From left: Ardmore’s Matt Phelan is named best storyteller; Author Jerry Spinelli works hard to keep your kids up past their bedtime reading his books.
Baseball Historian William C. Kashatus American history and the game of baseball go hand in glove—and local author and educator Bill Kashatus knows it. The Paoli resident has written over 20 books on American history and its national pastime. He tackles both in his latest book, Jackie and Campie, a fresh look at Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and the shattering of baseball’s color barrier. www.historylive.net.
Baseball Manager Ryne Sandberg If the Phillies hope to stay in the mix for a playoff berth, they would do well to listen and learn from their new manager. The Hall of Fame second basemen and nine-time Gold Glover has the winning pedigree, and fans are banking on his players following suit. www.phillies.com.
Breakout Guitar Phenom Kurt Vile Read full interview HERE.
Comedy Troupe Better Than Bacon Chester County’s contribution to the Second City legacy, BTB takes comedy seriously. Most of its 11 members met in improv classes before taking their skills to the next level in 2010. Director Dan Stabb’s 25-year performance history includes a stint in professional wrestling. (Need we say more?) Catch their 90-minute show once a month at the Flash in Kennett Square and Steel City Coffee House in Phoenixville. www.betterthanbaconimprov.com.
Good Neighbor The Desmond During our recent horrid winter, the Desmond embodied the true meaning of hospitality by opening its doors to area locals without power and offering a warm place to enjoy complimentary coffee, free Wi-Fi, a big-screen TV and, most importantly, power to recharge cell phones and electronics. One Liberty Blvd., Malvern, (610) 296-9800, www.desmondgv.com.
Library Ludington Library Books, DVDs, CDs, computers, Wi-Fi, cozy armchairs for reading, and private rooms for meetings make Ludington Library a high-tech cultural center. The third-floor children’s library is enormous, but our favorite spot is the sun-filled indoor porch. 5 S. Bryn Mawr Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 525-1776, www.lmls.org.
Local Treasure Jerry Spinelli Wayne’s Jerry Spinelli writes the sort of stories that kids stay up well past bedtime to finish, proving that great characters don’t have to come from another realm. In fact, they’re right in your own backyard. www.jerryspinelli.com.
Local Playwright Tony Braithwaite From last season’s Let’s Pretend We’re Famous to Didn’t Your Father Have This Talk With You? (returning this month), Act II Playhouse’s artistic director continues to write and perform original, hysterical work that throws a Colbert-esque, satirical spotlight on our modern lives. 56 E. Butler Ave., Ambler, (215) 654-0200, www.act2.org.
Media Coverage of Winter Weather NBC 10 News Today And we don’t mean just the meteorologists. News crews provided in-depth reporting on the effects of the winter mayhem. Conditions varied dramatically by location, so NBC 10 reporters scattered to deliver hyper-local stories, neighborhood by neighborhood. www.nbcphiladelphia.com.
Nationally Hyped Local Blogger Colleen Padilla Read our interview with Padilla HERE.
New Place for Live Music Ardmore Music Hall It’s been 20 years since Ardmore’s 23 East Cabaret closed its doors, effectively erasing rock shows by notable touring acts from the Main Line. Leave it to Rich Kardon, the man behind Bryn Mawr’s legendary Main Point coffeehouse, to turn the former college bar into a performance space that rivals the nicer Center City clubs. As the quality bookings increase, so will our love for the place. 23 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, (610) 649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com.
Rainy-Day Activity for Kids Bryn Mawr Film Institute Sure, they’ve seen movies. But have they seen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on a big screen? BMFI’s kids’ matinees make that possible. Smell the popcorn, watch the lights dim, cue the imagination. 824 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 527-9898, www.brynmawrfilm.org.
Rising Star Charlie McDermott See our interview with McDermott on page 79. Storyteller γ Matt Phelan Some people tell stories with words. Others do so with art. Ardmore’s Matt Phelan combines the two, churning out award-winning graphic novels that make you wish you were a kid again, if only to discover his books for the first time through the eyes of a 12-year-old. His latest, Bluffton, is no exception. www.mattphelan.com.
Unconventional Cover Band Wheel House This Berwyn-based quintet is heartening proof that you don’t have to pander to middle-of-the-road tastes to be a great cover band. You may not recognize many of the tunes on its quirky roots-rock set list, but the group’s low-key chops never get lost in translation. www.reverbnation.com/wheelhouseamericana.
Winter Weather Cleanup Lower Merion Township It’ll be a cold day in hell before Old Man Winter bests Lower Merion Township. Roads were in better condition than anywhere else in the region, and assistance continued through April with a massive debris-collection campaign. Our tax dollars at work—and with results like that, we’re not complaining. www.lowermerion.org.