Funeral for a Home in Philly, Mass Graves in Detroit

We were going to take nails out of reclaimed wood that might be used to rebuild homes, make furniture, and build out new businesses. It was a muggy morning. It was early and I was already tired, but I was also excited to do something physical after many hours of meetings the day before at the hotel. I was thinking about the fact that local Philadelphia company Revolution Recovery, who has the same basic philosophy as Reclaim Detroit, was growing and thriving back home where I work at the Delaware Valley Green Building Council. When I got off of the bus, we were led to the door of the warehouse, and I was not expecting to get teary about what I saw.

Death and the Single Girl

While looking for a song to to add to a set list many years ago, I came across the tune “Single Girl, Married Girl” on Harry Smith's Folkways Anthology. It seemed appropriate for an all-girl old-timey country band full of single ladies slinging instruments and singing in harmony, proudly declaring “a single girl, a single girl, she goes just where she please, a married girl, a married girl, she's got a baby on her knee.”


The song had been popularized by the Carter Family, but I've yet to to see definitive authorship information. In the Anthology notes, 1927 is listed as the recording date, but it was likely around long before that. But it's a bit repetitive for my taste, and so without really thinking about it, I took the liberty of adding a bridge. It fit the band nicely and became a go-to at shows. (It was also a self-fulfilling prophecy: when the ladies in the band started having babies themselves, it was the death knell for The Estelles.)


Philadelphia Magazine Piece Inadvertently Reveals One Big Thing that's Wrong About Philadelphia

Once upon a January morning, the new year just starting to stretch its legs into 2014, a young freelance videographer from The New York Times landed in Philadelphia to do a two minute “Intersections” piece on street style. After several interviews at the Franklin Flea and elsewhere, he landed in the neighborhood of Fishtown, an area that's in transition, a place where it's now possible to get a good glass of wine, and it's also not out of the realm of possibility for your boyfriend, who slipped outside the bar for a quick Father's Day call, to text you: “Hey. I'm alright. I'm at the police station. I just got robbed at gunpoint. I'll be back."

The day I got that text I was not drinking wine, because the rundown Irish bar where we were playing music didn't have any. So I was drinking rot gut whiskey and watching neighborhood pill heads buy drugs at the bar and thankful for the artisan pizza that the bartender Freddie had ordered from down the street for the band, who was playing in front of the women's restroom. Later that evening, my boyfriend came back from the precinct in North Philly and hopped back on stage to finish the set. During that time, many people walked unmolested out on the street, some of them to get a great Manhattan with local rye a few doors down.

A neighborhood-native shopkeeper recently told a friend of mine, “You know, I'm tired of people complaining about the hipsters moving in. At least it's not the blacks.”

That's Fishtown.

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