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Prime-Time Magic with Randy Shine

card in sleeve 2Randy Shine ’93, ’96g was on his way to a career in academics before deciding he wanted to give performing a try. A decade later, he’s a successful working magician better known as Ran’D Shine. Tonight, he gets to show what he’s got on national television.

Shine is set to guest tonight on Penn & Teller: Fool Us, the CW Network show on which all manner of magicians, illusionists, and mind-readers try to fool the famous duo with a trick. The show airs Monday at 8 p.m. EST.

To get a taste of Randy’s talents, check out the video below:

Pretty impressive. Don’t forget to tune in Monday night.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

August 31, 2015 at 9:35 am Leave a comment

From The Magazine: Nate Lee’s International Kicks

NATELEEWhen we spoke to Nate Lee early this summer, he was still trying to figure out his plans for the next few months. “I know on June 6, we report to Guam,” he was saying, “but I’m not sure when we head out after that.” It was hard to blame him: Between a spring and summer itinerary that included trips to Hong Kong and Singapore, and games against opponents from Turkmenistan and India, it would be hard for anyone to keep up.

Lee, a redshirt junior defender featured in our fresh-off-the-printer Sept./Oct. issue, spent his much of his spring and summer as part of the Guam National Soccer Team. Born and raised in Maryland, he and his family qualified for citizenship in the tiny U.S. island territory in the Western Pacific through his great grandparents. For most of their lives, that fact didn’t have much impact on Lee and his brothers, all of whom—Nate, former Nittany Lion Justin ’12, and ex-Maryland star Alex—are or were college soccer standouts. That changed when Guam announced it planned to field a team for World Cup qualifying matches. “They started to find a lot of connections to American players,” Nate says, “so they decided to build a team from there.”

After splitting a pair of exhibition matches last spring, the “Matao,” as the national side is called, hosted and won a pair of qualifying matches in June against Turkmenistan and India. They still have a long way to go until 2018, but for a country with no World Cup history, it was a pretty good start. For Lee and his brothers, it already qualifies as an unforgettable experience. “It’s still kind of mind-boggling how this all worked out,” he says.

Lee is back in State College now, where he’ll be one of the veteran leaders for a Penn State squad that went 13-6-1 last season and made the second round of the NCAA tournament. He was among the players who joined coach Bob Warming earlier this week for the team’s preseason media day; you can check out their thoughts below.

Lee and the Nittany Lions, ranked 23rd in the national preseason poll, open their 2015 campaign this Friday afternoon in a home match against San Francisco. It’s part of a double-header with the sixth-ranked women’s team, who host Duke in the late game. Should be a great night in a perfect setting for futbol.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

August 26, 2015 at 3:55 pm Leave a comment

I Sure Hope I’m Hungry…

ABPI had breakfast this morning at the Au Bon Pain in Kern Building, a fairly unremarkable way to start a Monday—or a brand new semester for that matter. But it was significant in at least one way: For the next four weeks, I’m going to be eating my way across the University Park campus. This is not an experiment in trying to recreate my “Freshman 15” from the fall of 1991, but rather the start of a month-long reporting project on the state of campus dining, which is set to run in our Nov./Dec. issue.

If you’re an alum from 10 or 20 or 40 years ago, and you’ve been back to campus any time recently, you’ve probably been struck by the changes in campus dining options. You also probably don’t know the half of it. With that in mind, I–with occasional help from my magazine colleagues—will attempt to eat at each and every spot on campus over the next month. That means every dining hall (many of which you wouldn’t recognize if you graduated before 2010 or so) and every retail establishment, from the recently renovated HUB to options that range from the Business Building to the Pattee & Paterno Libraries. Stay tuned for regular web updates over the next few weeks, and keep an eye out for the finished product in our Nov./Dec. issue.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

August 24, 2015 at 9:52 am 3 comments

Shannon Furman is Living the ‘Hard Knocks’ Life

HBO’s Hard Knocks returns tonight, and with Bill O’Brien and the Houston Texans playing host, the new season of the NFL’s popular behind-the-scenes series holds special interest for Penn State fans. But the Nittany Lions’ former coach isn’t the only Hard Knocks star with blue-and-white blood lines: Shannon Furman ’03, a producer and director with NFL Films, is the series’ first assistant director.

Furman figures to be busy in Houston for the next month, but as the tweet above shows, she’s all over the football map, including occasionally back at her alma mater.

You can see a trailer for the the new Hard Knocks season here. As for tonight? Here’s hoping OB keeps it clean.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

August 11, 2015 at 1:42 pm Leave a comment

Lions in the Limelight

We’re in the final week (or so) of production on our Sept./Oct. issue, and among the stories we’re putting finishing touches on is a feature package on alums working in New York and national theatre. As it happens, a couple of the Penn Staters featured in the piece—musical theatre grads Caroline Bowman ’10 and Natalie Weiss ’07—have popped up in the news in the past few days.

maxresdefaultBowman currently stars as Elphaba, the misunderstood green witch, in the Broadway smash Wicked. She and co-star Kara Lindsay were featured last week in a behind-the-scenes segment on New York’s WPIX-TV. (Among other things, you get a sense of just how much time she spends every week covering herself in green paint.) Weiss, meanwhile, recently wrapped a headlining concert at New York’s Highline Ballroom, which is featured in a new post at Playbill.com. Among the highlights: A very funny, pop-inflected six-minute version of Les Miserables. There are more videos at the Playbill link, but you can see that one below:

For much more on Bowman, Weiss, and a slew of similarly talented Penn Staters, keep an eye out for our Sept./Oct. issue in a few weeks.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

August 5, 2015 at 2:30 pm 1 comment

Looking for a Lift to Rio

The road to the Olympics isn’t cheap, and if you’re an amateur athlete in a lesser-publicized sport—even a world-class competitor—it can be prohibitive. For Monica Aksamit ’12, the 2012 NCAA fencing runner-up and a three-time All-American during her collegiate career, the road to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio goes through qualifying competitions all over the world. The more she enters, the more points she earns toward her overall ranking. The price tag is steep: Last year alone, she says, travel to international and domestic events topped $13,000.

sponsor_monicaTo help defray costs, Aksamit has launched a campaign through the site pursu.it, a crowdfunding page focused solely on helping athletes. She started the campaign last week, hoping to raise $23,000 in 45 days and by the end of the first week had raised $3,845. As she says on her campaign page:

With minimal funding in this sport, the purpose of this campaign is to assist in the costs of properly training on my Road to Rio. Like many professional athletes are paid to do their jobs, this is not the case with fencing and I need to give 100% focus to bettering myself in pursuit of the Olympics on a daily basis!

Aksamit has relied mostly on social media and the help of friends acting as her personal sports information department to get the word out. She eventually plans to reach out to other organizations, including local political officials, women’s groups, and fellow fencing members across the country. “I have a relatively set game plan,” she says.

B.J. Reyes, associate editor

August 3, 2015 at 8:09 am 1 comment

A Spirited Group of Lions

Former women’s soccer All-American midfielder Christine Nairn ’12 posted a very cool shot on her Instagram account Thursday: a pride of Nittany Lions who are now teammates on the Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Penn State Appreciation Day! Biggest divas on @pennstatewsoc then and now the @washingtonspirit ☝🏼️👑

A photo posted by Christine Nairn (@nairnchristine) on

From left, that’s forward Tiffany Weimer ’06, Nairn, midfielder Joanna Lohman ’04, defender Ali Krieger ’07 (fresh off helping the U.S. to World Cup glory), and rookie defender Whitney Church ’15. The Spirit, who play their home games in Boyds, Md., are back in action Saturday when they host the Houston Dash—whose starting goalkeeper is none other Erin McLeod ’06.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

July 31, 2015 at 10:59 am 1 comment

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