December 16, 2014
Whoa, this Craigslist ad we just accidentally tripped over is offering up the “deal of a lifetime!” On a pay-as-you-go scale that can start at as low as $2, you can participate in this hot new coworking venture headquartered at 45th and Locust, and, man, this place has everything! Free wi-fi, full utilities, and an outdoor conference room perfect for Spring and Summer team-building! And get this, they even have a fully-catered lobby outfitted with additional seating, open to individual and group startups for day-by-day leasing! Guys, this place is coworking just like we always dreamed, with all of the amenities of a happening neighborhood coffee shop and… yeah, and it’s like, right by that Green Line on Locust… and… fuck. Okay. Well-played, whoever you are.
This essential Architecture in Helsinki single isn’t a new song, and it’s not a new cover for Dr. Dog. The video is new, though, and it’s also the first taste of Dr. Dog’s upcoming first live album. Hopefully this classic cover will be just one of many standouts on the album.
We’ve got to admit, we’re conflicted about running this post, because it combines something we love and feel both inspired and obliged to post about with something we hate and feel both inspired and obliged to make fun of. Which means it can only be one thing: a holiday gift guide to Philly books. Our recent posts about holiday gifts have been more oriented toward throwing shade on the weird and the lame, but with this one, via Hidden City, we have to take a different tack, because, as we hope you know by now, Philly books are our jam, in a big way. The books on this list elect Philly as the crux of debates around Urban Studies and public policy, profile historic Philly figures, and, via photography and essay, approach the city itself with fresh new eyes. Check it out here.
At a time when the country is exploding with anti-racist fervor and organizing to campaign in solidarity for positive change, Penn frat bros are gleefully outfitting the compensatory wizard-staffs of their ignorance with yet another empty can. In a picture originally posted to Facebook by Penn frat Phi-Delta-Theta as a Christmas greeting, you can see to the far left a dark-skinned blow-up doll joining the large group of predominantly white males. Obviously, Penn students capable of abstract thought were thoroughly unamused. The dumb fucks in question explained afterward that “the doll was a Beyoncé sex toy originally meant as a gag gift at the group’s Secret Santa event,” and then admitted in their apology that “once removed from the packaging, it bore no semblance to the artist beyond skin color adding to its offensive nature.” The most shattering irony here is that most of the assholes behind that pathetic attempt at an apology will probably go on to make millions as PR execs.
We last posted about Isaiah Zagar‘s newest project, a companion piece to his Magic Gardens then tentatively called the Magic Garage, over a year ago. The news then was basically thus: it’s in a two-story warehouse, it’s not open yet, but it looks insane. The latest news, which comes after a one-night-only preview that took place last night at the 10th and Watkins location, is thus: it’s in a two-story warehouse, it’s not open yet, but it looks insane!
Those of you who can’t stand anticipation might not be happy with this news, but if you can’t stand anticipation, if you’re so full of anxiety that you just need to get what you want now so you don’t lose your shit, this piece probably isn’t for you anyway. Evolution isn’t just part of Zagar’s process, it’s what defines his work — the getting there is where you’re going. Tripping to/in Zagar’s dreamhouse/funhouse/madhouse will be, yeah, definitely a groovy time, but remember that for the true initiate, it’s all groovy, man.
Read more about and see more pictures of the new work over at NewsWorks.
December 15, 2014
>>> Drunk Piano — the weekly jam session that brings together musicians and performers of all stripes under the racontuership of sax-man Jay Davidson — is back at Underground Arts tonight with an all-holiday-themed show.
>>> Meanwhile, over at Johnny Brenda’s, King Britt‘s new project Fhloston Paradigm shares a bill with Robotique / Rasheedah Phillips / Mike Todd.
From our original post back in ’06: Alan Mann existed in the strange, incestuous Philly new wave netherworld of the late ’70s/early ’80s where Stephen Starr, Mikey Wild, The Hooters, The Stray Cats and Gary Heidnik all could have been at the same show, awaiting fates about as diverse as they get. In this movie, Mann played the Eddie of Eddie & The Cruisers role: Tortured, difficult genius, moderately dreamy. But there was more: Mann was also a self-styled poet in the Jim Carroll scuzz-tradition, and also a maverick in that he recorded and released his own music. And according to this 2004 City Paper article, after the Hooters and Robert Hazard went to the majors, Alan Mann — always a much thornier prospect than those two acts — was deemed next, and his ramp-up produced this Philly FM holiday staple. Therein was Mann’s appeal: Streetwise and sentimentally un-sentimental, which was about as close to a formula as Philly new wave got. But Mann’s day in the sun was not to be. In 1987, after a stretch of years spent battling smack, Mann died either falling out or jumping out of his South Street apartment window while a fire raged on inside. It was lost on no one that other than “Christmas On The Block,” his other biggest single was — you guessed it — “Fear Of Heights.”
Are women funny? Duh, yes. Debate settled. See how easy that was? Easier still, a trip to Ray’s Happy Birthday for a night of standup comedy from Hannah Harkness, Alyssa Al-Dookhi, Shannon Devido and Natalie Levant. Rachel Fogletto and Phyllis Voren host this month’s edition of “Funny Females All Woman Comedy Show: Holiday Spectacular!” Monday. Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar. 8pm. No Cover
A black metal Christmas show from Hell will be unleashed on the Trestle Inn Wednesday night, as Vicious Variety presents “Vicious Christmas.” Featuring Franzia mascot The Necrosexual, Di “The Comedian” Hargrove, and last month’s drag show winner Rick Robotin, the lineup will also include competitive performances by Rachel Fogletto, Patrick Graves, Steve Miller-Miller. All of this viciousness will be hosted by Thunderfoot Larry, Count Cheslock, Jon Lalu, Vickie Fernandez, and Setoiyo. Wednesday at the Trestle Inn. 8pm. Tickets available online for the evil price of $6.66.
“Movie Movie Live,” Philadelphia’s premiere, movie-themed, trivia-based, high-octane, interactive comedy game show will be jingling bells at PhilaMOCA Thursday. Hosts Dan Scully and Garrett Smith welcome “Cube Sleuth” author Dave Terruso, “Terrible Advice” author Mike F’n Rainey, and animated character Ryan Shaner to duke it out on the theme of holiday movies. For the purposes of this game, the hosts stress that holiday movie “means Die Hard just as much as it means It’s A Wonderful Life.” Thursday at PhilaMOCA. 8pm. $5.
Friday, American Idol alum Justin Guarini and drummer/comedian Jon Wurster head up a star-studded end-of-year “Hang On with Aaron Nevins.” The fame is strong with this one, as a panel including walking/talking one man show R. Eric Thomas, “Five Dollar Comedy Week” producer Kate Banford, and sketch/standup titan Christian Alsis gets in on the fun. Friday at the Adrienne Theater. 8pm. Tickets available online.
Later that night, head to the second floor of the Adrienne for the game show that asks the age-old question “What’s My Line?” Host Dave Metter has assembled a crack panel of comedians to guess their guest’s unusual occupation, with the indefatigable Kate Banford climbing the stairs to go up against Los Angeles-bound comic Nikki Black, GE caulk spokeman Tim Butterly, and “What’s My Line?” center square Alex Pearlman. Friday at the PHIT. 10:30pm. Tickets available online.
Come again? That’s what “Comedy-Gasm” host Rachel Fogletto wants from her monthly show’s loyal fan base, as she takes to the second floor of the Irish Pōl yet again. This holiday installment promises something for “comedy-lovers from all walks of holiday-subscriptions, even our cantankerous atheist friends!” Supplying the -gasms this month: Burlesque performer Honeytree Evil Eye, and standup comics Joey Dougherty, Michelle Biloon, Matt Monroe, and Bino Brogden. Saturday at the Irish Pōl. 8:45pm. $10.
– Alejandro Morales
Alejandro Morales is one of the six rotating hosts of the award-winning (and later, award-losing) Laughs on Fairmount open mic, every Monday at 8pm at Urban Saloon. See his webseries at thedatesshow.com and follow him on twitter @AlleyHandRow.
No, really it does. Because it should. It deserves to. Jim Kenney and Chris Christie alike, just shut up and get in your hole.
Sometime on Friday afternoon, the City of Philadelphia released the above video — a statement from Mayor Nutter to Philadelphia Police in the wake of the protests that followed the non-indictments for the killers of Michael Brown and Eric Garner — and many of us have been trying to unpack just what is going on here ever since. Because there’s a lot. There is a part of it — the meat of it — that is simply an awkward attempt at ameliorating a force that, justly or not, may be feeling a little thrown-under-the-bus lately. The important word in that sentence is “awkward,” though. Nutter’s chosen approach here heaps praise while also managing to be completely patronizing, and also ignorant of any number of elephants in the room right now, whether it’s the Tainted Justice mess or FOP leader John McNesby’s lashing out a local paper that had the temerity to run a (fairly tame) syndicated political cartoon. Or, hey, if you even want to just confine it to the Penn Campus, the blowback for Amy Gutmann and students alike for merely participating in recent protests. All of this is part of an increasingly dangerous emotional climate among Philly cops that the Daily News dubs, in this editorial, “The Thin Skin of the Law.” And on Friday, the Mayor played into it, in a fashion that we frankly found strange. It felt insincere; the clip only draws focus to Nutter’s muddled contributions to the present climate, having both campaigned on Stop -N- Frisk while clearly also being aware of rampant “bad policing” here in the City. (Let’s not even discuss his uncomfortable, opportunity-blowing failure to say a word at the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony earlier this month that was crashed by protestors.) Looking at it from the other side, is there a single cop who is being won over by this strange lecture? It hasn’t been the first time in Nutter’s second term that we’ve looked at the guy — who’s done much that is good but much that is also consterning over these two terms — and wondered, “Dude. What even is this?”
Allow us to direct your attention to this truly satisfying longread posted yesterday on the Daily News (prompting nothing so much as a dreamwish that Gerry Lenfest would at some point say “fuck it” and transfer all Sunday Inky resources into a new Sunday DN, just for like six months, just to see what would happen). It’s a profile by Jason Nark of one Jamison Smoothdog, once a fixture — and an emblematic one at that — on a version of South Street all but unknown to us now. Smoothdog, deceased since 2001, occupied that hippie/badass overlap that first reclaimed the street in the Philly’s sublimely gritty 1970s. And time, as Nark notes, has not been kind to his legacy. Smoothdog was a musician’s musician, and a prolific songwriter whose output nonetheless is pretty much nonexistent online at this point in time. Central to his lore is that is a legend that he wrote (and subsequently got screwed out of the money from) the ’70s heartland rock classic, “Can’t You See” by the Marshall Tucker Band. Did he? Didn’t he? Various parties disagree. But in the offing, you’ll see a portrait of a kind of guy we don’t really think they make anymore, in a place that is so long gone from us now that it already feels mythic.
Remember when we told you about the Comcast Technology and Innovation Center (pictured above, and yes, it will feature a giant sliding board, apparently), the new Robertses Dongle slated to go up at 18th and Arch? Well, it’s going up! On Friday night, 400 trucks started hauling 4,000 yards of concrete that will turn into a 10-foot thick, 14-million-pound foundation for the the 59-story skyscraper. Which was not so much a shady move in and of itself as it was a nod to our shared history of shadiness. No word on whether an effigy of a mobster or union rep was dropped into the concrete as a ceremonial token of good luck.
You know how people are (correctly) always talking about how guys think with their dicks? Well, here’s a guy who thinks with his hoagiemouth. And while yes, Chris Christie is disgusting on many levels, so is football. And so too is an elected official slinging “the last acceptable form of bias.”
December 12, 2014
Try you may to hide your deeds
He will taste them with his tongue
Upon all brats does Krampus feed
Whether old or young!
>>> Did you wind up skipping First Friday last week and now you feel art-deficient? Worry not: There’s a closing reception for The Long Way Home: works by Katherine Fraser at Paradigm Gallery. This is your last chance to see what is really one of the more gorgeous painting shows we’ve seen in a while. Meanwhile, there is the annual Space 1026 Annual Art Auction, which is your big holiday chance to put cheap art into the hands of the people you love.
>>> You’ve also got some pretty solid music choices tonight: A well-put-together roots bill of Quiet Life // The Bailey Hounds // Mike Quinn at Milkboy; the country’s finest Led Zep tribute, Get The Led Out at Electric Factory; and Rock Tits at The Dolphin, for dancing.
>>> Traffic alert: If you’ve been putting off whatever holiday trip you need to make to the suburbs, America’s true home of depravity, there’s probably no better day to do it: Running of the Santas will turn whole chunks of the city into a Penn State tailgate, and no “fuck these people” mantra, no matter how hard you mantrize it, can fix that. So maybe just ghost for the day.
>>> But it would be a pity: What we believe to be Philly’s premiere Krampus event, Krampuslauf, is at Liberty Lands and you really need to click through to understand how seriously the Krampuslaufers are taking this. (What is Krampus, you ask?) We also posted that song above for you so, you know, you can get into the Krampus spirit, on the off chance that living in Philadelphia did not permanently put you in the Krampus spirit.
>>> Things that likewise go great with your Krampus celebrations: The Punk Rock Flea Market at 9th & Spring Garden, happening both Saturday and Sunday, and DiPinto Guitars Christmas Party, a guitar store holiday party with a distinctly surfin’ flavor.
>>> Meanwhile, while you are in those suburbs, do drop in on Nick Lowe’s Quality Holiday Revue at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, NJ.
>>> And hey: Dude, Trey.
>>> Finally, a happy Xmas and a congrats on two years of slingin’ that comedy to our buds at the comedy night GET REAL, who celebrate with a Holiday Special & Two-Year Anniversary at National Mechanics.
December 11, 2014
In “Why Philly can’t breathe, either,” published in today’s City Paper, Daniel Denvir takes a broad view of police-community relations in Philly and finds that they share many traits in common with the rest of the nation, but also finds some added local flavor:
For hundreds of thousands of Philadelphia residents, the criminal-justice system is a more significant public institution than the office of mayor and a more visible fa ce of government than nattily dressed City Council members doing the people’s business in City Hall. Prison beds are waiting for these residents when nearly every other public institution, including its cash-starved public schools, have been set up to fail them.
It’s a great piece. Read it here.
Nor is he a fan, apparently, of the appropriate usage of quotation marks, non-hyperoble, non-hysterics, having his expectations in of what would or would not see in “racist hate literature” conflated, not being presumptuous, not taking it down a notch, dude, and not leaving with a menacing threat hanging in the air that only serves to illustrate the thing the piece of topical humor was there to call notice to in the first place:
What was the cartoon, you ask? Honestly, it was only this.
The Afflictions, the debut novel from Vikram Paralkar, an oncologist at the University of Pennsylvania, is an encyclopedia of fictional diseases. This is already a pretty cool idea, but it’s not necessarily original. Writers including those Paralkar cites as influences have employed the same faux-encyclopedia structure to different ends, sometimes beautifully, sometimes not so much. In this book, though, there seems to be more than just a gimmicky conceit at work.
All of the diseases in the book come from a fictional Encyclopedia of Medicine that the book’s protagonist discovers while assisting an elderly librarian. These diseases include a reverse amnesia that makes everyone forget about you and a condition that causes death by lack of fear of death. While the variety of diseases is what gives the book its range and depth, the descriptions of the diseases consistently echo larger themes of the relationship between the limits of the body and the soul’s grasping at something higher.
To learn more about the book, read this NewsWorks feature or visit the book’s page on the Lanternfish Press website to read an excerpt and a review here.
Remember the giant, 20-foot tall smashed-out cigarette butt that was supposed to be installed in Dilworth Park tomorrow? Well, due to “unforeseen scheduling conflicts,” the PR world’s version of “unidentified flying objects,” we’re going to have to wait until 2015 for it. However, although a giant and unavoidable edifice to inspire smoking cessation is a pretty good idea in and of itself — not that we’re hating on smokers because there’s no shame at all in that game, we’re also just not hating on not smoking because that is also a solid move — in this case, it sounds more like it was just going to be a giant nicorette ad. The rule of thumb here is probably this: if a drug company (GlaxoSmithKline, in this case) is behind an anti-drug ad, it is probably just a drug ad in disguise; call further bullshit if it in any way conceptually resembles these.
Philly solo artist Khari Mateen has been known to play with his father, saxophonist Radji Mateen Sr., from time to time, but this is the first track the two have put down together and, god, it is some of the tastiest, funkiest stuff we have heard in a long time.