April 21, 2014

This Evening: America’s Next Top New Best… Paths!

>>> Tonight kicks off Ars Nova Workshop’s New Paths Festival, an ambitious and excellently curated run of avant-jazz gigs around the city that bring together some of the heaviest hitters currently working in the (formless) form, and places them in some truly epic venues. There’s a William Parker residency, a John Zorn gig at Girard College, Mats Gustaffson from Sweden, Peter Brötzmann at the German Society and more. Tonight, New Paths gets underway with MacArthur Fellow and Chicago jazz legend Ken Vandermark at the Barnes Foundation. If ever you were going to immerse yourself in some of the finest out-there jazz music currently being made in the world, this would be the week and New Paths would be the place to do it. Do it!

>>> And over at The Boot & Saddle, the Free For All Comedy kids do their Magnificent Seven show, with Michelle Biloon, David James, Joey Dougherty, Christian Alsis, Jim Ginty, and more.

The Week Ahead In Music: Projecting

“Man, live music in this town is great, but it could really use more Jack Nicholson.” If that is something you found yourself thinking, you are a very weird person, but you’re in luck this week as Philly’s own Psychic Teens take to PhilaMOCA on Tuesday night as part of this year’s Cinedelphia Film Festival to play a live film score to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining as it is projected behind them both frontwards and backwards. Get it? That should be plenty weird enough for ya. 8pm. $10.

In more straightforward but no-more-normal shows: Human cartoon character Riff Raff takes his Neon Icon tour to the TLA on Wednesday, if that is something you are interested in for some reason. 10:30pm. $20.

Inside every millennial Indie Kid is a former high school Emo Kid, and those people can bask in the nostalgic emo-pop afterglow of Vacationer (featuring Kenny Vasoli, formerly of The Starting Line) and Hellogoodbye when they play Underground Arts on Thursday. 8pm. $15.

The spacey, garage-esque vibes for Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks (which features Animal Collective’s Avey Tare and ex-Dirty Projector Angel Deradoorian), playing behind this year’s Enter The Slasher House can be heard at Johnny Brenda’s on Thursday night, with support from Dustin Wong. 8pm. $15.

And on Friday night at The First Unitarian Church, WKDU presents a packed bill of LOUDNESS as Perfect Pussy, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Green Dreams, and +HIRS+. Oldheads need earplugs. 7pm. $10-12.

Here Is The Post Where We Give You $20 Of Free Uber

Starting today and until we get tired of each other, Philebrity is partnering with Uber, the handy app that brings a shiny black car or SUV to your door very quickly, whereupon a nice lady or man (there are lady Uber drivers!) then takes you wherever you want to go in comfort and style. Along the way, you will be welcome to their Marco Rubio-sized bottles of water, as much or as little chitchat as you require, and best of all, no handling of actual human money! Rather, your card number will be charged (stored in the app, where you can also watch teeny tiny little matchbox limos vie for your attentions in real time), and unlike every cab company in town (many of which sucked to begin with but now that Uber is around, fuhhhhhgedaboutit), you can then rate your driver, for quality control. For those of us in town that often take cabs, this is like some crazy magic.

Anyway, we’ll be doing some fun stuff with Uber in the days to come, including free rides to and from selected concert giveaways that we’re running (stay tuned for tomorrow’s M.I.A. at the Tower contest). But right now, we’re giving away a $20 Uber credit to any new user who uses the promo code “PHILEBRITY” when they sign up! That’s like Fishtown/South Philly to Center City (or vice versa), for free! In comfort and style! Many of you, we are aware, have already used Uber, know of its use, and may not be eligible for this promo. To you, we say: Use the phone of the person sitting next to you.



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City Council Moves To Ban Pawn Shops, Payday Loans Around Blatstein’s Casino Proposal, Just In Case

provenceWe’re still — eternally — a few months away from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s decision on who gets the city’s second casino license, but while we’re all just sitting here waiting around, City Council has decided to go ahead and throw a new zoning overlay on on North Broad by where Bart Blatstein’s The Provence would be. The new overlay, according to KYW, “specifically prohibits new businesses that would prey on gamblers” for the area bounced by Spring Garden and Callowhill, Broad and 18th Streets. Bill Greenlee told KYW, “The communities involved really do not want to see these kinds of establishments — pawn shops, checking cashing agencies. And also, with a possible casino coming there, that would not seem to be appropriate uses to be that close to a casino.” The businesses of this kind that are already there can stay, they just can’t expand.

The measure will go to the full Council for a vote, and if it passes and Blatstein gets that licnese, we can probably expect to see a new pawnshop/payday loan megastore just beyond the boundary.

The Week Ahead In Comedy: Extra Special

Tonight, kick up your heels and laugh off the stress of life with the Magnificent Seven Part III at Boot & Saddle. This time around, the Free for All Comedy family will be welcoming the likes of Christian Alsis, Joey Dougherty, Jim Ginty, David James, and new Philadelphian/Helium Comedy Club host Michelle Biloon. Give her a warm round of applause and make her feel welcome. Start practicing now. Clap clap. Doors at 8pm. $7.

Wednesday, sketch comedy video program Down the Show will be celebrating and screening its 4th episode at Underground Arts, with the comedy of Necrosexual alter ego Jimmy Viola, the timeless musings of Chip Chantry, and the dulcet tones of musical duo Emily and Micah McGraw. The screening of the latest episode of Down the Show promises to feature “people you know and like or dislike or have mixed feelings about” such as Eddie Pepitone and Jeanine Garofalo. Doors at 7pm.

Wednesday through Saturday, the sketch comedy thespians of High Dramma return to their Walking Fish Theatre stomping grounds for a spirited run of “highbrow vulgarity and lowbrow cleverness.” These will be their first shows in almost a full year, after traveling to sketch festivals all over the continent, so this is a great time to see what they’ve been drammatizing. 8pm. Tickets available online and Wednesday’s show is pay-what-you-wish.

Friday night, loud laughers citywide are invited to Urban Saloon, where some of the comics mentioned in these listings, plus a handful of other talented jokers, will be recording their best five-minute standup at Laughs on Fairmount: A Live Taping. The footage taken at this show will be used by Philly’s hardest-working funny people to submit to festivals and contests all over the country. Indulge the forthcoming mixed metaphor and help these underdogs take wing. Doors at 8pm. Free.

– Alejandro Morales

Alejandro Morales wouldn’t hurt a fly, because that would take coordination. You can bug him (GET IT?) on twitter @AlleyHandRow



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City Promises To Start Going After Jury Duty Scofflaws, Which Means We Could Have Ignored Jury Duty This Whole Time Without Consequence

John Herron, Administrative Judge of Common Pleas Court, told KYW that not only do only about 13 in 100 people summoned to jury duty actually report, but “We are actually receiving jury summons back from individuals with a very impolite expression on the summons face, and one of those begins with ‘You can go–’ and I’ll let you fill it in.” Herron said at the end of May he will begin hauling jury scofflaws into court, which means only one thing: We could have not only been ignoring jury duty this whole time, but we could have been openly hostile about it and faced no consequences. We wish we knew this before.

Noontime Nuggetz: Boy George & Black Lips, “Bang A Gong (Get it On),” Live at WXPN Last Friday

Boy George and Black Lips cover T. Rex’s “Bang A Gong (Get it On)” Live at WXPN from WXPN FM on Vimeo.

This happened!

PFS Begins “Sensory Friendly Sundays” At The Roxy For Kids With Developmental And Behavioral Disabilities

PrintWe don’t know from experience, but we assume that taking a child who has a sensitivity to light, sound, or anything else that is usually included in the movie-going experience to a theater can be a bit of a struggle. With that in mind, the good people at the Philadelphia Film Society are launching Sensory Friendly Sundays, “an inclusionary monthly film screening series designed to consider children with developmental and behavioral disabilities.” The montly screenings will feature international, award-winning, animated and live action feature films in an environment “designed to create accessibility for individuals who may have a heightened sensitivity to the darkness, visual effects, or volume of a traditional movie theater experience. To create a sensory friendly environment, theater house lights are partially raised and overall volume is reduced.”

The just-announced lineup features:

>>> SUNDAY, APRIL 27
Otter 501 // Directed by Bob Talbot // USA 2012
Based on a remarkable true story, Otter 501 chronicles the tale of an orphaned baby otter fighting for a second chance at life in the wild.

>>> SUNDAY, MAY 18
Antboy // Directed by Ask Hasselbach // Denmark 2013
12-year old Pelle is bitten by a special ant and transforms into the extraordinary superhero – ANTBOY! Can he and his sidekicks save the town, rescue the damsel in distress, and be home in time for dinner?

>>> SUNDAY, JUNE 22
A Cat in Paris // Directed by Jean-Loup Feliciolo & Alain Gagnol // France 2011
Dino the cat lives two lives. By day, he lives with Zoe, a young girl whose mom is a police detective. By night, he roams the streets with Nico, a cat burglar with a big heart. One night, Dino’s two world’s collide, leading them all on a race across the Paris skyline.”

All screenings take place at the PFS Roxy Theater and tickets for kids 12 and under are $1.00 while matinee pricing is in effect for all others. Tickets and more info can be found here.

Rumblings: Pizza Babies Having Pizza Babies

>>> Big congrats to Brian & Danielle Dwyer (of Pizza Brain fame), who recently welcomed a bouncing baby boy, name of Waldo James Mysterious Dwyer, who entered this world at such a large size (MON DIEU, 13 pounds, 8-and-a-half ounces!) that there was a Daily Mail story about him. [DailyMail]

>>> Fans of Doylestown-born Jule’s Thin Crust Pizza have a homecoming story of sorts, as Julia Ordway, daughter of John & Jan Ordway who are the creators and owners of Jules Thin Crust Pizza, is 12 years old and has self-published her first book titled, Goodbye, Jessie, which chronicles the loss of their family dog to cancer. She’ll be at The Doylestown Bookshop Saturday, April 26th at 1:00pm. The proceeds from the event will be donated to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

>>> And finally, perhaps most importantly, here’s a tour of 12 area pizza ovens. You know, in case you, er, want one in the oven. [Newsworks]

Great Moments In Gentrification: The Great Fishtown YouTube Wars

Adjua Fisher became that weird amalgam of neighborhood-Internet famous this weekend when a video she’d spoken in for the Philadelphia Neighborhoods project (since removed) became a shining example of the New Fishtown Horrible-ness. In entitled, upspeaking tones, Fisher (who is a contributor at PhillyMag, how perfect is that) rambles on and on, using air quotes and more “likes” than the DogTV Facebook profile, talking about corner boys and basically laying down the rap of every person who ever moved to Fishtown because they had no idea what Fishtown is really like. In the video’s wake, you got this mess, this post on Philadelinquency, and the above video, where Hoagiemouth Joe or whatever his name is addresses the real problem in Fishtown: Doggie poopies! And thus, the eternal Fishtown conundrum: The natives and gentrifiers alike are equally unsympathetic. Our recommend: A Berlin wall around Fishtown, containing everyone now there, for the next 50 years. (Sorry, mom! We’ll write!)

Right Now In The People’s Republic Of Comcast: You Said It, Captain Cohen

USSRCASTYou could be forgiven if your head exploded a little white reading this profile of Comcast’s David Cohen in yesterday’s NYT. For one thing, its breezy, “hey, I’m pals with everybody!” tone made the story such a softball that we’re shocked it didn’t end with an actual coupon for new Comcast sign-ups. For another, it allowed Cohen himself to sweep under the rug the growing concern that Comcast is on an inevitable march towards monopoly (and indeed, may already be using monopolistic practices when and where it can/feels like):

“If we’re a monopoly, we are the dumbest monopoly that has ever existed on the face of this earth.”

- David Cohen, Comcast Executive VP

Notice that this is not so much a denial as it is, yes, possibly actually true. And the lip service the piece does pay to monopolistic concerns barely scratch the surface of what has so many of us concerned: Sure, on a national level, the blows Comcast has dealt already towards net neutrality are significant. But they don’t even mention any of the concerns that could crop up when increasingly, Comcast owns, say, your whole city.

April 18, 2014

This Weekend: Let’s Get Konged

FRIDAY:

With the release of the Kong EP, TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb find themselves in that Philly band sweet spot, where it is generally agreed upon by the people who care about these things that here is as formidable an example of a Philly rock ‘n’ roll band as we have, and we’d be proud to send them out into the rest of the world bearing our area code. Kong songs are filled with things people did that they regret, booze they forgot they even drank, and messes everywhere. We are what we are, people. Tonight’s their Record Release at Johnny Brenda’s with Ali Wadsworth & Pine Barons.

>>> The Cinedelphia fest is still underway! Check out tonight’s Mondo Mausoleum Party, and check our festival preview here.

>>> Elsewhere: Stephen Ragga Marley at the Troc; Black Lips/Natural Child at Union Transfer; and Boy George at TLA.

SATURDAY:

>>> Quick, take a Zyrtec, it’s Record Store Day, AHHHHHHHHHHH! We highlighted a bunch of Philly-related RSD special releases here; and you can get a list of in-store events and participating stores nearby here.

>>> Meanhwile, Center City Jazz Festival sets up for one day, jam-packed with performances, all within a Midtown-Village-ish walking distance.

>>> And last but not least, Kwesi K also has a new one out, and it’s absolutely lovely. No, REALLY. Ecoutez:


He celebrates at The Boot & Saddle.

SUNDAY:

>>> May your brunches have a minimum of crying babies and vocal fry. May the sunshine rest on your shoulders while you daydrink freely. May whatshisface not insist on TALKING ALL THE WAY THROUGH MAD MEN. May you, if partnered, not do that thing where you both are so stressed out that you just argue all weekend; if you’re single, may you get out there and find the best goddamned lay of your life. Actually fuck it, we hope that happens for the paired-off people, too. Mix it up! Breakup Train 2014, woooo! And by the power invested in us as Philebrity.com, we now pronounce you man and weekend.

Film Sweat: Knowing Me, Knowing Dune, A-Ha

RECOMMENDED: Here in America, Alan Partridge will be lucky if it plays for a week, but over in the UK, Steve Coogan‘s signature character (wildly inappropriate, ego-driven, dissipated chat show host Alan Partridge, once the subject of a popular BBC sitcom) is a whole thing. (Sort of like a Tyler Perry for pasty white snobby British people… sort of.) And for those of us in the Tribe of Coogan, this is a huge deal that this will even play on an American screen. Especially since Coogan has been amping up his Real Actor cred with stuff like Philomena and What Maisie Knew, Alan Partridge is a very welcome nod to us O.G. fans who prefer the man as absurd as possible. This new film seems to take the elevator pitch of Airheads — goofballs take over a radio station — and mess around with it some. And frankly, that’s as much as we need. We’re there already.

ALSO RECOMMENDED: Jodrowsky’s Dune, an amazing yarn about a movie that never was but could have easily been the greatest thing to happen in the lives of prog rock fans, sci-fi nerds and Orson Welles.

ALSO NEW IN THEATERS THIS WEEK: Under the Skin, highlighting the real abundance of riches we’ve suddenly got in theaters right now, there’s this Scarlett Johansson star turn as a sort of alien nymphomaniac in this wild Kubrick-ian piece directed by Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast); Teenage, an adventurous docu-thing inspired by Jon Savage‘s book on the invention of the very concept of “teenagers”; Breathe In, a moody suspense number starring Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones in what sort of sounds like a movie adaptation of “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” by The Police; Bears, one of those live-action Disney docs that will probably try and make you think that bears have morals; Transcendence, MOMMY WHY IS JOHNNY DEPP IN THE HELLRAISER WITH CORNROWS FACE?; and A Haunted House 2, ‘cos Marlon Wayans can’t stop scarin’ people!

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.

Right Now In The People’s Republic Of Comcast: Frankenflix

USSRCASTFormer SNL writer and actor, and current Democratic senator from Minnesota Al Franken has a unique TV background for a senator. And therefore, he’s reaching out to Netflix, hoping they will join him in his vocal opposition to the Comcast/Time Warner merger.

According to the International Business Times, Franken sent Netflix a letter which read, in part:

My concern is that Comcast will be able to use its clout in the broadband distribution market to obtain an anticompetitive advantage in the content market. Comcast can achieve this by blocking, degrading, raising costs for, or otherwise interfering with unaffiliated content that relies on Comcast’s distribution network to reach consumers. I am not alone in my concerns. When Comcast acquired NBCUniversal, the FCC noticed the unprecedented nature of Comcast’s vertical integration and concluded that it would ‘increase Comcast’s incentive to discriminate against unaffiliated content and distributors in its exercise of control over consumers’ broadband connections[.]’ Those concerns were appropriate when Comcast acquired NBCUniversal a few years ago; they are heightened significantly now that Comcast seeks to acquire Time Warner Cable”

Comcast has already had a slightly contentious history with Netflix, and Franken is hoping that will lead their CEO to speak up, and perhaps put an end to the merger before it is allowed to happen. Will all of this backlash, how will Comcast get through it? Because they’re good enough, they’re smart enough, and doggone it, people actually really hate them.

You Can Say Hi To Our Friend The Olympia At This Summer’s Spruce Street Harbor Park

spruce street
Might as well call it Waterfront Summerfest.

Following up the success of the colder months’ Waterfront Winterfest, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation today announced the Spruce Street Harbor Park at the Penn’s Landing Marina, a two-month summer program set to take place in July and August. Among its features are a boardwalk, urban beach, fountains, and misting areas. And is that not INSANE enough for you? How about “a series of floating barges complete with lily pad water gardens, a pop-up restaurant and bar, and nets that will suspend visitors over the water.” Emphasis ours and probably yours as well.

Tom Corcoran, president of the DRWC, said “Spruce Street Harbor Park, thanks in part to a grant from ArtPlace America, stands to substantially augment the already fantastic lineup of summer events at Penn’s Landing. By creating new spaces, we’re showing Philadelphia and the region just how beautiful and accessible the waterfront can be.” We’re way on board, and when it hits 90+ degrees outside, we’re gonna go ahead and need that Mist Walk everywhere.

You Can Do Your Part To Help #RestoreArtsFunding And You Don’t Even Really Have To Do Anything

restore artsWay back in 2010, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund’s allocation from the fiscal year budget was $3.2 million. Since then, “the City has let the Philadelphia Cultural Fund operate under a slashed budget of $1.84 million.” To try to change that, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, GroundSwell and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund are partnering to rally arts & culture supporters across the region for the first-ever Philadelphia Arts Advocacy Day on Tuesday, April 22nd. What will Arts Advocacy Day contain? Basically a City Council budget hearing testimony from Cultural Alliance Interim Executive Director Michael Norris at 6pm, and a whole lot of tweeting before that. According to a press release, Norris will present a Groundswell petition to Council asking them to increasde fuding for PCF. But what can you do? They’re asking very little from you:

How to Participate:
>>> Tweet to followers on April 21st that the campaign will be occurring the next day on Philadelphia Arts Advocacy Day

>>> Tweet during the day of April 22nd about how you and/or your organization are impacted by the arts in Philadelphia using the hash tag #RestoreArtsFundingPHL

>>> Tweet to Council President Clarke @Darrell_Clarke to #RestoreArtsFundingPHL

>>> Ask your followers to tweet about how the arts in Philadelphia impact their lives using the hashtag #RestoreArtsFundingPHL

>>> Retweet some of your favorite responses

>>> Follow @GroundSwell_PA and @PhilaCulturalFund as they live-tweet the public testimony”

You barely have to wake up for that shit. Nicole Allen, Cultural Alliance Director of Policy and Community Engagement, said “We need to show City Council that Philadelphians from every neighborhood care about the future of arts & culture in our city … Restoring the budget for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund is a big part of that future, so we’re asking anyone who values Philly’s cultural community to get involved and take action for PCF on Philadelphia Arts Advocacy Day.” And considering how little they are asking of you — you can sign their petition here and you were going to be tweeting all day anyway — you have no excuse.

Oh, You Suburbs: Radnor PD Warns Residents Of Gypsies

Somewhere we have heard this before: According to Main Line Media News, Radnor Township residents are falling victim to gypsies and “gypsy style” scams. [Note: Google image searching "gypsy style" will bring you pictures of everyone you hated your freshman year of college.] Here’s what is going on:

Every spring and summer, the local area has had an increase in ‘gypsy and traveler’ activity. To law enforcement agencies, the word ‘gypsy’ refers to people who travel in small groups across the country perpetrating crimes of theft, burglary, and fraud.

During this same time of year, traveling home improvement workers, often called ‘travelers or Irish travelers,’ invade communities throughout the area, preying upon unsuspecting homeowners, often times the elderly, going door to door offering to pave or seal driveways at a very cheap price.”

Oh Radnor, have you learned nothing from Whitemarsh? As Main Line Media points out, “Homeowners should be suspicious of anyone who knocks on their doors with offers that sound too good to be true.” We would like to add this caveat: In this day and age, you should be suspicious of anyone at all who knocks on your door.

Aretha Franklin Is Going To Sue The Satire Site That Claimed She Fought Patti Labelle, Aretha Is Not Going To Win

labelle wigsAny story that mentions Patti Labelle from now on must mention her pool walking and this one is no different: Some people were duped by a satirical story on a satirical website the other day that said Patti Labelle got in a fistfight with Aretha Franklin. Aretha was not amused.

Aretha Franklin has announced that she is suing the site which reported the story, the News Nerd, for $10 million. According to Gawker, Franklin’s publicist said “The stories were not presented as satire or humor. It was presented as a serious news story intended to depict me in a slanderous and derogatory way — defamation of character.” It is here that we will point out two things:

1. Under the News Nerd’s “About,” it says this: “The stories posted on TheNewsNerd are for entertainment purposes only. The stories may mimic articles found in the headlines, but rest assured they are purely satirical.”

2. Patti Labelle gets it and she ain’t suing anybody because she does not give a fuck.

April 17, 2014

This Evening: Mondo Cooler

>>> At PhilaMOCA, the Cinedelphia Film Festival rolls on with a screening of Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video — SNL writer/featured player Michael O’Donoghue’s banned from TV made-for-TV movie that features Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Carrie Fisher, Margot Kidder, Debbie Harry and more — at 8pm, and then a screening of the “Ocean City, NJ-shot modern vampire classic” Cold Hearts at 10pm.
>>> Indie-folker William Fitzsimmons takes the stage at Union Transfer, with support from Leif Vollebekk.
>>> And over at Boot and Saddle, Argentina’s Juana Molina, touring the United States behind last year’s Wed 21, headlines a show with support from Arc Iris (aka Jocie Adams from The Low Anthem).

Relive Some Amazing Glimpses Of Philly History With The British Pathé Film Archive

British Pathé, who got into the newsreeel game with the invention of the moving image in the 1890′s, have just unleashed a truly awesome archive onto YouTube, and thus, the world at large. Boasting 85,000 newsreels — roughly 3,500 hours of filmed history, they say — the whole archive is now searchable and viewable on YouTube. And of course, there’s some great Philly stuff in there, such as this clip above, of your racist grandfather Mummers doing their thing in 1931. Or this one, which documents the Street Cleaner’s strike in 1938:

You thought this winter was bad? Back then, things got so bad that the city had to hire a scab force of 500 trash men to do the work of the 3,000 that were on strike. Oh, Philly. Check out more Philly stuff in the British Pathé YouTube archive here.