July 3, 2015 |
AFTER MONTHS of gloom, Lawncrest could use some light. And its residents, besieged by bad news at every turn, are hoping the brilliance of fireworks will do the trick. Tomorrow marks the 100th time the Northeast Philly neighborhood will hold its Fourth of July celebration, a platinum anniversary beyond precious to the people planning it. Because it's about more than just sparklers and water ice. The pride of an aging community battered by turmoil hangs in the balance of the grass-roots celebration, one of the city's oldest.
June 18, 2015 |
IT WASN'T quite "Waiting for Godot," but it did resemble the waiting game that Russian President Vladimir Putin played on Pope Francis last week in the Vatican. Like the Russian leader, who made the pontiff wait for more than an hour on Wednesday, Fran Drescher kept Mayor Nutter waiting for more than an hour during Gay Pride this past weekend. On Sunday, at the 27th annual Pride Day LGBT parade, Drescher was scheduled to join the mayor and Gayborhood celebrity and parade emcee Henri David on stage at Penn's Landing.
June 16, 2015 |
Beverly Jordan, 70, vividly remembers how upset she was about the murder of University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard in 1998, one of the most notorious hate crimes against gays in American history. "Any kind of injustice, I have to fight," the West Philadelphia resident said Sunday. Jordan helped hold a banner for PFLAG Philadelphia at Philadelphia's 27th PrideDay LGBT Parade & Festival. It was her second year attending the event, as an ally and friend of LGBT people. An uncontainable energy swelled around the parade's starting location at 13th and Locust Streets in an area of the city known as "the Gayborhood.
March 19, 2015 |
E GYPT SHERROD , host of HGTV's "Property Virgins" and a native of Philadelphia, was in Cherry Hill last week to sign copies of her new book, Keep Calm . . . It's Just Real Estate: Your No-Stress Guide to Buying a Home . Sherrod, originally from West Oak Lane, is famous for being known as "America's most beloved real-estate agent," appearing on TV and radio. She's hosted "Property Virgins" since 2012. Co-authored by real-estate expert Amber Noble Garland , who also was born and raised in Philly, the book offers a guide to navigating the sometimes complicated process of buying a home - from saving for a down payment to signing on the dotted line at the closing table.
March 11, 2015 |
THE MUMMERS Parade broke with tradition and marched the "wrong way" on Broad Street on New Year's Day. The (remaining) fans seemed to like it. The crowds were somewhat larger in Center City (which is what happens when you contract the parade route). As a veteran parade watcher and reviewer, I liked it, even knowing the reversal of direction was born out of necessity. Doing everything the "old" way was turning into a funeral procession for this Philadelphia tradition, one that should be embraced.
January 13, 2015 |
WHILE SOME thought that having DJs along the Broad Street Mummers Parade route on New Year's Day to be sacrilegious and the equivalent of putting Swiss on a cheesesteak, or sitting in Jerry Jones' luxury box during a Cowboys vs. Eagles game, most would agree that the parade lulls and backups were up there with the Watch Paint Dry Olympics. I volunteered to be the disc jockey at the City Hall grandstands,hoping to spin some tunes and get the crowd in a good mood before and during the parade.
January 2, 2015 |
THE NEW YEAR'S Day parade played out like a holiday dinner with family - some nice, heartwarming moments mixed with some unbelievable, cringe-worthy ones. For months, the focus had been on the debut of a new route that called for the 115th annual parade to start where it normally ended - City Hall - and finish at Washington Avenue, cutting out the Mummers' traditional South Philly stomping grounds. Many performers were on board with the shorter route, noting that the parade needed to evolve in order to survive.
December 31, 2014 |
CONSIDERING the supersonic pace of change in today's world, it's comforting that some local traditions endure, especially those indigenous to this time of year. The holiday light show at Macy's in Center City. The Penn's Landing fireworks at 6 p.m. and midnight on New Year's Eve. And, of course, the Mummers march up Broad Street. Well, at least we still have Macy's and the fireworks. But for 2015, our signature New Year's Day extravaganza is moving in a new direction. After more than a century heading north on Broad Street - with but five years of exceptions - the annual cakewalk has changed course.
December 31, 2014 |
SINCE THE Vietnam War era, the Woodland String Band has honored members who are away on military duty by reserving a Mummers suit and a place in the New Year's Day parade for them. So, when Ed Farrell III returned in July from his third tour of duty in the Middle East, he was a little rusty on his saxophone but he knew that his Mummers suit would be waiting. Between his duties as a 15-year veteran of the Cheltenham Township Police Department and his deployment in the Air National Guard, Farrell didn't attend enough of the 88 Woodland String Band rehearsals and 41 performances this year to accumulate enough points for the suit.
November 29, 2014 |
Clad in roller skates, knee pads, and a helmet, Maggie Garrity also had a winter coat on under her blue T-shirt. In other words, the 7-year-old Roxborough resident was ready to march - or skate, rather - in her first Thanksgiving Day parade. By 9 a.m., she summed up the experience as "good - except they won't let us go!" she shouted over the strains of the 6ABC Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia as she waited for her turn to begin the 1.4-mile route. "We've been waiting for, like, an hour.