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I rang in 2021 sitting on the couch in my childhood home in White Plains, New York. It was me, a glass of sparkling apple cider, my nuclear–family–turned–COVID–bubble, and Ryan Seacrest, performing for a dystopian–looking, empty Times Square on national television. Brutal.
Amanda Shulman (C ’15) clinks a glass with a spoon until the room gets quiet. Her curly hair sits in a loose bun on top of her head, and she sports a lovingly worn–in black apron. For a few seconds, a hush hangs in the air as diners shift in their seats to catch a glimpse of the chef.
I can’t quite tell if we’ve returned to the land of precedented times. Last week, I babbled my way through a PowerPoint presentation in front of my political science seminar for the first time in a while—no screen sharing involved. But, barring the occasional water break, my mask stayed on the entire time. Penn’s libraries are open, but after a year of doing work at my bedroom desk, I’ve seldom sat down at my historic spot in the Van Pelt Reading Room. Every time I leave my apartment, I run through my usual mental checklist: wallet, keys, phone, mask.
Penn's most celebrated dermatologist experimented on incarcerated people. The University still hasn't owned up to his legacy.
Justin Chan (W ‘23), a Republican, doesn’t like Trump.
TKTK Yearbook smthg
The walls of your college town pizzeria are saturated with memories. Beer–stained stories and kisses on cheeks exist under the creaky floorboards, in the squeaking of wooden chairs on linoleum panels, and in the oil that discolors white cardboard boxes.
Did you just spend five months quarantined in your childhood home watching TikTok? Feeling inspired to change up your style after hours of introspection? Want to look cute on the walk from your house on 41st Street to the pharmacy two blocks away? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
The days of grabbing a bite to eat in 1920 Commons or meeting a friend for dim sum are now behind us, or at least on pause for the time being. With campus closed this semester and classes entirely online, one of the greatest Penn traditions—sharing a meal with friends—seems like a distant memory. Although Penn is not housing students in its dorms this semester, many people are returning to Philly to live in off–campus residences. We’re here to answer an important question for Penn students spending the next few months quarantined in University City: which classic Penn restaurants ARE open this fall?
Google “Professor Herman Beavers,” and you'll easily see all of the different roles Dr. Beavers plays at Penn: professor of English, Africana Studies, and Theatre Arts, faculty director of Civic House and the Civic Scholars Program, mentor, writer, and community leader, to name a few. Dr. Beavers specializes in American and African–American literature, poetry, jazz, and the study of writers such as August Wilson and Toni Morrison. He is a lifelong lover of literature and a thirty–one year faculty member at Penn. Street sat down with him in late July to discuss his upcoming course, “African–American Short Story in the 21st Century,” his experience teaching African–American literature at Penn, and where we can and should go from the moment of “anti–racism.”
Hector Cure (C ‘22) looked out over the Pacific Ocean from the pristine sand of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It was a clear afternoon in mid–March as waves crashed and friends chatted behind him, happy to get away from the slushy, grey winter that drags into spring in West Philadelphia. Like many undergraduates, Hector and a couple of friends were on a spring break trip for the week. At the time, coronavirus cases in the U.S. were slightly over 500 and Coachella had just been postponed. About a week earlier, the U.S. saw its first coronavirus death.
In decades past, signing with a record label literally meant having a company produce and distribute a musician’s records. The nature of music production and dissemination made musical fame a club that was difficult, if not nearly impossible, to break into. According to Statista, the "Big 3" music companies, Universal, Sony, and Warner Music, “exert control over nearly every aspect of the music industry by serving as music distributors, owning record labels, and coordinating artists’ performance rights.” Today, however, shifts in music consumption and production seem to be tempering the stronghold that the “Big 3” have over the musical world.
Quarantine has certainly sprouted a lot of trends. Whipped coffee and Tiger King feel like relics of the past, replaced by tie–dye sweatsuits and the Netflix show Unsolved Mysteries. One quarantine trend, however, might just stick around long after COVID–19 is relegated to the diseases–of–the–past archive: pet adoption.
Justin Horn (C ‘20) was standing in the back of the room at Joe Biden's campaign headquarters in Philadelphia, suspense gripping him, as he watched the Vice President’s team receive some race–altering news. Philadelphia’s long winter was melting away on the early spring night, the office packed shoulder to shoulder with enthusiastic Biden staffers, eyes glued to the news. Beto O’Rourke just endorsed Joe Biden, as did Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar, shortly after dropping out of the race for President. The once twenty–eight candidate Democratic primary field was narrowing down to just one, and Justin was watching it happen in real-time.
When my mom and sister first started binge watching Queer Eye two years ago, I cordially rejected their invitation to join. I found makeover shows to be overrated, and always preferred a fast–paced investigative drama or an Arrested Development–esque comedy sitcom to pass the time. Nonetheless, when I eventually joined them on the couch to tune into a QE episode, I was hooked.
He had written that paper. In his own words, of course. No cheating involved. He was a diligent worker and a smart kid who never even needed to cheat. Why would he? He had made it to Penn on his own, after all. Nevertheless, as the young, doe-eyed Penn freshman, Rick Krajewski (E ‘13), stood in front of his professor, he was being accused of plagiarism. To make matters worse, Rick knew he was being singled out as a Black man. The professor just assumed Rick couldn’t have written a paper that good.
Being an almost–twenty–something back in my childhood home during quarantine, I feel that I’ve been given dreadfully limitless hours to think about my life. I've been grappling with changing relationships, growing into adulthood while staring into an incalculable future, reminiscing on times I’ve fallen in love and fallen out of it, and the list goes on.
If anything is for certain these days, it’s that we’re living through “unprecedented times.” The coronavirus pandemic prompted a nationwide lockdown that left many Penn students stuck at home. Since the beginning of quarantine in mid-March, many people turned to creative outlets to blow off steam or quell looming boredom. Fresh sourdough bakeries, tie-dye pop up shops, and beaded bracelet factories cropped up in childhood bedrooms across the country.
“Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” has long been my favorite TV series. Back at Penn, I’d watch SVU curled up in bed on Friday afternoons, on the treadmill most mornings, and while I did my makeup before a night out. Last fall, I even gave in and purchased a Hulu subscription just so I could have access to all 21 seasons. That's 478 episodes, approximately 320 hours of the police procedural, for those of you keeping score at home. The show follows a cast of NYC detectives charged with handling the city’s most sensitive crimes, such as sexual assault, kidnapping, human trafficking, and domestic abuse.
On Monday morning, June 1, Lexi Lewis (C '23) left the quiet cobblestone alleys of Penn’s campus, alone. The outdoor diners and open air store fronts that usually mark early June in Philadelphia were shuttered as she passed 30th Street Station, the glittering Schuylkill River, and Rittenhouse Square. Side–by–side with Lexi, Philadelphians streamed toward City Hall, breaking the city's eerie COVID–19–era silence for the first time in months.