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OC TOB E R 2 018 / I SSU E 2 8 / J U MPPHI L LY.CO M

The bleak sound and bright future of doomy shoegazers


Sustainability content from

JA PA NES E B R EA K FAST Multi-media sensation Michelle Zauner’s heartbreak and joy

SA D M A RQUI S E A pop pastiche 1 | JUMP


We are assembling our founding class for September 2019 Revolution School is a new high school in Philadelphia where students co-create their unique academic journey. Visit us online at www.revolutionschool.org

RAPID Growth NextFab program cultivates the startup community While New York and the Bay Area have the reputation as hot spots for startups, Philadelphia is staking its claim as a place that can attract, keep, and grow great hardware startups. NextFab’s highly competitive RAPID Hardware Accelerator program aims to support the startup community and keep its graduates grounded in Philadelphia. Venture Services Manager Todor Raykov works closely with each company and provides business guidance. “We connect the entrepreneurs to outside experts and organizations in the Philly startup ecosystem to provide feedback and resources. ” Hava Health, one of the four teams in the Fall 2018 lineup, is developing a vape pen that treats tobacco addiction. The pen uses two cartridges, one with standard nicotine oil, and one with a “clean” oil. By seamlessly transitioning between the two, the smoker kicks the addiction without simultaneously breaking their physical habit. Co-founder Josh Israel has a strong entrepreneurial and software background, but acknowledges that he needs help with hardware development. “We’ve applied to other incubators with previous companies and it can be a long, drawn-out and complicated process. The [RAPID] application process was smooth and they kept us informed every step of the way.” Another company, Sublight Dynamics, is developing a six degrees of freedom joystick. It has applications in gaming, drones, robotics and virtual reality. While attending Jefferson University, brothers Dan and Ben Stack became aware of NextFab. “We were looking at West Coast or overseas accelerators and we thought ‘Oh, wait – there’s one right around the corner!’” Rykov can’t help but boast about the Fall 2018 cohort. “This is one of the most talented groups of people we have had since the start of the accelerator program in 2016. Some of the startup team members are experienced entrepreneurs who have successfully built and sold startups in the past, while others are experienced engineers and scientists. One of our goals with this program is to not only help them build great products, but also help them stay and grow in our region because of all the things our burgeoning startup scene offers.”

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BE L LW E AT H ER CON STR UCTION Construction Management Design/Build Preservation

A. LEE CAMERON, LLC Criminal Defense Civil Rights Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice Litigation— Federal and State Court Wills & Estates, Sports Agency ADMITTED TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES Angelo L. Ameron, Esquire Land Title Building 100 South Broad Street, Suite 1830 Philadelphia, PA 19110 phone (call or text): 215-880-5162 email: angelocameron@msn.com www.angelocameron.com



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215.724.11 16 WWW.BEL LWEATH ERL L C.COM

Dear Reader, We are excited to combine our content and see if we can create something that is greater than the sum of our parts. We like that more people than ever will read about Philadelphia’s vibrant music community— some industry insiders think we have the best scene in the country—and about the sustainability initiatives that are working to make the city a more just and equitable place to live.

You are holding in your hands the results of the merger of two Philadelphia magazines, JUMP and Grid. On the surface, this may seem like an unusual union. JUMP is a music magazine and Grid covers sustainability. Two very different topics, right? However, they share critical, fundamental traits in common, and that is a love of our city; a wish to document it; and the intention of making it better.

Retweet Tweety Bird with iNaturalist

The Humanity of Black Fatherhood

Philly Bike Expo is Back!

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For both Grid and JUMP, it’s all about community, and we think this will make the community bigger and better. We hope you enjoy reading the results of this unique partnership as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

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Local music content from



Alex Mulcahy


Healing 2.0 nically ill?

Can Integrative Medicine help the chro

The blea k sou nd and brig

N OT H I N G ht futu re of doo my sho





Sustainability content from

ega zers

Multi-media sensation Michelle Zauner’s heartbreak and joy

SAD MAR QUI SE A pop pastiche

1 | JUMP

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publisher Alex Mulcahy managing editors Beth Ann Downey Brendan Menapace photo editor Charles Shan Cerrone associate editor Vince Bellino copy editor David Jack Daniels art director Michael Wohlberg writers Bernard Brown Constance Garcia-Barrio Eric Fitzsimmons Jennifer Granato Akbar Hossain Alexandra W. Jones Emily Kovach Hannah Kubik Tom McCusker Maggie McHale Dave Miniaci John Morrison Ben Seal Lauren Silvestri Melissa Simpson Paige Wolf photographers Mike Arrison Kriston Jae Bethel Rachel Del Sordo Ashley Gellman Scott Kinkade Julia Leiby Savannah McHale Bonnie Saporetti Cassi Segulin Gene Smirnov Ryan Smith Rachel Warriner illustrators Kirsten Harper Corey Danks advertising Santino Blanco santino@gridphilly.com 215.625.9850 ext. 112 distribution Alex Yarde alex.yarde@redflagmedia.com 215.625.9850 ext. 107 published by Red Flag Media 1032 Arch Street, 3rd Floor Philadelphia, PA 19107 215.625.9850 G R I D P H I L LY. C O M J U M P P H I L LY. C O M



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alex mulcahy

Making Connections


t was a few hours after a meeting with Grid contributor Constance Garcia-Barrio that I had a realization that startled me. Her hand, the same one I had shaken earlier in the day, had been touched by someone who was born a slave. Our handshake connected me to Constance’s great-grandmother, Rose Wilson Ware, born around 1851, who lived an astonishing 113 years, creating an unlikely bridge back to the Millard Fillmore presidency. Constance writes about her relationship to Ware in what is the first of a twelve-part series celebrating the contributions of Black women in the United States. Predictably, my concept of time has changed dramatically as I’ve gotten older. When I was young, the 1960s seemed like an eternity ago. Now, the 1860s feel like yesterday, and the centuries not so distinct. Sometimes I bump into a fact that boggles my mind, like when I recently discovered that Hank Aaron played in the Negro Leagues. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we’re touching the legacy of slavery, directly and indirectly, every day. Next year, 2019, marks the 400th anniversary of African slave ships landing on our shores. For the majority of that time, 246 of those years, slavery was the law of the land. If you count the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as the end of legal discrimination, the numbers are even more damning. Three-hundred, forty-six years of legal racism; 53 of something closer to, but far from, equal rights. Put another way, we have had racist laws for 87% of our history. Regular readers of Grid will notice that there is a significant amount of music content in this issue. Conversely, readers of JUMP will notice a significant amount of content about sustainability and social justice. As we mulled

over the possibility of merging these publications, we puzzled over how these topics do, or do not, fit together. Yet, when we began editing the music stories, it became clear that there indeed is a strong connection. Art often gives voice to the marginalized, and offers societal critiques. In the pages of JUMP, a Black man who loves punk rock experiences racism in the shape of being overlooked and ignored. Three women in separate stories talk about making career (and hiring) decisions based upon gender empowerment. Two of our stories revolve around artists struggling, and finally coming to terms, with sexual identity. The primary figure in our music cover story was once incarcerated, and he has launched a nonprofit aimed at helping prisoners and their families. Don’t get me wrong. Not all the music in this issue is politically charged. Some of it is about the always-timely topics of new love’s euphoria and the heartbreak of lost love. Some is just the bacchanalian call to having a good time: Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think. As the issue drew to a close, the answer for me as to whether or not the topics of sustainability and music are compatible is an emphatic yes. Of course art and culture are inextricably linked. Just as certainly as the past and present have a habit of blending into each other. The connections are there, waiting to be made.

ALEX MULCAHY Editor-in-Chief alex@gridphilly.com


Access to Justice: There’s more to success than “making it out” of your hometown

10 Urban Naturalist: Nature lovers find online outlet on iNaturalist 12 Filmmaker: Rel Dowdell challenges the stereotypes of AfricanAmerican fatherhood in Where’s Daddy? 14 Black History: The first of twelve parts, an examination of the overlooked contributions of Black women in Philadelphia 18 Holistic Health: A look at the compelling results (and the possible drawbacks) of an integrative approach to medicine

24 Philly Bike Expo: The ninth annual event is gearing up to be fun, educational and bigger than ever 26 Youth Cycling: Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling is breaking down barriers of race, gender and class to bring the sport to a new generation 28 Bike Injury Law: Get crucial advice from expert lawyers on how to act after an accident 30 Bike Safety: James Grant Design photographs bikers in action to spread the word on safety


32 Events: What to see and where to go 64 Dispatch: Honest Tom dishes on why he pulled the pork 34 Behind the Scenes: Andy Clarke is the tireless sound engineer for Philadelphia’s heavy hitters. 36 The City and I: Smashing the conventions of punk rock

F R O M L E F T: K R I S TO N J A E B E T H E L ; A S H L E Y G E L L M A N

38 SAD Marquise: A chance meeting with Chance the Rapper changes everything 40 Erin Fox: Singersongwriter finds a new voice and female solidarity after a brush with death


42 Horrendous: Prog-metal band’s perfectionism makes for an arduous process but an exceptional record

46 Photo Essay: You gotta pay the bills. Musicians pose at their day jobs and side hustles 52 Japanese Breakfast: Music, writing, filmmaking -- Michelle Zauner will take it on 54 Petal: After a mental health struggle, Kiley Lotz is a light for others 56 Nothing: A band pays homage to their ‘90s idols with a sound uniquely their own 62 Daniel DiFranco: The musician-turnednovelist draws from his experience on tour for “Panic Years”

44 Overwinter: Multiinstrumentalist comes out as trans and explores truer selfexpression through music O CTO B E R 20 18



Clean Laundry Clean Planet Clean Slates

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Small Businesses

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Varieties of Local Turkeys:

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PHILLY phillyfoodworks.com | 215-221-6245 FOODWORKS 2901 W. Hunting Park Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19129 O CTO B E R 20 18





akbar hossain

Lifting As We Climb


ive years ago when I graduated from college, everyone assumed that I would be leaving my hometown of Norristown for greener pastures. I was making it out! To their surprise, I came back home for law school and found myself questioning the path often associated with “success.” When I moved back home, I received a call from the president of Norristown Men of Excellence (NMOE), a group of diverse Norristown Area High School alumni dedicated to supporting and promoting community programs that encourage engagement, economic development, and youth opportunities. He asked me to consider joining the group, and I did. NMOE’s membership consists of majority black community leaders, most of whom at some point played football for Norristown High. Most members left for college and returned home in search of doing something positive. They bring with them not only their passions but also their skills as educators, business leaders and finance executives. Over the years, I have witnessed NMOE respond on a personal level to single mothers who need to teach their kids how to wear a tie, and speak publicly at school board meetings advocating for better access to opportunities for students. At a time when government resources are limited, NMOE fills crucial needs through tutoring, after-school programs, college application assistance, sports clinics, turkey drives, and scholarships support. For these men, “making it out” meant not only succeeding in their professional and personal life but also returning home to contribute to their community. It’s a trend that’s going against national data. Young, college-educated people are

flocking to cities from all over the country. As a result, many parts of the country, especially rural America, face a major brain drain. These are individuals who would otherwise be contributing to the tax base back home, running for local school board or innovating new ways to tackle local issues. Norristown, while not rural by any measure, is pretty similar in its retention rate for young and educated people. Personally, I know a large group of my close friends who fit the profile and have left for the city. I don’t blame them either—and just to be clear, I don’t think there is anything wrong with seeking opportunities outside of one’s hometown. The NMOE has taught me that helping others follow in your footsteps might be more gratifying than “making it out.” But, the more I think about it and the more I talk to my friends who have returned home, the more I realize that this “pressure” to come back home is shared overwhelmingly by people of color and those from low-income communities. When we tend to “make it out,” there’s more than just green pasture on the other side. Often times, we are reminded of the community that helped us get to where we are and we feel the pain of those who are still struggling – if not for anything, but because we have lived their daily experiences. Returning home for us is not only a sense of public service, but rather a necessary duty to elevate those who have been left behind. This idea of balancing personal achievement while helping others is perfectly encapsulated by an inspiring motto of the National Association of Colored Women: “lifting as we climb.” To me, this represents the very best of our American ideals—social responsibility with no strings attached.

akbar hossain writes about community engagement, immigrants’ rights and access to education 8


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inside the garden gates. For 150 years, Stoneleigh was a private Main Line estate. Today, it is a 42-acre public garden open to everyone, free of charge.

Plan your visit today! stoneleighgarden.org

Photo by Mae Axelrod

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urban naturalist

Watching the Wildlife Biodiversity? There’s an app for that


n July 16 a female ruby-throated hummingbird drank from a coral honeysuckle flower at the edge of Tacony Creek Park. We know this because an iNaturalist user with the handle “digitalmirage” took a picture of the bird in the moment before it hummed away. “Recently I’ve been obsessed with hummingbirds,” explains Savannah McHale (a.k.a. digitalmirage), who grew up in Lancaster County and moved into a house neighboring the park this past spring. “As I kid I would see them for a split second and it would be a magical moment. Now, here we have five or six in the park that I observe every day and get to photograph.” Hummingbirds visit flowers all the time, and there is nothing new about humans photographing them. What is new is the ability to so easily share the observation on 10


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bernard brown

a social media app and citizen-science platform like iNaturalist. iNaturalist is an initiative of the California Academy of Natural Sciences, together with the National Geographic Society. It boasts over 336,000 users, who have submitted more than 12 million observations of more than 175,000 species, since its launch in 2008. In Philadelphia nearly 700 iNaturalist users have submitted more than 10,000 observations of over 1,600 species. McHale’s hummingbird pic and other observation details were also captured by the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Biological Survey, a “project” on iNaturalist launched by the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership (TTF) to collect observations (about 5,400 so far) within the watershed. By documenting that hummingbird’s flower visit, knowledge of the ecology

of the watershed is growing as well as the community that supports it. “We know there are people who are into this, and we would like to transform them into leaders,” says Julie Slavet, TTF’s Executive Director, who cites Savannah and her husband, Tom McHale (“teemicail” on iNaturalist), as examples. TTF staff noticed the McHales’ observations on iNaturalist and reached out to get them involved in nature walks and restoration work. “We’re a watershed-wide organization,” says Slavet. “The city is downstream, the headwaters are upstream, and our job is to engage people all across the watershed, all different kinds of citizens in things that get them excited.” Slavet points out that the wildlife observations on iNaturalist can help animate the work of volunteers upstream in the suburbs. “This is a chance P HOTO G RAP HY BY SAVAN N AH MC HA LE

Grid_September_Destination_4 5x9 75_8 09 18.pdf 1 8/9/2018 3:45:40 PM

A female ruby-throated hummingbird drinking from a coral honeysuckle flower at Tacony Creek Park was captured by Savannah McHale (digitalmirage) and shared on iNaturalist.

to get our water-quality monitors to do the same thing. It’s a lot more engaging to talk about that than to talk about nitrogen and phosphorus.” Robin Irizarry, TTF’s Philadelphia Watershed Coordinator, points to an adult American eel that watershed volunteers found in Jenkintown Creek. American eels breed in the Sargasso Sea. The baby eels then migrate to freshwater to grow and spend most of their adult lives before finishing the cycle back where they hatched. “It’s a really neat thing because it shows the connection between the Jenkintown Creek and the bigger picture of the ecology of the Delaware River and the East Coast.” Irizarry also highlighted the importance of data from the Tacony, a too-often overlooked natural area. “There are a lot of folks C who, for decades, have been looking at wildlife in the Wissahickon or the Pennypack or M down at Heinz [John Heinz National Wild- Y life Refuge]. So this is now getting people to CM realize you don’t have to go across the city to MY find amazing wildlife. You can look in your own neighborhood; you can look in Taco- CY ny Creek Park, if that’s where you live... or CMY along Jenkintown Creek.” K TTF also holds watershed-wide bioblitzes—events where people collect as many observations as possible in a specific timeframe. Their spring bioblitz, April 2128, netted 442 observations of more than 184 species, and their recent fall bioblitz, running September 15-22, yielded 860 observations of 279 species, submitted by 80 observers. Bioblitzes make great competitions, and Philadelphia nature buffs will be taking part in the third City Nature Challenge in April 2019. What started as a contest between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2016 expanded to 69 cities and metropolitan areas in 2018. Together they racked up about 442,000 iNaturalist observations by over 17,000 participants. Of course, with a few taps on their smartphones, users can submit observations whenever and wherever they see a plant, animal or fungus. “We find it is a really good gateway tool,” says Irizarry. “All the kids who are into Pokemon Go, this is kind of a really easy transition to go and explore nature.”

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The Plight of Black Dads Philly filmmaker examines stereotypes, and systemic hindrances, faced by Black dads in documentary, by melissa simpson Where’s Daddy?


ilmmaker rel dowdell, who’s latest film is the documentary Where’s Daddy?, decided he wanted to challenge the media’s prevailing narrative about Black fathers. “I had grown tired of seeing how negatively Black fathers were portrayed in the media—us being deadbeats. You watch these shows like Maury Povich and other shows that show African-American males being in denial about being a parent, and how they are in these bitter battles with ex’s and girlfriends—the acrimony that is shown 12


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is detrimental to the black community,” says Dowdell. “It’s not about the parents, the bottom line is not whether me and you are not getting along; I still want us to be the best parents for that child.” Dowdell, who spent much of his early life in Germantown, believes that this imagery is so prevalent that it causes the public to believe that Black men do not actually want to take part in the lives of their children and that this attitude can easily spill over into child-support cases. “I think that it has a dramatic impact. I

think that people are into social media, and media in general,” says Dowdell. “You are consumed with visual media and advertisements saying that African-American men are in these situations. That’s why we saw what happened with Walter Scott.” For those unfamiliar with the case, Walter Scott was a 50-year-old Black man who was gunned down, while unarmed, by a police officer in 2015. Scott reportedly ran away from an officer during what would have been a routine traffic stop due to a broken brake light because there was a warrant out for his arrest attributed to the fact that he owed nearly $8,000 in back child support. According to court records, Scott had already been jailed three times due to unpaid child-support fees. As Dowdell further examined the intersections of child support and the African-American fathers in Where’s Daddy?, he found that numerous other men are P HOTO G RAP HY BY RYA N SMI TH

dealing with harsh penalties including high-payment rates, growing late fees and even jail time. Thanks to the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992, non-custodial parents, like the late Scott, run the risk of facing jail time if they were to ever fall behind in payments. It can be argued that taking a parent to child-support court is necessary, especially when the primary caregiver is not receiving support from the other parent. In non-nuclear households, the mother tends to be the custodial parent, which leaves them with more opportunity to request court-mandated child support from the father. While this can be quite helpful for the custodial parent and child, non-custodial parents run the risk of having to pay more than they can afford. Since fathers tend to be the non-custodial parent, the negative effects of child support disproportionately affect men. According to a report done by the United States Census Bureau, in 2013, 83 percent of custodial parents were mothers. Additionally, mothers were nearly two times more likely to be awarded payments compared to custodial fathers. “They don’t care if you are involved with

the child, how you are going to take care of the child when they are with you, they don’t care about your living situation or how you are going to feed the child or your transportation—they just don’t care,” says Derrick G who was interviewed by Dowdell in the film. “I remember I went into the Bottom Dollar and I had $13, and I had to feed them that night ,and I had to pack lunch for the next day—it was really rough.” Child support cases also have the potential to work out unfairly for the non-custodial parent if there was acrimony in the separation. Although many custodial parents are right and just in making the choice to take their lack of financial support issues to court, the unfortunate narrative of a bitterly scorned woman taking the non-custodial father of her child to court just to be spiteful occasionally proves to be true. Parella Long, a single mother of six who is also featured in Where’s Daddy?, was able to admit that when she initially filed for child support against her ex-husband that it was done out of enmity. “We weren’t on good terms,” she says. “I was hurting, so I used child support to hurt him. It probably wasn’t the right thing to do,

but I reacted off of emotion versus the actual need. I wouldn’t say that he was an unfit father or that he would not do, but he hurt me, so I figured that I would hurt him in his pockets. Eventually, I let go of the order because I filed for all of the wrong reasons.” All of that rancor is far from what Dowdell experienced growing up, and he believes that coming from a nuclear family helped him to become the successful person that he is. “Thankfully my parents were always around,” says Dowdell. “They have been together for 45 years. When you grow up in that kind of household, with stability and with a Black man, you take it for granted. But when you get older you see a lot of your friends who didn’t have fathers, and you see them get in a lot of trouble.” Although Dowdell has never had to deal with Child Support court, he continues to pioneer and give a voice to a demographic that is often overlooked and villainized. “Let’s show that Black men are loving fathers but have hindrances in doing so. Whether it be the system, lack of education, lack of knowledge about resources, financial strains. I want to show all of those different stories.”

IN THE CITY AND OF THE CITY FRIENDS SELECT Quaker Education for Students in Grades Pre-K through 12

OPEN HOUSE Sat., Oct. 13, 9:30 a.m., Grades Pre-K - 12 FRIENDS SELECT SCHOOL 17th & Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103 O CTO B E R 20 18



black history

Working Class Heroes A celebration of the centuries of silent contributions made by Black women by

constance garcia-barrio


ome silences defy breaking. The hush around contributions of many Black women, especially poor ones, to Philadelphia’s past and present sink into such quiet. They sewed clothes, washed dishes, tended privies and kept the city running, but they rate not a word in most histories. Yet, how would President George Washington’s dinners for diplomats in his “big house on Market Street” have gone without enslaved Blacks to cook and serve them? How would Philadelphians have looked and smelled without Black wash mammies? This yearlong series on Black women, especially from the working class, will wrestle with the quiet that erases most of them from history and damns them to scant respect. The series will quote from historical documents, if available. For example, some records of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society refer to its Black members. On the other hand, some women of African heritage never learned to read or write because they had no chance to attend school or, in the case of slavery, the law forbade it. Harriet Tubman never became literate because of Maryland laws. She sometimes did cleaning in Philadelphia to earn money to finance her trips to free slaves, but we’ll never know in her own words how she felt about the city since she left no written record beyond a few dictated letters. Although Philly-centered, the series will occasionally refer to related sources in other places. For instance, Reminiscences of My Life, A Black Woman’s Civil War Memoir by South Carolina fugitive slave Susie King Taylor deserves mention, but the story will focus on Emilie Davis’s Civil War, the Diaries of a Free Black Woman in Philadelphia, 1863-1865. Besides documents, the series will focus on museums, re-enactors, exhibitions, personalities, events, and experts. For example, 14


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Kali Gross, Ph.D., studied African-American women lawbreakers in the late 1800s, one of whom just about got away with murder. The past provides a launching pad for the series, which will also look at the present. One feature will include a certain SEPTA bus driver who has a secret life as an artist. Please stay tuned. It seems fair, since I’m a native Philadelphian, to begin with some of my own family background. My oldest story reaches back to a maternal great-great-great grandmother, Hannah. It is said that she walked chained with a coffle of other slaves from Baltimore, where the trans-Atlantic slaver landed, to

Spotsylvania County, Virginia. I’ve gleaned few details about her, but family lore has plenty to say about my maternal great-grandmother, Rose Wilson Ware, or Maw. Born into slavery about 1851, Maw saw soldiers retreating from the 1864 Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse during the Civil War. She died in 1964—yes, she lived 113 years—long enough to see the Civil Rights Movement. A house servant in slavery time, Maw somehow learned to read and write, though it was prohibited. I speculate that Maw tended to her master’s children during their lessons and absorbed the knowledge. When freedom came at the end of the Civil War, she

A B OV E : Rose Wilson Ware, the author’s great-grandmother (1851-1964), sits with her husband, Jacob, and their four children, in front of their home, built on land they bought by saving money from sharecropping. The shot was probably taken by an itinerant photographer in the late 1880s. O P P OS I T E : Rose Ware stands in the

foreground with her mother, Lucy Wilson, seated. Blind in old age, Lucy Wilson used to find her way around the farm by tapping the ground with a stick, also seen in the picture. The white people in this photo, perhaps taken around 1910, are descendants of the former owners of Rose Wilson Ware and Lucy Wilson. Such reunions sometimes took place in the South. “My late mother used to say that Rose, Lucy, and other members of our family once belonged to a branch of the Scott family. According to my mother, Hugh Scott, one-time governor of Pennsylvania, born in Fredericksburg, VA in 1900, was part of that family.”

and her husband, Jacob, scrimped, sharecropped and bought land. A deep-chested, plain-spoken, chocolate-brown woman, Maw began each day with a prayer and a tot

of gin. She was a seamstress, herbalist, and farmer. As a scribe for illiterate neighbors both Black and white in Partlow—the location of the Virginia plantation where Kunta Kinte, a character in Alex Haley’s book Roots was enslaved—Maw knew many people’s private business because they brought her letters to read to them. She had enough of a reputation as a sharpshooter to keep the Ku Klux Klan at bay. Widowed early, she took a lover in her sixties. My mother would take us to Maw’s farm for a few weeks each summer. Around the time I had an inkling of what Maw’s life meant, she died. I do have a vivid memory of what happened the last time I saw her alive. Maw was 112 at that time. Her mind was clear, but she had so many grandchildren, great-grands, and more, that it took her a moment to place us in the horde of descendants. When she realized that I was her great-granddaughter through Cleoria, (my mother’s name) she asked me to come over to the sofa where she spent her days. Then she told me to lift my skirt. I was sur-

prised, but how could I disobey someone so old? With gnarled hands she felt my calves, knees, and thighs, and then smiled. As soon as we left Maw’s rutted drive to return to Philly, I asked my mother why Maw had gone over me that way. “Maw was a farmer,” my mother explained. “Before she bought a horse, cow, or mule, she would feel its legs for knots and things to know whether it was a strong animal. She was checking to see if you were healthy.” My mother grew up, in large part, on Maw’s farm. “Maw kept me in the kitchen because the livestock scared me,” my mother used to say. “I knew how to judge the temperature of the stove, how much wood to add. Sis [her older sister Coletha] helped with the horses and cows.” My mom came to Philadelphia with her parents and six siblings in the 1920s. My grandmother, Edna, kept house while my grandfather, Major, helped build the Broad Street Subway, ran a couple of whorehouses and sometimes sold his herbal concoctions in drug stores. As a young woman, my mother worked as a maid and scraped up money to hire a speech therapist to help rid her of her southern accent. Brown skin and that accent would shackle her to low-wage work, she feared. She also earned her G.E.D. Rural Virginia had offered few schools for Black children, and my mom may have gone as far as fifth grade. My parents married in 1938. My older brother and I were Baby Boomers. Ambitious and determined, my mother pushed us to pile up advanced degrees. And we did. However, those achievements didn’t make for happily ever after. Mom came to feel that we had outstripped her, left her behind, even though she had a successful catering business—I worked as one of her waitresses for years—and in winter she spent a few weeks in a spa in Mexico. Those feelings raised a barrier between us that love could barely squeeze past. When she lay dying she finally said, “I am delighted with you.” The truth? Despite the jabs and pain, I miss her. Mom cooked and served thousands of meals, helped hundreds of people mark milestones in their lives. A Black working-class woman if ever there was one who will never have a line in a history book. I dedicate this series to her. This is the first of a 12-part series chronicling the lives of Black women in Philadelphia. O CTO B E R 20 18





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O CTO B E R 20 18



A SECOND OPINION Holistic medicine gains traction with those suffering from chronic ills by paige wolf



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everal years ago, Katrina Shafer of Bala Cynwyd was afraid to date. ¶ Suffering from fever, hot flashes, painful cramping, fatigue, extreme mood swings, joint pain and depression, she was nervous about embarking on intimate relationships. ¶ She had been diagnosed with a vaginal bacterial infection and treated with three different antibiotics, but her symptoms did not improve. ¶ After trying a combination of conventional medicine and home remedies that offered nothing but frustration, Shafer visited Tara Nayak, N.D. Nayak practices out of Threshold Wellness, a five-year-old wellness collective in Fishtown that offers massage therapy, psychotherapy, naturopathic medicine, art therapy and acupuncture. ¶ Shafer said she noticed significant differences in Nayak’s approach, beginning with testing that went beyond the standard OB-GYN checkup. She submitted a sample for a sequencing-based clinical vaginal health test, which identified a high level of a microbiome not identified in her other culture tests. As a result of this more extensive testing, Dr. Nayak prescribed her a specific probiotic along with daily intake of raspberry leaf tea, natural detox products, B6 complex and craniosacral therapy.  Shafer says her response to this treatment was almost immediate. “My mood improved within a day, and during my next menstrual cycle I did not experience any PMS, cramping or depression,” she says. “My cycle length was back to normal and just about all of my symptoms improved.” Cheryl Hess,a TV and film producer in South Philadelphia, has a similar story. When she was suffering from patellar tendonosis, she was told surgery or expensive injections were the only options. Her primary care doctor asked that she avoid certain basic functional movements, putting a huge damper on her fitness regimen. After months of the injury not healing, she visited an orthopedist who said she could either get surgery that would take a year to recover from or try PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections, which were expensive, considered experimental and not covered by insurance. 

So she went to see Sarah Lefkowich, who now runs West Philadelphia Community Acupuncture. Hess claims that a series of treatments spanning three months healed her entirely. “I had this hard lump of scar tissue on my knee, and I couldn’t kneel on a hard surface without pain,” she says. “Now the lump is barely noticeable and I have no pain.” Complementary and alternative medi-

cal practices outside mainstream medicine have existed for centuries with fluctuating popularity. But the past 20 years have seen a resurgence of interest in these practices, particularly as “integrative medicine,” in which alternative practices may complement conventional methods. Two decades ago a study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that more than one-third of Americans regularly used alternative practices and paid for them outof-pocket. The national survey also suggested that the estimated number of visits to these practitioners exceeded the number of visits to all primary care physicians. Anecdotes like Shafer’s and Hess’ are becoming more and more common as greater numbers of people, driven by conditions and diseases they can’t cure or relieve, feel that Western medicine is inadequate or incomplete. There is a growing concern that Western medicine is focused on “quick fixing” problems with pharmaceuticals and surgeries, rather than focusing on prevention and eliminating root causes for illness.

The promise (and problems) of naturopathic medicine Dr. Nayak is part of a growing number of professionals working to provide the Philadelphia community with medical care that works to understand the person as a whole and seeks root causes to afflictions rather than just trying to eliminate symptoms. As a naturopathic doctor, Nayak feels prepared to handle any health concern as a general practitioner. And becoming a licensed naturopathic doctor is not simply a quick-click online degree. A state-licensed doctor of naturopathic medicine degree (N.D.) generally involves four years of graduate-level study and requires students to hold at least a four-year bachelor’s degree to apply. In addition to general family practice, N.D.s like Nayak offer more personalized treatment through genomic analysis (gene testing) and microbiome and hormone testing. O CTO B E R 20 18



• Tara Nayak is a naturopathic doctor based in Fishtown.

Nayak says these tests offer the data she needs to create individual plans, where food is the first offense and defense, and herb and supplements are prescribed as needed. Many of Nayak’s patients are seeking treatment for chronic diseases, digestive issues and hormonal imbalances. “Whether a patient is dealing with an acute illness, trying to prevent future problems or dealing with a lifelong health issue that hasn’t been figured out, I work to uncover the underlying causes of health concerns and provide lasting solutions that fit into my patients’ busy lifestyles,” she says. It was only last year that Pennsylvania passed legislation to allow licensed naturopaths to practice. The growing interest and support affirms Nayak’s belief that the demand for integrative medicine is at the precipice of a paradigm shift: Prevention, food and individualized medicine are the wave of the future. However, there is also a controversial element to this phenomenon. Some people have tried these less scientifically proven methods and avoided conventional medicine with dire consequences. In 2016, Chinese actress Xu Ting died of lymphoma after opting for alternative medicine such as cupping, acupuncture and skin scraping instead of chemotherapy. Steve Jobs, who died from the growth of a pancreatic tumor, was known to have delayed operations and chemotherapy in favor of acupuncture and other alternative remedies. Some cancer experts say Jobs may have extended his life or even survived if he had promptly tackled his cancer with scientifically proven medical treatments. Others



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argue that it’s impossible to know whether traditional medicine would have extended his life or if the role of naturopathic approaches improved the quality of his life, but, as Forbes Magazine reported in 2011, Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson said Jobs admitted regret over his medical decisions. Dr. Rick Pescatore, an emergency physician and the Director of Clinical Research for the Department of Emergency Medicine at Crozer-Keystone Health System, has had enough firsthand experience to be skeptical and concerned about people using alternative methods in lieu of traditional healthcare. “Healthcare, particularly in emergencies, is a zero-sum venture. So-called ‘complementary’ medicine must take the place of something else—even if that something else is simply time and rest.” He believes that if something makes you feel better, it’s worth discussing with your doctor. But if it delays you from seeking appropriate and traditional care, it can be extremely problematic, and he points toward a recent article in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association that demonstrated a nearly two-fold increase in death in patients who sought alternative therapy instead of or alongside conventional cancer treatment. “In the ER, we have seen patients who have not gotten proper medical treatment for cancer and heart attacks, which has resulted in them getting significantly sicker,” he says.

“...I work to uncover the underlying causes of health concerns and provide lasting solutions that fit into my patients’ busy lifestyles.” —Tara Nayak ,


He has also seen “natural colon cleanses” send people into renal and liver failure, and says some supplements can be dangerous and cause electrolyte abnormalities. That said, he agrees conventional medicine is not immune to “taking it way too far to the right.” He believes treatments like acupuncture have a place as an alternative pain technique, especially as we try to limit opioid use. “But to give anything to patients that hasn’t been rigorously tested is unconscionable,” he says. “It’s an abdication of our responsibility to give safe and effective medication.” Sometimes those who seek naturopathic care return to conventional medicine. In 30-year-old Emma Criswell’s case, naturopathic remedies were not the path to well-

• Heather Moday became disillusioned working at a conventional private practice. She now emphasizes lifestyle changes and prevention in her integrative practice.

ness she was hoping for. In fact, she says, delaying antibiotic use and relying on supplements made her worse. “My naturopath was correct in testing and diagnosing me with SIBO [small intestinal bacterial overgrowth],” she says. “But she promised she could help me with the use of antimicrobials and prescribed digestive enzymes.” Unfortunately for Criswell, this protocol led to a worsening condition and new symptoms, and despite a wide variety of pills, powders and diet changes being swapped out by her naturopath, she continued to feel extremely ill and exhausted. Finally she saw a GI doctor who agreed with the diagnosis—but not the treatment. She started a round of antibiotics and claims her health immediately improved.

In Criswell’s case, conventional care was the way to go. But sometimes it’s hard for patients to know where to go first in the evolving landscape of care options.

An evolution from the traditional Five years ago, Dr. Heather Moday was working for a private allergy and immunology practice in Philadelphia. Over her 11-year tenure, she noticed an increasing number of patients with multiple medical problems and long lists of prescription drugs. The quick pace of patient transitions, which is largely dictated by the insurance payments, didn’t allow her to take the time to get a holistic view of a person. Frustrated and unable to help her patients in the way she felt she should, she decided to change

the way she practiced. “In most traditional medical practices, the focus is on diagnosing a patient with a disease and then treating the symptoms with medications,” she says. “There is little emphasis on finding the cause of the problems and dealing with them at their source. Also, there is a prevailing opinion that chronic health problems like heart disease, diabetes or autoimmune diseases are not reversible and the only treatment is more drugs.” Dr. Moday wanted to spend more time working on lifestyle changes with her patients and emphasizing prevention of disease instead of focusing on treating people with more medications. So she completed training to become board-certified in integrative and holistic medicine and opened her own private practice in Philadelphia in 2015. Dr. Moday explains that most doctors become highly specialized in their own fields, which does not allow the full examination of a person. But she believes we should be examining the full connection between someone’s hormones, nutrition and GI system. “You can’t be hyperfocused in one area, only looking at tiny microcosms,” she says. “In addition to exploring a patient’s diet, sleep patterns and lifestyle, I also wanted to learn more about how other cultures treat illness.” Dr. Moday says her client base is a mix of self-educated, proactive young people who want to learn about prevention and achieving their best health and people frustrated with the care they’ve been getting, often dealing with chronic symptoms no one seems to be able to figure out or being treated with drugs that don’t address the root problem. She also hears people expressing frustration with their ability to get in touch with their doctors to answer questions— something she also sees as a symptom of the “system of quick fixes.” Dr. Moday says she sees a proliferation of people with autoimmune issues including fibromyalgia, arthritis and a wide variety of gastrointestinal problems. One of the biggest root problems she addresses is gut health, which she says is tied closely to O CTO B E R 20 18



• Dr. Rick Pescatore sees the validity of a holistic approach that addresses root causes, but has significant misgivings about unproven treatments.

the rest of our body’s immune system and function. “As a population, we seem to be sicker in general with a significant increase in chronic illness,” Dr. Moday says. “The American healthcare system is great for putting out fires—groundbreaking surgeries and cancer treatments, but we have a surge in chronic pain, obesity, depression—and our system is not built for that.”

The economic hurdle In the world of alternative medicine, costs of visits and programs widely differ. Community acupuncture—in which several patients are treated in the same room—is often based on a sliding scale with visits as low as $20. A visit with a naturopathic doctor can range from $100 for a monthly follow-up to more than $1,000 a month for a concierge service. Since most alternative treatment is not covered by insurance, cost is often the biggest barrier for patients seeking integrative care. Nayak offers group and family plans and hopes patients will see the money they spend as an investment in their health. Dr. Moday sees healthcare as a value judgment: In order for her to provide the services she does, she has to charge a certain amount because she only sees about six people per day. Depending on your health, one thing Dr. Moday suggests is opting for a high-deductible insurance plan with a health savings account (HSA.) This way, you may be paying much less than if you see a conventional doctor, and you can use an HSA to cover things like supplements and acupuncture. However, critics of of HSA plans warn that they leave consumers vulnerable in the event they need expensive care. There are also a growing number of integrative medicine practices affiliated with traditional hospitals that may take health insurance, like the Myrna Brind Center at Jefferson Hospital and PENN Primary and Integrative Medicine in Exton. And, of course, if alternative medicine is successful in improving your ailments, you may be able to rid yourself of prescription copays. Of course, the savings in time— sometimes years lost from a disease or injury—is invaluable. 22


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“...To give anything to patients that hasn’t been rigorously tested is unconscionable. It’s an abdication of our responsibility to give safe and effective medication.” — Dr. Rick Pe scatore Getting to the roots of a health issue After a six-year history of abnormal pap smears and a diagnosis of a high-risk HPV strain, Michele Rogers’ cervical dysplasia advanced to a concerning degree of abnormal cells. The traditional course of action would have been to perform a painful and risky procedure, requiring six weeks of healing time and possible future pregnancy complications.  So Rogers, 39, decided to do some research on her own and pursue a naturopathic regimen that included high doses of certain vitamins, nutrients and supplements. After two courses of the protocol and her first pregnancy, not only did her pap smear return to completely normal, but the HPV was no longer present in her system, something that her conventional doctor said was impossible. Ike S. was another patient who had hit a wall with Western medicine. He was suffering from multiple herniated discs, creating throbbing pain and numbness in his neck and back. After a series of X-rays and MRIs,

an orthopedic prescribed anti-inflammatory muscle-relaxing medications, local trigger-point cortisone injections, lidocaine patches, Botox injections and an epidural. But he says these solutions were of little help, and in the end, the doctor recommended continuing to live with the pain, significant surgery or trying an alternative form of medicine. He appreciated the traditional doctor’s suggestion to explore alternative methods, which led him to Jacquelin Doyle, board-certified acupuncturist, herbalist and clinical director of Renaissance Healing Arts in Philadelphia. Ike says with acupuncture, diet evaluation and nutritional-supplement guidance, he quickly became pain free and feels fully recovered from his herniated disc injury. Ike says Doyle really took the time to understand his symptoms and the various other factors in his life. And while he appreciates the value of the doctors who used modern technology to pinpoint his injuries, he is grateful to alternative treatments for providing relief he could not find through conventional methods. “You should always address the underlying issue first,” Dr. Moday says. “Rather than becoming dependent on acid-reflux medications or antibiotics, there may be diet and lifestyle changes that can repair the root of the problem.” And on this note, both sides of the alternative medicine find common ground. Dr. Pescatore agrees that the U.S. healthcare system is problematic and doesn’t allow him to spend time helping patients improve their lifestyles; it’s too easy to prescribe quick fixes via pharmaceuticals. “It’s incredibly easy for me as a physician to say, ‘Oh, you have acid reflux—take these pills,’ but it would often take more time than I can reasonably allot in the ER to really discuss the root cause and help people to, for instance, lose weight or stop smoking..” But Dr. Nayak cautions that you shouldn’t tear up your health insurance card. “Don’t come to me if you just got run over by a truck!” Nayak says. “Sometimes we need pharmaceuticals to get us over the hump. There can be a place for conventional medicine, but I believe there is always a place for natural medicine.”

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philly bike expo

mountain bike building businesses, Chris Chance of Fat Chance Bicycles, to tell his company’s story. Other notable presenters include: two bicycle advocates, Brenda Hernandez-Torres and (Grid contributor)

Randy LoBasso from the Bicycle Coalition and Isaac Denham, owner of the Wayne-based Befitting Bicycles, who will

Gearing Up The Philly Bike Expo, now in its ninth year, celebrates by alexandra w. jones all things bicycle


ne month out from the Philly Bike Expo, Bina Bilenky still has a lot of work to do. Bilenky, the event’s organizer, is fielding calls from vendors and cementing exhibition logistics for the weekend-long event. On October 27 and 28, she hopes the Pennsylvania Convention Center will be even more packed than it was last year—with 4,600 attendees and 160 vendors. “Last year we had a record year, but that’s sort of been the case every year,” Bilenky says, remembering how the event started much smaller at the 23rd St. Armory, drawing around 1,000 guests. Now in its ninth year, the expo has become a destination for cycling enthusiasts across the country. It features a vast array of exhibits by cycling companies, displaying the latest products designed for commuters, recreational cyclists and people who race competitively. “Some people are just going because they want to mingle with cyclists and cycling celebrities,” Bilenky says. “But most people are going to shop for new products.” According to Bilenky, the expo’s demonstrations and seminars can be an equally 24


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valuable tool for cyclists to learn more about technical aspects of the bicycle and the culture that surrounds it. Attendees can watch custom frame builders at work, listen to advice about staying safe on the road, or learn about the newest tech for two-wheelers. This year, the expo is bringing in the founder of one of New England’s first

explain how proper pelvic support, or lack thereof, can make or break a ride. This event is a family affair—in fact, kids under 12 years old get free admission. The next generation of cyclists will be invited to try out bikes on an indoor test track. They can also bring their own bikes, helmets, or biking accessories to get a little extra adornment from Eric Barr, who will be demonstrating how to paint pinstripes. More than anything, the expo is designed to bring people and organizations together over their love of the sport. Something Bilenky thinks it does well. “One of my favorite things is hearing how much fun people have,” she says. “There really is something for anyone.” For tickets or more information visit www.phillybikeexpo.com.

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youth cycling

Equality on Wheels A professional cyclist leads program designed to make cycling by alexandra w. jones more inclusive


hether you are riding a bike or navigating life, balance is essential. That’s what Taylor Kuyk-White, professional cyclist and the manager of the Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling program (BCYC), teaches her students. The Philadelphia program, which serves students ages 12 to 18, aims to help build healthy habits and leadership skills through cycling. It takes place after school and is run in collaboration with schools and community centers across the city. In addition to her job at the coalition, 26


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Kuyk-White also races bikes. This year, she competed in three different primary disciplines at the competitive level. She landed this job in 2016, about a year after she’d caught a bug for the world of road, cyclocross, and mountain bike tournaments. When the position opened up with BCYC, she jumped at the chance to combine her passions for cycling and youth development. “Competitive cycling is a very expensive, very exclusive, very white, very male sport,” she explains. “Binding together with individuals and communities that are working

to break down some of those barriers and build momentum in terms of what the future of the sport looks like is a bigger fuel to me than just getting better results.” BCYC began in 2007 as Cadence Youth Cycling and became a branch of the Bike Coalition in 2013. Over the past few years, Kuyk-White says it’s grown significantly. Three years ago it had 89 youth members— this year it has 137. According to Kuyk-White, much of her work involves empowering students to determine how cycling will help them. She trains the 4 to 15 BCYC-employed coaches, provides the equipment and occasionally practices with the them. Students who have been on a team year after year fill in roles as team captains and junior coaches. The teens enjoy having something that holds them accountable to their goals and expectations in life, she says. The students seem to agree. “I enjoy the environment,” says Lurena Watkins, 15, who has been in the program for two years. Watkins enjoys the races and “having people there that support you even if they don’t know you.” Students started practicing for the fall season in September and will continue twice a week throughout the school year. Although it’s exciting to be able to do the work they do on the bike, it’s not just about cycling, Kuyk-White says. As Jahmiel Jackson, 16, a two-year veteran, puts it: BCYC is a platform where young athletes can be ambitious and challenge themselves, each in their own way. Whether it’s working on time management by getting to practice on time or employing the self-discipline any competitive sport requires. BCYC is something different to each student who participates. Yes, some train with the intention of becoming professional cyclists, and some use it as a way to make friends while enjoying a bike ride. Others use the program as a motivational tool to do well in school. “The end goal,” Kuyk-White says, “is defined by the youth themselves.”

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bike injury law

Crash Course Legal experts weigh in on bike safety and the law


n the last five years, the cycling community has seen 93 major injuries and 22 fatalities in Philadelphia County alone—bikers hit while turning corners or riding on the shoulders of cramped roads, even by inattentive drivers backing out of parking spaces. [Editor’s note: These numbers, gathered by PennDOT, report only the crashes in which a severe injury or fatality occurred.] There’s no catchall for how to avoid bike crashes—especially in the citvy. But there are ways you can protect yourself, so this 28


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alexandra w. jones

month, Grid talked to two Philadelphia bike-injury lawyers to get the best advice.

Insuring your Safety Before you wheel your bike out onto the pavement, there’s something you need to know: your car insurance matters. In Pennsylvania, bike accidents are covered by your auto insurance. According to Joseph Piscitello, of Piscitello Law, many people don’t realize that in the event of a bike crash, the first legal step bikers take is to open a claim with their car insurance company.

Pennsylvania bicycle accident injuries are covered by the insurance of the driver at fault for the accident. If no one is at fault, your medical bills will be covered by your own auto insurance. “By law, your car insurance has to pay your medical bills,” he explains. “As a cyclist, one of the most important things you can do to make sure you protect yourself on a bike is to make sure you have a good car insurance policy.” One of the most common mistakes people make, Piscitello says, is getting limited IL LUSTRATIO N BY CO REY DA NKS

tort insurance—a type of policy that greatly reduces your ability to make a claim for your pain and suffering, although it will cover your medical bills. Because your car insurance is responsible for you in the event of a crash, Piscitello recommends “full tort,” a policy that has your back even in the event a driver cuts you off and is never identified. He also advises that cyclists hold policies with “underinsurance” and “uninsurance” clauses, so that in the case where the at-fault driver is underinsured or uninsured, your insurance is liable for your treatment.

to send you a statement of what happened. “There are usually a lot of random heroes, citizens, crime fighters, just good samaritans around,” he says. If the motorist won’t Code 3303(a)(3) Drivers wait for the police, get the cannot come within four feet of a bicyclist when license plate number, state passing, and must do so of issue, and a description carefully and at a reduced of the person driving the speed. car. Then, when the police Code 3705 Drivers and arrive, request an incident passengers must check report so that you can setthat opening/closing a car tle the case with the drivdoor can be done without interfering with the moveer’s insurance company. If ment of cyclists. Drivers and you’ve been doored, ask the passengers should also not officer to cite the motorist leave a doors open for a profor dooring. longed period of time after “Be exceedingly respectpassengers have loaded or ful to the police officer,” Piunloaded from the car. scitello advises. “Because Code 3331(e) Bikers have the police officer has some the right of way to proceed straight ahead of turning What to do if You discretion in what he’s vehicles. Have an Accident hearing and the amount of First things first: Get to the logic he or she employs in Code 3309(3) Bikers are entitled to the bike lane. It side of the road. looking at the situation.” falls under the classification “Because people get hit Philadelphia police are of a “specified lane” other again,” Piscitello says. not required to report to a vehicles, according to law, Next, call the police. crash where no injuries are should respect when driving. reported and both vehicles And if you have a phone can drive away. If you are on you, take photographs of the scene— pictures of your injuries, the not injured, and the police will not show up, you can fill out a crash report via phone car that hit you and any damage to your bicycle. Then write down everything you can or in person at a police station. As soon as about the vehicle that struck you: license you can, be sure to write down your own plate number, the vehicle model, the driver’s detailed description of the accident. name and insurance information. Both lawyers note that Pennsylvania This is the type of information that will laws significantly reduce the amount bikers help you in case you have sustained serious pay for medical treatment after a crash, so injuries in the accident. According to Stuart bikers should not be intimidated by medical Leon, of Bicycle Crash Law, 99 percent of costs if they need treatment afterwards. bikers who get hurt in a crash and get identification are able to get the medical treatGetting Back on the Bike ment that they need paid for. Not doing so Get an estimate for bike repairs from a bike is the No. 1 mistake bikers make. shop. This is important for insurance and “It’s not first nature to get information or legal proceedings. Then, contact a lawyer. identification from the [person driving the] You can also apply for consideration from vehicle that hits you,” Leon says. “That’s not the Emily Fredricks Memorial Fund, a lowhat the people are thinking about. They’re cal Philadelphia foundation, set up in colthinking about survival and getting home.” laboration with the Bicycle Coalition, that Another tip from Leon is to check for witreplaces bicycles that were damaged in a nesses, especially if the driver didn’t stop. A crash. The fund exists to honor the memofull quarter of the cases he sees at his firm, ry of Emily Fredricks, a 24-year-old pastry he says, are hit and runs. If anyone else saw chef killed in a bicycle crash in November what happened, he advises you to get their 2017. Beginning in January 2019, the Frednames and phone numbers and ask them ricks family will present the awardees. K N OW YO U R R I G H TS : P E N N SY LVA N I A B I K E L AWS

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West Philly South Jersey thenestinghouse.net

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Every Thursday from 6pm to 10pm Local Cider, Beer, Wine and Spirits Pop Up Specials • Live Music Pig Roast on October 18th 1 Boathouse Row 215-978-0900 Corporate & Private Events 7 Days a Week • 8 AM–Dusk

cosmicfoods.com O CTO B E R 20 18



bike safety

Driver’s Ed Bike safety photos aim to build empathy by alexandra w. jones on the streets


hen a car made a sudden stop in front of him in the bike lane this summer while making his daily commute, Kenyatta James, swerved into trolley tracks. His tire got caught, and he flew off his bike, injuring his knee. Ironically, the accident happened shortly after his company, James Grant Design, was commissioned to provide photography for a set of advertisements designed to encourage drivers to navigate safely around pedestrians and cyclists. The advertisements are a part of Philadelphia’s roll out of the Vision 30


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Zero program, which aims to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries by 2030. As a cyclist, James knows the importance of a driver being aware of cyclists pedestrians and giving them respect in the street.. Giving them “respect in the street.” “We really hope to make an impact through this work,” says James. “Philadelphians should feel safe when cycling around the city.” Since it was announced in 2017, Philadelphia’s Vision Zero Task Force has been hard at work discovering creative ways to incorporate bike lanes and to educate drivers on

how to safely share the road with cyclists. The Vision Zero advertisements are part of its first educational campaign. Over the past few months, they’ve been plastered on the sides of SEPTA buses and transit shelters. James worked with the city’s contract strategy firm, the Message Agency, to create the images seen in these ads. The images, taken from inside the car, depict people crossing the street making eye contact with drivers—a viewpoint constructed to capture a ‘do-you-see-me?’ expression on the cyclist’s or pedestrian’s face. To get these shots, his team rigged a camera in a car and drove around taking photos of people making direct eye contact with the camera from different angles. The shots were later edited together to create a master image to be used for the project. “It’s meant to create empathy on both sides of the situation,” he says. “People are people, not just obstacles in your way.” P HOTO G RAP HY BY KRISTO N JAE BETHEL


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october 2018

O ctober 6

O ctober 6–14

O ctober 12–14

Symposium: The Art of Sustainability

Philadelphia Open Studio Tours

Rittenhouse Square Fine Craft Fair

Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST), a program of The Center for Emerging Visual Artists, offers a behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of a visual artist. Each October, explore hundreds of artist studios and community partner spaces in more than twenty Philadelphia neighborhoods and see the artistic process unfold right in your own backyard. philaopenstudios.org

Over 140 artists across various mediums will show their work at the bi-annual art show in the heart of Rittenhouse. pacrafts.org

The Art of Sustainability symposium asks the bigger question of what public art can do to advance sustainability as a “catalyst for community engagement, leadership, and stewardship in advancing sustainable solutions to a range of environmental challenges and opportunities.” muralarts.org WHEN: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. COST: $10 WHERE: Drexel University URBN, 3501 Market St

Subaru Fall Festival at Greensgrow Farms Join Subaru and Greensgrow Farms for a celebration of local food, music, crafts and farm fun. There will be beer from PBC, live music, pet adoptions, food trucks, a coat drive and more. greensgrow.org WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: Greensgrow Farms, 2501 E Cumberland St

Roxtoberfest Roxborough celebrates Oktoberfest with a day of beer, food, games and performers. There will be musicians, a stein-holding competition, children’s pie-eating contest, food trucks and a children’s zone with a bounce house, obstacle course and more. Roxboroughpa.com WHEN: 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: Ridge Ave b/w Lyceum Ave & Leverington Ave



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WHEN: Times vary, see website COST: Free WHERE: Locations vary, see website

O ctober 7 Old City Fest Celebrate the most historic square mile in Philadelphia—and perhaps the country—at Old City Fest. Local artisans, designers, restaurants, galleries, theaters and everything in between will be on display. oldcitydistrict.org WHEN: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: 3rd St & Arch St


WHEN: Friday at 11 a.m. to Sunday at 6 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: 210 W. Rittenhouse Sq

O ctober 27–28 2018 Philly Bike Expo Bikers will find plenty to do at the Philly Bike Expo, with vendors, seminars and workshops. Get the new bike or parts you need, learn about which trends are worth buying into and try out bikes on the indoor test track. phillybikeexpo.com WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. COST: $8-20 WHERE: Philadelphia Convention Center, 1101 Arch St

O ctober 28 Philly Farm & Food Fest

As part of National Coming Out Day Festival, the 10-block festival is held in the heart of the Gayborhood with drag shows, games, bar crawls, music and more. Phillygaypride.org

PF3 celebrates its eighth year by moving to the Navy Yard. Over 150 farmers, butchers, artisans and other players in the local food economy will be there for eats, workshops and more. Yeshinightmarket.com

WHEN: 12 to 6 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: 13th & Locust St

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. COST: $15-30 WHERE: Philadelphia Navy Yard, 4747 South Broad St

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A proud member of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Chapter of Conscious Capitalism

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O CTO B E R 20 18



behind the scenes

Now Playing Wonder what the staff at JUMP has been rocking for the past month? Really, you have? Well, wonder no more! Here are our current Philly faves. Brendan Menapace, Managing Editor 1. Restorations, LP5000 2. mewithoutYou, [untitled] e.p. 3. Hop Along, Bark Your Head Off, Dog 4. Katie Ellen, Still Life 5. Tigers Jaw, Tigers Jaw Beth Ann Downey, Managing Editor


The Sound of Hard Work Andy Clarke answers the calls


ndy clarke follows one guiding principle when it comes to choosing his work. “I want to work on music I enjoy,” says Clarke, a 30-year-oldsound engineer based in South Philly. “If you’re not enjoying it, what’s the point?” Clarke initially moved to Philadelphia a decade ago to attend the University of the Arts for drum performance but always had a knack for doing front-of-house work. Beginning at The Trocadero and eventually adding Boot & Saddle and Union Transfer to his client base, Clarke’s journey behind the board has typically tended to come on the fly. “That’s kind of how I feel most of my jobs have come: just a call that day asking, ‘Are you available tonight? If you’re not, can you be?’ ” Clarke notes. “I’ve worked at six or seven different clubs in the city over the last eight years, and the only way I’ve gotten my foot in the door there is that last-minute phone call.” The same thing, too, has happened with tours. He’s been able to develop relationships with heavy hitters such as The Menzingers, Circa Survive, Kurt Vile, Restorations, Thrice and Balance and Composure, with the last being a band for whom 34


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maggie mchale

he served as a full-time sound engineer for around five years. There have been multiple instances where Clarke was asked to jump on a tour as soon as the day before it left. He typically declines those offers, but occasionally his hectic schedule allows it. “But sometimes,” he notes, “the calls are, ‘Hey, can you go on tour next week?’ And you’re like, ‘Well, maybe.’ ” In addition to the plates he juggles doing sound and touring, Clarke also runs and works at Retro City Studios in Germantown, recording a variety of artists and building relationships with them. His business partner, Joe Boldizar, 37, says that Clarke is “the guy you want to have around when things go wrong,” thanks not only to his tireless work ethic but also his natural talent and abilities behind the soundboard. Jeff Meyers, 35, his boss at Boot and Saddle, agrees that Clarke’s a workhorse. “He has unrelenting drive,” he says. “Sometimes I want to yell at him and be like, ‘Take a damn day off dude,’ ” Meyers says. “He hustles like no other sound engineer I know [and is] always willing to go the extra mile.”

1. Japanese Breakfast, Spotify Singles session 2. Thin Lips, Chosen Family 3. Gladie, Everyone Is Talking but You 4. Katie Ellen, Still Life 5. Restorations, LP5000 Alex Mulcahy, Publisher 1. Tierra Whack, Whack World 2. The City and I, Downer 3. SAD Marquise, iPhone Pop 4. Sheer Mag, Need To Feel Your Love 5. Japanese Breakfast, Soft Sounds from Another Planet Shan Cerrone, Photo Editor 1. Flamingosis, Flight Fantastic 2. GrandeMarshall, In Good Spirit 3. GIRL BRAINS, 7 INCH SPLIFF 4. Birthday Ponies, Truth EP 5. Marian Hill, ACT ONE SPECIAL GUESTS Johnny Brenda’s Booking Team Chris Ward, Johnny Brenda’s Talent Buyer/Promoter 1. Tierra Whack, Whack World 2. Palm, Rock Island 3. Hop Along, Bark Your Head Off, Dog 4. Japanese Breakfast, Soft Sounds from Another Planet 5. Rosali, Trouble Anyway Barrett Lindgren, Johnny Brenda’s Local Booker 1. Spirit of The Beehive, Hypnic Jerks 2. Orion Sun, Tracks from the artist’s Soundcloud page 3. Blowdryer, S/T 4. Shannen Moser, I’ll Sing 5. Yankee Bluff, The band’s last three EPs


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the city and i

Punk Like Me The City and I push punk boundaries and reach out to a more by hannah kubik diverse audience


ou might recognize The City and I’s Colin Regisford as the bassist for punk/pop Philadelphia-based band Mannequin Pussy. And if you do, you probably know him as Bear, a nickname that stuck after a single day as a high school mascot. According to Ben Roth, a friend of over a decade who helped record and co-produce tracks for The City and I, Regisford’s solo career is a natural progression. “Since I’ve known Bear, he has lived and breathed through the writing and performing of his art,” Roth says, adding that he loves Regisford’s songwriting because it does not follow traditional structure. “The songs are [both] linear and tangential, like a guided tour through the strange funhouse



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that is Bear’s brain. I believe Bear is on the forefront of a movement that is reimagining what punk music is.” Regisford started writing songs as a teenager while living in the Poconos. As a fan of bands like Blink-182 and Green Day, he gravitated toward the punk rock scene, but, as a black male, he found himself to be a minority. Often a minority of one. “I used to have to trick people to let me play with them and would literally just show up at their doorstep and push my way inside,” Regisford says. “They would look at me and didn’t see a kid who could play bass and like punk.” Eventually he encountered someone who recognized his talents. This someone was Casey Weissbuch from Diarrhea Planet, a

Nashville-based garage punk band. While touring with Colleen Green, Regisford met Weissbuch, and Weissbach asked if Regisford knew anyone with a new sound. There was no hesitation. “I played him some songs I wrote, and Weissbuch was like, ‘I need you to send me every single song. I want to put this out for you because this is really cool, and I think people should hear this,’” Regisford recalls. In 2015, Regisford released Downer, his first The City And I album. While the seven-song release has a song or two that might betray his punk rock roots, the music is stoner hazy, sprinkled with snippets of conversation, with melodies that can be haunting and quite beautiful. The good news is that there’s more on the way. Regisford shared a few singles with us that he plans to drop soon, including the doomy “Cecilia” and “ADD,” a super catchy rocker that devolves into a nightmarish chaos. It all makes sense when you consider that Regisford claims the purpose of The City and I, is “to really destroy all of the old ways of people who were making punk music.” And that is all rooted in the alienation he felt as a teen, an outsider looking in. Along the way, Regisford befriended someone who fully understands the loneliness of being a Black punk: Ruben Polo of Soul Glo, a Philly afro-punk band that uses lyrics to protest white power structures in punk and beyond. Both Regisford and Polo imagine a future where they see more diversity in the mosh pits. Regisford says, “One day we won’t be showboating for a sea of cream.”



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sad marquise

Pop Life Experimental songwriter SAD Marquise by john morrison iPhones it in


t was an expensive inconvenience and a meeting with a budding rap superstar that led Philly singer/ songwriter Marquise Miles (aka SAD Marquise) to a key development in his career. “I met Chance the Rapper at a Made in America after party. We were chilling outside of the venue, and I lost my phone and all my music at that time. I asked him if he saw it. He didn’t, but I got a new phone with GarageBand on it.” Referring to himself as an “iOS musician,” Miles explains, “I make my music solely on my GarageBand app using my phone’s mic.” Born and raised in the Toby Farms section of Brookhaven, Miles had a musical youth, joining the Chester Children’s Chorus around age 12. Raised on a diet of R&B and soul, Miles began writing his own songs. “At the time I was inspired by Beyon38


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cé and Brian McKnight vocally. Prince was big for me because he did it all himself, too. Legendary.” It’s telling that Prince’s D.I.Y. practice of writing, composing and creating his music on his own would serve as a key influence on SAD Marquise’s homemade aesthetic. After releasing an EP, The Times, SAD Marquise followed up with his masterful debut full length, iPhone Pop. Closing out iPhone Pop is “Pink Floyd,” a luminous piano ballad that clearly demonstrates Miles’ gift for constructing songs that exist as their own distinct worlds of colorful emotion and sound. In the song, Miles escorts us through a journey of pain and existential dread. “Half the world is a bastard. I preach things that I’ve yet to master,” he croons in a powerful, vulnerable tone that is part Frank Ocean, part Rufus Wainwright. The song is a fitting end to a collection of

songs that exist as an ode to modern love, heartbreak and the emotional wreckage left when the two collide. In October of last year, Miles released the Sea World EP, a gorgeous collection of futuristic love songs. Both projects were completed and released in 2017 as part of a furious outputting of creative energy and effort. “iPhone Pop took about two months to make, and it came about after I made my first EP, The Times. I wanted to make a project that was like an extended phone call through a colorful, and a little trippy, lens. Sea World was made in a few weeks. I was very inspired by the sea and its relation to sadness and emotion,” Miles explains. Despite the downcast atmosphere that his work conjures, the music Miles creates is not hopeless; in fact it is the opposite. This is the sound of a young person wrestling with the gravity of fear and love in an age of alienation and disconnect. “I’m very into the idea of sad or melancholy songs with more lucid-feeling beats. It feels good to just say things out loud that let you tap into the hurt, but have fun with it. My upcoming mixtape, Yellow Tape, is more upbeat and light to contrast that. All my songs aren’t sad, but I am trying to create a sonic and emotional space for myself that I call my own.” P HOTO G RAP H BY CHARL ES S HAN CERRONE

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erin fox

Second Life Rocker Erin Fox’s rebirth as a folk artist by

jennifer granato


t’s a wet, late summer Sunday night. The back room of Ortlieb’s in Northern Liberties is dark and quiet. With daisies on her shirt and a crown of short baby blue hair, Erin Fox, 29, strikes a slight figure on stage. She plucks her guitar, finishing up a new song. Her haunting, clear voice sings, “I never had time for the doctor,” and echoes off the wooden walls, “until my time was almost gone.” The audience listens silently. The sparse, folky pop of her recent EP Your Joy, and her first solo album, Forbidden Youth, both self-released, is surprising if you’re only familiar with Fox from Resilient, the genre-mashing local rock band. “This is stuff I’ve been sitting on for a long time because it’s so emotional,” Fox says. “I don’t really like expressing that much of myself.” But that changed in 2013 when she was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of brain cancer and underwent surgery to remove a tumor. “I had to wrestle with the idea of not being around anymore,” she says quietly while sitting in the backyard at Interstate Drafthouse in Fishtown. “I don’t know, it just kind of changed how I write.” Since recovering from brain surgery and ditching producers she found controlling, Fox has reclaimed her music, letting it guide her. “Her music seems to be more encompassing of what she wants to do and what she’s trying to say,” says Kat Bohn, a longtime friend of Fox and substitute bassist for 40


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Resilient. “She has more of her own voice now.” “At first I didn’t like it,” Fox says. “I was kind of like, ‘No, where is this coming from?’ But sometimes it’s not about you, it’s about the song. You just kind of have to let the song take over and go with it.” Fox’s music confronts social and political issues, with tracks like “Sick” (about Philadelphia’s heroin epidemic) and “Ships,” which speaks to the Trump administration’s travel ban. Fox also chose to collaborate primarily with women, including her fellow members in Resilient and Babe Grenade, a new punk and hip-hop crossover band she plays guitar with. “It’s just a stance in itself to be with an

all-woman band,” Nia Ali, the emcee of Babe Grenade says. “It’s really liberating, and I think in the context of this social climate it is really important right now.” “I want to work with female engineers, too,” Fox says, “I feel like there’s a lack of that in the music industry.” Fox found the collaborations exhilarating and feels like she gained new perspectives through her experiences. “I’m just glad that I can play music again,” she says. Though she lives with some vision loss from the surgery, she still feels pretty good, all things considered. “So if I can’t drive but I can live here to play music, that’s a win to me.” P HOTO G RAP H BY M IKE ARRI SON

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Idol Hands

Death metal quartet Horrendous’ arduous path to prog-metal greatness



vince bellino

he progressive death metal world is abuzz over Idol, the fourth album from Philadelphia’s Horrendous, and according to the band, the experience of recording it was excruciating. It began in 2017, when Horrendous convened in Washington, D.C., at guitarist/vocalist Damian Herring’s own Subterranean Watchtower Studios. The setting proved to be both a blessing and a curse. On the positive side, they had all the time in the world to add layers and layers to the new album. On the flipside, they had all the time in the world. “It was a very tedious project, especially at certain points, and it’s just a very technical and difficult record in general,” Herring says. “[It was] basically pushing our abilities as musicians, so that in and of itself is gonna result in a lot of redos and trying to fix things. Just a challenging process altogether.” Drummer Jamie Knox describes the process as painful, with many weekends spent recording his parts and having to throw them out because they didn’t meet the lofty standards Horrendous had set for themselves. “I remember the first weekend, we were driving home—I think I did three songs that weekend—and we listened to them in the car and I just wanted to cry,” Knox says. “In my head, I was like, ‘We’re not gonna keep any of these.’ ” As painful as the process may have been, the band’s musicianship and attention to detail—and Herring’s skilled ear as a producer—shines through on Idol, from the cleanly sung vocals on “Divine Anhedonia” 42


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to the serpentine riffs and blistering guitar solos found throughout. The ominous introduction “...Prescience” sets the tone before making way for the pounding drums of the lead single, “Soothsayer.” Obituary bassist Terry Butler, who shared the stage with Horrendous nightly on the Decibel Magazine Tour in 2016, also took note of the death metal phenoms’ meticulous riff craft. “I thought they were a perfect blend of death metal and progressive death metal,” Butler recalls. “Killer riffs and cool time changes. They were very tight and showed lots of energy when they played.” Though it’s been years since Horren-

dous really fit neatly into the old-school death metal revival category, there is no going back with Idol. With the release of a King Crimson-inspired album that pushes boundaries for both the band and the listener, they are counting on listeners investing their time in the record. “I definitely hope that people give it some time to simmer,” Herring says. “It’s such a dense album, and just knowing how much time that we spent on it… even when we listen, it’s almost like we’re rediscovering things that we put in there that we didn’t remember. I just feel like if you don’t take care when listening to it, for certain people it’s almost gonna go in one ear and out the other.” P HOTO G RAP H BY SCOTT K I NKA DE

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Engendering Freedom Coming out as trans brings Francis Ponton musical freedom by

ben seal


rancis Ponton started out writing EDM and dubstep, but over the past couple years he left that scene behind in favor of a jazz-infused, synth-focused style. “I wanted to do more stuff that was active performing,” says Ponton, who writes and records everything at his house in North Philly. “DJing was really fun, but



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performance-wise, you have all your stuff premade and just hop behind the decks and stand there and mix. So now being able to do live stuff and sing feels a lot better.” It helps, he says, that about a year ago he came out as trans, clarifying so much about himself and his music in the process. His lyrics were always sincere and addressed issues like mental illness, but they’re now

anchored by his comfort with his gender and sexuality. “I spent a lot of time in my teenage years not being able to be as open as I am now. That stunted relationships for me, not being able to communicate who I am in truth,” Ponton says. “To be able to do that now, and especially to put that in music … it’s exciting to be able to be open about it and not feel like I have anything to be afraid of.” In the year since he self-released the fivesong Condor EP as Overwinter, he’s added live instrumentation to his blend of R&B, dance and electronica, and he’s put together his first full-length album slated for release this fall. “It’s got a weird fusion this time around,” Ponton says of Francis Winter, which will be released by South Philly’s Good How Are You Records. “It’s got some dancey stuff on it. Then it ranges all the way down to very ambient, mellow stuff you could hear playing in a smoky bar where people don’t want the music too loud.” Ponton, 25, grew up playing everything from guitar, bass and drums to saxophone, violin and piano, and for the first time he’s incorporating some if it into his music, cracking into a closetful of instruments to fill out Overwinter’s sound. Matty Klauser, co-founder of Good How Are You Records, says he’s noticed Ponton’s newfound confidence in himself and his music. “I think coming to a better place in regards to his gender identity has helped define who he is and who he will become,” Klauser says. “At the same time, it’s who he has always been.” Ponton has always been an instrumentals first, lyrics later kind of songwriter, and that hasn’t changed, but now he can come at it all unobstructed. “To have that wall taken down in my everyday life allowed for any other kind of wall that might be up to be taken down when I’m writing music,” Ponton says. “It all came down at once, and I can be very open and upfront about anything.” He wants people to connect with the new album and find something in it that they can identify with, even if it can be difficult to be so open. “It’s something that’s helpful for me,” Ponton says. “At the end of the day, I’m going to talk about it, and if I have to do it in my music, then fine, I’ll do it in my music.” P HOTO G RAP H BY CASS I SEGULI N

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photo essay

Side Hustle

Zachary Ciancaglini I N ST RU M E N TS

Guitar? Check. Cable? Check. Mic? Check. Rent? That’s a BIG check. Life’s tough out there, and everyone’s got a side hustle these days. Whether playing music is full time or just a hobby, we’re all doing a little extra to make ends meet. We followed up with some of our favorite local rockstars to see what else they’ve got going on between gigs. PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIKE ARRISON



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Guitar, Drums, Vocals BA N DS

CLOAKZ & Racoon Fighter JOB

BIM 3D Construction Modeling for TriState Construction

Elissa Janelle Velveteen I N ST RU M E N TS

Piano, Guitar, Ukelele, Vocals BA N DS

Molly Rhythm, Elissa Janelle Velveteen JOB

Dog-walker, Bartender

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photo essay

Erin Fox I N ST RU M E N TS

Viola, Guitar, Vocals BA N DS

Resilient, Babe Grenade, Erin Fox JOB

Support Engineer for Graffen Business Systems



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Abi Reimold I N ST RU M E N TS

Guitar BA N DS

Hour & Abi Reimold JOB

Wedding Photography

Jay Yachetta I N ST RU M E N TS

Drums BA N DS

Phantasm & CLOAKZ JOB

Producer/ Director for LuxWAV Films

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The extra bump my business needed to add a new workshop.” You don’t have to be an expert to save Y yyour business energy and money,

because PECO can help. Our financial b

incentives allow businesses to save by in upgrading their old equipment or u

sswitching to energy efficient alternatives. In fact, last year we gave away more than $$6 million in incentives for businesses to sspend their savings elsewhere.

How would you spend your savings? H

V Visit peco.com/SmartIdeas or call 844-4-BIZ-SAVE o



O C TO BE R 201 8

Fi Figure based off incentives paid to PECO commercial customers in 2017. Funds are limited and subject to availability. Fu © PECO Energy Company, 2018.


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japanese breakfast

Soaring Success Michelle Zauner and Japanese Breakfast’s unstoppable by dave miniaci creative explosion


anging in the entranceway to Michelle Zauner’s apartment are framed posters of concerts past, from her former band Little Big League and current band, Japanese Breakfast. They serve as fun mementos but are also reminders of the hard work that has led Zauner to this stage in her career. “I’m at the point where I’m achieving things I thought would just be comical and outlandish to achieve,” she says, then continues with a laugh. “So I’m just trying to do a good job and work hard and keep it that way.” It may be surprising to Zauner, but here she is, performing internationally, playing to a sold-out crowd at Union Transfer last summer and headlining an end-of-the-year residency/three-day-long party at Johnny Brenda’s in December. Zauner exhales as she sits down in her living room, a well-lit and cozy space in Washington Square West. This is her staycation, a few days in between tours. The past year for Zauner has seen extensive touring in support of her latest album, Soft Sounds from Another Planet. The record was critically acclaimed and scored a spot on many end-of-the-year “Best Of” lists, including Stereogum and Rolling Stone. The album deftly mixes elements of shoegaze, noise rock and ’80s alt rock. Rolling Stone called it “an expansively trippy album saturated in science fiction and 1980s shoegaze sounds.” Zauner has spent the past few days mostly relaxing and catching up with friends. She and Marisa Dabice, lead singer of Mannequin Pussy, had been out the night before “drinking a whole pitcher of wine.” Cleaning was among other evident activities—“I’ve basically just been cleaning my apartment for four days,” says Zauner—as the place was pretty spotless, save for some 52


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guitar amp parts lying around. They belong to Zauner’s husband and bandmate, Peter Bradley. “He likes to tinker with that stuff, and I’m scared I’d electrocute myself,” she jokes. While she may never be an electrician, Zauner has ventured into a number of other creative endeavors. Dabice describes Zauner as “this tiny person with the energy and presence of 10,000 men.” And that is certainly reflected in the number of projects she has undertaken. Zauner has directed several of Japanese Breakfast’s music videos. “Machinist” is a dark sci-fi adventure reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey, while the video for “Boyish” features Zauner and her bandmates playing a high school dance, following a main character dealing with insecurity and confidence issues, a theme of the song. “I really wanna make a short film. I’ve directed most of the Japanese Breakfast music videos, and I want to venture more into that,” she says. “Anything that’s been a male-dominated field, my entire life I’ve had this desire to infiltrate, and there aren’t enough women directors, and I want to experiment more with that.” Much to her surprise, Zauner became involved in the making of a video game. The game, “Japanese Breakquest,” was released to the internet last September. When the player wins, they are rewarded with the downloadable MIDI version of the album. It also led to Zauner being approached to soundtrack a game that was released earlier this year, “Sable.” She has also written essays, from her recent, very personal piece published in The New Yorker called “Crying in H Mart” to her award-winning essay for Glamour she intends to turn into a book. Both of these deal with the heartbreak of Zauner losing her mom and finding comfort in cooking

and the foods of her Korean heritage. “[The Glamour essay] was a memoir about Korean cooking and grief and losing my mom and how that affected me, and I felt like I was losing half my identity,” Zauner says. She isn’t sure when she will get to writing the book, and she knows it will take time to put together, especially with everything that comes with being a touring musician. Zauner admits it’s time to hit the pause button ever so slightly, though. She has been on the road for extensive touring, and there was little time in between Soft Sounds and her first album, Psychopomp. She doesn’t want to rush right into the next album, but she doesn’t plan on slowing down altogether. “I wanna take my sweet time with this [new record],” she says. “I wanna try on a couple things and live a little before the next record.” She’s in an enviable position. On early Japanese Breakfast tours, Zauner planned nearly every aspect of the schedule. Now, she just worries about playing. And enjoying the company of her tourmates. “We toured with Mitski, and I remember thinking if I could be where she is now [at the time of the tour] then I’d be happy,” Zauner says. “We’ve toured with friends like Mannequin Pussy and we’ve also toured with Tegan and Sara, which was always a dream.” Zauner is excited for her run of upcoming shows at Johnny Brenda’s and plans to create a fun atmosphere. She even has Dabice DJing the New Year’s Eve show. “I wanna do something super special and decorate it and learn some fun covers,” Zauner says. “I’m excited to hang out for a few days with friends at these shows.” Zauner has found herself in uncharted territory and considers how far the band has come. Japanese Breakfast sold out Union Transfer last summer, but Zauner recalls working coat check at the venue when it first opened. When she started Japanese Breakfast, she had only hoped to release an album on vinyl and sell shirts out of her apartment. “I didn’t think I’d still be in music,” she says frankly. “It wasn’t a stable job, and after something bad happens in your life, that’s what you want. But then there’s this slow growth of when you accomplish something, you move onto the next thing. Everything has just been so far beyond my expectations.” P HOTO G RAP H BY AS HL E Y GELLMA N

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No Shame After a mental health struggle, Petal’s Kiley Lotz is a light by lauren silvestri for others


he triumph of Kiley Lotz, better known by her stage name, Petal, seemed unimaginable only a few years ago. After relocating from New York City to Philadelphia, she returned to her hometown of Scranton early last year to enter treatment for her major depressive and panic disorders. During treatment, she finally summoned, at the age of 25, the courage to admit to herself and others that she was queer. “I think I always knew… but I didn’t really have examples of people who weren’t straight living their lives very publicly,” she says while sitting at a small table at Steap and Grind in Fishtown. “I just hit a breaking point where I was like, ‘If I don’t talk about this soon, I think it’s going to continue to negatively impact my life.’” In her latest album, Magic Gone, a collection of mid-tempo pop-rock songs and contemplative ballads that she wrote over a three-year period before, during and after treatment, she wrestles with these internal struggles. “I could have put out the record and not been specific about what [the songs are] about or what the topic is,” she explains, “but I made a conscious choice to talk about the content because I feel like it’s a universal struggle for people, and I want them to [feel] less shameful to talk about.” The frankness of Magic Gone diverts from her previous and debut album, Shame. “The album is so real,” states her friend and producer Will Yip, who also produced Shame and has witnessed Kiley’s evolution as an artist. “I can go on for days how she’s grown as a performer, writer, instrumentalist and singer. I don’t even consider it the same project. She’s a different beast now.” Yip recalls how Lotz insisted on performing all the instruments on Magic Gone and recording vocals on full takes that showcase 54


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her emotional rawness and honesty. “She’s growing into her true self, and it was a pleasure to capture on record,” he says. Like the album cover for Magic Gone — which features Kiley crouching between a pale pink and cherry red backdrop—the songs capture a duality between more elaborate, produced songs, like the up-tempo “Better Than You” and the smoky, jazz-inspired “Shine” vs. the more stripped-down, simple tracks like “I’m Sorry” and “Stardust.” “They all equally strike me, but in different ways. You feel how crushing the vocals are,” says Yip. Lotz’s big blue eyes widen with excitement when she discusses her recent tour in support of Magic Gone, which she kicked off at PhilaMOCA in June with Australian trio Camp Cope. “The energy of the shows just felt really positive and safe and affirming for hopefully all kinds of people to come and have a good time,” she says, describing the mix of ages at the shows and the large amount of queer attendees. “I want to see how I can bring all different kinds of people together in the same space, and I feel like we were able to do that every time,” she continues. While the album has been hailed by Rolling Stone and Pitchfork, Lotz is most concerned with how others struggling with similar issues identify with the record. “On this tour I had a lot of young women approach me and say they read about my story and listened to the record, and it helped them come out to their families, and that felt pretty surreal. I don’t take that very lightly at all,” she says. “The state of things in the world and in our country are just so bad right now, and anything I can do that contributes to hopefully making it a better,

safer place for myself and others is all I can hope for,” she adds. Now 27, Lotz has not only accepted herself but learned to like who she is. “It’s the best [feeling] because at one point there was a very strong possibility that I wouldn’t get that opportunity,” she says. She emphasizes though that it’s “not a linear process,” and she expects to have ups and downs throughout her recovery. “Instead of avoiding feeling pain, I just let myself feel sad. I don’t have to react to the sadness, but I can live in it and ask for P HOTO G RAP H BY RACHE L D E L SORDO

help or just go about my day. Actually feeling heartbreak for the first time was really kind of amazing,” she says. Now refocused on her music career, Lotz refuses to become complacent with what she views as oppressive structures in the music industry. She laments the uphill struggle for women and queer people, as well as the lack of healthcare and limited resources for musicians. When she sought treatment for her mental health disorders, she had no healthcare at the time. Fortunately the nonprofit MusiCares gave her a grant.

“It literally saved my life,” she states. As she explains the problems in the industry, she speaks faster and with steadfast determination, her expressive face lighting up. “If you’re not actively trying to make something better, it’s going to be the same,” she says. Lotz recently moved to Fishtown, and the Philly community inspires her activism by the active dialogues about gentrification and how to make Philly a better place for everyone. She notices the rainbow flag everywhere and says “it’s really special.”

While Lotz prepares to go overseas supporting Shakey Graves this fall, she continues attempting to find preventative solutions to issues regarding assault, addiction and healthcare in the music industry, as well as breaking down barriers for women and queer artists. Because of her troubled journey, she understands the value in confronting those obstacles. She realizes she needs to take care of herself, and does not have to be perfect. She offers some words of advice: “At any point you’re unhappy, you have every right to try and change that.” O CTO B E R 20 18






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With the release of their third studio album, Dance on the Blacktop, NOTHING look back and push forward O CTO B E R 20 18



Coming in through the back door of Ortlieb’s, the legendary jazz club-turned-modern music venue in Northern Liberties, is a disorienting experience. The mid-afternoon sunlight is quickly swallowed by the club’s windowless dark and the Lynch-ian red velvet draped behind the stage, which is weakly lit by a string of party lights. The city noise is muffled, and the recycled air is tinged with stale beer and body odor. Sun spots drift around my vision as my eyes adjust, focusing first on an ’80s arcade game in the corner called “Narc” and next on a creepy stuffed cat sitting on the window of the soundbooth. On the low stage, the guys in the band Nothing are breaking down their gear after a practice, cracking jokes and reminiscing about old Eminem songs and his connection to 50 Cent. Their conversation is awash in reverb, ghostly little echoes picked up by a vocal mic someone forgot to turn off. “What was it, nine times, that he got shot?” The band is moving slowly, tired after a long morning rehearsal in the cramped space. Thanks to an ongoing arrangement with the club, Nothing has been allowed to use the room for the past few years during the club’s off hours. Today, though, they’re not packing it up until the next practice— this load-out is the unofficial start of a month-long U.S. tour spanning September and part of October; November and December will find them playing a few dates across Western Europe. The JUMP photographer is setting up for a photoshoot, and front man Domenic Palermo announces he’s going to get changed first. “I should probably be in a shirt I haven’t been sweating in for the past four hours,” he muses. It’s a small moment, but one that points to something larger: Even without a publicist on-site, or the tour manager who will soon clear the way through the ups and downs of life on the road, Palermo knows, all punk cred aside, it’s probably best to not look a sweaty mess in a magazine cover photo. People are paying attention.



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And they are. Though Nothing has been steadily gaining momentum in its seven-year run, the newest record, Dance on the Blacktop, released by Philly label Relapse Records on August 24, is pushing them ever-closer to that elusive moment of “blowing up.” Press coverage, from Revolver to NPR, has been glowingly positive (the new record was scored a 7.1 on Pitchfork, if you care about that sort of thing), they’ve got close to 93,000 monthly listens on Spotify and will almost surely sell out Union Transfer (which they call their “home venue”) on October 6. Tour is a topic that nearly all bands have conflicted feelings about, and Nothing is no different. Yes, of course they love playing live, meeting new people, seeing old friends, experiencing different landscapes and getting a change from their regular routines. But there’s also the boredom backstage, the endless days in the van (which they’ve put 140,000 miles on in the five years since buying it), the missing of creature comforts. But ultimately, it’s a job, as Palermo points out. “We literally run ourselves to E financially when we’re doing this, because to do this band at this speed, there’s not a lot of time for anything else ... we put everything into this,” he says. “[So, after tour] it’s obviously nice to not be poor for a little while.” Looking around the table while we chat, I’m struck with the incongruence of the bands’ collective appearance and vibe and their sound. They are all heavily tattooed (Palermo has so many tattoos on his chest, it looks like he’s wearing another shirt under his clean button-up), with the aesthetic of skateboarders who know how to party; foul-mouthed ball-busters with a collective energy that borders on misanthropic. Then there’s their music, a sort of shoegaze/grunge blend that, while main-

taining a certain intensity and edge, would make a perfectly acceptable soundtrack to make out to. Most of the members of the band do, in fact, come from punk and hardcore music scenes (Palermo, notably, fronted the Philly hardcore band Horror Show), and maintain their connections to those roots through their bizarre, usually unsettling music videos (including the recently released I Hate the Flowers, directed by London-based videographer Matt Newman), emotionally raw and dark lyrics and their ridiculously loud stage volume, by now one of their signature calling cards. There are also stints of bad behavior, both on record (Palermo served a two-year jail sentence starting in 2002 on charges of aggravated assault) and off (rumors that the band has thrown guitars into the audience during shows), though it can’t be denied that the guys have sweet sides. For example, guitarist Brandon Setta says that a watershed moment for him with the band was their sold-out show at Union Transfer on their last tour. “That’s a show I’m glad my mom was there to see,” he says. “All our families where there, all our friends were there, huge guest list ... that was a defining show for me.” Nothing is also community-minded: To celebrate the release of Dance on the Blacktop, they threw a block party in Port Richmond, near where Palermo grew up, as a sort of thank-you gift to the city. They’ve been involved with groups like Rock to the Future and are turning their record-release show in October into a fundraiser for the Philadelphia Prison Society. Palermo is also the founder of Belly of the Beats (BotB), a new nonprofit that will work toward prison reform and help families of people in the system. Through an ongoing partnership with the Pennsylvania Prison Society, the goal of

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the organization is to provide funding and volunteers to inmates with legal needs, assistance to their families and support during inmates’ transition to society once their sentence is complete. A core value of BotB is the belief that “reforms for inmates and an involved/informed community with the correct resources can help enact positive change, creating a domino effect to reach the youth.” Nothing’s record label, Relapse Records, stacked with metal bands like Pig Destroyer, Obituary, and Obscura fits more closely with the band’s hardcore past. Bob Lugowe, the director of marketing and A&R at Relapse, says Nothing embodies the label’s aesthetic of “being dark, heavy and distinctive,” and “shatters conceptions on what an indie rock band can look and sound like.” The folks at Relapse originally discovered Nothing through Jeff Zeigler, a Philly producer who worked on the band’s 2014 album Guilty of Everything. “Jeff raved about the band to us and soon as we heard [the album], we were hooked,” Lugowe remembers. “We all came out to see them open for Deafheaven at The Barbary when both bands were relatively unknown. That show sealed the deal.” Though their live performances are epic, specifically thanks to a volume level that threatens to swallow you whole (in a good way), the band members uniformly agree that recording is their favorite mode of creativity. “You finally eventually hear your [lousy] demo turn into a huge studio sound, and it gets you more excited to work on it in a bigger way than in your bedroom,” Setta says. Dance on the Blacktop was recorded in the

late fall of 2017, in the legendary Dreamland Studio, inside a gorgeous 1896 church in Woodstock, New York, with producer John Agnello, who has worked with artists like Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. The experience was immersive, a temporary floating Nothing Island. “We had our own house, [we were] getting [wasted] the whole time, making music, and no one could bother us,” Palermo reflects. “Don’t get me wrong, I like playing in front of people, but recording is so much more personal ... you’re in your own space.” The result of life on the island is the ninesong full-length, headed up by the record’s first single, “Zero Day.” While unconfirmed that the song title is a nod to the Smashing Pumpkins, the first few riffs of the song channel ’90s grunge without flinching. The whole album is as awash with nostalgia as it is with distortion. The song “Us/We/ are” sounds like something from a 1993-era Thom Yorke and Kurt Cobain supergroup, and, run through a different sequence of pedals, the melancholy opening notes of “The Carpenter’s Son,” a song about addiction, anger and death, could easily be mistaken for early Soundgarden. Palermo readily admits that the album is informed by the bands he and the others loved in middle and high school, Seattle grunge, shoegaze bands from England and Boston, Britpop, and some punk and hardcore. But for him, the nostalgia goes deeper, gets personal. “Our songwriting has always been influenced by what’s going on around us, life-wise,” he says. “So, this record has that ’90s nostalgic sound and has me speaking on so many things, lyrically, from my time growing up in the

“Our World is Nothing” reads the banner that hangs behind them onstage each night, but this is belied by their forward progress as a band, and the victories they’ve seen in spite of all their struggles.



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’90s in Philadelphia.” “Zero Day,” is blanketed with a bleak claustrophobia, a feeling of being trapped, stuck, withering, as illustrated in the video, where Palermo is carried in a coffin by a group of men walking under the El train. “Light abandons me/I guess/I wasn’t meant to see/Hostage of/Unspeakable mistrust/ Motionless/Emotionless/Empire of rust,” he sings in that quiet-but-tortured way of so many grunge rock front men before him. “Hail on Palace Pier” is an eerie ballad, a song for the half-feral kids running amok in the parts of the city untouched by tourism and economic progress. “Lost and found and lingering/Vapor angels climb from sewer holes/Young and dumb and full of tears/ It’s never a true love until it goes,” he sings at the song’s start. Philly is important to the band, wrapped up tightly with its identity and its history. But for Palermo, especially, it is tangled in ambivalence about his tough childhood and the weariness that comes with being a native of a place it seems no one can truly escape from. He and Setta moved to New York three years ago (the Lower East Side and Brooklyn, respectively), but somehow, Philly keeps its claws in them, pulling them back again and again with its hometown tractor beam. “You can’t manage to get out of Philadelphia no matter what you do … no one in my family ever left,” he says. “New York doesn’t even seem like a real move.” And so as Nothing departs for tour, crisscrossing the country, unloading at different clubs each night to play in front of bigger crowds than ever, staying in nicer hotels then ever and then heading out again each morning to do it all over again, they embrace a specific tension—a very rock and roll kind of tension—between nihilism and hope. Their name implies a void, an inevitable defeat. And their music is fatalistic and dark, dreamy in an almost-nightmare way. “Our World is Nothing” reads the banner that hangs behind them onstage each night, but this is belied by their forward progress as a band, and the victories they’ve seen in spite of all their struggles. In their songs and videos, Nothing’s world may be full of heartbreak and chaos, but the real world is opening up for them.

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daniel difranco

Band on the Brink


re they breaking up or breaking through? Daniel DiFranco’s debut novel, Panic Years, depicts life on the road with an unsigned band through the eyes of a musician who has just joined the group. Backstage hijinks are interspersed with the less glamorous tasks of driving, staying in seedy motels, handing out flyers, and setting up equipment at venues. DiFranco, 38, of Manayunk, is depicting a world he knows well, having played in bands since his teens. The novel is narrated by Paul, a bassist who is pondering his prospects in the music



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industry as he approaches 30. He has signed on for a tour with the rock band Qualia, and the action picks up nine weeks into a 12-week national tour. Tensions within the band are high, but they may be on the verge of a big break. We asked DiFranco to discuss his debut novel and what happens every night after the band packs up. JUMP: Where did the name “Panic Years” come from? DiFranco: I was in a band called Panic Years, an indie-alt rock band, formed in 2008 and based in Philadelphia. I was in the band for


eric fitzsimmons

less than a year as their touring bass player in support of their debut LP, The Month’s Mind. When I started writing the book, it was loosely, loosely based off some of those experiences. And when I finished the book, I had always planned on changing the title, but I liked it so much … I think it really captures the spirit of being in your late 20s or any age where you feel like there’s a deadline to achieve certain things before that arbitrary number of 30 or 40 or 50 passes, so you panic. JUMP: Were you interested in portraying the warts-and-all details of a band on tour just trying to get by? DiFranco: Yeah, and Qualia, the band in the book, is not famous. They’re on the verge of breaking through, which still doesn’t even mean famous. That just means maybe you have label support and a wider audience. So I think that is what separates it from Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad, or, when I was writing this, my classmates [in a writing class at Arcadia University] would liken it to Almost Famous. These guys in Panic Years are in a used minivan, just driving across the country, sleeping in motels or on people’s floors. Their meals are coming from meal tickets, if they get them, or gas stations. JUMP: We meet Paul at a particular moment in life. What is going through his mind as the tour progresses? DiFranco: [He] is getting a little older and he doesn’t see himself in his 30s starting with a new band. As that dream is slipping away, he meets his friend Drix, who is working as a session musician, and that lifestyle is very attractive. It’s one that I was actively thinking about while I was writing the book. This idea of, “Could you just be a songwriter? Could you just be a session musician? An engineer? A producer?” There’s a whole other side of the music business that’s not just being on stage. More information on the book, including how it can be purchased, at danieldifranco.com.



Daniel DiFranco’s all-too-real novel about life on the road

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No Turning Back Honest Tom says goodbye to the butcher


hen i saw that my butcher was calling, I dreaded answering the phone. Yes, when I decided to replace meat with an entirely plant-based menu at Honest Tom’s, I knew there would be blowback. I knew there’d be a lot of social media sniping, and maybe even some people stopping into my restaurant to give me a piece of their mind—although that never happened. I had totally braced myself for all of it. But I hadn’t really thought about the fact that I would be severing a relationship that I had had for years with my butcher, and that he might want to give me an earful on the way out. But that’s not what he did. Instead, he said, “I’m a third-generation butcher, and obviously I hate to lose the business, but I just want to let you know that I respect what you’re doing.” That unexpected tender moment was as surreal as anything that happened since I stopped eating all animal products. I never thought I’d stop eating meat. Actually, I never even thought about meat at all. It was just always there, sitting in front of me when I was hungry, on the menu at the restaurant, stacked neatly at the supermarket, or slowly rotating on a wheel at the gas station. But one day this all changed. It was a hot Monday morning in July, and I had just returned from a trip with the wife to her hometown in central PA, a trip full of carnival food, cheese fries, pit beef, funnel cakes and Ruby Tuesday visits. I woke up feeling like I had mud guts, so I did what any normal, rational thinking person would do: I decided to become a vegan. Well actually, I decided I’d become a vegan for a few days, because Friday was pizza and chicken wing night. But two days later, I was hooked on my new diet. I felt great and promptly extended the timeline of my newfound vegan lifestyle to two weeks, and within a few more days it was 90 days. By the following Monday, it was forever. But something was still bothering me. 64


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Sure, it was great to give up the various animal parts and their secretions for my own personal health reasons. I was eating great and starting to get into some semblance of shape for the first time in my life. However somewhere in between googling jackfruit recipes and image searching week-by-week vegan body result pictures, I started digging a little deeper. I wanted to look at where all this meat was coming from. I knew slaughterhouse footage didn’t make for a cozy evening on the couch, but I had to see it, and it was much worse than I thought. The conditions the animals were living in and the methods of their killing and the impact all of it was having on the planet was almost impossible to take in. All I could think about was how these crammed cows and sore covered pigs and deformed chickens I was watching videos

of would days later be getting stuffed into my tacos and burritos. For the past nine years, I had been making a living off this, and I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore. I didn’t want to have to explain to my kid why factory-farmed animals were bad to eat but okay to profit off. I needed to get animals off the menu and there was no other way around it. It was somehow both the hardest decision I have ever made, but at the same time the easiest. I suppose I could have made everyone happy and just hid behind words like “natural” and “humanely slaughtered” and “free range,” and just expanded the vegan options, but I wouldn’t be able to call the place Honest anymore, or look at myself in the mirror. And I’m happy that my butcher understood that.

tom mccusker is the owner of Honest Tom’s Plant Based Taco Shop in West Philadelphia P HOTO G RAP H BY RACHAE L WARRI NER

The #1 Thing You Can Do for the Environment Good environmental laws are made by good environmental lawmakers, and Pennsylvania doesn’t have enough of them. Currently, PA faces several issues like: • Dangerous lead levels in the water in cities and schools • Abandoned coal mines that pollute our water and aging coal power plants that poison our air • A president determined to destroy the federal protections that serve as a backstop in PA The way to fix these problems and create a more sustainable Pennsylvania is by electing state lawmakers in neighboring counties who will prioritize people over polluters. But you can’t change PA just by voting and winning in Philadelphia. The number one thing Philadelphians can do for the environment is to get out to the suburbs and knock on doors for our endorsed candidates.

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Montgomery/Bucks Montgomery Montgomery Montgomery Montgomery Montgomery/Phila Montgomery Montgomery

Sen. Art Haywood Mary Louise Isaacson Joe Hohenstein Malcolm Kenyatta Elizabeth Fiedler Rep. Jim Roebuck Rep. Chris Rabb

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Shining a light on community action A Penn student concludes her degree with an illuminating internship Mahvish Azim Ilyas (Master of Environmental Studies ’18) wants to shine a light on solar energy in Philadelphia. In addition to research on the Philadelphia solar energy market for her master’s degree at Penn, Mahvish helped to organize information sessions, presentations and partnerships to raise local awareness about Solarize Philly, a citywide program to help all Philadelphians go solar at home. “Community lies at the heart of what we do,” she explains. “Talking about the environment is not just about saving the planet, it’s also about how to make lives easier and better for people.” Mahvish Azim Ilyas, MES ‘18

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Mahvish’s commitment to community is the charge that powered her academic career as well. A member of both the International Student Advisory Board and the Graduate Advisory Board as she completed her degree, Mahvish feels that student participation is vital to the Penn experience. “We all have a right to be heard,” she says. “The best way to do that is becoming a part of the conversation. It’s not only our right but our responsibility to become a part of the solution.” To learn more about how the MES program helped Mahvish combine environmental research with civic engagement, visit:


Profile for Red Flag Media

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