The 2019 Philadelphia Flower Show is rapidly approaching, and as I did my research for this week’s column, I noticed the words “exciting,” “vibrant,” “colorful” and “fun” - all of which would be apt for this year’s theme, “Flower Power.” But in this case, the words weren’t describing the flowers on display, but rather the personality of this week’s Portrait, Michael Bowell. A gardener by vocation and avocation, Bowell has become a staple in the horticultural community — known for his infectious spirit, generosity and expertise in the plant world.

I’ve mentioned in my column before that I’m a couch potato sports enthusiast. I can watch anything from curling to rhythmic gymnastics (I actually kind of miss them), but my favorite sport is football. Perhaps it was the many years I spent as my older brother’s tackle dummy, or sitting in the freezing cold bleachers watching him score on an exciting flea flicker play. Whatever it was, I learned the ins and outs of the game pretty well. I’m excited about the Eagles making the playoffs. Hopefully, they will go far. But if not, I will rest easy knowing that my football fever will have another outlet: The Philadelphia Phantomz. The Phantomz are a full-contact, women’s football team that is part of The Women’s Football Alliance (www.wfaprofootball.com). Boasting almost 70 teams, WFA is the largest and most competitive women’s tackle football league in the world. The league is in recruiting mode right now, as it looks for new players for the start of the season in the spring. We spoke to one of the starting players, Amanda Avvento, as she was on her way to a winter practice session in the cold.

Today is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.

—Brad Paisley

That shouldn’t be hard for this week’s Portrait — Eric Singel and his alter ego, astrologer Starzina Starfish-Browne.

A versatile writer, actor, comedian and producer, Singel has performed everything from roles in serious shows like “The Crucible” and “Torch Song Trilogy” to the totally zany work of sketch comedy.

The first time I saw the Mummers was of all places on a tennis court. It was when I first moved to Philadelphia and my parents took me to see the Philadelphia Freedoms tennis team. During a change-over, several large men wearing bright clothing covered in sparkles and feathers playing banjos strode onto the tennis court doing some kind of strut. My jaw dropped to the floor as I stammered, “What on earth is that?” Someone looked at me in disbelief and shushed me by saying, “They’re Mummers!”

“Applause? I’d love some!” That’s the way this week’s Portrait, Eric Jaffe, starts his monthly cabaret, “The Eric Jaffe Show.” In addition to his regular performances, the multi-talented Jaffe can soon be seen for one night only in “Oy, to the World,” a dance party for “people of Jewish faith and their allies.” The event will include music by DJ Carl Michaels, comedy and live performances starring Jaffe, the fabulous Brittany Lynn, Satine Harlow and Alexis Michelle from “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” 

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