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Quick Getaways and Deals for Memorial Day Weekend

There are two weeks left until finals and we know you feel like this:

So take a breather (not in a paper bag, hopefully) and have some fun this weekend. Summer is so close we can taste it, so let this weekend be a preview of what’s to come once you’ve conquered finals. Of course, don’t forget that this Monday is Memorial Day, so be respectful and remember why you have the day off in the first place. Here are some things you can do this weekend as a last hurrah before buckling down into study mode.

49 Cent Slurpees

Okay calm down, we know you are excited. Understandably, of course, because from Friday, May 24 to Monday, May 27, 7-Eleven is treating everyone to medium-sized slurpees for only 49 cents. If you’re looking for a place to get your slurpee on, the closest 7-Eleven to UCLA is located at 1400 Westwood Blvd.

The JazzReggae Festival

You don’t even have to leave campus for this one because the JazzReggae Festival is coming straight to UCLA. On Sunday, May 26 and Monday, May 27 celebrate awesome music with performances from artists such as Ziggy Marley and Santigold. Tickets are still available but act fast.

Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas! If you’re feeling adventurous, be like the Wolf Pack and get yourself to Las Vegas. UCLA students are planning to take over Sin City and participate in an 8-Clap heard around the world with students and alumni alike. On Saturday, May 25 at 4 p.m., meet at the Bellagio Fountains to take part in the famous UCLA tradition.

The Movies

Use this weekend to catch up with all movies you might have missed. The Bruin Theater is playing The Hangover Part III and the Regency Village Theater is playing The Great Gatsby. With just a short bus trip, you can see Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness in Santa Monica.

Spring Awakening

A trip to the Freud Playhouse may not seem like much of a getaway, but seeing this musical will definitely make you feel like you are in different world. The Department of Theater is putting on the Tony Award winning musical Spring Awakening for its spring show. Check out some trivia and information about the show before you go.

Do you know any fun events happening this weekend? Comment below or tweet us @dbmojo.

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Science & Health

UCLA Student Entrepreneurs Win Big at First Venture Competition

Some of UCLA’s brightest and best in the fields of business and medicine presented start-up business ideas to a panel of  judges Thursday night. The venture competition, which took place at the Neuroscience Research Building, gave students the chance to create a pitch for their potential business, focusing on competitors, profits and marketability. The top prize was $30,000, to be used towards the winning venture. Here’s a brief run down of the six final businesses.

It’s On.

It’s On combines the sociability of Facebook, the organization of Eventbrite and the progress-recording features of Kickstarter. The program helps users figure out the statistical probability that someone will attend your event, and allows the attendee to contribute something, such as a bag of chips. It’s designed to ease the flakiness associated with Facebook events where 50 people may RSVP but five show up.

“I liked the idea. Even though they have the most competitors, the social context is the most pervasive and can reach the widest audience,” said Mimi Chiang a third year electrical engineering student.

Lyxia.

Lyxia uses genetically enhanced microalgae to speed up the process of an already popular alternative fuel method, which relies on microalgae to convert CO2 into ASTM-certified crude oil.

Springfolio.

Springfolio is basically the IMDB for 3D creations. It’s aim is to help 3D creators monetize their work through a website that gauges the amount of traction the work is receiving. It will be used in the Design Media Arts program at UCLA in Winter 2014.

VuPad. (3rd place, $5,000)

VuPad also won some one-on-one help from the Institute for Technology Advancement. VuPad is an app that allows the user to view name-brand furniture scaled to size in their own home. The app uses a high quality 3D furniture model and camera. The homeowner can rotate the furniture and see if they would like to purchase it.

OncoLung. (Second place, $15,000)

OncoLung is a blood testing system that can, with up to 97% accuracy, determine whether or not the person has a high chance of getting lung cancer pre-ct. This is cutting edge and would allow doctors to earlier detect lung cancer. The group hopes to find ways to detect other types of cancers.

“[The team] seemed most personable, like they were selling a real product and really had their act together,” said said DeeDee Chiang, a third-year business and economic student.

Neural Analytics.

In first place and winning $30,000 is Neural Analytics. The group’s idea is to have a handheld ultrasound machine that connects to the temples of a person and checks brain waves to determine whether person has incurred a concussion or head trauma. Their main markets would be to the US military, college athletics and EMTs.

Which of these ideas do you think is the most useful? Tweet us @dbmojo or comment below.

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Arts & Entertainment

Know Before You Go: Trivia and History of the Musical ‘Spring Awakening’

 Spring Awakening is the quintessential young person’s musical. The characters struggle with maturation and puberty — issues  teenagers have faced for centuries, and in the present day.

The UCLA student group HOOLIGAN Theatre Company performed the musical in fall 2011. This week, the School of Theater, Film and Television debuted its version of Spring Awakening.

If you’re planning on attending, read up on some trivia and tidbits about the show before you go.

History of the show

“Spring Awakening” is based on the book by Steven Sater, and it debuted on Broadway in 2006. It’s won eight Tony Awards, including one for “Best Musical.” The show first became popular because of its controversial content, as well as its Grammy Award-winning rock score.

“It was written in response to teenage suicides, kids experiencing coming of age, puberty and sexual awakening,” said Nicholas Gunn, an adjunct theater professor and the director of the show. “They were also repressed by churches, and their parents would not talk to them about these topics.”

Theories behind the show’s popularity

Gunn said he thinks that the relatability of the lyrics contributed to the musical’s success. “The lyrics of the songs are written in contemporary language to show that these issues occur in young people today,” he said.

Fun fact: Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff, who portrayed Wendla and Melchior in the original Broadway cast, later starred in the popular television show Glee as Rachel Berry and Jesse St. James, respectively.

Themes of the show

From the girl characters’ point of view: “The show’s about schoolchildren who are going through puberty, but are not informed about sexuality,” said Katheryne Penny, a second-year musical theater student who will portray the character Thea. The girls are very innocent and naive, she added. The frustration and innocence of the girls is expressed in the song “Mama Who Bore Me.”

Meanwhile, the character Moritz is having trouble in school. His character represents sexual frustration, Penny said. Melchior is more in tune with his sexuality, she added, while her character, Thea, understands sexuality, but is afraid of being punished and shamed if she expresses her sexuality.

From the boys’ point of view: “The guys have sexual temptation, and they sort of know about it, but want to experiment,” said Jackson Hinden, a second-year theater student who will portray the character Georg. “Melchior is driven [sexually] by Wendla, and Georg is driven [sexually] by his piano teacher.”

“The show is about teen angst, especially angst against parents and teachers,” he added.

The sexual frustration of the boys is expressed through the song “The Bitch of Living.”

Spring Awakening opened Thursday, May 23. The last performance is on Saturday, June 1. Watch the promo video here.

Check out this Spotify playlist if you want to listen to some of the songs before the show.

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Food and Dining

Change Up Your Cuisine Routine Using Secret UCLA Dining Options

Good things come in small packages. The highlight of my week came in a white cardboard container worth a meal swipe.

While standing in line at the Asian cuisine side of Rendezvous, ready to order my usual chicken and string beans, I hear the girl in front of me order fried chicken. Perplexed (because it’s not offered on the menu) and intrigued (because I love fried chicken), I decided to ask for it. I took one bite, and…

The Rendezvous fried chicken is a welcome new addition to my usual food routine. I’ve never been a fan of orange chicken… I can’t figure out if it’s called that because of its color or its taste. Either way, I’m not too fond of hot, fruit-y flavors with my meat. And I hate not knowing what’s in my food.

Which is why the fried chicken is so excellent. It’s chicken, battered and fried in a vat of oil. Pure and simple.

All of my excitement over fried chicken got me thinking: what other secrets are there in the UCLA dining world? I made it my two-day life’s mission to discover new treats on the hill and share a secret menu with Mojo readers.

UCLA SECRET MENU:

SNACK: Add fruit to your ice blended drink (Bruin Café)

Before you say anything, I know, your life just got so much richer. Adding fruit to your drink just creates a more luscious (and perhaps slightly healthier?) iced coffee. Bananas in the iced caramel drink are a great twist. Also recommended: strawberries in the pure chocolate. It’s practically Valentine’s Day in a cup. I’m all about basing my beverage choice on romantic holidays.

ENTRÉE: Meatball sub without cheese (Bruin Café)

This isn’t a secret menu item as much as it is a secret tip. Listen, I understand this is a major sacrifice. Cheese is amazing. But getting the meatball sub at Bruin Café for the first time was an absolute game changer. Bruin Café typically stores away premade sandwiches in a heater. I’m not a fan of the cheese’s consistency, so I made a bold move and got the sub without cheese. The result was a freshly made sub. The bun is toasted rather than heated up, and they even put a little extra sauce on the sandwich.

DESSERT: Milk and a pastry (Bruin Café)

You’ve studied like a champ, but you’re having trouble sleeping after getting worked up about your impending exam. You take a late night stroll and come across Bruin Café, but you’re sick of the #4 smoothie. Call me crazy and thank me later, but I suggest you get the milk and pastry to put you right to sleep. You can even ask for the milk steamed. And if you’re wild enough, you pick a cookie as you pastry and recreate the classic late night snack. This little known goldmine is a timeless way to end your day. Especially if you’re looking to invite Santa Claus to your dorm room.

Do you know of any secret menu items at UCLA?  Tweet us @dbmojo or comment below!

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Science & Health

Four Running Routes Around UCLA

Running the perimeter around UCLA, although enjoyable, can get a little old after awhile. Being an avid runner myself, I try to mix up the routes that I run to keep things interesting.

Often, I just start running with a general idea of where I want to go, and then I have some fun and make it up as I go along (with my map app open on my phone, of course, so that I don’t get completely lost).

Here are some of my favorite routes to run around UCLA , starting with the shortest distance route. The distances provided will vary depending on where you start. Most of my runs start on the Hill. In the photos of the maps (click to enlarge), the gray numbers indicate the mile markers, and the green and red indicate the start and end of the run.

Stone Canyon (Out and Back – 3.0 miles)

This run is a great run if you’re looking for something that’s shorter in distance that still gets you away from UCLA. Starting from the Hill, run along Sunset and then turn onto Stone Canyon Road until you reach a pink hotel. You’ll run about three miles total. To shorten or lengthen the run, either turn back early or just keep running. That’s the beauty of out and back runs – you can turn around when you feel like it. Stone Canyon Road is fairly quiet and peaceful, although there are no sidewalks, so make sure to watch out for cars.

Beverly Glen / Wilshire (Loop – 4.2 miles)

This route is one of my go-to routes because it’s not too short, not too long, and it is the perfect mix of city and residential running. Starting on Sunset Boulevard, the sidewalk gets fairly narrow and you’re running right next to traffic, so make sure you’re not zoning out too much while jamming out to your music. Once you turn down S. Beverly Glen, continue on Comstock Avenue and you’ll pass by Holmby Park.

At the park, there are public restrooms and water fountains, which is perfect if you need to take a break in the middle of your run. Then turn on Wilshire Boulevard (slightly hilly) and then Westwood Boulevard. I love to stop in Westwood on my way back for a cold smoothie or boba as a post-run treat – a reward makes it that much easier to get out the door in this hot weather! If you do stop, the run will be a little bit shorter, but if you start and end at Wooden, you’ll run about four miles.

Extended Perimeter (Loop – 4.9 miles)

This loop involves running through more residential areas and is about a mile longer than running the perimeter. Starting on the Hill or at De Neve crosswalk, you run down Veteran, turn on Weyburn and then spend a short amount of time on Warner Avenue before continuing on Loring Avenue and then turning onto Sunset Boulevard. It’s slightly uphill for most of the second half of the run (once you cross Hilgard), so if you’d like to make this route easier, you could start on Sunset and run it backwards.

Rochester (Loop ~ 5.9 miles)

This loop is an extended version of the Beverly Glen / Wilshire Loop above: If you’re up for the challenge, it’s slightly more difficult, but also a lot of fun. The run begins the same way as the loop above (including passing by Holmby Park), except when you get to the intersection of Comstock and Wilshire, you cross the street and keep running.

After you cross, turn onto Rochester, which is in a residential area. There’s a hill on almost every block of Rochester, which makes this run a bit harder. One thing to note is that there are a lot of intersections you’ll cross while on Rochester, but not all the intersections are four-way stops, so you have to be on the lookout for cars coming through. After you survive the little hills on Rochester, it’s a straight shot back to campus on Westwood Boulevard.

I love this route because it’s a nice getaway from campus, and it’s easy to mix it up to run a slightly different path each time. You can explore a lot of the area past Wilshire and still pretty easily find your way back to campus. I ran this just the other day, and actually ended up running straight into the Hangover III premiere – not a bad way to end a run!

Mileage was calculated and routes were mapped using mapmyrun.com.

What’s your favorite route to run around UCLA? Tweet us @dbmojo or comment below!

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