Page 1


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR 6 Meet the Barber in Harrison

10 Spencer: the last Princess Di Movie

12 Slought, Gallery & Activist Space

16 Luca Fontes is Queering Fine Art

21 Would You Die for a Dumptruck?

34TH STREET EXECUTIVE BOARD Beatrice Forman, Editor–in–Chief: Chelsey Zhu, Campus Editor: Mehek Boparai, Culture Editor: Karin Hananel, Assignments Editor: 34TH STREET EDITORS Eva Ingber, Features Editor Angela Shen, Features Editor Julia Esposito, Word on the Street Editor Aakruti Ganeshan, Focus Editor Emily White, Focus Editor Hannah Lonser, Style Editor Maddie Muldoon, Ego Editor Peyton Toups, Music Editor Walden Green, Arts Editor Arielle Stanger, Film & TV Editor Denali Sagner, Special Issues Editor Jesse Zhang, Multimedia Editor 2

On Red (Taylor's Version), falling in love, and finding my redemption arc


he first time I heard “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” was just after 1 a.m. on the last warm night of November. I cried big, hearty tears in front of a gaggle of frat boys on the 41st block of Spruce Street, unconcerned with how I looked but deeply concerned with how I felt. The second time I heard it, I penned an angry letter in my Notes app to an ex–boyfriend that I will probably send two weeks from now, drunk with lingering rage. “You may be a nice man, but you are not a good one. And every day I wish a little bit of my heart was tethered to someone else’s,” it reads. I unfollow him on Instagram directly after, and tuck into a bag of white cheddar Cheetos, my comfort food. I can’t recall the taste of them. The third time I heard it was in a messy kitchen somewhere in Wynnewood, swaying in the refrigerator light with a man who’s unexpectedly lovely. My feet stand atop his—like those father– dance scenes in movies—and he kisses my forehead. I tell him I love him and mean it for the first time, even though he’s been saying it for months with no expectation of reciprocity. “So, this is what it's like to be loved unconditionally,’ I think to myself. I’ve had a boyfriend this entire time, only now I allow myself to luxuriate in having one. The story of Red (Taylor’s Version) isn’t really about retaliation or unfettered breakup blues, however many Jake Gyllenhaal hate tweets we send in our groupchats. It’s about redemption, or being able to confront the worst of your feelings years later, distant and appreciative of the art they made in the first place. I’m still trying to get there, clearly. But each listen brings me closer, and one day I hope I will be able to appreciate the art I created–the magazine

Kira Wang, Audience Engagement Editor 34TH STREET STAFF Features Staff Writers: Sejal Sangani, Angela Shen, Mira Sydow, Amy Xiang, Meg Gladieux, Emilee Gu, Tara Anand, Avalon Hinchman Focus Beat Writers: Rema Bhat, Jean Paik, Gabrielle Galchen, Naima Small, Leandra Archibald Style Beat Writers: Kira Wang, W. Anthony Perez, Anna Hochman, Rachel Ker, Joanna Shan Music Beat Writers: Evan Qiang, Fernanda Brizuela, Derek Wong, Grayson Catlett, Treasure Brown Arts Beat Writers: Jessa Glassman, Roger Ge, Irma Kiss Barath Film & TV Beat Writers: Harshita Gupta, Jacob A. Pollack, Sneha Parthasarathy, Heather Shieh, Cindy Zhang Ego Beat Writers: Anjali Kishore, Alana Bess, Saya Desai, Sheil Desai Staff Writers: Kathryn Xu, Emily Moon, John

3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1

I forged–while blindly loving someone who used me. That’s what Taylor Swift would want at least, anyway. This week’s issue is about redemption and regeneration, of growing something unexpected from the pits of struggle. We have a retrospective on ABBA’s sadness–tinted disco pop bangers and a look into how brain implants can treat depression. As for our feature, it’s a profile on Slought, the art gallery–slash–nonprofit next to our office that was born out of 9/11 trauma and the pitfalls of the war in Afghanistan.


Illustration by Isabel Liang


Nycz, Kate Ratner, Kayla Cotter, Mame Balde, Shelby Abayie, Vidur Saigal Multimedia Associates: Dhivya Arasappan, Sage Levine, Sophie Huang, Samantha Turner, Sudeep Bhargava, Sukhmani Kaur, Roger Ge, Andrew Yang, Mason Dao, Sheil Desai, Derek Wong, Evie Eisenstein, Andrea Barajas, Rachel Zhang, Sofika Janak, Sneha Parthasarathy Audience Engagement Associates: Sneha Parthasarathy, Adrien Wilson–Thompson, Kayla Cotter, Vidur Saigal, Heather Shieh, Caleb Crain, Saya Desai MULTIMEDIA Multimedia Associates: Dhivya Arasappan, Sage Levine, Sophie Dai, Sophie Huang, Samantha Turner, Sudeep Bhargava, Liwa Sun, Sukhmani Kaur, Alexandra Morgan–Lindo Audience Engagement Associates: Yamila Frej, Saya Desai, Sneha Parthasarathy, Adrien Wilson-Thompson, Kayla Cotter, Vidur Saigal, Heather Shieh, Caleb Crain

Copy Editor: Brittany Darrow Design Editor: Isabel Liang Cover Design by Tyler Kliem & Isabel Liang Cover Photo by Jesse Zhang Contacting 34th Street Magazine: If you have questions, comments, complaints or letters to the editor, email Bea Forman, Editor-In-Chief, at forman@34stcom. You can also call us at (215) 422–4640. ©2021 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 Tuesday. (Taylorʼs Version)



I've Never Had a Serious Relationship— And That's OK Before I could have cinematic moments with others, I had to experience them alone. | MEHEK BOPARAI

Illustration by Tyler Kliem

spend most of my time alone. My hours of daylight have been scattered across modernist novels, SEPTA rides to Trader Joe’s, and dozens of cortados from the café two blocks away. It took me several years to realize this was ideal—to realize how much comfort I find away from the gaze of others. Yet, as a 21–year–old about to graduate university, I can't deny that there has been a gnawing in me to want more. I am a cynical romantic; somewhere inside of me lies a desire to be a half of a whole, a character in a Sally Rooney narrative, a crystallized Hallmark ending scene. But coated in this desire is a film of jadedness. I can't imagine salvaging all of my coveted free time getting to know the entirety of someone else’s existence and then potentially having it be tarnished, along with my emotional state. That is the greatest takeaway I’ve learned in university: I experience emotions far too intensely. It’s not an excuse to want to stray as far away from intimacy as possible, but it is a major factor in my reluctance. I turn over the most insignificant memories of affection until they become obsolete. I pen short stories about quick chess games and conversations of love. I fixate on every word others say until they feel like sandpaper on my tongue. Above all else, I stop perceiving myself as my own person but through the eyes of men. I ruminate over all aspects of myself, physically and psychologically, to predict every single opinion one might have of me from a brief interaction. It becomes exhausting trying to navigate how you feel towards someone when you’re piecing together how they might feel about you. Arriving at my final year of college, I struggled heavily with this personality trait of hyperawareness. I wanted to retreat into myself while others at Penn embarked on relationships. Love appeared as a dreamscape that I wouldn’t allow myself to access, because of my hyper–fixation on how I would exist within it. My immense comfort in being alone was not out of my own free will, and instead out of my anxieties towards spending myself emotionally. Over dinner conversations, my close friends and I would poke fun at

each other’s failed romantic endeavors, from being the subject of an ex’s diss track to being friend–zoned because my family was from the “wrong part of India.” It was cathartic, glossing over our abandoned paramours in a way that mellowed out their intensity. But it was also excessive, for the more time we dedicated towards discussing other people who were no longer relevant, the less time we spent talking about what actually mattered. This past autumn has been an experiment for me: How do I find solace in enjoying quality time, with both myself and others, without worrying about how I am perceived? In other words, is it possible to be not only content but happy in being myself, for myself? As I’ve worked to shift the narrative away from “Would someone like me?” to “Do I like myself?,” I’ve come to terms with enjoying who I am. Of course, it’s a glaring cliché to “fall in love" with yourself, and I admit that wholeheartedly. But it also has some sincerity behind it, which is that securing your understanding of reality and how you exist within it shapes how you experience it. I think often about Virginia Woolf ’s quote, “No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” Although she was writing this in the context of women’s fiction, it brings a certain clarity about being a woman in general—understanding one’s self is the apex of existing, and everything else that falls after is a side effect. It may be impossible to remove myself entirely from the male gaze, but I shouldn’t have to subject myself to it at every possible moment. So perhaps I do feel all too intensely, but there is a beauty in the melodrama that I don't want to change. I didn’t have a romantic relationship in college—I never experienced the cinematic qualities of shared ice cream or Center City date nights. But I believe I got something much more valuable in return. I have a handful of friends who understand me deeply. I have long nights spent arguing over who broke the oven until we cry, spontaneous drives to an empty Times Square at three in the morning, and a collection of platonic love notes pasted on my bedroom wall. Above all else, I have myself, and perhaps there is no need to sparkle indeed.

N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E






Field Hockey, Penn Counterparts, Friars Senior Society, Chi Omega

This Penn senior can be found on the field and the stage, juggling her favorite activities. | SAYA DESAI 34th STREET: Can you tell us about your involvement in Counterparts? MADISON WOODS: I'm a four–year member, and I'm currently vice president. My role entails helping out with a lot of little logistical things, but my main role is organizing a lot of our social events, which is obviously really fun. I was pub [publicity] manager in past years as well. We have our show coming up this weekend. It's called "Blue Since the Day We Parted." It's a Mamma Mia theme. I'm very excited about it. We also have an album coming out this Friday which is really exciting, and it is called With You. (Ed. note: The album was released on Nov. 12; the show took place on Nov. 12 and 13.) The best part about being a part of the group is that we all have this shared love for singing. We're all involved in a lot of different activities, which is really cool that it's such a diverse group of people. For example, I'm on field hockey, we have some people who are founders of business frats, and we have some Kite and Key people. It's often a lot more than just the singing. We're not just people who sing together; 4

they're also my best friends, which makes it super fun. Even though we get off track at rehearsals sometimes, I always laugh so much with them. We have a few people in the group, myself included, that ar-

gone " We've through so

It's really cool because it makes our group and every song unique. We did a really cool mashup during COVID–19 with "Don't Start Now," and we incorporated some Rihanna too, which was so fun. I think any mashup that we do is always really cool. STREET: Why do you love field hockey?

dancing, all of that. My friends in middle school decided to do a field hockey camp. I did it because they were doing it, and I ended up really loving it. I got more serious with it throughout middle school and into high school, and luckily it brought me here. It was a bit unexpected for sure. There's really no greater bond

much together, whether it's a tough practice or if you're getting ready to play a really tough team.

range the music. After we pick out what songs we're going to sing, we use a software called Noteflight to basically write out every single part of the song that each person in the group will sing. We take a lot of pride in writing our own arrangements—we put our heart and soul into them. Sometimes we even put in different member’s names.

3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1

Photo courtesy of Madison Woods

MW: IIt's weird because I did not play sports growing up. I was a musical theater kid—I did singing,

than being on a team, especially with field hockey. We've gone through so much together, whether


it's a tough practice or if you're getting ready to play a really tough

bodies work. What really got me interested was a class called "Mu-

advice in that realm. It definitely keeps life very exciting—there's always something new. I love how many great parts there are about each group and the people in them.

you spend " When so much time with

a group of people, you end up being okay with potentially dying for them.

Photo courtesy of Madison Woods

team. They're my best friends too. I live with them. When you spend so much time with a group of people, you end up being okay with potentially dying for them. STREET: What got you interested in neuroscience? MW: I've always been really interested in the STEM field, and I am also pre–med. I'm interested in how our minds work and how our

sic and the Brain." I've always been interested in things like the intersection between neuroscience and music, and so that's what initially drew me towards my major, but I'm really interested in STEM in general. STREET: What’s the key to juggling it all? MW: As far as organization, I don't have any. I don't have much

They're just so different, but it makes a nice contrast in every element of my life. STREET: Tell us about yourself outside of Penn and school. What makes you unique? MW: I don't have one specific part of my personality that is the most important—I like to say that I have many different personality traits. One day I'll be out on the field checking someone, and another day I'll be singing jazz with

my friends. I guess what makes me unique is that I'm very fortunate to have many different interests and involvements, and lots of different friends and groups through that. STREET: What's your most memorable experience at Penn? MW: I would say our [2020] spring break tour with Counterparts. We went to Los Angeles, and it was such a great week. Like I said, our group is about much more than singing. We actually got to meet up with John Legend, who is an alumnus and was in Counterparts when he was at Penn. He invited us to his recording studio. We got to listen to his music, and it was just so great. Even besides that, we had the best time and spent a lot of time on the beach. STREET: What’s next for you after Penn? MW: I'm going to be taking a gap year, working in clinical research, and applying to med school.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

LIGHTNING ROUND STREET: Last song you listened to? MW: "Chiquitita" by ABBA. STREET: If you were a building on campus, which would you be and why? MW: Smokey Joe's, and I'm not going to provide any more context. STREET: Last meal you cooked? MW: Lemon, garlic, and white wine salmon—sort of like a reduction. STREET: If you could have any superpower, what would it be? MW: I would like to speak to animals because I love them so much. STREET: There’s two types of people at Penn ... MW: People who have daily planners and people who just jot random information down in their notes app. STREET: And you are? MW: Obviously the notes app—definitely like to live in the moment.

N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E




Fresh Fades


Friendship Ph oto b y Je sse Z h an g

Have no fear. Your next haircut is in good hands. | ALANA BESS


arrison’s elevator is working overtime these days. A roster of passengers routinely ride it with one thing in mind: transformation. If you were to head up to the 16th floor yourself, you’d hear laughter, music, and a faint buzzing sound reminiscent of your hometown barbershop. Your ears aren’t playing tricks on you—as you walk down the hallway, the buzzing and conversation amplify. Suddenly, there’s silence. A few moments later, a door opens and the kid from your computer science class walks out with hair just a little shorter than you remember. The guy standing behind him turns to you and smiles widely. “Hey man, are you next?” Andrew Mendoza (W '24) has been cutting people’s hair for over five years. Since his first 6

year of high school, people have trusted him with pretty much the entirety of their appearances—and for good reason. With a current average of 50 clients a week, Andrew is by no means someone whose talent should be doubted. Penn students, alumni, and Philadelphia residents all vie for time in the chair in Andrew’s room. According to Andrew, it started as a joke. One day after school, his friend asked him to learn how to cut his hair. Haircuts are expensive in their hometown of Little Elm, Texas, and Walmart was practically begging them to grab some shiny clippers off its shelves. Two hours later, Andrew’s garage floor was covered in hair, and his friend was left with a haircut that, according to Andrew, was “trash.” But that never deterred him. He enjoyed the

3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1

rhythmic movements that came with cutting hair and the satisfaction of nailing someone’s new fade. Before long, Andrew was cutting hair for his dad, cousins, uncles, nephews, and pretty much anyone else he could. Eventually, his family barber found out he was cutting hair and offered him a job. "I started working over there with him," he says with a shy smile. "It was very illegal, and I was getting paid under the table." At first, Andrew made a 50% commission. Soon after, a competing barber poached the young coiffeur with a 70% commission. Once COVID–19 hit, he brought his clients home with him, their cars circling the block. From 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., Andrew welcomed people to his trusted barber’s chair, played music, and worked his magic on them. “You couldn’t come unless you had an

appointment, and sometimes people would try to sneak in with their family members. I’d always let it slide, but it definitely set me back a lot,” he laughs. Caring about others comes naturally to Andrew. With a double concentration in finance and health care management, the sophomore's lifelong dream has always been to open up his own hospital. “If I’m not directly helping people by being a doctor, I want to be able to do it from a distance,” he says. That's why cutting hair means a lot more to Andrew than just extra pocket money—it means supporting his family. When Penn moved online last year, Andrew stayed home to make more money cutting hair in between Zoom classes. Once classes became in–person, word of Andrew’s abilities spread quickly on campus. “I knew some people from school already before this semester, and they’d hit me up on Instagram asking, ‘Bro, can I come in for a cut?’ and, ‘Oh, are you on campus now?’ And I’d cut them up,” Andrew says. When I ask Andrew about his favorite part of giving haircuts, his face lights up. “The people,” he answers. It doesn’t take a genius to realize how much he values the interpersonal relationships he’s built through his intimate client interactions. He constantly finds himself amazed at the fact that he’s befriended people from all across the world—Puerto Rico, China, Japan, Mexico, and more. “They each have their own stories to tell through their own languages, right? They have their own essences, and it’s just so great conversing with them because I feel that real barbershop aspect,” Andrew says. People tell him that that feeling resonates

more strongly in his room than in an actual barbershop. “In a real shop, people only go there to get cuts—boom, boom, done,” he says. In Andrew’s shop, you’re met with a shoulder to cry on. “I’ve had people cry in front of me after getting a cut, and it means a lot to me,” he says. “You know, you come in, sit down for 25 minutes, and just let me know what’s going on in your life.” Some people have never had a consistent barber in their lives, and now Andrew is theirs. His haircut zone is a no–judgment zone. “Sometimes it takes a toll on me, because I didn’t know you’re going through this ... I still love it though because I get to help people to not only look good, but to feel good as well,” he says. Clients have called it a therapy session, and perhaps rightfully so. Outside of his makeshift barbershop walls, Andrew is an active member of Onda Latina, Penn’s premier Latinx dance group. He's also the treasurer of MEChA de Penn, a club dedicated to exploring Mexican culture on campus. “I love the atmosphere in those clubs because I really see myself in everyone in them,” he says. Plus, the members all make for great clients. Through everything Andrew has learned during his career cutting hair, he's taken away one important message: Be kind to others. “You never know what anybody’s going through, and you can change their world just by being nice to them,” he says. His impact on campus extends beyond the 16th floor of Harrison, past the streets filled with students walking to class with fresh fades, and into the hearts of everyone he greets. Meet Andrew once, make a friend forever.



we have all of your

holiday essentials party platters make entertaining easy! Pick up a guide & order today! Pick up an order form at the deli counter, call 1.888.358.7328 or order online at

g EnterGutainin ide 8/30/21 11:42 AM e_FY21.indd 2

NAIDACM IV172370_EntertainingGuid

N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E




Illustration by Isabel Liang


REMAINS POP’S MOST INFLUENTIAL TRAILBLAZERS The Swedish pop juggernauts continue to reinvent the wheel. | ALANA BESS


y now, ABBA owns the number 17, just like Taylor Swift’s association with 13 and 22. But their chokehold on the music industry is more than the resurgence of “Dancing Queen” on birthdays. No other act comes close


to ABBA’s role in shaping the pop music we know and love today, and it’s not hard to think that their legacy will continue for decades to come. When the group originally formed in 1972, they were dead set on making English pop mu-

3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1

sic, a difficult debut genre in their home country Sweden. After winning Eurovision just two years later, their overnight fame catapulted their status to a mainstream enigma. Following their victory, ABBA’s success with their music never stopped,

even in current pop culture. They spawned multiple hits such as “Waterloo” and “Money, Money, Money,” and international tours were sold out. At a time when rock and roll was at its peak following the breakout of The Beatles, ABBA


stood out by focusing on albums as complete bodies of work. Each song spoke to the citizens of Sweden, Europe, and the world. In the midst of global conflict, ABBA’s music represented the hopeful dreams that could someday come true. The lyrics were also extremely relevant to the time period, such as The Visitors' title track's focus on life in Soviet societies. Their dedication to theatrical and dramatic productions paved the way for the hugely popular “Mamma Mia,” which is based on their discography. Finally, ABBA was able to uncover the secret to the perfect pop song by using repetition and simple yet catchy hooks. Even when ABBA disbanded in the '80s, their achievements paved the way for Swedish dominance in music. Out of the entirety of Europe, Sweden remains disproportionately represented in the pop landscape. Robyn, Ace of Base, Avicii, Lykke Li, Tove Lo, and Max Martin have all found success as songwriters, producers, and performers. Their accomplishments are partly thanks to ABBA’s initial popularity and the Swedes’ growing interest in music. Voyage, the group’s ninth album, is their first new release in 40 years. The surprise announcement came in late August when ABBA posted a cryptic tweet on their newly created account. Instead of continuing to relish in their dominant past, the group has continued to adapt and innovate in today’s age. Their TikTok account boasts over two million followers, and their website dedicated to Voyage is headlined by the four members in futuristic outfits. These ABBAtars will also perform virtually in the ABBA Voyage concert in a custom arena. Even though the pandemic forced the release of digital concerts like Dua Lipa’s “Studio 2054” and Billie Eilish’s performance of her debut

album, ABBA’s tour is still incredibly ambitious. Indie artists have explored the intersection of sci–fi and music such as Grimes’ Miss Anthropocene, but ABBA is one of the first major artists to fully immerse themselves in the future of the universe. For such a legacy act, ABBA is more than up to date. Most of ABBA’s album rollout is adapted to modern times, but the singles of Voyage still keep ABBA’s signature glittering optimism. Some tracks on Voyage were written in the '70s but weren't released until now, such as “Just a Notion.” It was originally written for their sixth

everything.” She is determined to be “in this together” after a “new spirit has arrived,” and if there’s a temporary conflict, “it all comes down to love.” While “I Still Have Faith In You” isn’t meant to be a tear–jerker, its wistful atmosphere attracts evocative memories of a challenging but dynamic relationship. Upbeat tracks like “Don’t Shut Me Down” bring out the carefree energy of the '80s in an old–fashioned style unlike the synth–pop hits of today. Agnetha Fältskog talks about learning "to cope” after changing into a new “shape and form,” and this new-

"At a time when rock and roll was at its peak following the breakout of The Beatles, ABBA stood out by focusing on albums as complete bodies of work. Each song spoke to the citizens of Sweden, Europe, and the world. In the midst of global conflict, ABBA’s music represented the hopeful dreams that could someday come true."

album Voulez–Vous, but it didn’t fit in with the rest of the tracklist. However, even their more recently written work such as “I Still Have Faith In You” retains the magical nostalgia of the twentieth century. The singers’ angelic voices are complemented by electric guitars, bright synths, and glittery piano notes that are distinctly sentimental. From just the song’s title, it’s clear that ABBA hasn’t lost their knack for positivity. Anni–Frid Lyngstad, one of the members of ABBA, is confident that even “through all these years,” she and her partner “have a story” where “passion and courage / is

found inspiration matches the track’s airy strings and soft, sparkling electronics. Even when she feels that she’s "fired up” and asks others not to “shut [her] down,” she’s able to recognize the power of “love and hope” as well. These adjustments to her personality when necessary apply not only to her love life but also to ABBA’s history. The band has never shed their core musical identity, but their adaptation to the modern era is nothing short of legendary. The shapeshifters of pop have completed their reign, with Voyage as a fitting conclusion to their global conquest. Flutes and xylophones on

“Bumblebee” mimic nature’s most pleasing qualities. However, “Bumblebee” is much darker than it sounds. While Fältskog and Lyngstad are fixated on a bee who “likes the lilacs” and is “just a tiny, fuzzy ball,” they are also worried about our "world where all is changing” and uninhabitable for bees in the future. For now, they’re “watching clouds sail with the breeze,” but the thought that some could never hear “the hum of bumblebees” disturbs them. Some listeners might be turned off by the unrelenting happiness exuded from most of Voyage, but “Bumblebee” is a reminder that ABBA also touches on important topics such as climate change throughout their work. ABBA’s role in the music industry is a coveted one that very few can boast. The quality and success of Voyage don’t matter. Their triumphant, modernized return makes it clear that this is just a victory lap. The band has already staked their claim as legends, joining the ranks of Prince and Michael Jackson. Even for an international group, their global reach has no bounds. And with their transition to the digital age, their story will live on forever past the old–fashioned CDs and cassettes. ABBA announced that after the release of Voyage, their time as a quartet will be complete. While they said the same thing 40 years ago, Voyage truly sounds like one last victorious get–together. Their reunion is already a rarity when other high–profile groups who formed this century, such as Little Mix, Fifth Harmony, and One Direction, have either disbanded or gotten smaller. How has ABBA managed to stay so successful? In the music industry, metamorphosis is the key to triumph. ABBA has maintained their relevance by constantly transforming. Voyage and its tour is the synthesis of everything that makes ABBA so special and remembered.

N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E





IS THE BEST (AND HOPEFULLY LAST) The movie is a haunting of PrincessDIANA Diana’s ChristPORTRAYAL OFtale PRINCESS mas with the Royal Family as she grapples with an impending divorce. | JACOB A. POLLACK

The movie is a haunting tale of Princess Diana’s Christmas with the Royal Family as she grapples with an impending divorce. | JACOB A. POLLACK Photo courtesy of Neon.


rincess Diana, née Spencer, is one of the most beloved and adored figures of the last century. Commonly referred to as the “People’s Princess,” Diana lived a tragic yet iconic life, where every decision of hers was scrutinized. Numerous documentaries and shows have attempted to recount Diana’s highly public life. Spencer is, thankfully, not one of them. Instead, Spencer focuses on one pivotal weekend in Diana’s life, in which no one truly knows what happened: her last Christmas married to Prince Charles. Spencer positions the 1991 Christmas as the weekend Diana decides that her marriage is over. With no paparazzi to account for what unfolded at the Royal Family’s Sandringham estate, this is a strictly fictional interpretation of Diana’s Christmas. It's fascinating to watch a movie that is centered on such a public figure yet still highlights a few private days in her life. While Spencer is a Princess Diana movie, it is more so a psychological film. This movie is extremely haunting in how Diana struggles with her role as a member of the tightly guarded and traditional Royal Family. Diana trespasses on people’s property, gets lost at night, argues with police authority, and deals with multiple bulimic episodes. Here, Diana is living no fairytale. Spencer shines in its ability to subvert the audience’s expectations of what a historical drama can be. The official poster of Spencer, with star Kristen Stewart elegantly lying on the floor wearing a gold and

silver gown from Chanel that took 1,054 hours to construct, is one example of the movie’s subversion. Diana's devastating, regal pose conjures the assumption that she's at some royal function. In reality, the black background crops out a toilet where Diana is throwing up her dinner. Meanwhile, the Royal Family continues their Christmas celebrations and pretends to act oblivious to Diana’s eating disorder— not very elegant in the slightest. While Spencer does include exceptional sets, costumes, and performances by secondary characters like Diana’s royal dresser, played by Sally Hawkins, and Sandringham estate runner Major Alistair Gregory, played by Timothy Spall, this movie hinges completely on Stewart’s performance of Princess Diana. Without a doubt, Stewart gives the best performance of her life and of the year. Her spot–on Princess Diana accent and mannerisms make for a heartbreaking and authentic performance. What makes Stewart’s performance different from the rest of her Diana contemporaries is that she is not acting as Diana the icon. Stewart fleshes Diana out into a worried mother who is struggling to keep her life from falling apart, an aspect of the person much more relatable than the princess whose wedding was watched by billions of people. In many ways, this has been the role that Stewart has been working for since she left the Twilight series. After going through an indie phase, not unlike her co–star Robert Pattinson, Stewart slowly earned critical praise and fans who were

1 0 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1

not just teenage girls. Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Stewart acknowledged that Diana and herself have similarly both lived highly scrutinized lives: “I have a lot of cameras in my life; I have to talk to people about things that I cherish.” Yet, Stewart also recognizes that she is much more free than Diana, who had to live a dishonest life when facing the public. “I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to be forced to perpetuate a lie,” Stewart said when discussing Diana’s life. Despite being a movie centered around Christmas, which is often associated with themes of family and community, the rest of the Royal Family besides Diana are rarely shown. Diana has one intense scene with Prince Charles, a few with William and Harry, one with Queen Elizabeth, and that’s it for the Royal Family. Rather, the members lurk in the shadows, which helps create Diana’s feeling of entrapment. The same holds true to the unnamed Camilla Parker Bowles, who is in the background of just one scene, but her influence over Prince Charles remains a deep concern to Diana throughout the film. Pablo Larraín, the director of Spencer, is no stranger to semi–fictional biopics. In 2016, Larraín directed Jackie, which recounted the days after John F. Kennedy was assassinated. But while Jackie remains somewhat historically accurate, Spencer runs freely with few elements of reality. This allows Larraín to take Diana through imaginative and totally impractical scenarios to intensify her feelings of isolation and torment in her marriage.

Without giving any spoilers, Diana takes several life–threatening risks, which are not at all shown in the trailers. Diana also becomes captured by a fellow royal wife who was betrayed by her husband: Anne Boleyn. The ghost of Anne Boleyn follows Diana throughout the film, as Diana feels tethered to Anne’s life and grows worried that she will face a tragic fate similar to Anne's. With a hint of accurate foreshadowing, Spencer argues that Diana’s death due to a car crash is the modern equivalent to Anne Boleyn’s beheading in relation to the royal timeline. All of the events of Spencer are backed by a roaring score composed by Jonny Greenwood. Blending jazz and classical music, he perfectly demonstrates Diana’s modern interpretation of tradition and the burden she feels as a member of the British Royal Family. Hollywood is in the middle of its Diana–sance, highlighting her innocent and exposed life. Just this very year, there are three Princess Diana projects being filmed or released: The Crown's fifth season is being filmed with Elizabeth Debicki, Diana: The Musical has just hit Broadway, and of course, Spencer was released in theaters this November. Hopefully the Diana craze will fizzle out, as most of these projects merely try to capture the glamor and tragedy of Diana’s life. We could all honor the legacy of the People's Princess with much more respect, letting the world remember the mother with a family over the figure that lived a wildly public life.


KRISTEN STEWART AND THE HOLLYWOOD ROLLERCOASTER How did The Twilight Saga ultimately impact her career? | CINDY ZHANG Photo courtesy of Netflix.


nce upon a time, forbidden relationships between brooding vampires and angsty humans was the standard for romance among adolescents—teenage girls in particular. The Twilight Saga, which ran from 2008 to 2012, is notorious for its ridiculous premises, cringeworthy lines, and unrealistic depictions of romantic relationships. Bella Swan and Edward Cullen’s brave defiance of social norms in the name of love is heavily undermined by their intensely codependent relationship and frequent acts of gaslighting—like in the first movie, when Edward makes Bella question her sanity when she notices his vampiric tendencies and behavior. Nevertheless, the five–part series defined the landscape of young adult films in the 2010s and generated a lifetime gross of $1.4 billion at the box office. In fact, fans rejoiced on Twitter when The Twilight Saga made its return to Netflix earlier this year in July. Whether it’s the phenomenon of something being "so bad, it’s good" at play or because it feeds right into our subconscious fantasies, its global success came as a surprise to both viewers and 18–year–old Kristen Stewart. Stewart had never entertained the idea of becoming an actress until a talent scout persuaded her to go for auditions after hearing her sing at a Christmas pageant when she was eight years old. She had starred in movies as early as 2002, playing a diabetic daughter in Panic Room, but

it was not until she was cast as Isabella “Bella” Swan in 2007 that she was thrust into the limelight. Unprepared for Twilight’s ensuing popularity, Stewart had to deal with an onslaught of anxiety and stress, and began suffering from panic attacks. She was uncomfortable with the sudden attention from an exponentially growing fanbase, which mostly consisted of teenage girls, but to the public she seemed unappreciative of the support and was criticized for never smiling. When she became romantically involved with her co– star, teen heartthrob Robert Pattinson, her loss of privacy was cemented. In an interview with Us Weekly, Stewart spoke about the Twilight franchise infringing on her personal life: “People wanted me and Rob to be together so badly that our relationship was made into a product. It wasn’t real life anymore.” At times, her fame was baggage she had no choice but to lug around. In tandem with the vampire–werewolf hype and the obsession with the actors' chemistry was a barrage of vitriol from people who were unafraid to make their opinions heard. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 2 snatched the 2013 Razzie Awards for “Worst Picture,” “Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip–Off or Sequel,” and “Worst Screen Ensemble.” Invented by John J.B. Wilson in 1981, the Razzies—formally known as the Golden Raspberry Awards—are intended

to mock the Oscars and pay tribute to the worst films in cinematic history. “Kristen Stewart is so expressionless she might as well be a brick wall,” claimed Wilson. Stewart, having played a teenage girl—well into her adult years—who fell in love with an arguably pedophilic vampire, struggled to access more serious roles after the series ended. For a while she kept her distance from mainstream film, opting instead for indie movies such as Certain Women. We are left wondering whether she has any regrets

with regards to the Twilight franchise. Although she has poked fun at the plot, she admitted in later interviews that she was initially hesitant to express how much she liked the role of Bella and Stephenie Meyer’s books, from which the Twilight movies were adapted. “Anybody who wants to talk shit about Twilight, I completely get it, but there’s something there that I’m endlessly, and to this day, fucking proud of,” she informed Patti Smith in a 2015 interview. Although the parts of the entertainment industry that she was deterred by have

not gone away, she has found pursuing roles she's genuinely passionate about to be the remedy. Despite boasting an impressive repertoire of around 45 to 50 films, Stewart only considers a select few to be “really good films”—among those are Clouds of Sils Maria (2014), Personal Shopper (2016) and, more notably, not Twilight. However, her evocative performance as Princess Diana in her new movie Spencer—which holds the promise of a 2022 Oscar nomination—may just top that list.

We’ve got your holiday party beer! (215) 546-7301 beer 22nd & Washington ave d l e fi g in r p s distributor

Studying too hard?


N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E 1 1



The nonprofit and radical art gallery on 40th and Walnut has been around for 20 years. Why don’t students know about it? | WALDEN GREEN


ven if someone gave you directions to Slought, there’s a good chance you’d walk right by it at least once. The organization’s art gallery, located on Walnut St. between 40th and 41st streets, occupies the same building as The Daily Pennsylvanian’s offices, but many of our staffers probably haven’t even noticed, let alone set foot inside. In their defense, Slought is fairly nondescript, its presence announced only in minimalist, sans serif lettering. Slought’s definition is amorphous. Is it an art gallery? A nonprofit? A community service project? A Penn program? The answer is a little bit of everything. But its mission is rather clear: to encourage people, especially Penn students, to reevaluate their relationship with the city and the country

"[The] ideal classroom would be one where the student and the faculty member and the community resident are all learning together.” AARON LEVY

1 2 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1

through art, conversation, and community. Aaron Levy, a senior lecturer in English and Art History at Penn, as well as the executive director and chief curator of Slought, describes it as “austere.” Levy says the building’s historic designation has made so, limiting their ability to place art and signage outside the gallery. When I arrive for our interview, Levy is seated at a table that’s haphazardly strewn with what appears to be the contents of an entire toolbox—staplers and screwdrivers and the like. His colleague is sorting nails while Levy fidgets with a small piece of wall putty; it’s a perfect encapsulation of his tranquil restlessness, which has permeated Slought’s work since its founding nearly 20 years ago.

Aaron Levy is clearly a teacher above all else; he’s constantly doing what educational researchers call "confirming learning." He peppers every response with multiple “you know”’s just to make sure I’m following along. Words like “porosity,” “ossified,” and “palimpsestic” regularly crop up in his sentences. At the time of our conversation, Levy is particularly fond of the word “ecology.” It sums up the liminal space that Slought occupies. Physically, it’s precisely on the border between Penn’s campus and that no–man’s land known as “west of 40th Street.” Institutionally, Slought is both a part of the University and apart from it, which has been to the organization’s advantage. For example, the Mixplace Studio project, which ran from 2009–2012,

brought together students, faculty, neighborhood residents, and young adults facing food and housing insecurity to mentor one another. For Levy, “[The] ideal classroom would be one where the student and the faculty member and the community resident are all learning together.” Slought’s ecosystem of art and organizing extends far beyond the borders of West Philadelphia, though Levy doesn’t think it could’ve happened anywhere else. He cites a certain DIY ideology and the way people here take time to talk to each other and see projects all the way through. That said, Slought has been expanding its influence and outreach since its inception. Levy and his team even had the opportunity to represent the United States on the world stage at the 2008 Venice Biennale for Architecture for a project about the 2008 recession. In fact, one of their current exhibitions, Art and the Invisible City, is intentionally not about Philadelphia. With the aim of building bridges, the exhibition is an olive branch extended to our “sister city” of Trenton, New Jersey. According to Levy, “The lived experience of many people in Trenton remains invisible and unknown to those that don’t live in Trenton.” This demonstrates Slought’s most core ideal, which is to constantly encourage patrons to reconsider where their homes—and for Penn students, our campus—begin and end. For Levy, the purest experience of Slought would be to meander into the gallery, instead of seeking it out, which is “something our lifestyles don’t allow for often.” Slought is far from a typical gallery, and exhibitions like Art and the Invisible City explicitly break from the museum tradition. The space is vibrant but also perpetually unfinished. There are no velvet ropes separating you from the art. And there are few pedestals, placards, or elaborate lighting displays that, in other contexts, serve to glo-

rify the work’s own importance— or reinforce a legacy of conquest and colonialism. All of the works currently on display, which run the gamut from fashion design to photo collage, engage with themes of gentrification and racism in some capacity, although you’d be hard pressed to

should absolutely question filtering the narrative of a primarily working–class city through the lens of academia, that shouldn’t mean denying such a meaningful opportunity for small–scale artists to show their work to a larger audience. All of this helps to explain what Slought isn’t. It’s not a museum

Photo by Jesse Zhang

“We think of this space as a platform or as a container that can support the project and the narrative that people come to us with." AARON LEVY ascertain exactly how at first glance. At Slought, however, that’s kind of the point. The space also has no back catalogue, where the museum curator sends pieces in the museum’s collection that aren’t on display. Instead, there's a comprehensive online archive of past materials, resources and exhibits that are always available to the public. “I’ve always thought of the work here not just as a curatorial project, but really as an editorial project,” says Levy. “We obviously have voice and agency, [but] we’re also trying to respect and honor those of others.” In this case, Levy handed the curatorial reins over to D. Vance Smith, an English professor at Princeton University. While we

like the Philadelphia Museum of Art or Barnes Foundation. But the question remains of what exactly Slought is. “We think of this space as a platform or as a container that can support the project and the narrative that people come to us with,” Levy says. Still, for a more concrete answer, let’s start at the beginning. To hear Aaron Levy tell it, Slought was never supposed to be around for this long. Much like Occupy Wall Street arose in response to the wealth inequality illuminated by the 2008 financial crisis, Slought was conceived amidst a climate of political instability. Twenty years ago, in the immediate wake of 9/11 and at the outset of the War in Afghanistan, Levy and his col-

laborators had an idea that if they could create a space unconstrained by institutional funding and its restrictions, “we would be able to maximize the possibility of being able to talk more freely and with less restriction about the issues that matter to us in this community.” What was intended as a three– year “thought experiment” was also born out of Levy’s own time as a student at Penn, where he became increasingly aware of a missed opportunity for social justice work from within institutions of higher learning. This was a moment when contemporary art wasn’t often taught, let alone the notion "that a contemporary artist could engage social and political issues,” says Levy. Out of this climate emerged Slought’s first large–scale project, Cities without Citizens, which was in collaboration with the Rosenbach Museum. Cities without Citizens began with a series of questions about trying to define citizenship and what a city’s relationship is to its residents. Slought’s focus may be in a constant state of flux, but the driving values behind the organization have carried through to the present. And an exhibition like Cities has only been proven to be more prescient and essential with every passing year. So what are the values of Slought in a nutshell? As per Levy: “Much of our work over the past 20 years has sought to honor the lived experiences of marginalized communities whose lives have been marked and often ravaged by various forms of state and structural violence, racism, and more.” For an illustration of that goal in practice, look no further than Slought’s upcoming collaboration with Deborah A. Thomas, Penn’s R. Jean Brownlee professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Experimental Ethnography. That exhibition is partially a direct response to the Penn Museum’s unethical possession of human remains, most notably the Samuel G. Morton Cranial Collection. “The reason that museums hold

N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E 1 3


human remains is because when anthropologists were collecting bodies and bones, it was really designed to determine the kinds of racial traits that different people from around the world might have in their bodies, to map those traits onto a hierarchy of humanity,” says Thomas. Students in Thomas’ introductory course “Anthropology, Race, and the Making of the Modern World” will create projects to “try to think through what an artistic intervention would look like that deals with the legacy of scientific racism.” There was no question that Slought would be the venue of choice. “It seemed like a no–brainer,” says Thomas. The stations that students will set up in the gallery space include a “bone room” of papier–mâché crania with traits mixed and matched randomly to the different skulls, as well as a collection of casts made from the students’ own faces. In classic Slought fashion, Thomas and Levy are working to produce a 3D scan of the exhibit, so it can continue to have a second life online even once it’s physically dismantled. The journey from a rogue startup to an inextricable part of the Philadelphia arts landscape hasn’t always been an easy one for Slought. The organization’s condition is defined largely in terms of scarcity—of funding, of press coverage, and of Penn student engagement. Although Slought is affiliated with the University, it is an independent organization that operates with little to no oversight from Penn administration. Levy elaborates that “as a small organization, we don’t have the capacity that would enable us to have a more sometimes sustained and consistent presence on campus.” But the story of Slought is one of being liberated, not restricted, by a lack of resources. When it comes to student volunteers, it’s all about quality over quantity. Lacking a campus engagement officer means that the students who find Slought are a self–selecting

bunch. Levy is adamant that “one of the defining dimensions of the organization is the role students have played in it.” Consistent with his emphasis on mutual learning and growth, he hopes that Slought has broadened those students’ understanding; “that they were introduced to a more fluid, porous, and dynamic way that culture and collaboration can unfold.” Meanwhile, a lack of financial resources has allowed the organization to rethink what a resource even

because money has never been their main asset. Though Slought has had a hand in improving conditions for Philadelphia’s art community, Levy doesn’t take most of the credit for those changes. Now, it’s much easier for organizations to receive support from the city or from major organizations, and arts education is seen as a legitimate endeavor in a way that it wasn’t 20 years ago. Still, Levy understands the limitations on the potential impact any

Photo by Jesse Zhang

“How can we contribute to efforts at dismantling these long–standing inequities and pervasive kinds of vulnerabilities? What role can the arts play in that work?”


is. Slought has its biggest stake in the currency of collaboration; Levy says that the absence of institutional funding has allowed them to become “more of a process–based, nimble, agile, community undertaking.” The concept of divestment has directly inspired some of Slought’s farthest–reaching work; the aforementioned Venice Biennale exhibition was situated amidst the 2008 financial crisis. Levy insists that the only reason Slought was able to survive the global financial crisis was

1 4 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1

academic endeavor can have: “Our small, under–resourced organization is not going to solve those [systemic issues], but we have always sought to amplify people’s lived experiences and to foster conversation around what is unfolding around us.” One recent project that placed heavy emphasis on “amplifying lived experience” is referred to in shorthand as the “Listening Lab.” The collaboration with Penn Medicine consisted of disseminating stories from patients, caregivers, clinicians,

and staff members across the health system, “trying to weave the act of listening into clinical encounters.” Believe it or not, the origins of this initiative date back to before the COVID–19 pandemic. As is typical of Slought, its work has only become more relevant with the passing of time. The Penn Medicine Listening Lab, knowingly or otherwise, answers a question that Levy posed to me at the beginning of our interview: “How can we contribute to efforts at dismantling these long–standing inequities and pervasive kinds of vulnerabilities? What role can the arts play in that work?” The answer, according to everything Levy and his collaborators have done up to this point—and have lined up for the future—is to always expand the number of people who have access to their platform. In that way, the humanities, and especially the arts, can foster a more caring community, even though we haven’t always been taught to think about them that way. But it’s right there in the name: You can’t spell “humanities” without “human.” “It is possible to live in a multiracial society. It is possible to work across boundaries and to honor our differences, but also to develop shared understandings and values. And that meaningful work can be done together. Transformative work can be done together,” says Levy. In spending all this time trying to put Slought into a box, one comes to the conclusion that perhaps “slought” is a concept that you can’t be directed to. For one, it expands far beyond the parameters of that nondescript entrance on Walnut Street. It’s not the kind of place that you look for so much as the kind of place that you find, and what you’ll find is a wealth of resources for desegregation: desegregating the mind, desegregating the school, and desegregating the city. Slought values knowledge as a tool not just for education, but for liberation.


R O F G N I K O O L ORK? W E M I T T R FULL OR P’ARE HIRING! WE .com s o n i m o d . s job

Domino’s Dom


SUN-THURS: 10AM - 2AM • FRI & SAT 10AM - 3AM



Smart Phones


4438 Chestnut St.


215-557-0940 401 N. 21st St.

N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E 1 5


: S E T




A Photographer Who's Queering the Fine Art Canon


udging by his vivid, meticulously– shot photos, you’d never guess that Luca Fontes came to photography by happenstance. Yet, the College senior and fine arts major only caught the bug for his chosen medium in his senior year of high school. He did “a little bit of amateur photography” as a teenager, but everything changed when he enrolled in a digital photo class. “That [was] the first time I started to think of the concepts behind photographs, to think of projects,” Luca says. Since then, it’s been up, up, and away for the Brazilian–born photographer. At Penn, Luca took advantage of the Fine Arts Department’s study–abroad

program to travel to Tokyo for an intensive, two–week shoot. The experience culminated in a group exhibition of his work, spurring Luca to commit to photography whole hog. “I saw my work on

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: How this fine arts major embraces questions and resists easy answers | IRMA KISS BARATH Original images by Luca Fontes

the wall for the first time,” says Luca, “and I was like, 'Okay, this is what I want to do.'” That semester, Luca declared his major in Fine Arts, and he has kept expanding his horizons from then onwards. One of Luca's major projects to date has been a reinterpretation of the queer photographic canon. This exhibition involved extensive reflection. “I think as a photographer, it’s really important to know who came before me. A lot of people had to blaze the trail for me to be here,” Luca says. Delving into the work of his predecessors, Luca grappled not only with questions of remembrance and honor, but also with the issue of critical reflection. “Like it or not,” he says, “a lot of work ends up being problematic in some way. And it’s important to … acknowledge that because a lot of these people are trailblazers, but they also left a lot of other people behind.” Photography isn’t all daisies and daffodils, and Luca knows it; in his own work, he stresses the importance of social responsibility. Luca isn’t one for idle work—in fact, he incorporates queer scholarship into much of his photography. For his series “Queer Futurities,” Luca was inspired by the work of Cuban–American academic José Esteban Muñoz. “A lot of my work,” Luca says, “has a strong base in theory behind it, because I like to be able to back [it] up.” Social responsibility remains integral to his decision–making, no matter the project. Yet, Luca makes sure to steer clear of overt messaging. Never one to spoon–feed the viewer, Luca’s photos are laced with ambigu-

1 6 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1

ity. “Queer Flame,” wherein a blood–red hand holds a bouquet of burning roses, is a particularly salient example. On the one hand, the claw–like arm veers into the satanic; on the other, the touches

the manifestation of your rage or anger [at] the suppression of love and … of your identity. And sometimes there’s a desire to just burn it all down, you know?” But it isn’t all doom and gloom—Luca’s work is

“I think as a photographer, it’s really important to know who came before me. A lot of people had to blaze the trail for me to be here,” of glitter and soft background gradient give the image an undercurrent of hope. What to make of these mixed connotations? Luca answers coyly: “I will provide you with the guidelines, but I will let you interpret it however you want.” This layered attitude is equally present throughout the rest of his work and thought. When asked whether his work has an optimistic or pessimistic slant, Luca gives a nuanced response. He describes himself as an “optimist [who] lives in the realm of realism,” aware of the myriad implications of his work. Regarding his photos, Luca states that “they are all figments of the imagination of queer people. Yes, it’s

wrought from a freewheeling, almost–giddy exhilaration with artistic production. He lights up when discussing his current projects, which include a performance piece involving a large–scale wax candle. The process of mixing and shaping hot wax is not without mishaps, as Luca has learned. But his enthusiasm is palpable as he demonstrates how he forms the individual bricks that will make up the final structure. Luca brings this same passion to his other projects, particularly his side hobby of theater production. It is clear his photography and art will create groundbreaking waves in the canon as he continues to build his career.


Are you following Monet on Twitter? Discover the 'art bots' that are giving history’s favorite artists a social media presence. | JESSA GLASSMAN Illustration by Isabel Liang


witter, the glorious hellscape of shitposts, gifs, and fights picked by internet strangers, now has a new niche for art history nerds: one with an undead twist. Rising from their graves to join the ranks of top tweeters around the globe, fine art icons like Van Gogh, Sandro Botticelli, and hundreds more have filled the platform with their impressive works. Created by Andrei Taraschuk, “art bots" are giving Twitter users the chance to follow artists and enjoy their works during daily scrolls. These "art bots" bring art out of the museum and give it a place on social media, spotlighting painters who may have lived centuries before Twitter existed. Taraschuk describes himself as "a software engineer by day and an art–bot developer by night." With a background in both art and computer science, this Russian expat was looking for a way to fuse his interests when he came up with the idea to give social media users the chance to see art on their feeds. “I thought it would be interesting if I could follow dead artists on Twitter and see their art in my timeline,” Taraschuk says. So, in collaboration with a fellow software developer, Taraschuk began formulating the “art bots.” Each bot is an autonomous social media account, programmed using an algorithm that lets it perform without human intervention. Bots on Twitter are often used to give users breaking news, weather forecasts, and score

updates. “Art bots” capitalize on this technology to share works and to give life to some of art history’s greats. One of their most intriguing features is the fact that the imagined users retweet works of art by their contemporaries. For example, the Hokusai fan account could retweet a post by Utamaro, or the Norman Rockwell account might retweet Grant Wood. Historical accuracy is a priority of the bots, as they aim to recreate what an artist might really have seen on Twitter if it existed during their time. There are currently 565 art bots on Twitter, all of which were created by Taraschuk and can be found on his profile. Many promote well–known artists, like Keith Haring, while some accounts are for far less popular creators, like German naturalist and illustrator Maria Sibylla Merian. Along with bots for specific artist profiles, there are also some dedicated to sharing specific styles or collections, like from the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s Photography and New Media department. Not all of the profiles are for dead artists, either—some accounts were created for contemporary artists without a Twitter presence. While there is already an extensive catalogue to explore, Tarschuk hopes to expand this project to include even more, particularly focusing on contemporary artists and photographers. In July of this year alone, 237,125 artworks were shared, racking up a total of 3.1 mil-

lion likes. Taraschuk says he attributes part of the project’s success to the coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted the public’s ability to visit museums or galleries. As we were forced to shift to the internet as our main source of staying connected during lockdown, many individuals found themselves scrolling aimlessly and seeking entertainment online. The “art bots” replaced pensive walks around galleries with clicks and shares, giving the

public a chance to stay exposed to art even when the institutions that housed it were closed. The impressive growth and reach of the “art bots” has had a monumental impact on the way we consume culture in today’s day and age. They take art off the walls of museums and out of the archive, bringing pieces to the social media masses. The bots allow us to cherish our favorite works and to discover some that are un-

known, perhaps finding a new favorite along the way. “Art is a highly visual medium and it fits perfectly within the context of a social media feed,” Taraschuk says. “It is beautiful, it does not get old no matter how much you look at it, and it does not require additional context.” So, because Michelangelo isn’t here to beg you for likes, retweets, and comments, we'll do it for him. Give the man a follow!

40TH & SPRUCE 215-382-1330

JOIN US FOR BRUNCH SATURDAY & SUNDAY Reservations Required MIMOSAS FROM 12PM TO 2PM N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E 17

More than just pizza reviews:


The End of Dave Portnoy? A deep dive into Dave Portnoy, Barstool Sports, and every reason we shouldn’t be “Stoolies” | KATE RATNER


arstool Sports defines itself as a sports media company but oftentimes comes across as anywhere between a social experiment, platform for the objectification of women, a manifesto for the ‘bros,’ and in many ways, a radical political statement. Beneath the sports coverage and Instagram videos depicting wild parties, Barstool is the boys' locker room, amplified. The leader of the Barstool pack, Dave Portnoy, is the personification of what Barstool represents. His recent slew of sexual assault allegations is the cherry on top of Portnoy’s reputation as a misogynist. Dave Portnoy, who self–identifies as “El Presidente,” is the president of Barstool Sports. On Nov. 4, 2021, Business Insider released an article accusing Portnoy of sexual misconduct on multiple occasions. According to the 4,000–word Insider report, one of Portnoy’s victims shared messages she sent to a friend after an encounter with him: “It was so rough I felt like I was being raped ... I was literally screaming in pain.” Portnoy responded to the report with videos posted to his Twitter in which he denied Insider’s allegations. Portnoy says that the article, which he deems a “hit–piece,” portrays him as “a sexual deviant.” He denies the claims by two women, who were respectively 19 and 20 years old at the time of their meetings with Portnoy at his

house in Nantucket. In the videos, Portnoy claims that one of his alleged victims’ “version of events is not true.” “I can say this unequivocally ... At no point was [the sexual encounter] not one hundred percent consensual. At no point did she ask me to stop. At no point did either of us think something unseemly happened,” Portnoy says. Portnoy addresses the second victim by referring to her testimony as “he–said, she–said.” Insider reports that the victim was hospitalized for mental health reasons days after her meeting with Portnoy. He denies the allegations and attempts to “prove” his innocence with screenshots of Instagram direct messages in which the 19–year–old woman asked to see Portnoy again. According to a Cut article, the victim's mother didn’t publicly report the incident in fear of being "dragged through the mud" by Portnoy. Many people criticized Barstool Sports on other issues before Portnoy’s allegations surfaced. The company’s political incorrectness on social media stands opposite to 'snowflake' liberalism and women who oppose objectification from men. One of Barstool’s traditions, akin to its questionable internet presence, is the recurring “Barstool Smokeshows,” an Instagram account home to thousands of photos of young women paired with suggestive captions. The smokeshows share a ma-

1 8 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1

jor similarity: They all adhere to the societal image of how young women are supposed to look. If you aren’t a skinny white girl with D–cups and a Kim Kardashian– sized butt, you don’t check the boxes to be a smokeshow. However, “Smokeshows” aren’t the only example of Barstool’s objectification of women to build their brand. In the past, the Barstool website featured challenges called “Guess That Rack” and “Guess That Ass.” These blog posts contained a series of zoomed–in soft pornographic images followed by an Instagram handle of the woman in the photos. The compensation for the sexual pleasure of Barstool’s audience goes straight to Portnoy’s media conglomerate, not to the women objectified in the process. In addition to blog posts and various social media accounts, the Barstool Sports umbrella advertises multiple podcasts. One such podcast is Call Her Daddy, hosted by Alexandra Cooper. Call Her Daddy was owned by Barstool until June 2021, when Cooper signed an exclusive deal with Spotify. Since its inception in 2018, Call Her Daddy has taken streaming services by storm. Cooper, a content creator and Boston University graduate, takes controversial approaches to promote what she deems as sexual empowerment among her female listeners. Spotify describes Call Her Daddy as “a women–led empire [that]

Illustration by Isabel Liang produces raw, relevant and provocative conversations that promote sexual liberty and personal empowerment while stripping away any barriers of judgement.” However, Cooper’s podcast seems to define “sexual liberty” as participation in hookup culture, cheating on partners, and treating sex as a game that heterosexual women must strive to win against their male partners. These expectations are unfair, misleading, and toxic, especially for college–age listeners. It’s vital that young people have role models that promote healthy approaches to sex and sexuality. Call Her Daddy doesn’t actually cater to unique sexual identities—or frankly, any identity that isn’t heterosexual. Instead, Cooper claims that women can only be satisfied by their sexual relationships and partners through hypersexuality and competition. As the fifth most–streamed podcast on Spotify in 2020, many young women are impressed by Cooper and her big sister–like advice. However, like “Smokeshows,” Call Her Daddy is just another facet of Barstool Sports that only appeals to and celebrates a certain type of woman. The female audience isn’t the only group impressionable to the Barstool Sports message. Barstool teaches college–age men that their purpose as college students is to participate in frat culture, have meaningless sex, and grow into

minions of Dave Portnoy’s influence. Barstool embraces the boys– will–be–boys mentality, implying that to be a man, it is necessary to treat women with disrespect. According to The Huffington Post, one of Portnoy’s controversial takes was a message to critics of Barstool: “College is too short to waste your time being a killjoy ... Loosen up and f**k a broad. You may enjoy it. That’s me being a role model.” That says all you need to know about Portnoy. Dave Portnoy and his "Stoolies" (Barstool's fanbase nickname) defend their platform by minimizing the backlash they receive. They deem their harmful behaviors as 'satirical' and their opponents as hypersensitive individuals who don’t understand comedy. However, there’s nothing comical about perpetuating misogyny in sports, social media, and college cultures. Dave Portnoy’s response to the Insider article’s allegations is characteristic of the person he has always been: a toxic individual who is unable to take accountability for his actions. Barstool’s ferocious judgment of young women by their appearance, Call Her Daddy’s limited approaches to female empowerment, and Dave Portnoy’s predatory behaviors tarnish Barstool’s innocent overly simplistic 'sports media company' label.


Brain Implants and the Future of Depression Will the disturbing past of electroconvulsive therapy affect the success of a brain implant in treating depression? | GABRIELLE GALCHEN CONTENT WARNING: This article describes non–consensual medical procedures performed on individuals and contains descriptions of depression and suicidal ideation.

*This name has been changed for anonymity purposes. he recent development of a brain implant used to detect and treat depression could fundamentally alter the future of treatments. Before treatment, Sarah* was suffering from severe intractable depression—she was depressed since her childhood, and had suicidal thoughts various times an hour as an adult. Her brain did not respond to therapy, medication, or even electroshock therapy. Sarah’s life changed when she chose to participate in an experimental treatment at the University of California, San Francisco. After researchers recorded and analyzed her brain’s electrical signals for ten consecutive days, they determined a pattern of neural activity for her depressive symptoms. After Sarah underwent two brain surgeries, researchers then placed an implant responding to her brain patterns at the back of her skull. The implant itself is a chip that detects depression–related activities in emotional circuits, then electrically stimulates these places to mitigate depressive emotions. Whenever the device was switched on, Sarah reportedly noticed a drastic increase in her mood—finding joy in her hobbies again, being able to make decisions, and having other pleasurable experiences. Sarah previously had a score of 36 out of 54 on the Montgomery–Asberg Depression Rating scale, a scoring system which rates the severity of


depressive symptoms. After two weeks, her score was at 14. Fifteen months later, her score is now under ten. Her success story has been publicized all over the press and media. About 30% of depressed people have treatment–resistant depression, meaning that this discovery could better the lives of tens of thousands of people. Scientists are considering personalizing this therapy for other patients with severe depressive symptoms, so that each patient can undergo individualized electrical probing to figure out which brain stimulation areas are best to treat their depression. While this discovery is groundbreaking, the thought of inserting a brain chip into someone's skull can be chilling—especially given the historically violent use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). ECT was invented in 1938 by Italian researchers Ugo Cerletti and Lucio Bini, who used electric currents to induce seizures in a schizophrenic patient. After nine treatments, the patient was able to move back in with his wife and resume working. ECT quickly became widely popular in the United States and Western Europe to treat mental illness. However, the use of ECT quickly took on a very dark form. It began in Nazi Germany in 1939, when Adolf Hitler authorized German doctors to euthanize psychiatric patients that were considered to be “incurable”—a euphemism for patients that were treatment–resistant, and therefore

costly to the state. This decree was used as an alleged justification for German doctors to kill tens of thousands of patients, with the main goal being to free up hospital beds for wounded Nazi soldiers. After the “euthanasia” extermination operation was banned in 1941, German psychiatrists began to reframe ECT as a war–related treatment. Once again, this was another facade used to justify the use of ECT in the Auschwitz concentration camp, mainly as motivation for psychiatric patients to continue working. The 1950s were no better. American doctors performed ECT on non–consenting asylum patients, namely on women who suffered from depression. These women were often locked up in asylums and considered “nymphomaniacs” or “hysterical." In the 1960s, ECT was used as conversion therapy for gay men. Patients would be shown pictures of naked men and given electric shocks—sometimes to their genitals—upon arousal. This was implemented in both the United Kingdom and the United States until the mid–1970s. Up until the 1980s, patients were not given any anesthetics, and were deprived of muscle relaxants to keep their muscles from reacting violently to electric shocks. This resulted in long–term memory loss, injury, or reduced brain function. It was only 50 years after its initial use that ECT began to be administered safely, not to mention consensually.

Illustration by Joanna Xiang Naturally, ECT’s troubling past has affected how we perceive it today. Countless books and horror movies include scenes of ECT being used as a brutal torture method to control “unruly” asylum patients. One of the most famous scenes is Jack Nicholson’s character convulsing while nurses attempt to restrain him in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The internet is also home to an excess of inaccurate and biased information about ECT, perpetuating false claims that ECT causes permanent brain damage and long– term memory loss. All of this cultural propaganda drives the stigma that ECT is not only ineffective, but also painful and inhumane. For better or for worse, our culture determines our scientific progress. When public perspectives of ECT are mostly negative, this delegitimizes science and makes hospitals less likely to administer ECT to those who need it. It also causes people who could benefit from ECT to choose a less stigmatized treatment method. On a national level, it provides little incentive for the federal government to fund research and development projects for affordable mental health care and ECT treatment. The reality is that ECT, if administered correctly, can be a safe and life–changing treatment for depressive patients. During the procedure itself, patients receive a muscle relaxant and general anesthetic to reduce muscle spasms. While undergoing the seizure, patients are unconscious and do not experience any pain. Their brain

waves and vital signs are also monitored to ensure safety. The modern ECT mortality rate is about one in 10,000 patients, which is ten times safer than childbirth. ECT’s effects have also proven to be beneficial. Not only is ECT the only method that aids treatment–resistant depression, ECT also has the fastest results. In fact, in more than 80% of cases, ECT helped alleviate the most severe symptoms of mania and severe depression. Comparatively, antidepressant pills are less effective: Around 60% of people respond to antidepressants by about two months with about a 50% reduction in their symptoms, and about 80% of people stop antidepressants within a month. In a sense, we are our own worst enemy. By judging a scientific treatment for what it used to be, we are blinded to its future potential. Though Sarah’s success demonstrates the progress made in ECT technology, there are still many questions. The biomarkers used to treat Sarah’s depression do not necessarily apply to all depressive patients, and the long–term duration of the effects of the stimulation procedures are unknown. Simultaneously, the treatment is still a long way from being an affordable alternative, with a price tag of about $30,000. At this point, we shouldn’t perceive ECT as the human rights violation it once was, nor should we perceive it as an absolute cure for depression. Rather, we should just see it for what it is: hope.

N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E 1 9


Stop by the University Square Farmers' Market for a Midweek Break Browse stands selling fresh produce, baked goods, and plants—and pay with Dining Dollars. | ANNA HOCHMAN


very Wednesday, three vendors arrive in the early hours of the morning to the middle of University City and prepare for a day of interacting with college students. The Farm to City University Square Farmers' Market, located in front of the Penn Bookstore on 36th and Walnut streets, offers fresh produce, baked goods, and unique plants. The three stands—Beechwood Orchards, Big Sky Bread Company, and PetAl Plants and Flowers—have traveled to Penn’s campus for years. Shawn Garretson, the vice president of Beechwood Orchards, can often be seen keeping busy behind the produce stand—replenishing crates with fresh apples, helping customers make selections, and working the checkout register. The farm, which is now in its fifth generation, has been “family owned for over 120 years,” says Garretson. Beechwood Orchards is located ten miles north of Gettysburg, and workers grow “a little bit of everything.” Its lineup of products includes over 80 varieties of apples, which are grown over 60 acres of land. Beechwood also sells apple cider, which is pressed by their neighbors every Monday. Garretson was the first vendor to partner with Farm to City, a company that hosts produce–only farmers’ mar-

kets in the Philadelphia area, to launch the University Square Farmers' Market back in 2006. Both Beechwood Orchards and Big Sky Bread Company work with the university to accept Dining Dollars and PennCash at their stalls. Garretson is glad for the support from the school, as it makes fresh produce a more accessible option for a lot of students who otherwise wouldn't be buying it. “It doesn’t take cash out of their pocket” to shop at the farm stand, he notes. Andy O’Neill of Big Sky Bread Company loves coming to the University Square market every week. He says the young clientele makes the event “a little more fun to work.” College students even have a distinct taste in baked goods—Big Sky makes sure to stock up on them before its visits to campus. “They definitely like the cookies and pastries; we sell a lot more of those compared to other markets," he adds. Big Sky Bread Company, founded in 1994 by Andy’s father, Patrick O’Neill, specializes in baking whole wheat breads, using organic flour and sometimes “a little bit of honey.” Hailing from Wilmington, the bakery used to have a bustling store front, but since 2019, it's focused exclusively on wholesale and farmers’ markets. Andy will take over the bakery one day,

2 0 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1

continuing the new, nomadic family tradition. Meanwhile, PetAl Plants and Flowers sells everything from blossoms to hanging plants to petite cactuses and succulents. Although the store doesn't accept Dining Dollars or PennCash, it's still managed to cultivate meaningful connections with the Penn community in the six years since it's joined the farmers' market. Pat McDonald, the vendor who works the PetAl stand, has become quite friendly with some of his regular customers. “Some of the kids we see from [their first year] to senior year,” he says. “We’ve seen them grow from young to big adults, to their next stage.” The farm, which has roughly 30 acres of land, is located in Barrington, N. Everything

Photo by Anna Hoochman

not sold at a farmers' market is planted back into circulation, in order to keep the products fresh. “It’s a labor of love,” says McDonald. The Farm to City University Square Farmers' Market has helped connect Penn stu-

dents to local businesses that they might not ordinarily make the trek to. Next time you find yourself in desperate need of a break, check out the plethora of fresh goods that the market has to offer— right in our own backyard.

“It’s a labor of love. ” — Pat McDonald

Illustration by Sherry Li


Would You Die for a Dumptruck? The truth behind the Brazilian butt lift | Kira Wang Illustration by Alice Choi


ou’ve seen this story play out before on TikTok: A woman gets a Brazilian butt lift, and suddenly her life changes for the better. Despite the months–long, arduous recovery process that follows this procedure, many still claim that their surgery was one of the best decisions of their lives— they look better, they feel happier, and they’ve been transformed from the inside–out. But there’s another, darker side to their life– changing butt lift stories. Affectionately nicknamed the BBL, the Brazilian butt lift is said to leave patients with wide hips, a thin waist, and most importantly, a fat ass. In recent years, it's become one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the world. But despite its notoriety, the BBL is also one of the world’s most dangerous plastic surgery procedures. With one to two out of every 6,000 BBLs resulting in death, this fad flaunts the highest mortality rate for any cosmetic surgery. In fact, some plastic surgeons even refuse to carry out the procedure, saying that it's too dangerous to be ethical. BBL procedures consist of sucking out undesired fat from different areas of the body and injecting that fat into the butt. The danger of the BBL is straightforward: If the fat is injected too deep or in the wrong area, it will enter the bloodstream, traveling to the heart and lungs and inevitably leading to death. Not only is the

procedure itself dangerous, but the recovery process is also painful and long, with many regretting their BBLs due to unsatisfactory results and post–op pain. But if the surgery is so risky and painful, why do many celebrities and influencers act as if their BBLs were life changing? The answer is simple: Big butts are the beauty standard. And yet, with celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Iggy Azalea making millions off of their unnaturally large backsides, while Black women like Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion are often shamed for having similar curves, the now mainstream idea of big butts being beautiful reveals a double standard. People worship white women who culturally appropriate these cherry– picked traits while hypocritically critiquing women of color for having the same features. Why are big butts beautiful for some but not for the communities that popularized them? What's more, the popularization of the BBL still puts pressure on Black and Latinx women to have the disproportionately large backsides and wide hips that mainstream society has traditionally associated with these communities. Black and Latinx women without these features often feel the desire to conform to these standards and to have a “perfect body.” The body dysmorphia that women often have to face due to societal pressure is exacerbated

by the racialized trauma inflicted upon these communities. Predatory, lower–cost surgery clinics often market the BBL to working–class Black and Latinx women by using a cheap price tag and misleading information about the safety and after–effects of the surgery, making these demographics more vulnerable to the dangers of this procedure. Not only do these cheap clinics market to women of color by shaming them for not conform-

ing with racialized and appropriative beauty standards, but they also actively harm them through dangerous medical practices, all in the name of profit. While it may seem empowering to reclaim your sexuality by investing in a bigger butt, the BBL industry as a whole is indicative of a larger problem. By treating bodies as trends, people—especially people of color—are made to feel that they have to endlessly chase after ever–changing beauty standards

to feel accepted and desired. And in the process, many end up falling victim to dangerous surgical procedures like the BBL in order to make themselves feel beautiful. Although plastic surgery can give you a feeling of control over how you look, it’s important to recognize that a big ass or a ski slope nose isn’t going to last forever. A BBL isn’t going to actually magically change your life for the better, no matter what your For You Page says.


THURSDAY, NOV. 18TH N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E 2 1


OP-ED: I Am 'Normalizing' My ADHD by Using It as an Excuse to Get Out of Things JACKSON PARLI s someone who suffered for years from depression, anxiety, and a disease where I can’t stop eating gummy worms, I’ve always tried to be an advocate for mental health. According to some social science research journal somewhere probably, “stigma against ADHD has increased 10000% percent in the past 2 months” (Fauci, 2021). Every day, I try to normalize my ADHD by using it as an excuse to get out of things. Whether it’s going to class, taking out the garbage, or even getting my mom a birthday present, you can count


on me to weaponize … I mean explain … how my ADHD has prevented me from doing my daily tasks. Some may ask, “Jackson, don’t you take meds for that?” To which I respond, “Mental health is complicated, so no, I cannot take out the garbage, and it’s pretty rude of you to ask.” An important part of the normalization process is to demonstrate how ADHD affects everyone differently. For instance, while other people with ADHD may do things like cook for themselves or spend time with their friends, I make sure to go out of my way to present a complete-

ly unreliable demeanor. In addition, my ADHD also gets me accommodations in school, including notes that are taken for me in my classes. Although I do have access to these, I simply refuse to read them on the grounds that they are boring. Not enough people are speaking about this in the Penn community, and I refuse to be silenced. In conclusion, I am a warrior and a crusader for the fight to normalize mental health, and no, I cannot clean my dinner off the dining room table because I am having a “bad Photo by Jackson Parli brain day."

Beloved MATH 104 Professor Robert Ghrist Unveils New NSFW YouTube Channel UTB STAFF


rofessor Robert Ghrist, aka prof/g, was made famous by his first channel, Calculus Green, a Calculus 1 oriented channel, and later started a second channel, Calculus Blue, covering Calculus 2. Just this morning, to the delight of many of his loyal devotees, he announced the launch of Calculus Red, a NSFW ASMR calculus channel. Professor Robert Ghrist described the impetus behind his decision to create a third channel in an exclusive interview

with Under the Button: “I just couldn’t go on knowing that I was withholding my gifts from the world,” he stated, a tear in his eye. Though his instruction is clear, most of prof/g’s success can be attributed to something far more crude: his god-given voice. Ask freshmen of the fairer sex about prof/g, and they will quickly extoll his many virtues: “I hated math in high school, and I mean hated math. But now, since hear-

2 2 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1

ing professor Ghrist’s dulcet tones, I spend every waking moment yearning for more Calculus Red. Just thinking about the way he says trigonometry makes me quiver,” freshman Sophie Smith said. Many male students, however, do not feel the same ‘soul-bond’, as Sophie put it, to prof/g: “I came to college expecting to finally overcome my lifelong fear of talking to girls, and now I can’t even say hello to them because they’re all listing to that

damned professor Ghrist 24/7,” Engineering student James Wilkins said between tears. “I mean, just look at that larynx. How the hell am I supposed to compete with something like that,” an irate Colin Jones lamented. Regardless of professor Ghrist’s colorful reputation among students, his new channel has already surpassed 81,000 subscribers, and he is now raking in over $10,000 a month through his Patreon.


Feminist of the Week! Frat Brother Pours Me Water Instead of Spiking My Drink JUSTINE ORGEL


h my god I think I’m in love. I know, I know, drunken makeouts among other inebriated interactions aren’t usually cause for signing a prenup, but this is different. In fact, this encounter doesn’t even involve alcohol! Crazy, because the loose, spontaneous, extroverted, chill, crackhead, bruh girl Justine doesn’t usually come out unless invited by a fiery ball or California beach town. Enough about my shortcomings, I know you’re all here to learn that love truly does exist in colleges outside of Utah. So, it was last weekend. I had just acquired my fake (although only an expert could tell) ID from the most credible site I could find: https:// I was so hyped to use it. The girls had been making fun of me for carrying a flask in my bra instead of just asking a bro. Finally, I could go up to one with ease and get a refreshing drink before bathing in a potent bath of sweat.

I will admit, I had my doubts. I know that when men see a shy yet promiscuous young female like myself, their first instinct might be manipulation. This was my first time asking for a drink and I feared that I could succumb to the unfortunate fate of a “roofied girl at the bottom of the stairs.” Little did I know that the ordinary Joe standing behind the crowded bar would be my knight in shining armor. Skinny, in a blue flannel, with a head of curls, I had never seen a boy so spectacular. He looked out of place in that shabby fraternal establishment. He must have risen to a state of enlightenment in which he could participate in plebeian activities by night but recreate The Decameron by day. Timidly, I approached him and asked him for a drink. After repeating myself, he said, “Ok fine.” Such a compliment to be compared to fine wine! He disappeared and came back with a cup of clear liquid. Classic. I took a sip and felt refreshed, one

might even say rehydrated! Eureka! This mystery (how romantic) beverage was water. As I sipped this miraculous elixir, I basked in the second lease on life that I had been given. What a gallant gentleman. Since that night, I have fallen deeper and deeper in love. There is nothing more attractive in a man than

Photo from Shutterstock feminism, perhaps aside from an unshaven mustache and fiscally conservative politics. I know he is the one. My message to all women out there is to never disparage the polite company you may meet at a fraternity. Perhaps you will find a man kind enough to pour you a glass of water. It’s a scarce resource you know.

Girl With Main Character Complex Finds Her Coming-of-Age Story Has Lots of Aging, Not Enough Coming CATHY LI


ikes! In a recent group therapy session hosted by Under the Button, Becca Jackson (E ’25) shared some saddening news with its staffers. Upon arriving at Penn, she expected to finally blossom into the main character of a hit Netflix TV show, the one that has 30-yearolds play 18-year-olds in high school. All Becca wanted was to become rich, famous, and beautiful without any problems. But above all, Becca wanted to be great at giving and receiving. After binge

watching all the Timothée Chalamet movies that she could get her pissy, grubby little paws on, she developed an unfortunate main character complex. She bought heaps of clothes off Depop, cut her hair, then dyed her hair, then cut it again (this time giving herself uneven bangs!) for good measure. She was ready for it. She was fucking game. Two months into the school year, she was severely let down. Gosh, she thought. All the guys here have the tiniest of dick energies. Her left

flap kept bleeding after sex when she explicitly vocalized to him to not rub it that hard. The other day, she caught a white piece of hair sticking out from her bangs. She sat in bed, gazing into the deep dark abyss, tumbling within herself before falling asleep. Fuck. She felt the universe swallowing her whole. Thoughts of her future raced through her feeble mind. Ruptured by the convictions of aging and decaying, she had her first mental breakdown, Booksmart style.

Photo (with edits) by Cathy Li N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E 2 3


Now leasing for Fall 2022 (215) 222-4212 | 2 4 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E N O V E M B E R 16 , 2 0 2 1

Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.