Taking Advantage of Boston’s Art Scene

Whether you are an art connoisseur or not, Boston’s art museums are a must see. Beautiful exhibitions are scattered all throughout the city and admission is free or discounted for all of them if you are an Emerson student! Here is a quick look at some of the great things these museums have to offer:

Museum of Fine Arts

Admission: Free with your Emerson ID

Must see: Egyptian Art Exhibit

One piece of advice: Plan to spend an entire day at the MFA…maybe even two. The MFA is the most classic museum experience on this list, showcasing a wide variety of artistic styles and classic paintings from different time periods. This museum offers art collections from all across the world to really put into perspective the vast array of artistic styles that exist. There are also photography exhibits, prints, drawings, musical instruments, and jewelry scattered throughout the museum.

It can be overwhelming how much content is inside the MFA, but each room deserves as much attention as the last.

Pottery at the MFA. Credit: Flickr.com

For all sports fans looking for something interesting…there is an exhibition all about David Ortiz that is open from now until September 4th. Tickets must be bought to view this gallery, but anything is worth it for Big Papi, right? Ortiz’s 2013 World Series MVP ring will also be on display, so get a close look while you can!

A rainy day is best spent at the Museum of Fine Arts, or multiple rainy days in a row!

 

ICA – Institute of Contemporary Art

Admission: Student discount with ID

Must See: Nari Ward: Sun Splashed

The ICA is a great place for college students to explore. The exhibits are fun, modern, and sometimes interactive. Each exhibit is important to view, many often presenting social and political issues in unique mediums.

This museum really makes you think about what you are seeing and how it can be interpreted to convey a bigger message. There is also a new exhibit by Dana Schutz being put up right now, set to open July 26th…even more new art to check out!!

ICA at night. Credit: Flickr.com

The large glass building overlooking Boston Harbor could not be more picturesque if it tried, and you could easily spend a whole day enjoying the incredible views. Aside from the amazing art, the ICA also holds outdoor concerts every Friday in July and August. These fun outdoor events feature new DJ’s every week and certain themed events to keep things new and interesting. The ICA always keeps me guessing, and I cannot wait to see what fun thing comes out next.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Admission: Student discount with ID (or free if your name is Isabella!)

Must See: Portrait of Isabella Stewart Gardner.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is like something out of a movie. The minute you step inside the museum it feels like you are taken back in time, admiring all of the beautiful paintings and scenery. The inner courtyard is breathtaking, and visible from every angle of the museum.

What makes this museum unique is that Isabella Stewart Gardner actually used to reside in the building before it turned into a museum, and still resembles a home in many ways. The tall ceilings and wooden floors add a homey feel to the artwork which is something you do not see everyday.

I highly recommend reading up on the Gardner heist before visiting, as it adds excitement and a bit of spookiness to your visit.

A great addition to the museum is the modern wing, which is the only part of the museum with changing exhibits. Set aside from the original building, this modern room showcases beautiful artwork and sculptures to add a modern twist. Next to the modern room is also the Gardner Museum’s incredible concert hall, which must be seen in person to truly admire. Isabella Stewart Gardner had a passion for music and this hall keeps her spirit alive in a beautiful space. The concert schedule and ticket options can be found on the museum’s website.

 

The Museum of Bad Art

Admission: Free museum passes can be requested.

Must See: “Dog” By: Unknown

After you have admired all of the famous pieces in the previously listed places…why not lighten the mood with this fun museum?? The MOBA gallery in Somerville is a private institution that is committed to celebrating bad art. Located in the basement of a theater, it is not the most glamorous of exhibits. That being said, it is definitely a memorable experience. It is a one of a kind museum visit and every piece of art is sure to make you chuckle.

Can’t get enough of the bad art? Have no fear, there is now a book available for purchase, “The Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks,” that showcases the worst of the worst, bottom of the barrel pieces of artwork.

Some pieces imitate famous works like the Mona Lisa, and with others it can be hard to decipher what is going on at all…

Quirky and humorous, the MOBA is Boston museum fun for all ages and a great way to lighten the mood after viewing maybe one too many gorey war depictions.

I hope this master list of Boston museum’s inspires you to view some new places and some very cool art.

 

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The Power of Wonder Woman

I’ll be the first to say that I thought I was Wonder Woman when I was younger. In preschool I had a red velvet ribbon that I would wave around as my Lasso of Truth. Nowadays, anyone who knows me knows how big of a Marvel fangirl I am. However, if you asked me which superhero movie has had the biggest impact on me, the honor goes to DC’s latest Wonder Woman.

I grew up on Batman: The Animated Series and the Justice League Animated Series, so I’ve been waiting for a good adaptation for a while. Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman didn’t do it for me. My worst fear was that these same filmmakers would ruin my Wonder Woman as well. However, with female director Patty Jenkins, I instead found myself crying three separate times during the movie.

From the start, Diana is a girl who wants to kick ass and take names. She wants to be able to fight alongside her people and protect those she loves. As she grows, her goals never change. She changes, seeing what the outside world is like once she leaves her homeland, but always her mission has been peace and protecting humans. The opening scene she runs from the cozy plan laid out for her and heads to the training grounds to imitate the warrior women she looks up to. Watching young Diana throw punches at the air like she’s one of the great women of Themyscira made me tear up. I could see her drive and her desire to be just as strong as everyone else.

What I thought was the most telling about Diana and how inspirational she is had nothing to do with her badass fighting. The first time Diana is exposed to the bombs and bullets of our modern world, her first instinct isn’t to take up arms and fight. Instead she tries to stop Steve, Chris Pine’s character, and insist that she help every single person she passes. The crying civilians and wounded soldiers clearly affect her and inspire her to fight to protect them from any more pain. Gal Gadot really brings this empathy to life and convinces the viewer that Diana has an investment in the lives of others. It hurts her to see suffering and she’s willing to lay down her life and leave her comfortable homeland to save the world.

Diana is the hero I need, the one who doesn’t give up even when the world seems to be a terrible place. The DC Universe right now is too dark and hopeless about the state of the world. The Marvel Universe is a bit lighter but there aren’t any female characters I can really look up to and say “That’s who I want to be like” (sorry Black Widow). The first female led superhero movie in some time has given me a woman with emotional intelligence and physical prowess. Personally, I can’t wait to see how she takes the Justice League to new heights and saves the world yet again.

Some Classics To Add To Your Beach Read List

Every summer, Barnes & Nobles crowds the shelves closest to the doors with piles of “beach reads.’” I don’t know about the rest of you, but I got tired of reading a bunch of different books with the same generic plot lines and characters. A few years ago, I swore off “beach reads” and decided to turn back to the classics ‒ and I think that others should try to do the same. If you have an interest, here’s a list of some literary classics that I recommend everyone read this summer:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This was the first book I chose when I embarked on my journey to rediscover the classics. It’s one of those books that, once you read it, you fully understand why it came to be so famous. A quintessential, albeit dated, coming of age novel, Pride and Prejudice is surprisingly relevant, funny, and self-aware (even in 2017).

1984 by George Orwell

We’ve all seen the headlines about the ‘sudden’ spark in popularity of Orwell’s classic dystopian fiction, 1984. But have we all actually read the book? Not all high schools require this book in the curriculum (mine didn’t,) and some even ban it (it’s consistently one of the top 10 most banned books in America). But it is an understatement to say this book is a necessary read‒by the time you’re halfway through, everything you think you know about government has flipped on its head in a thrilling, but terrifying way. And that may just be what we need right about now.

Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Technically not an autobiography, Tender Is The Night is Fitzgerald’s unofficial account of his life with Zelda. Closely mirroring their relationship, it helps the reader understand what went with one of the greatest American romances behind closed doors. It’s packed with Fitzgerald’s beautiful prose, love, luxury, tragedy and so much more. What else could you want to read about this summer?

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Something you need to know going into this book is that, at many points, it will be difficult to make sense of what is going on. But that is the genius of Woolf’s prose. In Mrs. Dalloway, what seems frivolous suddenly becomes serious (and vice versa).  Written in a stream of consciousness style, Mrs. Dalloway lets you get into the heads of all of the characters and understand them on an emotional and intellectual level. She subverts literary traditions about narration through this technique, solidifying this book’s role in changing storytelling forever.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

I would be lying to you if I didn’t mention that this book is definitely on the longer side. It actually took me the majority of a summer to read the first time, but it was totally worth it. Forget Of Mice and Men‒this book is Steinbeck’s literary masterpiece (and my favorite book of all time). Combining multiple generations of a family into one story, by the end you’re left wishing that you had more time left with the characters.

Easy Tricks For Taking Better Instagram Photos

Despite how much we may deny it, we all know that we notice how many likes our pictures get on Instagram. Especially if a post we thought would do well, doesn’t. The standards for a good Instagram account at Emerson are high‒I mean, how are you supposed to compete with all the photography accounts, all white aesthetic pages, and modeling accounts? Well, I’m not saying that your page will get famous overnight, but I can assure you following a few simple guidelines will get you a few more likes here and there.

Always make sure your horizon line is straight.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone posts a photo of a landscape, and the line is crooked. It’s basically impossible to get a perfectly straight horizon line when you’re using your iPhone to shoot (like I do,) but there is an easy way to fix this before you post it. Go to your photos, click edit, and then the crop/straighten icon. Drag the image around until your horizon line matches one of the lines on the grid, and then you’re all set.

Don’t rely on pre-made filters.

Although it may be easier to upload a photo, click one of Instagram’s filters, and then post, it doesn’t always work out that well. You can almost always do a better job touching up the picture yourself (whether you’re using an editing app like VSCO or just the edit feature directly on Instagram.) There are a lot of options for what you can do to the photo, but I recommend sticking with fixing the brightness, contrast, the highlights, and the shadows. Play around with these for a few minutes and you can seriously upgrade the photo without making it look too obvious (like a filter would do.)

Be careful with vertical photos.

If you go out with your girls and you didn’t get a good photo, did you really even go out? Everyone’s natural instinct when taking a picture with a few friends is usually to take a vertical photo with the people filling the whole screen. Although this would look great printed out, or posted on Facebook, a vertical picture isn’t always the best choice for Instagram. Yes, Instagram made it possible to make the whole thing fit without cutting anyone’s head off, but it could still mess up your feed. On your feed, only a square version of the photo will appear, which means some heads or feet will still be cut off of your vertical picture. You can easily avoid this by either leaving some empty space on the top and bottom of the photo, or by taking a horizontal picture to begin with (which is my personal go-to). Trust me, your feed will thank you.

Take your selfies on the camera app, not Snapchat.

It’s so tempting to take all of your selfies on Snapchat, where the image doesn’t flip and you don’t have to wonder why your face always looks off when it does. But the cold, hard truth is that the quality of the camera app is just overall better than Snapchat. Downloading a picture from Snapchat (and then editing it) runs the risk of becoming grainy, while a camera photo usually stays sharp no matter what you do to it. My advice is to learn to love how you look in the selfies where the image flips because that’s how the rest of the world usually sees you, anyway. The only person that’s accustomed to seeing your face in mirror images is you, so while you may think you look better, everyone else may think you look just a little different. (And to piggy-back off my last tip, I also recommend trying horizontal selfies over vertical ones so nothing gets cropped).

Summer Writer’s Block

Summer is a time to relax and have a little more fun than you’re used to. For writers this can distract us from what we do best: writing. The activity of the summer tends to make sitting down and writing more difficult, but there are many ways to make your writing livelier and to help get you writing in the first place.

1) The Great Outdoors

Writing tends to get associated with hunching over desks in stuffy rooms, but taking your writing outdoors is a great way to start writing about something you haven’t tackled before. The sunny summer weather makes it perfect to sit outside for a while without being disturbed. You can sit on a park bench, at an outdoor Starbucks, or even just right outside your front door. When you sit down with nothing but a pen and pencil, there is plenty opportunities to notice something new and exciting that could get your creative juices flowing.

2) 1000 Words

I’m taking this straight from Stephen King. I believe he strives for more than 1,000 words, but for someone with writer’s block or with a busy schedule 1,000 words is a lot. Even grabbing a piece of scrap paper or typing a stream of consciousness exercise would work for this. It’s all about “shutting off the editor.” Giving yourself a little block of time to write the first thing that comes to your mind and running with it can lead you to interesting places, such as story ideas or maybe some key words and feelings to make up a poem. Keeping this minimal writing schedule helps keep a writer in practice and prevents them from going 24 hours without writing.

3) Take Your Writing on Vacation

Going on vacation is a lot of fun. There’s plenty of time to unwind and have a wealth of new experiences. This is the perfect time to break out some writing. What I’ve always done is take a small notebook with me everywhere I go. There’ll be little and big things to see and writing down basic observations or noting settings or characteristics of people can prove to be fuel for great writing. Experiencing different cultures and places, even if it’s only from one state to another, gives a writer more flavors to include in their work. It’s kind of like running an ice cream shop where you can take a scoop from each place and add it to your writing sundae.

4) Your Small Notebook is Your Best Friend

This goes along with vacation but keeping it in mind for everyday use is just as important. I work at a retail job and I have a post-it pad next to the register for when a customer says something that sticks with me,or when I see a cool outfit I’d like to remember. Inspiration can strike at any time, and having your tools available to you 24/7 is important. In today’s day and age this can be your phone too. Use the Notes app to jot down fun things you encounter this summer and maybe someday it can turn into an even bigger writing project.

Because the summertime is so different from the rest of the year, gathering observations and snippets of writing can be extra fun. Make sure to always have your metaphorical pen in your pocket at all times!

Songs To Add To Your Summer Playlist

Whether you’re cruising down the highway with your windows down, relaxing on the beach with your friends, going on wild adventures or just chilling in your room, a summer playlist is always a must. The radio is a good fallback but what about when you’re not in the car (or when you get tired of hearing the same few songs over and over again?) I recommend that for the moments when you don’t want to leave the soundtrack of your summer up to chance, you add these songs to your playlist:

Replica – The xx
Genre: Indie

After years of hiatus, The xx’s I See You marked their highly anticipated return to music. I’ll be the first to admit my unpopular opinion, which is that I couldn’t seem to fall in love with this album as much as everybody else. This song stood out to me, though, and will definitely be my first choice for a chill song.

Drive (Los Angeles) – Lolawolf
Genre: Electronic

The first time I heard this song was in the movie 6 Years (which made me ugly cry way more than I’d want to admit.) But, after separating my (probably over the top) emotions from this soundtrack, I realized I needed to hear it again. What I like most about it is that you can sit back and relax to this song without falling asleep, making it the perfect late night driving song.

Don’t Leave ft. MØ – Snakehips
Genre: Electropop

Last year, Snakehips gave us “All My Friends” featuring Tinashe and Chance the Rapper. Now, the duo is blessing us again with “Don’t Leave.” Basically, this song is a foolproof way of bringing the life to any party and MØ’s voice is no joke.

In Cold Blood – Alt-J
Genre: Alternative

Few people are more excited about Alt-J’s upcoming album RELAXER than me. This will be their first album release since 2014, and I’ve been patiently waiting. “In Cold Blood” is just one of the few singles they’ve released early, and it definitely will help pass the time until the June release.

Glazin’ – Jacuzzi Boys
Genre: Indie

When this song came up on my Spotify Discover playlist a few weeks ago, I knew I had heard it somewhere (I was guessing it was in one of the ~cool movies I had watched recently). After scouring the internet, I realized that I had actually heard it in an episode 90210. Take that as you will. But regardless of how you feel about early 2000s teen dramas, definitely give this song a chance this summer.

Cut Your Bangs – Radiator Hospital
Genre: Rock

I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve jammed out to this song with my sister in the car. It’s short, sweet, and to the point with catchy lyrics and an even catchier guitar riff. This song was released in 2014 and still hasn’t gotten old, so that probably means it never will. It’s officially time for everyone to jump on the bandwagon and add this song to their summer playlists.

I’m The One ft. Justin Bieber, Quavo, & Chance the Rapper – DJ Khaled
Genre: Hip Hop

Okay, I know I said I’m tired of Top 40, but just let me have this one. “I’m The One” is an infectious mix of different voices and sounds, and even the biggest hipster has to admit it’s the song of the summer.

BTS at the Billboards

Was I screaming in joy Sunday night when K-Pop group BTS won their first American Award at the Billboard Music Awards? Yes. Yes I was. Loud enough to frighten my dog actually. Not only was this a major win for BTS but this marks the first time a K-Pop group has even been nominated for anything at the Billboards.

So here are some basics on the new K-Pop sensation; there are seven members, Jin, Yoongi, J-Hope, Rap Monster, Jimin, V and Jungkook. They’ve been active since 2013 in BigHit Entertainment, one of the smaller and lesser known music companies in South Korea. BTS’ widespread fame really picked up within the past year with songs like “Fire,” “Blood, Sweat & Tears” and “Not Today”. While their lyrics are stunning, their music videos are equally impressive.

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Boston Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty

Boson Ballet has brought a classic fairytale to life, with a performance of Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty. Like the story itself, the ballet was charmed, with lush period outfits, mesmerizing dances, and a spellbinding symphony.

“This is my favorite production of The Sleeping Beauty, and I am excited to share it with Boston audiences again. It is a fantastic introduction for the first-time ballet goer, as well as a true pleasure for connoisseurs,” said Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen in a press release. “The Sleeping Beauty is ingrained in ballet history, and I am proud that Boston Ballet continues this legacy. The tradition, emotion, and atmosphere created by the superb dancing, costumes, and sets have made audiences fall in love with it again and again.” 

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