January 27, 2014
We didn’t make the top or bottom ten, and in fact we’re pretty close to the middle, but we’re surprised at the cities we beat: According to the American Bible Society, Philadelphia is the 57th most Bible-minded city in the U.S. The data the ranking is based on comes from a seven-year phone survey that talked to roughly 50,000 adults. If a person said they read the Bible in the last seven days and “agreed strongly in the accuracy of the Bible,” they were considered Bible-minded.
A middle-bottom ranking seems alright, but a full twelve spots in front of the Harriburg/Lancaster/Lebanon/York area? That surprises us. What we aren’t shocked by is Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s #84 ranking, because Joe Biden’s gotta come from somewhere.
This past Saturday, PhilaMOCA hosted the Mausoleum Pizza Party, which featured pizza, West Philly’s Pizza Face, and Macauly Culkin’s Pizza Underground. We weren’t there, but a friend of the Philebs was in attendance, and sent over the following brief review:
It was weird. And not in that joyful, ‘can you believe this??’ sort of way. Just lame vibes. Barely worth even commenting on really.
But the dumbest thing was that there was weird, coded, quasi-bitter references to Pizza Brain dropping out of the event. No good. All that made me want to do was actually GO to Pizza Brain. So, I did. Right after the show. It was exponentially better.”
Pizza Brain was originally a co-presenter/curator of the event, but backed out about a week before the event, saying “Myriad attempts were made from both ends to find a middle ground wherein all groups participating felt creatively fulfilled, but alas, our vibes conflicted due to very specific artistic differences.” Pizza Brain’s whole statement can be read after the jump, but if you’re feeling like you wanna get behind them, they’re sponsoring a free in-store by The Districts tomorrow night at AKA Records.
Kwwsi Kankam, who now goes by Kwesi K, is really building his reputation as the smoothest dude around. His new video for the song “Pronouns” keeps him on that path, and it’s a nice groove to get you moving when you realize that tunes like this are best for spring, and it’s still so far away.
The Wire points to a strange historical curiosity that dates back 230 years to this day, whereupon it came to pass that our dear old Ben Franklin (pictured, after a fashion of course) wrote to his daughter, lamenting that one certain bird had been chosen over another as the symbol of America’s freedom. It seems, you see, that Franklin had been lobbying for the turkey — yes, the humble, dumb, filthy turkey — had been passed over in favor of the bald eagle. Perusing the man’s papers (and indeed, a more worthy bookmark you will not find), it would seem he had his reasons (our bolds):
For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perch’d on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him. With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping and Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country, tho’ exactly fit for that Order of Knights which the French call Chevaliers d’Industrie. I am on this account not displeas’d that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America. Eagles have been found in all Countries, but the Turkey was peculiar to ours, the first of the Species seen in Europe being brought to France by the Jesuits from Canada, and serv’d up at the Wedding Table of Charles the ninth. He is besides, tho’ a little vain and silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.
And so there you have it, straight from our most founding of fathers: The bald eagle is kind of a pussy. The turkey, though, ah: For it is mighty.
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Ever since we re-booted Philebrity Salon at The 700 last year as a monthly event with visiting writers each time, it’s been a pretty great run. And for our first outing of 2014, we’ve lucked out with a really great lineup. The names may not be familiar to you, but to us, they’re some of our favorite writers and friends working in Philly today: Erik Bader writes short fiction concerning the indie rock majesty of New Jersey; Sam Henderson is a playwright who wowed us to the core during the 215 Festival; Betsy Herbert writes short stories, screenplays, plays, fiction and non-fiction, and now, these cool little radio pieces; Kristine Kennedy is a musician, community organizer and screenwriter who’s got a bunch of strange, dark film things happening right now; and Shawn Kilroy fronts the band Weird Hot but also writes these small pieces that call Cruel Shoes-era Steve Martin to mind. All in all, this is a solid Philly crew, and perhaps the single best Philebrity Salon writer lineup ever. You need to get out of your house? You could do a hell of a lot worse than this. (And in fact, you have.)
Like some kind of apparition to generations of Philadelphians who’ve lost folks to heroin, this window display at 253 N. Third St. calls out an awful, but soulful winter howl. This space was formerly the art gallery Bodega, who closed up shop for good last summer. Information on what this is, then, does not seem to be readily available, but damn: Whoever did this, you kind of got us all where we live.
UPDATE: This would appear to be the work of a new art collective in that space called New Boon(e). Thanks, commenter!
“What happened to us? We used to be fun.”
Consider this an addendum, will you, for last week’s mini-rant about the time-honored tradition of formerly cool white people you know leaving town because they’re not down with raising their snowflake-like genius children here: Something called NerdWallet (not reading that) has compiled a list of suitable towns in PA for young families to move to, should they want to live out their very own prequel to American Beauty. And the list has plenty of moving stories you may already know: Phoenixville! Broomall! Lansdale! Willow Grove! Like sands through the hourglass, these are the formerly cool friends whom we will never lay eyes on again.
Anyone else catch resident MSNBC hoagiemouth houseboy Michael Smerconish whining and quibbling up a blue streak over his dismissal as “liberal” capo to Chris Christie in this Inky column? Something about it struck us as two kinds of unseemly: One, that Le Smerc prattles on and on about his good works for the Christie camp in a less troubled era, winding up to one of those awkward projection scenarios in which you want to tell the guy, “Look, maybe he’s just not that into you,” and two, that the Inky, beleaguered as it is, would even green light this. (And this doesn’t even get to Smerconish’s hook here: “Hey, I’m a dad, you’re a dad, us dads gotta stick together, AMIRITE?”) This is the worst kind of insider baseball (and yes, here we are, true enough, going even further down the rabbit hole, arguably doing even worse by even commenting on it): Smoke signals from the lovelorn suck-ups who actually built Christie’s now-crumbling empire. And yes, as the going gets weird and the weird go pro, these things are bound to happen with those among the media establishment who have a vested interest in the Cult of Christie, but do we all have to watch? Wouldn’t candy and flowers be better? Or hold the flowers and double up on the candy maybe? Gross.
January 24, 2014
>>> Guys, can we talk about January? It’s just terrible. It’s cold. It’s snowy. And it’s really got nothing going for it. But you can still spend some time at the best cold-weather outdoor venue around, The Lodge at Penn’s Landing . It opened up as part of Waterfront Winterfest this year, but it’s remaining open weekends until February ends. The bar area is open Fridays from 5PM to 1AM, Saturdays from 2PM to 1AM, and Sundays from 2PM to 9PM, but you can hop on down there to hang out/eat/be merry basically all day. You can’t stay indoors until Spring, as nice as that sounds, so get out there.
>>> JUMP Magazine celebrates the launch of their winter issue at Ortlieb’s starting at 5PM with Ali Wadsworth and Satellite Hearts.
>>> And fresh off of a Free at Noon that was, in a word, amazing, the Pixies play a sold out Electric Factory tonight.
>>> There are two chances to see Pizza Face and Macauly Culkin’s Pizza Underground at PhilaMOCA tonight (7:30PM and 11PM), and they’re both sold out.
>>> Telling you about the Bone Thugs ‘N’ Harmony and Freeway show at the TLA tonight is just our way of trying to drop the info that Freeway was totally at our screening of Thor 2 and seemed to really enjoy the movie.
>>> And veteran-folker Damien Jurado takes the stage at the Boot and Saddle tonight with support from Courtney Marie Andrews.
>>> Delorean takes to Johnny Brenda’s with Mas Ysa in a show rescheduled from October.
>>> And proving what is becoming more and more prevalent as time goes on — that the ladies in this city’s music scene know what the hell they are doing — Waxahatchee plays the First Unitarian Church with support from the local-lady poppy-punk of Cayetana (above).
NOT RECOMMENDED: There are times when we catch movies we know we won’t like. Sometimes, we end up liking them a little bit — as with … uh … The Three Stooges. But it’s January, where studios dump all post-awards-season shit that everyone will have already forgotten about come April. We did not see I, Frankenstein. It’s not fair to say we’ll never see it, because we’ve stooped pretty low before, but considering “panned” doesn’t even begin to say what it is, maybe you’re best just not going to the movies at all this weekend. Maybe. Or, you can check out a whole smattering of this year’s Oscar nominated films at the Ritzes.
ALSO NEW IN THEATERS: Gimme Shelter, the only film you’ll see this year that’s starring both James Earl Jones and Brendan Fraser; and The Past, a french-language festival-darling dramatic-thriller, at Ritz Five and Rave Ritz Center.
January 23, 2014
>>> You may not have been the recipient of a pair of free passes, but the Smiths Social is still going on at The Troc and worth checking out. Fill your back pocket with some flowers and practice your best Moz dance.
>>> Over at Boot and Saddle, local chamber-pop vets Buried Beds play with support from Northern Faces and the Fleeting Ends.
>>> And out at Ardmore Music Hall, the Grateful Dead tribute act Splintered Sunlight is playing, but that’s not the more important part. The most important part? The opening band is called The Strumbrellas.
We all kind of knew this anecdotally anyway, but now there are actual numbers behind it:
“Only 36 percent of millennials said they would recommend the city as a place to raise children, while 56 percent would not,” wrote the report’s author, Larry Eichel, project director of Pew’s Philadelphia Research Initiative. “With many young adults starting to raise families or thinking about doing so, this view is not a positive sign.”
Nevertheless, it does seem unfair to tack this to just the millennials; as Gen X-ers, we know that The Poseur Rule has been in effect for at least two decades now. And while this phenomenon is also a huge part of Philly’s Brain Drain, let us also look at the silver lining: The social toilet flush created every few years by people whose hearts were not in this Philly thing anyway is essential to keeping Philly weird and lively, and let’s face it, cheap. All of which is to say: Yeah, yeah, schools and all that, but really, guys, don’t let the door hit you in the ass.
It’s not enough that Comcast already stands high above us — and will soon stand even higher — so they’ve gotta make sure they’re in control of everything you enjoy in your home. Cable? Yes. Internet? Of course. Landline? HA! Sure. Electricity? Soon.
According to CED, “Comcast is investigating a new twist on the quadruple play, replacing wireless connectivity with electricity bundled in with video, broadband, and phone service. The bundle would initially be available in Comcast’s Pennsylvania markets.” Remember, Comcast is somehow not a monopoly, but they won’t stop until they are.
First the KAWS business, now this. What’s next, “Wrecking Ball: Images Of Miley In The Dutch Masters?” We kid, but really: PAFA doesn’t need to punch below its weight. It’s an amazing collection, a great spot, and finally, the KAWS show is gone so you can go there again without your head exploding.
There’s a lot of snow out there. This last snowfall was a top 10 all-timer. And when you look at the upcoming temps — a high in the teens and a low on the (maybe) negative side on Tuesday — it’s unlikely much of this stuff is going to melt. While it’s already beginning to get all slushy and gray and gross, the city’s got a plan to get rid of some of it, and it’s to literally get rid of it.
According to KYW:
Streets commissioner David Perri says that to the west of City Hall – including along Market, Arch, and Race Streets, and JFK Boulevard between 15th and 17th Streets — there is nowhere to put the 13 to 14 inches of snow that blanketed the streets yesterday. ‘We bring in trucks and front-end loaders, and we literally haul the snow out to a remote location,’ he said.”
So where exactly is this remote location? KYW doesn’t know, but if our observations tell us anything it is probably just a bunch of side streets in South Philly that aren’t going to get plowed anyway.
>>> Have you ever wanted to ask Buzz Bissinger something, to his face, but just couldn’t make that happen in a way that didn’t feel worthy of a restraining order? Well, Kelly Writers House at UPenn can help you with that next month. [Reddit]
>>> Meanwhile, is Jerry Mondesire about to go the way of all great Philly political animals? Probably. [AxisPhilly]
>>> And finally, though the news is now more than 24 hours old, we’d be remiss if we didn’t say: Bobby Abreu? Really? [CBSSports]
Before we say anything else, let us say this: Since he took over the kitchen at Philly’s venerable Fork in the fall of 2012, chef Eli Kulp has quickly emerged as easily one of the best chefs currently working in the city. Food fanboy hyperbole comes cheap these days, but his meals there really are truly a revelation, and his new offshoot of Fork, High Street on Market, is certainly no slouch, either. If it wasn’t before, Fork is now an essential Philly meal. Kulp’s chops are impeccable, and in a time where so much of this city’s culinary “talent” are actually just people who want to be on television (can we please go back to that previous time where this was not the case?), he is a very good reminder that food glory can come in other, more satisfying ways.
But the thing is, Philadelphia, he may not actually like you. In this classically dickish NYC-looking-down-on-Philly piece in GrubStreet this week, much is made of the fact that Philly is 90 plebeian miles from New York, and woe betide the poor culinary-evangelical missionary who must make this trip. Serpico’s Peter Serpico is singled out, and so too is Kulp. The piece is pretty much as promised, but in the last two paragraphs, Kulp tips a pretty ugly hand. Exhibit A:
“For any new restaurant in Philly, Kulp says the trick is creating “something that isn’t going to intimidate people or make them feel like they’re risking their money because it’s so out of touch with what they might anticipate.”
You know, it’s kind of difficult to find a way to call Philadelphians stupid, cheap and unadventurous in one sentence without actually just saying that, but there you have it. We will not dignify this with a breakdown of how fundamentally wrong Kulp’s assertion here is, except to say that we walk these streets every day, finding delight that goes completely contrary to this worldview. Meanwhile, for his next trick (and closing statement of the piece), Kulp will make quite sure you know that he knows where the door is:
But he says there’s still a bigger mental divide between New York and Philadelphia than there is an actual geographical divide: “People in New York just don’t go to Philadelphia,” he says. “But if it didn’t work out down here, I figure I’d take the hour-and-fifteen-minute train ride. Once I realized how close Philadelphia is, it’s not like you can never go back.”
Well, Eli, we suppose that’s true.
A friend of the Philebs who is in the know about these types of things let us in on this: That penthouse tri-plex for sale that you see above is currently owned by Chase Utley, and a tri-plex is apparently a real thing. According to Zillow, the place is a “sleek haven in the sky,” ” of the finest residences in the city,” and “insanely fancy.” Well, that last one was our analysis.
Also, Chase Utley apparently likes a good gourd.
AFter taking a break for a little while to retool the night and the band, the 18th Pale Descendents — a Smiths/Morrissey cover duo — are back at the Trocadero tonight for the Smiths Social. The night will feature two sets of Smiths tunes from the 18th Pale Descendents, Dr. Thunder spinning 80s alternative before and after the live sets, and a reading of excerpts from Autobiography by Morrissey. It’s going to be a good time, as long as you don’t stand on your own, and then leave on your own, and go home and cry and want to die. If you don’t do that, we’d like you to be there. To enter to win tickets, email ihopeiwin[at]philebrity[dot]com with “YOU’RE THE BEES KNEES BUT SO AM I” 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’ll pick winners by the end of the day, and today is also your last call to enter the Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe contest and the Walk Off The Earth contest. Get on it.