Alaina headshot 2018

Alaina Johns

Editor-In-Chief

BSR Contributor Since February 17, 2013

Alaina Johns (she/her pronouns) is the editor-in-chief of Broad Street Review.

Alaina Johns, the editor-in-chief of Broad Street Review, is a freelance writer and editor who landed squarely in what everyone says is the worst job of the 21st century. So she makes Philadelphia her classroom, writing about everything from spaceflight to toad migrations. Alaina has been a freelance journalist in Philadelphia since 2007, and specializes in covering arts and culture for publications throughout the Philadelphia region and beyond.

By this Author

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Protesters at the Walnut Street Theatre on June 18 called for Bernard Havard’s departure. (Photo by Alaina Johns.)

What I learned about leadership as a Walnut Street Theatre apprentice

Time warp on Walnut Street

Alaina Johns is one of many Philadelphia professionals who got their start in the Walnut Street Theatre’s apprenticeship program, and the experience still influences her today.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 5 minute read
Protest co-organizer Garrick Morgan speaks to the crowd outside the Walnut on June 18. (Photo by Matthew Wright.)

Protect the Artist protestors make their demands outside the Walnut Street Theatre

Philly artists march to “crack the Nut”

On June 18, the activists of a newly formed Philly coalition, Protect the Artist, took their message to the streets with a protest outside the Walnut Street Theatre. An Nichols and Alaina Johns were there.
An Nichols Alaina Johns

An Nicholsand Alaina Johns

Features 6 minute read
Jenna Pinchbeck has questions for the Walnut Street Theatre. (Image courtesy of Jenna Pinchbeck.)

The Walnut says cease and desist, but Philly theater artists keep speaking up

“They are afraid of me”

After questioning the Walnut Street Theatre on Facebook, Philly performing artist Jenna Pinchbeck received a cease and desist letter on behalf of the Walnut and its artistic director, Bernard Havard. Pinchbeck talks with Alaina Johns about what’s next.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Features 6 minute read
The galleries at PAFA were one of my first post-vaccination outings. (Photo by Alaina Johns.)

BSR is resuming in-person and indoor coverage: what you need to know

The arts go back inside

Last summer, BSR committed to keeping our coverage all-digital or all-outdoors until we saw a significant reduction in Covid-19 risk. Now we’re ready for an update. Alaina Johns explains.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 3 minute read
Is this really my fantasy? (Image courtesy of Lightning Rod Special.)

Lightning Rod Special presents Lee Minora and Scott Sheppard’s ‘Nosejob’

A feminist fantasy?

Lightning Rod Special launches a new series of audio works with ‘Nosejob,’ a story that connects a 9th-century nunnery to modern college kids, asking what really makes up our fantasies. Alaina Johns reviews.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Reviews 3 minute read
For some people, troubling medical symptoms aren’t a temporary worry. (Photo by Alaina Johns.)

As we line up for Covid vaccines, can we better understand chronic illness?

An infinite ache

Some folks are worried about a day or two of vaccine side effects. Others handle symptoms like pain and fatigue for their whole lives. Alaina Johns considers how the vaccination line lets us reframe chronic illness.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 5 minute read
What does the US Capitol stand for? (Photo by Andrew Van Huss, via Wikimedia Commons.)

After the riot at the Capitol, we’re affirming what the BSR team stands for

No to white supremacy

The January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol traumatized many Americans, whether we were shocked by it, or we were seeing what we already knew to be true. Editor Alaina Johns affirms what our executive team stands for in this moment and beyond.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 5 minute read
How would you describe this image to someone who couldn’t see it? (Photo by Camille Bacon-Smith.)

If you think ramps and elevators are a good idea, why not support image descriptions, too?

Getting the full picture

If you’ve been curious about why BSR is describing images in addition to captioning them, or if you want to understand why this is important, Alaina Johns has an update.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 6 minute read
The sun is setting on another year. What are we taking with us? (Photo by Alaina Johns.)

Here’s what 2020 told us about the things we deserve in America

What are we worth?

This year gave us a lot to look back on, but we prefer to ask what about this agonizing, illuminating, terrifying year we’re carrying into the future. Kyle V. Hiller and Alaina Johns consider.
Kyle V. Hiller Alaina Johns

Kyle V. Hillerand Alaina Johns

Editorials 6 minute read
Those seats are going to be empty for a while longer. How will arts organizations be around to fill them back up when audiences are ready to return? (Photo by Jeff Fusco.)

#LightsOn tells Philly leaders that our arts scene won’t survive without economic relief

Budgets ask how; the arts ask why

Another COVID lockdown grips Philadelphia through the end of the year. Many arts organizations were already on a precipice. BSR seconds a campaign from the Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and Philly Culture United for crucial economic relief.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 4 minute read
Say it, but make it beautiful: Philadelphians rallied to protect their election. (Photo by Alaina Johns.)

The post-election country loves Philly for its fight—but what about our cultural scene?

The arts, the vote, and Philadelphia (you’re welcome, America)

Commentators across the country all have the same long list of examples proving that Philly takes no prisoners, but these viral round-ups are missing our artistic soul. Alaina Johns considers.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 5 minute read
Be sure to check the reviews. (Image courtesy of Lightning Rod Special.)

Lightning Rod Special presents ‘SUPERHOST’

Enjoy your stay (or else)

Lightning Rod Special’s ‘SUPERHOST’ imagines an Airbnb that isn’t as wonderful as it appears in a recording for distanced theatergoers in search of something creepy. Alaina Johns reviews.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Articles 3 minute read
“I want the Spanish-speaking immigrants in Philly to feel acknowledged,” says ‘To the Polls’ muralist Candy Alexandra González. (Photo by Alaina Johns.)

Here’s why you aren’t seeing articles about Trump in BSR this election season

Just in case it needs to be said

If we don’t comment on the current White House, what can we comment on? Plenty, as it turns out—and focusing our energy away from the president is the perfect comment in itself. Alaina Johns explains.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 6 minute read
Writer Alaina Johns on a 2019 visit to ‘Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’ at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Center City. (Photo courtesy of Alaina Johns.)

In mourning RBG, don’t skip contacting your senators

The dreaded phone call

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday, Sept. 18. On Monday, the 21st, Alaina Johns contacted her senators (again). Does it even matter? Yes. Here’s why.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 5 minute read
Facing ourselves away from home: Keith Conallen in Die-Cast’s ‘Temporary Occupancy.’ (Image courtesy of Die-Cast.)

Philly Fringe 2020: Die-Cast presents ‘Temporary Occupancy’

A theatrical check-in

Originally destined for live performances in a hotel, Die-Cast’s ‘Temporary Occupancy’ is now an online experience that brings its travelers to our screen. Alaina Johns reviews.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Articles 3 minute read