March 31, 2014 |
The stage was set. A temporary, state-of-the-art, 50-meter pool by Myrtha would serve as the competition arena in Omaha, Neb., where 1,257 swimmers would descend upon the CenturyLink Center over four days in July 2012, mixing their sweat and tears into the million gallons of water enclosed by tons of stainless steel. America's swimming sweetheart, Natalie Coughlin, would already be gone, gearing up for the Summer Olympics in London that month. Michael Phelps, arguably the greatest swimmer of all time, would have stripped off his tech suit and finally come up for air after an intense seven-event program.
March 24, 2014 |
When my husband and I determined that staying in the country was the most logical option for our fall 2013 honeymoon, Ocracoke Island, N.C., was always the top contender on our list of possible locations. One of the least-visited and least-populated barrier islands of the Outer Banks and part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke is just over an eight-hour drive from our home in Philadelphia and has several rental cottages available. Summer weather lasts well into October, and with several access points for pedestrians and vehicles, beach space is plentiful.
March 17, 2014 |
At the end of July I had the unexpected pleasure of taking a river cruise in Russia with a friend. This was exciting - my mother was from Zvenyhorodka, a town north of Kiev in the Ukraine, my father from a suburb south of Kiev. The cruise started out in St. Petersburg and wound up in Moscow. On a scheduled bus trip in Moscow, we went to the Museum of the Jewish History in Russia, the only Jewish museum and Holocaust memorial in the country. When we got to the museum, the men were laying tefillin - wearing black boxes on their foreheads containing verses from the Torah that serve as a reminder of God's intervention during the Exodus from Egypt - so we were ushered upstairs to the balcony for the service.
March 12, 2014 |
It's a love letter to her hometown of Cádiz, Spain. As a highlight of the 2014 Philadelphia Flamenco Festival, Rosario Toledo presented Vengo (Coming Back) Sunday night in the Forum space at WHYY's building on Independence Mall. The intimate setting became a theater in the round, with the artist just a few feet away from the overflow audience. Toledo's half-hour performance piece (assisted by the wonderfully deadpan Salva Calderón) highlighted her physical fearlessness, expert flamenco technique, and brilliant comedic timing.
March 10, 2014 |
Black, white, pink . . . I just wanted to see smoke. It was March 13, 2013. I was in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City awaiting smoke, smoke that would signal a new pope, or no new pope, or, maybe, a colorful statement by Catholic women protesters. Little had I imagined four months earlier when I booked my first Road Scholar trip that a pope would resign in February, and then a conclave would convene, and then the eyes of the world would be on the Eternal City the very week I was there.
March 5, 2014 |
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - One of the first names out of Ryne Sandberg's mouth yesterday afternoon was that of a 36-year-old who has tallied more than 100 major league plate appearances in a season four times, 200 major league plate appearances in a season twice, and who has a frame that looks more like a utility infielder's. Meet Wil Nieves, the Phillies' backup catcher, a man who might print his resume in landscape mode, its breadth far exceeding its depth. A veteran of eight organizations, two of which never promoted him to the major leagues, the 5-11, 190-pound Puerto Rican player signed a $1.125 million contract to replace Erik Kratz as Carlos Ruiz' understudy behind the plate this season.
March 3, 2014 |
Nearly every year that my brother and I can remember, my parents took us on family vacations. These began as simple trips to Pennsylvania attractions only an hour or two away from home, but as my brother and I grew older, our destination list expanded to include places in California, Arizona, and Europe. The trip to Hawaii this winter was our final family vacation together. My brother finished college in December and was searching for his first professional job. I was enjoying the last extended winter break I would have before completing my sixth and final semester of law school.
February 25, 2014 |
"It's a waste of time and nothing good will come of it!" Before Thursday night, I would have agreed with that attitude toward an adult who was adopted as a child into a healthy, welcoming family and who late in life decided to seek out his "real" parents. Eric Conger's Beautiful Boy proved me wrong. Now in its world premiere at the Walnut Street Theatre's Independence Studio on 3, Conger's exquisitely constructed, moving play begins with Bill Moore (Jeff Coon) attending the funeral of the woman who raised him. Recently unemployed, he decides at 49 to find his birth parents, and hopes to discover himself.
February 24, 2014 |
I circle the Las Vegas airport for an hour waiting for my brother, who is flying in from Philly. When he finally emerges there's no time for a hug; the traffic controller is yelling. Driving the Strip to our hotel, seeing all the lights, I can feel the pressure of Vegas. But it's midnight and he's tired and hungry. So am I. We find an off-strip casino-steakhouse. My brother, who is three years younger, insists on paying for the meal. I order a burger. He tries to order the prime rib. They are out of the prime rib. He orders chicken.