December 31, 2006

The Philadelphia Inquirer Inqlings Column: Mummers Story for Little Ones

By Michael Klein, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Dec. 31--In the century that Mummers have been strutting in the new year, no one's put out an instruction manual.

You sort of had to pick it up on your own.

Until South Philly political operative Ed Kirlin came out with The Littlest Mummer, a sweet story about a kid named Maxie who falls asleep at the parade -- as if -- and learns the ropes.

"It's a children's book and a souvenir for Philly," says Kirlin, a member of the Froggy Carr wench brigade and a coproducer of the Max Raab Mummers documentary Strut! The Movie. The story's inspiration was Jim Hearn, who dresses for the parade in a top hat and tux. He hands out small gifts to the smaller kids and teaches them to dance.

The manuscript sat for five years as he interviewed illustrators who didn't get it, Kirlin says. The commission went to Tara Vargas, who -- in typical South Philly fashion -- lives across the street from him in Pennsport.

The $10 book, printed by neighbor Bill Mooney, will be sold by vendors along the parade route, as well as at the Fancy Brigade finale at the Convention Center and through and 215-318-7978. Most proceeds are destined for the Katie Kirlin Fund, which supports wheelchair athletic programs. Katie, Kirlin's niece, died of bone cancer in 1989.

Movie news

Marlton's Andrea Langi -- former Eagles cheerleader and reality-show contestant (For Love or Money), current model/actress, and chum of Upper Darby-raised goofball Jamie Kennedy -- has a role in the indie film The Greek American. Philly writer-director-producer Alysia Maltepes hopes to put it before the cameras starting in late January. Maltepes, who spent three years on the script and a year getting filming lined up, calls it an intense love story surrounding two Philly boxers. Among locations is her father's gym near Ninth Street and Girard Avenue. Male leads are Kenneth John McGregor (The Elizabeth Smart Story) and Ryan Tygh (In Her Shoes, National Treasure). Over the summer, Langi had a bit part in Ole, a comedy starring Daryl Hannah.

Imagine this: Tigre Hill's documentary The Shame of a City -- about the 2003 mayoral race -- being used for political purposes. Mayoral candidate Michael Nutter will host a fund-raising screening Thursday night at the Prince Music Theater. Nutter and Hill will speak.

Media notes

CBS3 morning anchor Susan Barnett and husband Greg Persichetti live in two states -- he's a dermatology resident now in Des Moines, Iowa, after a spell in Florida -- but they were together for the birth of their first child, a son named Blaise, on Tuesday. The Bucks-bred Barnett's last day on the air was Dec. 15. She is expected to return in February, the station says.

By the time you read this, WPSG (Channel 57) expects to be back on the air. CW Philly's main antenna in Roxborough went on the fritz Dec. 23; satellite and cable subscribers were mainly unaffected. A standby antenna is being installed, says general manager Michael Colleran.

WISX (106.1) went on the air in August with the name "Philly's 106.1." It's now going by "My 106.1." Station exec Manuel Rodriguez explains that parent company Clear Channel had to wait for the service mark.

Gary Shepherd has left his part-time role on WDAS (105.3). He'll start Tuesday on the 3-to-7 p.m. shift on WRNB (107.9), replacing Deana Wright. (That's his former 'DAS shift.)


Micky Dolenz, the onetime Monkee, was puttering in his L.A. garden when I called the other day. Gardening? "I'm a pruner," he said. "I don't know why." Had to cut him short to talk about the road show Pippin, in which he stars as King Charlemagne. (It played the DuPont in Wilmington in October.) Pruning is what he's up to as the show breaks until its Jan. 11 opening at the Forrest. (Philly represents a homecoming for his wife of nearly five years, Donna, who was Donna Quinter in Huntingdon Valley.) After the show's run, Dolenz says, he'll go back to film-producing and his one-nighters. "And when I get time, I'll prune," he said.

Hardwood floors?

The 76ers and their associates are keeping the Lower Merion real-estate market interesting.

Andre Iguodala is moving in, leaving the West Conshohocken McMansion that he paid $600,000 for two years ago for a brand-new house (replacing a tear-down) in the Villanova section.

Every Main Line Realtor wants a shot at Allen Iverson's mansion, a secluded five-bedroom on a four-acre Villanova cul-de-sac, for which he and wife Tawanna paid $5 million four years ago. But although Iverson was traded to Denver, an AI friend says a house sale is not certain. The family likes it here, and extended families are in Virginia.

A similar no-sale situation involved Larry Brown, who lived in Bryn Mawr with his family from 1997 to 2003 while he coached the 76ers. With the wife and kiddies satisfied at Episcopal Academy, they remained for a year after he left to coach the Detroit Pistons. Now that the peripatetic Brown is gone from his last stop, the New York Knicks, the Browns are buying again. Here. They're renting in Bryn Mawr pending settlement.

The Sixers even figure, coincidentally, into what might be the highest price paid for a single-family home on the Main Line -- certainly it was Montgomery County's priciest residential transaction of 2006. It's a house on 12 acres in Gladwyne. Seller Ted Kosloff's father, Irving, owned the Sixers from 1963 to 1976. Buyer Andrew L. Barroway, a lawyer, led a group of potential bidders for the team in the fall. Barroway's previous house, in Villanova, was owned by Julius Erving. Asking price for the Gladwyne home was $14.9 million, and it sold for $12 million -- sweet commissions for listing agent Linda Z of RE/MAX Executive in Bryn Mawr and buyer's agent Judith Fox of Prudential Fox & Roach in Gladwyne.

Speaking of high-priced Lower Merion real estate: Walter Annenberg's Wynnewood estate is being quietly shopped around, with an asking price of about $15 million, as The Inquirer reported exclusively last week. Herewith, the Sixers connection: For reasons still unclear, the team in the 1960s was on Inquirer publisher Annenberg's "enemies list," and all but the briefest mentions were banned.

Contact columnist Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or [email protected] Read his recent work at


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