February 21, 2015 |
Founded in 1835, St. Patrick's Church in Norristown is where many of the Irish immigrants who built the region's railroads worshiped and rejoiced amid the skirl of bagpipes. Fast-forward almost two centuries, and many St. Patrick's worshipers are speaking Spanish, with mariachi trumpets in the air. Starting about a decade ago, 1,000 to 1,500 Mexican immigrant families from the borough's burgeoning Hispanic population joined the church, spurring diversity with bilingual Masses and bringing vitality to a parish that 25 years ago closed its school because it couldn't draw enough students.
February 20, 2015 |
TIMED to Black History Month, the Smithsonian Channel's new documentary "Legend of Lead Belly" (8 p.m. Monday) sheds lots of light on one of the least-known yet most colorful and influential musicians of the 20th century, an artist "who didn't limit himself to any genre," according to disciple Van Morrison in the show. "House of the Rising Sun" may have been popularized by the Animals, but Huddie Ledbetter (a/k/a Lead Belly) lived it as the "house" musician at a Shreveport, La., bordello.
February 14, 2015 |
When she first walked through the maze of cubicles at the National Veterans Crisis Line in the winter of 2012, Ellen Goosenberg Kent thought she knew what to expect. Goosenberg Kent grew up in Philadelphia during the Vietnam era, the daughter of a Marine who had served in World War II. An Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker, she had already made two films about soldiers coping with broken bodies and spirits after returning home from war. This latest project, however, exploring the inner workings of the nation's suicide help line for veterans, surprised her and the film's producer, Dana Perry.
January 21, 2015 |
Rowan University senior Christopher Holzschuh hadn't heard his grandfather's entire World War II story until he made a documentary about it. "I didn't think of him as a war hero," said Holzschuh, 22, a history major from Marlton. "It was a side to my grandfather I don't think I ever saw. " The powerful 20-minute film, Change of Tides , was shown publicly for the first time Friday at the DIY arts space in downtown Flemington, N.J., and Holzschuh and his three Rowan collaborators were on hand.
January 20, 2015
SO YOU THOUGHT the long-running soap opera surrounding the Barnes Foundation and its priceless collection of paintings by Renoir, Matisse, Cezanne, Picasso and others was finally over, right? Guess again. In an apparent effort to get the last word in the bitter feud that pitted those who wanted to bring the gallery to Philadelphia (including Daily News publisher Gerry Lenfest) and those who wanted it to remain in Lower Merion, the Barnes Foundation has commissioned a documentary giving its side of the story.
January 9, 2015 |
William Penn might have founded Philadelphia, but it's Benjamin Franklin who gave the city a civic identity, a communal soul, and a future. In turn, Philadelphia made Benjamin Franklin, transforming him from a 17-year-old runaway indentured servant to a world-renowned innovator, diplomat, and scientist. His story is told in "Franklin's Spark," the eighth episode of Sam Katz's TV documentary series, Philadelphia: The Great Experiment , which airs 7:30 p.m. Thursday on 6ABC (WPVI-TV)
December 31, 2014 |
About a year ago, Philadelphia Police Chaplain Luis Centeno was approached by Stephen McWilliams, who teaches a social documentary film class at Villanova University. McWilliams was initially interested in profiling the chaplain, but as they talked, both began to see a more meaningful project - about a dark secret, one few law enforcement officers are willing to openly talk about. Suicide. The collaboration led to this to the release this fall of BLUE , a 40-minute documentary chronicling the occupational hazards of the job, and a related app to help officers identify and address the signs.
November 4, 2014 |
I T TOOK a few years of running a financial ministry at my church before I realized that the program needed to be revamped. Initially, I would have participants start with creating a budget. But by the time we got midway through the 10-month schedule, far too many people hadn't done theirs. So I spent one session probing why folks couldn't finish - or even start - their budgets. For the most part, it all came down to fear. One 50-year-old woman clarified it for me. "I'm ashamed," she said, shaking and choking back tears.
October 10, 2014 |
MUHAMMAD ALI has a big heart, a kind heart, a generous heart. Loves kids, especially his own, which number seven or nine, or more, depending on who is doing the counting. Heavyweight champion in a brutal sport, loves his kids, nice story line, but you can't stretch that into a 2-hour documentary, no matter how many cute-as-a-cupcake phone conversations you include. They try in "I Am Ali," which opens in theaters today. It is no more a complete and honest depiction of Ali than any of the books, magazine articles, films and documentaries that preceded it. Maybe next year.
October 3, 2014 |
IT'S NOT FUNNY and it won't amuse you. There's no clowning around in ESPN's latest Emmy-winning "30 for 30" documentary. The series, in its fifth season, kicks off with "Playing for the Mob," which chronicles the point-shaving scandal Boston College's men's basketball team was involved in during the 1978-79 season. Fans of the film "Goodfellas" will be familiar with some of those involved as Jimmy "The Gent" Burke and Henry Hill were among the mob associates who convinced four BC players to help fix games.