From Christmas carolers to chestnuts roasting on open fires to altruistic gift-giving, the administration will try to bring some joy to its little corner of the world today. For the second consecutive year, the University is sponsoring a College Green winter festival, which will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m, filled with holiday food, folks and fun. Workers have been scurrying like elves since Wednesday to transform Blanche Levy Park into a winter wonderland, complete with Ben's Enchanted Village, a crafts fair, and the "Dancing Waters" fountain, which spurts multicolored bursts of water in rhythm with holiday music. The Winter Holiday Festival will also include free holiday cookies, danishes, hot chocolate, hot cider and roasted chestnuts, according to Physical Plant Facilities Manager Patricia Pancoast, who executed the administration's plans for the event. To please the ears as well as the palate, Pancoast said, the Festival will feature several performers, including the Philadelphia Boys Choir singing Christmas carols, a brass band, and the Royal Pickwickian Actors, who will perform scenes from Charles Dickens' works. The festival will also emphasize a holiday gift drive, which asks participants to bring a small gift that the University will then distribute among local homeless shelters. Now in its second year, the festival was the brainchild of President Sheldon Hackney and Senior Vice President Marna Whittington, Pancoast said. She added that last year's festival was a "great success," and many enthusiastic phone calls and letters to the president's office inspired a repeat performance. Pancoast said she expects at least 10,000 people to wander through the festival, which is open to all students, faculty, staff and members of the West Philadelphia community. Unfortunately for the revelers, weather reports indicate that one staple of the holiday season will be sorely lacking today. "It would be nice if it snowed," Pancoast said.
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Friday morning was damp and dismal, and Charles Addams would have been pleased. A beaming President Sheldon Hackney, after casually accepting a glass of water from a disembodied hand, proclaimed November 22 Charles Addams Day, much to the delight of the local media. Continuing to make the most of the dubious connection between campus Victorian architecture and the Addams Family mansion, Hackney commemorated the ghoulish New Yorker cartoonist's brief stint at the University, lauding Addams' "off-beat humor [which] has delighted millions." The small-time media event at College Hall, sponsored by promoters of the new Addams Family movie, was attended by reporters from the Associated Press and local TV stations, but it only gained the attention of about 30 groggy-eyed students as they walked to class. Adding to the spectacle of the occasion, Hackney was flanked by actors dressed as members of the Addams Family. Professional actor Carlos Sanchez donned a striped three-piece suit as family father Gomez, young Jazmin Santos wore pigtails as daughter Wednesday, and College senior Bonnie Grisan bore a funeral-black evening dress and a rose as Morticia. A man under a table performed a handy role as the low-budget version of Thing. The promoters also screened clips from the film on a TV monitor and gave out free Addams Family posters to student attendees. In his light-hearted five-minute speech, Hackney alluded to the classic Addams cartoon in which the ghoulish family sits atop a gothic mansion slightly resembling College Hall, and prepares to pour a cauldron of boiling oil on joyous Christmas carolers below. He joked that the family is still atop College Hall, waiting to pour the oil, which the Philomathean Society now uses as hors d'ouevres. "[Addams' humor] tweaks the nose of uptight people who don't know how to have fun," Hackney said. "Addams puts a bizarre spin on everyday life." Although Charles Addams attended the University's Fine Arts School from September 1930 to December 1931, he is frequently referred to by the administration as having graduated in 1934. Addams was perhaps inspired by the now-demolished Blanchard Hall or College Hall in creating the now-famous mansion.
In an altogether ooky ceremony, President Sheldon Hackney will proclaim today "Charles Addams Day," and make a speech about ghoulish cartoonist Addams' bond with the University today on College Green. Addams, whose cartoons featuring the monstrous family ran in The New Yorker and inspired the television series of the same name, attended the University's School of Fine Arts from September 1930 to December 1931. Despite rumors that the now-deceased Addams based the Addams Family mansion on the University campus' Victorian architechture -- College Hall or the now-demolished Blanchard Hall -- Hackney himself once referred to the relationship between Addams' art and life as "tenuous." Trudy Kunehnern, who works in the president's office, said that Hackney was happy to comply with the "Charles Addams Day" ceremony. "We are very proud of Charles Addams," said Kunehnern. And officials said November 22 will remain Charles Addams Day in years to come. Penn Film and Video member Rachel Greene said members will distribute posters and stickers from the new film after the ceremony.
"Not only am I the hair club president, but I'm also a client." Never have so few words meant so much. Sy Sperling, the famed closet chrome-dome and television personality, told a crowd of 50 at a Wharton Managerial Club speech last night, that he attributes his fantastic tale of entrepreneurial success to this one classic sentence. Abandoning the dry, monotonal, nasal-accented demeanor which skyrocketed the hair-replacement king into pop cultural stardom and serious wealth, the president of the Hair Club for Men delighted his fixated audience with tales of entrepreneurial spirit and baldness jokes. "Is there anyone with thinning hair so I can make a few bucks?" he joked, lamenting that the delighted crowd was composed of full-headed college students. Sperling, a vertiable Kojak for the '90s, spoke for an hour last night, enthralling his audience with candid stories from his life and open advice on success in the business world. The fake-haired entrepreneur started his hour-long speech and discussion by satiating the audience's desire to know about the clip that made him famous. Sperling said that after he reluctantly acted in the first famous commercial, uttering his soon-to-be-famous catchphrase, his hair replacement business boomed. He attributed his success to the way his sincere attitude and average appearance was received over the television airwaves. "If not for TV, I'd still be a small businessman," he grinned. "If the shoe fits, wear it." "I'm not an actor, I'm a real guy who's not overly articulate with a nasal tone from the Bronx," Sperling said. "People believe me. I seem sincere." At times seeming more like he was speaking in one of his now-classic commercials, Sperling emphasized to the audience that personal appearance -- especially a full head of hair -- was extremely important to success in the business world. "Hair makes the man," Sperling said. "If you are conscientious about your appearance, you will project confidence." While he warned audience members of the risky world of running an independent business, Sperling lauded the American capitalist system and its opportunities for entrepreneurial success. "Greed is good, to a certain extent," Sperling said. "That's what this country is all about." Sperling also compared his Horatio Alger-esque story of rags to riches to his own personal experiences with hair loss -- as his hair and confidence grew, so did the Hair Club. Sperling said he lost most of his hair at age 25, causing his self-esteem to plummet. Finally, his sister convinced him to to "do something about your hair," and Sperling had the hair weave process applied to his own shining head. He was so impressed with the replacement system, in which fake hair is woven onto existing hair, that he developed a business to "fill the [hair replacement] vacuum." Audience members and organizers afterwards said they thought the speech was "fantastic." Wharton Sophomore Glen Greeley, the chairperson of speakers for the Wharton Managerial Club, said Sperling was "a great leader in entrepreneurialism." "People enjoy listening to him. He's very approachable," Greeley said. Wharton junior Erik Gershwind said he enjoyed Sperling's "easy-going charm." But he may have had ulterior motives for his attendance. "I do think about hair loss," Gershwind said. "It's hereditary."
Instead of letting their fingers do the walking, students are now letting their fingers do more talking and learning. The University has seen an startling upsurge recently in the number and variety of student phone services available -- from the FUNNLine to the RAPLine to the Weather Line -- and for now, this phone-friendly communications trend is thriving. "[Penntrex] saw a need for small groups, such as Hillel, to have voice mailboxes, and we wanted to address that need," Yamin said. "Our goal is to provide competitive, state-of-the-art communication tools at a reasonable cost." Yamin said more groups are now using the voicemail systems in more creative and diverse ways and for many different reasons. "People are now getting creative ideas on how they can use voicemail to serve their own purposes," Yamin said. "It's becoming a popular communications tool." Currently, student groups like FUNNLine, several fraternity and sorority lines, several Hillel lines, and the former Desert Storm Hotline use the new system. Other groups run through the administrative level of Penntrex include the Weather Line and the RAPLine, which is designed to provide emotional support to students and to offer referals to the University's professional counseling services. The most recent addition to the slew of lines is the WQHS-Penntrex Concertline -- 573-3CRT -- which gives information on the local Philadelphia music scene, catering to the more alternative tastes of WQHS listeners. Doug Randall, WQHS development director, said the ConcertLine, which is co-sponsored by Penntrex, brings several advantages to the student-run radio station. The ConcertLine tells students about events, increases publicity for WQHS and gives the station a more professional image, which may eventually lead to a broadcasting license. "If you look at technology, information phone lines are the future . . . people are becoming more accustomed to electronic medium," Randall said. "People have less patience. They don't want to listen to the radio for 40 minutes to get facts, so they call up and that's what they get -- concerts and no b.s." According to students who run phone lines, University students are responding heartily to the opportunity to make their lives easier over the phone. Neil Vogel, one of the founders of the FUNNLine, which primarily provides information on local and city bars and restaurants, said that Penntrex calculated that over 950 people called the FUNNLine voice mailbox in its first week of operation. "Students sure do call [the phone lines]," Yamin said. "But I'm not sure whether or not they will continue to call, or whether they are a novelty." And while the number of specialized phonelines is increasing, organizers aren't worried that the lines will result in increased competition. "Proliferation of phone lines can only help us. If people get used to getting info by phone, they will think of the FUNNLine," said Vogel. Randall agreed, saying, "We are not fighting for same markets right now. We are not competitors."
Mr. Spock, the beloved pointy-eared cultural icon, is going where no one has ever gone before -- the future. Hundreds, if not thousands, of University students will be glued to their television sets Saturday at 7 p.m. to witness Spock beam down onto the set of Star Trek: the Next Generation, where he will make a guest appearance on the sequel series to the original classic '60s science fiction program Star Trek. WTXF-Fox 29 programming executive Karen Schroeder said that Spock's reappearance will be over the course of a two-part episode of The Next Generation, entitled "Unification," perhaps referring to the merger of the old and new series. Schroeder added that although The Next Generation is a very popular series, Paramount Television brought back the "well-known, popular character" to boost the show's ratings for the November sweeps. Like few characters in American popular culture, Mr. Spock has formed an especially strong -- often fanatical -- following among college students. His placid demeanor, his obsession with logic, his Vulcan powers (mind-melding, neck-gripping and the like) and his inadvertently humorous insights into humanity's emotional frivolity have forged an unbreakable bond between the half-Vulcan and generations of student fans. Popular Culture and Folklore lecturer Camille Bacon-Smith, who plans to tape and watch the show, said that Spock is an interesting and appealing character because he is an intellectual reactor to the action of the show, and because of his absolute loyalty to Captain Kirk. "Spock reacts to Kirk, he supports Kirk, Kirk does crazy things and Spock is voice of logic," Bacon-Smith said. "This appeals particularly to Sci Fi fans, who are a more intellectually-oriented fan group." Bacon-Smith, whose book on female Star Trek fans will be published in January, said she is not worried that Spock's appearance on the new show will compromise the character. "If Star Trek 5 didn't compromise Spock, then appearing on The Next Generation certainly won't," Bacon-Smith said. Students said they were "thrilled" and "extremely psyched" for Spock's guest-starring role, and said they looked forward to seeing both his renowned Vulcan battle prowess, as well as his subtly humorous side. And many anxiously anticipated the interaction between the green-blooded Spock and his ultra-futuristic logical counterpart, Data the android, as well the rest of The Next Generation cast. Greg Fishbone, "a Trek-fan" and vice-president of Event Horizon, the University's science fiction club, said "I'm very excited for the show. It's the event I've been looking forward to all season." In describing the appeal of Spock, Fishbone said "he has a human side, and it comes out in a subtle way . . . and Leonard Nimoy is a great actor." College junior Hallie Levin said "I would rather see Spock in Star Trek the Next Generation than go out with Keanu Reeves . . . it will make my semester." And College senior Gregory Cohn, although "a devout non-Trekkie," said he will definitely be watching Spock's reappearance this Saturday. "I'm excited. Star Trek is like a memory from my childhood," Cohn said. But while all are excited to see Spock's reappearance on the small screen, not all were confident that he will live long and prosper on the new show. Unfortunately, Spock's appearance in the future has renewed the bloody conflict between progressive Trekkies who support The Next Generation, and the hard-liners who adhere only to the original series. Event Horizon President Gary Parnes said that although he will enjoy seeing Spock again, he is wary that the classic character will be undermined by The Next Generation's lesser status compared to the original show. "The new show is entertaining, but not as cultish as the original. The personalities are more mild," Parnes said. "I hope they don't use Spock just to attract people. If it's just a symbolic appearance, then they shouldn't do it." "The new generation has turned me off," Cohn agreed. "Maybe [Spock] will redeem the new show for me. It's a good ratings ploy." Of course, some students have chosen to downplay the significance of a TV event of this magnitude. College senior and Event Horizon Member Harlan Freilicher said, "I'm looking forward to it, but it's not going to change my life."
"Bob the Tiger" is back. But this time, he's ready. Two years ago, during the Homecoming football game against Princeton, a group of 30 rabid Quaker fans rushed onto Franklin Field at halftime and pummeled the Princeton Tiger mascot, stealing his fuzzy head, cutting his face and brusing several ribs. While the Tiger from two years ago retired after the beating, his replacement is ready for anything and is accepting the many risks and responsibilities of his uniform. "You always have to be on your guard when you're in the suit. You can't see at all," said Princeton Sophomore Rob Dyer. "The little kids are the the nastiest." He said that although a lot of people have asked him questions about the matchup, given the sordid reputation of Quaker fans at home against their arch-rival, he dismissed it as "hype." "My roommate has a gun, but I'll let him keep it," Dyer said. "I've got claws, but they don't do much good." Dyer said that "the only violence on the field will the Quakers getting crushed."
Although students rarely hesitate to shoot their mouths off about political issues, far fewer students will use their vote than their voice in today's election. For while the vast diversity of University students -- ranging from Wharton conservatives to the radical Progressive Student Alliance -- disagree vehemently on many political topics, they rarely actually make it to the polls. "Voting is pretty low on this campus," said Michael Berman, the president of College Democrats. "The student body as a whole should evaluate their voting habits." According to estimates based on Philadelphia Voter Registration Tables for the 27th Ward, 1813 University undergraduate and graduate students are registered to vote in today's Philadelphia elections. No figures were available on the number of students choosing to vote by absentee ballot. 27th Democratic Ward Leader Kevin Vaughan said students' political interest has declined over the last 20 years partly due to Philadelphia politicians' failure to bring up issues relevant to students. "People in local politics need to give [students'] something to be excited about," Vaughan said. "This is not happening . . . It's the fault of politicians, not just students. The apathy works both ways." Vaughan also said apathy has set in among students because society is segmenting towards many specialized interests. "In terms of interests and activities, [students] have gotten further from looking at politics as something important," Vaughan said. Although Engineering junior Thomas Yannone said he plans to vote tomorrow, he offered the truism: "When it comes time to vote, fewer students vote than voice their opinions." Many students neglect to vote because they are from out-of-state and do not want to go through the hassle of voting by absentee ballot. "Most students who are already registered [in another state] aren't going to change [their registration] to vote here," Gonzalez said. Denise Wolf, president of the PPU, also said many students neglect local politics and "do not bother to transfer their registration." Wolf qualified her statement, saying that although University students appear to be politically apathetic, many do care about the candidates and the issues, but these students are not as visible on campus. "Just because we don't have a protest every day, it doesn't mean we're apathetic," Wolf said. "We're just a little choosier about what we want to be vocal about." College freshman Alexander Rogin said that he is registered to vote in his home state of California, but he did not vote by absentee ballot, adding that, "I didn't get around to it." Rogin said that he has taken some interest in local races -- through a political science class and by watching television commercials -- but said that he still "probably would not get around" to voting in Pennsylvania even if he were registered here. College freshman Jonathon Kohl said he is registered to vote in Long Island but did not, and that he is not interested in local elections. "I've seen a little bit on TV, but it really doesn't matter that much to me," Kohl said. Going against the norm, College of General Studies senior Jennifer Colleran said she plans to vote today, partly because of her four-year association with the University. "The majority of Penn students are apathetic, but the longer they live in Philly, the more they have invested in the city," Colleran said. Although many students exercise apathy instead of their right to vote, the importance of the neck-and-neck senate race between Democrat Harris Wofford and Republican Richard Thornburgh has excited a greater number of students than usual. "There is definitely interest in the senate race," Berman said. "Wofford has been a big advocate of education, and he favors tax breaks to middle class, which are very relevant issues to students." Students have reacted strongly to the national importance of the Wofford-Thornburgh race, said the political groups' leaders. "Many students seem more interested in what is going to be a close race," Gonzalez said. "By voting for Wofford, students are sending a message to Washington that has not been stressed enough," Berman said. "Whether or not he wins, that he has done as well as he has sends a big billboard to George Bush that says, 'Fuck you.' " Colleran said that because the race is so close, she feels as if "her vote really counts." Ward Leader Vaughan said that because the Wofford-Thornburgh election has generated national interest, more students have become involved. "When you can read in the Sunday New York Times about your candidate, it gets people interested," Vaughan said. "It is the beginning of a wave of student activism about the presidential election."
Press two on PARIS, and you can drop all your classes. Press two on the new FunnLine and you can hear drink specials at South Street clubs. Don't mix them up. By dialing 573-FUNN, students can find out what's going on every week on campus and in the city, from the flavor of the week at TCBY, to which bands will be playing at Walsh's Tavern, to information on sorority rush. Currently the line is featuring information on campus bars and restaurants, Center City bars and clubs, and campus events, with movie listings to be added next week. Run through a Penntrex Voicemail system, the FunnLine, launched by a group of enterprising marketing students, offers callers several options which they can select by pressing buttons on their touch-tone. And, organizers say if the student-run line is successful, they could add a variety of events, including fraternity parties, campus performing arts events and city sports information. They are "playing with many ideas," including extending the FunnLine to include other Philadelphia universities. "We are setting our sights high," said College senior Julie Feldman, one of the five organizers of the FunnLine. "We are looking into many things." Currently, about 15 local and city businesses advertise on the FunnLine, but founder Neil Vogel said the number will grow, adding that many establishments said they would advertise as soon as the line was operating. Feldman said the FunnLine has been successful so far. "As far as we know, people have been calling, the idea has gone over well," Feldman said. "We hope it becomes a tradition, the way people get entertainment information at Penn." The idea for the FunnLine originated, ironically enough, in a Wharton classroom. Wharton senior Vogel said that the assignment for his marketing class was to create an imaginary product and explain how they would market it. But after the project had been completed, Vogel and his group members believed that they had done too good a job designing the "imaginary" product. "Everyone liked the idea, and we said 'Wait, this would actually work,' " Vogel said. "So we did it." "When we started to do the research we realized it was feasible and desired," Feldman said. Feldman said they are currently updating the message on the FunnLine weekly, and that they are constantly working on improving the system so that there are more options for callers to choose. "It took us a couple of weeks to get the kinks out, but now the line is running and there's good information on it," Feldman said.
They're ba-ack. These style-conscious masses will be buying up vast quantities of University-logoed paraphernalia, taking endless pictures of the Ben Franklin statue, and making local restaurants forget that the recession ever occurred. Yes, it's that special Parents Weekend time again. And as usual, the University community has gone all out to make sure that the folks feel they are getting their money's worth. From today until Sunday, the University will be abuzz with receptions, wine and cheese affairs, and cocktail parties, providing ample opportunity for the masses of mothers to show off what little University trivia they remember from the campus tour they took years ago, and for the flocks of fathers to munch on mounds of hors d'oeuvres. Engineering junior Ken MacFarlane's plans will be typically packed with many activities. MacFarlane said that he and his parents plan to attend Performing Arts Night, a reception with Engineering School Dean Gregory Farrington, a brunch for Band members and their parents, see the football game, and go out to dinner. For many, the highlight of the weekend will be the football game tomorrow afternoon. Hundreds of excited Mommies and Daddies will meet up with their groggy-eyed progeny to see the winless Quakers play the winless Brown University Bears. And much to the joy of local eateries, the "Proud Penn Parents" have brought their credit cards. Wayne Right, manager of Center City favorite Astral Plane, said that "our reservations are almost booked for the weekend," and seafood restaurant Bookbinder's 15th Street Seafood House owner Richard Bookbinder said Parents Weekend is "usually big for us." But while some fear the annual onslaught of the middle-aged, many students said they were looking forward to the occasion, or at least to the free meals. College freshman Becky Anderko said she is excited for her parents' impending arrival Saturday from Bethlehem. "We plan to go to the game and go out to dinner," Anderko said. "I guess I'm looking forward to it, but I just saw them over break." Anderko said she wasn't worried about her parents' embarrassing her, because "everybody else's parents will be there too, so it won't be a big deal." Some students, however, felt that Parents Weekend arrived too close to Fall Break. Wharton freshman Todd Hazelkorn said he is "kinda indifferent" to his parents' Long Island trek, adding "a lot of people just went home, [there's] no thrill in seeing your parents again . . . I had gone home for fall break." But Hazelkorn's disappointment was lessened by the prospect of free food. "It's good for a free meal, maybe two," Hazelkorn said. MacFarlane said he feels Parents Weekend is a good idea. "It gives parents a chance to see what they are paying for," MacFarlane said. High Rise North Desk Receptionist Stephanie Robinson said that she has already given out 12 weekend guest passes to parents, and that she expects to pass out "dozens more." "The students are excited and so are the parents," Robinson said.
Dennis Miller will bombard the student body with a rapid-fire comedic assault tonight, bringing his hip brand of political humor to a sold-out Irvine Auditorium at 8 p.m. Social Planning and Events Committee President Lisa Nass said she is "excited" for the performance, adding that she feels students share her excitement, as the show's 1500 tickets sold out in about four hours. Miller, former host of Saturday Night Live's news satire sketch, is known for his sarcastic wit, his detailed knowledge of obscure cultural trivia, and his well-coiffeured harido. Miller is also renowned for his popularity among college students. Since the show is general admission, Nass urged students with tickets to arrive early. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. and nearly all seats are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Southern comedienne Brett Butler will open for Miller, and will give a 20-minute performance, according to Wai-Sum Lee, co-director of the SPEC Comedy Club. Butler's act focuses on the culture clash experienced by a Southerner living in the North. She has appeared on The Tonight Show, on an HBO special and on the Arts and Entertainment Network. Butler was also nominated as Best Female Comedian at the American Comedy Awards last year. Lee, a College senior, added that the SPEC Comedy Club members had set out to make the bill more diverse, and that she was excited to have booked a female comedian to open for Miller.
When Ilicia Stangle was applying to college last fall, she really wanted to be a Quaker. But simply applying to the University as her first choice under the early decision program wasn't enough for the Albuquerque, N.M. native to show her love for the school and her desire to go there. So she took out an ad in the paper. Sure enough, she got in. And now she lives in the Quad. Stangle's ad in the DP did get the attention of the admissions department, officials say, but they also said that it did not affect their decision to accept her in any way. According to Director of Admissions Planning Cristoph Guttentag, Stangle's ad was not an empty gesture, but rather an extension of the portrait of herself she painted in her regular application. "We find that when we evaluate an application, the different parts, such as the transcript, the activities and recommendations come together fairly consistently to create an image of an applicant," said Guttentag. "Like everything students do, [the ad] was in some way reflective of their personality . . . It was not perceived negatively." Stangle, now a College freshman, said that she ran the ad in the DP because a friend of hers who was a University alumni recommended that she "do something out of the ordinary." Stangle said that she and her father thought of the idea of the ad, adding that "it got [the admission office's] attention." But she insists that she was a fully qualified applicant. "I would have been accepted anyway," Stangle said. Stangle said that she recommended pulling a stunt, such as her ad in the DP, to other applicants. "Many people who are applying [to the University] are all equally qualified," Stangle said. "You need something to make you stand out." Guttentag said that occasionally, students will do extraordinary things to get the attention of the admission officers, but generally they are more conservative. "Generally people don't do outrageous things," Guttentag said. "They take the process seriously, they tend to hesitate during anything that involves a risk of being misinterpreted or having a negative judgement." He added, however, that in exception to the general trend, some applicants have done some "interesting" things over the years. He said that the admissions office has received a life preserver with the letters "USS Penn" on it, a stained glass window with the University insignia, a photo of an applicant with his face painted red and blue and a three-foot greeting card. And one "clever" prospective Quaker filled out an application for his dog as well as himself. "The cover letter, talked about how his dog had told him she wanted to go to Penn too, and he signed it with a paw print" Guttentag said. "It was really humorous" "People will do things to try to make an impression," Guttentag said. "Generally it is in good taste and humorous, but alone they don't change an admissions decision and don't have a real impact."
Oh, the places they'll go. Taking a cue from Dr. Seuss, many University students' plan to get as far away from West Philadelphia as they can tomorrow, the first day of fall break. From Los Angeles to Tampa to Binghampton, students -- some sick of the filth, frost and freshmen -- are taking off to just about anywhere for the four-day weekend. College junior Harlan Levy said he plans to drive to Binghampton in upstate New York today, in order to "rage with my boys." "We were supposed to have a pig roast, but I might have missed it," Levy said. Levy added that he was sick of the city and "seriously" needed some time away from the seething metropolis. Some University students will span the globe in their Fall Break travel plans. For College freshman Phil Covits, he plans to return today to his hometown Los Angeles for a family reunion today, eager to "sleep in my own bed." Tired of the West Philadelphia's drastic temperature shifts, Covits added that he was looking forward to the consistantly pleasant weather of the Golden State. "I am going to the beach for Saturday, Sunday and Monday," he said, citing 100-degree heatwave temperatures on the West Coast this week. And just as most University students work hard while classes are going on, they also play hard whenever they can. College junior Deb Enegess said she and five friends will visit her house in Richborough, Pa., with intentions of "female bonding." "We are going to rent movies and drink and hang out and sleep a lot," Enegess said. Other students had more amorous intentions for fall break. Nursing senior Diane Machens said that she and her boyfriend will spend the weekend in a Baltimore bed-and-breakfast before he leaves to attend Army basic training in Louisiana. "This is the last time I will see him before Christmas," Machens said. And while most students plan some kind of excursion this weekend, one College freshman has more altruistic plans. Douglas Levy said he will spend fall break building houses for the homeless in West Philadelphia, as part of a program called Habitat for Humanity, instead of returning to his native Dallas. "I love [building homes]," said Levy. "It gives something to everyone, it's a good workout, it's fun to do . . . and you are really providing something for someone." Getting away from school is a major theme for many students' trips but for David Fleischer, it's an opportunity to mix work with play. The College senior intends to visit his family in Tampa and has an interview with University of Miami Medical School. Despite the diversity of fall break activities, most student agreed on one key aspect of the October two-day pass. "I'd love [break] to be longer," Covits said.
Bye bye bow tie. Sen. Paul Simon has cancelled tomorrow's scheduled speech at the University because of the reopening of Senate hearings on Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Simon (D-Ill.) was originally scheduled to speak tomorrow morning in Bodek Lounge, but as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bow-tied former Democratic presidential candidate must remain in Washington, D.C. to hear testimony on charges that Thomas once sexually harassed a co-worker. Sponsors of the speech said that Simon has not shown any intention of re-scheduling the speech in the future. But as Simon's duties as a legislator take precedence over his responsibilities as a public speaker, many students sponsoring Simon said it would be worth missing Simon's speech if the delay resulted in Thomas' rejection by the Senate. Yoram Borenstein, of co-sponsor Penn Israel Connection, added that "I personally dislike Thomas' views, and if the fact that Simon's not coming to campus will help in getting to the bottom of the issue, then that's for the best."
Adam Blackman knows a trend when he sees one. Following in the time-honored entrepreneurial tradition of cashing in on college clothing fads -- from the boxer short to the Bart Simpson t-shirt -- the Wharton junior has already sold almost 5000 pairs of hospital scrub pants, an item he feels will be the next big craze in student attire. "[The hospital pants] are a good product to latch on to," Blackman said. "They've never really been marketed retail." Blackman is also following in the time-honored Wharton tradition of making a bundle off of someone else's idea. "Everybody knows about hospital pants. They've been a fad for some time," Blackman said. "It's not an original idea in terms of the product." But all's fair in love and business, and Blackman says he wants to expand his business dramatically to include other university bookstores. He said he recently sent out promotional material about his hospital pants to 200 other schools, in the hope that they too will want to cash in. "I don't see any reason why a few hundred bookstores won't want [the pants]," Blackman said. "I anticipate a good response." Although he won't say how much profit he is making from his pants-peddling operation -- which he also sells to high schools as a fund-raising gimmick -- Blackman insists that all of his profits are going back into his business, which he calls Students' Choice. Blackman's friend, College and Wharton junior Cindy Warshawsky said she thinks the trousers trade is a "great idea." "They are great for college students," Warshawsky said. "They could become the same kind of clothing as boxer shorts -- something you can throw on when you're hanging out or can wear them different ways or cut into shorts or whatever." Blackman said he never expected his unique product to become the hit that it did. In fact, Blackman never really saw himself as an entrepreneur at all until his pants hit it big. "I never had a lemonade stand as a kid," Blackman said. But as a freshman he put together a catalog of products for college students and distributed it to the University and at high schools. He said the hospital pants were the only product that didn't fail miserably and he knew that he had a winner on his hands. And the rest was history. Blackman said that he hopes to expand his business to include hospital shirts, and maybe bandanas, too. And if these too are successful, Blackman may just decide to go into clothes marketing as a career. "I'd rather work for myself than for someone else," Blackman said. "And I'd rather do this than get a job."
Paul Simon's coming to campus. No, the other one -- the senator that wears the bow tie. The Democrat from Illinois and former presidential candidate will speak at the University next Friday at 10 a.m. in Bodek Lounge in Houston Hall. Kohn, also a Democrat, will join Simon in the presentation, which will include a long question and answer session for each speaker, Borenstein said. Borenstein, a College sophomore, said he felt Simon's speech was an important event. "It it important for undergraduates to have the opportunity to meet a United States Senator," said Borenstein. "It will also be helpful in terms of [Kohn's] election." Richard Smith, chairperson of co-sponsor Conaissance, said that he was impressed that Simon was coming to the University. "It is rare that a politician of his stature will . . . take a speaking engagement outside his constituency," said College senior Smith. Other students, such as Michael Berman, president of co-sponsor College Democrats, said that Simon's presence is particularly valued because his experience running for president in 1988 provide insight into the upcoming 1992 race. "We want to raise awareness of what is going on in the Democratic Party," said Berman. Simon is also expected to discuss Israel and the Middle East, according to PIC steering member Oren Friedman. The College junior added that Simon has been a strong supporter of Israel in the past. "We are out to increase awareness of Israeli issues on campus," said Friedman. "[Simon] is a respected expert [on Israel] in the U.S. community as well as internationally." Friedman said he also invited students from neighboring colleges, including Swarthmore College and Drexel and Temple universities, to attend Simon's speech. He said that Bodek Lounge can seat up to 300 people, and that many more can fit in the room if they stand up. Simon tried unsuccessfully to garner the presidential nomination in 1988, but has remained a leading figure in his party. Although he will not run for president in 1992, Simon has taken an active role in the Congress, stressing liberal economic and social policies.
The number of University buildings receiving educational television programming from the Annenberg School's satellite dish has doubled, due to a recent boost in funding from the provost's office. Michael Palladino, a University communications administrator, said the provost's office dramatically increased the University Linking Project, which brings educational programming received by the Annenberg satellite dish to classrooms. The recent expansion has increased the number of buildings wired to the Academic Video Network from 15 to 31. Currently, the satellite dish broadcasts 16 stations to each building, including the Cable News Network, the Learning Channel, the Weather Channel and several channels showing international programming. Palladino said the additional buildings will be wired to the network by the end of October, completing the first phase of a project to share the programming. He said the second phase includes wiring individual rooms within the buildings connected to the satellite dish. Each building wired to the Academic Video Network is equipted to receive satellite programming in two separate parts of the building, Palladino said. If more terminals are needed, the school responsible for the building must pay for more wiring to allow for additional hookups. Although the wiring of the Academic Video Network is barely completed, professors have already lauded the new system's educational advantages. Lidia Messmer, director of the Audio-Visual Center in Logan Hall, said faculty have already begun to show their students international programming received by the dish. "They are ecstatic about it," Messmer said. "I have received several requests for [satellite] programs . . . The faculty are absolutely delighted." Professor Roger Allen, the College representative to a committee that helped determine how the dish would be connected to the University community, said the linking project will have "tremendous educational implications." "Programming received from abroad in foreign languages has a lot to tell the campus as a whole," said Allen. "We have got to get out of the idea that anything worth knowing is only in English." Originally, the Academic Video Network was linked to the Annenberg School, Annenberg Center, Steinberg-Dietrich Hall, Lauder Hall, Logan Hall, College Hall, Williams Hall, Myerson Hall, the Towne building, the Moore building, David Rittenhouse Labs, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, High Rise East, High Rise South, WXPN radio station, Van Pelt College House, the Class of 1925 Building and the Dental School. After the expansion, the network will also be hooked up to the University Police station, Stiteler Hall, Caster Hall, the McNeil Building, Vance Hall, the Aresty Institute, the Penn Tower Hotel, Bennett Hall, the Morgan Building, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Van Pelt Library.
Philadelphia radio station WMMR wants you to know everything there is to know about college life. Keeping this ideal in mind, WMMR disc jockey Pierre Robert is hosting the Collegelife '91 festival at the Philadelphia Civic Center today and tomorrow from noon to 6 p.m. Collegelife '91 will feature a cornucopia of exhibits, musical performances by bands like Robyn Hitchcock and Crowded House, free product sampling, wacky comedians, giant games of Twister and the Philadelphia 76ers cheerleaders. Entrance to the festival costs $3 with a college ID. WMMR spokesman Howard Lavin described the purpose of the two-day event as "displaying everything there is to know about Philadelphia and enjoying college life." Lavin said there will be hundreds of exhibits giving out product samples and information on everything from the latest college munchies to cutting-edge technology. "There will be a lot of free stuff given away," said Lavin. "Not a bad deal for only three bucks." Lavin said that WMMR was inspired to host Collegelife '91 because there are more than 350,000 college students in the Philadelphia area and that this represented a largely untapped market for local businesses. Today's schedule of events begins with an introduction from DJ Robert, a concert by the band Crowded House, a college fashion show and a performance by the band The Fundementals. Highlights of tomorrow's agenda consist of a performance by comedian Pat Godwin, another giant game of Twister, a show by the alternative band School of Fish, a variety of soap opera stars signing autographs and a performance by Robyn Hitchcock. Other thrills and chills to be found over the next two days include a golf driving range and an opportunity for up-and-coming singers and songstresses to try their mettle at a karaoke show.
What can I tell you? Former Saturday Night Live cast member Dennis Miller, best known for his sarcastic and often scathing news reports, will perform at Irvine Auditorium October 23, Social Planning and Events Committee members announced last night. SPEC president Lisa Nass said yesterday that tickets for the 1500-seat show will cost $4, one dollar of which will go to Students Against Driving Drunk. Miller, who left SNL last season to star in his own talk show, is known for his unique style of cynical political satire, his unparalleled knowledge of obscure popular culture, and his perfectly-coiffuered hair-do. College junior Nass said that although contracts for Miller's performance have been signed -- guaranteeing his appearance -- the specific details of ticket sales have not yet been worked out. SPEC Comedy Club Co-director Jennie Rosenbaum, a College sophomore, said she was very excited and optimistic for the show. "Dennis Miller is a big name comedian," said Rosenbaum. "I have a feeling that he will sell out." SPEC Comedy Club Co-director Alexis Williams said that he feels Miller has a strong appeal among college students. Miller is the most recent of a plethora of SNL ensemble members to humor the University campus. Kevin Nealon performed last spring as part of a nationwide tour while Comic Relief brought Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, and David Spade to Irvine. And SNL's Dana Carvey was scheduled for a campus appearance in the fall of 1988 but cancelled to perform in a cable special. In other SPEC news, SPEC Concerts Co-director Stacy Feld said last night that D'Tripp, a "funky fusion funk band" from New York City will perform this Friday as the final band in the free afternoon concert series. "D'Tripp has a diverse appeal, their songs go from jazz to rap to funk to rock," Feld said. "They have a huge range."
What a long strange trip it will be, and Casey Jones, dancin' bears and terrapin turtles will all be there this afternoon. Students donning Birkenstocks and tie-dyes, as well as Greek letters, are expected to flail and frolic to the free sounds of local Grateful Dead cover band Smokestack Lightning, who will play Superblock today at 4 p.m. The show is sponsored by the Social Planning and Events Committee and the Interfraternity Council. SPEC chair Lisa Nass said she expects the show will be a success. The College junior added that a large turn-out is expected for the group, which frequently plays at local club Khyber Pass. Nass said that last week's free Friday show, featuring School of Fish and House of Freaks, generated a lot of "positive word of mouth" for the concert series, and added that because today's show is a Greek Week activity, a large number of students are expected to show up for the show. Nass also described the University's thriving flocks of Grateful Dead fans as an another reason why the show will do well, adding that she expects to see tie-dyes a-plenty at the show. Today's weather is also expected to be clear, but chilly, with a high around 66, according to Accu-Weather. She said she hopes that attendees bring their jackets and stay for the whole show, unlike last week when only about 50 students stayed for the second half of the concert. "The show will attract a wide array of people," Nass said.