The Phoenix Files

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Barry Cassidy's Report to Council

Friday, May 22, 2009


By Rob Nagy

If there was ever a man born to be singing on stage it is Bruce Springsteen. Well into his fourth decade as one of the all-time biggest selling recording artists, “The Boss”, as he is affectionately referred to by millions, is showing no signs of slowing down. In support of his latest release “Working on a Dream”. Springsteen and his E Street Band played to another sold out crowd of more than 30,000 diehard fans at Hershey Stadium in Hershey, PA on May 15, 2009. Taking the stage dressed in his customary black jeans and shirt, Springsteen was greeted by a thunderous roar of an already charged crowd. He wasted no time diving into a three hour set of many of the Springsteen classics and some more obscure songs backed by The E Street Band, which includes Clarence Clemons (sax), Gary Talent (bass), Nils Lofgren (guitar), Steve Van Zandt (guitar) and Roy Bitton (piano). Missing were Patty Scialfa, who is recovering from a horse riding accident, and Max Weinberg, who had a taping commitment with the Conan O’Brien Show. Filling in for Patty was Soozie Tyrell while the drumming duties were anchored by Weinberg’s nineteen year old son Jay, who did an impressive performance adding a raw edge to an already flawless show. Springsteen tirelessly moved about the stage like a teenager smiling from ear to ear often including the audience, especially the many young children that were in attendance. He was visibly touched by the hundreds of signs fans had made, carrying a special Springsteen message, that were held up throughout the concert. Every so often Springsteen would gather up his favorite signs and place them around the stage. Of his nearly thirty song set, standouts included “Rosalita”, “Thunder Road”, “Trapped”, “The Promised Land”, “Backstreets” and Springsteen’s swan song “Born to Run”. Following a five song encore Springsteen was off to the airport rolling down his car window waving and giving the thumbs up to a few hundred fans waiting for a glimpse of their idol. Following a summer of European concert dates, look for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band to return to the region when they play Giants Stadium September 30, October 2 and October 3, 2009 as the final musical event to take place at the stadium. For more info of Bruce Springsteen go to

Photo by Rob Nagy

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

An Interview with Tyler Pursel From The Gym Class Heros

Q: How long were you on tour for?
T: I think over all, about three months. I think there was a little break. Basically, we went out on tour with Lil’ Wayne, and we jumped off of that early because our guitarist was having a baby. After that we were taking a break, and we were supposed to be off for a little while, but we ended up going back on tour with Lil’ Wayne because apparently the tour got extended and was still going on. And then, after tha,t we just did a two-week tour of a bunch of different colleges, and that brings us up to now pretty much.
Q: How has being in the Gym Class Heroes changed your life in a way you didn’t expect?
T: It’s a really odd feeling having people around the county who know who you are and support what you are doing. And granted, I am closer to the bottom of all of that; I don’t stand out as much and make an attempt to be out front, but it’s really interesting to have people be that supportive. So if I put out a blog, and I have a thousand followers; if I had put out a blog when I was delivering auto parts it would have been my ten friends following me, it’s really kind of cool to know in that sense that you can write stuff and people will read it and comment on it and say I agree or I disagree.
Q: Talking about blogs, how do you think things like Twitter, Facebook and Myspace affect the future of the music industry?
T: It’s kind of a double-edged sword. The thing I find most disappointing about the music industry and the way things are going right now it seems music on a physical medium is getting ruled out, and I think that is sad for the next generation of kids. Don’t get me wrong, I have an I-pod and it’s packed with music, and I download a lot of stuff, but to not have something to correlate the vision. Cover art, and holding it when I was younger, was the coolest thing, and I guess it’s sad that younger people are going to get to the point where they don’t have that.
Q: So what have you been working on during your down time with The Gym Class Heroes?
T: Well, I definitely will record a lot, and work on solo material, and I’m hopefully do a project with Justin from The Danger-O’s. I’ve been doing pretty crazy free-range noise stuff with my brother. And I’m trying to start a summer band that will only exist for the next three months. We’ll write songs, I can record us, and we’ll probably play a couple of shows, and that will be it.
Q: If people want to get in touch with you or keep tabs on what you’re working on, where should they go?
T:, is my music myspace page, I put a lot of stuff I’m working on, including a link to download my new solo album for free. And if you want to be in my summer band you can send me a message there.

Click Here to Hear Extended Interview with Tyler

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Something Grilled with Sal Paterno

Brown Suger and Honey Glazed Ham Steak

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thursday Night Fun

Alt-folk-bluegrass'ers Mason Porter will be settling into a residency at Philadelphia's Blinkin' Lincoln for the month of May. Since the release of their debut EP in 2008 the band has quickly built buzz playing clubs and festivals around the region. Each Thursday Mason Porter will be joined by great supporting acts, including Wissahickon Chicken Shack, Hezekiah Jones, and Tom Hamilton. Special guests will be featured each week as well. Located in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia, the Blinkin' Lincoln is one of the hottest spots for local music in the area and has become one of Mason Porter's favorite spots to play. 10:00 pm on May 7, 14, 21 and 28. Free. 6080 Ridge Av. Philadelphia, PA

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Finanical Focus with Fred Hubler

Disability Insurance

The Kids Aren't Alright

There's a reason I avoid Target. No, it's not the repellent red motif that sends me off with a slight headache each time I shop there. It's the fact that I fear for my shins. Each time I venture into a Target (or some such big-box store), I'm almost always bombarded insufficiently-attended children, running haphazardly around like coked-up chickens, eventually winding up in a collision with me, some other customer, or a painstakingly constructed display. They'll sit on the floor in front of me while I'm waiting on line, run into my shopping cart and send it spinning into a shelf or, if denied possession of some shiny object, will simply stand there screaming like the subject of a successful exorcism. Whatever the case, I'm almost always met with a coy smile from the offending brat's yuppie mother, passively trying to suggest that this behavior is cute or charming. It's not, and I make sure to never smile back. Once I'm safe in the parking lot, I begin to wonder what backward changes occurred in parenting during the time my mid-eighties model comrades and I (and everyone born before that) were growing into well-adjusted adults. Looking back, I can't ever remember acting the way I see some children act out in public today. "Back in the day", my brother and I weren't treated like miniature King Henry VIII's whose moments of foul decorum the rest of the world simply had to cope with. Rather, it was ingrained in us at a very early age that we were extensions of our parents, and moreover, our family as a whole. If we happened to disturb a stranger or knock something over in a store while behaving badly, Mom, Dad, or even Gram was quick to apologize profusely and help make the situation right, while my brother and I stood in silence awaiting the guaranteed consequences. Yet on most days, because of the existence of these consequences, we simply chose to sit nicely in the cart, quietly perusing the back of a cereal box.

Today it seems as if there's some disconnect between parents and parenting. People just don't get embarrassed the way they used to when their kids act out in public and cause total strangers inconvenience or discomfort. Rather, they automatically expect to be excused when their unique little snowflake disturbs the peace by "just being a kid". When I was young, my parent's didn't just turn me loose in stores, restaurants or church - it was simply expected of me to sit up straight, be polite and show respect for whatever it was my family was doing at the time. God forbid I run headlong into some poor lady's shins in the supermarket - that might have cost me my Barbies, the television or that evening's dessert. But if I did it once, I was sure to try and avoid doing it again. Not to mention that conditioning me to stay close and be quiet probably kept me safe and out of the hands of our local pervs as well.

Amongst a myriad of other reasons, this only cements my desire to never have children. It must be difficult to raise a well-bred descendant in a society that really doesn't have your back. Years ago, sending your child to school supported your cause. My parents grew up trying to not be a "Mr. Bungle", and my ten years of Catholic education still makes me think I'll get "demerits" for being impolite to people or dressing inappropriately. Today though, schools don't want to deal with the little monsters you make at home - but will happily sic social services on you when you flip out at your own creation. I'm no proponent of child abuse by any means, but I do attribute my ability to get along in this world to years of adequately doled out discipline both at home and at school.

Posted by
Christine Gibboni

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

WOW Phoenixville with Kim Cooley: The Healthy Woman Expo

A Disassocatied Press Report

PASD Names New Super.

PHOENIXVILLE -- Shockwaves rocked the Phoenixville Area School District this week as newly appointed Superintendent Serpentor was able to crush all opposition to his appointment to the office.
In a tension filled session, school board members Count Chocula and Dean Wormer, under threat of pain of death, reversed their votes to give Serpentor a solid majority. Count Chocula narrowly dodged a viper spear that was aimed at his heart, while Saddam Hussein was removed from the meeting after being exposed to mutant spores; his condition is currently quite unknown.
Once completing his own coronation, the new superintendent revealed his five-year plan. Under this new plan, current projects to construct new schools would be abandoned to focus on bring together all the components to complete the Broadcast Energy Transmitter (or B.E.T.). Many in the audience grew confused, thinking that Serpentor meant that the school district would be building a new Black Entertainment Television. Thirty-four were killed in his ensuing rage.
“Even now, our agents are moving swiftly to ensure our victory over high class sizes, shrinking budgets and G.I. Joe,” said the new superintendent. “Soon, the Phoenixville Area School District will reign supreme over all of the Commonwealth! This I command!”

Posted by
Buford T. Justice and E. Bo Gaine

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Two steps forward...


As the most powerful nation in the world, scientists and advocates for environmental action have long been saying that America needs to step up and lead the way. Even third world countries have said “If you don’t do it, we won’t.” It’s obvious that America is in a unique
position to take to the forefront of the climate crisis and hopefully help bring others into the fold.
This is why it’s exciting and brings me hope to hear Hillary, now our Secretary of State, say that the administration is ready to make a difference.

“The United States is fully engaged and determined to lead and make up for lost time both at home and abroad,” Mrs. Clinton told delegates from 16 countries at a State Department conference on energy and climate. “We are back in the game.” (from the New York Times website).

There is still a long road to go, both at home and abroad, but I feel like this is the first step in many towards an active participation in what is happening in and to our planet. I just hope that something can be done in enough time before the next administration comes in and reneges on all the progress we’ll make (a scary déjà vu…). We just have to garner enough support here at home so we can get America on board as well.

For the full article, please see:

Posted by
Laurie Perini

Nick talks with the guys from Enter The Haggis

Friday, May 1, 2009

Remembering Skip

Skip was the single greatest professional mentor I have ever had, second only to my own father as my personal role model. It was two of Skip’s lessons that have been the greatest comfort to me since Saturday. The first is that the nature of a situation is dependent on our own perception. That when we step outside of “I”, the way we view and judge an event is effected as well as our reactions, both positive and negative.
The second is taken from our last conversation, during which I asked Skip how do you prevent the sands of time dulling the blade?, or how do you stay at the top of your game as you get older? His advice to me came in two parts, first have a good woman to keep you in line and on your toes, and second, to have work that is meaningful and productive.
From simply a professional perspective Skip leaves behind for me six to eight ongoing coverage pieces, two interviews, one commentary, a blog series, and a music video. Not only this but stories for the print side of The Phoenix, his work with Stepping Stone and Franklin Commons, as well as countless other non-profit endeavors. If you were to judge a man not just by what he has done but what he is doing when God decides to end this stage of his journey, I would say Skip Lawrence was a miraculous individual. The blade never dulled. He left at the top of his game.
I miss Skip more then I can explain in words. But I am privileged to have called him a co-worker, and I am forever honored he called me a friend. Thank you for everything, Skip.

Posted by
J. Matthew Byrd
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