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The Harbus Intraview

Greetings from HDS
by Zachary Drennen, HDS

Harvard Divinity School students don’t often mix with Biz School students-no one likes seeing Capitalism and Organized Religion in close proximity. Nonetheless, the Capulets and the Montagues united, if for one brief moment, over Easter Sunday (fitting?) in yet another episode of Uncle Jordy’s homespun Intraviews. I had such delusions of grandeur-an all-expenses paid Intraview on the Business School’s dime. Alas, Uncle Jordy’s limited seed money promptly dashed my dreams of dinner at the Prudential and orchestra seats at the Opera.
Rachel, my HBS match, and I responded with spontaneity, turning up our noses at the Boston High Life and heading for Dorchester. A tip from a roommate and a phone call later, we careened our way up Jamaica Way to the illustrious Hip Hop Roller Disco Skating Rink, Chez Vous. Any concerns for our safety were immediately cast aside as we were patted down after passing through metal detectors upon our entry. The bouncers seemed somewhat surprised at the relative paleness of our skin compared to that of the other patrons, but were otherwise glad to see us. I’ll be honest, I liked the place: good music pumping over a good sound system, nice lights-though I think we somehow missed the full-on, lights-out, disco-flashing set, and some really good skaters. This is not a skating rink for the faint of heart-no referee blowing a whistle for speeding, inappropriate maneuvers, or reckless endangerment. If you couldn’t skate, you needed to get in the middle. To brave the outside rail, you need at the very least a strong disco groove in the lower buttocks to keep pace with the crowd. Frankly, our meager skating skills did nothing to combat the stereotype that white people have no rhythm. We did establish, however, that fun is possible for rhythm-less souls, especially in the presence of loud Disco.

After a few laps around, Rachel and I had some fries, played some video games, and spoke to the owner Nick, who is frankly doing a very nice job with the place. He talked of his hopes and the changes he’d like to make, as well as some of its history. He apparently has owned and run Chez Vous since 1977.
After heading back to the rink for a few more laps and some precarious attempts at skating backwards, we said goodbye to Chez Vous, exchanged pleasantries with Nick, and headed to Wally’s Caf‚. Yes, that illustrious hole-in-the-wall Jazz club on Mass Ave, which was in full swing despite Easter Sunday. One of the hardest things about Wally’s is figuring out the name of the band. This evening’s seemed to be “Friends of Wally’s I, II, or III”-it was unclear which. What was clear was the thumpin’ good funk groove they put down for the packed house. With skills reminiscent of those fateful undergrad days, we weaseled our way to the front to take in the sights, sounds, and libations. Our enthusiasm was rivaled only by an energetic aficionado, who, through his rythym-less gyrations, had managed to clear out a nice place for himself. Standing in his wake proved to be the best seat in the house.
Rachel and I, keeping to our Southern roots, then cleared out of Wally’s and made an honest attempt at late night grub. Alas, we were thwarted by Boston’s apparent disdain for a Grand Slam or Belgian Waffle at 1:30 in the AM. Such barbarism.
Many thanks to Rachel Carriere who proved as stalwart and easygoing companion as one could ever hope for in traipsing around the lesser known Skatelands of Boston.

Outside the Bubble
by Rachel Carriere, ND
After much encouraging I decided to give in to Uncle Jordy’s request and agree to a Harbus Intraview. After all, it’s always fun to meet new folks. My fate was sealed when Uncle Jordy overheard me say that I was going to be in town last weekend. His matchmaking wheels started ticking, and I soon received an email announcing my “pairing” with Zach Drennan, a Divinity School student from across the river. Upon hearing the news, I was immediately excited about the chance to break the B-School mold, however I quickly realized that I was unable to get the typical “classcard” info that we have all come to rely upon. Never fear, Uncle Jordy came to the rescue as he sent me some basics on Zach. However, Uncle Jordy’s picture was of the back of Zach’s head as he kayaked-not too descriptive!

The planning commenced. From paintball to salsa dancing to kayaking, we brainstormed ideas and agreed to solidify our plans on Monday. But then, Sunday evening at 8:30, Zach unexpectedly called, and we decided to hit the roller disco. When he arrived a few minutes later, I tentatively opened the car door, trying to imagine what a high school teacher/organic farmer/West Virginia native/kayaker/Harvard graduate student all rolled into one must look like! Upon getting in the car, I was relieved to see that the front of his head is even better than the back, as Uncle Jordy definitely did not leave me in the cold.

One might ask, “Roller disco?!?” You got it! Just try to remember pre-roller blade days spent at the roller rink. After arriving in Dorchester and admiring the “street art” on the outside walls, we entered Chez Vous and encountered the modern era of roller rinks. To our surprise, metal detectors and security guards greeted us. After successfully passing through the full-body pat down, we headed to the rink where I proceeded to demonstrate my complete lack of grace, nearly wiping out within seconds of putting on my skates. In fact, the owner of the roller rink was kind enough to remind us of my near encounters with the floor when we met him later that evening. Skating turned out to be a blast, especially with disco, funk, and rap music in an atmosphere straight from 1977.
After realizing that skating was not our fort‚, we headed to Wally’s Caf‚ to hear some live jazz music. Wally’s is a true “hole in the wall,” filled with smoke and every type of person imaginable. Zach, just as if he were still a teacher chasing incarcerated youth through the woods, successfully blocked our way through the crowd to the premium spot close to the musicians. It was apparent that my West Virginian date, who longs to return to the countryside, is a closet jazz lover.
The evening was topped off with a search for some late night munchies. And as you may know, this is a futile attempt in Boston. Anyone looking for a great business idea should open up a Waffle House in Harvard Square, just imagine the revenue potential! After driving through Cambridge and finding locked doors at five different places, Zach and I decided just to call it a night.

Overall, the Intraview was a fun, refreshing reprieve from the HBS bubble. From Dorchester to Wally’s, an Intraview with Zach is a great way to spend an evening.

April 23, 2001
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