Beyond the Books

Your Guide to student life

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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Friday, June 12, 2015 11:56 a.m.

Party all day at the D.C. Pride Festival

It’s time to dig up your rainbow attire and beaded necklaces — the D.C. Pride Festival is back on Saturday.

This year, the 40th annual celebration  which brings together students, politicians and everyone in between to celebrate LGBT pride — will feature your favorite guilty pleasure musicians performing at the Capitol Concert Stage, from 1990s girl group Wilson Phillips to “Call Me Maybe” singer Carly Rae Jepsen.

Produced by Capital Pride, the festival is also an opportunity to learn about LGBT history. Before the parade kicks off at 4:30 p.m. at 22nd and P Streets, you can check out a 10 a.m. historic gay walking tour by Dupont Circle to learn about D.C. LGBT movements that date back to the 1960s.

If music and dancing are more your thing, head to the Monument Festival Stage to see drag show cabarets and performances that showcase local artists like the Oasis Dance Company and R&B singer Shenna. At the Dupont Dance tent on 6th and Pennsylvania Avenues, you can spend the day jamming to disc jockey sets by artists like D.C.-based DJ Keenan Orr and U.K.-based DJ Jacq Jill. Pride events are free, but $5 to $20 donations are suggested.

And keep the post-Pride excitement going after-hours. For $20, you can hit up Town Danceboutique’s Pride party at 11 p.m. (and for $40 check out the drag show that will feature “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Violet Chachki). Your favorite concert halls will also be hosting parties — for $15, you can see DJs Matt Bailer and Shea Van Horn at  9:30 Club or headliner DJ Kim Ann Foxman at U Street Music Hall at 10 p.m. for $10. At the retro-themed Underground Throwdown party at Dance Loft on 14th Street, your $30 ticket proceeds will go towards funding Capital Pride.

If you’re still not tired, you can dance until daylight for $35-$40 at the Cherry Fund and Capital Pride Afterhours charity event at Tropicalia. Doors open at 3:30 a.m. to see DJs X Gonzales and Sean Morris spin techno music until 9:30 a.m.

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“Black” is back.

At the end of Season 2, we saw inmate Miss Rosa make a jailbreak (and take down antagonist Vee along the way), Figueroa resign as prison director after being exposed for embezzlement and inmate Daya try to cover up her pregnancy by blaming prison guard Mendez.

If you didn’t pull an all-nighter Thursday to watch the episodes released early, bring the party to Litchfield Penitentiary on Friday night by catching up on Season 3 with this drinking game.

Drink if…

Pennsatucky recites a Bible verse

Morello wears red lipstick

Someone calls Mendez “Pornstache.”

Healy sends someone to solitary confinement for no reason.

Two inmates become each others’ prison wives.

Sophia gives someone an edgy haircut.

The opening credits are so long that you almost lose interest.

Take a shot if…

Crazy Eyes’ story line makes you tear up.

An inmate can’t get what she wants from the commissary.

Someone else finds out about Daya’s pregnancy.

You learn a new vocabulary word from Taystee.

Red plots a new way to take over the kitchen.

Two inmates get in a fist fight.

Someone using the phone next to Piper is sobbing uncontrollably.

Finish your drink if…

Piper and Alex end up happily ever after.

You actually start to miss Larry.

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Whether you’re new to D.C. or a seasoned visitor, you probably can’t wait to explore the city once you get to GW. You’ll have four years to tour the monuments and catch a show in Lisner Auditorium, so make sure to take full advantage of your brief free time during Colonial Inauguration.

From outdoor festivals to late-night bites, there’s nothing like summer in the District  and CI-goers shouldn’t miss out.

Night No. 1

D.C. Outdoor Movies

Your first day of CI will be jam-packed  from the trip into D.C. to setting up in Thurston Hall and getting to know your CI group. If you need to unwind but you’re still itching to see the city, try checking out a free outdoor movie.

Movies during CI sessions include Selma on June 11 and The Princess Bride on June 18 at Capitol Waterfront, as well as The Bicycle Thief in Adams Morgan on June 23 and Grease at NoMA Summer Screen on July 1. Bring a lawn chair and be on time — movies start at sundown.

Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe, 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW

If you’re feeling restless and looking for some more action than just a midnight monument walk, Dupont Circle is always buzzing with nightlife. Catering to the late crowd, the Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe is open until 4 a.m.

Whether you want to enjoy some live jazz and rock music or find a quiet space to browse the eclectic mix of books, make sure to come to Kramerbooks and Afterwords with an empty stomach  desserts include triple chocolate cake and the “dysfunctional family sundae” loaded with hot fudge, whipped cream and an amaretto brownie, both for around $8.

Wiseguy NY Pizza, 300 Massachusetts Ave. NW

Go-to joints for late night food like Crepeaway and Jumbo Slice will likely become a staple in your diet by the end of your first semester. But with a whole night to explore the city, you can check out some other junk food joints.

You have all night to fill up on a slice of New York-style pizza for around $3 – Wiseguy stays open until 5 a.m. on weekends, 3 a.m. on Thursdays, and 1 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday.

Night no. 2

The Source Festival, Source Theatre, 1835 14th St. NW

If the CI skits whet your appetite for theater, check out some performances at the annual Source Festival. At the Source Theatre in the trendy U Street corridor, the festival showcases experimental works from upcoming playwrights and performers.

Tickets go for $10 to $15 to see everything from full length plays to 10-minute plays and “artistic blind dates,” which allow three different groups of artists to collaborate on a new works.

Jazz in the Garden, National Gallery Sculpture Garden, 7th St. and Constitution Ave. NW

You won’t want to skip the outdoor jazz concerts in the Sculpture Garden that are only available during the summer.

The music begins every Friday at 5:30 p.m. While enjoying the music among the fountains and modern art, you can grab a bite to eat  like the smoked brisket sandwich or summer vegetable sandwich for $10 at the garden’s Pavilion Cafe.

Pleasant Pops, 1781 Florida Ave. NW 

Dessert on your last night in D.C. is a must, and you might think to check out the long lines at one of Georgetown’s cupcake shops. But Pleasant Pops offers some lighter fare so you can cool off after a day of exploring.

Tucked in the lively and colorful Adams Morgan neighborhood, Pleasant Pops has been serving ice pops in eccentric flavors like blueberry pancake and the “guac pop” with avocado and lime for five years.

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Drop everything you’re doing right meow.

D.C.’s first cat cafe, Crumbs and Whiskers, announced that it will open its doors on Saturday, June 20.

But you’ll have to get in line — in a blog post on the Crumbs and Whiskers website, founder Kanchan Singh revealed that the visiting schedule goes live online on June 18. Members of the cafe’s Gentlemeow’s Club can begin arranging their visits on June 15 while donors that have funded the cafe on the website Kickstarter can register on June 10.

Singh added that there will be a sold-out launch party on June 19 and a series of backstage parties from June 15 to 18 for donors, but don’t worry if you didn’t make the list — you can keep up with the parties with photos and videos that will be posted live on Crumbs and Whisker’s social media pages.

Crumbs and Whiskers first announced that it would open in November.

Located at 3211 O St. NW, the cafe will feature cushioned seating on the ground, so guests can play with cats while enjoying their beverages.

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You’ll no longer have to trek out to The Diner in Adams Morgan to satisfy your midnight pancake cravings.

Olivia’s Diner, a 24-hour restaurant that will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, is slated to open at 1120 19th St. NW, a 10-minute walk from campus near Dupont Circle.

According to a Craiglist hiring ad posted last month, the diner aims to be up and running on June 8, although construction workers told the D.C. news blog Borderstan that the renovations will last for a few more weeks.

The ad said that Olivia’s is a family-operated establishment that will be serving food made from scratch.

Borderstan reported that the owner, Tri Nguyen, also co-owns the D.C. chain Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza.

The new diner’s address was previously occupied by eateries Jonathan’s Gourmet and G Street Food.

A sign in front of the restaurant said that it will seat 130 people, with a sidewalk cafe that seats 32 people.

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Updated: June 2, 2015 at 5:06 p.m.

At a preview of “Campus Cover-Up,” a VICE on HBO special about the smokescreen universities operate behind when it comes to sexual assault, it was clear that the federal government is slowly but surely turning a murky system on its head.

By the time the event began, organizers were turning people away from the already full Jack Morton Auditorium in the Media and Public Affairs building. Attendees included representatives from the D.C. Rape Crisis Center and the It’s On Us campaign.

Gianna Toboni, a VICE on HBO correspondent, introduced a 15-minute-long snippet of the episode, “Campus Cover-Up,” before conducting a Q&A with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., both major proponents of sexual assault legislation on the Hill.

Gillibrand had invited Emma Sulkowicz, the recently Columbia University graduate whose protest-turned-thesis Mattress Performance sparked the Carry That Weight campaign and a nationwide debate about universities’ commitment to students’ safety, to the State of the Union this year.

She and McCaskill hope to push the the Campus Accountability and Safety Act through Senate this year when Congress passes an education bill, which they said it has bipartisan support. The bill calls for a survey to be conducted at every university that receives federal funding every two years. Students will be asked how safe they feel on campus and how they think their university handles sexual assault reports.

Gillibrand, who attended Dartmouth University and was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, said the bill will make schools more accountable and provide a snapshot of how safe students feel at their school.

She added that the survey, which universities will have to post on their websites, will “change the colleges’ interest in getting it right. This will completely flip the incentives and [make] them take cases seriously,” she said.

Last year, McCaskill conducted a survey of 440 universities and found that 41 percent were “failing” students who by not conducting any sexual assault investigations in the last five years, a fact she called “ludicrous” on Monday night.

Under the federal Clery Act, universities are required to report every crime that happens on campus, including sexual assault. McCaskill, a former auditor, said she was confident in the results of the survey because universities were assured that their names would not be revealed.

Gillibrand said sexual assault is typically premeditated and that the men who sexually assault fellow students are typically serial rapists who commit these crimes about six times during their tenure on campus.

“If I were a college president, I would want the tools to get a rapist off my campus,” Gillibrand said.

The senators emphasized the importance of training campus officials and police officers on how to conduct professional interviews with survivors in the days or even hours after a sexual assault.

Under the bill, the first person the survivor speaks to would be trained to explain the survivors’ options to her, Gillibrand said.

In “Campus Cover-Up,” a sexual assault survivor at the University of Arkansas wears a hidden camera to a 90-minute panel, where she informally testifies against an athlete who, she said, attacked her in the dorm room.

One panelist asked the survivor if she had bruises on her arms – not just her pubic area – and another panelist asked if she felt pressured, even after the survivor said she had “never said ‘no’ so many times in [her] life.”

The panel, Gillibrand and McCaskill said, exemplified that those determining the fate of the alleged rapist obviously did not understand the violent nature of sexual assault.

McCaskill cited the incident at Pennsylvania State University involving members of the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity posting photos of naked, unconscious women in a Facebook group as an exemplar of change.

“Somebody in that circle had to be brave and say, ‘what are you doing? You are sick,’” she said. “It’s not just the survivors that need to get amped up about this. Anybody who is silent is part of the problem,” McCaskill said.

The episode premieres on Friday at 11 p.m. on HBO.

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Are you a recently engaged bookworm? You may be in luck.

The D.C. Council gave D.C. Public Library the power to host private, revenue-generating functions – like weddings – when the Council tentatively approved the fiscal year 2016 budget last week.

D.C. Public Library operates the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Chinatown and 25 other libraries in the District. The change is not set in stone, but it means that D.C. libraries will be partially funded by fees collected under the initiative, which will help pay for library expenses.

Richard Reyes-Gavilan, executive director of D.C. Public Library, told the Washington Business Journal that there will be a passport acceptance facility at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and that the historic branch may serve as a space for private receptions by as early as this fall.

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s $13 billion budget plan designates at least $146 million to homeless services and housing, as well as $7 million for free Metro passes for public and charter school students and would fund the purchase of 2,400 body cameras for each police officer.

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Monday, June 1, 2015 10:54 a.m.

Why the Sweetlife Festival left me sour

Maybe I should have guessed a music festival sponsored by a salad joint would leave me underwhelmed.

Spectacular sets by Charli XCX – the British powerhouse behind “I Love It” and “Break the Rules” – and Marina and the Diamonds on Sunday were overshadowed by the lingering stench of Saturday’s forgettable performances and teenybopper crowd.

When my friends and I arrived Saturday afternoon, we felt something was up when we saw the “parent pick-up” signs at the entrance and our suspicion was confirmed every time we didn’t have to wait in line for beer.

The crowd at the Sweetlife Festival, particularly on Saturday, was largely young teenagers, some with braces on their teeth and all with their iPhones out, ready to post another photo taken in what my friend aptly dubbed the “Instagram forest,” where colorful hula-hoops hung from oaks near the Treehouse stage.

Sweetlife should have picked a demographic for a more niche experience. Billy Idol fans stuck out like sore thumbs and my friend said a group of girls at Tove Lo stared blankly when she mentioned being excited for Pixies, who were performing after the “Habits (Stay High)” singer.

It’s not just that I felt about 40 years old in concert years. The selfie sticks – which I heard were not allowed in, but apparently that’s what kids are sneaking into festivals these days – and the incessant conversation during performances was distracting.

In fact, it was a little alarming to see so many concert-goers scrolling on their cell phones instead of gazing up into the trees decorated with hula-hoops – or, you know, dancing.

I must have missed the bring-someone-to-make-out-with memo for The Weeknd, but he and Banks crooned their way into a tie for my favorite sets. Kendrick Lamar was incredible, but he could have done the same show two years ago as he neglected to play songs off his prolific new album “To Pimp a Butterfly.”

Still, the clean portable toilets, food trucks like Astro Doughnuts and PhoWheels and the $5 beer vendor made the weekend considerably better. The best part of the festival was the grub from Chaia Tacos, which will open its first brick-and-mortar store in Georgetown this summer. They served a $10 trio of vegetarian tacos that I bought both days: The braised chard and potato taco, doused in a chile sauce, was rich yet light and the garlic kale, goat cheese and pickled onion taco was crispy and surprisingly filling.

But Sweetlife was too laden with salad puns (how many times can beets kale one’s vibe?) and sponsors’ encouragement to use hashtags to achieve an authentic vibe.

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Friday, May 29, 2015 11:13 a.m.

Living the Sweetlife this weekend?

Sweetlife Festival, two days of music with acts from the Pixies and Billy Idol to Tove Lo and Calvin Harris, kicks off at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Saturday. The set times were released yesterday and with half-hour breaks between each act at each of the three stages and 10-minute overlaps across the board, attendees will have to make some choices.

These are our picks for Saturday:

1:15 p.m.: Start your day slow with The Walking Sticks at Treehouse stage. Their blend of pop and soul is the perfect way to ease yourself into 11 hours of nonstop tunes.

2:05 p.m.: After you catch their best song, “Send the Night,” stick around for AURORA, a Norwegian singer-songwriter whose sound is like an acoustic mix of Haim combined with Of Mice and Men.

2:45 p.m.: Then head over to Misterwives at the main stage, where the New York-natives will, hopefully, perform their sweet cover Vance Joy’s “Riptide” with their folk twist as well as the festival-friendly jam “Hurricane.”

4 p.m.: Stay at the main stage for Solana Rowe, better known as SZA, who is one of the R&B-loving ladies lined up to play Sweetlife this year. Chance the Rapper is featured on her song “Child’s Play” and Kendrick Lamar is featured on “Babylon” – we’re not saying the headliner will arrive early, but Sweetgreen, which sponsors the festival, does have a salad named after Lamar.

5:05 p.m.: After SZA, go back to Treehouse stage for Sinkane, a Sudanese solo artist. He’s heavy on the keyboard and he’s toured with Caribou and Of Montreal.

6:15 p.m.: Stay for Lucius, a band with two front-women, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, who both majored in voice at Berklee College of Music. With a Local Natives sound and Dum Dum Girls-esque lyrics, they’ll begin the ascent into nighttime right.

7:45 p.m.: You could catch the end of Bleachers at the main stage, but their live performances are subpar. Instead, wait around for Tove Lo and you’ll have a better view of the “Habits (Stay High)” singer. She’ll undoubtedly play “Habits” but you should really look forward to “Talking Body” and “Timebomb.”

9:45 p.m.: End your night with Kendrick Lamar at the main stage. You probably won’t have a great view, but the chance to hear songs off his epic album “To Pimp a Butterfly,” like “King Kunta” and “The Blacker the Berry” are worth the price of admission alone. Fingers-crossed Lamar pays homage to the songs that brought him to the limelight like “Poetic Justice,” “Backseat Freestyle,” “Swimming Pools” and “i.”

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