A Match Made in Heaven

It’s not often that an artist and a composer meet at a Bar Mitzvah,  and the result is a song destined to greet thousands of cathedral visitors during a papal visit.

But when artist Meg Saligman described her vision for a collaborative art installation at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia,  Betsy Alexander could almost hear the musical accompaniment playing in her head.

The result was “Help Us Mary”,  her hauntingly beautiful complement to Saligman’s  Knotted Grotto.


We first introduced you to Betsy Alexander this summer, when we toured the fabulous home she shares with her artist husband Burnell Yow! and a phalanx of cats, including internationally celebrated Nora the Piano Cat.

15_09_29 0 DC_5299(Betsy at the keyboard with Nora, left, and Max) Continue reading

Where There’s Life…There’s Pope

With our cars safely parked and no festival tickets in hand, we had no intention of joining the teeming mob around Pope Francis this weekend.  But, hey:  After staring out at the half-empty South Philly streets on Saturday  (“Just look at those empty parking spots!”),  we couldn’t sit home any longer.


So at 4 pm,  we headed up eerily traffic-free Broad Street,  past the National Guardsmen,  souvenir hawkers,  concrete barriers,  and (even more) blocks of port-a-potties,  until we reached the Jumbotrons heralding the Pope’s visit to Independence Hall…

15_09_27 1 Jumbotron CM_7015(A crowd gathers at Broad and Lombard Streets with City Hall in the background
to watch the Pope arrive at Independence Hall.) Continue reading

On the Pope Festival Trail…Without the Pope

Like most South Philadelphians who didn’t get Festival tickets or flee to the shore,  we’ll be home clutching our parking spots this weekend.

But before our Broad Street Subway entrance closes — and the security checkpoints click in around the “Secure Event Perimeter” (aka the “Pope Francis Festival Grounds”) —  we headed to the Parkway on Wednesday evening to check out the preparations…


  15_09_25 00 Banner_6640   15_09_25 01 Visitors DC_9971(One of the hundreds of banners lining the route from city hall to the art museum.  And, yes, these World Meeting of Families visitors were noshing on Subway sandwiches by the fountain.)
Continue reading