>>> Oh hey, Weathervane Music has a residency thing happening at Boot & Saddle, which means that you lucky folks get to see Jesse Hale Moore and Acres of Diamonds tonight, Philly acts whose sounds will warm up your chilled Tuesday bones with their engaging songcraft. Not sold? Just listen to Moore’s song above and take it all in. Powerful stuff.
>>> It’s a bleak mess out there, so if you do chose to go out tonight (and you definitely should), you could also head to the Hello Shark show at Boot & Saddle for some laid back pop. Also on the lineup are The Exploding Head Scene and State Champion.
As fans of film critic Alonso Duralde’s Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas, we are always looking to catch up on our Yuletide viewing. We realize that mere hours ago we were humbugging about the season yet we still possess multitudes, so if we want to watch The Ref or Night of the Comet in the coming weeks we most definitely are going to. You can understand then that we are suitably amped up about the Philadelphia Film Society‘s BYO: Tis The Season lineup of holiday flicks at the Roxy that allows audience members to bring their own wine and beer. They’ve just announced this year’s schedule will include Lethal Weapon, Elf, Home Alone, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and Edward Scissorhands, to be shown in that order on Wednesdays at 7:30 this month. Even with it being a pretty safe lineup noticeably devoid of any surprises (and we would have yanked the Griswolds and shown Gremlins instead) you now have something acceptable to do that involves drinking when your relatives visit this month. Booze and movies, we are hard-pressed to think of better gifts than that.
The story of Triangle Park is a sad one full of Philly-specific womp womping. It was long a vacant and dirty lot until neighbors from nearby Bella Vista and Queen Village decided to make it until a green space of hope of beauty. But since they didn’t actually own the land, the person who did have the park removed and put the spot up for sale. Then the City got involved by committing to buy the park and then the wheels of bureaucracy churned to a stop. This is just a Cliff Notes overview of the situation, with the bottom line being that there is great potential for a public space in an area that could truly enrich the lives of its residents and something should, make that must, be done. Thanks to concerned citizen Joel Palmer, action could be taken. Palmer began a Change.org petition asking Mayor-elect Jim Kenney, Councilman Mark Squilla, Rep. Robert Brady, and Senator Larry Farnese to acquire the land, thwart the plans for current development there and generally ensure that Triangle Park gets a shot to embrace its destiny as Philly’s next great public space. You can get involved by signing the petition here, or by attending a community meeting at Palumbo Recreation Center tonight at 7:30 in which the development of the area will be discussed. Since it is #GivingTuesday and all, try to make it out and give the space a chance to become something that can be enjoyed by all.
With the sole exception of getting to hear The Waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping” again, we are not looking forward to anything about the holiday season. This malaise we are feeling must be a citywide thing, as the above rectangular wreath exists. This thing doesn’t so much exude comfort and joy as it does a blocky disinterest in the next month that we can totally get behind. Rectangular wreath, you are welcome on our Island of Misfit Toys anytime.
You know Emily’s Our Town query of “does anyone ever realize life while they live it…every, every minute?” That’s how the above ad makes us feel, thankful to be here with all of you and that we once shared a world with this gentleman. Benny seems kind of restrained here, no?
For those of a certain age, the word “EST” instantly recalls burnt orange kitchens, leisure suits and a specifically 1970s desire to better themselves through self-help. The creator of the Erhard Seminars Training events was Werner Erhard (born as John Paul Rosenberg in Philly in 1935), and his marathon EST self-improvement courses became a phenomenon in the 70s as a salve to soothe the soul of a nation desperately seeking answers. While critics were unrelenting in their ruthless about the movement, EST provided many with awareness of themselves, others and the world we all shared. It was, after all, the Free To Be You and Me era. Then times and attitudes changed, and following some highly publicized tax and family issues he departed the public eye. Not that he disappeared. Erhard has continued his work over the years, and a current New York Times piece details his current life and fascinating past:
Newsweek anointed Mr. Erhard “a celebrity guru who retails enlightenment.” There were doubters. To New Times magazine, he was “the king of the brain snatchers.”
The criticism intensified as EST grew. It was labeled a cult that practiced mind control (verbal abuse, sleep deprivation), a racket that exploited its followers (heavy recruiting, endless “graduate seminars”).
Much was made of Mr. Erhard’s tangled Don Draperish past: his days as a car salesman in Philadelphia, his dabbling in Mind Dynamics and Scientology, his desertion of his first wife and their four children to reinvent himself on the West Coast.
Even his name was fake, lifted from an Esquire article he read on the plane to California. (“The Men Who Made the New Germany” included references to Ludwig Erhard, the minister of economics, and Werner Heisenberg, the atomic scientist.)
Regardless of whether you are picking up the self-actualization info he is throwing down or not, we encourage you to read the Times piece to get a sense of the fascinating life that Erhard has lived. Local boy makes good? You decide.
Back on October 13th, The Philadelphia Orchestra under the lead of Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin were filmed performing Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” at on the Perelman Stage of Carnegie Hall‘s Stern Auditorium. This was no ordinary live recording however. The experience was captured by Google cameras as part of their Cultural Institute performing arts initiative, which allows Internet users to watch works from across the globe captured in immersive, interactive 360° video. What it means for viewers of the above video is that they can experience the Philadelphia Orchestra like never before, focusing on individual performers, Nézet-Séguin, or just take in the beauty of the venue through using the arrows on the upper left of the screen. It’s a fascinating way to watch a performance and one that is rich with teaching potential. Give it a watch and see how captivated you become once you immerse yourself in its 360° world.
Today is #GivingTuesday, the latest completely manufactured online day of celebration…albeit one with a cause that is absolutely fantastic. The hashtagged initiative was created as a response to the rampant consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday to remind people that as much fun as buying shit is, actual real, helpful giving to those in need is immeasurably better. If you want to do your part locally, here are some ways that you can help enrich the lives of those in our area:
• CultureTrust’s Philly Drum Project is raising funds to bring their Rhythm Sessions program — which free community-based drum lessons — to an additional location in the city.
• The Philadelphia Parks Alliance is seeking donations to support the city’s various parks and recreation sites, as well as programs geared towards seniors, disadvantaged children, and low-income adults.
• Based in NoLibs, Street Tails Animal Rescue gives homeless, unwanted and special needs creatures the second chance they deserve to find a loving home.
• The Green Tree Community Health Foundation serves children, the elderly and families in Northwest Philadelphia and Eastern Montgomery County. With your help, they can continue their various health and social welfare activities.
• ActionAIDS is a local non-profit that helps those living with HIV/AIDS in our area.
• Currently celebrating its 140th year, The Gershman Y is a staple of the Philly arts and culture scene, dedicated to sharing the Jewish experience with the City of Brotherly Love.
• The William Way LGBT Community Center “encourages, supports, and advocates for the well-being and acceptance of sexual and gender minorities in the Greater Philadelphia region through service, recreational, educational, and cultural programming.” From peer counseling to hosting screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the center is a hub of immeasurable helpfulness to Philly’s LGBT community.
• Mighty Writers mission is “teach kids to think and write with clarity” through their various free programs for Philly students.
• Finally, because some gifts are truly immeasurable, Gift of Life is encouraging people to register as organ donors today with hopes of making someone’s tomorrow brighter.
These are just a sampling of some of our favorites, but their are many local organizations participating in #GivingTuesday today. We encourage you to search Twitter for more and/or to list your favorites in the comments below.
>>> YELLING ALL THE TIME! The cacophonous 1980s blockbuster The Goonies (those kids don’t shut up for a second) plays Movie Monday at the Troc. Come for the misguided nostalgia, stay for the Cyndi Lauper theme song.
>>> There’s not much happening tonight so you should pet your dog, call your mom, make turkey soup, take a nap or get angry at how much your roommate keeps listening to “Hello.” It’s gonna be that kind of week.
Philebrity’s Chris Cummins and Joey Sweeney listen as Philly Jesus does whatever it is he does at the 2014 Philebrity Awards.
December starts tomorrow, which means that the 2015 Philebrity Awards are right around the corner. Wheeeeeeeeeeee! We’ll have much more information on the event, its special guests, and the categories that you can vote on to sound off on Philly’s best and worst later this week. For now though, just know that the event will be at Johnny Brenda’s on the evening of Wednesday, December 9th. Again, the complete details are coming soon, but trust us, you are not going to want to miss this one.
I like comedy, so when my uncle Dewey asked me to write about it I was like, “Cool! Yes. I will do that.” And he was like, “Thanks.” and I was like, “Have fun on vacation!” and he said back, “Sure thing.” Dewey is a great guy and I’m glad we’re friends. Hi. I’m Mel Peepley and I like to read, write and have fun. I’m in 3rd grade and I like it.
Anyway, since I like comedy I’m going to share with you some comedy shows happening this week that tickle my “like” bone. That’s my funny bone. Which I think is technically your elbow? I’m not actually sure.
This Wednesday is a real ticklish night with two very special shows from Good Good Comedy. One of them is Tell, Don’t Show, hosted by Sean Landis. A brand new movie flop that has been written by local famous people Sam Fran Scavuzzo, Frank Farrell, Jamie Glasheen and Dave Metter. At the show they read you the script and make jokes. It is a very good and fun show. You will like it. Wednesday, 7pm. $5
After that one, there is another show that will happen. Isn’t that neat? It’s called Dungeon Palz. There aren’t any real dungeons but there are real pals such as Michael S. Watkins, Molly Hanulec and Rob Alesiani! This is a show hosted by Matt Aukamp who likes playing the game Dungeons and Dragons and the show is a live version of that. I like having fun, so I think this will be cool to see. Wednesday, 8:30pm. $5
On another day, there is a show where people wrestle each other and do comedy called Comedy Death Match. It’s hosted by Hannah Harkness. Isn’t that interesting? The people wrestling each other on this show are both named Michael. Isn’t that also interesting? And their full names are Michael S. Watkins and Michael Kelly. The other people on the show are Alyssa Al-Dookhi and The New Dreamz. I think your mom will maybe not approve but I think that makes the show cooler and worth attending. Sunday, 7:30pm
Mel Peepley is a 3rd grader who like mac and cheese and other foods. She is kind of a nut!
Over the long holiday weekend, the Rocky spinoff Creed opened to critical raves and an impressive $42.6 million opening (behind Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II). To help Philadelphia collectively come down from their Balboa high, we wanted to share the above video which features scenes of Rocky running that span the history of the film franchise. We have a strict policy to not run unless chased, otherwise we’d get out there and do some jogging over our lunch break. Instead, we’ll probably just grab a hoagie or something. Fitness, it’s not for everyone.
Lower Merion alumni, friend of Michael Jackson, and homophobic slur user Kobe Bryant has announced that after his current season — his 20th in the NBA — with the Los Angeles Lakers he will be his last. He shared his feelings on this monumental life change in a poem for The Player’s Tribune called “Dear Basketball.” A sample of his heartfelt prose:
You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.
And that’s OK.
I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have.
Breakups are always hard, amirite? Despite the “Trees”-esque flourishes on display here, somehow we can’t see the American Poetry Review reaching out to him anytime soon. We are definitely doing a cover of this at the next open mic night we go to though.
That’s alright Wawa, at this point in the year we don’t know what the hell is going on either. And if you’d want to do us a solid but having a winter Hoagiefest this year, well we wouldn’t say no. (Via Reddit)
A staple of Philly gay life since the 1970s, the Venture Inn will be closing at the end of the year. In the aftermath of last year’s shuttering of the Westbury, the Venture was the last of the neighborhood’s veteran haunts where laid back drinking and socializing were the main appeal. (It’s reputation for having an older crowd resulted in the unfortunate “Denture Inn” nickname, which seemed unfair given the bar seemed crammed with folks of all ages whenever we’d pass its doors). In recent years, the Venture was best known for its drag shows led by the peerless Sandy Beach. Philadelphia Gay News has complete details of the closure, but the bottom line here is that the gayborhood just lost a considerable amount of its flavor.
Throughout the rest of the year, we’ll be looking at Philly people, places, and things that are emblematic of the Philadelphia holiday spirit. For our inaugural one of these posts, we thought we would turn your attention to South Fellini’s shirt of the Seven Fishes, celebrating the popular Italian-American Christmas Eve traditional feast. The cost of being ironic at your next holiday gathering? A mere $20. Ho ho ho!
Do you know of a Philly holiday person, place or thing we should turn the festive spotlight onto? Then send us an-email with SANTA’S FISH BEARD in the subject line and let us know all about it!
>>> At PHIT, The Black Friday Comedy Marathon is well underway, with a who’s who of the Philly comedy scene making you laugh until it hurts…mainly them really, because this thing runs 38 hours. An impressive feat of funnymaking if you ask us.
>>> Why yes, we would like to see Low Cut Connie at District N9ne joined by Weird Hot, Scantron, Hannah Taylor, and The Rekardko Lee Trio. What kind of monsters would we be if we didn’t want to check this out?
RECOMMENDED: Even if this wasn’t a Philadelphia-based blog we would wholeheartedly endorse Creed, the long-awaited Rocky spin-off film that passes the torch from the Italian Stallion to Michael B. Jordan‘s Adonis Creed, son of Apollo Creed. This is now mere cash-in, but it’s on original story dealing with issues of loss and legacy and what it truly means to be a fighter–in and out of the ring. Sylvester Stallone delivers a powerfully human performance as a late in life Rocky who has fully taken on the Mickey role in this new installment. But there is so much more at stake here than just another boxing match. You were probably curious about this one anyway, but let us tell you, it is a powerful effort highlighted by supporting performances from Phylicia Rashad and Tessa Thompson that is one of the year’s best. Don’t miss it.
ALSO NEW IN THEATERS THIS WEEK:The Good Dinosaur is the latest Pixar effort that will leave you crying like a baby. Features the voices of Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand; All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records is Colin Hanks‘ documentary tribute to the late, lamented music chain were most of our time and money was spent during our high school years; and The Wonders is an Italian drama about a family of beekeepers who live in Tuscany. With Monica Bellucci.