In Philly Deposition, Cosby Describes Seducing Women With Drugs and Fame

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In a deposition taken at Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Hotel a decade ago, Bill Cosby acknowledged pursuing young women for sex in a manipulative and calculating way, at times using drugs, money and his own fame as a way of seducing them.

According to the New York Times, which obtained a copy of Cosby’s deposition in a case brought by Andrea Constand, a young Temple employee who claimed Cosby drugged and sexually molested her in the early 2000s, the entertainer came across in his four days of testimony as “alternately annoyed, mocking, occasionally charming and sometimes boastful, often blithely describing sexual encounters in graphic detail.” Read more »

Coming Next From Philly Mag: BizPhilly

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Tom McGrath, Philly Mag editor, here. Over the last few years Philly Mag has undergone tremendous growth and change — with a lot of that change originating right here on phillymag.com.

In January we launched Citified, our politics and urban affairs channel, which people around the city have been buzzing about. Last fall we unveiled a digital Sunday edition, which has quickly become a must-read for people subscribing to it (you can sign up here). We’ve done more and more when it comes to live events, including our annual ideas conference, ThinkFest, and our annual fitness event, Be Well Philly Boot Camp (reserve your spot now for this June’s boot camp). And this is to say nothing of the other channels — from Shoppist and Ticket to Wedding and Birds 24/7 — that we’ve created to cover Philly on a daily basis. Read more »

Introducing … Philadelphia Sunday

sunday-nb-112314-pot-is-coming-400x524This weekend those of you who subscribe to Philly Mag’s newsletters will see something new show up in your inbox. It’s called Philadelphia Sunday, and it’s a brand-new digital product that we hope feels like a cross between a weekly magazine and the good, old-fashioned Sunday newspaper.

What’s in it? A mix of all-new, digital-only features and columns, plus highlights from our latest print edition. Our goal is to give you something you can relax and enjoy as you sip a cup of coffee on Sunday morning — timely news pieces, compelling long reads, provocative columns, and smart lifestyle stories that will help you get the most out of Philadelphia in the week ahead.

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Former Ambassador Joe Torsella and FringeArts’s Nick Stuccio on Friendship

Joe Torsella and Nick Stuccio on Long Beach Island, 1985.

Joe Torsella and Nick Stuccio on Long Beach Island, 1985.

PM: You guys have both had successful careers. Joe, you launched the Constitution Center and were recently an ambassador to the U.N. Nick, you founded FringeArts. And you’ve known each other since you went to high school together in northeastern Pennsylvania.

JOE: I actually am responsible for all of Nick’s success, by virtue of our high-school relationship. That seems bold, I know.

NICK: But it’s kinda true.

JOE: We met each other in early high school, I think in Mrs. Podesta’s … what was the class, geometry?

NICK: Geometry. We knew each other casually. But we became friends when Joe here decided to direct a play. Because Joe was going to be a famous theater director. Read more »

The Taney Dragons Speak!

Row 1: Zion Spearman, Jared Sprague-Lott, Tai Shanahan. Row 2: Erik Lipson, Joe Richardson, Carter Davis. Row 3: Kai Cummings, Eli Simon, Jahli Hendricks. Photography by Justin James Muir

Row 1: Zion Spearman, Jared Sprague-Lott, Tai Shanahan. Row 2: Erik Lipson, Joe Richardson, Carter Davis. Row 3: Kai Cummings, Eli Simon, Jahli Hendricks. Photography by Justin James Muir

PM: Could any of you have predicted you’d go to the World Series?

Jared Sprague-Lott: I knew we had the talent, but if you run into one really good team that’s better than you are … so … not really.

PM: When did you start to think you had a chance?

Joe Richardson: When we won states. Collier [from Allegheny County] was the hardest team by far.

Erik Lipson: [banging a plastic soda bottle] I’d like to answer that question. Okay … what was the question? [laughter] Read more »

Chris Matthews and Ed Rendell Talk (and Talk) Politics

Chris Matthews and Ed Rendell. Photograph by Justin James Muir

Chris Matthews and Ed Rendell. Photograph by Justin James Muir

PM: When did you guys first meet?

ED: [laughs] I have no idea.

CHRIS: I just remember that he and Billy Green [then Philadelphia’s mayor] were trying to take my job away. This was back in 1980. I was speechwriter for Jimmy Carter. All the big-city guys ganged up on us.

ED: This was the Kennedy-Carter presidential primary. I was supporting Kennedy.

CHRIS: Teddy came to town, and he was eating Philly pretzels and meeting with the Cardinal. You could do that in those days. And Carter was in his Rose Garden because of the [Iranian] hostages. And I’m handling Philly. These guys rolled us over. Read more »

The Conversation Issue: Can We Talk?

conversation-issue-nov-2014-cover-400x540This is the transcript of a chat on Slack — the intra-office messaging system Philly Mag uses — between editor Tom McGrath, senior editor Richard Rys and editor-at-large Christine Speer Lejeune.

TOM: We’re calling this the Conversation Issue. You two oversaw the whole package. Explain what we’re up to here.

RICH: A fool’s errand?

CHRISTY: Haha. For real. Proof that the art of conversing isn’t dead, despite Google’s and Apple’s best efforts. We wanted to have the city’s most interesting people talk to each other and see what stories came out.

RICH: I keep coming back to the idea that in this age of high tech, we’re communicating more than ever, but the art of conversation is often lost in all the texting and tweeting and Facebook-status-updating. This issue is a chance for folks to put their phones down — for the most part — and really talk to each other.

CHRISTY: Emojis can only go so far.
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ThinkFest Preview: Ajay Raju Wants Philadelphia to Be a World-Class City

Dilworth Paxson CEO Ajay Raju, left, will be interviewed by Philadelphia magazine editor Tom McGrath.

Dilworth Paxson CEO Ajay Raju, left, will be interviewed by Philadelphia magazine editor Tom McGrath.

Ajay Raju doesn’t think small. He has ideas about building his law firm, storied Dilworth Paxson, into something new and different on the legal scene. He and his foundation have launched a new initiative, the Germination Project, aimed at turning today’s most talented teens into Philadelphia’s next group of leaders. (Read more about the project here.) Mostly, he has notions of transforming Philadelphia into a city that is second to none. On the planet.

“I’m sure in my belief that what’s around the horizon is an opportunity for our city to reform and reshape the contours of our potential,” he told Philly Mag’s John Marchese in a profile published last spring. “Why can’t we? It’s a blank slate. If you can be a magnet to attract the best and the brightest, you have a real winning shot. I want Philadelphia to be the Ellis Island of the new global corporate community and City Hall to be the new Statue of Liberty.”

That kind of lofty talk has fueled speculation that Raju would one day like to be mayor. Whether he wants to be or not is an open question, but you can hear more of Raju’s ideas for Philadelphia at next month’s ThinkFest, where I’ll have the opportunity to sit down with him and talk about everything from art and philanthropy to why Philadelphia’s business community needs to become a stronger voice in our civic issues. Will some of what Ajay Raju talks about seem out of reach? Maybe. But our city needs dreamers – desperately – and this is a chance to hear from one of the most compelling voices in town.

Join us on November 14th at Drexel’s LeBow College of Business for a day of the city’s smartest people sharing their biggest ideas. Read all of our ThinkFest 2014 previews here, and buy your tickets today.

Grow Your Own: Ajay Raju’s Germination Project

ajay-raju-headshot-400x400When Ajay Raju moved from India to America as a teenager, he was struck by something odd: Unlike in India, where the smart kids were the cool kids, academic achievers here were at the bottom of the social pecking order, well below the jocks, cutups, ­bullies, even stoners. What’s more, Raju noted as he got older, future Chase Utleys had a built-in ecosystem to help them develop their talents — coaches, camps, leagues, professional scouts. Future Barack Obamas or Michael Nutters? Not so much.

Raju, 44, who co-chairs the law firm Dilworth Paxson and is occasionally mentioned as a future mayoral aspirant, now hopes to do something to help those young brains. This fall he officially kicks off the Germination Project, a program that will provide intensive mentoring to some of the region’s most promising teenagers — while also, Raju hopes, laying the groundwork for a future leadership class in Philadelphia.

How’s it work? High schools — there will be 10 in the pilot phase, a mix of public, private and parochial schools from the city and suburbs — will nominate sophomores they consider to be their most promising future leaders. A selection committee will then choose anywhere from one to three kids from each school to become official Germination Fellows. While some of the schools participating in the program will be in poorer areas of the city, Raju says the goal isn’t to reverse socioeconomic inequities; it’s simply to find the generation’s elite, no matter where they might be. “We’re not trying to build the Navy,” he says pointedly. “We’re trying to recruit and train the Navy SEALs.”

If that suggests rigor, that’s the point. The mentoring portion will include more than just hints on how to write a thank-you note; kids will work with executives at institutions like Comcast and Jefferson to implement potential solutions to some of Philly’s biggest problems. And participation in the program won’t end once the kids have graduated. Raju imagines that the Germination Project will in time become a network of local super-achievers. The only catch? To remain a Germination Fellow, participants need to return to Philly after college and contribute to the improvement of the city.

Most intriguing may be the Germination Project’s website, where we’ll be able to follow participants’ lives and careers over time in what Raju says won’t be all that different from a reality show. “This isn’t a short-term thing,” he notes. “This is a 50-year love letter to the region.”

See Aju Raju discuss the Germination Project at ThinkFest, November 14th at Drexel’s LeBow College of Business.

Originally published as “Grow Your Own” in the November 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

What It Was Like to Be the First Runner on the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk

Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk | Photograph by Laura Kicey

Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk | Photograph by Laura Kicey

Last Friday, I got the chance to walk on water. And it was awesome.

All right, technically I was running—and it was over water—but you get the idea. I had the pleasure to be the first (maybe? I think?) person ever to run on the brand-new Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, which has its official opening tomorrow and hosts a sneak preview 5K tonight at 6:30 (sorry, it’s sold out). Why me as the ceremonial First Runner? Well, Philly Mag is working on a big package about running in Philly, and the powers that be at the Schuylkill River Development Corp. were nice enough to give us access to the Boardwalk to shoot some photos. Yeah, sometimes it’s cool to work at a magazine.

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