July 25, 2014

This Weekend: Cave Diem!


>>> XPN Fest starts today at Camden’s Susquehanna Bank Center and Wiggins Park with too many acts to count here (and plenty of great Philly ones as well). Reports of Sunday night headliner Beck‘s live shows on the Morning Phase tour have been super encouraging, but if he somehow bombs his set, Band of Horses, Jenny Lewis, or someone else on the bill should be able to rise above the wreckage.

>>> This Is Hardcore 2014 began Thursday at The Electric Factory, but unlike most hardcore shows, this one’s running way longer than the usual twelve minutes. On the off chance that your personal hc favorite already threw down last night, don’t worry about it; there are 42 other bands on the lineup. Heavy-hitters Killswitch Engage, Converge, and Title Fight will lead the charge that, with any luck, will finally shake the city to the ground.

>>> If you’ve hit the site at all this week, you already know that Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds are playing with Kurt Vile and The Violators at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts tonight, but a reminder can’t hurt.

>>> Oneida will be at Boot & Saddle with Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band and locals I Im Eye My. If you’ve never seen the undisputed kings of contemporary kraut-psych-noise live, it’s kind of like seeing Total Recall in its entirety through the eyes of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Douglas Quaid. If you haven’t seen either Oneida or Total Recall, we’re not sure we can help you.

>>> Serious jazz heads, this one’s for you: Ars Nova Workshop is presenting Philly native and Grammy nominee Uri Caine, playing with Guggenheim Fellow and Grammy nominee Dave Douglas, in a great, offbeat location: The Maas Building. The two will perform selections form their upcoming Present Joys, a celebration of the tradition of Sacred Harp shape-note singing.


>>> Nostalgia for the 1990s, which now feels like the last time human beings in America had any sense of long stretches of nothing going on in their lives, is now a free-floating virus in the air, against which there is no known innoculation. And of all the musical acts currently mining the sickness for material, we think that Philly’s Amanda X are getting the best results, as the whisper down the lane a kind of bedroom radicalism that marked everyone from Kurt Cobain to Kathleen Hanna. We know that’s a bit like saying “from the dining room to the kitchen,” but you forget: In their way, the ’90s were lean times for us bedroom radicals. Amanda X celebrates the release of their new record at Philadelphia Record Exchange with Wish List.

>>> As part of the 40th Street Summer Series, “Raphael Xavier W.O.R.X. Meets Bobby Zankel & The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound,” a collaborative fusion ensemble, will perform free with the Avalon String Band.

>>> Elsewhere: Making Time with DIIV; and a screening of David Kessler‘s art/nature doc, Pines with live score provided by the Ruins of Friendship Orchestra at Gravy Studios.


>>> Think of it as the “Living Museum of Double Parking”: East Passyunk’s 9th Annual Car Show & Street Festival is back!

>>> Looking for a little road trip? Surf legend Dick Dale will play Sellersville Theater 1894 with The Coffin Daggers, and if he continues to shred like he has over the past few years, you won’t be able to tell he’s been doing it for over sixty.

Film Sweat: Boy II Man

RECOMMENDED: By now, the hype — and it is hype that is just; for once, it is hype that is appropriate — surrounding Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood has reached a critical mass, so I will spare you my personal note about how this movie gave me all of the feelings. But it did, and unless you are a stone cold savage, you’ll feel them, too. The premise is now common knowledge: For a few days a year for the last twelve years, Linklater gathered Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane and others to tell a story in piecemeal of a boy growing into a man. That it was able to happen at all was a minor miracle; that it’s such beautiful and compelling movie is something else entirely. Coltrane pulls off a feat that is unique in the history of movies; Arquette might be even better. This is as essential as a movie — I’m talking in terms of cinematic history here — as you are likely to see on a screen this year or any other, and do please actually go see it in the movies. It will remind you what they are there for.

ALSO NEW IN THEATERS THIS WEEK: Lucy, Luc Besson‘s latest pretty-girl-fucks-people-up adventure, which, silly premise and Morgan Freeman be damned, still has our interest because who doesn’t wanna see ScarJo use 100% of her brain?; A Most Wanted Man, starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in this John LeCarré adaptation; I Origins, starring Michael Pitt as a Hot Scientist on the trail of his dead wife’s eyes, reincarnated in a child in India; Hercules, which we’d be more interested in if it was just a 90-minute animated GIF of this photo of The Rock; Happy Christmas, another post-Girls/Silver Linings Playbook fuckup-goes-home snoozer; The Fluffy Movie, man, that kid from Modern Family is lookin’ rough!; and And So It Goes, an uncomfortable Michael Douglas vehicle best reserved for the Hallmark Channel.

For more recommendations on films currently in theaters, visit Philebrity’s Film Sweat archive. And click here for movie times. Need repertory film? Try Cinedelphia.

Giovanni’s Room To Re-Open?

Lovers of books and other living things: Keep your fingers crossed, as it looks like legendary/historical/very necessary bookstore Giovanni’s Room may re-open in the near future. Owner Ed Hermance has told Publisher’s Weekly that he is very close to signing a deal with an as-yet-unnamed LGBT organization to have the store back open. The cat is somewhat still in the bag, but it can’t be for long, as Hermance is looking to sign over the lease on August 1.


Captain Freeshit: Ooh-Wee We’re Giving Away Nick Cave Tickets RIGHT NOW!


There’s been a love affair with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds going on in this office ever since yours truly picked up the above LP at the ripe age of 15. And there hasn’t been a regret since. So many of us have had our own love affairs with the man, along these lines of teenage infatuation running straight down the decades into full-on spiritual appreciation, and tonight, we will be among the hordes welcoming Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, along with Kurt Vile, to the Mann. We’re stoked, and we know that a lot of you are, too. (Superfans take note: The Awesome Fest is also screening the new Nick Cave doc on Sunday night at the Troc.) It is in that spirit that we are going to give a few lucky winners these tickets to tonight’s show that we just found in the couch cushions. So let love in, baby. To enter to win tickets, email ihopeiwin[at]philebrity[dot]com with “THE MANN CAVE” in the subject header. You’ll automatically be subscribed to the forthcoming new Philebrity Reader weekly newsletter and win chances for other exclusive free stuff. We will pick winners by 3pm.

If Dana Smith Is Still Running For Mayor, She May Have Just Gotten Our Vote

While it’s true that Smith has broken no news lately as to whether or not she really is running as a Republican in 2015, this photo reminded us of how truly wonderful a Smith candidacy could be. Because in a race that has no truly good options, you might as well vote for the candidate most likely to declare “Skinny Bitch Wednesdays” for the entire city.


The Cop Who Punched That Lady Just Rescued Three People From A South Philly House Fire

No, really:

In a news briefing at the scene, a police official said Lt. Jonathan Josey – who was in the area for an unrelated matter with another officer – saw the fire and called it in over police radio.

Then, without protective equipment, police say Josey kicked in the front door of the burning home and was able alert the people inside, telling residents to go out the back door.

Philadelphia: She is ugly. But then she is beautiful. And she offers failure and redemption alike at every corner.

Here’s Dearly Departed Philly Goofball David Brenner Introducing Some Band Called Fleetwood Mac

Though sadly, Brenner left this earthly plane earlier this year, we can at least rejoice a little that the Mac — with Christine McVie in tact — will be back in Philly later this year. She makes lovin’ fun.

Pope To Philly: Meh

You will recall, a few months back, the massive state, city and archdiocese efforts in Rome to get Pope Whateverhisfacethegermanone to confirm a visit to this World Meeting of Families thing here in Philly in 2015. While in Rome earlier this year, Governor Tom Corbett, Mayor Michael Nutter and Archbishop Charles Chaput endured the kind of jockeying for position and hopeful begging previously known only to people who’d like to meet, say, Prince or Bob Dylan. There were gifts to be presented. There were meetings set, then cancelled, then sort of uncancelled (but really still cancelled, it was more of a cattle-call kind of line dance greeting). It was a bummer for all involved — even with all of their efforts, the local team returned to Philly still with no confirmation that the Pope would come here — but frankly, kind of hilarious to watch from here. It was, for each man, a reminder of one’s place in this life. They asked God — or rather, God’s proxy — what was up, and God said, “Ha. It’s only Philadelphia.”

This morning bears another chapter in the chapter. Speaking in Fargo, North Dakota, yesterday Chaput told an audience that indeed, the Pope would be in Philly in September 2015 for the World Conference Of Please Come Back To Us, All Ye Lapsed Catholics, We Need Your Money Quite Badly. Chaput’s confirmation was quickly reported in the Catholic News, and whether he was just talking out his ass or actually breaking the news before he wasn’t supposed to, we cannot say. What we can say is that this morning, Action News rang up the Vatican (they’re big Adam Joseph fans, we hear) only to find the Vat saying, “Not so fast!” and reiterating that the Pope hasn’t really decided. He may be washing his hair that weekend. He may have a wedding to go to. He may… he may just not like you, Philadelphia. Are you grown up enough to deal with that?

July 24, 2014

This Evening: Christmas In July

>>> Are you a Christmas Crazy? I’m a Christmas Crazy. Christmas Crazies are people who love nothing so much as Christmas lights, Christmas decorations, Christmas smells, Christmas vibes, and most often, most of all, Christmas music. They’re the guys (it’s not always guys, but let’s be honest, it’s mostly guys) who start thinking what’s gonna be on their Christmas mixtape oh, say, around this time of year. And as the years goes on, it gets harder and harder to find really good Christmas music that hasn’t been run into the ground by radio and TV and Starbucks. And so they go underground. The documentary Jingle Bell Rocks!, playing tonight in Clark Park as part of the Awesome Fest, tells their story. It is a story of collecting and searching, but it is also a story about the wish to spread joy. It’s kinda nuts, sure, but it’s also kinda sweet. I mean, what part of “Christmas Crazy” didn’t you get?

>>> Meanwhile, this show at Spruce Street Harbor Park with Purling Hiss and Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band is going to be pretty beautiful, maaaaaaan. Truly. And like the movie listed above, it’s free. Thanks, Summer 2014!

Questlove Reluctantly Confesses To Playing The Iggy Azalea Record, Blames It On Some Dancefloor Science Bullshit

Promoting Soundclash, the VH1/Palladia show he’s producing and which Diplo is hosting, Questlove was asked to weigh in on that most important of annual questions: What is thee jam of the summer? He regrettably — and with a fair amount of hand-wringing on his part — admitted that, for him, it is Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy.” His reasoning? Uh, people like it and even being a superstar DJ, he cannot stop that, no matter how much Chromeo he pours on the fire:

I’m a DJ, and I’ve already established before on Twitter and elsewhere that you gotta know what the difference is between a good song and a bad song. Songs that I consider personally bad are also effective, and songs that I think are great don’t stick. For me, I think it’s a crime that Chromeo is not up there, because their level of pop songs — aw man, it’s everything I could ever want. It isn’t sticking. I want “Jealous” to win so bad, but it’s obvious “Fancy” is pretty much ruling the summer.

Sad face. Meanwhile, Soundclash premieres this month. It looks like Later… with Jools Holland for stupid people. Here is the trailer:

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And Now, Witty Rejoinders For Philly.com Business Section Stock Photography Tweets

“It’s this corny Giants hat that’s keeping me out of work, isn’t it? Or is it just… it is just… that I have sad eyes?” (more…)

Soon, Your Philly Taxi Will Have A Security Cam, Making It Even More Like A Dirty 7-11 On Wheels

This PW story will tell you more than you could ever want to know about the matter, but in short, it goes like this: They’re being put in for security (and sadly not a forthcoming WPHL 17 show called Yo! Philly Taxi Cab Confessions!) and because this is Philly/the Phila. Parking Authority we’re talking about, there’s already funny business going on about who’s going to install them and how much it will cost.

The whole time I was reading the article and writing this post, my driver was on the phone.

He’s still on the phone.

Here Is The Source For The Claim That Philly Has The Fastest Growth In 20-To-34-Year-Olds


Buried in an otherwise kind of dry City Paper story about various development projects currently underway in Philly is a claim that wakes up the whole thing. Talking to Alan Greenberger, deputy mayor for economic development, writer Jon Hurdle is told the following:

Philadelphia now has the fastest growth in the number of 24- to 34-year-olds of any major American city.

In the piece, the statement is delivered as fact, but not cited, and the story quickly moves on from there. It certainly got our attention, though — though anecdotally that feels true, we’d not yet seen the numbers behind the statement — and so we went a-Googling. It turns out, Greenberger is most likely quoting from this Pew study, “Millennials in Philadelphia: A Promising but Fragile Boom,” which came out back in January.

Taking a look at demographic data, focus groups, and polling results, Pew tried to nail down the numbers behind the young-ish population boom that is driving much of what we call New Philadelphia. (Though you are also welcome to call them Dirty Gentrifiers or Stupid Hipsters if that suits you better.) What they found was impressive.

The city’s population of 20- to 34-year-olds increased by about 100,000 from 2006 through 2012, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. When the city’s overall population is divided into age groups of five years each, the 25- to 29-year-olds and 20- to 24-year-olds are by far the largest, followed by the 30- to 34-year-olds.

And that wasn’t all they found. The report is certainly worth a look, even though it does not specifically address why it’s such a bummer to go out on the weekends anymore, or what the ration is among those 100,000 of food truck owner to food truck Instagrammer.

[Image: Pew Charitable Trusts]

We Would Like Very Much To Raise This Circa 1915 Philly Columnist From The Dead And Have Him Write For Us


Italian/Irish “dialect” poems? (Hahaha, um, YES?) Comments on Philadelphia “men and manners?” (Who knew this town ever had either?) And he raises ad revenues? Thomas Augustine Daly, arise and embiggen this blog with your… your… whatever this is!

Ladies, You’re Sure To Turn Heads In These David Lynch-Designed Leggings


Retailing at just $150, they’re a part of Live the Process, David Lynch’s new venture into lady’s workout clothes with model Alyssa Miller. You are supposed to do your Transcendental Meditation exercises in them. Or, you know, eat Fritos and watch Golden Girls (backwards).

July 23, 2014

This Just In: Moody’s Cuts AC To Junk Status


It’s OK, gamblers: There’s always Chester.

This Evening: Party. Karamu. Fiesta. Forever.

>>> I’d like to, if I could, just take a moment out and squeeze in a personal shout-out typed out in code: BACAW! YIPYIP BWUDDY! RESPECT, BWUDDY! Roughly translated, that’s “Happy birthday to my very dear friend Jared. I love you dearly.” And how it came to pass that a whole bunch of us didn’t buy a block of tickets to tonight’s Lionel Richie/Cee-Lo show at the Susq in honor of the occasion is beyond me, but it’s not too late for you. I suppose we’ll have to settle for whiskey. Party. Karamu. Fiesta. Forever. Love you, buddy. And if you’re out there reading this just as a reader and are all like, “But Jared’s not my buddy, and it’s not even my buddy’s birthday!,” I say to you: It does not matter. Call your buddy. Tell your buddy: “Hey buddy! I love you, buddy!” Party. Karamu. Fiesta. Forever. Respect, bwuddies.

>>> Elsewhere: Sun Kil Moon gets into the transcendently heavy bummer that is his latest album at Union Transfer; Merge poster children Hospitality play JB’s; and TJ Kong does his regular Tom Waits thing at Jose Pistola’s.

The Way We Live Now: Cliff Lee’s Fart Is A Metaphor For And Answer To Everything In Your World Right Now

“SPLWAK.” That was the sound that came out of Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee‘s ass on Monday night, when he ended a post-game interview in the way that all post-game locker-room interviews should end henceforth and, indeed, should have always been ending. “SPLWAK.” If we are to call upon our expertise and our memories, cast down like mirror reflections, refracted through a golden prism that holds a lifetime of farts, we can say this about the fart:

It was a bit forced. And it was very much a comment on everything. And it may very well have left a skid mark.

Also, it is the question and the answer to everything Philadelphia faces this summer. (To say nothing of the Phillies themselves.) Tom Corbett’s middle finger to us and our schools? “SPLWAK.” The 4th of July Philly Jam Cursegate? “SPLWAK.” The guy who painted over the Kurt Vile mural: “SPLWAK.” Everyone who got indignant about it: “SPLWAK.” BEER GARDENS: “SPLWAK.” Comcast’s ongoing date rape of Philly’s very soul as it crushes net neutrality in the cradle of Liberty: “SPLWAK.” SPLWAK. SPLWAK. SPLWAK.

For his efforts, Cliff Lee earned a Keith Olbermann “Worst Person” nod which, given that Olbermann himself is still alive, is saying something. But we like to think that in that moment, Cliff Lee spoke for every one of us here in Philly. It’s been a cruel summer. It is, and will continue to be, the Summer of Splwak.

Breaking: Nutter Announces Jon Bon Jovi As Winner Of The 2014 Marian Anderson Award



Musically and philanthropically, Jon Bon Jovi’s work honors the spirit of America and salutes the principles that define our nation. Self-reliance, optimism and community are key concepts he embodies, not just in his music, but also in his charitable efforts.

On the other hand, Bon Jovi now joins a distinguished pantheon of previous Marian Anderson Award winners that includes Berry Gordy, Mia Farrow, James Earl Jones, and, er, Richard Gere. Press release after the jump, because I’m going to fix myself a drink now. (more…)

Your Dream Of Purchasing A Home In South Philadelphia Is Either Dying Or Dead


Over at PlanPhilly, they’ve been crunching on a new Pew/Econsult report about rising home prices in Philadelphia. What might be most notable, though, is chart-graph evidence of something many of us have already come to know either anecdotally or first-hand over the last year or so: Unless you’ve got, say, a cool $300K to play around with, South Philly is increasingly no longer an option. The area follows Fishtown, where houses have been hitting this mark with stunning regularity for years now, and whose insufferability has followed in direct proportion to said increases. Will East Passyunk be the next part of town that you, for various reasons, “can’t even?” And how long will it be until the bougie stank hits Port Richmond? Like sands through the hourglass, these are the unholy gentrification shitbomb days of our lives.