March 12, 2014

We Guarantee That Germantown Cab Company Will Instantly Become Your Favorite After You Read This

Problem is, you may not be able to hail one for a little while. Because you see, Germantown Cab Company was shut down on Monday by the Philadelphia Parking Authority. But the problem with that, is that, well, Germantown does not acknowledge the authority of the PPA in the first place, as Randy LoBasso discovers:

“The PPA thinks they can regulate us, and that’s where the problem comes in. We can’t serve two masters.”

This, as it turns out, has been going on for years. Germantown says that they are regulated by the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission, and the PPA says no. And around we go. It’ll take some lawyering to get out of, on either side, but for the moment, can we sit back and just appreciate the simplicity of the Germantown stance when it comes to the Philadelphia Parking Authority? Perhaps it all really is mind over matter.

Local Man Creates Neighborhood Map For The Mutual Arguing Of Everyone

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Philly designer Jon Kostesich has created this attractive and informative map of Philly’s neighborhoods, which we strongly recommend you look at in hi-res here. Now, everyone knows that the delineation of neighborhood boundaries in Philadelphia is an eternally fraught topic of discussion, but on first eyeball, it’s looking like Kostesich nailed it about as good as anyone can. But as you know, that will not matter. People will argue. Really nice map, though.

Slate Makes Map Of American Meats, Gives Scrapple To Delaware, Makes Us Want Scrapple

slate meat map
Slate does know how to make the hell out of a map.

Look Slate, we get it. Sometimes, you’re talking around the office and someone says “If every state had an official meat, what would it be?” Then someone else says “MAKE IT A GODDAMN MAP” and now here we are. And we totally understand that you had to give PA “Thinly sliced top round,” or cheesesteak meat. Sure, but scrapple to Delaware?

Delaware
Scrapple
Delaware, a coastal statelet that Amtrak trains pass through en route from New York to D.C., is a leading manufacturer of scrapple, a loaf made of “pork stock, pork livers, pork fat, pork snouts, corn meal, pork hearts, wheat flour, salt, [and] spices.” You do you, Delaware.”

Okay, a few things: Bonus points from us for calling Delaware a “statelet.” Bonus points from Joe Biden for mentioning Amtrak. But don’t they have something that is fully, totally, Delawarean? Habbersett, the brand most of us think of when we think of Scrapple, has their manufacturing plant in Delaware, but “the original facility was located in Media, PA” and it’s widely believed that the PA Dutch — some of whom still refer to the dish as pannhas like the otherworldly strangers that they are — originated it in the U.S. as “arguably the first pork food invented in America.”

Sure, Delaware’s got a scrapple festival, but we shouldn’t just give it to them because they’ve got nothing else. At the very least we’ll share it with Delaware, but it belongs here.



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Soon, Washington Ave. Will Be Home To Many Panicked Drivers, Hearing A Chorus Of Honks, Trying To Back-In To An Angled Parking Spot

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You can see the proposal, block-by-block, in a PDF here.

Back-in angled parking? Curb extensions? Bike racks? Bus lanes? Green medians? Just about every trick in the city planning book has been thrown out as a possible addition to the revamped Washington Ave. Last night, there was a meeting to unveil data and results of studies and plans, and a final repainting plan was not actually revealed. A preliminary plan was presented and Ori Feibush (or someone who works for him, natch) was there. Here’s what Naked Philly said about it:

Though the repainting scheme has not yet been finalized, the preliminary plan presented last night would radically change the traffic flow on Washington Avenue. Parts of the street will be reduced down to one lane, with higher-traffic segments maintaining three or even four lanes. The disappearing lanes will be replaced by back-in angle parking on many blocks, which will increase the number of available parking spots on the street. The lights will also be retimed to reduce the speed of traffic and increase safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. It’s challenging in this space to detail the plans on a block-by-block basis, but suffice to say that change will be coming to almost every block on Washington Avenue.”

So the changes probably won’t be consistent across the board, but the street — which is truly hellish to drive or cycle on, especially since something about the street seems to tell cabbies to just go wild — is going to get a face-lift in more places than one. And as an additional side-effect, everyone driving on it will get a crash course in back-in angled parking, which some people just cannot get right.

Right Now In The People’s Republic Of Comcast: Let There Be Light (That You Pay Us For)!

xUSSRCAST1.png.pagespeed.icWhen we first brought this idea to you, it was but a glimmer in Comcast’s eye, but nothing stays that way for long when you’ve got more money than the human mind is allowed to comprehend: Comcast is branching out into electricity, beginning out in Pittsburgh because shit man, leave us alone for once.

The program, called Energy Rewards, “offers users who sign up for Comcast’s new energy services prepaid Visa cards and three free months of HBO, Showtime or Starz.” The program is launching with NRG Energy as the energy provider and allows the customer to bundle phone, cable, broadband, home security, and electricity together. Because once your electricity goes out, you’re going to want those local-overlords to be the ones responsible for making sure it turns back on.



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Tales From The Main Line: Realtor Sues CBS3 Over Dead Animals

talesfromdarksideThe last time we checked in with the legal cases of those Mainliners, there was an illegal wine ring to uncover. So what is it this time? Animal carcasses. Ya know, pretty similar.

According to the Daily News, CBS3 is being sued by Main Line Realtor Andrea Straub for defamation, emotional distress, and more, “saying the station broadcast ‘a preposterous and knowingly false story’” about Straub having something to do with dumping animal carcasses on the lawn of a neighboring house that was for sale next-door to one she was selling. The whole thing involves reporter-friends, house sitters who go by “Gore God,” potentially vengeful spurned home-buyers, and more. CBS3 is standing by their story, but the best part comes in Molly Eichel‘s rpeorting of the whole thing, right here:

According to the suit, filed last week in Philadelphia, house sitter Eric Welsch, who uses the Twitter handle ‘Gore God,’ gave the station a video that showed a ‘blurry, yet clearly male figure’ vandalizing a ‘For Sale’ sign and placing ‘animal corpses’ on the property.

‘Anyone who knows Ms. Straub is well aware of her fear of mice and rats, making these claims that she placed dead corpses on the neighbor’s property all the more absurd,’ the suit states.”

“My Realtor? Yeah, she’s pretty good, but if there’s one thing I know about her, it’s her fear of mice and rats.”

March 11, 2014

Philly Tech Week To Feature Tetris On The Cira Centre This Year

ciratetris
This expertly produced Photoshop rendering provides but a glimpse of of how cool this will be.

With Philly Tech Week ramping up for this April 4-12, here comes a big announcement: Drexel University’s Dr. Frank Lee, who captured the city’s imagination last year with the Cira Pong event, has a sequel planned: Tetris. Once again on the lighted walls of the Cira Centre, Lee has programmed a multiplayer game of Tetris, to be played on both the north and south sides of the building. Players stationed at Eakins Oval (where there will be a whole Tech Week arcade) on the north side will square off against opponents playing from a location on Drexel’s campus on the south side. The event will take place on Friday, April 4 at 7pm to open Philly Tech Week festivities. To enter for a chance to play Tetris on the Cira Center (what a phrase!), go here.

After the jump, a press release from the event’s partners, Brandywine Realty Trust and Drexel University. (more…)

Infographic Reveals: C’mon, Philly, 50% Of You Suckers Are Driving To Work Alone

… wherein our friends at the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities (MOTU) show our dark, secret shame:

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Think of it: Half of you, alone each morning, in your automobiles, listening to John DeBella serve up warmed over dick jokes as you crawl up and down I-95. So sad. It’s enough to make a person want to…

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Sweet Christ, Phish Is Playing At The Mann

This just in, you insufferable (but often otherwise very lovable) people: Your precious Phish will perform two nights in Philadelphia at the Mann in Fairmount Park on July 8th and 9th. Tickets go on sale Thursday, March 27 at 10AM, and there is some kind of pre-sale ticket “request” thing going on here.

Do not ask us for tickets, and this is the last time we will discuss this.

Flyers Anthem Singer Lauren Hart Will Have Her Own TV Show On A Network That Totally Exists

lauren hartIn a story that basically features the cast of Clue if they were all local and 100% hoagiemouthin’, Philadelphia Flyers anthem singer Lauren Hart will begin hosting her own talk show, All Hart, this Thursday at 8PM on WMCN44.

What is WMCN44, you ask? Well, it’s a channel licensed by Lenfest Broadcasting, LLC — as in Inky part-owner Gerry — that currently employs Dawn Stensland (as the host of Dawn), formerly employed Don Tollefson (as the host of Tolly’s Awesome Friends), and airs a Dean Cain-hosted blooper show twice weekly. But Hart’s show, which will air weekly, will feature Hart visiting “the newest restaurants and shops for the latest trends and hidden gems … [Hart] also plans to chat with local celebrities and musicians, and highlight what they are up to now.” The channel is weird and the cast of people involved is weird and the whole thing is basically The 10! Show with Hart at the helm. We’re a little surprised her first TV gig doesn’t involve Good Day Philadelphia, and some day it may, but for now you can catch All Hart in between Celebrity Corner and Paid Programming.

Won’t Someone Decent Run For That Open City Council Seat? Here, We’ll Even Help You!

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If you were here, well, at least you wouldn’t be somebody else.

Coming at a time when Philly’s union-dominated political culture has never been more obviously suffocating and bullying, today’s revelation that the fix was most likely already in for Bill Green’s opening Council At Large seat struck us as, frankly, offensive. With a special election coming up on May 20 to fill Green’s seat (he’s leaving to accept a new post as head of the Schools Reform Commission), what could have been an opportunity to get some new blood in on Council has quickly turned into another example for what is the most common knock on the Philadelphia Democratic Machine — that it is not really democracy at all. Whatever State Rep. Ed Neilson of Northeast Philadelphia’s Council ambitions might be, there’s a takeaway that really tells you all you need to know: He’s the former political director for John Doughtery aka Johnny Doc. If you don’t pay attention to Philly politics, we can translate that last sentence for you easily: He’s not a part of the solution. He is very much a part of the problem. And Bob Brady’s rubber-stamping of the man is utterly tone-deaf — not just to the shifting political climate in Philly, but to also the very nature of how we, as Philadelphians, see our best selves.

But here’s the thing: As it stands now, somebody else — given the right platform and outreach and acumen — could totally take this thing. Hey, maybe it’s you! Consider the following things:

– In the last City election, back in November, only 11% of registered voters showed up. That election, you may recall, was a General Election; the hottest races in that one were for District Attorney and Controller. About 110,000 people voted (with Seth Williams and Alan Butkovitz winning those respective races). This special election on May 20th will be part of the hotly contested PA gubernatorial primary, so a lot of eyeballs will be on that race already. But don’t let this scare you – though the Philly Dem establishment would seem to have closed off itself, even longstanding elements within the party are kinda miffed that this went down.

– If you wanted to run — and if you are an upstanding, progressive Philadelphian who is thinking about entering public life, we strongly suggest you consider it — you could put the wheels in motion today. You’d most likely be running as an Independent, in which case you may begin circulating petitions to get your name on the ballot on Monday, March 24. You’d need 1,800 signatures and 100 bucks. That’s it. Totally doable. If you were smart, you’d harness the power of the Internet and social media and go to the neighborhoods where progressives and neighborhood groups already have a level of engagement going that isn’t just the old ward leader system. At the same time, go for the old heads, too, and don’t you dare talk down to them. (This is how we wound up with casinos.)

Does it sound unlikely? Really? Does it? Remember: This is basically how Michael Nutter won. And it’s our belief that, in our lifetime, we will see the breakdown of the union-controlled Democratic Machine in this city that has strangled us for so long. Because it’s already happening. Sunlight was no good for the Ironworkers, and there’s more where that came from. If you’re the right kind of person — a true blue Philadelphian who’s owned by no man or group of men (because, by the way, it’s always men that keep this bullshit alive) — this city needs you. This city needs you really, really, bad. Won’t you at least consider it?

If You Aren’t Outside Today, Let’s Talk About Outdoor Things Coming Up At The Oval

ovalLogoHello, are you outside? Why aren’t you outside. We mean, we’re glad you’re here with us and all, but it’s beautiful out. We’ve waited for this for so long — and Thursday is going to be bitterly cold again — but it’s finally time when we can reasonably imagine what Spring is going to feel like. It’s wonderful, isn’t it?

With that in mind, you’re probably daydreaming about all of the cool outdoor things you can do once this is the norm. And luckily for all of us, The Oval is planning ahead. The once-underused but now appropriately-used public space will be open for only its second season, but will already play host to a giant outdoor arcade on April 4th for Tech Week, a farm festival, an artisan market, a fashion festival, and a whole bunch of stuff that hasn’t been announced yet. It’s going to be great. Cool? Good. Now at least open your window, don’t waste the day.

Noontime Nuggetz: “Burr,” A Reimagining Of “Her” As It Probably Should Be

In which Philly sketch comedy team The Flat Earth shows you what Her would have been in like if, instead of ScarJo, the voice of the OS was Bill Burr.

That City Council Special Election Will Be Democracy In Action, Just Kidding Ward Leaders Already Chose The Winner

ed neilsonIf you’re anything like us, you were super excited for the upcoming special election to fill Bill Green’s vacant City Council seat because democracy is exciting. But we have all been robbed of that opportunity, because the city’s ward leaders know you’re busy and they’ve gone ahead and picked the guy you’ll be voting for.

According to Newsworks, “The new councilman will be state Rep. Ed Neilson of Northeast Philadelphia. He’s a former political director of the politically powerful electricians’ union Local 98, and he’ll be chosen in a vote at a closed-door meeting Tuesday among the city’s 69 Democratic ward leaders. Because it’s a special election, there’s no primary election.” Neilson’s district in the Northeast is making the move out to York Country due to redistricting, and he’s got on interest in that because York County? Please.

Well, that and if “Neilson wants to stay in the Legislature, he’ll have to run against another well-connected Democratic state legislator, John Sabatina Jr.” It seems everyone would like to avoid that if possible, so ward leaders picked Nielson as their go-to guy in a meeting that was “neither open to the public nor documented in publicly available minutes.” The GOP candidate, according to Dave Davies at least, is likely to be Matthew Wolfe, but Dems have a “six-to-one registration edge.” And if all goes well for the Dems — and this is really a masterclass in burying the lede since it’s the last line in Davies’ piece — Nielson will be the second member of council, in addition to Bobby Henon, to have spent years as Johnny Doc’s political director. So, we actually buried the lede too. That’s really the only sentence you need here.

Temple’s First Webseries (And First LGBT Series) Nominated For College TV Emmy, Also College TV Emmys Exist

GuysPromoPhoto2Did you know there was such thing as a College TV Emmy? Well, technically it’s the Emmy® Foundation’s College Television Awards, and it’s been around for 35 years, but we’re just now finding out about its existence. And why? Because some Temple kids are practicing their best “It’s an honor just to be nominated” line before flying out to LA for the ceremony.

One of the Guys, “Temple University’s first full-length web series,” has been nominated in the “Series” category of the 2014 Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation’s National College Television Awards. Student producers Michael Busza, Jen Parmer, and Jaime Sweet will be attending the awards, and hopefully beginning their quest for the (S)EGOT. One of the Guys is written, produced, and edited totally by Temple students, and has “been celebrated as both Temple University’s first web-based television show and its first LGBT series.” The show “follows the escapades of three gay friends and their straight roommate as all four seek love, purpose, and a happy home,” and you can catch the first four episodes over here.

The Week Ahead In Music: All My Rowdy Friends Are At SXSW

bangsWell, it’s that time of year, when all of your favorite bands and your favorite bands’ favorite bands are down in Austin, Texas for about two weeks playing non-stop. It’s SXSW, and what it means for us is a serious lull in live music for the week. But there is still some stuff going on, as Kungfu Necktie has a fully-stocked week, and Boot and Saddle hosts bleep-bloopers Com Truise and Phantoms on Thursday night. You haven’t got a whole lot of options, but those are some of them.

And with that, we skip right ahead to Friday — like we said, everyone’s in Austin — when The War On Drugs will be at World Cafe Live. Adam Granduciel and company swing by for this week’s Free At Noon, and you’ll probably want to familiarize yourself with some of the new jams first. 12pm. Free with RSVP.

And allow us to finish grasping at straws here while we talk about a music-related event going on at PhilaMOCA this weekend: Both Friday and Saturday nights bring filmmaker Lance Bangs and musician David Pajo to our dear city for the Philly premiere of Bangs’ SLINT doc, Breadcrumb Trail. And in addition, both night’s will feature a post-screening-screening of a program of rare music-related short films, videos, concert footage, and collaborations called Immortal Volume. All ticket info is available here. Breadcrumb Trail at 7pm, Immortal Volume at 9:30pm both nights. $10 for individual program, $15 for double feature.

Captain Freeshit Reminder: You Can Still Win Tickets For Nick Cave At The Mann And Morrissey In Atlantic City

We’ve got some bad news: If you didn’t hear from us, you didn’t win a pair of passes to the screening of The Grand Budapest Hotel tonight. Sorry about that. But there’s also some good news: You can still win a pair of tickets to see Nick Cave with support from Kurt Vile at The Mann on July 25th, or a pair of tickets to see Morrissey play in support of his just-announced World Peace Is None of Your Business — though likely before it is released — at Revel Ovation Hall in Atlantic City. All you have to do is follow the rules at the respective links, and stare endlessly at your inbox until Friday when we pick the winners.

March 10, 2014

This Evening: Stars After Stars

>>> Tonight sees Underground Arts‘s new jam session, Drunk Piano, kick off with a who’s who of Philly’s session elite, plus random weirdos. Hosted by Jay Davidson (keyboardist and saxophonist for Steve Winwood, The Funk Brothers, Cinderella, Whitney Houston, the list goes on), this late-night hang will feature Bill Tayoun, Joshua Winer, Alex Ayala, Jeff Thomas, Annie A-Bomb and more. What will it be like? Something tells us it will be like living inside all of the Tom Waits songs at once.

>>> Meanwhile, ex-Miracle Legion/Polaris frontman and Thom Yorke’s favorite singer, Mark Mulcahy will be back in town at World Cafe Live with Chris Harford. Check out our Q&A with Mulcahy last June here.

>>> And, in case you missed it over the weekend, the Phila. Film Society’s Wes Anderson Film Fest continues at the Roxy.

We (Hope We Can) Guarantee That Your Afternoon Bathroom Break Will Not Be As Trippy As This

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For a while now, Germantown’s Imperfect Gallery has been using their bathroom (also known as “the red room”) as an additional display space. Every month an artist transforms it. And the results has been pretty crazy, as displayed here, where you can see the last 12 in these panoramic photos.

The Week Ahead In Comedy: Let’s Talk About Sex

1798634_731109000255344_1487787430_nFresh from a well-received run at the Frigid Festival in New York City, David Mogolov‘s one-hour monologue, “Eating My Garbage,” will be making a stop at PhilaMOCA this Wednesday night, under the direction of area director and improv instructor Steve Kleinedler. Grappling with the worlds of politics, corporate culture, and city living, and suffering from a self-inflicted dental issue, the tormented monologuist “attempts to take rational control of his life.” Give your own control-hungry inner monologuist the night off for this one, and see how well this one fares. 8pm. $5.

Yesteryear’s shorthand for part-time lovers is this Friday’s stimulating “DTF: Darryl and Timaree Fun Hour,” hosted by Philly’s favorite sexpert Dr. Timaree and Philly’s funniest Darryl, Darryl Charles. Packed with news, games, and lively grown-up discussions, DTF welcomes guests camgirl Asha Lo and comedy performer Corin Wells this time around for some no-strings-attached goodness at the Philly Improv Theatre. 10:30pm. $10 in advance, $12 at the door.

World Cafe Live has been hosting the best in Philly stand-up for a whole year now, and “All Bets Are Off” producers Garrett Smith and Michael Baurer are celebrating the anniversary with all their favorite comics, plus house band Chalk and the Beige Americans. Come see Philly’s Phunniest 2012 winner James Hesky, along with “Doper Dip” subway impressionist Rick Juliani, pregnancy-scared Alison Zeidman, and two of the male comedians of the Tight Six crew, Joe Bell and Aaron Nevins, as they take the stage to toast a year in all those bets being off. 10pm. $5.

– Alejandro Morales

Alejandro Morales was named “One of the Top 200 Stand-up Comedians in Philadelphia” earlier in this sentence. He’s one of six rotating hosts at the Laughs on Fairmount weekly Monday open mic at Urban Saloon and he is the creator and director of the web series Dates, which can be watched at thedatesshow.com. His twitter pronunciation is @alleyhandrow.