>>> The second in a series of film screenings to support Ladyfest is going on tonight, with a screening of Cheryl Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman at AUX.
>>> Daptone’s Charles Bradley, who will be the most soulful man in Philadelphia for one night (and the sweatiest man in the world every night) brings his soul/funk that tears at the very core of you to Union Transfer. This is a can’t miss.
>>> The Troc is hosting the Mad Dragon Records 10th anniversary party, featuring Cheers Elephant, Hoots & Hellmouth, Kuf Knotz, Andrew Lipke and the Prospects, Matt Duke, Wild Rompit, and free admission for Drexel Students. All others must pay.
>>> And night two of the JEFF The Brotherhoodmini-residency at Kungfu Necktie kicks off at 8PM with Hunters and Bad Side.
>>> The biggest ever edition of the Punk Rock Flea Market begins today, with 500-plus vendors over two days (different ones each day), at the Punk Rock Flea Market Dome, of course.
>>> It looks like some rain is possible, but being outside will be great for a few different reasons, one of which is the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival, alongside the always-fun, always-freaky-dekey Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby. Last one there is a rotten Byko.
>>> In addition, other outdoor funtimes can be had at the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival, where food, shopping, drinks, entertainment, and a lot of walking collide into one all-day event.
>>> If being indoors is more your vibe, there’s a sold-out Kurt Vile show at Union Transfer.
>>> Or, if you’re into getting real weird, The Troc is showing a midnight screening of bad-movie classic The Room. We had the pleasure of catching this masterpiece in a theater last year, and there’s really nothing like it.
>>> The Punk Rock Flea Market rolls over into Day 2, kicking out all the old vendors and bringing in the new.
>>> And Space 1026 is throwing something real weird and special, with Calvin Johnson, Chain and the Gang, and Arrington De Dionyso. Important note: There will be no tickets sold in advance, so you should probably go line up there about now.
At the risk of coming off like total dicks, there really are a couple of things to be concerned about here: Back in March when French was here, shit got real weird and very bad. Then, there is what we’ll call the Lil’ Poopy factor. (The Poopy Posse? Is that a thing? You may wanna monitor the situation @poopythedon.) And finally, lovers of 99-cent Bacon Cheeseburgers will also recall that FYE is but a block from Wendy’s. Just sayin’.
RECOMMENDED: Yes, it’s already out, and no, we haven’t seen it. But we should all head out and catch Star Trek: Into Darkness this weekend, before J.J. Abrams actually invents time travel and makes us all go back and see it in theaters anyway. Alternately, watch Sherlock on Netflix, because Benedict Cumberbatch is a ridiculously talented actor, who by all accounts acts circles around everyone in Star Trek.
ALSO NEW IN THEATERS: Something In The Air, the French-language, festival-darling revolution drama whose name sounds much cooler if you say it in your worst French accent, at Ritz Bourse; At Any Price, a farming/family/car racing movie with Zac Efron. One of those things probably turned you off to it, but it’s screening at Ritz Bourse and Rave Ritz Center; and Kon-Tiki, the based-on-a-true-story, Best Foreign Language Oscar-nominated tale of Thor Heyerdahl‘s Kon-Tiki expedition in 1947, screening at Ritz Five.
The William Way LGBT Community Center does some great work — they were honored with a Philebrity Award for Non-Profit of the Year, after all. So, when they came up with the idea for the “nation’s first LGBT-themed Jazz Festival,” an event that will surely confuse and anger your one weird uncle, it’s no surprise they were given some grant money to make it all happen. According to the Philadelphia Gay News, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage gifted a grant of $220,000 to the community center so they can host the three-day festival in September of next year.
It’s still way early in the planning stages, but the fest will reportedly feature around a dozen musicians, panel discussions, master’s classes and workshops, and an open call for emerging LGBTQ jazz artists will be launched in the fall. So if you know of someone, let ‘em know. If you wanna participate, you’ve got all summer to become a jazz musician. Get on it.
Today is Bike to Work day, and Mayor Nutter joined Councilman Mark Squilla, Councilman Dennis O’Brien, Superintendent Hite, Deputy Mayor Michael DiBerardinis, “students from Meade and Meredith Elementary Schools,” and everyday folk for a bike ride this morning. Unfortunately, as you can see in the image above, he was dressed more formally than before. School Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite said, “We are fortunate to live in a city that encourages sharing the road with cyclists. Promoting and supporting safe bicycle commuting benefits adults and children alike.” And you can see just how important safety is to the Mayor above, as he’s riding those brakes pretty hard.
The city thought they’d go ahead and do a good thing today, so they hosted a job fair for ex-offenders. They did the same thing last year, and 100 people showed up. It was nice. Today, 1,000 people showed up. They shut it all down.
According to 6ABC, “The City anticipated a big crowd and therefore doubled the staff to handle the response, but the crowd was still too big to handle – forcing the event to be cancelled and leaving hundreds on the plaza outside.” Reportedly, the people who showed up were told to leave their resume and the city would get back to them when they plan another one. They always say they’ll call.
Take one look at the backpacks of middle-schoolers, the posters lining the walls of movie theaters, and the front windows of any comic shop and you’ll see superheros. White ones. The amount of money being made in the superhero movie market is insane, but we still haven’t had a film vehicle for a black superhero since the Blade movies. Iron Man’s got James Rhodes (Don Cheadle, formerly Terrence Howard), and the new Captain America movie will have Falcon (Anthony Mackie), but there still haven’t been any plans announced for a Black Panther film, a Luke Cage (right) film, or Bishop‘s appearance in an X-Men film (scratch that). Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury doesn’t count by default, because he was once played by David Hasselhoff and you just can’t undo that.
But that doesn’t mean that these characters can’t get their respect. This weekend, the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention is in town to “push for greater representation of blacks in comics — and to promote youth literacy,” according to The Metro. The convention opens with a free reception tonight at 6:30PM at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. The convention itself takes place all day tomorrow at The Enterprise Center (4548 Market St.) and features workshops, panels, screenings, and cosplay. Consider it your counter-point to the upcoming Wizard World, which features appearances from the whitest (and lamest) heroes to ever sport tights: Dean Cain and Brandon Routh.
As you read this, unless you’re reading this from the far future, The Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist and its rectory are being torn down to make room for 12 new townhouses by Harman Deutsch. The structure has stood since 1867, and Chris Dougherty from Necessary for Ruins toured the place before they began tearing it down. The thoughts on the place by his friend and parishioner are over at Hidden City, and they’re as close to a must-read as you’re gonna get on the subject.
Anecdotally, we know this much: We are living during a time in the history of Philadelphia where it could well be that neighborhood organizations are as powerful and as well-organized as they have ever been. Whether they come in the form of traditional civic/neighborhood associations or CDCs (community development corporations) or business districts, these organizations have varied purposes but usually agree on the basics — that major developments in any community in the city should always receive (and ideally heed) input from neighbors. And they’re far from an endangered species; if anything, across neighborhoods and across the city, we’re seeing a slowly but surely evolving unity of vision from neighbors, moving in the general direction of smart development.
But you may not interpret that from the reports this week surrounding the dissolving of Old City Civic Association, as detailed by this Newsworks piece. On the face of it, the reports are true: OCCA is going under because it can’t afford to insure itself from litigation by vengeful developers. This PlanPhilly story from earlier this month details quite well how this came to pass for OCCA, but it might also be an object lesson in neighborhood-group karma. And while we applaud Councilman Mark Squilla‘s appeal to seek protection for these groups (he’s batting .500 this week), the case of OCCA is unique: Notoriously NIMBY and frequently an instrument in the hands of a very few (a matter also touched on in the PlanPhilly piece), OCCA’s tale was not necessarily one of making friends and influencing people. (And luckily, Old City won’t be left out in the cold in terms of having a Registered Community Organization protecting it — the Old City District does a great job of that, even though it’s primarily business-driven.) By contrast, the NLNA (Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association) has arguably had much bigger fish to fry over the last decade — from casinos to gentrification to The Crazy World Of Bart Blatstein — and has somehow, touch wood, not managed to get sued yet. Maybe it’s because they play nicer?
In any case, don’t count your neighborhood RCO out just yet; and if you’re that concerned, join it, if you haven’t already. The city is re-evolving at a rapid pace, and as always, cooler heads will prevail.
Yesterday, DA Seth Williams went on Michael Smerconish‘s new SiriusXM show for a 30-minute interview about the Kermit Gosnell trial, and it’s a must-listen. In it, an especially garrulous Williams — who, come to think of it, sounds every bit like he might be warming up for a mayoral bid — opens with an oddly extended list of his own Philly bona fides, stopping just short of reciting the theme to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which is like, okay, guy. But what comes next is fairly mind-blowing, as he tells the story of how Gosnell first appeared on his radar, how the case unearthed itself, and Gosnell’s especially grisly “Sunday Night club,” where the latest-term abortions were performed. Smerconish does a great interview here, and it’s perhaps one of the best expositions of the case we’ve yet seen or heard.
Well, obviously, that’s all shot to hell now, as Kai is held on most unsexy $3M bail, but we have some good news: Philly is absolutely chock-full o’ lovable nuts for whom you may be able to transfer your dreams and affections. After the jump, we make a few humble suggestions. Any of these dudes are totally Kai-righteous (before the fall, that is) and quite honestly, just one very bad (or perhaps very good) night away from being, er, “homefree.” (more…)
>>> All you longhairs can hit up JEFF The Brotherhood and Hunters at Kungfu Necktie tonight. But if tonight doesn’t work for you, maybe tomorrow will.
>>> And singer/songwriter Josh Ritter takes his Royal City Bandto The Troc to play songs from his latest album, the wonderful The Beast In Its Tracks and more, along with a support set from Felice Brothers.
The artists formerly known as ViaductGreene – now called Friends of the Rail Park — are at it again. After the name change and some rendering teases, FotRP have unveiled their “final report for the Community Design Collaborative (CDC) conceptual design for the City Branch,” seen in a very-large PDF over here. The report brings together design ideas, looks at possible plans, a breakdown of the surrounding area, and of course, beautiful renderings — like the one above of a section near Broad Street, and the one below, near CCP.
Is that one guy falling? Dancing? PARKOURING?
There’s a whole lot more reading and staring to do over at that PDF and their website, and on a day like today, wouldn’t it all just be so wonderful?
We don’t really get along with heights, so watching that video above — even though the heights aren’t that high — makes us a little nervous. Obviously, Alie Vidich and friends do not have that issue, which is why they Kickstarted their Invisible River idea. The plan, fully funded, is this:
A chorus of 8 dancing singers will perform the haunting choral compositions of Elliott Harvey of a stick and a stone leading audience members through interactive choreography installations on the Schuylkill River Trail. They arrive at a vacant parking lot transformed into a carnival of color by the artists from SpArc Philadelphia. In the distance, two aerial dancers swing beneath the Strawberry Mansion Bridge, glide past each other and partner in moments of adventure and play, until finally descending into the river and swimming to the nearby audience for the finale.The entire event is a public celebration of the Schuylkill River encouraging audiences to reconsider their relationship to it.
At the end of every performance, Vidich will speak to the audience about her long-term vision to create an annual Schuylkill River performing arts festival that advocates for increased public swimming and boating access to the river. After this, a DJ dance party hosted by Maggy’s Rooftop Aerial invites audience members to stay in the park, celebrate the summer and dance with each other. Cosmic Café, the official vendor of Fairmount Park and the infamous Little Baby’s Ice Cream (Sun 6/23 only) will sell food at the event.”
On one hand, this is very silly. The video, for the first few seconds, feels like a rejected Portlandia skit. But this is the kind of stuff Kickstarter was built for, and you don’t even have to give it any money because a bunch of dopes already did. Plus, there will be ice cream. Can’t argue with that.
Revel, whose best buddy Kanye West is having a rough week, is having a rough week. They filed for bankruptcy a while ago — as a casino, that shouldn’t happen — and now they wanna make their comeback. Yesterday, they admitted that they done goofed, and the casino/resort’s new executive team asked the New Jersey Casino Control Commission for a second chance. They’re getting it.
After realizing that they “misjudged the Atlantic City market,” according to The Press of Atlantic City, Revel is making changes to appeal to a broader audience. These changes? “A new marketing strategy, a diverse entertainment lineup, more affordable restaurant options and the end of Revel’s no-smoking policy.” So, now it’ll be just like Atlantic City’s other casinos, dark, smokey, cheap, and the wrong amount of weird. It’ll be a tough road out of bankruptcy for Revel, but if the casino scene is your thing, we’d be willing to guess that now is the time to go there on the cheap.
In rebellion of everything Byko knows and loves, Philadelphia is a very bikeable city. In fact, it’s the fourth most bikeable city in the country. According to Bike Score, Philly is good enough for a bike score of 68.4, good enough for fourth place behind Denver, San Francisco, and — of course — Portland. You can poke around the cool looking maps for bike score, bike commuters, hills, and more over here, but we were wondering: Do you think Denver, San Francisco, and Portland have their own Bykos? We sure hope so. We can’t be the only ones.
>>> Got some extra dough lying around and you wanna buy someone (probably yourself) something cool? Lucky for you, the Punk Rock Flea Market is happening on Saturday and Sunday. For the first time, the vendors will be completely different each day, but your $3 donation gets you admission for both days. Treat yo self. [R5 Productions]
It’s shaping up to be news-person day here on the Philebs: Tonight on World News with Diane Sawyer and Nightline, Diane Sawyer will be airing a report on Strawberry Mansion High School, where she took a look inside the school, interviewed principal Linda Wayman, and more. A release from ABC says:
435 high school students beginning the year. 94 cameras. 6 school police officers. 2 metal detectors. Welcome to Strawberry Mansion in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – considered one of the most dangerous high schools in the country for the last five years. Most parents believe that our nation’s schools should be a safe haven for children – an environment that helps its students grow, develop, and learn what it takes to be successful as an adult – but at this school students have to be reminded not to bring their weapons into the school.”
The report airs tonight at 6:30PM and again at 12:35AM.