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img November 20, 20174:57 pmimg 0 Comments

For context, this is the view from my home.

We’ve all been there – whether this is your first or last Thanksgiving break at college, there’s always a sense of wanting to maximize your time off and make a trip home worthwhile. Luckily, Bwogger Zoe Metcalfe compiled a list of ideas of things to do when back home on vacation so you wouldn’t have to think of it yourself. 

  • Marvel in the sheer number of snacks your parents have stocked the house with in preparation for your arrival: crackers and cheese? Yes please! Milk in the fridge that hasn’t clumped together from that one time you stole a couple of cups of milk from Ferris while under the assumption you would make cereal with the moldy box of Lucky charms you bought from Target during NSOP? Drink it! Vegetables? What are those but eat it!
  • Refill your underwear: somehow the number of pairs of underwear you have access to has slowly been decreasing over the course of this semester? Ponder that phenomenon and restock.
  • Enjoy baths?: honestly, you never really took advantage of your cramped bathtub during those high school days, but college has really filled you with the urge to gently achieve entropy in a tub of lukewarm water, so take a three hour long bath and avoid all that post-thanksgiving work.
  • Walk by a library without being accosted by the smoke from huddles of cold, smoking teenagers.
  • Gather the essentials you forgot: Hey! Did you forget your inhaler and have a bunch of asthma attacks? Find it! A coat? Heck yeah, you need that! The floss in your bathroom from circa 2007? Use it!
  • Collect as many hugs as you possibly can: you’ve been gone awhile! Your family missed you terribly! Run between members and squeeze some love back into your life.

More ideas here.



img November 12, 20171:30 pmimg 0 Comments

You wish your Instagram photos looked this good

This past Saturday, the CU Photography Society hosted a portraiture workshop to help budding photographers as well as seasoned semi-professionals with portraiture. Due to the fact that New York is now a fall wonderland, the event took place in Diana Center, instead of Riverside Park as originally planned.
When I arrived, the workshop was already in progress. Three of the four models posed together against a white wall on the 6th floor as soft afternoon light filtered gently through huge windows. Sharply-dressed photographers filled the room with the sound of clicking shutters, and trendy, light house music played in the background.
After each the photographers were able get the shot they wanted, the CUPS board proceeded to set up multiple stations with different models, in a couple locations around Diana. One group went to the staircase between the 4th and 5th floors, playing with the shadows from the window dressings and the bright light while another worked in an angular enclave behind another stairwell.

Which side is my good side?



img November 11, 201712:10 pmimg 0 Comments

Heads-up: no photos or videos are allowed during the performances! If you want a visual of the play, the 7 pm showtime still has tickets available for purchase.

Tired of huddling in your room, bemoaning the chilly weather? This weekend, CU Players is presenting a production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle, a play that explores the theme of family through a dynamic group of characters in even-chillier Russia. Bwog baby Zoe Metcalfe went to check it out.

The Caucasian Chalk Circle (set in the Caucasus Mountains, not just about white people), is the story of a peasant girl who rescues and raises a baby from a powerful and wealthy family, after his father is killed and his mother abandons him amidst a violent rebellion. The cast is made up of only seven actors, but together, they play a total of 49 disparate characters. While it seems like so many characters and so few actors could make the action hard to follow, the ability of the actors and the strength of the costume designing combine well to clearly delineate the different characters, without much confusion. The actors shouldered this heavy burden well, skillfully adapting to each new character, adopting new mannerisms and ticks in each new scene that become even more entertaining as the play progresses.
So…is there actual chalk at the performance?



img October 31, 201712:50 pmimg 0 Comments

Trust the circle

Bwogger Zoe Metcalfe went to the second conversation in the third annual ‘framing’ series put on by Barnard College, the event covered a range of topics including art mediums and  the roles and responsibilities of artists. 

Monday night brought me across the street to the latest installment in a series of talks put on by the Barnard art history and visual arts departments. The lecture itself was actually a discussion, with a mix of professors, students, and artists sitting in an intimate circle. The conversation was facilitated by Lizzy De Vita BC ’08, and featured Finnish visual artistRiitta Ikonen and curator and sculptor Vanessa Thill BC’03.

Coming into the space, I was curious to see how they would connect art and climate, as they seemed like somewhat disparate topics topics to me. The take-away I got was about highlighting the relationship between the artist and the subject: in this case, nature. Ikonen shared how she got into art in the first place after not wanting to return home to the current black sands of Christmas in Finland, when in her youth it had been a white Christmas every year. That visceral disappointment inspired her to explore the way nature fits into our world today. Conversely, Thill focuses on the artificiality of human made substances, creating sculptures out of things like detergents and soaps, melting them together into a viscous substance, and watching them as they gain a life of their own. In those undulating currents, she sees weather patterns and clouds, tiny microcosms of nature trapped the very unnatural.

More after the jump



img October 26, 20172:36 pmimg 0 Comments

Talk about power!

This windy Wednesday, distinguished Athena Fellow and Fox News commentator Jehmu Greene came to Barnard to talk about the status of women in politics. She recounted her journey from high school voting advocate to progressive voice on Fox and her recent run for Democratic National Committee chair to Erin Vilardi, the founder of Vote, Run, Lead, a platform training and empowering women to run for office.

On Fox, Greene is the voice of the left, opposing the conservatives who she admits are “fabulous communicators.” She acknowledged some shortcomings of the Democratic Party’s current communication abilities, particularly their intense focus on hard facts rather than emotions. According to Greene, they lack the passion her colleagues on Fox possess. Bill Clinton described her role as such a visible member of the Democratic Party to counter this perception, to convey the “sparkle, tone, and smile” of the party’s platform. Rather than debate technicalities with the steadfastly conservative hosts and guests, her job is to appeal to the moderates watching in the hopes of swaying them to her side. The most effective way of doing this, she frequently mentioned, is by knowing your audience.

More about our government after the jump



img October 12, 20174:46 pmimg 0 Comments

Family weekend is upon us! That means that for many (read: freshmen), our lovely parents will be on campus, ready to mingle and pay for food. You may be wondering, how can I show my parents how much I’ve grown as an adult and wow them with both my ease of navigating my new life and how confident I am now (and how well I rock my Columbia t-shirts that I haven’t washed since I got them)? With a detailed itinerary, that’s how! Here are some ideas for what to do with your different types of parents.

The Sporty Parent

What this weekend feels like, in a picture.

They say that they’re here to see you, but really they just want to watch the Homecoming game and wear face paint. Stop by the Columbia bookstore and let their school pride go wild, and see if they’ll buy you another planner that you’ll promise not to lose. Take them to Mel’s for lunch, and actually get a burger. Consider checking out the volleyball and hockey games Friday night to warm them up for the football game at 1:30 on Saturday. Watch a movie: it’s warm and you can get a lot of snacks. My current recommendation is Battle of the Sexes, and there are a bunch of theaters nearby.

The Hipster Parent

Their natural gravitation is toward Brooklyn, but they’ll make the trek to see you. Take them to brunch at the adorable spot Kitchenette on 125th and Amsterdam. Order the pancakes and take in the brightly colored walls and 1950s vibe. If you’re not feeling going to the game, take a trip south and check out Smorgasbord for some high quality food-festival eats! Soak in the thrift shops and views. On the way back uptown, make the pilgrimage to the Strand bookstore and get lost in the advertised 18 miles of bookshelves. Just make sure not to buy anything too mainstream.

The Touristy Parent

Yes, you’ll go with them to Times Square. Maybe even the Statue of Liberty. Take the excuse of your parents being here and let them drag you to all the sights of New York you were too lazy/didn’t have enough time to visit yet. But also, here’s your time to show your parents how well you’re adapting at how much of a local™ you are. Fight your way through the crowds at the High Line, and take them to your favorite stall in the Chelsea Market. Wake up early and show them Absolute Bagels and make up a story about how you discovered one of the best bagel shops in Manhattan on your own (bring cash). If they want to walk through Central Park, make sure to go at sunset when the light is nicest and you might walk through some roller-blading dance parties.

The Artsy Parent

They love art and they’ve come to the right place. While they might not see the beauty in the Rick and Morty poster on the wall of your John Jay single, there’s other art to be seen. Take them to an exhibit featuring some Frank Lloyd Wright works happening now at the Columbia art gallery (did you know Columbia had an art gallery?) on the Manhattanville campus at 125th. If you’re really not feeling art, let them look around on their own while you get a couple of runs in on the climbing wall. Take them to the Met and a show on Broadway if you can swing the tickets. For food, try Sylvia’s on 127th. It’s a little bit of a walk, but it’s a Harlem staple, and has been the center of the soul food community in New York since the 60s. Famous patrons include Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela (drop this knowledge on them over a plate of fried chicken). Take them on a gallery walk in TriBeCa, stop for coffee at Kaffe 1668, and maybe a treat at the nearby Dominique Ansel bakery.

The Tired Parent

They’re overwhelmed by work and New York, and so are you. For a low key weekend, stick around campus. Get a latte at Joe’s and watch the busy Broadway street below as you sip in peace. Check out Mill’s Korean for a nice bibimbap. Let your parents choose from a list of classes to attend while you crank out your lab report. Watch the sunset together in Riverside Park, and get pastries and tea at the Hungarian Pastry shop. The next morning, grab brunch at Flat Top, which is less busy than Community, and has delicious omelets. Give them your tour of campus, omitting the places where you go to cry. If you’re feeling up for it, go on a historical tour of MoHi and check out the nearby tomb of Ulysses S. Grant and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (which is gorgeous and I definitely recommend visiting) before finishing off with some giant cookies at the Levain bakery. Keep it a chill weekend, with plenty of time for catching up and coffee breaks.
So there you go! If you can, in between your Homecoming darties, do some fun stuff with your parents. Not only will they love you forever, but they’ll most likely pay for everything.



img September 28, 20174:22 pmimg 1 Comments

When you need a pick-me-up, but also are have a refined and dainty palate, Bwog’s got you covered. Here’s my ranking of the drip coffees at coffee shops on campus.

Disclaimer: Apologies up front for my very pretentious coffee descriptions–I got really into it.

Left to Right: Blue Java, UP, Joe’s

1st place: UP Coffee

Major notes: Sweet smell/pepper/cinnamon/astringent, but pleasant. How coffee should make you feel.

All in all, a very nice coffee experience. It’s served piping hot, and is the heartiest cup of coffee. It’s the only coffee that would be completely fine to drink black. I’m a fan.

The price: $2.72 with tax for 12 ounces, or about $0.23 an ounce. Not the cheapest, but it was the most Worth It for its price. 4/5

2nd place: Joe’s

Major notes: Smells great (best aromas by far, just go around sniffing this one and trying to absorb the caffeine through the air)/chocolate/strong aftertaste

This Joe’s was kind of a let down. Both their Dodge and NoCo cafes boast really lovely locations, but the coffee itself did not live up to the setting. It wasn’t a super strong coffee flavor, and was a little watery and thin. It did, however, have a nice progression, from initial taste to aftertaste, and wasn’t as jarring as some of the other cups (*cough Blue Java cough*).

The price: $2.18 with tax for 8 ounces, or about $0.27 per ounce. The most expensive of the coffees I tried.

Of note: If you go to Joe’s, I would skip the drip coffee entirely, and instead opt for their espresso drinks. They are almost twice as expensive, but if you’re making the trek out to NoCo for the view, I’d invest in a good cup of coffee. I can attest that the latte is fantastic. 2.5/5

3rd place: Blue Java

Major notes: Smoky/woodsy/bitter/burnt

I was not a fan of this cup of coffee. It somehow managed to be both watery and very bitter, two tasting notes that should cancel each other out but don’t. The location can’t be beat though, in terms of convenience. If you’re up late studying in Butler, leaving the library to get a cup of coffee just might not be possible. It does inject the maximum caffeine to the brain possible, but a drip from Java’s is a bumpy ride.

Price: $1.96 with tax for 10 ounces, or $0.19 per ounce. The cheapest of all the coffees. 1/5

Honorary mention: Dining Hall Coffee

If you’re really not feeling dropping any amount of cash on a cup of coffee, use one of your precious swipes to get into a dining hall and enjoy unlimited amount of very mediocre coffee. Ferris coffee was by far the blandest of the coffees I tried, but if you can get someone with a hefty meal plan to smuggle you out a thermos full of liquid energy, go for it.

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