At School With Rivers Cuomo
Student With a Past
By KATE ROCKLAND
Published: February 16, 2006
In the video for the song "Beverly Hills," which was nominated for a Grammy Award and ranked as the second most downloaded song from iTunes last year, Mr. Cuomo plays power-pop chords on the lawn of the Playboy Mansion surrounded by shimmying Playboy bunnies. By comparison, his life as a student is almost comically austere. He lives alone, in a modest 14-by-9-foot room with the standard-issue desk, bureau and bed, to which he has added only a map of the world, taped to the wall, and a small Oriental rug bought for less than $200 by Sarah Kim, his personal assistant. "Most people wouldn't expect a rock star to be happy living in a dorm room," said Ms. Kim, "but he is."
After showing a visitor his modest dorm room library, he was trying to remember when Jane Austen wrote. "I believe 'Sense and Sensibility' was written in the 1700's, and 'Emma' in the 1800's," he said, brow knitted. "She's on the border of both centuries."
"What I am best at," he added, "is reading a book and then writing a critical essay."
This is the fourth time Mr. Cuomo has come off a tour and matriculated at Harvard in his long, on-again, off-again college career, which does not correspond to the conventional schedule but is nevertheless expected to result in a degree this spring.
(Psst! Rivers! Drop me a line! I can help you out with Jane Austen! (Don't they teach the long eighteenth century at Harvard? Sheesh!))
I have a postgraduate degree in literature, so I love that this is where he's burying himself. And the fact that he's finishing now, at 35, shows a lot of guts. But you know, lots of upperclassmen get apartments.....
(Thanks to jennanyc for the tip!)