Sep 23

Q & A With Janice Gable Bashman, Author of Predator

Janice Gable Bashman is the Bram Stoker nominated author of Predator, her first novel and solo book project for young adults. Bashman is also the editor of The Big Thrill, an International Thriller Writers’ magazine, and has had her short fiction published in various anthologies and magazines.

Bashman is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Mystery Writers of America, Horror Writers Association, and the International Thriller Writers, where she serves on the board of directors as Vice President of Technology.

Who are some of your favorite YA authors?

I enjoy reading Jandy Nelson, John Green, Jonathan Maberry, Nancy Holder, Veronica Roth, Marie Lu, Jay Asher, J.K. Rowling, Allen Zadoff, Markus Zusak, and many other young adult authors.

When did you decide that you wanted to get involved in the YA genre?

It wasn’t a conscious decision. I had the plot and the characters for Predator. The main character, Bree Sunderland, is a teenager and the point of view character, so the book fell into the YA genre. I love writing and reading in this genre. It’s a lot of fun.

Without giving too much away, what can you tell me about Predator?

Sixteen-year-old Bree Sunderland must inject herself with an untested version of her father’s gene therapy to become a werewolf in order to stop a corrupt group of mercenaries from creating a team of unstoppable lycanthrope soldiers.

Predator gives the werewolf legend a couple of new spins by introducing the Benandanti (an actual folkloric belief that certain families of Italy and Livonia were werewolves who fought against evil) as well as a modern scientific approach to mutation and the science of transgenics.

Read the rest of my interview with Janice here…

Sep 23

Global Conversations With: William Fedullo, Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association

When William Fedullo was young, he remembers wanting to be a center fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies. Eventually, he realized that he might need a back-up plan.

Besides baseball, Fedullo had enjoyed movies and television shows having to do with lawyers and felt that as a lawyer, he could change a lot of things that would not otherwise be changed. Fedullo now practices in the areas of medical malpractice, products liability, the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), insurance bad faith, construction accidents, vehicle accidents and other areas of personal injury.

This past January, Fedullo, who is a member of Global Philadelphia’s Board of Directors, became the 87th Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association. Next week, Fedullo and the Bar Association will take part in the World City Bar Leaders Conference, an international conference welcoming leaders of metropolitan bar associations around the world.

What inspired you to become a lawyer?

I remember “To Kill A Mockingbird” and a few other movies like that, which were pretty inspiring. I think that played a role in me wanting to do it. I remember in fifth grade we had a debate team and I won. My teacher told me that I would be a good lawyer one day. I wasn’t quite sure what she meant at the time but eventually I thought about it seriously, so that was inspiration a little bit.

How difficult is it to enter a career in the law?

When I came out there seemed to be a lot more jobs. I came out of Widener Law School in ‘76 and it seemed to me at that time that if you really wanted to get a job you could. I think that since the 2008 recession it has been different. Young lawyers coming out of law school now find it much more difficult to find an area of practice, or for that matter just to find a job.

I think it’s rebounding a bit. There are more jobs incrementally it seems, but it’s still the number one concern when you’re a lawyer coming out of law school, to get a job that you’re satisfied in doing but it’s not impossible. I think if you’re dedicated and stay with it you’ll find a job. It’s just a matter of really dedicating yourself to that. It is more difficult today than when I came out of law school.

What stands out as a significant moment in your career?

In the year that my son was born, 1993, we had I think the largest reported verdict for a FELA hearing loss case at $300,000. It was kind of a neat day because when I went home, I think my son was about two or three months old, and I got a nice verdict on a tough case. The jury came back with a substantial verdict at that time and I came home early. I was able to take my son out of his crib and just hold him for a few hours to contemplate what a sweet day that was. That day was pretty memorable, more for holding my son than for the verdict.

Read the rest of my interview with Chancellor Fedullo here…

Sep 22

What Makes Philadelphia A “Renaissance City”?

Philadelphia is a city of innovators, a city of makers, a city of immense cultural and historic significance. There’s a reason why it was once the capital of the United States.

As a native son of the city, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) Jack Ferguson represents Philadelphia to the world.

“What that truly means is that we’re out asking people to come to meetings, conventions, shows and international travel for groups or individuals,” Ferguson said of his role at PHLCVB. “I always tell people that the melting pot of Philadelphia is the Reading Terminal Market because you get the best of all cultures that we have to offer. Our residents, our workers, our visitors, our convention attendees and our rail system that runs beneath it.”

An entrepreneur, Ferguson’s career has seen him head national and international sales staffs of 2,200 for such companies as Promus Hotel Corp., Doubletree Hotels and Guest Quarters Suite Hotels.

He previously served as senior vice president and partner of LearnSystem, which has the capability to reach hundreds of thousands of hospitality industry professionals to improve job performance and customer service skills via web-based training and evaluation.

“I think there are multiple things that make Philadelphia the ideal renaissance city,” Ferguson said. “When you talk to international travelers, and we do surveys of international travelers, it becomes clear that the city is historically known. Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Declaration of Independence. They know what was done here and they know that the country was founded here.”

They also know the story of Rocky Balboa and the iconic steps leading up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

“It’s iconic and it always shows Philadelphia as it understands its people and supports its winners,” Ferguson said. “Certainly Rocky was a winner, that’s a very positive thing. They know a little bit about the culture, I think in particular they know about the depth of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but they are also now familiar with the Barnes Foundation and the art there. They know us culturally, maybe not as deeply and as richly as we would like them to.”

International visitors also find the architectural richness of the city tied into its history, he added, going all the way back to how and why William Penn designed the city the way he did.

Read the full story here…

Jul 09

Global Conversations With William Burke-White

When William Burke-White attended Harvard Law school, he worked very closely with Ann Murray Slaughter, who was then a professor at the university.

As Burke-White completed his PHD in political science, Slaughter became Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs at Princeton University. She gave Burke-White his first academic job as a lecturer.

Burke-White started teaching international law and foreign policy at the prestigious university and after three years of service, he was offered a position at the University of Pennsylvania’s Law school as a professor and deputy dean of international programs. The university announced that on July 1, Burke-White will begin a new role as the inaugural Richard Perry Professor and Director of the Perry World House.

Could you tell me about the Perry World House?

About a year and a half ago, Richard Perry and his wife Lisa, who are alumni of Penn, made a major gift to establish a center for all things international across the university. Over the last year the university has been searching for someone to come in as the inaugural director and I was asked to do so.

The world house will be a kind of connecting point, a hub for everything international that happens across the university that brings in the different schools and provides a place for students and faculty doing international work all over the world to really come together.

It will also be a kind of think tank within the university that brings Penn’s academic work to solve global challenges. Thinking from an interdisciplinary perspective, if you’re trying to address climate change for instance, you can bring together scientists, political scientists, economist and engineers in a single place to really apply academic knowledge to advancing a solution.

Read the full story…

Jul 09

GPA Spotlight

I started writing for Global Philadelphia in early 2013 and have been writing different pieces for them since then. They were nice enough to include me in their monthly newsletter last June. Super nice of them. You can read the small write-up on me below and check out the newsletter in all of its entirety by clicking the photo. Also, huge thanks to Kaniz Pramanik of Humans Of Temple University for taking the photo of me :)

gpnews

Apr 21

Documenting The Faces Of Temple

Spin-off blogs based on Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York” have become a trend among some amateur photographers, including junior biology major Kaniz Pramanik.

Pramanik created “Humans of Temple University,” which she said tells a variety of stories through pictures and short interviews as a way to showcase how diverse her peers are. Her efforts started out as way to showcase some of her own work. Pramanik began taking pictures for Humans of Temple University in January of this year, but posted the photos later in February because of what she called her hectic schedule.

“Just within two weeks, I think I had around 200 followers,” Pramanik said. “I was like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’”

Pramanik said she has been interested in photography since high school when she took a black and white photography class. She said she loved being able to develop pictures in the school’s darkroom and manually manipulate the photos.

Not being able to afford the equipment to have her own darkroom, Pramanik decided she would explore the digital realm of photography. She bought a camera and began taking pictures, posting them to her Flickr page.

“I started taking pictures of people that I knew,” Pramanik said. “I’m trying to spread it out and pick random people. Just picking people that really interest me. I’m trying to get everybody in.”

Pramanik said there are many people around the university that interest her when she’s wandering around Main Campus with her camera, even a person who’s quiet and studying. She said her policy is to politely explain her purpose and ask permission to take their picture. She follows this with a series of short questions centered around the subject’s major, reason for attending Temple and any advice they have for fellow students.

So far, people have been receptive to the idea, Pramanik said, adding that no one on Main Campus has turned down her request to photograph them.

“I’m just trying to get out that you’re not alone,” Pramanik said. “There’s this one guy who’s from Washington D.C., who’s featured on the page and his life is hard, being far from home and being in school. A lot of people connect to that.”

Read the full story

Check out the multimedia component by journalism majors Avory Brookins and Noa Garcia

Visit and like Humans of Temple University.

Apr 15

Global Conversations With Krista Bard

The Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia (CCAP) is the oldest association of foreign consuls in the United States, encompassing representatives from over 30 countries around the globe. Members of CCAP are responsible for enhancing and coordinating relations between their respective countries and the greater Philadelphia region.

To Krista Bard, CCAP’s newly appointed president, that responsibility means much more. To her, international harmony and peace is what the Consular Corps really strives to accomplish, leveraging the city of Philadelphia’s special place in the world.
What is your role as the president of the CCAP?

As president of CCAP, my goal is one: to make sure that the other consuls do their jobs as well as they can for their countries, and then two: to better work as a whole in representing Philadelphia and its international character on a global stage.

What prepared you for this role?

I’ve been working and doing projects for Lithuanian since childhood. I went there in 1988, although it was still part of the Soviet Union. I’ve been involved for many years and then I was named consul, four years ago now, and became a member of the Consular Corps in Philadelphia.

I became one of CCAP’s officers and then joined the executive committee. From there I was asked to become president. There’s a saying that God moves in mysterious ways. In 1988 I was just following my heart. I really wanted to see Lithuania. Who would have predicted what it would lead to today? You just keep following your heart and God’s mysterious ways do unfold.

Were you afraid while you were in Lithuania because of the presence of the Soviet Union?

Yeah, I was scared. I do remember getting off the plane there were soldiers. Even then Americans who were on the trip didn’t understand. They were journalists, they were used to freedom of speech and I was telling them that they could not go off of the schedule.

Read the rest of my question and answer interview with Krista

Apr 01

Music Program Serves Philadelphia Youth

Musicopia is a nonprofit after school program that works to ignite lifelong interest in music for youth. The program works to establish partnerships with school districts throughout the region, and is a leader in revitalizing in and after school music programs.

Musicopia’s mission is to bring a vibrant combination of music performance and education to both students and communities. The nonprofit provides musical opportunities for children from kindergarten through high school, and just last year worked with 25 Philadelphia area high schools. Musicopia concentrates on schools in the poorest of neighborhoods and offers different opportunities for those within those neighborhoods to work with music.

Some of the schools that Musicopia has been able to work with so far include, Andrew Jackson School in South Philadelphia; St. Martin de Porres in North Philadelphia; and Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School in Hunting Park.

You can read more about Musicopia and the awesome work that they do by visiting the sites below:

Blending Jazz and Classical Music For Musicopia

Sharing The Joys Of Music With School Kids

Musicopia String Orchestra

 

Mar 31

The Transformation Of AJ Young

There was never a particular moment when AJ Young felt that he was supposed to be a guy, but it was more of a continual questioning why it was he felt uncomfortable around friends and family. Not just generally, but socially.

Young was born Catherine Rebecca Young. He grew up in Elgin, Illinois where he realized early that people didn’t really recognize his gender identity the way that he wanted. AJ stands for Andrew James, a name Young would have been given had he been born a male.

“I had a lot of friends, but was always the odd one out for many reasons and a lot of reasons,” Young said. “There was never one moment when I was like, of course I’m suppose to be a guy. It was more of figuring out why I had felt uncomfortable and off a little bit, not just in my body.”

It was around the time that Young was a sophomore in college at American University in Washington, D.C. and taking women’s studies courses that he had become aware that trans people existed.

Young started to realize that he was reading about things he had been experiencing and dealing with. For the next few years he did more reading on trans identities and things started to fall into place.

“I was sitting in a training about trans identities at the Gay and Lesbian Resource Center and I was listening to trans people tell their stories and realized that what they were going through was what was going on with me,” Young said. “It took a couple of years to digest that and actually move to making the decision to start transitioning.”

Read the full story here…

Mar 04

What Is The Impact Of Music?

I think I started working on “What Is The Impact Of Music” for JUMP Philly around 2012. I’ve been working on this story for a while now and I’m really happy that the link to the online version has been published. I talked to a lot of people around Philly about the sometime violent lifestyle in today’s music and to hear the different perspectives on the issue was pretty cool.

As someone who doesn’t listen to a lot of music (I mostly listen to movie soundtracks and Paramore) I was a little nervous at first about taking on this project. This is also my first time writing in magazine style. I’m really thankful to the editors of JUMP and George Miller for crafting the tone of the piece.

Overall I’m really satisfied with the end result. Below is a snippet of the piece:

 

Mont Brown and Pace-O Beats of The Astronauts drive through Southwest Philadelphia, anxious to start their tour of their old neighborhood — near 54th and Trinity streets, where much of the inspiration for their music is derived from.

They park a few blocks away from Mont’s former home. As they walk down Trinity, Brown takes a moment to look down at the very spot where a friend was gunned down a few years back. He was targeted, Brown says, but no one really knows why.

The Astronauts’ music represents the truth of what they and others have experienced – it’s sometimes violent and otherwise off-color, much like the way life was when they were growing up and still is for some of their friends today.

“I’m the one who does the lyrics,” Brown says. “It’s no hold punches. Everything I’m saying is real.”

In his song “All I Had,” the chorus rings: “I do this for my mom, I do this for my son / I do it with this rap or I do it with a gun / I sell a little crack just to eat a little lunch.”

But The Astronauts also try to motivate people to do better. They took their group’s name from Guion “Guy” Bluford, a West Philly native, who in 1983 was the first black astronaut to enter space.

“It’s a message,” Brown says. “It’s ‘Mona Lisa,’ like a picture that is being painted. We’re not lying, that’s first and foremost. These are real situations. Everything we rap about is the God’s honest truth. Nothing is fabricated. And I’m just telling these kids that Guy Bluford, he made it and we can make it just as well.”

Last summer, The Astronauts hosted a huge block party in Southwest Philly called the Stop The Violence Festival. With proceeds benefiting the Mothers in Charge Foundation, the intention was to bring the community together to show there are ways to interact peacefully.

“There was no violence the whole day,” Brown says. “We just proved right there that we all can come together for one common goal and that’s exactly what happened. I’m around this shit everyday, I know that we got so much potential to do better.”

Brown continues the tour, coming to a friend’s home, which is now abandoned. On the wall is a collection of old gum that is plastered to bricks, forming the words “54th and Ghetto.”

It’s the same rawness and bluntness of this mixed media graffiti that Pace says The Astronauts employ in their songs. A level of ratchetry grabs people’s attention.

“It’s quicker when you try to give a message, I mean, especially in our culture as black people,” he says. “If you’re glorifying it, I think people are just going to go with the flow.”

And not hiding the ratchetry or debauchery of life from art, Mont adds, is actually a positive thing for his people, his community.

“I’m literally telling you what we’re doing, you know, in the neighborhood that I’m from,” he says. “The neighborhood respects me and him for doing this. No matter what I’m talking about, even though we’re from the ghetto, it’s still a positive thing that we’re doing.”

Read the full story here…

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