How to improve your Fall Break: Cadenza-style
Fall Break may be a ridiculous one-day excuse for a “break,” and some professors may decide that it’s a perfect opportunity to assign more work than usual, but that doesn’t mean you should spend the entire weekend holed up in Olin Library. The extra time is the perfect occasion to unplug yourself from schoolwork momentarily, and whether your idea of relaxation and freedom involves getting off campus or curling up in your bed with Netflix, Cadenza is here with some suggestions to make your Fall Break feel like an actual holiday.
1. Go to an Indie Theater
I’m always shocked by the number of people I’ve met at Wash. U. who have never been to the Tivoli Theatre on the Loop. It’s a beautiful, old-fashioned movie theater within walking distance of campus that shows a great selection of just-under-the-radar films. If you haven’t been yet, Fall Break is the perfect time to remedy that situation. This weekend, the Tivoli will be showing “Enough Said,” a critically acclaimed comedy starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini in one of his final film roles, as well as the new “Romeo and Juliet” movie and a documentary called “Inequality for All.” You can also go to one of the Tivoli’s signature midnight screenings on Friday or Saturday—this week’s selection is “Oldboy,” a 2003 Korean thriller that Spike Lee is remaking for release next month. If you happen to have a car, you may also want to check out the movie selection at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema. Then you can impress your friends with your knowledge of Oscar hopefuls like “Blue Jasmine” and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”
2. Get addicted to ‘Scandal’
“Scandal,” the most recent primetime soap from monologue queen Shonda Rhimes, has become a critical and commercial darling in its third season. It was even named the No. 1 show in Nielsen’s first Twitter TV ratings. It wasn’t always like that, though. The story of Olivia Pope, an ambitious crisis fixer played with power and grace by Kerry Washington, and her team of “Gladiators” (really, lawyers and hackers) suffered many missteps in its first season of only seven episodes. Trying to balance a “case of the week” procedural feel with being an ensemble drama, it was difficult to keep the outrageous story that Pope was sleeping with the president grounded in some sort of reality. It was on the bubble of cancellation, and perhaps only the name of its creator kept it from becoming the latest network failure. In season two, with a full 22-episode order in hand, Rhimes and Co. embraced the craziness, throwing twist after twist at a rapidly growing (and increasingly rabid) fan base. Now, it’s one of the most-watched shows on television and one of few network successes in a ratings landscape largely dominated by (the now-finished) “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead.” Washington has become a star as well, and she’ll host “Saturday Night Live” in November. The first two seasons are on Netflix, and the third season just premiered. It’s time to become a Gladiator.
3. Catch up on season three of ‘Louie’
A week full of mid-term exams and papers will likely have you feeling a bit existential as you ponder the merit of endless hours of studying and consequent sleep deprivation. Though it won’t alleviate your problems—it’ll worsen them, if anything—the third season of “Louie” will provide the comfort of knowing you’re not alone in your exhaustion with life’s cruel realities. Written, directed by and starring stand-up comedian Louis C.K., “Louie” is unremittingly bleak in ways most comedies wouldn’t dare. It rarely deals in conventional jokes, instead wallowing in its protagonist’s insecurities far beyond the point of discomfort.
For those accustomed to the cheery demeanor of “How I Met Your Mother” and “Modern Family,” “Louie” will serve as a vicious sucker punch to your comedic sensibilities. It won’t beg you to laugh. It won’t reassure you that everything will be all right. Rather, it will seep into your pores until you have no choice but to find humor in its ceaseless misery. Even for fans of Louis C.K.’s stand-up (if you haven’t heard it yet, do so immediately), the show’s rhythms can take time to adjust to. But once you’re on its wavelength, every other sitcom seems petty and inconsequential by comparison. For those tired of laugh tracks and lazy, cliche-addled writers, season 3 of “Louie” is available to stream on Netflix.
4. Go see Hanson at the Pageant
Turn your first day of Fall Break (classes really don’t count on Thursday) into a real-life #ThrowbackThursday and head over to the Pageant to see Hanson perform and relive the glory days of middle school. However, if you still think of Hanson as the trio of adorable and shaggy-blond-haired boys with a one-hit-wonder single, think again. Since its 1997 rise to fame following the runaway success of “MMMBop,” it has sold 16 million albums worldwide and has had six singles in the US Top 40, and it has perfected its brand of soulful and irresistible pop-rock. If songs like “Georgia” and “Penny & Me” don’t define your adolescence, you missed out. And yes, after more than 20 years, Hanson is still together and making surprisingly good music—it just released an album this summer called “Anthem.” The Hanson brothers have been performing and making music together since 1992, longer than a lot of us has been alive. The result is a trio that really knows how to play live and put on a good show: its best songs are upbeat and just itching for a singalong, so there’s no doubt its live set will be full of such hits. It’d be hard not to have a good time at this show, and it will be over in time to hit the Delmar Loop and finish off the first of your Fall Break celebrations. And let’s be honest—you’d probably pay for the ticket just to see Hanson play “MMMBop” live. Worth it. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show will kick off with opening act David Ryan Harris at 8 p.m. Tickets are $26 or $28.50 at the door.
5. Get ready for Halloween
Halloween is right around the corner, so what better way is there to spend a weekend than getting in the mood for fright and fear? First, pick a genre for a movie marathon. Feeling like some classic, old-school blood and gore complete with retro special effects? Check out “The Shining” and try not to spill your popcorn when the twin girls appear. Want some slasher action without much plot? “Sorority Row” takes the typical concept and gives it a college twist. If you’re more in the mood for friendly monsters and tweeny drama, why not marathon the “Halloweentown” series? Next, gather some friends and make it a party. Scan BuzzFeed for some Halloween-related articles to make sure that you’re prepared for the real thing. Plan out group costumes and spend your day off shopping for the necessary components. Hint: look to pop culture and current events in order to figure out what this year’s newsworthy costume will be, a la the “Mitt Romney’s Binder Full of Women” of yesteryear. Lastly, make sure to stock up on super-packs of candy from Schnucks. When the parties come around, you’re going to want to make sure that you have something in your stomach. –Kimberly Henrickson