April 2, 2016
With a reported budget of around $10,000 and all the infamy of a single supremely silly YouTube video, Philadelphia union boss John Dougherty's recently revealed drone fleet isn't exactly the Luftwaffe. It is, however, a particularly flighty example of the local labor movement's endless testing of the legal boundaries of intimidation, a favorite tactic that does much to keep the city's reputation and economy close to the ground. Why does a local electricians' union - unlike, say, a number of small nations - require an air force?
April 2, 2016 |
Johnny Clegg is used to getting up people's noses. If it wasn't because the white, British-born, South African activist/singer-songwriter stuck it to the government by fronting several biracial bands during the time of apartheid, it was because of Clegg's lyrics on songs such as "Impi" and "Gijim'beke. " From the 1970s through the '90s, Clegg, his various ensembles, and their blends of African Zulu rhythms and gooey pop were a voice of reason on apartheid. "I think we made an impact [then]
March 31, 2016
ISSUE | 'JOHNNY DOC' Give this civic leader his due Sunday's Inquirer contained another attack on the character of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 leader John Dougherty (" 'Johnny Doc' gets an air force"). It is time to take notice of the enormous contribution Dougherty and the IBEW have made to the safety and economic health of our region. Unskilled and untrained workers performing unlicensed electrical work present a serious public-safety issue.
March 25, 2016
ISSUE | CRIMINAL JUSTICE 'Punt' was fair play The Inquirer's Chris Brennan is entitled to his opinions, but readers should know about his involvement in the events he is reporting on ("As the D.A. is learning, sometimes you have to punt the football," Feb. 29). In her effort to discredit perceived enemies, Attorney General Kathleen Kane allegedly broke the law by leaking secret grand jury materials to Brennan, then at the Daily News, to discredit the prosecutors who ran an investigation of elected officials that she abandoned.
March 16, 2016
Amid deteriorating relations with his fellow Democrats, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has hired Republicans to manage his reconstituted fund-raising operation, the Inquirer reported Monday. Williams, whose past political spending has drawn federal scrutiny, explained that his new team of onetime rivals is "working to professionalize" his campaign finances so he can "focus . . . on doing the important work in the District Attorney's Office. " The heartening implication is that Williams' campaign finances are separate from his law enforcement.
March 14, 2016
Johnny Manziel has fallen from the 22nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft to a colossal bust without a team. The former Cleveland Browns quarterback is officially a free agent after clearing waivers Saturday. If a team had claimed Manziel, it would have assumed responsibility for the $2.17 million guaranteed on the final two years of his contract. Instead, the Browns remain on the hook for the amount after cutting Manziel on Friday. However, they're expected to try to recoup the guaranteed money on the deal if the NFL suspends him. His ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley accused him of beating her and threatening to kill them both Jan. 30 in Dallas.
February 4, 2016 |
Fans of the Duluth, Minn., trio Low squeezed in Monday night for a sold-out show at Johnny Brenda's, a date rescheduled due to Pope Francis' Philadelphia visit in September. It was a rare treat for those fortunate enough to secure tickets, perhaps the band's most intimate local show since they played at Silk City two decades ago. The band's music would have been an apt sound track for the throngs of faithful who flooded our town to see the pope. Guitarist Alan Sparhawk and drummer Mimi Parker, the married couple at Low's core, are Mormon, not Catholic, and their songs aren't conventional anthems of praise.
January 23, 2016 |
It was either a million years ago or just last June when Torres played Philadelphia. Her breakthrough second record, Sprinter , had dropped in May, and though the praise was immediate and fairly universal in indie rock circles, the Brooklyn-via-Nashville singer-guitarist, (a.k.a. Mackenzie Scott), had a nervous energy about her that June night at Boot & Saddle. She seemed a bit jittery - suspicious, perhaps, that people were suddenly buying what she was selling. Her debut disc, 2013's Torres , had been a cult favorite at best; packed rooms were a recent development.
December 20, 2015 |
Singer-songwriter Jesse Malin has long been too glam for rustic earnestness, too uncultured for commercial punk. From his glittery, hard-core band D Generation in the '90s to solo albums portraying him as Springsteen with a rooster haircut, Malin just doesn't quit. This year, he released two albums - New York Before the War and Outsiders - as ramshackle and ruminative as anything he has ever recorded. A cocksure Malin was raring to rant at Johnny Brenda's on a rainy Thursday night.
December 9, 2015 |
With ominous bass and soft drums, Car Seat Headrest started their headlining set at Johnny Brenda's on Sunday night with low-key confidence via the moody and atmospheric "The Ending of Dramamine - How to Leave Town," in which an opening repeating structure was soon joined by contemplative guitar. Sharp, recurring notes began to dance like a candle urged by subtle currents before they turned bluesy, the drum rolled, and the song shifted, still tight and compact - clinical, amid an expansive jam feel that coolly returned to that soft, minimalist beginning.