April 22, 2005 |
Imam Shamsud-din Ali boasted about his close ties to Mayor Street in a conversation secretly recorded by the FBI four years ago but complained about the "network of clowns" he had to deal with in city government. The conversation, picked up on an FBI wiretap of Ali's phone in October 2001, was one of the first played for a jury yesterday as the racketeering trial of Ali opened in U.S. District Court. The prominent Muslim cleric is charged with using his influence to set up a series of fraudulent schemes through which he and companies he controlled generated thousands of dollars in illegal cash.
February 27, 2005 |
Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear when WIBG radio rocked Philadelphia's teenagers and Willie the Worm wooed the preschool set on television. When the zany Ernie Kovacs cavorted in the morning, and things went bump in the night with that cool ghoul Roland and his wife, My Dear, so shy she never left her coffin. When the dulcet voice of John Facenda made us feel comfy as he signed off his local newscasts by wishing all a "good night tonight and a good day tomorrow.
October 5, 2004 |
Pop Lit America (The Book) By "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" 240 pp., $24.95 Not content with their nightly skewering of current events on Comedy Central, Jon Stewart and the other writers of The Daily Show have taken on a bigger target in America (The Book): lampooning all of U.S. history. Masquerading as a high school textbook (right down to the authentic "This Book is the Property of:" box stamped on the inside flap), America is the wildest civics lesson you'll ever get. It's full of hilariously apocryphal information, including the assertion that in 1978 President Jimmy Carter nominated NBA scoring machine George "The Iceman" Gervin to the Supreme Court in an "attempt to fundamentally alter the make-up of the Court by adding size, athleticism, and a patented 'finger roll' . . . Ultimately the vacancy was filled by Ruth 'Chocolate Thunder' Ginsberg.
August 25, 2004 |
It began, in the words of one principal player, as "a little misunderstanding" in Cumberland County. When it was over, a six-foot black snake was dead on a front lawn, one man was injured after the dead serpent was used as a bullwhip, and another man - the snake's grieving owner - was reeling after being hit on the head with a baseball bat, authorities said. Investigators yesterday were still trying to sort out what happened Sunday afternoon in the Cedarville section of Lawrence Township.
July 10, 2004 |
Cirque du Soleil, whose mix of art, daring and high style is a showbiz trademark, opened Alegr?a under its tent at Broad Street and Washington Avenue on Thursday, and proved that you don't have to have the world's strangest acts to make the whole thing work. In the past, I've seen Cirque's artists tossing around huge spools, scaling a dozen or so wobbly tables, and playing a form of ping-pong on a tongue. Alegr?a, which means elation in Spanish and has been touring for a decade, takes more-traditional acts to their extremes.
July 29, 2003
BOB HOPE, during the height of his popularity, tried to enlist during World War II. He was turned down and was asked to serve the nation a different way: as an entertainer for the troops overseas. Since then, he re-upped for every conflict, becoming an army of one as he brought a bit of home to soldiers during the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and throughout the Cold War. He was movie star who was willing to face down bombs in war zones and his own fear of flying to make someone laugh.
January 17, 2003
Back in the day, detente between the United States and Soviet Union was preserved in part by a situation called "mutually assured destruction. " Each side knew the other side had enough bombs to punish anyone who bombed first. So nobody dared. Republican State Majority Leader John Perzel (R., Phila.) apparently missed that history lesson. His ill-conceived Thanksgiving Eve state takeover of the Pennsylvania Convention Center board tossed a bomb into the already explosive atmosphere of Philadelphia politics in a mayoral election year.
October 31, 2002 |
Alfred M. Cunard Jr., 95, a retired supervisor for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and a former member of the Deptford Township Board of Education, died of complications from pneumonia Tuesday at Greenbriar Nursing Center in Deptford. Mr. Cunard was a lifetime resident of the Almonesson section of Deptford. His involvement in the community included serving 17 years on the school board beginning in the late 1950s, coaching local sports teams, and driving a vintage fire truck at neighborhood events while dressed as a clown.
May 15, 2002 |
It's about two-thirds of the way through Flop, and the three women characters in the Pig Iron Theatre Company show are in big trouble. First, they broke the clock that somehow governs the passage of universal time, and that stopped not only time itself, but the motion of the Earth. Then, as they broiled in perpetual sunshine, one of them accidentally shot the sun out of the sky, and now they are freezing and desperately looking for a way to get Old Sol working again. Well, you don't have to know any more to get the idea that Flop is a silly show.
May 8, 2002 |
Stephen Sondheim's song "Send in the Clowns" concludes with the wistful suggestion, "Maybe next year. " But there is an earlier line that applies to Philadelphia theater at the moment: "Don't bother, they're here. " Clowns and clowning are integral to two local offerings: Madame Ranevskaya, premiering tonight at the Adrienne theater, and Flop, a show that Pig Iron Theatre begins previewing tomorrow and opens Saturday at Christ Church Annex. While Flop is full-fledged clown theater, with its three performers sporting red noses, Madame Ranevskaya incorporates clowning by some characters into an adaptation of The Cherry Orchard.