Archive for June, 2012

The Prettiest Street in Philadelphia

June 28, 2012

According to Inga Saffron, architecture critic of the Philadelphia Inquirer, it’s the 2400 block of Panama Street in Fitler Square. She tells Philly Mag this month: “Every house is painted a different color. It’s very narrow and has Belgian bricks, and in the spring it’s overhung with cherry blossoms and magnolias and mimosas, a canopy of pink blossoms.”

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Bucks County Playhouse is Back

June 22, 2012

You may know that a 20-year-old Philadelphian named Grace Kelly made her stage debut at the Bucks County Playhouse in 1949. But did you know that John Travolta, Audra McDonald, Robert Redford, Colleen Dewhurst, and about a thousand other instantly recognizable names also performed on its stage?

It’s hard not to root for the latest effort to restore the former gristmill to its mid-century heyday, when New York playwright Moss Hart ran the joint and Neil Simon tested out a play called “Nobody Loves Me” that later moved to Broadway as “Barefoot in the Park.”

The beloved New Hope theater will reopen July 2 after major financial troubles forced its closure in 2010. The Rodgers and Hammerstein revue, “A Grand Night for Singing”, will kick things off July 2-29, followed by (drum roll) that Neil Simon favorite, “Barefoot in the Park,” Aug. 7-26.

The future looks bright, and good karma likely awaits anyone who shells out $50 for a ticket or two.

Happy Birthday, Maurice Sendak!

June 10, 2012

June 10th would have been Maurice Sendak’s 84th birthday. One of the best places to celebrate this great writer and artist is Philadelphia’s Rosenbach Museum, home to the most comprehensive collection of Sendak’s drawings, photographs, sketches and manuscript materials (10,000 and counting). Stand in front of Sendak’s final drawings for “Where the Wild Things Are” and be awed all over again by one of the best picture books of all time. The Rosenbach is kicking off a year-long exhibit dedicated to Sendak starting today and expanding on its permanent collection with new drawings and materials.

And don’t stop there: the rest of the Rittenhouse Square townhouse is also a window into Sendak’s personality. His long-time relationship with the museum started when he visited in 1966 to check out Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach’s collection on Herman Melville, his favorite author. He also reveled in the materials on Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, William Blake and other writers who defined his literary and artistic tastes. It’s a jewel of a museum and should be on every visitor’s list of sights to see in Philly.

Continue your Sendak tour with a stop at the Night Kitchen bakery in Chestnut Hill. The original owner, Marie Tramontina, named it after Sendak and his story, “In the Night Kitchen,” about a boy who fashions an airplane out of bread dough. Like the artist himself, the bakery has the highest of standards. Its award-winning brownies have been featured on Rachael Ray, and don’t even get me started on the walnut tarts.

PA’s amusement parks

June 7, 2012

Roller coaster fanatics, take heed: an amusement park veteran decided to test out rides in the state’s top fun parks and write about it in the Los Angeles Times. It’s a great article, and brings back fond (if terrified) memories of Hershey Park’s Sooperdooperlooper and the wonderful (and apparently hard-to-find) Whip at Dorney Park. The writer, of course, fell in love with Knoebels in Elysburg — an old-fashioned fun park and campground that should be on everyone’s “places to visit before I die” list.