There are, certainly, lots of options when it comes to Venice. No student should leave CMC without a stop at its Muscle Beach or a stroll along the fabulously eccentric boardwalk — or the canals inspired by its Italian counterpart. But I’ve always had a soft spot for the laid-back, creative (though decisively gentrified and at times shockingly expensive) stylings of Abbot Kinney Boulevard, which may just be the “Coolest Block in America.”
What to know: Abbott Kinney Boulevard lies a few blocks inland from Ocean Front Walk, with the majority of retail outlets, restaurants and other businesses fixed firmly between Main Street and East Washington Boulevard. No matter where you decide to eat, shop or explore, leave an hour or more to wander the street and pop in and out of the creative boutiques and storefronts on your way.
Where to eat: If you plan far enough in advance, you might be able to nab a table for brunch at Gjelina, a perpetually-crowded restaurant with incredible options from brunch to through dinner. The wood-fired pizzas are tasty, substantial and truly some of the best in L.A., and the small plates on the menu can accommodate a number of tastes. Take note that the restaurant politely refuses substitutions or modifications– even Victoria Beckham herself couldn’t sway the chef. If the prices or the lines seem ridiculous, grab a light breakfast or a sandwich at GTA, the takeout counter next to the restaurant.
If you want a sit-down meal but not a scene, try Joe’s up the road. The market-driven restaurant (that’s farmers market for you Econ folks) offers prix fixes and dinner tastings in the evening hours, but brunch is casual and quiet. Not only can you get quality pancakes, eggs and bacon for a scant $1-2 more than at your local IHOP, but enjoy bottomless mimosas for $14 on the weekend to complement entrees that range from crab hash to flatiron steak.
For a quick bite, try Lemonade for some cafeteria-style Californian dining or drop by Intelligentsia to sample excellent and unique coffees and pastries.
What to do: People watch. Abbot Kinney draws a relatively diverse crowd on the weekends, and you’re more likely to see your favorite television star here than on the Walk of Fame. The street, in fact, seems built for a stroll. There are galleries, design stores and even a “compassionate collective” for those of you who are so inclined.
What to buy: Unfortunately, many of the offerings at shops along the strip bode better for window shopping than for serious spending. However, interspersed with the likes of Jack Spade and Steven Alan are quirky home goods and gift stores (Huset is a favorite for Scandinavian finds), beautiful stationery shops and even some of the New Age holdouts that help the area maintain its distinct dynamic.
Schmidt and Cohen co-authored the book which became a New York Times Bestseller in its first week of publication and was reviewed as “much more prescient and provocative than it is silly.” Overall, the book is about predictions — the authors’ predictions about the impact the new digital age will have on our lives based on their current observations. As Schmidt mentioned in the talk, the ability to predict the future trend in the world is a necessary skill for people to understand society and succeed in it.
What attracts people the most to the authors (that is, apart from their impressive resumes), is the bizarre combination of the innovative yet geeky nature of Google and the convoluted political world. This combination, however, is exactly the point of Schmidt and Cohen’s talk; the combination will bring perpetual changes to our world.
Schmidt started off the talk by mentioning two factors that he considered important to succeed: the abilities to make predictions and understand connectivity. While the former is constantly important at all times, the significance of connectivity has only started to show in the last century, when the Internet began to link people from different backgrounds together. Cohen discussed the chances, empowerment of individuals, and challenges, the leak of privacy that accompanies the new digital age of this transition. Cohen stressed, the digital age also requires a strong sense of responsibility that would help regulate the society.
The two speakers discussed extensively the interaction of technology and the political environment. They mentioned how the easier access to information can constitute a fundamental shock to political stability in authoritative countries like China, as well as in more democratic countries like America, as demonstrated by Edward Snowden’s case.
The discussion ended with Schmidt and Cohen introducing their experience to CMC students. While Schmidt majored in computer science and Cohen in political science, both offered a sincere tip of advice: eagerly explore one’s interest and find a field to devote passion in.
Eric Schmidt is the executive chairman of Google, which he joined in 2001. From 2001 to 2011, he served as Google’s chief executive officer, overseeing the company’s technical and business strategy alongside founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
Jared Cohen is the founder and director of Google Ideas. He served as a member of the secretary of state’s Policy Planning Staff and as a close adviser to both Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, and is now and adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2013, Time magazine named him to its list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World”.]]>
One of the problems that I have with the cancellation of White Party is the form of its replacement. This new event on April 5th will likely take the same form as a White Party, featuring a prominent EDM artist, likely taking place in a tent and presumably involving attendees wearing some off-white color. I joke about the dress code, but when an event so clearly looks and feels to be like another, it’s hard not to call it an Off-White Party.
In its memo, ASCMC established that it was concerned with the growing culture of hard drug use at White Party. The statement alluded to the association between EDM and hard drug use, and that a culture of said drug use was not something they wanted to promote through continuing White Party. I find this entirely admirable, and it shows the board acting proactively to ensure the minimization of hard drug use, something I would agree is an unhealthy trend on campus.
Yet by replacing the event with one that has essentially the exact same features and differing in name only, ASCMC has made a poor decision concerning the safety of the students it represents. The cancellation was an attempt to reduce unhealthy behavior ‘normalized’ by an event. I cannot see how cancelling this event and then creating another nearly identical to it in its stead serve to help counteract any of this. In many ways, it serves to show that the failings of the student body in terms of being able to party and have fun responsibly can simply be hidden by a politicized reworking of a schedule, as opposed to creating real, institutional change to dissuade party goers from not using those kinds of drugs or simply being more accountable.
Part of the decision to cancel White Party also centered around a normalcy of unexpected costs incurred by ASCMC with past White Party events, and the expectation that the event would go over budget. This also seems frustrating, based on a wealth of past events and acts coming to campus to serve as case studies for planning other events. While I understand that the possibility of incurring otherwise unacceptable costs is unattractive to an organization such as ASCMC, the denial of being able to run it with proper regard to a budget seems like a poor case for their administrative and event-planning abilities.
All of this said, I continue to have great respect for the administration and its individual members. I do not want to distract from the valiant goals of Gavin, Maddie or any of the current social chairs. Furthermore, I can only offer praise to the level of dedication it takes to throw the fun and often-successful events that ASCMC puts on. The commitment of our leaders in this way is greatly underappreciated.
Nevertheless, making a decision to cancel the event the way they did disappointed me and showed a lack of foresight or vision. As an outsider, I personally would likely have cancelled White Party for all of the reasons mentioned above. Now, as a soon-to-be class president, I agree very much that White Party represents darker and less desirable elements of our campus culture. I differ from the previous administration, however, in not wanting to circumvent my own goals by simply replacing what I’m trying to get rid of with practically the same thing.]]>
Liam Neeson has seemingly transformed his Hollywood career and found a niche as the stoic lead role in a multitude of exhilarating action films. Although perhaps not on par with the likes of Taken or The Grey, Neeson’s most recent movie, Non-Stop, is a high-octane thriller that will not disappoint.
Before you hound me for giving this seemingly generic film a rather high rating, let me briefly explain my evaluation paradigm. I embrace the critical philosophy of the late Roger Ebert (hence why I use a 4-star as opposed to 5-star rating system), arguably the greatest film critic in cinematic history. His approach essentially entailed assessing films in a realistic, unpretentious manner that remained cognizant of the movie’s intended target audience…many might be surprised to learn that he gave films such as Spider-Man 2 and Sin City perfect scores. So when I evaluate a film such as Non-Stop, keep in mind that I more or less seek to juxtapose it with movies such as The Bourne Ultimatum or Mission Impossible III, which in my book are 4-star action films.
While an intriguing plot and stellar performances are vital to most any film, the evaluation criteria for action movies are slightly different. In my opinion, there are two key aspects that constitute a solid action thriller. First, the movie must have a strong lead role. Whether it is Matt Damon in the Bourne films, Tom Cruise in the Mission Impossible series, or Bruce Willis in the Die Hard classics, action movies more so than other genre are strongly associated with its protagonist. Second, and more importantly, it is paramount that the movie maintains a high level of intensity, as audiences primarily see action films for the adrenaline rush.
Non-Stop fulfills both of these criteria with flying colors. Liam Neeson brilliantly portrays an alcoholic air marshal who is thrust into a chaotic situation when he receives anonymous, passenger-threatening text messages while on board a transatlantic flight. Neeson exhibits his remarkable ability to provide a film with an extraordinary level of gravitas, while at the same time demonstrating a heart-pounding sense of urgency. Director Jaume Collet-Serra, who previously collaborated with Neeson in the 2011 thriller Unknown, is able to effectively grasp the audience’s attention in an exhilarating manner.
While Non-Stop will certainly keep you on your toes for the better part of two hours, the film is certainly not devoid of flaws. First, there are several plot holes that will probably irritate more attentive moviegoers. However, the movie’s fast pace and constantly shifting plot should mitigate such concerns and allow for an overall enjoyable viewing experience. Perhaps my biggest critique is the fact that the film’s ending is rather spontaneous and out of left field, or at the least not symmetric with the majority of the movie.
In a post 9/11 world, films that chronicle airplane calamities are typically rare occurrences for obvious, understandable reasons. To me, the Harrison Ford classic Air Force One, as well as the more recent films United 93 and Flight, sets the standard for movies that take place in the stratosphere. Regardless, Non-Stop is a worthy second-tier choice for adrenaline junkies and casual moviegoers alike.
Check out the trailer here!]]>