February 27, 2015

MP3 Of The Moment: Cruisr, “Go For It”

We’re loving the throwback vibe of Cruisr‘s newest track, which you can check out above. Was this thing on the soundtrack to The Secret of My Success? Because it totally could/should have been. We’re detecting shades of everything from Wham! to Jellybean to M83 here, and that’s totally not a knock. But beyond the retro feel — which instantly has us playing Spy Hunter back at The Palace in 1987 — there’s a vitality that speaks of the right now, telling us to get up and head out to see what life in 2015 has to offer aside from the daily stew of letdowns and diminished expectations. Go ahead now, go for it? Thanks guys, we’re on that.

Think About How Disgusting The Insides Of Animals And, By Extension, You, Are At The Franklin Institute’s Sketch Night


We are gross and fragile meatbags that are seconds away from destruction at any given time. So why not have some fun with it? In conjunction with their fascinatingly icky Body Worlds: Animals Inside Out exhibition (basically a large-scale version of that scene from The Fly where the baboon got inverted in the telepod), the Franklin Institute is holding Sketch Nights on Tuesdays throughout March that will allow attendees to draw or paint the way dead creatures featured within. Not gonna lie, there’s a disquieting beauty about all of this that appeals to us on a very base level. Those seeking to grab their charcoal sticks or paints and get their anatomy art on can learn more here.

This Moment In Missed Connections: Ariel Pink Shows Are Fleeting, But Glitter Is Forever

output_DQIcEbIn what was probably the most irksome audience since the last time The Polyphonic Spree hit Philly, shit got wild at the Ariel Pink show Tuesday night. And, apparently, fabulous. Tell us more, Craigslist!:

dear merrymaking woman or women at the ariel pink show last night – m4w (at the show)

i want to extend my sincerest hand of earnest gratitude, repugnance and intrigue your way for the blatant and devout passion you most certainly possess regarding the possibilities of glitter and all things glitter-bombing. your impromptu atomic glitter bomb move into my gaping mouth, exposed chest, right ear and scalp has proven quite effective and thus, impressive, nearly 24 hours after the incident occurred.

today, i have discovered blue, reflective, seemingly adhesive (?) yet light-as-a-feather-glitter in the following locations…

- my eye
- my van
- my friends who rode in my van
- my cereal bowl
- my nose
- my ass
- my ten month old son’s ass
- my ten month old son’s nose
- my ten month old son’s raised eyebrow
- my hair
- my friends’ hair
- my sheets
- my wife’s eyebrows
- my friends’ eyebrows
- my feet
- my pillow
- my wife’s pillow
- my ten month old son’s pillow
- the inside of my toilet
- the inside of my tub
- the first and second floor of my absolutely entire house.
- my balls

the simultaneous magic and/or curse you so joyously distribute in public is indeed noteworthy. i hope to see you at another show sometime, many years from now, when the final dot of glitter has at-last fallen from my body and all of my friend’s bodies and laid to rest somewhere far, far away from here. preferably somewhere tropical.

We hope this whole thing serves as a cautionary tale to those of you considering attending a freaky psych-pop show, cause this type of shit goes down at those all the time. Also, vengeance is a terrible thing.


February 26, 2015

This Evening: Video Killed The Radio Star

>>> The first-ever Philly Music Video Fest kicks off at PhilaMOCA with the Philadelphia Music Video Showcase, a celebration of recent locally produced clips that have been curated by the likes of Robert Drake, Emily Guendelsberger, Quang Tran, and John Vettese. (Let’s hope these contemporary videos can achieve the success of epics like the one featured above). Check back tomorrow for more on the Philly Music Video Fest in our weekend picks.

>>> If you like the live rock and roll, might we point you towards The Dodos at Johnny Brenda’s with Springtime Carnivore? That seems worthy of your time and dollars, by golly!

>>> Truewave takes over the Dolphin, with sets from Des McMahon, JXL Beats, Jack Deezl, Fredric Fresh, and DWPLX.


The Daily News’ Molly Eichel Jumps Over To The Inquirer

On her Twitter feed, Molly Eichel just announced she’s leaving her Daily News job behind to start writing for The Inquirer. Molly’s one of our favorites, so join us in wishing her the best at her new gig.


Captain Freeshit: Win Tickets To See Gang of Four Next Wednesday (3/4) At The TLA!

UK post-punk icons Gang of Four have been kicking around since the late ’70s with their influential aggro pop. Unlike most of their contemporaries, they are still on the road, doin’ what they do best. So while we sit back and listen to Entertainment! yet again, we’re offering you a chance to see them next Wednesday at the TLA, joined by Public Access TV and a set from DJ Robert Drake. To enter to win tickets, email ihopeiwin[at]philebrity[dot]com with “DAMAGED GOODS” 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 will pick a winner on Monday, so get to entertaining.

Dept. Of Meaningless Lists: Pennsylvanians Love Them Some Sky Boom Booms


The Huffington Post
has just finished the unenviable task of teaming up with Yelp to figure out which types of stores are most popular in which state. You can see the top ranking for each state above. (Fireworks. Always with the fireworks). But PA is more than just what Aimee Mann so accurately dismissed as a “waste of gunpowder and sky.” So let’s see what else the rubes and residents of the Keystone State are spending their hard-earned on:

1. Fireworks — 607 percent higher than national average.
2. Vinyl Records — 287 percent higher than national average.
3. Newspapers & Magazines — 229 percent higher than national average.
4. Brewing Supplies — 213 percent higher than national average.
5. Auction Houses — 206 percent higher than national average.
6. Video Game Stores — 202 percent higher than national average.
7. Bespoke Clothing — 186 percent higher than national average.
8. Music & DVDs — 182 percent higher than national average.
9. Knitting Supplies — 163 percent higher than national average.
10. Comic Books — 162 percent higher than national average.

We’ve gotta admit, it could be much worse. We’re talking to you Jersey. Golf equipment? Really guys?

ICYMI: The War On Drugs Were At The Brits Too


Lost amidst all the news of Madonna’s fall at the 2015 Brit Awards yesterday (you’re not the first person to repost that clip from The Incredibles, so stop it), was that The War on Drugs were also in attendance. The group were nominated for Best International Band, and while they may have lost to Foo Fighters it is still nice to the guys in their finest duds. You can tell ‘em they wuz robbed when they play the Tower on March 27th.

And Now, Today’s GOOD NEWS: The FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

We’ve been antsy all morning waiting to see how the net neutrality vote would go. Fortunately, common sense and the consumer won this one (thanks largely to the unprecedented #dontblockmynet online activism campaign). Annnnd that is the largest sigh of relief we’ve released in awhile. For a reminder of why exactly this is such a huge issue, we point you in the direction of this, this and this, but long story short it means that ISP’s should treat all network traffic equally. The New York Times has more:

The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility, a milestone in regulating high-speed Internet service into American homes.

The new rules, approved 3 to 2 along party lines, are intended to ensure that no content is blocked and that the Internet is not divided into pay-to-play fast lanes for Internet and media companies that can afford it and slow lanes for everyone else. Those prohibitions are hallmarks of the net neutrality concept.

Mobile data service for smartphones and tablets is being placed under the new rules. The order also includes provisions to protect consumer privacy and to ensure Internet service is available for people with disabilities and in remote areas.

The F.C.C. is taking this big regulatory step by reclassifying high-speed Internet service as a telecommunications service, instead of an information service, under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. The Title II classification comes from the phone company era, treating service as a public utility.

But the story is far from ending there. While all this was going on in Washington, locally the net neutrality issue was exploding at the University of Pennsylvania‘s Board of Trustees Winter Full Board Meeting. A group of student activists interrupted the meeting to call out board member/Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen (whom was absent) on his company’s anti-net neutrality lobbying. You can see the video of the protest above, and it is delightfully awkward in the best possible way. In a corresponding press statement, the students furthered their position:

Comcast, headquartered in Philadelphia, has been a forceful opponent of net neutrality, spending tens of millions in the past year to block the FCC from protecting consumers from discrimination online. After the FCC vote this morning in favor of strong Title II net neutrality, large telecommunications companies like Comcast are immediately turning their attention to Congress in an attempt to overturn the rules protecting American consumers.

“Without a strong open Internet, our future as students, leaders, and communities is under dire threat,” said Levi Gikandi, who organized the protest with dozens of other students at the Penn Board of Trustees meeting today. “As University of Pennsylvania students, we believe it is our duty to remind David Cohen, as Chair of our Board of Trustees and Executive Vice President of Comcast, to protect our futures. Both Comcast and Penn have a responsibility to the Philadelphia community and the world. But instead of facing us, Cohen is likely in Washington today, trying to undermine our right to communicate. With a net neutrality victory for the people imminent at the FCC, we came out today to send him a message to do the right thing – don’t block our internet.”

“Over 5000 Philadelphians, including these student leaders at Penn, have contacted us, asking how we can make sure Comcast is accountable to its home city and the entire country,” said Bryan Mercer, co-executive director of Media Mobilizing Project, a longtime leader in local and national movements for media justice, and an anchor member of Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net). “With these student leaders bringing #Don’tBlockMyInternet to Comcast’s David Cohen, we hope he and his colleagues see that Title II net neutrality, no Comcast-Time Warner monopoly, and Comcast accountability at home is the path they should take forward if they want to succeed for the next generation.”

Agreed. So while Comcast twirls its mustache plotting its next move, stream all the Scandal you want tonight. You’ve earned it. Wins like this are rare and far too fleeting.

Dept. Of Peaced Out Dudes: David Dye Went To LA And Linked Chakras With Laurel Canyon Album Cover Artist Gary Burden

During a recent trip to Los Angeles with World Cafe, bearded radio friend David Dye caught up with iconic album cover artist Gary Burden. Together, the pair toured Laurel Canyon for an afternoon of sharing memories and trading vibes that was punctuated by insights from Burden’s six-decade career and visits to some of the locations of his most famous covers. Check out the results above, it’s pretty cosmic man.

Go Hawks? St. Joe’s Reported Crime Level Is Higher Than You May Think

saint-josephs-universityBilly Penn just published an intriguing report about on-campus safety that is a real down is up/dogs and cats living together in harmony eye-opener that states of all the area universities, St. Joseph’s has the highest reported crime rate and La Salle the least. From the article:

Temple usually has the worst reputation for campus danger, but suburban Philadelphia schools actually experience more reported crime. In terms of the number of crimes reported, St. Joseph’s University and Villanova rank first and second — with Penn, Drexel, Temple and LaSalle following, in that order.

Billy Penn used data the schools must file annually under the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting law from the years 2011-2013. We compared overall crime rates, sexual assault, liquor violations, crime trends over the last few years and more. To compare them accurately we calculated the rates by dividing the totals by each university’s FTE (full-time enrollment of students and faculty), based upon a population of 1,000 students.

The Billy Penn story gets into specific statistics (sexual assaults, liquor/drug violations, etc), and suggests that the amount of students living on campus at schools results in higher instances of reported crimes. It’s a pretty fascinating read, one that we imagine that St. Joseph’s are scrutinizing right now. Meanwhile, over at La Salle there’s gonna be some bangers tonight.

The Onion Gets In On The #LOLSixers Action


Never ones to miss the opportunity to kick a team when they’re down, The Onion is currently running a piece entitled “76ers Afraid To Kick Bunch Of Tough-Looking Guys Off Practice Court.” It’s everything you want it to be and more. (Sample passage: “I tried asking them what time they’d be done, but I don’t think they heard me,” said 76ers starting point guard Michael Carter-Williams, adding that his teammates and coaches have been quietly standing on the sidelines of the practice facility for 15 minutes in the hopes that the men would notice and take the hint to finish up.” You can follow all of the #LOLSixers fun here. We have been enjoying it ourselves, even though the only interest we have in the team is mascot-based. Speaking of which, good-natured ribbing is one thing, but if the Onion weighs in on Franklingate, there’s gonna be a rumble.

Macca To Headline The Nopechella That Is Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival


Paul is alive, man, and we’re going to have to take a hard pass and miss him, miss him, miss him at this.

Like An Inexplicably Late Route 57 Bus, SEPTA’s Smart Card Will Be Along Eventually


Give your weird, token-hoarding uncle a call today because he’s probably feeling a sweeping sense of vindication right about now. You see, it’s going to be a while before SEPTA‘s much ballyhooed smartcard program goes into effect. How much longer? Why we could no easier tell you that than to explain precisely how long the stars have been hanging in the sky. What we do know is that PlanPhilly has been following the rollout of the SEPTA Key payment system, and they’ve got the latest word on what’s going onnnnnnnn:

Despite some optimistic estimates by local media excited by seeing some new fare kiosks and turnstiles installed for employee pilot testing, the public shouldn’t expect to use SEPTA Key anytime soon. “Testing will be going on for the next couple of months,” says Kevin O’Brien, Senior Program Manager for SEPTA Key.

Once the testing is successfully complete, SEPTA will resume installing new equipment, and once at least 50 percent is ready, the system will finally launch publically.

But, O’Brien cautioned, if testing isn’t successful, implementation “will take longer.”

As bad as that may sound to bus and subway patrons, it’ll be worse for regional rail riders, who will probably need to wait until the spring of 2016: Next week, SEPTA’s Board will most likely agree with its Administrative Committee’s recommendation to extend the LTK Engineering Services contract for consulting work on regional rail’s SEPTA Key “through its launch on [regional rail] projected in March 2016.”

By O’Brien’s count, the project is currently 16 months behind schedule – originally, the hope was to launch on subway, bus and trolley lines in September 2013 and regional rail a few months after.

The article goes on to point out the massive problems experienced in Chicago during the launch of a similar payment program, and how understandably eager SEPTA is not to make the same mistakes in Philly that occurred there. This is a very valid concern because:

SEPTA Key will be account based, where the information is stored on a system rather than on an individual card, which is how nearly every public transportation fare card system works in America. In fact, only one other public transportation system using an account-based system is – you guessed it – Chicago.

Say it with us now, c’mon son! This is undoubtedly an ambitious project that requires extensive planning, vast tech considerations, and figuring out exactly how to make SEPTA Key user-friendly through the proposed “open fare” system (which is also causing numerous problems detailed in the article). Even with these understandable factors taken into account we still feel a mixture of both Philly underdog pride and womp womp resignation at how definitively, ugh, SEPTA this whole endeavor is turning out so far.

February 25, 2015

This Evening: It’s Poetry In Motion

>>> Melody time! Fox Bay (above, obvs) bring their sincere pop to Kung-Fu Necktie with support from Le Fits and Joe Reno.

>>> Weird pop fans rejoice as Bird Watcher, Ortolan and Dylan Jane heat up the night at Johnny Brenda’s. Because of course they do!

>>> If it’s words and thoughts you’re looking for, then by all means head to Fergie’s for the latest Moonstone Poets event. Featuring readings by Elizabeth Scanlon, Kelly McQuain and Kasey Jeuds.

>>> Or you could always just stay in and watch Morrissey and George Michael throw 1980s shade on a vintage episode of the UK show Eight Days a Week.

Recommended Reading: America’s Interview With Camille Paglia

camilleAs it was and as it forever shall be, UArts legend/muse/smartest of the smarties Camille Paglia is a Philadelphia treasure. She is what the kids would refer to as “something else,” and we are always intrigued by what delightful intellectual pursuits she is up to. So when we learned that America: The Catholic Pagan got a hold of her for their “10 Questions” feature, we couldn’t devour it quickly enough. Here’s a sampling of our favorite bit:

You grew up as an Italian-American Catholic, but seemed to identify more strongly with the pagan elements of Catholic art and culture than with the church’s doctrines. What caused you to fall away from the Catholic Church?

Italian Catholicism remains my deepest identity—in the same way that many secular Jews feel a strong cultural bond with Judaism. Over time I realized—and this became a main premise of my first book, Sexual Personae (based on my doctoral dissertation at Yale)—that what had always fascinated me in Italian Catholicism was its pagan residue. I loved the cult of saints, the bejeweled ceremonialism, the eerie litanies of Mary—all the things, in other words, that Martin Luther and the other Protestant reformers rightly condemned as medieval Romanist intrusions into primitive Christianity. It’s no coincidence that my Halloween costume in first grade was a Roman soldier, modeled on the legionnaires’ uniforms I admired in the Stations of the Cross on the church walls. Christ’s story had very little interest for me—except for the Magi, whose opulent Babylonian costumes I adored! My baptismal church, St. Anthony of Padua in Endicott, New York, was a dazzling yellow-brick, Italian-style building with gorgeous stained-glass windows and life-size polychrome statues, which were the first works of art I ever saw.

After my parents moved to Syracuse, however, I was progressively stuck with far blander churches and less ethnic congregations. Irish Catholicism began to dominate—a completely different brand, with its lesser visual sense and its tendency toward brooding guilt and ranting fanaticism. I suspect that the nun who finally alienated me from the church must have been Irish! It was in religious education class (for which Catholic students were released from public school on Thursday afternoons), held on that occasion in the back pews of the church. I asked the nun what still seems to me a perfectly reasonable and intriguing question: if God is all-forgiving, will he ever forgive Satan? The nun’s reaction was stunning: she turned beet red and began screaming at me in front of everyone. That was when I concluded there was no room in the Catholic Church of that time for an inquiring mind.

Paglia’s school Halloween parade that year must have been insane. You can and should read the whole interview here. We remain thrilled and/or humbled to have such a presence in our midst. Camille, call us, we want to grab dinner with you ASAP.

Reminder: Today Is National Adjunct Walkout Day

TempleColleges couldn’t exist without adjunct professors, so why are so many of these instructors struggling to financially survive? That question is at the very heart of today’s National Adjunct Walkout Day event, a demonstration that began at noon in which “adjuncts across the country will come together to insist on fair wages and better working conditions.” To underline the event’s raison d’être, we turn your attention to United Academics of Philadelphia‘s website, in which the chapter of AFT Local #9608 documents why some Temple adjuncts want to unionize:

Right now, Temple adjuncts are at-will employees who work under semester-long appointments for $1300 per credit and without affordable healthcare benefits. We work without any guarantee of future employment regardless of how well we teach and regardless of how long we have taught here. Our classes can be canceled at any time for any reason. Often they are canceled right before the semester starts without compensation for the hours we have already worked preparing the course. Class sizes are increased without additional compensation or without providing us with teaching assistants. And though we are well-qualified, we are very rarely considered for full-time positions at Temple.

If we have a union, then we can address these issues by negotiating a contract with the administration. A fully unionized faculty would benefit the entire university, as adjuncts—who make up half of the faculty—are central to Temple’s mission of educating our students. All undergraduate students at Temple have been taught by adjunct professors and more and more often rely on their former adjunct professors for letters of recommendation and mentorship. Imagine if all of our students’ professors could afford to meet with them (and had space to meet with them) after class rather than running to another job. Imagine if all those requests for letters of recommendation could be answered because their professors were still teaching at Temple. Many do not work here for long because the job is simply unsustainable. If we truly value education, then we must value the people who teach.

Such protests at colleges around the country are PR black eyes for universities to be sure, but will such activism lead to any tangible results given the complexity of union involvement? As in such cases, that is the vital question. We’re fascinated to see how this one turns out.

Here’s The Official Lowdown On The Rocky Spinoff Film, Creed

Rocky_balboaCurrently shooting throughout the city is Creed, a spinoff/sequel/whatever to the Rocky saga that we might very well be legally obligated to report on due to its inherent Phillyness. Back in December we knew a little bit about the film, and apart from the sad fact that Luis Guzman no longer seems to be in this, not much has changed. Check out the official synopsis:

From Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures comes award-winning filmmaker Ryan Coogler’s “Creed.” The film explores a new chapter in the “Rocky” story and stars Academy Award nominee Sylvester Stallone in his iconic role. The film also reunites Coogler with his “Fruitvale Station” star Michael B. Jordan as the son of Apollo Creed.

Adonis Johnson (Jordan) never knew his famous father, world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, who died before he was born. Still, there’s no denying that boxing is in his blood, so Adonis heads to Philadelphia, the site of Apollo Creed’s legendary match with a tough upstart named Rocky Balboa.

Once in the City of Brotherly Love, Adonis tracks Rocky (Stallone) down and asks him to be his trainer. Despite his insistence that he is out of the fight game for good, Rocky sees in Adonis the strength and determination he had known in Apollo—the fierce rival who became his closest friend. Agreeing to take him on, Rocky trains the young fighter, even as the former champ is battling an opponent more deadly than any he faced in the ring.

With Rocky in his corner, it isn’t long before Adonis gets his own shot at the title…but can he develop not only the drive but also the heart of a true fighter, in time to get into the ring?

“Creed” also stars Tessa Thompson (“Selma,” “Dear White People”) as Bianca, a local singer-songwriter who becomes involved with Adonis; Phylicia Rashad (Lifetime’s “Steel Magnolias”) as Mary Anne Creed, Apollo’s widow; and English pro boxer and former three-time ABA Heavyweight Champion Anthony Bellew as boxing champ “Pretty” Ricky Conlan.

Wait? No Paulie? We’re calling bullshit. The film hits theaters on November 25th, during which time the Art Museum steps are going to be more unbearable than usual.

PSA: ACCT’s Kennels Are Full In Case You Need An Excuse To Take Home Two Armfuls Full Of Sweet Doggie Love

Philebrity: The crazy dog lady of Philly blogs. It’s cool, we’ll own it.

Noontime Nuggetz: Celebrate Tastykake’s 101st Birthday With 1970s Betty White

Since most days our diet consists entirely of regret and Tasty Klair Pies, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out the fact that today marks the 101st birthday of Tastykake. To celebrate, we thought we’d turn your attention to the above ad that features Betty White (natch) singing the praises of the Tasty Baking Company‘s various pies. The real star of the show here is White’s unbelievable outfit, a stunning ’70s red ensemble that we are just assuming she picked up at Ideal.