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March 16, 2017 34st.com


march 16

LETTERFROMTHEEDITOR

2017

LOL

There was only one thing I wanted to do this break: go the fuck home. I missed my family. I missed my home friends. Most of all, I missed my dog (she's amazing—she could be a therapy dog but one could argue that she's too loving). My parents picked me up at the airport with a salad waiting for me in the backseat. As we drove the long, long route from busy LAX to my cozy little suburb, I was shocked to see green. It doesn't sound too surprising, I know. Before you just think I'm easily amazed, remember that I grew up in Southern California. During a drought. The mountains that surround by house were long barren for all of my childhood. Grass crunched and broke under my feet during hikes, trees were black and leafless, and any outdoor play looked more desert than tropical. Driving home was a treat. Hills were lush and green, wildflowers bloomed. Home was different. It wasn't the same home I remembered. There's something amazing about going home after being away for a ong time. In a way, I use it to gauge my progress. Every time I return to Westlake Village I have different news to share, a different set of circumstances and challenges. I spend the two

3 HIGHBROW

hit it or quit it, overheards, strange penn addiction

4 WORD ON THE STREET

first generation students

5 EGO

eotw, freshman foodies

7 MUSIC

Isaiah Rashad

8 VICE & VIRTUE

sex on drugs, royal tea

LOL

LOL

LOL

LOL

10 FEATURE black frats

12 TECH

quiet place, canvas app

15 F&TV

kedi, science fiction

17 ARTS

the raven, wandering

19 LOWBROW LOL

classist mixers, climate change activists

Orly Greenberg, Editor–in–Chief Dani Blum, Managing Editor Chloe Shakin, Audience Engagement Director Sofie Praestgaard, Design Director Corey Fader, Photo Director Remi Lederman, Features Editor David Murrell, Features Editor Emily Schwartz, Word on the Street Editor Nick Joyner, Film & TV Editor Elena Modesti, Highbrow Editor Michael Coyne, Ego Editor Zoe Albano-Oritt, Vice & Virtue Editor Talia Sterman, Music Editor Morgan Potts, Tech Editor Katie Marshall, Lowbrow Editor Jillian Karande, Music Beat Mark Paraskevas, Music Beat Angela Huang, Music Beat Jamie Gobreski, Music Beat 2

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hour commute home telling my parents about how much I've changed—my role as Editor–in–Chief, my classes, my anxiety about the job search. Since I'm gone for long chunks of time, the changes are defined. Even if I can't immediately see them in the moment, I see them when I go home. Time stops, and I can take a breather and reflect. It's eerie to return home and be in a place I lived for so long, but where I was once a completely different person. It always takes a few nights for my bed to be my bed, and sometimes, involuntarily, my anxieties from high school creep up as I get used to my home and neighborhood. Muscle memory, I guess. It was jarring to see home change. I just always assumed that I was the one that came back, new and fresh, and it was the thing that remained consistent. Nevertheless, there's a comfort in it. My childhood home and state is changing, and I'm changing too.

PENN HAS ZERO CHILL ANYWAY. WHY SHOULD A SNOW STORM MAKE A DIFFERENCE? HAPPY ST. FRATTY'S DAY WEEKEND. Dalton Destefano, Film & TV Beat Michaela Reitano, Film & TV Beat Brooke DiGia, Film & TV Beat Annika Iyer, Ego Beat Julia Bell, Ego Beat Jackie Lawyer, Ego Beat Caroline Harris, Highbrow Beat Nick Castoria, Highbrow Beat Alix Steerman, Highrow Beat Claire Schmidt, Lowbrow Beat Andrea Begleiter, Lowbrow Beat Andreas Pavlou, Vice & Virtue Beat Gomian Konneh, Vice & Virtue Beat Aliya Chaudhry, Tech Beat Annabelle Williams, Tech Beat Colin Lodewick, Arts Beat Linda Lin, Arts Beat Staff Writers: Emily Rush, Haley Weiss, Lily Snider, Meerabelle Jesuthasan, Michelle Pereira, Shilpa Saravanan, Steph Barron, Bowman Coo-

per, Julie Levitan, Emily Cieslak, Lauren Donato, Sabrina Qiao Zack Greenstein, Design Editor Carissa Zou, Design Editor Teagan Aguirre, Design Editor Gloria Yuen, Illustrator Anne Marie Grudem, Illustrator Autumn Powell, Photo Editor Dayzia Terry, Photo Editor Brinda Ramesh, Photo Editor Young Lee, Video Editor Emily Hason, Video Editor Kyler McVay, Copy Director Paola Ruano, Copy Editor Erin Farrell, Copy Editor Lea Eisenstein, Copy Editor Perren Carillo, Copy Editor

Sofia Price, Social Media Editor Cole Bauer, Social Media Editor Maya Rosenberg, Social Media Editor Blake Brashear, Social Media Editor Unless otherwise noted, all photos are by Corey Fader, Autumn Powell, Brinda Ramesh and Dayzia Terry Contacting 34th Street Magazine: If you have questions, comments, complaints or letters to the editor, email Orly Greenberg, Editor–in–Chief, at greenberg@dailypennsylvanian.com. You can also call us at (215) 422-4640. www.34st.com "I thought my mom was going to send me a picture of a newborn baby, but instead she sent me a photo of some sexy shirtless man!" ©2017 34th Street Magazine, The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. No part may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express, written consent of the editors (but I bet we will give you the a-okay). All rights reserved. 34th Street Magazine is published by The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc., 4015 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa., 19104, every Thursday.


HIGHBROW

SO YOU DON'T HAVE A FIVE YEAR PLAN...

Deep breaths. It's going to be okay.

CAROLINE HARRIS Photo: Creative Commons

over heard PENN at

A mesmerized snow blower: The coke here has, like, a cute amount of meth. A motorized exhibitionist: Sex on the beach is good, but I prefer sex on a jet ski. A stylish dude with normal glucose levels: I was killing the fanny pack at the villa party until someone asked if I had diabetes. In an ideal world, summer means lying poolside with a piña colada and a James Dean look–alike. In Penn world, summer means landing a prestigious internship that will make all your friends jealous. The grind doesn't stop when your last paper is written and your last exam is submitted. The grind continues with resume gains and the annual exodus from Penn to New York. This time of year, walking into VP feels like descending into the abyss. Venture to ground floor between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m., and you may as well

be on the set of a post–apocalyptic movie. Students half–walk, half– sleepwalk from GSR to GSR. Food is meager and morale is low. Students frantically click between Canvas and PennLink, obsessively refreshing their emails for internship offers. The only reprieve is Mark's coffee and a mildly cute mouse named Oscar. In a school of overachievers, it's easy to feel like you aren't doing enough. It's easy to tie your self–worth not to the lines on your resume, but to the spaces between them—the internships you were rejected from, the awards you

HIT IT OR QUIT IT HIT IT: MARTINI SZN QUIT IT: BIKINI SZN Spring Break forever? As if. You've ditched the beach; now you can ditch the beach bod, but keep drinking. In the end, nothing leaves you feeling more body confident than a nice day buzz.

HIT IT: MARCH MADNESS QUIT IT: MIDTERM MADNESS With exams hopefully behind us for awhile, we can start focusing our attention on college bas-

didn't win and the leadership positions you didn't get. It's easy to feel like you don't measure up. Highbrow's here to tell you you are doing enough. It's okay to not know what you want to major in, where you see yourself in five years and how you want to spend the rest of your life. It's okay if you don't have an internship lined up in May. It's okay to waver. It's okay to not have all the answers. Most people don't—or they're doing one hell of a job pretending. New York's hot and humid in the summer anyway.

ketball. Whether you watch it for sincere intrigue or to see which colleges are worth visiting because their players are next–level hot, there’s no shame in screaming (or drooling) in front of your television. Sit back, relax and revel in the fact that some schools actually have sports–related school spirit.

HIT IT: SNARTY QUIT IT: SNOW BLUES Yeah, yeah, it's cold outside. Cold sucks. You have to wear an extra layer or two and really thick socks. Boo hoo. Skip the whining; let's celebrate snow in style. Bring out the brewskis, let whiskey keep you warm, finagle your way into a drunken igloo and slip back into the spirit of a winter won-

A hyper–sexual logistics scholar: I couldn't even be seated next to all the guys I hooked up with, we wouldn't even fit in an airplane row. A gal keeping it positive: My number would be higher if boys didn't get whiskey dick. I guess it is a good thing.

derland. The cold never bothered us anyway.

HIT IT: GREEN, EVERYWHERE QUIT IT: ALL BLACK EVERYTHING It's here. Finally. The day we've all been waiting for. Patty's is around the corner, which means it's time to break out the face paint, hit up CVS for those light–up headband things, and add some oomph to our outfits beyond the typical black– on–black–on–black vibe. This is the one day of the year we all know what to wear—let's go all out on our outfits.

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WORD ON THE STREET

word on the STREET

LOW INCOME, HIGH OUTLOOK

It was a Saturday evening last semester. I had just left a Penn First board meeting when I ran into one of my friends at 1920 Commons. We were still in that “tell me about yourself” phase of our friendship, so naturally I mentioned my involvement with Penn First, a club that works to support first generation and/ or low–income (FGLI) students. “Yeah, so you know, I'm a first generation, low–income student.” “Oh, really? That’s cool!” Yeah, it sure is cool, I thought to myself. That moment would be the first of many in which my experience gets lost in translation among the top 20 percent of the income scale at Penn. In mid–January, the New York Times posted an interactive article depicting the economic diversity and student outcomes at colleges and universities in the United States. For 38 colleges in America, more students came from the top one percent of the income scale than from the entire bottom 60 percent. In regards to Penn, nearly three quarters of students come from the top 20 percent of the income scale, while only one–fifth of students come from the bottom 60 percent. The median family income of a Penn student is $195,500. Being low–income, part of that lower 60 percent, comes with social implications at Penn. When three out of four students I interact with come from the top 20 percent of the income scale, I try not to let them know that I am low–income unless they ask. When I tell someone I am a low–income student, I usually get the following responses: “Oh... [slightly shaken reaction].” “Oh, okay.” “Oh cool!” “I'm sorry.” “I understand.” The context tends to revolve around why I did not attend a BYO, party or rush event. I have no reason to lie, so I tell them the truth: I am too poor. Sure, I'd like to go out and do those things, but I just can't spend my money as freely as some students who get “alcohol allowances” from their parents. I would have considered Greek life a bit more too, but I hardly make more than the amount needed for dues. I try to ignore whatever other students say because I usually don’t find their reactions appropriate. For instance, being low–income is not “cool”: it’s challenging, constraining and stressful. Just because my friends and I are low–income doesn't mean we hold ourselves to lower standards than the wealthier students who 4

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DANIEL GONZALEZ surround us on campus. We all have dreams and the drive to fulfill them. Most of us, however, have to balance not only academics and extracurriculars, but also work study and other financial limitations. My life is very similar to my fellow low–income peers: I am a Benjamin Franklin Scholar with a full course load. I spend four hours a week on two work jobs at a local

high school ten blocks away from campus. I dedicate time to four clubs. Being low–income is not something a person from the top 20 percent of the income scale can understand fully by just reading an article or watching a documentary. These students from the top 20 percent need to actively educate themselves about low–income issues. It is more than just hearing a token narrative from the 3.3 percent of the bottom 20 percent of the income scale they’re unlikely to meet at Penn. The top 20 percent also needs to be more self–aware when it comes to talking about wealth around people they do not know. Whenever my peers and I hear about someone's relatively excessive spending habits, we're a bit surprised. It is not always easy to accept that people do things like spend $100 on a BYO at an expensive restaurant multiple times a week, whereas my friends and I can

How I feel as a first generation, low–income student at Penn.

only manage to do so probably once or twice a month. Creating social awareness about low–income issues would happen more naturally if Penn was more economically diverse. From the years 1980 to 1992, access to Penn did not change for any of the quintiles mentioned in the study. With that said, I understand and appreciate Amy Gutmann’s efforts to increase donations to the university. Ideally, her work will allow more students to attend Penn who have significant financial need. So, I am a little optimistic about the future face of our school. My optimism wavers a little, though, at two other statistics: 2.1 percent of students at Penn came from poor families but became rich adults; 13 percent of Penn students moved up two income quintiles. Part of the reason why I pursued college was the expectation that I would be able to do better than my parents. With the extra income, I could help them pay off their debts and we could all live comfortably. These statistics tell me that I am unlikely to succeed, even in attempting to move up into the middle class. Throughout my life, I have constantly heard statistics that have tried to predict my outcomes. More often than not, they were not motivational. Yet, I overcame the negativity alongside the other challenges I faced. In a way, these numbers are just another reminder that there is always going to be a negative statistic. Still, I know that I can and will overcome the odds. To the other low–income students here, do not feel discouraged by depressing data about the past. Instead, be motivated to prove the experts wrong about the future. Here at Penn, there is an abundance of resources, supportive faculty and a sizable number of us. You do not have to struggle without help. Penn First alone provides resources like a textbook library and mentorship program. There is also a FGLI Community @ Penn GroupMe where students can stay connected and find out more information about programs, events and most importantly, free food. Moving forward, I can only hope that the FGLI community will continue to grow and include more allies. In this way, we can all work to eliminate those awkward Saturday evening encounters.


EGO

EGOOF THE WEEK: MIKE MCCURDY Jack of all trades, master of all BYJULIA BELL

It would be easy to pigeonhole Mike McCurdy (C '17) as Penn’s Troy Bolton. He plays sprint football! They won the championship! He also sings for Penny Loafers! A Troy Bolton for sure. Mike isn't one to be easily categorized, though. He speculates that he is actually a different High School Musical character entirely: The Guy Who Makes Crème Brulee (Ed. note: a Google search reveals that his name is actually Zeke). Yes, Mike McCurdy also bakes. And he’s pre–med. And he answers texts from random reporters very promptly. Maybe someone should write a musical about him? One similarity Mike shares with Troy Bolton is they both wanted to be college athletes. When Mike was in high school, he was almost recruited by Penn to play football, but ultimately wasn't selected for the team. Once he got to Penn, he joined the sprint football team because he was small enough to qualify. Mike played for four years and was a captain for three of them. The sprint football team differs from other football teams because

each player must weigh less than 172 pounds. After four years on the team, Mike described the various methods he has used to make weight as mundane parts of his routine. Besides a strict diet and running, he wouldn’t even drink water before a weigh–in. “I would go to the gym and go on the treadmill or the Stairmaster,” he said, “and sweat as much as possible.” This year, the sprint football team was undefeated with a 7–0 record, and Mike was named Player of the Year. Mike didn’t mention the accolade, preferring to explain the quirks about sprint football that make it an exciting game—because each player is the same size, game plays can be more unexpected and move more quickly. When Mike decides to do something, he commits with a steady intensity. Once, to make weight for football, he spit into a cup for two hours to dehydrate himself. In addition to playing sprint football for four seasons, he has volunteered with the West Philly Tutoring Project for eight semesters—his entire time at Penn. He commit-

ted to Penny Loafers the same way—and eventually became president—even though he had no previous experience singing in front of others. Despite the lack of previous formal involvement, a cappella had piqued Mike's interest in college. He decided to audition for Penny Loafers after he learned a few of his frat brothers in Phi Delt were members of the group. They talked him through the audition process, encouraging him to try out. Prior to the audition, he had only sung alone in the shower—"I was born there," he joked—and in his bedroom. He tried out with the song “Ordinary People” by John Legend as a sophomore. Mike has tried to match the comfort level he feels on the football field with how he feels onstage. “The first time we had a concert and I was singing on the stage by myself, I was terrified,” he said, although he spoke somewhat fondly of the memory. “And that’s never really happened to me in football. I feel pretty comfortable no matter what the situation is. I’ve been doing it all my life so it

Street: If you are what you eat, what are you?

Street: Do you remember your first screenname?

Mike McCurdy: Probably a Lion from Lyn’s (Ed. note: this is an off-menu sandwich with eggs, spinach, onions, and chicken).

MM: Screenname. Yeah, I do. Shakeandbake176.

‘Get it done.’ Here, I really got to explore some others and meet some people I probably wouldn’t have met, especially through the whole performing arts community that I was never really a part of in high school. It kind of opened my eyes to a bunch of different stuff.

Street: Say if your life was an a cappella musical, who would write the lyrics?

Street: What’s cooler than being cool? MM: Being unique. Yeah.

Street: What’s something that MM: I’m gonna go with Bob has changed about you since Dylan. He’s probably my favorite coming to Penn? songwriter straight–up. Not very a capella–y, but I think that MM: Obviously the singing would be better. I wouldn’t want thing. But more than that, just someone being too a cappella getting out of my shell in genwith it because it can get annoy- eral. Like, in high school I was really strict with just academics ing. and sports and I was just like,

Street: What’s your favorite thing to cook? Mike McCurdy: I love making— what did I make that one time? Bolognese. Street: True or false: jack of all trades, master of none? MM: I would say false, I think people can be great at everything.

comes naturally, but with singing I was just legitimately terrified all the time.” After college, Mike aspires to work in the medical field, ideally as an orthopedic surgeon for athletes. “Being a team doctor one day would be really cool,” he said.

And if history is any indicator, in ten years, Mike will be an orthopedic surgeon moonlighting as an a cappella performer on the side who plays sprint football on the weekends.

GET TO KNOW MIKE IN HIS OWN WORDS:

NAME: MIKE MCCURDY HOMETOWN: BETHESDA, MARYLAND MAJOR: BIOLOGICAL BASIS OF BEHAVIOR ACTIVITIES: SPRINT FOOTBALL QUARTERBACK, WEST PHILLY TUTORING PROJECT, PENNY LOAFERS, FRIARS, PHI DELT

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EGO

FRESHMAN FOODIES RACHEL PROKUPEK (C ‘20)

Rachel's resume boasts two Michelin stars and a degree from culinary school, but her foodie journey hasn’t been a cakewalk. She's been passionate about food since she was young. It was a common interest between her and her father. He “was in the restaurant industry, and during family dinners [we] would sit at the table and talk about the

industry,” says Rachel. A family friend taught Rachel about cooking and introduced her to the Food Network. From there, the obsession took hold. “During high school, I got really into it,” Rachel says. “I started cooking for myself. I only watched the Food Network, and started reading and learning more about food.” Before coming to Penn, Rachel took a gap year and attended the famous culinary

Live music • Film • Dance • Theater Art Education • Community

March 7, 14, 21, & 28 @ 6:30-9:00 PM Theatre of the Oppressed A 4-Part Workshop Series Tuition $45-$125, sliding scale Worktrade available upon request Sign up via “tophilly@gmail.com” Mar 17 2017 @ 8:00 PM Community Futurism: An Evening Curated By Moor Mother Mar 18 2017 @ 11:00 AM Open Discussion: Why Our Feminism Must Be Intersectional (And 3 Ways to Practice It) Mar 18 2017 @ 6:00 PM Philly Youth Poetry Night and Open Mic As an alcohol-free/smoke-free venue, The Rotunda provides an invaluable social alternative for all ages.

4014 Walnut • TheRotunda.org

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Who says you can't go to both Penn and culinary school? These freshmen found you can have your cake and eat it, too. EMILY RUSH

school Le Cordon Bleu, where she studied both cuisine and pastry. Though she loved the experience, it wasn’t without its challenges. “The chefs would teach us how to create French dishes, and we’d go into the kitchen and have to recreate them. We were graded on everything from our timing to our cleanliness to our knife skills, the seasonings, every single thing possible,” recounts Rachel. While pastry skills came naturally to her, she soon realized that cuisine didn’t. “People learned cuisine faster than I did. It was a failure to me when I’d have to present dishes and my fish was underdone, or I didn't julienne my carrots as perfectly as I should have. It sounds stupid, but it was important!” she laughs. As a recent graduate from Le Cordon Bleu, Rachel had the opportunity to extern at Restaurant Daniel, a two Michelin star restaurant in New York City. Externing, she explains, is essentially the chef version of an internship. She was on the prep team, and was responsible for preparing soups and salads. Restaurant Daniel has standards on par with Le Cordon Bleu, and meeting them wasn’t always a breeze. “Daniel has to produce really high quality food, and the work that I did had to be up to that standard,” she says. At first, expectations put a lot of pres-

sure on the young chef, who admits that “[during] the first two weeks, I would come home at the end of the night so degraded because I knew I wasn’t doing the work that was expected of me.” But eventually, her skills improved, and by the end of the summer, she even helped train new prep team members. Going forward, Rachel wants to explore the business side of the restaurant industry. “I realized this summer that I don’t want to be a chef. I have so much respect for people who work in kitchens—it’s such hard work, with the hours and heat and timing. But I don’t want to be in the kitchen every day,” she says. Her dream job? "Owning my own restaurant group and working with other chefs to create concepts. I have the culinary experience. Now I just need the business side.”

JENNIFER HIGA (C ‘20)

Jennifer is a foodie taking advantage of the digital sphere. Her expertise extends from the kitchen to the Internet—she runs the Penn Appétit blog and her own YouTube channel. She became interested in food as a child growing up in Japan. “In Japan, food is such a huge thing in the culture,” she says. Family meals were a central part of her childhood, and her parents fueled her culinary interests. From an early age, Jennifer has been fascinated by cooking. “There’s a picture of me when I’m five years old, with my chef hat, making cheese. I’m like re-

ally small, but for some reason I really wanted to make cheese!” she recalls, laughing. Jenny loves to cook herself healthy meals, but as a freshman, she doesn’t have a kitchen. This inspired her YouTube series, Dorm Room Munchies, which is dedicated to dorm room cooking. “I wanted to share easy dorm room cooking things, and most of the ingredients come from the dining hall,” she says. “I watch a lot of cooking YouTube videos in my free time,” and these videos inspire her content. Her interest in digital content doesn’t stop at YouTube. Jennifer loves writing about food, and luckily, with the Penn Appétit blog, she gets invitations to write about Philly restaurants. “Last week, I got a media dine–in at Ocean Prime. It was a very fancy meal: we got an appetizer, a main dish and a dessert. Everything was paid for except for the tip, and I just got to write about it. I love writing about food, I think presentation and flavors are so important. I just recorded all that, and had a photographer with me." Jenny, like Rachel, wants to go into the restaurant industry, starting this summer. “I’m working at a restaurant in Japan that mixes social impact and food,” she says. This restaurant hires people with disabilities, giving them opportunities to work they might not get otherwise. Jenny will have the opportunity to work in the kitchen, with the creative teams and on the managerial side. “I’m gonna learn all about it,” she says.


MUSIC

YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS:

ISAIAH RASHAD Signing to a famous rapper's label might seem like a big break to those outside of the industry, but sometimes, this career path can impede an artist’s career more than it can help. Take a look at Young Money’s roster, for example—besides Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj, there’s a horde of rappers that you’ve never heard of who can brag about being signed to Birdman but may never see a dollar from it. It goes beyond financial implications too— Omen, for example, who is signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville Records, dropped a track called “Big Shadows” that expresses his frustrations being the small guy signed to the big guy. Despite these potential drawbacks, it’s fair to say that Isaiah Rashad has taken advantage of being signed to Kendrick Lamar’s TDE (Top Dawg Entertainment) label. In January 2014, he dropped Cilvia Demo, which despite the name, sounded nothing like a demo.

It was polished, cohesive and one of the best rap projects released that year. Standout rap–oriented tracks like “Shot You Down” and “Soliloquy” showed that he could bring the heat lyrically, while tracks like “R.I.P. Kevin Miller” showed a tougher, Southern side, contrasting beautifully with the more melodic tracks like “West Savannah.” There was a two–and–a– half–year lapse in releases from Isaiah, leaving many to assume that label issues were holding him back—typical hip–hop business. However, as the intro to his 2016 album The Sun’s Tirade explains via a voicemail from label co–president Dave Free, it was Isaiah keeping himself from releasing another project. “The fact that I still don’t have your goddamn album,” Dave groans. “Everybody was bumping your last shit, you don’t want to get your next shit out? You don’t care?”

Fans were up in arms and weren't getting answers. As it turns out, it wasn’t that Isaiah didn’t care—he was secretly battling alcoholism and a severe addiction to Xanax, the former so intense that he destroyed his stomach lining, as he disclosed in an interview he gave around the album’s release. The pain of that period can be heard all over The Sun’s Tirade—the album’s climax, with tracks like the SZA collaboration “Stuck in the Mud” or the Mike Will Made It–produced “A Lot,” features a dark, monotone delivery and lyrics like “pop a xanny, make your problems go away.” While Isaiah addressed tough topics like issues with his father and suicidal thoughts on Cilvia Demo, especially on tracks like “Heavenly Father,” he took personal topics to another level on the follow–up. At the same time, he didn’t let us forget that he can rap. He held his own with Kendrick himself on “Wat’s Wrong,”

their first collaboration on a track. On “Park,” he sounds as dominant on the mic as ever, and while his delivery isn’t overly aggressive, the confidence in his voice and words makes you believe his boasts without any second thought. “Find a Topic (Homies Begged)” has him weaving together his more melodic tendencies with dense lyricism, covering the topic of not having a topic to rap about. At the end of the track (which is also the end of the album), he

barely audibly mumbles about being in a padded room. While the padded room he’s literally referring to is the studio booth, it also functions as the solitary confinement room in a prison—forcing him to talk with himself, and with us, about issues he may not have initially felt comfortable telling us. But even though it took him some time, we’re all glad he finally found a topic. MARK PARASKEVAS

IS THIS MUSICAL MUSE AMUSING? IF A MOOSE IS A MUSE, IS IT A–MOOSING? DOES A MOOSE MUSE ABOUT MUSIC? I DON'T HAVE THE ANSWERS. OUR BLOG PROBABLY DOES: 34ST.COM/BLOG/MUSIC M A R C H 16 , 2 017 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E

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VICE & VIRTUE

WHAT IT'S LIKE TO HAVE SEX ON DIFFERENT DRUGS Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N' Roll (Minus the Rock 'N' Roll) Bit)

It’s no secret that drugs alter the chemistry of our brains, but what about our bodies? Perhaps you’re new to drugs or perhaps you’re an experienced veteran, but sex and drugs aren’t paired together as often as one might think. Street, therefore, is here to clue you into the best and worst sex/drug pairings.

MARIJUANA

Pot is probably the most commonly used drug around campus, known for its calming, mellowing effects. In general, however, pot doesn’t particularly enhance the quality of sex or significantly alter the user’s experience during intercourse. *Sarah (C '20), a semi–frequent drug user, explains, “I don’t know if having sex on pot makes it that much different because I think it’s just like having sex on what you would expect…you feel like, I don’t know, hazy…” For Sarah, though, she did notice smoking before sex made her especially tired: “It wasn’t like lethargy, it was more like just on a cloud, 8

floating… It just relaxes you— it relaxes every aspect of you.” Though not drastically different from sober sex, Sarah explains she would definitely have sex again high. *Pat (C '18) had a similar experience to Sarah. For Pat, however, the experience was a little more out of body: “Definitely in comparison to sober sex, I felt like it was…not surreal, but just I felt like removed almost… Less present, less in control.” Echoing Sarah’s sentiment of fatigue and tiredness, Pat laughingly explains, “I definitely get tired way quicker, way lazier… You think a lot more and you think you’re doing more things than you’re actually doing.” Though Pat did enjoy having sex high, he decides he prefers sober sex a lot more. For *Katy (N '19), her experience was pretty similar to both Pat’s and Sarah’s. Her story includes the same elements of haziness, fatigue and emotional distance. Yet, perhaps because she’s a nurse, she also noticed something that’s anatomically different about high sex: “For me, it wasn’t too spectacular. You get drier, right, when you’re high,” she explains, referencing a common side effect of smoking called “cotton mouth,” where the user’s mouth feels dry, brittle and in need of water. “I don’t know if it works the same way down there, but at least psychologically feels like

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that.”

MDMA

because it felt so responsive and synchronized. "You feel a lot more connected to the person…You know what the other person wants: there’s never a wrong move—like that person is the best kisser, even if they suck as I later found out one did.” For Katy, however, sex on Molly wasn’t as electric as Mary's DFMOs. She confesses, “It wasn’t super spectacular either… I think it was kind of the opposite of pot—you were on edge.” But perhaps the on– edge feeling Katy described stemmed more from the physical effects of the drug, rather than the mental ones: “You’re still excited and more energized and stuff, and like so the sex like itself, the activity, is fun… but physically I like don’t feel that my mind was on that.” She concludes by saying, “If it did feel better, I didn’t notice a dramatic better feeling.”

Also known as Ecstasy or Molly, MDMA is a common rave drug. Definitely a little less common than pot, Molly induces sensations of joy, euphoria and heightened sensitivity to both touch and light. Unlike pot, however, Molly seemed to create different sexual experiences depending on the time of the roll and the environment. *Mary (C'17), explains how she normally feels on Molly: “You feel tingly and your head like spins, but with clarity.” Mary has used Molly a number of COCAINE times, chiefly at large concerts. Though she didn’t actually have sex on Molly, Mary remembers DFMOs she’s had while rolling. “I made out with everyone… [because] you literally have to kiss everyone you see because you love them and they love you,” she said. The experience, though nothing more than just a random Cocaine is a stimulant hookup, was more intimate that inhibits the re–uptake

of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, essentially resulting in a short burst of energy, happiness and focus. Short–lasting, coke is widely known for having a bad come– down, leading to spells of agitation and irritability. For Katy, the come–down definitely made the sex sub–par. Apart from the anatomical struggles of her partner, Katy found herself tense and annoyed. "Guys get coke dick…so it doesn’t stay hard for very long,” she explains, “It’s also not as enjoyable. Unlike Molly, there’s no happiness—you’re just on edge and tense, and especially if it’s been a while after, you’re just on the come–down, in a shitty mood, and everything kind of pisses you off a little bit, and sex is kind of just the last thing you have on your mind.” Katy has found that coke sex has been bad for both her and her partner and is something they have tried to stop doing altogether. Katy concludes, “Your mind’s not really in it. Personally I’m just irritated.”

MICHELLE PEREIRA *Names have been changed


VICE & VIRTUE

TAKES THE THRONE The new truck parked near Saxbys.

The Royal Tea Truck, once part of the food truck landscape at Drexel, has found a new throne on Penn’s campus at 40th and Locust Streets. The bubble tea and lunch truck joins the growing number of bubble tea options in University City, including Winterfell on 40th and Ludlow Streets and Ochatto on 37th and Chestnut. Street decided to find out more about the move from Drexel’s campus, bubble tea and business in University City. Compared to a lot of Penn’s food truck scene, the Royal Tea Truck stands out with its bright yellow and red painted exterior and smiling pandas dotting the truck. When asked why they moved from Drexel’s campus, a representative for the truck told us that they were offered the spot on 40th Street by the City of Philadelphia and that it was too good of an offer to pass up. The intersection at 40th and Locust is no stranger to traffic, with the Dental School, High Rise Dorms and Gregory College House all within a five– minute walk to the truck. Location isn’t the only thing that's changed about Royal Tea—the menu's changed as well. The truck went from being a snack and bubble tea truck to a food truck serving rice platters. The menu was changed so the truck could serve more fulfilling meals, but

the old snack menu may return in the future. When you walk up to the window, the menu has many options for tea: three speciality teas, eight milk teas and six fruit teas. The three speciality teas are superhero themed: Iron Man, Spider Man and The Hulk. As for food, they offer four different types of teriyaki combos (chicken, beef, shrimp and tofu) and each comes with a choice of six bubble teas. Each combo is $8. After trying the Jasmine Bubble tea, which was sweet and flavorful with soft boba, Royal Tea staff recommended we try the Chicken Teriyaki and Black Milk Tea or Thai Milk tea combo next time. Royal Tea brews their tea fresh, multiple times a day. The bubble tea is also competitively priced: a regular milk or fruit tea is $3 (large is $4) and a regular speciality tea is $3.50 (large is $4.50). In the Royal Tea Truck’s two–year history, this move represents one of many steps to expansion. After starting at Drexel two years ago, opening Teassert Bar in Chinatown, relocating to Penn and, in the future, opening a Temple University location, this Philly bubble tea vendor has made their mark in Philadelphia. They won't stop anytime soon.

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K

endall Finlay (C’17) knew he wanted to join Greek life at Penn, but with the various options he wasn’t sure where to turn. He went through the unofficial “dirty rush” at a few IFC fraternities during his freshman year, but after making it through several rounds of the closed rush process, he had an epiphany. “I had a moment—a single moment—when I realized this wasn’t for me.” Undeterred, he decided to join a different kind of Greek organization during his sophomore year: Alpha Phi Alpha (referred to as just “Alpha”). Now he calls himself “an Alpha for life.” “I felt like I could be myself,” Kendall said. “And that was the difference between mainstream Greek life and Alpha. I could be myself on all sides—not just half of me.” When trying to understand black Greek life, it’s necessary to first learn why the organizations came to exist. According to Amira Baiyina (W ‘17), many were “founded on a predominantly white campus, where students of color were not welcome until things started to change in the early twentieth century.” “There is a lack of inheritance of information, of resources, and it affects your collegiate journey,” Amir said. “These organizations are a way to not only bond, unite, and motivate people, but also to pass down information and values that students of that experience will confront.” Today, there are nine main black Greek letter organizations on American campuses, commonly referred to as the “Divine Nine,” six of which are on Penn’s campus. Though they are much smaller than mainstream Greek organizations, they can play a crucial role in the Penn experience for many black students. Kendall finds people who are unfamiliar with black Greek culture at Penn are often surprised when they hear only nine people are in his particular chapter. It’s not just because the fraternity only accepts people they deem to be a perfect fit. “Think about where we are,” Kendall explained. “If you go down south to a major school, a HBCU (Historically Black College & University), perhaps, the chapters are huge. They’re just as big as [IFC] chapters here. But being at a private white institu1 0 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E M A R C H 16 , 2 017

tion, seven percent of our population here is black. And that’s African, African–American, whatever. Everybody is one ‘seven percent.’ Let’s be generous and say half are male and half are female. So that means 3.5% are male. So 3.5% of the student population is eligible to be in a black fraternity.” There is, of course, a silver lining to the lower membership numbers. “The benefit of having small chapters is that we all know each other,” Kendall pointed out. “That fraternal bond is real. There aren’t cliques. You can’t have cliques.” Kwadwo Agyapong (C’16) agrees. “[Joining] brought me into a community—this type of family that I was looking for. I never had brothers growing up, and these are just guys that are very like–minded individuals, people I respect.” Kwadwo, a recently graduated brother of Omega Psi Phi, had a similar IFC rush experience to Kendall. “I rushed, I did all that stuff,” he recalled. “I just felt the bond wasn’t as close, and that was really [what I was looking for]. I still met some really cool people who I still talk to through those experiences. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” For Sarah Hampton (C’17), a sister of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the Panhellenic process never seemed particularly appealing. “I kinda knew I didn’t want to [rush Panhellenic sororities].” She saw girls standing outside in the rain, crying about the bid process. “It wasn’t for me,” she said.

T

he three black fraternities on Penn’s campus do not exclusively pick from Penn students. The Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi and Alpha Phi Alpha chapters at Penn are all “citywide” chapters, meaning that they recruit members from other colleges in the area, including Drexel, Villanova, La Salle and St. Joseph’s (which with Penn comprise the “Big Five”). As Kwadwo explained, this is both a part of history and a part of the numbers game. “There aren’t very many black students, or even less so, black men, on Penn’s campus, so to only extract our numbers from the black men at Penn, we’d be struggling for membership.”

One can imagine how difficult it can be to organize events that cater to five different student bodies with five different campus cultures and administrative rules. Each organization tackles this differently. “We have a rotation type thing,” Kwadwo explained, “but of course within our chapter, Penn is the most important because that’s where we’re chartered. And some schools are more open to Greek life than others. But you gotta show love to every school though.” Sarah, as a member of AKA—the only black sorority on Penn’s campus that is a citywide chapter—notes the challenges that come along with that arrangement. “Not everything’s here, and you have to travel to a different school, so I can’t just be like, ‘I have an event tonight at 7, I’ll just show up.’ I have to plan how to get there, and I don’t have a car so I have to find someone to split an Uber.” Planning the events themselves can be even more of a challenge—it’s difficult to book a room on a campus you don’t actually attend.

T

he pinnacle of the social calendar for members of black Greek life is Penn Relays. The annual stepping and strolling competitions between Greek organizations are held at Wynn Commons. “It’s our black Fling,” Nailah Hill (C’17) said. Stepping is a style of dance mixed with clapping, stomping, and vocals—sort of like tap–dancing with your whole body. The dance can be traced back to 19th–century South Africa and has been a part of black Greek culture since as early as the 1920s. “I wouldn’t say stepping is a black Greek thing,” Kendall explained, “I would say it’s a black culture thing.” Strolling, on the other hand, is a sort of synchronized, choreographed dancing, and each national organization has their own signature moves. “There are certain strolls that all Alphas know,” said Kendall. “I could go to L.A. right now and turn on the

song, and everyone knows it.” “Fling for us is like a warm up for Relays,” Kendall said. Amir agreed with that assessment—to a certain extent. “I would say that would have been a little more of an accurate statement a decade ago,” he noted. Back then, the Relays festivities were held on Highrise Field, and were much more lively and packed than the current celebrations at Wynn Commons and Irvine Hall. “[Apparently] Highrise Field used to just be filled with music and people— just madness, a big crowd of people taking over the whole thing during Relays.” While these performances are integral to the organizations’ identities, they play a specific role in black Greek culture—and they don’t necessarily apply outside of that realm. “People will ask us to come stroll or step at an event they’re having,” Sarah said, “and we have to be like, ‘we’re not a performing arts group.’ It means something to us, so it’s not so much like we show up and do this.” While strolling and stepping are particularly visible, according to Amir it is important to note that they don’t encompass the entire black Greek experience. “Some people, I will say, in the culture, put a little bit too much emphasis on [strolling], because it’s shiny—it’s something that’s fun to do. And that’s something that’s a little looked down on—prioritizing that over chapter work, doing the real things, the service.”

F

or the most part, the service done by black Greek organizations is centered around the black community and is an integral part of the black Greek identity. “With a lot of MGC organizations,” Kwadwo outlined, “they’re very big on community service and programming.” The Ques, Kwadwo explains, held a “Women’s Appreciation Week,” in which they organized events ranging from salsa dancing to self–defense classes to a “sit–down conversation about gender equality and women’s rights.” And in February, Kappa Alpha Psi hosted a week–long series of events which included a group discussion held in

Steinberg–Dietrich Hall about the relationship between hip–hop and politics. But, frats are still frats—they like to party. Perhaps the most obvious factor distinguishing black Greek parties from other frat parties is the entry process. “When I came to Penn and heard of this ratio thing, it was kind of weird to me,” Kendall noted. “There’s no ratio [at black parties]— we don’t ever do that,” he stressed. Instead, many parties will charge at the door, with different prices depending on both time and gender. “They do charge women less,” Nailah added. “Inflation happens at midnight, and inflation is ridiculous.” The most Kendall has ever seen someone pay is $45, which may seem steep, but on most weekend nights, there is only one party hosted by a black fraternity—and Penn students aren’t the only attendees. “If we’re throwing a party,” Kendall said, “and it’s going to be lit, we’ll have people coming from [University of the Sciences], Drexel and [Villanova].”

K

wadwo didn’t join Omega Psi Phi until the spring 2016 semester—his final at Penn. Omega Psi Phi didn’t have a presence on campus at the time Kwadwo first wanted to join, so he was forced to wait things out. Nailah was also forced to wait until the spring of her junior year to join her sorority of choice, Delta Sigma Theta. “It was pretty late,” she admitted. “Everyone tries to do it sophomore year because you’re not allowed to do it as a freshman, only because you don’t have enough credits.” Delta Sigma Theta in particular requires

all members to have completed 24 credit hours. Kwadwo and Nailah are not alone, however, in having to wait to join the black Greek chapter of their choice. A nationwide moratorium—an indefinite ban on new member intake—was imposed in 2015 by several organizations, including Kappa Alpha Psi and Delta Sigma Theta. Amir couldn’t join Kappa Alpha Psi until the spring of his junior year. As part of the moratorium, national chapters revised and modified the process of selection and initiation of new members. While not much information was released to the public on what specific incidents sparked the moratorium, Amir and Nailah both believe the main culprit was hazing at other chapters. “You have different chapters in various organizations that do some stupid things, get caught, and it cripples everyone,” Amir explained. It’s more difficult for black fraternities and sororities to deal with legal challenges than it is for their wealthier, “mainstream” or IFC and Panhellenic counterparts. “It comes down to resources and membership,” Amir said. “Because when you talk about numbers, and when you talk about the ability to battle lawsuits, unfortunately sometimes lawsuits cripple our organizations because lawyers are a lot of money.”

F

nizations. Kendall’s Alpha dues are $100 a semester—markedly lower than that of any on– campus fraternity, without the chapters’ comparably small size being taken into consideration. “At the end of the day,” he pointed out frankly, “if [IFC fraternities] are taking kids on trips to go see the 76ers and we don’t have the money to do that… I’m not complaining. I’m just saying that’s how things are.” With both dues and membership being smaller than those of IFC fraternities, many chapters rely on their graduate chapters for support. These graduate organizations help provide funding for chapter events, give advice and even give individualized support like sponsoring a chapter member’s trip to an expensive conference. Anyone who graduates from a Divine Nine organization is expected to join a graduate chapter and support the organization as a “financial.” Should someone relocate, they can find a graduate chapter in their new area—the bonds and shared identity established through these groups last well beyond graduation. As Kendall said, “It’s kind of like joining a church.”

inances affect the black Greek experience on Penn’s campus in other ways,

too. “One of the things we’re pushing for is to get some kind of a physical representation on campus,” Rio explained. But houses are expensive, and her organization has fewer members than IFC and Panhellenic orgaM A R C H 16 , 2 017 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E 1 1


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PSA: THERE'S A CANVAS APP Now you can keep classes in your pocket. Canvas has a free app, available for both Android and Apple, and will work on an iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. “I just like that it’s so convenient," Danielle Lorenz (N '18) said, You can check your grades on the go, things like that, check your assignments.“ The Canvas app, by Instructure, is available in 17 different languages and allows you to do most of the functions of the website, including sending and receiving messages, submitting assignments, viewing and uploading files and checking grades. It includes a calendar function, as well a to–do list. The app also allows you to mark up and highlight readings as you view them on your phone. “I like that it pretty much mirrors the way it’s formatted online,” Danielle said. “I’d say I like the website a little bit better, but the app’s still really good.” For one thing, it’s a lot easier than having to enter your PennKey and click through multiple links and screens

on your phone in order to see your grade after getting an e–mail. The app sends notifications when professors upload files, update grades and add assignments, and it doesn’t require you to log in every time. “The one thing I would say is that the comments on assignments are a little difficult to read, but you could still access them which is good,” Danielle said. The constant connection to grades, assignments and academics can be problematic. It can be stressful to receive an instant notification when an assignment is graded or a professor has just assigned another paper. This problem also occurs when you have your Penn email synced to your phone. But for some, Canvas’ reminders help them stay on top of their academic workload, and they like being able to view things instantly. “I like the reminders that it gives you… and I like to know pretty much immediately what my grades are, so I do like that feature,” said Danielle.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

ALIYA CHAUDHRY


TECH

THE QUIET PLACE It’s 3:27 a.m. in the basement of Van Pelt on a Tuesday night, and you wish you could just inject caffeine directly into your bloodstream. You’re drowning in assignments, meetings, midterms—you can’t keep your mind off the deadlines, and your fingers tremble as you type. You’d love to escape the VP basement and the mice, but mostly you need a break from your thoughts. The Quiet Place is where I escape to. It’s a website that focuses your attention, a virtual place where millions of souls

find solace. A place where you can truly get your thoughts out—not to another person or on social media, or even to your parents on the phone. Instead, you’ll be transported to a peaceful site in which your thoughts dispel from your finger–tips and disappear into tiny stars: something beautiful and not so daunting. The Quiet Place’s original project will make you silence your phone and turn your speakers up. The exercise is pointless otherwise. Once you do that, you’ll be welcomed to

the quiet place—a place that will suddenly make you feel like all the weight of Penn is off of your shoulders upon first click. It’s a place with peaceful melodies and no capital letters anywhere on the screen. There’s also no notifications, Canvas alerts, G–Cal reminders, emails, etc. You’ll immediately realize how many things require your attention but you will not have to attend to them. You’re not even allowed to. Then, the quiet place will tell you how it is truly okay to take a break and remind you to stop burdening your mind

with meaningless little things. You’ll watch as the big things on your mind seem to shrink. For 30 seconds, you’ll be told to do nothing but listen to the music. Usually, after the quiet place says goodbye and I feel slightly better, I venture to the thoughts room. In yet another peaceful webpage, you’re allowed to take a break from your notifications and type your worries into a fake status bar. You can pour all of your anxiety, heartaches, concerns, etc. into the bar and nobody is there to view it. As you type and vent, the words

Clear your mind online LAUREN DONATO

will fall off the screen and burst into hundreds of stars—in this moment your worries will start to look happier and your mind will stop racing. You can use it for as long as you want. No one is there to time you or tell you to get back to your eight page paper that you have no intention of writing tonight. So next time you’re in the basement of VP and can’t keep your eyes open or your worries in check, go to the quiet place project online. Or better yet, walk home—you’ve been working too hard anyway.

M A R C H 16 , 2 017 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E 1 3


KEDI Ceyda Torun is eager to talk TV—particularly her TV habits while growing up in Istanbul. “On Sundays we watched either BBC documentaries, like Jacques Cousteau or an Attenborough documentary, or Disney movies," she said. Unsurprisingly, Kedi (the Turkish word for "cat") feels like the perfect offspring of these two genres. Whimsical yet

FILM & TV

REVIEW AND AN INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR CEYDA TORUN

This documentary about cats on the streets of Istanbul is both adorable and moving.

informational, adorable yet poignant, this documentary about the thousands of cats living on the streets of Istanbul takes a simple concept and weaves an unexpectedly emotional story of love, life, and humanity— all while being one of the most genuinely positive and uplifting films I’ve seen in quite some time. Ceyda describes the film as, “childish in many ways, in

its optimism," and the film’s energetic spirit is infectious. The camera pans across gorgeous vistas of the city, while a cat sits nonchalantly on the ledge of a distant building. There are, at most, 10 humans with speaking parts in this movie; the cats are the top–billed actors. And they truly do feel like characters: one is a jealous housewife that hisses when-

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ever another female cat comes around her husband. Another is a spoiled kid that claws at a café window until an employee comes outside to give him food. Even as a self–proclaimed dog person, I absolutely melted each time a cat ran back to her home in an abandoned building to tend to her kittens, or different cat jumped up to an apartment window to say hello to its friendly tenant. By observing these animals in their element, their deeply human mannerisms reveal themselves. Remarkably, the crew behind this movie manages to film these cats without ever intruding on the story—in fact, the animals were naturals in front of the camera, except, Ceyda mentions, “the little modified rovers, which they didn’t really like." As each human comes on screen, they describe their relationship with the cats with sometimes sheepish cheer. For even just minutes a day, the cats are companions for these people and they come to represent the pulsating energy of the city. The film is remarkably directed, especially for Torun's first feature film, and each cat story builds on the next, until eventually it feels as though the audience has experienced a full tapestry of life in the city. While talking about how the documentary got made, Ceyda mentions an “online cat renaissance” with a chuckle. She sees herself as a natural beneficiary of this internet trend: “Ten years ago, I don’t know if we would have been able to find funding for this film, before cats were so popular online.” Humans have always been fascinated with cats, whether worshiping them in ancient Egypt or laughing at YouTube videos

of them falling off of couches. While watching Kedi, one can see firsthand the transcendental relationship we have with these animals that culminates in a remarkably moving final few minutes. As we watch footage of cats all over the city, a man states with certainty that, "a cat meowing at your feet, looking up at you, is life smiling at you.” These cats are more than cute strays—they are a reminder that you are living and breathing and existing in a world that rarely gives you a chance to pause. Ceyda, reflecting on what she learned from her experience making this film, explains, “I think people are philosophical and sort of poetic about their interactions with cats because I think that’s what cats bring out in people.” After asking me if I have a cat (Ed. note: I do not, but this movie has me reconsidering.), she continues: “Cats just sort of sit and stare at you for no reason. They don’t want you to take them out for a walk, they don’t want you to give them food, they don’t even want to cuddle. They just look at you and observe you.” Perhaps we like cats so much because we aspire to attain their level of tranquility. Cats are comfortable just being. And if we could do the same, maybe we’d all be better off. To watch Kedi (which you definitely, definitely should), head to the Ritz at the Bourse in Center City. And if you’re feeling extra inspired, go pick up a cat from the nearest animal shelter. I’m sure Penn Residential Services won’t mind that much. DALTON DESTEFANO


FILM & TV

EMILY CIESLAK

WHY I'M TIRED OF SCIENCE FICTION FILMS I'm embarrassed to think about how many hours I spent as a young girl watching my brother play video games. As the young sister that followed my brother wherever he went, I was often led to his Xbox. There he would live out his fascination with Star Wars, flying spaceships, shooting aliens and battling with a lightsaber. My brother seemed to always choose the same character and follow the same series of events, while I, reclined on the couch, saw endless possibilities to pursue. But my brother never allowed me to take the controller. I have developed the same relationship with Hollywood and science fiction films. I love the genre for its ability to incorporate technology and action scenes with questions of science, human nature and the future. But as more and more films come out, I have little interest to see the next flick about space travel or aliens landing on earth. They all seem the same. For a genre about the unknown and limitless universe, I yearn for more creativity and originality. Repetition shortchanges us. The Martian and Interstellar are each fantastic films alone but, put side by side, they have too

many similarities. In each one, you see high hopes for space exploration crumble with the destruction of their spacecraft, and the male protagonist turns into the MacGyver of outer space. The fact that Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain play the stranded astronaut and wise scientist, respectively, in both flicks must either mean the actors are so good at their roles or casting directors are lazy in screening. Consider Gravity. Does it rely on anything more than debris and gravity screwing up Sandra Bullock and George Clooney’s mission? Christopher Donovan, who teaches about science fiction cinema at Penn, explained that the genre has been exploring the question of where science may take us since Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1818. Over the years, it has advanced with technology and has reflected current events. The year before America reached the moon in 1969, 2001: A Space Odyssey hit theaters, fascinating viewers with a depiction of space travel. Though the nation has slowed their race to space, Donovan looks at recent movies like The Martian, Interstellar, Gravity and Tomorrowland and sees op-

timism about space travel. “I think these films are trying to rekindle an interest in space. They are nostalgic for the national identity that comes from space travel,” Donovan said. “Landing on the moon was a great accomplishment. People may miss that.” Mark Devlin, professor of astronomy and astrophysics, echoed this hope that these films could spark interest in the scientific field. He commends recent films like Gravity, The Martian and Interstellar for making an effort to be scientifically sound, but each of them messes up at least one small or large detail. “For a professor, these films can be pretty painful to watch when they get the science wrong,” Devlin said. “They pay lip service to get it right, but in some ways, they do it all wrong.” Besides the science, Donovan said the genre is behind in other areas as well. As seen in the entertainment industry at large, there is an absence of female directors making science fiction films. In a 2016 study by USC Annenberg, researchers found that out of 305 scripted series and 109 motion pictures, only 15.2 percent of directors were

Houston, we have a problem.

female. This may be one reason gender stereotypes pervade the films, like how lead females often only are robots or the male’s memory of a woman, as seen in Ex Machina or Her. Last year’s acclaimed Arrival provides a refreshing break from the norm, with Amy Adams starring as a linguist tasked with figuring out alien code to save Earth. Taking out gender, however, this seems like another “aliens arrive, everyday scientist comes to the rescue” flick. “Studios like to back what already works,” Donovan said. “It’s hard to do something bold.” That’s why when I saw the trailer for Passengers, I felt like I was watching a mashup of all the tropes. A mission to inhabit another planet gone wrong. Life on a cool spaceship. A female character falling victim to male attraction. Deception leads to the big plot twist in the film, but deception should not surprise in the genre. In Interstellar, Joseph Cooper was deceived that there was a Plan A. In Extant, Molly Woods is deceived into becoming pregnant with an extraterrestrial. Heck, even in the classic Ender’s Game, the huge conflict is that

Ender was wrong to think he was only playing a game. Watching the trailer for Life, which comes out March 24, was even more torturous. Yes, we can see from the beaming grins and fun flips that the crew is so optimistic about what they will discover on Mars. But wait, that life form that comes back with them could be dangerous? It doesn’t want to be friends? Shocker. “Creating life [narrative] has been done to death, but it seems to be a natural progression. It’s one of the last things as a human race we haven’t done yet,” Donovan said. “As we make significant advances in artificial intelligence, there is renewed interest in this idea of playing God.” I get that things need to go wrong in the plot to create drama. I get that we have yet to answer the questions of where else could humans live and what else is living out there. I just don’t get why the action has to be limited in playing out on a spaceship or on a barren planet where the protagonist spends most of their time talking to a webcam in a station. The galaxy is infinite. I crave some more imagination.

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ARTS

herself as a Congolese power figure and walked through city streets in a garment made of earth, cloth, wood and nails. Originally performed in Havana in 1988 on Fidel Castro's birthday, she conceives this work as "an allegorical way to approach the political reality and social promises that have been made and never kept."

THE ART OF AIMLESSLY WANDERING

DETECTIVE

Flânerie at the Barnes LINDA LIN

It's the fourth time that you hear yourself saying you want to "escape from the Penn bubble" and "explore the city," but then you get back to work or job search. From now till May 22, a new exhibition at The Barnes Foundation titled Person of the Crowd: The Contemporary Art of Flânerie might inspire you to follow through. The exhibit will lead you to appreciate the magic of wandering, take a fresh perspective at the urban landscape and find a critical, even poetic, approach to daily routines. Flânerie is the activity of a flâneur: someone who roams with no fixed itinerary, observing the social fabric of the city streets with its inhabitants and their public activities. The con-

cept was first introduced in an 1840 Edgar Allan Poe story. Two decades later, Charles Baudelaire recognized flânerie as the engine of French Impressionism in his essay "The Painter of Modern Life." But in the 20th century, when American Abstract Expressionism focused on the inner self and was at the center of the art world, contemporary socio–political life seemed to have little place in art. In the 1950s, artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Carolee Schneemann revived flânerie. The artists integrated their personal lives and their art, intentionally blurring the distinction between the two. They produced works out of their own bodies, encounters or concepts, at the same time offering poignantly artistic and critically reflective commentary on the broader social and political environment. In an attempt to continue this legacy, The Barnes' exhibition examines contemporary flânerie by sampling socially–conscious art practice created between 1957 and 2016 by over 50 international artists with diverse racial and gender identities. Breaking the constraints of the studio space, these artists have become field detectives who

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study social phenomena, cartographers who map out urban patterns, scavengers who collect civic traces or provocateurs who challenge the status quo.

PROVOCATEUR

One commonly used technique by some of these socially– engaged artists is to politicize the personal body in order to provoke the collective response. Zhang Huan performed My New York in the wake of 9/11. Dressed in a suit made from raw meat, he walked down the street of the Upper East Side of New York City, set doves loose from a cage one by one and handed them to random pedestrians. In a costume of physical strength and a Buddhist gesture of compassion, Zhang embodies fierceness and healing at the same time. Adrian Piper used her body as a field of social experiment in the Catalysis project between 1970 and 1976. Imposing unexpected acts onto her body, by wearing a sweatshirt that said "Wet Paint" or by stuffing cloth in her mouth, Piper wandered around different locations in these provocative guises, observing and analyzing people's reactions, thereby reflecting on her sense of self and her relationship with society. Tania Bruguera embodied

Artists Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Martha Rosler and Tehching Hsieh draw attention to marginalized population living in the city with various degrees of self–involvement. In a 10–month performance project titled Touch Sanitation, Ukeles shook hands with each of the 8,500 New York City street sweepers while traveling and eating with them. She directly engaged with them, carefully mapping the 59 sanitation districts in order to reach all of them and documenting the journey through audio and video. She brought humanity and equality back to the street sweepers. Rosler, on the other hand, avoids representation of human figures in a series of pairings of photographs of doorways and synonyms of inebriation. While she pays attention to the alcoholic homeless population, she nevertheless recognizes her inability to offer an adequate account of this complex socioeconomic issue in the title The Bowery in Two Inadequate Descriptive Systems. In One Year Performance, Hsieh attempted to immerse himself in extreme situations by

living on the streets of Manhattan without entering any man– made structure between 1981 and 1982. By subjecting himself voluntarily to homelessness and insecurity, Hsieh magnified the challenges faced by homeless people through the lens of art. Although arranged in a relatively small space, the works in Person of the Crowd address some of the largest social issues that are still relevant today. These artists are not idle flâneurs who wander for pleasure, but they are critics, fighters and activists who reveal social realities as they walk on the streets. While much of the exhibition is presented inside The Barnes, a series of outdoor projects, including posters, digital works, billboards, public sculptures and performances will take place on the streets of Philadelphia throughout the exhibition run. For updates on locations and the schedule of events, refer to personofthecrowd.org. RELATED PROGRAMS Flânerie on screen: Midnight in Paris (2011), March 20, 7:30–9:05 p.m., register online. Symposium: Flânerie and the Politics of Public Space, April 15, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., register online. The Barnes Foundation, open Wednesday–Monday 10 a.m.– 5 p.m., located at 20th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Free admission to museum collection for college students, $10 to special exhibitions, free first Sundays of the month


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Wouldn’t Wouldn’t Wouldn’tyou you you askask Amy askAmy Amy Gutmann) Gutmann) Gutmann) watchwatchwatch-tional tional tional $20 $20 $20 les of of popcorn ofpopcorn popcor an notnot not included includ inclu tions). tions). tions). The The Th lo inging seven ingseven seven mov m less less less than than than 30 30 b COLIN LODEWICK many many many conven conv con The elaborate and confused history of paid paid paid services service servi inging ing interrupt interru inter Philly's most famous bird buffering buffering buffering and a immunity immunity immunity to and and and most most most imp im A dead bird sits in the Rare named Grip. inging ing to towait towai w Book Department of the Free Grip’s influence goes beyond watching watching watching 7272 m Library of Philadelphia: a mas- just Dickens, though. In 1841, on on Megavideo on Megavid Megav sive, glossy–looking dead raven Edgar Allan Poe, who was livNot Not Not to to me tom named Grip. ing in Philadelphia at the time, price price price to to pay to pa pw Grip was the beloved pet of became an editor of Graham’s Dine-In, Dine-In, Dine-In, Catering Catering Catering &&Delivery &Delivery Delivery the the big the big picture big pict pic Charles Dickens, author of Da- Ladies and Gentlemen’s Magasavings savings savings of of the of vid Copperfield and A Tale of zine, in which Barnaby Rudge Happy Happy Happy Hour: Hour: Hour: Mon-Fri Mon-Fri Mon-Fri 5-7 5-7 5-7 students students students who wh wp Two Cities. According to Karen was serialized. Poe reviewed the services services services rather rath ra Kirsheman, a librarian at the novel favorably, but felt that Lunch Lunch Lunch Special: Special: Special: Mon-Fri Mon-Fri Mon-Fri $8.95 $8.95 $8.95 movie movie movie theater thea the Free Library, Grip was “allowed the raven’s, “...croakings might tween tween tween $196,1 $196 $19 to run around the house like a have been prophetically heard Early Early Early Bird: Bird: Bird: Sun-Thur Sun-Thur Sun-Thur $10.95 $10.95 $10.95 depending depending dependin on dog or cat would.” Before he in the course of the drama.” Netfl Netfl Netfl ix ix orixor iT or was a pet, though, Grip served Four years later, Poe developed Moral Moral Moral of of the ofth as a character study for a raven his own prophetically croaking judge judge judge if you if ifyou yo ju in Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge, as bird in “The Raven”—a poem Dickens wished to understand that Grip likely (but not defi• 215.387.8533 • •215.387.8533 *A*A*A simple simp sim PattayaRestaurant.com PattayaRestaurant.com PattayaRestaurant.com 215.387.8533 the bird’s movements and na- nitely) inspired. of of 100 of100 100 Penn Pen P • University • •University 4006 4006 4006 Chestnut Chestnut Chestnut Street Street Street University City City City ture. And though Grip undoubtsurveyed surveyed surveyed to to c 8 88 Grip enchanted Dickens and edly held a role in literary histotheir their their film film fivie lmv his family with his wily behav- ry, he languished for over twenior and ability to imitate hu- ty years in the Free Library’s man speech (his favorite phrase storage space under a canvas was “Halloa old girl”). The bird marked “The Most Famous was so comfortable that it even- Bird in the World.” He ended tually developed the habit of up at the Library at the bequest biting people’s ankles, a habit of Col. Richard Gimbel (of that banished Grip to the sta- the department store fortune) bles on Dickens’ property. The along with Gimbel’s extensive stables were in the process of Poe collection, which included being painted white at the time, Poe’s Philadelphia house on though, and Grip is believed to what is now 7th and Spring have unwisely consumed paint. Garden Streets (and is now a He shortly passed away, pre- National Park Site and open to sumably due to lead poisoning. visitors). Grip was rescued from “You will be greatly shocked storage, cleaned up, and disand grieved to hear that the Ra- played lovingly again as he had ven is no more,” laments Dick- been for years in the different ens in a letter to the painter homes of Charles Dickens. Daniel Maclise, dated March “People come in just to see 12, 1841. The bird’s death af- Grip—like a pilgrimage,” Kirfected him significantly, to the sheman mentioned. And the point that he ordered a post- bird, hidden away in the back mortem examination to look corner of a massive and monuinto whether the death could be mental library, does have an unruled a poisoning. “This is actu- expected magnetism: a religious ally Grip number 1,” explained quality that’s almost funny. Kirsheman. Apparently, after Grip’s legacy is repeated with Grip’s demise, Dickens had the famous words “Quoth the two more pet ravens, each also Raven.”

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34TH STREET Magazine December 1, 2011 34TH STREET Magazine December 1, 2011 34TH STREET Magazine December 1, 2011

CHARLES DICKENS' PET RAVEN

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ACTIVIST AFTER REALIZING S.A.D.

WON'T BE A LEGITIMATE EXCUSE FOR NOT GOING TO CLASS IF IT'S ALWAYS WARM Watch out climate change deniers, you have a new opponent: Lizzie Peters (C ‘17). Lizzie became an environmental activist last week when she realized the dire consequences of climate change. “I file all my Course Absence Reports as medical emergencies because of my chronic SAD. But I might not be able to do that anymore.” Lizzie is referring to “Seasonal Affective Disorder,” a depression caused by cold weather and lack of sunlight. Student Health Services told us that students filing medical emergencies related to SAD are highest for math

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34th Street Magazine

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