Friday, November 27, 2009


Charles Dickens' touching tale of an orphan boy who runs away from the orphanage and tries to pick a pocket or two for Fagin, but gets caught. As Fagin tries to save him, all Oliver wants to do is go to his uncle, and live a good life. Currently playing at Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre.

I went right after work last week, and it was a breeze. On the 2nd floor of the theater they have self serve lockers in which to place your coats & brief case. You get to hold on to the key.

Oliver has an enormous cast of over 40 kids: The Walnut Street Theater has done it again, the set design and acting is outstanding. Mike says "I thought I was on Broadway."
Oliver!, according to WST, "is the story of a young orphan boy who wanted 'more.' From the orphanage to the mean streets of London, the ever-optimistic Oliver strives to survive through thick and thin. This proves no easy task as the boy encounters both saints and sinners on his journey." I wasn't familar with the story before and it reminded me of Annie with a twist. I really enjoyed the musical numbers and story.
The kids in this production are: Jonathan Block, Timothy K. Johnson, Jahad Martin, Will McQuoid, Matthew O'Connor and Tommy Van Dean of Philadelphia; Gavin Becker of Villanova; Nicole R. Bosurgi of Turnersville, NJ; Gaby and Greg Bradbury of Ardmore, PA; Willa Capper and Arin Edelstein of Elkins Park, PA; Jacob Horner, Justin Cade Accardi and Danielle Leigh Rosenthal of Cherry Hill, NJ; Uvay Trivedi of Columbus, NJ; Casey T. Curcio of Marlton, NJ; Timmy Webb and Allison Sparrow of Haddonfield, NJ; Julyza Commodore of Newark, DE; Alexander Carr of Ringoes, NJ; Reese Diaz of Coplay, PA; Matt Ludovico of Logan Twp., NJ; Neil Goldenthal and Amadea Smith of Wayne, PA; Favian Harris of Coatesville, NJ; Colin O'Malley of Huntington Valley, PA; Conrad Sager of Kimberton, PA; Jillian Suprenant of West Chester, PA; Mary Rose Pomykacz of Lebanon, NJ; Seth Silverman of Penn Valley, PA; Daniel Flick of Gladwyne, PA; Evan Robert Smith of Gwynedd Valley, PA; Tyler McClellan of Doylestown, PA; Anthony Scarpone-Lambert of Chalfont, PA and Richard Fusco of Blue Bell, PA.
In this life, one thing counts
In the bank, large amounts
I'm afraid these don't grow on trees,
You've got to pick-a-pocket or two

You've got to pick-a-pocket or two, boys,
You've got to pick-a-pocket or two.

Hugh Panaro, Philadelphia native and star of Broadway, is Fagin in Walnut Street Theatre's holiday-season production of Lionel Bart's Oliver! I didn't want to spoil the show by focusing too much on plot and close ups, but Hugh Panaro's costume and make-up is unbelievable.
Tickets are available by calling (215) 574-3550, ext. 6 or by visiting

All Photos by Mark Garvin

Thursday, November 26, 2009

HAPPY THANKSGIVING & A Judy Appreciation

Here's Judy & Walt's wedding picture. They were married in 1983, the year Madonna hit it big on the Billboard Chart's with "Everybody", when she told Dick Clark she wanted to rule the world. I'm Thankful for my family, extended family, friends, to the people who allow me to write about their lives, which helps me achieve my mission of promoting the City and Charities; and thanks to everyone that read's PhillyChitChat.My sister was a really special person, professionally a nurse, she had a great set of values, living by the Golden Rule; The Golden Rule is an ethical code that states one has a right to just treatment, and a responsibility to ensure justice for others.

Later in her career she became a patients advocate, helping those in need navigate our confusing health care system (Ironically, the same system rejected her several times for medical Pet Scans that would have located a few of her hidden tumors, until it was too late as one doctor thought it was better to do an MRI/eye exam anyway. He missed two tumors near her kidney, jerk.)

She was also very involved in her daughters lives, coaching cheer leading, field hockey, while her husband coached the girls softball team and became school board president. Judy also was involved in PTA, ran the car washes, plant sale and worked and made it to most of her kids games when she wasn't coaching them. She and her family had a sense of adventure, often taking on impossible dreams of travel, taking their time getting to places so they could stop and smell the roses along the way.

Walt & Judy 12/07 (4 months before she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer). Theirs was a love affair that I was honored to see. I really never saw two people so in tune with each other.
Judy's still with us, but her spirit has gone. I rededicate myself in that spirit of kindness to continue to write about the good, the interesting and the fabulous as well as continuing to cover charities giving them a voice they may not otherwise have in a media format, and personally I will try and embody Judy's spirit of living by treating everyone equally without judgment.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009




The newsstand owners are also excited about the new addition to their stands, according to John Rocco, President of the Newsstand Association of Philadelphia. “This is another way that the City newsstands can provide new and information in the electronic age,” he says. “It also provides us with a way to give back to the community.”

The CBS Always On newsstand network is also wired to provide alerts in case of a city emergency, including Amber alerts, coordinated through the City’s Office of Emergency Management. The initiative is the end product of an ordinance introduced by City Philadelphia Council Member Frank DiCicco this past summer and signed by Mayor Michael Nutter allowing digital signage for this purpose. Center City Direct manages the technology, the content and the advertising which covers the cost of the program at no cost to the City.

Thirty-nine newsstands in Philadelphia will go live at 7 a.m. that day with CBS Always On -- a 24-hours news ticker and a flat-screen High Definition Television set to broadcast news, weather and sports updates along with tourist information about Philadelphia. Plans are to eventually expand to120 digital newsstands city-wide. Eyewitness News will provide the TV news updates throughout the day. The CBS Radio stations will provide content for the marquee.
City Philadelphia Council Member Frank DiCicco
City Philadelphia Council Member Frank DiCicco with the Digital News stand to the right
The Digital New stand will also have warning alerts in case of an emergency, and Councilman DiCicco said perhaps we could put messages up there that tell the bicyclers to stay off the sidewalk.
Councilman Bill Greenlee
Center City Direct Team with Eyewitness News' President and General Manager Jon Hitchcock next to Donna Coghlan (I apologize for not filling in everyone's name as I left within 30 mins of this event to go on vacation, but thought it was important to get the word out.)
The Ribbon Cutting
is a success.

The stands also provide a natural extension for the CBS stations locally. “CBS 3 and The CW Philly have expanded our Eyewitness News brand across both stations, online and to cell phones,” says President and General Manager Jon Hitchcock. “Providing a street-level news service is another way to provide the viewer with the news and information they need wherever they are and whenever they need it. Ultimately, we want CBS to be the news sources locally.”

“The combined voices of our two television stations and five radio stations represent the complete package,” says Marc Rayfield, Senior Vice President and Market Manager for the CBS Radio Stations in Philadelphia. Whether the news of the day is sports, music, entertainment or politics, we have an authority on staff that can provide the latest headlines and beyond.”

Center City Direct, a division of Alternative Media Holdings, LLC, is a Philadelphia based marketing and technology company. Center City Direct uses its proprietary, web-enabled, closed-circuit TV technology to broadcast content to digital monitors installed in retailers, office buildings and on the street. Center City Direct customizes the content for each of its networks depending on the venue including broadcasting in multiple languages.

CBS 3 (KYW-TV) and The CW Philly 57 (WPSG-TV) are part of CBS Television Stations, a division of CBS Corporation. KYW Newsradio 1060, 98.1 WOGL, 94 WYSP, SportsRadio 610 WIP and The Big Talker 1210AM WPHT are owned and operated by CBS RADIO.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

COLE HAMEL & HEIDI STROBEL HAMELS Friendster Event on the Moshulu

Cole & Heidi Hamel's welcome their guests onto the Moshulu, and thank them for supporting the Hamels Foundation which has a dual mission to provide support for quality education in the United States and establish a school in Malawi, Africa. The Hamels Foundation is dedicated to enriching the lives of children and giving them the tools to achieve their goals.
This past year they donated $50,000 to the John B Stetson Middle School. The price point for this event was $50, which allowed a lot of the general public/fans to meet & greet with Cole & Heidi. Here Kathy Dugas gets her photo with Cole Hamels.
Dr. Gabrielle Young and Steve Rockman make the scene. I wonder if they ever made it out to LA to celebrate Dana Spain's 2nd birthday celebration?
Greta Russo and Bill Andrews both of Lotus Events
Erin Elmore sporting the latest fashion that is flying off the racks. The faux fur vest.
She really needed it this night to as Tropical Storm Ida was blowing mighty hard outside.
Stephen & Tamar Olibky with Philadelphia Style Magazine's Publisher John Colabelli.
Krista Guidi, Brett Rosenbloom, Laura Vail, Michael Pomerantz, Cistin Farrell, and Caitlin Murphy
Heidi's mom from Misourri, Heidi Hamels and Danielle Triplett, American Association for Cancer Research.
Jill Rizen and Andrew Henning get ready for the big move, as Jill packs and heads South to Jersey in the new year.
The Hamels Foundation takes a community-based approach to education by providing assistance to inner-city schools in the United Sates. Our primary focus is to directly serve or impact ‘at-risk’ students by funding programs that address their needs. Currently, an annual grant is awarded to a Philadelphia Public School that serves ‘at-risk’ students due to low socio-economic conditions including, but not limited to lack of educational materials, poor learning environment and inadequate structural conditions. Our goal is to improve Philadelphia’s future through better educational opportunities today.

COMCAST CENTER HOLIDAY LIGHT SHOW In 3-D 2009 - Philadelphia's Newest Holiday Tradition

WOW as if the Comcast Holiday Light Show couldn't get any better, this year it's in 3-D and shows daily at the Comcast Center in their lobby at the top of the hour. We’ve taken this holiday show to new heights by making it in 3-D this year. Brian Roberts, Comcast CEO greets the guests this morning (I decided not to share video of the show, as I don't want to spoil it for you)One of them being Mr. Philadelphia, Albert Lee VIP Concierge at the Philadelphia Independence Visitor Center
Lori Wilson from NBC10
The Comcast Holiday Spectacular is shown on The Comcast Experience video wall, which is the world’s largest 4 mm, LED display, with 10 million pixels of clarity. The shows are from 10AM to 8PM, except at 5PM M-F to not disrupt the exiting throngs of people going home.
In the spirit of giving, Comcast and the United Way of Southeastern PA (SEPA) are partnering to encourage people to donate to the United Way’s Community Impact Fund and help fight hunger during this holiday season. At the start of the show, NBA star Shaquille O’Neal will appear on screen and encourage visitors to donate $5 to the United Way SEPA by texting ‘PHILLY’ to 864833 which will also be displayed on the screen.This 15-minute show, full of stunning original holiday imagery, music and more, will be shown on The Comcast Experience video wall at the top of each hour from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.
All who see the show will receive keepsake 3-D glasses. Comcast Center is at 17th and JFK Boulevard. Again, the shows are from 10AM to 8PM, except at 5PM M-F to not disrupt the exiting throngs of people going home. From Thanksgiving until Christmas Day. (I then recommend you run over to the Macy's Holiday Light Show, (13th & Market) which is also on the top of the hour, but by the time you walk over there with the kids it will be close to show time.)
Ralph J. Roberts, of Comcast Corporation, David L. Cohen is Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation and Brian Roberts, CEO Comcast

Written and Directed by David Niles, Directed and Chorographed by John Dietrich, Produced by David Niles and Emmora Irwin. Musical Direction by Grant Sturiale, Computers Animations by Stanley Tang, Tsai Tuan Lin, and Manuel Gonzalez

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jose Garces The Iron Chef 2009 Viewing Party at Distrito - Add another Philadelphian to the Celebrity Chef Roster

Last night 2009 The Iron Chef held a viewing party at his Philadelphia Mexian Restaurant Distrito for about 300 fans and visiting chefs including Marc Vetri, former Top Chef Contestant Seamus Mullins and Silk City's Mark Bee. (as well as every foodie blogger Drew Lazor. City Paper's Meal Ticket, Ashley Primis, Phila Magazine, Philly Grub's Kirstin Henri, Collin Flatts, Phoodie, Michael Klein and Dan Gross in the City, and we were all Twittering the night away)
Dave Maser and his lovely sister Debbie. Dave is off to the Pennsylvania Society in a few weeks. The Pennsylvania Society is an annual weekend retreat for Pennsylvania's politicians and business leaders held in New York City. It began during the Gilded Age as a meeting of Pennsylvanians living in New York City who gathered annually beginning in 1899 to discuss events in their home state.
Drew Lazor, City Paper's Meal Ticket, with Kirsten Henri of NY Magazine's GrubStreetPhiladelphia

The night was electrifying and everytime Garces name was mentioned on the show, the crowd would erupt with delight. Lots of Mexican Beer was served along with delishes chips, salsa, Giacomo and five-ceviche sampler, scallops, and mini tortilla's.
Collin Flatt, Phoodie, Iron Chef Jose Garces, and Chef Seamus Mullen (who was voted off Iron Chef last week, and was a fan favorite.)

From Wikepedia: Jose Garces (born c. 1974) is an Ecuadorian American chef restaurant owner and newly-designated Iron Chef. He was born in Chicago to Ecuadorian parents.

He owns five restaurants in Philadelphia: Amada, Tinto, Distrito, Chifa, and Village Whiskey. He also owns one restaurant in Chicago, called Mercat a la Planxa. For his work at these restaurants, he was named best chef, Mid-Atlantic region by the James Beard Foundation.[1]

Garces has been a challenger on Iron Chef America, defeating Bobby Flay in a 2008 episode featuring melon.[2] He also competed in the second season of The Next Iron Chef and was selected the sixth Iron Chef after defeating opponent chef Jehangir Mehta on November 22, 2009.[3] Garces will debut as an Iron Chef on January 17, 2010, when he squares off against Seattle chef Rachel Yang.[4]

Drew Lazor with the Askley Primis of Philadelphia Magazines The Restaurant Club
Ivonne Dege, Chef Garces and Karin Arthur, who flew in from Seattle to attend the party last night. She makes all his receipes for the boys at the fire station down the street.
Mike Kates and Karen Ini join the party
Which was packed. I love this color scheme. Is it me or are the two best Mexican restaurants in the City very colorful with similar schemes?
Christine Luning, Laurea Gillespie and Laura Lee Swan
Cristin Cassidy, Erin DeCrulio, Jenna Minges and Joshusia Wise (hmm either they drank tooo much or I did cause I had some problems reading their writing. BTW I don't drink)

Did you know you can eat dinner in a car inside Distrito?
Christopher Scoville and Stacy Franks. A recent new uncle, Christoher works in communications/PR/development, enjoys opera, classical and wine states his twitter. Oh and unique glasses.
Attorney Albert K Marmero and his wife Melissa Castro-Marmero, Director of Outreach for Sounthern New Jersey.
Robert, Beth, Jack & Joe enjoy the festivities, and feast. Good for them getting a seat right near one of the big screen tv's too.
Beatriz Garces and Top Chef Jose Garces with ex Top Chef contestant Chef Seamus Mullins and Yoonmi Lee enjoying a private party in the Karoake room with his close friends and family. (I snuck in knowing this would be the place to be to get a couple good shots.) Chef Garces grimaces and bites his knuckle in anticipation for the announcement. (Like he didn't know - LOL)

World Fucking Champion screams Collin Flatt
as wife Beatriz Garces grabs her man for a congratulary kiss with Seamus Mullins and girlfriend Yoonmi Lee looks on...
Jose dances his way thru the crowd and up the stairs. Hughe exit stage right, I have things to do in the morning and then it's off to the shore for the week. But don't worry I will have an entry everyday to catch up, as well as three new events this week to slip in. Thanks so much to my
readers, especially the Marriott, Field House, Albert Lee at the Visitor Center, Ryan Defler at Mural Arts, Vlahos PR and Kimberly's Boutique for the generous donation to the Lisa Reed Cancer Event on Saturday. I didn't go as it was too difficult for me. I just got news about my sister Judy and she only has weeks left to live and not months like I thought. No need to write me again, I do appreicate your prayers.