Brü owner Teddy Sourias stands in what will soon be U-Bahn.
It’s not much to look at now, but in about a month or two, Philly will get a new small room for live local music called U-Bahn. And it’s coming in a good time; with the trend of new music venues opening in Philly that cater to an audience span of 200-600 over the last few years, there’s been little attention paid to new spaces that grow bands — and with the lone exception of Milkboy, even less so in Center City. With a maximum capacity of 100, U-Bahn could fill a niche in tandem with smaller rooms like Milkboy and Bourbon & Branch in NoLibs. Housed in the basement space below the likewise German-themed Brü Craft & Wurst at 1320 Chestnut Street, U-Bahn will have a “German subway” theme, feature cheeseboards and such, 18 taps, and the rest of it. But what was most notable to us was the music complement, which will add to an already organically expanding live music circuit (that includes Fergie’s and Time and Chris’s Jazz) in the general Midtown Village vicinity:
Approximately 15 foot stage with state-of-the-art sound system that will be stomping ground for established and local emerging talent. Look for regular list of talent on bi-weekly and monthly basis, plus one-time performances. Enjoy everything from indie rock, bluegrass, jazz, latin music, reggae, DJs and cover bands. Goal is to showcase new talent that will quickly outgrow U-Bahn space and become the region’s next big thing.
No word on bookings just yet; U-Bahn is set to open mid-December to early January.
“I am perplexed and astounded that in this case, the prosecutor certainly took as long as he wanted to explain everything (and) I did not hear any explanation, or more importantly a justification, for why that young man was shot,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
It was a remarkable sentiment coming from a mayor who has shown little interest — arguably none — in substantive reforms to his own city’s criminal-justice system.
That Denvir is couching this all his new “liberal Democrat”-trolling vibe is something we’ll forgive for now, as he makes valuable points about both the Mayor and D.A. are kind of full of it with their Ferguson chest-thumping.
Cruisr are back with a video that offers such rare delights as Ice Cube transforming into the Tin Man, Beatrix Kiddo ducking a punch from Rocky, and pretty much every Kubrick film somehow rendered animated. This thing’ll probably be sourcing gifs for the next year. Also, the song is, yeah, damn catchy.
Just as I long struggled to get fellow suburbanites to see the city as it really is, not merely the dystopian nightmare of TV news, I now have a wish for my fellow Philadelphians: That someday they might adopt a more diplomatic, generous and effective attitude towards their fellow Pennsylvanians in the ‘burbs and beyond,
Their default attytood can be summed up thusly: “Listen, you racist hicks, send us more money. Now. Or we’ll sue you.” It’s marvelous to behold how often the city’s politicians and activists adopt that tack, then are bewildered and indignant when it doesn’t work.
Tell you what, Chris. We’ll all start being nice to your dear, spat-upon suburban innocents when we can go out on Friday nights in the city not fully expecting to be reminded of this crew:
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is getting excited about the World Meeting of Families, for many reasons obvious and not, but according to the comments he just made to Philly.com, he’s most excited about the “rebirth of the archdiocese” after a neverending cascade of sexual abuse scandals that put them “in difficult situations in terms of morale and finances.” In the face of all of these PR concerns that crippled the archdiocese’s reputation and its resources, Chaput was apparently most worried about being able to get enough money together to support the 2015 WMF and not, you know, addressing the concern of rampant sexual abuse in the churches.
Now, however, he’s not worried about that anymore. The first weekend of events including a “Festival of Families” on Benjamin Franklin Parkway and a mass on the steps of the Art Museum from Pope Francis himself, are expected to draw up to two million visitors. Despite all of his talk about strengthening the archdiocese, though, Chaput insists that the WMF will “welcome everybody” despite its having a “Catholic dimension.” What this means exactly still remains to be seen.
Make no mistake: If we’re going to talk winners and losers about the grand jury decision that came out of Ferguson last night (a statistical oddity bordering on the utterly insane) and the chaos that erupted in its wake, it is quite clear that America lost. Equality lost, intelligent debate lost, the relationship between police and both minorities and the young continued to lose, and things we don’t even yet know all lost. Fail marks all around, America. But as protests played out coast to coast, here in Philly, #FergusonPHL, the protest and hashtag alike, was particularly instructive. And on a night of overwhelming negatives, the protest itself felt like a net positive in terms of how Philly reacted — both its populace and its power structure. So let’s take a look at last night’s winners and losers.
This map details very well the route of last night’s protest, which gathered steam from the moment the grand jury decision was announced, and eventually looped a whole swath of the Center City grid. As the night went on, clergy groups marched alongside social justice groups, and covered a lot more ground than probably anyone would have thought at the outset. It was impossible to be anywhere between South Street and Northern Liberties and Rittenhouse last night and not be made aware of what was going on. And yes, the whole getting-onto-I-95 thing was dangerous (and also apparently more possible than anyone knew), but we couldn’t really blame the group — registering the outrage shared here in Philly over Ferguson, as well as its implications nationally, was the message, and the Philly contingent never lost sight of that.
The Philadelphia Police
Look, this is Philly, and this thing could have gone wrong in one hundred different ways. Your Philly police force saw to it that that didn’t happen, and for that, they deserve kudos.
Daily News and Inky Reporters, and Yep, The Community College Newspaper
If you were following the #FergusonPHL hashtag last night (and if you haven’t, do go back and take a look), it was the DN and Inky reporters — and, notably, The Vanguard, the student newspaper of Community College of Philadelphia — who consistently had the most solid, clear-headed information. And in a situation like this, that is the thing of the most value — both for the protestors on the ground and everyone else. Their efforts can’t be underestimated in keeping the Philly protest now a national model for each of us.
Because there it is, the elephant in the room: Philadelphia is Ferguson, too. For as well-behaved as Philly cops were last night, it’s important to remember that the protesters here were not merely reacting in empathy; currently, Philly seems to have a police department that is fully at odds with itself. Even as our police chief endeavors to actually put those body cams on police that is now the Brown family’s lone wish, deep, howling police corruption still rocks the city on a far too regular basis. Nutter could have said something about this last night, about how Philadelphia is broken the way that Ferguson is broken, too, but he chose not to. What could have been a powerful moment of speaking truth to power became just another moment of power speaking power to power: Nutter’s comments felt like they were more for Nutter than for anyone else.
Philly Broadcast Media
But you wouldn’t have known that if you were watching the local network affiliates last night. Most of them didn’t carry Nutter’s address live, and even when Fox 29 did, they got bored after a while and cut back to TMZ. Also notable: Weak tweet updates on the protest from these guys as it was happening.
If ever there's a mayor who has no credibility to speak to unprovoked, violent street death it's Michael Nutter. #Ferguson
This is as much as we’ve been able to find so far, but it seems like Richard Mills, “Phila, PA Fighting Irish,” who may be a world-class conspiracy theorist and may be a robot, is the man behind numerous twitter accounts including Richard Mills (@JUSTICEFORMILLS), Richard Mills (@EaglesCoverUp) and Wilt Chamberlain (@Justice4WiltC). The twitter accounts link respectively to the Pinterest accounts Richard Mills Warns U.S.A., Richard Mills @EaglesCoverUp, and Richard Mills Warns World!. The Pinterest accounts are emblazoned with banner quotes like “SAVE WORLD FROM BIOCHIP TERRORISM AND CLONING!” and “Richard Mills Is A Kennedy Relative, His Ancestor Robert Morris.” The feeds of the Twitter and Pinterest accounts are full of hashtags pertaining to the Kennedy Assassination and the scourge of Dental Biochip Terrorism. Mills is also active on Facebook.
>>> Once upon a time, Blonde Redhead were just another New York band with a weird name and a sound that most shrugged off as pretentious and reaching. Over the past two decades, however, they’ve made the not-to-be-understated leap from boho curiosities to tenured ambassadors from the art world to the pop world and vice versa. With a signature style that incorporates the hardest and softest of influences, the noise-rockers and the dream-poppers, the sounds that marked the opposite far edges of the listenable spectrum in the eighties and nineties, the band are an institution for anyone interested in the continuing tradition of weirdo cool. Their new album, Barragán, sounds more than any in recent years like a celebration of all of the music that contributed to the development of this now canonized sound and style. Seeing them tonight at Union Transfer with People Get Ready will be an education in both the then and the now.
Sometime after we were looking last and before we were looking just now, Philadelphia, like Wildwood Crest, NJ before it, flipped dimensions and once again became a place that has 24/7 Christmas radio until… until when? Until they say it’s over, that’s when. MoreFM (formerly B101) has flipped formats and so too has WXPN’s Xponential radio Internet stream, once again dubbed “Jingle Jams.” This, of course, is to say nothing of those other Philly Xmas radio institutions: what will be the 26th (!!!) annual installment of Jon Solomon’s 25-hour holiday radio marathon on WPRB, and WXPN’s “The Night Before Christmas” from midnight to midnight on Wednesday, December 24th with host Robert Drake. So stack up those Wawa Gobblers and Tastykake Pumpkin Pies and Chocolaty Stars: It’s time to eat your feelings to the cool, cool sounds of The Waitresses.
If you’ve never heard of it, Spanish Fly is the unstable aphrodisiac, toxic at low doses, that The Beastie Boys rapped about mixing into their brass monkeys before offering them to girls at parties. We hope this audience was only cracking up nervously throughout these three minutes because they had no idea what Cosby was talking about.
Tonight haul yourself over to Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar for the Funny Females comedy show. Hosts Phyllis Voren and Rachel Fogletto have been putting together line ups that include the leading ladies of laugh-ladling and this week is no exception. Performing tonight is Nikki Black, Hanna Trav, Natalie K Levant, Gina Stitzer, and Emily Epstein White. Monday, 8PM, Free.
On Thursday, leave all the jokes up to your uncle because it’s Thanksgiving! If you’re in the mood for hilarious improv comedy, head down to your big box retailer and see just what happens when people with no script attempt to act out the depravity of a culture gone mad with lustful consumerism. Thursday, All day, Free-ish.
On Friday, The Philly Improv Theater is host to an unusual feat of comedy endurance that is being known as “The Black Friday Comedy Marathon.” This 38 hour show will feature a figurative cornucopia of comedy from sketch to improv to stand up and everything in between. The event will also feature special guest hosts and quasi-insomniacs Hey We’re Cool, who will be interspersing the performances with games, sketches and other fun stuff to keep you awake. There are a ton of really great acts including: The Return of Jim Grammond’s Reasonable Discourse with Jerks (Friday at 5:15PM), Sketch Comedy from High Dramma (Friday at 7PM), Chip Chantry’s All Request Rock Block (Friday at 9:45PM), GIRLS AREN’T FUNNY AND YOUR DICK IS HUGE (Saturday at 2:55 AM), and the festival’s close hosted by Hoffman (11:30PM on Saturday). Friday, 10AM-Saturday 11:59PM, $10 or a receipt from a local small business.
If you’ve never seen comedian Todd Glass before but always wanted to and didn’t realize he would be at Helium Comedy Club this week, brace yourself for some good news: Todd Glass will be at Helium Comedy Club this week. Author the The Todd Glass Situation and host of the Todd Glass Show podcast, Todd Glass is potentially the most self-titled comic in the business… and for good reason! He’ll be joined by Blake Wexler, another great stand up comic from Philadelphia that moved to LA. These are precious Philly resources that aren’t around all the time, so drink it up while they are here. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, show times and prices vary.
– Joe Moore
Joe Moore is the genial jerk is head writer of sketch group Dog Mountain, host of monthly show Guilty Pleasures and a sketch comedy instructor. Hunt him down on twitter @TheJoeMoore.
Inspired by The City Real and Imagined, the collaborative document of Frank Sherlock and CAConrad‘s poetic wanderings throughout Philadelphia, Write Your Block is a new project from Sherlock and Creative Philadelphia that encourages city residents of all ages to use poetry to describe their urban experience and their histories in the city’s spaces. As the project’s Tumblr points out, “Whether you are versed in verse, a street rhymer or have yet to write your first poem – every Philadelphian has stories & memories connected to a shared neighborhood experience just waiting to be documented.” Sherlock will have residencies in North Philadelphia, Southwest Philly and Kensington, and neighborhood gatherings will be organized to help further incubate the project. We’re all for this thing. The real Philly’s nothing without the much more exciting imagined Philly.
The week’s just beginning, and already we’re being bombarded from all sides with Bill Cosby op-eds ranging from the refreshingly upright to the deeply, deeply troubling. On the former side is this piece at Salon, itself a takedown of a totally horrendous upchuck called “The Rape of Bill Cosby,” which reminds everyone who still needs to be reminded that it’s not okay to fill an opinion piece about a series of accusations of sexual assault with misogynistic language. On the latter side is Solomon Jones‘ insistence that time and pursuit of media attention discredit these accusations. There’s also this longer analysis at The New York Times of the media’s tendency in the past to shy away from certain topics and the bad ethics of doing so. All of these writings accompany the breaking of the story of a trusted Cosby aide who routinely delivered payments to women Cosby presumably wanted to keep quiet. This shit is definitely piling on faster than we can link it out at this point, but we’re ever vigilant, or at least we’re trying to be.
Cool C, the Philadelphia native and rapper known best for the song in the video above, has been scheduled to be executed on January 8. Governor Tom Corbett signed the death warrant Friday. Cool C, or Christopher Roney, was convicted in 1996 of killing officer Lauretha Vaird while holding up a PNC bank with two others. Roney and his mother both hold that they were at home cooking breakfast when the holdup occurred. Given that Pennsylvania hasn’t executed someone since 1999 in an instance of voluntary forfeiture of the right to appeal, and that Governor Elect Tom Wolf has made clear his vehement opposition to the practice of execution, it seems pretty unlikely that this sentence would be carried out. Until the process advances, the comment wars continue to rage on.
>>> Moon Hooch, the totally insane fusion ensemble that skyrocketed in no time from a Brooklyn subway station to a tour with They Might Be Giants, will be getting holy and modal at The Abbey Bar.
>>> The Wytches, who, unlike way too many other bands, have actually earned the right to a band name that sounds like a random pull from the Nurse With Wound list, will be at Boot & Saddle with Drone Ranger and Dirt Queen.
>>> SO FAR it looks like the Interpol show at Union Transfer is still on, so until we hear otherwise we’re picking it, but over the past few nights, they ain’t been goin’ to the town or the city, so plan accordingly.
>>> Despite the fact that it’s sponsored by Gore-Tex, the Philadelphia Marathon, or CITY OF BROTHERLY RUN & SISTERLY ENDURANCE, is nothing to sneeze at. Especially while running. Keep that breath steady.