Editorials

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Sunset facing west on a South Philly street: pearly gray clouds give way to a golden sun where all the horizon lines converge

Why support arts journalism in 2023?

What is your attention worth?

One thing we've been hearing a lot this year is that people are fed up with the media. Are we a lost cause? Not if you invest in the professionals in your community.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 3 minute read
9 actors pose in a human sculpture at a crosswalk under a big bridge, hands touching each other's backs.

When I faced a cancer diagnosis this year, I had to get honest and get help.

We take care of us

When a crisis like cancer hits, it can feel easier to keep it to ourselves. But humans are not meant to cope alone. Vulnerability is where our real strength lies. Alaina Johns shares her experience.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 6 minute read
A nighttime photo of Broad Street packed with hundreds of baseball fans, many wearing red. A flag flies above the crowd.

This year’s World Series run reminded us what Philly needs—and what we deserve

We all know the feeling

The Phillies had a miraculous run to the 2022 World Series, and nowadays, you don’t have to be a baseball fan to relate to the need to hold onto heartbreak alongside the joy. Kyle V. Hiller was watching.
Kyle V. Hiller

Kyle V. Hiller

Editorials 5 minute read
The north entrance of the PMA. Dozens of picketers holding signs march in a circle; at left, the giant inflatable union rat.

How did Philly's media cover the PMA strike, and why does it matter?

What is the arts writer’s beat?

Last week, the BSR team chose not to cross the PMA picket line, and did not attend a preview event for Matisse in the 1930s. We were in the minority, but we weren’t alone. Alaina Johns reflects.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 5 minute read
Alaina lies on the tattoo artist’s table while he finishes a tattoo on her right wrist. She’s wearing jeans and a blue shirt

What getting my first tattoo taught me about body acceptance

The last one in South Philly without a tattoo

Alaina Johns always admired others’ permanent body art, but she didn’t think she could ever make the jump to get tattooed herself, even though everyone else in the neighborhood is. This summer, something changed.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 5 minute read
A crowd of about a thousand people attending a rally in front of the National Constitution Center on a hot summer day.

As Pennsylvania moves to ban abortion, fight the rhetoric that threatens our rights

We need language and the law

Alaina Johns has found that even in pro-choice spaces, the rhetoric around abortion can be hard to separate from the facts. But we all need to sharpen these skills, especially as Pennsylvania legislators work to ban abortion here.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 6 minute read
About 20 people, photographed from behind, walk on a paved path through a green lawn. One holds a large rainbow Pride flag.

Why I joined a Pride march with the church I avoided for almost 20 years

Small-town Pride

As an atheist and a divorced woman who supports gender justice, Alaina Johns definitely doesn’t belong in the church that raised her. But when the church’s more inclusive community members planned a Pride protest, she wanted to be there.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 6 minute read
A headshot of Ijames, a Black man in his late 30s. He looks with gentle dignity at the camera & wears a white collared shirt.

A Pulitzer for Philly playwright James Ijames spotlights our arts funding crisis

Mayor Kenney’s plan for the arts

Another year, another attempt to gut city support for the arts in Philly. As one of our own artists wins a Pulitzer, a major budget cut seems like an especially bad plan. Alaina Johns considers.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 5 minute read
A green sign on a glass door says “Philly Bagels.” A handwritten blue sign above says “mask required! Thank you!”

If the end of mask mandates means a win for freedom, who is that freedom for?

The real argument

As new rulings and lawsuits about mask mandates in Philly and throughout the country roll in this week, Alaina Johns notes what mask mandate arguments are really about: debating accessibility.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 5 minute read
A beach just before sunrise. The sand is dark and the water is pearly. The long horizon glows orange, fading to blue above.

I won’t recover in the dark: People with bipolar deserve to be seen

Mental illness isn’t a punchline

Editor Alaina Johns is taking a few weeks off to focus on treating her bipolar disorder, with the support of the BSR team. Here’s why it’s important to talk about this.
Alaina Johns

Alaina Johns

Editorials 7 minute read