Stay Fit in the Sun

Deep down inside all of us there is the urge to become lean, mean fighting machines—but its summer who has time for that?

Living in this fast paced world called life, it’s quite easy to lose track of what you eat, and quite frankly, maybe you would much rather have that delicious ice-cream, mouth-watering burger or party cake. After all, it is summer and you deserve it!

As much as you try and tell yourself its ok to just sit lazily on the beach all day, snacking; the guilt is dreadful. Being inactive brings the strong fear of packing on the pounds. Here’s a suggestion… instead of sitting on the beach, doing nothing, how about getting up and being active?

For many, going to the beach seems to be the place where there are only two things to do… sleep and read. Reality: the beach is a haven of opportunities and activities to bring out the Hulkinator body in all of us.

The first step to creating a six-pack while tanning is to not pay for a parking spot right on the boardwalk. Don’t be a shoobie—drive around and find a parking spot. Not only are you saying money, but once you are parked, the walk to the beach can be considered your warm-up for your workout in the sun.

Now that you are all warmed up, you have arrived at your getaway destination—the beach. Step up to the playing field, claim your turf and prepare yourself for a load of activities. Think of it as the “Ocean City Beach Olympics” (or whatever beach you prefer). Break up in teams and begin. Are the challengers ready?

Ease into the competition with a painless challenge; a simple sand castle contest. This will work out your forearms, biceps, triceps and deltoids as you dig, sculpt and gather the sand for the award winning sand castle.

Your arm muscles have now gained a fair workout and it has come time to move on to the legs. There’s only one game that gets all muscles from the peroneus brevis to the gluteus maximus working—kickball. Create bases in the sand or use your freshly built sandcastles as bases. The number one rule when playing kickball on the beach—be aware you are not the only ones on the beach. Make sure to move away from the crowded area of the beach and take your Olympiads to a secluded part of the beach.

At this point, it’s almost guaranteed a sweat has been broken, teams possibly are tied and it is time to cool off. Well, luckily the decision was made to go to the beach. The final challenge has to be a water challenge. Preferably a surf off, but for those lacking the surfboards and surf skill, try a boogie off. One-by-one have a team member from each team venture into the seas and race back into shore. Scoring should be based on speed and skill. Be sure to be fair and perhaps find an outsider to be the judge of the finals. Both surfing and boogie boarding offers overall muscle tone from legs, abs, arms and shoulders.

Congratulations! You have just spent a day on the beach; feeling accomplished, well worked out and assured that the time has been spent without the guilt of sitting around doing nothing.

What now? To balance out your buff body, try expanding your mind. Spend the rest of your time on the beach soaking in the rays and challenging you mind with games like tic-tac-toe, Sudoku and word games.

The beach is offers a plethora of opportunities, so never view the beach simply as a place to sit around and do nothing. Build your own gym the next time you go down the shore!

You can contact Megan Pellegrino at

All Star Break

Between the stellar performance of Josh Hamilton (TEX) in the Home Run Derby followed by the longest All-Star Game in history, this year’s All-Star Break proved to be one for the ages. Held at Yankee Stadium, the All-Star game was a tribute of sorts to the building in its last year of use.

The two day long event opened with the Home Run Derby featuring Philly’s own Chase Utley (PHI) competing for the trophy. Utley returned a mediocre performance earning 5 homers after he unknowingly mouthed off to New York fans while still wearing a microphone. Completely overshadowed by the homerun hitting ability of Josh Hamilton and Justin Morneau (MIN), Utley was quickly eliminated from the competition after the first round.

The first round of the derby featured Hamilton hitting a record number of homeruns earning 28, beating out Bobby Abreu (NYY) who previously hit 24 in the first round of competition in 2005. Starting out hitting 13 homeruns in a row Hamilton wowed the crowed even before continuing on to hit 16 of 17, 20 of 22 and 22 of 25 homeruns to total 28. The next closest hitter to Hamilton in the first round was Morneau earning 8 homeruns, earning them both spots in the second round among Lance Berkman (HOU) and Ryan Braun (MIL).

The final round of competition came down to Hamilton versus Morneau with the highest homerun totals of 32 and 17 respectively. Much to everyone’s surprise, in the end Morneau was able to come from behind and beat Hamilton 5 homeruns to 3, winning the homerun trophy. Unfortunately though for Justin Morneau, people are going to remember this year’s derby not because he won, but because Josh Hamilton came out swinging.

Continuing onto day two, the actual All-Star Game was as, if not more suspenseful and exciting then the day previous. Lasting longer then any other All-Star Game in the history of the meeting between the National and American Leagues, the game went 15 innings going until almost 2 o’clock in the morning Eastern Time.

Even before the game reached inning 13, both teams were down to their last players on the field, but even worse, they each only had one pitcher left. Attempting to do everything they could to utilize the players they currently had active, managers Terry Francona and Clint Hurdle found themselves asking for field players to volunteer to pitch if the time came.

Finally, in inning 15 closer Brad Lidge (PHI) gave up a single to Morneau, a walk to J.D. Drew (BOS) and a sac fly to Michael Young (TEX) which brought Morneau home to win the game for the American League 4 runs to 3. This was the 12th straight time the American League has been victorious over the National League who last won an All-Star Game in 1996.

The game was more then just the longest game in All-Star history, it also proved to be the game with the most players used in one game (field players and pitchers), the highest number of strike outs, and the most runners left on base ever. So, with this one in the record books, we look ahead to the second half of the 2008 baseball season as the countdown to October begins.

You can contact Jessica Gotlieb at

Professors: The Next BFF

Teachers from my memory of grades one through twelve ran the gamut from Ms. Trunchbull to Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, with most of them landing somewhere monotonously in between. The formidable whip-crackers appeared only occasionally, while the truly inspirational ones were even more infrequent. Before college, my instructors were typically just another manifestation of parents who nagged me about doing homework and staying awake in class.

I never really thought of my teachers as human, and never as my “friends”—only as people I ultimately needed for a college recommendation. With my arrival at college, however, I was surprised and pleased to find myself often treated as more of an equal than just a prisoner to be contained. The professor-student connection is a new one for some of us, but can be surprisingly rewarding.

The older we get, the closer the age gap can become with our teachers, making it easier to slip into that “friend” role. Many of us have had Ph.D. students or even younger in charge of our classes and that can provide an opportunity for a more peer-like connection.

Jillian, an undergrad at Cabrini, enjoys her friendship with her radio professor. “She’s one of my closest friends on campus. I know that I can talk to her about anything and she knows that she can talk to me about anything, too. I think because she’s young, 25-years-old and that we’re so close in age helps because it wasn’t that long ago that she was in college and going through things I’m facing now.”

While some young instructors struggle to maintain control of a classroom full of students similar in age, others embrace the community-like atmosphere it can create. Lauren, an Education major from Rowan says that her entire class became very close over one semester and got together for a barbecue after it had ended. “Our professor came with her dog and all. She made the 45-minute trek from the Jersey shore just to spend the evening with us…when she went to leave, she reminded us that we were no longer a class, we became a community.”

More frequently than in high school, our college educators can potentially play a large role in our future lives and careers. For students involved in a more specialized major in particular, your professor can be a great resource for giving you a leg up after graduation. They can provide invaluable advice regarding your major and may supply you with references in the future. For those engaged in clubs or outside activities, the lines between authority figure and peer can easily become blurred.

Martin, a senior at Stevens Institute of Technology, considers himself fairly close with one of his music professors who also acts as his “boss” at the school record company. “He calls me at 11 p.m. sometimes because he’s just one of those kinds of people, a work-a-holic,” he says of his teacher. “It’s not inappropriate at all…he’s like my mentor. I could tell him if anything got weird. It’s just doing research and school stuff I can get something out of. It’s really a networking thing…its cool.”

If you’re one of the people who loves getting chummy with your professors, just wait until graduate school. “The power structure is totally different,” states Caitlin, a Criminal Justice grad student and teacher’s assistant at Temple. “Grad students are seen more as colleagues, because we often work for them. In undergrad, classes are bigger and more anonymous, and the instructor has to maintain stricter boundaries.” She asserts that social networking that takes place at department parties is very common and completely appropriate at that age, as they function in a more office-type atmosphere.

Because it isn’t a cut-and-dry subject, most schools’ student handbooks don’t address or outlaw student-teacher friendships; in fact, many colleges give it a big thumbs-up. Michelle Mancini, Assistant Dean at Bryn Mawr College, affirms that they encourage contact outside of school. “Students may get free passes to invite professors to meals in our dining halls…professors can be reimbursed up to $10/student for off-campus student gatherings, either at their home or in a public place.” Bryn Mawr’s Quaker roots also foster more casual address of instructors than just “Doctor” or “Professor,” with many students simply using their teachers’ first names.

Unlike in high school, learning doesn’t have to stop after you leave the classroom. For many, the relationships you make with your professors do not have to end after the class does either. It’s not unusual for alumni to visit, ask advice, or just grab a burger and catch up. “There was an older religion teacher I had my sophomore year and then again my junior year who I just found so easy to talk to,” says Jillian. “We used to meet up for a cup of coffee in the campus café and email each other sporadically…we met up at the end of my junior year so he could see the photos from my Habitat for Humanity New Orleans trip I’d taken. He was just a great friend.”

So while a lot of us focus on the close relationships we’ve formed with other kids we’ve met at college, we also shouldn’t ignore the potential for great friends we can find among our professors. Although we may be excited to escape the watchful eyes of our parents, we still need the advice and encouragement that can only come from people with the life experience—and we shouldn’t pass up the opportunity for a life-long friendship in the process.

You can contact Dannie McGuire at

A Cultural Anomaly Revealed

Waiting patiently outside the Electric Factory, amidst a sea of band tee shirts, torn denim and typical concert attire, I couldn’t help but feel at the center of attention. Working a body-hugging white go-go dress with an array of colorful circles, a matching polyester top and a pair of pale pink flats with contrasting blue stitching, bystanders beg the question: Where did you get that outfit? And I have to laugh because the store slogan suits the situation quite well. “My fashion secret? I got it at Goodwill.”

Five dollars, head to toe. That was the grand total for my eye-catching ensemble. With a price tag like that, the bargains of thrift shopping are obvious. Everything from books to bell bottoms can be thrifted from your local Salvation Army at a fraction of the retail cost. However, there is something more than monetary considerations motivating most avid thrift shoppers.

“It’s the thrill of the hunt,” explains Jeanine Wagner. A retail manager, herself, Wagner knows the inner workings of cost and demand. But her demands have little to do with cost. “Thrifting, for me, is more hobby than financial necessity. The prices are great, but the excitement of finding some secondhand obscure oddity, that you are likely to never come across again; now that is appealing.” Wagner, a 24-year-old native of Rockledge, Pa., is always on the lookout for costume jewelry, quirky religious bric-a-brac, brooches and all things Beatles. But the strangest secondhand find to date, she tells me with pride, is an asparagus picture frame. “Asparagus, imagine that!” squeaks Wagner, “I love asparagus. But a picture frame? I never thought I’d find something like that in my lifetime.”

It’s that element of surprise. A treasure hunt. An adventure. An alternative to retail shopping. But thrifting is also a controversial cultural anomaly that some are hesitant to experience firsthand. Al Hoff, author of Thrift Score: The Stuff, the Method, the Madness, is a tried and true veteran of the secondhand struggle. Hoff argues for the eccentricity of obsessively searching for discarded treasures, all the while tackling the socioeconomic stigma attached. “Traditionally, thrift shopping has been associated with the poor,” writes Hoff. While a financial technicality may limit some shoppers to the shelves of a Salvation Army, this by no means a reason to ditch the thrift if you can afford shopping elsewhere. During our lengthy phone interview, Hoff herself even notes the recent media attention to middle-upper class thrift shopping, customers who bridge a gap economically and otherwise. “Goodwill and Salvation Army are no strangers to the suburbs, financially affluent communities who thrift for fun, not necessity. It speaks volumes of the allure a good thrift store.”

Hailing from Pittsburgh, Hoff was born and raised in a thrift-friendly family. “I had a childhood of hand-me-downs so I had come to know already-loved goods at an early age. Thrifting came naturally. So as you could imagine, it didn’t take long for me to appreciate thrift stores for their unrelenting supply of stuff. Just piles and piles of stuff,” relates Hoff, referring to her house of chachkas, oddities and trinkets; all known in Hoff’s own thrift terminology as “scores.”

While certainly some may shop secondhand for financial obligation, others, much like thrift enthusiast Al Hoff, hail the thrift store for the promise of something different, something unique. Some thrift for cultural history and nostalgia, some for rare collectibles, some for affordable wares and some for solidifying personal identity through fashion; and according to Hoff, when it comes to forging a thrift-inspired identity, it’s a highly personalized experience. Beatniks, hippies, punks, grunge rockers, vintage enthusiasts and anti-consumerists alike, all could argue fashion and personal identity as being intrinsically linked. “Clothing used to speak of class and position, now it speaks of personality,” explains Hoff. With a rotating stock of clothing at affordable prices without the pressure of conforming to a retail chain’s fashion template, thrift stores are a playground for personal fashion identity, a place for you to explore your options without exploring the limit on your American Express.

It’s likely that some wary shoppers may find themselves unable to reconcile their concern of secondhand clothing for fear of firsthand germs; but consider this: at the price of the garment in a thrift store you can afford a professional dry cleaner, several times over. By all means, avoid soiled or damaged clothing, unless you’re up for the challenge of salvaging an otherwise stubborn garment. Strange smells or stains are obvious culprits, but watch for uneven hemlines, discoloration of the fabric or other visible defects. For the craft-savvy thrift shopper, you may also consider a garment for the fabric alone. It’s just a case of one person’s trash being another person’s “score,” as Al Hoff would argue. “Thrifts are a Limbo of Value where goods are temporarily suspended between discard and worthiness.”

But enough talk already. The only person who can judge the potential value of the thrift and the contents within, is you; and as Jeanine Wagner would add, “a few like-minded friends, ones who take pride in their collective thrift-finds.” Search for hopeful DIY projects or humorously dated clothes for an impromptu costume party. With a totally random selection offered by an ever-rotating stock, salvaging your pick of pre-owned stuff should be a snap. And who knows? You could finally be sporting your own vintage go-go dress, without the cost and control of a mall’s corporate agenda. Score!

You can contact Jackie Jardine at

LGBT Summer Events

Philadelphia is extremely diverse, constantly holding events involving and honoring the variety of communities. The summer is full of special events for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

The 14th Annual Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is throughout the city and will run until July 22. This festival is filled with tons of fun and entertainment including Quizzo and dance parties.

“Niagara Falls” is a comedy based on an Italian-American family’s reaction to their gay son bringing home his lover for a family wedding. The show will be from July 16 to Aug. 2 at the Shubin Theatre. Tickets cost between $15 and $25 and can buy them online at

The Delaware Pride Festival will take place at Cape Henlopen State Park in Rehoboth Beach on Sept. 13 at noon. The day will be jam packed with exciting events.

Aug. 19 will mark the 6th annual Gay Community Night with the Phillies game at Citizen’s Bank Park. You can purchase tickets online at This is a great way to meet new friends while enjoying a game.

Aside from events, there are also various venues in the Philadelphia area that are dedicated to the LGBT community.

The Free Library of Philadelphia Independence Branch features the Barbara Gittings Gay and Lesbian Collection, named after a Philly activist who spent her time fighting for libraries to include this information. It is also the second largest public library collection of LGBT materials in the country.

Located on Spruce St., the William Way Center strives to help the LGBT community through activism and support. They also work with the outer communities to help them appreciate the LGBT community.

The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund in downtown Philly is an organization that’s goal is to improve that lives of the LGBT community in order for them to have equal rights.

For more information on LGBT events in the area, visit and search through the events calendar under Gay and Lesbian.

You can contact Shannon Keough at

Less Than Jake

Less Than Jake is back! Yes, the legendary Florida ska band has returned to blister our ears with brand new tracks from the latest CD, GNV FLA and explode our eyeballs with the Shout It Loud Tour, now in its second, fantastic year.

A few days before the Shout It Loud 2 Tour rumbled into our fair city, Campus Philly chatted with saxophone player Peter JR Wasilewski about life on tour, the new album and Less Than Jake’s evolution to veterans of the punk ska scene.

Campus Philly: I ask everybody this: what do you think of Philadelphia? How do the LTJ fans here compare to the rest of the world?

Peter JR Wasilewski: Philly rules! The cheese steaks are great, the fans are better than the cheese steaks and the shows always go off. I’d say it makes top 10 favorite places for Less Than Jake to play.

CP: I started listening to LTJ when The Science Of Selling Myself Short came out. That was my anthem back in the day. How has the band evolved since that time?

JR: Well, we wrote another record that a lot of our fans didn’t like (In With The Out Crowd) but we liked it. And we’ve now released another record, GNV FLA and that is more like our older stuff. We’ve also done about 600 shows on five continents. What’s amazing is that was five years ago. Imagine all the stuff that happened in the 10 years prior to that in our history! It scares me to think about it actually, so let’s not, okay? Ha!

CP: I don’t know how many people know this, but you guys were kind of the pioneers for Fueled By Ramen Records, with your drummer, Vinnie Fiorello having started it. What was that like, both being on the label and running it? What do you think of the bands that are associated with FBR now like The Cab, Paramore, Cobra Starship?

JR: Vinnie worked very hard on the label and we were all a little sad to see him let it go. But he felt that it was time for him to go and we back him on that decision. As far as the bands, I liked the earlier signings like Fall Out Boy, The AKA’S, The Academy Is., Gym Class Heroes, The Stereo. As far as the newer artists, I’m not as familiar with them musically speaking, but respect the fact that they tour and hope they treat their fans right.

CP: Tell me about Sleep It Off Records. Why create a label out of thin air especially when you were still contracted to your current label for one more album?

JR: Warners let us out of our contract, actually. And why not start our own label? We know our band better than anyone who works at a label and we will for SURE work harder for our band than any person at a label. It makes sense for us at this point to have all the control over what we do. And honestly, it [expletive] rules!

CP: Why did you decide to start re-releasing your catalog?

JR: We needed to put something out. Why not start with, well, the start?

CP: LTJ hails from Gainesville, Fla. As far as I know, you guys have always represented your hometown fiercely. Why did it take so long to give it world-wide public recognition, for example, naming the new album after the airport code for your native city?

JR: Not sure actually, but it just seemed like the right time to name the record after The ‘Ville. We had a song (Gainesville Rock City), but it seemed like we were starting this new label and we are kind of coming full circle and the circle ends right back in Gainesville, where the record was written. Again, made perfect sense.

CP: GNV FLA has been out for almost a week now. What’s the feedback been like so far? Are people enjoying the new album?

JR: I think so. I’ve only seen one bad review and it seems like the guy listened to it when he was getting his colon cleansed. His points made no sense at all and he must have no musical sense at all. He was from Australia, but that shouldn’t have anything to do with it. Mostly all positive though, thanks for asking.

CP: How did you find yourselves on the Shout It Loud 2 Tour?

JR: It’s our tour. We named it and are taking out for the second year. It’s fun so far!

CP: How has it been playing with Dropkick Murphys, Goldfinger, Suburban Legends, Westbound Train?

JR: One word: radical!

CP: I heard that even though you’ve had the songs from GNV FLA recorded and squared away, you haven’t been playing them, wanting to hold off until this summer tour. Why is that?

JR: Because it makes more sense to play the songs when people actually hear them once or twice on CD, MP3. No real other reason than that. Also, we have eight other records to choose songs from. The kids could wait. But we’re playing new songs now on the tour.

CP: You guys are touring veterans by now. Was there ever one performance over the years that stood out from all the rest?

JR: I think the one performance that stood out was our first time playing the main stage at Reading Festival [in England]. It was amazing to play in front of 80,000 people. We were all nervous, played like [expletive], and didn’t know what hit us after it was over. But what an experience! Once in a lifetime type-stuff. And we’ve gotten to do it twice more since! I love my life.

After JR’s riveting responses I couldn’t wait to see what Less Than Jake was going to cook up in Philadelphia at Festival Pier. Needless to say, I was anything but disappointed.

After waiting through the sun and a bunch of awesome performances from Suburban Legends, Westbound Train and Goldfinger, the stage blew up with a mass a fluorescent color and cartoons. Confetti shooters adorned both sides of the stage, but this being a band that likes to think outside the box, I wondered if confetti would be what was coming out of there.

Less Than Jake didn’t just take the stage. They took over the Philly audience.

With guest roadie Brian Klemm (Suburban Legends) offstage, Less Than Jake entered to the theme from The A-Team. Don’t ask me why, I couldn’t even hazard a guess except to say that it is purely characteristic of this band.

The energetic ska band padded the majority of the approximately 75-minute set with songs from their new album GNV FLA, songs they were saving especially for this tour.

They opened with their new single, Does The Lion City Still Roar. I felt like I was back in high school when I would listen to this band daily. Apparently, that was the opinion of almost every person in the crowd because almost on cue everyone lost their minds (in a good way). Philadelphia loves Less Than Jake…intensely.

The veteran band took no prisoners. They played so loud I could swear I heard one of the stage right speakers pop.

For me, Less Than Jake has always had the talent of melting together Irish jigs and old country ragtime. Sounds like a risky combination, but these guys make it work. Theirs is the kind of music that just makes you happy and unable to stand still.

The night wasn’t completely devoted to the band’s 8th album. Classic The Science Of Selling Yourself Short and the venerable Liquor Store were among the favorites played.

To my surprise (or relief) confetti did indeed shoot out of the canisters…and also to my horror, stuck to every inch of every sweaty body part in that pit.

Bassist and singer Roger Manganelli is like a five-year-old with how energetic and silly he still is after all these years. It truly is endearing to watch. In addition, Buddy Schaub on trombone and Wasilewski on sax are pure brilliance when they combine their brass.

The la
st time we were here, you guys sang this louder than us, Demakes thundered introducing I Swear It’s The Last Time. He then donned some old wig and proudly proclaimed, Now I’m an emo kid. I feel special.

Summon Monsters, a song Demakes claimed is the fastest song we’ve ever written inspired a massive circle pit around the sound tower. Prove to Buddy’s family that he’s not a loser! Demakes bellowed, and the crowd obeyed.

Buddy Schaub is anything but a loser. When he wasn’t playing his trombone, Schaub was the resident mental patient on stage. He danced and sang like any one of the fans in the crowd and even made a makeshift superhero outfit out of a fan flag and some random Americana hat.

Less Than Jake brings very little chit chat and very much rock and energy, just the way I like it. They are definitely the best match to have play with Dropkick Murphys. They have similar fans with similar loves and similar beliefs which include hard mosh dancing.

Believe it or not, I remained untouched even though I was up against the barricade and surrounded by trees masquerading as tall guys. I was in love with the energy that surrounded me.

Less Than Jake took their leave with Plastic Cup Politics and the Philly fans waved their goodbye with a salute in the form of another massive circle pit. A fitting send-off for a band that has meant so much to so many for so long.

You can contact Cara Donaldson at

Saving Siren Records

Back in the early to mid-90s, every kid who was hopelessly in love with the mix tape wanted to be in the movie Empire Records. It was like a family centered on the culture of the independent record store. You got to work around your favorite music with your best friends every day. What could be more perfect than that?

Fast forward to 2008 where life is imitating art…and not in a good way. Just like in Empire Records, the lives of many independent record stores in and around Philadelphia are being threatened. And some aren’t getting out alive.

On June 20, Siren Records in Doylestown was forced to close its doors due to a series of disagreements, disputes and misunderstandings.

The economy was definitely part of it, but we’ve also been in a fight with the landlord about the live shows that we had already agreed upon before we moved in, store owner, Blair Elliot said in a July 3 press release. As that battle was going, we were trying to renegotiate our terms, but in the process, they came in and locked us out. Technically the lease allows them to do, but it isn’t what normally would happen. We’ve gotten wrapped up in the politics of the town that we weren’t privy to and now it’s affecting us.

Over the past 20 years, Siren Records has become a staple of the Doylestown community, a haven for teens and a place to call home for a number of artists like Philly’s own Circa Survive.

Our favorite record store has been shut down and needs our help so they can move and open a new store, Circa Survive said on their official website.

When [vocalist] Anthony and I were younger, we used to take trips into Doylestown to go to the store, Circa Survive guitarist, Colin Frangicetto said in the same July 3 press release. It was a place I could always go and feel like I was gaining something, whether I was walking out with a CD or not.

In addition to having personal ties to the store, Circa Survive also worked with Siren professionally, having played an in-store acoustic in 2007 and their music was constantly featured in the Store Picks rack. Siren was scheduled to display some of Frangicetto’s artwork before it was closed.

Today, the band is throwing everything they’ve got into saving their beloved record store. Circa Survive has made their new B-sides collection The Most Dangerous Commercials available for download at a pay-what-you-wish price and will be donating every cent to help save Siren Records. The band has also teamed up with Miles To Go Clothing and designed 250 limited edition belts with all proceeds benefiting the store. Until July 19, Miles To Go will also be donating $5.00 for every shirt purchased to Siren. And if that wasn’t enough, Circa Survive has also worked with Super Gnarly Industries to create 100 silk-screened posters for sale to help support Siren.

Wonka Vision, South Philadelphia’s Music & Art Magazine, also is fighting the good fight to save their longtime friend who definitely helped the magazine into existence.

In Wonka Vision’s formative years, Blair Elliot of Siren was a major supporter, Wonka Vision Magazine’s Founder/Publisher, Justin Luczejko said in a joint press release with Circa Survive and Siren Records. Blair always found room in the small amount of space that the store had to giveaway hundreds of copies of the magazine every issue. Siren also helped to make a name for several Wonka Vision Records artists in the Philadelphia area…[and] unknowingly served as a middleman for the magazine to find a plethora of its staff, including writers, designers and editors.

In 2008, Wonka Vision took the relationship with Siren a step further and started sponsoring the shows hosted by the record store.

I feel like we do an enormous amount of good, supporting independent music and labels at a time when they need our help the most, Luczejko said proudly.

And now, Wonka Vision is supporting Siren Records in the store’s most dire time of need.

Until July 20, Wonka Vision Magazine will be offering its 1-Year (5 Issue) subscription for 50% off the normal $19.99 price. 100% of the proceeds from every subscription purchased for $9.99 will be donated directly to Siren Records.

With all this adamant and fervent support, one tends to wonder how a store like Siren Records could ever fall into a position like this in the first place.

Everyone knows that the 21st Century is all about quickness and proficiency. Everything has become rushed, even the appreciation of music. Among many other things, the great art of getting lost for hours in record stores has sadly been cast by the wayside.

The buzz around town as of late seems to be I don’t have time, not only to physically go to a store, but to find anything other than the local Best Buy.

John, a junior from LaSalle University, has no idea where any independent record stores are even located. It’s like they want to be unknown because they only want certain people in there, John said.

Because (by most) independent record stores are considered out of style, they are no longer in the foreground. They cannot afford big, flashy, neon signs and therefore are hidden down back streets and alleys. But there are those who still seek them out. And lucky for record stores like Siren, they still see that there is more to music than convenience.

Record stores are where it started, Nicole, a Holy Cross sophomore said. They’re landmarks in all music scenes. Bands and music lovers alike should be doing all they can to keep them in business.

It is no secret that our generation lives in a time where instant gratification is a must and highly sophisticated technology allows that to be possible. iTunes and Rhapsody make it possible to get music in a second, no pesky unwrapping required and conveniently already on our computers to transfer quickly to that handy, little contraption known as the mP3 player. Go on any college campus or any metropolitan Mecca, like Center City, and you’ll see them everywhere clinging to the ears of many a rushed individual.

But some, like Jason, a Williamsport native, still roots for the little guy.

The best stuff can sometimes be found in the most obscure places, Jason said.

The outcry against the closing of Siren Records has been reverberating through Philadelphia all month. A number of benefit shows have been scheduled and the display of Colin Frangicetto’s artwork has morphed into an entire showcase now featuring the artwork of Anthony Green and his wife, photographer Nicole Neuman, as well as music from Hunter Smith, Person L (featuring Kenny Vasoli of another Philly band, The Starting Line) and Good Old War. It is being held on Aug. 1 at the Main Baptist Church on Main Street in Doylestown. All proceeds will go towards helping along the future re-opening of Siren Records.

The independent record store can become a home away from home for anyone who has lost their way in any respect. Lovers of music find fellow lovers of music and sometimes great friends, not just someone in a uniform pointing you to the alternative section. There’s a sense of freedom and adventure when you step through the (usually) old, creaky doors, sounding off the little bell dangling above. Secret treasures can be found in the form of a rarity or b-side of your favorite band that was previously unheard of. And you could find your next favorite band at an in-store live performance. Cameron Crowe said it best in his classic film, Almost Famous: If you ever get lonely, you just go to the record store and visit your friends.

To donate to Siren Records, please visit:



You can contact Cara Donaldson at

The Band V

There are many reasons why I love music. A great groove can put you in the best mood, a heavy enough riff will massage ones ill attitude and a great set of vocals can inspire someone to do something great. The one thing that has been missing from popular music these days are lyrics with meaning and a message. The Band V has a strong sound and message that they want to share with the world and are not afraid to do so.

“We’re kinda political,” lead vocalist/guitarist Vin Colella said. “I really hate what’s happening in this country. I hate the fact that nobody will speak up anymore; everybody’s afraid to say. People are being neglected left and right. I’m sick of it that’s why we created the album Revolution Street.”

The Band V started a little over two years ago with members guitarists Vin and Dan Lerro, Bob Stanfield on keyboard, bassist Steve Janks and Alan Hoke on the drums. Unlike many local bands these guys had no interest in signing with a major record label so they immediately began promoting themselves. Using the internet and various connections The Band V quickly developed a local following and began to attract some big name attention. As a result of all this Do-It-Yourself, or DIY, action the guys started their own record label named after their first cd release “Revolution Street”.

“We were told we couldn’t get on radio if [Revolution Street] wasn’t an official release. So we created Revolution Street Records and made it an official release. We just went around the blockade,” Vin expressed with a smile. “We just wanted to prove that it didn’t matter what your name was. Kind of like the Goo Goo Dolls. If the music is good then the music is good.”

Not too long after their crusade of self promotion, they were introduced to a man named Artie Kornfield, the creator of Woodstock ‘69, by their producer Shelly Yakus and engineer Wayne Davis. Shortly after meeting Artie the band hired him as their manager. With these heavy hitters by their side The Band V began to progress full-steam-ahead toward their dream of spreading their music and their message.

“He actually saw a video that me and Dan shot for [the song] Breakdown our first single,” Vin said. “We started working with him and Shelly Yakus (a producer on their recent release Revolution Street Revisited), who did John Lennon’s Imagine.”

As for their live performance The Band V are nothing short of astounding. With a mixture of heavier and softer rock oriented songs coated with Vin’s raspy and electrifying voice their performances are too amazing for words. Their stage presence is comfortable and believable.

The Band V looked like naturals that were born and bred specifically to occupy a stage. Their sound is unique, yet familiar and very moving. Every lyric floats through the air and into the crowd causing people to instantly connect with the musicians.

Show stopping music, mood soothing grooves, hypnotizing vocals and a lyrical message to be proud of, not to mention all of the hard work and dedication behind the scenes of each and every member and person involved in this group; it looks like The Band V is a force to be recognized and remembered. Sooner or later these men are going to be in the public eye showing the world how to take care of its self and produce inspiring music.

You can contact Davonne R Armstrong at

Suburban Legends

They’re no boy band, but their catchy songs and smooth dance moves have made Suburban Legends a staple of the punk/ska scene and a favorite of music lovers in every genre.

The Shout It Loud 2 Tour brought the Legends out of Orange County, to Philadelphia’s Festival Pier in late June as a part of the School of Rock Festival, a two-day long event showcasing the efforts of young musicians from the respected schools of Paul Green.

Before taking the stage with Dropkick Murphys, Less Than Jake and Goldfinger, singer Vince Walker and trombone player Brian Robertson talked with Campus Philly about their amazing travels and experiences in Suburban Legends.

Campus Philly:I ask everybody this: what do you think of Philadelphia?

Vince Walker:Well, the last time we were here, we got our stuff stolen so it’s pretty much a love/hate relationship. But the shows are always fun and the people are great. There’s a lot of love for Philly.

CP:I’ve noticed that your music is a little different from a lot of the other ska bands I’ve heard. What are some of your influences, whether it is bands or musical styles?

Brian Robertson:Every band has got eclectic taste because of all the different members.

VW:Exactly. We’ve got a wide range of likes. We do like a lot of pop music though, the kind with hooks that stick to you.

CP:You guys have been around in one form or another since 1998 and gone through a lot of changes. Besides the obvious member changes and name changes, how has this band changed musically?

VW:We always like to force ourselves to explore new territories. For me, I feel like this is the tightest we’ve ever been as a group and with our music too.

CP:To me it seems that ska bands experience the most lineup changes of any other kind of band out there. Why do you think that is?

VW:Because this is the most egotistical type of music. Haha, I’m just joking. Seriously, it’s just that there are more members involved. It’s funny to hear people talk because it’s like they get confused when there are more than four people on stage. They’re looking like, What are those other guys doing?

BR:I think it comes down to just having too many cooks in the kitchen. Everyone has their own ideas and sometimes they clash and things don’t work out.

CP:So I heard a rumor that you guys have been quite the regulars at Disneyland in California.

BR:Performing or hanging out? There are the gigs, which we’re so grateful for, but we’re there a lot. Our bassist Mike is there almost every day and I work nearby so it really can’t be avoided.

CP:And you’ve taken to playing covers of songs from Disney movies too. Are you going to play any for us today?

VW:Haha, maybe. You’ll have to wait and see.

CP:What can we expect from the new album, Let’s Be Friends?

BR:It comes out early July and it’s kind of just like a culmination of everything we’ve been through over the past few years. It’s like a collage spanning from some stuff that we had left over from Rump Shaker to new stuff from now.

VW:Just things that we might have jammed out to in the past but never put to record.

CP:I heard that the new song Fire is about your poor van getting set on fire and being robbed not once but twice! What brought you to write a song about all that? Most people would want to forget it.

VW:We never did anything like this song before and we wanted to, both with the subject matter and the kind of music. But we really like it. It’s a lot of fun.

CP:How about the other songs on the album. Have any of them been influenced heavily by real life events?

VW:Haha, now that’s kind of secret and personal. You’ll just have to wait until we reveal all that in Behind the Music on VH1 in about 10 years.

CP:How did you get tapped for the Shout It Loud 2 Tour?

VW:I really have no idea. I think there was the possibility that we were going to be on Warped Tour this summer, but we took this rad tour instead.

BR:Our booking company, KG Booking, may have had something to do with it.

VW:We were also on Summer Jam with Less Than Jake last year. But no, I have no clue. But it’s great!

CP:How has it been being on the road with the rest of the bands?

VW:Well, we’ve toured with Goldfinger before and they’re always been great. But this tour they’re just…inspiring! We’re hearing people who have never seen them before saying things like, This is the best act I’ve ever seen in my life! And of course, Less Than Jake always gives off this incredible vibe. We only wish we could be as good as them.

CP:Who are some of your favorite bands that you’ve either played with or want to play with?

BR:Patent Pending is just such an eye-opening band. And there’s Reel Big Fish, they’re our homies. A dream band to play with would be Daft Punk.

VW:Or the Jonas Brothers, haha.

CP:What’s next for Suburban Legends?

BR:There is a possibility of a fall tour. But nothing’s confirmed. We’re still waiting on co-headliners. But for now there are a few free downloads up on MySpace and Absolute Punk and the album will eventually be on iTunes.

VW:Suburban Legends are coming to your town like a pack of land sharks!

About an hour after our fun, behind the scenes interview, the guys of Suburban Legends took the stage for their turn on the Shout It Loud 2 Tour.

The boys stormed the stage with an Nsync reminiscent dance routine and quite possibly did it better than the 90s boy band ever could. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a band that plays their own instruments while dancing in time. Actually, I’m not sure I ever have. But Walker, Robertson, and Luis Beza (on trumpet) do it flawlessly.

The Legends had no problem exciting the crowd.

I found myself in awe of guitarist Brian Klemm for a few reasons. One was his insane ability on the axe. The other was the pair of sweet plaid board shorts he was rockin’. His band mates seem to love what he does in front of a crowd. Appropriately, they give respect where respect is due.

After blasting through Festival Pier with a powerful opening litany, the Legends continued with their new hit, Girl’s Got What I Want, and infectious little tune that the crowd ate up with a spoon. If the rest of Let’s Be Friends is anything like the first single, it is sure to be a chart climber.

Many bands today rely on singers who cover up their lack of talent by screaming or holding onto a bellow. It is very refreshing to see a singer like Vince Walker who is capable of having a strong vocal while maintaining a correct tone and demonstrating real singing ability.

The Legends went on to revive disco with Dance Like Nobody’s Watching, a song that begged for audience participation. Klemm did not disappoint, sliding through the tune with great control and sound while bassist Mike Hachey consistently kept a riveting underscore.

To celebrate drummer Derek Lee Rock’s birthday, Robertson asked the crowd to break it down with happy birthdays instead of na-na-nas. Between the na-na-nas and the synchronized jumping, the Philly crowd loved every minute of this performance.

If you want to make it to the top, then you’ve got to play songs that take you to the top, Wa
lker announced just as the Legends launched into a punked out rendition of Just Can’t Wait To Be King from Disney’s The Lion King. Half the crowd didn’t realize what was going on and the half that did went crazy singing along.

Klemm’s guitar solos throughout the whole set gave adequate time for dance parties both onstage and in the pit. Mosh anthem Last Dance showcased some of Robertson’s smooth moves, definitely worthy of Michael Jackson himself.

Suburban Legends shows no fear leading old school Jackson 5 flavor on a collision course with ska-tastic boy band replication. A scary thought indeed. But these boys from the OC make it wicked cool.

You can contact Cara Donaldson at

The Gits

Every now and then the world remembers the Seattle grunge scene of the 90s. At the height of that movement, the light of one of its darling protégés was prematurely snuffed out. Mia Zapata, singer of the band The Gits, was murdered.

To commemorate the 15th anniversary of her death and continue the celebration of her life, director Kerri O’Kane released a documentary chronicling Zapata’s time with her band, including her untimely demise and long overdue vindication.

Simply titled The Gits, the film itself embodies that genuine rawness that Zapata and The Gits captured both on stage and off.

As someone who grew up embracing grunge and the other music of the 90s, I jumped at the chance to see this film. I wanted to be taken back to that time and truly see what lay underneath all the commercial hype that quickly took over that scene. But minutes into the film I realized that this was not a movie about a Seattle band. It was not about a band that had a female singer. It was about a human being, Mia, who gave her life to her art in more ways than one.

What really impressed me about this documentary was how O’Kane spliced together the moments and the words that would make the audience love Mia Zapata, even though we never met her. She painted a picture so lovely, that you could not help but wish you were in the crowd watching The Gits.

Not only did I connect emotionally with every single person featured in the documentary, I found myself learning a lot about The Gits as a band and caring a lot about its members.

I was there with Zapata when she worked for $4 an hour at a pub. I could feel history in the making when the band played their first gig at The Vogue. I could sense the memory of the infamous party of 1990 New Year’s Eve that was more like a concert than just a party. By the end of the film, I wished I could have been with The Gits when they first started out back in The Rat House at 19th and Derry, Seattle.

Although this was ultimately a film dealing with a serious matter, there were comedic moments that gave it just the right juxtaposition against the grief. Who would have thought that a band once called The Sniveling Little Rat-faced Kids would have turned into the creative genius of The Gits. There was nothing contemptible about the magic they created.

To hear Andy Kessler speak of Mia Zapata was a real treat. Calling her his musical soul mate, it is clear to anyone that Kessler truly respected Zapata for her emotional connection to her music. And now, so do I. Nothing has ever convinced me more of a person’s genuine nature than the testimonial of Kessler. I can just picture Zapata scribbling something genius down in her notebooks and not shying away from it, but following through to create another masterpiece like Wingo Lamo or Second Skin.

Zapata was a raw blues singer that added a charismatic front to the flurry of punk music behind her. She could’ve sang in any band and been great. There has always been a beauty to how sloppy you are in life and no one could watch this unfold in Zapata and not be affected. But Zapata herself could be.

On July 7, 1993, Mia Zapata was found raped, beaten and strangled, a mile from the Comet Tavern where she had spent the night before with friends.

A beloved icon was stolen from the world. Friends and fans alike crowded the streets for the Seattle wake, carrying with them single yellow roses, a fact that O’Kane includes, I think, to symbolize the lasting effects of Zapata’s simplistic yet meaningful influence.

The testimonies of Zapata’s band mates, Matt Dresdner, Andy Kessler and Steve Moriarty as well as her father and brother were so heartfelt and open I wondered what, if any, was the connection between them and O’Kane. Some documentaries about people that I’ve seen in the past seem pretty fake or forced. This one however, seemed au naturel. O’Kane definitely has a way with her camera.

While the commentary from the male band mates and family members was more of a memorial to Zapata, things being said from female friends and colleagues seemed to me to be fueled by anger–anger at the fact that their friend with so much talent was taken from them.

Zapata rests at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, her gravestone describing the roles she played in life and that she will retain in death: daughter, friend, sister, artist and most importantly, Git.

It is a beautiful thing that this documentary did not end the way it was intended. Because of a loving group of friends, family and fans, the rock community was able to raise enough money through benefit concerts to hire a private investigator to find Zapata’s killer. But for years, there was nothing.

Life went on for the people who knew Mia Zapata. The Gits released their second album and the remaining members started Dancing French Liberals of ’48 to play at its release party. A very therapeutic move indeed.

In 2003, there was a break in the case. Through DNA evidence, Jesus Mezquia was tried and convicted of Zapata’s murder. He was sentenced to 36 years in prison, 10 years more than the normal amount. Mia Zapata’s case remains the first in Seattle to be solved by saliva DNA.

I played The Gits on my ride home from the theater and there was something about knowing the story behind the voice coming through my speakers that made me cry. I had listened to the tale many times, but this was the first time I actually heard it.

I tell people that The Gits remind me of Vagiant or an early Hole. Bands today like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Distillers take things from Mia Zapata that they don’t even realize. Through a constant comparison and homage through style, we keep The Gits and Mia Zapata alive everyday in our homes and in our hearts. Kerri O’Kane’s documentary was able to bring that devotion out in public.

This film has nothing to do with smoke and mirrors. This is not a celebrity cast movie where actors are paid millions to try and become the greatness of their subjects. This is real. This is the woman in all her glory and those who loved her in their agony. They will remember Zapata for her social consciousness and genuine care for people. And now, through Kerri O’Kane, so will we.

Setting aside an entire week for Mia Zapata, 941 Theater showed The Gits documentary from July 5-11. Visit 941theater.comfor more information.

You can contact Cara Donaldson at