Friday, September 28, 2007

Pennfest 2007: (New!) Films & Music Announced!


Click here for the lineup!

Ticket prices go up Tuesday, October 9, 2007

-Penn Club Members: $10
-Non-Penn Club Members: $15 ( click here to become a member!)
All sales are final (no refunds)

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Penn all over 2007-2008 TV Schedule

As I continue to be inundated by TV promos, I'm realizing that there are a good number of alumni both in front of and behind the camera...

Click here to see what we've got going on...


Donald Trump (W'68), Ivanka Trump (W'04) and Don Trump Jr. (W'00) are back in The Celebrity Apprentice

Becki Newton (C'00) is back as Amanda on ABC's Ugly Betty.

Rob Forman (C'06) is encouraging everyone to watch Big Shots (the show he works for) on ABC. Check your local listings for times.

Watch out for Liz Banks (C'96) to return to Scrubs this season as JD's (Zach Braff's) pregnant girlfriend, Kim.


Mark Cronin's (Eng '86) America's Most Smartest Model debuts Sunday, October 7 on VH1. Check your local listings for times.

Director/former Thirtysomething star Ken Olin (C'76) continues directing ABC's Brothers and Sisters. Also on the same show is writer Sherri Cooper Landsman (C'94).


Writing partners David Guarascio (C'91) and Moses Port (C'91),(former co-producers and writers of Just Shoot Me and 2001 "Penn in Pictures" panelists) debut their CW show, Aliens in America Monday, October 1. Check your local listings for times.

Joey Volpe (W'09) recently emailed me to let me know that he worked on The Bachelor this summer and that we should all check it out on Mondays on ABC.

In addition to America's Most Smartest Model mentioned above, Mark Cronin (Eng '86) also has another 2(!) shows: I Love New York 2 on Monday nights at 9 pm on VH1 as well as Gotti's Way. Check your local listings for times.

Starting on February 11, Mark Cronin's (Eng '86) Flavor of Love 3 debuts on VH1 at 9pm.


As reported earlier this week, Stephanie Lemelin (C'01) stars in the ABC comedy, Cavemen Tuesday, October 2, 8 pm (check your local listings).

Gabriel Mann (C'95)
will be writing music for Carpoolers on ABC (his first credit as a composer!)

Will Frank (SEAS'06) appears as one of the "geeks" on this season's Beauty and the Geek. Check your local listings!

Special Appearances (from oldest to newest posts):

Jon Zucker (C'98) competing on NBC's's Spelling Bee

Roy Vongtama (C'96) appearing on CBS's Moonlight

Marcus McGee (C'01) appearing on CSI Las Vegas

John Legend (C'00) appearing on Curb Your Enthusiasm

Roy Vongtama (C'96) on the Style Network's Hot Guys Who Cook

Liz Banks (C'96) in the CBS mini-series Comanche Moon

Alex Petrovitch (C'01) in Lost Season 2 cliffhanger

Magician Ryan Oakes (C'00) shows how easy it is to swindle people out of money on The Real Hustle

Joel T. Newman (C'04) appeared on Discovery Channel's Cash Cab and won!

Joel Rubin (C'03, Mask and Wig) produced and starred in a "Wii Dream Games" spoof segment package for G4's television show X-Play

Dr. Lisa Cassileth (C'91, M'97) talks about non-invasive treatments on Entertainment Tonight

Jenn Cohn Falik (C'01) gives the latest Beauty and Fashion Tips on The Today Show

TV Writer Ryan Levin(C'98) and Animator Nye Warburton (C'97) team up for Comedy Central Series

Penn alumnus Melissa Rivers wins big on Celebrity Family Feud!

Chris Keslar (C'99) appears on the second season of Bravo's Flipping Out

Charlie Herschel (C'01) appearing on Survivor: Gabon this fall.


CBS has ordered Mike Sikowitz's (C'88, Sigma Alpha Mu) pilot called My Best Friend's Girl - A comedy series about a guy who falls in love with his best friend's ex-wife. Mike's credits include being a writer/producer for The Class and Grounded for Life.

A few years ago, my (former) writing partner and I attended the pilot taping of a show Mike had called Grown Men - a single-camera comedy about a group of five frat brothers who meet up at a friend's funeral. I really liked the pilot but it wasn't picked up.

Alumni out there, do you have something on the TV Schedule? Add your comment below!

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It's gotta be better than the P.A.R.I.S. days....?

I just read in the DP online today that Penn in Touch, the current system students have been using for the past 15 years for class registration is needing a makeover.

It has to be better than P.A.R.I.S., the Penn Automated Registration Information System they had when I went to school in the early to mid 90s. (take a look at the image above to see the worksheet we had to fill out before dialing into the system!)

I guess times have changed... but maybe by not that much?!

Click here to check out some other "memoribilia" from back in the day

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Kind of like Oprah's book club, but for Penn alumni...

When I was back at Penn in the early to mid-90s Penn didn't have cable in the quad, a cafeteria in Rosengarten library ...or a thriving writer's community.

All of that has now changed... but most notably, the writer's community part.

Over the years. through emails and his visits to Los Angeles, I have been able to see how Al Filreis (Writer's House Founder, Kelly Professor of English) has created quite the active community for writers... on campus as well as online.

The latest from Al for alumni and Penn families is the Kelly Writers House Online Book Groups. This includes:

Five 5-day discussion groups on:
* Richard Ford's story "Abyss"
* Mina Loy's amazing poem "Lunar Baedeker" (1923)
* A.S. Byatt's "A Stone Woman" taught by novelist Karen Rile
* selections from Art Spiegelman's MAUS
* two poems by Emily Dickinson

and 2 month-long discussion groups:
* Al Filreis teaches Lynne Sharon Schwartz's 9/11 novel,
* Michael Gamer teaches Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Some quotes about the club:
"Thanks for a great introduction to using the Internet as more than a place to shop. I really enjoyed the class and the stories, but even more so the interactions among the participants."--Tara Harper (Law '93)

"These groups have the feel of a new type of groundwork being laid."--Alberto
Fernandez (C'74)

To join (specify which group, please) contact:

Click here for more info about joining (including full descriptions of each group)

Click here to check out Penn authors

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Don't call this Penn spoken word poet "granola"!

The more I write about alumni and undergrads, the more I'm realizing that not only is there a lot of talent out there, but our Penn folk have some powerful opinions and voices.

One such alum is Caroline Rothstein (C'06, The Excelano Project), a spoken word poet currently living in New York City. Her poetry is honest, real, personal, and political.

...Listen to the power behind her poem below, "They Call Me Granola" (put your headphones on..not safe for work). This is great...:

This past year, Caroline also self-published a book of her poetry called "What I Learned In College." Books are $5 and can be purchased by emailing Caroline directly at

In addition to spoken word, Caroline keeps a blog that she began upon moving to Atlanta. You can find her adventures throughout the United States and deep into the streets of Manhattan.

Listen to more of her poetry HERE

Learn how Caroilne got started in "spoken word" HERE

More alumni specializing in "the spoken word" HERE

More 2006 alumni alumni news HERE

Read "Life Worth", an excerpt/poem from Caroline's chapbook* "What I Learned in College"HERE

*A chapbook is a book of poetry. It's typically a book that a poet puts out on their own, so mostly self published/printed, etc.

"Life Worth"

He’d just bought a pair of shoes
Hundred dollar sneakers, shopping bag, right hand

He walks down Central Street in Highland Park, Illinois –
a brand name sidewalk with affluent stores
He knocks on the pharmacy window to buy Gatorade and a bag of pretzels but they wave him away –
It’s 4 PM on a Sunday and they are closing up shop

A senior at his high school pulls an illegal U-Turn
An elderly man stops short to avoid collision, skids onto the curb,
and throws my brother into the side of a store building
His head cracks open, his eyes close shut,
and his sneakers fling into the air as his spleen develops cuts
They do brain surgery, put him on respirators,
Rabbi Mason prays by his ICU bedside but he never wakes up
I’m crouched over his bedside begging him,
Yelling at him “Josh, wake up! Josh, please, wake up!”

He was only shoe shopping,
Walking side by side teenage girls that purchase emaciation on a hanger,
Which is really just a metaphor for
Shirts sewn in sweat shops by starving children
And studies say that executing killers costs more than
Keeping them in prison for the rest of their lives
And funeral prices are on the rise:
Cremation packages start at 2000, the average casket is 6000
28 dollars a month to purchase an orphan on the internet
13 bucks for a Japanese picture bride to weed the fields and strip sugar cane
Not too much for a mail order bride –
Choose her nationality, her body shape, and human pedigree
And since this is an unregulated business,
I don’t have fancy statistics to insert here: ____
About how many women are bought by strangers yearly
As we get a price check in aisle five
To bargain lives that we further judge when they die

My family goes to trial so the killers can pay for our loss in insurance
There’s no way to judge but the judge sits there asking me:
How much was his life worth?
My fifteen year old brother had 20, 000 dollars in savings
From selling beanie babies at a hundred times their cost
On an ebay auction block
650 dollars to buy an African teen on a Southern auction block
How much is a life worth?

We purchase human beings from fruitless trees
We consume materials and will them to our offspring
We hang child labor on manikins
We dangle death next to cash registers
We kill children in store front windows

And judge their worth in finances even though
The only bank in heaven is the locked vault of karma
The only currency in heaven is a set of intangible beliefs
The only worth in heaven can’t even be proven
How much is a life worth?

He was fifteen years old walking happy on a sidewalk
He was fifteen years old shackled standing on an auction block
He was fifteen years old starving sewing in a sweat shop
How much is a life worth?

Josh, wake up, Josh, please wake up
How much is your life worth?
It’s worth waking up every day to face the misery of death’s reality
It’s worth becoming straight edge
to never miss a single moment of sobriety
It’s worth my living breath to overcome death
Josh, you are what my life’s worth



Dr. Brett Levinson (C'97): Eye-yeye-yeye

I just found out that my friend Opthamalogist Dr. Brett Levinson (C'97, AEPi) was another doctor featured on a TV show.

A few years ago (better late than never!), Brett was featured on a Discovery Health Channel show called The Critical Hour. Filmed "on location" at the Shock Trauma Hospital at the University of Maryland in Baltimore.

At the time, Brett was a senior resident on-call for trauma for Ophthalmology during the filming. According to Brett, he is now in private practice, and doesn't see much trauma anymore.

Click here to check out the clip

Click here to see my coverage of other Penn doctors hitting the big and small screens

Click to see what other 1997 Penn grads are up to

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Penn alum goes prehistoric on ABC

Set your Tivos!

Next Tuesday (October 2, 8 pm), Stephanie Lemelin (C'01) stars in the ABC comedy, Cavemen. (she's circled in red in the picture above)

Lots of Penn alumni in TV this fall.. .from writing to acting to producing to directing. Stay tuned for stories to come....

Click here to watch the Cavemen trailer!

Click to see what other 2001 Penn grads are up to

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