May 27, 2015

And Now, A Tribute To What Is Arguably The Gallery’s Greatest Asset: The Neon Hoagie Sign

HOAGIES

With PREIT working on transforming The Gallery into an as-yet-nebulous retail happening to be forever known as The Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia At Market East, and National Real Estate Advisors‘ current East Market project both underway, it’s understandable to think that Philly has the retail equivalent of a Mad Max sequel on its hands. Yet this article from The Inquirer indicates that the Gallery Warz™ will have to wait for another day, as both outfits seem to see the development in the area as an “amalgamation of cooperation and competition” that could potentially be good for everyone. Except of course our friend, the neon hoagie sign that has been projecting an air of quiet dignity upon the Gallery food court for decades now. While recently wandering through the mostly empty landscape of the mall a few weeks ago we were taken aback by thoughts of what cruel fate will befall this strange piece of advertising (and its admittedly lesser brethren). We have always appreciated the fact that it is there, proudly telling folks that, yes, hoagies are a thing that exist — if not totally a Philadelphia birthright. The sign isn’t doing a hard sell or pushing you towards a certain business but instead just reminding you that the hoagie is, as always, a viable food option. Even with the food adjacent PR stank of the Bill Cosby scandal, hoagies endure. Our worst fear is that the sign will wind up in a dumpster somewhere, forgotten and alone. Or as a segment on some American Pickers-type show. True, there will always be similar signs. But do these alternatives possess the same history — perhaps the Toynbee Tiler or Ed Rendall once made a subconscious lunch choice based on the sign’s reassuring blue glow — or impact upon Philly life? We think not. Philly detritus like this isn’t covered by historical landmark status. But perhaps maybe it should be? That’s all we’re saying here. Well, that and the fact that we really want some Paesano’s now.

R.I.P. Iconic Photographer Mary Ellen Mark

We were saddened to hear of the death of renowned Philly-born photographer Mary Ellen Mark yesterday at the age of 75. During her lengthy career Mark regularly celebrated individuals who were outside of what is considered the mainstream. Through her documentary-style portraits of such marginalized and left of center figures as the residents of an Oregon mental institution captured in Ward 81, she cast a light on a huge swath of society’s forgotten — with her captivating images speaking volumes about the similarities we share with those captured by her lens for a fleeting second. (As this ABC News photo gallery showcases, she also took portraits of iconic figures like Mother Theresa and Federico Fellini). The New York Times obituary of Mark reflects upon the “empathy and humanism” of her work, a succinct description of an artist whose life was dedicated to visually speaking up for those who struggled to find their own voice.

Noontime Nuggetz: Ben Folds And Daryl Hall, Together At Last

Airing on the Palladia HD cable network, Live from Daryl’s House features Daryl Hall joined by a variety of musical friends for music, conversation and food. It’s a relaxed hang of a show which gives Hall the chance to jam with contemporary artists (and usually show them a thing or two). His guest on an episode that debuted at the beginning of this month was Ben Folds, and together the men rolled through versions of their best-loved songs. We didn’t think they could top the version of “Annie Waits” (always a favorite) featured here until they brought out the “Private Eyes” big guns. You can check out the whole episode above. The only downside? No “Army/Out of Touch” mash-up. Talk about a missed opportunity.



ADVERTISEMENT

Think Piece Of The Moment: How Will Rick Santorum’s Frothy Mixture Association Impact His 2016 Presidential Bid?

120828-santorum_rnc_ap_605Ugh. As you may have heard, Rick Santorum will be announcing his plans to enter the 2016 presidential race later today. This is a whole lot of Do Not Want if you ask us, but there’s at least an upside–that Santorum will once again have to contend with Dan Savage‘s infamous rebranding of the Republican’s last name. With Santorum re-entering the political scene on a large scale, Mother Jones is wondering what impact the other definition of his surname will have on the race:

Santorum’s announcement that he’s running in 2016 may drive Savage to update his site and gin up traffic. But he hasn’t decided yet. “Maybe we’ll crank up the Wurlitzer one more time,” he says. “But maybe not. The rest of the Republican Party and the rest of the world has moved on.”

Whether he juices up the machine again really doesn’t matter, though. The neologism is so entrenched in popular culture at this point that the website, says Savage, is “just on autopilot.” Political reporters keep the links coming in, and Santorum’s entry into the presidential race only guarantees that the site will get more exposure, says Savage.

Previously, Savage had jokingly offered Santorum an out: If Santorum would donate $5 million to the same-sex-marriage advocacy group Freedom to Marry, then Savage would shut down the site. Naturally, Santorum did not accept the offer. He has claimed to wear Savage’s attacks as a badge of honor, and he has continued to oppose same-sex marriage. (Recently, Santorum said he wouldn’t attend the marriage of a gay loved one because of his Catholic faith.)

We have already heard all the jokes spinning off from a Santorum presidential run in our head and, uh huh, we’ll most definitely be playing along too. After all, it’s the least we can do for the dude.

Let Work Drugs Ease You Into The Summer Smoothly With “Hey Nineteen”

The Key have just turned our attention to “Hey Nineteen,” the new song from Philly’s Work Drugs. Nothing to do with the equally excellent Steely Dan song of the same name (guys, do a cover, pretty please?), this track is a sweet and shimmery pop masterpiece that we’ve listened to roughly 3,000 times so far today, give or take a few hundred. The Key piece tells us that the group is currently hard at work on their new album, Louisa. We hope it hits soon, we want to hear much more of this ASAP.



ADVERTISEMENT

The Way We Live Now: Fly Drones, Get Paid


To quote some UHF commercial that has been rattling around our brains since 1985ish, do you wanna make more money? Sure, we all do! But does your desire to make bank — up to $150K a year! — extend far enough that you’d be willing to enter the world of drone advertising? Then you’re in luck. Enter DroneCast, a Philly-based company that describes its work thusly:

DroneCast offers both outdoor and indoor aerial advertising platforms. This suite of services is ideal for anyone looking to get their brand the unique and undivided attention it deserves. In today’s hectic world, companies struggle to reach consumers in new and innovative ways. DroneCast is the answer.

Our intellectual property also gives us the right to do promotional stunts. In the past, we have used our drones to carry promo items and drop branded prizes into crowds. This creates an excellent way for your brand to stand out!

Initially this was giving us some major Parks and Recreation flashbacks, but then we suddenly envisioned drones dropping branded fudgesicles on us during a beach trip and any Orwellian apprehension melted away like humidity ravaged frozen treats from the sky. Mmm. Is that Mister Softee we hear?

Right Now In The People’s Republic Of Comcast: Charter Communications Acquires Time Warner

USSRCAST1 You know how much it stings when you discover that an ex has not only gotten over you but is now seeing someone whom you must quietly admit to yourself is better for them than you ever were? We’re not saying that this is exactly what Comcast is going through in light of the news that Charter Communications has announced plans to acquire Time Warner Cable and the cable provider Bright House in a deal that is estimated at 67 billion dollars, but it’s gotta be at least somewhat similar, right? Is Comcast currently looking at Time Warner’s Facebook pictures all sullenly? We don’t know. What we can say with certainty is that the Charter Communications deal will make the resulting company, New Charter, the second biggest cable provider in the U.S. just behind Comcast, and according to the New York Times, they’ll be all about broadband:

Executives said the acquisitions would create a stronger national player that would offer faster services meant for watching online video and playing games, as well as new out-of-home wireless Internet options.

They even raised the possibility of introducing a national streaming television service that would not require a traditional cable subscription.

“It is not just the small screens or the large screens in the house, it is the mobile screens and more,” Thomas M. Rutledge, Charter’s chief executive, said in an interview.

The deal, which requires federal, shareholder and state approval before being wrapped up in a pretty pretty bow, would affect “one in six U.S. households”. We approve of having another big fish in the marketplace highly. Maybe that’s because as kids we were much more into Hungry Hungry Hippos than Monopoly.

May 26, 2015

This Evening: It All Sounds Like A Song To Me

>>> The first and best reason to leave the house tonight: Dice Raw is at Silk City in a Hall of Fame Series event presented by The Sound Gallery and My Radio Philly which will help further Dice’s rep as one of Philly’s most consistently engaging hip-hop voices. (Seriously, just check out the above track, “Run”). Don’t miss it.

>>> Celebrate the first decade of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah as they celebrate their 10th birthday by playing old favorites and material from their new album, Only Run, at Johnny Brenda’s for the first of a two-night residency. We’ll be scanning the crowd at this one for fleeting glimpses at the Ghosts of Hipsters Past.

>>> How’s about getting some country time all up in your Tuesday? Enter Vince Gill & Lyle Lovett are at the Keswick. Have your heroes always been cowboys? Then have at it.

Right Now In The People’s Republic Of Comcast: You’ve Got A Fast Car


This Thursday, Comcast’s Xfinity store in Mount Laurel will actively be courting the Pennsyltucky crowd by featuring an actual NASCAR car, Preston & Steve Show castmember Casey Boy and an appearance by something called Cleatus, which is supposedly the Fox Sports mascot but to us looks like what would happen if Franklin and that shitty robot from Real Steel went through Seth Brundle‘s teleporter together. As we are growing increasingly weary of mentioning, this is a happening that is clearly not for us. Still, this all feels like a perfect storm of lowered expectations (and higher bills for those who take on the X1 Entertainment Operating System whatever?) that has us feeling a sense of contentment for cutting the cord that is admittedly unbearable. As for everyone else, what was it in “Fast Car” that Tracy Chapman was getting at about making a decision to change or just giving up and living and dying with the status quo?

Philly Boy Roy Covering Styx Is Exactly As Glorious As You Would Hope

To which we ask: Philly Boy Roy, is there anything you can’t do? This is perfect and all, but if we are being completely honest here we have to admit that we wish The AV Club chose “The Grand Illusion” over “Renegade” for this round of their A.V. Undercover series. We’d love to see how Jon Wurster, er, Roy, would’ve taken that one on.

This Is What Happens When We Forget To Post The 1983 Memorial Day Block Party Video We Always Run

In all the hubbub of four-day break planning last week, we neglected to run to Philebrity evergreen that is the 1983 Memorial Day Block Party video. Gawker, on the other hand, did, totally stealing our shirtless Old City thunder in the process. Sigh. Okay, lesson learned. We could make excuses here, but we honestly thought the video would go all Skynet on us and post itself at this point. While we go scrounge for leftover burgers we thought we had in the fridge know this — we will never let you down on this most important of matters again.

New Online Petition Aims To Oust Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Buzzkill

i_love_cannabis_marijuana_pennsylvania_postcard-p239279665599283570trah_152When Republican House Health Committee Chairman Matt Baker announced that he would not allow the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to vote on any medicinal marijuana bill a few weeks back, the move very obviously turned heads and drew the ire of those seeking to make such a treatment option available here. Which brings us to this online petition that calls for Baker to step down for its organizers claim is a violation of “the trust between him and the people of the state of Pennsylvania.” Patch.com lights up some more details:

Some expressed frustration that a single person had the power to prevent a vote on a bill that gained broad bipartisan support in the Senate and presumably would enjoy similar support in the House.

“How can one man have so much impact…something doesn’t seem right about that,” commented Reddit user keystroker007.

Others questioned Baker’s motivations in preventing the House from considering the bill.

“It’s absolutely ludicrous to think that medical cannabis is not beneficial for human health issues,” writes Randolph Yale, on the petition. “This guy is not for the people, he is for himself and his pockets. He needs to go!”

Biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is Baker’s top campaign financier, providing over $5,000, according to VoteSmart.org.

Alas friends, medicinal marijuana might come to the Keystone State after all. This Penn Live piece states that “House officials say Rep. Jim Cox of Berks County is drafting medical marijuana legislation that could eventually be amended into a separate bill outside of Baker’s committee.” In other words, Baker might not be able to bogart this issue forever.

Noontime Nuggetz: What The People Of Circa-1979 Philadelphia Were Actually Like

Earlier today we stumbled upon this experimental 16mm film from 1979 in which Marc Librescu captured people walking in Center City on what appears to be an ordinary autumn or early-winter day. For a hypnotizing three minutes shoppers, workers and other denizens of the place we call home pass the camera as it captures their fleeting movements on film. Who were these people? Where were they going? How much did it rain that day? Were they happy? Are they still with us? These are amongst the myriad questions that will flow through your mind as you watch this inadvertent fashion parade of a time that is so long gone now we can barely comprehend that we actually lived through it ourselves.

This Moment In The Philadelphia Bike Wars: Ron Deets vs The Khakied Rage Dude Of Pine Street

FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Last Wednesday, South Philly resident Ron Deets was riding on the Pine Street bike lane when he was cut off by an SUV. After tapping the side of the vehicle to alert the driver to his presence, Deets found himself the victim of a strange and frightening incident as the car’s owner proceeded to drag and allegedly assault him. You can see the disturbing video of the confrontation above, but what is even more troubling is how after Deets stopped traffic and called the police the cops let the driver go…despite the above bystander video. (After the story aired on FOX 29 last week, the PPD is now further looking into the matter). We salute Deets for standing up to himself as well as bicyclists throughout the city who have to deal with this kind of shit on the regular. Although if you ask us, the real crime here might just be against fashion itself — i.e. the dragging dude’s pager-packing dadbelt, an accessory that makes us wonder if this event actually occurred in 1996 and we have all just fallen through some fracture in the space-time continuum caused by ragey car-owning entitlement.

FYI: The Roots To Headline This Year’s Welcome America 4th Of July Festivities


At a press conference that just wrapped up at the African American Museum, Mayor Nutter was on hand to help unveil the lineup for this year’s Wawa Welcome America festivities for the Fourth of July. The biggest news released was that The Roots would be returning to Philly (though really, they never left) to headline the massive Parkway concert on the 4th of July alongside of Miguel and Jennifer Nettles. Whether you choose to check this out or take the housebound Aimee Mann approach to the holiday is entirely your call. You can find a full recap of the announcements here.

The Week Ahead In Comedy: Don’t You Forget About Me

Photo by Cara McGuffin

Photo by Cara McGuffin

It’s not every Wednesday that you can go see Matt Fulchiron in Philadelpha, which is why this coming Wednesday is no ordinary Wednesday! Because Matt Fulchiron WILL be in Philadelphia on Wedesday. You probably know Matt from his appearances on Comedy Central Presents, Live at Gotham, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and Tosh.0, and this week he’ll be at Pub Webb Live as part of his East Coast Tour. Also on the show are Alex Grubard, Eddie Finn and Nat Margolis. Wednesday 8PM, $7 in adv, $10 at the door.

Everyone loves Monday Holidays, popcorn and debut shows from new sketch groups, and this week, get some popcorn and you can have all 3. The House of Solitude debut sketch show, Together Forever, features sketches about police spouses, large pants, astronauts in love, and imaginary boyfriends, along with a healthy dose of skinny ties and 80’s music. Directed by Maggy Keegan (Figment Theater, Mani Pedi) and written by Dan Corkery (Alley of Nightmares, Goat Rodeo) and Caitlin Weigel (Mani Pedi, Sketchier) Together Forever will keep you laughing until you drive hoe and begin to feel very, very alone in the world. Thursday and Friday, 9PM, $10 at the door.

Once upon a time, there was a comedic five-headed monster called TDtF that you could find raising HECK and stumbling off stage at any comedy venue in the Greater Philadelphia Region. Today, The chances of seeing the members of the comedy collective Mike Rainey, Pat Kelly, Steve Rees, Danny Ozark and Eric Todd in the same room is slim. On Friday, this group of stand up veterans get together one more (last? I hope not!) time at the Comedy Clubhouse in Manayunk. BYOB, you will probably want some B. Friday, 9PM, $10.

Did you see Mad Max: Fury Road? Did you see Pitch Perfect 2? You probably did, and you did because you probably love movies. On Friday night you can see 8 of the cities top comedy minds build movie pitches right before your very eyes at Alex Strang’s Move Plotz! The game, developed by local game designer Alex Strang fuses elements of improvisation and storytelling and a hardcore love of Hollywood and spins off 2 new zany movie pitches. Friday, 10:30PM, $10 in adv, $12 at the door.

Joe Moore is the genial jerk who is head writer of sketch group Dog Mountain, host of monthly show Guilty Pleasures and a sketch comedy instructor. Hunt him down on twitter @TheJoeMoore.

This Video Tribute To Spruce Street Harbor Park Is An Instant Souvenir Of The Weekend’s Good Vibes

Judging from the massive number of deeply hungover folks we’ve already encountered this morning, we’re guessing that you guys didn’t want this longest of weekends to end either. While Memorial Day is now behind us, there’s much giddiness around Philebrity HQ today due to thoughts of the long lazy days that lie firmly ahead. (Why yes The Key, we would love to read your listicle of Philly summer songs, please and thank you). We totally get if you are feeling a bit lethargic about the whole work thing today, so here’s what we suggest — check out the latest Uncover Philly video from Cory J. Popp that was shot at Spruce Street Harbor Park over the weekend. This mighty bit of instant nostalgia will make you yearn to go back. What’s everyone doing after work today?

May 21, 2015

This Weekend: Time To Sit Back And Unwind

THURSDAY:

>>> David Cronenberg‘s 1986 remake of the 1950s cheesefest The Fly is one of the decade’s best films, taking his carefully crafted body horror oeuvre to the next level. So you can imagine our disdain when we learned that the film will be the focus of tonight’s Mega-Bad Movie Night at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Fortunately, we were relieved to discover that the panelists — including Kennedy Allen of the Black Tribbles podcast — will not be MST3King the movie itself, but rather poking holes in its various scientific inaccuracies. Something we are totally cool with because teleporters would make life so much easier all around.

>>> The final Wine & Wilde event is going down at the Rosenbach, with a talk by Allen Crawford entitled “Oscar Wilde’s Aestheticism” that will be as informative as it is tricky to spell.

>>> Related to the previous event, The Smiths Social is back at the Troc with Morrissey and Marr music from The 18th Pale Descendants. We would go out tonight, but we haven’t got a stitch to wear.

>>> The Urban Geek Drinks: Post-Election Defrag Edition event at Frankford Hall will let you schmooze and discuss politics while drinking huge-ass beers. You approve of at least one of those things at the very least, so go.

>>> Mural Arts’ Off the Wall Ball at the Electric Factory is a fundraising opportunity to give back to the program that has become an integral part of Philly’s cultural landscape.

>>> A screening of the documentary Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, D.C. at Drexel will show how, holy shit, real life sometimes is like Fugazi.

>>> FEELING GOOD: The Sun-Ra Arkestra under the direction of Marshall Allen hits the Ardmore Music Hall. Yes yes yes.

>>> TireFire Readings return to Tattooed Mom, with unmissable words and insights from Jeff Parker, Christian Tebordo, Dan Torday and Jaime Fountaine.

>>> World Party plays World Cafe Live. We’re still trying to figure out “Is It Like Today?”

FRIDAY:

>>> Spruce Street Harbor Park opens for its second year! If you weren’t already sold on the summer hang, you will be thanks to some great new programming and partnerships from the DRWC (sigh, and yes, more hammocks). Kicking things off tonight will be the debut of the Visit Philly Beer Garden Series. Your body will thank you, even if your liver doesn’t. Expect much more on Spruce Street Harbor Park in the now-hopeful days ahead.

>>> Pig Iron Theater Company’s I Promised Myself To Live Faster opens at FringeArts, bringing with it a dazzling, science fiction-tinged effort inspired by the works of Charles Ludlam that appears to be a gloriously gay mash-up of Greek legends and Barbarella camp. Two great tastes that taste beyond great together.

SATURDAY:

>>> The Blue Cross Riverrink Summerfest is now underway as well, bringing with it a brand new roller skating rink that JUST OPENED and a corresponding retro DJ set tonight from a man who knows everything about “Summertime,” Jazzy Jeff. The vibes are everywhere this weekend, aren’t they?

>>> Freak folkers On The Water are celebrating the release of their new effort, Cordelia, with a record release party at PhilaMOCA that will see the band joined by like-minded acts such as Impressionist and Liz and the Lost Boys.

>>> Invisible River’s “Flying River Dance” at Spruce Street Harbor Park does the impossible by bringing real beauty to the Delaware.

>>> Stones Night at Underground Arts will let you get your ya-yas out through performances by Rolling Stones tribute acts Brown Sugar, Nasty Habits (doing Let It Bleed in its entirety) and Dead Flowers.

>>> More tribute acts: The Rent-A-Cops (The Police) and Krush (Rush) are at World Cafe Live. This weekend is weird.

>>> The Art Star Pop Up Shop begins a summer residency at, you guessed it, Spruce Street Harbor Park. Stop on by and get some locally made crafffffftttttttsssss.

>>> Talkin ’bout Pop Musik at The Dolphin with DJ Robert Drake playing those perfect ’80s jams.

SUNDAY:

>>> Punk Rock Flea Market debuts at Spruce Street Harbor Park, where will it will run weekly throughout the summer. That scream you just heard was us losing our goddamned minds with excitement over this.

>>> Or you could just spend Sunday night at the 700 catching up with all of the old heads while DJ Jeremy Grites plays the sweet sounds.

MONDAY

>>> It’s Memorial Day, and you probably aren’t doing anything but eating burgers and/or watching Jaws.

Film Sweat: I Love You Tomorrow, You’re Only A Day Away

Philebs is taking tomorrow off to get an early start on the holiday weekend, so here’s your Film Sweat!

RECOMMENDED: Will Tommorowland be a new franchise-starting blockbuster or is it merely a misguided Objectivist parable? We are hearing reports that suggest both of these things, which kinda just makes us want to see it more. Taking inspiration from the Disneyland attraction and then bouncing off onto weird tangents from there, this seems like a return to the fun George Clooney roles that we have been missing without realizing. Admittedly this could be because of the sheer volume of Over Our Heads-era The Facts of Life we’ve been watching of late, but it’s nice to see George not being all womp womp on screen. Better still is that the film is playing at the Prince Theater, which will kick off a nice new phase for the venue now that it is in the hands of the Philadelphia Film Society.

ALSO NEW IN THEATERS THIS WEEK: Janus Films‘ stunning restoration of Satyajit Ray‘s The Apu Trilogy will once again turn attention to how the film is a defining moment in world cinema; In the Name of My Daughter is a French drama about love and betrayal that is set in 1976 and stars Catherine Deneuve; and Poltergeist is a remake of the 1980s Tobe Hooper horror effort that will prove once and for all that Sam Rockwell is no Craig T. Nelson; I’ll See You in My Dreams is an indie ensemble drama that looks ripped right from the 90s, and we mean that as a compliment; Far from the Madding Crowd brings Thomas Hardy‘s literary classic to life with help from the always great Carey Mulligan; and Lambert and Stamp is a must see documentary about the men who made The Who happen.

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.

FYI: New Photography Exhibition Celebrates City Halls Peregrine Falcons

Gah! You see this adorable little fella? He’s one of a family of Peregrine Falcons that calls City Hall tower home. The endangered species will take the spotlight in the new photography exhibition Philadelphia’s City Hall Peregrines. Featuring photographs by Pennsylvania Game Commission volunteers and local falcon fans alike, the show opens on June 1st in the NE corner of the seventh floor of City Hall. (Which sounds like some artistic bureaucracy but totally isn’t). During a press event tomorrow morning, the PA Game Commission’s Art McMorris will band four baby Peregrines, and we are going to try to clear our schedules to see this because ohmygod are these things totes adorbs. So much so that they make us sound like a middle schooler apparently. Still, awwwwww.