Beyond the Books

Your Guide to student life

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Madison Pontz.

Between midterms and the chaotic fun of celebrating Halloween, take it easy this weekend with some stress-free (and sometimes, just free) events.

Jam to live music, meet a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and maybe even get a jump on the Halloween festivities at the National Zoo – Bao Bao included.

Thursday

Mary Lambert at U Street Music Hall: Best known as the female vocalist on Macklemore’s hit “Same Love,” singer-songwriter Mary Lambert will perform at U Street Music Hall on Thursday. Lambert’s emotionally charged, soulful songs lend themselves to a moving live show, comparable to those of artists like Adele and Tori Amos. Jillette Johnson will open.
U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. 7 p.m. $18.

K.Flay at Rock & Roll Hotel: K.Flay is a fresh face in the indie hip-hop scene who just released her debut album, “Life As a Dog,” earlier this year. But don’t let the artist’s rookie appearance fool you. She’s already toured extensively with popular acts like Icona Pop and Passion Pit, and her breathy voice and mesmerizing, emotive lyrics have made hits out of tracks like “Thicker Than Dust” and “The Cops.” Minneapolis-based band Step Rockets will open the show.
Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. 8 p.m. $12 in advance, $15 day of the show.

Friday

Singer-songwriter Dave Barnes. Photo by Flickr user Corey Butler under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Singer-songwriter Dave Barnes. Photo by Flickr user Corey Butler under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Take Cover at Acre 121: No, you’re not going to hear any original songs. But the covers-only band Take Cover is bound to amp up your Friday night with a new take on everything from today’s pop hits to 70s-era R&B. The only cover that’s missing from this event is the one you pay to get inside. Head over to Columbia Heights bar and restaurant Acre 121 for this free event for anyone 21 and older.
Acre 121, 1400 Irving St. NW. 10 p.m. Free. This is a 21+ event.

Dave Barnes at The Hamilton: Singer-songwriter Dave Barnes, an acoustic-pop and R&B artist originally from Nashville, makes a stop at The Hamilton this weekend. Barnes, whose hit “God Gave Me You” was nominated for a Grammy in 2012, has kept busy over his 12-year musical career with eight albums, including his most recent, “Golden Days,” which dropped earlier this year. Marc Scibilia will open the show.
The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. 8:30 p.m. $17 to $23.

Saturday

First Aid Kit at the 9:30 Club: Stop by the 9:30 Club to hear Swedish folk-pop duo First Aid Kit, a rad set of sisters famous for their 2008 cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song.” Since the cover put them on the map, First Aid Kit has made a name of their own with folksy, pop and country-inspired tunes like “Emmylou” and “My Silver Lining.”
9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Doors at 7 p.m. $35.

Bao Bao, a one-year-old baby panda at the National Zoo. Photo by Flickr user Sharon Sipple under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Bao Bao, a 1-year-old baby panda at the National Zoo. Photo by Flickr user Sharon Sipple under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Boo at the Zoo: Sure, this trick-or-treating event might be designed for kids, but that doesn’t mean celebrating Halloween early at the National Zoo will be any less fun for those who still enjoy candy, costumes, spirited Halloween decorations and quality time with Bao Bao, the Zoo’s famous baby panda. Throw on a costume and take this opportunity to hang out with the animals and gorge yourself on candy. Make sure to snag tickets online ahead of time.
National Zoological Park, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. 5:30 p.m. $30.

Sunday

Slam poetry: At “Slam Up!,” slam poetry duo Cali Bulmash and Emily Lowinger will present their touching and hilarious work. The poets’ writing deals with all types of love – LGBTQ and straight, requited and not – and takes the form of music, spoken word and even rap. The event will also feature the work of Julia Jordan, a D.C.-based poet.
D.C. Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW. 3 p.m. $5 for DCAC members, $10 for non-members.

Marilynne Robinson “Lila” Book Talk: Marilynne Robinson, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, will talk about her new novel, “Lila,” at Politics & Prose on Sunday. The final book of the “Gilead” trilogy, “Lila” tells the story of a woman’s grueling life and work in Iowa in the early 20th century.
Politics & Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. 5 p.m. Free.

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Monday, Oct. 20, 2014 11:53 p.m.

A music festival from your front porch

Video by Hatchet videographer Haley Lloyd

Porchfest in Adams Morgan is a mini-music festival where residents and local businesses perform right on their front steps.

A variety of folk, jazz, alternative and world music groups came out this year.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Madison Pontz.

If you’re still trying to work off the midterm stress, take a much-needed break this week with a free Halloween movie screening, a pumpkin carving party and live entertainment across the District.

Monday

Promotional poster for "Teen Witch."

Promotional poster for “Teen Witch.”

Halloween Movie Mondays: Halloween fanatics looking for a stiff drink and a good scare to kick off the week can check out Halloween Movie Mondays at Dodge City D.C. Scary and/or funny Halloween movies about teenagers will roll this Monday night starting at 8 p.m. This event for those 21 and older has no cover fee and includes discount drinks, free candy, vegan options and popcorn. “Teen Witch,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Scream” will entertain bar-goers.
Dodge City D.C., 917 U St. NW. Movies start at 8 p.m. Free.

Benjamin Booker at U Street Music Hall: Singer-songwriter Benjamin Booker, originally from New Orleans, will rock out at U Street Music Hall on Monday night. Booker combines blues, soul and hard garage rock to create the unique sound on his debut self-titled album, released in 2013. Blank Range, a rock band from Nashville, will open the show.
U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. 7 p.m. $15.

Tuesday

“designPOP” Talk and Book Signing: Lisa Roberts will speak about her latest book, “designPOP,” which explores influential, creative products developed since 2000, like the many Apple products introduced over the past 14 years. Along with the opportunity to hear Roberts’ talk and have their books signed, event attendees will also get to watch an episode of “My Design Life,” Roberts’ television series, which looks at much of the same design-centric information as her new book. Online RSVP is required.
National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. 12:30 p.m. Free.

Bookshop and coffeehouse Busboys and Poets. Photo by Flickr user Daniel Lobo under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Bookshop and coffeehouse Busboys and Poets. Photo by Flickr user Daniel Lobo under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Open Mike Night hosted by Droopy: Busboys and Poets, a hipster haven for literary lovers and foodies alike, will host an open mike night at its 14th and V streets location Tuesday night. Audience members can expect two hours of live entertainment from spoken word performers, musicians and more. Wristbands are required to enter the event, which will charge a $5 cover fee.
Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th St. NW. 9 p.m. $5. 

Wednesday

District of Change: LGBTQ Life in D.C. Then and Now: If the history of the LGBT movement is of interest, head over to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library on Wednesday for a discussion about the state of equal rights in D.C., moderated by Slate’s LGBT issues writer, Mark Joseph Stern. Stern and the event panel will talk about the past, present and future of LGBT issues and rights in the city. The event is free, but attendees must RSVP online.
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St. NW. 7 p.m. Free.

Bloodshot Bill at DC9: For music-lovers looking for something a bit more than the usual acts at large venues, check out Bloodshot Bill at DC9. The show is sure to be an adventure, with the artist playing guitar, using a small foot-controlled drum set and singing to create a form of greaser punk rock. JJ Damage and the Bandits, a three-piece band based in the District, will open.
DC9 Nightclub, 1940 9th St. NW. Show begins at 9 p.m. $12. This event is for those 21 and older.

Thursday

NoMa Pumpkin Carving Party: If you are one of the handful who have yet to catch autumn fever, head over to NoMa for the neighborhood’s pumpkin carving party and fall extravaganza. Free pumpkins and carving utensils are available for the first 300 event attendees. It will also include a petting zoo, live music from the Page County Ramblers, face painting, a candy scavenger hunt and seasonal food and drinks.
1100 First St. NE. 4 p.m. Free.

RDGLDGRN at the 9:30 Club: For a new take on the classic D.C. Go Go music style, check out RDGLDGRN at the 9:30 Club. The trio combines elements of hip-hop, punk rock and indie rock for diverse tunes. While the band is on the rise, working with artists like Pharrell Williams, take this chance to see them in the District. Mista Selecta and Redline Graffiti will open the show.
9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Doors at 7 p.m. $15.

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Monday, Oct. 20, 2014 11:21 p.m.

Monday Mix and Editors’ Picks

Monday Mix

The best cure to the mid-semester blues is a change of pace, and we’ve got your antidote.

Check out these mashups of songs new and old, like remixes that combine Modest Mouse with Smash Mouth or Kanye West with the XX.

 

Editors’ Picks

Film | Emily Holland, Culture Editor

This week’s pick: “The Tale of Princess Kaguya”

Studio Ghibli does what Studio Ghibli does best: make beautifully animated films. This one seems to be no exception.

Music | Morgan Baskin, Assistant Culture Editor

This week’s pick: Above & Beyond Group Therapy, live from Madison Square Garden

Lit | Tatiana Cirisano, Contributing Culture Editor

This week’s pick: Paper Darts

I recently discovered this online literary mag that posts a selection of poems, short stories and other prose by undiscovered writers every day.

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Video by Hatchet videographer Deepa Shivaram.

GW held its annual Acappellapalooza charity concert Saturday with the GW Troubadours, the Vibes, the Pitches, the Sons of Pitch, the Voice Gospel Choir and the MotherFunkers.

Acappellapalooza, sponsored by the GW Troubadours, asked attendees to make a minimum donation of $5. All proceeds went to Miriam’s Kitchen, a soup kitchen in Foggy Bottom.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Abigail Eddy.

Not long after taking the stage at the 9:30 Club Friday night, singer-songwriter Julian Casablancas struggled to untangle the microphone from its stand. In true Casablancas fashion, he turned away from the crowd, deciding to leave the mic stand slightly off-base.

The audience roared.

At the concert, the lead singer of The Strokes showed off his most recent project, Julian Casablancas+The Voidz, a band formed by Casablancas, guitarists Jeramy Gritter and Amir Yaghmai, bassist Jake Bercovici, drummer Alex Carapetis and Jeff Kite on the keyboard.

After several false-alarm cheers from fans awaiting the band’s entrance, Julian Casablancas+The Voidz finally appeared. As soon as Casablancas stepped on stage, clad in a sporty, black track jacket, the entire audience pushed nearly four feet toward the stage, filling every available space.

Lead singer Julian Casablancas takes the stage. Photo by Flickr user Liliane Callegari under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Lead singer Julian Casablancas takes the stage. Photo by Flickr user Liliane Callegari under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Just a few songs in, bras were already landing on stage as others shouted his name and reached out to touch him.

asablancas’ deep voice led the sound, and guitar and bass riffs that seemed to echo The Strokes emerged through the distortion. The lyrical, melody-driven music of The Strokes, though, was all but forgotten, leaving room as the band experimented with other styles.

“Human Sadness,” a melancholy nearly eleven-minute track that builds atop an opening bass line, transitioned the audience to the band’s experimental sound early on in the set. The vocals blended together over the repetitive melody, creating a darker, more distorted theme.

Casablancas interrupted to comment only briefly between songs that were so stylistically consistent they often seemed to flow together.

“I’ll shut up now, sorry, I’m ruining the vibe,” Casablancas said after one such interjection.

Halfway through the show the stage was relit in a soft purple as the band shifted pace with the highly rhythmic “Father Electricity,” punctuating previous songs that were matched by flashing neon green and blue lights with a calmer hue.

The audience hung on the band’s every beat, and the band took the chance to play off the audience’s enthusiasm.

During “Crunch Punch,” the band teased the crowd by seemingly extending the abrupt pauses in the song, encouraging the crowd to cheer until the music resumed.

While Casablancas’ celebrity seemed to be the highlight of the show, guitarists Gritter and Yaghmai periodically took the lead, as Casablancas turned his back to the audience and draped the microphone over his shoulder.

Although the tunes weren’t quite sing-along friendly, fans did their best, singing to the words they did know and were enthusiastic throughout. Casablancas made one tribute to The Strokes near the end of the show, playing “Ize of the World.”

The band’s deep, distorted sound contrasted their more playful atmosphere onstage, showing a band unafraid to experiment with its sound. The group appeared less interested in creating a marketable band and more focused on simply making music.

While the tunes didn’t have the stuck-in-your-head factor characteristic of The Strokes, the band turned Casablancas fans into fans of Julian Casablancas+The Voidz.

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Updated: Oct. 20, 2014 at 1:31 a.m.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Raima Roy.

If anyone can put a funny spin on Ebola and ISIS, it’s Seth Meyers.

The 40-year-old comedian headlined Colonials Weekend on Saturday, kicking off his show with jokes about what most scares Americans.

“So what are we afraid of these days? That ISIS is going to kill more Americans? Or that Ebola is going to kill us all? Or that everyone in the whole world will get Ebola except ISIS?” Meyers asked as the crowd of mostly parents and students burst into laughter.

After the warm-up jokes, the “Late Night with Seth Meyers” host and former head writer at “Saturday Night Live” delved into personal anecdotes.

Comedian Seth Meyers. Photo by Flickr user David Shankbone under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Comedian Seth Meyers. Photo by Flickr user David Shankbone under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

The comedian shared details of his intimate life, covering everything from the benefits of being married to a lawyer to awkward encounters with fellow celebrities.

The best thing about having a wife? According to Meyers, it’s all about the towels.

“Not only do we have different face towels and hand towels, but we have freaking decorative towels. We just have so, so, so many towels. It’s amazing,” he said.

The crowd laughed with Meyers (and often, at him) when the comedian shared memories of events that continue to embarrass him to this day, like when he met President Barack Obama at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011.

Trying hard to “keep it cool” when going in for a handshake with Obama, Meyers said he was so nervous that he accidentally cut off his wife from shaking the president’s hand and shook it himself instead.

“I was going to shake your wife’s hand,” Obama told Meyers.

But the wittiest response his brain could come up with was, “Uh, yeah I know,” before quickly walking away.

Meyers catered to both college students and their families, cracking jokes about studying abroad in places where marijuana is legal to having an embarrassing browser history.

With such a wide range of jokes, Meyers managed to create a space for families to share laughs over common experiences.

Meyers ended the show by offering to share jokes that never made it onto “The Weekend Update,” the news satire segment on “Saturday Night Live” that he previously co-anchored.

With anecdotal jokes, a satirical take on the news of the day and a host of controversial topics, Meyers was able to bring “Saturday Night Live” experience to campus.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly spelled Seth Meyers’ name in the headline. It is Meyers, not Myers. We regret this error.

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Video by Hatchet videographer Deepa Shivaram and multimedia editor Diana Marinaccio.

Kappa Sigma held its third annual Shave Away Cancer event Saturday on the National Mall in conjunction with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and Wahl Clippers.

The event raised more than $30,000 for childhood cancer research after over 100 students shaved their heads for the cause. The fraternity hopes to match that contribution with another $30,000 online this week.

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Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014 11:46 a.m.

What We’re Watching: ‘Whiplash’

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Everly Jazi.

“Whiplash”

★★★★★

In a scene from “Whiplash,” blood spurts out of aspiring drummer Andrew Neyman’s sore hands as he grips his beloved drumsticks, playing the same measure he has practiced for weeks.

Aside from the drum kit and mattress Andrew pulls inside, the room is a bare prison where he works to become the best jazz drummer in history.

Promotional poster for "Whiplash."

Promotional poster for “Whiplash.”

“Whiplash,” which has already received two awards at the Sundance Film Festival, follows the first-year jazz student Andrew (Miles Teller) as he endures massive pains, like those displayed by this scene, while attempting to join a studio band at the fictional Shaffer Music Conservatory.

As Andrew spends hours over his drumset, perfecting his work with maniacal precision, “Whiplash” exposes the music industry as a demanding and controlling powerhouse, a complete contrast to the creative, glamorous environment portrayed in the mainstream.

The studio band Andrew hopes to join is led by conductor Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), a machine-like perfectionist with a selfish, obsessive and intimidating personality who comes to represent the harsh truth of the industry.

As Andrew plays for the conductor for the first time, Fletcher gives the audience a glimpse at his caring side by genuinely saying, “Just do your best.” But as soon as Andrew misses a beat, Fletcher responds by throwing a chair at his head.

Throughout the movie, the audience is stunned by the behavior of each character and the absurd but realistic plot that feeds on its own addictive outrageousness. The audience joins in Andrew’s struggle as he works toward becoming one of the greats, while also losing his sanity.

Director Damien Chazelle leaves the audience battling the question: Is it worth going crazy if great art results?

Teller’s performance was crucial to the film’s success. The actor surprised the film team with a talent for drumming and was able to play throughout the film without a stunt double. Teller conveys a seemingly shy and vulnerable character who again and again proves his resilience and strength – his aggressive but hilarious one-liners adding humor to the dark film.

During a dinner party with family friends, Andrew is overshadowed by a football star student, who urges Andrew to “come play with us.”

“Four words you’ll never hear from the NFL,” Andrew quips back.

Simmons also gives an outstanding performance, creating the perfect balance of rage and charm to portray Fletcher. His unrelenting character leaves the audience both intimidated by Fletcher’s intensity and in awe of his dedication.

Chazelle’s vision for the film, inspired by his own experience as part of a jazz studio band in high school, translates into the perfect thriller, leaving audience members gripping their seats in anticipation throughout each lengthy drum solo.

The riveting plot, a relentless take on the music industry, will leave viewers thinking long after the film, still uneasy from its 2-hour adrenaline rush.

Released: Oct. 17
Director: Damien Chazelle
Genre: Drama
Cast: Miles Teller (“The Spectacular Now”), J.K. Simmons (“Spider-Man”), Melissa Benoist, Paul Reiser (“Life After Beth”)

 

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Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014 11:34 a.m.

What We’re Watching: ‘The Book of Life’

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Niamh Cahill-Billings.

“The Book of Life”

★★★★✰

Jorge Gutierrez’s newest animated film, “The Book of Life,” is a sweet, vibrant and surprisingly progressive alternative to the bombardment of horror films that normally take over theaters in October.

The film begins on the eve of Dia de los Muertos when La Muerta (Kate del Castillo), the leader of the rambunctious world of remembered souls, and Xibalba (Ron Perlman), who watches over the desolate world of forgotten souls, make a wager on who will win the pueblo’s sweetheart, Maria (Zoe Saldana).

Promotional poster for "The Book of Life."

Promotional poster for “The Book of Life.”

Xibalba bets that Maria will marry Joaquin (Channing Tatum), the charming Adonis that saves the pueblo from evil, while La Muerta supports Manolo (Diego Luna), a musician forced to follow his family’s bullfighting tradition.

As the plot unravels, this buoyant and refreshing fantasy manages to touch on hevy concepts of death and mortality, gender roles, bullfighting and Latino machismo while also maintaining the innocence and naiveté that make the film enjoyable for all ages.

“The Book of Life” joins the ranks of the growing body of animated movies that have abandoned cliché and antiquated sentiments of what it means to be a princess, petitioning instead to represent a wider spread of cultures in film.

Woven throughout the scenes is an American-Mexican fusion of style, a theme typical of Gutierrez work, given that he grew up in Tijuana, near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Aside from boasting the largest Latino voice cast in animated movie history, the film’s costume design represents a colorful amalgamation of cultures.

Manolo, the film’s protagonist, sports a Johnny Cash-inspired matador costume meant to emphasize growing globalization and cultural mélange between Mexico and the United States, Gutierrez said in a post-screening interview. Maria’s costume was inspired by Mexican surrealist painter Frida Kahlo, who dressed primarily in traditional Mexican attire.

But the soundtrack stands out as one of the best aspects of the film.

Diego Luna, the voice of Manolo, performs a wide variety of Latino covers of artists from Radiohead to Biz Markie and Mumford & Sons, crafting a mariachi interpretation of pop classics. While older audiences will recognize and appreciate the music choices, younger audiences are enthralled at the goofy mariachi band performing the popular tunes.

The one thing the film is missing is a villain: there’s no evil stepmother typical to so many animated films. Each character is multi-faceted and has understandable motives.

Instead, Gutierrez focuses on the pursuit of adventure rather than the strict good-versus-evil plot employed time and again, adding to the progressive nature of the film.

“The Book of Life” is a refreshing and dynamic experience, despite the heavy and somewhat controversial themes the film confronts. A focus on youth and the saliency of family with the backdrop of colorful Mexican culture lends the film a sense of airiness and ease, especially with the festive setting of El Dia de los Muertos.

It would be naive to say that cartoon culture is no longer dominated by European storylines featuring primarily white casts, but the growing trend to represent and celebrate other cultures, exemplified by “The Book of Life,” is both refreshing and promising.

Released: October 17
Director: Jorge Gutierrez (“El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera”)
Genre: Animation/Adventure
Cast: Diego Luna (“Milk,” “Elysium”), Zoe Saldana (“Avatar,” “Star Trek”), Channing Tatum (“21 Jump Street”) Kate del Castillo (“Under the Same Moon”), Ron Perlman (“Drive,” “Tangled”)

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