>>> The Philly Video Music Fest continues at PhilaMOCA with VJ/music video expert Stephen Pilato presenting The History of Music Video: Part One and hosting a Name That Video! game show. Pro tip: If they show a video that seems set in the Star Wars cantina but isn’t, it’s the clip for Billy Ocean’s “Loverboy” — possibly the apex of modern civilization.
>>> It’s the last weekend to enjoy the cozy, seasonal hang that is the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest. We never realized how much we needed you until right now!
>>> Even The Bad Times Are Good is rock and soul dance party featuring The Whips and Fever DJs at The Pharmacy, a Point Breeze venue that we keep meaning to check out. If you see us there, give us a hug. It’s been a long, unreasonable week.
>>> Screaming Females (above) are joined by Priests, Tenement and Vacation at First Unitarian Church. The show is a record release party for the Scremales’ new LP, Rose Mountain. The more you know!
>>> Well alright! TJ Kong Presents An Evening of Tom Waits will be happening on the La Peg stage of the Fringe Arts building. They’re describing this as “a night of innocence, incarceration and diamonds and gold, as TJ Kong and Co. guide you through the many faces of the eyeball kid himself.” So good luck topping that.
>>> As Killing Joke told us in their seminal tune “Eighties,” you have to push, you have to struggle. But sometimes it’s best to instead reflect on what has come before and how that impacts your right now, which is exactly the sort of thing that will be going on at the ’80s synth lovefest that is the Bondage & Discipline/Resistor/BloodSound show at Ortlieb’s.
>>> The Philly Loves J Dilla tribute at Johnny Brenda’s remembers the late, great producer in an event hosted by Dayne Jordan that features sets by DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ Mike Nyce, plus an appearance by Ma Dukes.
>>> Finally, the Philly Video Music Fest at PhilaMOCA wraps up with “Backwards Walk Into the Future: A Tribute to 120 Minutes,” a celebration of the late, lamented MTV music series that kept you up all hours hoping to see the new Morrissey video in high school. Phileb’s own Chris Cummins put this one together, and he promises clips from the series (will we see John Lydon rip off Dave Kendall‘s wig?), a Guess The 120 Minutes Lyric contest, a special intro recorded by Kendall, and more relics of a simpler, more Depeche Mode-friendly time.
RECOMMENDED: The first thing you notice in A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, “the first Iranian Vampire Western ever made,” is how much Iran looks likes Texas. The second thing you notice is how much A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night looks like a whole host of black and white classics of art house cinema, from La Strada to Down By Law to Frances Ha. All of this is to say, despite its lurid self-description, here is a slow burner built from the same building blocks as other immortal slow burners. Along the way, you get a window onto a stylized culture, a whole world, really, that you have probably never encountered before — the precise reason we go to the movies in the first place. Like its spiritual cousin Only Lovers Left Alive — another recent tale of bored amorous vampires abroad — first-time director Ana Lily Amirpour‘s movie isn’t perfect, but its dark curiosity is a thing to behold indeed.
ALSO NEW IN THEATERS THIS WEEK:Zero Motivation Surprisingly not a documentary about us in the morning (c’mon, that’s a gimmie), but instead this Israeli film follows a female unit of soldiers waiting to return to their civilian lives and dealing with mounting boredom and power struggles; Red Army, a documentary about the Soviet Union’s renowned ice hockey skills during the Cold War that we’re guessing also has plenty to say about he relationship between sports and the political climate; The Lazarus Effect a creepy-looking chiller starring Olivia Wilde that we’re only giving the benefit of the doubt to because of co-star Mark Duplass‘ involvement; and Focus, some attempt at career rehab from Will Smith that probably doesn’t feature a finale involving suicide-by-bathtub and can therefore never reach the majestic heights of Seven Pounds (um, spoiler), so we’ll skip it.
It’s not a particularly original observation, but plastic bags are such an environmental burden that they just aren’t worth the convenience of having somewhere easy to chuck your Sizzli into as you head to start your day. Bacteria be damned, we’re big proponents of bringing our own bags along while shopping — which makes the return of the proposed fee for plastic bags as appealing now as it was the first two times it got shot down. From Newsworks:
In a bid to reduce litter and encourage sustainable living, a coalition of environmental groups and businesses wants Philadelphia to attach a fee to plastic grocery bags — and City Council member Mark Squilla is promising to introduce legislation to make it happen.
Squilla and the groups are hoping that the third time is the charm for legislation that has already failed twice in City Council.
The city’s last bag fee bill failed in 2009, due, in part, to pressure from the plastics industry. But Logan Welde, an attorney with the Clean Air Council, said he hopes this year will be different.
“You can just look around — you don’t need studies to show that plastic bags are a severe problem in every community,” Welde said at a press conference Tuesday. “Just look in every tree, look in the fences, look in the waterways.”
The piece goes to mention some more noteworthy details about the proposal:
“A spokesman for Squilla said the councilman plans to introduce a new bag-fee bill sometime next month. While the bill is still being developed, one strategy to get it passed is to keep the fee very low – somewhere around five cents a bag.
One aspect of this issue that has personally impacted us but never mentioned in discussions of the matter is the flimsy nature of the bags. These things too often aren’t strong enough to carry the vast amounts of Coca-Cola we subsist on, so they rip through to the ground and out of our lives, spraying our jeans with a sad pinwheel of sugary refreshment whose pleasures we shall never know before getting crushed by the wheels of a passing SUV. Fortunately, we use canvas bags now and all is right with the world. Except our blood sugar. That’s a goddamned mess.
We’re beyond saddened to learn that Leonard Nimoy has died at the age of 83 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Yeah, he was Spock, but he was also a renowned humanitarian as well as a gifted poet and playwright who won acclaim for his one-man tribute to Van Gogh, Vincent. Outside of his signature role, he worked on an impressive amount of television and film projects during a career that spanned six decades. Our favorite of these was the silly 1970s “infotainment” series In Search Of…, the greatest episode of which is featured above. On Monday, Nimoy included the following sentiment in his final Tweet: “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.” That about says it all.
We’re loving the throwback vibe of Cruisr‘s newest track, which you can check out above. Was this thing on the soundtrack to The Secret of My Success? Because it totally could/should have been. We’re detecting shades of everything from Wham! to Jellybean to M83 here, and that’s totally not a knock. But beyond the retro feel — which instantly has us playing Spy Hunter back at The Palace in 1987 — there’s a vitality that speaks of the right now, telling us to get up and head out to see what life in 2015 has to offer aside from the daily stew of letdowns and diminished expectations. Go ahead now, go for it? Thanks guys, we’re on that.
We are gross and fragile meatbags that are seconds away from destruction at any given time. So why not have some fun with it? In conjunction with their fascinatingly icky Body Worlds: Animals Inside Out exhibition (basically a large-scale version of that scene from The Fly where the baboon got inverted in the telepod), the Franklin Institute is holding Sketch Nights on Tuesdays throughout March that will allow attendees to draw or paint the way dead creatures featured within. Not gonna lie, there’s a disquieting beauty about all of this that appeals to us on a very base level. Those seeking to grab their charcoal sticks or paints and get their anatomy art on can learn more here.
In what was probably the most irksome audience since the last time The Polyphonic Spree hit Philly, shit got wild at the Ariel Pink show Tuesday night. And, apparently, fabulous. Tell us more, Craigslist!:
dear merrymaking woman or women at the ariel pink show last night – m4w (at the show)
i want to extend my sincerest hand of earnest gratitude, repugnance and intrigue your way for the blatant and devout passion you most certainly possess regarding the possibilities of glitter and all things glitter-bombing. your impromptu atomic glitter bomb move into my gaping mouth, exposed chest, right ear and scalp has proven quite effective and thus, impressive, nearly 24 hours after the incident occurred.
today, i have discovered blue, reflective, seemingly adhesive (?) yet light-as-a-feather-glitter in the following locations…
- my eye
- my van
- my friends who rode in my van
- my cereal bowl
- my nose
- my ass
- my ten month old son’s ass
- my ten month old son’s nose
- my ten month old son’s raised eyebrow
- my hair
- my friends’ hair
- my sheets
- my wife’s eyebrows
- my friends’ eyebrows
- my feet
- my pillow
- my wife’s pillow
- my ten month old son’s pillow
- the inside of my toilet
- the inside of my tub
- the first and second floor of my absolutely entire house.
- my balls
the simultaneous magic and/or curse you so joyously distribute in public is indeed noteworthy. i hope to see you at another show sometime, many years from now, when the final dot of glitter has at-last fallen from my body and all of my friend’s bodies and laid to rest somewhere far, far away from here. preferably somewhere tropical.
We hope this whole thing serves as a cautionary tale to those of you considering attending a freaky psych-pop show, cause this type of shit goes down at those all the time. Also, vengeance is a terrible thing.
>>> The first-ever Philly Music Video Fest kicks off at PhilaMOCA with the Philadelphia Music Video Showcase, a celebration of recent locally produced clips that have been curated by the likes of Robert Drake, Emily Guendelsberger, Quang Tran, and John Vettese. (Let’s hope these contemporary videos can achieve the success of epics like the one featured above). Check back tomorrow for more on the Philly Music Video Fest in our weekend picks.
>>> If you like the live rock and roll, might we point you towards The Dodos at Johnny Brenda’s with Springtime Carnivore? That seems worthy of your time and dollars, by golly!
>>> Truewave takes over the Dolphin, with sets from Des McMahon, JXL Beats, Jack Deezl, Fredric Fresh, and DWPLX.
On her Twitter feed, Molly Eichel just announced she’s leaving her Daily News job behind to start writing for The Inquirer. Molly’s one of our favorites, so join us in wishing her the best at her new gig.
UK post-punk icons Gang of Four have been kicking around since the late ’70s with their influential aggro pop. Unlike most of their contemporaries, they are still on the road, doin’ what they do best. So while we sit back and listen to Entertainment! yet again, we’re offering you a chance to see them next Wednesday at the TLA, joined by Public Access TV and a set from DJ Robert Drake. To enter to win tickets, email ihopeiwin[at]philebrity[dot]com with “DAMAGED GOODS” in the subject header. You’ll automatically be subscribed to the forthcoming new Philebrity Reader weekly newsletter and win chances for other exclusive free stuff. We will pick a winner on Monday, so get to entertaining.
The Huffington Post has just finished the unenviable task of teaming up with Yelp to figure out which types of stores are most popular in which state. You can see the top ranking for each state above. (Fireworks. Always with the fireworks). But PA is more than just what Aimee Mann so accurately dismissed as a “waste of gunpowder and sky.” So let’s see what else the rubes and residents of the Keystone State are spending their hard-earned on:
1. Fireworks — 607 percent higher than national average.
2. Vinyl Records — 287 percent higher than national average.
3. Newspapers & Magazines — 229 percent higher than national average.
4. Brewing Supplies — 213 percent higher than national average.
5. Auction Houses — 206 percent higher than national average.
6. Video Game Stores — 202 percent higher than national average.
7. Bespoke Clothing — 186 percent higher than national average.
8. Music & DVDs — 182 percent higher than national average.
9. Knitting Supplies — 163 percent higher than national average.
10. Comic Books — 162 percent higher than national average.
We’ve gotta admit, it could be much worse. We’re talking to you Jersey. Golf equipment? Really guys?
Lost amidst all the news of Madonna’s fall at the 2015 Brit Awards yesterday (you’re not the first person to repost that clip from The Incredibles, so stop it), was that The War on Drugs were also in attendance. The group were nominated for Best International Band, and while they may have lost to Foo Fighters it is still nice to the guys in their finest duds. You can tell ‘em they wuz robbed when they play the Tower on March 27th.
We’ve been antsy all morning waiting to see how the net neutrality vote would go. Fortunately, common sense and the consumer won this one (thanks largely to the unprecedented #dontblockmynet online activism campaign). Annnnd that is the largest sigh of relief we’ve released in awhile. For a reminder of why exactly this is such a huge issue, we point you in the direction of this, this and this, but long story short it means that ISP’s should treat all network traffic equally. The New York Times has more:
The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility, a milestone in regulating high-speed Internet service into American homes.
The new rules, approved 3 to 2 along party lines, are intended to ensure that no content is blocked and that the Internet is not divided into pay-to-play fast lanes for Internet and media companies that can afford it and slow lanes for everyone else. Those prohibitions are hallmarks of the net neutrality concept.
Mobile data service for smartphones and tablets is being placed under the new rules. The order also includes provisions to protect consumer privacy and to ensure Internet service is available for people with disabilities and in remote areas.
The F.C.C. is taking this big regulatory step by reclassifying high-speed Internet service as a telecommunications service, instead of an information service, under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. The Title II classification comes from the phone company era, treating service as a public utility.
But the story is far from ending there. While all this was going on in Washington, locally the net neutrality issue was exploding at the University of Pennsylvania‘s Board of Trustees Winter Full Board Meeting. A group of student activists interrupted the meeting to call out board member/Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen (whom was absent) on his company’s anti-net neutrality lobbying. You can see the video of the protest above, and it is delightfully awkward in the best possible way. In a corresponding press statement, the students furthered their position:
Comcast, headquartered in Philadelphia, has been a forceful opponent of net neutrality, spending tens of millions in the past year to block the FCC from protecting consumers from discrimination online. After the FCC vote this morning in favor of strong Title II net neutrality, large telecommunications companies like Comcast are immediately turning their attention to Congress in an attempt to overturn the rules protecting American consumers.
“Without a strong open Internet, our future as students, leaders, and communities is under dire threat,” said Levi Gikandi, who organized the protest with dozens of other students at the Penn Board of Trustees meeting today. “As University of Pennsylvania students, we believe it is our duty to remind David Cohen, as Chair of our Board of Trustees and Executive Vice President of Comcast, to protect our futures. Both Comcast and Penn have a responsibility to the Philadelphia community and the world. But instead of facing us, Cohen is likely in Washington today, trying to undermine our right to communicate. With a net neutrality victory for the people imminent at the FCC, we came out today to send him a message to do the right thing – don’t block our internet.”
“Over 5000 Philadelphians, including these student leaders at Penn, have contacted us, asking how we can make sure Comcast is accountable to its home city and the entire country,” said Bryan Mercer, co-executive director of Media Mobilizing Project, a longtime leader in local and national movements for media justice, and an anchor member of Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net). “With these student leaders bringing #Don’tBlockMyInternet to Comcast’s David Cohen, we hope he and his colleagues see that Title II net neutrality, no Comcast-Time Warner monopoly, and Comcast accountability at home is the path they should take forward if they want to succeed for the next generation.”
Agreed. So while Comcast twirls its mustache plotting its next move, stream all the Scandal you want tonight. You’ve earned it. Wins like this are rare and far too fleeting.
During a recent trip to Los Angeles with World Cafe, bearded radio friend David Dye caught up with iconic album cover artist Gary Burden. Together, the pair toured Laurel Canyon for an afternoon of sharing memories and trading vibes that was punctuated by insights from Burden’s six-decade career and visits to some of the locations of his most famous covers. Check out the results above, it’s pretty cosmic man.
Billy Penn just published an intriguing report about on-campus safety that is a real down is up/dogs and cats living together in harmony eye-opener that states of all the area universities, St. Joseph’s has the highest reported crime rate and La Salle the least. From the article:
Temple usually has the worst reputation for campus danger, but suburban Philadelphia schools actually experience more reported crime. In terms of the number of crimes reported, St. Joseph’s University and Villanova rank first and second — with Penn, Drexel, Temple and LaSalle following, in that order.
Billy Penn used data the schools must file annually under the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting law from the years 2011-2013. We compared overall crime rates, sexual assault, liquor violations, crime trends over the last few years and more. To compare them accurately we calculated the rates by dividing the totals by each university’s FTE (full-time enrollment of students and faculty), based upon a population of 1,000 students.
The Billy Penn story gets into specific statistics (sexual assaults, liquor/drug violations, etc), and suggests that the amount of students living on campus at schools results in higher instances of reported crimes. It’s a pretty fascinating read, one that we imagine that St. Joseph’s are scrutinizing right now. Meanwhile, over at La Salle there’s gonna be some bangers tonight.
Never ones to miss the opportunity to kick a team when they’re down, The Onion is currently running a piece entitled “76ers Afraid To Kick Bunch Of Tough-Looking Guys Off Practice Court.” It’s everything you want it to be and more. (Sample passage: “I tried asking them what time they’d be done, but I don’t think they heard me,” said 76ers starting point guard Michael Carter-Williams, adding that his teammates and coaches have been quietly standing on the sidelines of the practice facility for 15 minutes in the hopes that the men would notice and take the hint to finish up.” You can follow all of the #LOLSixers fun here. We have been enjoying it ourselves, even though the only interest we have in the team is mascot-based. Speaking of which, good-natured ribbing is one thing, but if the Onion weighs in on Franklingate, there’s gonna be a rumble.
Give your weird, token-hoarding uncle a call today because he’s probably feeling a sweeping sense of vindication right about now. You see, it’s going to be a while before SEPTA‘s much ballyhooed smartcard program goes into effect. How much longer? Why we could no easier tell you that than to explain precisely how long the stars have been hanging in the sky. What we do know is that PlanPhilly has been following the rollout of the SEPTA Key payment system, and they’ve got the latest word on what’s going onnnnnnnn:
Despite some optimistic estimates by local media excited by seeing some new fare kiosks and turnstiles installed for employee pilot testing, the public shouldn’t expect to use SEPTA Key anytime soon. “Testing will be going on for the next couple of months,” says Kevin O’Brien, Senior Program Manager for SEPTA Key.
Once the testing is successfully complete, SEPTA will resume installing new equipment, and once at least 50 percent is ready, the system will finally launch publically.
But, O’Brien cautioned, if testing isn’t successful, implementation “will take longer.”
As bad as that may sound to bus and subway patrons, it’ll be worse for regional rail riders, who will probably need to wait until the spring of 2016: Next week, SEPTA’s Board will most likely agree with its Administrative Committee’s recommendation to extend the LTK Engineering Services contract for consulting work on regional rail’s SEPTA Key “through its launch on [regional rail] projected in March 2016.”
By O’Brien’s count, the project is currently 16 months behind schedule – originally, the hope was to launch on subway, bus and trolley lines in September 2013 and regional rail a few months after.
The article goes on to point out the massive problems experienced in Chicago during the launch of a similar payment program, and how understandably eager SEPTA is not to make the same mistakes in Philly that occurred there. This is a very valid concern because:
SEPTA Key will be account based, where the information is stored on a system rather than on an individual card, which is how nearly every public transportation fare card system works in America. In fact, only one other public transportation system using an account-based system is – you guessed it – Chicago.
Say it with us now, c’mon son! This is undoubtedly an ambitious project that requires extensive planning, vast tech considerations, and figuring out exactly how to make SEPTA Key user-friendly through the proposed “open fare” system (which is also causing numerous problems detailed in the article). Even with these understandable factors taken into account we still feel a mixture of both Philly underdog pride and womp womp resignation at how definitively, ugh, SEPTA this whole endeavor is turning out so far.
As it was and as it forever shall be, UArts legend/muse/smartest of the smarties Camille Paglia is a Philadelphia treasure. She is what the kids would refer to as “something else,” and we are always intrigued by what delightful intellectual pursuits she is up to. So when we learned that America: The Catholic Pagan got a hold of her for their “10 Questions” feature, we couldn’t devour it quickly enough. Here’s a sampling of our favorite bit:
You grew up as an Italian-American Catholic, but seemed to identify more strongly with the pagan elements of Catholic art and culture than with the church’s doctrines. What caused you to fall away from the Catholic Church?
Italian Catholicism remains my deepest identity—in the same way that many secular Jews feel a strong cultural bond with Judaism. Over time I realized—and this became a main premise of my first book, Sexual Personae (based on my doctoral dissertation at Yale)—that what had always fascinated me in Italian Catholicism was its pagan residue. I loved the cult of saints, the bejeweled ceremonialism, the eerie litanies of Mary—all the things, in other words, that Martin Luther and the other Protestant reformers rightly condemned as medieval Romanist intrusions into primitive Christianity. It’s no coincidence that my Halloween costume in first grade was a Roman soldier, modeled on the legionnaires’ uniforms I admired in the Stations of the Cross on the church walls. Christ’s story had very little interest for me—except for the Magi, whose opulent Babylonian costumes I adored! My baptismal church, St. Anthony of Padua in Endicott, New York, was a dazzling yellow-brick, Italian-style building with gorgeous stained-glass windows and life-size polychrome statues, which were the first works of art I ever saw.
After my parents moved to Syracuse, however, I was progressively stuck with far blander churches and less ethnic congregations. Irish Catholicism began to dominate—a completely different brand, with its lesser visual sense and its tendency toward brooding guilt and ranting fanaticism. I suspect that the nun who finally alienated me from the church must have been Irish! It was in religious education class (for which Catholic students were released from public school on Thursday afternoons), held on that occasion in the back pews of the church. I asked the nun what still seems to me a perfectly reasonable and intriguing question: if God is all-forgiving, will he ever forgive Satan? The nun’s reaction was stunning: she turned beet red and began screaming at me in front of everyone. That was when I concluded there was no room in the Catholic Church of that time for an inquiring mind.
Paglia’s school Halloween parade that year must have been insane. You can and should read the whole interview here. We remain thrilled and/or humbled to have such a presence in our midst. Camille, call us, we want to grab dinner with you ASAP.