March 26, 2015

This Evening: Chorizo Your Own Adventure

La méduse rouge: Trailer from Severine Pictures on Vimeo.

>>> We talked about this at length last week, but we still feel inspired to spread the word that the crazy-looking low-budget epic La Méduse Rouge (from Philly’s Severine Pictures) gets its local premiere tonight at the Ritz East.

>>> Bob’s Burgers Live brings the hilarious FOX cartoon to life at the Tower Theater, complete with appearances by cast members H. Jon Benjamin, Kristen Schaal and Eugene Mirman. Fact: This series has the only acceptable use of puns in contemporary pop culture.

>>> LCD Soundsystem‘s James Murphy will pump up the jams, pump them up at a DJ set at the Dolphin.

PSA: Spring Events At The Porch Begin Next Week


Yas! The Porch at 30th Street Station remains University City’s premiere hang. We’re fans of the sublime people watching that such a transportation hub offers, and that mixed with food trucks (because you know you’re going to want an empanada) and a diverse variety of performers makes the Porch a welcome place to idle away the warm afternoons ahead. You can find full details on what events the site has planned this season here. When you see us there say hello, but the burritos are on you.

This 1985 WXPN Promo From The Dead Milkmen Is The Type Of Throwback Thursday We Can Get Behind

Rescued from radio purgatory is this 1985 promo by The Dead Milkmen that the group recorded for WXPN’s Yesterday’s Now Music Today series, a prototypical 120 Minutes/Post-Modern PST jam that anyone out there with copies of should send our way ASAP. As delightful as this recording is, we can’t help but wonder if the guys hated making it as much as they did this.


For When Your Mom Inevitably Asks, Here’s What’s Up With The Late Trash Pick-Up

indexWe hate to sound like a bad Jerry Seinfeld routine or that neighbor with all the drama and questions who you’ll do anything to avoid, but what is the deal with the Philly garbage pick-up lately? There’s been a series of delays in the city hauling away trash — which gets annoying quick given the amount of raccoons roaming around Philebs HQ. (Our trash can feels like a Parks and Recreation punchline of late, without the waffle-eating whimsy of Amy Poehler to make it tolerable). There is a reason though, and, shockingly, it is a completely understandable one to anyone who has lived here long enough to have a strong grasp of how under-resourced the area is. Action News moves us closer to the truth, my friends:

The reason for the delays? The impact of the past several winters on key city vehicles, namely the trash trucks that are outfitted with snowplows to help fight the storms.

A full one third of the fleet is regularly called into service for that.

Now, more nearly 10% of the fleet, 38 in all, sits in a lot waiting for major repairs or to be scrapped entirely.

“These vehicles are used for snow removal, trash collection, and they’re used year round,” Donald Carlton, Streets Department Deputy Commission, said.

The Streets Department wants residents to keep placing their trash out on the regular scheduled day even though the delays could continue for several more weeks.

Have faith Philly! All those Wawa and Arctic Splash containers will be at their final resting place soon…right along side of your dreams. Aww.

Breaking: City Council Votes In Favor Of Urban Experiential Displays

Well shit. Those who voted against the bill were Kenyatta Johnson, Blondell Reynolds Brown and W. Wilson Goode, Jr. We’d try to find a bright side to all of this, but given how annoyingly blinding these things have the potential to be we’ve just about had it with anything luminescent right about now.


The West Philly Turkey Is Back, And With It Comes Hope For Us All

We’ve all had those unspoken moments while hugging friends/loved ones who were moving away when both parties realized at some point during the embrace that they would never see each other again. As Stephen Chbosky once put it, and no, we can’t believe we are about to quote him either, “Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.” Some days though, the world is kind. We thought that the West Philly Turkey Brain Drained out to San Francisco, Portland or, God help us, Seattle long ago. (We meant to write but you see, things didn’t end too well and now we can’t even look at old photos of us together without being thrust into a torrent of regret we haven’t seen the likes of since we first read Stephen Dobyns‘ “Missed Chances”). Imagine our surprise then when we saw this West Philly Local piece about the West Philly Turkey’s spectacular return. Looks like the whole theory of letting something you love free has some validity after all. Welcome back friend, it’s been far too long since we last met your acquaintance. After the break, the West Philly Turkey responds to the new media attention! (more…)

ICYMI: Poet Claudia Rankine Reads At Temple University

Citizen-175x250In one of the most notable Philadelphia literary events in recent memory, celebrated teacher and poet Claudia Rankine appeared at Temple University’s Center City campus to read from her acclaimed book Citizen on March 19th. A finalist for the 2014 National Book Award, the work is a timely snapshot of the disturbing current state of race relations in America filled with pieces that are as urgent as they are haunting. The University of Pennsylvania’s PennSound Center for Contemporary Writing has an archive devoted entirely to Rankine, including her recent Temple appearance which you can listen to in its entirety here or watch a video segment of. Both are time well spent. We wholeheartedly recommend checking these out as Rankine’s voice is one that both demands to — and should be — heard by all.

Attention Philly-Area Nick Cave Fans With Disposable Income: This Book Is For You!

NickCaveThe always entertaining Nick Cave is getting ready to release The Sick Bag Book, a collection of lyrics, tour musings and various other captivating glimpses into the dude’s fascinating world that, as legend has it, was initially written on airline vomit bags. Since Philly is one of the cities featured in the release, Cave is offering a special limited edition…one that will run you upwards of $1100 (£750.00 plus the conversion rate). But hey, there’s got to be at least one of two superfans out there who are into this! Thus, the following details will now be made available via Nick Cave’s website:

A series of 10 limited editions has been produced for each of the 22 cities covered in the Sick Bag Song. These rare volumes will each feature:

• A unique sick bag customised by Nick Cave with notes, doodles and musings. Hand drawn by the artist onto a specially produced (and fully functional) sick bag, these are individually decorated, signed and rubber-stamped with the relevant city, displayed in a protective mounting. Each one is a completely bespoke piece of artwork. 10 are available for each of the 22 cities.
• A highly collectible recording of The Sick Bag Song on 2 x 180gsm vinyl records in a limited edition run.
• Limited collectors’ edition hardback of The Sick Bag Song by Nick Cave, specially printed and bound in real cloth, signed and numbered in a limited run of 220 copies.
•Anyone who buys a copy of the Limited Edition will receive a complimentary copy of the Unlimited Edition bundle (featuring a print copy of the Unlimited Edition, plus ebook and audio download editions*).
• Please note, sale of the Limited Edition is restricted to one copy per customer.

Fortunately, there’s a more reasonably priced edition available as well. Interested parties can order here. If you want to save the cash and just listen to “The Mercy Seat” instead, that’s cool too.


While You Were Going About Your Business On Tuesday, Jeb Bush Was Here Raising Money

JebWell smack, crack, bushwacked. Former Florida Governor and likely 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush stopped by Philly on Tuesday afternoon to raise money for his PAC. As one might expect, the subsequent news coverage of this physical embodiment of one of Tina Belcher‘s moans was rich with insights from Philly’s wealthy and/or elite, as well as declarations from Bush about how he’s his “own man” before the news inevitably launched into info about which of his relatives will be appearing at subsequent fundraisers. Having already overheard two separate conversations in which Pennsyltucky rubes (who were clearly inflicted with some kind of memory loss) mentioned that having a third Bush in the White House would be “kinda cool” during the course of the past couple of months, we are beginning to get nervous aching tummies about such a possibility. We know we know that as Philly residents we already have the mayoral election to worry about as well as the daily travails that come from being alive people with hopes, dreams, crushing disappointments and deeply rooted concerns about dubious American dynasties, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t bring to your attention a small reminder that there’s yet another shitshow looming Damocles-like on the political horizon. Don’t thank us all at once.

Tumblr Of The Moment: Pee-UEDs Examines What Urban Experiential Displays Would Look Like Throughout Philly


With City Council voting on a bill today that would bring urban experiential displays to Philly, we’ve noticed an increased opposition to these visual wet farts around these parts of late. However, in the interest of fairness let us take a moment to wonder what it would be like if UEDS could brought some infotaining razzamatazz to the City of Brotherly Love’s most iconic locations. That’s just what the brilliant Tumblr Pee-UEDs does. We’ll let the site’s caption for the above photo do the talking:

Another wonderful addition to our cities culture. I mean that sculpture is just a copy anyway, right? Plus its soooooooo boring just sitting there. Instead of all that “thinking” we can get some helpful ads about the latest Fios bundle and an occasional Amber Alert.

Equally wonderful is the site’s slogan, a perfectly succinct “these things stink.” We don’t know what clever individual came up with this bit of non-eye hurty satire, but we kind of want to give them a big hug and then stand outside of Lit Bros. pensively looking up.

March 25, 2015

This Evening: Funny Ha Ha Or Funny Strange?


>>> Five Dollar Comedy Week rolls on, with five separate shows at Plays and Players Theater happening tonight. Details can be found here, but really, there’s not a bad one in the batch.

>>> Who is Philly’s best bourboun cocktail maker? The answer to that probing question will be revealed at the 3rd Annual Bourbon Battle at the Trestle Inn. Besides the bragging rights and oh so delicious drinks, the event features proceeds going to PAWS — which will make you feel better about the state of your liver by the time this thing wraps up.

>>> The unfortunately named but still quite lovable punk act Cancer Bats play Underground Arts . The lineup also includes Exalt and The Cloth. Rad.

The Whole Foods Meat Bandit Is The Greatest Real-Life Portlandia Sketch Ever

Since March 8th, a man has stolen over a thousand dollars worth of merchandise from the Whole Foods on South Street. The gentlemen in question, who happens to look exactly like every dude over 30 we’ve ever seen in South Philly, has repeatedly entered the store, filled a grocery bag with meat and seafood and then left without paying. (Given the shade we’ve been thrown by employees after declining to donate a dollar to their cause du jour, we can kind of sympathize with this guy). What’s happening here? We think the culprit either has an ethical meat fetish — swiss cheese is so 2014 — or he finally snapped from one too many “Whole Paycheck” jokes. If you see this man notify the police immediately. Or have him make you some really choice surf and turf. We won’t judge.

Breaking: Milton Street Gets To Stay On The Mayoral Ballot

A terrible thought just came to mind. What if Philly residents decide to pull a citywide Cacophony Society-style stunt and vote him into office? Or worse still, he wins because voters conclude that he’s the best candidate for the job? Either way we feel a bit uneasy right about now.

Update: Full details here.

Previously: Phew! Soon, We All Can (Hopefully) Finally Stop Acting Like Milton Street Is A Real Candidate For Mayor

Here’s How To Voice Your Opposition To “Urban Experiential Displays”

UEDTomorrow, City Council votes on the bill that would bring urban experiential displays to Philly. We’ll say it again: These cheesy monstrosities are threatening to transform the city into a massive eyesore that makes Xfinity Live look like the Barnes (and that’s not even getting ahem-worthy nonsense like this). Here’s where you come in. Sign this petition from Scenic America and let City Council members know you oppose UEDs. This may sound alarmist, but it is hard to imagine that once the proposed UEDs are installed more won’t follow. Before any of us can realize, the blinding, unnecessary light of infotainment nothingness will be ever-present throughout the city. Thankfully Philly is not Vegas, so we don’t need the second-rate light shows and the oohing and ahhing basics that they’ll attract like moths to a tasteless, city-sized bug zapper. Say no and spread the word.

Rumor Control Redux: No, Emma Watson Won’t Be Going To Penn For Grad School

WatsontwitterEarlier today, Vanity Fair got duped by reports that Emma Watson would be attending grad school at the University of Pennsylvania. Ten points for The Daily Pennsylvanian, as the whole story was part of their joke issue. (Reminder: The Internet is going to be unbearable on April 1st). With the Watson story coming on the heels of this morning’s JayBey news, we had some thoughts about why many Philadelphians instantly get excited by celebs being amongst us — see the Someone Famous Once Went Somewhere archives for evidence of this phenomenon at work. Our strange and unrealistic desire for/belief that celebrities of a certain caliber might want to live here is a citywide psychological sickness. It used to be about a need for validation and attention, but now it’s a dowdy remnant of an attachment to what Bret Easton Ellis calls “Empire.” But we’re living in a post-Empire city in a post-Empire world. C’mon Philadelphia. These celebrities don’t need you and you sure as hell don’t need them. Let’s make a pact, okay? The next time one of these stories hits let us collectively try to let it pass without much attention. This kind of intense fascination with famous individuals sharing our ground is a leftover form of neediness from our washed out 70s and 80s. You’re better than that Philly, even if you don’t believe it.

Previously: Rumor Control: Jay-Z And Beyoncé ARE NOT Moving To 5th And Walnut

Mayor Nutter Creates A New Oversight Board For The Police Department

PPDIn the wake of the release of a damning report about deadly force used by the Philadelphia Police Department by the Department of Justice (which revealed the disturbing statistic that “Philadelphia police officers, on average, shoot at citizens at least once a week”), Mayor Nutter has signed an Executive Order creating an independent civilian oversight board for the PPD. From the press release:

“As with all City departments and agencies, our Administration strives to act with integrity and transparency,” said Mayor Nutter. “The review and implementation of recommendations in the DOJ COPS report will be no different. This issue is too important to ignore, we are talking about police officers injuring or killing people whom they are sworn to protect. We all know the very real dangers our brave men and women in blue face every day, and we were tragically reminded of this fact earlier this month with the death of Officer Robert Wilson III, but accountability and partnership with the community begins with us – the people who swore an oath to serve this great city.”

The new community oversight board will function similarly to previous oversight boards established by the Administration to oversee systemic changes within City departments, including the Community Oversight Board for the Department of Human Services and the Special Independent Advisory Commission for the Department of Licenses & Inspections. The Police Department oversight board will be an independent committee composed of community stakeholders, experts in the field of law enforcement and public safety professionals (not affiliated with the PPD) and will work in conjunction with Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey to ensure that implementation of the DOJ COPS report recommendations is attainable and on schedule.

The cynics amongst us find it dubious that such a panel could set in motion effective changes that have the potential to quell the actions of unchecked cops whose goonery taints the work of the department as a whole. But it’s hard to alter established behavior, so we wish this new endeavor the best while wondering if the goals in front of them are attainable.

Dept. Of It’s Not Easy Being Green: Introducing The New Love Park Redesign Concepts


During a public meeting last night at the Free Library, Hargreaves Associates presented four possible redesign options that transform Love Park into a nature-heavy oasis that have caught us off guard with their wonderfulness. PlanPhilly details the overhaul that the space could potentially see (a final conceptual design will be presented to the public on April 30th). As it is now, there is an unwelcoming and sterile feel to Love Park that the greenery proposed in these new designs would eradicate once and for all. Nature, it’s good for you! The only downside to all of this? As of yet there has been no final decision made on the fate of the beloved (by us anyway) Welcome Center, a building that might seem anachronistic in the midst of all the modern development that is slated the park. We’ll know for sure at the public meeting on 4/30, but for now it might be time to bust out the #SaveTheSaucer in your social media posts. It can’t hurt, right?

PSA: Open Access PHL To Host A Democracy Hackathon This Weekend

HackersThe noble mission of the civic-minded tech-heads at Open Access PHL is to “connect the passion and both new & existing projects of Philadelphians to make local government more open, transparent, and participatory,” and to help bring them closer to their goals they will be holding a Democracy Hackathon this weekend. Here’s what potential attendees can expect from the event, which is open to more than just the tech-savvy:

This event will bring together technologists, community organizers, and democracy and civic-engagement enthusiasts/experts for a weekend-long rapid prototyping session. Ideas presented and discussed at the preceding Friday night’s Community Needs Assessment provide a starting point for project ideas, but all ideas related to democracy and civic-engagement are welcome. The only restriction is that all work done during the event must be released under an open-source or creative commons license.

Interested parties can sign up here and help take a hands-on role in shaping Philly’s technological future.

Rumor Control: Jay-Z And Beyoncé ARE NOT Moving To 5th And Walnut

We can’t even believe some of you bought into this nonsense (as documented above, Good Day Philadelphia straight-up lost their minds), but Jay-Z and Beyoncé are not moving to Philly. Womp womp. Wish though you might, it isn’t happening. (And why do you even care? Look deep within yourself). But if were true, would it mean that the weird old people Super Fresh at 5th and Pine would prepare for JayBey’s imminent arrival by stocking up on GoGurt and kugel noodles? Maybe the power couple just wanted to live near a Ride the Ducks pickup/dropoff point? All we know is that the presale for passes to the pool on Jay&Bey’s roof at 5th & Walnut has ended…because none of this shit is real.

And Now, Your Wrap-Up Of The #PHL2015 Philly Education Forum

phl2015Last night in South Philadelphia the G.W. Childs School held a forum in which the mayoral candidates (minus a conspicuously absent Lynne Abraham, who, sigh, eventually turned up to greet people as they were leaving) met to chat about all things education. As expected, there was plenty of discussion on how to fix area schools, debate about charter schools, some back-and-forthing and the occasional barb being thrown. The Inquirer‘s Kristen A. Graham has a complete run down of the event which you can read here, but what really interests us is the social media response to this discussion. Join us, if you will, after the jump for a look at the most insightful tweets about what went down at last evening’s forum. (more…)