Thursday, February 11, 2016

Let's Start Making Sense

David Byrne and bicycles, right here in Philly.

Let's Start Making Sense


When I heard that Talking Heads lead guitarist and singer David Byrne was a bicycle fanatic, I pictured him wearing his famous white "big suit" from his "Stop Making Sense" days, while riding a two-wheeler and swiveling his suit's wide shoulders to catch the wind on curves.

Byrne, it turns out, is more serious than that when it comes cycling.  And he'll tell Philly all about it on Feb. 4th, when he'll be the star panelist at “Cities, Bicycles and the Future of Getting Around: A Special Urban Sustainability Forum with David Byrne.”

The already sold-out event will be held at the Academy of Natural Sciences, where Byrne will be joined by Bicycle Coalition executive director Alex Doty, city representative Katherine Gajewsk; and urban theorist Ignacio Bunster-Ossa. The forum will be moderated by Christine Knapp of PennFuture.

Together, "they'll address the intersections among bicycle advocacy, urban planning, civic responsibility, and the pleasure derived from seeing the world from a bicycle," says the Academy's Carolyn Belardo.

"How can Philadelphia become a more bicycle friendly city? How might the city change if more people made a bicycle their primary mode of transportation?"

Byrne will no doubt bring a global perspective to the debate. His new book, Bicycle Diaries is described as "an account of his urban bicycle odyssey through the streets of Istanbul, Buenos Aires, London, Berlin, Paris, Belgrade, Sydney, Manila, New York, and San Francisco" that presents "a strong argument for the way a bicycle can change our interaction with our world on a daily basis."

Maybe Byrne will help Philly start making sense when it comes to figuring out how bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians can peacefully coexist on our nasty streets. Meantime, to get in the mood for Byrne, click below to watch the trailer for "Stop Making Sense," one of my favorite movies of all time.

Daily News Columnist
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About this blog

When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

That’s why my blog is titled “So What Happened Was…”. To me, it’s the quintessentially Philly way of saying, “Once upon a time.” When I hear it, I know a good story is coming. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.

Read more from Ronnie Polaneczky at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green Reach Ronnie at

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
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