Beyond the Books

Your Guide to student life

Monday, July 13, 2015 5:11 p.m.

The ’1989′ world tour drinking game

Country superstar turned pop icon Taylor Swift will play two shows at Nationals Park this week. Photo by Wikimedia Commons user marcen27 used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license

Country superstar turned pop icon Taylor Swift will play two shows at Nationals Park this week. Photo by Wikimedia Commons user marcen27 used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license

Taylor Swift is in town, and if you were lucky enough to score tickets, you’re going to need a way to drown out the squeals of middle schoolers to focus on the lyrics to “Blank Space.” (It’s “star-crossed lovers,” but it really could be “Starbucks.”)

Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes, but a few brews at Nationals Park will ensure that your night is full of especially shameless dancing.

Cheers to being one of the few legal attendees – besides these 26 lawmakers, of course.


– For each model-friend Swift brings on stage

– Every time Swift stares at the crowd, with an amazed or surprised look on her face

– For every wardrobe change

– For every song about a male celebrity

– When Swift compliments the audience

Take a shot if…

– Swift brings the Obama girls on stage

– You see a politician with his or her kids

– Swift posts an Instagram photo of a monument (take another if you’ve posted a similar photo)

– Swift talks about the rain (be sure to bring an umbrella)

Finish your drink if…

– You spot University President Steven Knapp dancing to “Shake It Off”

– Swift reveals she’s dumped pop star Calvin Harris for a lobbyist

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Director Hannah Jayanti, illustrator Jules Feiffer, author Norton Juster and producer Janice Kaplan at the New York premiere of "The Phantom Tollbooth: Beyond Expectations." Photo by Alexander Porter.

Director Hannah Jayanti, illustrator Jules Feiffer, author Norton Juster and producer Janice Kaplan at the New York premiere of “The Phantom Tollbooth: Beyond Expectations.” Photo by Alexander Porter.

Before she started working on her documentary about the 1961 children’s fairytale novel “The Phantom Tollbooth”, the film’s producer and alumna Janice Kaplan had never imagined that she would make a movie.

On Sunday, “The Phantom Tollbooth: Beyond Expectations” — which debuted in New York in 2013 — will premiere in  D.C. at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Afterwards, Kaplan will host her first interview with the novel’s author, Norton Juster.

Kaplan said the idea for the documentary first came to her when Juster hired her as a publicist for the celebration of the novel’s 50th anniversary in 2011. Juster had been working as an architect and was in his 20s when he penned the story about a boy named Milo who travels to imaginary lands via his magic tollbooth. Kaplan, who graduated from GW in 1981 as an art history major and worked in marketing for the Smithsonian before becoming a publicist for nonprofit companies, said that this is her first film — and will most likely be her last.

“I made this not because I’m a filmmaker or a film producer, but because I saw a good story,” she said.

After discovering “The Phantom Tollbooth” when her now 23-year-old son was in first grade and reading it to him, she said she has fallen in love with the book and used the story inspiration to produce the film.

“There’s a line that kind of inspired me throughout the process: ‘So many things are possible as long as you don’t know they’re impossible,’” she said. “If you don’t know you can’t do something, maybe you can do something. So I hope people can take that away from the movie as well.”

Over three years of production, Kaplan and the movie’s director, Hannah Jayanti, documented the friendship between Juster and the novel’s illustrator, newspaper cartoonist Jules Feiffer, even traveling back with Juster and Feiffer to the Brookyln brownstone where they once lived and worked together.

Juster said that when Kaplan suggested the documentary to him, he was surprised and unsure of how she would make the movie. But he said that Kaplan and Jayanti “did it very, very beautifully.”

“They were not trying to promote a book, they were trying to figure out how a book like that got written at a time when no books like that were being written,” Juster said.

The film also explores the book’s impact since its publication, and Kaplan said she was surprised to learn about its famous fans — actress Whoopi Goldberg and author Neil Gaiman donated to a Kickstarter campaign that funded the film.

When Kaplan began conducting interviews for the movie, she turned to fans of the book, from children’s authors — like Eric Carle, who wrote “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” — to groups of children.

“We met so many people with ‘Phantom Tollbooth’ tattoos, we met so many people who named their sons Milo after the book,” Kaplan said. “I just met someone who named their company Milo.”

Kaplan added that “Where the Wild Things Are” author Maurice Sendak, a fan of Juster’s work, had agreed to appear in the film but that Sendak became ill and died during production before she could interview him.

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Each of the movies are set in Georgetown. "St. Elmo's Fire" is about graduates from Georgetown University.  Photo by Wikimedia Commons user patrickneill used under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license

Each of the movies are set in Georgetown. “St. Elmo’s Fire” is about graduates from Georgetown University. Photo by Wikimedia Commons user patrickneill used under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license

You no longer have to pay a high price if you want to catch a movie in Georgetown this summer.

On Tuesday, Sunset Cinema — Georgetown’s first free, outdoor film series — will kick off at the Georgetown Waterfront Park. Movies will be screened alongside the Potomac river every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. until August 4.

All of the movies featured in the series are inspired by Georgetown and take place in the neighborhood. The first film in the lineup is the 1985 “St. Elmo’s Fire,” a coming-of-age drama a group of friends that have recently graduated from Georgetown University.

Other movies in the series include the political thriller “State of Play” and Joel and Ethan Coen’s dark comedy “Burn After Reading.”

And skip the popcorn during the screening for a snack that’s a bit more adventurous. Georgetown eateries like Malmaison and Simply Banh Mi are offering buy-one, get-one drink specials, free desserts with picnic meals and discounts to Sunset Cinema guests.

Make sure to grab your drinks and a picnic blanket beforehand. Lawn chairs and alcohol are prohibited at the movie.

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Guacamole with peas might be the biggest Internet trend, but for me, it was underwhelming. Eva Palmer | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Guacamole with peas might be the biggest Internet trend, but for me, it was underwhelming. Eva Palmer | Hatchet Staff Photographer

On Wednesday, the New York Times posted a recipe for a twist on a classic: guacamole with peas.

Almost immediately, politicians, journalists and other Twitter users posted their disgust for the recipe, and by the end of the day, President Barack Obama had tweeted that he was also “not buying peas and guac.”

I scoffed at the tweets. Was no one adventurous anymore? Does everyone really think peas are all that bad? And what happened to that famous saying, “Don’t knock it ’til you try it?”

Armed with a handful of avocados, peas and a food processor, I took to the kitchen to find out what all the fuss was about.

The Times’ recipe for a verdant guacamole remix was too complex for the average dorm-room kitchen. To prep, I had to broil a single jalapeño in the oven, zest a lime and finely mince scallions and cilantro. Using the food processor to blend together the peas and other ingredients was a far cry from the mix of salsa, lime juice and mashed avocados my freshman year roommates and I would use to make our own dip on the floor of our Thurston Hall room.

After mixing together the mashed avocados and pea mixture, I sat down with my green creation. The recipe called for the guacamole to be topped with a tablespoon of sunflower seeds, but the supermarket was out and my mom called the suggested garnish an “abomination.”

I dipped into the guacamole and was underwhelmed. The jalapeños gave the guacamole too much heat, and I could barely taste the peas. Because the recipe called for lime zest and lime juice, the guacamole was overpowered with citrus.

While I consider myself a guacamole lover, this take on a classic wasn’t worth the time I took broiling ingredients or digging through my kitchen to find the food processor. Sometimes, it’s OK not to mess with a good thing.

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If real beaches aren’t your thing, stop by the National Building Museum starting Saturday to enjoy a fake one. The BEACH exhibit is a pure white alternative, without the risk of sand in your shoes.

We went to a preview of the BEACH to see what it was like:


White beach chairs and umbrellas set up on each side of the foam platform lead to a giant ball pit that you can either saunter or plunge into. Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor



Union Kitchen has its own concession stand in the back of The BEACH, adding to the resort-like feel of the exhibit. They offer green smoothies, patriotic cake pops and coffee. Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor



The Union Kitchen staff members enjoy a “swim” together in the transparent ball pit. The pit contains almost a million recyclable balls, some of which have names of donors written across them. Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor



Visitors can jump right into the “water” without having to worry about getting wet or hitting rocks. The transparent balls are surprisingly comfortable and allow for a relaxing float. Guests can also walk on the pier or lay in beach chairs. Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor



The BEACH exhibit requires visitors to buy tickets to enter, and there are a limited amount of chairs. Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor



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Wednesday, July 1, 2015 8:58 a.m.

Skip traditional Fourth of July festivities

Fourth of July festivities aren’t for everyone.

If fireworks and picnics aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways — from indoor beaches to midnight movies — to spend your Independence Day in D.C.

The BEACH at the National Building Museum 401 F St. NW

You may not be an outdoors person, but you can beat the heat and still enjoy a beach day at the National Building Museum. On Saturday, the museum will open its indoor, man-made “beach” — complete with sand, beach chairs, umbrellas and a fake ocean made of plastic balls.

Snacks will be available at concession stands around the exhibit and admission is $16 at the door.

Native Foods Cafe 1150 Connecticut Ave. NW

If you’re not a fan of burgers and barbecues, you can grab a bite at Native Foods cafe, which serves up lighter, summery specials — like the grilled avocado plate or the blueberry lemonade — that will still fill you up.

Native Foods Cafe is a vegan restaurant, but with menu options like a Reuben sandwich and nachos, you might not even notice the difference.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival National Mall, between 3rd and 4th Streets NW

You don’t need to be decked out in red, white and blue if you’re heading to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This year’s festival highlights Peruvian culture with traditional dance lessons, arts and crafts workshops and musical performances.

In between learning about the culture and history, you can sample some Peruvian fare like a pork and potato stew called Carapulcra or a dish called Papa Rellena — a potato croquette stuffed with ground beef, egg, olives and spices.

E Street Cinema 555 11th St. NW

Your night doesn’t have to end once the fireworks start. Avoid the noise — and the crowds — at the late-night indie theatre that screens classic old movies at midnight. This Saturday, you can catch a showing of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

E Street Cinema’s concession stand also offers gourmet bites — like crab cakes and Brazilian-style churrasco steak — alongside classic popcorn and candy.

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The fireworks on the National Mall are nice, but plan on getting there early if you want to see them. Photo by Zach Montellaro used under a CC-NC-SA 2.0 licence.

The fireworks on the National Mall are nice, but plan on getting there early if you want to see them. Photo by Zach Montellaro used under a CC-NC-SA 2.0 licence.

If you want to claim a spot on the National Mall to watch the fireworks this Saturday, you might have to skip the barbecue.

For a view of fireworks and an Independence Day dinner, head to one of the District’s rooftop restaurants instead.

Old Glory 3139 M St. NW

Named after the American flag, Old Glory is as patriotic as it gets. The Georgetown restaurant boasts a cozy roof deck where you can enjoy barbecue classics like a $15 brisket sandwich or a half rack of ribs for $20.

Start your festivities early and head to happy hour between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when you can grab a draft beer or cocktail for $3 to $5.

1905 Bistro and Bar 1905 9th St. NW

The trendy comfort food eatery will be hosting its own party this Saturday. Make sure to get to the late-night rooftop bar by 3 p.m. — entry is first come, first serve.

For $20, you’ll get access to beers brewed by the local Atlas Brew Works and twists on cookout favorites like sausages, potato salad and pulled pork sandwiches.

Jack Rose Dining Saloon 2007 18th St. NW

Adams Morgan is buzzing with rooftop bars so it can be hard to choose just one. But for a view of the National Mall, American comfort food and a happy hour featuring $4 beers, look no further than Jack Rose.

At happy hour on the terrace from 4 to 7:30 p.m., bites like $5 jalapeno hushpuppies and $16 ham and biscuits will be half-priced.

DNV Rooftop 1155 14th St. NW

With Japanese fare like $9 spicy tuna sushi and the $13 Tokyo dog — chicken and pork sausage loaded with cabbage, Dijon mustard and Japanese mayo — the Donovan Hotel’s lounge may not seem like an obvious choice for Independence Day.

But you can’t beat the view from the 14th-floor poolside lounge overlooking Thomas Circle. Plus, it’s open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., so you can celebrate all night long.

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When he’s not teaching painting as an adjunct professor at the Corcoran School, artist and Corcoran School of Art + Design alumnus Jeff Huntington is trying to expand the street art scene in Annapolis, Md, where he resides.

His latest piece, a public mural entitled “Agony and Ecstasy Live Together in Perfect Harmony” has attracted praise from Annapolis residents and criticism from those who feel it interferes with the city’s historic vibe.

We spoke to Huntington about the story behind his work and his time at the Corcoran School of Art + Design. His responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Hatchet: This mural you painted has been gaining quite a bit of attention recently. What is the meaning and inspiration behind it? 

Huntington: It’s an image I’ve been playing with a little bit. The image is made up of two portraits: a black and white portrait superimposed with a color portrait. The black and white portrait is an image of a film still of an injured nurse from the 1925 Sergei Eisenstein Film “Battleship Potemkin” and for me that has always signified pain and suffering. And the other image I put on top of it is a Buddha which has always signified peace overcoming, bliss, happiness, nirvana and so forth. It’s just a yin and yang thing, something that I think extends to all religions and all people and all living things. That’s what that is. If there’s any message from me, that’s what the message is behind that piece.

Hatchet: You painted the mural on the side of a restaurant. Why did you choose this particular location to display your piece? 

Huntington: For a while now I’ve been wanting to figure out a way to introduce more public art in Annapolis because there’s a huge presence of very talented visual artists and musicians, but they have no voice because of the rules that a very small minority of the Historic Preservation Commission Enact. I would never want to paint on historic structures at all so I look for places where art would fit in really well and I think that the historic nature and contemporary art by local artists can co-exist really well here as it does everywhere else in the world. [Tsunami] knew that this is what I do so they were given a citation to paint the building because of peeling paint.

Hatchet: What are some of the responses to the mural that have stood out to you the most? 

Huntington: Overwhelmingly positive responses for sure. Thousands of people versus one or two negative responses. But the negative responses that stand out the most were on the Capital Gazette paper, they’re online comments. There were two comments I found following two different articles that said I am disrespecting nurses and that nurses have a hard enough time as it is and that they’re the only ones that will take care of drug dealers and gangbangers. And that my art is nothing but hipster trash. So I thought that was interesting. They don’t know me, I don’t know who they are but both of my parents were nurses. So it’s just an interesting response to me because people are willing to go out there and post things and say things without any information. I’m pretty sensitive and I probably would have been in tears if I read that, had there not been an overwhelmingly positive response.

Hatchet: You attended the Corcoran School of Art + Design and graduated in 1995. What drew you to Corcoran? 

Huntington: I grew up just being an artist because my older brothers were artists, my father was an artist, my grandmother and grandfather were artists so when I came into the world I thought this is what I was supposed to do. When I was 15, I stole a car with my best friend and we stole his parents’ car and we ran away to Florida. I had a hard time learning, and reading and studying in school and when it came time to go to high school, I freaked out. So I left and I learned how to hustle and eventually I started following the Grateful Dead around the country and I started using art, making tie dyes and things, among other illegal hustles, to make a living. I passed my GED test and I got so excited about that I thought, ‘I could go to college with this thing and I didn’t even go to high school.’ So I proceeded to do that but the only thing that made sense to me was art school and the Corcoran was pretty close by.  I thought an art school were masters already so I could get better by making 300 paintings the year before I entered art school. I wanted to make 300 paintings in one year and I did. They asked for 20 slides and I sent them 60. I guess I overwhelmed them and they were like, ‘Sure, you can go here.’

Hatchet: You became an adjunct professor to teach painting in 2013. What made you come back? 

Huntington: I never set out to be a teacher but I got a call from them in 2012 and they asked me if I would come and teach and I had a panic attack. The following year, we sorted it out and I started coming in and teaching and it worked out really well. I started teaching a class called advanced teaching special topics, but since I’m an adjunct and GW doesn’t know who I am, they decided to give my class away to a full-time GW professor and the only thing they’re allowed to offer me now to teach is beginning painting. So they hired me and allowed me to sort of teach in the only way I know how, which is basically share my experiences. But now I have to learn how to teach by-the-book and teach structure, which I think will be good for me and help me learn to be a better teacher.

Hatchet: What are some projects you’ve got planned for the future? 

Huntington: I am going to Brazil next month to create a show down in Sao Paolo. And then I’ll do a mural project while I’m there as well with some local artists from Sao Paolo who we brought up to Annapolis last year to do a mural project. And in September, they’re going come back up here and continue doing murals here in Annapolis.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015 2:19 p.m.

Tweeting trumps everything for @Donald_4_GW

To get to know the anonymous student behind @Donald_4_GW, the parody Twitter account for presidential candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump, we simply tweeted.

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For lunch this weekend, forget the pricey food trucks on H Street and sample free Olive Garden grub from its Breadstick Nation food truck.

The chain, known for its endless portions of garlic-slathered breadsticks, will serve its new chicken parmigiana and Italian meatball sandwiches on the National Mall on Thursday and in Farragut Square from noon until 5 p.m. on Friday. Over the weekend, the Breadstick Nation food truck will park its carbo-load at the Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle on Pennsylvania Avenue between 9th and 14th streets.

Of course, the new sandwiches will be served between sliced breadsticks.

For the $12 entry fee, attendees of the 23rd annual Barbecue Battle can sample food from D.C. eateries and watch teams of barbecue connoisseurs compete for a $40,000 prize. An Amstel Light beer garden, wine tastings and the world’s largest grill are also part of the two-day festival.

Besides the food truck shtick, Olive Garden is also looking into take-out options at select locations. Should you miss the Breadstick Nation truck, the closest spots to campus are in Falls Church, Va. and Hyattsville, Md.

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