Friday, May 2, 2008

Do you Watch Medium, Do you believe in Spirits, Guardian Angels? My Family was witness to an amazing miracle...

This weekend marks the 4 year anniversary since my father died in an accident at his house in Florida. I like to makr this anniversary with this story each year: (Written March 23, 2005) Last Thursday, on St. Patrick's Day, we celebrated my father's life by spreading his ashes about 2 miles off the Florida Keys (he had died unexpectedly the year before in an accident at this house). It was a beautiful ceremony. We had a St. Patrick's Day memorial party in the afternoon at the house as dad had requested.
In the evening (about 9PM) the family (including the under 15 set who were not at the house during the day) gathered on the patio to enjoy mom's key lime pie and other desserts by CANDLELIGHT. My nephew Kevin was the only youngin' to join us on the patio as the other kids ate inside watching TV. Kevin is a little over 2 years old (he had only met my dad about a handful of times as his family lived in another state) He doesn't really talk yet, as they say he is a slow learner and at the time we thought he was autistic, but he can usually put a word or two together once in a blue moon, and knows sign language for the important words like Eat, Food and Drink. Otherwise he talks gibberish as his speech teacher has told my sister. (Kelsey, Dillon & Kevin Dec 2004)He's never been to my parents house in Florida, and he was never in the backyard before this night (we all rented houses on a different parts of the island and had dinner at one another's house the previous nights, [he never saw my dad on a boat, we only have one photo of Kevin and my dad together, he was 1.5 years when my father died and he had only met him a handful of times as my sister lived out of state.] As we sat around the table on the patio, and after about 20 minutes of eating and chatting KEVIN stands up and points into the darkness towards the water where my dad's boat use to be docked (as it was sold after dad died) and states "POP-POP, boat." He says this a few times. He goes on to say Pop-pop, minnow. "Pop-pop, home" "Pop-pop hello." "No bait to fish"

A very emotional Mom then asked me to go get a photo of dad and give it to Kevin's dad. His dad, Frank says to Kevin, "Who is this? Kevin said Pop-pop." Kevin where is pop-pop? And then Kevin pointed towards where the stern (back) of the boat would be, and where my dad spent many hours tinkering (the boat was 26 feet long and has a definite stern, middle and bow section). (house and boat that I took on the day dad died when I flew to the Keys to see dad in the hospital before he passed. We were all sitting to the left, at the far right in the darkened part of the patio is a hammock that dad spent lots of hours on reading and snoozing)As time went on, things got quiet and Kevin went back to gibberish, my sister Tracy said to me that it was like the movie the Sixth-Sense, I leaned over to her and said "Can Kevin see dead people?". (I don't think Kevin heard me, but his mother came over and tapped me on the head and looked at me with a disapproving look.)

About 5-10 minutes later, and just as some of us were getting ready to go home for the night, Kevin stands up and happily states, as he was raising his arms in the air like he was going to do a cheer, "NO ONE is DEAD," "NO ONE is DEAD," "Don't Be Sad, No one is Dead," Don't be scared, No one is dead." After about a minute or two he stopped and began playing patty cake with Pop-pop?. Then he played hide and go seek, even stating BOO a few times. Then he walked to the far (and less lit) side of the patio, about 25 feet from where we were all sitting, to where the empty hammock was. He then started pushing the hammock with TWO HANDS gleefully squealing "WHEEEEEE WHEEEEE ISNT THIS FUN...." Finally running back to where we were sitting stunned, Kevin stated one last time "NO ONE IS DEAD, DON'T BE SAD" "Pop-pop HOME"

At this point Kevin went on to play a game of stepping on someone's toes, and then someone trying to step on his toes. This was a sight to see as he was clearly communicating and playing with someone (Pop-Pop?) as he was squealling in laughter and looking up. After a bit, as we were all sniffling and in a bit of shock, Kevin's frazzled dad Frank said it was late, and time to go, at that point the usually mild manner boy just burst out crying and actually threw himself on the ground backwards (not violently though). As his dad picked him up, Kevin turned 180 degrees towards the water, where the stern of the boat would have been, where my dad spent so many hours, and said bye pop-pop, bye as he blew Pop-pop a kiss good-bye We all know how blessed we are to have had this amazing experience. And for months following this incident, Kevin would occassionally see Pop-pop and announce it to his mom and once had his mom call Nana to tell her, but sightings haven't occurred in about 2 years, and once in awhile when I see Kevin I ask him if he has seen Pop-pop, nowadays he has no idea what I am talking about, and that is just fine with his mother, as she doesn't want Kevin remembering seeing Pop-pop after he had died, so please don't tell him!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

13TH STREET COMES ALIVE - SAILOR JERRY'S THOWS A PARTY OR TWO in the MidTown Village

While wandering around town after work yesterday, hmm there seems to be a theme these past two days, I stumbled upon this really, really loud band playing on 13th Street. I knew it must be a band sponsored by Sailor Jerry's because that place rocks, and so I found this on Wikipedia....
In 1999, Hardy and Malone partnered with a small independent Philadelphia clothing company to establish Sailor Jerry Ltd., which produces clothing and an idiosyncratic collection of other items, such as ash trays, high-top sneakers, playing cards, church keys and shot glasses.

An anti-sweatshop company, nearly all Sailor Jerry items are produced in the United States and sold via the company’s web site or from the Sailor Jerry Store at 116 S. 13th Street in Philadelphia, which frequently plays host to performances by independent musicians.
A little more searching and I found this on PhillyBlog - According to the gyro ad agency above sailor joes, they have the concerts to disrupt business at sansom cinema -"All that being said, there is still a porn theater on the ground floor of our building, right next to our Sailor Jerry store. For some reason, they won't take the hint and pack up and leave. It's pretty funny, however, we keep having events and street concerts right in front of their door… which hopefully makes entering the theater increasingly uncomfortable. I don't know the name of this band, and I wasn't really into their music, but I am all for live concerts rocking the neighborhood and excited that MidTown Village, specifically 13th Street is living up to the vision that Tony Goldman set out to do 10 years ago when he started buying up the street and turning it from the "Red Light District" into the night life district. http://sailorjerry.com/store.php
I like the concept of the store and environmental stance, but

I am not into them encouraging fans to jump off the trees like a few did at a concert a week ago: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebrennan/2404186127/in/photostream/

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

PHILLY'S BEN & JERRY "STAND UP FOR KIDS" FREE CONE DAY

On my way home from work I decided to go by Demi's hotel to see if she was around, or if her "car" was in or out. Of course I know what her car looks like, thats my job. I saw this line going into Ben & Jerry's, and as I knew it wasn't the first day of Spring I thought "What the heck is going on, and would my readers like to know what they missed, or was it on Philebrity, or Will Do, The Daily Examiner or Philly Blog and I missed it as I really didn't have time to read any of them today?"I was further intrigued when I saw this shirt...free I love free (although I have to say I turned down the ice cream, gotta start this diet, it's almost speedo season)
Why it's a free cone giveaway for Stand Up for Kids Philadelphia partnered with Philadelphia Ben & Jerry's stores for the Turn Purple Campaign and Free Cone Day on Tuesday, April 29th from 12-8 PM. Although it was "Free Cone" day; Customers were encouraged to give donations while they wait in line for their free ice cream (the dozen folks I asked just enjoyed their free ice cream, but hopefully they learned a little about "STAND UP FOR KIDS" www.Standupforkids.org )There was ice cream, there was entertainment, there was the very talented Germantown Exclusive Drill Team and Drum Core

The Aqua String Band was on next and played all the philly favorites including "Golden Slippers". Unfortunately, most of the students in line were sober and forgot how to do the mummers strut.
As I stood by the door I often heard time and again the 30 minute wait was worth it

two out of three people chose the "Fish Food" flavor ice cream. The girl on the left, vanilla. As I left about 7:30PM, the line still snaked its way around the corner down walnut street
Demi's car was out, and I didn't feel like waiting. I will see her this weekend in NYC, it won't be the same and I am sure none of the Philly columnists will consider that photo as Philly significant to publish. Which reminds me, did I mention that this week is www.EqualityForum.com Sadly after getting permission to cover it I have to bail to finish the Tribeca Film Festival, uncover a secret private dinner with Madonna, catch Diana Ross, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan and Gladys Knight at Radio City Music Hall Sunday night and finally I am on the wait list to cover this event Monday night: SHOWSTOPPERS: The paparazzi on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art will have more reasons than ever to go into a frenzy at next Monday's Costume Institute gala. In addition to co-chairs George Clooney and Julia Roberts, Giorgio Armani is said to be bringing along Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. The rumor mill also has Jennifer Lopez coming to the benefit with Alberta Ferretti, Kate Bosworth with Chanel, and Eva Mendes, Rachel Bilson and Fergie with Calvin Klein. Others expected to attend include celebs Mariah Carey, Renée Zellweger, Scarlett Johansson, Kate Moss, Mary J. Blige, Claire Danes, Mischa Barton and LeBron James, and designers Valentino, Tom Ford, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana and Donatella Versace.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Philadelphia City Hall Farmers' Market Opening May 14

I ran into a former co-worker the other day on the street. Joanna had given up the steady paycheck, and the solid four walls of the law firm to fulfill her destiny out on the streets of our City. No it's nothing like that, she is in the business of ensuring all of society has affordable, healthy food, grown locally. Eating locally, she tells me means eating food that is grown within a 100 mile radius of the City. I miss talking to her at work, I would tell her about my latest celebrity sighting and she would tell me the latest way to save the environment, I always felt very vapid after hearing her plans on how "she is going to save the world" (ok she never put it that way and she would always tell me how much she enjoyed my celebrity blog stories), but basically she is well on her way to fulfilling her destiny, one vegetable at a time. Now she is a program assistant in the "Farm to City" programs, an organization that is really concerned about our food source and ensuring sustainable resources now, and for future generations. Today she sent me this email...The City Hall farmers' market is scheduled to open on May 14. The organization that is operating the market is Farm toCity; our website is at http://www.farmtocity.org/, where there is more information about all our markets around the city. I think the CityHall market, in particular, will be a showcase for urban youth and food -- there will be two or three different stands where youth programs will be selling produce grown in the city.
Wednesdays
City Hall Farmers' Market - Opens May 14 Interior courtyard of Philadelphia City Hall. Fruits, vegetables, herbs, preserve, cut flowers, baked goods, and maybe seafood.

Tuesdays
Rittenhouse Farmers' Market - May 13 Walnut Street on south sidewalk west of 18th Street. Fruits and vegetables, cut flowers, and meat, eggs, and dairy products from pastured animals. Tuesdays, 10 am to 1 pm.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

EMY NAKAMURA AND JIM PARHAM'S WEDDING last Friday

The only thing Philly related is I'm from Philly, and my cousin-in-law Emy's mom is from Philly too. But last Friday I took a few hundred photos at her wedding to the love of her life Jim outside of Washington DC. It was a beautiful sunny day with temps in the 80s, but unfortunately for me my temperture was about 100F. I muddled through and was glad I went. A wedding is always a special time to bring friends and family together. Especially the Nakamura's as many of their family lives in San Francisco. This was especially a wonderful time as it was the first time the Nakamura and Goman clan ever all got together (Emy's mom and dad's sides.)

But first to Emy. When she and Jim first announced their engagement they said it was just going to be a little event. She wasn't even going to have a photographer. You know how I feel about that, that's just crazy. So Emy's boss offered to take the photos, and Emy asked me to take a few too. That worked well for me, because I usually only do 2nd - 6th weddings, anniversary, birthday and all occassion parties because those first time weddings are important and should be handled by the professionals. After hounding Emy to look at me, she finally humored me and looked back. She had specifically wanted only candid shots, but guess what, candid is good for most of the shots, but eye contact is important too.
We're on our way. Emy having already broke many traditions, decided not to have a Maid of Honor, as she had 4 best friends. Plus they could wear any style of brown dress they wanted. Which they did. This was very inovated, except there was no one person to take charge and direct the bridal party to the service. Thankfully me being the kinda photographer that wants exclusives, I went to the "bridal apt" to see if everyone was ready, leaving Amelia at the Alter, I got a few shots, and lead them to the marriage room.
Which included pacing them down the aisle and signalling the band to start playing a song that I didn't recognize as the "Bridal March" I love these shots, and every bride makes this pensive face right before they walk the final walk. (Maybe I should become a wedding planner, that would be fun) Dad (Bob) hands Emy over to Jim as Mom (Bernie) and Jim's dad and step-mother look on.
The minister lead a beautiful service. I wish I had thanked her.
You may kiss the bride.

You hoo, look over here, I am right in front of you, why these two are so shy I will never know
They thank their friends. Emy's brother David is to her right. (See last July for the coverage of his & Kris' wedding in Glacier National Park)Signing the guest index cards, again a new traditionHello I'm your Aunt AliceThe Bridal Party; sadly after this shot someone in this photo also had a 100F temp and just about passed out, so no more group photos occured with him in it. Emy, mom, dad and 90 year old Grandmom Nakamura visiting from San Francisco
Kris Schenck, David and Grandmom Nakamura After a bit of arm twisting, I got the happy couple to pose for the only photo that I think they will cherish for years to come (well I took a dozen or so of this shot, darn they left the Bridal Bouquet upstairs)
Dressed to party cousin Julie from West Chester NY with her mom and dad
Virginia Tech University Alumni and Emy's good friends Her bridesmaids from college give a very heartfelt toast, after which the best man was clear and to the point when he said that "Emy and Jim met when their two dogs sniffed each others butt!" Nice with the cake. It was delicious.
The first dance (next up Dancing with the Stars)
Jim with his step-mother

Emy is a natural with kids
My Mike and his mom
The obligatory line dance
THE END
Maybe someday I will shoot weddings, it wasn't so bad after all or maybe I'll stick to celebrities, birthdays, events and anniversaries.