Farewell to City Paper, the Absolute Best Place to Work


I can’t remember what brought me to City Paper’s doorstep.

I’d like to think that I was a fan of the publication and wanted to contribute to the legacy of journalism in Philadelphia. It should also be noted that I was about to graduate college with a degree in the unemployable arts and could articulate my five-year plan in high-school Spanish. So sure, that might have had something to do with it, too.

Either way, I was on the fast track to becoming the city’s worst bartender when I showed up at Second and Chestnut with zero experience and the sneaky feeling that I wouldn’t last one semester in law school. I can still remember then-editor Ashlea Halpern asking me, in so many words, what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told her the truth, because I was 21 and that still seemed like the right approach: I had no idea. The last time I had set a career goal I was in kindergarten, and the whole Sugar Plum Fairy thing wasn’t panning out.

I’m not sure why she hired me – likely because I had a working laptop and the internship was unpaid – but nine years later I’m still unbelievably grateful that she took a chance. And a week after City Paper announced its unceremonious end, I’m still unbelievably sad that Broad Street Media was afraid to do the same.  Read more »

This is America, Speak … Whatever You Want

One of these things is not like theod

One of these things is not like the other.

Saturday was a good day to be a Philadelphian. A great day. Collectively, maybe one of the best days.

After a not-too-shabby introduction by Mayor Nutter calling for LGBT rights, Pope Francis took the podium at Independence Hall with a speech that the place was built to host. At times speaking in Spanish – and drawing cheers from the crowd – the man of the hour seemed to hip-check Donald Trump. “I ask you not to forget that, like those who came here before you, you bring many gifts to your new nation,” he said. “You should never be ashamed of your traditions. Do not forget the lessons you learned from your elders, which are something you can bring to enrich the life of this American land.”

That’s right. A politician and a leader of the Catholic church got together and said a real thing. And this real thing felt good, maybe even holy. It was weird, it was wonderful, it was the essence of Saturday in Philadelphia.

And yet, it was within the same state that Rep. Daryl Metcalfe is promoting a bill to make English the “official” language of Pennsylvania. And within the same week that he cut the mic of Leslie Acosta – a bilingual immigrant as well as the General Assembly’s first/only Latina lawmaker – who was arguing that the bill is unconstitutional. Read more »

Here’s the Problem With That Popular Planned Parenthood Defense

Patricia Ireland, president of National Organization for Women (NOW), third from right, demonstrates with other NOW participants in favor of the Roe vs. Wade decision during the candlelight vigil on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. in 2000.

Patricia Ireland, president of National Organization for Women (NOW), third from right, demonstrates with other NOW participants in favor of the Roe vs. Wade decision during the candlelight vigil on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. in 2000.

When attacked, it’s a natural instinct to defend oneself as quickly and succinctly as possible, to shoot down bold lies with hard facts before they hang around and poison the air any longer.

And so when Republican lawmakers attempt to defund Planned Parenthood and presidential candidates paint the women’s health nonprofit as a sadistic baby-killing machine, I can understand why we whip out the numbers. They’re good numbers to have on hand when Jeb Bush says things like “they’re not actually doing women’s health issues” and that Planned Parenthood is “involved in something way different than that.” Or when Rep. Diane Black, sponsor of the House defunding bill, claims: “If there is reason to investigate, then there is reason to withhold taxpayer dollars during that period of time. The American taxpayer has been clear for a very long time that they do not want federal funds spent on abortion.”

Plenty of people have broken it down, but it’s worth repeating: Only 3 percent of the services provided by Planned Parenthood last year were abortion-related. Out of the 10.6 million services provided, 42 percent treated or prevented STDs. Another 34 percent provided contraception. Cancer screening and prevention accounted for 9 percent. (The annual report is available here.) Read more »

I’m Not Fighting It Anymore: I Want to Be an Eagles Fan


It was during a performance of The Nutcracker that I realized I wanted to be an Eagles fan.

As soon as the curtain closed for intermission, my date checked his phone. An innocent enough move after an hour of ballet about a kitchen gadget, sure, but then I heard it. Coming from the seat next to me, the telltale opening notes of the city’s battle cry, a more infectious intro than the Sugar Plum Fairy could ever hope for: E-A-G – … you know how this ends. We all know how this ends, and he had plenty of company. Men and women, old and young, suits and sweats joined in to celebrate whatever had happened a couple miles down Broad Street. Read more »

The 10 Philly Pope-Visit Commandments

10 commandments

By now, you know the logistics – where you can go, where you can’t, and where you can drink the weekend away in the name of Jesus. But if 14 years in Catholic school taught me anything, it’s that Catholics are into rules, especially when those rules are archaically worded. With that in mind, here are 10 Commandments for the papal visit. Like the originals, feel free to pick those you like, ignore others and manipulate the rest to serve your personal agenda. Read more »

5 Pope Visit Silver Linings for Philadelphians

By now, you’ve probably already decided how you feel about the upcoming Pope drop-in.

Maybe you’re delighted to host Francis and his faithful flock in our fair city. But more likely — far, far more likely — you’re cursing this needy old man, his annoying groupies and our incompetent town.

I get it, and I’m not here to change your mind. Plain and simple, this place is going to suck for a couple days (although yes, emphasis on the couple days). I live blocks outside the dreaded security perimeter, and when I wake up on September 25th to go to work, I dare some city official to look me in the eye and call it the “Francis Festival Zone.”

If it doesn’t have funnel cake, it’s not a festival zone. Never has been and never will be. No amount of creative branding or desperate press releases or choirs of angels can change that, for this is the word of the Lord. Read more »

When Fall Comes to Philadelphia

Photograph: Suzanne Tucker/Shutterstock

Photograph: Suzanne Tucker/Shutterstock

I can’t help but feel a bit guilty this time of year.

During the unofficial last weekend of summer, I’m always antsy. I’ll go to send-off barbecues and last-call beach days, but I’m checking the clock. While everyone mourns the end of the agreed-upon Season of Fun and Happiness, I can barely contain my excitement. Back-to-school blues? Even if I could afford grad school, I’d be feeling just fine right about now. Because as soon as Tuesday rolls around, as far as I’m concerned, it’s fall.

Beautiful, perfect, we-owe-you-one-God fall. And fall in Philadelphia no less. Read more »

How Did I Go This Long Without UberX in My Life?


As is the case with most things that involve my phone, I was late to the UberX game.

It’s not that I didn’t have a use for the popular ride-share service. Since moving to Queen Village, I’ve taken to calling a cab for everything that doesn’t warrant giving up my parking space — which is to say, well, everything. And although I’ve always found Philly’s cab drivers to be somewhere between pleasant-enough and unlikely-to-wear-my-face, I don’t necessarily have an attachment to them, either.

It’s just that when you’re working with a rusty iPhone 4 that has bravely decided to stay by your side, you think twice before downloading new apps. Or running risky updates. Or removing the duct tape.

But last Thursday, Uber was delivering adoptable puppies as a fundraiser for the PSPCA. The time to hesitate was through.  Read more »

Department of Secret Shore Awesomeness: The Brigantine Day Trip

Brigantine Beach | Chris Potako via a Creative Commons license.

Sunset over Brigantine  | Chris Potako via a Creative Commons 2.0 license.

I’ll admit that I never quite saw the allure of the day trip.

For as much as I love the Jersey shore (as in, so, so much) it has rarely been enough to justify driving down for the afternoon. To me, the quickie shore trip has always felt like quickie sex: Perfectly fine until I take a look around and realize there’s no shower, no change of clothes, and all kinds of chafing. Not necessarily bad, but not quite worth the trouble or the messy hair, either.

That is, until I discovered Brigantine. Read more »

How Did Dîner en Blanc Become Philadelphia’s Most Polarizing Event?

It’s not that I hate Diner en Blanc.

It’s more that I really, really hate Diner en Blanc.

That is, if Diner en Blanc actually exists. My working theory is that it doesn’t, that the organizers of Thursday night’s dinner party accessed my subconscious and designed an elaborate hoax based on my wildest nightmares and most visceral fears. Think Freddie Krueger, but with more seersucker and entitlement, less clawed gloves and face melt.

Far-fetched? Perhaps. But the alternative is believing that thousands of my fellow Philadelphians entered a lottery for a chance to buy $39 tickets to a dinner party that doesn’t serve dinner. That they’re seriously going to dress in head-to-toe white and drag their own tables, chairs, dishware and food into Center City during a heat wave. That — per the world’s most eye-stabby slide show — “once all the guests are settled in, [they’ll] spontaneously lift their white linen napkins to indicate the beginning of the dinner.” Read more »

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