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
CP: Just in time for a cold snap that will make you reevaluate your going-out plans, it’s the Second Season Arts Preview. Anything that’s gonna get me out of my apartment had better have a) beer, b) hot chocolate or c) both. What’s that? A new theater company that’s partnering with local bars? Close enough!
Reing looks to the city’s many Irish organizations for new audiences, as well as the area’s many Irish pubs; Fergie’s, Yello’ Bar, St. Stephen’s Green, Black Sheep, Dark Horse and the Bards are already supporters. Which leads to the uncomfortable subject of stereotypes — e.g. the drunken Irishman. “This show was produced without the use of any shamrocks, green beer or blarney stones,” reads a Skin Deep program note. “No leprechauns or ‘lords of the dance’ were harmed in the making of this production.”
Do we sense a hint of sarcasm?
“Enough of the thatched cottages, turf on the fire, ‘the Brits are keepin’ us down,’ and Quiet Man set pieces,” responds Reing. “Lord of the Dance? That just makes me cringe! Our focus on Irish language in our brochure tries to show a reclaimed modern language, not some quaint forgotten language on a country road sign.
For the less Celtically-inclined, there’s some wordy, nervy artwork from Anthony Campuzano, a band called Illinois (not to be confused with the album or the state) that’s trying a crazy new distribution system, and the usual listings of sprightly stuff to help combat Seasonal Affective Disorder or drag you away from watching football. After I get back from that Irish play, though, I’m staying in. This beer and hot chocolate aren’t gonna drink themselves.
PW: A difficult but admirable task this week: sticking up for Mayor Mike. A fair, thoughtful evaluation from Liz Spikol delves into both hard numbers and hard truths. Fact is, essential government services exist on a continuum, and something had to give. The fiery passions of town hall attendees and slighted library officials comes across, but remember: just because we disagree doesn’t mean we have to be disagreeable.
If you live in a community whose library is closing, the choice Nutter embraced may sting. But what if, instead of your library closing, your trash didn’t get picked up? What if your fire company shut down? What if police stopped patrolling your block and crime surged? It’s wonderful if a child can walk to a neighborhood library, but what about children in foster care? Don’t they deserve to be protected?
And Nutter’s not the first mayor to contend with the issue of shrinking the library system.
“Library funding in this city has always been something of a political football,” says Amy Dougherty. “This is not unlike other municipalities or cities across the country. I was on the Friends of Libraries USA Board, and this is what happens. It happened all over California, it happens everywhere.Rendell cut hours at libraries when he was in. Street tried to do the same thing.”
Even Dougherty, who is absolutely opposed to the cuts, acknowledges Nutter faces a unique set of circumstances: “There definitely is a budget emergency here like there is across the nation and across the world. He hasn’t manufactured that.”
If it comes off as sympathetic to the mayor, well, he deserves it. In his own words, he had to “make choices between many bad options.” We just gotta tighten our belts and pull through, keeping in mind all that “hope” stuff we were all so high on back in November. Oh, and Liz? Totally should have listened to the intern and gone with “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Nutter.”
INSIDE THE BOOK
PW: Twitter: saving the world, 140 characters at a time. Ten points for obscure beer reference in a music article. I hear Adam Erace has skipped town to Thailand. Hot enough for ya? The Sword vs. those lying sons of bitches at Spin magazine.
WINNER: CP takes it because I think I linked to all the articles in this week’s underwhelmingly-thin PW. And I only linked to five stories. The cover story’s nice, but there has to be more going on in this city.