Editor’s Notes: Grid Alive II


About 10 years ago, I had a crazy idea—one I didn’t quite have the guts to do myself. It was to host a live event structured as a talk show where I would interview people who had appeared in Grid. My feeling was that, no matter how much I love print, there was nothing quite as powerful as hearing the exciting and charismatic people in our magazine telling their stories in their own voices.

I prefer one-on-one conversations to the spotlight, but I thought this idea had some value and potentially could be fun. So I called my friend Nic Esposito, someone who seemed not at all intimidated by the bright lights and holding court for a crowd. In fact, he seemed to relish it.

While others were skeptical of the idea, when I pitched it to Nic he jumped at it. Before long, we were doing pre-interviews for the show and practicing our opening monologue, replete with corny jokes. Nic’s social circle included a few musicians, and he invited the band The Great Unknown to play the first show.

I was utterly terrified the night of the first Grid Alive, but I remember being “backstage” at Trinity Memorial Church, at 22nd and Spruce streets, needing to calm my nerves, and Nic began walking around clucking like a chicken, and encouraged me to do the same. I think it had something to do with the TV show “Arrested Development,” but I can’t remember. Either way, the frantic energy was channeled, and the night turned out to be a great success. We did a half dozen more of those shows, and they remain some of my fondest memories of Grid.

Nic is an ambitious guy, and much of his work has been documented in this magazine.

In fact, just last month Nic was quoted about the role he played in creating a partnership between Bennett Compost and the city government while he worked for Parks & Recreation before transitioning to lead the city’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet.

If you jump back 138 issues to April 2010, we ran a cover story heralding him in his “flannel shirt, beard, [and] muddy boots” as an emerging voice in urban farming activism.

We’ve covered the novel he wrote, books he’s edited, the nonprofit publishing company he founded called The Head & The Hand, and recently Circular Philadelphia, the advocacy group he launched with Samantha Wittchen and Julie Hancher of Green Philly.

I couldn’t be more excited to tell you that Nic has joined the team here at Grid. He will serve as our Director of Operations, which means he will have his hands in all aspects of this undertaking. He’s begun his tenure by writing this month’s cover story about We Love Philly, a program we believe could serve as a blueprint for rethinking our public schools.

Nic’s energy level, enthusiasm and ambition are undiminished since I met him over a decade ago. His face may not be as bearded as it used to be, but he’s still farming in the city with his wife Elisa (and two kids) at Emerald Street Community Farm.

We are hatching some bold plans for Grid across all of our platforms. I don’t want to make any announcements just yet, but know that exciting things are in the works. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m pushed out of my comfort zone, backstage clucking like a chicken again. I’m getting nervous just thinking about it, and I can’t wait.

Alex Mulcahy



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