Four big NEH grants are going to three Philly cultural institutions. Two are going to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the expansion of their early American collection, one to a Temple University digital project analyzing the Encyclopaedia Britannica and 19th-century knowledge; and another to the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement for a weeklong teachers' seminar on the First Amendment.
At the new Bucks County Center for the Performing Arts in Doylestown, Claudia Shell-Raposa, choreographer for a coming production of "A Chorus Line," is in her second round of weekly chemo for breast cancer. She literally takes strength from her cast and crew.
Raquel Salas Rivera has a vision of Philly, a vision of color, identity, ethnicity, those formerly unincluded who now cry out, through the spoken word, to be heard. Rivera has curated a summer reading festival, We (Too) Are Philly, bringing spoken-word readings to different neighborhoods on Phillycentric themes. The next three are July 12, July 26, and Aug. 11 (the grand finale).
Bucks County's rendition of "42nd Street," through Aug. 4, is one of the foundational warhorses of the stage musical. The Dubin/Warren songs for the original movie are so good, still, today, that it's as if the musical always existed first. It's a fun night, with songs you can't help whistling as you go out - partly because you've heard them all your life.
Roger Bennett and Michael Davies are Men in Blazers, the TV/podcast stars who talk about soccer (or as they would have you say it, "football") while wearing authoritative blazers. They're very funny, very popular, and touring America. They come to the TLA on July 6 for a sold-out show.
John Timpane is the books/fine arts editor/writer for the Inquirer. His beat includes books, social media, dance, theater, art, museums, and classical music. From 1997 to 2008 he was the Commentary page editor.