Philadelphia: Weekend in the city!

Due to the warm and sunny weekend, we were able to walk around the city and see the sights. Feel free to email me with questions if you're thinking of visiting. Last week's post can be found here.

Some highlights--

Benjamin Franklin Bridge: Amazing views of the city and Delaware River. If we did the walk again, we probably wouldn't walk all the way to Camden; we'd stop halfway. It got a little shady there, ending in traffic and a tollbooth with no easy way to switch walkways.

Rittenhouse Square: Great energy. The park was full of people enjoying music, recreation, and relaxation.


Word War III Reading:
Josh Garret-Davis, Duncan Wilder Johnson, and Kevin P. O'Brien

In the spirit of progress and improvement, this was a great event, but I'll keep my critique brutal in case the readers find this review while googling their own names. As a work in progress, this was a good event; better than anything you'll see staying home to watch TV and better than many pop events elsewhere. It was worth the time and money (free), but at the same time.... The three readers were:

Josh Garret-Davis: Needs to learn to read his own stuff! It was painful to listen to him stumble over excerpts from his own book. His songs were entertaining, but didn't make up for the reading.

Duncan Wilder Johnson: His stories were succinct and well timed. His delivery was professional. As a fan of metal, I particularly liked his dissection of the band, We The Kings. At one or two points during his set, he was trying to reach a more emotional or poetic level, but he didn't quite seem to get there. These moments came across as overly sentimental instead of deep. I'd like to see more depth and wisdom throughout. I think he's capable of it.

Kevin OBrien-- put the event together and hosted well despite his visible nervousness. His stories were uniquely colorful and expansive moving from the time he nailed a bathroom door shut on his housemates in Philadelphia to being stabbed in a back alley of Cork and working a fishing boat off the west coast. His stories were worth hearing and the digressions and asides about the current economy and other topics were appropriate but the stories were way too long. It's not that he couldn't hold my attention, it's that he took too long to get to the meat of the story and came across as a bore by including too many details about himself that we didn't need to know. I want to fly from story to story in and out at a quicker pace. We're in Philadelphia, use your skill to bring us the future. I don't want to sit for over two hours listening to a narrative with only two points and not enough insight to fill in the gaps. This isn't Jonesborough, TN. Assuming he's newer to reading, I'd like to see him again a few years down the road when he's sharpened his presentation. 

Marra's Italian:  Wonderful food, terrible service. We won't be going back. There are other places to get both a good calzone and tolerable service at the same time.

Comcast Center:  Worth stopping in if you're in the area, but not as a specific destination. The comcast center features a huge HD screen that blends with the wall (left picture) then changes to display various features (right picture).

The Piazza:  We walked through this large square while an Eagles game played on the big screen to visit Dos, a restaurant that is currently serving delicious pumpkin margaritas. I use a stock picture below since the Piazza was mostly empty at the time of our visit. On many occasions and holidays, the Piazza is packed with people experiencing a big event and the shops around. In many ways it reminds me of the main square in other cities that have similar events, but the Piazza is removed from center city, the buildings and architecture are clearly much newer  and more modern. It's like a haven, or world, set apart from the rest of the city.

Love Park: Iconic. We had to walk through and take a peak at nearby City Hall and the mall. The mood here was less enjoyable than Rittenhouse Square. The weather had gotten colder, men hung out in groups around the park, construction workers were setting up decorations, and crowds of kids skateboarded noisily in the empty fountain. A protest against Debt occupied a good portion of the park. We watched for a short time and moved along (stock picture below)

 Terminal Market: We did a preliminary survey to decide if we wanted to go back. Definitely worth it. The large variety of fresh produce and items were interesting and varied.

Blackbird Pizza: Vegan pizza parlor. I get excited anytime a restaurant offers food that doesn't compromise my morals, but the pizza on the night we went was dry. The pies left in the warmer to buy slices from looked like they had been there all day. We might go back, but we were a little disappointed.

The Rosenbach Museum:  It was free due to the holiday, but worth it regardless. A fascination exhibit on the creator of Where the Wild Things Are and Colbert's I am A pole (and so can you!). The exhibit featured not only original manuscripts from the Colbert book (and an empty beer bottle he drank from while writing!), but also original manuscripts from James Joyce and others. I didn't realize Sendak was such an interesting person. More on him later...

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Who's Honoring Me Now? - Philadelphia's Rosenbach Museum and Library
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