Pulse: 60-Second Critic


The Art of Vinyasa Flow Yoga

Jennifer Schelter

Available at yogaschelter.com; $20

If the phrase “chaturanga dandasana” isn’t part of your everyday vocabulary, this yoga workout is not for you. Which is unfortunate. Instructor Jennifer Schelter, who owns Yoga Schelter studio in East Falls, has a joyful, unintimidating approach to yoga that could attract new devotees to the practice. But this 70-minute vinyasa flow class demands a more experienced yogi. It’s not so much that the sequences are physically taxing, but that the DVD doesn’t offer extensive instruction (or Sanskrit translations), just gentle reminders to breathe as Schelter eases through standard sun salutations to basic forward and backward bends. Still, at its best moments, the DVD can conjure in your living room the serenity of practicing at the spacious, sunny Yoga Schelter. [B-] – April White


Local Support


Podcasts are the new blog, or something like that. Breaking from the trendy pack is the Philadelphia City Paper’s Local Support, featuring only local bands and hosted by Princeton radio personality Jon Solomon. The 80-minute-long, biweekly “episodes” run from piano pop (BC Camplight) and pop-punk (Armalite) to new wave (Hail Social) and folk (The Twin Atlas). Most of the bands, even those familiar from ’XPN, carry on the knotty spirit of indie rock. Translation: Not every song will jump out at newcomers. But it’s impossible to resist Adam Arcuragi’s stunning “1981,” and tracks by Future Tips and the Swimmers round off any experimental edges. Local Support doesn’t avoid all of radio’s pitfalls — the canned opening is shrill and choppy — but it does highlight bands you won’t hear via the mainstream. And with the push of a button, you can skip what you don’t like and find your favorite. [B+] – Doug Wallen


Metropolitan Philadelphia: Living With the Presence of the Past

By Steven Conn

(University of Pennsylvania Press; $19.95)

This city’s relationship with its past is a big knot to unravel. Give Conn credit for trying. A native Philadelphian and professor at Ohio State, he lays out how William Penn’s urban utopia evolved into a sprawling, ¬racially charged wasteland ringed by ¬McMansions — and suggests how the city might evolve during this next, crucial stage of its life. Conn castigates baddies — including Toll Brothers, “the nation’s premiere purveyors of luxury sprawl” — and notes the tendency of city leaders to favor bland, large-scale projects like the Convention Center over the cultural eccentricities that give the city life. But he also falls into sentimentalism, the sort of boomer-booster tripe that makes it difficult for people outside Philly, and Philadelphians themselves, to take the city’s present seriously. [C] — Jessica Pressler