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BACK TO SCHOOL SPECIAL: BOSTON SUCKS*

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ILLUSTRATIONS BY CONER CORBETT

*It doesn’t.

“So, where are you headed for school? Boston? Sorry to hear that … ”

Well, froshie, the collective wisdom of Bumfuck, Whereeveryourefrom has spoken—and while it’s great and all that you made the cut at one the of country’s top academic institutions, it’s a downright shame that that said seat of higher learning had to be located here. Here, where it’s cold and mean and boring and all the bars close like at, 8 p.m. and Steve’s cousin’s friend went to this house party in Allston once and like, lost his wallet or got arrested or something.

Here, everyone seems to agree, sucks.

Well, as people that are deeply committed to here, let us be first to tell you that everyone doesn’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.

Here happens to be a vibrant mosaic of awesome shit happening all the time, all over the place—from underground Mustache competitions in Somerville to block-wide electro danceparties in JP—and for every valid criticism of the city (Beantown is a pretty lame nickname), there’s an odd dozen lazy complaints from people who can’t be bothered to realize how good they’ve got it.

“There’s nothing to do here?” Where the fuck are you looking? Up?

So here, in the words of those that live and love it—and most importantly, know how to make the most of it—is exactly why Boston doesn’t suck. And how you can make it even better.

(And for the record, Steve’s cousin’s friend was acting like a total asshat and had it coming to him. Now, clearly you’re not an asshat, or else you wouldn’t be reading DigBoston, so you’ve got nothing to worry about.)

“There’s no 18+ stuff in Boston!”

Ah, to be young in Boston. No doubt it kind of sucks to see a bunch of stuff around that you can’t go to just because you aren’t old enough to remember when The Adventures of Pete and Pete first aired. But just because you couldn’t vote in the latest primary election doesn’t mean you have to stay on the weekend. Most of Boston’s Irish drinking establishments have been here since, like, 1890, and they’ll still be here when you turn 21. In the meantime, here are some things for your barely legal self to spend money on that are better than a fake ID.

Click here for Cady’s run-down of 18+ parties, including Rise nightclub, the Middle East Downstairs, and GLOW Boston 

CADY DRELL | @HELLA_DRELLA

“Weed’s not accessible like it is on the West Coast … “

SAYYYY WHAAAAT?? Are you hard of smelling? It’s everywhere. I feel like seeing me smoking in public is part of the Duck Tour. If you can’t find weed in this city, you need to stop wearing a badge! I don’t mean to imply that the fine officers of this great city don’t partake, but even if you do get caught up, it’s not a criminal offense here anymore, plus medical is on the ballot this year. (Quick Note: You will want to use a doof in your dorm room. I hear the campus police still give a fuck!) Boston has everything the cannabis savvy connoisseur could ever want, and if you haven’t found anything by the time you finish this article, come to THE Boston Common on September 15 for the 23rd Annual MASSCANN Boston Freedom Rally!!

DEX MUTHAFUKIN TER | @DEXMFTER @UNREGULARRADIO

“There’s no nightlife in Boston.”

The fact that you moved to Boston and are saying this is kind of like if you moved to Bristol or Berlin and said there’s no underground EDM scene. Then you open your back door and there’s a rave going on right on your back porch. To clarify: when we say “nightlife” we also mean “clubs we’d actually want to go to,”—bros who wanna hear 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” and Red Hot Chili Peppers electro-house remixes shuffled on some dude’s iPod read no further. Now scrape yourself off that Allston sidewalk outside TITS and follow us into the clubs of Boston and Cambridge, where there is a different dance night to choose from every night of the week. Our city holds a crop of some of the most talented DJs and producers and the EDM crowd here is both welcoming and devoted to teaching new fans what good dance music should be. Which is probably why some of them just started a DJ school (Mmmmmaven) and … oh yeah, we even have our own electronic music festival (Together). It’s only 11 anyway, kid, the night is young.

She means it. Click here for a rundown of 10 different dance nights to choose from!

LAUREN METTER | @HAVEYOUMETTER

“The drinking culture sucks.”

Let’s break this down, bit by bit, shall we?

“There’s no beer culture.”
Bollocks. No, Boston is not Philadelphia with its insanely stocked beer bars, or Portland, Ore. with its 50-gazillion craft breweries in city limits, but we damn well hold our own, between the 50-plus Massachusetts brewers (over 10 of which are based in Boston), our world-class beer bars (see below), and the countless beer festivals that take place over the year. Moreso, it’s an accessible beer culture, where drinkers can hang out with brewers at bars, talk up their knowledgeable bartender, and meet plenty of likeminded beer lovers.

“It’s all Irish pubs and sports bars.”
We do have our share of those sorts of places, but let’s clear one thing up first: There are good Irish bars, and there are good sports bars. There are also many, many other bars that are neither Irish nor ball-related. Go to those and stop whining. (See below for a few ideas.)

“Beer is expensive.”
The number one rule of drinking in Boston (or any city) is to never, ever pay cover to drink at a bar. Pay cover for live music, or an art show, sure, but never pay cover to just pay for more beer. Secondly, make up for what you spend on beer by searching out the places with food deals or specials. And if all else fails, pick up a sixer from your local packie and drink it with friends on the porch. That counts as drinking culture, right?

“Everything I know about Boston’s bar scene, I learned from Cheers.”
Okay, Boston does bear the burden of having had Cheers take place here, but—and stay with me here—there is some truth to it. ‘Cause a city’s not a home until you find a bar you like and become a regular there. Find your favorite stool, learn the bartenders’ names, make sure they know what you like to drink, go once or twice or five times a week, and slip comfortably in to Boston’s drinking scene. It’s a good place to be.

Click here for Heather’s breakdown of the 10 best cocktail and beer bars in the city!

HEATHER VANDENENGEL | @HEATHERVANDY | @HONEST_PINT

“Taxis are expensive and don’t take credit cards.”

The best alternative to hailing a cab is Uber Boston (@Uber_BOS, uber.com/boston), an on-demand black cab service where you can order a ride using an iPhone app and pay with the credit card you have on file, tip included. It’s gonna be pricier—there’s a base fare, and then they charge depending on speed (over 11mph, and they charge a distance fee, under 11mph, it’s a time fee)—but it’s worth it for removing virtually every hassle that usually comes standard with taking a cab.

  • If you are stranded and need to hop in a cab, know your rights.
  • If the driver claims that the meter is “broken” and that “knows” it costs X amount of cash to get to your destination, get out immediately and find one with a working meter.
  • You have to get picked up by a cab of the city you’re in.
  • All city of Boston cabs have to have a credit card machine, and have to accept credit cards when a passenger asks.

HEATHER VANDENENGEL | @HEATHERVANDY | @HONEST_PINT 

“It’s cold.” 

Well, yeah, but relative to where? L.A.? I think adding a cardigan to your regular rotation is a small price to pay for your soul. Completely factual statements aside*, “you’ll freeze your ass off” is the thing I heard the most from my fellow Louisianans who were horrified to hear I was headed so far into the Godless North. What they didn’t know, and what I learned when I got here, is that keeping your posterior thawed is a relatively simple matter of layering. Think of yourself as a cutout paper doll—start with undies and a t-shirt (tights or longjohns is a big plus), then it’s a button-up, hoodie/pullover, jacket/vest. Finish with a hat and a scarf and you are game the fuck on for all but the snot-freezingest of New England winters. And on those days, you just stay inside and get drunk, which you probably already know how to do. See? You got this.

*Californians, feel free to read the rebuttal in LA Weekly‘s “We Do Too Have Souls” piece.

J. PATRICK BROWN | @RESENTFULTWEET

“The landlords suck.”

Ever lost a security deposit over an inch-long scuff on the wall? Or spent all of January wearing eight layers because no one was sent to fix the heater? Well, you’re not alone, because Boston landlords do truly suck. And dealing with the Hub’s shadier lessors can make you feel pretty helpless if you’re living on your own for the first time.

Fortunately, the law is on your side! Massachusetts tenants have a ton of rights which they often don’t know about. For instance: If a landlord won’t repair something that might endanger you, you can legally withhold some rent from them! So long as you get a health inspector to come look at the apartment first, violating this ‘warranty of habitability’ means a landlord no longer retains the right to receive full rent from you.

So bone up before you move in, and know your rights! Learn more at mass.gov/ocabr.

DANIEL SCHNIEDER 

“The MBTA sucks.”

As a wide-eyed Arizona transplant giddy at the very idea of public transit, it took me awhile to recognize the MBTA’s shortcomings. But living on the Green Line quickly disabused me of blind enthusiasm. Learning bus routes helped, but the crowded cars, frequent delays and one too many unannounced express trains to Riverside pushed me toward transportation beyond the T.

On the basis of A-to-B speed alone, biking tops all other modes of conveyance in Boston. The cyclist is not beholden to the T’s spokes or the patchy bus grid. A bike grants freedom to take new routes and explore the city outside MBTA-sanctioned bubbles. [Tufties, you've likely never even seen JP. BC-ers, there are about 10,000 different squares to explore across the river.] A bike lets you get lost without getting stranded and develop a real sense for Boston’s layout.

Kids, stash that CharlieCard until Thanksgiving. Get a helmet and invest in whatsoever bike you fancy [Hubway is a great option], and start navigating the city on two-wheels.

SHAWN MUSGRAVE | @SHAWNMUSGRAVE

“There’s no Taco Bell/In-N-Out Burger/Regional Fast Food Chain of Choice”

First off, you do know that’s an awful reason not to like a place, right? You’re not that guy who’se sniffing around Paris for a Cinnabon, are you? Because if so, then congratulations, today’s the first day of the part of your life where you stop eating like shit all the goddamn time. Your salad is in a different castle. Now, for those who are just looking for their guilty pleasure fix, fair’s fair—Boston might not have the exact, tried and true artery-clogger you’re looking for, but what we do have is a long list of venerable institutions that won’t only fill that void, they’ll straight up bypass that fucker.

Click here to see that long list!

J. PATRICK BROWN | @RESENTFULTWEET

“The students are terrible.”

With 50 universities in the metropolitan area, Boston’s population triples come September. It’s an annual infestation often met with an irked outcry from its all-year gang, mostly due to the stereotypes that college students carry—lazy, drunk, and loud.

But, as a recent grad, I am confident that this stereotype, like most, does not run true throughout. There is an abundance of students who do higher ed. proud—and here’s how.

After rolling your ass out of bed around lunchtime, brush your teeth and go to class. Here’s the kicker—while sitting in that Abnormal Psych class your parents may or may not have totally overpaid for, pay for something yourself: fucking attention. Log out of Facebook, quit browsing Etsy for locally made cat paintings, and even get off DigBoston. Engage that eager brain of yours. Go head, learn. It can be a lot of fun.

And another thing—when riding the B line coming home from let’s-hope-not-another-frat-kegger, be sure to play make believe! Pretend you’re in a library—you know, that place used for G-chatting and chip-snacking. Sure, converse to your drowning liver’s desires, but for fuck’s sake do it in your very best inside voices. That’s what we big kids call being respectful of others. Also—just keep doing that whole stimulating the economy thing, deal?

LYSSA GOLDBERG | @LYSSAMARA

Signing us off, Blake “Scumbag Steve” Boston—

So, you’ve come to get your school on in Boston. If you don’t know it by now, you’re in the greatest city on the planet. Seriously.

Read on …

AND DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW US ON TWITTER IF YOU WANT TO BE COOL:

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