Beyond the Books

Your Guide to student life


Lisner Auditorium

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 1:06 p.m.

Video: Trans Day of Visibility

Allied in Pride is trying to bring Trans Day of Visibility into focus at GW. The student organization invited Laverne Cox, who plays Sophia Burset in “Orange is the New Black,” to speak at Lisner Auditorium on Tuesday night.

Jay Fondin is the vice president of Allied in Pride and also a transgender student.

“I was motivated to get more involved with Allied in Pride so that I could help to increase those resources and increase availability and outreach to non-mono-sexual students,” said Fondin, who is a cartoonist for The Hatchet.

Video by Jake Amorelli.

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For an author famous for horrifying tales like “The Shining” and “Carrie,” Stephen King’s demeanor is oddly warm.

Stephen King published his 68th novel, "Revival," Nov. 11. Photo by Flickr user Arjen Toet under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Stephen King published his 68th novel, “Revival,” Nov. 11. Photo by Flickr user Arjen Toet under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

The 67-year-old author took to the Lisner Auditorium stage Nov. 12, just one stop on a book tour for his 68th book, “Revival,” which he said spans the topics of “addiction, obsession, religion and rock n’ roll.”

But King didn’t delve into those heavy topics at the outset of his hour-long discussion — instead kicking off the talk with a slapstick joke.

King explained that he googled tips on public speaking before the tour because he’s “terrified of crowds” and many sites suggested using humor to loosen up the crowd.

“So two jumper cables walk into a bar,” King said, beginning his one-liner.

But King wouldn’t be a good horror writer if he didn’t stay true to his suspense-filled genre, and left the joke without a punchline, promising he wouldn’t leave the auditorium without finishing it off.

In the meantime, King illuminated the audience with stories of his personal and professional life that fans would have only dreamed of, from the encounter with a rabid dog that inspired his bestseller “Cujo” to his relationship with his wife and son.

Dressed in jeans and a plain red T-shirt, King circled his podium, recounting stories and passing on words of wisdom as if the audience members were his closest friends.

Fans donning Stephen King T-shirts clutched their smartphones to snap shots of the iconic author, ignoring ushers’ requests to hide their phones.

The raucous crowd applauded after nearly every sentence the author spoke, so much that an elderly woman in the front row stood up to yell at the audience to stop clapping.

In between the applause, King offered advice to aspiring writers, though maybe not the advice fans expected.

Inspiration for stories can come from anywhere, but that doesn’t mean writers should pursue every idea, he said, explaining that he has learned to come to terms with the ideas that don’t pan out.

Actually, King has had his fair share of failed ideas, like a short story titled “The Ladies’ Room” he attempted to write after waiting for his wife outside an airport bathroom. In the story, every woman who enters the ladies’ room never comes out.

“I always tell people, if you can finish [The Ladies’ Room], go ahead,” he said, laughing. “Let me know and we’ll get it published as a collaboration.”

But even the dozens of successful stories King has published, most didn’t go as planned.

King said he originally thought the iconic family in “The Shining” would die halfway through the story. And “Carrie” – the book that launched King’s career – was only ever published thanks to King’s wife, who fished the manuscript out of the trash.

“I thought, [Carrie] is about a skinny white girl having menstrual problems. They’re going to hate it,” he said.

King also urged aspiring writers to break the boundaries of their reputation and push into other genres like he did when he wrote uplifting titles like “The Shawshank Redemption” and other titles he wrote for six years under the pen name “Richard Bachman.”

King also read a passage from “Revival,” a copy of which each attendee received with their ticket, before answering fans’ queries that ranged from which character he most enjoyed writing (Annie Wilkes of “Misery”) to the advice he would give to budding writers (read as much as possible).

Finally, it was time for King to tag on the much-awaited punchline to his opening joke.

“Two jumper cables walk into a bar,” he said. “The bartender says to them, ‘I’ll serve you two, but don’t start anything.’”

The audience erupted in laughter, rising to their feet to give King a standing ovation as he appeared to walk offstage.

But King, notorious for his tangents, had one last thing to say:

“Now go get your damn book!”

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Whether you’re looking to take your mind off midterms or are ready to get into the Halloween spirit, here are this weekend’s best events from festivals to bar crawls to inspirational speeches.


Big Wave Rider Greg Long speaks at National Geographic: Competitive surfer Greg Long nearly drowned in 2012 while surfing off the coast of California. Though he returned to surfing as soon as he recovered physically, the traumatic experience left him with emotional damage that would take years to heal. Long, who was named one of the National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year in 2013, will speak about his struggle to overcome self-doubt and return to the waves.
National Geographic Grosvenor Auditorium, 1145 17th St. NW. 7:30 p.m. $24.

Matt Bai speaks at Barnes and Noble: As a former New York Times reporter and current Yahoo! News political columnist, Matt Bai has seen his fair share of presidential scandals. In his new book, “All the Truth is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid,” Bai looks at the Gary Hart sex scandal of of the 1980s, exploring the turning point when officials’ personal lives gained a foothold in politics.
Bethesda Barnes and Noble, 4801 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda, Md. 7 p.m. Free.



Rock duo JEFF The Brotherhood. Photo by Flickr user Alterna2 under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

JEFF The Brotherhood plays at Rock & Roll Hotel: Garage rock duo JEFF The Brotherhood will hit the stage at Rock & Roll Hotel. The Nashville-bred brothers, who have played with Ty Segall and Best Coast and have been featured on NPR, BBC and SPIN, are known for their summer-splashed, psychedelic tunes.
Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. 9 p.m. $15.

Art Walk in the Glen Echo Park: With a new photography exhibit, still-life paintings and silversmithing, Glen Echo Park is home to a vibrant community of artists. Tap into your inner artist at the park’s free Art Walk, which features glass studio work, stone carvings, Latin dance performances and art classes.
Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, Md. 6 p.m. Free.


Columbia Heights Day: This one-day-only festival will highlight locals with eclectic talents, from artists to jewelers to musicians who will perform live sets. The festival will play host to old-school festival fun like moon bounces, bocce, dunk tanks and pie-eating contests, along with dozens of vendors from Capital Kombucha to Rita’s Water Ice and the Peace Corps. Bouncing off the idea of Adams Morgan Day, the festival began in 2007 as a way to celebrate the Columbia Heights community.
Columbia Heights, 11th St. NW and Harriet Tubman School Yard. 11 a.m. Free.

Mark Bittman, author of "How to Cook Everything," will speak about his latest book Saturday. Photo by Flicker user Tim Sackton under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Mark Bittman, author of “How to Cook Everything,” will speak about his latest book Saturday. Photo by Flicker user Tim Sackton under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Mark Bittman at Lisner Auditorium: If you’re hoping to impress your crush with a home-cooked meal or just searching for the quickest breakfast recipe to make it to that 8 a.m. class, look no further. Mark Bittman, the lead New York Times Magazine food writer will come to campus to talk about his newest book, “How to Cook Everything Fast.” Whether you’re an aspiring chef or have yet to venture past making toast, check out this event for tips on time-crunch cooking.
Lisner Auditorium. 7 p.m. $15.

The Walking Dead Bar Crawl: To celebrate the return of AMC’s cult series “The Walking Dead,” hundreds clad in zombie costumes will walk the streets, where they’ll enjoy drink specials from local participating bars and even zombie-inspired makeup stations. The walker with the best costume will be awarded a $200 bar tab, so be sure to don your grimiest attire and perfect your zombie groan.
Penn Social, 801 E St. NW. $30. This is a 21-and-older event.


Taste of D.C. returns this weekend. Photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Taste of D.C. returns this weekend. Photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Taste of D.C.: Take a trip to Pennsylvania Avenue for Taste of D.C., a culinary spectacle from Saturday to Sunday. With over 40 restaurants like Ben’s Chili Bowl, District Doughnut and Carving Room making an appearance, you’ll have access to all of D.C.’s best bites in one place. Once you’ve satisfied your hunger, check out the festival’s other features, like a beer garden with live music performers and a wine walk with 50 varieties of wine. Tip: Make sure to bring cash to sample the “tasting” menus at each booth.
14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, Noon. $10.

Steven Pinker at Politics & Prose: Steven Pinker, a Harvard professor and cognitive scientist, recently released “The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.” At his talk Sunday at the cafe-turned-bookshop Politics & Prose, Pinker will discuss the psychology behind social media and how changing times are altering the way that we write.
Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. 1 p.m. Free.

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Stand-up comic and actor Chris D’Elia isn’t slowing down. He’s got a lead role in the new NBC sitcom “Undateable,” which aired in May, a new stand-up tour, and even has a film in the works.

The New Jersey-born, L.A.-bred comic will stop at Lisner Auditorium Saturday night as part of his “Under No Influence” tour.

We spoke to D’Elia about his latest material, the relationship between stand-up and acting and his weirdest onstage moments. The interview was edited for length.

Hatchet: You’ve said that you see yourself more as a stand-up comedian than an actor. What is it about stand-up comedy that you’re drawn to?

D’Elia: I just like doing it, you know, myself. When it comes to acting, you’re relying on other people for cues, and when you’re on TV, people shoot it and edit and write it, and, you know, it’s not really you. Stand-up is the only thing that’s purely you.

Hatchet: Do you ever get nervous?

D’Elia: I used to get nervous, I mean, when I first started. But now I feel like there’s no reason to. I know what I’m doing and I’ve worked the material. And even if it doesn’t work, who cares, you know?

Hatchet: How much of your stand-up is scripted?

D’Elia: I just kinda go up knowing what I’m going to talk about. I don’t really write anything down, I just kind of have ideas and I go up and work them out.

Hatchet: What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you onstage?

D’Elia: I was making fun of somebody and they attacked me.

Hatchet: Like, physically?

D’Elia: Yeah. A woman. She was talking [during the show] and I told her to be quiet. She was crazy.

Hatchet: Tell me a little bit about your role as “Danny” on the new NBC sitcom, “Undateable.”

D’Elia: Basically, he’s a ladies’ man that girls don’t want a relationship with, they just kind of like, like him for a night or two. And he’s trying to give himself to help these other guys. Then they become friends, and it’s mostly about like, you know, just friendship. But I have fun doing it. There’s a lot of other comedians in the show, and we all know each other, so it’s pretty fun.

Hatchet: Do you identify with your character?

D’Elia: Not really. I mean, I don’t know, I’m not in a relationship myself. But he’s kind of a ladies’ man. I don’t know if I would say that about myself. But, yeah, I’m trying.

Hatchet: How does stand-up influence your acting, and vice versa? 

D’Elia: I think that stand-up kind of teaches you to just kind of be free and not worry about failing, which can help as an actor too. I think it’s harder to get there as an actor and it’s like, a little bit easier as a comedian because you just kind of throw yourself to the world. You learn how to just kinda say, fuck it. So it helps as an actor.

Hatchet: What can people look forward to at “Under No Influence” this Saturday? You recently tweeted that it will include all new material.

D’Elia: You know, it’s still my same style and everything, it’s just new material. A little bit more opinionated stuff. I talk about sports, I talk about guys and girls, but it’s all new stuff and it’s just kind of my opinions on things.

Hatchet: How do you feel about performing at a college venue?

D’Elia: College venues can be a little wilder, just because they’re kids. You know, it should be fun. But funny is funny. Once you get into a rhythm and people fall into listening to you, it just kind of works. I guess funny is funny.

Hatchet: On your Vine account (@chrisdelia) you’re known make fun of strangers on in public, but they never seem to notice. Have you ever gotten caught? 

D’Elia: No. Never. But then people try to shoot me and I see them all the time. It’s so annoying. I just want them to be better at it. Like, I never got caught, ever. Just, you know, just do it slyer.

Hatchet: What’s next on your agenda career-wise?

D’Elia: I did a movie called “Flock of Dudes,” I don’t know when it comes out, but it’s got a great cast, and I’m doing this tour and then I’m shooting my special in December. So there’s that. And then the second season of “Undateable” starts. Well, we’ve got to shoot it, but that’ll come out sometime next year.

Hatchet: What’s the last thing that made you laugh? 

D’Elia: I was at a diner last night with my friends. The thing that makes me laugh the most is just hanging out with friends. And we do that after shows, we’ll just go to a diner and eat, and just kind of bullshit, mess around, and that always makes me laugh really hard.

Hatchet: What’s the funniest Twitter handle you know of?

D’Elia: @coffee_dad. He just tweets about coffee. Like, a father. It’s really funny.

Chris D’Elia will perform at Lisner Auditorium Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $29 regular / $23 student

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Gracie Cook.

Dance-illusionist group MOMIX will be leading audience members through a multimedia magical interpretation of the four seasons in their production of “Botanica” at Lisner Auditorium later this month.

The group’s dream-like production contains as much art as it does physical skill, and is being featured as the final concert in the #LisnerInMotion dance series, presented by Lisner Auditorium and the Washington Performing Arts Society.

Awe-inspiring numbers create stories through the marriage of contemporary dance, humor, circus tricks and memorable props and costumes designed by Michael Curry of Disney’s “The Lion King.”

The dancers move through each season by way of precise choreography, bringing together each individual to create a much larger and more intricate scene.

Photo courtesy of the MOMIX Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of the MOMIX Facebook page.

The final product is a reflection of MOMIX’s ability to think of things one can only dream of existing, and bring them to life. The dancing, outrageous costumes and other elements are familiar, but the group’s ability to amplify and enhance each one in a colorful and mesmerizing way results in a fascinating and complex spectacle. The natural beauty that often goes unnoticed, such as the beads of light that twinkle on a spider web, are vibrantly brought to life by the dancers.

MOMIX has worked not only in stage performances but has also extended its visionary work to television and film. Most recently the group appeared in nationwide commercials for Hanes and Target.

Past events featured in the #LisnerInMotion dance series have included “Tango Fire – Flames of Desire” and the annual “Flamenco Festival.” The performances by MOMIX will not only serve lovers of dance, but also those who appreciate organic beauty and art.

Performances are April 25 and April 26 at 8:00 p.m. in Lisner Auditorium and tickets are being sold for $28, $38 and $48.

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Photo used under Wikimedia Commons license.

Want to meet piano rock singer-songwriter Ben Folds?

The “Ben Folds Five” frontman, who is on a solo tour across the U.S., will perform Friday at Lisner Auditorium. Students have a shot at winning free box seats for the concert and backstage passes.

Ticket prices range from $30 to $50.

Folds last performed at GW with Jason Mraz in 2009. Friday’s show is part of the #LisnerRocks series, which brought Elvis Costello to campus last November.

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Public radio host Ira Glass. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

Public radio host Ira Glass. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Jesslyn Angelia

Ira Glass took his famed radio program out of the booth and onto the stage Saturday night with two art forms that don’t usually mix: radio and dance.

The “This American Life” host partnered with the dance troupe Monica Bill Barnes & Company for a performance called “Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host,” a show that blended personal stories with modern dance in front of a packed Lisner Auditorium on Saturday.

While Glass narrated a series of recorded interviews about love and loss, Barnes and her dance partner Anna Bass enacted the moments through modern dance movements on stage.

“The sensibility of [dance] somehow felt so much like the sensibility of the radio show,” Glass said about the connection between the art forms. “They were documenting these very real feelings and moments and at the same time they were totally having fun.”

In between tales of tragedy, Glass roused the crowd with laughter, playing recordings of middle school children talking about their middle school dance.

As the interviews played, Barnes and Bass recruited members of the crowd to join the stage, which was set up as a middle school dance party complete with confetti, balloons and a disco ball. Slowly, the audience members began to awkwardly dance.

This humor was perfectly balanced by stories with more somber tones, including a reflection from poet Donald Hall about the death of his wife.

Glass’ stories and the accompanying modern dances were mesmerizing the entire show, proving that the shift from radio to stage may not be that difficult after all.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Jeanine Marie.

Comedian John Hodgman is a pretty recognizable face. He’s a “Daily Show” correspondent and was the nerdy, uncool PC in the “Get a Mac” advertising campaign.

He’ll hit the Lisner Auditorium stage Wednesday for the MirmanHodgmanSchaal Sandwich-To-Go Comedy Tour, which will go to six cities this fall.

The Hatchet talked to Hodgman about serving the comedy sausage, shirtwaists, rock n’ roll and Obamacare. 

Photo Courtesy of John Hodgman

Photo Courtesy of John Hodgman

Hatchet: You’ve worked in a lot of forms of media – TV, music, radio, newspapers and magazines, books. Which was the most challenging?
Hodgman: But I only do one day of work for each. Maybe 2 days. But that keeps things vibrant…interesting…enjoyable. Most challenging? I was on a season four episode of “Battlestar Galactica.” I’m a big fan of the show, but I couldn’t geek out, because it turns out it was not my personal nerd fantasy camp, but a job. And I had to cease looking around and just staring. I did get Katee Sackhoff to tell me to “frack off” in character. Now someone on Twitter will finish the fourth season and then get mad. I did my best as an actor, but to them the “PC guy” is Dr. Gerard.

Hatchet: How did the Sandwich To-Go Tour – with Eugene Mirman and Kristen Schaal – finally happen?
Hodgman: Myself, Kristen and – who’s that other guy? – Eugene, are two [of my] very good friends. I’ve known Eugene for 10 years, and I met Kristen filming “Flight of the Concords.” We got to know each other on “The Daily Show.” I don’t know how they feel about me, but I adore them both. We always wanted to travel the country together. Originally, we thought this would be a crime solving tour, but we’re not certified detectives. But as soon as their schedules freed up, I was deployed from hibernation.

Hatchet: How do you, Kristen Schaal and Eugene Mirman decide what topics you’re going to cover on tour?
Hodgman: Honestly, we haven’t decided, and we probably won’t decide until we’re driving into the city. We’re all presenting new material, so the show will be our individual first, and then the three of us will do our world famous – because it is, you know, world famous – repertoire .

Hatchet: So do you change the material based on the city you’re going to? Will you change it for D.C. being that it’s such a political place and it’s shut down?
Hodgman: Well, we probably won’t go to the Smithsonian, so definitely not that material. Even though Kristen and I are correspondents on “The Daily Show,” Eugene is more engaged with topical subjects. I might dress up as Ayn Rand. Our plan is to engage in exciting banter, Carol Burnett style. It’s a lot of improvisation. Maybe I’m telling you too much about how the comedy sausage is served.

Hatchet: A lot of people who watch “The Daily Show” consider it a legitimate, and sometimes their only news source. But Jon Stewart maintains that he’s a satirist, and the show is comedic. How do you set up your bits as a news source and/or a comedian?
Hodgman: As you know, Jon sets the tone [of the show]. The mission of the show is to provide hilarity. There is a measure of responsibility as far as covering real events; everything is factual. And there are factual things, people, especially media coverage, that requires being made fun of.

The job is to be funny, and engaged with current events and politics. So it is reasonable for people under certain terms [to consider it a news source]. Nothing goes on the show without being checked. They, we, strive to get the facts right. We deal with complex issues. Like last time I was on, we talked about employers reducing hours to avoid mandatory insurance under The Affordable Care Act. I was the deranged owner of a triangle shirtwaist factory.

Hatchet: On October 1st (when The Affordable Care Act) went into effect, you encouraged young people to sign up over Twitter. You also retweeted a lot of stories from followers about the issue. How’d that happen?
Hodgman: Well Twitter is an interesting format and not only for comedians. It’s a big crowd all talking and you don’t know what will happen. Young people do presume they’re immortal – I did. Without advocating a piece of policy, I really believe they should be taking advantage [of The Affordable Care Act]. On Oct. 1st, I ended up curating a conversation, it was all unplanned. It turned into an oral history of young people whose not having insurance left them bankrupt.

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Lisner Auditorium became a showroom for performing arts groups Monday night at the annual student performance showcase.

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Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 12:03 p.m.

Solange to perform at Lisner Auditorium


Solange will perform at Lisner Auditorium Nov. 2. Photo used under Creative Commons License.

R&B singer Solange Knowles will perform at Lisner Auditorium this fall, the University announced Tuesday morning.

Knowles, Beyonce’s younger sister who has also performed with Destiny’s Child, will take the stage Nov. 2 to promote her new album,  which was released in January.

Students can receive 15 percent off tickets during the pre-sale starting Aug. 27 at noon through Sept. 6. Tickets can be purchased at the Lisner Auditorium box office with a GWorld.

Tickets will be available generally for faculty, staff, alumni and the public Sept. 10 at noon, with prices ranging from $20 to $35.

Solange launched her own record label, Saint Records, in May. She is expected to release her third solo album soon.

This post was updated Aug. 27 12:52 p.m. with the following correction:

Due to an editing error, The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Solange was a member of Destiny’s Child. While she recorded songs and toured with the group occasionally, she was not a star.

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