Philly Weekly cover story on Technically Media, Philly Tech Week and our roots

Proud to say that popular alt-weekly Philadelphia Weekly put a feature story about my Technically Media colleagues and I on its cover this week.

Thanks to freelancer and ReadWriteWeb scribe John Paul Titlow for the interest, PW editor Nina Hoffman for editing and young Karrisa Olsen for taking some photos. A few others are here.

Under different leadership, this is the same publication that not too long ago poked some fun at us.

Find the story here or browse the issue here.

Faint Praise from Philly Weekly Better than Best issue

All of my thoughts

Eh, who has the energy. Instead, I’ll leave it to you:

Philadelphia Weekly’s Better than Best issue

Best Self-Promoters on the New Media Scene

To be honest, we’re not always sure exactly what it is the young journalists at Technically Philly are trying to accomplish at the site. Are they attempting to chronicle the local media’s often-painful transition into the web-centric era? Well, yes, there’s certainly that. But it sometimes seems that TP’s contributors are trying to bring about the future of media by loudly declaring themselves to be the future of media. The guys—Sean Blanda, Brian James Kirk and Chris Wink—are certainly good at getting their names out there: The trio appeared last spring at BarCamp Philly, a gathering of veteran journalists, to explain the virtues of their approach. And if that approach appears to be a combination of web links, brief stories and occasional interviews that skim the surface of the local scene—well, who’s to say that isn’t the future of media? [Source]

Stories that never ran: ‘Can the Devon Theater survive in Mayfair?’

Last month, the Devon Theater, a professional production house in a working-class neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia, canceled the final half of its inaugural season due to state budget constraints.

In going through some documents of mine, I found, perhaps prophetically, a story that never was from back in March when the Devon first reopened. Originally planned for Philadelphia Weekly, its working slug title was ‘Can the Devon survive in Mayfair?’

Perhaps that hope now seems less likely. Below, I share the piece that didn’t run (for a variety of reasons) and some extras from the reporting.

Continue reading Stories that never ran: ‘Can the Devon Theater survive in Mayfair?’

PW: College rapper Asher Roth from Bucks County to hip hop star

Asher Roth in a promo photo sporting an "I Love New York" T-shirt despite his suburban Philly roots. "I don't think geography matters shit to Asher," says his manager Scooter Braun.
Asher Roth in a promo photo sporting an “I Love New York” T-shirt despite his suburban Philly roots. “I don’t think geography matters shit to Asher,” says his manager Scooter Braun.

I helped profile upcoming rapper Asher Roth in the cover story of today’s Philadelphia Weekly.

If there’s any truth in Revolutionary Road, American Beauty, Mad Men and the writing of John Cheever—that everyone in suburbia is secretly miserable, living life with crushing boredom or a crippling secret that’s killing them softly—you wouldn’t believe it on the first warm spring day in West Chester, Pa., where the flowers are finally beginning to bloom and college kids equipped with backpacks scramble across town to classes they’re running late for.

It’s a quaint borough. Gorgeous. “Diverse … prosperous … collegiate … accessible,” its website proudly boasts. Huge, impressive houses spring up behind white picket fences. Lush pastures of rolling green farmland dominate the landscape. Picturesque. Peaceful. Idyllic.

This is where “I Love College”—the boozy, marijuana-worshipping, horny ode to university life—was born. Read the rest here.

Read the story, comment, spread the word and then come on back for what didn’t make it in and some Asher video interviews.

Continue reading PW: College rapper Asher Roth from Bucks County to hip hop star

PW: International techno legend Josh Wink on Philly and his future


He’s an internationally-recognized DJ and techno producer with the same last name as me, but I never heard of Josh Wink.

Until, that is, a source from a completely unrelated story mentioned him. That led to a profile of Wink, who lives in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties neighborhood, for Philadelphia Weekly.

For Philadelphians not of a certain age, he just might be the most famous resident of Northern Liberties you’ve never heard of. To those who were active on the city’s rock, rave and club scenes in the 1990s, Josh Wink is a deejaying visionary and techno legend.

Twenty years after his first album, Wink has released his When A Banana Was Just A Banana LP and embarked on another extended European tour. But he’s torn between the Philly he calls home and the continent that has catapulted him into another stratosphere on the international house music scene.

“I would love to live in Europe as I spend half my time there,” Wink said in an e-mail before leaving for engagements in Amsterdam, Vilnus, Lithuania and others — his tour dates can be found at — but “there is something about Philly that most people understand that keeps us coming back.”

It can’t be the adulation he gets here. Read the rest here.

Go check out the story, comment and come back and see where the idea came from and other extras below.

Continue reading PW: International techno legend Josh Wink on Philly and his future

PW: Open source learning at Penn

The University of Pennsylvania’s place in the open-source learning movement of higher education is the focus of my story in yesterday’s Philadelphia Weekly.

I can’t find it online (seriously), but it sure did run. So go pick it up if you’re in Philly. If not, well, check below for what didn’t make it in!

You can also see how I covered Penn’s relationship with Academic Earth for Technically Philly.

Comment there, and then see what didn’t make it in.

Continue reading PW: Open source learning at Penn

PW: Did Philadelphia ambulance response time kill a woman?

In yesterday’s Philadelphia Weekly I shared the story of Vlad Glikman, who blames a failure in Philadelphia’s ambulatory system for the death of his mother.

Jan. 20, 2008: Glikman receives a frantic call from his 81-year-old father telling him that his mother, Adalina, is unconscious in their Somerton apartment in the Northeast. His father says a private ambulance company, Century, is on the way. Twenty minutes later, Glikman arrives at his parents’ home and finds his mother on the ground, still unconscious, with no ambulance in sight. His father calls Century again, but according to Glikman, the ambulance driver says he can’t get his engine started due to the blistering cold. Desperate to save his mother, Glikman dials 911. Fifteen minutes later—far too late by most national standards—a city-dispatched ambulance arrives just in time to pronounce her dead. Read the rest here.

While it focuses on Glikman, the story serves as an update from a May 2006 story by Mike Newall on Philadelphia’s poor ambulance response times.

Read the story, comment, then com on back, as always, and see what didn’t make it into the final story.

Continue reading PW: Did Philadelphia ambulance response time kill a woman?

PW: Frankford addiction recovery homes

Dignity Recovery sober-living home at 1734 Harrison St. in Frankford, as seen on Fri, Feb. 6, 2009. Add a Caption Save CaptionCancel

The heated debate on private addiction recovery homes in the Frankford neighborhood of Philadelphia takes the front stage in a story I wrote for today’s Philadelphia Weekly.

It’s 1997, and Jeffrey Jackson is getting wet.

He’s balled up, trying to sleep inside New Way Out, an addiction-recovery house in Kensington.

The 28-year-old addict is in the process of kicking heroin after moving on from cocaine, but he’s starving and sweating and can’t somebody stop that damn rain from coming in?

“I told the director, ‘Hey, your roof is leaking,’” Jackson says now. “The guy looked at me with a straight face and said, ‘Then move your bed.’” Read the rest here.

Go there, read the story, comment and return here to check out the extra information and quotations that didn’t make it into my final story.

PW: Reader response for Free Library expansion story

The following feedback came in regarding my recent article about the halted expansion of the central branch of the Free Library, as collected here:

I was at the library last week. I’m not sure the expansion is a necessary ingredient of the Philadelphia ego. Chasing technology as an improvement when the city is not flush is foolish. I can’t imagine it’s a good thing to chase down short attention spans.

Before building it the city should do an evaluation of how much is actually part of the library and not transitory technology.

A longer letter is after the jump.

PW: Central library expansion on hold

Artists rendering of the completed expansion of the central branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The project has been long delayed.
Artist's rendering of the completed expansion of the central branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The project has been long delayed.

I covered the again-stalled addition to Philadelphia’s Free Library central branch for Philadelphia Weekly, and it ran online during the weekend as part of their growing Web presence.

Think of it as the library of the future.

At more than 300 computers, graphic designers work on new projects, musicians record and bloggers and authors write and research, using the quiet of old and the wireless of new. Arching skylights vault over glass walkways, and plate–glass windows open an 8,500–square–foot foyer to light and weather patterns. A Visual and Performing Arts Department lets visitors focus on music instead of books. A Teen Center brings resources to school–aged kids courtesy of tattooed librarians, while the Entrepreneurium offers those who dream of starting a business the tools to make it happen. It’s all designed by internationally acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie, and it’s called Parkway Central—one of the premiere libraries in the nation.

It’s also, for now, a fiction… Read the rest here.

Comment and then come on back for a few items I cut from the story – see them below.

Continue reading PW: Central library expansion on hold