NYU Local http://nyulocal.com The Blog of New York University Thu, 20 Nov 2014 21:15:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Local Stops: Weird Child Star, Russians, And Dumb Lemony Snicket http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/20/local-stops-weird-child-star-russians-dumb-lemony-snicket/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/20/local-stops-weird-child-star-russians-dumb-lemony-snicket/#respond Thu, 20 Nov 2014 21:15:41 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126596 Beans from Even Stevens is in this music video, and it’s pretty weird Remember how ‘they dog ate your homework?’ Well a Russian hockey player’s dog actually ate his passport Remember Lemony Snicket? Well, he’s a bigot Photo by Rishi Bandopadhay   

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Beans from Even Stevens is in this music video, and it’s pretty weird

Remember how ‘they dog ate your homework?’ Well a Russian hockey player’s dog actually ate his passport

Remember Lemony Snicket? Well, he’s a bigot

Photo by Rishi Bandopadhay 

 

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Gridiron G-Chat — Week Twelve: The Playoff Machine, The Ghost Of Al Davis, And A Metaphorical Tauntaun http://nyulocal.com/city/2014/11/20/gridiron-g-chat-week-twelve-playoff-machine-ghost-al-davis-metaphorical-tauntaun/ http://nyulocal.com/city/2014/11/20/gridiron-g-chat-week-twelve-playoff-machine-ghost-al-davis-metaphorical-tauntaun/#respond Thu, 20 Nov 2014 20:30:13 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126555 Once upon a time (ok, two years ago), NYU Brocal had this lovely little series called Gridiron G-chat. The concept was simple: every week, two bros would gather around the warmth of their laptops and chat about that weekend’s games. With Jeremy and Eric doing real, adult things now, Joe Kozlowski and Paul Sondhi will... Read More

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Once upon a time (ok, two years ago), NYU Brocal had this lovely little series called Gridiron G-chat. The concept was simple: every week, two bros would gather around the warmth of their laptops and chat about that weekend’s games. With Jeremy and Eric doing real, adult things now, Joe Kozlowski and Paul Sondhi will be guiding you through the world of #sports.

Joe Kozlowski: So, week 12. Playoffs in sight. Lots of divisional match-ups. Cold weather. Should be time for some less mediocre games, right?

Paul Sondhi: Looking at the schedule below, Joe, I believe that is, unfortunately, not the case. The question remains: why has this NFL season sucked???

JK: Well, as the popular word on the street says, Roger Goodell is a liar (about ‘any given Sunday’ this time.)

PS: He can’t have many years left as commissioner…I wonder who his replacement will be. If the league is smart, it’ll be some old guy.

JK: Ghost of Al Davis or bust. Although he may try to trade the rest of the AFC West away for a high draft pick that will inevitably turn into a bust.

PS: We blamed Al Davis for so long, but the Raiders aren’t doing so hot without him anyway! Maybe the team will just always suck.

JK: Speaking of the Raiders…

Chiefs at Raiders

JK: I’ve seen a lot of Chiefs-Raiders games when one or both teams were terrible, but this has to be the most confident I’ve ever felt going into one. Oakland’s crazy fans could run onto the field ala ‘The Play’ and that still would not stop Jamaal Charles.

PS: I’m still shocked that the Chiefs handled the Seahawks last week. I wouldn’t trust Andy Reid too much if I were you, but they won’t lose this game.

JK: Andy Reid is an evil genius disguised as the Kool Aid Man. Switching to a team that wears red was the best move he ever made.

Browns at Falcons

JK: I still don’t understand how the Falcons became this bad.

PS: There are so many mediocre QBs in the league, and Matt Ryan might be the ultimate example. No faith in this squad at all.

JK: Atlanta and bird-based teams, man. R.I.P Atlanta Thrashers.

Titans at Eagles

JK: Nothing says bounce-back game like a game against the Titans in what should be a cold Philadelphia.

PS: Looking forward to getting back in the W column against the forgettable Titans. The Mark Sanchez experiment will hopefully come to an end soon, and this will be one of the last games.

Lions at Patriots

JK: Dome team going to freezing New England. Good luck with that.

PS: Not sure what it is about this Patriots team, but I trust this iteration more so than the past few years. They won’t slip up against Detroit.

Packers at Vikings

JK: Picking the Packers, just so we don’t lose the tiny bit of sports credibility we still have after you called them the class of the NFC.

PS: All aboard the Green Bay bandwagon, step right up!

Jaguars at Colts

JK: I went to Lucas Oil Stadium once, although not for football. Pretty nice place. Why no, I’m not avoiding this game…

PS: I will. Colts win. Next.

Bengals at Texans

JK: I think Giovani Bernard might miss for the rest of the season at this rate. I know he’s not the reason for the Bengals collapse, but not having him makes things harder.

PS: This is such a sad team, and I don’t see how Marvin Lewis survives the season. He’s the 2nd-longest tenured head coach in the game, but the Bengals have looked awful enough to let Lewis go.

Jets at Bills

JK: Last time these teams played, the Jets had six turnovers at home. They will be playing on Hoth this Sunday. Rex Ryan may be the metaphorical tauntaun.

PS: Or there might be 10 feet of snow on the ground and this game could be in jeopardy.

JK: Checked Wikipedia and they canceled a game due to snow in 2010, so maybe that could be an option.

Buccaneers at Bears

JK: I’m like to cash in my chips here. I while back I said Mike Evans would be a good fantasy pick up before the end of the season.

PS: Congrats. But both these teams suck, and this is a terrible game.

Cardinals at Seahawks

JK: Cardinals, I guess. Have no idea how to pick a game with Seattle in it anymore.

PS: Going with Seattle because I think they feel like they have something to prove now (and I don’t entirely trust Arizona).

Rams at Chargers

JK: Rams. Hottest team in the NFL? It’s possible after last week. Best team in the NFL? Possible if you only look at last week. Will they win? No.

PS: Philip Rivers needs to pick it up if San Diego is to make the playoffs. This is usually the time in the season he does exactly that. I’m picking the Chargers too.

Dolphins at Broncos

JK: Dolphins have been somehow good. Denver reeling after this week. Can Miami steal one on the road? No (again).

PS: We just keep agreeing this week!

JK: Have that soft fade to the back corner of the end zone quarterback-receiver chemistry going.

Washington at San Francisco

JK: Remember how, around this time last year, everyone thought the Washington offense had hit rock bottom. And nothing has changed.

PS: Sad to see RG3 perform the way he has. I guess it confirms that it takes a certain type of QB to be successful in the NFL. San Fran wins this game.

Cowboys at Giants

JK: I know it’s cold. I know Dallas is technically a dome team. I know that Tony Romo is Tony Romo. But I can’t see the Giants and Old Man Coughlin winning.

PS: The Giants have dropped five in a row and you’re right, it’s hard to see them win this one. That being said, I am picking New York because of those reasons you mentioned. It makes too much sense not to.

Ravens at Saints

JK: This week may be Drew Brees’ week. (Disclaimer: every week this season could also have been his week.)

PS: That’s what we say as fantasy owners, Joe. Regardless, this has been far from his season. I don’t even know who to pick here.

JK: Monday is technically ESPN’s Big Monday featuring 8 ranked teams. Go college basketball. You are the winner.

Bye: Steelers, Panthers

JK: Last bye of the season. Good times.

PS: Feels like we’ve been saying that for a while. I just want the playoffs to come already…

JK: So near, yet so far away. But in the meantime, you can play with the Playoff Machine. See how many scenarios can end up with a 5 win team winning the NFC South!

PS: Ah, what a wonder it will be when that happens.

JK: The joys of sports. Or something like that.

PS: Enjoy the weekend, everybody!

[Image via]

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Do Screen Actors Belong on Broadway? http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2014/11/20/screen-actors-belong-broadway/ http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2014/11/20/screen-actors-belong-broadway/#respond Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:45:02 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126544 Last Tuesday, Emma Stone made her Broadway debut as nightclub diva Sally Bowles in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of “Cabaret.” She took over the role from Michelle Williams, who had played Sally since the production began in March earlier this year. These actresses have one major thing in common: neither has any real musical or theatrical background.... Read More

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Last Tuesday, Emma Stone made her Broadway debut as nightclub diva Sally Bowles in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of “Cabaret.” She took over the role from Michelle Williams, who had played Sally since the production began in March earlier this year. These actresses have one major thing in common: neither has any real musical or theatrical background. But a lack of experience didn’t stop Williams or Stone from tackling the role head on and giving it all they’ve got. Their singing voices aren’t perfect, but they both act passionately, bringing a necessary vulnerability to their portrayals of Sally Bowles. Despite this, a question still looms large: should film and television actors without vocal training really get cast in iconic works of musical theater?

The practice is hardly new, but in recent years stunt casting seems to have become way more common. Perhaps this is a response to dwindling ticket sales after the economic recession hit hard in 2008. Casting screen actors in straight plays is one thing, but expecting movie and TV actors to suddenly become triple threats is another thing completely. Somehow, Daniel Radcliffe managed to do it successfully in 2011’s revival of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” The “Harry Potter” star had performed on Broadway prior in the straight play “Equus,” but “How to Succeed” was his first attempt at a musical. After months of dance rehearsals, vocal lessons, and dialect coaching, Radcliffe began his run as J. Pierrepont Finch, never missing a single performance in the 10 months he played the role.

Unfortunately, not all recent screen-to-stage transitions have gone as smoothly. “The Nanny’s” Fran Drescher received some unfavorable reviews when she took over as the Step-mother in the current Broadway production of Rogers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.”  The long-running revival of “Chicago” boasts some of Broadway’s most questionable casting choices. Usher, Jerry Springer, and Billy Ray Cyrus have all appeared as Billy Flynn, and Sofia Vergara tacked the role of Mama Morton. Even Ashlee Simpson, best known for her “Saturday Night Live” lip-syncing fiasco, played Roxie Hart in 2009. It seems like after “Chicago’s” 18 long years on the Great White Way, the occasional big name—no matter how absurd—is necessary to keep the show going.

Casting major celebrities in Broadway shows can be a major draw for New Yorkers and tourists alike, boosting ticket sales and getting butts in seats at shows that might otherwise be unsuccessful. At the same time, though, stunt casting takes roles away from qualified and talented performers who have dedicated their lives to a career in the theater. Every major Broadway star has to start somewhere, and every relatively unknown actor could go on to become the next big thing. Let’s have a moment of silence for all trained actors who lose out on big roles to screen actors. You’re all stars—don’t let the likes of Emma Stone and Daniel Radcliffe make you think anything else.

Image via

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Local Went There: Annual New York City Girls Computer Science And Engineering Colloquium http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/20/local-went-annual-new-york-city-girls-computer-science-engineering-colloquium/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/20/local-went-annual-new-york-city-girls-computer-science-engineering-colloquium/#respond Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:25:06 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126585 It’s been a pretty difficult week for women in the tech world. On the one hand, “I Can Be A Computer Engineer” Barbie Doll is making waves with its awfully misogynistic book, and simultaneously feminists all over the Internet are making delightful parodies ‘fixing’ the book. The Annual New York City Girls Computer Science and... Read More

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It’s been a pretty difficult week for women in the tech world. On the one hand, “I Can Be A Computer Engineer” Barbie Doll is making waves with its awfully misogynistic book, and simultaneously feminists all over the Internet are making delightful parodies ‘fixing’ the book.

The Annual New York City Girls Computer Science and Engineering Colloquium, organized by NYU’s Women in Computing along with Princeton’s Graduate Women in Science and Engineering and sponsored by Google took place yesterday. Students from around twenty local high schools convened at Kimmel’s Rosenthal pavillion for a day long conference with workshops, talks and a lot of fun.

The conference kicked off with a talk from Professor Sana Odeh, Chair of the Annual New York City Girls Computer Science and Engineering Colloquium and Clinical Professor at the Courant Institute, on “Why Computer Science Matters.” This was followed by a talk on “What is Computer Science” and “What is Engineering” by students from NYU and Princeton.

There were also several “Cool Talks”, or short talks on interesting applications in CS. Crystal Butler, a graduate student from NYU gave a talk on her facial recognition research and demoed her work. Qi Li of Princeton talked about Turbulence in the Urban Environment, her research in the Engineering School at Princeton. Google conducted an interactive programming workshop with Scratch, with demos like “Animating Your Name”, “Making Beyonce Dance” and “Make Yourself Breakdance”. This was followed by a workshop and demos from all students who participated There was also a ton of Google swag given out to all attendees.

The highlight of the day was the tower challenge, where students had to build the tallest possible tower using only spaghetti and a small packet of gumdrops in 45 minutes. The tallest tower stood at 134 inches and went to Mamaroneck High School.

“While our students are exposed to Computer Science from an early age at school, it’s important for them to be able to meet other girls with similar interests and learn about extracurricular topics in Computer Science” said Yulia Genkina, a Computer Science teacher at Stuyvesant High School.

The conference is a good way for NYU to not only give back to its local community, but also inspire the next generation of female computer scientists. “The best part of the conference was getting to meet female Comp Sci and Engineering Students and Googlers who are just regular girls like us, and not always ‘nerdy’ like the stereotype.” said a student from Sunset Park School who attended the conference.

While NYU’s own gender ratio is among the better in the country, Computer Science is still a shockingly male dominated field. Even in 2014, companies as ‘diverse’ as Google only have 17% engineers who are women. Conferences like these are an investment of time and resources in the next generation to bridge these gaps, and an awesome example of paying it forward.

Image taken by the author.

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The Internet’s Busiest Music Nerd Talks Indie, U2, Gambino, And More http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/20/internets-busiest-music-nerd-talks-indie-u2-gambino/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/20/internets-busiest-music-nerd-talks-indie-u2-gambino/#respond Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:00:32 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126552 Anthony Fantano dubs himself the Internet’s busiest music nerd. His YouTube channel, The Needle Drop, has garnered over 350 thousand subscribers since its creation in 2007. One might say he’s pretty fly for a white guy, and one might also say he honored moniker that at his event at Kimmel last night, “An Intimate Evening... Read More

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Anthony Fantano dubs himself the Internet’s busiest music nerd. His YouTube channel, The Needle Drop, has garnered over 350 thousand subscribers since its creation in 2007. One might say he’s pretty fly for a white guy, and one might also say he honored moniker that at his event at Kimmel last night, “An Intimate Evening with Anthony Fantano.”

He started off with quite the entrance, running to high five the crowd while wearing a bright yellow T-shirt with a print of the Virgin Mary. “Turn off your ringers,” he announced as someone’s iPhone got a notification. “This is the Internet in person.”

The evening’s main discussion was on the commodification of “indie.” To begin with, Fantano talked about the history of rock, and the fusions and divisions that led to the indie subgenre. “Initially, it was more of an ethos than a sound,” he said, before giving insight on how the mainstreaming of indie created a culture around it. According to him, it was when indie artists hopped onto major labels that the genre was given a corporate infrastructure, which built specific audiences, businesses, marketing schemes, venues, media, and cultural norms. “When you have that structure, you have that dog/pony show, basically.”

He added that the commodification isn’t inherently bad. “It helps take that stuff to your front door; you wouldn’t have heard about half of this shit if it weren’t for that. It’s both bad and good, and you have to take it for its flaws.”

The second part of the evening was way less serious, though. Fantano walked the audience through, we shit you not, an in-depth lyrical analysis of Smash Mouth’s “All Star,” coupled with a PowerPoint presentation that included a Photoshopped Shrek resting on top of a clip-art brain, obviously. He then read “My Meeting With Fantano,” a piece of fan fiction in which a fan meets Anthony and sees his penis. The piece was also accompanied by very striking visuals.

For the third segment, guest D Respect talked a bit about offensive content in hip hop, but was “interrupted” by Cal Chuchesta, a Needle Drop character played by Fantano in a mustache and turtleneck. D Respect then interviewed Cal in a bit that ran for way too long for how unfunny it got—for avid fans, it was probably somewhat enjoyable, but half the audience must have been on their phones by the end of it.

Finally, Fantano held a Q&A that made up for the brutal previous section. In his answers, he mentioned how hard it is to select what to review and how he tries to keep track of an artist’s career after reviewing one of their albums. A fan asked about the infamous U2 album drop earlier in the year, at which point Anthony delved into a long (but interesting) rant about how intrusive it was. “I don’t endorse that shit; it was a commercial. Apple was crossing that ownership line.”

Fantano went on to discuss his dislike for Childish Gambino’s music: “He seems to portray himself as the special snowflake, and I don’t see Donald as that snowflake. He’s not the only nerdy rapper.” He also criticized Glover’s comments on rap in general as similar to the mainstream opinion on rap (namely, that rap is oversexualized, mysoginystic, and crude), and added that “that’s the same shit people said about rock in the 70s and 80s.”

For his last insight, he talked about the future of rock and how currently the genre has seemingly run out of exciting ideas. “Hip hop is what’s bringing new sounds; everyone from the underground to the big names are bringing something different than what’s been done. Rock music has reigned supreme for so many decades—maybe it’s time for something else.”

[image via The NYU Program Board]

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Feeling Nostalgic for Hayden Dining? Head Over To The Tap Room http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/20/feeling-nostalgic-hayden-dining-head-tap-room/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/20/feeling-nostalgic-hayden-dining-head-tap-room/#respond Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:15:56 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126509 If you are still mourning the loss of Hayden Dining Hall, perhaps head down to The Tap Room at NYU’s The Torch Club. The new dining location is open to students for the 2014-2015 school year, offering “new residential menus and classic favorites from Hayden Dining Hall,” and all you need is a meal swipe. Yes,... Read More

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If you are still mourning the loss of Hayden Dining Hall, perhaps head down to The Tap Room at NYU’s The Torch Club. The new dining location is open to students for the 2014-2015 school year, offering “new residential menus and classic favorites from Hayden Dining Hall,” and all you need is a meal swipe. Yes, a restaurant that accepts meal swipes.

The Tap Room is situated in the lower level of the Torch Club (18 Waverly Ave., which is right next to the Silver Center. Do not follow the map on the NYU Dining website or you will end up on the other side of Washington Square Park).

Having never been there before, I approached the neatly organized dining tables on the main floor of the Torch Club (which features a full service à la carte menu) before the hostess kindly requested, without hesitation, my ridiculously freshman-looking self to “please go downstairs”.

I followed the gossipy noises of students downstairs and was greeted with a buffet style setting.

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Today’s menu included: turkey lasagna, eggplant parmesan, butternut squash barley pilaf, and some pesto pasta. Obviously at this time of year, turkey is pretty much unavoidable. I found that the turkey lasagna was, however, exquisite despite feeling incredibly stuffed (pun intended) from all the turkeys NYU is feeding me (it is the main entrée for the past few days in both Weinstein and Third North).

The atmosphere is cozy enough to give off a restaurant vibe but not nearly spacious enough to accommodate dining hall crowds during peak hours. Private, segregated tables are available but very limited (they are also closely stacked next to each other). As a result, most people end up sitting together on long, cafeteria-like tables.

Like most dining locations on campus, there is a salad station, numerous beverages, and dessert options. However, due to its relatively small space, these options are limited (especially in comparison to other NYU dining halls). With that said, they offer unique menu items everyday so if you’re stuck with a meal plan but tired of “dining hall food,” then perhaps this is the perfect getaway.

You can look up the menu in advance to determine whether it’s worth the trip.

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The Tap Room is open from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on weekdays. Expect to find a good number of students there. Seats begin to fill up by 11:30, so plan accordingly.

All in all, the Tap Room is a great destination for lunch if you’re tired of redundant food options in Palladium and other dining halls. They also serve Hayden cookies if you don’t feel like going to Weinstein for it.

[Image 1 via, 2 and 3 via Annie Groth]

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NYU Local’s Guide To The Union Square Holiday Market http://nyulocal.com/city/2014/11/20/nyu-locals-guide-union-square-holiday-market/ http://nyulocal.com/city/2014/11/20/nyu-locals-guide-union-square-holiday-market/#respond Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:28:15 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126521 Is it Christmastime again already? No, not at all. But that doesn’t matter, because it’s just about time for the Union Square Holiday Market to raise its jolly walls and once again shower seasonal joy and cheer upon us all. The Union Square Holiday market is put on by Urban Space, an organization that was... Read More

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Is it Christmastime again already? No, not at all. But that doesn’t matter, because it’s just about time for the Union Square Holiday Market to raise its jolly walls and once again shower seasonal joy and cheer upon us all.

The Union Square Holiday market is put on by Urban Space, an organization that was founded in London in 1970 with goals of “fostering community, transforming city spaces and providing platforms to help artisans and entrepreneurs succeed.” In addition to the holiday market in Union Square, Urban Space also sponsors the one in Lincoln Center, in addition to many other innovative meeting and shopping locations around the city. This year, the USHM is in full operation from November 20th until Christmas Eve (except for Thanksgiving), with reduced hours on the weekends. You can find an inclusive list of vendor information here.

For some New Yorkers, the advent of the market signals a fun, cozy shopping experience in anticipation of the holidays to come. For others, it means a hell portal of tourist traffic as you excavate your way through Pluto’s frozen butt hole to locate the L train. If you fall into the latter group, there is hope for you yet: it doesn’t have to be that way.

NYU Local’s Tips for Surviving the Union Square Holiday Market:

21Go on off hours: This generally applies to mornings (before noon), weekday afternoons, and evenings just before the market closes (after 6 or 7, depending on the day). If you have an afternoon or a morning free of classes, this is an optimal time to browse the Holiday Market. You won’t feel rushed as you peruse the various stands, and you’ll be able to experience a little bit more intimacy with communicating with the vendors and taking note of their wares. If it’s a particularly chilly day there will be even fewer people, and you might even be able to walk through the market like a proud human being instead of you know, a New Yorker at the Union Square Holiday Market.

Bundle up: You may not have noticed, but it’s cold outside. Very cold indeed. You’re not going to have a very good time if you set off on a brave mission to visit the market and freeze halfway through your voyage. If this is your game plan you will, in fact, have a very sad time. For optimal enjoyment of the market, we suggest a full on regalia of gloves, hat, scarf, long johns, etc. There’s not actually that much walking involved, and you’ll be glad you bundled up when the sun sets at around 4:00pm. You might also want to avoid stopping by on the days when it’s raining. At least snow is magical and festive: a crowd of shoppers huddled together with umbrellas isn’t doing anyone any favors.

Come hungry, leave happy: The best part of the holiday market is, in my humble opinion, the food and drink. Even if you decide to make no purchases of gifts or tchochkes, I strongly advise you to enjoy a warm cup of cider or hot chocolate as you walk around and take in the sights. Some booths, like Wafels & Dinges and Momofuku Milk Bar, are simply sized-down festive versions of eateries you can love all year round, while others are more specialized for the season. My personal favorite is the German Delights stand, with its sweet, sweet, Gluhwein (mulled wine which, by the way, is sold non-alcoholic, and is festive and fun for the whole family). There’s also plenty of heartier food options, including wurst, gingerbread, soups, sandwiches, crepes, and chocolate as far as the eye can see.

Branch out: It would seem as if there is only so much fun that can be had from skulking around a small, intimate maze of holly-lined booths in the hectic and crowded Union Square. You can find, however, that there are many permutations of fun that one can hope to have in the USHM. Try coming with friends (a small group is preferable) to enjoy a snack or drink with a nice conversation, or go alone, to truly soak in all those sights that you can only find on every street corner in New York City after Halloween. And don’t be afraid to hop on the train to explore other holiday market locations! Contrary to popular belief, all NYC holiday markets are not created equal, and they are not all operated by the same company.

While Urban Space orchestrates the markets in Union Square and Lincoln Center, there are other markets to explore in Grand Central Station, Chelsea Markets, Bryant Park (featuring a classy outdoor bar and the city’s only free ice skating rink!) and many more. The world is your snow globe. Go out and shake it up.

[Image via, via]

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In A City Known For Its Art, The 2014 Paris Photo Fair Stands Out http://nyulocal.com/national/2014/11/20/paris-photo-fair-2014-celebrates-photography-medium/ http://nyulocal.com/national/2014/11/20/paris-photo-fair-2014-celebrates-photography-medium/#respond Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:42:01 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126569 PARIS — If Paris has an undisputed point of pride, it is the visual art in the city. Large and small-scale exhibitions can be found on nearly every block, especially in the Latin Quarter near the universities. On the short walk from NYU’s building to the River Seine, you walk through cramped streets with one-room... Read More

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PARIS — If Paris has an undisputed point of pride, it is the visual art in the city. Large and small-scale exhibitions can be found on nearly every block, especially in the Latin Quarter near the universities. On the short walk from NYU’s building to the River Seine, you walk through cramped streets with one-room galleries left and right, showcasing the work of photographers, painters, sculptors, and more. Once you reach the left bank of the Seine, you face the magnificent Notre Dame and, about a half mile west, the Musée du Louvre.

Though Paris’ art legacy is old, the city embraces new media as well. This past weekend (November 13-16) held the 2014 Paris Photo Fair, the “premier international art fair for works in the photographer medium.”

The Fair took place in the Grand Palais, a structure in the beaux-arts style constructed out of glass, iron and steel for the 1900 Universal Expedition. The final day of the Fair saw winding lines of Parisians outside the Palais, waiting in the pouring rain. The numbers of people queuing for tickets was such that scalpers thrust their tickets at you, boasting cheap fares, as you went to wait in line.

The Fair gathered 169 galleries and art book dealers this year. The entire ground floor was filled with booths from galleries from Paris, New York, London, San Francisco, and more. The place was packed with art students, photographers, art dealers, and civilians. The high number of American and British galleries showcased made for a great deal of English spoken among the crowd, though usually art galleries are filled only with French or a few Anglophone tourists.

Each gallery was curated individually. Some were organized for individual photographers while others represented larger collections from museums or art collectors. Upstairs, away from the smaller galleries, was a room devoted entirely to new acquisitions of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

The galleries were filled with students taking photos of the photos on their iPhones, as well as eccentric seniors many of whom wore colorful pants or boasted unnaturally colored hair. In the personal galleries, the photographer often sat at a table waiting to autograph a photo book or sell one of their works.

Another exhibition showcased was “Camera As Release,” produced by the JP Morgan Chase Art Collection. This celebrated the way photographers have used their own bodies to add to their works. Paris Photo’s notes about the exhibit state: “Photographers have utilized their bodies for reasons both practical and poetic. In a relatively short period in modern life, art photography and performance art have evolved from radical experimentation to celebrated, mainstream popularity.”

These photographs transcended the self-portrait and moved toward expression through Brechtian awareness of the photographer taking the picture. They note the dynamic nature of the human body and the life that it brings to an image. Each photograph is contemplative and tinged with the knowledge that the models in the photographs also captured the images, and were aware of the messages the shapes and poses of their bodies would send.

Though the enormous Paris Photo is a far larger fair than the average gallery you stumble on in Paris, temporary exhibitions are not uncommon here. Parisian pride for art serves to create a city abundant with creation. At first glance the city seems old, antique and romantic, but when it comes to the art scene, Paris challenges all competitors.

Photographs from every exhibit and from each presenter can be found on the Paris photo website. The Fair will visit Los Angeles from May 1-3, 2015.

[image via]

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When It Comes To Sexuality, Don’t Take NYU For Granted http://nyulocal.com/city/2014/11/20/126410/ http://nyulocal.com/city/2014/11/20/126410/#respond Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:00:38 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126410 Going to school at NYU, it can be easy to get used to the generally open and accepting attitude towards the LGBTQ community and toward sex in general. It can also be easy to forget that not every school is like ours. Sure, the Westboro Baptist Church and plenty of rants on social media remind... Read More

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LGBT-Flags-on-University-Campus

Going to school at NYU, it can be easy to get used to the generally open and accepting attitude towards the LGBTQ community and toward sex in general. It can also be easy to forget that not every school is like ours. Sure, the Westboro Baptist Church and plenty of rants on social media remind us daily that there are a lot homophobes and slut shamers out there, but it can seem like a distant threat outside of NYU’s mostly liberal bubble. Apart from the treatment of LGBTQ people, the notion of sexuality or intimacy in general actually differs quite a lot across different colleges. For example, that scary story told among the Hurricane Sandy-caused homeless college population that Fordham College wouldn’t allow a girl’s boyfriend to take haven in her dorm because same-sex sleepovers apparently weren’t allowed. NYU isn’t seen by most as some hippie free-for-all regarding such topics, but it’s not a conservative Bible camp either. Some schools, however, have some outdated restrictions concerning sex and intimacy.

Fordham College, in stark contrast to the pretty liberal outlook held by most of NYU and most of New York itself, has an anti-birth control policy. Students must go to outside sources to get informed on sexual education, and the school does not allow condoms to be distributed to students. So, if students are having sex at the Jesuit university, they might not even be going about it safely. NYU, of course, has a colorful assortment of free condoms in a basket to greet students as they enter their residence hall of choice.

Religious schools are the most obvious cases when looking at environments that are unfriendly towards intimacy, LGBTQ or otherwise. Pepperdine University, a respected and popular school in beautiful and sunny Malibu, actually forbids homosexuality, in addition to all sex before marriage (even straight sex). At least they’re not just homophobic, they’re against all kinds of sex. Visitation hours in residence halls among opposite sexes is limited, in order to “maintain an atmosphere conducive to academic achievement.” The Pepperdine University Student Handbook clearly states that “sexual activity outside a marriage between husband and wife including, but not limited to, premarital, extramarital or homosexual conduct” is among the many “examples of misconduct… that may result in disciplinary action.” In other words, if you have gay sex, or sex at all, and you aren’t married (most colleges students aren’t) you could get in big trouble at Pepperdine.

Notre Dame is another popular school that, religious though it may be, you may not know also bans homosexuality and pre-marital sex. Notre Dame embraces Catholic teachings and states in its Code of Conduct that “love through sex requires a commitment to a total living and sharing together of two persons in marriage.” The schools continues to decree that “consequentially, students who engage in sexual union outside of marriage may be subject to referral to the University Conduct Process.”

Both Pepperdine and Notre Dame have repeatedly denied official LGBTQ recognition on campus, with Pepperdine rejecting a proposed support group by the name of “ReachOUT” and Notre Dame preventing a gay/straight alliance from forming. Both schools have stated that such groups would interfere with the religious doctrines of said schools, which is their prerogative as privately-funded schools.

Private universities with a religious affiliation obviously have every right and every probability to say what they want to about what students can do with their bodies. After all, they are not representative of the state or the government. If they want to be against safe sex, or gay sex, or any sex at all, they can. Of course, most of the students who choose to attend these universities probably are aware of the religious rules they are stepping into. The problem is that, generally speaking, there are a whole lot of gay people, and a whole lot of people having sex. It can’t be easy being one of those people and going to one of these universities. Fortunately, more open-minded schools are aplenty in this country.

In more lenient-minded schools, any word on sex in the code of conduct refers to a ban on sexual harassment, not pre-marital or homosexual sex. For example, both the Big Ten school University of Michigan and the Ivy League school University of Pennsylvania, two widely popular and heavily populated institutions, have code of conducts focusing on sexual misconduct as being harassment only. University of Michigan states that it is expected that students be treated equally regardless of orientation, and that students be free of sexual harassment. No note is made on sex before marriage, or sex among the same gender. University of Pennsylvania refers to sexual misconduct as being “a form of sexual harassment… attempted or completed unwanted or non-consensual sexual activity” and clearly states that punishment will occur if a student is found guilty of such misconduct. Visitation hours and dorm rules are much more easygoing, and LGBTQ friendly groups are allowed.

Then there’s the small liberal arts colleges so vigorously liberal that bans on sexual preferences would be laughed at. Oberlin College actually has coed living, which is pretty much the complete opposite of the idea of visitation hours for opposite sexes. Coed living was introduced at the school in the 70’s, and was highlighted by an article in a 1970 issue of Life magazine called “Co-ed Dorms: An Intimate Campus Revolution.” Again, the notion of an “intimate campus revolution” really could not be further from the type of mindset found somewhere like Pepperdine. Men and women can share dorm rooms, and the LGBTQ community is embraced. Those who want to date to marry probably go to Brigham Young. Those who want to do pretty much anything else probably would be more interested in Oberlin.

Here at NYU, we have gender-identity based housing, a weekly LGBTQ newsletter, Safe Zone: NYU Ally, and those free baskets of condoms in every other building. Our own Code of Ethical Conduct has a section that states that “every member of the University is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender and/or gender identity or expression” in addition to a whole bunch of other things. The fact is that the university application process involves research into almost every aspect of a school, and any student at Pepperdine probably (or hopefully) knew the rules and regulations of the institution before sending in their check. It is the privilege of every private university to dictate what kind of person is an ideal student to them, but the idea of continuing to be given restrictive regulations on what you can and can’t do in a time supposedly for experimenting is bizarre. One quick solution is to just not attend these schools, if you’re worried about getting kicked out for pre-marital or gay sex, just go to a school like NYU instead.

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Oil Prices Dropped, So What? http://nyulocal.com/national/2014/11/20/got-oil-prices-dropped/ http://nyulocal.com/national/2014/11/20/got-oil-prices-dropped/#respond Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:23:42 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126520 You heard that this week the largest oil price drop in years occurred, but you’re not sure why it happened or what it means. Let’s start with the good news: you are a winner. Prices at gas pumps are down to $2.99 a gallon from $3.70 a gallon in June. That means you, or anyone who buys... Read More

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nyulocal oil

You heard that this week the largest oil price drop in years occurred, but you’re not sure why it happened or what it means.

Let’s start with the good news: you are a winner. Prices at gas pumps are down to $2.99 a gallon from $3.70 a gallon in June. That means you, or anyone who buys you Christmas presents, will have more money to spend.

Lower oil prices are a boost to consumer spending power and occasionally to economic growth. Sometimes people save additional money instead of spending it, causing it not to fuel economic growth in the short run. But at this time of the year the holidays are just around the corner and it is expected that consumers will spend almost a third of the extra income.

Prices dropped because the economy has been growing at a slower pace than expected, especially in Europe and China. And meanwhile, the supply has increased.

Who to thank?

Middle Eastern countries. Because of turmoil in the past years, they had been producing less oil, which kept prices high. But recently and unexpectedly, those same countries, including Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria and Iraq started producing more oil.

The United States. In the past five years there has been a national energy boom because with former high oil prices it was economically profitable to produce shale oil through expensive drilling techniques. The U.S. now produces 65 percent more oil than it did five years ago, according to The Guardian.

Higher supply with decreasing demand, caused oil prices to fall.

For prices to go back up, the U.S. has to cut their supply or the OPEC countries have to agree to do the same, which doesn’t appear to be happening any time soon. OPEC countries know that American producers are losing from the fall, and that they eventually will have an incentive to cut supply.

Some go as far as saying that Saudi Arabia increased its supply and lowered oil prices on purpose to get U.S. oil out of the markets while putting pressure over two main rivals: Iran and Russia.

In the long run, it is difficult to know what the global political and economic effect will be. Here’s a look at how some countries could be affected:

U.S.:

Although lower oil prices is good news for us, average consumers, and for companies whose costs fall in the short run, it isn’t for some sectors.

Those who benefit from the new energies will suffer because national producers will have lower profits. And the majority of job growth in 2014 was due to mining and energy jobs.

The most noticeably effected states will be Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota.

A boost to the economy can also offset a stronger dollar that would hurt US exporters and national producers of any product. Domestically produced goods would be more expensive than imports, and would also be more expensive than other products in competitive foreign markets.

But hey, you and the rest of American individual consumers will most likely receive better gifts this year so happy Christmakwanzakah. Fate will take care of the rest.

Russia:

The fall will affect Russia’s economy and Putin’s political support more than the West’s sanctions over the annexation of Crimea.

More than half of Russia’s revenue come from the export of oil. The currency fell with oil prices this month. Although the country’s economy is huge, the changes in oil prices can drag down Putin’s political support because he will have to borrow more, reduce expenditures used to provide his supporters with private goods, and use money from the reserve to cover a federal budget that was set with $93 oil.

“Strong energy prices have been the rock on which the long record of economic stability of Vladimir Putin has been predicated. But plunging oil prices were responsible at least partly for unseating his two predecessors in the Kremlin, Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin,” writes Alec Luhn in The Guardian.

Elites will most likely reevaluate their support for the Russian annexation of Ukrainian territory, whose costs will be exacerbated by lower revenues from oil.

Obama might want oil prices to remain low which would also put pressure on Iran.

Iran

Sanctions to their nuclear program have affected Iran’s economy. But the falling price of its main export revenue, which the government has used to fund vital goods, will hit it even harder. Iranian authorities have blamed Saudi Arabia for manipulating OPEC sales to deliberately serve the interest of the G20 group (increasing the pressure on them and Russia).

Saudi Arabia

It has a huge cash reserve to balance the fall in revenues while low prices drive US tight oil production out of the market, leveraging their economic stability over Russia and Iran.

Venezuela

Venezuela was already experiencing an economic crisis with a $100 barrels. It relies only on the export of oil to pay for imports of all kinds. The currency is already devaluated to levels that have drawn increasing amounts of money outside of the country, and have made investment almost impossible. Inflation in Venezuela is also one of the highest in the world.

The government is unlikely to adjust responsible economic policies because it relies on money to fund popular social measures, like the price limit it established on Barbies to make them accessible to people before Christmas. Now that there will be less oil profits, the government will be in even more trouble. Scarcity and devaluations are likely to put it under scrutiny.

Brazil

The state has relied on increased production by state-owned Petrobras in the last years to fund social projects and pay off debts. But they will lose millions of dollars per each dollar drop in oil prices, according to Reuters. That will trouble the government’s projects.

Mexico

Mexico’s President Pena Nieto was implementing policies to encourage production of oil in Mexico, privatizing state-owned Pemex. However, investors will lose interest when potential profits decrease as a result of the drop in prices. The government will also have to cut public funding, as oil revenues from Pemex were previously about a third of the budget.

Egypt

Egypt is the highest oil and natural gas consumer in Africa. The government, which spends a whole lot in energy subsidies for oil to be produced domestically, will benefit from the fall, because it is more of an oil importing country than an exporting one. Similar things will happen in India, whose commodities account for only 9 percent of its exports and 52 percent of its imports, according to The Guardian.

[image via]

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Local Sounds 2K14: Charly Bliss http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2014/11/20/local-sounds-2k14-charly-bliss/ http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2014/11/20/local-sounds-2k14-charly-bliss/#respond Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:27:01 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126540 To put it simply, Charly Bliss is a pretty sweet band. When asked to describe their sound, guitarist Spencer Fox described it as, “a lot of pop rocks and a little bit of puke.” In a previous interview he had likened the band to “the first sip of coffee after eating a huge bite of... Read More

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To put it simply, Charly Bliss is a pretty sweet band.

When asked to describe their sound, guitarist Spencer Fox described it as, “a lot of pop rocks and a little bit of puke.” In a previous interview he had likened the band to “the first sip of coffee after eating a huge bite of pancakes,” but he says Charly Bliss has moved on from that, though vocalist Eva Hendricks wants it on the record that they all still have a lot of love for pancakes.

If you haven’t gotten the picture by now, Charly Bliss makes fun music. It also doesn’t hurt that they are also fun to be around. Since they formed a few years ago, the Connecticut-bred, New York-based four-piece has been making their own charismatic and catchy brand of “bubblegrunge” that’s been gaining ears and winning hearts. The outfit is fronted by Hendricks, a senior at NYU Clive Davis who is due to graduate in January, along with Fox, Dan Shure (bass) and Eva’s older brother Sam Hendricks on drums. To date, they have released a few EPs, put out a trilogy of music videos, toured the West Coast and are currently gearing up to record their first full length album.

When we met up in the East Village, the group sans-Shure spent most of our interview laughing about MTV pilots, tour stories and new music over beers and grilled cheese sandwiches. Just fall in love with them already.

Local: Describe your touring experience.

Eva: So much fun!

Spencer: We started in the Pacific Northwest in Seattle, and basically followed the coast down to Los Angeles.

Eva: We played Seattle, Olympia, Portland, Stanford University, San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara and then LA. You will quickly find out we are arguably the most innocent band that has ever existed ever. When we were on tour, after the show every night people would be like, “Oh, come out drinking with us!” and we’d be like “We think we’re gonna go get a milkshake and hit the sack.”

Local: Is new music on the way?

Sam: We’re recording a full length [album] in January in Northampton, Massachusetts. I almost just called Northampton “the Hamptons.”

Eva: We’re not going to the Hamptons, just Massachusetts.

Spencer: We’re actually recording it on P Diddy’s boat in the Hamptons.

Sam: We’re recording for two hours a day, and we’ll spend the rest of the time bathing in caviar.

Eva: With the Kardashians. But seriously, it’s going to be a full length album, and it’s about 80 percent written right now. We’re really excited! I can’t wait to get back in the studio.

Sam: Ten songs is the goal.

Spencer: It’s going to sound much closer to the [Soft Serve] EP than our previous work, but even deeper into the “crunchier” aesthetic.

Soft Serve by Charly Bliss

Local: I read something that called you guys “The Pixies fronted by Debbie Harry.” Is that a fair comparison?

Spencer: The Pixies thing I’m cool with, but as far as Debbie Harry there are only like three or four [people] that female artists ever get compared to, and most of the time there are absolutely no parallels. Eva sounds nothing like Debbie Harry.

Sam: She also doesn’t sound like Hayley Williams.

Eva: That’s the other one we always get! We get the Paramore comparison. It makes me so mad, and it’s not because we don’t like Paramore, we just don’t sound like Paramore. It’s frustrating because if I don’t objectively sound like [those artists], are you just comparing me to them because I’m a girl in a rock band. It’s like if you sing any other way than “ethereal” or “breathy” it’s not OK. It’s almost like people want women to sing how they want them to be in real life, which is quiet, agreeable and easily dominated or whatever, and fuck that.

Local: So as some of the members of the band near graduation, is Charly Bliss nearing a new phase?

Spencer: So Eva is graduating in a few weeks, and I’m graduating in May, and then we’re gonna be a real big boy band and go on tours.

Sam: Once all of us are out of school it’s all in. We already feel that way, but right now it’s tough with school. As far as band dynamic, we just last week brought in our new bass player Dan.

Eva: Which was really hard, because we’re a really close knit band, and having [our old bassist] Kevin not in the band anymore after three years was really scary at first!

Local: Alright, to finish, a little word association. I’ll say a word and please say the first thing that comes to mind.

Eva: Alright.

Local: Friends.

Sam: Macaroni.

Local: Love.

Spencer: Me.

Local: George Bush.

Eva: Doody.

Spencer: Great guy.

Sam: Whatta guy.

Spencer: Good policy!

Local: Bubbles

Spencer: Spongebob.

Eva: I could play this all night!

You can check out Charly Bliss on BandCamp here.

Want to be featured in Local Sounds? Send us information about your act to tips@nyulocal.com, with the subject line “Local Sounds”.

[Image via Jacqueline Harriet]

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Local Stops: Cinderella, Sad, Drunk Taco Bell, And Bro Pranks http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/19/local-stops-31/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/19/local-stops-31/#respond Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:15:17 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126359 Ever wonder what the classic Disney movie Cinderella would look like with all of today’s film technology? Wonder no more!  This sad, drunk Taco Bell patron is all of us. Fake sky diving is a key component of male bonding. Make your time at the airport worse by eating some whale meat. [Photo of the... Read More

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11-19-2014 - Bandopadhay

Ever wonder what the classic Disney movie Cinderella would look like with all of today’s film technology? Wonder no more! 

This sad, drunk Taco Bell patron is all of us.

Fake sky diving is a key component of male bonding.

Make your time at the airport worse by eating some whale meat.

[Photo of the day by Rishi Bandopadhay]

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The History Behind Bobst Library Will Further Dissuade You From Ever Doing Work There http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/19/history-behind-bobst-library-will-dissuade-ever-work/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/19/history-behind-bobst-library-will-dissuade-ever-work/#respond Wed, 19 Nov 2014 20:30:47 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126456 If there were a tenth circle of hell, it’d be Bobst. Okay, not really, but for the NYU community, Bobst is a symbol of dread and frustration, as well as a 12-story reminder of the never-ending stress of higher education. But at the risk of sounding like a tinfoil hat-wearing, ghost hunting, crystal healing enthusiast... Read More

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If there were a tenth circle of hell, it’d be Bobst.

Okay, not really, but for the NYU community, Bobst is a symbol of dread and frustration, as well as a 12-story reminder of the never-ending stress of higher education. But at the risk of sounding like a tinfoil hat-wearing, ghost hunting, crystal healing enthusiast with a voodoo doll collection, perhaps Bobst’s bad vibes are inevitable—do I smell a curse?–given the history of its founding.

Our library’s namesake—the self-made pharmaceutical tycoon Elmer Holmes Bobst—turns out to have been so lacking in moral character that he’d give Anthony Weiner a run for his money. Yes, yes, he did become incredibly successful despite his humble beginnings and received no formal education—he taught himself the ways of pharmacology and never received one of them fancy college degrees—but, was a documented anti-semite, an alleged perpetrator of both incest and pedophilia, and really just a guy you wouldn’t want to invite to Thanksgiving dinner.

Bobst, a close friend of Richard Nixon (really, this should have been a red flag to everyone) wrote about his distaste for Jews in a letter to the disgraced president, saying:

The Jews have troubled the world from the very beginning.

As well as:

The Jews are tolerated but, as a whole, are not liked by other American nationalities.

As we’ve previously reported, Bobst’s family life was similarly shitty. After his death, both his granddaughter and great-granddaughter filed suits alleging pedophiliac sexual assault at the hands of Bobst, both of which were denied. Furthermore, his wife, Mamdouha–the Lucille Bluth doppleganger whose portrait’s eyes seem to follow you from its position in the library’s portrait gallery—was a Lebanese diplomat who fervently supported the idea that women worldwide should stay at home and tend to their husbands…which seems a bit ironic, given that NYU is one of the country’s most liberal universities.

But wait! There’s more!

Not only did our library’s namesake have some issues, but its lead architect, Harvard alumnus Philip Johnson, was an open Nazi sympathizer and fascist activist during the Hitler’s reign of terror. In fact, his political leanings were so well known that he was accused by the Office of Naval Intelligence of being a spy.  However, later in life, he admitted that his aforementioned political beliefs were a result of “unbelievable stupidity” that can be summed up in his hilariously understated remarks on the matter:

My worst mistake was going to Germany and liking Hitler too much.

Given that Washington Square Park–the locus of NYU’s campus–is built atop a sturdy foundation of 20,000, 200-year-old corpses, this all seems enough to persuade not just the superstitious–even people who are only a little-stitious–that the Curse O’ Bobst does, in fact exist; the daunting interior of our library seems to support that your heebie-jeebies aren’t unfounded.

But the last nail in the coffin? The pattern of Bobst’s atrium’s hypnotizing marble flooring. As explored in depth in the documentary The NYU SuicidesJohnson intended for the floor to be an optical illusion…for suicide-deterring purposes:

…it was purposely designed to reduce suicide jumpers. If you look at the tops of the metal gates on each floor, they are designed to look like crosses while the floor was designed to look like spikes that are far away. It was, of course, inspired by MC Escher’s drawing “Depth.”

This is particularly haunting given the string of on-campus suicides within the last decade that began with a student’s dive from Bobst’s 10th floor.

My conclusion? If you’re meant to head off to the library, but you  really don’t wanna go, perhaps your unwillingness is based on more than just your laziness.

[Image via]

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It’s Time To Talk About TIME http://nyulocal.com/city/2014/11/19/time-talk-time/ http://nyulocal.com/city/2014/11/19/time-talk-time/#respond Wed, 19 Nov 2014 19:45:00 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126425 Last week, Time magazine released its annual poll to discover “Which word should be banned in 2015?” The list, which is usually annoying at best, raised significantly more eyebrows this year with its inclusion of one particularly inflammatory word: feminist. It’s immediately evident as to why this word on this list would raise aforementioned eyebrows.... Read More

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20Last week, Time magazine released its annual poll to discover “Which word should be banned in 2015?” The list, which is usually annoying at best, raised significantly more eyebrows this year with its inclusion of one particularly inflammatory word: feminist. It’s immediately evident as to why this word on this list would raise aforementioned eyebrows. But let us delve further.

What exactly does it mean that Time magazine suggested banning the word “feminist”—even if it was only a theoretical suggestion, with no actual power to smite the word from our vernacular? According to an apologetic addendum added to the poll after the uproar by Time editor Nancy Gibbs, Time’s true intention was to “invite debate about some ways the word was used this year, that nuance was lost,” and they had never, ever intended to distract “from the important debate over equality and justice.”

I’m going to clear a few points up here. Putting a word on a “banned words” list does not “invite debate.” You are literally suggesting that this word be banned. It shuts debate down. It silences debate by trivializing the word “feminist” which, by the way, is not a hip new buzzword invented by millennials to assert our rebellious youth. The word was first coined in the 1890s in regards to the growing demand for equal pay, suffrage rights, and political representation for women. It has since come to signify a variety of twentieth and twenty-first century movements that focus on these issues, as well as others that have become more salient with time. This word is older than your great-grandparents. So why are people still so afraid of it?

It might be helpful to look at some of the other words on the list. Some words, like “kale,” “literally,” and “disrupt,” are seemingly innocuous words without any political connotations. It’s true that kale may give you kidney stones, but why the hate, Time? It’s also true that kale is a food that’s recently seen a tremendous growth in popularity, but I’m almost positive that kale existed before young city-dwellers spent upwards of half an hour queuing in Trader Joe’s to buy a bag.

Other words, like “bae,” “basic,” “I can’t even,” “obvi,” “turnt,” and “yaaasssss” all have something else in common: these are words that have become a part of the lexicon of young people, people of color, and women. Time’s entire list is essentially your racist old grandfather shaking his fist and shouting “Get off my lawn, you whippersnappers!” with a little bit of kale hating on the side to seem edgy. By singling out words that are AAVE or millennial slang, Time has made a very deliberate statement as to what sorts of conversations it values. This trend isn’t unique to this year: previous such polls have already tried to exile such words as “twerk,” “hipster,” “hashtag,” “occupy,” and “google-as-a-verb” to cultural oblivion.

At the publication of this story, the f-word remains on Time’s list of banishable words. Of course, just because a word wins (loses?) this poll doesn’t mean that anyone will stop using it. In fact, you should probably start using all of these words as much as you possibly can. Just in case.

What words would YOU like to see banished in 2015? Post a comment and let us know.

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Underground Filmmaker Mike Kuchar Brings New York Weirdness To Berlin http://nyulocal.com/national/2014/11/19/underground-filmmaker-mike-kuchar-brings-new-york-weirdness-berlin/ http://nyulocal.com/national/2014/11/19/underground-filmmaker-mike-kuchar-brings-new-york-weirdness-berlin/#respond Wed, 19 Nov 2014 19:00:59 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126443 BERLIN–This past Monday, Berlin’s Babylon Kino presented a screening of several recent short films by avant-garde underground filmmaker Mike Kuchar. This event occurred shortly after the opening of an exhibit of Kuchar’s drawings at the Kimmerich Gallery. Kuchar has enjoyed an extremely prolific career, beginning to make films in 1954 with his late twin brother... Read More

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BERLIN–This past Monday, Berlin’s Babylon Kino presented a screening of several recent short films by avant-garde underground filmmaker Mike Kuchar. This event occurred shortly after the opening of an exhibit of Kuchar’s drawings at the Kimmerich Gallery.

Kuchar has enjoyed an extremely prolific career, beginning to make films in 1954 with his late twin brother George using a camera the boys received as a present at age 12 while growing up in the Bronx. Since then, the art-making has not stopped—George made films until the end of his life and Mike is still making them today. These works are low-budget, using mainly their friends and family as actors—even their friend’s middle-aged mother got to be a Kuchar leading lady. A Kuchar film transported the audience into a campy and ridiculous world of B-movies, filled to the brim with oddities, humor, and science fiction. Soon, the brothers were noticed by the thriving Manhattan underground film scene alongside other greats like Jack Smith and Andy Warhol, where they rose to prominence. John Waters cites them as one of his biggest influences.

Mike Kuchar, now aged with a long white beard and sporting fewer teeth than the average man, has certainly not lost any of the wackiness and gleefully eccentric energy that is so signature of his work. He introduced the evening alongside acclaimed queer German filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim. These works, Kuchar explained, were based off “images” he would get in his mind and had to translate into film, because it is easier for him to explain these images in film than words. Others were inspired by poetry his friends gave him. Many of these shorts featured former students with “the right look or quality to them” from the San Francisco Art Institute, where Kuchar teaches. His films, he said, are “self-motivated,” meaning he never makes them for anyone or anything else. After more than 50 years, it’s quite clear this is where his joy lies.

Mike Kuchar is a glowing example of how filmmakers do not necessarily need to adapt to the technology of today in order to remain successful and productive. Kuchar proudly asserted that he does not own a computer, and instead edits his films using a machine called MacroSystem. As the screenings proceeded, some films would be in the incorrect format, causing Kuchar to apologize sheepishly and scurry up to tell the projectionist to correct the error. He returned quickly after realizing the projector was automatic and there was no projectionist—we would just have to see bodies that were a little wider than usual.

Oh, and did we see bodies. The series of shorts, prefaced by a short documentary on the brothers by von Praunheim, indicate a clear departure from the sci-fi-inspired parody of his earlier films with George. However, they are certainly still silly and campy. Now, his subjects mainly consist of young, hunky California surfer boys with personalities reminiscent of Ethan Kraft from Lizzie McGuire waxing poetically about their own existence. Shot with a camcorder and featuring Powerpoint-esque scene transitions and an occasional splash of Comic Sans, these delightfully odd and mostly-male character studies focus more on the physical form than any narrative arc. Visual highlights included a guy insisting he’ll be a better person while philosophically holding a coffee cup, a nude man painted messily with black streaks roaming around a living room like a feral animal interspersed with trippy fractal patterns, and a ten-minute sequence of a sculpted guy with long blonde hair and clothes much too small for him conducting janitorial work (and no, that’s not a euphemism—or is it?).

Afterwards, the audience was invited to walk over to the Kimmerich Gallery with Mike to look at his drawings from his exhibit Brave, Bold, and Bare. The exhibit’s title certainly rings true; it is a colorful spread of comic book-style pen-and-ink drawings featuring a veritable buffet of mostly-nude and hypermaculine men. Here, masculine queer sexuality and fantasy are depicted as free and fun—these fantastical bodies are placed in a variety of lush fantastical settings such as a jungle, forest with vikings or large crucifix (that one is aptly titled Meat Rack.) Many of these were commissioned by gay comic books from the 1970s, but it is clear that Kuchar delights in this drawing style and subject matter, continuing to draw similar works this year.

The filmic and illustrative work of Mike Kuchar is a refreshing reminder that the wacky world of the underground is still out there, and that the white-haired guy missing teeth you just passed on the street might be more interesting than you think.

Mike Kuchar: Brave, Bold, and Bare is on view at the Kimmerich Gallery through Jan. 10.

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