June 24, 2010

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A handsome, talented painter before mental illness
The shocking mystery of Chestnut Hill’s ‘Uni-dread’


Marguerite was very proud of Jules, a handsome, talented young man who apparently had a bright future when he graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

If you have lived in Chestnut Hill for the last few years or more, you know who he is. You probably have been wondering what happened to him. You also were probably wondering what his personal history was and why he walked the streets of Chestnut Hill every day, looking like a homeless person with his unkempt appearance and almost unbelievably long ponytail-like dreadlock. This is his story.

On June 12, 2009 a man named Jules Csatry passed away from emphysema at the age of 63. Barely anyone heard about it. There was no announcement in the papers. To most of us, Jules was known as the homeless guy with the one long dreadlock or as he was called by some, Unidread.

The hundreds of times I saw him walking up and down Germantown Avenue or Mermaid Lane, I would always think to myself, “How did that guy end up like this?” or “Where does he sleep?” and “Where did he come from?” Last fall, I was introduced to his heartbroken and beautiful mother, Marguerite, by a long-time friend of my family’s and was asked to help sell her carriage house.

2nd Hill Book Festival planned for July 9-11

The second annual Chestnut Hill Book Festival promises to be bigger and better than ever – no small feat considering last year’s was “a huge success,” according to Greg Welsh, president of the Chestnut Hill Business Association.

Scheduled for July 9-11, the festival will feature readings, signings, discussions, workshops and more, with over 50 authors participating. The festival provides a promotion opportunity for local authors along with a chance for book-lovers to participate in great discussions and add some new titles to their must-read lists.

Cell phone antennas get initial OK for Chestnut Hill Tower

Plans by cell phone provider T-Mobile to install nine additional cell phone panel antennas at the Hill Tower apartment building, 400 East Mermaid Lane, were approved June 15 by the Development Review Committee

The firm’s original proposal, which called for the installation of a 90-foot “monopole” behind the nearby Rite Aid pharmacy to support an antenna array, was a sticking point in getting DRC support when it was presented to the committee in January

After longtime owner dies, Launderama passes to a new generation

The late Margaret McGettigan

For more than 40 years, friends, neighbors and patrons of the Chestnut Hill Launderama, 7841 Germantown Ave., would come in, not only to have their dry cleaning done, but also to talk to its owner Margaret McGettigan.

“My mother was the kind of person where if you come in, you were here for a long time,” Margaret’s daughter Mary Lee said. Margaret died at the age of 81 on June 5 after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Mary Lee now runs the store, easing the transition for the Launderama’s patrons, some of them third-generation customers and all of them friends.

“She would hold court here every Saturday,” Mary Lee said as she described the personal rapport her mother had with each customer.

Margaret started working at the store after her husband, Edward, survived a heart attack at 30. Edward had done electrical work for the store, and soon Margaret had found her life’s work. Years later, the previous owners were ready to retire and offered it to Margaret.

Hot Club of Philly brings ‘Gypsy Jazz’ to Pastorius

The Hot Club of Philadelphia.

The Hot Club of Philadelphia will jazz up Pastorius Park at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 30, as part of the 62nd annual Pastorius Park Free Concert Series.

Performing what it calls “Gypsy Jazz,” this quartet bases its style on Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and French violinist Stephan Grappelli.

Gypsy Jazz is the quartet’s take on the American jazz movement, with a blending of Grappelli and Reinhardt’s backgrounds. One of Reinhardt’s songs was recently chosen as the soundtrack to the iPad unveiling, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Hot Club of Philadelphia, named after “Quintette du Hot Club de France,” Reinhardt and Grapelli’s band, and started in 2001, is composed of four musicians: Jim Stagner on acoustic bass, Rich Yescalis on rhythm guitar, Barry Warhoftig on a Manouche Modele jazz guitar and Mark Campiglia on violin.


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