June 24, 2010

Chestnut Hill Dining Guide

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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.

To partake of this cultural celebration, head to The Stagecrafters theater at 8130 Germantown Ave. The Stagecrafters, which has served the Chestnut Hill community with locally produced theater since opening nearly eight decades ago, will host more than 25 events for the book festival free of charge.

Many other events and readings will be held at Chestnut Hill venues, such as Rollers café, Laurel Hill Gardens, Buckley Park and the Bombay Room at the Chestnut Hill Hotel.

This year’s festival will feature well-known figures, such as Richard C. Morais, former senior editor for Forbes magazine; Daily News columnist Solomon Jones; Sam Katz, businessman and former Mayoral candidate; Holocaust survivor Yehuda Nir, and Steve Poses, owner of the Philadelphia restaurant Renaissance. 

Morais is scheduled to read from his novel “The Hundred Foot Journey” at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 10.

Writing for Forbes magazine in his 20s, Morais took a brief break to travel to Paris where he wrote “Pierre Cardigan: The Man Who Became a Label,” a biography of fashion revolutionary Pierre Cardigan.

Before long, Morais began work in the field he called his “true calling”: fiction writing. The novel he will read from, “The Hundred Foot Journey,” is the story of Hassan Haji, a middle-aged Indian chef forced to leave his home with his family after a death-related tragedy. The family travels to a small village in France, where Hassan is soon discovered as a uniquely talented chef and must bear the consequences of his success and the jealousy of the local culinary star he overshadows.

The book, to be released July 6, has already received outstanding reviews from esteemed authors, newspapers, and magazines, and was recently been selected as a top pick for the summer by Oprah Winfrey.

Solomon Jones will read from his recently released novel “Payback,” the sequel to the crime-thriller “C.R.E.A.M” at 2 p.m. on Saturday. “Payback” is the story of Karima “Cream” Thomas, a young African-American female seeking vengeance for the murder of her mother while on trial for a complicated double-murder, of which her late boyfriend was one of the victims.

In 2001 Jones wrote his debut novel “Pipe Dreams,” the story of four drug addicts falsely accused of murdering a Philadelphia politician. The novel is narrated in first person by one of the accused and is a compelling and heartbreaking chronicle of addiction, according to reviews.

Jones writes for the Philadelphia Daily News and is the author of a weekly column “Weekend Warrior,” also in the Daily News. He is at work on another novel and has recently released an R&B and Hip-Hop CD “Wisdom.”

Former mayoral candidate Sam Katz will discuss “The Shame of the City,” a 2006 documentary film in which he was featured at 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Katz, a Philadelphia resident, graduated from Central High School in 1967 and went on to earn a B.A. in political science from Johns Hopkins University.

Katz has been a familiar name in Philadelphia since he first ran for mayor in 1991. Katz was a registered Democrat until, for practical reasons, he ran as the Republican candidate in the 1991 election. Though he was not elected mayor of Philadelphia, Katz has contributed extensively to the city’s business community.

He worked as a research analyst for the Greater Philadelphia Partnership, co-founded Public Financial Management Inc. (a national organization devoted to financial advising) and worked his way up to CEO of Greater Philadelphia First, a leading organization in business and civic affairs.

In addition, Katz has devoted innumerable hours to serving on the boards of Philadelphia organizations such as the Philadelphia Board of Education, City Year, Children’s Scholarship Fund of Philadelphia, Greater Philadelphia Salvation Army and the University City Science Center.

Katz continues to serve on the boards of many institutions in Philadelphia.

Architect and caterer Steve Poses will read from his book “At Home By Steve Poses,” a guide to becoming a better entertainer through improved recipes and skills in hospitality, at 2 p.m. Saturday at Laurel Hill Gardens, 8125 Germantown Ave.

Poses, a native New Yorker, attended the University of Pennsylvania and entered the food business in 1971. He has owned and directed Frog Commissary Catering since 1976, and his restaurant, Frog, was named Philadelphia’s Best Restaurant of the Past 25 Years. He was voted Restaurateur of the Decade after what he said was “a particularly good decade” and currently runs the Philadelphia restaurant Renaissance.

At 6 p.m. Sunday, July 11, Yehuda Nir will read from his memoir “The Lost Childhood,” at The Stagecrafters theater. Nir, born in Poland in 1930, wrote “The Lost Childhood,” a personal account of his family’s experiences during the Holocaust, in 1989. The memoir describes his family’s survival tactics, among them disguising themselves as Polish Catholics, and his father’s tragic death.

Nir returned in 1945 to Poland, where he received his high school diploma. He graduated from Jerusalem Medical School in 1957 and taught psychiatry at Cornell Medical School until 2001.

But readings and discussions are not all that the Book Festival will include. While Nir reads on Sunday, July 11, a chess demonstration will be held at Buckley Park by local Chestnut Hill resident Will Fischer. Saturday will feature fiction and singer-songwriter slams, poetry, and – for children – a Green Eggs & Ham brunch followed by readings and signings by children’s authors. Plan for an eventful weekend.



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