April 6, 2014 |
At age 77, Mark Semerjian says, his father, George, is winding down a long career as a custom builder on the Main Line that began in the 1970s. "He had a piece of land in Villanova and is building a spec house on it," said Mark, 41, of Semerjian Builders in Devon. He credits his father with teaching him many things about the business, especially the importance of being a "hands-on" builder. "He has always been hands-on, and everything was done in-house," including, after 1990, the drawings, "which he then would pass to a structural engineer," the younger Semerjian said.
March 30, 2014 |
At this month's South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, conversations among music fans sometimes began this way: "Hey, I saw a Philly band called ______. What's their story?" The name of one Philadelphia act was the one most frequently filling in that blank. That would be the Districts, the barely-out-of-high-school foursome fronted by singer Robby Grote, 19. The rising band from Lancaster County played SXSW in support of their self-titled five-song EP. They're now in the midst of a two-month national tour that comes to a close at the Sellersville Theater in Bucks County on Wednesday.
March 7, 2014
PRESIDENT Obama's speech announcing a new initiative called "My Brother's Keeper," to focus on the plight of young men of color, was a major moment, not only for the Obama presidency but, potentially, for the country. Last week's speech was unusual for a number of reasons. While, of course, his daily presence as the leader of the free world can't be devoid of racial import, our black president has been cautious about using his platform to deal overtly with race; how cautious depends on how much you pay attention to Cornel West, who has routinely and brutally blasted Obama, at one point calling him a "Rockefeller Republican in blackface.
February 17, 2014 |
SOCHI - At an International Olympic Committee briefing last week, the world's sports journalists witnessed an odd but revealing juxtaposition, one that not so long ago would have been impossible to imagine. Sage Kotsenburg, the gold-medal-winning American snowboard dude in sweatsuit and knit cap, was sharing a podium with Christoffe Dubi, the suave, nattily dressed Swiss who is the IOC's director of sports. The pairing was indicative of the wildly successful union of what once were polar-opposite institutions, the stodgy, European-dominated IOC and the rebellious, U.S. extreme-sport community.
February 14, 2014 |
SOCHI - It is a simple and seemingly benign symbol, one meant to signify Olympic ideals such as brotherhood and unity. Created about a century ago by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the aristocratic founder of the modern Games, the now-familiar Olympic rings have enjoyed a relatively serene existence. But in one of the oddest developments at these 2014 Winter Olympics, an event so far devoid of any major troubles, the innocuous and ubiquitous symbol suddenly has become controversial.
January 24, 2014
THE VARIETY of content conjured by the region's theater community is breathtaking. But on the other side of the footlights, diversity isn't nearly as prevalent. The audience at any production, from a world-premiere drama to a touring Broadway musical, is overwhelmingly baby boomers and people old enough to be their parents. While some established local theater types wring their hands over this, an 18-year-old theatrical rookie is taking action. Norristown-based New Cavern Productions was established last year to stimulate young people's interest in theater with original and adapted productions that play to youthful interests.
November 27, 2013
M Y FORMER hairstylist, Steve Duross, 51, of Midtown Village, a native of Willow Grove, is founder and owner of duross & langel, on 13th Street near Sansom. The shop specializes in natural, handmade soaps, bath and body products. It opened in 2004 in the front room of Duross' former home on Locust Street near 12th, which also housed the salon where he styled my hair. Q: When did you get into the soap business? A: I opened my first store in 1999, the Philadelphia Soap Co., which I later sold.
October 19, 2013 |
Amy Herzog's 4000 Miles is a charming, naturalistic family drama. It has no agenda, no big ideas, just an excellent cast portraying characters who feel like family - which is saying quite a lot. It is exactly the kind of play that gets nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for drama (as it did this year), and exactly the kind of play the Philadelphia Theatre Company favors. Mary B. Robinson directs with a light, affectionate touch. In the middle of the night, Leo (the excellent Davy Raphaely, looking like a young Mark Ruffalo)
October 18, 2013 |
WE HAVE two infamous shower scenes in American movie history, one from "Psycho" and the other from "Carrie. " The first offers the portentous spectacle of proto-slasher murder, the second a spectacle of humiliation, based on every teen's sexual anxiety and gnawing fear of being singled out and ridiculed by the pack. In the new remake of "Carrie," Kimberly Pierce has the apparently thankless job of trying to improve upon the 1976 Brian De Palma/Sissy Spacek original, but she has a few things on her side.
July 26, 2013
Kartik Hosanagar and Prasanna Krishnan have the earmarks of a power couple. At 36, Hosanagar is a professor at Penn's Wharton School, cofounder of Yodle Inc., an online marketer, and an angel investor in a dozen other start-ups. Krishnan, 34, has done stints in tech development at Comcast, venture investing in Silicon Valley, and management at Jetsetter, a travel website. But you might say that a third family member - their 21/2-year-old son, Aarav - is at least as important to Mom and Dad's latest venture: SmartyPAL, envisioned as a series of interactive children's books designed for the iPad generation.