Beyond the Books

Your Guide to student life

Nicki Minaj’s song “Anaconda” may not have received a video of the year nomination for the MTV Video Music Awards, but fans can still see her perform the hit when her “Pinkprint” tour stops near D.C. Wednesday night.

Though the rapper feuded on Twitter with Taylor Swift  — who played at Nationals Park last week  — over the snub, she’ll hit the Jiffy Lube Live theater in Virginia to play tracks off of her latest album, “The Pinkprint.”

Minaj will be joined by hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd, who collaborated with her on the songs “No Flex Zone” and “Throw Some Mo’,” as well as her rapper-boyfriend Meek Mill.

While in town, Minaj might make a visit to the White House — even if she performs her verse from the 2012 Lil Wayne song “Mercy,” in which she rapped that she would vote for then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Minaj said that the lyrics were meant to be sarcastic and sent her “love and support” to President Barack Obama.

If you want to spend the night dancing to “Feeling Myself” and “The Night is Still Young,” you can still grab a pair of tickets — prices range from about $30 to about $200.


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“Trainwreck,” Amy Schumer’s cinematic ode to funny, slutty, unapologetically human women, is a must-see.

Promotional poster for "Trainwreck."

Promotional poster for “Trainwreck. Courtesy of Universival Studios”

The film follows Amy Townsend, a booze-happy writer who kicks men out of her “sick” apartment before the morning light, as she interviews acclaimed sports doctor Aaron Conners, played by Bill Hader (“Saturday Night Live,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “The Skeleton Twins”), who happens to be the object of her first real affection.

It would be easy to chalk the film up as raunchy, but it’s also sweet, sad and occasionally, uncomfortably real. Townsend’s father, played by Colin Quinn, is a dying alcoholic whose infidelity and promiscuity are the catalyst for Townsend’s behavior and her sister’s bitterness.

At its core, the film is a comedy, and I was doubled over laughing along with the rest of the packed theater during scenes like when Amy feigns being asleep during sex or a montage of men leaving her apartment that  ends with an unfortunate early-morning sojourn on the Staten Island Ferry.

Schumer’s first foray on the big screen also tackles sex scenes with comedic, raw finesse, much like Lena Dunham’s “Girls,” which “Trainwreck” director Judd Apatow co-writes and co-produces.

At the beginning of “Trainwreck,” John Cena, better known for his WWE stardom than his acting chops, throws himself into his role as Steven, Townsends main muscular squeeze, and delivers some of the film’s funniest lines. Comedy Central sweetheart Dave Attell plays Noam, a homeless man with whom Townsend has a snarky rapport. Mike Birbiglia, a Georgetown University alumnus who got his start at the Improv Comedy Club, plays Townsend’s sweater-clad brother-in-law.

Schumer’s brand of cinematic feminism razes to the ground the stereotypes that are usually superglued to mainstream romantic comedies. On a walk through Central Park with her younger sister Kim, played by Brie Larson, Townsend hyperventilates at the thought of potential deal-breakers in her new-found relationship with Aaron, a guy she actually likes.

For example, jokes about tampons and menstrual cycles made me want to call Schumer on the phone – or at least tweet at her – and thank her for this fearless screenplay about real human girl stuff. As movie-goers, how long were we going to have to put up with Jonah Hill flicks filled with phallic jokes and references?

The movie isn’t perfect. Some hiccups include lines by her editor at S’Nuff magazine, Dianna, a painfully exaggerated version of Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada,” and the scenes about her father’s death and funeral could use another edit.

“Trainwreck” also stumbles when it comes to jokes about race, though they seemed more like watered-down versions of “Inside Amy Schumer” commentary than genuine insensitivity.

Despite its imperfections, it’s a film that makes you laugh, makes you think and sheds an even brighter light on women-driven comedies – much like Schumer herself.

In the final scene, which involves the New York Knicks and a trampoline, Townsend admits to her doctor-boyfriend, “I am in terrible physical shape,” and he unabashedly, adorably agrees. Nobody is pretending she is anything but herself.

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The National Gallery of Art added additional works from the Corcoran Gallery of Art to its collection. Hatchet File Photo

The National Gallery of Art added additional works from the Corcoran Gallery of Art to its collection. Hatchet File Photo

The National Gallery of Art announced on Twitter Saturday that it is now displaying additional paintings from the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s collection.

The art museum tweeted an image of a painting by artist Albert Bierstadt and said that it would release images and locations of the paintings soon.

In October 2014, the Corcoran began redistributing half of its 17,000-piece collection to the National Gallery. The rest was divided among other galleries and museums that could store the art.

In February, the National Gallery announced that it had acquired more than 6,000 works from the Corcoran collection, including works by artists like Edward Hopper and Edgar Degas.

From September to May, the National Gallery showcased almost 30 paintings acquired from the Corcoran in an exhibition called “American Masterworks from the Corcoran.”


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Saturday, July 18, 2015 6:06 p.m.

GW releases its own emoji

You’ll have to wait until next June to download the new avocado and shark emoji, but you can now get GW-themed emoji on your phone.

To celebrate World Emoji Day on Friday, GW Marketing and Creative Services released four of its own animated characters to represent the University.

The new emoji include a GW ornamental gate, a hippo, a colonial hat and the Tempietto — the rotunda located in Kogan plaza.

But you won’t be able to download the emoji to your keyboard — they are only available on the Marketing and Creative Services website as images that you can save to your camera roll and send as photos.

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Friday, July 17, 2015 3:22 p.m.

Janelle Monáe to headline Alumni Weekend

Janelle Monáe has won six Grammy's. Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bobamnertiopsis under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license

Janelle Monáe has won six Grammy’s. Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bobamnertiopsis under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license

Updated: July 17, 2015 at 4:58 p.m.

Janelle Monáe, the suave songstress behind “Yoga” and “Tightrope” will headline Alumni Weekend this year. The Kansas native will perform at 9 p.m. on September 26 at the Smith Center.

Monáe has been nominated for six Grammys and is known for her high-energy performances. “Q.U.E.E.N.,” which she collaborated with Erykah Badu on, and her song “Dance Apocalyptic,” are tributes to her shamelessly funky style.

Monáe, who is also featured on Fun.’s 2012 hit “We Are Young,” moves between genres: On “Yoga,” she sounds like up-and-comer rapper Tink, but on the soulful “Primetime,” she croons.

“The Electric Lady” is known for her quirky, androgynous style and donning black and white tuxedos. She is an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights and the city of Boston dubbed October 16 “Janelle Monáe Day” to honor her social leadership.

Alumni registration for the weekend opens the week of July 20.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported alumni registration for the weekend will open on July 20. Registration for the weekend will open the week of July 20.

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If you’ve ever walked into the blue building on the corner of 18th Street and Kalorama Road, you probably headed downstairs for Korean food and karaoke at Muzette. But upstairs is Himalayan Heritage, an Indian restaurant tastier and cheaper than Taj India in Georgetown.

The decor at Heritage restaurant is pretty, if not a little cheesy: Gold Buddha and Ganesh figures line the deep red walls, a thatched roof hangs over a few tables and white tablecloths and heavy silverware are disorienting once you realize nothing on the menu costs more than $20.

The entrees are the most expensive items, as usual: $15 chicken tikka, $16 chicken tandoori and lamb ko jhir – lamb marinated in yogurt and spices, grilled then sauteed – for the same price. My dates (two former roommates) ordered chicken masala and “sizzling” shrimp, jumbo shrimp marinated in honey mustard and cooked in a tandoor oven.

We sat down at 8:40 p.m. and waited about an hour for dinner, which felt a little too long in a restaurant that was two-thirds empty. Luckily, we had a lot to catch up on, but I couldn’t help noticing a few second dates around us who seemed to grow impatient. Instead, we had the two stars of the evening to preoccupy us: vegetarian mo and mojitos.

The mo, the Nepalese word for dumplings, were shaped like little volcanoes, steamed perfectly, stuffed with cabbage and carrot and served with a creamy chutney, which is like a curried take on Thai peanut sauce. For just $6, the serving was massive: We each ate four.

The mojitos ($8 each) were deceptively strong, topped with fresh mint and a cool way to relieve us of the spicy red sauce that came with the garlic naan ($3).

For dinner, I settled on two vegetable samosas ($5) and $7 stuffed chatamari, a flat bread made with rice flour and filled with with minced chicken, egg, tomato, cilantro and scallion. But I could have done without the chatamari– after the dumplings and samosas, I was just as stuffed as the doughy appetizers.

Himalayan Heritage is located at 2305 18th St. NW.

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GW could soon be sharing its namesake with a D.C. Megabus.

A survey launched on Megabus’ website Tuesday allows people to vote on naming a bus to represent every state where the travel company operates — and “George Washington” is listed as a possible name for the D.C. bus.

Sean Hughes, the director of corporate affairs for Megabus in North America, said that both GW and the former president’s connections to D.C. played a role in making the name a contender.

“Obviously George Washington was an important figure in history and a lot of our passengers are college students,” Hughes said. “I would say both things fell into consideration.”

The option could also be an incentive for GW students to participate in the vote, Hughes said.

“We love to have the GW students weigh in and I’d think they’d be voting for a certain name, if you will,” he said.

The other options for the D.C. bus name — which would be printed on the front door of the bus — are “Cherry Blossom” and “Capital City.”

Voting closes on August 17 and the results of the vote will be released on social media around Labor Day, Hughes said.

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Who would have guessed?

D.C. has some of the country’s best-looking men, according to a study released this week. The District landed at No. 3 on a list of the 25 cities with the most handsome men, falling behind San Francisco and Seattle.

The study, conducted by Grooming Lounge, a D.C.-based day spa for men, considered men’s average annual spending on personal care and a city’s fitness ranking. (The District ranked no. 1 in 2014.)

D.C. men spend about $3,000 every year on personal care services and personal care products, and nearly $4,000 on clothing, according to the study.

District men spend an average of $157 on “shaving needs.” Men in Seattle topped the list in spending on shaving, dropping about $3,400 every year on personal care products, according to the study.

A focus on shaving habits has also made its way up to Capitol Hill in the past. A political action committee launched in 2013 support bearded candidates. The Bearded Entrepreneurs for the Advancement of a Responsible Democracy (or B.E.A.R.D.) was formed to “bring facial hair back into politics,” its founder, Jonathan Sessions, said at the time.

But now it’s 2015, and we just have one question: Where is the man-bun PAC?

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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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