April 18, 2014
With the release of the Kong EP, TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb find themselves in that Philly band sweet spot, where it is generally agreed upon by the people who care about these things that here is as formidable an example of a Philly rock ‘n’ roll band as we have, and we’d be proud to send them out into the rest of the world bearing our area code. Kong songs are filled with things people did that they regret, booze they forgot they even drank, and messes everywhere. We are what we are, people. Tonight’s their Record Release at Johnny Brenda’s with Ali Wadsworth & Pine Barons.
>>> The Cinedelphia fest is still underway! Check out tonight’s Mondo Mausoleum Party, and check our festival preview here.
>>> Elsewhere: Stephen Ragga Marley at the Troc; Black Lips/Natural Child at Union Transfer; and Boy George at TLA.
>>> Quick, take a Zyrtec, it’s Record Store Day, AHHHHHHHHHHH! We highlighted a bunch of Philly-related RSD special releases here; and you can get a list of in-store events and participating stores nearby here.
>>> Meanhwile, Center City Jazz Festival sets up for one day, jam-packed with performances, all within a Midtown-Village-ish walking distance.
>>> And last but not least, Kwesi K also has a new one out, and it’s absolutely lovely. No, REALLY. Ecoutez:
He celebrates at The Boot & Saddle
>>> May your brunches have a minimum of crying babies and vocal fry. May the sunshine rest on your shoulders while you daydrink freely. May whatshisface not insist on TALKING ALL THE WAY THROUGH MAD MEN. May you, if partnered, not do that thing where you both are so stressed out that you just argue all weekend; if you’re single, may you get out there and find the best goddamned lay of your life. Actually fuck it, we hope that happens for the paired-off people, too. Mix it up! Breakup Train 2014, woooo! And by the power invested in us as Philebrity.com, we now pronounce you man and weekend.
RECOMMENDED: Here in America, Alan Partridge will be lucky if it plays for a week, but over in the UK, Steve Coogan‘s signature character (wildly inappropriate, ego-driven, dissipated chat show host Alan Partridge, once the subject of a popular BBC sitcom) is a whole thing. (Sort of like a Tyler Perry for pasty white snobby British people… sort of.) And for those of us in the Tribe of Coogan, this is a huge deal that this will even play on an American screen. Especially since Coogan has been amping up his Real Actor cred with stuff like Philomena and What Maisie Knew, Alan Partridge is a very welcome nod to us O.G. fans who prefer the man as absurd as possible. This new film seems to take the elevator pitch of Airheads — goofballs take over a radio station — and mess around with it some. And frankly, that’s as much as we need. We’re there already.
ALSO RECOMMENDED: Jodrowsky’s Dune, an amazing yarn about a movie that never was but could have easily been the greatest thing to happen in the lives of prog rock fans, sci-fi nerds and Orson Welles.
ALSO NEW IN THEATERS THIS WEEK: Under the Skin, highlighting the real abundance of riches we’ve suddenly got in theaters right now, there’s this Scarlett Johansson star turn as a sort of alien nymphomaniac in this wild Kubrick-ian piece directed by Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast); Teenage, an adventurous docu-thing inspired by Jon Savage‘s book on the invention of the very concept of “teenagers”; Breathe In, a moody suspense number starring Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones in what sort of sounds like a movie adaptation of “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” by The Police; Bears, one of those live-action Disney docs that will probably try and make you think that bears have morals; Transcendence, MOMMY WHY IS JOHNNY DEPP IN THE HELLRAISER WITH CORNROWS FACE?; and A Haunted House 2, ‘cos Marlon Wayans can’t stop scarin’ people!
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.
Former SNL writer and actor, and current Democratic senator from Minnesota Al Franken has a unique TV background for a senator. And therefore, he’s reaching out to Netflix, hoping they will join him in his vocal opposition to the Comcast/Time Warner merger.
According to the International Business Times, Franken sent Netflix a letter which read, in part:
My concern is that Comcast will be able to use its clout in the broadband distribution market to obtain an anticompetitive advantage in the content market. Comcast can achieve this by blocking, degrading, raising costs for, or otherwise interfering with unaffiliated content that relies on Comcast’s distribution network to reach consumers. I am not alone in my concerns. When Comcast acquired NBCUniversal, the FCC noticed the unprecedented nature of Comcast’s vertical integration and concluded that it would ‘increase Comcast’s incentive to discriminate against unaffiliated content and distributors in its exercise of control over consumers’ broadband connections[.]’ Those concerns were appropriate when Comcast acquired NBCUniversal a few years ago; they are heightened significantly now that Comcast seeks to acquire Time Warner Cable”
Comcast has already had a slightly contentious history with Netflix, and Franken is hoping that will lead their CEO to speak up, and perhaps put an end to the merger before it is allowed to happen. Will all of this backlash, how will Comcast get through it? Because they’re good enough, they’re smart enough, and doggone it, people actually really hate them.
Might as well call it Waterfront Summerfest.
Following up the success of the colder months’ Waterfront Winterfest, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation today announced the Spruce Street Harbor Park at the Penn’s Landing Marina, a two-month summer program set to take place in July and August. Among its features are a boardwalk, urban beach, fountains, and misting areas. And is that not INSANE enough for you? How about “a series of floating barges complete with lily pad water gardens, a pop-up restaurant and bar, and nets that will suspend visitors over the water.” Emphasis ours and probably yours as well.
Tom Corcoran, president of the DRWC, said “Spruce Street Harbor Park, thanks in part to a grant from ArtPlace America, stands to substantially augment the already fantastic lineup of summer events at Penn’s Landing. By creating new spaces, we’re showing Philadelphia and the region just how beautiful and accessible the waterfront can be.” We’re way on board, and when it hits 90+ degrees outside, we’re gonna go ahead and need that Mist Walk everywhere.
Way back in 2010, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund’s allocation from the fiscal year budget was $3.2 million. Since then, “the City has let the Philadelphia Cultural Fund operate under a slashed budget of $1.84 million.” To try to change that, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, GroundSwell and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund are partnering to rally arts & culture supporters across the region for the first-ever Philadelphia Arts Advocacy Day on Tuesday, April 22nd. What will Arts Advocacy Day contain? Basically a City Council budget hearing testimony from Cultural Alliance Interim Executive Director Michael Norris at 6pm, and a whole lot of tweeting before that. According to a press release, Norris will present a Groundswell petition to Council asking them to increasde fuding for PCF. But what can you do? They’re asking very little from you:
How to Participate:
>>> Tweet to followers on April 21st that the campaign will be occurring the next day on Philadelphia Arts Advocacy Day
>>> Tweet during the day of April 22nd about how you and/or your organization are impacted by the arts in Philadelphia using the hash tag #RestoreArtsFundingPHL
>>> Tweet to Council President Clarke @Darrell_Clarke to #RestoreArtsFundingPHL
>>> Ask your followers to tweet about how the arts in Philadelphia impact their lives using the hashtag #RestoreArtsFundingPHL
>>> Retweet some of your favorite responses
>>> Follow @GroundSwell_PA and @PhilaCulturalFund as they live-tweet the public testimony”
You barely have to wake up for that shit. Nicole Allen, Cultural Alliance Director of Policy and Community Engagement, said “We need to show City Council that Philadelphians from every neighborhood care about the future of arts & culture in our city … Restoring the budget for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund is a big part of that future, so we’re asking anyone who values Philly’s cultural community to get involved and take action for PCF on Philadelphia Arts Advocacy Day.” And considering how little they are asking of you — you can sign their petition here and you were going to be tweeting all day anyway — you have no excuse.
Somewhere we have heard this before: According to Main Line Media News, Radnor Township residents are falling victim to gypsies and “gypsy style” scams. [Note: Google image searching "gypsy style" will bring you pictures of everyone you hated your freshman year of college.] Here’s what is going on:
Every spring and summer, the local area has had an increase in ‘gypsy and traveler’ activity. To law enforcement agencies, the word ‘gypsy’ refers to people who travel in small groups across the country perpetrating crimes of theft, burglary, and fraud.
During this same time of year, traveling home improvement workers, often called ‘travelers or Irish travelers,’ invade communities throughout the area, preying upon unsuspecting homeowners, often times the elderly, going door to door offering to pave or seal driveways at a very cheap price.”
Oh Radnor, have you learned nothing from Whitemarsh? As Main Line Media points out, “Homeowners should be suspicious of anyone who knocks on their doors with offers that sound too good to be true.” We would like to add this caveat: In this day and age, you should be suspicious of anyone at all who knocks on your door.
Any story that mentions Patti Labelle from now on must mention her pool walking and this one is no different: Some people were duped by a satirical story on a satirical website the other day that said Patti Labelle got in a fistfight with Aretha Franklin. Aretha was not amused.
Aretha Franklin has announced that she is suing the site which reported the story, the News Nerd, for $10 million. According to Gawker, Franklin’s publicist said “The stories were not presented as satire or humor. It was presented as a serious news story intended to depict me in a slanderous and derogatory way — defamation of character.” It is here that we will point out two things:
1. Under the News Nerd’s “About,” it says this: “The stories posted on TheNewsNerd are for entertainment purposes only. The stories may mimic articles found in the headlines, but rest assured they are purely satirical.”
2. Patti Labelle gets it and she ain’t suing anybody because she does not give a fuck.
April 17, 2014
>>> At PhilaMOCA, the Cinedelphia Film Festival rolls on with a screening of Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video — SNL writer/featured player Michael O’Donoghue’s banned from TV made-for-TV movie that features Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Carrie Fisher, Margot Kidder, Debbie Harry and more — at 8pm, and then a screening of the “Ocean City, NJ-shot modern vampire classic” Cold Hearts at 10pm.
>>> Indie-folker William Fitzsimmons takes the stage at Union Transfer, with support from Leif Vollebekk.
>>> And over at Boot and Saddle, Argentina’s Juana Molina, touring the United States behind last year’s Wed 21, headlines a show with support from Arc Iris (aka Jocie Adams from The Low Anthem).
British Pathé, who got into the newsreeel game with the invention of the moving image in the 1890′s, have just unleashed a truly awesome archive onto YouTube, and thus, the world at large. Boasting 85,000 newsreels — roughly 3,500 hours of filmed history, they say — the whole archive is now searchable and viewable on YouTube. And of course, there’s some great Philly stuff in there, such as this clip above, of your
racist grandfather Mummers doing their thing in 1931. Or this one, which documents the Street Cleaner’s strike in 1938:
You thought this winter was bad? Back then, things got so bad that the city had to hire a scab force of 500 trash men to do the work of the 3,000 that were on strike. Oh, Philly. Check out more Philly stuff in the British Pathé YouTube archive here.
Cumberland County, NJ’s IV Griner got called to jury duty. IV Griner is a German Shephard, and we’re betting IV was also preparing to be all “No, I don’t trust cops at all and also I’m kinda racist” just to get out of it.
Longtime Philadelphia Inquirer art critic Edward Sozanski has died. Since joining the Inky in 1982, Sozanski published over 3,000 articles and reviews and lorded over the Philly art world, such as it is, with an admirably fearsome tongue. As his obit states:
Despite his substantial stature and influence as a critic, his focus always remained on the integrity of the art; he was not distracted by institutional marketing efforts or the city’s cultural boosterism.
Put another way, he was our kind of guy. And we’d all suffer not to see his like again.
We’re big fans of The Book Fight Podcast hosted by Philly writers/editors, Mike Ingram and Tom McAllister, both of whom teach at Temple and edit for the lit mag Barrelhouse. Book Fight comes out just about every week and, powered by the friendly and funny dynamic between the hosts, a lot of work gets done: The state of literature is assessed, good advice is passed on (much time is devoted to Q&As from listeners who write), sometimes there’s guests, and there’s usually a main book for discussion that the episode is framed around (though, as they point out, you don’t need to read the books to get plenty out of the show). During the winter, the Book Fight guys did a bit of fundraising, and one of the carrots was that supporters could vote in with any book they wanted to be the topic of discussion for a “bonus episode.”
And because the world is laden with hilarious sadists, the book that “won,” of course, was Matthew Quick‘s The Silver Linings Playbook. And if you think Silver Linings is kind of a loaded topic at this point for your random Philadelphian, meet co-host McCalister, whose first book, well, we’ll just tell you the title: Bury Me In My Jersey: A Memoir of My Father, Football, and Philly. So let’s just say he has THINGS TO SAY about Silver Linings, to the point where, even as you are laughing at this man’s wonderful, human, perfect and relatable pain — oh and he also happens to be completely on the right side of literature here in his abject hatred for this stupid, stupid book and the awful movie it spawned — you do begin to worry a little bit for the guy. Listen to the episode here. Spoiler alert: McAllister lives.
Why? Because why the hell not. This is Oasis damn near their prime, when the Gallagher brothers couldn’t stand each other but could still be on the same stage. Not like later on, when they couldn’t stand each other and couldn’t be on the same stage and then could again and then broke up and made two different bands because they are both insufferable assholes.
Since 1964, Philadelphia has acquired 10 global Sister Cities as a result of an initiative with the International Visitors Council. They are, in order: Florence, Italy; Tel Aviv, Israel; Torun, Poland; Tianjin, China; Incheon, Korea; Douala, Cameroon; Nizhny Novgorod, Russia; Kobe, Japan; Aix-en-Provence, France; and Abruzzo, Italy. A motley gang if ever there was one, but they are arguably, on any given day, just as likely to be better than here. And on May 3rd at Sister Cities Park, at 18th and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, all ten of them will be celebrated. The program of events is as follows:
Schedule of Events:
(Times and performances are subject to change)
12 – 12:25: KyoDaiko Japanese Taiko Drummers
12:30 – 1255: Guang Hua Chinese School Dancers
1- 1:10: Italian Lesson led by the Italian Fairy
1:10-1:20 pm- Italian Arias performed by Lauren Cifoni
1:30 – 1:45: Bensinkin-Cameroonian Traditional Dance
1:55 – 2:15: Performance by Olga Kresin Ballet School
2:20 – 2:40: Cameroonian Fashion Show
2:45 – 3: French Singer, Phyllis Chapell
3:05 – 3:30: KyoDaiko Japanese Taiko Drummers
3:40 – 4: Israeli Pop and R&B artist, Hadar
4:10 – 4:25: Polish Folk Dance by the Polish Club of Philadelphia
4:30 – 5: University of Pennsylvania Chinese Dance Club
There will also be food!
And if we are to be honest, Philbillies are actually a step up from Red Eagles, so maybe every thorn has its rose?
Does the city or state or federal government own the land near you? According to the map above, put together at Philadelinquency, the odds on answer is a resounding yes.
Jim Kenney has been in recruiting mode for a while now, but it looks like Sriracha may actually move their plant, and Philly could be on the list of possible new locations. According to the LA Times:
After a months-long battle with the city of Irwindale over complaints about a spicy odor, Sriracha sauce creator David Tran said Wednesday he is now seriously considering moving his factory to another location.
Tran responded Wednesday to the politicians and business leaders from 10 states and multiple cities in California that have offered to host the Sriracha factory. He invited them to tour the facility in Irwindale and decide if their communities would complain about the odors that arise during production. Tran stressed he has not decided whether to move, but would like to explore his options.”
Among those ten states were Alabama, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Kansas, Ohio, Georgia, Iowa, Arizona, New Mexico and West Virginia. So this is good news if your pride in hosting a company in Philly is as high as your tolerance for supposedly weird smells.
We already knew who would be headlining the Susquehanna Bank Center, but this morning the whole XPoNential Music Festival lineup was announced. Set to take the stage at Camden’s Wiggins Park from July 25th to the 27th is:
Rodrigo y Gabriela | Trigger Hippy (featuring Joan Osborne, Jackie Greene & Steve Gorman) | Lake Street Dive | Old 97′s | The Hold Steady | Lucius | Hurray for the Riff Raff | C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band | Man Man | Nicole Atkins | Diego Garcia | James Cotton | Houndmouth | J. Roddy Walston & The Business | Dave Hause | Marah | Jeremy Messersmith | Caitlin Rose | Bear’s Den | The Lawsuits | Marian Hill | Ginger Coyle | Our Griffins | Viv and the Revival | Commonwealth Choir
All of your ticket info is available here.
April 16, 2014
>>> Out in West Philly, there is this wonderful assemblage of really sweet mid-Century experimental films showing at The Rotunda, including a bunch from Robert Breer, as seen above.
>>> Looking for a happy hour thing? Try this: A tapping of pure, unfiltered Pilsner Urquell Nefiltrovaný, straight from a barrel in Plzen, currently scoring a perfect 100 on Ratebeer and ranked the #1 Pale Lager in 2013. At The Gaslight in Old City. (Does the name of that place instantly make women hate it?)
>>> And direct from the most noise-blissed, crusted out corner of the UK 1980s, LOOP! At Johnny Brenda’s.