The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Bria Riggs Page 1 of 2

Jiro Dreams of Sushi: A Close Look at a Japanese Culinary Hero

Before Chef’s Table, the critically-acclaimed Netflix original documentary series, David Gleb was already travelling the world to showcase the fine-dining and some of the globe’s most captivating cuisine. Gleb, the director of Chef’s Table, traveled to Japan to shine a spotlight on a hero within the culinary world: Jiro Ono. He is most famously known for his absolute mastery of sushi and international acclaim. In Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Gleb reveals the hidden life and secrets of Ono and the rest of his team at Sukiyabashi Jiro, his tiny restaurant in the heart of Tokyo. Not only is the film beautifully shot and produced, but it tells a deep and rich story of Ono and what sushi really means to him.

Within the walls of Sukiyabashi Jiro, Jiro Dreams of Sushi reveals the magical experience of dining on what many food critics would name the best sushi in the world. The restaurant has ten seats and is tucked away in a mall in the middle of Tokyo. But despite its small appearance, visitors drop large amounts of cash, 300 dollars to be exact, to indulge in a 15 minute, nine piece course.

In fact, most of Gleb’s documentary and his portrayal of Ono’s story, can be described in numbers. A ten-seat restaurant with three Michelin stars. Three hundred dollars for nine pieces of sushi and fifteen minutes of food-based ecstacy. Despite being eighty-five at the time of production (2010), Jiro Ono still works seven days a week. But that is the kind of hard work required to be the best.

Ono’s life has been one of deep dedication to improvement and creating the best possible product and experience of sushi possible. Many would call such dedication obsessiveness. Ono has dedicated much of his life to continuing to perfect the sushi he makes. He deliberately teaches his apprentices, so they may attempt to make sushi half as good as his own. But try as they might, it seems that no one will ever surpass Ono.

Even his own sons have come to accept this as fact. The elder of the two sons will take over from Jiro at Sukiyabashi Jiro, when, or if, Jiro ever retires. The younger of the two, on the other hand, gets to run his own branch of Sukiyabashi Jiro, but still while under the watchful eye of his father. The filmography makes it very evident that this family sleeps, breathes, and eats sushi. For the majority of the documentary’s eighty-three minute run-time, viewers are inside of Sukiyabashi Jiro.

The next most prominent setting is Tokyo’s fantastically massive Tsukuji market where Jiro’s older son dutifully bikes every morning to buy fish for the restaurant.

The film dives into the culture and traditions surrounding Japanese cuisine, especially with regards to sushi. Gleb also presents social commentary about Ono’s childhood, how he was abandoned by his father and was driven towards sushi-obsession from this experience.

Both Ono, his sons, and the apprentices at Sukiyabashi Jiro discuss the tragic state of fisheries around the globe and what that means for their business and their culture. Viewers are brought in on a rare, intimate social outing with Jiro to his hometown outside of Tokyo where they glimpse into the life of the young boy of would grow to become one of Japan’s most esteemed chefs. And despite the cooking process not being the showiest of cooking styles, Gleb’s filmography brings viewers in with an impeccable attention to detail and curiosity to understand the sushi-making process.

But what the film does most beautifully is present the audience with an up-close look at the masterly of sushi that only Jiro truly possesses.


Bates Finds Fun at the Lost Valley Takeover

The small but mighty ski resort of Lost Valley is an important part of many students’ non-academic Bates experience and on Saturday night students flooded to the resort for a night of music and winter activity. Bates rented out the entire resort and provided amazing discounts for students to more easily enjoy activities such as skiing and tubing. The event was a collaborative effort across many different clubs and entities within the college including Campus Life, Outing Club, Chase Hall Programming Board, Student Government, Bates Musicians’ Unions, and the Senior Class Co-Presidents.

The student body that attended, which was upwards of 450 people, enjoyed the night and appreciated the efforts of all parties involved in putting on the event. Thorn Merrill ’18, Bates Outing Club president and avid Lost Valley goer, was a supporter of the event both through the Outing Club as well as out of personal interest. While on the chairlift Merrill excitedly proclaimed, “the Lost Valley Takeover is one of the coolest events that Bates has ever thrown. So many people are here and everyone is having an amazing time!”

Two school buses were used to transport event-goers to and from Lost Valley, coming and going every 15 minutes. Not only did this give everybody the opportunity to attend for as long as they liked, but also the buses also provided an atmosphere to chat with friends and get even more excited about the night’s activities before arriving to the venue. And once there, students had an endless stream of things to do. Skiing and rentals were all free, which many students took advantage of and hit the lifts for some laps on great snow despite the recent spring-like weather. There were also discounts on food and drinks as well as free tubing. And to bring all of the festivities together, a great lineup of many Bates student-bands took to the stage to play for their classmates. Moon Daddy, Sexy Party, Lewiston Variety, Smoked Gouda, and Cold Fish all performed for swathes of excited students and a roaring bonfire was made outside for people to enjoy the fresh air without getting cold.

For such a big lineup of activities, Lost Valley was a perfect venue for students to enjoy all of the night’s offerings with ease. The lodge, where drinks, food, and music were hosted, sits perfectly at the base of both the ski trails and tubing hill. It was easy to transition from skiing to tubing to dancing without losing much time, allowing students to capitalize on all of the fun. And because such a wide range of activities were provided, the event was not ski-specific, which opened it to a much larger demographic of students and allowed everyone to enjoy the evening.

Sam Pierce ’19 reiterated the same kind of excitement as Merrill had earlier in the evening, saying, “this should happen every year!”

The day after the event, Danielle Fournier ’18 noted the inclusiveness of the takeover stating, “There was something for everyone, from music and dancing to skiing and tubing.” And speaking to in the same vein as both Merrill and Pierce, Fournier excitedly said that the event was, “probably the best party Bates has ever thrown!” Overall, the event was a big hit among attendees and provided a great opportunity for all students to find some alternative fun at Lost Valley on their Saturday night.

From the Ashes: Mining for Answers in America

Since its rise in the 18th century to the present, coal has held a tight grip on the United States’s economy and job market. It helped power the United States through the industrial revolution and propelled the country’s economy forward. But despite the many positive things that coal afforded this country, and many others around the world, such things have not come without consequence. Environmental disasters, health crises, and economic monopolies have risen along with coal. From the Ashes, a documentary produced by Bloomberg Philanthropies and National Geographic, explores coal’s history in the United States and the implications of the industry. With perspectives from miners, activists, scientists, and regular citizens, the film presents an in-depth view of the many people that the coal industry impacts.

Not only is the film focused on the coal industry, but more importantly, the changing climate of the industry. As it becomes more evident that coal is an outdated energy source, many consumers are choosing to move to natural gas or renewable energy sources. While this is good news for the environment and many people facing the environmental health issues caused by coal, it also leaves many people unemployed and struggling to make ends meet. From the Ashes explores how families and individuals are coping with both the environmental and economic problems associated with coal. A certain focus is also given to grass-roots organizing and the politics of coal in the United States, especially given the Trump administration’s strong pro-coal stance. Finally, the documentary also asks important questions about how this country starts to move forward and questions whether that is with or without coal.

Regina Lilly, a resident of Lincoln County, West Virginia, reflects on the many different impacts that the coal industry has had on her family. Not only has coal impacted the economic livelihood of her family, but also their basic health. Her husband was a miner, but he was laid off, and, as in much of Appalachia, the heavy strip mining and mountaintop-removal practices have contaminated the well of their home. Of course, impacts on Regina Lilly and her family are not unknown to others. Despite its aged technology and negative impacts, many people, as well as companies, continue to invest in coal. Many places in the United States still rely on coal to exist.

The documentary takes viewers to Appalachia, specifically in West Virginia, and the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana to investigate how the industry is changing and what this means for miners and their families. In the Powder River Basin, as in Appalachia, many towns exists due to coal and completely revolve around the industry. Colstrip, Montana, as its name implies, is completely derived from coal mining and processing in the area.

The film presents many characters from the region, including residents as well as Montana state senator Duane Ankney, and their perspectives on the changing climate of coal. From all stories presented in the film, it is obvious that there is a divide in methods to move forward. Those who benefit heavily from the money in coal are stern in their unwillingness to give up the industry and invest in new technologies. But on the other side, film makers show the many residents who experience the severe and even deadly hazards of coal. Such people are also stern in their anti-coal stance. So how does the United States move forward? From the Ashes doesn’t present definitive answers, but does provide the audience with a special look inside the many angles and impacts of the industry. Perhaps Americans may still be able to rise from the ashes and climb out of the deep pit of struggles surrounding coal.


Broomball: The Elusive Winter Sport You Wish You Knew About

In the cold months of the Maine winter, many sports come out of summer hibernation for us all to play. Most people are familiar with skiing, snowboarding, hockey, and snowshoeing. But have you ever heard of broomball? Broomball is winter’s true hidden gem. A sport that few are familiar with, it is a game much like field hockey that is played on ice. That’s ice hockey, right? Wrong. In broomball, players wear sneakers, not skates, and run all around the rink chasing a ball, not a puck. It is not necessarily the most graceful of sports, but it is quite fun.

While there is no definite record as to the exact roots of broomball, historians believe that the game originated in Canada and possibly some parts of Sweden. Since the first recorded games took place in Perdue, Saskatchewan on March 5, 1909, broomball has taken off to become an ever-growing sport. Much like a smaller version of field hockey, six players from each team, one goalkeeper, and five field players, are permitted on the ice at once with the ultimate objective being to get the ball into the hockey net as many times as possible. The game consists of 2 halves, 20 minutes each.

From its North American roots, broomball has spread to the international community, including countries such as Australia, Japan, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. The International Federation of Broomball Associations (IFBA) was also established in 1998 and has acted as the governing body for broomball worldwide. Every two years, the IFBA hosts the Broomball World Championships, also known as the Challenge Cup, in which teams from all around the globe come together to compete for the ultimate broomball title.

While teams here at Bates are not sanctioned with the IFBA, we do have a bustling intramural circuit running from January through the end of February. This year there are four Bates teams competing on the Bates circuit to take home the school championship title. The sport brings friends and strangers alike to the ice for a riveting game of fun.

Adair Andre ‘18, another senior member of team SwUGGs, says, “Broomball lights my fire. I’m a naturally competitive person and broomball gets me going.” Throughout the game, there are countless falls, trips, and dives, demonstrating the players’ eagerness and willingness to put it all out on the ice to take home the win. But there are also plenty of laughs and smiles to go around, too. It’s clear that everyone involved is having a great time, while also enjoying the opportunity to let off steam and dip into their competitive edge.

Hadley Moreau ‘19, a junior member of SwUGGs, talked about the excitement of the broomball. After her Wednesday night game, she exclaimed, “I love the adrenaline rush of broomball!” Based on the excitement of all players, it seemed clear that players were enjoying sliding aggressively on the ice to capture the ball and take a shot at the goal. And while there was some very healthy competition involved, fun was obviously the ultimate goal. Senior captain of SwUGGs, Anna Franceschetti ‘18, discussed the great combination of competition and fun on the Bates circuit. She noted, “It’s awesome we have an eclectic group of people that are willing to get sendy on the ice,” hinting at her team’s competitive vibe. But in the end her team is all about having, “lots of fun!” And how could you not, running around on ice with all of your good friends? The Bates broomball season continues until February 28th, 2018.


Star Wars: The Last Jedi Gives Way to a New Age

Warning: Spoilers

The second installment of the latest Star Wars trilogy and the eighth film of the franchise came to the big screen over the holidays, ending a two year gap since audiences saw their new favorite characters come to life, as well as the return of the original Star Wars iconic trio in The Force Awakens. But unlike its predecessor, The Last Jedi deviates from the typical plots of the earlier trilogies from the franchise. While The Force Awakens, no matter how highly anticipated and well-reviewed, closely followed the plot of A New Hope, The Last Jedi introduces audiences to a new storyline in the Star Wars universe.

With Rian Johnson acting as the new director and screenplay writer, The Last Jedi picks up within days of where The Force Awakens left off. The galaxy is under the tight grip of General Snoke of the First Order, and the rebellion is in trouble. And while this newest installment largely maintains the classic good versus evil framework, with the introduction of characters such as Kylo Ren, the movie also introduces more complex relationships and dynamics between the rebel forces and the First Order. Such dynamics leave audience members questioning their own alliances, as well as what these complex relationships, notably between Rey and Kylo Ren, might mean for the fate of the Star Wars universe when the final installment of the trilogy is released in 2019. It is already clear that Episode IX will almost certainly deviate even further from the The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

Fans already have taken note of the distinct differences between The Last Jedi and all seven films that preceded it. The film has embodied more common themes found throughout many modern large-scale action-adventure movies. Most notably, this film took on a different style of the humor that doesn’t seem to fit with the Star Wars aesthetic. The Marvel-esque jokes and sense-of-humor in the film don’t sit well with fans of the original films. With the usual banter between Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa, that was always a delight to original fans, missing, Johnson has compensated with the type of humor that a view would expect to see in films such as Guardians of the Galaxy and all of the Iron Man films. But while such a tactic has not set well with older fans, this is likely a strategic business move, as the films look to the newest generation of fans; those who are much less familiar with the dynamics of the original films.

Of course, this film, and Star Wars in general, cannot be discussed without a fair mention of the original characters that revealed themselves to audiences over 40 years ago. The return of original characters, most notably Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa, as well as the droid team of C-3PO and R2-D2, keeps The Last Jedi grounded in first six movies. But the death of Han Solo in The Force Awakens creates a certain pining and nostalgia in The Last Jedi. The energy of Harrison Ford, who played Han Solo from the onset of the franchise in 1977 with A New Hope to his last breath in The Force Awakens, is missing from this film. And while new characters that fans quickly came to love, like Finn, Rey, Poe Dameron, and, of course, BB-8, fill the story with their own fast-flying high-energy and emotionally-charged performances, there is still a feeling of nostalgia that can’t be filled by these new characters.

In a franchise that is so highly regarded and deeply loved by its fan base, some characters cannot be replaced. Of course, the return of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa maintains much of the original Star Wars feel, but their returns were not met with one hundred percent ratings from fans and viewers. Additionally, the passing of Carrie Fisher in 2016 as well as Luke Skywalker’s on-screen death further complicates the dynamics between the original films and the new trilogy. It seems that the transition period between the original Star Wars universe and the new trilogy has come to a close. The three hallmark characters of Skywalker, Solo, and Princess Leia have moved on. Now, film makers will be challenged with relying on the new characters for the finale of this new trilogy. Where this will lead the galaxy, fans can’t quite predict.


Christmas Dinner Hosted by BCF Was Full of Joy, Food, and Fun

This past Saturday evening, the Bates Christian Fellowship (BCF) hosted a Christmas Dinner to celebrate the holiday season with the Bates community. The event was festive, heartwarming, relaxed, and welcoming. Hosted in the Benjamin Mays Center, the space was cozy and warm as any Christmas dinner should be. With a combination of delicious food, wonderful entertainment, and friends all around, BCF provided a great night for all guests.

The evening started off with an informal review of the night’s program and a prayer, led by BCF co-president Brie Wilson ’18. The prayer was gracious and loving towards all in the room and the greater Bates community, and set aside a moment for the guests to reflect on the networks of people that exist in their lives. Next, a bible reading was given by another BCF member before dinner started. The thoughtful reading segued the guests from contemplation into dinner.

With over 75 attendees, there was an abundance of delicious food to go around. Catered by DaVinci’s, the Italian buffet-style meal provided the perfect kind of comfort food that goes along with a holiday dinner. As guests ate, the room was filled with cheerful chatter and bible readings were shared intermittently throughout the meal. Each reading highlighted a theme important within the Christian community and the holiday of Christmas. The readings also provided a platform for reflection as well as reminders of the historical and religious context of Christmas.

Not only were students in attendance, but professors and other staff and faculty members also filled the room. BCF members, non-members, and many students of other faiths and beliefs mixed together to celebrate the holiday season. Additionally, some Lewiston and Auburn community members were in attendance.

BCF connects students with families in town, and some of these families joined students for a dinner to celebrate the holiday season. The dinner acted as a special opportunity for BCF members to spend time with both their Bates friends and these connected families within the same setting. The meal highlighted the important role of the greater Lewiston-Auburn community with BCF and their impact on members of the club.

Danielle Fournier ’18, a co-president of BCF, said the dinner is “the annual gathering of all of the people who make Bates Christian Fellowship happen throughout the year. It is a joyful event and one of my favorite nights of the year at Bates.”

After dinner, a dessert provided by the families was served to all guests as the Gospelaires performed. Their beautiful harmonies fit perfectly with the tone of the event and gave the room a classic holiday feel. They sang gospel songs about being grateful for the life that they have in relation to Christianity; these were particularly relevant due to the time of year and the birth of Jesus.

Upon a quick observation, it was clear that all of the attendees were full of joy resultant from spending time with friends and family. Even in this busy time of the semester, with finals coming up and stress levels elevated, the Christmas dinner provided a calm space that was perfect for celebrating the holiday season here at Bates. I look forward to many more relaxing and thoughtful Christmas Dinners with BCF and the L/A community in the years to come.

A Place at the Table: Hunger in the US

Although one of the richest nations in the world, the United States still suffers from chronic hunger. In fact, the US ranks worst in hunger among the world’s most developed countries. But in this country, food shortages are not the issue, cyclical poverty is. This the main message that A Place at the Table presents. The film screening, hosted by the EcoReps last Wednesday night, presented these issues in an emotional and captivating way. The documentary follows various stories of hunger around the US such as Rosie, the middle schooler in in Colorado who depends on friends and community organizations for food; and Barbie, a single mom from Philadelphia who, despite her best efforts, has been unable to escape poverty and struggles to feed her children on a weekly basis. By following these personal stories, the film is able to provide its audience with a look inside the lives of the 49 million people who struggle with hunger in the United States.

Not only does this film highlight the fact that so many people living in this country struggle to feed themselves and their families everyday, but more importantly, the film discusses the complex food systems behind that struggle. There is no shortage of food in the United States; in fact, 40% of our food grown for consumption is wasted every year. This is enough food to feed 25 million people who face hunger. The issue that really causes hunger in this country is continual poverty and the intense difficulty many people face when trying to escape the cycle. Coupled with a lack of legal and federal action to support programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as food stamps, not only are people that face hunger in the United States unable to afford adequate amounts of food, they are also unable to acquire help from the government.

But what defines hunger? Even still, a large portion of the rhetoric surrounding hunger involves an image of a starving, bone-thin child in a foreign country. Something that is so important in order to understand the issue of hunger in the United States is making the connection between hunger and obesity in this country. A Place at the Table highlights this link well. The film discusses the messy systems that indirectly control the prices of food in the United States. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for both agriculture and food programs such as SNAP. Big business agriculture has a tight grip on this system and prevents legislation for better food programs, such as school breakfasts and lunches, from moving through congress. What is more astonishing is that the current subsidy system supports products such as wheat, soy, and corn but not fruits and vegetables. Thus, people struggling to afford food choose more calories per dollar because it will last longer, but it will also have detrimental health effects. So even if you make enough to not qualify for the SNAP program, like Barbie in the film, the food that you are able to afford is not healthy.

A Place at the Table discusses a very hard topic, one that many United States politicians are afraid to speak about publicly. The film does so in such an informative yet emotional way as to draw the audience in and not only tell us why we should care about hunger in the United States, but also how it is so difficult to breakout of the hunger with the current system. By putting emphasis on the systematic issues, A Place at the Table helps its audience start rethinking what exactly it means to be hungry in the US.


This is Home: How Sense of Place Defines the Skiing World

What defines home? Where do you find it? How do you share it with others? – These are the questions that this film chases all over the world through the eyes of skiers on their home snow. This is Home, the newest installment of films presented by Faction Skis, a gear company as well as a collective of skiers from around the world, premiered on Thursday, November 2 at Bates. Thorn Merrill, a former Faction athlete and current Bates senior, brought the movie along with some great swag to give out to members of the audience. The entire room was ready to get excited about ski season by watching amazing footage of epic skiing all over the world. There is a reason that most, if not all, ski movies premiere in the late fall. There is no better way to get an audience snow-crazed than showing epic shots of powder skiing in Montana or hitting crazy terrain park features in France.

This is Home brings a new concept to the world of ski movies. Originally a concept birthed from the mind of JP Auclair, a since passed professional skier who was in all senses a legend in the industry, the film follows six athletes from the Faction Collective to their hometowns. The audience is taken to Montana, Finland, Utah, France, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland for six segments of film, all of which has its own focus.

Some segments highlight big mountain and backcountry skiing, others highlight freestyle and big air skiing. The film is also able to combine the two types of skiing by featuring big air and big tricks in big mountain terrain. But what truly makes this a different kind of ski movie is its focus on the concept of place and what that means to the featured athletes. This is Home brings a new and exciting feel to the world of ski movies by giving the audience a local’s guide to their home mountains.

Opening with beautiful aerial footage of the various filming locations, the audience gets glimpses of majestic unknown scenery coupled with famous locations like the Matterhorn. There are the typical ski movie shots: big mountains with an athlete skiing a beautiful spine and another shot of an athlete hitting a massive jump in the terrain park. There is a large focus on urban terrain park skiing–athletes hitting features found throughout cities and towns. Such segments show that where there is snow there is skiing, like in Finland where the mountains are particularly large, but the freestyle options are endless. Or the Swiss Alps, where home is defined by massive, hard-to-access terrain.

This is Home is also special is the way in which it conveys its mission to define home through the skier’s perspective. While there are short interviews with the featured athletes, in which the audience is given the backstory of each athlete and their home, the filming is really what conveys the idea and feeling of home for each location. It is easy to see and hear the excitement in each athlete’s voice for their home mountain and such emotions are translated into their segment. Whether it is a small hill with massive jumps in the Czech Republic or the snowcapped peaks of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah, it is made obvious that these athletes can’t wait to share their home with the audience. For these athletes, home is defined by the opportunity to ski in the place they know best. Each athlete’s home is shared with the audience as well as fellow Faction Collective skiers. Such a layout for this film helps to establish the sense of community that the ski world shares. All around the world, skiers are able to connect over their love for skiing, in whatever form, creating an international community eager to get out and explore new places.


WATCH OUT: A List of Movies to Watch This October

1. Wet Hot American Summer

While summer has come to close, there is still time to reminisce on your camp days with this hilarious movie. Taking place at a summer camp in 1981, this movie is guaranteed to make you laugh at all of the ridiculousness that occurs for every character on the final day of camp for the season. And if you love the movie, Netflix has two special series with the original cast of the film: Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later. 1 hour 37 minutes.

2. City of God

This foreign film (Brazil) follows to young boys growing up in the favelas of Río de Janerio in the 1970s and the violence that unfolds around them via drug and turf wars. Chosen by TIME as one of the 100 greatest films of all time, this feature is bound to be impactful. As a disclaimer, there are incredibly high rates of violence in the film, though this contributes to the sense of authenticity; it was shot on location in some of the poorest neighborhoods in Río de Janerio. 2 hours 15 minutes. Available on Netflix.

3. The Little Prince

On a much lighter, but equally impressive, note, this adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 children’s book brings this popular story to the big screen. In her adventures with the Aviator, The Little Girl learns what it really means to live and what is truly important in life. With an impressive Rotten Tomatoes rating (93%), this book-to-film adaptation will leave you grinning and yearning for childhood wonder. 1 hour 50 minutes. Available on Netflix.

4. Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King

While not technically a movie, this feature-length Netflix standup special presents the self-narrated life and times of rising comedian Hasan Minhaj. Minhaj tells of his experiences with love, work, and growing up as a child of immigrant parents. Hilarious, heart-wrenching, and down-to-earth, this is Minhaj’s first Netflix stand-up special. With a 96% rating from Google users, this hilarious yet serious special will have you cry-laughing within the first 5 minutes. 1 hour 12 minutes. Available on Netflix.

5.The Age of Spin: Dave Chappelle Live at the Hollywood Palladium

Welcome the king of comedy back to the big stage. After a 10 year hiatus from a performance in Los Angeles, Dave Chappelle returns to perform at the Hollywood Palladium. Hitting on issues such as race, technology, and Bill Cosby, Chappelle is able to place his comedic vision on hard topics and engage his audience like never before. 1 hour 7 minutes. Available on Netflix.

6. Sarah Silverman: A Speck of Dust

Another Netflix stand-up special, Sarah Silverman comes to the stage with a refreshingly dry sense of humor. Certainly different, and tuned down, in comparison to her older work, Silverman no longer leads with shock value, but is still able to maintain her frankness in this feature. Mostly based in feminism and everyday issues, this special is equal parts relatable and hilarious. 1 hour 11 minutes. Available on Netflix.

7. It

In the spirit of Halloween, of course It is included on this list. This modern adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 book covers the first part of the novel, and while there are some clear departures from the book’s plot, the movie is still able to hold true to the original main storyline. The movie catalogues the experiences of seven kids that face a shape-shifting evil that presents itself every 27 years and prey’s on the town’s children. 2 hours 15 minutes. Available in theaters.

8. Hocus Pocus

A Halloween classic! This film is an essential movie for October. Set in Salem, Massachusetts, this film has all sorts of magical features. Following siblings Max and Dani, the audience is taken on a crazy fight-for-your-life trip when these kids release three evil witches and must stop them from becoming immortal. This movie brings laughs, screams and the spirit of Halloween to the big screen. 1 hour 36 minutes.

9.The Nightmare Before Christmas

Another October essential, this film is perfect for the end of the month to transition from Halloween to the holidays. From the wacky mind of Tim Burton, this movie follows Jack Skellington and his adventures ruining and saving Christmas. No matter how you feel about the holidays, this movie will have you laughing and amazed with its fantastic animation. 1 hour 16 minutes. Available on Netflix.

The Honey Paw: A Must Eat Spot

Owned by Big Tree Hospitality, the company that also owns Eventide Oyster Co. and Hugo’s Restaurant, The Honey Paw (Portland, ME) presents a fresh spread of Asian-fusion food that is a perfect way to treat yourself on your next trip to Portland.

The easy thing to write is that The Honey Paw’s food is amazingly delicious, but that doesn’t capture the experience of this restaurant. It’s true, the food is delicious (and the drinks are good for those of us in the 21 and over club), but The Honey Paw is able to capture a wide array of Asian flavors in a smooth meal that is guaranteed to please. Whether you’re looking for rich, decadent lobster-based broth with rice noodles, or light and tangy blue-fin tuna poke, The Honey Paw has you covered.

In addition to the lobster noodle dish and poke, we had grilled shiitake mushroom skewers and lobster wontons both of which were decadent yet light and refreshing. We also ordered the pork and crab mee goreng, a wok fried noodle dish that was decadent and rich, but overly heavy. Between all of our dishes, the vegetables, such as the shiitake mushrooms, seafood, meat and sauces all worked together to create a beautifully formed meal.

Besides that fact that every dish we ordered had us humming with approval, what truly awed me about this experience was that all of the dishes molded together in a beautifully orchestrated dance. These chefs understand Asian flavors in such a way that they are able to present an entire menu that flows and ebbs effortlessly, which is quite an impressive feat for a restaurant with a changing menu. The experience felt like a quasi “create-your-own-adventure,” but there weren’t any wrong choices. In addition to great food, The Honey Paw’s waitstaff was also outstanding. Friendly, outgoing, engaged, and thoughtful, our servers made our experience that much more enjoyable.

On paper, The Honey Paw’s flavors and service appear to be part of a fine dining experience, but what really makes this restaurant such a great destination is that it isn’t fine dining. The atmosphere is casual and easygoing. Both inside the restaurant and in the surrounding area people are buzzing and having a good time. The Honey Paw shares a city block with Eventide Oyster Co. and Hugo’s Restaurant, both of which are also popular Portland picks. This formula creates an exciting atmosphere where it is easy to wind-down, relax, and enjoy. More and more, restaurants are straying away from the stuffy layout of traditional fine dining and rather, working to cultivate environments where the vibe is chill but the food is on fire.

While at first glance this destination is a bit out of the price range of the standard college student (bring your parents!), The Honey Paw’s dining format makes it more affordable for a broad customer base. Like many Asian restaurants, servers at The Honey Paw suggest ordering a few plates and sharing them all with the table. This gives diners an opportunity to dive into multiple dishes and taste a greater range of flavors. While any one dish at The Honey Paw would be delicious on its own, sharing an array of dishes brings different flavors and textures to everybody’s plate.

Whether you’re out with friends or family, The Honey Paw delivers a unique, easygoing experience that is perfect for any weekend night.

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