Thursday, May 19, 2011

Scribbles in my notebook

As The Reporter's Page One Editor, Dan Sharer, recently said, "No journalist enjoys covering Election Day."
However, the primary that was just held contained a chance meeting that sparked a new fire in what I do.
In chatting up Lansdale resident Herman Ahrens on his way in to vote, his wife (whose name escapes me) saw my press badge and recognized my name from reading The Reporter.
She said: "They should give you a column and run your picture with it." Evidently she thinks I'm a handsome fellow.
Not knowing if this charming senior couple that I had engaged were blog readers or not, I said that I already do, sort of, with Talk about the Passion.
I learned that not only did the Ahrens' son write for a newspaper in Ohio, but that at one point, he was blogging daily, comparing and contrasting Christianity, Islam and Judaism, when he was abroad in Spain, Egypt and Israel. The elder Ahrens is an old school journo himself, having gone through the University of Missouri Journalism program in the 1940s.
Mr. Ahrens asked about my career path, remarked that The Reporter's editorial cartoons sometimes don't have much of a point, and almost shared what sounded like were going to be strong opinions on the primary election. That was when his wife gently censored him and guided him toward the voting booths.
"She's my best editor," Ahrens said.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Good old-fashioned bluegrass jamming

Since 2003, the Doylestown Jam has brought live bluegrass music every Wednesday evening to the Hilltown German Hungarian Sportmen's Club, 1622 Hilltown Pike, Hilltown.

Acoustic instrument players of all levels of experience are invited to join in, starting at 7:30 p.m., to pick 'n' grin through bluegrass, roots and Americana tunes. And it's free.

How cool is that? You don't have to be a seasoned musician - just show up. That's true folk music ethos, right there!

Weather permitting, the Doylestown Jam is held outside, otherwise it's in the club's banquet room.

Go to or e-mail to learn more.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Philadelphia Folk Festival lineup announced

Fifty years is a long time to be doing anything!

It's been a half-century for the Philly Folk Fest, the longest continuously running festival of its kind in North America, they say.

The Golden Anniversary edition takes place August 19-21 at the Old Pool Farm in Upper Salford Township, and will very much pay tribute to its musical roots.

“We looked to a theme of 'Past, Present and Future',” says Lisa Schwartz, President of the Philadelphia Folksong Society, which produces and presents the annual summer festival. “We really want to honor our musical lineage and highlight not only the heritage artists, but also the new traditionalists who will help to teach future generations to love folk music.”

Among the top attractions at the 50th Annual PHILADELPHIA FOLK FESTIVAL celebration is:

Arlo Guthrie – David Bromberg Big Band – Jorma Kaukonen
The Campbell Brothers – The Kennedys – Angel Band
Joel Plaskett Emergency – The Wood Brothers
Tom Paxton – Tom Rush – Dala – Tempest – Madison Violet
Give & Take Jugglers – The Great Groove Band – Dan Bern
Justin Townes Earle – John Hartford String Band – David Amram – The Battlefield Band John Flynn – Elizabeth Butters – Alexis P. Suter Band
Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys – Runa
Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen – Wilderness of Manitoba
Kim & Reggie Harris – Roy Book Binder – Footworks – Caitlin Rose
Brad Hinton – Burning Bridget Cleary – The Berrys
and more to be announced at a later date!

“Collaboration will be the key focus this year,” said the festival's artistic director, Richard Kardon.

“Imagine the possibilities,” said the other artistic director, Jesse Lundy.

Indeed. What if Arlo was joined on stage by the David Bromberg Big Band?