What began as a lark for organizers Maria Lily and Alexandria Schneider a few months back blossomed into a full-blown massive event last night, as the Ride DNC bike ride traversed the length of Broad Street, from Cheltenham down to South Philly. Hundreds of riders — to the tune of 750-1000, according to Schneider — showed up, and in a week that has been grasping for some kind of magic, well, this counts a lot. See you all next on Sept. 24 for #OpenStreetsPHL?
Can we say this? We miss Michael Nutter. Yes, Jim Kenney has functioning human relationships with City Council where Nutter did not, and yes, Kenney is on the good side of plenty of issues that carry forth Nutter’s year zero for progressive leadership in this town, but even so, we miss Michael Nutter. And we worry about Michael Nutter (honest assessment: his second term gave off deep waves of chronic depression). And mostly, we want Michael Nutter to be okay.
Michael Nutter has heard us, and launched a new website to let you know: Michael Nutter is okay. And if you don’t know what this website — manutter.com, which could only fail to bring a smile if you have no soul — is supposed to do, imagine how Mixmaster Mike feels: He doesn’t know what to do, either. But here’s the good news — he’s doing all kinds of stuff to see what sticks:
"The past President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Nutter is now a professor at Columbia University/SIPA; a political Contributor for CNN; and a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He is also a Senior Fellow in the What Works Cities Program for Bloomberg Philanthropies; Chairman, Mayor’s International Advisory Council, Airbnb; an Executive Fellow at both Drexel University Lebow College of Business, Institute for Strategic Leadership, and the University of Chicago’s Urban Labs; and a Board Member of the City Trusts of Philadelphia.”
Oh also: He got a job at AirBNB, too. Whether or not the website is prelude to some attempt of re-entry to public service, we could not tell you. But in case you were wondering, Mike’s alright.
If the current question posed by the Philly indie scene is, "YES, we see that you all have beards and are very serious indeed, but where, pray tell, are the nightclubbing freaks of yore?," the answer is clearly Salford Crime Wave. Once described on this very website as "greasy guido music," let us go further, and evolve that remark in tandem with the band's own growth, as displayed with the new clip above: Salford Crime Wave make greasy guido music for when it is a rainy night in mid-1980s Philadelphia and you are waiting at the Black Banana for someone you met in the Au Courant personals. They're not coming, but you don't care; there's always the likelihood that you'll get beat up on your way home, but you don't care; for you have a Sisters of Mercy cassette in your Walkman, and two packs of cigarettes. This is the life you wanted.
Phew! Sorry, I really went somewhere for a moment. But it's that kind of music. "Haoui," of course, is in homage to legendary nightclub figure Haoui Montaug, and in sumptuous black and white depicts a wide array of present-day Philly late night cabaret performers. The band themselves, the song and the video all represent a kind of throughline of Philly nightlife that has never really gone away — it's just found different hidden corners. On principle.
And not only that, it was named after an Italian art house movie. From Wikipedia:
Romano's Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria claims to have first used the name in 1950 in Essington, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia, courtesy of Nazzareno Romano. The pizzeria owner had experimented with "pizza imbottito", or "stuffed pizza", and added ham, cotechino salami, cheese and peppers into a pocket of bread dough.His future brother-in-law suggested he name it after the recently released movie Stromboli, notorious for an off-screen affair between married actress, Ingrid Bergman, and married director, Roberto Rossellini, resulting in a love child.
You may have already known this. We didn't. And you know what? Learning it made us feel strong — cared for, even. Because, as even the most cheesesteak-positive of us is positively weary at this point of DNC cheesesteak human interest pieces (for yea, we are cheesesteak humans, born on the garbagey breeze), we know this: They can co-opt everything. But they will never even think to look for the humble stromboli.
They would not know where to begin.
It appears that the lasting memory of last weekend’s WXPN Xponential Fest will be this: Father John Misty’s very performative non-performance, which felt like nothing so much as a modern of update of Richie Tenenbaum’s meltdown on the tennis court. Although, even though that was a scene in a movie and Misty’s thing happened in the actual world, you could argue that the Baumer was more genuine.
Since this horseshit went down, well, wait. Before we get to the conspiracy theory, let us address the content of Misty’s remarks. It wasn’t that he was wrong about anger being a poor substitute for thoughtfulness even to the point of grave sadness (holy shit we just said it better in half of a sentence than he did in 20 minutes), it was just that something was off about this. Yes, performers aren’t monkeys, they can say what they want, and they absolutely should, but we find, we have always found, Father John Misty to be deeply disingenuous. I mean, that’s his whole deal, right?
Anway. Let’s walk through a scenario. Let’s say you’re Father John Misty (sorry). Let’s say you’ve been in a weird war with Ryan Adams over godfuckingknowswhat for months now (again, sorry). Let’s say you get booked at this XPN thing, it’s just a solo gig for you, and you arrive to realize, fuckin’ hell, Ryan Adams is headlining that same fest, the same night, in the much bigger venue! Again, you are Father John Misty (Jesus, I am so, so sorry), and this does not sit well with you at all. So what do you do?
You throw a fuckin’ tantrum, Father John Misty, that’s what the fuck you do! You pull your release to have your performance livestreamed (which he did in fact do, whereas all other participating artists in the fest allowed for streaming), you freak the fuck out, and then you take that freakout all the way on stage, where you get out of performing this fest by blathering on for however long about everything BUT the thing that is foremost in your mind: RYAN FUCKING ADAMS.
Did this happen? Well, dude, we just don’t know. But it would explain a lot if it did. What would remain a mystery, what will go on, hopefully, to blessedly remain a mystery, is why anyone in this big, beautiful, crazy world would give one dried white turd about any of this. In fact, I have named that dried white turd.
Its name is Father John Misty.
Klip Collective, Philly's home team for many, many visual wows (including the rebooted Nightscape at Longwood Gardens, back on August 3rd), made this seven whole years ago. But we would argue (with FACTS) that the North American Scum problem has only grown since then. Do dance it out at your desk if the spirit moves.
One might have well expected it: That the same hack national media that’s been repeating the “batteries at Santa Claus” urban legend for decades would find plenty to whine about when they arrived in Philadelphia, only to find… Philadelphia. Philadelphia, we say, where the unpleasantness of sporting events, Guns N’ Roses concerts and people from the suburbs are held at distant remove from the general populace! Philadelphia, where the subway is viewed as a utility and not a pleasantry! Philadelphia, where hell yes it’s hot in the summertime.
But the media hasn’t quite seen it this way. And so, right now, as we speak, we’re showing them something else.
We are showing them, ladies and gentlemen, the motherfucking realness.
I don’t even *LIKE* SEPTA and I think this is stupid. It’s so easy to get to the stadiums.— Jen A. Miller (@byJenAMiller) July 26, 2016
And on and on, like a cry to the heavens. Shine on, Philadelphia. For we are a people who are just, and right, and good.
As we speak, the 2016 DNC is already well underway, with all hell breaking loose all over the convention floor and plenty of other places, too. Truly, we live in interesting times. But lest the whole thing get you down, we offer a diversion: In an environment where anything can happen, sometimes you gotta just take it all at face value, for life is but a grand game. No? Yeah, that sounded like bullshit even as I was typing it. Even so, we'd like for Philadelphians and visitors alike to make the best of this historic time. And that is the spirit in which we offer #DNC2016BINGO to you today. In the spirit of ye olde Hipster Bingo, this real-world bingo game is simple: X out these things as you see them occur this week. Win by a combination of watchfulness and luck! As the day goes on, we are actually seeing a few different paths to victory for the lucky player here. So enjoy, play in good health, and as Jerry Springer used to say, be good to one another.