October 8, 2013
We remarked last month how Mayor Michael Nutter has been running the clock down, kind of looking for things to do, as what we perceive to be the nadir of his political career — last summer, with its building collapses and school meltdowns and the rest of it — jumpstarted (for deep want of a better word) his lame-duck period. After keeping busy with issuing press releases about Everything, and then some tweeting, too, now comes the real fun: leading a trade mission to the United Kingdom and Israel next month “in order to attract investment from international companies in Philadelphia and to assist Philadelphia companies with trade opportunities in these two key marketplaces.” He’ll be gone from November 2-12, and in the process, we hope, will save us the work of ever having to photoshop him in a Beefeater or atop the Mount of Olives.
We’ve been fascinated with AirBNB, the increasingly popular travel/crash-pad service, for a little while now. And not just because it’s one of those handy apps like Uber that seemingly take something that’s been a pain in the ass forever and say, “Here, let me help you with that,” thereby undermining whole industries, but also because it’s one of those litmus tests for Philly; the catching-on or not-catching-on of it may or may not say something about us. Currently, AirBNB isn’t spreading like wildfire in Philly, but who knows; perhaps its increasing outlaw status in New York City may spur it on here and elsewhere. A New York court just subpoenaed all of AirBNB’s host data for NYC as part of an ongoing suit the state has against the service, claiming that it flaunts longstanding hotel regulations. It probably does the same here in Philly and elsewhere, but we suspect you’ll only hear about it here when and if AirBNB begins to cut into our local hotel trade, as it seems to have done, in however small a way, in NYC. Meanwhile, you’ve got David Byrne threatening “If the 1% stifles New York’s creative talent, I’m out of here” as if that “if” was not an “after they already have and why am I still here.” We’re not sure what these two things have to do with each other, but they really do feel like they’re of a piece.
Here is the good news: Over the next six years, Urban Outfitters will be ponying up 2,500 new jobs in the area — 500 new ones at a “distribution center in Lancaster County” (this is code for Amazon-style sweatshop, right?) and a slow trickle of 2,000 more down at the Navy Yard once some new construction/renovation is done in a few years. That’s the good news. Here’s the bad news: All of those people will be Urban Outfitters employees (this is code for: no more East Passyunk/Fishtown/G-Ho for you, and you’re going to have to drive to Cherry Hill to find a brunch place that doesn’t have a line out the door).
Previously: And Now, 20 Planned Kiosks For That URBN Lifestyle Village
October 7, 2013
1. This is the second time he’s been shitcanned from the Inky in a kind of weird way, and the second time he’s been fired from a post and refused to to leave the building. Now, listen, we know you don’t care about the Inky, these posts are always fuckin’ total box office poison, but for real: This thing stinks to high heaven. In 2010, Marimow was demoted, ostensibly for his proximity to and leftover radiation poisoning from The Brian Tierney Pentagram Of Doom. He was eventually reinstated once the dust settled with the paper’s new owners, Interstate General Media, only to then preside over the Inky as IGM began its current round of playing very unsexy death games with Inky, Daily News and Philly.com alike, in which the former two papers’ websites went paywall while IGM boss George Norcross installed his 26-year-old daughter, Lexie Norcross, to lord over Philly.com’s new identity-crisis-flavored mongrel stew: One bite tastes like FOX News; the next, like Buzzfeed; the next, like shit itself. Curiously, Marimow might fight the case (WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO STAY THERE?), and in fact, spent the day refusing to leave the building, which he did once at the Baltimore Sun when shit got real weird. That’s more than one weird thing, we realize, but this is a media story that is, how shall we say, generous. (more…)
Contrary to our own picks suggestions right below this post, we know that some of you just want to get out. It was a weird, hot weekend. It’s pouring. It’s Monday. We totally get it. And over at Underground Arts in just a few hours, brit-indie-poppers London Grammar — playing behind their debut full length If You Wait — will be hitting the stage with support from Jaymes Young and Les Professionnels. It might be a little hard to actually get yourself off the couch and out the door tonight, but free tickets should probably help, right? To enter to win tickets, email ihopeiwin[at]philebrity[dot]com with “IF YOU WAIT” 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. Since this is a special lightning round and the show is TONIGHT, make sure you get those emails in before 6PM sharp so we can pick and notify the winners.
>>> Attn. Anglophile nerds: Kill a night waiting for the 50th Anniversary Special and the departure of the very-hirsute Matt Smith as he shifts into Peter Capaldi with Doctor Who Trivia Night at the Victoria Freehouse. Each and every one of you has the opportunity to be the coolest person there.
>>> At The Standard Tap, you can break into the classic rainy night practice of board gaming, but with a bunch of beers.
>>> Or, you could check out those shows that have been piling up on that DVR, make a dent in your Netflix queue, or … ya know … just have some you time.
Like many fans, friends and cohorts in the Philly music scene, we were shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of bassist Steve Demarest over the weekend. Steve was a fixture on the local roots-rock music scene here in town, and you would have been just as likely to see him onstage as you would off; he was a fan, a friends, a supporter and certainly not least, a damned fine musician, deeply connected to the “pocket” that many of us spend lifetimes trying to get inside and never leave. Steve was a permanent resident there. But he was also a kind soul with a bright intellect who had a great sense of humor. And though he spent his entire adult life playing in sweaty rock clubs for little more than glory, his untimely passage had nothing whatsoever to do with all of the old rock ‘n’ roll cliches; it was just one of those things. We mourn Steve’s passing; Steve, who saw entire generational shifts a few times over in the musical climate of Philadelphia, and found stuff to love everywhere; Steve, who lived, as bass players do, for the groove; and Steve, who was as fine a guy as any — scratch that: finer — to hoist a pint with at a show. We’ll miss you, Steve, and we were proud to know you, even just a little bit.
A memorial/celebration of Steve’s life for family, musicians, friends, and fans will be held on Friday, October 18th at Fergie’s (1214 Sansom Street in Philly), 6-8PM. After the jump, we’ve reposted a remembrance of Steve by John Houlon, among Steve’s longest-standing musical co-conspirators in the group John Train. (more…)
Since we started this website, back in 1986, we have routinely lamented this city’s relationship with its local TV news. Part of that relationship is defined in a national sense: On the whole, local televised news does not serve you well. It fearmongers. It leads with that which bleeds. It makes you not just what’s called a low-information voter, it makes you a low-information everything. It is low on information. But Philly also has historically had a mystifyingly gee-whiz relationship with its local TV talking heads, often granting them a status and celebrity that should not ever be accorded to people who merely read things (as opposed to those who do things). This has been the situation for as long as we can remember.
But last night, Philadelphia, you made what we, and any licensed psychologist, would characterize as an important breakthrough: You showed what the limit is of how much you’d be dehumanized, manipulated and generally shat upon by the people who are supposed to be giving you the news. Your reaction to Joyce Evans’ idiotic, inhumane tweet – and the still-going #JoyceEvansTweet meme — illustrated once and for all the most natural reaction to the the banal language and manipulations of local TV news, and just how completely over it you are. It also displayed a level of empathy not implicit in most narratives of gun violence in this city: The umbrage you took showed that you take this seriously, that if you cut one of us, we all bleed. We’ll say it again: This felt important somehow. It felt like a key moment of refusal, and possibly even suggestive of some kind of a way forward for the medium of local TV news. And that is something to be proud of, Philadelphia. And also, you were hilarious. Thank you.
Previously: If You Liked Breaking Bad, Joyce Evans Would Like To Interest You In Some Murder
Last week, we mentioned the new doc, Let The Fire Burn, about the disastrous 1985 confrontation between Philadelphia authorities and the radical group MOVE, told entirely using local news and found footage. On this week’s Vice podcast, director Jason Osder talks with host Reihan Salam about MOVE’s history, his film, and that awful day in Philadelphia.
Previously: And Now, A Quick Conversation Between Two Guys About The New MOVE Documentary
New Movie About M.O.V.E. Will Let The Story Be Told Through Local News And Found Footage
As the winds and rains and tornado watches/warnings prepare to linger over us for the next few hours, let Action News‘ more-appropriate if less-entertaining use of Twitter warn you of what is to come. And seriously, you’ll probably want to remain indoors. It’s gonna be nasty.
UPDATE: Additionally, all after-school activities district-wide are cancelled.
South Philly (Mattress Flip Front), 2001 (negative); 2003 (print). Zoe Strauss, American, born 1970. Chromogenic print, Image: 6 7/8 x 10 1/8 inches (17.5 x 25.7 cm). Sheet: 8 x 10 3/8 inches (20.3 x 26.4 cm).
Courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art.
As we were combing through the local First Friday listings before the weekend and letting you know what was opening up at galleries across the city, another exhibit of local interest was opening far outside your normal gallery walking-route.
At New York’s International Center of Photography, Friday marked the opening of Zoe Strauss: 10 Years, a retrospective on our own local treasure. The exhibit is the same one organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art before, and runs all the way through to 2014. Over at the New Yorker, there’s a slideshow of some of Strauss’ work, where they said her photgraphs “are grounded in her clear-sighted empathy, which allows the viewer to feel like part of the exchange between photographer and subject.” If you find yourself up in NYC between now and January 19th, 2014 with nothing to do, now you’ve got a plan.
See more of Strauss’ wonderful work and achievements in our archives.
Ali Wadsworth “Biding My Time” from Bob Sweeney on Vimeo.
On Friday, when we were letting you know what was going on over the weekend, we referred to Ali Wadsworth, in an effort to inspire you to get your ass to RUBA, as a “hometown hero.” If you didn’t go, and didn’t believe us, proof of that is above in the form of a performance of “Biding My Time” from early this summer.
Yeah, you feel pretty silly for not going to RUBA now, don’t you?
“Scenes at the fast-food takeout places on ground floor of The Gallery.”
Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. October 18, 1977.
We mentioned last week that it is indeed Archives Month Philly, the local celebration of a nationwide happening wherein archivist nerds of all stripes stage events, do all kinds of outreach and generally press upon the public with the simple message that the past, man, the past is a real thing. Today, we remind you that, hey, this is still going on, but also we just wanted to share the above image with you, from Temple Archives via the old Bulletin, because she looks how we (and probably you) feel.
Previously: Archives Month Kicks Off Today, And You Should Really Take Part In It
Just under an hour ago, the Philadelphia Flyers front office, unhappy and impatient with an 0-3 start, fired head coach Peter Laviolette. The firing, after only three games, ties an NHL record for the fastest head coach firing ever, and leaves the Phillies’ newly-minted perma-coach Ryne Sandberg as the longest tenured coach of our four major sports teams (when it comes to actual games coached and actual amount of days spent coaching that is, Chip Kelly was hired long before Ryno took over).
We’ve said it before here on the Philebs, but we’re really not big into hockey. So sorry Lavvy, you won’t get the goodbye we gave Charlie. But … uh … people seemed to kinda like you? Later, Lavvy.
UPDATE: Post was updated to clarify what we meant by “longest tenured,” since Chip Kelly spent seven-plus months as “coach” without actually coaching a single game, and MLS is not a major-four sport.
We thought it was really true this time, but that Pennsyltucky Bigfoot photo was actually just a tree stump, and not two mythical beasts. You know, at least in the good ol’ days it was a guy in a suit.
Forever. And ever and ever and ever
The companion piece to Forever Boner, Boner 4Ever has a decidedly more boy-band feel to it. And while it’s a tough decision, we’re probably in camp Forever Boner. You?
Seeing something around town of note? Cameraphone it to: tips[at]philebrity[dot]com.
Oh. Oh no no no no no no no no no.
If you weren’t sitting on twitter or watching Fox 29 news, you may not know that last night Joyce Evans tweeted that … that … we can’t even think of one word to wrap it all up, but that thing above is what she tweeted.
Evans was alluding to this story, of a drive-by shooting that left one dead, one in critical condition, and four others hospitalized. But hey, it’s just like that show that it’s nothing like, right? Within minutes, Gawker picked it up and #JoyceEvansTweets became a thing (and a trending topic). Here’s one of our favorites:
Look, Evans meant nothing ill with this tweet, we think that’s fairly obvious. But her attempt at … well … whatever she was attempting missed whatever mark she was aiming at so colossally and so blindly that we’d almost rather it was done with some kind of malice at heart. At least then, we could kinda make sense of the whole thing. But this? We have no earthly idea. It’s really the kind of thing that can only happen at Fox 29, but you, Joyce? We thought you were better than this. Keeley? Frederick? Hell, even Jerrick? Yeah, we can see that. But you, Joyce? Is this the kind of shit that goes down once Drayton’s not around anymore?
For now, it seems that it may just be a matter of time before Fox 29, really striving for the title of The Worst News, says to Joyce, “Fuck it, you gettin’ outta this joint.”
October 4, 2013
>>> HI GUYS, IT’S ME, YOUR OLD FRIEND, W. EAKINS PICHS! Welcome to October, where First Friday is at its most meaningful and when your corduroy should be getting its sea legs, but alas: It’s 80 degrees and you have pit stains. Universal horoscope: Do not allow yourself to confuse any of this with your metaphysical situation. It’s bad news. Don’t do it.
>>> Martin Bisi is not a household name, but if you’re reading this, you’re lucky to have a goddamned roof over your head in the first place, you filthy savage. Bisi, in many regards, is the man that was behind the controls of No Wave and all other kinds of freak-ass music, from the Swans to Foetus. He plays Kung Fu Necktie with Invisible Things (ex U.S. Maple / Parts & Labor), Ayeaye (memb. of Bardo Pond & Birds Of Maya) and Jeff Zeigler at 8pm. (Wash this one down with Dandy Dungeon, Brian Langor‘s monthly DJ hang at Fishtown Tavern, just around the corner.
>>> Elswhere: DORKS! DORKS WHO LIKE COMEDY AND PODCASTS! YOU WILL LIKE THIS: Wil Wheaton with Paul & Storm at World Cafe Live. Yes, it’s that Wil Wheaton. Also in Friday Freak News: Oblivians with Strapping Fieldhands and Residuels and God knows who else at Underground Arts. God, I can fucking smell this show from here.
>>> Hear me now: Ain’t nothing like Penn Treaty Park on a sunny day. The annual River City Festival is here to put that last sentence in italics for you and your whole baby-bjorn Fishtown family, Gus. Lineup highlights include: Vacationer and Cheers Elephant, among others.
>>> Let us speak of hometown heroes for a moment: Ali Wadworth’s record release party at the RUBA shows one in the making — Wadsworth is an expert roots belter who knows from fun, and the RUBA, if nothing else, is a major signpost for Old Weird Philly rockers of a certain age. Together, memories will be made. Meanwhile, over at the Tower Theater, Hall & Oates will mine the field of memory itself, drawing a line from early ’70s, Temple University up through Whatever Your Old Ass Is Doing Now. HAKUNA MATATA/A-D-U-L-T-E-D-U-C-A-T-I-O-N.
>>> Elswhere: Bouffant Bangout Homecoming Dance at The Barbary, for your Saturday night anthropological expeditionary needs, or for the heads, Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog at The Boot & Saddle.
>>> Swedish meatballs. Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of Swedish motherfucking meatballs. I kind of wish I could take everyone who spent the last two weeks posting on Facebook about Breaking Bad to this and force them to eat Swedish meatballs until they puke as penance for their social media crimes, posting each sweet golden puke to Vine as soon as it happens with the hashtag #ITSNOTTHATGOOD.
>>> Speaking of partying until one pukes: Marky Ramone’s Blitzkreig with Andrew WK on vocals, at the TLA. Tell me why I don’t like Mondays.
RECOMMENDED: Let us just get this first bit out of the way: We never thought we’d do it, but we fully recommend you see Alfonso Cuarón‘s terror-porn space-nightmare Gravity in its full IMAX 3D glory. The third dimension may not be necessary, but Gravity is very much a film about putting you into the (space) shoes of Dr. Ryan Stone, played with a reckless abandon for any semblance of calm by Sandra Bullock, and not just watching her terror as if it is hers, but experiencing it as if it’s yours.
A majority of the heavy lifting here falls squarely on Bullock’s shoulders. And we’re luckily Cuarón found her for the role (and reportedly stuck by her casting when the studio didn’t want her), compared to some of the other actresses who were attached to the role. In the wrong hands, it’s Armageddon, but in Bullock’s, it’s Oscar bait.
But even with Bullock in as close to a full-starring role as she’ll ever be, screen-time wise, Cuarón is the real star here. Gravity, which gives Beetlejuice a run for its money for “film with the title character’s least amount of screentime,” is more than a thriller or action-based drama or even blockbuster art-film; it’s a shining achievement for a writer/director who already showed he could master any damn genre he wanted.
Set almost entirely in the empty vacuum of space, where no one can hear you scream, one of the only things you actually do hear is Sandra Bullock screaming. Much to the enjoyment of anyone who scoffs at Star Wars/Trek space fights, and much to the added film-making challenge, the film features no space fireballs and no sound that Stone and her main cohort, George Clooney‘s Matt Kowalski, wouldn’t actually hear. The booms and bwomps you would usually hear when explosions and collisions are happening fall into the hands of Steven Price, whose score is about as essential it gets.
And the visuals? Let us remove our self-assigned “serious reviewer” hat for second to say “holy shit we really though we were floating aimlessly, dangerously, perilously in space.” Okay, hat back on. Standing up out of the seat after the film finished was akin to walking off the treadmill after running in place for a while — a feeling we’re only vaguely familiar with — where you’re a bit rubber-legged and the ground under you just doesn’t feel right. And that is the brilliance of Gravity, and again the IMAX 3D. We can’t remember the last film we saw that really, really tricked our mind into believing the film’s stakes were ours, that the danger was real, and we were part of it all (a handful of first-person shots sure didn’t hurt). You’ll surely hear many words to describe the film’s visuals over the next few months as the film gears up for awards season. You’ll hear “stunning,” “groundbreaking,” “awe-inspiring,” and a whole bunch more. But what Cuarón and his immensely talented effects team really did was create a situation none of us will ever, ever be in, and make it very real. And that’s masterful.
As a final side note and warning: If you are prone to experiencing anxiety when presented with empty voids, heights, catastrophe, being stranded alone, outer space, crashes of any kind, moments of panic, and just about any other terrible situation, you might want to start practicing your breathing exercises now.
ALSO NEW IN THEATERS: Runner Runner, where new-Batman and good ol’ JT team up for a thriller the critics are calling “bland” and “haphazardly assembled;” Haute Cuisine, a foodie-attractive biopic about the personal chef of President François Mitterrand of France, at Ritz Bourse; and Wadjda, at Ritz Bourse & Rave Ritz Center, which is Saudi Arabia’s entry into this year’s Foreign Language Oscar race, the first feature-length film made by a female Saudi director, and the recipient of near-universal acclaim, if that’s your thing.
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.
It’s October, but it sure as hell doesn’t feel like it. So hit up some art galleries, enjoy some light snacks and beverages, and demand they turn on the A/C. As always, click the image above for your full First Friday listings.