So naturally I came down with a horrendous cold three days before the trip. I took massive doses of Vitamin C, C, Zinc, Airborne, and Oxcydilliccylieallan in preparation. The cold raged on but my astigmatism improved. For the flight I took a Zyrtec-D, which normally turns me into a human raisin. Not in a pressurized cabin it seems. From coast-to-coast my head felt like the final hour of DAS BOOT.
Mrs. L. and I arrived Thursday night and hopped a gypsy cab driven by Ali G. I always enjoy visiting Philadelphia. It's the home of Benjamin Franklin, Chubby Checker, and the Wing Bowl.
Stayed downtown at the Loew’s. Very nice hotel. Our room was on the 32nd foot with a spectacular view of the Amamark building. For many years no building in Philadelphia was allowed to be taller than William Penn’s hat. There is a statue of the P-Man atop City Hall. Our founding fathers didn’t want any of those glass monstrosity skyscrapers. But somebody must’ve paid off somebody else so now there’s a skyline. (City Hall is now the 16th tallest building in the city.)
Friday was the Villanova parade. Over 60,000 converged on downtown to celebrate this year’s NCAA Men’s Collegiate Basketball Champs. More importantly, they are the only real winning team in Philadelphia. I saw a few people donned in Flyers, Eagles, and Phillies gear, but you’d have a better chance seeing someone in Bhutan wearing a ‘76ers jersey than you would in Philadelphia.
The Barnes Collection is the current thing to see. Dr. Barnes was a chemist who made a fortune inventing an anti-gonorrhea drug and used the money to amass a huge and impressive art collection along with vintage household items like locks and cookie cutters. They were all arranged very specifically in his house. When he died in 1951 he specified in his will that nothing in his house was ever to be touched in perpetuity. But like William Penn’s hat, that changed and the collection is now downtown. However, everything is set up exactly to-the-letter the way it was in his house. Who knew he had a gift shop in his house?
Took the SEPTA train out to Hatboro. We weren’t even settled in our seats when two imposing cops entered and dragged some stoner out of the car. Along the route we stopped at Temple University, where Bill Cosby got his Bachelor’s Degree even though he never finished his course load. It was bestowed on him because of “life experience.” We can only hope the courts bestow on him a "life sentence."
We of course bought senior tickets and the conductor actually checked our ID's. Wow. That's like Cher still being carded at a liquor store.
Hatboro was the very definition of charm – meaning more antique stores than CVS’s. The Hatboro Village Theatre has been producing shows for 65 years (back when Cher really was being carded). The theatre has been refurbished and is gorgeous. Plush comfortable seats, great sight lines, and free coffee. (I’m told the free coffee was offered for all shows; not just mine to keep people awake.)
A OR B? runs one more weekend so if you’re in the area (i.e. anywhere on the east coast or Canada), swing by.
We took the train to Gwynedd Valley on Saturday to see some dear friends before the show. (Gwynedd needs two D’s?) Philadelphia has some great street names including Shackamaxon Street, Passyunk Avenue, Axe Factory Road, Tackawanna Street, Skidoo Street, Dunks Ferry Road, Moyamensing Avenue, Narcissus Road, and my personal favorite – Mario Lanza Boulevard.
On Saturday night after A OR B? I did a Q&A. I knew I wasn't in Los Angeles. Not one person asked how they could get an agent or if I could read their spec DR. KEN.
It’s always sunny in Philadelphia… on the day we leave. My thanks to Carol Leister and everyone at the Hatboro Village Theatre. I’m that much closer to Broadway! I figure, all I need is a venue on 42nd St., snow in June, and bronchitis and I’m in!