April 24, 2015

This Weekend: I Don’t Want The World, I Just Want Your Half


>>> The Cinedelphia Film Festival continues with a double bill of comedic chaos. First up, remember Broomall’s Len Cella of “Jello Makes A Lousy Doorstop” fame? His surreal Moron Movies were once so popular that they were featured on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes. (Ahh, the eighties!). Cella will be on hand for a retrospective on his work moderated by Everything Is Terrible‘s Dimitri Simakis. Later, the Wham City Comedy Tour brings Baltimore’s finest alt-comedy figures for a showcase of Adult Swim-flavored fun.

>>> A great literary event in the suburbs? Knock us over with a feather! Stephanie Yuhas appears to promote her very funny coming-of-age memoir American Goulash at the Barnes and Noble in Neshaminy Mall (a place where we spent entirely too much time during our youth). The book is described as being about “a nerd girl jousting with her Transylvanian family on the battlefields of suburban New Jersey for a chance to grow up authentically awkward and live a so-called normal American life,” but it is relatable to anyone who felt like they were standing on the fringes of life. Delicious stuff, this goulash.

>>> Over at The Pharmacy, Drugstore Cowboys celebrates the release of Racer LeVan‘s new album, Beached, at a party that is made just that much more rad by the inclusion of Dolores, Dulls, Faded Control, and Incredible Drudge. Bonus! There will be something called “alcoholic musical chairs.” INTO IT!

>>> The Karaoke Gung Show returns to the Troc for another round of musical hilarity hosted by Skeletor. We’re hoping he does “Poison” tonight, as that one always, ah, kills.

>>> ART ALERT: Casual Business at Goldilocks Gallery will debut new photographs from Joseph Amsel, Gabriel Angemi, Gab Bonghi, Amy Breesman, Richard Cardoza, Kevin Cook, Mike Flemming, Ryan S. Greenberg, Hannah Gaudite (whose pics of drag queens from Bob and Barbara’s are astonishing), Ian Kiesel, Troy Memis, and Anthony Smyrski.


>>> They Might Be Giants are the TLA. Because you will never get over Flood.

>>> The Go West! Craft Fest will be held at the Woodlands in West Philadelphia bringing with it products from over 100 local artisans, performances by The Green Tambourine, Jay Sand, Silverton, The Philadelphia Women’s Slavic Ensemble, Tangle Movement Arts, and Shakey Lymon and Sean Dorn, as well as numerous tours of the area. If you miss this, there will be more craft stuff tomorrow in South Philly. See below.

>>> Oh hey! There’s a flea market at Hawthrone Park! We’ll be the ones there looking for back issues of Jughead’s Jokes and Divine Lorraine detritus.


>>> Crafty Balboa is back for their April Showers event! We’ve been needing a new Mr. Tea pot, so thanks!

Film Sweat: The Calm Before The Storm

RECOMMENDED: 5 to 7 stars Star Trek‘s Anton Yelchin (who really stands out once he’s off the bridge of the Enterprise) as a New York City would-be novelist who gets romantically involved with older French woman Bérénice Marlohe. The new relationship quickly gets complicated when he discovers that she is married and has no problem sharing details of her affair with others in her life, including her husband and kids. Does the budding romance result in awkwardness aplenty? Oui! (Sorry). The romantic dramedy features fine support from Glenn Close and Frank Langella.

ALSO NEW IN THEATERS THIS WEEK: From Philly’s own Ross Katz comes Adult Beginners, a comedic redemption tale with Nick Kroll playing an entrepreneur who regroups with his sister’s family in the suburbs following a massive professional/personal failure. With Rose Bryne, Bobby Cannavale, Joel McHale and goofball extraordinaire Bobby Moynihan; Dior And I is a documentary chronicling Raf Simons‘ first haute couture collection for Christian Dior, and as such its very existence is whipping every fashionista we know into a frenzy; and The Water Diviner marks Russell Crowe‘s directorial debut in which he also stars as an Australian farmer who goes in search of his missing sons in 1914 Istanbul, in other words, zzz.

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.

At 4PM It Will Probably Be Announced That Paul McCartney Is Playing Here At Some Concert Thing

Hey look! It’s Macca‘s bass! In Philadelphia! THAT’S WHERE YOU ARE TOO! We don’t know what this is all about yet, but we appreciate the synchronicity that comes from Live Nation announcing the deets at the exact time our grandparents will be eating dinner. Check their Twitter then for more information as we will be well into our weekend by that point.

UPDATE: Paul McCartney returns to Philly on June 21st when his Out There tour hits the Wells Fargo center. Tix on sale on Friday, May 1st.


Blow Off Work Early And Head Over To The Philadelphia Art Book Fair

PhilaArtBookFairCurrently happening at The Annex on Filbert and running through tomorrow afternoon, the Philadelphia Art Book Fair is a celebration of photo and art publications, zines, small press items and other types of things that make book lovers salivate. (Think of it as a more literate but equally socially awkward version of Comic Con). The event is a collaboration between the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center and The Print Center, and the groups have assembled a lineup of exhibitors ranging from Dum Dum Zine to Vox Populi — a complete listing of those whose works will be on display can be found here. Excitingly, the Philadelphia Book Fair will also feature programming focusing on issues relevant to independent media makers that will be highlighted by a keynote address by renowned photographer Emmet Gowin. There will be book signings and a party with beer from St. Benjamin’s Brewery as well, and it’s all going on RIGHT NOW! As if you needed an excuse to bail on the rest of your work day.

South Fellini’s Toynbee Tile Shirt Is The Perfect Addition To Your Odd Philly Wardrobe


While browsing through South Fellini’s line of fun Phillycentric shirts we were both pleased and saddened to see that there is now a Toynbee Tile shirt available. Available in color (as seen above) or black and white, the shirt is a sort of postmortem souvenir for the phenomenon it represents — which has lost some steam since the great locally produced documentary Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles answered many of the questions that swirled around the strange asphalt messages when it was released back in 2011. However, tiles still are being placed in Philly and elsewhere, causing much debate about who is responsible for the more recent ones amongst those who obsess over these matters (i.e. us). But one thing enthusiasts can likely agree on is that the original tiler would probably be aghast at his message becoming a fashion commodity…eye-catching though it may be. Resurrect Dead on Planet Jupiter? There or on the front of your T-shirt of choice we suppose.


Angry Vengeful God Is Trying Suck All The Bros Out Of NoLibs Through Giant Potholes

If there’s one way to most accurately describe Northern Liberties these days (and oh man, there are a lot) it’s “under construction.” Everywhere you turn in the area there are old buildings being torn down and condos/apartments going up. We’ll spare you the gentrification rant and how the entire area seems destined to become little more than a Kakfaesque nightmare where the brunch line at Honey’s stretches on for eternity. For now, just let us say this — NoLibs realizes it is under attack and it is fighting back. The above NBC 10 news report is a physical manifestation of all the crybaby entitlement that is going on around those parts right now. (Pro tip: If you aren’t into constant construction and the unpleasantness that comes with all of that, it’s probably best for you to not move to any area where that is pretty much all that goes on…well that and overpriced garden bagels). We feel sympathy for the Northern Liberties oldheads out there for sure. But everybody else needs to chill, you’ll have your antiseptic playground of boring vapidity soon enough. Until then, enjoy all the Awareness Cones and the consequences of your dubious life choices.

Dept. Of Golden Years: The SEPTA Key System Already Works For Elderly Riders


While the rest of us await the eventual arrival of the SEPTA Key system — which will slowly bring Philly’s transportation system into the late-20th century — some savvy elderly riders have already been taking advantage of the new technology. See kids, Betty White isn’t the only senior role model! From Billy Penn:

A major component of SEPTA Key is the ability to read the magnetic strip on the back of driver’s licenses. Anyone age 65 and older can swipe his or her license and get a free ride on the subway, bus and trolley lines. On many of the city’s newly-installed SEPTA Key digital turnstiles this technology is already working.

“Some seniors have found that they have been able to use it,” said Andrew Busch, public information manager for SEPTA. “It’s kind of been a word of mouth thing among customers.”

Busch warns that not all of the turnstiles are fully functional. They might not always read a swiped driver’s license. That’s why SEPTA has not made a formal announcement. If a driver’s license doesn’t scan, seniors can still present their transit ID card, Medicare ID card or Railroad Retirement Annuity card to a station employee.

Take that, millennials! Now only if SEPTA could correlate the data and see how many of these riders are heading to matinees at Walnut Street Theater or getting in line in front of us at Super Fresh with their coupons and checkbooks. Related: Love you grandmom, we’ll call soon!

The Gallery Takes Another Step Towards Ridding Philly Of Its Weird Retail Vibes

GalleryAt yesterday’s City Council meeting, Councilman Mark Squilla introduced a legislative package that, if passed, would pave the way for The Gallery to be yanked from its current state of depressing retail life support and reincarnated into a glistening 21st century shopping destination…or something along those lines. (Have you been there lately? Even the signage seems to be weeping). From The Inquirer:

With a three-word declaration, Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke put his strong shoulder behind the planned $325 million remake of the Gallery mall: “I support it.”

His backing gave momentum to the project as it was introduced for consideration Thursday. The package of six bills and one resolution, about 700 pages of legislation, would give the developer a big tax break and get the city out of the mall business, transferring control of the property to the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust.

In a press release, Mayor Nutter also voiced his approval of the proposed bills:

This once-in-a-generation project has the potential to transform Market East, create thousands of jobs, and offer a new shopping and entertainment experience to Philadelphians and visitors to our city,” said Mayor Nutter. “I thank Councilman Squilla for introducing these six bills and one resolution on behalf of the Administration to begin the legislative process and move this project forward.”

An overhaul of the area is a sound move for the future of Market Street to be sure. That said we’re keeping our fingers crossed that whatever the new Gallery turns out to be, urban experiential displays will be kept far from it — because a new retail hub like this would be catnip to those infotaining eyesores.

Previously: The Gallery To Be Reborn As The Fashion Outlets Of Philadelphia?

April 23, 2015

This Evening: Potato Is An Entree?

>>> Songs like “Suddenly Last Summer,” “Only the Lonely,” and “Take the L” are permanently linked to the 1980s from whence they came. This is undeniable. But when The Motels play the Tin Angel tonight it will become apparent that upon further examination that this type of music is completely anachronistic with the music of the era it is associated…and with any time really. What even are these melancholy songs of disappointment and diminishing romance and where do they belong? Our guess: Nowhere and everywhere. Martha Davis‘ soulful vocals are an enigma, completely incongruous with anything else on the pop spectrum — now or way back then. And this is one of many, many reasons why you should seek this show out tonight.

>>> At Tattooed Mom, The Head & The Hand Press will host an evening of readings by Wint Huskey (whose novel Blowin’ It was released by H&H last year), our own Joey Sweeney, and a mixture of song and story from Wesley Stace (who, in another life as John Wesley Harding, anchored one of our all-time favorite episodes of 120 Minutes).

>>> The Philadelphia Film Society‘s Growing Up Baumbach series concludes with a 35mm screening of Noah Baumbach‘s directorial debut Kicking & Screaming. Sorry The Graduate, but this movie will always be our favorite exploration of the emotional paralysis of post-collegiate life. These characters are incredibly relatable, as is their shared problem of figuring out what the hell to do next. Is there a Buzzfeed quiz of What Kicking & Screaming Character Are You? Because we would like to say we are Jane, but we are most likely Otis. And oh man, the airport scene at the end… This is a one-night only event, so you most definitely can’t go tomorrow.

>>> More movie madness! I’ve Always Been Here is a Lynchian mindbender of emotional horror from Philly’s M. Sean McManus (who also directed the new Weird Hot video). The film will be showcased in the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival’s screening of sci-fi and horror shorts, an event that also includes the creepy deconstruction of voyeurism Fisheye, from local director John Rifici.

Salty Tweets About Uber Helmets Are Our New Favorite Tone Poems

We told you earlier today about the launch of Philly’s bike share program, Indego. Uber decided to take a keep your friends close but your enemies closer approach to the competition offered by Indego and offered snazzy Nutcase commuter bike helmets that could be ordered through the app in exchange for a $10 donation to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. Things didn’t exactly go smoothly, as the Twitter hive mind was quick to point out. After the jump, our favorite #uberhelmet tweets! (more…)

Breaking: The Comcast/Time Warner Merger Is Pretty Much Dead

comcast-still-maintain-innocence-after-fcc-verdictGood news everybody! It looks like the Comcast/Time Warner merger is probably not something we’re going to have to worry about and deal with after all. (Smell you later, nationwide monopoly!) From Gawker:

FCC commissioners, feeling the merger wouldn’t be in the public interest, will reportedly order an administrative hearing, a rare move that’s been described as “ a death sentence” because it will very likely stretch out beyond Comcast’s window to close the deal.

“I’d never say anything was 100 percent dead, but this is in the 99 percent category,” Rich Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG in New York, told Bloomberg.

Comcast could choose to the fight the losing battle, but the structure of the deal includes no monetary penalty for walking away, so the company is expected not to throw any more time and money at the acquisition they spent more than a year trying to complete.

“Some Wall Street analysts now expect Comcast will walk away, abandoning 15 months of preparation while blaming the collapse of the merger on a Washington climate led by Democrats that is hostile to business.,” CNN Money reports.

Meanwhile, Gizmodo has some inside baseball on why a proposed hearing is very bad news for Comcast. We really want to get out there and celebrate this, but our folks asked us to come over and call Comcast about why their bill mysteriously jumped up since last month. (Hey Media Mobilizing Project, what time’s the party tonight?) While this is clearly a huge blow for the company, we can’t help but think that there will be some other kind of corporate fuckery coming from them down the line. But let’s live in the now, baby! Yasssss.

WXPN’s Land Of The Lost To Showcase Obscure Philly New Wave Tomorrow Night

Previewing some retro #PhillyLocal music for tomorrow's trip into the #LOTL @wxpnfm 7-11pm wx.pn/listen (Thx JQ!)

A photo posted by DJ Robert Drake (@djrobertdrake) on

Retro Reminder: On the last Friday of every month, WXPN DJ Robert Drake hosts Land of the Lost, a four-hour showcase of new wave favorites and obscurities. It’s always essential listening, this month even moreso as Drake will be showcasing two forgotten compilation LPs with area ties — I’d Rather Be in Philadelphia and You’re Soaking In It: Music from Philadelphia & NY. Released in 1983 and 1988 respectively, these albums showcase tracks from the likes of Bunnydrums, Pretty Poison, Book of Love, Kenn Kweder and other locally-grown/should’ve been huge acts of the era. Tomorrow’s theme will be Drake’s favorite things, with these LPs getting the spotlight in the ten o’clock hour. We’re going to go out on a limb here and say if you love this stuff as much as he (and we) do, they’ll become your favorites too. Forget what Killing Joke says about the eighties, you don’t always have to push and struggle when revisiting the past.

Drexel Accidentally Sends Nearly 500 Acceptance Letters To Prospective Students Who Didn’t Actually Get In

drexelToday’s collegiate whoopsie comes to us via Drexel, where the university erroneously sent a whopping 495 acceptance letters to would-be students. (Fox 29 has the heartbreaking details of how this impacted one high school senior, a story that is likely being echoed throughout our area right about now). As anyone who remembers the Phil Hartman comedy How I Got Into College will be quick to remind you, waiting for a college acceptance letter can be an excruciating process — one that can only be further complicated by the bureaucratic game of Made You Look that Drexel inadvertently played here. So high schoolers, keep your chins up. This isn’t the first mistake made by someone at Drexel, so you aren’t alone.

Noontime Nuggetz: Sheer Mag, “Fan The Flames”

In advance of their show at Boot & Saddle on Sunday night, Sheer Mag have just released the video to their new single “Fan the Flames.” It’s the lead-off track from the group’s new II 7′, and the song is a burst of summery bluster that will grace a thousand playlists in the months ahead. You’ll probably dig it, we sure do.

And Now, A Vine Of A Gyrating Computerized Michael Nutter

Oh man. Over the past week or so you may have noticed an online frenzy for My Idol, an app from China that lets users upload images to create strange avatar doppelgangers that can be made to sing, dance and generally be strange and incredible and oh my do we love the Internet some days. Over at Billy Penn, writer Anna Orso decided to have some fun with the app by making computerized reproductions of notable Philadelphians ranging from Jim Gardner to Chip Kelly. Thanks! Our hands down favorite though was the above My Idol recreation of Mayor Nutter. Why just look at those sultry moves! We are obviously deeply into this whole crazy scene, but also way too lazy to download the app, so could someone do us a solid by making My Idols of the following people: Benny Krass, Bill Cosby, Lynne Abraham, Jim Kenney, Anthony Hardy Williams, Ira Einhorn, Gary Heidnik, 76ers mascot Franklin, Mike Jerrick, Steve Keeley and Al Alberts. Thanks in advance!

Are You A Mannequin Superfan With $200 Million? Then You Can Buy The Wanamaker Building

The Philadelphia Business Journal is reporting that the Wanamaker Building is being listed for sale by Philly’s Amerimar Enterprises Inc. and Dallas’ Tier REIT, and is being expected to fetch at least $200 million. (A number that actually feels kind of low to us given the place’s rich history and overall magnificence). From the article:

The building is at 100 Penn Square East and also fronts Market Street. It is 12 stories and totals 1.3 million square feet, making it the second-largest building in the Central Business District. Including its 660-space parking garage, the building totals 1.9 million square feet.

While the Center City’s investment market has increasingly become robust, this particular property is expected to get a lot of attention.

“Given the profile and historical nature of the building, I think it’s going to be a who’s who of local, regional, national and international bidders interested in it,” said Doug Rodio, an investment broker with JLL marketing the property for sale.

Our immediate thought was what will happen to the Wanamacy’s Christmas show? Fortunately, Macy’s lease runs through 2027 so that holiday tradition, along with our eternal hopes to catch a glimpse of Hollywood Montrose in the building, will continue for the foreseeable future.

The Rosenbach Extends Its Oscar Wilde Exhibition, Adds Wine

wildeProving yet again that wit will get you everywhere, the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia has extended its current exhibition Everything Is Going On Brilliantly: Oscar Wilde and Philadelphia until May 24th. If for some reason you’ve been dragging your feet to check this out, (which, c’mon, you really should) the Rosenbach has just gone and sweetened the deal by announcing four Wine & Wilde salons happening on May 13, 14, 20 and 21. The events will feature alternating talks about the exhibition and Wilde’s relationship with our fair city from Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself illustrator Allen Crawford (AKA Lord Whimsy) and playwright Michael Whistler, whose recent play Mickle Street examines the 1882 meeting between Wilde and Walt Whitman. (Elderberry wine will be served, making this the fanciest of fêtes). We want to check this out for many reasons, not the least of which are the impromptu spot the Smiths T-shirt drinking game that these salons will inspire. See you there?

Reminder: The Indego Bike Share Program Launches Today!

If there’s an ubiquitous hum of Queen‘s “Bicycle Race” throughout the city streets right now that’s because Indego, Philly’s long-await bike share program, officially kicks off today. Following a Launch Event at Eakins Oval which will culminate in hundreds of attendees riding the bikes to Philly’s 71 stations, the bikes will be ready for you to use in your daily travels. The official Indego website has set up an FAQ to tell you everything you need to know about the program (Philadelphia Magazine has a breakdown of all the Indego locations throughout the city here). How do we know that this anticipated day has truly arrived? Advertisers have already hopped aboard the Indego bandwagon. It remains to be seen how smoothly of a roll-out the system will have, but we’re so blinded by bike love right that we don’t want to dwell on any possible negatives. So whaddya say, who’s up for a ride?

April 22, 2015

This Evening: Across The Evening Sky All The Birds Are Leaving

>>> At Johnny Brenda’s, An Evening with Oliver Mtukudzi & the Black Spirits highlights the humanist music of the African vocalist, guitarist and composer in an event presented by Lucky Goat Coffee House.

>>> Cool art alert: The Institute Of Contemporary Art‘s Spring Opening Celebration and Walkthrough debuts the new exhibitions Do/Tell: Erin Bernard, Heather Hart, Rachelle Mozman, and Akosua Adoma Owusu and Julia Feyrer and Tamara Henderson: Consider the Belvedere alongside of the ongoing Barbara Kasten: Stages.

>>> When Sandy Denny musically mused “Who Knows Where The Time Goes?,” she wasn’t referring to the two years that have transpired since the Dolphin Tavern brought its constant good vibes to Broad Street, but we like to think she would have appreciated the place anyway. The celebrations of this milestone jump off tonight with a performance there tonight from Tiger & Woods, who will be joined by the Magic Message DJs. Bring your dancing shoes, you’ll need them.

>>> Yee-haw! Ladies Of Country Night at Bob & Barbara’s features twangy, terrific performances by Rosaleen McGill, Sweetbriar Rose, The Jesse Lundy Band with Hannah Taylor, The Primaries and The Wallace Brothers Band.

Attention Local Comedians: Independence Hall Now Has A Pollution-Sensing Bench, So Plan Your Sets Accordingly

If this thing doesn’t have its own Twitter account or themed show at PHIT by tomorrow then you are all fired.