Campus Buzz

Oh, Superman!: Christopher Reeve stands by that controversial TV ad, first aired during the 2003 Super Bowl, that shows him walking unaided at some unspecified time in the future. From his souped-up wheelchair on the Irvine Auditorium stage March 30, the actor-turned-activist said, “I don’t mind controversy when people get engaged with something. I like them to use their brains.” His defense of the ad came in response to a question after his talk, which was sponsored by Connaissance. In the talk, he urged the sold-out house to follow the “inner voice” that tells them what is right and what is wrong and to use their education to make the world better for everyone. The faces in the audience were not all students, either: among those in attendance were Nursing School Dean Afaf Meleis and Medical School Dean and Health System Executive Vice President Arthur Rubenstein.

Fundin’ for Jamaica: The Penn Relays are big in Jamaica. Real big, if the presence of Jamaican Consul General Basil Bryan at an April 7 Houston Hall fundraiser is any guide. He was one of the more than 100 people on hand to honor Kenny Gamble, the genius behind “The Sound of Philadelphia” and a longtime Jamaicaphile, for his service to both the Philadelphia and Caribbean communities. Gamble received a community service award from Team Jamaica Bickle, which provides food (“bickle” to Jamaicans) and support for Jamaican athletes competing in the Relays; the fundraiser, hosted by Penn’s Caribbean American Students Association, benefited the group. “What would the Penn Relays be like without the Jamaicans? No one would go,” said Partnership CDC Director Blane Fitzgerald Stoddart W’87, who organized the event. For his part, Gamble told the audience that many of his biggest hits were written in Jamaica, and that one in particular—Teddy Pendergrass’ “Turn Off The Lights”—was inspired by the country’s erratic electric service.

Calling all foodies: The dining table around campus is being reset yet again. The bulk of the action is taking place along 40th Street, where five new eateries are springing up. Already open: Qdoba Mexican Grill, a casual Tex-Mex restaurant at 40th and Locust streets, and Bucks County Coffee, which added a second campus location in the Dental School’s Robert Schattner Center. Coming soon: a permanent home for popular mobile eatery The Greek Lady, in the former Simsum space (expected to open this month), a University City outlet for artisanal bread-maker Metropolitan Bakery at 4015 Walnut due in May, and a Marathon Grill with an upstairs performance space next to The Bridge slated for a summer opening. Also set to open by the time you read this is Ajia, a new Japanese restaurant in the Left Bank complex at 3131 Walnut St. “Not only will these be terrific additions to the community, but also this shows University City as a prime location where businesses want to be,” said Lisa Prasad, associate vice president for business development.

Originally published on April 15, 2004