyd Dobler Effect will play at 8 p.m. 
Fadó Irish Pub, 808 7th St.

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Updated: March 8, 2015 at 11:41 a.m.

The Mask and Wig Club from the University of Pennsylvania performed its 127th annual production of “A Comedy of Terrors” in the Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre on Saturday.

The all-male collegiate musical comedy troupe, the oldest in the nation, has taken its show on tour this year, with performances in Philadelphia, D.C., New York City and London.

“It’s been an absolute blast,” said Rishi Simha, the club’s chairman. “Just imagine having 45 of your closest friends packed together on a tour bus, going from city to city, sharing hopefully what you think are some of your best jokes with audiences around the country and even internationally.”

Video by Sara Amrozowicz.

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Saturday, March 7, 2015 5:11 p.m.

Q&A: GW alumni Jukebox the Ghost

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Ariana Mushnick.

Ben Thornewill, Jesse Kristin and Tommy Siegel lived in Amsterdam Hall when it was called New Hall, where a close friendship around music evolved into their band, Jukebox the Ghost.

Jukebox The Ghost

Ben Thornewill in March 2010 at the Black Cat. File Photo by Francis Rivera | Senior Staff Photographer

Just over a decade since their days as GW students, the bandmates have released four studio albums and played hundreds of shows across the country. Vocalist Ben Thornewill talked to The Hatchet about Shania Twain, California and walking by the White House on a snow day. The trio will perform at the 9:30 Club on March 10.

The three of you met while you were students at GW. What were your times like here?

Ben Thornewill: We were all in the same dorm for sophomore through senior year. We played at every frat party, benefit show, casino nights – all of it. We worked out our kinks while we were there, and once we graduated, we started touring and doing it for real.

It was always my goal to make it a career. Tommy was a journalism major, Jesse [studied] biology and I was the one who was studying music. So in my mind, I was like, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna do this.’ I had to talk them out of more lucrative careers.

What were your favorite things to do in D.C.?

BT: I loved living by the monuments. One of my favorite moments was on a snow day and I walked in the middle of the night to the White House and saw it right before they they started clearing the paths. I think just living in D.C. and having the chance to see the city in those more private, quiet moments is awesome.

You’re now on your biggest U.S. tour to date, and you recently performed on ‘Conan.’ How does it all feel?

BT: It’s wonderful. We’ve had a bunch of really fantastic sold-out shows in L.A. and Chicago, New York and San Francisco, and hopefully D.C. as well. Conan was an absolute whirlwind. He’s very kind and very tall.

It’s been a really encouraging tour. It feels like there’s an energy throughout it [and] it feels like big things are happening.

Did you ever go to shows at the 9:30 Club and envision yourself playing there?

BT: I went to many shows at the 9:30 Club, [but] I never even envisioned myself playing there because I was just hoping to play the Black Cat. That was our big goal. I thought, ‘Oh, maybe one day.’

You just released your fourth album, and it’s more pop-y than your previous albums. Did you have a vision for the album?

BT: We always want to try to not make the same record twice. We wanted to make a record that was a little more, I guess, on-the-nose pop songs, an album that you could put on at a party and listen to all the way through. We [recorded] 50 odd songs and whittled it down to the 11. I think from start to finish we probably spent nine or 10 months on it.

Do any songs on the album carry a particular meaning for you?

BT: Each song has its place and moment in history. ‘Hollywood’ is the one that’s the most exciting and most engaging [live]. Jesse, the drummer, gets out from behind the drum kit and sings it jazz style. It’s a big showpiece and I love that song.

You’ve been together for over a decade. How has the band evolved?

BT: Almost indescribably. We’re now approaching 30 [years old], and we were 18 [and] 19 when we started it. So we’ve aged, which is doing whatever it does to us. And from the beginning, we were just like idiots living in a dorm and sleeping on the floor to make a record in North Carolina, and now we’re at like 900 shows.

We’ve been touring for eight to nine years, so it’s a whole different ballgame. It’s a constant evolution. I think fundamentally we’re the same people, but it’s nice not sleeping on floors anymore.

Who is your No. 1 music idol?

BT: That’s a good question. Beethoven? Yeah, that can be my answer. Otherwise, I can only think of like smart-ass answers like Shania Twain. She’s touring again.

I’ve heard you play covers during your shows. Is this a tradition, and how do you decide what to cover?

BT: It’s definitely a tradition. It came from our days at GW when we’d play parties and stuff, and people would only want to hear so many original songs. They would want to hear something that they know. So we’d always do something like a nod to the audience.

About a year ago, I very jokingly said what if we did ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman!’ And we were like, ‘Fuck it. Let’s try it.’ And it kills. It’s one of the best covers we’ve done. That’s how it goes. It’s a joke conversation that often ends up being like, alright, let’s try it, and sometimes it works.

What’s the last concert you went to?

BT: Sara Bareilles, who is an such an extraordinary performer. It’s not only the last concert I’ve been to, but like one of the most impressive performances I’ve ever seen. She’s so personable and has such an extraordinary voice. It really blew me away. I didn’t expect to like [her] as much as I did.

When you’re back in New York, what do you do in your free time?

BT: This is the problem with interviews, because all I want to say is masturbation, which I can’t say, like I’m not allowed to say that.

I read a lot, hang out with friends, probably don’t go to rock clubs because that’s all we do. We’re always writing, we’re always making music, so it’s sort of like a continuation of what we do and who we are on the road, just we don’t have to sleep in Holiday Inn Expresses anymore.

What’s your source of creative inspiration?

BT: Life, music, stuff. Paying attention to the world around you, that’s mostly it. And masturbation.

It looks like you guys had a great time filming the music video for ‘The Great Unknown.’ What was that like?

BT: Truly, it was an awesome time. We started in L.A. in the studio that we recorded the album in, drove up the Pacific Coast Highway, just stopped at beautiful national parks, set up the instruments and just played and filmed it. It ended with a party in San Francisco. All of that was perfect. The best music video experience we’ve had.

Anything you want to say to current GW students?

BT: Masturbation. No. Be weird. Subvert the people. Subvert the man. Screw with everything.

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If your friends at New York and Fordham universities bragged about Beyoncé’s surprise performance with Jay-Z at a free festival in Central Park, you now have your rebuttal.

No Doubt and Usher will headline D.C.’s first Global Citizen Festival on April 18, which will be hosted by 

Fall Out Boy, Train, Mary J. Blige and My Morning Jacket will also perform.

As is typical in the District, the event, which will celebrate the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, coincides with policy meetings: Officials, including World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, are expected to make new financial commitments to end global poverty in 15 years, Billboard reported.

The World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund will also hold their spring meetings around this time.

The event will take place near the Washington Monument. More performers are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015 2:04 a.m.

Video: GW Bhangra steals the show

“Represent: Dance Competition,” hosted by GW Class Council, featured six student dance groups, including XOLA: Afro-Caribbean Dance Team, GW Ballroom, GW Bhangra, GW Balance, GW Chamak and GW Raas.

Each organization did a group performance followed by a solo or duet in a competition to be the crowd favorite. Based on the cheers from the audience, the Class Council determined that GW Bhangra was this year’s winner.

Bhangra is a folk style of dance that originated in the Punjab region.

Video by Blair Guild.

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