December 17, 2014
To promote his new album Gliss Riffer, for which he is currently headlining a world tour, Dan Deacon just released this new official video for “Feel The Lightning,” and as it turns out, pretty much everyone involved in the making of the video is from Philly (except Dan Deacon). Philly artist Andrew Jeffery Wright directed the video in collaboration with All Ages Productions and Body Dreamz, whose dancing is on full display here. We’re not sure who the human chairs are, but we’re just going to say, yeah, they’re from Philly too.
All charges against the three accused of this past Fall’s Center City gay-bashing were upheld in court this week, including aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment and criminal conspiracy. Judge Charles Hayden said he was satisfied with the testimony he heard, including from Zachary Hesse, one of the victims of the attack, and refused requests from the defense that the aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy charges be dropped. The Philadelphia Gay News has the most in-depth account we’ve read yet of the attack and the case, including some pretty dirty fighting from the defense, who implored the judge to overlook the “hysterics” the case had provoked.
The testimonies of Hesse and witness Geoff Nagle, who was in his apartment overlooking the scene at the time, provide new details that develop but don’t in any way complicate the initial accounts of the incident. While there appears to have been some nitpicking about whether conditions were present to support criminal conspiracy charges, Assistant District Attorney Michael Barry was able to convince Hayden that the homophobic slurs used repeatedly by all three defendants constituted sufficient circumstantial evidence. Luckily, criminal conspiracy charges are easier to substantiate than hate crime charges.
This is huge news for the State of New York, but what could it mean here in fracked-out Fracksylvania? In all likelihood, just frantic fracking straight up until 2017, when (maybe) something will (maybe) be (probably not) done about it.
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, what are the windows the windows to? Er, if it’s Philly at the holidays, the windows are often reflecting that soul back out the other way, in ways that veer between sweet and crazy, then back to sweet, and sometimes over to weird. The Instagram account @windowfrontsofphilly is busy documenting as much of this as possible right now, since the Christmas season is the time, more than any other, when Philly breaks out all of that window swag. At turns lovely and kooky alike, this one’s a fun follow, and God bless the soul who’s pushing this one along.
Previously: And Now, Your Must-Follow Instagram Account: @imbenjaminfranklin
And Now, Your Must-Follow Instagram Account: JinxedStore
And Now, Your Must-Follow Instagram Account: MutterMuseum
And Now, Your Must-Follow Instagram Account: PhillyAlleys
And Now, Your Must-Follow Instagram Account: @phillyhasjobs
In February, no less. To which we say: Aw fuck it, Manayunk. And aw fuck it, Mummers. You guys do you. At least out there you’re with people who can, er, appreciate you.
If the last 100 years of diligent and marketplace-selecting holiday song production have taught us anything, it’s this: All the best Christmas songs are just a little bit sad. A direct line of melancholia runs from Bing Crosby straight through to the Waitresses. I’ll leave it to Ken Burns to unpack what exactly that is all about (God, could you imagine Sad Christmas Music, An Eight-Part American Journey? I would watch the shit outta that!), but suffice to say that it’s true, it’s unimpeachable. As a guy who (I’m pretty sure) has donned the Red Suit a few times, Maxx Stoyanoff-Williams of Black Landlord knows this as well, and damn if his entry into modern holiday tune history isn’t catchy, knowing, and big time Holiday Sads. Built over a riff that sounds more like Unwound or The Grifters than, say, “Sump’n Claus,” “Christmas Party” details the dread of your average office holiday party and attendant hangover, redeemed only by the promise of maybe having hooked up with the person you wanted to… hopefully. If you can remember it all right. The very topical reverse-Cosby crossover is impossible not to take note of, sure, but hey, it’s been a shit year. This is the new “You mean you forgot cranberries, too?”
Maxx Stoyanoff-Williams of Black Landlord makes a cameo performance at this Friday night’s Paper Shakers’ Christmas Variety Show at Bourbon & Branch.
Apparently, there’s a Philadelphia fire code that dates back to 1982 prohibiting naturally-cut trees in multiunit homes, which would basically prohibit anyone who lives in a building that is not a house from owning a Christmas tree. The code is a precaution against death by Christmas tree-related fire, which kills an average of six people a year. Obviously, it’s impossible to enforce this statute widely, and the responsibility to enforce it usually falls to doormen. Which means it must be enforced pretty minimally, because if we know doormen, they don’t usually object to anyone smoking a little tree.
Talk of a One Liberty Place observation deck has been floating around for a while, but now it’s official. Montparnasse 56, the observation deck company (is it just us, or is it crazy that that’s a thing?) who have done similar work, apparently to great success, in Chicago and Paris, issued this press release yesterday announcing that in Summer 2015 they will erect an observation deck and open a restaurant at the 57th floor of One Liberty Place. Evan Evans, a Philadelphia hospitality exec whose parents have no imagination, will serve as the project’s general manager. Details, including a name for the structure, are still forthcoming, but it sounds like it’s definitely going to be built. Which means we’ll soon be able to eat lunch so high up that we can pretend the rest of the city doesn’t exist. Except, of course, for the one building we want to forget about most.
Earlier this fall the city asked the public to suggest sixty bike share locations city wide. The Philadelphia Business Journal has the results of a recent poll that asked which locations would be most useful. The big five names, out of about one hundred total suggested, are: 30th Street Station, The Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia, Eastern State Penitentiary, Clark Park, and The Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The reasons for these choices vary from the obvious to the really obvious, but they usually had something to do with getting to and from work, unsurprisingly. For example, 50 percent of those polled responded that the ESP is near their home, which reminds us of the yo momma joke about yo momma being so fat that at the lunch room at school she sat next to everybody. 86 percent of those polled said that 30th Street Station was near a transit stop, which makes us wonder where fourteen percent of you are at. For whatever reasons, though, the point is, bike share locations are coming, and they look like they’re going to be intuitive and convenient, which is all that matters. You can read the full press release from the city here.
December 16, 2014
A new program of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Defense Services Office (DSO) called Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) seeks to offer a sole source contract through the DARPA Contracts Management Office (CMO) to KMel Robotics. What the hell does any of this mean? Apparently, according to Technically Philly, it means the US military (hence the acronyms) is contracting a Philly robotics company to build a drone. DARPA wants KMel Robotics, the startup formed by Penn alumni that’s known best for its video of a fleet of drones playing a cool futuristic rock arrangement of Richard Strauss “Also sprach Zarathustra” (the 2001: A Space Odyssey theme song), to build a 28-inch drone that can fly 45 MPH indoors. We don’t know what they want it for, but we hope it’s for a John Cale concert or a textbook delivery service and not, you know, the other thing the US military uses drones for.
Whoa, this Craigslist ad we just accidentally tripped over is offering up the “deal of a lifetime!” On a pay-as-you-go scale that can start at as low as $2, you can participate in this hot new coworking venture headquartered at 45th and Locust, and, man, this place has everything! Free wi-fi, full utilities, and an outdoor conference room perfect for Spring and Summer team-building! And get this, they even have a fully-catered lobby outfitted with additional seating, open to individual and group startups for day-by-day leasing! Guys, this place is coworking just like we always dreamed, with all of the amenities of a happening neighborhood coffee shop and… yeah, and it’s like, right by that Green Line on Locust… and… fuck. Okay. Well-played, whoever you are.
This essential Architecture in Helsinki single isn’t a new song, and it’s not a new cover for Dr. Dog. The video is new, though, and it’s also the first taste of Dr. Dog’s upcoming first live album. Hopefully this classic cover will be just one of many standouts on the album.
We’ve got to admit, we’re conflicted about running this post, because it combines something we love and feel both inspired and obliged to post about with something we hate and feel both inspired and obliged to make fun of. Which means it can only be one thing: a holiday gift guide to Philly books. Our recent posts about holiday gifts have been more oriented toward throwing shade on the weird and the lame, but with this one, via Hidden City, we have to take a different tack, because, as we hope you know by now, Philly books are our jam, in a big way. The books on this list elect Philly as the crux of debates around Urban Studies and public policy, profile historic Philly figures, and, via photography and essay, approach the city itself with fresh new eyes. Check it out here.
At a time when the country is exploding with anti-racist fervor and organizing to campaign in solidarity for positive change, Penn frat bros are gleefully outfitting the compensatory wizard-staffs of their ignorance with yet another empty can. In a picture originally posted to Facebook by Penn frat Phi-Delta-Theta as a Christmas greeting, you can see to the far left a dark-skinned blow-up doll joining the large group of predominantly white males. Obviously, Penn students capable of abstract thought were thoroughly unamused. The dumb fucks in question explained afterward that “the doll was a Beyoncé sex toy originally meant as a gag gift at the group’s Secret Santa event,” and then admitted in their apology that “once removed from the packaging, it bore no semblance to the artist beyond skin color adding to its offensive nature.” The most shattering irony here is that most of the assholes behind that pathetic attempt at an apology will probably go on to make millions as PR execs.
We last posted about Isaiah Zagar‘s newest project, a companion piece to his Magic Gardens then tentatively called the Magic Garage, over a year ago. The news then was basically thus: it’s in a two-story warehouse, it’s not open yet, but it looks insane. The latest news, which comes after a one-night-only preview that took place last night at the 10th and Watkins location, is thus: it’s in a two-story warehouse, it’s not open yet, but it looks insane!
Those of you who can’t stand anticipation might not be happy with this news, but if you can’t stand anticipation, if you’re so full of anxiety that you just need to get what you want now so you don’t lose your shit, this piece probably isn’t for you anyway. Evolution isn’t just part of Zagar’s process, it’s what defines his work — the getting there is where you’re going. Tripping to/in Zagar’s dreamhouse/funhouse/madhouse will be, yeah, definitely a groovy time, but remember that for the true initiate, it’s all groovy, man.
Read more about and see more pictures of the new work over at NewsWorks.
December 15, 2014
>>> Drunk Piano — the weekly jam session that brings together musicians and performers of all stripes under the racontuership of sax-man Jay Davidson — is back at Underground Arts tonight with an all-holiday-themed show.
>>> Meanwhile, over at Johnny Brenda’s, King Britt‘s new project Fhloston Paradigm shares a bill with Robotique / Rasheedah Phillips / Mike Todd.
From our original post back in ’06: Alan Mann existed in the strange, incestuous Philly new wave netherworld of the late ’70s/early ’80s where Stephen Starr, Mikey Wild, The Hooters, The Stray Cats and Gary Heidnik all could have been at the same show, awaiting fates about as diverse as they get. In this movie, Mann played the Eddie of Eddie & The Cruisers role: Tortured, difficult genius, moderately dreamy. But there was more: Mann was also a self-styled poet in the Jim Carroll scuzz-tradition, and also a maverick in that he recorded and released his own music. And according to this 2004 City Paper article, after the Hooters and Robert Hazard went to the majors, Alan Mann — always a much thornier prospect than those two acts — was deemed next, and his ramp-up produced this Philly FM holiday staple. Therein was Mann’s appeal: Streetwise and sentimentally un-sentimental, which was about as close to a formula as Philly new wave got. But Mann’s day in the sun was not to be. In 1987, after a stretch of years spent battling smack, Mann died either falling out or jumping out of his South Street apartment window while a fire raged on inside. It was lost on no one that other than “Christmas On The Block,” his other biggest single was — you guessed it — “Fear Of Heights.”
Are women funny? Duh, yes. Debate settled. See how easy that was? Easier still, a trip to Ray’s Happy Birthday for a night of standup comedy from Hannah Harkness, Alyssa Al-Dookhi, Shannon Devido and Natalie Levant. Rachel Fogletto and Phyllis Voren host this month’s edition of “Funny Females All Woman Comedy Show: Holiday Spectacular!” Monday. Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar. 8pm. No Cover
A black metal Christmas show from Hell will be unleashed on the Trestle Inn Wednesday night, as Vicious Variety presents “Vicious Christmas.” Featuring Franzia mascot The Necrosexual, Di “The Comedian” Hargrove, and last month’s drag show winner Rick Robotin, the lineup will also include competitive performances by Rachel Fogletto, Patrick Graves, Steve Miller-Miller. All of this viciousness will be hosted by Thunderfoot Larry, Count Cheslock, Jon Lalu, Vickie Fernandez, and Setoiyo. Wednesday at the Trestle Inn. 8pm. Tickets available online for the evil price of $6.66.
“Movie Movie Live,” Philadelphia’s premiere, movie-themed, trivia-based, high-octane, interactive comedy game show will be jingling bells at PhilaMOCA Thursday. Hosts Dan Scully and Garrett Smith welcome “Cube Sleuth” author Dave Terruso, “Terrible Advice” author Mike F’n Rainey, and animated character Ryan Shaner to duke it out on the theme of holiday movies. For the purposes of this game, the hosts stress that holiday movie “means Die Hard just as much as it means It’s A Wonderful Life.” Thursday at PhilaMOCA. 8pm. $5.
Friday, American Idol alum Justin Guarini and drummer/comedian Jon Wurster head up a star-studded end-of-year “Hang On with Aaron Nevins.” The fame is strong with this one, as a panel including walking/talking one man show R. Eric Thomas, “Five Dollar Comedy Week” producer Kate Banford, and sketch/standup titan Christian Alsis gets in on the fun. Friday at the Adrienne Theater. 8pm. Tickets available online.
Later that night, head to the second floor of the Adrienne for the game show that asks the age-old question “What’s My Line?” Host Dave Metter has assembled a crack panel of comedians to guess their guest’s unusual occupation, with the indefatigable Kate Banford climbing the stairs to go up against Los Angeles-bound comic Nikki Black, GE caulk spokeman Tim Butterly, and “What’s My Line?” center square Alex Pearlman. Friday at the PHIT. 10:30pm. Tickets available online.
Come again? That’s what “Comedy-Gasm” host Rachel Fogletto wants from her monthly show’s loyal fan base, as she takes to the second floor of the Irish Pōl yet again. This holiday installment promises something for “comedy-lovers from all walks of holiday-subscriptions, even our cantankerous atheist friends!” Supplying the -gasms this month: Burlesque performer Honeytree Evil Eye, and standup comics Joey Dougherty, Michelle Biloon, Matt Monroe, and Bino Brogden. Saturday at the Irish Pōl. 8:45pm. $10.
– Alejandro Morales
Alejandro Morales is one of the six rotating hosts of the award-winning (and later, award-losing) Laughs on Fairmount open mic, every Monday at 8pm at Urban Saloon. See his webseries at thedatesshow.com and follow him on twitter @AlleyHandRow.
No, really it does. Because it should. It deserves to. Jim Kenney and Chris Christie alike, just shut up and get in your hole.