There is a new cool. A new definition of cool. A new embodiment of cool. It is “Cliff Cool.” …as in Cliff Lee.
“I wouldn’t call it greed. I would say self-preservation is the number one motivation in Harrisburg and it is why I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we do need some type of legislative term limits. I know there are problems with term limits, but I think you have got to eliminate a concept that this is a lifetime job and I’ve got to protect my lifetime job.” So says Governor Ed Rendell in a conversation with me about the legislature. The Governor had a few things to say to me about the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the tobacco industry and the Phillies.
The Act II Playhouse in Ambler, Montgomery County, in suburban Philadelphia is a roaring success. Just into its second decade of life, the playhouse has gained national attention, including scores of Barrymore nominations and a few winners among them. Act II is fascinating. The theatre seats just 130. What I love about their story is not only the quality of work that they do, but also how they have revitalized a great little town. They are successful even in these tough times and every day others appreciate the life, energy and opportunity Act II brings to the Ambler area. Mary Aversa, Ambler Borough Manager, tells me Act II Playhouse has been a key component of the borough’s ongoing renaissance.
I spoke with Bud Martin, Producing Artistic Director, who speaks proudly of securing the first off-Broadway rights for “Boeing Boeing,” which is directed at Act II by Harriet Power. The show is sold out. And now, Bud is preparing for “On Golden Pond.” Actor Tom McCarthy will take the male lead. (Tom assures me he gets that it’s a romantic story.) “Pond” starts its run in November.
Also, plan to see Tom McCarthy in the highly enjoyable “Philly Fan” starting in February, 2010.
The Bacon Brothers performed at B.B. King’s in Manhattan Thursday night. They were assisted on “New Year’s Day” by members of various Philadelphia String Bands. Tom Loomis, of Woodland String Band, a great sax man, tells me they broke out their instruments and got right into rehearsal before the show and a happy Kevin said, “You guys were practicin’.” The NYC appearance follows last weekend’s show in Phoenixville. Earlier that day Kevin and Michael had signed CD’s in Manayunk. (see pic)
Loomis says of last night’s New York performance after getting a standing ovation from the crowd at B.B. King’s and seeing Michael’s smiling face, “It was unbelievable.” Tom says he also got to meet Kyra Sedgwick. He was pleased.
Save the Mummers. Go to savethemummers.com. Also, tickets for the December 5th concert are on sale.
Irish American String Band has their anniversary dinner tomorrow night in the Northeast at 9151 Old Newtown Road. Also, Greater Kensington SB enjoys their kick-off party tomorrow night.
Another day to save a life. Team after team of walkers gathered along Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive near the Philadelphia Museum of Art to raise awareness about drunk driving and raise money for support programs, education and prevention. From my position as emcee I saw hundreds of people trying to save the lives of people they will never meet. Some of them know the anguish and life-long loss, the emptiness that will never fade that ripped into them when a drunk driver took the life of a loved one. I am reminded of those no longer with us, of a young medical student named Jim, a 13-year-old named Hannah, of a young man named Dante and so many more whose images or names fill t-shirts and whose deaths line the faces of the survivors. Drunk driving and distracted driving kill thousands and thousands of people each year.
MADD and its supporters through 29 years of effort have likely saved thousands more and Pennsylvania MADD and these walkers have made sure the effort will go on.
Mummers perform countless acts of kindness and rarely do they get attention for it. Woodland String Band has held its 6th annual American Red Cross blood drive at Anderson Hall, its clubhouse in South Philadelphia. Check out Jim Wolfinger and Scott Greco “laying down on the job.” That is, giving the gift of life. Below, that’s me with Mike Dingler, at-large Director with Woodland, and that’s Scott on the table behind us. Lots of folks stopped by, including some runners who took part in an unrelated event earlier that morning. Thank you, Woodland!