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Friday, July 24, 2009


Crazy in the fact that you wouldn't be catching me doing them.

Check out this fun quick video above of a guy skateboarding right outside Furness.  (Incidentally this was the same exact area I made my escape to after I was caught photographing Tom Hanks in Furness while they were filming Philadelphia.)

This video also reminds me of other DT video favorites of...
  • And this guy unbelievably flipping around all over campus! (another must see!)



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Thursday, July 23, 2009


Scott Neustadter (C'98, TEP, 34th Street Film Editor) recently had one of his Hollywood dreams come true. He got his (mostly) autobiographical(!) script (500) Days of Summer produced. Check out this inspiring story...

How did he get his start?

Per Scott,
"After graduation, I was hired as a development executive at Tribeca Productions. As much as I enjoyed reading scripts, I never lost the desire to write one of my own. It took a while but eventually I teamed up with my friend Weber and started writing."

And how did he go from writing scripts to actually getting the film made?

Per Scott,
"It was a long and arduous journey. first, i had to get over my fear of being made fun of for writing such a personal (read: autobiographical) story. When i finally showed it to some friends, the reaction was very positive and the script managed to get us representation. ...but when our reps sent it out to the studios, everyone really liked it -- but no one bought it. Six months later, Fox Searchlight stepped up and agreed to option it. Still we never thought anything would happen. But once they found our great director Marc and got Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Zooey (Zooey Deschanel) interested, it took off from there. The whole thing was very surreal and unbelievable. I think we're still waiting for an official greenlight."

I have a general rule when it comes to movie reviews. If Owen Gleiberman or Lisa Schwarzbaum from "Entertainment Weekly" likes a film, so typically do I.  And Owen gave "500 Days of Summer" an "A"! (Scott pictured on right in black shirt standing next to his writing partner Michael H. Weber)

That said, the film is told out of sequence, winding backwards and forwards through the 500 days of a very tumultuous relationship between these two people. Per Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman, "It's a Gen-Y Annie Hall made by a new-style Wes Anderson who uses his cleverness for humanity instead of postmodern superiority."

Per the film's website, the story is as follows...
Click to Expand +/-
"This is a story of boy meets girl, begins the wry, probing narrator of (500) DAYS OF SUMMER, and with that the film takes off at breakneck speed into a funny, true-to-life and unique dissection of the unruly and unpredictable year-and-a-half of one young man's no-holds-barred love affair.

Tom, the boy, still believes, even in this cynical modern world, in the notion of a transforming, cosmically destined, lightning-strikes-once kind of love. Summer, the girl, doesn't. Not at all. But that doesn't stop Tom from going after her, again and again, like a modern Don Quixote, with all his might and courage. Suddenly, Tom is in love not just with a lovely, witty, intelligent woman – not that he minds any of that -- but with the very idea of Summer, the very idea of a love that still has the power to shock the heart and stop the world.

The fuse is lit on Day 1 – when Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a would-be architect turned sappy greeting card writer encounters Summer (Zooey Deschanel), his boss's breezy, beautiful new secretary, fresh off the plane from Michigan. Though seemingly out of his league, Tom soon discovers he shares plenty in common with Summer. After all, they both love The Smiths. They both have a thing for the surrealist artist Magritte. Tom once lived in Jersey and Summer has a cat named Bruce. As Tom muses, "we're compatible like crazy."

By Day 31, things are moving ahead, albeit "casually." By Day 32, Tom is irreparably smitten, living in a giddy, fantastical world of Summer on his mind. By Day 185, things are in serious limbo -- but not without hope. And as the story winds backwards and forwards through Tom and Summer's on-again, off-again, sometimes blissful, often tumultuous dalliance it covers the whole dizzying territory from infatuation, dating and sex to separation, recrimination and redemption in a whirl of time jumps, split screens, karaoke numbers and cinematic verve – all of which adds up to a kaleidoscopic portrait of why, and how, we still struggle so laughably, cringingly hard to make sense of love... and to hopefully make it real. "


And thanks to Scott, take a look at these EXCLUSIVE first 3 pages from the script!
Click to Expand +/-


Philly people, (500) Days of Summer comes to Philly this Friday (July 24th) so go out and support Scott!

More at the film website HERE

More Glowing Reviews:

Scott's Tip:
"If you're new in town (Los Angeles) or just starting out, there's a great organization called the Junior Hollywood Radio and Television Society. highly recommended."

More Penn alumni writers HERE



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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

UPenn

Last summer I attended a performance from Jonah Platt's (C'08, Off the Beat) One Night Stand Musical troupe. (he's the one in the white t-shirt, tie and hat above)

Not only was I blown away at how talented these kids were, but how quick they were to create an hour long musical based on a few words the audience suggested.

They are now back in LA this summer doing 5 weeks of shows before they head to NYC for the New York Musical Theater Festival this fall.

UPenn and Jonah PlattCheck out their website for more information: http://www.onenightstandmusical.com/

And if you live in LA, get tickets HERE to see their show!
Thu, Jul 23 - Sat, Aug 22
Thurs, Fri 8 pm
Sat 8 pm and 9:30 pm

HALF-Off Advance Purchase:
Use Promo Code: musical



Get a taste of the talent here with these recent clips of Jonah and the ONS company below:
"Carpe Diem"
Carpe Diem (the show is called "Riding Weekend")-- it's only the 2nd scene of the show. After watching "the saddest news program on tv," two friends Dave and Roger decide they want to start living their lives to the fullest.


"Pot It In The Box"
The above show is called "the night that changed my life" -- my character, Billy, a young boy, has been pushed throughout the musical by his father and neighbor to grow up and become responsible, but all he wants to do is stay young and imagine things and play with his imaginary friend Peter. In the show's climactic scene, Maturity comes to Billy one night and tells him that if he wants to be mature enough to be with the girl from next door, whom he loves, then he needs to put Peter away for good, and "pop it in the box." (this was also the name of the audience-suggested song title that we had to sing).

Check out other Penn comedians HERE



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Posted by Matt | 4:19 PM | , , , , | 0 comments »


Gabriel MannIf you recall, last year Gabriel Mann (C'95, Off the Beat) was the voice of Obama in Jib Jab's "Time for Some Campaigning." 

In this new Jib Jab video, Gabe is now the "voice of reason" at the beginning of the piece (the first 20 seconds of the clip).

If you're not familiar with DT favorite Gabriel Mann, click HERE to check out my past posts to learn about this accomplished musician and all the cool things he's done (i.e toured with Alanis Morrisette, been on the grammys, his music in many tv and films!)

UPenn

Other great Website Wednesday posts

New to DT? 14 easy suggestions to get started!





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Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I've got a cautionary tale to share from lawyer turned stand-up comedian Matt Rittberg (Penn Law 2005) about the guys a girl meets if she stays out too late.

Last spring, I wrote a post about Matt's now he has just debuted his first musical comedy video called "I'm the Kinda Guy" and it is funny! So funny in fact that I decided not to wait to publish this for my Funny Friday series.  And watch this video through til the end to learn about the other kinda guy you girls out there can also meet!

So what was the inspiration for this video?

Per Matt,
"A lot of my standup focuses on relationships and the ridiculous things guys say to try to get girls when they are trying to hook up (ex- the line about having an extra pair of gym shorts and the "no jeans" in the bed rule is something everyone who is single has said or heard before). Also, I lived in the Meatpacking district in NY, and I always see drunken girls stumbling out of bars at 4 am and random creepy guys hitting on them on the streets at hot dog stands etc. Watching those interactions (and occasionally partaking in them) inspired the song. More than anything, I hope it doesn't come off as misogynistic...after all, I'm warning girls and probably breaking some sort of guy code by giving away some of our dirty tricks!"

Since my last post about Matt, he actually quit his job as a lawyer to pursue comedy and is writing full time now.  He's moving to LA in September to seek representation and chase the dream!

If you like irreverent, funny videos like Matt's, you'll also love the videos Penn alumni Aaron Karo (W'01), and DJ Lubel (C'05) have produced!



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Posted by Matt | 11:45 AM | , , , , , , , , | 0 comments »

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I've said it once and I'll say it again.  I LOVE these Excelano Project undergrads and alumni. Their form of art, the spoken word, is loaded with emotion and passion.

Back in 2007, I reported on Caroline Rothstein's (C'06, Excelano Project) powerful "They Call Me Granola" performance.

Now almost 2 years later, Caroline's still on fire...and I want to share with you 2 of her pieces that moved me!
1) If you're a New Yorker and have spent anytime on the subway, then you'll relate to Caroline's poignant poem called "Love Letter to the A Train"

Click here to expand +/-
Love Letter to the A Train

Usually, you serenade me in your Manhattan arms
But tonight, you hold me in Brooklyn
Like you were waiting for me
With your open doors

I’m not afraid that you will leave me if I cry too much

Because even at night
You ride on the local C track
You’re that reliable
Hold my torso on your bench
I’ve only had to stand once
There’s always an open seat for me

You are the only thing in my life I’m not afraid to depend on,
Other than myself; even though sometimes you’re late

I still know that you will catch my salty tear drops the way
Buckets catch ceiling leaks when bathtubs overflow

I am a pool of anguish tonight

I whisper in your sultry ears in springtime and
Don’t even have to ask permission

I’m afraid that a human would leave me if I cry too much

You remind me of myself
The way your open doors
Let strangers walk on uninhibited
And tell you their stories

I am chapters of open notebooks
And pages of hidden diaries
Filled with secrets because everyone
Rides me for my reliance

I hold messages in the cracks and crevices
Of my brain synapses
The way your dim lights
Flicker at dusk

Your train cars bound by chains of dependency
I feel like you will always catch me – unconditionally

You’re the only one I trust to bear my burden without
Having to take your needs into consideration

I will see you on Sunday

I hope my tears are gone by then
And I look forward to our two hours together
The one uptown into Fort Washington
And the one back downtown into the West Village

I could linger in our routine for decades
I never expected that an East Village girl like myself –
So happy on the Lexington line I ride on my own side –
Would find comfort in you:
Knight of the West Side highway, 8th Avenue,
And tracks deep enough to soak my tears


2) And check out this impassioned, chilling piece Caroline did called "For Bernie Madoff" at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City, during a Friday night slam. Enjoy this as Caroline holds no punches!


If you like the above, then you'll be interested to learn that Caroline recently released a new *chapbook called "This Book Wrote Itself" (her "For Bernie Madoff" piece is in this book). She had a release show which took place in an Off-Broadway theatre called the Tank where she did a solo show featuring pieces from the new book.

Keep up with Caroline and get her new book on her blog 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.


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