October 30, 2014

And Now, Philebrity’s Big List Of Halloween Parties

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Oh crap, tomorrow is Halloween! Do you have your Slutty Claims Adjuster costume together? Where are you going to go? Is everywhere going to be awful? So many questions. Allow us to help. We just sorted through a mountain of invites and press releases, and here, Philly, are your best options for heading out tomorrow night. We have made every effort to eliminate things that are obviously for and by douchebags here, but please remember, it’s Halloween on a Friday night in Philly. Please make every effort to choose wisely. (And, if you’re okay with using List.ly, go ahead and add something if you feel we missed it. Honor system, folks.) (more…)

October 31, 2014

This Evening: Fall Back

FRIDAY:

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We told you about this already. Click above for the big list.

SATURDAY:

>>> There are people still having Halloween parties, but that just does not feel right. We recommend not attending any of them. It’s like, dude, the moment passed. It’s Halloween, not Hanukkah. Instead, get on your bike and don that tweed. For the Tweed Ride is upon us once again. We like this not just because it is the polar opposite of the Naked Bike Ride. We also like it because, for us, it is a subtle psychic message to England that maybe, if they were to try and colonize America again, there are some of us who would not protest.

SUNDAY:

>>> For those of you who have ever wondered, “God, I wonder what it would be like if I could see Terry Gross rock out ON STAGE,” wonder no more: Off Air with Fresh Air is at the Keswick. Can you even imagine the groupie scene?

>>> Turn your clocks back and revel in that fabulous cold darkness. May your crockpots slowly cook to your heart’s content.

Film Sweat: Listen To What The (Hilariously Self-Obsessed) Man Says

RECOMMENDED: As you anxiously await the Bored To Death movie, Jason Schwartzman fans, do spend time with Listen Up Philip. Directed by Bryn Mawr’s own Alex Ross Perry, the film trades heavily on Schwartzman’s Bored To Death character — he’s a writer in this one, too, only more self-obsessed to the point of malignancy. His mentor in this regard and others is played memorably by Jonathan Pryce, an author who himself is but an amusing pastiche of Philip Roth. Together, they set about ruining whatever relationships are on hand, and there are less and less of them all the time; Elizabeth Moss delivers a strong (if a little bit underwritten) part here as Schwartzman’s long-suffering girlfriend. As a set piece about the exact kind of dickhead white male writers can be, it’s a little facile but also (shudder) pretty on point at the same time. There’s also a lot of nice blazers onscreen.

ALSO NEW IN THEATERS THIS WEEK: Citizen Four, director Laura Poitras‘ doc about coming into contact with Edward Snowden in the months leading up to the explosive revelations he would unleash upon the world;Art & Craft, a doc about one of the world’s great art forgers; The Blue Room, a moody, sexy French intrigue with Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Grand Budapest Hotel) directing and starring; Horns, the thing wot has Danielle Radcliffe growin’ ‘orns out his noggin on accounta talking with a Yank accent, innit?; White Bird In A Blizzard, director Gregg Araki‘s feeler about listening to the Cocteau Twins when yer mum’s gone missing; The Tale Of Princess Kaguya, an epic effort from Japanese animator Isao Takahata who takes on “Japan’s most famous folktale in this gorgeous, hand-drawn masterwork, decades in the making”; Nightcrawler, wherein weird-lookin’ Jake Gyllenhaal looks weird and becomes a freelance crime journalist and is weird; Before I Go To Sleep, Colin Firth is in too many movies, I don’t get it, I mean, he’s great and all, but, like, this is getting to be like an all-pasta diet; and The Guest, starring Dan Stevens as a creepy manipulator who worms his way into a family on the way to a series of violent crimes.

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.



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Of Course The Guy Who Invented The TED Talk Was A Penn Undergrad

OF COURSE HE WAS. That smarmy, pablum-feeding, pseudo-intellectual, Scientologist-esque, corny self-help-ish but oddly self-congratulatory vibe? That is, like, soooooo Penn undergrad.

The Kids Of Ramonita de Rodriguez Branch Of The Library Say: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

As part of the Free Library of Philadelphia‘s most excellent MakerJawn program — which puts together kids with artists, engineers, designers, and thinkers to inspire creativity — the kids of the Ramonita de Rodriguez Branch got together with artist Andrew Jeffrey Wright and made this super cute Halloween video (with soundtrack by “Jason of Kensington”). We think it’s a new classic. Thanks, MakerJawns!



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Kenyatta Johnson’s Office On Little Pete’s: “We’re Not Going Down There With Jackhammers Today”

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Comedian Paul F. Thompkins at Little Pete’s. Image via longtime Little Pete’s obsessive/Judge of All Things John Hodgman. Hodgman was also distressed to hear the news.

It wasn’t just the home office here at Philebrity that cried foul late yesterday when PlanPhilly broke the news that plans were in place to tear down the building that has been home to the venerated Rittenhouse Square greasy spoon Little Pete’s since 1978. The plans for a new luxury hotel to go up in that space, at 17th and Chancellor streets, came to light when City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson introduced a bill Thursday that would put the zoning wheels in motion.

What Johnson — who ironically is often charged with being an anti-development guy — couldn’t have counted on is Little Pete’s being a flashpoint in a current debate across the city that wonders whether or not Philly is changing too rapidly. “Yeah, we’re a little surprised,” Johnson’s spokesman, George Farrell, told us this morning, reacting to the outpouring of pro-Little Pete’s sentiment on Twitter after we sent out this Tweet last night, getting the #SAVELITTLEPETES hashtag going:


By midnight, the hashtag was a trending topic in Philly. Johnson’s office were quick to point out to us, however, that the die is far from cast in Little Pete’s fate: “They [Little Pete's owners] have got a year to figure this out,” Farrell said. “We’re working with them to try to find a good solution. We’re trying to figure out a win-win situation for everybody.” He went on to say that the project in question — a Philly outpost of NYC’s Hudson Hotel — “has a lot of support with the community and Planning Commission.” When pressed on what community exactly that was, he admitted that that neighborhood’s RCO, the Center City Residents Association, had yet to issue an actual position on the matter. “This legislation is the first step in making that project real,” he said. “It’s a long way away, we’re not going down there with jackhammers today.” All the more reason to keep that hashtag going then.

October 30, 2014

This Evening: (Mis)Chief Kamanawanalea & The Royal Macadamia Nuts

>>> Devil’s Night, Mischief Night, whatever you wanna call it (duh, it’s Mischief Night): If you are on the streets of Philadelphia, just assume that you will be egged, and consider it a happy accident if somehow you are not. Nevertheless, NERDS, we’ll give you two good reasons to head out tonight: There’s Skeptics In The Pub – Spooky Edition at The Blind Pig, featuring Kenny Biddle, skeptical investigator of paranormal claims and author of Orbs or Dust: A Practical Guide to False Positive Evidence. And there’s also Philly History Quizzo at National Mechanics, which is part of Archives Month and will be chock full of awesome Philly knowledge (and probably also, like, insanely difficult).

>>> There’s also Philly Tapes Philly at Ortlieb’s. Philly Tapes Philly is a new monthly series founded by members of Commonwealth Choir and Big Tusk, wherein each party comes with a cassette release. The format is simple: “2 bands. 2 songs. 1 tape.” First 50 through the door tonight get a free copy of Philly Tapes Philly Vol. 7, featuring tonight’s performers: Brian Dale Allen Strouse (The Lawsuits) and Bij Lincs (Ground Up).

>>> And last but certainly not least, heavy metal legends/scary rock makers Pentagram play Johnny Brenda’s.

Who Did Sad/Hilarious Privilege Better: Ayla’s “America” Or “African Child” From Get Him To The Greek?

Nontroversy erupted earlier this week when it came to light that the staff of the National Constitution Center (very, very wisely) decided to not include, in its Liberty Medal event honoring Malala Yousafzai, “a scheduled videotape performance by 14-year-old pop singer Ayla Potamkin, a Colorado girl with deep Philadelphia roots, who wrote a song to honor the 17-year-old Pakistani human-rights activist.” The videotape performance in question (VHS or Beta, Inky?) was a clip for a track called “America,” and a more jingoistic piece of tripe you will not find above the Mason-Dixon line. Nevertheless, among the offended when it came to light that Ayla would not have A Special Day on the back of Malala’s honors: Ed Rendell. Richard Sprague. Fans of South Park, presumably. Now, Emily Guendelsberger over at City Paper has unpacked this much better than we could, noting both the WTF nature of how this almost even happened as well as the song’s seeming genre-relationship with, say, “Friday” by Rebecca Black. But we also noted a (most likely unintentional) allegiance with that great emblem of privilege rock, Aldous Snow’s “African Child,” from the great American film Get Him To The Greek. We realize that “African Child” is not really “real,” but look at both clips and ask yourself: Is anything real? (more…)

Here Is A Picture Of Bro’dley Cooper As The Elephant Man That You Should Text, Apropos Of Nothing, To Your BFF

Bradley Cooper goes from 'Sexiest Man' to Elephant Man for new play.

Is this a thing? Oh, yes, it’s a thing! AND IT’S VERY SERIOUS. Because Bro’dley is SERIOUS. Do you deny that he is SERIOUS? Seriously!

Noontime Nuggetz: A Complete History Of The Action News Opening Credits, From 1970 On

This here is the Action News motherlode, Philly: A compendium of opens from WPVI-TV from 1970 up until last year. It dates from before “Move Closer To Your World” even existed, features wild psychedelic graphics, LARRY KANE IN HIS TWENTIES, and so much old dirty Philly. Strap yourself in and go to a place we once called, with great pride, Philadelphia.

This Just In: Hate Crime Bill Passes City Council

Just in the inbox from City Hall:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hate Crime Bill Passes City Council

(PHILADELPHIA, PA) October 30, 2014–Today, Philadelphia City Council unanimously passed the Hate Crime Bill introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and Councilman Jim Kenney. The bill adds a new chapter to the Philadelphia Code to provide for additional penalties for criminal conduct motivated by hatred regarding sexual orientation, gender identity and disabilities as defined in the City’s Fair Practices Ordinance, all of which are not covered by existing state hate crime laws.

The bill is in response to the September 11, 2014 assault of a same-sex couple in Center City, where the assailants allegedly hurled anti-gay slurs. It was later reported that the District Attorney could not prosecute the attack as a hate crime because no such protections currently exist.

“Philadelphia is known all over the world as a city that celebrates and values diversity and we will not allow a few thugs to tarnish that reputation,” said Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown. “It is shameful that this legislation is necessary in 2014, but as Councilman Kenney and I have demonstrated in the past, we are proud to do it.”

She continued, “We are not brought into this world with hate in our hearts; that is something learned along the way. This is a teaching moment not only for the bullies out there, but for the parents of bullies. We all have a responsibility to protect one another. My heart hurts for all people who are targeted because of who they are. No one has a right to diminish someone else’s shine, and our message today is, if you think it is appropriate to hurt someone with hate in your heart, there will be a price to pay.”

“Until the Commonwealth comes to its senses and treats these offenses as the hate crimes they are, Philadelphia City Council must do all it can to protect our citizens,” said Councilman Jim Kenney.

More particulars after the jump. (more…)

R.I.P.: The Alt-Weekly Cover Story In Philly

p1coverHandsThere is a hopeful element within us that thinks that maybe the alt-weekly cover story, that long-running valuable repository for journalism that dailies can’t or won’t do, is merely endangered. But it doesn’t look good. Have you noticed? In recent weeks, Philadelphia Weekly has moved to a new model, wherein the “cover story” is merely an advertisement for a one-page article you’ll find somewhere in its wafer-thin pages. And sadly, one page does not a cover story make. So instead, these thingys — we’ll call them “thingys,” as they approximate something between “column” and “long item” — often feel like the physical-space representation of a re-blog. And they can’t possibly satisfy anyone who’s looking for the real thing, be they reader or writer.

Meanwhile, over at City Paper, the cover story in recent weeks has been refashioned, as often as not, as a listicle. That’s not a cover story either. In CP’s case, it’s just one of a myriad of symptoms of the weird times we’ve been hearing about since the day Metro took the paper over, developing a pattern of squandering talent when it’s not just letting it go altogether. This, for example, is not the way you use Daniel Denvir, master of ye olde longform alt-weekly cover story. It’d be a great quickie on Vox, or even here, but on paper? Again, it feels like a re-blog. (Although, to be fair, it’s not as bad as this.) We’d like to think that the boat could turn around at CP — it seems clear the longform ship has definitively sailed at PW — but if watching the alt-weekly world all this time has taught us anything, it’s this: There is now nothing but diminishing returns. And that is a sad thing indeed.

Let It Be Known That It Is October 2014 And Vogue Just Posted “How To Get That Patti Smith Look”

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Well, bless your heart, Vogue. In tangentially related news, Urban Outfitters just made Mic’s 14 Companies to Avoid If You Support Equality in America list, so wherever you are getting that look — and we recommend it for most humans — just don’t get it there. Patti would not like that.

Right Now In The People’s Republic Of Comcast: Reparations With A Side Of Hope

Sure, Philly, when it comes to watching TV, you have options of a sort now, be they Fios (if Comcast hasn’t blocked it from coming into your neighborhood) or Roku/Chromecast/Netflix (if Comcast isn’t throttling your Internet connection). But back in the day, say, 10 years ago, Comcast had Philly on lock in a way that was positively totalitarian. And, as their proposed merger with Time Warner is still being considered, it’s important to remember this: They did not behave well in a monopolistic situation. In fact, they gouged the shit out of their Philly customers.

So, give the current events, is it out of a sense of “Hey, that’s not who we are any more” that Comcast finally decided to settle a 10-year-old class action suit claiming that they overcharged Philly customers? Maybe. Or maybe they just wanted to get you hooked on some of their other services. Among the 40 Green Acres and Mr. Ed mules is offering the offended in the settlement:

Customers certified to be in the class can have a one-time credit of $15 on their bill or one of these options:

Six free pay-per-view movies (an estimated $35.94 value).

Four months of free upgrade in Internet service for customers who subscribe to Xfinity high-speed Internet service. Four months free upgrade in Internet service from Performance Level to Blast! service (an estimated $40 value), or one free month upgrade from Blast! service to Extreme 105 service (an estimated $38 value).

Two free months of the Movie Channel (an estimated $43.90 value).

Current subscribers who do not choose on their claim form either the $15 bill credit or one of the options will automatically get two free months of the Movie Channel.

Wow, thanks guys. Meanwhile, to wash that taste out of your mouth, here’s “Five Reasons Why Critics of Comcast’s Time Warner Cable Deal Are Feeling Hopeful.” We want to believe, we really do, but man, The Movie Channel. It just makes us sad.

Dept. Of Meaningless Lists: Philly Now The #1 U.S. City In Terms Of Vampire, Uh, Livability

One of those horseshit clickwhore real estate blogs did a list of “The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Be a Vampire,” and, guys, guess what? PHILLY WON!

1. Philadelphia, PA
Cloudy days: 160
Bar Hours: 7 a.m. – 3 a.m.
# of Blood Banks and Drives: 548
Homes for Sale Near Cemeteries Ranking: 2
It turns out that the City of Brotherly Love is a bloody good place to be for vampires, with plenty of cloudy days, a 3 a.m. closing time and many cemeteries in the city. Philadelphia had the most blood drives planned for the next month – 548 – ensuring that vampires would have plenty of places to grab a bite to eat.

3AM? What? Also, there is no mention of A.D. Amorosi on this list, which indicates even more poor research than you’d suspect or that dude’s move to Metro was merely a secret retirement.

October 29, 2014

This Evening: Come See About Them

>>> Amidst the vast array of tribute nights we’ve seen around town over the years, we believe that tonight’s A Tribute To The Supremes at The Fire may be the first of its kind in Philly. Among the fine locals taking on this most revered of songbooks will be Allison Pollans, Imani Roach from The York Street Hustle, Ali Wadsworth, and more. We’re hoping nobody skimps on the hair.

>>> Elsewhere: Long Spells, a new band featuring ex-members of Public Record and current members of A Sunny Day in Glasgow, makes their debut at Silk City with Proexhibitors, Jeff Zeigler and Suburban Living. Norfolk, VA’s Suburban Living in particular hit that dream pop sweet spot for us. Dig:

>>> And TJ Kong’s Writers’ Night In America returns to Jose Pistola’s.

Traffic Alert: Obama Stumping For Tom Wolf On Sunday At Temple U

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Click here if you’d like to go. Otherwise, plan your trip to Kim’s BBQ accordingly.

City Council, Through Sheer Incompetence, Either Did Or Did Not Do A Good Thing By Negging The PGW Deal

Food for thought in the land of stopped clocks being right twice a day: As the Mayor himself has noted, City Council’s colossal Philly shrug on a deal that would have at long last pulled the PGW monkey off the City’s back was not a high point in local government. For a variety of reasons, all of them illustrative of how Council is intellectually/spiritually broken, and has been since before you were born, toots. But as the dust settles and more news and perspectives on the mishap pop up, consider this: Could Council have just dodged a bullet by letting the deal die on the table? This post from way back in March by the PennFuture Energy Center for Enterprise and the Environment makes the case that UIL Holdings could well have only been interested in PGW for one thing: Its resources and facilities that could be used in the fracking business. To wit:

Why would a company pay almost $2 billion for an aging utility in a city with high rates of poverty and static population growth? Two words: Marcellus. Shale.

Bidders were intent on acquiring PGW not only for its retail utility business, but also for its Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) facilities along the Delaware River and its proximity to Pennsylvania’s rich shale play.

Looking at it that way, YAY Council! Looking at it another way, here you have Council’s own consultant saying that gas bills in Philly will rise more if the City keeps PGW. So it’s really a glass half-empty/half-full thing. But I don’t think that’s water in there.

Previously: Watch Michael Nutter Talk With Sadness And Exasperation About How City Council Screwed The Pooch On The PGW Deal

If You’re Going To Crowdfund Your Earthship, Try Not To Be Such A Hippie About It

Despite being at least a few years away from hitting the mainstream, Earthships are not a new idea here in Philadelphia. And that’s okay with us. Kind of. We’re wont to get weird and wavy from time to time here at Philebrity. Not to go into too much detail, but we’ve seen, eaten, and relieved ourselves into a thing or two. So when an indiegogo campaign launches to fund a new Earthship building project, we’ll read it. We’ll take seriously the claim that “They cost a fraction of what traditional housing costs to build. They can be part of a revolution in low-cost housing, and in a greening of the U.S.” We might even take a moment to consider the advantages of houses that “process their own sewage (into a septic system or dry-composting toilet).” But when the proposal’s coming from a guy who looks like he’s relocating to his Earthship from his car and the promo video’s set to a Crosby Stills and Nash song, well… come on, dude. Let’s play our hippie cards a little closer to the vest, yeah?

Audio: President Of PA Taxi Association Saying Uber Is Like Isis Will Make You Actually LOL

Alex Friedman is president of the PA Taxi Association and general manager of the All City and Checker Cab companies; as you might imagine, he is not very stoked on all of this Uber stuff. He is so not stoked, in fact, that at yesterday’s Philadelphia Parking Authority board meeting, he was moved to draw a comparison on how Uber and nightmare terroist organization Isis are, by his estimation, exactly alike. Luckily for all, the statement was caught on tape by Jon Geeting of PlanPhilly, and we defy you to not at least chuckle a little upon hearing these words come out of this man’s mouth. (Also, by some quirk of Soundcloud algorithmic magic, if you play the above on Soundcloud, it segues right into this DOPE Pete Rock mixtape. So thank you TWO TIMES to both Friedman and Geeting.)

Previously: Q&A: Taylor From The Front Office At UberX, Who Is Not Amused By These PPA Shenanigans. Not At All. Not One Bit.