BY AMY Z. QUINN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right — these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. Hey, we know how it is — so many words to read, so little time to surf for free porn. That’s why every week, PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you, freeing up valuable nanoseconds that can now be better spent “roughing up the suspect” over at Suicide Girls or what have you. Every week we pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey caramel center of each edition. Why? Because we like you.
ON THE COVER
CITY PAPER: Ted Hesson takes a look at the subprime mortgage crisis around here, including the latest twist, the mortgage broker caught in the subprime fingertrap, tugging him between the desire to own a home and the reality of his finances (I know a guy in this situation, and it’s not pretty):
Cleveland doesn’t blame predatory brokers — although he admits that they exist — because no one could have foreseen this sort of market crash, he maintains. Before the crisis, many people in his situation would have been able to refinance, but now they’re falling behind on payments and their credit scores are suffering.
And now, the day of reckoning is here:
Philadelphia hasn’t suffered from devalued homes and jobs losses like other parts of the country, Mason says, but many people with poor credit who bought homes will soon be struggling to pay their mortgages, if they aren’t already.
“You better get that raise and you better get that better job in the next two years if you’re going to make the payment,” Mason says. Foreclosure filings are up by 47 percent in the city from April 2006 to April 2007, especially in North and Southwest Philly, according to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a national housing group.
PHILADELPHIA WEEKLY: The development of (Jersey guy) David Kessler’s Kensington-centered video blog, Shadow World, sums up nicely why the ease of web-based publishing and inexpensive equipment have meant a redrawing the usual pathways to success:
While he makes no money from the vlog, Kessler would never consider changing the project’s medium.
“I love that Shadow World is on a blog. I think of the blog as my artistic medium,” he says. “For one thing, it forces me to get my work out there instantly, to be like, ‘This is what I’m doing — what do you think?'”
Kessler says the blog format also allows him to exhibit his work without a traditional gallery, which takes time, money and a lot of convincing to pull off. This way his work is immediately accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.
Cassidy Hartmann teases a pretty thoughtful interview from Kessler, a guy who reads as if he’s far more interested in hearing other people talk. We like how the Shadow World videos aren’t necessarily about Kensington, but simply are it, showing it rather than telling.
“I’m still concerned about people thinking I’m exploiting. It’s definitely something that’s always been in the back of my mind.”
To quell his own concerns, Kessler created a set of rules for himself when filming — things like never placing himself in the video and, whenever possible, letting the direction of the conversations be dictated by the subjects themselves.
He also shies away from talking about Shadow World as a representation of the Kensington neighborhood.
“I think of each individual episode as being a character study, and if I tried to make it into a documentary about the neighborhood, I’d run into these things like, ‘How am I representing it? Am I representing it accurately?'” he explains.
In fact, if one of his subjects begins talking about the neighborhood, he usually edits it out.
INSIDE THE BOOK
CP: Duane does a reverse-chronology of the Northeast Philly ATM shootings, kind of reads like a script treatment for an episode of L&O, but we ain’t mad. Tom Namako chronicles the predictable responses from Harrisburg. Good headline on that. Brian Hickey on how a child lauded as an anti-crime hero is now being screwed by child welfare authorities.