Avi Hirshbein ’19 could have pursued his passion for music the old-fashioned way. Upon arriving at Brandeis, he might have honed his musical abilities by taking lessons in the three instruments he taught himself to play: the piano, the guitar and the ukulele. If that had gone well, he could have joined the Brandeis orchestra or a student ensemble. Instead, realizing the odds of fame and success as a musician were remote, he decided to create his own record label called Basement Records.
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It’s been over 150 years since Henry David Thoreau walked the shores of Walden Pond. Today, Thoreau’s old stomping ground is largely as it was back then, but with more visitors and a parking lot a few hundred yards from the shore. The natural beauty of the space and its seclusion from civilization attracted the young transcendentalist whose two-year experiment living in a cabin on the grounds led to the creation of his best-known book, “Walden; or Life in the Wood.” Today, it’s unclear if the visitors at Walden Pond pull off the road in Concord searching for similar revelations about the capacity for inner growth in solitude. Either way, Walden Pond continues to offer its visitors an escape.
Leonard Bernstein graduated from Harvard University in 1939 in an unusual fashion — with a diploma and the beginnings of a 600-page FBI file detailing his political activities. The aspiring conductor was unaware of the dossier for some time.
What did it mean for Germany when Angela Merkel’s sister party, the Christian Social Union, got clobbered in last month’s Bavarian parliamentary election? Are trade wars good for Americans? And how can the first chapter of an economics textbook help Trump understand global trade?
When Ben LoCascio ’20 is daydreaming in class, he’s not fantasizing about backpacking across Europe or sipping cocktails on a tropical island. Instead, he’s thinking about coffee. LoCascio began drinking coffee sometime in the eighth grade and hasn’t looked back since. “My dad is from Italy and would always make espresso drinks,” LoCascio mused. “I think it was his rebellion against American drip coffee.” When he was given a $3,000 professional-grade espresso machine by his uncle before attending Brandeis, LoCascio decided to channel his love of coffee into a one-man movable Café stand, affectionately dubbed “Café Undergrounds.” Since then, the Café has taken off, bringing in hundreds of dollars in sales each weekend. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays, LoCascio can be found selling lattes and Nutella paninis from a small cart parked in Upper Usdan. He’s keenly aware of his competition on campus: between Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks and Einstein's, students have wondered where Café Underground fits in. LoCascio says he isn’t sweating the competition, because he has a secret force behind him — God.
A wrong bagel order may have ruined her day. On the morning of Sept. 13, the day of the New York state primary, democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon walked from her apartment to Zabar’s deli on the Upper West side of Manhattan, where she made the grave mistake of ordering cream cheese and lox on a cinnamon raisin bagel. It is considered taboo to mix sweet and sour in this case, and reporters and patrons inside were aghast. Later, after many in the press dubbed the incident “Bagel-Gate,” Nixon felt compelled to defend her order, telling the New York Times, “I’m stunned. This is my bagel of choice for a few decades now. It’s never been public knowledge, and I really am fascinated that people are so emotional about it.”
Before he became a “nobody,” Robert Fuller was an accomplished physicist, author and civil rights advocate who was the youngest college president in the United States. After a four-year stint as the president of Oberlin College, Fuller resigned, saying he believed his mission had been accomplished and that it was time to move on. Following his resignation, Fuller found that his status as a public figure had vanished and that his rise, and sudden fall from status was a phenomena as equally deserving of academic exploration as the cosmos. Curious and searching for answers, he embarked on a mission to form a social movement to “advance human dignity.”
Leopards are sly, fast and endangered — so too is Burt Lancaster as Don Fabrizio Corbera in Luchino Visconti’s classic 1963 film “The Leopard.” Projected in a classroom at the Mandel Center for the Humanities on Thursday, March 8, this film — about a ruthlessly honest aristocrat fighting to preserve his way of life while his country is in political turmoil — created a calm in the room filled with students chewing popcorn and eating candy.
“I recorded almost all of this in my basement,” Mathias Boyar ’20 said in an interview with the Justice. Still slightly uncomfortable with self-promotion, he sat back onto the black leather couch in Farber Library and admitted, “Normally I write a song and just show it to a couple people and then it ends up on a file somewhere on my computer where it’s archived.” Now, for the first time ever, Boyar’s music is accessible to anyone with internet access.
AMY and DAN
Six years ago, Nadia Alawa was a full-time mother whose days were spent driving her eight children to sports games and homeschooling them for exams. In 2011, her quiet life in the sleepy town of East Hempstead, New Hampshire ended with the eruption of a devastating civil war in Syria, her father’s homeland.
Nestled in the mountains and forests of northern Colombia is the small village of Tamaquito. Tamaquito has been the home to a small tribe known as the Wayúu people. For decades, this tribe has lived off the land, farming and hunting with relatively little connection to the outside world. But in 1980, the Swiss energy company, Glencore began building the largest open pit coal mine (El Cerrejón) adjacent to Wayúu territory, turning the lives of those people upside down and forcing them to make life or death decisions.
Would world leaders be less likely to commit crimes against humanity, war crimes or genocide if they believed they could be prosecuted by an international court? The premise of a new 40-minute documentary called “Never Again: Forging A Convention For Crimes Against Humanity” is based on the idea that the creation of such a court could do just that.
‘Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose’ by Flannery O’Connor
“When I came to Brandeis, I thought 3D printing was science fiction,” said Gabriel Seltzer ’18 in an interview with the Justice. Then he joined Deis3D, the on-campus 3D printing club located in the MakerLab above Goldfarb Library. He recalls his early days in the club, saying, “I started making my own objects, fixing printers, and helping out … it all sort of just snowballed from there.” Today, Seltzer is the vice president of Deis3D.
“Those who consume their medicines rarely understand the risks that were taken to create them. In a society that has made their work a crime, the psychedelic chemist is an outlaw.” The smooth, focused narrating voice of Hamilton Morris carried through the crowded auditorium at the International Business School. On Feb. 13, the latest episode in filmmaker Hamilton Morris’ documentary series on psychedelic drugs for Viceland, titled “Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia,” was screened at the Sachar International Center.
Three alumnae discussed how you can fight for women’s rights and against climate change through investing.