Volume 1, Issue 2 | 10/26/11 - 11/9/11 | theblacksheeponline.com
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“A College Newspaper That’s Actually About College”
Shafer Dining Court Stations
So much to eat, so little time...
Sarah Aboulhosn wrote this Whether it’s Wal-Mart, Disney World or the local strip club, the phrase, “there’s something here for everybody” gets thrown around an awful lot in the world today. Well, the same holds true for the Shafer Dining Hall, it has food for all walks of life, even vegans. Disgusting, patchouli-loving vegans. Here’s a breakdown of what’s good and bad in this VCU food mecca.
all of your basic pizza food groups; cheese, pepperoni, veggie, the works, and even vegan pizza. Sometimes they’ll throw you off and offer something ridiculous like BBQ chicken pizza. You can also get pasta at this station. The pasta isn’t bad but you always have this feeling like there is some main ingredient missing, and as much salt and cheese as you add to it, it never tastes just right.
Fanfare: Three words. Fried Chicken Monday. If you end up at this station on any other day…well, it may be good but it won’t be Fried Chicken Monday good. Don’t worry, they have other goodies like pork sliders or chicken parmesan. Anytime they’re serving mashed potatoes as a side, is probably a good day at Fanfare. If you visit this station before 11 a.m. then you’ll be lucky enough to snag breakfast. Just don’t get there at 10:58 or they’ll take away all of the breakfast before you even get to the front of the line.
Rams Grill: Burgers, fries, burgers, fries…that is what you’ll find at Rams Grill on any given day. This station is 85% to blame for your gaining the freshman 15. Burgers and fries are always the safe choice if you don’t like (or recognize) any of the other food options at the other stations. Some day’s you’ll get really lucky and they’ll have curly fries or hot dogs. However one point of reference; if you don’t eat pork and the sign say’s “turkey dogs,” don’t eat them. They’re pork.
Field of Greens: The “Healthy Choice” to go to when you visit Shafer. It’s nice because they basically have every salad topping you could ever imagine, plus a ton of dressings. If you’re coming straight from the gym and don’t want to regain all of the calories you’ve burned, then this station may be a good choice for you. You can also get vegan chicken nuggets, tortillas and hummus for the cultured vegetarian in you.
Stir Crazy: Stir fry is a safe option if you have an open mind. Besides, they cook the food right in front of you so it takes away the unsettling element of surprise. You pick your veggies and your sauce, they cook it for you and hand you a plate. They even have Sriracha sauce which, let’s face it, makes everything a hell of a lot better. Some days you might get lucky and they may have something special like fajitas. The only downside to visiting stir crazy is that you immediately have to go home and shower afterwards because you’ll end up smelling like Chinese food for the rest of the day.
Basil’s: You really can’t go wrong with pizza, just don’t be that person with cheese hanging off the edge of their plate. They have
04: A Guide to Surviving Sleep Deprivation
When an all-nighter goes into all-day, you’re gonna need to stay awake.
Sgt. Peppers aka “The Omelet Station”: What more can you ask for than being able to order a custom omelet at anytime of the day. You can pick your fixins’ and even though it may them like 45 minutes to prepare your omelet, it probably beats the alternatives for that day, which is why you’re at the omelet station anyways. Sushi: Getting sushi at Shafer is basically letting everyone know that you’re a baller. Why? Because everyone knows that sushi is an extra swipe, and at this point in the semester, when everyone’s swipes are running low, extra swipes are like gold. You probably want to make friends with the kids who get sushi because they’ll be the ones to swipe you in once you’ve run out. Unless they’re fronting and really only have like 8 swipes left and just really had a craving for $9 Shafer sushi. Dessert: A good day at the dessert station consists of M&M cookies and Reese’s Brownies. On a bad day, you’ll be forced to satisfy your sweet tooth with lemon cake or key lime pie that looks like something that would come out of your nose. If you have extra swipes you can boost your Shafer status by getting an ice cream sandwich cookie and be the subject of envious stares as you make it back to your table. You can also get low fat and/or vegan cookies. They look delicious but don’t be fooled. It’s still a low-fat vegan cookie. There you have it—now get out there and enjoy!
04: Top 10 Reasons to Hate Fall
bad weather and no football team are a deadly combination
11: the black sheep interviews:
Cut copy, an aussie band you’ll soon love
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Definition: The strategic mapping of local pubs, dives, cantina, clubs and watering holes that allows for maximum drinking during a bar crawl. Sentence: “Steve’s bartography skills ensured that the entire sweatpants barcrawl was sufficiently drunk by midnight.”
THe top ten
reasons we hate fall at vcu 10) You have put more effort into getting dressed to go out: Unfortunately, Richmond’s fall weather is not conducive to the scarce amount of clothing that we’ve all gotten used to. You can no longer just throw on a cute top with some short shorts or a slutty dress unless you want goosebumps and hard nips. As we prepare for the harsher weather, avoid the North Face/legging/ Uggs combo that we’ve all grown to hate. 9) Late Homecoming: While every other school is celebrating their school’s homecoming festivities, we have to wait until January or February for ours. Voting on an artist to perform at Homecoming a semester in advance really puts a damper on the excitement factor. 8) The weather is unpredictable: Fall is fantastic when the sun’s shining, the leaves are changing colors, and a sweatshirt is the only layer you need. Fall is not so fantastic when Mother Nature flips the bitch switch and there’s a torrential downpour for days on end. Soggy leaves and bare trees are depressing.
A Guide to Surviving Sleep Deprivation andy tran wrote this Before fall break opened her arms in a nice, warm embrace, sending you to your hometown, college professors overloaded you with a week’s worth of exams. Instead of going out on the weekends, you march forward to the James Branch Cabell library with hunched shoulders and a frown smeared on your face. Once the sliding doors shut and the elevator climbs to the fourth floor, you’re forced to accept your fate. Exams are upon us and they, unfortunately, don’t study for themselves. And when half a semester has gone by with a lot of gray areas in your mind, it leads to a lot of late nights. Thus, The Black Sheep presents you with a guide of six stimulants that will make your all-nighters possible. Energy drinks replenish your lethargy for a few hours, but the crash that inevitably follows will leave you with less motivation than you had to begin with. You’ll be forced to drink another and repeat the vicious cycle until you’re so hopped up on Taurine that your balls start glowing.
and yellow teeth. Fortunately, mankind has created other drugs and supplements to combat these effects: Altoids, PeptoBismol, and Crest White Strips. Speaking of coffee, it practically goes hand in hand with cigarettes. Coffee and cigarettes are like the king and queen of the stimulant prom. They give you a buzz, make you more alert, and make you look cool. Just ask Joe Camel. However, like any other drug, cigarettes have their dangerous side effects. They’re incredibly expensive, addictive, and give you all kinds of cancer. Approach with caution for health or approach with open arms for cool points. Your call.
“COFFEE AND CIGARETTES ARE LIKE THE KING AND QUEEN OF THE STIMULANT PROM.”
The next stimulant on our list is a doctor-prescribed crowd favorite with a jacked up street price—Adderall. However, chances are there’s at least one person in your hall who has a friend who knows a friend who can hook you up. Soon your brain cells will be working faster than you know how to process and everything you work on will be meticulously done at an accelerated pace. Moving onto a much more accessible pick-me-up, coffee is next on our list. Without coffee, the professors wouldn’t even show up to class. And although coffee shops themselves can be daunting for their constant hustle and bustle, there are so many throughout Richmond that you’re bound to find one with a suitable environment, and hopefully, a bangin’ barista. Coffee’s biggest flaws are the things that follow drinking it: bad breath, the poops,
For those of you who hold a general apathetic attitude toward everyday tasks like the people in the 5-Hour Energy commercials, you should probably try 5-Hour Energy. It only takes a matter of seconds to drink and gives you the boost you need to do normal things like grocery shop and exercise. Yay, America!
The last stimulant on our list is Yerba Mate. If you’ve never heard of it, Yerba Mate rejuvenates your soul, body, and mind. It can be found at Smoothie King on West Broad Street(right by Jamaica House), and at the local ABC. Try it and tell me you don’t like it. I’ll show you a liar. Although Cabell may seem like a cave where nobody comes out alive, that’s only true because one or two people have died in there. Don’t let that stop you though; head to the fourth floor and cram your dome till it bleeds. (Figuratively).When you become too exhausted to go on—abuse a stimulant responsibly. If that sounds like an oxymoron, it’s because it is... but it doesn’t make it any less possible. Good luck!
7) VCU doesn’t have a football team: While all of your other friends are waking up at the crack of dawn to start tailgating, we’re still sleeping and dreaming about a football team. We don’t need a great team—we just need a team. Any team at all. Please. 6) The usual smoking spots become creepy corners: Once daylight savings time ends, it gets dark far too early. Suddenly you’re too scared to take your usual smoke break because night classes have taken on a new level of “nighttime.” Really though, how creepy is that little alcove beside Harris Hall at night? It makes you feel like there’s someone lurking in the shadows, waiting for their opportunity to pounce. 5) It’s too cold to party: It’s one thing for weather to affect your clothing choices, but it’s another thing when it starts to affect your social life. Although you really want to go to that party on Marshall Street, traveling in the tundra takes a lot of dedication. You need to feel confident that the party is worth your while before you make the trek, or you’ll end up severely disappointed that you walked all that way in the cold for that suckfest of a party. 4) Your meal plan is already done: As soon as mid-October hits, you’re probably nearing your swipe limit for the semester. And if you don’t have any freshman friends to swipe you in, you will starve or be forced to spend real money on food. A small meal plan at the semester’s start seemed like a good idea, but as classes kick your ass, cooking takes a back seat. Now you’re cold, sober, and hungry. 3) Schoolwork takes a turn for the worse: After several weeks of dicking around with a light study schedule, the semester finally hits you like a ton of… books. Due dates always fall around the same time and suddenly you’ve got more work to do in a week than you have done all semester. Good luck. 2) Seasonal food and drinks are a tease: What’s that, Starbucks? You’re going to offer a delicious pumpkin spice latte that warms my soul in the crisp fall air and then snatch it from me like it never existed? Sounds like a trap. And it is. I can’t be tempted with these things knowing that they’ll be taken away because when cider and donuts enter your life, you never want them to leave. 1) Your inner kid always wins: The leaves falling on Franklin Street distract you from walking to class because you can’t help but feel a strange urge to step on each of them and hear them crunch one by one beneath your feet. No matter how old you get, a giant pile of leaves is always asking to be jumped in. That’s just science.
Kiara Powell wrote this
an ode to 7-eleven Kiara Powell wrote this
As a young and naïve high school student, you were probably a frequent Wawa-goer and never saw the point in going to 7-Eleven because the only reason you needed to go to a gas station was to get gas. So, when you moved to wonderful city of Richmond and realized that the nearest Wawa is about 25 minutes north of campus, you probably panicked a little bit. However, what you’re failing to realize is how amazing 7-Eleven really is for the students of VCU. Of course a convenience store is good for chasers and munchies, but 7-Eleven is hardly limited to those products. I mean, where else can you go and get 2 for $2.22 taquitos, beef patties, and chicken wings along with a large Slurpee for less than six dollars? (Editor’s note: I don’t really trust any meat product prepared in a gas station, but to each their own.) In addition to these popular products, 7-Eleven also has many of the other essentials that one needs in order to survive at VCU. Forget about begging your friends for a ride to the grocery store when 7-Eleven is within walking distance. Along its five or so aisles, 7-Eleven has the staple food products that every college student uses on a regular basis with the exception of frozen meats and fresh produce, (although they do have the occasional apple or banana at the checkout counter). Frozen pizzas, frozen cookie dough, and a variety of other “pop-in the oven” meals are readily available at any hour of the day. Once you’ve finished your grocery shopping, make sure you scan the first two aisles for essential toiletries such as toilet paper, bleach, tampons, cleaning supplies, and basically anything else needed to maintain a clean dorm or apartment. It’s a bit more expensive to buy these items here, but the conve-
nience is well worth it. Aside from providing you with your basic living needs, 7-Eleven also carries many of the necessary school supplies like scantrons, bluebooks, pencils, and pens. If you’re in Temple and have a test in ten minutes, but forgot to pick up a scantron, 7-Eleven will be your savior. It will save you from hauling your ass across campus to the nearest bookstore and you can get 2 for 25 cents in case one of your stupid classmates made the same mistake. You can even grab a pre-test snack and still make it to class in time—we’re pretty convinced that they’re conveniently located about 30 seconds from any spot on campus for this exact reason. Therefore, you should never arrive to class unprepared for a test again. 7-Eleven’s final and most rewarding quality is that it’s a onestop shop for all of your partying needs. They sell cheap, generic soda for about 99 cents that will be the perfect finishing touch for any jungle juice, and they even have semi-exotic flavors like pineapple and blue raspberry. They sell beer pong balls, playing cards, funnels, and a variety of other tools that will help you create a fun-filled evening of drinking. And since you’re already there, you might as well show some school spirit and pick up the black and gold Bud Light cans made exclusively for VCU. But hey, don’t take our word for it, check out 7-Eleven in all of its glory for yourself. The next time you’re in there, take a careful look around; you may see something you’re in dire need for at your place. It could be food, laundry detergent, allergy medicine, cigarettes, or maybe just the 7-Eleven staple – a goddamn Slurpee. Oh, thank heaven for 7-Eleven. We love you.
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n i t s e b e th ! s c i p y part
How to Regain Control after that Out-of-Control Party Talisha Williams wrote this
Do you remember your first wild VCU party? I’m talking about that party where you wake up feeling like Stu from The Hangover. In other words, you wake up feeling like everything is just a little too much. The sun is a little too bright, the birds are chirping just a little too loudly, and your head is pounding a little (or a lot) more than usual. If you’re lucky, you wake up in your own bed—there’s nothing worse than that panicked moment when you wake up in an unfamiliar place and realize that you don’t have any clue where you are. On the other hand, sometimes you wake up and wonder how you did manage to make it to your own bed. How did I end up back on the 10th floor of Rhoads Hall? However, fear not, my friends—the recovery process is really quite simple if you follow these steps. First and foremost, you need to get to know the wonders of 5 Hour Energy. If you’ve never experienced the effects of this tiny bottle of liquid energy, you need to acquaint yourself with it. And then make it your new best friend. It’s the friend who will bail you out of bed when you’ve got shit to do and no motivation to do it. Once you’ve managed to escape the comfort of your bed, you may run into some problems that can’t be fixed by artificial energy. Did you happen to hook up with one person too many? Although you may be able to dodge their calls and texts, you can’t dodge them forever because you’re bound to run into one of them at some point in time. There are two solutions to this problem. First and foremost, ignore their existence 100%. Ignore their texts, calls, attempts at Facebook chat, etc. and pretend that you don’t know who they are when you finally run into them in person. If this fails, then simply get over it. Everyone has been a victim of poor judgment from time to time, and everyone has to deal with those consequences. Suck it up and say hey, you don’t have to seek them out, but you don’t have to hide from them either.
And last, but certainly not least, what do you do when you wake up and realize that you accepted your friend’s dare to streak through the parking lot of your apartment complex and they documented the whole thing? When you finally log onto Facebook and find yourself with 80 new notifications, don’t bother checking them. Ignorance is bliss. You might walk around and notice people laughing and looking at you funny, but the best thing you can do is act like you’re in on the joke. Make streaking “your thing” and everyone will just get used to it. (Unless you’re overweight). At the end of the day, you want to have fun and enjoy your college days, but you also don’t want be one of those people who end up dropping out of college for partying too hard. Don’t give your friends the opportunity to say things like,“Whatever happened to ________?” So, if you party like Lindsay Lohan and drink to the point that you become a threat to the community, you should probably tone it down. For the occasional I-don’t-want-to-everwake-up-hangover, don’t panic—just grab some Tylenol and chill out. This too, shall pass.
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The Bar Grid SPECIAL NIGHT
Monday - Friday (4-7) $5 Any Nacho $6 Any Pizza Other Great Specials!
$2 PBR $3 Bourbon Prime Rib Night (7-11)
$2.50 24oz. Coors Light Cans $3 Shooter Specials
$5 PBR & Shot of Bourbon $5 Red Bull Drinks $6 Pizza Night (7-11)
Everyday: 5-9 $2 Drinks, Drafts, Wings
SUN: BRUNCH & PUNCH Bring your Fishbowl and get $3 OFF all Fish Bowls $10 Bucket Beer $7.50 Domestic Pitchers Watch Every Game, Every Sunday
Monday, Oct. 31: The Big Payback Halloween Party! Costume Contest and Prizes All Night!
$3 Long island
LOW-TIDE 4-8pm $2 OFF Drafts, Well, Wine, and Apps FREE POKER Games @ 7:30pm & 9:30pm
Drink Specials, Live Music
$2 Rails $2 Wing Baskets
LOW-TIDE 4-8pm $2 OFF Drafts, Well, Wine, and Apps DJ ALX - Electronic, Remixes, Top 40 & Dance
Drink Specials, Live Music
$2 Rails $2 Wing Baskets
ATLANTIS Shipwrecked Saturdays DANCE, BABY DANCE DJ JINX - Top 40 & Electronica
Drink Specials, Live Music
1/2 Price Appetizers
BRUNCH & PUNCH Bring your Fishbowl and get $3 OFF all Fish Bowls $10 Bucket Beer $7.50 Domestic Pitchers Watch Every Game, Every Sunday
Drink Specials, Live Music
$2.50 PBR Tall Boys $6 Burger Build (7-11)
Wing Night! $0.35 Wings from Kickoff Until 11PM (or end of game) $6 Miller Lite Pitchers $6 Yuengling Pitchers
Monday Night Football $1 Drafts
LOW-TIDE 4-8pm $2 OFF Drafts, Well, Wine, and Apps HIGH-TIDE 8-9pm $2 Domestic Drafts, $1.00 Well Shots SERVICE INDUSTRY NIGHT $3 Undercurrents & Woo-Woos $2 Wells ALL NIGHT
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College Night 25% Food Menu $1 Tequila Shots
LOW-TIDE 4-8pm $2 OFF Drafts, Well, Wine, and Apps HIGH-TIDE 8-9pm $2 Domestic Drafts, $1.00 Well Shots Te-quil-ya Tuesdays: $3 Sunrises, $5 Jose Shots, $5 Margaritas
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LOW-TIDE 4-8pm $2 OFF Drafts, Well, Wine, and Apps HIGH-TIDE 8-9pm $2 Domestic Drafts, $1.00 Well Shots MCV & VCU NIGHT $3 OFF Select Apps, $1.50 Domestic Drafts, $5 Cherry Lifesavers
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Bartenderof the Issue
Chris Brumfield The Village Cafe
What’s your favorite drink and shot? Bell’s Two Hearted, Jameson What’s the worst drink you’ve ever tasted? Sambuca I assume you love Harry Potter. Are you for or against the slavery of Elves? Against for Elves—pro Dwarf servitude. Do you think Mark Zuckerburg provides our personal information to the government? I hope so. Do you wish sometimes that you possessed boobies, so that you could get easy tips? Maybe, although I’m not sure I’d leave the house if I had my own boobs. Can you do any flair, or are you
The infamous film, Teeth, needs no introduction. It’s popular among stoned high school kids with vagina obsessions and dental hygienists who are horrified at the thought of teeth being subjected to the horrors of down below. But now, thanks to alcohol, this film can be enjoyed by anyone! Number of players: Two. You can play by yourself, but that would be really awkward if your mom walked down into the basement and caught you watching Teeth alone. What you need: The DVD Teeth, shot glasses, and Pinnacle Marshmallow (To play on the vagina theme, you pussy). How to play: - Put in the movie! (They key is to decipher whether it is VHS or DVD. Proceed accordingly). - Every time the word “vagina” is said, you must take a half shot (I say half shot because vagina is used liberally in this movie. I’m looking out for you!). - Every time you watch an appendage get bitten off by Dawn’s vag-chompers (I wonder if she got braces on those things…) you must chug a mixed drink for the entire duration of the injured person’s dramatic bloodcurdling screaming. - If at any point in time a viewer hides his or her eyes from the graphic images of severed genitals, they must take a full shot, because that’s super embarrassing. - Any time you roll your eyes at Dawn’s blatant innocence take another half a shot. Honor code here folks, but seriously – who is this girl kidding? The Game Ends When: The movie does.
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boring? Very boring. What’s the craziest thing you’ve witnessed while working the bar? Various fecal stories. Is it safe to drink and then drive around in Mario Kart? As long as you’re underage. What’s healthier: tomato soup, or V8 Splash? V8 (with vodka). Hate the playa? Or Hate the Game? Love them both. Coffee and cigarettes, or smoothies and hookah? Really? Hookah? The former. When you’re high on life is it possible to overdose? Yes, who wants to see that?
recipe for disaster:
Legend has it that in 1995, a wise, old luchador named Adalberto Montoya attended a Phish concert in Mexico City. When he wasn’t wooing women in the ring and making piñatas for his niños, he loved to cook. At the concert, several kids recognized Adalberto and begged him to fill their stomachs with some paella or enchiritos. You see they had been smoke La Marijuana. Up to the challenge, Adalberto gathered all of his supplies and created El Nacharido. What you need: Nacho chips, huge flour tortillas, cheddar cheese, colby-jack cheese, sour cream, salsa, jalapeños, lettuce, pizza rolls, ground beef, liquid cheese, onions, tomatoes, chicken fingers, guacamole, and Taco Bell packets. Health Content: The calories might be as hefty as your grocery bill, but it’ll be worth it! Directions: - Cook ground beef in a hot pan on the stove until all of the pink is gone. - Stick frozen chicken fingers and pizza rolls in the oven for about 15 minutes. - Layer chips on a huge pan and melt the variety of cheeses on them. - Next, once the cheese is melted layer the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, beef, jalapenos, sour cream, guacamole, chicken fingers, and pizza rolls onto the nacho chips. - After everything is all layered, roll everything into huge tortillas and cover them in Taco Bell sauce. Now you have yourself a crazy nacho-burrito that all your friends will be jealous of… until you puke it up moments later.
C.R.E.A.M. - Get the Money Y’all
Andy Tran wrote this
An Einstein’s employee swipes your credit cardback and forth on the machine until the display clearly reads, “Declined” across the screen. Your eyes close, your fingers curl into fists, and inside your pocket your wallet growls from lack of green sustenance. The girls standing behind you whisper with outdoor voices, and you don’t need to eavesdrop because you already know. College kid, you are broke. Now, this is only a hypothetical situation, but let’s just say, like every other college student, you’re poor. Not everybody gets a weekly allowance from their parents, and not everybody works a part-time job. However, there are other means of getting cash. These include: 1) Dressing up as a homeless personand asking for money in Monroe Park. 2) Flashing your private parts on stage at a gentleman/woman’s club. 3) Writing papers for your roommate. 4) Strumming your guitar out on The Compass for a few bucks. Many VCU students dress in raggedy clothes already, so the first option shouldn’t be too difficult to execute. If you don’t own the necessary apparel needed for this hustle, you can always borrow the clothes off of an actual homeless person in Monroe Park. They’re typically pretty open to bartering. Once you’ve gotten the homeless person’s clothes on your body,
don’t start inventing stories to attract interest in passersby. They don’t care. Instead, just ask people for what you want—food, booze, or cold hard cash. It may take a few tries, but sooner or later, someone is bound to give in and help your cause. If begging for money is too drastic for you, you can always sell your body. Once a person turns 18, their freedoms are extended to buying lottery tickets, buying cigarettes and buying porn. However, what many people forget is that being 18 also means that you are legally allowed to exploit yourself for money. Erotic dancing is a respectable endeavor for college students and if you can’t afford tuition. Or, if loans are weighing you down, this is could be a solution. If you do decide to give it a whirl, make sure you practice before sending in an audition tape for The Candy Bar, because pole dancing requires coordination and muscles. If you have neither, you should probably hit the gym or find a different profession. If you’re looking for a more wholesome way to make money, you can always find other students to profit from. Not everybody is a pretentious English major who becomes a grammar Nazi when they see a misplaced comma, and many people don’t even know how to write a paper free of typos—these kids are your target market. Seek them out and convince them that you can write a paper that comes with an “A+” guarantee. Write papers for underclassmen who don’t care about their UNIV or ENGL 200 classes and charge them a high fee. It’s an easy way to make quick cash, but make sure you’re careful about it, it’s also a good way to get kicked out of VCU.
Last but not least, this one is for all of you aspiring musicians trying to get your big break by becoming the next Youtube sensation. Instead of wasting your time competing with millions of others, pick up an acoustic guitar and go out to The Compass. There may be several other people at VCU doing the same thing,but it’s less competition than the Internet. Be sure your lyrics are unique and attention-grabbing to separate you from the other chumps singin’ for change. If all goes well, you’ll snag yourself a few bucks and/ or a record deal. So, the next time you find yourself out of money and ready to call mommy and daddy for cash, put the phone down and think outside the box a little bit. Your parents can’t sustain you forever!
Maybe we’re just getting too old, but the popularity of some mainstream music really baffles us these days. Hell, we understand why Justin Bieber and Lady GaGa are “the bee’s knees,” as kids are wont to say. These six artists? Not so much.
mumford & sons
Artist: Drake Known For:”Find Your Love,” looking tired and sad all of the time. Horribly Annoying Trademark: Rapping an entire bar then pausing like this…to deliver a shitty punch line. What We’d Ask In An Interview: “If a million 4-year-olds chained to a million crayons were locked in a room, how long would it take them to write a Drake song, 25 minutes? 30?” Poetic Death: Everyone—from Lil’ Wayne to Nicki Minaj—who carried Drake on a track would take turns literally carrying Drake to a set of railroad tracks, where he’d finally meet his demise. Artist: Mumford & Sons Known For: “Little Lion Man,” being vaguely earnest. Horribly Annoying Trademark: Staaaaarting ouuuuuut playyyying a sonnnnng reallllly slowwwww, thenplayingthechorusreallyfast. What We’d Ask In An Interview: “If you sang all your lyrics at the same pace, couldn’t each and every word get their due?” Poetic Death: Tearfully, the band sacrifices themselves for a cause greater than themselves—one that flames out a few months later, like the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Artist: LMFAO Known For: “Party Rock Anthem,” enjoying shots in Miami. Horribly Annoying Trademark: Looking and sounding like fucking idiots. Loudly. What We’d Ask In An Interview: “Redfoo, SkyBlu, you both dress like your parents’ spent their lives shunning you. Sorry, that isn’t a question, just wasn’t sure if you realized that or not.” Poetic Death: Major Lazer challenges the LMFAO boys to a drink-off, only to trick them into pounding shots of liquid cyanide.
Artist: Katy Perry Known For:”I Kissed A Girl,” “California Gurls,” marrying Russell Brand, tits. Horribly Annoying Trademark: Catchy pop tracks with hooks and videos that imply women are sexually closeted idiots. What We’d Ask In An Interview: “Whose entire routine is more of a gimmick, yours, or your husband’s?” Poetic Death: No longer popular or famous, Perry offs herself in one last attention grab. It fails to generate the headlines she oh-so-desperately craves.
Artist: Dropkick Murphys Known For: “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” being the musical equivalent of The Boondock Saints. Horribly Annoying Trademark: Wishing desperately to be from Ireland, using an accordion and bagpipes without a hint of irony. What We’d Ask In An Interview: “You’re the kind of assholes who roots for Notre Dame because you’re 5th generation Irish, aren’t you?” Poetic Death: Alcohol poisoning, via Jameson suppositories.
Artist: Bassnectar Known For: Being an integral part of the dubstep trend that’s sweeping the nation. Horribly Annoying Trademark: Having a shtick and a light show that mask glaring musical inability. What We’d Ask In An Interview: “Did you and Beyonce mean to get your extensions from the same guy, or was that just some sort of happy coincidence?” Poetic Death: A fan—while rolling their balls off on MDMA—sticks a turntable needle through the heart of a voodoo doll made from his hair, killing him.
Dan Whitford of Cut Copy
The Australian electronic band Cut Copy has been blowing up in recent years, probably due to rave reviews from Pitchfork as well as picking up traction from the cool kids who follow the site. We got to chat with lead singer Dan Whitford about electronic evolution, writing lyrics to classic songs and playing tennis against Franz Ferdinand. The Black Sheep: So you’ve been playing electronic music since 2001. How has the electronic music scene changed since? Dan Whitford: Like anything, music’s kind of a slave to fashion and trend as much as any art form. To me, it feels like electronic music has been welcomed more as a mainstream form of music at the start of 2000. I’d guess partly because we had come out of an era of music where sort of indie stuff was really what all the cool kids were into, and anything with synthesizers kind of went a little bit into a niche world for a while there. I felt like dance music and guitar based music were very separate things and I guess that was sort of the mission statement of what Cut Copy was about, being passionate about both pop music, guitar based indie music or whatever you want to call it and also being really inspired by synth based stuff, and club and dance records. So, I think over that period of time those things have come together very much and it’s interesting that there’s the whole scene in the States now based around Pitchfork and stuff put online by sites like that. We like both parts of that music equally and use them interchangeably, and it feels like our mission statement has been fulfilled in a lot of ways. TBS: You guys do have such a great balance between using the synth samples and beats with the instruments that you play. Was it a natural collaboration of those two sounds? DW: It was tricky in a way because there really was no blueprint for that kind of combination. Finding a way to combine those things was the biggest challenge. For me it feels like fusion, one of the real dirty words in music, and I guess the idea of fusing synth and rock music probably could turn into something pretty bad. So thankfully we’ve found a really tasteful way of doing it and a way that was works for us and works for a lot of other people. It’s definitely not a mathematical operation, it very much goes by feel. TBS: Your music is super upbeat and fun to dance to, and it’s interesting because you’re from laid back Australia. Did that relaxed culture have an effect on the music you play now? DW: I think it has an effect on our personalities, I don’t know whether musically it did. Our music is a reflection of the music that we love. When I was starting out and being really passionate about music was about when The Avalanches were doing shows in Australia and just before they did their first album was when I first met them and came into contact with them, and I found their music really uplifting and inspiring and really upbeat as well. It almost felt like that sensation musically was something that I would like to express as well, in Cut Copy. In our own way, we felt like we were doing the same thing. TBS: You mention that The Avalanches were a big inspiration for you. What else inspires your music? DW: I think it’s a unique combination of stuff, just being inspired by different areas of music, art, film, just different things
Days like these make selling condos more interesting
Real Estate is a band that has been getting a lot of buzz lately; “lately” meaning the past two years. It’s not really a huge surprise why – these Brooklynby-way-of-New Jersey boys have had Pitchfork s-ing their ds since they popped back up in 2009, and continue to praise them for their subtle beats, minimalist music and every other aspect of a band followed by an adjective meaning “simple.” Though their sound isn’t terrible, it’s a wonder why this mostly-forgettable indie rock buzzband hasn’t fallen off the buzz bandwagon.
doesn’t cut it, so the catchy rock riffs in “Municipality” force any listener to double-check what band they are listening to again. Still soft and subtle, this song at least wakes you up during the chorus. “It’s Real” is another good tune that is fast paced and with great vocals, but falls on its face and gets a bloody nose with the uninspired lyrics: “I don’t know who’s behind / the wheel / sometimes I feel like I don’t know / the deal.” Good Lord, they even have a song called “All the Same” that is just the same two beats over and over and over…
Real Estate found their voice and do not stray from it, because it’s what the people want. So do their songs all sound similar? Of course. Is that bad? Well… is it boring? Yeah, kind of! While there is that fine line between “having a unique sound” and “changing / growing / progressing” and the decision on when to cross it, Real Estate doesn’t want anything to do with that fine line. They keep calm, quiet, and in the corner speaker of a bar in Brooklyn where a cute tipsy couple holds hands and speaks softly really close to each other.
But it’s not fair to hate on a band for being slow paced and, at first listen, slightly yawn-worthy; there’s nothing wrong with taking a chill pill and appreciating soft vocals and simple melodies. But being “simple” isn’t an excuse for being mediocre musicians and average singers. The thought that there are a million and one bands just like this one is, I’d assume, thought by over a million and one minds.
But when they aren’t droning on, they randomly have a spurt of excitement that any low-key band can benefit from. Alex Bleeker’s voice generally
Sounds Like: A band that’s falling asleep. Download: Municipality, It’s Real Listen to it When: You’re in a dark bar and want to make-out.
across the board. A lot comes from bands that we love. For instance Talking Heads, we listened to a lot of Talking Heads in making Zonoscope. It’s just a bit of a patchwork of our experiences and things that we’re inspired by and hopefully just our viewpoint in reinterpreting all of these things ends up being something unique even if really, at the end of the day, we’re just music fans. TBS: Did you write the song “Need You Now” about somebody in particular? DW: One morning I sort of wrote the basis of that track, and had some synths and some keyboards and a drum machine and just kind of penned out the whole thing while I was waiting for Tim and Ben to meet me at my house. And in the few hours that I was waiting for them I ended up putting that track together and doing some quick vocals that sort of fit with it. And, essentially, the vocals were as it appears in the final track, I didn’t change the lyrics at all. So it wasn’t specifically written about someone, it just came off the top of my head that morning. But it fit so well, I couldn’t bring myself to change it. We tried a few alternatives but it just didn’t sound right. TBS: Man, that’s awesome. That’s such a good song, and it’s cool that it kind of came out of nowhere. DW: Yeah, and that’s one of the things I was worried about. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a classic song but when you read about other people who’ve written classic songs often they say they do say it comes out of nowhere, or that the best songs happen really quickly and it’s almost as if it was meant to be. TBS: What else do you like to do when you aren’t playing music? DW: I like to get outdoors a bit, because I spend most of my time indoors when we’re touring. We have this thing we organized, before we started touring, where me, Mitchell and Ben from the band and various other musicians and DJs would play tennis against each other once a week. It got to the point that if there were touring bands or DJs that would be available, we’d get them to come down and play against us. TBS: What other bands have you guys gotten to play tennis with you? DW: We played against the guys from Franz Ferdinand when they were in Australia last, so that was pretty cool. TBS: Who won? DW: I think it was one set off, so we didn’t have a deciding set. They took the first set and we took the second, and I felt like we were going to come back and beat them, but it wasn’t on the scoreboard so it’s hard to say. TBS: Drink of choice? DW: These days I’ve been enjoying red wine before the show, I like a good Merlot. It’s nice, smooth, easy on the vocal cords and provides a good romantic, artistic vibe in the band room. Spirits can get you a little too wasted before the show.
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