Eliza Callard (left) draws portraits with colored pencil. Many of these are based on photos people have posted of themselves for others to draw on an app named "SKTCHY" She then uploads her artwork for her subjects to see. Some people post multiple photos of themselves on #SKTCHY, she says, and some people are drawn by many artists. Callard looks for something in the eyes, in the expression. This method yields a very diverse range of subjects whose facial expressions are emotive and often curious. “Every time I paint somebody from there. even if at the beginning I’m like ‘I don’t like this’, I always fall in love with the people. Every time. Just drawing them makes me fall in love with them.” Watch video interview of artist who uses SKTCHY app here.
Alexandra “Alex” Khalil is running for the U.S. Senate. In a crowded field of 14 Democratic primary candidates vying for outgoing Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s seat in the May 2022 primary, she says can’t get the political reporters for Philadelphia’s paper of record, the Inquirer, to mention her name.
Khalil is mounting a vigorous door to door campaign and one of those doors was your correspondent’s. She’s expounds a progressive agenda of Medicare for all and a living wage. But she’s not against nuclear power.
Her entree into politics came when her son told her to check out Barack Obama. Kahlil did more than that: she worked on his campaign and now holds elected office as a councilperison for the borough of Jenkintown, a small town just outside northwest Philadelphia. There she is fighting against privatization of public utilities such as the sewer service. Professionally, she works in IT for the pharmaceutical company Merck. Khalil has also practiced law.
As the daughter of Palestinian parents from the West Bank, Khalil is especially keen on the protection of human rights regardless of identity or any other criteria.
In our interview, Khalil was most animated when she spoke of the conversations she has had with people while canvassing widely around Philadelphia area and in Lebanon and Schuylkill counties: the 80 year old woman whose husband suffered a stroke, and now they can’t pay their property taxes. She’s spoken with many seniors who are in similar danger of losing their homes, perhaps faced with high medical bills. She’s touched by the families who have lost children to drugs. She lays these ills at the feet of the Republican Party for failing to adequately fund human needs, schools and infrastructure.
Khalil believes her string connection with people as both a councilperson and campaigner will set her above the crowded field in voters’ estimation. She’s received coverage in the Northeast Times, her race is covered in Spotlight Pa and elsewhere and she is hoping more major media outlets will give her a fair shake
"I’ll play anywhere. I’ll play literally anywhere where there’s people walking around. I’ll just play because people don’t normally hear a flute. you know. They tend to hear anything other than a flute and I tend to think I play differently…” Your correspondent, early for a pickle ball lesson at the Water Tower Recreation center courts heard sweet, jazzy flute sounds from the other side of a tall dividing fence and walked over to find Jordan Quinton at the far end tennis court improvising on the flute -yes, differently. “It’s very important to be able to find your voice.” Quinton had been working out at the Water Tower and had her flute on her and thought she would just take it out. “If I have my flute on me, I’ll take it out anywhere. I’ll play it on a bus if they let me.”
Quinton, who now works as a line chef baker, studied at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She plays flute, all kinds of march and percussion-snare, base drums, tenors, hand drums, bongos, claves, congas, xylophone, marimba and likely more! ”I was born into music so I guess I’m lucky. I sing. I do all the arts. Music is my strong suit.”
“It was very hard going to school but I’m glad I stuck with it as long as I did.” And passers by who may happen upon Quinton jamming on her flute are likely to be glad, also, that she stuck with the music. Watch flutist, a street musician, improvise on tennis court here.