January 29, 2009


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Shedding light on monstrous evil
Springside grad makes films in world’s danger zones

Jen Marlowe sitting with the kids, taken in Iridimi refugee camp in eastern Chad in 2004. (Photo by Aisha Bain)

Jen Marlowe, 37, is a documentary film maker and writer from Lafayette Hill whose primary focus has always been on the injustices in places such as Palestine and Sudan. Jen is part of a three-person team who have dedicated themselves to shedding light on the humanitarian crisis in Darfur (a region of Sudan). She traveled to Northern Darfur and Eastern Chad to film the documentary Darfur Diaries:  Message from Home, released in 2005.

Ms. Marlowe spoke two months ago to the Chestnut Hill Rotary Club about her journey into documentary film-making and her new project, Rebuilding Hope, about South Sudan, at the Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church. She screened a work-in-progress version of the film the night before at Springside School, her alma mater. She also spoke to a film class at Springside.

After 20 years, caring neighbors still trying to keep Mt. Airy safe

The Mt. Airy-Nippon-Bryan-Cresheim Town Neighborhood Watch meets once a month in the High Point Cafe at Allens Lane train station to discuss issues relevant to their community. At 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 8, I found myself inside the High Point Cafe, surrounded by a large group of caring, mindful, diverse individuals. There were over 20 people at the meeting ready to talk about their community and why the town watch has lasted so long.


Finally, the ugly, long-hidden truth about Groundhog Day!

A great philosopher once said, “To a groundhog, every day is Groundhog Day,” but to us humans, February 2 is the day when the non-hibernating bipedal population humbly seeks the gifted guidance of the glorious groundhog in matters meteorological.

We are very grateful to our many customers/friends for whom we provided birth announcements and are now ordering wedding invitations. These people know we would never bait and switch. Furthermore, under no circumstances would we ever deceive any customer or misrepresent any service or product we offer.

Pinch-hitter for Hill conductor hits a home run

HILLER AT WORLD CAFÉ LIVE: Chestnut Hill resident Josh McIlvane is almost a one-man band since he is the only permanent member of the band Sexcop. Josh will be performing next Tuesday, Feb. 3, 8 p.m., at World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St. Elvis, Hank Williams and James Brown are Josh’s inspirations for live entertaining, but his musical influences run the gamut from Brazilian to Native American to R&B and even country. Josh also writes freelance human interest features for the Local. For more information, visit or email

One of the many proofs of the great improvement Chestnut Hiller Ignat Solzhenitsyn has accomplished as music director of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia is the ensemble’s ability to respond to the baton of a guest conductor whose style is quite different from that of Solzhenitsyn. This admirable development was distinctly displayed Sunday afternoon in the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater when Roberto Minczuk led the ensemble in Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 9, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in B-flat major and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C major. In all three scores, but especially in the Tchaikovsky, Minczuk revealed himself to be an emotionally charged romantic quite unlike the intellectual classicist Solzhenitsyn. And yet, Minczuk elicited playing from the ensemble that was every bit as finely tuned and immaculately wrapped as any concert led by Solzhenitsyn.

At the opening of the Serenade’s first movement, one immediately recalled that George Balanchine choreographed one of his most admired ballets to this score. The music coursed with the pulse of dancing through a full-bodied, well-rounded tone that glowed as it filled the theater. Balances were meticulously maintained, even in the softest of passages, and textural clarity never faltered during even the fastest of sections.

Boris Garlitsky was the soloist in Mozart’s First Violin Concerto. Although his lack of a sweet, warm tone hampered his playing in the slow second movement, his technical security and interpretive integrity carried him through the first and third movements expertly. Minczuk accompanied him masterfully and  opened the concert admirably with the Villa-Lobos.