October 21, 2014

And Now, Your Complete @215Festival Schedule

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Later this week, The 215 Festival — Philadelphia’s literary arts festival, featuring readings and events with some of the city’s greatest writers (and some pretty good ones from more far-flung locales, too) — will ramp up, and we couldn’t be more excited. That’s for a few reasons. One is that the 215 Fest is one of our favorite times of the year. Another is that we’re proud and honored to welcome this year’s writers and authors — a lineup that is proof positive that Philly’s literary scene is fresh, robust and totally ready to party. But maybe most of all, we’re excited about where the 215 Fest is this year: South Street.

Allow us to explain: Since the 215 Festival was rebooted in 2013, it accidentally has also turned into a festival that celebrates neighborhoods. After all, this is Philadelphia, that great city of neighborhoods. And over the last few years, we’ve been lucky to throw events in East Passyunk, Fishtown, the Eraserhood and more. But when we considered what to do for this year’s Fest, time and again, South Street came up. Why? Well, for one, the South Street/Headhouse Square area features more independent bookstores than any other locale in the city: There’s Brickbat Books, Headhouse Books, Garland Of Letters, Mostly Books, Wooden Shoe and more. (Ever check out the Thrift For AIDS book section? It’s pretty great.) More than that, South Street plays host to a wide variety of reading series year-round at venues like Tattooed Mom and L’Etage. And beyond all of that, like any good Philadelphians, we all owe a debt of gratitude to South Street. And as the street is ever in the process of reinventing itself, imagine our surprise when, the more we looked at it, the more we realized that South Street isn’t just the home of cell phone stores and hookah shops anymore; it’s actually the city’s most organically-occurring literary destination. Looking at it that way, there was no other place that made any sense for the 215 Fest.

So starting this Thursday and running through Sunday, won’t you join us for any of these amazing, free readings and other events in the South Street area? As always, we promise your mind a great time. We can’t wait to see you.

OFFICIAL SCHEDULE FOR YOUR 2014 EDITION OF THE MIGHTY 215 FESTIVAL

Thursday, October 23
7PM: 215 Fest Kickoff Reading w/ Philly Poet Laureates at Headhouse Square
8PM: J. Robert Lennon/Wintfred Huskey/Erik Bader at Jim’s Steaks
9PM: Gigantic Sequins + Bedfellows 215 Fest Reading & Cocktails at Tattooed Mom

Friday, October 24
7PM: The Phila. Review of Books at Brickbat Books, featuring Lee Klein, Sugar Tongue Slim and many more
10PM: Literary Mixtape: 215 Fest Edition at Society Hill Society

Saturday, October 25
3PM: 215 FEST TYPE-IN @ Pumpkin Fall Fest! at Headhouse Square
4PM: Ixnay press presents: Sandra Simonds/Pattie McCarthy/Jenn McCreary at Headhouse Books
7PM: American Poetry Review presents: Dorothea Lasky & Thomas Devaney at Brickbat Books
8:30PM: (A Very Creepy) Writers Night In America: 215 Fest Edition at Tattooed Mom

Sunday, October 26
11AM: The Head & The Hand Press @ Headhouse Farmer’s Market
3PM: Sunday Afternooner: APIARY Magazine Staff Reading & Audience-Participation Junk/Treasure Auction at Tattoed Mom
10PM: Last Call w/ Tara Murtha/Elizabeth Scanlon/Joey Sweeney/Mark McCloughan at Society Hill Society

The 215 Fest is brought to you this year by DelanceyPlace.com and in partnership with the South Street Headhouse District and CultureTrust.

October 23, 2014

This Evening At The Philadelphia Film Festival: High School High

Key & Peele/alt-comedy fans, take note: The locally-produced Teacher of the Year features an ensemble cast that includes Keegan-Michael Key and Jason and Randy Sklar. Made in the mockumentary mode perfected by, say, Waiting for Guffman or Best In Show, this one won’t break any molds, but it does look like a great set-em-up-and-knock-em-down for a talented comedic cast.

10:25 PM at Ritz East. Tickets here.

This is more like it: Tu dors Nicole has “film festival” written all over it — it’s in black and white, in French, has a cool synth-y soundtrack and would seem to be about youthful disillusionment and boning dudes in bands. That is all the stuff I like in movies. And other than a plot that involves stealing stuff, these are the only things I like in movies. Does anybody steal anything in this movie? I mean, c’mon, it’s about a bunch of dirty French Canadians, they must steal something.

8:30 PM at PFS Roxy Theater; screens again at 12:00 PM, Sat, Oct 25, at Ritz East. Tickets here.

The Times They Are A-Changin’: WPHT Cannot Find An Asshole Big Enough To Fill Its Afternoons

The Daily News reports that Dick Morris, the conservative talk radio host for WPHT, is leaving his post to focus on campaigning for 2016 candidates for office, which, if you know anything about Morris’ politics or what the political landscape will likely look like come the 2016 election, could be a total disaster. While Dick might have a good shot at helping some huge assholes get elected, there’s no word as to who might be elected to replace him. Maybe there just isn’t any asshole bigger then Dick.



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This Evening At The 215 Festival: Kickoff, Steak and Cocktails!

Because you’re going to need a little help if you want to be informed enough to properly navigate this year’s packed 215 festival, here’s a brief who’s who to help you plan your evening tonight:

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Headhouse Square, 7 PM: Kickoff Reading With Philadelphia Poet Laureates:

>>> Frank Sherlock is the poet laureate of Philadelphia, the author of the acclaimed Space Between These Lines Not Dedicated and, with CAConrad, The City Real & Imagined, and also a dutiful and faithful employee of Dirty Frank’s, which, in our opinion, recommends both highly.

>>> Soledad Alfaro-Allah is Philadelphia’s youth poet laureate, a veteran of the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement Slam League, and a pretty solid tweeter. She hails from Mt. Airy.

Jim’s Steaks, 8PM: J. Robert Lennon, Wintfred Huskey, and Erik Bader:

>>> J. Robert Lennon is the author, most recently, of Familiar, his seventh novel, and his new collection See You In Paradise is forthcoming next month.

>>> Wintfred Huskey’s novel Blowin’ It was just released by The Head and The Hand Press last month. Read the exclusive excerpt we ran when it dropped here.

>>> Erik Bader, once upon a time, was a frequent Philebrity contributor. His works include The Pilot and the Panda, The Daily Miltonian: Volume One, and The New American Novel.

Tattooed Mom, 9 PM: Gigantic Sequins and Bedfellows 215 Reading and Cocktails:

>>> Gigantic Sequins is Philadelphia’s biannual black-and-white print literary journal. They publish poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and more often than not cool black-and-white comics and illustrations.

>>> Bedfellows Magazine is Philadelphia’s literary theme magazine devoted to stories of desire and intimacy, with a focus on challenging conventional wisdom about sex writing.

Right Now In The People’s Republic Of Comcast: The Holidays Are Here!

It’s weird to think about it, but even totalitarian regimes celebrate holidays. Hence this year’s Comcast Holiday Spectacular, a hellish cacophony of carols and strings that will be ruining the season for everyone who works anywhere near the Comcast Center from Thanksgiving through New Year’s. You can click through the link above and check out their site for more information (if you need to better prepare yourself or something), but we’re just going to close this post with the image that came with the press release we received, which is, actually, just a picture of a snowman:

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The Way We Live Now: $2.00 Cigarette Tax Inspires Attractive Street Art


Some decent #streetart in #brewerytownbeats – nice

A photo posted by Peter Ochester (@brewerytownbeats) on

The little pen and pencil crest makes it all feel kind of honorable, no?

In A Sick, Sad World, It’s Nice To Know The Musicians Section Of Philly Craigslist Is Rife With Lovable Goofballs

Really. When’s the last time you headed over there? Been a while? It has been for us, too. Meanwhile, everybody, MEET DALE:

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“If you don’t like double bass drum patterns on the choruses of your songs, get the hell out of my face. If you have a problem with a quad china crash set up I’ll help you get over it by handing you a beat-down.” It’s hard not to look at this as some kind of deep, metaphorical life advice. A design for living, if you will. And though, yes, there is at least some likelihood that Dale is not real, we’re pretty sure this ad for an “early” R.E.M. cover band is. As of this writing, we’re this close to responding to both in earnest.

SPOKE Magazine Is The New Source Of In-Depth Journalism For Cyclists


Making a magazine, making a video! We're with #malixmedia

A photo posted by Spoke Magazine (@spoke_mag) on

Founded by a crew of established and up-and-coming Philadelphia journalists and cyclists, SPOKE magazine will be a new free quarterly magazine for this city’s bicycling community. However, it’s not a lite lifestyle and recreation publication; the SPOKE team are committed to substantive writing on topics like bike law, cycling education and infrastructure spending. The SPOKE website will go live in the coming weeks, and the IndieGogo campaign that will cover the project’s additional funding needs will launch on Nov. 6th. Check back for more complete coverage when SPOKE is up and running.

Dice Raw’s LP Jimmy’s Back Will Come Back Tomorrow At The Freedom Theatre As The Last Jimmy

Tomorrow night at 8 PM at the Freedom Theatre, The Last Jimmy, the theatrical adaptation of Dice Raw’s LP Jimmy’s Back, will premiere with Dice in a starring role. Jimmy’s Back is Dice Raw’s concept album that dropped last year. Inspired in part by Michele Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, and also by Dice’s relationship with and sorrow over the murder of Jimmy Davis, his childhood friend and fellow Philly rapper, Jimmy’s Back explored Dice’s investigation of and his feelings about mass incarceration and prison reform. The Last Jimmy, for which you can watch a promotional video above, an adaptation for the stage by writer Philip S. Brown, will expand on these ideas in the interest of raising awareness and inspiring others to respond.

Noontime Nuggetz: Cold Fronts, “Hit Me”

Lyrics videos are usually pretty tiresome, but luckily this one for a burner from Philly power-pop superheroes Cold Fronts makes up for it with singing leads and weird glitchy germs. Cold Fronts play Philly next on November 9th at the Barbary with Empires.

New Exhibit At Practice Gallery Explores History Of Pennsylvania Dutch Magic

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Artist Nick Lenker has a new exhibit up at Practice Gallery that combines performance, ceramics and mixed media to build a narrative study of his personal relationship to Pennsylvania Dutch mysticism. The exhibit, a video installation titled “Long Hidden Friend,” after an 1820 treatise on natural medicines called “A Long Lost Friend,” incorporates plates adorned with “hex signs” and other mystical Pennsylvania Dutch iconography, a performance detailing an ancient rite, and sculptures rigged to cast spells in real time. Alchemical practices and occult iconography have inspired some of the world’s worst art, but based on the images from this exhibit, and the writing about it, “A Long Lost Friend” is not a representative example. If it’s true that “With only the subject’s appearance as the forgotten redneck member of Daft Punk offering any overt humor, the process we witness is otherwise quite somber,” then it sounds pretty cool to us.

Mo’Ne Davis Is Now The Star Of A Spike Lee Joint!

This documentary was condensed into a minute-long Chevy ad, but luckily, the whole thing is available here. ESPN reports that being paid to appear in the ad will not affect Mo’Ne’s NCAA eligibility, should she choose to pursue a career in college sports. So this thing is pretty much a win-win for everyone.

October 22, 2014

This Evening At The Philadelphia Film Festival: Double Feature, Anyone?

A good night for it, no? Meanwhile, consider this — just how mind-blowing/inspiring is it that Jean-Luc Godard is still making movies? And, furthermore, that they retain their topical/heady/wild sensibility, even when so many of his contemporaries died or checked out? To think of it, frankly, makes me feel something you hardly ever feel when thinking about film these days — majesty, honor, tradition. That said, will his new one, Goodbye to Language 3D, be any good? It doesn’t matter — it’s enough that it exists — but it might be good anyway. It’s a romance set against the craze of modern life as well as a critique of “how we absorb information through a barrage of ideas and images flickering on screens of all sizes.”

Screens at 6:45 PM (and again at 1:15 PM on Sat, Oct 25) at Prince Music Theater, with Matthu Placek’s A Portrait of Marina Abramović Tickets here.

Ray Liotta stars in this Martin Scorsese-produced gangster drama about Asian-American gangs of New York in the 1980s and ‘90s. Right?

Screens at 10:10 PM at Ritz East. Tickets here.

The Way We Live Now: The Philadelphia Beard and Mustache Club

Meetings every third Sunday of the month at Tattooed Mom, The Philadelphia Beard and Mustache Club is pretty much what it sounds like — only maybe better, maybe less… what’s that show we don’t watch on basic cable? Anyway, like that, minus the corny bits — which leaves behind only what there should be, only what there was in the beginning: Men and their beards. In fact, said corn had a lot to do with their inception. After its founders “attended a poorly executed beard and mustache competition in West Philadelphia” — let us pause to appreciate the screenplay-inspiring potential of that phrase — “they wanted to create a club that would represent Philadelphia as a force to be reckoned with in the world of competitive bearding as well as a means to create a community of both beardo’s and beard lovers to socialize and above all else have fun!”

OK, so maybe it’s a little bit corny. But so is believing in God, or binge-watching Gilmore Girls, right? In the meantime, The Philadelphia Beard and Mustache Club has done actual good, raising money for PAWS, helped drive membership for the Young Friends of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and lots of other stuff. Not least among those goods: Friendship, and grooming! Click on the image above to follow these lovable men on Facebook/find your husband since you can’t show your face at the farmer’s market anymore, having already exhausted that supply of beardos.

Beer Runners Official Trailer Inspires All To Persevere As Runners, Drinkers, Crowdfunders

Beer Runners (Official Trailer) from Wirtalla Visual on Vimeo.

When we first caught word of the Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund Beer Runners, the documentary that follows the Fishtown Beer Runners to Spain to discover the origin of the storied magic of beer running, a fire was kindled and a passion born in us. Now that passion and filmmaker Jason Wirtalla‘s passion are both coming to fruition. Indeed, with the power to persevere in the will to survive and thrive, we are capable of anything, even such as this.

Corbett’s Maniacal Bill-Signing Flameout Also Includes Horrendous Gun Bill

A bill was approved in Harrisburg on Monday that will allow gun rights organizations to sue Philadelphia and other municipalities for maintaining gun laws more restrictive than state law. Furthermore, if the lawsuit is successful, the municipality is required to reimburse the prosecuting group’s legal fees. This is kind of like the clause in your lease that requires you to pay your landlord’s legal fees if they ever have to take you to court for burning down the house or something. Except it’s not an archaic formality that you don’t have to worry about. And it’s not confined to a private dispute between you and your landlord. And it would give idiots more opportunities to do stupid shit with guns. As Mayor Nutter points out, “Parents, family members, and community leaders are naturally compelled by concern for their loved ones to do everything in their power to combat the shootings that destroy lives. It is squarely at some of these responses by the community that H.B. 80 is now aimed.” Even if you want to quibble with Nutter’s argument, you can’t quibble with his word choice.

Since Governor Corbett, who has indicated his intention to sign the bill, knows by now that his only hope of winning the election is to somehow ensure that %90 of the state comes down with food poisoning on election day, he’s doing everything he can to fast-track his most diabolical legislative pet projects. All the more reason to watch what you eat so that you’re sure to make it out to vote on the 4th. We’d rather him burn out than fade away.

Voter Turnout Will Play A Big Role In Deciding Upcoming Governor’s Race

Dave Davies over at NewsWorks made a very good point yesterday when he brought up the importance of voter turnout to the upcoming gubernatorial election, that point essentially being that turnout is basically the only factor of any importance to this year’s election. Campaign activity on incumbent Tom Corbett‘s side and on challenger Tom Wolf‘s has been jumping the groove and repeating the hook for some weeks now, Corbett’s CSI-style ads incessantly citing Wolf’s likelihood to raise taxes and Wolf’s celebrity stump tour urging democrats to get out the vote as if it’s the only thing that will save us. That’s the thing, though: although Corbett’s approval rating is setting record lows, now is not the time for wishy-washy stay-at-home Democrats. It doesn’t matter how many of us are ready to see Corbett lose if we’re all sitting back watching and waiting for it to happen when the time comes.

Right Now In The People’s Republic Of Comcast: Vonage Overlord Dares To Call Your Fears “Bullshit”

USSRCASTJeff Pulver, cofounder of Vonage, was in Philadelphia meeting with Comcast this week, and managed to find the time to sit down with Technically Philly and tell us all that our fears of internet fastlanes and slowlanes, via which powerful providers would be able to allow faster access to higher-paying websites, and compromised net neutrality are “bullshit.” He claims he’s never encountered slowlanes in his career in the tech industry, and that reclassifying broadband providers under Title II as telecommunications services would regulate tech companies so strictly that consumers would lose many free services and find the benefits of their paid service impeded. Pulver’s arguments against a regulated internet sound a lot like a libertarian’s against a regulated economy, but if you want to hear his extended testimony to Bloomberg WEST, and get a good look at what the lovechild of Lou Reed and Jeff Goldblum would have looked like, you can watch the video below:

The Philadelphia “Stairway To Heaven” Plagiarism Suit Isn’t Going Anywhere

…in more than one sense. First of all, as was suspected, Spirit, who claim that “Stairway to Heaven” cops its opening leads from their song “Taurus”, have little ground to stand on, given that the progression that opens “Stairway” is basically a staple of the Western Classical tradition. Also, while Led Zeppelin initially claimed that Philadelphia was not an appropriate venue for the lawsuit because the city has no jurisdiction over them, given that they haven’t played here in about thirty years, they haven’t had any luck trying to move the lawsuit to California. Our thoughts? If Spirit’s going to sue Zep over “Stairway”, it should be on the grounds that it’s a shitty song, compared to Spirit’s superior “Taurus”, and to pretty much any other Led Zeppelin song.

RIP Philadelphia Skateboarding Legend Matt Reason

We’re grateful to Transworld Skateboarding, forever and always for an adolescence full of cool pictures and funny stories, but also today especially, for a warm remembrance of Matt Reason, who in the 90s skated the streets of Philly expertly for Adrenalin Skateboards, Thunder Trucks, Vans, and Sub Zero. Matt has passed away, his cause of death still undisclosed, but a sizable rumble throughout the skateboarding community proves that he will be sorely missed.

Call To Action Against The Bill To Silence Prisoners At Noon Today

The Revictimization Relief Act, the bill signed by Governor Tom Corbett yesterday that potentially limits the ability of any incarcerated person to speak publicly, has rightfully inspired protest. Freemumia.org has collected as much of the useful and necessary coverage and commentary on the passage of the Revictimization Relief Act as is available, including Prison Radio’s coverage of the Goddard address and of Mumia’s response to the act, the very important Democracy Now segment on the story, and the ACLU response we wrote about last week. Also included in the coverage on the site is this Call To Action inviting people and press to attend demonstrations that begin in Philadelphia today at noon. The Call To Action cites, as does Mumia in his public responses to the passage of the bill that will deny him the right to publicly respond to the passage of a bill, that the bill’s stipulations stand in violation of the Pennsylvania and United States Constitutions, and that it represents a wrongful abuse of state power in the effort to limit communication between those within and without the prison system that is crucial for both. It doesn’t matter whether you believe Mumia Abu-Jamal is rightfully incarcerated or not. It doesn’t matter whether you believe the passage of this bill is a political ploy or not. This story may have been brought about by the actions of one prisoner and one governor, but its implications extend nationwide, beyond political office, beyond the prison system. It’s, really, about justice for all.