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Clare OConnor


Word on the street: Things to do before you graduate

This is it. The end. In 24 days -- a mere 576 hours -- I, with the rest of my class, will graduate. In 24 days it will no longer be appropriate to puke up vodka cranberry for four hours on a Friday morning.

Freud -- to a tune

Moss Hart, Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin must have had copies of Hamlet firmly in hand while collaborating on Lady in the Dark. The protagonist of this 1941 musical, Liza Elliott, is repeatedly faulted as a woman who, like our favorite Dane, "can't make up her mind." For Penn's Theatre Arts Program, Lady in the Dark represents an ambitious undertaking.

Reach for the sky

You know that summer in St. Trop is only fun if you avoid the army of wrinkled German men in thongs and retreat to Les Caves du Roy nightly.

Social Darwinism

Don't be fooled by the cover of Groton-alum Curtis Sittenfeld's classy debut novel -- Prep. While the pink and green grosgrain belt around the book's middle may bring to mind your wasted summer on Nantucket or that yachtie you fondled at the Newport-Bermuda after-party, Prep's protagonist is not an elitist snob like you and I.

Cures for Senioritis

Tuesday was my 22nd birthday. It was also November 16th -- exactly six months until graduation. I didn't know whether to celebrate in the usual way -- get blackout drunk and make out with everyone I know -- or to finally trade in the Bacardi for the Botox.

Cali on DVD

Saved by the Bell -- Seasons 1 & 2 If you want a flashback to 1989, look no further than the halls of Bayside High in Pacific Palisades, CA.


Popular -- the complete first season This show was admittedly the poor man's My So-Called Life, with a typical teenybopper cast of characters (the rich bitch, the quarterback, the ambiguously gay guy, the weird activist) and supposedly witty one-liners like"Michael Jackson called, he wants his eyebrows back." So why does it merit preservation for posterity on DVD?

Reality bites

Stop the pretending; we know your secret. You skipped the company barbeque to watch the finale of Outback Jack. And then you went to the CBS website after missing an episode of the Amazing Race, just to see if those douchebag twins were finally given the boot.

­Super Guay!

What do Burberry-clad yuppies, chimichangas and tequila have in common? All can be found in abundance at Mexican Post, Old City's numero uno Tex-Mex joint and arguably the best place for happy hour margaritas in Philly. At Mexican Post, don't expect five-star cuisine.

Sweet and Sour Salmonella

The last time I ate chicken from a questionable restaurant was at 4:00 a.m. at a dirty KFC somewhere near Notting Hill Gate over spring break.

Elvis Con Queso

Philly's restaurant impresario has done it again. For his ninth venture, Stephen Starr has taken the skeleton of the failed tapas bar Trust and turned it into a carnival of kitsch and cool rivaled only by his other fabulously popular "restaubars," Continental, Buddakan et al.

Not Harry Potter

I'm not a big believer in the supernatural. I don't get my tarot cards read, try to interpret my dreams, carry magical crystals, or burn essential oils.

Meg Ryan fans need not apply

Over the course of my three years at Penn, I've been threatened with deportation twice, frisked three times -- not just checking my boots for box-cutters, but the full deal, burly mustachioed women and all -- and most recently, over Fall Break, denied entry into this land of the free/home of the brave by a smug U.S.

Reading-material girl

Madonna in the world of children's literature is like a priest in a porn film: unexpected, awkward, and not particularly sexy.

Go Bump in the night

Move over Woody's - you've been shafted. There's a new kid on the block in the Gayborhood, packed nightly with more beautiful men than the front row of a Cher concert.

Tropical Heat

When I first heard that Roy's "Hawaiian Fusion" restaurant was part of a chain, I feared the worst: the Olive Garden with leis.

The only sure cure

Some days I wake up so hung over that I can't decide whether to stumble to work still drunk and get fired or throw myself in front of a train.

Cityscape: Eastern State Pleasantry

Do not visit Eastern State Penitentiary if you, like me, have to count your irrational fears on both hands: clowns, rodents, the elderly -- need I go on?

Hanging Gardens of Bartram

This weekend I learned a very important lesson: irrespective of the words of a noticeably frightened cab driver pulling over on 54th street, "Historic Bartram's Garden" is not the same thing as "Bartram's Village." One is a beautiful pre-revolutionary home and botanical garden set in 4 tranquil acres of Fairmount Park -- the other is a housing project, where nothing whatsoever could be described as "scenic," unless gutters full of syringes and empty 40s of Olde English appeal to you.

Culture: A gramme for a weekend

When most of us think of dancing, we think of either annoying, politically-correct student groups or embarrassing, flailing motions at campus bars.
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