City workers grind down tree stump

Stump grinder
A severe storm earlier in the summer uprooted a large maple tree on our street and it fell on the roofs of our neighbors’ houses. Some weeks after the tree was cut down and removed, a city work crew and contractor Scott’s Tree Service arrived to grind down the stump. City worker Ed Jardell described how the stump is ground down in sweeping back and forth passes of the grinder’s large rotary blade. The machine takes off more or less two inches at a time depending on the species and hardness of the tree and whether there is any sponginess or rot. Watch video of workers grinding down tree stump and interview of worker describing process.

Improvising for fun or revenge and profit

 
Cu amber improv teacher erika
Erika May McNichol, founder and instructor, Ambler Improv, improvises a short scene after being introduced to your correspondent’s wife (Andrea) and given the prompt “You know each other.” They improvise a scene about Andrea helping Erika pick out a dress but not being completely forthright about the color Erika picked. Pike Fest community festival in Spring House, Pa Watch video of improv teacher improvising.
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Cu george revenge on telemarketer
 
George has so had it with telemarketers that he turns the table on them when the ring. They solicit all sorts of things, George says, sometimes pharmaceuticals. George recreated a particular bit he does with them after they ask, "Is this George?" "No, you're calling Ginger. This is a hotline. For one on one girl, press one, for guy 'n guy press two, for three-way, press three. Ten dollars a minute." Watch video of George trolling phone telemarketers with counteroffer of phone sex.

Exiled Romanian bronze sculptor mounts outdoor show at Woodmere

Farcas bronze
 
Viorel Farcas, a sculptor in bronze in the expressionistic, figurative tradition and whose works are in the collections of notable European institutions left Romania in 1985 as a political refugee. Under the Romanian dictatorship his works were destroyed for being "politically incorrect" as his wife Mihaela euphemistically put it when she showed me around her husband's outdoor sculptures at the Woodmere Art Museum. I had videoed Farcas and Museum Director of Exhibits Rick Ortwein installing the pieces the day before and coming back to take some still shots, she had approached me without introducing herself at first, asking what I thought of the work. Farcas has made his home in Philadelphia since arriving in the U.S. and has produced 100s of monumental pieces but has not had a showing at a major area art institution and neither has sought out the limelight. In his sculptures, long arms and limbs are often attenuated, frequently disjointed and reassembled with disturbing yet graceful, artful effect. Museum Director Bill Valerio is excited to mount this show of Farcas' work, officially opening on September 22. For more information see https://woodmereartmuseum.org/experience/exhibitions/expressionism-in-bronze-the-sculpture-of-viorel-farcas
 
Farcas arm

Editor crunches out weekly

Editor crunches out weekly
Your correspondent observed and spoke with Chestnut Hill Local Editor Pete Mazzaccaro on a busy Monday morning as he was busy finalizing stories with his associate editor, staff writer and interns, churning out the obituaries that are usually handled by the vacationing articles editor, deciding on lead stories and knocking out headlines, then laying these out with photos for the front page. The weekly, a publication of the Chestnut Hill delivers news and features to some 5000 residents of Northwest Philadelphia and neighboring Montgomery County through with its printed edition and to thousands more regular readers of its online edition, https://www.chestnuthilllocal.com

Watch video of Editor finalizing stories and headlines for weekly edition.

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Len Lear edits the "Local Life", second section of the Chestnut Hill Local.  Your correspondent observed Local Associate Editor Sue Ann Rybak who sometimes contributes articles to Local Life express her admiration for the articles he writes. "They are so...." "Compelling" Lear suggests and Rybak is happy to have the word put in her mouth. While the subjects of some stories bring attention to themselves to promote a book concert or a public performance, many others who perhaps have won an award or are doing great humanitarian work do not bring attention to themselves but are brought to Lear's attention by neighbors, friends or family members who suggest a profile on the subject might make an interesting story.

Shoe repair apprentice is enthusiastic

Shoe repair apprentice
Janae Davis, an apprentice at Ace Shoe Repair shop in Mount Airy was outside the store on a fine summer day cleaning boots and shoes sitting at a low wall which served as her work table. Asked about her favorite job she answered unhesitatingly it was dyeing a pair of shoes dark brown. It involved cleaning the shoes first, stripping the original color, then applying dye, which sometimes requires several layers to get the perfect effect, she added. Davis would love to learn how to fix heels. Of Ace Shoe Repair she glowed. "They do a lot of great work." Watch video of shoe repair apprentice cleaning boots, talking about her aspirations.


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


Painting like Pollock, campers have fun

Paint like pollock kid abstract expressionist

"I wanted to give this class because I wanted to paint like Pollock with a group of people who want to paint like Pollock." This is how artist Kay Gering introduced her workshop students at a multi-generational cooperative camp in Ottsville, PA (ECRS) to the drip and splash technique of abstract expressionistic Jackson Pollock. Pollock pioneered the form in the 1940s and early 1950s. He was much more interested in the physical act of making art than the results on canvas, Gering explained. With dozens of colorful, acrylic house-paints donated by her contacts, Gering set her group out with cups, straws and sticks to create Pollock-like art on oversize white and black canvases and to over paint some smaller art reproductions. Your correspondent interviewed one participant, T, as she moved about the canvases, paint cup in hand. For her, the class had special significance. T recently attended the critically acclaimed stage production of the French produced "Pollock" in which her daughter starred as Pollock's ambitious artist wife, Lee Krasner. Watch campers, young and old, splash paint on large canvases in imitation of abstract expressionist artist Jackson Pollock.Paint like Jackson Pollock abstract expressionist artist

PHOTO ALBUM SLIDE SHOW HERE


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

College bound Syrian refugee survived bombings

Syrian refugee survived Assad bombs
When Philadelphia Inquirer syndicated columnist Trudy Rubin called on a young man to pose his question after her talk, "7 years, 4 months and counting: the Syrian Civil War" at the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Philadelphia on Saturday evening, she addressed him by name. In an interview afterward, M. Eisa, a Syrian refugee, who had been living with church Reverend Jarrett Kerbel, echoed what Rubin had concluded- that the presence of foreign forces from Russian, Turkey and Iran fighting in pursuit of their individual agendas bode very poorly for the civilian population remaining after millions of Syrians have fled. As Rubin put it, they are fighting over Syria's dying body. Rubin believes the United States missed an opportunity to militarily back non-Islamist rebel forces many years ago and a United Nations powerless against Russia's security council veto, has sealed Syria's fate. M Issai says he tempted fate in 2013 when he stayed amidst regular bombing by the Russian supported Assad regime of his Homs neighborhood in order to finish 9th grade exams. He then fled with his mother to Turkey via Lebanon, received a scholarship to attend Friends Select High School in Philadelphia in 2016 and now is bound for Bard College in upstate New York where he intends to study philosophy. Of friends and family, he has lost a lot. "I don't think there's a single household in Syria that hasn't suffered losses." Grandparents and aunts who remain are facing economic hardship and food shortages. Watch video interview of young Syrian refugee describing escaping bombings by his own government and taking refuge in Turkey and U.S. and the plight of his remaining countrymen and women and kin.