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BUSINESS
February 4, 2015 | By Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Writer
The Super Bowl is history, marking the start of a new high-stakes season: the spring real estate market. After what many industry insiders considered a disappointing 2014, hopes are high for 2015. Among factors contributing to those hopes are continued low interest rates, new 3 percent down-payment programs from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and an improving economy. Builders anticipate a boost in single-family home construction starts - critical to their long-term health - to 804,000 units nationwide, still well below the 1.5 million pre-downturn level.
NEWS
January 26, 2015 | David Hiltbrand, The Inquirer
We've entered the most recalcitrant part of the calendar. The nights are long. The windshields are frosty. Football is (almost) over, and baseball season seems like a distant dream. At least TV is stepping up to keep us entertained. Between broadcast, cable, and streaming services, there is a plethora of new shows and returning favorites in the offing. Break out the Snuggies and enjoy. The Americans (FX, Jan. 28) TV's most nuclear family returns for a third season. But the ideological schism between Cold War spies/spouses Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys is growing.
NEWS
January 26, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
The guard is changing. After 27 years, Alan Harler is stepping down from the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, but not without first conducting Bach's St. Matthew Passion . Also departing after Year 27 is Orchestra 2001's founder and director James Freeman, who will do what he does best - George Crumb - in an 85th-birthday tribute to the great composer whose works he has so often launched. David Hayes seems too young to have been with the Philadelphia Singers for 25 years, but it's true, and he announced his departure before the group said that this season would be its last as well.
NEWS
January 26, 2015 | By Steven Rea, Inquirer Movie Critic
It's a new year - well, practically (still January) - and a new spirit pervades the land. Nowhere is that sense of innovation and imagination, of bold ideas and daring leaps into the further reaches of artistic realms, more in evidence than in Hollywood. Look at the films coming our way between now and May - a veritable flood of forward-thinking, radically uncompromising dramas, comedies, romances and thrillers. Even to use those labels - drama, comedy, thriller - unfairly boxes in these adventurous enterprises, when, clearly, the filmmakers and stars behind these projects are genre-busters of the most deep-seated kind.
NEWS
January 26, 2015 | By Dan DeLuca, Inquirer Music Critic
When it comes to big-name albums, it's becoming rare for release dates to be announced much in advance. The element of surprise is a big bonus, and social media spread the word like wildfire. So, rather then tell us ahead of time, everybody's trying to keep a secret, then spring it on us for maximum promotional value, Beyoncé-style. So, along with the three to-be-announced releases by Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, and Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill listed below, a whole lot of other marquee releases expected in early 2015 have no specified arrival dates.
SPORTS
January 26, 2015 | By E.J. Smith, Inquirer Staff Writer
Nick Beauchamp woke up Saturday morning hungry, sick, and uncertain. After checking the weather the night before, the senior on the Spring-Ford wrestling team was faced with a decision to eat a full-size meal in hopes the match would be postponed, or focus on making weight. He chose wisely. "Those of us who were watching our weight were wondering 'Can I eat tonight? Will the meet be snowed out?' " Beauchamp said after Spring-Ford's 39-18 win over visiting Owen J. Roberts. "I decided not to [eat]
NEWS
January 25, 2015 | By Merilyn Jackson, For The Inquirer
The arts axis shifted a few degrees, from Avenue of the Arts toward the Delaware riverfront, where the old municipal pump house opened last fall as FringeArts headquarters and year-round performance space. Because producing director Nick Stuccio is a former dancer, it's no surprise that programming is big on dance. But he doesn't hold all the dance cards. Randy Swartz has a winning hand with Dance Celebration at Penn's Annenberg Center. And South Broad hosts Philadanco, BalletX, Koresh Dance, and Pennsylvania Ballet with its new artistic director, incurable charmer Ángel Corella.
NEWS
January 25, 2015 | By Stephan Salisbury, Inquirer Staff Writer
Visitors to the region's museums will have a rare opportunity this spring to explore the many-faceted aspects of fraktur, the sharp-angled design employed largely in German letters and printing, and much favored in the past by area communities. Multiple institutions will be participating in the fraktur extravaganza, a reflection of the region's Pennsylvania Dutch backstory. If letters and related everyday objects are not something you fancy, perhaps a mammoth prehistoric snake will do, or the witticisms of Oscar Wilde, or a full-scale model of an 18th-century schooner.
NEWS
January 24, 2015 | By Stephan Salisbury, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia Antiques Show, a regional mainstay for more than a half-century and widely viewed as one of the nation's premier shows of American antiques and decorative arts, has been canceled for 2015, according to show officials. But the 2016 version is on course, they say. "We have already begun planning for 2016," said Richard B. Worley, chair of the show's advisory committee. "Much of the work for 2015 will be very helpful. " In an e-mail sent to antiques vendors early this week, he noted that the volunteer-run show, scheduled for April 11 to 13 at the Convention Center, had "struggled financially in recent years.
SPORTS
January 22, 2015 | By Jake Kaplan, Inquirer Staff Writer
READING - Cliff Lee has been throwing off a mound without issue and is on track to pitch come spring training, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Tuesday. Lee, working his way back from the left elbow injury that ended his season in August, has thrown off a mound three or four times already and is "in his normal progression to get ready for the season," Amaro said. The Phillies will send a staffer to Arkansas to watch the 36-year-old lefthander throw in the coming days.
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