August 25, 2016
ISSUE | FRANK RIZZO Statue 'is deeply offensive' I moved to Philadelphia in 1971 to attend graduate school. Living my first eight years in a city where Frank Rizzo was mayor did not inspire civic pride. I watched his "law-and-order" regime treat with contempt the North Philadelphia community where I was attending school, provoke what would become the MOVE tragedy, destroy the nation's bicentennial celebration with his vicious response to possible protests, and instill fear among law-abiding African American and gay residents.
August 22, 2016 |
A winter snowstorm hammered Philadelphia on Feb. 23, 1987. I'm not normally a horoscope person, but for some reason I saved my Pisces directive that day: "You'll have reason to celebrate. . . . The boss recognizes your value. " I'd like to think that was true. It was my first day working for Frank L. Rizzo. Due to the weather, I was the only staffer who made it to work. For me it was easy. I lived in a small studio on Rittenhouse Square and needed only to walk three blocks to 1528 Walnut St. Either Anthony or Joe who managed the building let me into Suite 2020, where I sat in the outer area reserved for visitors to the former mayor.
August 14, 2016 |
The bronze statue of former police commissioner and mayor Frank Rizzo that stands across from City Hall was buffed and polished ahead of last month's Democratic convention. His son said he wanted his father's shoes, which were often said to reflect like glass, shined for the festivities. But on Friday, two protesters had different plans for the statue. They draped a Ku Klux Klan hood on Rizzo's head, calling the monument a reminder of racial strife and discrimination that must come down.
August 11, 2016
ISSUE | DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION Arts can help us get past anger, prejudice During the Democratic National Convention, the arts and culture community's museums and performing-arts venues showed off the beauty and vibrancy of Philadelphia. More importantly, cultural groups stepped up with messages of unity, justice, and civic duty through pop-up performances on Broad Street, a youth art contest to inspire future voters from Fleisher Art Memorial, an issue-based voting display at the Free Library, and political street art. Hundreds of engaging community events and activities allowed locals and convention-goers to use their voice, share their beliefs, and offer social and political solutions.
July 25, 2016 |
Long after his retirement in 1971, Philadelphia Police Lt. John A. Stevenson would tell his children and grandchildren about the time he starred alongside Frank Rizzo and other Philadelphia officers in one of the first reality-based law enforcement shows on television. "He always talked about it. It was like family lore," said Dan Stevenson, 40, Stevenson's grandson. "We were like, 'OK, Pop Pop, you were on a TV show.' " Stevenson insisted he was on a TV show, and it was hosted by Oscar-winning actor Lee Marvin.
November 12, 2015 |
YOU MIGHT HAVE thought that Joe Mastronardo had to be Frank Rizzo's worst nightmare. His only daughter, Joanna, married to a professional gambler! It was well-known that Frank Rizzo, the longtime cop, police commissioner and mayor, had a passionate hatred of lawbreakers. But Joe Mastronardo was different. "I had many a conversation with Rizzo about this," said Dennis J. Cogan, a lawyer who often represented Joe. "He did not lecture Joe. He would wave his finger at him once in a while, but he came to realize that Joe was really a good guy. "What Joe did was not something Frank would condone.
October 24, 2015 |
Once upon a time, you could take the measure of a Philadelphian by his or her reaction to the name Frank Rizzo . As Bruce Graham's Theatre Exile world-premiere play Rizzo makes abundantly clear, you were with him or against him. He was a skull-cracking peacekeeper and the only politician brave enough to stand up for the working class, or he was a skull-cracking, gay-bashing, racist bully and the leader of a ring of cronies and thugs who held...
October 23, 2015 |
The expectations were at least twice as high as Billy Penn's statue on City Hall. After all, Theatre Exile's "Rizzo," whose world premiere is being staged through Nov. 8 at Christ Church Neighborhood House, in Old City, is a play about the most controversial, dominant and polarizing figure in 20th-century Philadelphia politics, written by the city's most successful indigenous playwright and starring an actor who is arguably the region's best and...
October 15, 2015 |
When South Philly playwright Bruce Graham set out to dramatize the life of larger-than-life Frank Rizzo, he made a startling discovery that shook up his creative juices. "When I started outlining the play, I panicked - and I never panic," said the blue-collar playwright whose Theatre Exile world premiere of "Rizzo" runs tomorrow through Nov. 8 at Christ Church Neighborhood House, in Old City. Before he researched Rizzo's life, Graham said, "I thought, 'Wow, what an interesting character!
October 15, 2015 |
For his next vehicle, Scott Greer has anything but just another role. The actor stars in "Rizzo," Theatre Exile's world premiere of Bruce Graham's play about Frank Rizzo, the late police-commissioner-turned-mayor who still casts a large local shadow almost a quarter-century after his fatal heart attack during the 1991 mayoral campaign. Previews begin tomorrow at Old City's Christ Church Neighborhood House, and the production runs through Nov. 8. The opening comes exactly 21 years after the release of ESPN football guru Sal Paolantonio's 1994 book, Frank Rizzo: The Last Big Man in Big City America , on which the play is based.