Penn Vet Students to Star in New Animal Planet Series, Penn Vet

Photo | Penn Vet

Photo | Penn Vet

The next time your new kitty won’t eat and keeps coughing up hairballs, you might want to check the mirror before you rush her off to Penn Vet. Animal Planet just announced a new series featuring “the first-ever behind-the-scenes look at the University of Pennsylvania’s highly competitive veterinary school.” Taking advantage of what it promises is “unprecedented access,” the series, titled (duh) Penn Vet, will shadow students in their fourth and final year as they’re taught and mentored by Penn’s renowned animal docs. Read more »

“One Book, One Philadelphia” Events Are Underway

Cold Mountain

Events for the Free Library’s annual “One Book, One Philadelphia” citywide book club are underway. This year’s book is Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier.

The events started Tuesday night with a discussion between Frazier and composer Jennifer Higdon, who created the Cold Mountain opera being performed as part of “One Book’s” events and which premieres Friday. Today’s events include a screening of the movie at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, as well as screenings of other Civil War movies, Glory and Lincoln, at other locations. (The full list of upcoming events in the series can be found here.) Read more »

5 Furry Philly Groundhog Day Alternatives to Punxsutawney Phil

There is nothing wrong with Punxsutawney Phil.

In fact, for a groundhog, the little guy is pretty cute. Getting a bit chubby in the cheeks, perhaps, but by February, who isn’t. Maybe he really can predict the weather, or maybe he only emerges from his cozy winter burrow for the same reason we all eventually do. Either way, he’s a good-natured Groundhog Day MC, and for that we should be grateful — especially since he forecasted an early spring this morning.

But growing up in the city, I can’t say that I’ve ever actually seen a groundhog, much less a groundhog meteorologist.

What I did see on Saturday afternoon was the world’s mangiest sparrow struggling to carry a Cheetos Crunchy Flamin’ Hot down Second Street. As my dogs and I approached, he fluffed up what were left of his post-blizzard feathers and teetered toward us, one wiry little foot at a time, as if to say, “Come one step closer and you’ll be sorry, lady — and your little dogs, too.” We backed off, and eventually he was able to secure his cargo, flying away to enjoy it in the safety of my neighbor’s gutter.

Did this mean that we’re looking at six more weeks of Cheetos-hoarding weather? Who knows, but I’d trust my little orange-dusted friend to know what’s up in Philadelphia over a backwoodsy groundhog. (No offense, Phil — you did good this morning, and I’d love to believe you.) I’d trust these guys, too. Read more »

Local Colleges Still Losing War Against Student Drinking

Pity the poor American institution of higher learning. Student drinking on campuses leads to property damage, arrests, injuries and deaths, hazings, and a tsunami of reports of student sexual assaults. (Research shows that 89 percent of those assaults involve drinking.) A recent study declared Pennsylvania colleges sixth in the nation in alcohol arrests of students, led by Shippensburg, East Stroudsburg, Lehigh, Penn Tech, Penn State and Kutztown — not the sort of high ranking universities crave. So naturally, administrators are doing their damnedest to clamp down on alcohol. At Swarthmore College, for example, new rules — no more hard liquor at school-sponsored parties, no more drinking games like beer pong, no more punch or party bowls — went into effect on campus in the fall of 2014. Students, predictably, were not enthused. “Seriously — can the admin with a straight face — indeed genuinely — defend these rules?” one incredulous undergrad demanded in the student newspaper, the Daily Gazette.

A year and a half later, a new report from Swarthmore’s department of public safety shows that while alcohol incidents at the campus’s three major social events dipped slightly in the first year of the more stringent prohibitions, they’ve since soared to new heights. (Nifty chart here.) Read more »

WATCH: The Roots Play Iko Iko With Sia, Natalie Portman, and Jimmy Fallon

We’re long past the old discussions about whether The Roots are slumming it by appearing on TV every night with Jimmy Fallon. What’s clear now is this: They add an indispensable dimension to his show that benefits him, and he provides a showcase for their talent and creativity that’s been a boon to Philly’s favorite sons.

It’s with that in mind that we present … this:

As Vulture says, it’s mesmerizing, impressive, and weirdly wonderful. Enjoy!

New Philly Tourism Commercial Is Laughably Bad


Let us first say that we have great love for the work that Visit Philadelphia (formerly Visit Philly, formerly the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation) does to bring much needed tourism dollars to our great city. Generally speaking, they do a fantastic job. But once in a while, like the rest of us, they don’t quite achieve their potential. Read more »

How Philly Spent the Blizzard Weekend: Watching Game of Thrones

game of thrones

Insert your “winter is coming” jokes here. Or maybe just make a Jon Snow pun.

In either case, Comcast confirmed Monday what most of us surely suspected: The weekend blizzard was a superb time to hunker down around a TV and binge-watch favorite shows. In Philadelphia and New Jersey, viewership spiked by 50 percent over the previous weekend. Read more »

The Brothers’ Network Wants to Change the Way You See Black Men

Hands Up: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments

In its role as a producer, The Brothers’ Network has showcased both established and emerging African-American theatrical talent. Seen here: “Hands Up: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments,” which it co-produced with Flashpoint Theatre Company this summer.

To understand why the Brothers’ Network exists, it might help to share the tale of an experience its founder and creative director, Gregory Walker, had at a local coffee shop not too long ago.

He walked up to the counter and asked the barista for an espresso. The barista replied, “Have you ever had an espresso? Do you know what it is?”

“I’ve been drinking espresso since 1980,” Walker explained as he related the incident.

It seems that many Americans, white, black and in between, view black men through a certain frame of reference that fails to acknowledge the totality of the black male experience. At the museum, the black man is the security guard rather than the person who created the works on the walls; at the theater, he is the usher rather than part of the action on the stage or the person behind that action.

And in the everyday world, the black men who do create works of art, who do write plays, and who love to talk about the ideas they advance, get confused for those guards and ushers.

Walker founded The Brothers’ Network in 2006 to eliminate that confusion and put in its place a new frame of reference, one that recognizes what he calls “the multiplicity of identity” of black men.

“What we do is dismantle assumptions,” he said. Read more »

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