It could have been a colossal failure: a workplace comedy (as if we haven’t had enough of those) set in an under-funded Philly public school (not an apparent great source of laughs) and broadcast on network TV (something people have been watching less and less of). “Oh my God, I really hope people like it,” Abbott Elementary creator and star Brunson told us just after the show’s debut on ABC in December. Well, they liked it. They liked it a lot. Thanks to the comic genius and marketing savvy of Brunson, who was raised right here by a mom who taught in those under-funded schools, the show proved a runaway success, earning well-deserved comparisons to The Office and killing it in the ratings — and making her an icon in the process. The show’s now been renewed for a second season; look for it on September 21st.
Post-game press conferences are where original quotations go to die. Not so with Maxey. In January, the point guard showed up after a victory and started singing the Sixers fight song. Then, when the soporific sportswriter hive failed to react, he asked them: “Why y’all always so serious?” That joyful spontaneity is what makes Maxey such a compelling player on the court, too — and why we’re starting to think he’ll have plenty more singing opportunities in years to come. Clap your hands, everybody …
A three-act tale of Philadelphia government dysfunction: 1) City spends years researching bike-and-pedestrian-friendly redesign ideas for Washington Avenue. 2) City announces a “final design decision” (three lanes) preferred by a majority of community members, only to abandon it for a more car-centric version (a mix of three, four and five lanes). 3) City can’t even implement the revised plan because Kenyatta Johnson (see: Best Reason to Vote in the 2nd District) has unilateral veto power thanks to councilmanic prerogative, which means the portion of the road passing through his district will likely remain the same as it ever was — five lanes. Can we at least agree to fix the potholes?
TU’s official Twitter account issued this mysterious one-word pronouncement last December that inspired a series of hilarious replies, among them from @NavyYardPhila (“Navy Yard”) and ESPN SportsCenter’s Ron Redden Jr. (“Points were made.”) Our pick of the lot, though: local journalist Jim MacMillan’s plaintive “Who hasn’t accidentally tweeted their password before?”
As if the police department needed any more PR problems, the Inquirer reported that more than 650 officers — 11 percent of the force — are out on full-pay injury leave, many of them spending their “recuperation” doing things like running a roofing business or winning an MVP award in a slow-pitch softball league. This is the same department that just received a $30 million budget increase, mostly to cover — what else? — rising officer salaries.
Some of us spent the pandemic honing our talents; others spent it learning the best times to access the state liquor-store website to place booze orders. (Hey, it’s a skill, too!) Miskel falls into the former category. After the New York Times announced an art contest — theme: “Coming of Age in 2021” — the teen from Bryn Mawr submitted a striking cartoon panel about loneliness during COVID that was one of just 25 winners selected from more than 4,000 submissions.
Oh, sure, it’s easy to doubt the Republican senatorial candidate’s bona fides about his Pennsylvania residency when his social media accounts seem to indicate he’s still living in Jersey. But hey, he bought a house in Montco, didn’t he? He’s only staying with his in-laws in Bryn Athyn while the new house gets redone! The whole convoluted situation only got more dubious when Insider reported in June that the good doctor misspelled the name of the Montco town where he supposedly lives — on his declaration of candidacy form for the Federal Elections Commission. Yo dude! It’s H-U-N-T-I-N-G-D-O-N Valley, not H-U-N-T-I-N-G-T-O-N Valley. We bet you order Swiss on your cheesesteaks, too.
Outside magazine crowned this Bala Cynwyd guy the “World’s Fastest 70-Year-Old” for running a 2:54 marathon in 2018. Last year, at 73, he combusted the 50K record for runners his age, shaving off 19 minutes. Dykes, whose pace and stamina are such that researchers have subjected him to batteries of investigative tests, calls himself the “Ultrageezer.” “Don’t be afraid of getting old,” he counseled after his 3:56:43 50K. His secret? “I never stretch.”
The Montgomery County Community College Mustangs haven’t been known for their sporting triumphs — until now! Dovidio, a 20-year-old Super Smash Bros. savant, just nabbed the school’s first-ever esports national championship, sparking inspiration in young gamers in bedrooms everywhere — and providing the ultimate rejoinder to parents begging their children do something else, anything else, with their time.
It’s hard to stay a fan of the once-admired City Councilmember as he continues to battle federal bribery charges alongside his wife, consultant Dawn Chavous. A mistrial only left us with more questions than answers, and taxpayers now have to endure a retrial in the fall. If there was ever a time to reconsider your vote in the 2nd District next year, this might be it.
This West Mount Airy native, who graduated from St. Joe’s and went to grad school at Temple, last year was named athletic director at Drexel — the first Black woman AD at any of the city’s D-1 colleges. Stints at Rutgers, Vanderbilt and Bucknell prepared the mom of two young kids — her husband’s with Temple’s track and field program — for the role. “I know that my pathway was formed by others who have been first,” she told the Inquirer of her rarefied status. But there haven’t been many: Of 248 open NCAA college AD positions between 2010 and 2019, only 11 were filled by Black women. Go, Dragons!
After the Phillies third baseman made two bonehead errors in an early April game, fans at Citizens Bank Park considerately stood and applauded his routine throw to first base for an out. TV cameras consequently caught him saying, well, the quote above to shortstop Didi Gregorius. He then committed one last error, just to ice the cake. (To be fair, Bohm also hit a double and earned two walks — and the Phils came from behind to win, 5-4, over the Mets.) After the game, the young player apologized to fans and insisted he didn’t mean it: “Look, emotions got the best of me.” The next night, fans gave him a (sincere) standing O.
The Councilperson had hoped to keep her breast cancer and treatment a secret — so personal, you see. But then: “I thought about the women I know who have lost their battles with breast cancer.” She also thought about Philly women who, like her, weren’t getting regular screenings. So she changed her mind, wrote her story in the Inquirer, and kept on keeping on.
We all watched him plow through the Jeopardy! competition this past spring, but it wasn’t his domination that kept us tuning in every night. It was his kindness, his humor, and — well, the fact that he repped Philly every chance he got. (First purchase with his winnings? A Reggie White Eagles jersey.) When he returns for the Tournament of Champions in November, we know who we’ll be rooting for.
Last winter, despite police warnings of potential violence, fed-up Philadelphians formed a rogue collective named after the fictional Western lawman to snatch traffic cones holding down neighbors’ parking spots on snowy days. Yeah, yeah, savesies are illegal. “So what?” as they say in South Philly. Vivid pro-and-con discussions on Reddit and other online outlets ensued.
After amassing 13,000-plus followers in her Facebook group, all-things-streaming devotee Jamie Joffe this year created a bi-monthly podcast to further indulge her passion for the best and worst offerings on-screen — and drill it down for you in easy-to-digest episodes featuring interviews with producers, stars, and other industry folks. Among those with whom the Conshohocken resident has spoken: the writers/producers of And Just Like That, the Sex and the City reboot everyone loves to hate.
We can’t get enough of North Philly native Dawn Staley, the former women’s basketball coach at Temple who this year won her second NCAA national title leading South Carolina’s team. (Her Twitter feed, highlighted by pup Champ, is worth reading.) Before her big April win, she revealed that after triumphing in her first national championship, in 2017, she purchased mini trophies for all her former teammates at UVA plus all her former players and fellow coaches at Temple and South Carolina and had them engraved with “Because of you.” Priceless.
Ijames has been on the Philadelphia theater circuit for nearly two decades, writing and directing plays across town. His reward? Just a little moment in the spotlight in the form of a Pulitzer Prize for his latest opus, Fat Ham, a reimagining of Hamlet set in the South. The show just capped a three-month run at New York’s Public Theater — the place that once put on a plucky little production called Hamilton — but nothing will change the fact that the premiere was here, at the Wilma Theatre, where Ijames serves as an artistic director.
Unlike Ijames, Zauner, the lead singer of the band Japanese Breakfast, hasn’t stuck around these parts, having decamped to New York City. But we’re willing to look past that minor character flaw, considering how good her latest record, Jubilee, is, not to mention her many other Philly bona fides: working as a coat checker at Union Transfer, where the cloakroom now bears her name, and writing a New York Times best-selling memoir, Crying in H-Mart, in which the Elkins Park location features prominently.
Mobley has been a citywide hero for a long while, having previously been honored with the prestigious 2018 Philadelphia Award for his groundbreaking work in advancing his nonprofit, Coded by Kids. But he’s become a tech legend since launching his new venture capital fund for under-represented founders — and he continues to rack up national recognition and accolades, including being named a For(bes) the Culture 50 Champions honoree last year.
In January, the Eagles and the NFL Foundation donated $100,000 worth of sports bras to Leveling the Playing Field, the team’s nonprofit partner — enough to provide one to every female athlete in need in the Philly school district. The donation coincided with the announcement of the organization’s launch of a brand-new 15-team high-school girls’ flag football league, complete with Nike uniforms and official NFL Flag equipment kits for the 15 participating public and Catholic schools.
Holmes is the rare triple-threat cinephile: founder of the BlackStar Film Festival; host of the film podcast Many Lumens; and — our favorite, though perhaps we’re biased — founding editor of the film journal SEEN, which publishes twice annually in a beautiful you’ll-want-to-keep-this-on-your-coffee-table print edition. Print: Still not dead!
After winning first place — and a $500,000 investment — at the Richard King Mellon Foundation’s pitch competition in January, co-founders Courtney Bragg and Allister Chang’s Philly-based for-profit, which provides health-care information, prescription-cost help, and state insurance enrollment aid to laundromat customers waiting out their dryers and spin cycles, announced plans to expand to Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.
Bear with us here, because this one is complicated and unlikely. Last February, a local driver named Greg (understandably, his last name’s been withheld) rammed into the car of Ambler’s Cecilly Rudalavage on the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. While they were exchanging info, Rudalavage, a sales rep for implant maker Ditron Dental USA, noticed — well, Greg’s lack of teeth, long an embarrassment and handicap for him. Through her professional contacts, she arranged for Fairless Hills surgeon Simon Oh to rebuild Greg’s jawbone and implant a full set of new teeth … for free. Now? Everybody’s smiling.
Well, really the only good thing to happen in a Tesla. With their three-year-old son Rafa in the back seat, Wayne residents Keating and Yiran Sherry were driving to Paoli Hospital one morning last September when they hit rush-hour traffic just as very-pregnant Yiran’s labor contractions sped up. Luckily, they drive a Tesla, so Keating switched on the autopilot and comforted his wife while she gave birth to daughter Maeve (her job as a yoga instructor helped with the breathing) and Rafa demanded, “Is Mommy okay?” “Our hope for this was that it was going to be a natural birth,” Keating said afterward. “Never in our wildest dreams would we expect it to happen in the front seat of our car.”
For seven years running, Quinn, a teacher at Central High, has been funneling young folks’ passion and energy into the civic arena via Philly Youth Votes, the nonpartisan group of teachers, activists and students he organized to register 18-year-olds to cast ballots. The fruits of that labor? A stronger democracy, especially this year: Pennsylvania ranks first among states where young voters have the biggest impact on Senate and gubernatorial races. Who you campaigning to, Dr. Oz?
Heading into this year’s Boston Marathon, Roecker had 11 other marathons under her belt — an accomplishment on its own. This year, though, she decided to run for more than just herself. To raise money to support the mental health of those in her profession, the Penn outpatient surgical nurse ran all 26.2 miles in her scrubs. Donations poured in to the tune of $52,400 — 2,000 bucks a mile.
Nobody can question Johnson’s steadfast commitment to demanding change when it comes to gun violence. The Marine-turned-activist has staged a hunger strike, marched to Washington, and put his life and body on the line to urge the city to reverse its lackluster response to an epidemic that’s continuing to devastate. If “no-B.S.” was in the dictionary, Johnson and his unapologetic advocacy would be pictured there.
Most people retire and relax, but this beloved CCP professor had other plans. After years of teaching history and Black studies, Love has taken his passion for the field and transformed it into a bookstore featuring a vintage collection of Black history and literature that’s more timely than ever. Bailey Street Books (1517 North Bailey Street in Brewerytown) will continue to educate Philadelphians for many years to come — making it ultimate retirement-plan goals.
When then-21-year-old Lincoln U. student Imani Lamarr told public health professor Dix she’d have to miss his class because she didn’t have a sitter for her son Christopher, he told her to bring the baby to school — and then held him so she could take notes. The video, naturally, went viral. A hero for our times.
Electeds may talk about cleaning up the city, but Terrill “Ya Fav Trashman” Haigler is out there doing it. (See: the 325 tons of trash he’s taken off Philly streets.) In two years, he’s gone from rogue sanitation worker to full-blown activist, business owner, nonprofit founder, writer (he authored a children’s book on environmental justice) and, yes, Philly favorite. Wanna fix Filthadelphia? Put this man in charge already!