April 15, 2014

This Evening: Go Holly, Lightly!

>>> What on Earth is the lovely and talented and fairly legendary UK garage-rock heroine Holly Golightly doing playing at The Fire? We don’t know, but go anyway.

>>> Remember that new Philly web sitcom, NSFW, we told you about last week? The screening party for that is tonight at Milkboy.

Readers Write: RIP Sky Kishlo, Philly Punk Percussion Pioneer

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The Heathens, circa 1981: Sky Kishlo, Beth Ann Lejman, Steve Kishlo and Jacy Webster

Philly’s pioneering punk/no-wave scene lost one of its pillars this week in Sky Kishlo, who pounded the drums in any number of bands. Michael McGettigan writes in:

Inside Philly’s punk/no-wave/etc scene, Sky Kishlo was a powerhouse drummer who had good technique, and really listened onstage, which is why he helped make The Heathens one of the toughest bands to follow in their time. He was a really “up” guy and up for anything including donning a loincloth to back up The Wild Women of Wongo — one of Philly’s weirdest units.

The WW of W was as many punk/new wave front women (and their girl friends) as Beth (Stick Men) Lejmann could get to “sing” and drummers as Sky could rustle up to play floor toms. Low end beats vs. screamed vocals filled the underground when this group debuted in the Broad Street Subway concourse.

For the finale, the gang of percussionists heaved their floor toms into a pile against a grimy corner of the concourse as the Wild Women’s keens and wails echoed.

At the other end of the scale, Sky was capable of incredible tightness and drive no matter who he was working with.

There will be a memorial gathering on May 12 at Tattooed Mom’s.

Info on Sky’s page here.

Our thoughts at this time are with Sky’s family and many friends.

More Signs Of Summer: Sweatheart, “Keeper of the Blood”

In which Sweatheart, South Philly’s heroes of all that is mulleted and Jams’d and sublime, take you straight back to that River’s Edge place that, in some recess of your teenage mind, you have never really left.

Previously: Signs Of Summer: Morgan’s Pier Returns May 1st



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And Now, Today’s GOOD NEWS: City Hands Out 98,000 Library Cards To Kids

libraryAt any given moment, we would rather be at the Central Branch of the Free Library, whether it’s ambling the stacks or tucked away in some corner with a book or writing or taking a big old drool-y nap. This is probably because, when we were children in this city, someone had the good heart and presence of mind to take us to any one of the Free Library of Philadelphia‘s branches. Now, granted, the Free Library does not hold that magic allure for every kid (some kids are just born as little versions of the stupid adults they will inevitably be, and that’s… okay) but for the ones among us who do feel the magic, well, it stays with you for a lifetime. And today, Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Superintendent Dr. William Hite and Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library, took a beautiful cosmic gamble and took the first steps towards making it rain 98,000 Free Library cards to the children of Philadelphia. JUST IMAGINE. They began by handing out cards to the student body at Blaine Academics Plus school in Strawberry Mansion, as part of a Free Library of Philadelphia library card registration campaign that will ensure that all 136,000 students in district-managed, K-12 schools have a Free Library card. Will that — or the $2.5 million infusion from the City to the Library for six-day library service and other programs — fix the schools mess? Oh hell no. But will it provide something real and necessary and cool to some percentage of those kids who, one way or another, wind up taking advantage of it? You bet it will. How do I know? Well, my name’s Joey Sweeney, and my parents send me to a parochial school where they taught us NOTHING of the outside world. And if Aaron Scanlon’s mom didn’t take me to the library, I’d probably be making your hoagie right now.

So there you have it: The world is not totally made of shit. Have you got some good news? If so, send it to tips[at]philebrity[dot]com with “GOOD MOTHERFUCKING NEWS!” in the subject header — we’d love to hear about it.

The City Decides To Get Rid Of Illegal Signs On Poles By Annoying The Person Who Put Them There Into Insanity

logoAll over the city, signs cover telephone poles and traffic lights poles and other vertical posts of all kinds, advertising placs that will buy your scrap or junk car, a political campaign, and everything in-between. They aren’t legal, but how do you get people to stop posting so-called “bandit signs” on telephone poles? Have a robot call the number listed on the sign over and over and over and over again.

According to Newsworks, the city Streets Department is using Swiftreach, a program they use for notifying the public of “different programs or changes in schedules for the streets department,” to do the robocalls. Streets Dept. Commissioner David Perri said “we’ll put that bandit sign phone number into the system and program the automatic dialer to call every 15 minutes … I would say, in about 50 percent of the cases, it results in the person who put the sign up taking it down.” Even when the Streets Department isn’t neglecting your snow-covered piles of trash bags in the winter, they’re still pros at the fine art of annoyance.



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Noontime Nuggetz: The 1984 Nerdy Philadelphian In His Natural Habitat, A Doctor Who Convention

Back in 1984, long before Doctor Who was cancelled and then brought back, the New Jersey Network sent a crew to the 1984 Philadelphia Doctor Who Convention. The footage they got, now a little wonky some 30-years on, features some of the best nerdy hoagiemouth you’ll ever see and some asshole who dressed up as a Ghostbuster. Modern day nerds rejoice, your Doctor Who costume is probably better than what these kids could do in 1984.

This Reaction Shot Of Phillies Fans Is All We Need To Sum Up How This Season Is Going To Be

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Our favorite? Smiley grey long-sleeve guy, who doesn’t seem to realize something bad is happening.

The whole gif is over at Deadspin, and thankfully for you, it’s too big to be hosted here. But it features that stellar crew of Phillies fans above watching what would be Dan Uggla’s Phillie-killing 9th inning grand slam last night. It’s easy to find a favorite person in the gif — it represents such a cross section of fans — but don’t these dopes know it’s only the Phanatic who can do the hexing? It’s all their fault.

You Can Now Buy Made In America Tickets Without Having Any Idea What The Lineup Is

Are you just so into this year’s Made in America Festival, taking place Labor Day Weekend, that you just need to be there even though not a single artist has been announced? Well then, you are weird but in luck, because you can get early-bird two-day passes right now. If you’d rather wait until some kind of lineup is announced, what kind of monster are you?

And Now, Here’s The Trailer For The Philly-Set God’s Pocket, One Of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Final Films

The film world was dealt a huge blow with the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman earlier this year, but as is the nature of the business, we haven’t seen the last of him on screen. While PSH and some camera trickery will be used to create his actual final role — in the last film of the Hunger Games series — he’s also got two smaller films set to be released: A Most Wanted Man and the Philly-set God’s Pocket.

God’s Pocket, which is based on the 1983 novel of the same name by one-time Daily News columnist Pete Dexter, take place in the fictional neighborhood of God’s Pocket — not to be confused with Devil’s Pocket. Hoffman plays a “wearied Philadelphia schmoe who covers up the death of his stepson.”

The film, which is the directorial debut of Mad Men‘s John Slattery, also stars John Turturro, Richard Jenkins, Eddie Marsan, and Christina Hendricks. God’s Pocket opens in May.

SEPTA Will In Fact Run 24/2 This Summer

golden septaAs Lionel Richie’s hit song said: “All night long (all night, on Fridays and Saturdays for the summer).” After a petition that was started by Streets Dept’s Conrad Benner gained some momentum online, SEPTA will begin running all-night subway service from mid-June until Labor Day on Friday and Saturday nights. According to the Inquirer, “SEPTA’s proposed new operating budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 includes several hundred thousand dollars to run the Broad Street and Market-Frankford Lines all night.”

Additionally, in other SEPTA good news, the fare hike to the already hiked fare of $.25 — making a subway ride $2.50 — that was set to go into effect at the start of the fiscal year on July 1st “won’t be imposed until the [Smart Card] system is fully in place next year.” SEPTA’s operating budget also allows room for 80 or so new hires, while the capital budget also puts money aside for new and repaired vehicles, bridge repair, the Smart Card system, and more.

In summation, fare hikes have been postponed and we get to ride the BSL and the El in the middle of the night this summer if we want to. It’s like weird-guy Christmas, and we can’t wait for the cameraphone shots we get.

April 14, 2014

The Week Ahead In Music: Primitive And Punk

We’ve been on a kick of so-called “American Primitive” as of late, and Virginia’s Daniel Bachman is truly one of its best young practitioners. As you can see in the video above, Bachman’s youth holds him back none in his quest for bootstomping, racing, rhythmic, rich, finger-picked grooves. He isn’t pacing himself either, as he’s released a number of solo and duo efforts in the last few years that show slowing down isn’t really his style. With support from Fence Kitchen, you can catch Bachman tomorrow night at Random Tea Room. $6-8. 7:30pm.

In things that are pretty far away from Bachman’s instrumental finger-picks: The sweaty, garage-punk of Atlanta’s Black Lips is taking over the big stage at Union Transfer, playing in support of this year’s Underneath the Rainbow. In a support role, Nashville’s rock’n'roll outfit Natural Child will get your all kinds of energized and in the right mindset for a Friday night. $17. 8pm.

Keeping the garage-y thing going, but throwing in a good amount of psychedelia and indie-rock, Canadian wunderkind Mac DeMarco plays a sold out Underground Arts with Juan Wauters and Laser Background. If you didn’t plan for this in advance, you screwed up. Sold out. 9pm.

Local smooth-folker Kwesi K, who is really making a name for himself, plays a record release show at Boot and Saddle on Saturday with support from Maitland and Anthony D’Amato. Kwesi will undoubtedly debut some tunes from his newest EP, Lovely, which is available Tuesday. $10. 8pm.

And if showmanship and energy are your top-two great show qualifications, Kungfu Necktie is likely where you’ll be spending Saturday night, as Atlanta-based punk-as-shit chicks The Coathangers get rowdy behind this year’s Suck My Shirt. $10. 7pm.

Inga Saffron Wins Pulitzer For Criticism, Right To Order New Business Cards

According to a press release from the Pulitzer Prize people, the Inquirer‘s architecture critic Inga Saffron has won the 2014 Pulitzer for Criticism. The release says the award was:

Awarded to Inga Saffron of The Philadelphia Inquirer for her criticism of architecture that blends expertise, civic passion and sheer readability into arguments that consistently stimulate and surprise.”

Tank, Girl: Sixers Fans Want The Team To Do Well, But Not Like This

7zkbzn-logo-newTonight, the 76ers play their last home game of their abysmal season against the Boston Celtics. Shockingly, their 17-63 record is still not bad enough for the worst in basketball — thanks Milwaukee Bucks — but that was kind of the whole point of this season. So called “tanking,” or purposely not doing your best to win so you can break everything down to the foundations and start all over, is currently the way to go in the NBA if you’ve got no real shot at winning it all. The Bucks, Celtics, and mostly the Sixers have been accused of it this year, where anti-tanking fans have said it damages the game. However, one group of fans thinks tanking isn’t the problem, it’s the system that encourages it: The draft lottery. So they’d like to see that changed.

A group of South Jersey Sixers fans who want the team to win, but in a classier way, have started a petition online at NBArrasing for NBA commissioner Adam Silver to change the draft format to discourage tanking. There are a few different options they put forward, and really the lottery probably has to go — it’s fairly consistently dogged with claims of being rigged — and what better year to do away with it than the year after the Sixers have a real shot at the number one pick. You can read up more on the lottery and sign the petition to ditch it over here.

The Week Ahead In Comedy: Day Dreamz

NewDreamzBaltimore invades Philly this Tuesday for the Wham City Comedy Tour, presented by the Cinedelphia Film Festival at PhilaMOCA (531 N. 12th Street). Wham City is a collective of alt-comics/artists who recently made their Adult Swim debut with a hit mock infomercial. Their road show is a multimedia extravaganza of stand-up, videos, skits and monologues. “Why should I care about these jerks? They’re from Baltimore,” you might say, if you’re anti-non-Philadelphians and pro-name calling. Well, shut up a minute and keep reading: Philly comedy will also be represented in the form of stand-up from Aaron Nevins and a new artistic comedy performance by the always-delightful duo The New Dreamz (Rose Luardo and Andrew Jeffrey-Wright, of Space 1026 and ComedyDreamz, pictured). 8pm. $10.

Can’t get enough Aaron Nevins? OK fine, but be cool about it, OK? You can see him on Friday, too, when Hang On with Aaron Nevins returns to The Playground at the Adrienne Theater (2030 Sansom Street). This month’s guests include Eric Smith (co-founder of Geekadelphia and the Philadelphia Geek Awards) and Michelle Biloon, a super nice person and pro comedian Philly was lucky enough to recently steal from LA. (She’s appeared on Chelsea Lately, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and more. Yeah, I know!) “Hang On is the only talk show that lets the audience interrupt the entire time,” says Nevins. “It’s also the only show in town that has fully functioning pleasure robots that piss raspberry lemonade*.” 8pm. $5.

*This is true.

Laughs on Fairmount is on fire this month, guys. ON FIRE! LITERALLY! Whoops, sorry, I didn’t mean literally–shouting “FIRE” in a crowded blog post about local comedy events is actually illegal! What I meant is “on fire” in terms of all the shows they’re presenting this month in addition to their weekly Monday night open mic. And their next showcase not only has a great line-up of stand-up comics (Scott Bigos, Carolyn Busa, Robert X, Tommy Touhill, Lou Misiano, Alex Grubard and Alejandro Morales), it’s also a fundraiser for The Youth Washed Up, an indie comedy filmed here in Philly by a group of recent Temple grads. “A couple of us went to Temple with these filmmakers, and we wanted to help them raise money to submit to festivals. The Youth Washed Up speaks to me as a child from the suburbs and a generally cool guy with opinions and feelings,” says current Temple student and Laughs on Fairmount producer Alex Grubard. “I’m also hoping that if I help alumni, Temple will give me a break on tuition.” Catch the show this Friday at Urban Saloon (2120 Fairmount Avenue). 8pm. $7.

– Alison Zeidman

Alison Zeidman is a stand-up comedian and co-host of Free For All, a weekly open mic on Wednesdays at Growlers Bar and monthly showcase at Boot and Saddle in South Philly (next show April 21).

Signs Of Summer: Morgan’s Pier Returns May 1st

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Oh glory be, summer is on its way. Unless you were one of those people who got too sweaty already this weekend, this is good news. And along with the coming of summer comes a new season at Morgan’s Pier, this year with Executive Chef in residence David Gilberg who brings back Sunday brunch and introduces lobster rolls, crab cakes, veggie kababs, and more. It’s all happening.

Guys, Don’t Worry, Milton Street Will Run For Mayor In 2015 And Everything Will Be OK

To those of you who, like us, honestly feel that not a single person in the 2015 field deserves or could competently serve in the office of Mayor:

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Dear God.

Noontime Nuggetz: Now, Here Is A Tourism Video With Frank Rizzo And The Queen Of England In The Backseat Of A Car

Though this tourism video is more long-form, you only gotta wait about thirty seconds for Rizzo and the Queen (band name alert) in the back of the car. And really, that’s what you came here for.

Readers Fwd: Phila. Parks & Rec Quietly Bans All Smoking

In a twist of fate that is sure to ameliorate all those butthurt e-cigarette users who were so fabulously shut down in Philly this month, a reader who has dealings with Philly’s Parks & Rec Department forwards this missive along:

To all Tenants and Concessionaires of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation,

In order to help ensure that our recreation centers, playgrounds and parks are clean, smoke-free and ready to use by citizens, staff, tenants and the public as a whole, effective immediately NO SMOKING BY THE PUBLIC OR PATRONS SHALL BE ALLOWED ON ANY LANDS OR FACILITIES UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF PHILADELPHIA PARKS & RECREATION.

Attached is the rule, quietly passed, we assume, and superseding an earlier one:

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Click to enlarge.
So, yeah! Don’t be lighting up in the park!

Meek Mill Still Suing The City Of Philadelphia, Now To Regain Some Of That Sweet Puma Cash

We’ve known about Meek Mill’s lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia for some time now, but we just now learned about the financials Mill is looking to win in the lawsuit, since the city’s so-called false arrest of Mill lowered his asking price in the eyes of Puma.

According to BET, Mill is looking to regain “$22,000 he lost for canceling a private jet flight and $39,000 for missing an appearance at an Atlanta party (both missed as a result of the arrest) … also … the fruitless search and false imprisonment cost him a $2 million endorsement deal with shoe brand Puma. After the negative publicity stemming from the arrest, Mill says he was forced to settle for less than half the contract amount.” So, after all of that, it’s not that Puma didn’t want Mill, they just didn’t want to pay him as much. And it just goes to show, if we legalize weed, multi-million dollar Puma contracts would be unaffected, and that is the world we’d like to live in.

Dept. Of Actual Wishes: More Concerts Where Cell Phones Are Not Allowed, And More Artists With The Balls To Demand It

20140414-113858.jpgHere is a story about a Natalie Merchant concert that happened in Philadelphia last week, and here is the only thing about it that is interesting:

Merchant did lose patience with cellphones, however, as she confiscated multiple phones (even getting help from Dye) between “Texas” and Ophelia’s “Kind & Generous,” an apt ending for Big Day Out. Asking why it could not still be 1998, when people did not feel the need to be on phones and take pictures all the time, she took a stance rarely taken by performers at a show. And the crowd seemed to be fine with it, as they were joyously partaking in the familiarity of an old tune.

Now. Before you start whining about this, in tones of false umbrage while discussing the natural and inevitable decline of Natalie Merchant’s musical career, the “presumptuousness” of her demanding that people get off the fucking phone while she is performing and the rest of it, a quick question: Don’t you ever feel that your phone is ruining everything? Because it is. But for right now, let us just focus on the concert-going experience, which smartphones have generally rendered completely annoying and unsatisfying. We could go on at length about this, but this piece from a few years back, Six Reasons Why Your Phone Is Probably Ruining Your Concert Experience (And Everyone Else’s) by Maura Johnston, articulates all of it very, very well. You should read it, and remember it.

But back to Natalie Merchant. In a city where national artists on tour routinely have no problem whatsoever acting like dickheads (the great Belle & Sebastian no-show of the late 1990s comes to mind, as well as pretty much every Magnetic Fields show that has happened here), we are surprised that more artists do not demand that you get off your phone. We understand, however, the reasons why: the calls of “prima donna!,” the loss of social media juice/retweets/regrams and in general, the very depressing topic of how your phone is ruining so much Actual Experience — the enjoyment of music being so high on that list. So today, let us go out on a limb and say this much: Henceforth, we will be happy to turn our phones off for any artist with brass balls big enough to actually ask for it. Because we miss living. And music is one of the best things about that. Musicians of the world, please help us remember. This, after all, is what you’re here for.