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Friday, May 29, 2009


A bunch of Penn undergrads including some of the talented actors from Penn's improv group Without a Net as well as some Drexel improv group students partnered together to create Wizards of West Philly, a mockumentary that can be best described as Dungeons and Dragons meets the TV stylings of "The Office" and/or the film Waiting for Guffman.  

Although instead of Dungeons and Dragons, this very well done short is about the followers of another (apparently) popular game called "Magic".  Producer Dave Farber (C'11) describes the game to me as "a newer generation thing, though there are adults (some as old as 40 we found) who play the game."

Per Wikipdeia, Magic can be described as
"Magic: The Gathering is a collectible card game created by a UPenn Mathematics Graduate Student named Richard Garfield and introduced in 1993. It is loosely based on the game Dungeons and Dragons, where each player is a wizard who utilizes the magical spells, items, and fantastic creatures depicted on individual Magic cards to defeat their opponents. The game is intended for a younger audience, but has a large following among young (and not so young) adults. There are Magic grand prixs and tournaments in the U.S. much akin to Poker tournaments where players compete for cash prizes. In 2006, over $3 million was doled out in Magic tournaments across the U.S.
Watch the video above...it really is well produced!   And is it me or does Anthony Levy (C'11) remind you of Saturday Night Live's Bill Hader?
Penn actors:
Anthony Levy (C'11), Molly Mitchell (C'11), Joe Lawless (C'12), Lucy Wolf (C'12),

Drexel's actors:
Jake Beckerman - Drexel '09, Luke Giordano - Drexel '09

The crew that worked on it were from Prof. Ellen Reynolds Video 1 class:
Dave Farber (C'09), Tom Fang (W'10), Aliza Fischer (C'09), Jason Rasmussen (W'12), Kirstin Snyder (W'12)

Funny UPenn
Check out my other Funny Friday posts here!

More creative Penn class projects HERE

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Thursday, May 28, 2009


Check out this very entertaining video of a guy dancing in front of the button to Dolly Parton's "9 to 5".

Perhaps the "9 to 5" lyrics with the people popping out of the button in cap and gown are a metaphor for graduating?  Regardless, this is one enjoyable video!

Check out some other really amazing Penn farewell videos that were done in the past HERE!



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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

UPenn and Julie Kraut and Slept AwayJulie Kraut (C'04, Bloomers)'s new book SLEPT AWAY comes out today and if you went to sleepaway camp, I'm sure you'll relate to/appreciate this.

This is Julie's second book since HOT MESS: SUMMER IN THE CITY and it fits into that "chick lit" category I covered with another Penn alum author HERE.

Check out the synopsis below and note that the camp in her book "Camp TimberTrails" sounds like a conglomerate of camps "Camp Timberlake" and "Trails End"...2 very popular sleepaway camps for Long Islanders like myself..(although I went to Camp Wayne!):

UPenn and Julie Kraut and Slept Away
"Laney Parker is a city girl through and through. For her, summertime means stepping out of her itchy gray school uniform and into a season of tanning at rooftop swimming pools, brunching at sidewalk cafes, and—as soon as the parents leave for the Hamptons—partying at her classmates’ apartments.

But this summer Laney’s mother has other plans for Laney. It’s called Camp Timber Trails and rustic doesn’t even begin to describe the un-air-conditioned log cabin nightmare. Laney is way out of her element—the in-crowd is anything but cool, popularity seems to be determined by swimming skills, and the activities seem more like boot camp than summer camp.

Splattered with tie dye fall out, stripped of her cell, and going through Diet Coke withdrawal, Laney is barely hanging on. Being declared the biggest loser of the bunk is one thing, but when she realizes her summer crush is untouchably uncrushable in the real world, she starts to wonder, can camp cool possibly translate to cool cool?

Summer camp might just turn this city girl’s world upside down!"

What inspired Julie to start writing?  How did the Kelly Writers House help her?  And what advice does she have for you...?  Find out from her HERE!

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Other Penn alumni authors and their advice! HERE




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Monday, May 25, 2009



From newly announced films, to her appearances on "Scrubs" this past season, I've got the latest Liz Banks (C'96) updates below

  • She appeared on Leno (see video above) recently and talked bats with Russell Brand
  • A stunning Liz walks down the red carpet in Cannes last week (see pic on right)
  • Liz will be starring with James McAvoy, and Laura Linney in “The Details”.  Per Variety, the story is about "a couple (McAvoy and Banks) who discover an infestation of raccoons in their back yard. Disagreements over how to deal with the animals lead to an escalating series of events."  Shooting for the film began last week in Seattle.
  • Liz will star in and produce the workplace comedy "Forever 21." (source)
  • The Uninvited came out on DVD.  Liz basically plays a wicked stepmother in this film.
  • She will star in What Was I Thinking?, with actresses Leslie Mann.  Per Reuters the film will explore the comic side of bad relationships. The film is based on the nonfiction book What Was I Thinking?: 58 Bad Boyfriend Stories and centers "around a woman who gets dumped during her engagement party. Her friends spring into action and whisk her away on a ski trip for healing and hedonism. Threading through their adventures on the trip are four flashbacks dealing in "worst ex-boyfriend" tales. Mann (who happens to be married to Apatow) would play a woman who dates a lot but never seems to have serious relationships, while Banks is a woman on the rebound."
Catch up on what else Liz has been doing HERE



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In previous posts, I had discussed how the "Brave New Voices" Team Philadelphia had challenged the judges on a technicality of one of the other teams who got into the finals. Apparently the other team went over their allotted time and as a result Team Philadelphia got into the finals.

In the final episode which aired last week, Team Philadelphia decided to take themselves out of scoring points in the contest and that it wasn't as much about "winning" as it was about letting their voices be heard.  They then proceeded to perform brilliantly in the rest of the episode. (Team Hawaii won).

As a tribute to the excellent work seen on the show from  Josh Bennett (C'10), Alysia Harris (C'10), and Aysha El Shamyleh (C'10), I wanted to share some more excellent performances from the Penn group of which they are a part: The Excelano Project. Check out some of these moving on campus performances above!

Recently, Josh Bennett performed at the White House for the Obamas. Read more about it at the DP HERE!

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