Essays

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A small crowd of people move around outside the lit-up marquee of the Alamo Drafthouse entrance.

Alamo Drafthouse theaters have a new owner. It’s time for them to come to Philly.

The need for screens

The popular Austin-based movie-theater chain Alamo Drafthouse (recently acquired by Sony Pictures Entertainment) has spread to cities across the country, but never to Philly. Stephen Silver asks if it’s time to change that.
Stephen Silver

Stephen Silver

Essays 3 minute read
Samuel, a white man seen in profile from over his shoulder, looks thoughtfully out on a city street.

The hardest thing about stuttering isn’t stuttering at all: it’s how people react to it.

If I want your help, I’ll ask.

Samuel Dunsiger has a speech disability, but the hardest part about talking to others isn't his stuttering; it's the assumptions people make.
Samuel Dunsiger

Samuel Dunsiger

Essays 4 minute read
Hundreds of people, many holding handmade signs, rally on a June day on the steps of the pillared Hamilton Hall building.

A UArts student speaks: “It’s clear that I’ll have to settle, no matter where I go.”

A young writer promises that his school’s demise won’t silence his craft.

Jay Clark was a rising junior at UArts and this year’s winner of the school’s Creative Writing Poetry Prize. On May 31, he got a tuition bill. The same day, news broke of the school’s closure. What’s next for him and hundreds of others?

Jay Clark

Essays 5 minute read
Row of actors in a patterned circular frame, obscured by a curtain of gold fibers which they thrust their hands through

The Wilma’s Hilma does not do justice to Hilma af Klint’s art, life, or legacy

Women artists still deserve better

A new opera about the visionary but little-known painter Hilma af Klint perpetuates longstanding dismissals of women artists and may be a keen disappointment to fans of her work. Melissa Strong considers.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Essays 5 minute read
Photo of a rainy New York City street and the red hanging sign for Marie’s Crisis Café, with ornate calligraphic lettering.

These basement singalongs queer the Broadway canon and help me reclaim my voice

The soundtrack of our way out

When Anndee Hochman was 13, a teacher told her she couldn't sing. Decades later, a basement Broadway singalong in Manhattan's West Village taught her something new.
Anndee Hochman

Anndee Hochman

Essays 5 minute read
The pillared exterior of Hamilton Hall from across Broad Street, with 100s of people gathered in front of it, many with signs

A University of the Arts professor speaks: “Knowing it’s the last time I’ll be here is unbearable.”

Students and faculty pledge to keep creating despite their school’s "unconscionable" demise

Philly novelist Elise Juska founded the creative writing program at UArts, where she taught for 24 years. She brings us inside her last days at the university, alongside her irrepressible students.
Elise Juska

Elise Juska

Essays 6 minute read
View from the mezzanine of a hall crowded with students and vendor tables, balloons decorating the central stairway.

From Shanghai to Philadelphia: An international alum speaks on the closure of UArts

Because of UArts, Philly will always be part of me.

When Shanghai native Wenlu Bao wanted to continue her arts education, she came to UArts, which led her to museums throughout our region. She was shocked to see the news about its closing. She remembers her time there.
Wenlu Bao

Wenlu Bao

Essays 6 minute read
A white woman squats on a brown rock surface, using a wet sponge to reveal an ancient Indigenous carved medicine wheel.

Three free road trips from Philadelphia offer a treasure-hunting trifecta

Hit the road (or the river) to discover fossils, Jersey diamonds, and petroglyphs

Writer Bart Stump is a seasoned local adventurer. He recommends three summer destinations for all kinds of Philly-area treasure hunters, with itineraries in Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Bart Stump

Bart Stump

Essays 4 minute read
On the edge of the stage, Zion leans sadly against Elmore, who puts an arm around her shoulder. They wear casual clothes.

I’m a Jewish dramaturg, and The Last Yiddish Speaker taught me a lot about the spaces we need to develop Jewish plays.

Why does culturally specific play development matter?

As Deborah Zoe Laufer’s The Last Yiddish Speaker premieres at InterAct, Philly dramaturg and writer Alix Rosenfeld shares her role in developing the play, and why culturally specific spaces matter for marginalized artists, including Jewish ones.
Alix Rosenfeld

Alix Rosenfeld

Essays 5 minute read
Parkinson, in a strapless bodice, pulls Miller, wearing a green & blue plaid kilt, seductively toward him face to face.

As a trans actor, I’m dismayed by the “testosterone-driven” concept of the all-male Macbeth at Quintessence

If we don’t break down gender barriers in casting, Philly theater will continue to stall.

A promotional note from Quintessence Theatre Group artistic director Alex Burns about why he’s staging an “all-male” Macbeth drew a strong response from the Philly theater community. Bruce Baldini speaks up as a trans male actor.
Bruce Baldini

Bruce Baldini

Essays 6 minute read