Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Breaking News: Arrests Today at Sugar House Casino in Philadelphia

Today at 6 am about 50 protesters assembled at the intersection of Frankford Avenue and Columbus Boulevard, which is the site of the approved Sugar House Casino. The protest was organized by Casino Free Philadelphia, which is a coalition of Philadelphia citizens opposed to the building of casinos in Philadelphia.

Protestors argued that the construction of this casino, which is located in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, will create more economic and social losses for Philly citizens/taxpayers than benefits. They cite a study conducted by the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority. For a brief summary of that report, click here. At the action, this morning 15 people blocked the construction site gate by linking arms. Nearby, there was a rally of about 40 people.

Fourteen people were arrested at 6:45 am this morning, including 3 clergy. As of 1 pm today, they are still being held. Casino Free Philadelphia has reported there is no word about their status.

For more information on this breaking story, here are some of the stories that have been released from Casino Free Philadelphia and the media:

There are many more stories out there. Feel free to post links in the comments section of this blog post.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Real Estate Blog

It seems all of us (or at least most of us) here at One Fine Philly have recently relocated or will soon. I'm jumping into the fray -- my lease isn't up until end of December, but there are a lot more properties on the market now than there will be over the Xmas-New Year's holiday. And who really wants to move New Year's Day? I plan to cultivate quite a hangover, and I wouldn't want relocation plans interfering.

Anyway, I was looking in the South of Federal, East of Broad area. Italian Market, Bella Vista, call it what you will -- it's where I work (!Employment = Yay!) and it's convenient to public transportation. But the neighborhood is apparently a little to up-and-came, and I need more up-and-coming, financially speaking. With a job in arts, it simply isn't wise to have rent exceed 3 weeks' pay. Although I do like pasta ... and cereal. My beer tastes are a bit more refined, though, so I can't exactly spend ALL my money on rent.

A dear friend lives in Point Breeze, and I've admired her house the whole time I've known her. Gorgeously rehabbed, on a fairly quiet side street, with a deluxe kitchen, back yard, finished basement, central air, and laundry room ... it's a dream! Point Breeze has a bad rap as a drug drop zone -- apparently, the mafia would drop the drugs right on Point Breeze Ave. and the dealers would head up and down that street, delivering to the north and south. Fun! But when I've visited at night, I've met with friendly older generations sitting on their front steps, watching as children play and talking quietly. I've been introduced to at least six new neighbors in two visits. And more importantly, I've been able to imagine Luke playing in the nearby park, riding his bike down the side streets, and playing with kids his age.

So when a house that was EXACTLY like my friend's, rehabbed by the same owner, became available, I jumped! Unfortunately, I should have jumped a couple of weeks earlier -- someone had put a deposit down right before me, but because of a mix-up I thought for a day and a half that I had the place. Talk about letdown! I consoled myself with the distance from the Broad Street line and the necessity of cabs late at night. Still, it felt like a blow -- I had started thinking about where my furniture would go, what colors to paint the walls ... the works.

Just tonight I found another house in the neighborhood. Different owner this time, but SAME BLOCK as my friend, on her sweet side street. Not quite as nice a rehab, but still very nice ... and somewhat cheaper rent, which is all good! I refuse to get my hopes up as high as they were, but I still find myself thinking ...

could this be home?

Maybe this is all too intimate to be interesting, dear readers. But I do know this: we all feel the pull of a place that's more than just where we keep our stuff. A place we can curl up and feel comfort. A place to bring friends, a place to bring family. A place that wraps us in its arms at the end of a rough day, where we can say, "it's good to be home."

I'm hoping that by the New Year, I'll be home.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Breaking Library News

Plan C averted. Read about it here.

Philadelphia libraries are safe.
At least for now...

Non-Fringe Philly events (9/17-9/19)

Briefly interrupting talk of Philadelphia's budget crisis for a handful of nearly free events the rest of this week:

Thursday, September 17th, 2009
  • Artist's Reception. 4:30 - 7:30PM. 1622 Chestnut Street, Art Institute of Philadelphia. "Photographer Daniel Traub left his native Philadelphia for Beijing in 1999 and until 2008 photographed the city and its people through an extraordinary decade of change. These stunning large-format images, under the title Beijing, will displayed for the first time in the United States" (details)
Friday, September 18th, 2009
  • 7th annual Bike Part Art Show. 7:00 - 10:00PM. Studio 34 in West Philly. "fun and functional work inspired by and made from bikes...live music, food, drink, a raffle (win a Fuji track bike!)" $5 suggested donation. (details)
Saturday, September 19, 2009
  • Clark Park Music and Arts Festival. 12:00PM - Sundown. Near 43rd & Chester in West Philly. (details)
Credit: Creative Commons photo by pwbaker

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Live Taping at Indpendence Hall

Taking a break from the dire seriousness of our state's budget crisis, I'd like to share a celebrity sighting. Well, it's a celebrity sighting if you consider Dr. Phil a celebrity.

According to sources in the area, Dr. Phil's show is taping across the street from Independence Hall as I type. He is currently interviewing Govenor Rendell and they're talking about Michael Vick. Perhaps we should combine our concern for our libraries and community programs with our awe of celebrity and march down there right now for a rally!

Photo credit: Clem Murray /Staff Photographer for philly.com

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fury Between the Tears

As a follow-up to this announcement, Carrel Dweller's outrage in the previous post, and Planet Caroline's comment with a deeper explanation for the causes of Philadelphia's budget probelms and need for Mayor Nutter's Plan C, I wanted to share some "next steps."

This is so crazy, it leaves me almost speechless. Almost. Follow this link and take action. We can't afford to be speechless on this one!

It's not Farhenheit 451, but it has the same effect. No access to information. No access to books.

If anyone hears about a march, protest or other ways to show how vital it is to keep our Free Library free and open to the public, please post about it here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Major Metro area without a library?????

I don't exactly know what to say about this, except that it took Facebook for me to be aware of this. I guess I should read more newspapers, in all my spare time.

I've been aware of the threatened cuts to arts funding. I've written my representatives, I've posted messages to friends. But this goes way beyond anything I could have imagined: the home of Ben Franklin without a public library.

No after school programs. No support for the public schools when kids need library access. No senior programs. No free public computer/internet access. No free BOOKS.

What do you think might happen in a city without library services? I guarantee, it will not be good.

So call your representatives. Write to them. Post on your blogs and facebook and twitter. I shudder to think what might happen if the Free Library of Philadelphia closes its doors.


Thank you, and good night.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Philly events (special non-Fringe edition)

Thursday, September 10, 2009
6:00 - 8:00PM

"Join us for the opening of three new exhibitions:

Dance with Camera
Tim Rollins and K.O.S: A History
Video Art: Replay, Part 1 Asking Not Telling

Free and open to the public"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"As much a community as a band, WPO's live- show always feels like a celebratory event, even in a concert setting. With their pounding drums and shimmering brass sounds, they inspire audiences to hold hands, dance, and sing along. "

Friday, September 11, 2009
6:00 - 11:00PM

"Join us for this worldwide celebration of style when the mall will stay open until 11PM, and where you'll get a peek at hot fall fashions worn by roving models, taste delicious treats from our fabulous restaurants and live it up at shop till you drop festivities... on-site spa demos you can do at home and a Tokyo Eyelash Bar, where you can try false eyelashes (from the plain Jane version to...)"

Friday, September 11, 2009
8:00PM, 7:00PM doors open

"Pardon Us, the prison-themed (naturally!) first feature-length film to star beloved comedy duo Laurel & Hardy."

Friday, September 11, 2009
6:00PM - 12:00AM

"Dance of the Ripe Tomatoes. A celebration of Sustainable and Humane Farming
benefiting the Philadelphia Fair Food Project"
"Admission for live music after 9pm is FREE!"

Credit: Creative Commons photo by richard winchell

Norris Square - a neighborhood to love

Hey folks...I reported earlier that I was moving to Fishtown. And I have found a gigantic apartment that I love. It is the first floor of a building, which means I have plenty of space - my own basement, a large private backyard and a living room that is so huge, that I can divide it into two spaces.

I'm so geeked, but people have informed me that my place near 2nd and Berks is definitely not Fishtown. And they are right - thanks to my friend who did some googling, he has discovered that I live in West Kensington. More specifically, I live in the heart of Norris Square.

Norris Square is bounded by Berks at the South, Allegheny on the North, 5th Street to the West and Front Street to the East. Norris Square Park is in the middle of the neighborhood.

The Berks el stop is right there and I've seen quite a few buses in the area so transit shouldn't be a problem. I even timed the walk from work, if I'm ever so inclined to skip the el, and it took me a doable 65 minutes.

But I won't lie to you. There is blight in the neighborhood, few services, and likely I'll be grocery shopping at Reading Terminal Market near where I work rather in my community. And the abandoned factories and warehouses demonstrate that this once vibrant area has suffered many economic losses.

But I used to be a community organizer and I know that if I want to beautify my neighborhood, I have the power to do that if I work with people. I plan to join the neighborhood association, visit the many local improvement iniatives (such as the youth center & the low-income housing programs), and I hear there is a women's organization dedicated to the neighborhood. Also, I will frequent the small businesses in my neighborhood - the pizza shop, the lounge, and the beauty shop across the street.

The move is in October and I am already feeling at home.
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