January 28, 2015

This Moment In #PHL2015: Ori Feibush Debateapalooza

phl2015You know that episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine where Jake is trying to get some writing done but he finds his energy is constantly being sapped by a weird alien muse/vampire? Of course you don’t, but nevertheless that is exactly how we feel right this very minute. Coming just a few days after word broke that Ori Feibush cybersquatted all of Kenyatta Johnson‘s websites is Feibush’s latest salvo against his opponent for the 2nd District seat, and it’s gonna result in…well a lot of debates and perhaps some moderate hrummphing. From Ori’s press office (our bolds):

Ori Feibush, running for Philadelphia’s 2nd Council District nomination in the Democratic primary has today committed to ten debates to be conducted throughout the district. The only question is whether or not Councilman Johnson will agree and stick to his word.

“Repeatedly Councilman Johnson’s campaign has stated that they are looking forward to talking about the issues with me. Well now it’s time for the Councilman to put those words into action,” said Ori Feibush. “Between now and Election Day, I will participate in ten debates to ensure we give residents of the 2nd District every opportunity to hear straight from me about how they can participate and help craft a plan to fix Philadelphia for the better through improved education, raising the minimum wage and job creation, and making our communities safer and cleaner.

“I have a proven track record and vision when it comes to the issues facing the 2nd District and I encourage Councilman Johnson to keep his word by showing up to these debates so we can discuss his,” Feibush concluded.

Point to ponder: Back in the olden days of Philly politics when life was simpler, or, at the very least the dirty shit going on was more robust, it seems that unsympathetic characters like a developer seeking to push his projects through and an old democratic machine cog would team up, with the latter using the tried and true practice of Councilmanic Prerogative to grease the former’s wheel. Together, they would both square off against a fresh progressive upstart whose idealism and good ideas would be squashed like a flattened Dunkin Donuts Munchkin on a Septa bus floor. Although such a candidate would almost surely lose, at least he or she tried and didn’t make us feel dirty about voting, right? So the question at hand is can we blame our current situation on the changing nature of politics in Philadelphia and how, even when we try a new way, we can’t get it right?

There’s a city in our minds, come along and take a ride and it’s all right. Baby, it’s alright.

This Just In: Zoning Meeting To #SAVELITTLEPETES On Thursday Evening!

Friends, Philadelphians, countrymen: The cheese fries are our birthright. The scrapple is our birthright. Sharing counter space with the strange ’80s wraith of Rittenhouse, too, is our birthright. And so, Thursday at 7pm, if you believe in anything at all, join your fellows and #SAVELITTLEPETES!

Attn. Philly Union Goons: Y’know What Would Go Great With The Inflatable Rat? AN INFLATABLE FINNEGAN’S WAKE!

As regular readers know, we are borderline obsessed with the inflatable union rat. (Confession: We once called our attorney to ask, point blank, what would happen if we stabbed the rat. He did not recommend finding out.) But as the years have worn on, we have developed a kind of sympathy for the rat. He is so far from home. He is frequently accompanied by the amplified sounds of a baby crying, which scientists have shown to psychosis-inducing. And God only knows where and how they keep him at night.

So when we came across the above — a party rental service that rents out “inflatable pubs” — we thought, gosh, what a treat this would be! Not just for the rat (whom we’re sure could use a drink or five) but also for the goons; after all, Finnegan’s Wake is no longer with us, and um, check the “decor”: This place is basically an Inflatable Finnegan’s Wake. One problem, sort of: You’ll have to go to Belfast, which I’m sure you salty micks will just haaaaaaaate, right? Hey goons, don’t say we never showed you anything nice.


Bustin’ Makes You Feel Good, Costs $6500


While the Internet continues to explode with concrete details about Paul Feig‘s all-female Ghostbusters reboot, there’s a easy way that aspiring Egons in our area can show their fandom for the beloved comedy franchise. One that costs, yipes, $6500. We turn your attention to this Craigslist posting (from South Jersey, naturally) in which someone is selling their 1971 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Ambulance that has been modified into an Ecto-1 just like the one seen in the two Ghostbusters flicks. Like all Monkey’s Paw-esque wish fulfillment there’s a catch, the buyer doesn’t really want to sell but he doesn’t have a place to store the car so he is trying the online marketplace waters. So if you have the disposable income and no hesitation about constantly being harassed by strangers wanting to take a picture of your shamefully nerdy wheels, it might just be your lucky day…in the most meaningless way possible.

Is Grace From Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Feeding Jim Kenney His #PHL2015 Talking Points?

We’ll have more on Jim Kenney, who’s resigning from City Council and officially getting into the Mayor’s race tomorrow, but in the meantime, there’s this: Last night, the video above surfaced of Kenney talking with reporters about “the grungers, the hipsters, the guys on the bikes,” and, well, it had the ring of familiarity to it. After thinking hard for a minute about Who the hell talks like this?, it came to us in flash: Principal Rooney’s assistant, Grace. That’s who talks like this.

So, yeah. Jim Kenney 2015: The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads, they all adore him. They think he’s a righteous dude.


Here’s The Debut Single From The Dr. Dog Side Project, Lithuania

Lithuania is the new side project from Dr. Dog drummer Eric Slick and DRGN KING songwriter Dominic Angelella. Via Spin magazine comes the group’s debut single “Pieces,” a frenetic jam throwback that convinces us that the spirit of the 90s is alive everywhere. Give it a listen, it will hit your nostalgic sweet spot for sure. Wonder if Matt Pinfield knows about this?

The American Bible Society Moves To Philly, Creating 200 New Jobs

Even though our feelings on religion are pretty complicated at this point, we were able to put our ambivalence aside long enough to be pleased to learn that The American Bible Society will be transplanting their headquarters from New York City to our burg after 200 years in existence. Why? Because the move will open up 200 jobs for Philly residents. The news broke this morning at a press conference held by Mayor Nutter. Here’s the dish on the new digs via the Mayor’s Office of Communication press release:

The new American Bible Society headquarters will be at 401 Market Street, encompassing nearly 100,000 square feet on the 8th and 9th floors of the building. In addition, American Bible Society has proposed a Bible Discovery Center on the first floor, as well as a conference center, Rare Scriptures Depository and scholarly working library on the concourse level of the building. The new Bible Discovery Center, which could open in 2016, will provide quick access to 5th Street, the center point of Independence Mall, and will add a new dimension to the historic area, sharing American Bible Society’s uniquely American story.

CEO Roy Peterson said the city was selected based on a number of factors, including strategic collaboration opportunities, affordability and livability. Coincidentally, one of the ministry’s founders and its first president, Elias Boudinot, was a native of Philadelphia. The ministry anticipates opening the doors of its new offices this summer.

As for the new positions this move will result in, Philly.com has the following:

Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger said the society’s headquarters will be yet another historic presence in the Independence Mall area.

“They are bringing 200 jobs with them,” Greenberger said. “Wage tax is our No. 1 revenue generator in the city, so on a very basic level, nonprofits and for-profits are all the same.”

Indeed. We can’t really argue with that. The only question remaining is how long until a savvy member of the American Bible Society’s social media team approaches Philly Jesus to do some outreach for them. He seems like a natural, no?

The Only Thing We’ll Give Bradley Cooper A Pass For Is This Wet Hot American Summer Prequel Teaser

Way back in 2001, a bunch of the geniuses from The State teamed up with some comedy veterans and rising talents to bring us Wet Hot American Summer, a motion picture lifemate that we can never, ever get enough of. Mixed in amongst all the Paul Rudds and Amy Poehlers was a fresh-faced actor with local ties named Bradley Cooper. While it’s true we cover the Coop beat fairly often, rarely does doing so make us feel joy inside. Yet today is different, because we have the first official teaser for Netflix‘s limited-run prequel series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. It’s nothing more than a cast list soundtracked by Craig Wedren‘s immortal, anthemic “Higher and Higher,” but this brief return to Camp Firewood is enough to induce a comedy freakout of anticipation. The eight-episode season debuts later this summer. The takeaway? There are warmer days ahead my friends, warmer days indeed.

Dept. Of Unsurprising Narcissism: Selfies Started Here


Ahh selfies. There really isn’t much that needs to be said about them at this point as there are far more pressing matters in the world to get riled up about, and we will admit to having been guilty of the phenomenon ourselves at one point or another. We’re only human, of flesh and blood we’re made. In fact, the only reason we are mentioning them at all is because we’ve just learned that the selfie phenomenon started here some 176 years ago. Sounds about right. From The Public Domain Review:

In fact, the picture considered by many to be the first photographic portrait ever taken was a “selfie”. The image in question was taken in 1839 by an amateur chemist and photography enthusiast from Philadelphia named Robert Cornelius. Cornelius had set his camera up at the back of the family store in Philadelphia. He took the image by removing the lens cap and then running into frame where he sat for a minute before covering up the lens again. On the back he wrote “The first light Picture ever taken. 1839.”

Let’s be totally clear about this, Robert Cornelius was taking a, ugh, selfie because he was a pioneer of photography who was interested in documenting history through capturing images on film as opposed to, say, killing time outside of Morimoto‘s waiting for Jen to arrive. Jen is the worst.

Noontime Nuggetz: That Jimmie’s Auto Parts Earworm From When You Were Eight

Sure, it’s no Doors Unlimited or Ideal jingle–but really, what could be?–yet the Jimmie’s Auto Parts popped into our minds this morning and staunchly refuses to leave. (Between this ad’s sinister singing cars and that dickish Mr. Owl from the Tootsie Pop commercial, it’s amazing we aren’t completely terrified by animation to this day). And yes, we still want to see a comic where Jimmie and Big Marty team up to fight crime. Philly Cartoonist’s Society, please make this happen.

Mural Arts Program Announces Artists For Their Open Source Exhibition

We like this a lot. In October, Mural Arts Program will launch their Open Source: Engaging Audiences in Public Space program. A series of site-specific installations that will be set up throughout the city, Open Source is described by Mural Arts Program as follows:

This groundbreaking exhibition constitutes Philadelphia’s biggest site-specific art exhibition to date and offers a bold redefinition of artistic practice. The culminating citywide festival, scheduled for October 2015, will feature large-scale, temporary public artworks created by leading contemporary artists, all of whom have been invited to intersect with Mural Arts’ commitment to art and social practice. The 14 artists’ practices vary widely, from sculpture to community muralism to street art. The roster includes JR, Shepard Fairey, Odili Donald Odita, Sterling Ruby, SWOON, Michelle Angela Ortiz, and others, including five Philadelphia-area artists.

Open Source offers several new and exciting opportunities: for artists to engage with new audiences, communities, and approaches to their work; for Mural Arts to collaborate with an expanded repertoire of artists; and for the public to join the resulting dialogue about public art, social change, and public space.

The other artists selected to be involved are Philly’s Jennie Shanker, Ernel Martinez and Keir Johnston of local collective AMBER Art & Design, and the Dufala Brothers, as well as Sam Durant, Shinique Smith, Heeseop Yoon, Jonathan Monk, and MOMO. (As usual, Mural Arts Program has enlisted A-list talent).

There’s a few reasons to be excited about this, first and foremost is the promised transformation of otherwise drab public spaces into pop-up art hubs, which are always, at the very least, fascinating to view. (It’s a place you know! Now with art!) Secondly, since the artists mentioned above work in a diverse variety of approaches, the Open Source exhibitions will almost certainly lack the sameness that too often mar these sorts of creative endeavors. Art with a purpose is Mural Arts’ M.O., yet beyond their usual outreach work there’s something specific about this idea of taking existing spaces and creatively revitalizing them for this festival that is stirring something inside of us. Open Source sounds like it has the potential to be a carnival funhouse/Bizarro World version of the work the Hidden City folks are doing, and that is a prospect we find compelling. Expect more on this as the exhibition approaches.

January 27, 2015

Readers Write: The Only Acceptable Way To Eat A Cheesesteak


We are beyond glad that is settled. Via Philly’s own Sissy Biscuit.

And Now, Today’s GOOD NEWS: Low-Power, Community-Driven Radio Stations Come To Philly

Over at Newsworks is a report about three “low-power” radio stations that will be bringing community programming, music and activism to the local airwaves later this year thanks to an FCC policy change that now opens the door for easily accessible community radio:

Under legislation passed in 2000, low-power stations were defined — and continue to be — as noncommercial, independent stations powered by less than 100 watts, enough to broadcast throughout a roughly 3.5-mile area.

Stations, however, also had to be at least three “clicks” away from full-power stations to avoid overlapping and interference. Now, following new regulatory protections, the gap is down to two.

While seemingly insignificant, that one-click reduction meant everything to advocates of the legislation as it opened up for the first time the possibility of having more LPFM stations in urban areas with jam-packed spectrums.

Beyond all the inside baseball logistics here is the simple fact that new (and existing stations like Germantown’s GTown Radio) neighborhood-centric stations will bring their message to residents within earshot. There’s a lot of room for creativity here. We are excited about the possibilities, and not just because of the potential for education and outreach such stations enable. We’d love it if these gave a voice to those on the fringes of society as well. Has anyone contacted Philly Jesus or the Toynbee Tiler about hosting shows yet? Get on it.

So there you have it: The world is not totally made of shit. Have you got some good news? If so, send it to tips[at]philebrity[dot]com with “GOOD MOTHERFUCKING NEWS!” in the subject header — we’d love to hear about it.

Dept. Of Meaningless Lists: Philly Is The 9th Kinkiest City In The U.S.

Philly, you know you are the sexiest town around. Whenever we think of you we can’t help but get caught up in Barry and Levon-esque lusty hysterics. So we are always interested in hearing about how you like to get it on, but it seems that others are thinking about it too. Which brings us to today’s arbitrary listicle, one that comes to us from (ugh) 50 Skills of Grey. The site has recently released their 2015 Kink State of the Union top ten list and Philly has taken the 9th spot. Why?:

Until we saw the numbers, we never would have guessed that the City of Brotherly Love might also be the City of Poly Gimp Throuples. But you can’t argue with data (or dommes). Philadelphia only broke the top five in one metric (for total kink-identified population — 27,411), but it placed in the top ten in nearly every kinky category we measured. The Philly scene maybe more undercover than in neighboring centers like New York and Atlantic City, but that just means that they get creative. After all, who but Philadelphians would throw a BDSM-party in an abandoned church!

Well alright! If you ask us, this list missed a gimmie by not mentioning, you know, the Kink Shoppe. Still, it’s nice to know that you all are spicing up your sexytime more so than the folks in say, Broomall or Cherry Hill. Wonder if the tourism board will mention our abundance of Poly Gimp Throuples in their next video?

Breaking: Jim Kenney To Resign On Thursday, Run For Mayor?

Well ain’t that some shit? We’ve just gotten word that Jim Kenney will announce his retirement from City Council on Thursday and deliver and farewell address:

After twenty-three years of service to the people of Philadelphia, Councilman Jim Kenney will attend his final session of City Council on Thursday and formally submit his resignation. During his tenure in city government, Kenney championed progressive causes and stood up for working families. He fought to protect the bargaining rights of police and firefighters, passed groundbreaking legislation that guaranteed broad protections for LGBTQ citizens, advocated for Philadelphia as a top destination for new immigrants to help stop our city’s population loss, and never backed down from confronting Philadelphia’s most pressing challenges.

Although nothing has been formally announced as of yet, the clear reasoning behind this move is to allow Kenney to put aside his Council duties and focus on a mayoral run. (A plan that, as Philly.com mentioned on Friday, really began to gel after Ken Trujillo withdrew his candidacy last week). Obviously, we will have much more on Kenney and #PHL2015 in the long days and weeks ahead.

Update: Newsworks has an unmissable look at what a Kenney mayoral run might mean here.

Right Now In The People’s Republic Of Comcast: Comcast Ghostwrites Letters Supporting Their Merger With Time Warner Cable


While we have all been busy going on with our day-to-day lives, Comcast has been continuing to archly twirl their mustache while planning a merger with Time Warner Cable. We’ve already told you about how this proposed deal might be illegal in some states, yet it continues onwards with the tenacity of a hunger strike amidst fears that such a merger would cause a monopoly.

Unsurprisingly, there’s much more to this story than business as usual. According to The Verge, Comcast has been ghostwriting letters supposedly written by politicians who support the merger, getting the signatures of the politicos, and submitting them to the FCC. It’s a disquieting article (and tremendous piece of reporting by journalist Spencer Woodman) that reinforces our beliefs that the entire world turned into the movie Brazil years ago:

More prominent officials with histories of receiving campaign money from Comcast — like Oregon’s Democratic Secretary of State Kate Brown — also recently sent personal letters to the FCC supporting the merger.

Records obtained by The Verge show that Secretary of State Brown’s letter to the agency was almost wholly written by a Comcast Government Affairs specialist. After a conversation with Brown’s staff, the Comcast official sent Brown a letter he had prewritten for her that even included her typed sign-off, name, and title. Brown’s office sent the Comcast document — containing just three sentences with new or altered language — to the FCC emblazoned with the official seal of the State of Oregon.

Since 2008, Comcast has contributed nearly $10,000 to Brown’s two campaigns for secretary of state. Neither Comcast nor the state of Oregon made any attempt tell the public of the corporation’s role in authoring Brown’s letter. Brown’s communications director told The Verge that Brown was too busy to be interviewed. (Neither Wood nor Todd Wodraska, the councilman from Jupiter, Florida, accepted requests to speak to The Verge about the letters they sent the FCC. Rosemary Harold did not respond to multiple interview requests.)

Definitely take some time to go through the headache-inducing realities of the Verge piece, which shed light on what Woodman calls “the cozy relationship between lobbyists, officials, and the FCC,” as it provides a sort of Right Now In The People’s Republic Of Comcast refresher course as to why this stuff makes us feel so gross to begin with. For those playing at home, it’s worth mentioning that Tom Corbett did submit a letter supporting the merger to the FCC, one that bears a “striking resemblance” to the ghostwritten letters. (Although there’s no proof Corbett didn’t write the letter he submitted either).

As for Comcast, their line on the merger is how it could make service better for all of us:

Comcast argues that the merger will provide a greater economy of scale for it to reduce its costs and intensify its infrastructure investments in things like faster connections. One letter, signed by more than 50 mayors and largely orchestrated by Michael Nutter, the mayor of Comcast’s hometown of Philadelphia, argues the merger poses no threat to telecom competition because Comcast and Time Warner do not already compete in US cable markets. The letter also contends that the merger will in fact improve the telecom market by creating “a larger competitor in the marketplace that should bring new choices to our citizens.”

Sigh. We need some time to sift through our complicated feelings on all of this, so if the next couple of posts are late it’s just because we are watching Broadchurch on Netflix and feeling sullen.

Previously: Right Now In The People’s Republic Of Comcast: Today Time Warner, Tomorrow The World

Lyft To Begin Philly Service This Friday


We told you last week that Lyft, the ridesharing service with the front-mounted pink mustaches that totally remind us of Johnny Depp‘s face in Mortdecai, would be coming to Philly soon. Now we have some concrete details for you via a Lyft press release:

Lyft, the ridesharing app that connects people with rides to people who need one, will be launching in Philadelphia this Friday 1/30 at 6 PM EST.

We’re thrilled to bring Lyft Love to the City of Brotherly Love. Using Lyft, passengers enjoy rides with background-checked drivers from their own community – like Dave, a local gastropub owner and Renee, a grad student at the University of Pennsylvania.

Lyft’s mission is to reconnect people and communities, by making everyday rides welcoming, affordable and memorable. The Lyft experience has been growing all across the US, and cities like SF and LA are seeing very real benefits to the local economy as more people use the service.

We don’t know who the aforementioned Renee is, but Dave is good people, he is just Lyfting on the weekends to help pay for the Internet Jukebox he just had installed in his mysterious, unnamed gastropub. (Unless the pair are just marketing creations and not actually real people, speaking of which, is anyone else obsessed with On The Media‘s report about the Samantha West robocalls? That’s a rabbit hole well worth going down). Anyway, back to Lyft, it’s coming Friday evening to bring yet another transportation option to the streets of Philadelphia! So if your cabbie seems a bit more surly or your UberX is cheaper this weekend, now you know why. Ahh competition…

The Week Ahead In Comedy: Mellow Bravado


“Quick, Chanel, say something crazy back.” Onstage, comedian Chanel Ali (pictured above) describes her first thought when confronted by a strange man in front of her apartment building. That challenge, to out-crazy, is put to the test in Chanel’s standup, as she reacts to over-sharing fruit vendors, defensive Tyler Perry fans, Caesar Milan, and young family members who are convinced she’s famous (“Enough, Chanel. When do we get to meet Drake?”), and she consistently meets that challenge with a mellow bravado all her own. Ali is picking up and moving herself and her crazy instincts from Philly to New York City in mere days, but first she’s performing at the debut of “Comedy Underdogs” Thursday at L’etage. Chanel will be joined by the talents of Charlie McKnight, CD Schultz, Okello Dunkley, and Ryan Shaner. Doug Layne and Jared Ellman host. Catch all those rising stars at 8pm. $5.

Later that night: Deep Cuts are coming to destroy your city! Join pop culture savants Matt Jay and Chris McGrail, and a panel of guests, as they smash their way through sixty years of Godzilla with clips, games and prizes. 10:30pm at the PHIT. Tickets available online.

Sunday, see some winners! The hosts of Honorable Mention at Fergie’s Pub just took home their first Philly Comedy Award, for Best Independent Open Mic. See what the best looks and sounds like, and it will be a story you can tell your grandkids. 8:30. Upstairs at Fergie’s Pub. No Cover.

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

And Now, The Final Word On #PHLsnowgasm2015

FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

As you doubtlessly are aware, #PHLsnowgasm2015 is an absolute bust. So while you deal with the fact that you are somehow still drunk/unbelievably hungover (ideally both) at work on a day when you thought Philly would’ve been, nay, should’ve been transformed into Hoth, take small comfort in the fact that at least you didn’t have to be on air at 3am like our pals at Good Day Philadelphia and report on the soul-sapping nothingness that was this storm’s impact on the area. It’s true friends, that while this storm was a mere blink of the eye in the life of Philly’s incestuous weather-based panic newscycle, it’s still only January…which means we’ve got many more #PHLsnowgasms to get through until we see the face of our old friend Spring, looking at us with those familiar knowing eyes like a old lover. Until then, be brave and no savesies!

January 26, 2015

This Just In: City Releases Full #PHLsnowgasm2015 List Of Dumb Stuff You Gotta Do

This just in over the transom from your friends at the City Hall Parking Lot:

Monday, January 26, 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Philadelphia, January 26, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that a snow emergency will be declared for the City of Philadelphia beginning at 6:00 p.m. today. Mayor Nutter also announced that the City of Philadelphia dismissed all non-essential snow-fighting employees at 2:00 p.m. today. A decision regarding the closure of offices tomorrow, Tuesday, January 27th, is expected later today.

For citizens, a snow emergency means all parked cars must be moved off snow emergency routes for plowing. When relocating your car, park as far from the corner of the street as possible; vehicles parked too close to the corner impede the turning radius of plowing equipment. Snow emergency information and a map of snow emergency routes can be found at http://www.philadelphiastreets.com/highways/snow/emergency-routes/. Cars left on snow emergency routes will be relocated to accommodate plowing operations. If your car is relocated, call 215-686-SNOW to find it.

After the jump, a veritable cornucopia of details relevant to you, your sidewalk, your car, your old people, your pets, and of course, your #PHLsnowgasm2015. (more…)