Beyond the Books

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Contributor

Sarah Ferris

is The Hatchet's managing editor. Sarah is a senior majoring in political science and journalism. Fresh off her family's dairy farm in Newtown, Conn., she is on a continual quest for the District's best farmer's market.
sferris@gwhatchet.com
Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 4:19 p.m.

What We’re Watching: ‘Bad Grandpa’

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Liz Zorn. jackass-presents-bad-grandpa-610x953

The latest installment of “Jackass” features the usual toilet humor, crazy stunts and hidden camera-style filming of their offensive acts – but this time it’s a family affair.

Yes, this “Jackass” movie has an actual plot to set up the gags. “Bad Grandpa” tells the story of Irving Zisman, 86 years old, newly widowed grandfather with a crazed libido. Irving, played by Jackass regular Johnny Knoxville in prosthetics, is celebrating his newfound freedom due to his wife’s passing when it is interrupted by his jail-bound daughter (Georgina Cates). Kimmy dumps her son Billy (Jackson Nicoll) on her father, forcing Irving to drive his grandson cross-country to dump him with his deadbeat dad.

Despite the entertaining premise, most parts of the film offer nothing more than elementary toilet humor, such as when the grandfather and grandson duo have a prolonged flatulent exchange in a diner until Irving suddenly loses control and defecates all over the diner wall.

Still, there is some heart beneath it all in Nicoll’s performance. The young actor has had other small roles with Knoxville (“Fun Size”), and here Nicoll’s Billy is adorable and earnest in his attempts to find a male role model for himself in his dysfunctional family. The grandfather and grandson relationship is flipped on its head, with Nicoll playing the responsible, straitlaced one, stealing many scenes away from Knoxville.

His character provides one of the few genuinely funny moments in the film during his entrance in a girl’s beauty pageant. In a sort of homage to “Little Miss Sunshine,” Nicoll performs an inappropriate yet hilariously choreography routine to “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” shocking the high-strung pageant mothers and daughters in the audience.

“Bad Grandpa” is by no means a respectable film — and Johnny Knoxville and the rest of the cast and crew have absolutely no intentions of making it one. The movie is made solely for fans of the Jackass brand of humor and, ultimately, it achieves its goal.

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Students have planned a nonviolent counterprotest just hours after word spread about the Westboro Baptist Church’s plans to picket on the Mount Vernon Campus next week.

The Kansas-based extremist group, known for protesting at military funerals and fiercely opposing gay rights, will head to the Vern on Oct. 11, according to its website.

“America’s youth are woefully Bible ignorant and have been taught by their God-hating parents from the cradle that God is a liar,” its website reads.

A group of students, led by Caroline Gimello and Charlie Cevallos, created a Facebook event called “Pride Rally and Counter-Protest.”

So far, about 50 students have signed up to attend. The student counter-protest will kick off around 3 p.m., about an hour before the Westboro protesters are slated to arrive. The organizers asked students not to promote violence or use “hateful or inappropriate language.”

The Westboro protest – which is meant to dispel a “generation of whores and fags,” according to its site – is part of a citywide tour.

Members will head to GW after picketing outside the Supreme Court, the Senate Office Building and the Pentagon, the schedule shows.

The radical group last came to Foggy Bottom on Veterans Day in 2010, when more than 200 students turned up as part of a counterprotest.

Should students counterprotest? Or ignore the Westboro Baptist Church? Let us know in the comments

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Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013 11:05 p.m.

What We’re Watching: ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’

So many promising pilots, so little time. As you go through withdrawals of “Breaking Bad” and “House of Cards,” Hatchet reporter Eric Robinson helps narrow your list of what to watch next.

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

Airtime: Tuesdays, 8 p.m., ABC
Names you’ll know: Clark Gregg, “The Avengers”
Watch if you liked: Any Joss Whedon Show, “The Avengers”
Overall grade: B
Premise: A secret government team, led by agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), hunts for super humans across the world.

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is the arguably the most anticipated drama pilot of the entire season. With acclaimed screenwriter Joss Whedon billed as the creator and fan favorite Phil Coulson (Gregg) making a return to the screen after “The Avengers,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” can’t be anything but good.

Thankfully, it is.

Sure, a few moments of clunky dialogue and the huge pile of exposition in the first act of the show slow it down, but ultimately the effective and well-paced direction of Joss Whedon and the witty – if slightly dense – script makes this a show a must-see.

As expected, Clark Gregg is great as agent Phil Coulson, presenting a world-weary leader who still holds onto his humor. While the rest of the cast remains a bit underdeveloped, they’re still quite a bit fun as they blurt out classic Whedon dialogue.

While the show’s final moments offer a tense and emotional scene at a train station, the plot wastes time early on setting up characters. It’s still not clear why ABC gave the pilot two hours instead of one.

No doubt, “Agents of Shield” will eventually improve. Joss Whedon’s shows are notorious for clunky pilots that gradually morph into the best shows on televisions. That said, the pilot is a bit of a letdown after the hype it received.

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Interview by Hatchet reporter Kelsey Renz

Local band Moogatu is well known in Northern Virginia for its distinctive sound, an energizing mix of dueling guitars and improvisation. They take the stage at Bayou for the first time this Friday.

The Hatchet recently caught up with bass player and GW alumnus Brian Zupruk, as well as his bandmates Brian Raubacher, Chris Lee, Steve Jacyna and Brian Dodds, to hear about Moogatu’s risin

Courtesy of Moogatu.

g success and plans for the future.

Hatchet: The band’s name calls to mind Will Ferrell’s character “Mugatu” in Zoolander. Is this just a coincidence? How and why did you decide on “Moogatu?”

Zupruk: I just polled the band, and nobody is really sure if they’ve even heard of that movie. Is it available on Amazon Prime Streaming Video? We canceled our Netflix subscription a few months ago. As the newest member of the band, the story I’ve been told is that it came to our drummer Steve in a fever dream after contracting swine flu in the spring of 2010. He woke up with the name just burned into brain. He lobbied for weeks, and the guitarists finally relented and named the band Moogatu.

Hatchet: Your music has been described as “face-melting, wonky, progressive rock.” How would you describe your music to those who are listening in for the first time?

Lee: Guitar-driven progressive rock with an improvisational streak. We try to keep the music flowing through the entire set and focus on rapid transitions between songs with some funky jams thrown in to keep people moving.

Hatchet: Brian Raubacher and Chris, the band is known for your dueling lead guitars. What does this add to the music and performances?

Raubacher: (laughing) We just do that because we are greedy.  On a serious note though, it’s a throwback to the big guitar bands of yesteryear like the Allman Brothers Band, Iron Maiden, Television and Derek and the Dominos. All of our favorite bands that we grew up listening to were innovators on the guitar. We are just trying to do what we would want to listen to.

Lee: Live, it’s all about the interplay between the guitars. Sometimes we’re playing in unison, and sometimes it’s a battle between the two of us to see who can shred harder that night.

Zupruk: Also, the competition is definitely friendly but it gets pretty crazy. I’ve seen guitars played with beer bottles and lighters, guitars played behind heads, them playing each others’ guitars…. the shred-fest sometimes includes guest players, and our keyboard master Brian Dodds even gets into it with them.

Hatchet: Brian Zupruk, you graduated from GW in 2009. How did your experience as a Colonial impact your journey to Moogatu?

Zupruk: I have to tip my hat to the absolutely fantastic faculty that run GW’s jazz program. They taught me so, so much that I use at every practice, song-writing session and gig. Bass professor Herman Burney taught me that by far the most important thing for any bassist is just to listen (a valuable life lesson in general, I think), and I got hours of practice at the jazz department’s weekly open jams, which frequently play host to some phenomenal players.

Hatchet: You are known for playing all over Virginia and Maryland, but rarely in D.C.. What do you look forward to most about this Friday’s performance at Bayou?

Zupruk: Recently, D.C. has earned a reputation for having a weak music scene, despite its huge college-aged population, incredible history as a jazz and gogo mecca and plethora of fantastic venues. The Bayou is one of those venues – great vibe, great sound, tasty cajun food and drink. And if you pack the place, it feels like you’re playing at the 9:30 Club with how raucous the crowd gets.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013 11:34 p.m.

Only at GW: Buzzfeed edition

If you attended GW, you’re apparently in Greek life, Jewish, addicted to leggings and terrified of the school mascot.

No. 14 on the Buzzfeed post: “You have a hard time explaining the GW Hippo to anyone.” Hatchet File Photo.

A Buzzfeed post called “28 Signs You Went to GWU,” which was published Tuesday night, highlights campus lore like the hippo and Big George, as well as Foggy Bottom staples – the Deli and Gelbucks.

Even @FakeStevenKnapp and the Vern get a shoutout.

Just three hours after the post appeared online, it counted more than 6,900 views.

The post was written by Rachel Fleishaker, a 2012 alumna, as part of the Buzzfeed Community page, which accepts user-generated content.

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Looking to switch up your nightly Iftar to help you endure the last two weeks of Ramadan?

Dozens of restaurants across the city are offering special menus to celebrate the Islamic month of fasting, and a new list from BrightestYoungThings has picked out the top choices.

Dig into traditional Moroccan dishes at Fettosh or Pakistani street food at the Ravi Kabob House. For a heartier option, check out the buffets at Meze Restaurant (which comes with Turkish tea and coffee to top off your meal) or the multi-course meal at Jerusalem Restaurant.

If you want to join other Muslims in D.C., or you’re not celebrating but want to learn more, these events will make breaking the fast even better.

Friday, July 26: Join the city’s Network of Arab-American Professionals to hear spoken word artist Omar Offendum. The event, sponsored by Islamic Relief USA, will also support impoverished children. Price: $30.

Friday, Aug. 2: Break the fast with D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray at the Wilson Building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Tuesday Aug. 6: Celebrate Ramadan with officials from the Qatar Embassy at the nation’s Islamic Heritage Museum.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013 2:09 p.m.

One cent beers tonight? Yes.

Hatchet File Photo.

Your $1 is about to go a lot further at McFadden’s Tuesdays.

Long known as the cheapest place to drink on a weeknight — the Pennsylvania Avenue bar is offering one cent beers tonight between 9 and 10 p.m., instead of its usual $1.

It’s calling the special “Drinkin’ with Lincoln.”

It will also sell drafts for $1 on July 4 between 10 and 11 p.m.

So in McFadden’s words, “Cheers to the red, white and booze.”

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Patrons will see a more upscale Froggy Bottom Pub at its K Street location. Samuel Klein | Photo Editor

Foggy Bottom’s famed pub will open its new K Street space Friday, less than a week after clearing out of its long-time spot on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The soft opening of Froggy Bottom comes ahead of its grand opening at 2021 K Street next week, when owner Hien Bui will officially reveal the updated space and menu.

Samuel Klein | Photo Editor

The K Street Froggy boasts a much larger outdoor patio, more stools at the bar, an expanded 12 draft selection and new Vietnamese menu items, the blog PoPville reported.

See the drink and food menus here and here.

The campus staple has been closed since April 29 preparing for the move. Bui held an auction earlier this month, selling old glasses, signs from around the restaurant and beer tap handles to clear way for a more upscale look and raise money to support local veterans.

But Bui, known for taming booths of rowdy students especially on half-price pitcher and pizza Monday, maintains that the restaurant would not lose character.

“This is still Froggy,” Bui said then. “The food is still the same, the menu is still the same. Nothing changed. I’m still here and I’m still yelling, so you cannot miss that.”

This article was updated May 6, 2013 to reflect the following:

A previous version of this article included a headline that should have used the word “peek,” not “peak.”

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Want to find the best spot to see the Inaugural Parade and the nearest port-a-potty on the Mall?

President Barack Obama’s team unveiled today the first-ever smartphone app devoted to inauguration ceremonies. The app is available for iPhones and Androids.

When President Barack Obama is sworn in next week, viewers can also livestream the ceremony from their smartphones app. It’s the first-ever official inauguration app. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons license.

It also details the weekend’s schedule, live streams the swearing-in ceremony and offers a sign-up for service events.

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Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 10:41 p.m.

What GW’s logo could have been?

One of the creators behind GW’s new logo said this week the final design looks far from perfect – even though it featured some of his own work.

Paul Rogers, a California-based designer whose daughter attends GW, called GW’s redesign “a disappointment,” saying the new logo didn’t appear any more forward-looking than the previous one.

“It kind of makes you wonder why they bothered with a re-design at all,” he wrote in his blog Wednesday.

Rogers also published 16 mock-ups that he gave to GW’s branding agency, FutureBrand. He created four themes that vary in design from more lifelike to more graphic-looking, all with a notably brighter color palette.

All his designs bare the same “George Washington University” header used in the official logo, which was unveiled at an official event this August. GW declined to disclose the costs of the redesign, which also included new banners, building signs and billboards around campus and the city. But similar rebranding campaigns tallied about $500,000.

Rogers said after sending in his designs, which “seemed to be well received,” he heard nothing else about the project.

Still, Rogers found some merit in the new look. ”At least George is facing right,” he wrote.

See the designs here then tell us in the comments which you like best. 

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