August 3, 2015

This Evening: Reeling In The Years

>>> Are we really even going to do the dance and pretend like there’s anything happening tonight other than the Steely Dan/Elvis Costello show at the Susquehanna Bank Center? No, no we are not. In fact, this is pretty much the only game in town tonight. It’s as if every event booker in Philly saw that this weird, cosmically right pairing was going on and said “you know what, you guys got this” and then took the day off. We’ve been rather obsessed with this dank, late summer mood that has been a cloud over our heads lately, but this show might be the sunshine we so desperately need. Will these acts play together? Who gets more stage time? How utterly stoned will most of the audience be? How loud will we sing along to “My Old School?” These questions demand answers, so join us to find them.

And Now, A Limerick For Will Smith’s Possibly Troubled Marriage

There once was a rapper from Philly
Whose son’s Twitter account we found to be quite silly.
But his marriage they say
might be going away.
So right now life with the Smiths might be a bit chilly.

Today’s Moment Of Philly Zen: Things Are Tough All Over

That nagging malaise you’re struggling with these days? Baby, it’s everywhere. Find whatever comfort you can in that sad revelation.


Poll Du Jour: Which PHILEBRISTICLE Would You Like To See?

You know what the Internet loves? Lists! And we here at the Philebrity want nothing more than to give the people want they want! Okay, that’s not true, but play along with us, because it’s time for you to choose WHICH PHILEBRISTICLE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE! The following is a list of topics that are vitally important to the Delaware Valley, so let us know what you’d like to read more about and we will regurgitate the winner back to you in the form of an easily digestible list* Are you ready? Then make your voice heard!

*We almost certainly will not.

Dispatches From The City Of Crime: Who Stole The El Bar’s Pelican?


While hitchBOT was meeting his maker in another part of the city on Friday night, some bros were over at El Bar decided to swipe the dive’s unofficial mascot, the vintage pelican seen above. (Which we’re assuming was part of a playground in a former life or one of those random rides they have outside of stores sometimes that, gah, we love so much). News of the crime hit the bar’s Facebook page over the weekend but was lost in all the robotic mourning. To which we ask this: Jesus Philly, is no inanimate object safe from your criminal clutches. After the jump, a look at the alleged suspect and a chance to play Crime Stoppers!! (more…)


Noontime Nuggetz: The Ghost In You Encourage You To “Know Your Glow”

Filmed in Glenside by director Bob Sweeney, “Know Your Glow” from The Ghost In You ‘s second album Wet Wood is about as uplifting of a clip we could hope for during these dog days (which are nowhere near being over despite what Florence and/or the Machine have to say about it). Three and a half minutes of ethereal pop set “under the light’s beam?” Sounds just about perfect right now, please and thank you.

The Team It Celebrates May Currently Not Be, But The New Phillies Mural Is Worthy Of Applause

On Saturday, the eight-story Philadelphia Phillies mural designed by David McShane was unveiled at 24th and Walnut. This thing has fired a hot dog cannon of civic pride into our hearts that reminds us of how much we love the Phightins no matter how much they let us down. Too bad they couldn’t have shoehorned Phil and Phyllis into this, otherwise it’s pretty sublime.

Here’s Your Monday Morning #PopeWatch2015 News Round-Up!

• Can you feel the mounting excitement/frustration? The SEPTA papal lottery is underway! Who will get the Philly clusterfuck equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Magic Ticket and what will become of those of us left behind? Will you even be in the city that week to care? So many unanswered questions, so much growing indifference!

• Determined to bring you ALL POPE NEWS, ALL THE TIME, KYW Newsradio has set up the PopeCast, a “24/7 radio station devoted to all things related to the visit of Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families.” We tuned in this morning for a bit and wow, the Morning Zoo over there is wild.

The Huffington Post gets in on the Popesploitation action, telling the world at large what a crazy, hazy place the City of Brotherly Love is gonna be when Pope Frank pops by. Oh, they also say that Philly is in a “state of panic,” which makes us think they have the words “panic” and “annoyance” mixed up.

• Oh hey, as it turns out some hotel rooms are still available after all. Hmm…

Dept. Of Electric Dreams: #hitchBOT Gets Murdered In Philly By Unknown Hipster Robot Hater


Friday night, unknown vandals destroyed the Canadian hitchhiking robot/art experiment/possible Skynet harbinger hitchBOT during its visit in Philadelphia. The hunt is on for his killer or killers, No word yet on the motive, but we did see C-3PO fuming about “Tragically Hip-loving gloryhounds” at the Dandelion over the weekend, so who knows. While hitchBOT’s creators at McMaster University and Ryerson University are considering rebuilding him to continue his journey across America to chart his interactions with humans, members of The Hacktory here in Philly would also like to help resurrect him Short Circuit-style. (A Philly-based Kickstarter is also underway) Tragic though this may be, let’s be honest about this: There was a very high likelihood that hitchBOT would have decided to stay here, apply for a Knight Arts grant to “yarnbomb the vote,” and make Fishtown even more insufferable than it already is. He had to die.

UPDATE: Brian Hickey breaks down this story in his own inimitable style for NewsWorks here in a piece called “Don’t you dare blame Philadelphia for hitchBOT’s death,” which is pretty much the final word on the subject.

(Illustration by Adam Cusack)

July 31, 2015

This Weekend: Taking You Higher And Higher


>>> 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.


>>> 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.


>>> 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!

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


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.

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