BY DAVE ALLEN 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. That’s why every week, PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. 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 center. Why? Because we love you!
ON THE COVER
PW: This week, there is a new kinship between Philadelphia and other dedicated voters halfway (or further) across the country. Zoe Strauss taps into this connection between the city and the rest of the US with her incendiary, zeitgeist-capturing photography, putting her way ahead of the curve on this unity thing. This strange, unique sort of patriotism comes across in Tara Murtha’s story on Strauss, which is also loaded with images from America, her forthcoming book.
The majority of the photographs in America were taken in Philadelphia. Strauss refracts the American spirit through the grooves of our faces, the way we hang our jaw, the ramshackle fragments of deindustrialization that grow and shed on our streets like coral…
The balance of the photos were snapped on road trips Strauss embarked on specifically for the book. She clicked and whirred through El Paso, Atlanta, Chicago and the Trinity Site, the former test site in the New Mexican desert where a booming shattering of light blasted America into the atomic age in July 1945. Now it’s a tourist attraction where travelers collect shards of radioactive rock and children’s faces are painted with bombs and flags—just the kind of American paradox that blows Strauss’ mind. A lifelong Philadelphian, she says traveling so much changed her perspective.
“It’s only in the last year that I feel like maybe I’m a patriot,” Strauss considers, surrounded by photos taped all over the walls, startling portraits of strangers displaying their scars and tattoos, their pain and their pride, for her lens.
“Maybe I’m a patriot in the sense of both wanting America to be great and do the right things and because I love where I’m from,” she says. “I’ve always had a distinct sense of being a Philadelphian, but not an American.”
The profile reveals some unexpected aesthetic influences — Springsteen: more than just a muse for the guy from High Fidelity — but the accompanying photos are the real stunners. They’re odd, vibrant, revealing (make that VERY revealing – hello, tattooed penises!) and unquestionably real. Only in America. Or perhaps, only in Philly’s peculiar little part of it.
CP: The election figures prominently in this week’s coverage, in the form of both it’s-finally-over wrap-ups and hard-hitting follow-ups to controversial stories. Even though change has come (and how), it’s back to the grind this week, and the actual cover story is the First Person Festival. The staff gives a solid cross-section of the darling documentaries and breakthrough books that will be featured at the Painted Bride in the next week or so, with an especially heart-tugging feature on a young actress’ struggle with cancer.
…that Kris Carr could have an abdomen full of tumor seems possible. She is that blend of quirky and charismatic that seems untouchable, with her omnipresent peacock earrings, a quick smile and a habit of dancing when at a loss for words. And yet, on Feb. 14, 2003, at 31 years old, the aspiring NYC actress was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal vascular cancer.
On the same day, after writing herself a Valentine’s Day love note, she began filming Crazy Sexy Cancer, a four-year video journal of her fuck-you approach to the disease doctors told her was incurable.
Forget fishing with your bare hands; this girl’s hardcore: fought off cancer with nothing but green veggies and a positive attitude. Yes We Kale!
INSIDE THE BOOK
PW: No more “Arrested Development”s: People, watch this show! Aventuras en español con Señorita Spikol. Many books have gone by the name “Bible” (and now there’s one more), but there’s only one Chunklet. Dept. of Words I Wish I’d Written: “When God closes a coke bar, he opens a gastropub.“
CP: Depressed McCain supporters? Tell it to the Complaint Choir. This is why I’m trying to sell my car (and this guy might be interested — stay tuned). Wrestling bears > Hunting moose. So long, Sarah. Enjoy Juneau.
WINNER: Everybody wins this week because, once again, a Maverick is just a Dallas basketball player and the only Palin worth paying attention to is a British guy who was in Monty Python. Oh, but props to PW for putting Obama’s face on the cover before the election was a done deal. That took guts — or at least a tricky printing-press maneuver.