Are the Duggars Pro-Family — or Just Anti-Woman?

The Duggars

The Duggars

In general, I try not to dissect why I care about the lives of strangers on reality TV shows. Best-case scenario, I don’t have enough going on in my own life. Worst case, I have a sneaky crush on Dr. Dubrow that’s about to surface and cause worlds of pain and confusion.

But 19 Kids and Counting has always been a little different. It’s hard to be a woman in 2015 and not be interested (or, in my case, morbidly interested) in the Duggar family, who are followers of an ultra-conservative brand of Christianity that adheres to the Biblical patriarchy movement.

After this weekend, it’s impossible not to be afraid of them. Read more »

What’s the Future of PAFA in a STEM-Obsessed America?

Photo | GPTMC

Photo | GPTMC

The news earlier this year that venerable Sweet Briar College in Virginia was closing its doors despite a hundred years of history and an outstanding national reputation intensified shock waves already moving through the world of higher education. A senior vice president at Moody’s predicted more college closures to come, while the Department of Education announced it was monitoring 544 colleges and universities it considers to be on shaky financial ground.  When the National Association of College Admissions Counselors in May released its annual tally of colleges that had yet to meet their enrollment targets for next fall, there were 18 Pennsylvania schools on the list. Seven of those were local: Cabrini College, Delaware Valley University, Eastern University, Gwynedd Mercy College, Holy Family University, St. Joseph’s University … and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Okay, most of those are small liberal arts colleges — the sorts of places that, like Sweet Briar, are most likely to be facing economic straits. But PAFA? That two-centuries-old art school-cum-museum housed in a wedding-cake Frank Furness palace at Broad and Cherry? The school at which such prominent artists as Mary Cassatt, Thomas Eakins, Wharton Esherick, Benjamin West, Alexander Stirling Calder and David Lynch studied and/or taught? How could easels at such a renowned institution be going unused? Read more »

What’s Hot on Wildwood Boardwalk T-Shirts in 2015

Wildwood Boardwalk T-Shirts, 2015

Wildwood boardwalk t-shirts are big business. Sure, you think it’s all “Senior Week 2015″ and “I’m not as think as you drunk I am” shirts, but this is serious business. Not everyone can be Baruch Cohen and sell 6,480 different t-shirts at his boardwalk shop. For most shop keepers, it’s a cutthroat competition to sell shirts that tickle the fickle fancies of sunburnt, possibly drunk teenagers. Read more »

Should Philly Get to Vote on Its Public Art Installations?

Clothespin, B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia | Doctored <em>Paint Torch</em> via <a href="http://www.phillymag.com/ticket/2015/04/01/photos-street-artist-turns-part-of-the-pafa-paint-torch-sculpture-into-a-poop-emoji/" target="_blank">Streets Dept.</a>

Clothespin, B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia | Doctored Paint Torch, Streets Dept.

I don’t have great taste in art. Or, maybe even worse, I don’t have any taste in art.

I have a couple of nice pieces courtesy of friends and family who haven’t yet realized their work is too good to give to me. But, left to my own devices, I gravitate toward the Basic Bitch Trifecta when decorating my walls: beaches, dogs and inspirational quotes. Part of me still misses my freshman dorm’s super-cheesy Audrey Hepburn print (another part of me misses it so bad that it’s in my Ikea shopping cart).

And so I’m never quite sure how to feel about some of Philly’s more abstract art. Is an oversized electrical plug art? Probably, considering it ended up in the Art Museum’s sculpture garden. How about a plastic, swirled dollop of paint? Perhaps. What if you dress up the dollop to look like the poo emoji? I’m going to go with definitely, but like I said, what do I know? Read more »

Why Dunkin’ Donuts Is Philly’s True Coffee Soulmate

The cup of coffee you carry around Philly says a lot about you. In a city where no one smiles or, God forbid, says hello, it can quickly relay a good amount of information about strangers. I like to think of it as the human equivalent of a butt sniff – or rather, the Philadelphian’s equivalent of a butt sniff.

When I see Red Hook’s cute little cup parading down Fourth Street, I can’t help but admire its drinker. Not only did she resist the best muffin in town, but she went to a locally owned café and spent a little extra to support her neighbors. She’s socially conscious and expensive smelling, but not so much better than me that she remembered her reusable travel mug. Read more »

4 Biggest Mother’s Day Social Media Missteps

As far as holidays go, Mother’s Day is traditionally in the minor leagues.

It’s an important one, yes, but it barely takes up an entire aisle in CVS. No long weekend, no dead deity, no big deal.

Unless, of course, you’re going by social media standards. Because on Facebook and Twitter, Mother’s Day is apparently a High Holy Day of Sharing (and, possibly, caring).

Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that. After months of stalking your bar selfies and whiny status updates, your mom was probably delighted to spot herself in your new profile picture. If your partner granted you a tiny human over the past year, it’s more than appropriate to send a shout-out. You gave life to those kids and got them dressed for a family photo shoot before noon? Go ahead, lady — blow up my feed with your tiny army of brunch terrorists. You earned this.

That said, there was also some pretty questionable Mother’s Day posting this year. Do mom a favor and remember the following next time around. Read more »

I Was in No Hurry to Open My New iPhone

About four years ago, my husband started telling me I could get a free iPhone whenever I wanted to. A couple of weeks ago, I finally did.

You can probably tell I’m no early adopter. It took me a really long time to get used to my flip phone. It’s partly because I didn’t use it much. I don’t like to talk on the phone, so I mostly used it for texting my kids and my husband. I did like to take photos of my garden and occasionally post them to Twitter, which is what made me finally break down and get the iPhone. The camera on my flip phone stopped working. I didn’t mind so much in winter. But when the full panoply of my tulips came out this spring and I couldn’t share it, I was bummed.

By then, I had an iPhone. When my son was home for spring break, he took the bull by the horns and, over my protests, ordered me one. He went back to school, and my iPhone arrived at the house a few days later. I didn’t bother to open the box. I knew that learning how to use it was going to be a huge pain in the ass, and except for the camera that didn’t work, my flip phone suited me fine. I didn’t need any apps to help me figure out what restaurant to eat at or what wine to pair with lamb chops or what dress would match my nice new apricot-colored sweater. Fifty-eight years of life experience was taking care of all that just fine.

So the phone just sat in its unopened box on the dining room table. Meantime, one day I was using the flip phone and noticed a piece of fuzz stuck in the camera lens. I extracted it with an X-acto knife, and suddenly the camera was working again. That made me even more unhappy that my son had ordered the iPhone, which I now didn’t need for anything. Read more »

5 Rules for Behaving During Philadelphia Street Festival Season

South Street Festival. Photo | South Street Headhouse District

South Street Festival. Photo | South Street Headhouse District

Somehow, I went almost three decades in this city without having to experience a neighborhood street festival.

Actually, it was easy. I grew up in the Northeast and then spent a good chunk of my 20s in West Philly, two of the most insular communities this side of North Korea. (Go on, ask your friend from Fox Chase to meet you in Center City. I’ll wait.)

But now I find myself renting in Queen Village, an apparently popular part of the city with things to offer and visitors to entertain. If last weekend’s record-breaking South Street Festival was any indication, it’s going to be a long, long summer of improvised trashcans and suspicious puddles.

Want to be a good temporary neighbor? Here’s what to remember before you go back to the ’burbs. (Want to be an even better neighbor? Make some room in that fancy crossover vehicle and bring me with you to the promised land.) Read more »

Introducing the Philly Selfie Contest

This classic Philly Selfie was captured at the Independence Visitor Center.

Hey Philly! Get pumped for Selfies Week! We need your best selfies for an upcoming photo feature. Starting Monday, May 4th, we’re collecting your submissions online, via Instagram, or Twitter or email us at social@phillymag.com. Make sure you use the hashtag #PhillySelfieContest. Here’s what we need:

1. Selfies with you and a celebrity with Philly ties.

2. Selfies that show you in an iconic Philadelphia setting. The more creative, the better — do you have a killer selfie from the observation deck of City Hall at sunset? On the 50-yard line at halftime of an Eagles game?

Read more »

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