The office of City Controller Alan Butkovitz issued a press release today urging Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite to stop jealously guarding his precious art collection. Or something like that. According to the letter, Philadelphia schools currently possess up to $4 Million dollars in rare artwork that is not accounted for or available for public viewing. Butkovitz, who is expected to be a candidate in next year’s mayoral election, has been an outspoken advocate for transparent and accountable tracking of the city’s art collections, and offers numerous ideas as to how to partner with local organizations to find suitable venues for these works. Considering the recent debate surrounding funding for Philadelphia schools and their expected lack of resources for the coming year, Dr. Hite might be interested in Butkovitz’s proposed plan for “generating much needed new revenues.” He might also want to focus on the much more pressing issues on his plate, as might Butkovitz, if he ever wants to be elected mayor.
Aaron Kreider, a Philadelphia activist and statistician, has created a block-by-block map of racial segregation and income inequality in the United States. JusticeMap.org was born while Kreider was working for the Energy Justice Network, mapping nuclear energy facilities around residential neighborhoods. JusticeMap, however, is Kreider’s independent project, funded by a $10,000 grant from the Sunlight Foundation. A current resident of West Philadelphia, Kreider points out that he lives not far from a senior facility run by Catholics that comes up, anomalously, as plurality white. It makes sense that it took a Philadelphian to find these discrepancies glaring enough to want to collect in one place their appearances across the country.
State House Republicans are about to introduce a new bill that would decriminalize the transportation of alcohol purchased out of state to Pennsylvania, CBS Philly reports. Citing a recent incident in which an attorney sold fine wines to friends in his Chester County home and was accused of bootlegging as evidence of the current law’s antiquity and potential harmfulness, the bill represents Republicans’ further efforts toward liquor privatization, approached from another angle. Apparently, the bill is not likely to pass, maybe (but probably not) thanks to ridiculous advertising campaigns from opponents of liquor privatization, maybe thanks to Governor Corbett’s inability to present liquor privatization to the public as a political issue without being a total sexist. However, if it does, those of you who are tired of buying your beer at the same spot you buy your Chinese food will at least have the option of making the drive to New Jersey.
David A. Naples of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania wants to make a point: elections are theatrical media spectacles that rely on money and exposure and have nothing to do with politics. To make this point, he has launched his own write-in campaign for Governor of Pennsylvania on Facebook. Governor Dave, as he calls himself, will accept no campaign contributions, hire no staff, and participate in no advertisements smearing or supporting him. He will only accept page likes and shares. Does he expect to win? No. What does he expect? To raise awareness about the extent to which political influence is a function of wealth and support from the wealthy.
The cause is noble, sure, but it’s also basically designed to fail. Dave is going to have a hard time proving that political candidates can’t get any exposure or votes without money or public endorsements if he doesn’t have any, uh, money or public endorsements. He also doesn’t have any experience as a politician, although he does have a law degree. Admittedly, Dave is asking us a tough question, at least those of us who are so distraught about this coming gubernatorial election that we’ve been saying for weeks now that we’ll take whatever we can get (as long as it’s not Corbett). The question is: will we, actually?
It’s confirmed: this weekend’s Made In America festival will be your first and last chance ever to see J. Cole and Pissed Jeans on the same bill (as long as you’re willing to make the commute). You should be similarly excited to see hometown heroes Nothing alongside Adderall Admiral Danny Brown. In fact, pretty much everyone on this bill should be getting you hype except Kings Of Leon. Man, only Budweiser. Can’t wait for Kanye’s Rocky impression.
August 26, 2014
This past 1st of May saw the publication of On The Run: Fugitive Life In An American City, Princeton-educated sociologist Alice Goffman’s account of six years spent living on Sixth Street among black families under constant watch by the police. A book about a young grad student from an academic family witnessing the hardships of black residents of a major American city could go horribly wrong in all kinds of ways, but readers from Malcolm Gladwell to Cornel West are insisting that this one doesn’t. Chronicling the lives of, primarily, young men who either dabble in criminal activity or don’t and are regularly afraid of and subject to harassment from cops regardless, On the Run is receiving overwhelmingly positive attention for its careful investigation of the effects that Philadelphia’s law enforcement and justice infrastructures have had on these lives in recent years. Philadelphia natives, whether they read Philebrity or not, are already aware of these structural flaws and insufficiencies, but if any book is receiving national attention for its nuanced presentation of these flaws and insufficiencies and its ability to successfully relay what they look like, how they work, and how they’re making people in our city’s black communities feel, it’s probably worth picking up.
A new City of Philadelphia report confirmed last week what we’ve always known but refused to acknowledge was coming: Mayor Michael Nutter, along with fifty-one other US mayors, has come out in support of the Comcast-Time Warner merger. In his letter to the FCC, Nutter claims that the merger will be responsible for, among other things, “increased investment in existing Comcast markets.” To which we say “No shit.”
Unlike Nutter, the people at Netflix are worried (and have been for some time) that increased investment in existing Comcast markets will pose a threat to net neutrality. To insist again on this point, Netflix sent the FCC a petition yesterday asserting that “The combined entity’s control over its interconnection arrangements … would allow it to insert itself into the heart of all internet commerce.” Comcast have responded to such statements from Netflix in the past by suggesting that Netflix only opposes the merger because it threatens their business. To which we say, “No shit, but it doesn’t fucking matter.” If another corporation wants to limit your corporation’s power because it wants more power for itself, that doesn’t mean your corporation is better, it just means the other corporation is as shitty as yours.
Okayafrica Brings You News Of Seun Kuti’s Upcoming UT Performance, Plus Tons Of Other News We’ve Been Missing For Way Too Long
Okayafrica reports that Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 are coming to Philadelphia’s Union Transfer September 8th with DJ Rich Medina to “reshape Fela’s politically-charged afrobeat for the modern ear.” This news comes not long after the release of Finding Fela, the Fela documentary about which we were damn excited. It’s fitting that we’re hearing about the show from Okayafrica, the African music blog of ?uestlove‘s Okayplayer, because ?uestlove has long been an outspoken Fela devotee and made a notable appearance in the aforementioned documentary.
We’re also lucky to have the chance now to finally write something about Okayafrica, because the project is a big deal and super important and we dropped the ball on throwing them a huge shoutout when they launched in 2010. The mission of Okayafrica is to give due exposure in America and elsewhere to the African New Wave, the millennial outpouring of new music and culture of all forms from Africa. Their stores of reviews, interviews, features and regular series are exhaustive and all-encompassing, and they have to be, because their project, upon which no other outlet has so successfully embarked, is a massive one. But however great the work, they’re definitely doing it.
Philadelphia’s own Matt Teacher, the author, previously, of The Home Distiller’s Handbook, will release his second alcohol-themed book on Cider Mill Press this fall: The Spirit of Gin: A Stirring Miscellany of the New Gin Revival. Teacher is an avowed gin expert and his new gin jawn is a combination travelogue/recipe-book that catalogues one man’s experiences of drinking gin the world over for decades. Complete with a foreword from Arrigo Cipriani of the historic Harry’s bar, the book is expected to contribute handsomely to the sweeping cocktail revival. Ask us, the cocktail never died, but that doesn’t mean we won’t take any excuse to down a few more. At the very least there should be at least one solid hangover story in there. If we’re lucky, there’ll be at least one solid hangover cure.
File under “disheartening:” In the wake of the recent events in Ferguson, MO, a lot of attention is finally being paid to the subject of police killing citizens, and the news, from coast to coast, is not great. But sunlight, as they say, can be a great disinfectant. And among the various consciousness-raising efforts that have been getting some media play, one caught our attention: Fatal Encounters, a crowdsourced national database of police killings headed up by D. Brian Burghart of the Reno News & Review. In this post on Gawker last week, Burghart explains the dynamic of his project — how he was spurred into action on the project, how he’s been roadblocked at every opportunity by local and federal beauracracy, how police killings are under-reported as a matter of course, and how, in his estimation, all of this is clearly systemic. And alas, Philly is not much different from the rest of the country in these matters. In fact, he says, it’s completely typical.
If you drill down to Philly on the map above, you’ll see a particularly high concentration of little red med. That’s not a good thing.
You may remember us posting last year about Miller Lite Free Rides, the joint venture of Miller Lite and SEPTA that allowed you to ride for free to the Eagles’ home opener, saving you the price of two SEPTA tokens as well as a possible lifetime of guilt. Well, sometimes you can get lucky twice. Miller Lite Free Rides is back, encouraging you to get as shitfaced as you want between the hours of 10 AM and 6 PM on Sunday, September 7th. If you want to take advantage of this so far twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity, you can visit www.MillerLiteFreeRides.com or www.septa.org, call 1-800-FREE-RIDES, or text “FREE RIDES” to 90464. Our only question is: where was Miller two weeks ago when we needed a free ride to Williamsport and back for the LLWS opener?
When we posted a couple of weeks back about a class action lawsuit against Whole Foods in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, (filed by the firm that went after Subway for their eleven-inch “footlongs”), we weren’t sure anything would come of the charges. Whole Foods had been selling 365 Every Day Plain Value Yogurt by advertising a sugar content of 2 grams, proven by testing to be less than %20 of the actual content. The Subway suit was never certified as a class action, and the Greek Yogurt suit, to which we will henceforth refer as “Yogurtgate”, has not come to any conclusion, but Whole Foods seems to have heeded the warning. Check your local store. If you walk the yogurt aisle from one end to the other, eventually you’ll make a troubling discovery: a footlong (or maybe shorter) stretch of empty shelf, where that monstrously unhealthy but oh-so-sweet Greek Yogurt used to sit.
We posted last week about the events at PhilaMOCA scheduled to coincide with The Unified Field, the upcoming David Lynch retrospective at PAFA. The PhilaMOCA series of video screenings, art shows and multimedia performances promised up front to rival the PAFA exhibition in its scope. Now PhilaMOCA’s throwing a cherry on top, complete with tongue-tied stem: The Dreamlife of David L., a French “biopic” about the young Lynch at PAFA, will see its Philadelphia premiere at PhilaMOCA, screening on September 4th, 17th and 24th at 7:30 and 10 PM. While the film draws inspiration from and alludes frequently to details of Lynch’s biography and oeuvre, it is also set in the present day and incorporates unconventional and appropriately Lynchian approaches to narrative. If announcements like this one keep coming, Philadelphians might start to forget that there’s actually another arts festival happening next month.
August 25, 2014
While we are often very quick to share and endorse Ross Dress For Less as a source of bargains and basic needs alike, this one gives us pause:
Say it ain’t so, Ross Dress For Less! Also, I’m looking for a pair of penny loafers to complete my fall look and I would not like to pay more than $39.99 for them. Please don’t give me a swirlie.
Seeing something around town of note? Cameraphone it to: tips[at]philebrity[dot]com.
Pat Martino, who you people don’t talk about enough, turns 70 today. How cool is Pat? Apparently, he’s so goddamned cool that at some point in the ’80s, he stole Miles Davis’ sunglasses. Rave on, brother, rave on!
“What are we worth?” “Five dollars!” “What are we not worth?” “More!”
This is the rallying cry of Five Dollar Comedy Week organizers Aaron Nevins and Kate Banford, who have wrangled 150 local performers to put together 30 shows and workshops at the Shubin Theatre this week. All kinds of comedians — sketch, improv, standup, weirdo — are represented, and at five bucks a pop, each show costs less than an average shame meal at McDonald’s, physically and emotionally. Here’s a sampling of what’s going on, with the exception of every night’s secret midnight shows, which are secret.
This evening at 7pm, the first block of programming kicks off with “Cookblock,” a fake cooking show. Don’t come thinking it’s real. See Chef Elise Thompson-Hall (finalist on “Elise’s Friend Onat’s ‘Chopped’ Themed Birthday Party”) and Dan Vetrano (contributor at DietCelebrityChef.edu) parody a cooking show only Dan watches. Elise has seen it and doesn’t care for it. A cooking competition to remember, housed in one of Philadelphia’s most un-kitchen-like theaters. After “Cookblocked”, see cringeworthy and hilarious diary entries brought to life at “Unlocked” at 8pm, followed by an hour of major minority panel hijinks at “Affirmative Chattin’” at 10pm.
Tuesday at 7pm, step inside the fictional world of “Boner and the Noise.” This ode to drive time radio features 98.6 FM The Fever’s legendary morning zoo crew Brett “Boner” D’Angelo, and Steve “The Noise” Noiserowski, as well as tons of special guests and call-ins from listeners in the audience. Featuring: Dan Corkery, Frank Farrell, Maggy Keegan, Caitlin Weigel, Joe Sabatino, Fred Brown, and Jamie Glasheen.
Tuesday at 10pm: The Bit Show! 16 mini-shows in 90 minutes, featuring just about everybody involved in the festival and whatever the cat drags in plus the kitchen sink and maybe total chaos. This is a rare opportunity to witness show concepts that never existed before and may never exist again. Experimental comedy at its experimentali-est.
Wednesday, leave work early and discover a different calling at “HOW TO BE A MODEL: A Workshop With Andrew Jeffrey Wright.” Do you want to be a model? Of course you do. It’s the most rewarding job in the world. Well, Andrew Jeffrey Wright IS a model and he wants YOU to be a model, too. Learn runway his way! Pose for print and web! Bring a positive attitude and a willingness to learn, and get ready to transcend. 4pm – 5pm
If the whole model thing doesn’t work out for attendees by 10pm Wednesday night, “Science Fair” will provide a chance to flex brain-muscle as well as funny bone. Comedians will conduct experiments and give presentations on some of the great mysteries of science, using knowledge they may or may not have acquired in middle or high school. Hosted by noted comedians/scientists Joe Moore and Roger C Snair, featuring Samantha Russell Craig, Bill Flynn, Briana Kelly, Patrick Reber, Kristen Schier, Bobby Lorello, Meredith Weir, Chris O’Conner, Chris McGrail, and Paul Trigianni.
Thursday at 10pm, “Delinquents Talk Back” promises to be a fuckin’ sweet panel show. It’s all about blazin’, chillin’, and bullshittin’, with your boys James Mascuilli, Joe Murdock, and Chris Stenta. Topics for discussion range from drugs and arrests to drug arrests. Also featuring Delinquent Announcer Jon Lalu.
Friday at 7pm, “Joke The News” is an interactive game show to see who can make the funniest jokes about current events, or whatever the host pulls from the day’s newspaper. The contestants include Chip Chantry, Alex Grubard, Steve Swan and The Audience, using hashtag #JTN. Hosted by Dave Metter. Here’s a chance to see what a newspaper looks like.
Later that Friday night, audiences will get swiped right off their feet at “The Tinder Show” in which similar looking co-hosts Max Barth and Eddie Finn, along with a panel that includes Oliver Yu and Rachel Fogletto, will talk about and play games based on popular dating app Tinder. Online dating, offline, and live. 10pm.
Dearly beloved, gather Saturday the 30th at 10pm in celebration of death, comedy, and panel-based games at “It Had to Be You-logies.” Respects will be paid, and some (un?) lucky people in the audience will have a comedian improvise their eulogy. Says host Nikki Black, “If you miss this show, it’s your funeral.” But then, if you don’t miss this show, it might be your funeral, too. Win, win.
Sunday, August 31st, a group of comedians will convene and write sketches in “exquisite corpse” fashion for (what else?) the “Exquisite Corpse Show,” and later, the supergroup will perform their Frankensketches in front of a live audience, for the first and possibly last time. Hosted by Jacquie Baker and Matt Schmid. That will be followed by “Phone It In,” a screening of short films shot exclusively on phones at 8pm, and later, get stoked for “Battle of the Bands,” because no anything is complete without a battle of the bands.
Get more information about shows and reserve tickets at fivedollarcomedyweek.com, and don’t worry about tipping the bartender. All shows are BYO.
– 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.
This Moment In Petitions: Tell Tom Corbett To Stop Being A Cheesy Cheeser Who’s Using Taxpayer Money On His Own (Doomed) Campaign
In the immortal words of Ed Lover: C’mon, son.
Click to enlarge.
Last week, the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia released a new report, entitled “Bike PHL Facts.” It’s the result of a massive data collection effort, both from their own diligent research, as well as U.S. census data. And when it all got crunched together, the Bicycle Coalition discovered something: Philly comes out on top in lots of ways, so much so that they’re making the bold claim that Philly is America’s number one big city when it comes to commuting by bike (with residents of Center City and South Philly leading the charge). Click on the link above to dig deeper.
A: No, no, it would not. Via the great man’s Facebook:
We would have gone with Ezekiel 25:17, but hey, do you, Milton.