The Book of Mormon

I can honestly say it was one of the funniest things I’ve ever experienced. From the comedic minds of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone comes The Book of Mormon, the tale of a pair of good Mormon boys from Salt Lake City, Utah, traveling to a village in Uganda for their two year mission. The musical draws from the same style of comedy in South Park, a clear testament to the writers’ unique manner. Despite the generally offensive style of the Broadway show, I laughed until I cried.

Perhaps the show relies too much on the audience’s knowledge of the LDS church, but for a girl from Salt Lake City, it wasn’t hard to follow at all. Even from the very opening lines- “Hello, my name is Elder Price and I am here to share with you the most amazing book!”- the show had me giggling. As the plot grew more and more ridiculous, it also got funnier and funnier. One scene depicts Elder Price dreaming of going to hell, in which two enormous coffee cups dance around him and force him to drink Starbucks. Maybe without the knowledge that Mormons aren’t allowed to drink coffee, the joke would not have made sense, but the ridiculousness of the situation would still be apparent. The humor is clever, sharp, and very dirty.

The scene-stealer of the show was definitely the African warlord, General Butt-F***ing-Naked. He rules over the village and threatens to bring harm to the young girls within the community and every time he was onstage I found myself laughing. At one point, the ambitious Elder Price reaches out to him, trying to convince him to convert to Mormonism during the musical number “I Believe,” and the ensuing tense reaction from the character was unforgettable. The scene I found the funniest is that in which the villagers put on a play depicting the life of Joseph Smith for the Mormon church leaders sent to review the mission. The musical act was so offensive I felt I had to omit it from my overview of the play to a Mormon friend.

The three lead characters were also well-played. Elder Price and Elder Cunningham’s relationship onstage is a funny but relatable one. Just like when people speak of The Office, everyone can say they know a Dwight Schrute, everyone who watches the play knows an Arnold Cunningham (Cale Krise). The comedy acting on the part of Nic Rouleau, Elder Kevin Price, was brilliant. Despite his never breaking character, there is something in his mannerisms that points out ‘isn’t this funny and ridiculous?’ to everyone in the crowd, and the audience is forced to laugh and agree with him because the whole play is funny and ridiculous. I couldn’t tell whether he or his character was more charming. The village leader’s daughter Nabalungi (Nikki James) is understandable because of her naivete and innocence. She sings a ballad about her vision of Salt Lake City (Sal Tlay Ka Siti), where, as one writer explains, the comedy lies in the “chasm between her perception of Salt Lake City and what we all know to be true of the real place.”

As Jon Stewart put it when he spoke of the play on The Daily Show, the show is “so good it makes me angry. If aliens come thousands of years from now and this is the record of our time on Earth, I will be absolutely satisfied with that.” I think that statement about sums it up. To anybody who encounters Mormon people on a daily basis or really anybody who likes to laugh, the show is a godsend.

By Allyson Larcom

Halal Food Cart Trip

Think flavorsome soft orange rice topped with succulent juicy chicken and scrumptious pita bread melting into your mouth. Now feel the delectable mouthwatering white sauce drizzling onto your taste buds. Hungry now? The 52rd and 6th Halal food cart, known as The Halal Guys is renowned for making some of the best Halal food in Manhattan. The word Halal in Arabic means permitted or lawful. Halal foods are foods that are allowed under Islamic dietary guidelines which include the rules of Muslims not being able to consume:

  • pork or pork by products
  • animals that were dead prior to slaughtering
  • animals not slaughtered properly or not slaughtered in the name of Allah
  • blood and blood by products
  • alcohol
  • carnivorous animals
  • birds of prey
  • land animals without external ears

Halal has been considered one of the most humane ways to kill slaughter an animal. Muslims are taught to kill an animal with respect, limiting the amount of pain the animal will endure.

The Halal Guys has delicious food ranging from pork, chicken and lamb dishes. Although there is a long line, many have said that the food is well worth the wait.

My lips were burning after eating. I’m definitely going back for more.’
Michelle, 16

‘I didn’t expect that type of delicious food off the streets. It was fantastic!’
Alara, 15

Need a cheap hearty meal for a mighty lunch or a late night dinner after a show? Visit the Halal Guys on 6th Ave & W 53rd St.

Source: Fatty Friday

By Natalie Ho

How Poets Help End Slavery: A Lecture with James G. Basker

Oxbridge’s founder Professor James G. Basker paid a visit to students in the New York College Experience on Tuesday, July 17th. He gave a lecture about how poetry helped to end slavery, and later attended an Ice Cream Social in order to get to know some of this year’s students a little bit better.

Professor Basker began his lecture by explaining that, “in today’s world, it’s easy to hear people say business is important, economics are important, science is important, [and that] literature [is only] nice and aesthetically pleasing, it doesn’t really matter; what I want to show is that it does matter.”

During the lecture, Basker discussed the contents of his book, “Amazing Graze,” which includes over four hundred poems by over 250 poets, which together create the first anthology of poetic writings on slavery during the enlightenment. Only six of the poems in his book have been published prior to Basker’s book since they were originally printed, even though the earliest poems are from the 1600s.

The lecture was focused primarily on the roles that poets had in shaping history. The poems written brought the public eye to the injustices and horrors of slavery, especially since they were written by men, women, Africans, African Americans, and even white slaveowners, which helped to put slavery into a perspective relatable to all who were connected to slavery in some way. Basker described the poems as important historical artifacts that can actually give us more insight to the “more elusive sides of history.”

After reading and discussing exerts from “Amazing Grace,” NYCE students were given the opportunity to ask questions about his lecture. In conclusion, Basker explained that he hoped for the students to take away that poetry does have tremendous value in shaping history, and to always look past books like anthologies as they will always leave out important pieces of literature like those published in his book.

By Sara Evall

Basker Robbins

Following Mr. Basker’s captivating talk about the expression of slavery through poetry, the Oxbridge students were given the opportunity to get to know Mr. Basker on a more personal level. During the ’32 flavour’ ice cream social, students were able to ask the founder of Oxbridge Academic Programs questions on his life and work so far.

Here is a short Q & A we had with him:

The Hudson Herald (THH): Why did you choose New York as one of your locations for a summer programme?

Jim Basker (JB): Sometimes you’ll hear that Boston is a great American university town. I’ve taught at Harvard for 7 years and there’s no question that Boston is amazing with all the universities like Boston College and Berkeley. But New York is something else. It’s a business capital, media capital and a great college town. For the right kind of student New York is a perfect university town.I mean there are 100 000 students. There’s so much you can do and so much diversity.

THH: When did you finish writing the book?

JB: You said a very special word; Finished. I didn’t finish, I stopped. When it comes to compiling you can never really finish. It’s an ongoing process.

THH: What exciting things have you done?

JB: Well, I lived in Britain for years and for the last 30 years I’ve spent 2-3 months of each year travelling everywhere. So I’ve done quite a lot.

By: Cherie Kihato and Natalie Ho

“Time Out” Lives Up to Its Name

The first remark entering the TimeOut office was the original design of the space. The colorful and modern place was quite a departure from the The New York Times offices, which were more silent and serious and here, employees wear t-shirts and flip-flops in lieu of suits and ties.

The magazine which was first published in London at 1968, started printing in New York in 1995 and has 60 editions all over the world including cities like Chicago, Istanbul and Abu Dhabi. The employee number in the office is about a hundred and ten, thirty-five of them editorials working on various kinds of subjects like arts, nightlife, food and shopping.

“I’m aware that the future is digital, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to not love paper.” says the Design Director of the magazine, Adam Logan Fulrath while he talks about the website and how it has a million views every month. The journalism students had a chance to also meet Jordana Rothman, the Food & Drink Editor of the magazine. Jordana enthusiastically answered the many questions from the curious students and told them about how she came from eating only beans because she was poor to being invited to famous restaurants.

The editors provided us with many valuable lessons, “Say yes to opportunities that come your way,” says Jordana, because that this is how she got to her current occupation at TimeOut.

By Alara Ozsan

Summer Dreamin’ with the New York Philharmonic

Central Park, the lungs of New York City, is where the New York Philharmonic hosted another summer concert to bring classical music to the general public as it’s been doing since 1965. Summer salads and Italian antipasti accompanied by ice cold wine and pink lemonade were spread across countless gingham and tie-dyed cloths in Central Park’s Great Lawn. The place felt private and secluded with the Manhattan skyline peaking through the towering trees around us.

The lively chatter of friends, family, and couples came to a simmer as the musicians filed into their seats onstage. The mood was light and pleasant as the musicians masterfully played their instruments. The first chair violinist gave a mesmerizing solo during Wagner’s Prelude to Act I of Die Meistersinger Von Numberg. The cellists and violinists lifted Tchaikovsky’s notes and crecendoed them into the air. Finally, after Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 the Bay Fireworks splashed across the sky; simply spectacular.

And that is how you enjoy one of the simplest pleasures summer can bring. Bare feet, dewy grass and good company can turn a regular concert into something magical and unforgettable. The next Central Park Philharmonic Concert will take place in September.

by Michelle Santiago 

Brooklyn Graffiti Tour

Imagine viewing New York City as an outdoor contemporary art gallery and picture the building walls as an expansive canvas. This is what a street art tour is like! On Saturday July 14th, twelve Oxbridge students participated in this type of tour in Brooklyn. Given by Disco Bryso, a “graffitiphile” who obtained a degree in graffitti from NYU, the tour was educational and illuminating. Some art was edgy and other art was more visually appealing. The tour guide was very informed and gave colorful commentary on the various artists (some of whom he even knew personally) and their work. This tour was one of a kind and it has completely changed my perspective on graffiti (for the better).