May 12, 2015
ISSUE | L&I REFORM Into the weeds The Inquirer Editorial Board's complaints about the ineffectiveness of the city Department of Licenses and Inspections seem to be right on target ("L&I hasn't been 'fixed,' " May 7). But L&I is not completely dysfunctional: I want to report that they were right there, on the spot, when a tenant of ours failed to mow the lawn - saving who knows how many lives. |Betty Mock, Bala Cynwyd ISSUE | MUSIC EDUCATION Learned travels As a proud alumnus of the 1950s-era All-City Orchestra under the distinguished leadership of Louis G. Wersen, I was glad to hear the orchestra will go to Europe ("Student orchestra to tour Italy," May 6)
May 7, 2015 |
Three years ago, when George Bochetto read in his morning paper that Muhammad Ali's boyhood home was for sale, he put down his coffee and picked up the phone. "I tried to get hold of the Realtor," said Bochetto, a Philadelphia lawyer and former Pennsylvania boxing commissioner. As a lifetime fan of Ali's and an avid collector of his memorabilia, Bochetto was ready to pay the full $70,000 asking price for the small frame house in Louisville, Ky. His offer came too late. The house where the three-time heavyweight champion lived until he was a teenager had already been sold to Jared Weiss, a Las Vegas real estate investor.
May 7, 2015
LIKE A DOG chasing a car, George Bochetto has been chasing Muhammad Ali's Louisville, Ky., birthplace for some time. And now that he has it, he's not precisely sure what he will do with it. Whatever it is, it will be done with dignity. The Center City lawyer and former Pennsylvania boxing commissioner feels it is a shrine, and should be treated as one, but the details are still forming. It's an understatement to say that Bochetto, a onetime boxer himself, is a devotee of the former heavyweight champion, humanitarian and onetime resident of Cherry Hill.
May 4, 2015 |
During last week's civil disturbances in Baltimore, when a baseball game had to be contested in a vacuum, America's fault lines were again exposed. Black and white. Left and right. Rich and poor. Choose your side and dig in your heels. As it turned out, Wednesday's eerie White Sox-Orioles game, a spectacle meant for fans being played in a ballpark where none were present, came a day before the 40th anniversary of the Vietnam War's end. That long and profoundly painful conflict felt like a decade of Baltimores.
December 10, 2014 |
MUHAMMAD ALI stood on that street corner in Miami Beach the day after he beat up Sonny Liston to win the world's heavyweight championship, surrounded by cynical sportswriters, and said, "I don't have to be what you want me to be," the best, truest thing Ali ever said. Dick Allen was already walking that walk, talking that talk. Well, maybe he didn't talk that talk, because he kept his feelings deep inside that Mosler Safe of a chest that sat atop that narrow waist, bookended by those steel-cable arms that enabled him to hit 20 homers that traveled more than 500 feet.
October 10, 2014 |
MUHAMMAD ALI has a big heart, a kind heart, a generous heart. Loves kids, especially his own, which number seven or nine, or more, depending on who is doing the counting. Heavyweight champion in a brutal sport, loves his kids, nice story line, but you can't stretch that into a 2-hour documentary, no matter how many cute-as-a-cupcake phone conversations you include. They try in "I Am Ali," which opens in theaters today. It is no more a complete and honest depiction of Ali than any of the books, magazine articles, films and documentaries that preceded it. Maybe next year.
September 25, 2014 |
THEY JOSTLED Dock Ellis awake around noon, the story goes, their voices shrill with anxiety. He was in Los Angeles and his team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, was in San Diego, playing that night. "You're pitching today," they yelped. "Noooo," Ellis moaned. "What happened to yesterday?" Yesterday was an off day, so he'd gotten permission to go home, to Gardena, Calif. Took some LSD, hopped into a rental car, knowing the drug would kick in when he got to Los Angeles. Took some more when he got there, making everything seem kinder, gentler, swirling in a technicolor glaze.
July 22, 2014 |
THE ENORMITY of it catches you off guard. Even though you walk into the room knowing what you're there to see, visualizing a 9-foot effigy is different from actually standing next to one. Currently a few hundred-pound mixture of clay and foam dominating a second-floor Fishtown studio, the much-anticipated statue of late Philadelphia boxing icon Smokin' Joe Frazier is about 6 months from completion. After 4 months, the mold has certainly taken shape, but sculptor Stephen Layne expects to take time through September to accentuate features such as the gloves and shoes and otherwise fine-tune the project.
May 28, 2014 |
IN THE EARLY-MORNING hours on Sunday, the real Rocky Balboa passed away in the intensive-care unit of Chestnut Hill Hospital. His name was Matthew Saad Muhammad and his life story is more compelling, and more unlikely, than anything that fellow Philly guy Sylvester Stallone ever put up on the silver screen. No, Saad wasn't an Italian Stallion, but he was, in the words of fellow light-heavyweight champion and close friend Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, "the king of the comeback, the master of chills and thrills.
May 10, 2014 |
In the hands of composer/free-jazz high priest William Parker, the double bass moves from its position as rumbling, rhythmic backdrop to an elegant lead instrument through which he's led groups costarring a Murderers' Row of like-minded lions of the avant-garde. "If the music is happening on a high level, things will fall into place," says Parker. "We practice to allow the music to flow through us. " Next week, with drummer/composer Muhammad Ali, a rotating cast of local free-jazz acolytes, and an all-Philadelphian chamber ensemble, Parker will present an Ars Nova Workshop-commissioned four-piece suite, Flower in a Stained Glass Window (for creative music ensemble and improvising trio)