July 3, 2015 |
STUDENTS OF sound design and horror-movie scores should see - or hear - "Closer to God," which elicits more creepy scares than its transparent plot warrants, thanks to an unsettling audio mix and pulsing, percolating music from Thomas Nola. With shades of David Lynch's "Eraserhead" and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein , writer and director Billy Senese's midnight indie follows a clinically cool scientist (Jeremy Childs) who has cloned the first human. The opening-credits birth sequence, with the fresh pink baby popping out as normal as can be, takes a nightmarish turn when a small, shiny receptor is planted in her forehead.
July 1, 2015 |
FRANK VEGA'S life was a mess. A serious heroin addict, drug peddler, jail bird, suicidal. In other words, a hopeless case, like so many in the dreary inner-city neighborhoods that harbor society's dregs. But something happened to Frank Vega while he was serving a 19-month sentence on drug charges in Holmesburg Prison. He had a dream. He saw broken people, like him, going into buildings and coming out restored. He believed it was a message from God, telling him he'd better do something for the people in his community, the ones he had for so long simply exploited for his own selfish gain.
June 30, 2015 |
SHE MOVED her kids to Hilton Street a few years ago, a stone's throw from the coral reef of humanity that wraps around Kensington and Allegheny avenues and the Market-Frankford El. Their block looks like an old prizefighter who punched above his weight for too long: cracked windows here, boarded-up doorways there, and jagged gaps where homes once stood. Paradise, it's not. But "Gringa" - that's her nickname, the only name she felt comfortable sharing - did her best to keep her kids happy and safe, letting them splash around in a little wading pool right under her nose, on the sidewalk in front of their house.
June 23, 2015 |
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Rev. Norvel Goff, standing at the pulpit where murdered Emanuel AME Church Senior Pastor Clementa Pinckney had long preached, yesterday electrified grief-stricken congregants and dignitaries with a sermon that stressed the importance of leaning on God in times of crisis. The packed historic African-American church erupted in applause and shouts of "Amen!" when Goff said, "No evildoer, no demon in hell or Earth can close the doors of God's church," in explaining why it was important for Emanuel to have services on the first Sunday after Pinckney and eight other church members were shot to death there Wednesday night.
June 19, 2015 |
COULD "JURASSIC World" become a reality some day? According to Jack Horner - the world's most renowned paleontologist and a consultant on "Jurassic World" - the answer is yes. "I think one day in the not too distant future, we're going to have the ability to create any animal we want," Horner said. "That includes dinosaurs and even - though it may sound silly - unicorns. " Although Sam Neill's original "Jurassic Park" paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant was based on Horner, he feels it is more of an honor and more important that Steven Spielberg chose him to give the film some scientific plausibility, rather than take the easy way out and do a movie that was science fantasy.
June 5, 2015 |
PHILLY JESUS has started a digital collection plate for his ministries on GoFundMe.com, with a goal of raising $70,000. "We chose 70 because the number seven is God's number," said Philly Jesus, whose real name is Michael Grant. Grant, a 29-year-old recovering heroin addict, has been dressing as Jesus and hanging out at LOVE Park since April 2014. He has a large following on Twitter and Instagram and said he dresses as Jesus as a way to get others to approach him so he can share the story of Christ.
May 11, 2015 |
ANY GIVEN Sunday, open the blue door to the storefront Church of the Living God at 2nd Street near Somerset in West Kensington, and you won't be able to sit still. The band, including a 10-year-old boy strumming a guitar and a 14-year-old girl on the drums, could pass for a professional rock/soul group. Even the oldest member, 100-year-old Anna Lee Green, stands, claps, dances and sings in this self-proclaimed "Happiest Church In The City of Philadelphia. " Happy it is. The church exudes joy even when parishioners cool themselves with fans that depict an ad for a funeral home in the Powelton neighborhood.
April 27, 2015 |
ANTONIO ANDERSON heard the call in 2013 to "plant" a church in his hometown. He and his family were living outside Manhattan. He and his wife had well-paying, steady work. Their two daughters, now ages 11 and 9, were happy in their schools. They were all active members of Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, a megachurch with more than 4,000 members. But there was that call. "I told my pastor, 'God is calling me back to Philadelphia.' I was listening to the news and the crimes against children, and I wanted to come back and make a positive difference," recalled Anderson, who was born and raised here.
April 1, 2015 |
Elva Parker was a familiar face in downtown Chester. On her good days, she picked up trash in a patch of parkland off the Avenue of the States where she liked to sit. She gave away some of the little money she got from Social Security to people who said they needed it. But on her bad days, she screamed, cursed, and threw things at passersby on the street whenever she thought they got too close. She was arrested for hitting an officer who told her to move along. She lived on the streets.
March 26, 2015
I AM COMPELLED to write this letter as the result of a judge's decision to allow a very hurtful anti-Islamic ad to be placed on SEPTA buses. I am well aware of the First Amendment right to free speech, but in my humble opinion to place an ad of Adolph Hitler on these vehicles is not only insensitive and incorrect, but also causes great harm to many people. A federal judge has ruled that since SEPTA has accepted religious, political and public-service advertising in the past, it cannot refuse ads that call for ending U.S. aid to Islamic countries that compare Islam to Hitler.