Vote for AJ Nanayakkara

Photo Credit: Psychology Today

There’s not always a lot to enjoy about the actual law school experience. The stress. The rivalry.  The workload. That one sardonic professor who enjoys the Socratic method a little too much. But all the irksome parts of law school go out the door once you’re the real world and you’re able to actually affect someone’s quality of life in a significant way. At least that was my experience.The work done at the Legal Clinic for the Disabled, where I intern, changes lives. In the nine months that I’ve worked there, I’ve seen firsthand how lawyers at LCD fight for one of the most vulnerable populations in Philadelphia. Last week we learned that one of our most ardent supporters, AJ Nanayakkara, a spinal cord injury advocate has been nominated for the Second Annual Anapol Advocate Award. If he wins, the Legal Clinic for the Disabled receives $5,000. Please take a second and vote for AJ.  Please also pass on to family and friends.  (Caveat: The website sometimes shows an error sign when you try to vote. Just refresh and it should go through.) Voting ends May 31. Thank you in advance for your vote.

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Pay the Writer

On Friday, April 1st, a series of tweets were exchanged between my friend, writer Jeff Deeney and the person behind Metro Philly’s Twitter account re: a dispute about fees owed Jeff for freelance work.  See this. And this. I was a little surprised to read this exchange coming from a corporate account. A lot of disgruntled individuals tweet at corporate accounts, celebrities and other public accounts. But most account managers are trained not to respond to deliberately provocative comments. So for a while, I mistakenly thought I had been duped by an April Fool’s joke.



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My 5 Favorite Talkadelphia Interviews

So back in October, I told you about a new project I was working on called Talkadelphia. The premise was simple: Instead of writing about them like I usually do, Gino and I would interview all of the interesting Philadelphians that we knew so that you could hear their stories firsthand. A lot of folks told me podcasting was a stupid idea given the deteriorating attention span of the average American in the Internet age. But I refuse to believe that nobody wants to hear first-hand from the folks we’ve covered. So shove it, haters.

Twenty plus episodes later, I’ve learned a few things. First of all, podcasting is a lot more work than the simple Q&As I usually write. Whereas an average profile would take me roughly 3-4 hours to compile (interview/transcribe/edit /write/re-write), one podcast episode can easily take twice that much time. So if you are planning to seriously commit to a podcast, kiss your social life away. Or just make your social life a part of your podcast, like we do. Continue reading

Blogging Year in Review 2010

The people closest to me know that I have a terrible memory.  I can remember the things I know I have to remember to survive. The bills. Rent. Tuition. Work deadlines. But a lot of other floss goes by the wayside with me. Perhaps that’s why I try so hard to document my year. I try to always take my camera with me. Because if I don’t have a picture, I forget it happened. And I usually have a little notebook with me that I write important things in. Usually I forget the notebook though and by the end of the semester, when I go to throw away my notes and class handouts, I’ll find a dozen little scribblings here and there where I wrote a phrase or two that tickled my fancy. For that reason, I’m writing this post, because otherwise I’ll probably forget this incredible year even happened. Heck, I already forgot most of last week.

But this week, when I started my annual tradition of trying to piece together what I could recall of this past year, I was lucky enough to be able to use 2010’s blog posts to figure out when I had done what. Here’s what I gathered. Continue reading

For All You Hinglish Fans

Photo Credit: Beat & Boom

When I was 19 years old, I listened to all the Hinglish UK pop music my older brother introduced me to. It included: Rishi Rich, Jay Sean and Raghav. Back then, I didn’t know anybody outside of my family circle who knew who these singers were. Imagine my delight then when my editor at MTV Desi invited me to a video shoot with Raghav, the Canadian-born singer who took the desi world by storm back in 2004 with the release of the UK desi chart-topper Storyteller, featuring the catchy “Angel Eyes.” Then he disappeared for a bit, only to release Identity in 2009 – but only in India. Now he’s back with The Phoenix and a new single, “So Much.”

The first time I heard about Raghav’s comeback was when a friend texted me from a Phillies game to tell me that the singer was performing there. I went on a complete Raghav memory trip, listening to his albums on repeat for days. Unlike Jay Sean, Raghav’s appeal for me lies not in his looks or dancing, but in his original Hindi songs. But that’s my personal preference. Can’t say I love all his songs, but the teen I was is crossing her fingers for Raghav’s success. Dude can sing. Continue reading

Introducing Talkadelphia


Photo Credit: For the Love of Food

  Good things happen when I get bored. Two years ago, I found myself with too much spare time and a desire to learn more about the city I grew up in so I started writing on this blog. The results surprised me — I ended up finding a community of fascinating, like-minded people who became close friends. But as I moved away from this blog and to other projects, I found myself missing the conversations I had with the amazing Philadelphians I meet every day.

That’s why I decided last Thursday that I wanted to do a series of podcasts. Conversations with all the people I know (and some that I don’t know) who are changing this city in little, unnoticed ways. So my friend Gino and I came up with Talkadelphia. Every Monday, we’ll introduce you to somebody who intrigues us. We’re still working on our website, but until then follow our Twitter account to stay in touch with all the latest Talkadelphia news. Want to be interviewed? Email us at and tell us about yourself!

Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy

Sunny Ali (L) with The Kid (R). Photo Credit: Jonathan Applebaum

The first time I met Hassan Ali Malik of Sunny Ali & The Kid was on Halloween when I attended a crazy house party in West Philadelphia with my friend Ali that started on the top floor and spilled out onto the rooftop. Dressed in a Pakistani topi (hat) with a glow-in-the-dark Frisbee around his neck, Hassan looked like the bastard child of Aladdin and Flavor Flav. (He was actually going for Bollywood star wins Oscar.) At that time I didn’t know it, but I was looking for Hassan. My friend and fellow Sepia Mutineer, Tanzila Ahmed, had been after me to get an interview with Philadelphia-based band POPO, comprised of three Pakistani-American brothers – Zeb, Hassan and Shoaib. A few days after Halloween, I sent out a Twitter appeal after a month of trying to get in touch with the band via email. My friend Ali immediately contacted me. “You already know POPO,” he said. “You met Hassan on Halloween.” It’s a small, small Philadelphia. Thankfully, Hassan, who’d just left POPO to start his own gig, agreed to an interview and soon after, put me in touch with his musical partner, The Kid, who also wrote on the side as Pork Adventurer. (You following me?) Now, almost a year later, I’m happy to report that Sunny Ali & The Kid is still going strong. Check out this video interview to learn more about the duo and their music. And, for all you Philadelphians, listen to these two rancheros play live Saturday night at Tritone!