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Music for the living and dying and wishing....

  Before i die large

At the Chestnut Hill Fall Arts Festival, people took up pieces of colored chalk and wrote anonymously on a large community chalk board, revealing their personal hopes and plans and dreams for the future, completing the sentence, “Before I die, I want to…” The Philomusica Chorale mounted this community “bucket list” and director Gayle Wieand will weave them into an original, classic-style choral composition to be premiered May 18 and May 19 at Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church. Wieand was moved by some of the posts such as someone who wanted to provide energy to the world and serious about it enough to enter a NASA competition. Others held personal appeal for Wieand such as “…have a cottage on the water.” “And I have a desire to get all the people who put skydiving on the list together to skydive!” Watch video of people writing on chalk board what's on their bucket list for new choral piece

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Dying and such with a musical focus was also the subject of another group presenting at the festival.

Theshhold singers

The Threshold Choir sings soothing acapela non-religious songs for the dying at several hospices in the Philadelphia area. And it performs for people dealing with other situations such as addiction or the premature birth of a child. The songs emphasize loving-kindness, peace and freedom from suffering. The Choir began in San Francisco and now has chapters around the world. “It’s people who want to sing and give their voice at times of change” Member Patty Rogers. The choir will not sing to people who do not want to be sung to. In order of appearance speaking in the accompanying video, were Jim Knight, Kris Olson, and Rogers .

SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE CHESTNUT HILL FALL FOR THE ARTS FESTIVAL HERE

 

 


Turning Pennsylvania Blue

Turnpablue
Under the auspices of Turn PA Blue and Indivisible Philadelphia Northwest, Ann Mintz distributed packets of postcards to 20 some neighbors at the High Point Coffee Shop in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia this Wednesday. Seated around tables, each week the group hand writes postcards to voters in the surrounding counties urging them to support Democratic Party candidates in November elections. Boosting Jennifer O’Mara, Democratic candidate for state representative in Pennsylvania’s 165th district in Delaware County was the focus of this week’s efforts. Mintz cited research showing individualized postcards can boost voter turnout up to 3% which can make a difference in close elections. In a recent instance, a Democrat won a legislative seat by a mere 76 votes. Named for an aunt who was murdered in the Holocaust, Mintz relates that the administration’s immigration policies are very personal to her - handcuffing of 4 year old immigrant children, separating them from their parents. She also deplored the administration’s attacks on the LGBT community, tax cuts for the wealthy and the rollback of environmental protections. “I want my country back” Mintz intones. She notes that a health reporter from the Washington Post is visiting an upcoming postcard writing session with an interest in writing about how political activism is helping people cope in these times. Watch video interview of activist organizing voters to write postcards for Democratic Party Candidates in 2018 Pennsylvania midterm elections.

Photo: Sue Wells of Wyndmoor (left) and Charlotte Law of Manayunk (right) were among nearly 20 people gathered at the High Point Café in Mount Airy writing postcards in support of Democratic Party candidates in neighboring counties running for the Pennsylvania state legislature. In the center is Andrea Koplove, Director of Outreach for Turn PA Blue which is also spearheading canvassing and phone banking events throughout the weeks leading up to the November midterm elections.

November 6  Election Day Update: Southeastern PA turns blue!

Update form Andrea Koplove of Turn PA Blue

"Hello Red to Blue,

Before the news cycle moves too far ahead, I want to thank you for the indefatigable, unbelievable, and never-ending support of each and every one of you who gave your time and energies and resources to organizing, canvassing, hosting, fundraising, postcarding, and phonebanking for the entire slate of candidates running up and down the PA ticket! Here's some of what we did over the past few months:

  • We volunteered for over 560 canvassing shifts, knocking more than 17,000 doors in five counties.

  • We met for twenty-one Wednesdays at High Point and wrote more than 24,000 postcards to voters.

  • We participated in nine phone banking parties and made nearly 5,000 calls.

  • We greeted countless voters at the polls and helped ensure that our candidates had coverage at every single polling location in their districts throughout Election Day.

Our work made a huge difference!

 

Please take a moment to savor these election results:

 

PA HOUSE

We netted an amazing eleven seats, with fourteen flipped seats in Southeastern PA (SEPA)! Among those for whom your hard work paid off are many familiar names: Liz Hanbidge, Joe Ciresi, Joe Webster, Steve Malagari, Melissa Shusterman, Wendy Ullman, Danielle Friel Otten, Dave Delloso, Mike Zabel, and Jenn O’Mara. As if you need more proof that every vote counts, O’Mara won by just 163 votes!

 

PA SENATE

We broke the Republican super-majority and picked up at least five seats. Among the victories were four candidates whom we supported in SEPA: Katie Muth, Maria Collett, Tim Kearney, and Steve Santarsiero. Tina Davis’s race is still too close to call, with Davis trailing by a mere 100 votes.

 

Just remember, these are seats that have been gerrymandered to prevent us from winning, which makes these results all the more staggering. Way to go!

 

US HOUSE

Finally, SEPA contributed 4 US Congressional flips that were central to winning the House majority (currently at 28 seats and counting) for the Democrats!

With pickups including SEPA’s Mary Gay Scanlon, Madeleine Dean, Susan Wild, and Chrissy Houlahan, Democrats can now provide a direly needed counterbalance to the destructive policies of Trump’s GOP.

 

What's next? That's easy: MORE WORK AND MORE RACES TO BE WON!

More on that in the coming weeks..."

 


Palestine Teach-In draws hundreds in Philly

From the Facebook Event Page

"Join us on June 30 for our Palestine teach-in! This event brings together an amazing group of scholars, organizers, activists, and teachers for a day of teaching and strategizing. Whether you’re looking for a basic introduction or advanced analysis, the event will be a valuable experience." Hosted by Uncle Bobbie's Coffee and Books in Germantown.

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Meanwhile  Weavers Way Co-op may have gotten around the boycott Israel issue by selling Equal Exchange Olive Oil produced by Palestinian small farmers

Palestinian farmer olive oil


Philadelphia Book Art Fair offers surprising and funny art

"Presented by Philadelphia Photo Arts Center the Philadelphia Art Book Fair is a two-day event, which showcases a wide range of exhibitors, from large and small photography and art book publishers to individual artists and institutions, local, national and international."

 

Shortt signs for artists

Paul Shortt's book of 10 different license plate-size "Signs for Galleries" pokes fun at how art galleries go about their business, signs that gallery owners wouldn't dare post but capture what they say or the subtext of what they say or what they wouldn't dare say to aspiring artists. "Currently hiring only interns,""Showing Friends' Work Exclusively," "Mid-career Artists Only," "Can You Do It For FREE" and more. Watch Shortt poking fun at galleries  with his signs here.
He has also created a practical book of license plate sized signs for artists to use in a variety of situations expressing what they should be saying as advocates for themselves but might not have the gumption to say. “Pay me for my art” or “Is there an honorarium?” to hold up those who would ask a working artist to work for free. “Show up” to hold up to friends who say they’re going to attend your show but have no-showed in the past. “Rejection letter needed” to show curators who don’t send a rejection letter after the show opens and you realize you didn’t get your work in. Some of the signs are just good reminders “Trust Yourself” Watch Shortt showing his tongue-in-cheek signs for artists.
 
Chen comic book
Yusha Chen's sexually charged, scatological accordion-style comic book is about “the laziest person in the world” - herself There she is a tiny figure in bed engulfed by a massive cover not wanting to get up. Then she’s just sitting on a bare mattress, arms and legs defiantly crossed. She eventually does go out to squat and poop, depicting herself doing her business on a small square of grass surrounded by flowers. But later in the spring she wants to start to move again and shows herself jumping in a swimming pool - before heaving up a virtual stream of water through her mouth. It’s all what’s in her head, her dreams, she says. She worked on the book during here last semester of art college. Watch video interview of Chen describing her self-mocking sexually charged comic book."
Phila Book Art Fair June 2018

2018 Wissahickon Day Parade with oldtimer and author

Wissahickon day parade doctor tom
Dr. Tom Fitzpatrick of Flourtown, a retired biochemist with the US Department of Agriculture, rode in this year’s Wissahickon Day Parade, which took place this past Sunday. For 10 years he rode a horse and for another 25 years. drove a horse carriage in the parade.The event commemorates when several hundred horse-people and their horses converged on the Wissahickon path in 1927 to successfully protest plans to open the route up to vehicular traffic. Fitzpatrick’s roots go deep. His mother was born at the nearby stable atop Forbidden Drive (now Northwestern Stables) owned by his grandfather in the 1890s. He owns horses and he heads the Philadelphia Saddle Club whose riders are regular parade participants. Although he rode in a friend’s wagon at this year’s parade, should one of his stalls open up, he might purchase a good driving horse. At 94 he says, “I got 10, 15 more good years.” Watch video of Wissahickon Day Horse Parade celebrating Forbidden Drive becoming closed to vehicle traffic and interview with old-timer Dr Tom Fitzpatrick

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Horseback riding horse book author

Nancy Peter has ridden in the Wissahickon Day Parade on Forbidden Drive, a tradition dating back to 1927 when riders successfully protested a plan to allow cars on the path, but this was the first time she rode a horse of her own. Cheyenne is a spirited, 12 year old, 15 hand, quarter horse - paint mare who had been trained for Western reining competition. "She's the love of my life," Peter professes before quickly adding, "one of them." Peter has just published a memoir of her horseback riding "escapades" called "Twenty Horses". Cheyenne released a whinny when Peter obliged her to pose as they appear on the cover of the book. Watch video of horse memoir author ride her new mare and talk about the book of her horseback riding escapades.


Forty plus ukulele players strum and sing along

Phoenixville ukulele event singing strumming
Robert Vince used to play the tuba but once he had kids it wasn’t practical to practice such a loud instrument after bedtime. Listening to the late Canadian musician and songwriter Stan Rogers sparked his interest in acoustic, folk style music. He took up the ukulele to make music he could share with his kids. Now he sometimes leads the Maine Line Ukulele group and his five year old has begun strumming on the ukulele. Suzanne Kane, a music therapist by trade, picked up the ukulele a couple years ago and began attending sessions to learn the instrument. Now she, too, leads the monthly sessions. She gravitates toward upbeat "high vibe, positive, good message" songs like Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" and "I melt with you" by the Modern English. Both ukulele-ists each led a hand-picked set at the group's premier spring event at the Steel City Coffee House in Phoenixville Pa on Sunday March 11th.  Watch ukulele playing and the stories of two who became group leaders here.

 


Things are looking up! Paint the Cresheim Bridge! Open Call for Artists

 

Cresheim railroad bridge mural arts philadelphia

5/21/2018 UPDATE:  According to Brad Maule of Mt Airy USA, the selection committee is seeking additional submissions but anyone visiting the official website for the project http://mtairyusa.org/cresheimproject/ would not know that the deadline of April 13  for artist submissions has been extended.

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Before a couple dozen community members at the newly renovated Lovett Library this past Monday evening, Cathy Harris of Philadelphia Mural Arts issues a call for artists to design a mural for the rusted abandoned railway trestle over Germantown Avenue below Cresheim Valley Drive. First envisioned fifteen years ago, the project is being relaunched now that the City of Philadelphia is acquiring the former Pennsylvania Railroad trestle from PECO. Brad Maule of Mt Airy USA, a project partner, provided historical information on the structure and Mural Arts founder Jane Golden encouraged attendees to "spread the word" to artists to answer the "Call for Submissions." The Deadline for submissions is April 13, 2018. Your correspondent has posted a PDF of the "Cresheim Trail Mural Project Call for Submissions" here until it becomes available online from the collaborative which also includes the Trolley Car Diner, Friends of the Cresheim Trail (FoCT), Elfant Wissahickon Realtors, Chestnut Hill Rotary, the Mount Airy Learning Tree and ChestnutHIllPa. The abandoned railroad is being converted to a trail linking Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill with Springfield Township. See reporter Sue Ann Rybak's coverage in the January 18, 2018 Chestnut Hill Local The mural’s completion is intended to coincide with the opening of the extension to the existing trail which begins at Allens Lane and Lincoln Drive. In June the public is welcomed to vote "in several community locations" to choose a winner from among a handful of proposals narrowed down by Mural Arts. After the meeting, I approached Sam Hanna who had been intently taking notes during the presentations. As a business account manager for the Center for Employment Opportunities, Hanna planned to relay what he had learned to a client. While in prison for twenty years, that client began to do art. And after getting out last year at the time of the Monday evening meeting, was at a job he had just started. Things are looking up.

(In the photo left to right -standing:  Brad Maule of Mt Airy USA, Jane Golden and Cathy Harris of Mural Arts Philadelphia, seated 2nd from left- Sam Hanna of CEO and Judy Weinstein of MALT)

Video of public meeting by  Mural Arts collaborative in call for artists to submit design for old rusty railroad bridge in Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia.


Impeach Trump Party draws candidates for Congress

Impeach trump party democrats midterm election
Your correspondent, a reliably strident protester of former candidate – now President Donald Trump, signed an online petition earlier this year calling for Trump's impeachment. This past week I received an email invitation from Tom Steyer at "Need to Impeach" inviting me to "and [sic] impeachment party", space permitting. The invite didn’t explain at all what would happen at the party but I sniffed free food. Sure, I would "stand with Tom" as other emails asked me to do. Steyer turns out to be a billionaire former hedge fund manager turned born-again environmental activist and Democratic Party candidate funder and fundraiser. I adhere to the credo that “behind every great fortune is a crime,” so it didn’t take long to find an academic critique of hedge funds that concludes they provide no social value and while they provide returns on investments no better than average they do make some managers extraordinarily wealthy. ​

https://www.alternet.org/economy/hedge-funds-serve-very-little-useful-purpose-except-make-few-people-very-rich

In a subsequent email we were instructed to arrive at the Liberty View Ballroom at the Independence Visitor Center in downtown Philadelphia with photo ID. We arrived. The other partygoers were mostly middle aged and white like us but much better dressed. We were ushered into a room with waiters walking about offering hors d'oeuvres and an open bar! I schmoozed and conducted some interviews

I engaged Paul Shrader, a tall man with an “impeach trump” t-shirt, the only one I spotted sporting political attire. He was an ATF-Explosives certified military man who felt it wasn’t appropriate to continue service in an administration where 130 people in leadership positions do not, according to him, have security clearances. Working with the enemy? he asked disbelievingly. That’s the number one thing you don’t do and that the administration has been doing.

I also interviewed Lindy Li and Rich Lazer, both young idealistic Democratic candidates for Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District. The map was redrawn just today by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to correct court found Republican Party gerrymandering. Li, who came to the US from China when she was 5 years old, was propelled into politics when a shooter killed children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut on December 14, 2012. The date happened to coincide with her birthday and, in her words, damaged her “eternally.” She is vehement about diminishing the influence of the NRA in gun control matters and big oil on environment, climate change matters. Lazer had just resigned his position as labor liaison for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and opposes Trump‘s measures clamping down on sanctuary cities and calls for Trump’s impeachment for obstruction of justice in the FBI’s investigation of Russian state operatives’ interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. I also saw candidate Nina Ahmad who smartly drew attention to herself with a sign with her name on it.

Steyer eventually took a high seat at the front of the room alongside Pennsylvania State Representative Donna Bullock who spoke about how her constituents were being damaged by both Trumps policies and his manner. Seated at her right was Baltimore psychologist John Gartner who has been making the case that Donald Trump suffers from deteriorating pre-dementia and malignant narcissistic personality disorder. He speculated Trump might find relief, vindication and perverse pleasure in starting a nuclear war.

Steyer followed with remarks abut the need to energize college students to participate in the midterm elections. When he couched the situation as one of "absolute" right versus wrong, your correspondent impolitely rose before the third and final question that had been chosen from ones earlier submitted by attendees, to question Steyer about his extraordinary wealth. Steyer promised to be transparent. Considering how unrevealing he was in the party invitation, that’s a good thing.

Watch Impeach Trump Party video interviews with people and candidates for Congress here.


Making sea biscuits (hardtack) in Alexandria, VA

Making hardtack in alexandria
​A couple blocks away from the Alexandria Virginia Archaeological Museum, sea biscuits were found at the site where a bakery stood in the early 1800s. Also known as hardtack, the biscuits were food for long distance travelers and sailors because flour mixed with water then baked dry could last without spoiling (for a long time) At the museum on New Year’s Eve day, archaeologist Hilary Huley, helped visitors like your correspondent mold and imprint our own sea biscuits to take home for baking (but not consuming) Watch video making hardtack in historical Old Town Alexandria Virginia


Jesus Sect Confronts Harry Potter Fans

Harry Potter witchcraft Jesus sin
Brandishing bold "Jesus or Hellfire" and "Abortion is Murder" signs, Pastor Aden and his small flock accosted passersby who were out to enjoy Friday evening festivities starting off Chestnut Hill's Harry Potter Festival (video here). Aden pointed to their "True Love Warns" sign and likened their in-your-face action to a parent stopping their kid from getting run over by a truck. "Every sinner is going to hell except they repent and Obey Jesus Christ... Witchcraft is sin, right next to drunkenness, drugs, homosexuality, adultery, rape, murder." He believes the fictional Harry Potter novels are a stepping stone like marijuana leading to crack. A young teenage preacher among them lashed out at the public, calling a woman dressed as a witch a "witch slut" and others "faggot". The group was soon enveloped by counterprotestors hoisting "Hate has no home here" signs and intermittently breaking into chant. A police line formed between the preachers, backed up against the corner bank, and people who spontaneously assumed the role of counterprotesters. A lively, largely confrontational dialog ensued. One woman shouted out at the hellfire preachers, "Get Out of My Neighborhood" before moving on. The wizardly merrymaking carried along the rest of Germantown Avenue, largely unaffected by the Pastor Aden "Jesus or Hellfire" event.
 
Hate no home counterprotest