July 31, 2015

This Weekend: Taking You Higher And Higher

FRIDAY:

>>> While he will probably never live down the strange genius of “Mexican Radio” in the eyes of the general public, Stan Ridgway has continued to explore various musical possibilities in his post-Wall of Voodoo life. It’s been since 2012’s Mr. Trouble that we’ve heard new material from Ridgway, so we don’t know what exactly he’ll be playing tonight. But mystery has always been part of his enduring appeal, so well played Stan.

>>> When was the last time you even heard “Sundown?” That song is the best. There are few troubadours who stir as much inside of us as Gordon Lightfoot does, so catch him at the Keswick Theater tonight.

>>> Attention Bob’s Burgers fans: The third and final performance of Hamburger Dinner Theater is tonight at Tattooed Mom. Maybe if you ask nicely, Creatures of the Night will sing “Liftin’ Up the Shirt of the Night,” which is still the best song from that show.

>>> When we were in 7th grade, why we just thought Weird Al Yankovic was the cat’s meow. And not just stuff like “Eat It” either. We’re talking the Al deep cuts like “Melanie” or “Nature Trail to Hell.” But then saw the video for “Don’t Let’s Start” by They Might Be Giants on an episode of Al TV and we realized that rock can be funny and weird without the songs in question getting tagged as being from a parody artist, and so we left the man and his polka medley schtick behind. So you can imagine our surprise this week when we learned we have several different friends — all of whom are past their third decade and from varied circles and we respect a lot — genuinely excited about Al’s show at the Mann Center tonight. Whatever tickles your funny bone, right? Still though, we need to have drinks with some of these folks because this is just totally lost on us and if anything is going to finally push us over the edge into a Get Off My Lawnsville from which there can be no return we need it to be something better than “Amish Paradise,” you know?

>>> Meanwhile, The Dean Ween Group plays Union Transfer and we’re willing to bet the dubious legacy of “Push th’ Little Daisies” means there’s probably some overlap between Al fans and the crowd at this show. Just don’t show us your thesis on the subject.

>>> We feel like quite the curmudgeons today, so we’re going to dance off our fuddy-duddyness at Rock Tits.

SATURDAY:

>>> Faith No More play the Mann in support of their recent Sol Invictus album, which, according to the dude on the El we overheard the other day is “seven kinds of awesome.” So there you have it. The lesson here: Sometimes when you want it all, you can have it.

>>> Deadheads, this one’s for you. Box of Rain and Pure Jerry play the TLA for an evening that celebrates the enduring, eternal music of The Grateful Dead. Well alright!

>>> Philly’s Grubby Little Hands unleash their third album, Garden Party, unto the masses with a record release party at Johnny Brenda’s. The new album is an understated lil thing, with songs like “We Don’t Exist” and “Erase a Memory” being the breeziest songs of heartbreak we’ve come across in a while. Pay no attention to their name, this band is nothing less than beautiful.

>>> Ooooohhhhhh. I Am On A Lonely Road: A Tribute to Joni Mitchell’s Blue & Hejira at the First Baptist Church features Philly singer/songwriter Joshua Thomas joined by his musical friends for performances of the Canadian chanteuse’s best-loved songs.

>>> More beautiful songs: Laura Marling plays Union Transfer.

SUNDAY:

>>> Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp is on Netflix. We marathoned this earlier today and it is as wonderful as it is unnecessary. All of the original gang is back, along with new cast members Jon Hamm, John Slattery and Rich Sommer, as well as actors who weren’t on Mad Men like Jason Schwartzman, Jordan Peele, Richard Schiff, Kristen Wiig, Michael Cera, and a surprisingly scene-stealing Chris Pine.

>>> Hey NoLibs! The 2nd Street Festival is back, and all that that implies. The celebration of food, music and crowds will feature these vendors and performances by Dogs on Acid, Field House, Louds, Northern Arms, Satellite Hearts, The Whips, Tin Horses, and more. As we’re typing this we realize that hey, that’s a damn fine lineup. Is it still going to be melty on Sunday? Because if not, we may have to check this out.

>>> KMFDM is at Union Transfer? How did such a thing happen and why weren’t we notified sooner. Our 1994 equivalents are pogoing with excitement. Oh and speaking of the past, The Smashing PUmpkins and Marilyn Manson are at Susquehanna Bank Center, just in case you want to tell Billy Corgan to smile the next time he hits Disneyland.

Film Sweat: It’s A Long Way Down The Holiday Road

RECOMMENDED: Inspired by the infamous 1971 study of human psychology, The Stanford Prison Experiment is a harrowing true-life drama about a group of college students selected to either be guards or inmates. When some of the participants begin taking on their roles a bit too seriously, insight into the corrupting nature of power is revealed in unexpected ways. Well, unexpected if you didn’t take an Intro to Psych course. The power of the film comes from its performances, with Ezra Miller (We Need To Talk About Kevin, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) delivering such a fascinating turn as a prisoner that you forget all about your familiarity with the story. Billy Crudup, Olivia Thirlby, Johnny Simmons co-star.

ALSO NEW IN THEATERS THIS WEEK: The ready-made blockbuster Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation in which Tom Cruise gets a lot of credit for doing his own stunts and all that talk about Going Clear impacting his career vanishes quicker than a thetan entering a human body; Vacation, the reboot of the Griswold saga starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate that proves that you can’t go home again, or, in this case, return to Walley World. And did they even use the Matt Pond PA cover of “Holiday Road?”; The Look of Silence is an Indonesian film about the consequences of genocide that we so aren’t in the mindset for right now; and Irrational Man is the latest Woody Allen study of ennui, but hey, this one has Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone in it;

For more recommendations on films currently in theaters, visit Philebrity’s Film Sweat archive. And click here for movie times. Need repertory film? Try Cinedelphia.

July 30, 2015

This Evening: A City Wall And A Trampoline

>>> We overheard a woman say “Brandon Flowers has charisma out the wazoo” earlier in the week, and we laughed and laughed and laughed. But then it struck us, she has a point. The dude’s whole new wave vibe hasn’t grown tired with us yet (a point further driven home by the above mash-up of Flowers’ “I Can Change” with Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy”) and his songs — both solo and with The Killers — are about as purely pop as the 21st century is likely to get. So when he plays the Electric Factory tonight, you can sing along with every word, dance if the mood hits you and revel in the fact that these songs, lightweight though they may be, are very well done. And sometimes that is everything.

>>> With the debate over medical marijuana still raging (no, we aren’t sure why either), tonight’s launch party for Dr. David Casarett’s new book Stoned: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana at the Mütter Museum will feature a discussion of the book and a panel discussion on the pros and cons of legalizing weed for medicinal purposes. This sounds fascinating for sure, but be warned. The Mütter has plenty of shit on display that will totally harsh your buzz.

>>> Wait, you expect us to trek to Ardmore on a mess of a night like tonight? Why would we possibly do such a foolhardy thing like that? Oh shit, Shuggie Otis is playing the Ardmore Music Hall. That changes things a bit.

>>> Another reason to leave your couch: Josh Olmstead is at Milkboy with his solo band, Union of Mad Scientists. Pop goes the world baby!



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Philly’s Inherent Weirdness, Artistically Captured By An Obscure Archie Comic From The 1960s

Madhouse

In the 1960s, the Archie Comics title Madhouse aspired to be the printed equivalent of Laugh-In, full of random gags and psychedelic imagery. As is the case with the Phillycentric cover seen here from August of 1968, the hodgepodge of visual over-stimulation didn’t always gel. We don’t know exactly what cover artist Gus Lemoine (who would later go on to co-create the amazing Archie rip-off Fast Willie Jackson for indie publisher Fitzgerald Periodicals) was going for here, yet we still applaud his ability to convey the ever-present hum of weirdness that flows through the City of Brotherly Love like background radiation in his finished drawing. Strangely enough, this isn’t the issue’s only Philadelphia tie. Inside the book is a six-page story called “Passion for Fashion.” Coincidence? Or evidence of a vast Toynbee Tile-esque conspiracy that leads to Jughead single-handedly using his boundless appetite to create the Pat’s/Geno’s rivalry? We’re not saying for sure but we have our suspicions.

New Documentary Focuses On The Life Of Ramones Manager Danny Fields, Possibly The Only Cool UPenn Grad Ever

When reading about the life of Danny Fields (forever tied to Philly due to his graduating from UPenn in 1959), it becomes apparent fairly immediately that, whoa, dude has had his hands in a lot of the best things to come out of the 20th century. One of the men regularly credited with discovering The Ramones (with the other being Sire Records great/Belle & Sebastian kiss-off recipient Seymour Stein), Fields managed the band during their most creatively rewarding period and helped bring them to the UK where their brash sound helped influence the nascent punk scene there. Amongst his other notable accomplishments: Introducing Leonard Cohen to the Chelsea Hotel, working as a publicist for The Doors, encouraging his bosses at Elektra Records to sign The Stooges, writing the liner notes for The Velvet Underground’s Live at Max’s Kansas City, being openly gay at a time when to do so was considered taboo, and on and on and on. Yet despite all of these incredible achievements, the man himself has stayed largely out of the spotlight. A new documentary may change that. Director Brendan Toller‘s documentary Danny Says hopes to spread the word about Fields’ immeasurable impact on popular culture. (Indeed, the film itself takes it’s name from The Ramones’ song about Fields). After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the film is currently making the rounds on the film festival circuit. While there are no Philly dates currently scheduled, a DVD of the doc can be pre-ordered here, and you can view the trailer here. We’re anxious to get our hands on see to take a glimpse at the man behind the punk curtain.



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We’ll Pretend We Care About #ThrowbackThursday So That We Can Show You This Vintage Ad With Philly Joe Jones

Related: Why this man amazes us. And see him in action here.

Noontime Nuggetz: This Girard Bank Ad Is The Most 1980 Thing Ever

Like many Philly old heads, Girard Bank was our first experience dealing with a financial institution when our folks opened a penny saver account for us in the early 1980s. The bank itself may be long gone, but its jingle regularly still pops through our heads occasionally for no good reason — almost at the frequency of a, say, the Doors Unlimited tune. While walking to get a sandwich earlier this pointless earworm returned, sending us to YouTube to see if hearing the genuine article would exorcise this aural demon for us. It didn’t. But we did find the above spot for the business that is packed to the gills with mustached men, fetishistic shots of push-button phones to subtly reiterate that Girard Bank is the bank of the future up to date with modern tech, and plenty of bank satisfied ladies. And is that Peggy Olson at the eight second mark? God we’ve missed her.

Dept. Of D’awwwwwwwww: There’s A Manatee In The Delaware River


We’re pretty sure this dude is just in town for the Pope’s visit but his secretary got the date wrong. Still, awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

FYI: The BlackStar Film Festival Gets Underway Today

Beginning today and running through August 2nd, the BlackStar Film Festival returns for its fourth year. Billing itself as a “celebration of cinema focused on work by and about people of African descent in a global context,” the fest will once again highlight groundbreaking features, short films, and documentaries. A full rundown of screenings can be found here, and amongst this year’s highlights are the short Black Card, a darkly satiric exploration of identity from director Pete Chatmon; installments of Jayson Musson‘s hilarious webseries The Adventures of Jamel: Time-Traveling B-Boy, the Philly premiere of the doc BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, about the life of the acclaimed poet; Kiara Jones‘ dramedy Christmas Wedding Baby; the documentary Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee chronicling the relationship between the actress and her husband, Ossie Davis; and Treasure: From Tragedy to Trans Justice; Mapping a Detroit Story, a compelling documentary about the murder of trans teen Shelly “Treasure” Hilliard.

Also featured during the four-day fest will be the BlackStar Closing Awards Show hosted by Monie Love and including performances from Phonte and Ethel Cee, a specially curated collection of youth-oriented films, panels on topics ranging from an exploration of the relationship between the media and social justice to one on how the film In the Morning was designed. More than anything, the festival will showcase the thriving global community of black filmmakers and how their work continues to hold a mirror to society. For up-to-the-minute details on the fest, click here.

This Moment In Philly Makeovers: Headhouse Square Mulls Over A New Look With Hopes Of Finding “The One”


Philly Mag turns our attention to these concepts for a revitalized Headhouse Square plaza from Ambit Architecture that would open up the space and help free it of its weird vibes. (Which we’re still convinced migrated over from Newmarket). Personally, we would have preferred a fresh start for the space that didn’t retain the weird barn aesthetic of the Shambles, but there is something to be said for consistency of design too we suppose. With no funding as of yet and the project still in the initial stages, this redevelopment is still a long way off. So you’ll have to keep bumping into people at the Farmer’s Market for the foreseeable future. Bummer.

The Ocean Blue Will Play Their First Two Albums Live Here In November, Justifying Your Living In The Past For A While Longer

This November, college rock dreamboats The Ocean Blue (who originally hail from Hershey, PA but played here enough in the early ’90s that they are honorary Philadelphians) will be re-releasing their three Sire Records on colored 180 gram vinyl via Shelflife Records. In conjunction with this bit of commerce, the band will be doing four U.S. shows in which they’ll be performing their 1989 self-titled debut and it’s 1991 follow-up, the dream pop masterpiece Cerulean in their entirety. They’ll be performing these works at World Cafe Life on November 20th, a development that may or may not have us spinning around the room like a “Ballerina Out of Control”, (get it?). Tickets go on sale this coming Monday. 1990s you would be all over this, but can your jaded 2015 equivalent handle all the sincere pop the band has to offer?

Previously: In A World Gone Mad, It Is Comforting To Know That Everything The Ocean Blue Does Looks And Sounds Exactly The Same As It Did In 1989

Because Who Knows When We’ll See The Likes Of Him Again, Here’s Our Favorite Cole Hamels Picture One Last Time

Baby-Hamels2

Well Cole, it’s been fun (mainly). KIT, okay? We’re going to throw on “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye” and weep at the wonder and sadness of this world for a bit, probably while wearing something denim. We you you’d want it that way.

July 29, 2015

This Evening: And I’m Gonna Miss Everybody

>>> Since 1997, Kansas’ The Appleseed Cast have been bringing their cacophonous post-rock (which we initially typoed as “pot rock” then realized that this was a totally valid description as well) to venues across the U.S. This evening the band stops by Johnny Brenda’s to celebrate the 15th anniversary of their Mare Vitalis LP, a spacey bit of love that should help ease you into the rest of the week just fine.

>>> Hamburger Dinner Theater, the live tribute to one of Bob’s Burgers‘ zaniest episodes from Creatures of the Night makes its second of three performances at Tattooed Mom tonight. Exactly why haven’t we seen this yet?

>>> Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are at the TLA with their 1999 Eternal Tour. God, “Tha Crossroads” is still so good.

>>> Wet Hot American Summer is on Netflix and doesn’t require any work at all to enjoy. Consider it prep for Friday’s debut of First Day of Camp.

Dept. Of Hiding In Your House LIKE A BOSS During The Ungodly Heatwave: The Philadelphia Orchestra To Live Stream Their Performance Tomorrow


There are no more tickets available for tomorrow’s free Neighborhood Concert by The Philadelphia Orchestra, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out. The entire affair will be broadcast via the Orchestra’s website. The down side is that you won’t get to feel the music rumble through you as you would if you were there in person, but it also means that you don’t have to deal with the increasingly hassle of Our Shared Melty Philadelphia Hot Humid Hell and the fact that the entirety of the city now smells like a baked horse turd and disappointment. Which isn’t to say that your home doesn’t either, but there’s Febreze for that.

Recommended Reading: Camille Paglia Talks Cosby, The Clintons And Much More

camilleWe cannot declare this loudly enough — stop everything you are doing right now and head over to Salon to read David Daley’s endlessly fascinating interview with Camille Paglia in which she, amongst other things, compares Bill Cosby to a necrophiliac, examines the parallels between the Cos and Bill Clinton, calls the Clintons’ treatment of Monica Lewinsky to “something out of “Wuthering Heights” or “Great Expectations,” and expresses her thoughts on contemporary feminism. And this is just the first of three parts! Paglia’s insights are always full of intriguing food for thought, and this piece is no exception to this rule. Check it:

So have the times and standards changed enough that Clinton would be seen as Cosby, if he was president today?

Oh, yes! There’s absolutely no doubt, especially in this age of instant social media. In most of these cases, like the Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby stories, there’s been a complete neglect of psychology. We’re in a period right now where nobody asks any questions about psychology. No one has any feeling for human motivation. No one talks about sexuality in terms of emotional needs and symbolism and the legacy of childhood. Sexuality has been politicized–“Don’t ask any questions!” “No discussion!” “Gay is exactly equivalent to straight!” And thus in this period of psychological blindness or inertness, our art has become dull. There’s nothing interesting being written–in fiction or plays or movies. Everything is boring because of our failure to ask psychological questions.

So I say there is a big parallel between Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton–aside from their initials! Young feminists need to understand that this abusive behavior by powerful men signifies their sense that female power is much bigger than they are! These two people, Clinton and Cosby, are emotionally infantile–they’re engaged in a war with female power. It has something to do with their early sense of being smothered by female power–and this pathetic, abusive and criminal behavior is the result of their sense of inadequacy.

And it just goes on from there. Will she be our friend? We’d like that very much.

Update: Part 2 is here!

Lushlife Returns With A Stunning Live Version of “Gymnopedie 1.2″

Lushlife — the Philly rapper/producer/former Philebs contributor who earned our undying respect for his “Toynbee Suite” a few years back — has returned with a live interpretation of his track “Gymnopedie 1.2″ from 2012’s Plateau Vision. Enlisting the assistance of Dr. Dog/Lithuania’s Eric Slick and Power Animal’s Keith Hampson, Lushlife has somehow managed to make his original track even more beautiful. No concrete word on when we’ll hear new music from him, but this is a more than welcome appetizer for material yet to come. (Via The Key)

Plans To Revive The Divine Lorraine Continue To Move In A Forward Progression

divineIf Philly feels a bit weirder today, that’s because the Divine Lorraine is one step closer to its highly anticipated rebirth. At a meeting at City Hall yesterday, developer Eric Blumenfeld presented his renovation plans for the building — highlighted by 109 apartments, an outdoor garden and four possible restaurants to the Architectural Committee of the Historical Commission. PlanPhilly details their response:

On Tuesday, the architectural committee voted to approve the renovation design plans. In doing so, it recommended replacing some of the missing ornamental statues (not necessarily with the same materials), using limestone to fill out the base of the building (while differentiating the look from the rest of the building by using a different finish), using wood-framed windows on the lower floors and aluminum-framed windows on the upper floors, and restoring the sign with neon.

At this point it sounds as if the new Divine Lorraine will revive the majesty of the structure’s glory days — a welcome, er, development given the property’s ups and downs over the years. Philly Voice is reporting August as a possible groundbreaking date for the renovations, assuming all continues to go as planned. Admittedly, we are still weirded out by the very concept of the Lorraine becoming swanky apartments (Philadelphia, who are you anymore?) but rather that then the glorious building falling further into disrepair.

Previously: The Divine Lorraine’s Resurrection Is Apparently On Again

Noontime Nuggetz: The Smiths Meet Tears For Fears, As You Always Wished They Would

The Smiths vs Tears For Fears – Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This Mashup Before (BRAT Mashup) from Daniel Barassi on Vimeo.

Those of you whom may feel as if you are over mash-ups might reconsider that position after listening to the above musical Brundlefly featuring the vocals for Tears for Fears‘ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (a song we incorrectly thought we were done with) with The Smiths‘ foreverjam “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before.” This gem comes to us from Brat Productions, and damn it if it isn’t some aural time travel. What time’s everybody getting to Revival tonight anyway?

BREAKING: Chaka Fattah Has Been Indicted For Racketeering Conspiracy


We’ve just learned that embattled Congressman Chaka Fattah and four associates has been indicted for racketeering conspiracy, bribery, and other charges. From the FBI press release:

Congressman Chaka Fattah Sr., 58, of Philadelphia; lobbyist Herbert Vederman, 69, of Palm Beach, Florida; Fattah’s Congressional District Director Bonnie Bowser, 59, of Philadelphia; and Robert Brand, 69, of Philadelphia; and Karen Nicholas, 57, of Williamstown, New Jersey, were charged today in a 29-count indictment with participating in a racketeering conspiracy and other crimes, including bribery; conspiracy to commit mail, wire and honest services fraud; and multiple counts of mail fraud, falsification of records, bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution and money laundering.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division and Special Agent in Charge Akeia Conner of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Philadelphia Field Office made the announcement.

“As charged in the indictment, Congressman Fattah and his associates embarked on a wide-ranging conspiracy involving bribery, concealment of unlawful campaign contributions and theft of charitable and federal funds to advance their own personal interests,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “When elected officials betray the trust and confidence placed in them by the public, the department will do everything we can to ensure that they are held accountable. Public corruption takes a particularly heavy toll on our democracy because it undermines people’s basic belief that our elected leaders are committed to serving the public interest, not to lining their own pockets.”

We are obviously still unpacking all of this, so we’ll have more, including our thoughts and any updates, later in the week.

Instead Of Ranting About SEPTA’s Papal Pass Lottery, We’re Just Going To Post The Video For “Road To Nowhere”

Because really, both of these things make the same point. And it’s alright, baby it’s alright.