June 30, 2014 |
Originally, we decided to visit Bologna because we had never been there, we love medieval cities, and it is a train hub that would facilitate easy transport to other destinations in Italy. Then, we learned that Bologna was the birthplace of tortellini, mortadella, and, of course, ragú alla bolognese. The city actually is nicknamed Bologna the Fat. Every guidebook we read referred to it as the gastronomic center of Italy - which pretty much makes Bologna the gastronomic center of the universe, si?
June 29, 2014 |
BROOKLYN - Among the half-dozen Philadelphia composers currently working on operas, the ultra-expressionistic Michael Hersch is the first to see his produced. On the Threshold of Winter was premiered Wednesday in a small-scale production at the Brooklyn Academy of Music by soprano Ah Young Hong and the Nunc contemporary music group - and emerged as something so uncompromising that any future presentation in a traditional opera house is unlikely. Based on Marin Sorescu's 1996 poems written in the weeks before his death from liver cancer, On the Threshold of Winter is a journey into fatal illness that, in Hersch's hands, acknowledges no distance, safe or otherwise, between a listener and the suffering protagonist.
June 23, 2014 |
When I heard that Popes John Paul II and John XXIII would be canonized, I knew I'd be Rome-bound. I traveled to the Eternal City for John Paul's funeral in 2005 and his beatification in 2011, sleeping on the cobblestones to ensure entrance to St. Peter's Square. It worked. This time I decided to travel with an organized group - understanding that I'd be on my own for the canonization, a non-ticketed event. Our group of 40 included a teacher, a musician, an ex-nun, a Korean couple married 50 years, and three priests: Father Matt, a high-energy West Point grad; Father Mike, blind since age 6; and Father Jose, a young Colombian priest serving in Jersey City, N.J. Ordinary people like myself embarking on an extraordinary journey.
June 18, 2014 |
Maya Lang's debut novel, The Sixteenth of June , is a literary bridge between the City of Brotherly Love and James Joyce's enigmatic masterpiece Ulysses . Set in Philadelphia, Lang's book follows a pair of brothers (and the younger brother's fiancée) through a single day, the Joycean holiday of Bloomsday, June 16, from their grandmother's funeral in the morning to their parents' extravagant Bloomsday fete in the evening, a perennial affair at the family's Delancey manse.
June 15, 2014 |
I've probably done worse things to our kids than drag them through innumerable ruins - Greek, Roman, Mayan, etc. - but we have been to a lot of ruins. If it was built and fell down, we'll make a detour; if it was built, fell down, buried, and dug up again, we'll book a room. Owing to their proximity to margaritas and warm beaches, we've been to a lot of big-ticket Mayan ruins in particular (Tikal, Tulum, Chichen Itza, Caracol). On a recent cruise, though, we stopped at Costa Maya, Mexico, and discovered, by circumstance and somewhat by accident, a new favorite.
June 8, 2014 |
Five years ago, I moved abroad to begin my graduate studies in the international city of Brussels, Belgium. Though I had traveled before, I always did so surrounded by close friends, staying in hostels full of Americans, people familiar with the East Coast. But in 2009, I made my home in a foreign country and entered a world of expatriates. Along with the challenges presented by language barriers and cultural confusion came one unexpected quirk - having to explain my hometown. The business of choice in Brussels is politics - European Union politics.
May 25, 2014 |
When my wife and I planned an April trip to Vienna, we were simply going to one of our favorite cities to hear a young soprano friend, Meagan Miller, in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos at the Vienna Statsoper. We also planned a one-day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia, because of its proximity. We had no idea at the time how momentous the trip would be. My maternal grandparents, Maria and Michael Bohinik, emigrated from Slovakia to Upper Darby in 1900, leaving a son and daughter behind, to be sent for later.
May 23, 2014 |
IN WHAT could be described as a low-speed chase, former Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Willis W. Berry Jr., 71, was arrested yesterday and charged with abusing his office to run his private business affairs while on the bench in the 1990s and 2000s. The arrest of the retired judge came seven long years after news reports first tagged him as a slumlord running rental properties out of his judicial chambers, and five years after he was suspended over the alleged misconduct. But although the initial judicial-ethics complaint against Berry was lodged in 2007, Attorney General Kathleen Kane, in announcing the criminal charges, said the matter was not referred to her office until July, prompting an independent probe.
May 23, 2014 |
TONY CHENNAULT bounded to the front door of his Olney home, a young man with a wide grin, a warm handshake and the easy confidence of a brand-new Villanova University graduate who is a budding filmmaker. "He's a very handsome young man with the most beautiful, infectious smile," said Kevin Rafferty Sr., the father of one of Chennault's basketball teammates at Villanova, where Chennault was a point guard. Behind the smile, however, is pain. The pain of the drive-by shooting that killed Chennault's oldest brother, Michael Jay, who was like a father to him. It was a "wrong place, wrong time" shooting that killed Jay, 30, who worked for an insurance company and was engaged.
May 19, 2014 |
As he waited to be selected in the 1982 draft, a budding young goalie named Ron Hextall had particular disdain for one NHL team. The Flyers. Growing up and watching the Flyers try to intimidate his father and uncle - feisty NHL players during the Broad Street Bullies' heyday - Hextall did not have a warm and fuzzy feeling about the Orange and Black. "I absolutely hated them," he said from his Voorhees office last week, five days after he got what he called his "dream job" - becoming the seventh general manager in Flyers history.