Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Baby Makes Me Proud

I could spend an hour listing all of the reasons why I am madly in love with my partner John Stanley. Perhaps someday I shall - - but one thing that has hooked me from the start is his incredible passion for music!

For those living under a rock (lobster), John was the creative force that gave birth to Spaceboy Records in Philadelphia. For almost a decade, Spaceboy was THE epicenter of all musical things that are good. From the most unique selection of discs, to live in-store performances by well-deserved but commercially forgotten new artists that are household names today, to simply being the place to network with other like-minded fans of new music.

John's passion for music stems back from his youth - Growing up in Maine, he surrounded himself with music. Looking out his bedroom window, he would gaze upon the highway overpass and fantasize about a world away from the pine trees and rich with musical creativity.

By the age of 15, he had collected over 5,000 LPs, spanning all musical genres. John would spend hours talking about bands, labels and other various musical notes with anyone who’d listen. Making mix tapes became an art form for John, and it still is today.

One of the highlights for me over the past year, has been having John introduce me to a ton of new artists that I overlooked. Perhaps its because I have my head tucked nicely into the New Wave scene or maybe it's because for years I equated new music to 'work' and just avoided it when I was off the clock; but for whatever reason I never allowed myself the time to stop and listen to the hundreds of artists that are churning out new product every year.

The opposite is true with John. Even with the closure of Spaceboy, John never stopped. With a room full of CDs in his house and bags more coming in all the time (thanks to his total fascination for bargain bins, cut-outs and promos), John is constantly discovering new artists as well as new sounds from more familiar artists.

And now he shares those discoveries with me - complete with a wide-eyed grin and enthusiasm that is second to none! John has made me rediscover my joy of music appreciation and I am eternally grateful for that!

That leads me to this morning - John is an avid reader of dozens of music blogs as well as print mags from both America and the UK ... 'avid' might be an understatement - perhaps obsessive! (haha)

Today, while reading, John came across this:

Favorite Record Shop
AT: The now-defunct Spaceboy Records in Philly. That place was so hip that I got a nervous pit in my stomach and my mouth got dry every time I went in there.

"AT" is Andrew Thiboldeaux, part of the band Pattern Is Movement. How proud it made me feel reading that others remember John's clubhouse creation as strongly as I do. And how ecstatic it made me feel to know that this man... this wonderful, passionate, musically-knowledgeable man, was all mine!

My partner, my friend, my sidekick.



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Digging Out From Under

Well, after two glorious weeks away from XPN, I returned to work yesterday and have been digging out from under -- not really stressful, just busy enough to distract myself from non-work things like my blog. I promise to return tomorrow with an update!


Friday, August 22, 2008

The Video Vault: Polyrock

One of the highlights of the 2.0 web world is the uncovering of some of my favorite musical gems, thanks to sites like YouTube, etc.

On a semi-regular basis, I'm going to post some of these classic tracks in my Video Vault here within my blog ... I hope you enjoy!

We start off with Polyrock, an American post-punk/new wave band formed in New York City in 1978 and active until the mid-1980s. Strongly influenced by minimalism, the group was produced by the composer Philip Glass and Kurt Munkacsi. The band, led by singer/guitarist Billy Robertson (formerly of the group Model Citizen), had a keyboard-heavy, pattern-based sound strongly reminiscent of Glass's work; in fact, Glass performed on their first two albums.

The group signed with RCA by 1980, and delivered their debut album that same year. Another album followed in 1981 (Changing Hearts), but Polyrock disbanded in 1982. This is their "hit" from their debut lp, "Romantic Me":


Last night John and I attended a special screening of an incredible film - DELIRIUM.

DELIRIUM was shot with 20 cameras during a live Cirque du Soleil performance. The music-filled extravaganza is described as a "contemporary urban tale" about an ordinary man living inside a bubble.

Most of the Montreal-based performance troupe's shows are based in acrobatics, but DELIRIUM is said to be a departure in that music is the driving force. The show features 21 songs and includes recorded visuals as well as singers and musicians. The official release explains the plot of this performance way better than I could:

DELIRIUM is a multifaceted event of unprecedented proportion featuring Cirque du Soleil music remixed. Driven by an urban tribal beat and awe-inspiring visuals, musicians, singers and dancers transform the arena into joyous frenzy. DELIRIUM is the quest for balance in a world increasingly out of sync with reality. DELIRIUM is an urban tale, a state-of-the-art mix of music, dance, theatre and multimedia.

Since the chances of actually seeing this production live are slim, being able to go into a theater - and watch a high-definition film - with incredible surround sound - was the next best thing; in fact, unless I had great seats in the venue where this was filmed, I have to say that watching it in a movie theater is better than being live; first of all the ticket to the movie was just $20 (versus $100+ for good live seats, etc), and second, we got to really see everything - emotions, facial expressions, and truly follow the performance.

DELIRIUM is only screening for four shows - and two remain; tomorrow (8/23) and Sunday at Noon at the Ritz East on 2nd street in Philadelphia.

For more, visit:

and check out this great promo clip of the movie... it really was THAT good!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

flip 52.5

So, being on a staycation, I've had more time to carry my flip around - which means I think I'm ahead of the 'one-per-week' rule, but whatever ... I love it!

This was shot last night (Thurs) at John's house ... enjoy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Help Us Help Others

This October, my partner John and I are joining thousands of others to help raise money in AIDS Walk Philly.

As many of you know, for over a quarter-century AIDS has been part of my world in one form or another, starting with my friend Richard - who was struck down with a rare pneumonia in early 1982. Since then, I (along with countless others) have lost too many friends and loved ones from this horrific pandemic.

With recent attention and money being diverted away from the fight against AIDS and the support for those living with HIV/AIDS - I felt that now was the right time to step up and walk ... not only for the hundreds of friends that I've lost but for those I've never met that continue to live each day with pride and comfort, knowing that there are people and organizations out there who care.

So - please take a moment and make a contribution.

It's painless and you'll be doing your part to help us help others.
The Philadelphia AIDS Fund supports HIV/AIDS education, prevention, and services in the Delaware Valley region. Currently 30 partner organizations are receiving funding as a result of AIDS Fund’s activities to provide critical HIV prevention education and care services. AIDS Walk Philly is the Delaware Valley’s largest annual HIV/AIDS public awareness and fund raising event.

Click the shoe below to go directly to our pledge page and click the Donate Now, found underneath our Total Left To Raise.

Advance thanks for your support!

Staycation '08

Well - this was the first time in the history of my 20 years at XPN, where I took two weeks (back-to-back) off from work. I quickly learned, upon telling others of my plan to simply chill etc - that I was taking a 'staycation' ... seems that's a phrase used more and more in this $4 a gallon gas world, but I had never heard of it!

Anyway - I'm into week two of my staycation and wanted to drop an update on how it's been going; one word: GREAT! :)

The staycation started with an overdue amount of chill time with John ... which really gave us a chance to just enjoy ourselves. We caught up on some DVDs, hung out in the city and basically enjoyed that first weekend.

Another cool element of this break was the fact that I could meet up with John for lunch (sadly he isn't on vacation this time 'round). Last Tuesday night we took the ferry across the river and caught Radiohead at the Center ... what a great show!

Later that week we went to the opening of Spamalot at the Academy of Music - now, even though the production has been around for some time, I really hadn't read much about the content; so I wasn't sure what to expect ... what I got was more than I set out for!

The production is truly hilarious - some great wordplay, wonderful physical comedy and a trunk of prop gags! The audience was right there with the cast and it made for a great evening that actually brought me to tears of laughter a few times!

The traveling production is in Philadelphia through the end of the month - so for those who still haven't seen Spamalot - now's a great chance!

As mentioned in the previous post - the following day we went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and spent a few hours simply exploring the vast halls and exhibits. We cut over to the Pearlman Museum and, upon entering, realized we only had 30 minutes to view the exhibits - however as mentioned in my vlog below - we were able to see everything and still get out before the doors were locked at 5pm.

After that - we spent some time sitting in Logan Square - - if the last time you've been through the Square was back when it was a sea of bums and litter, you need to go again.

Originally called "Northwest Square," the park had a somewhat gruesome history as a site of public executions and burial plots until the early Nineteenth Century. Once that stopped, they renamed Logan Square after Philadelphia statesman James Logan.

It used to be full of large paulownia trees but back in 2005, those trees were removed since city planners felt that they had reached the end of their life span and had become an eyesore. They will be replaced with similar trees as part of a larger plan to improve the space - but in a way I love the clean visual look the Square has now.

This is a birds-eye view of it back with the trees (and bums!):

And here's a view of Logan Square today:

Sitting in the Square - watching children play in the majestic fountain and seeing the Philadelphia skyline from a totally new perspective (for me) was relaxing and made me actually feel like I was in a different city for a moment. We capped off that day with burgers and such at Fado Restaurant over at 15/Locust!

Saturday was a simply stunning day in Rittenhouse Square - complete with a wonderful spread of healthy foods, a oversized blanket and great conversation, we wound up stretched out under the trees for over 7 hours!

Sunday was brunch with friends in Old City at Continental, followed by a trip to AKA Music - where I found some sweet musical selections!

More on that purchase shortly - now it's time for lunch as my Staycation 2008 continues!

Monday, August 18, 2008

flip 52.4

So, I am now into week two of my two-week 'staycation' ... where I have taken time off from work but stayed put; to catch up with friends and simply enjoy summer in the city.

Last Friday, John and I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art - and capped off our day with a visit to the new Pearlman Museum, which is part of the PMA but located in its own building across the street.

The following day was a beautiful day to be in Philadelphia - and our friend Rachel joined us as we spread out a blanket and had a mega-picnic in the park; we spent over 7 hours in Rittenhouse Square and left once the evening lampposts fired up their lights.

A great time so far in my staycation!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

flip 52.3

John and I spent a beautiful afternoon around Rittenhouse Square last weekend - and while catching our breath in a coffee shop, I decided to watch the world go by, from a different perspective.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

flip 52.2

So, the past two weeks I have been filling in as morning News Anchor - which basically means that I get up at 3:30am and travel crosstown to the studios, where I bring listeners up to speed on what they missed while getting that good night's sleep that I never got.

Anyway - the thing I love about Philadelphia is that, unlike NYC, it DOES sleep at night. And this is proof ... enjoy!