March 6, 2014
The Inky broke the news yesterday that the Wilma Theater, ever mindful of the widening gap between what they used to call the “high arts” and, well, everyone else, is seeing fit to reduce the bulk of its tickets to around 25 bucks, for the forseeable future. How do they do it? Rich guys! Philanthropist/actor Leonard Haas, through his Wyncote Foundations, will subsidize reduced ticket prices with a $750,000 grant doled out over three years. Will that be enough time to make a new generation of devout theatergoers? Maybe, maybe not. But either way, this is a cool and classy move in a week where Philly’s theater community could really use one (see below).
Previously: Lantern Theater Company Goes Out For Julius Caesar But Comes Home With, Er, Asian-Fusion Tempest?
So there you have it: The world is not totally made of shit. Have you got some good news? If so, send it to tips[at]philebrity[dot]com with “GOOD MOTHERFUCKING NEWS!” in the subject header — we’d love to hear about it.
Click to enlarge.
Yesterday, Mayor Michael Nutter broke ground on the long-in-coming Delaware Avenue Extension Project, an ambitious effort (as you can see above) with lots of tentacles to it. All told, the City will be extending Delaware Avenue from Lewis Street to Orthodox Street, building a new bridge, the construction of a shared bicycle/pedestrian path, new sewers and water mains, street lighting, and landscaping. “We are literally building a new road here; we are forging a path that has never been travelled,” Nutter said yesterday. “The road will reduce the volume of truck traffic on residential streets, relieve overall congestion in the neighborhood and provide a vital link in the City’s bicycle and trail network.” All good things. But perhaps what we love about this the most is that this is Delaware Avenue’s sweet revenge on the preposterous creation that is “Columbus Boulevard.” Which, if you grew up here, was, is, and always will be Delaware Avenue. With the growing of Del. Ave. to the north, a further primacy is restored to this most majestic of Philadelphia streets — indeed, it is our beachfront, and the sooner we both restore all of Delaware Avenue and extend it wherever possible, the better and stronger this city will be. Yesterday, we got that much closer to righting a critical wrong.
Here at Philebrity, we basically invented the Steve Keeley beat. Among our media colleagues, it was we who first noticed this magical orange Ron Burgundy edition of the finest The Lollipop Kids ever had to offer. And ‘lo, it has been good. So you can imagine the strange form of pride we felt when Keeley went viral earlier this week after defying death by snow plow. (It was also a smaller, more perverse form of pride to learn that ex-Philadelphia Will Do blogger Dan McQuade now receives editorial credit for making animated GIFs; reach for the stars, y’all.)
But never have we presumed any sort of ownership or even editorial authority over the man that became the meme this week; indeed, all along, the real joy in covering Keeley has been the shared sense of incredulity. But nothing could have prepared us for the moment when even NPR began to cover Steve Keeley. Part of our fascination with The Orange Snow Cone in the first place was his only-in-Philadelphia-ness. But now, as the world begins to get to know Keeley, we must ask the question: Is America ready for this guy? If Keeley uses his moment to bump himself up a few rungs and lands on some sort of national broadcast, is this a good thing or a bad thing? And if we, as Philadelphia, can no longer have Steve Keeley to ourselves, what will we have instead? Whatever it is, it will probably be boring. So please, America, if you are reading this, let us keep Steve Keeley. We never even knew we needed him until just now.
As we enter the Lenten season and the Mayfair Swiss Cheese Pervert continues to flaunt convention/perhaps show us all a better way (overpopulation being what it is and all), it may be prudent to consider the metaphysical ramifications of this. For in the Kingdom of God, there are no accidents.
March 5, 2014
>>> You like new things. right? Who doesn’t like new things? Well, tonight is the start of a brand-new comedy open mic at Growlers Bar, featuring Free For All hosts Aaron Hertzog & Alison Zeidman, $1 drafts during performances, and no cover or drink minimum. It’s almost like it was organized to guarantee a good time, who would have thought of that?
>>> Also in no covers, FEVER returns to The Dolphin, spinning all of that great 60s Soul, Psych, Garage, Rock & Roll, and more. Plus, you can totally go and bust a move without having to wear your snow boots. Isn’t that a nice feeling? You’ll still need that coat thought.
>>> And at Johnny Brenda’s, that Auctioneer show we mentioned earlier — featuring support from Fenster and Hello Shark — isn’t to be missed.
Yes Larry, that sounds about right.
This video promo produced by Old City’s Tweed Video for The Fabulous International Art Extravaganza took us straight back to the days when local men shouted at you on television not out of irony but because they believed that their message of retail discount really was just that important. Sigh. The Fabulous International Art Extravaganza, by the way, is this thing that’s happening on March 15th at 26 Bridge St. in Lambertville, NJ; the deal is, you email your photos to PRINTS@TWEEDVIDEO.COM, they print them out giant and suitable for framing and then pick them up at this crazy party/show/swap meet/”art” hang. It’s a happening in the grand old tradition of people from New Hope/Lambertville doing things like this because living in New Hope/Lambertville, while nice, has also driven them batshit crazy.
Anyone who’s ever wished that “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” or “Helpless” had had just a little more get-up-and-go in them will be immediately satisfied by the opening bars of this, the lead-off cut from Philly band Auctioneer‘s forthcoming new record. We liked these guys when they were nominated for a Philebrity Award last year, but something about “Hard To Believe It” indicates that while the rest of us were blizzarding out these last few months, these guys woodshedded until they bumped up a whole few notches on the wow scale. There’s a lot a going on besides that classic three-chord progression here: Big, high desert harmonies, Phoenix/Mac groove and then, soaring pop payoff in the vein of — dare we say it? what is it? — Alan Parsons Project? Godley and Creme? Hoo boy, Auctioneer — we’ll have whatever you guys are having.
Auctioneer plays Johnny Brenda’s tonight with Fenster and Hello Shark.
These are probably just good general life lessons also.
Click here to view as a PDF.
Over the years, Shakespeare — the poor bastard — has had all kinds of things done to him. He’s been modernized, re-contextualized, pulled apart, remixed, debunked, and worse (some people wonder if he was even Shakespeare and not some other person or group of persons). So on the face of it, there is nothing about the Lantern Theater Company’s current production of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar — which takes Caesar and the gang out of Rome and plops them down into feudal Japan instead — that is any more or less egregious than anything else that has been visited upon The Bard over the last fifty years or so. Which is a nice thing to know, in some ways: You can’t offend Shakespeare. He’s dead.
Among the living, though, yes, for sure: You can do all kinds of things to offend people, even in this day and age. And this is where the Lantern finds itself today. The above letter, penned by self-described “dance-theatre artist, actual Japanese person, and actual Samurai descendent” Makoto Hirano after going to see Lantern’s Caesar and not quite believing the laundry list of like-duh racial mis-steps made there, spread like wildfire among Philly’s theater community yesterday. And it has left the Lantern somewhat scrambling in its wake. Hirano’s secret weapon? Common sense. (And also, not for nothing, clout, too: Hirano is an acclaimed artist in his own right, and a member of the Team Sunshine collective as well.) If all of what Hirano is saying above is true — and no denials have been issued — the scuttlebutt in the local theater community goes, how did this thing even get made? (The use of that font seems especially nuts to us; it’s the Asian version of Comic Sans.)
For their part, Lantern seems to be pulling the same move PhillyMag did when they made a large racial boner last year: Deflect by re-enacting that scene in Heathers where no one apologizes but rather, “opens up a dialogue” so everyone can talk about their feelings. We tapped Charles McMahon, Artistic Director of Lantern Theater Company and director of Julius Caesar, and here’s what he had to say:
“One of the major goals of Lantern Theater Company has always been to foster dialogue and discussion among our audience. We have a long history of hiring actors of all backgrounds for Shakespeare roles, but our production of Julius Caesar has offended some people, and we want to better understand their concerns. I have reached out personally to Makoto as well as other members of the local theater and Asian American communities and am interested in hearing all points of view. I welcome the opportunity to further discuss diversity and cultural representation in the theater with anyone who has an interest in an open and direct exchange.”
Even poor old Bill just rolled his eyes.
Guys, your week is only half-way over, and if you need something to dip into to relieve the mid-week madness, may we suggest you learn some geography from Tom Waits? The Tom Waits Map, which takes you deep into a worldly education through the stories and lyrics of Tom Waits, is wonderful. He’s only name-dropped Philly twice — once in the lyric above and once in “With a Suitcase” — but we’ve stumbled across some other Waits/Philly mentions before, such as this Don Lane interview. But even before that, in an LA Times interview from 1976, Waits closed with this:
“I tell you, though, I’m real big in Philadelphia. That’s all I know. Anyplace else surprises me. Philadelphia boy’ – a halting James Dean smile flits across his face – ‘in Philadelphia I get recognised at intersections.’”
So that’s all we got, but why don’t you check out some of the shit he’s gotta say about New York. There’s a lot of that.
[h/t World Cafe Live on Tumblr]
From the Woodshop Films people comes the first video off of The War On Drugs‘ Lost In The Dream, set for release March 18th, for the song “Red Eyes.” Is the video entertaining? Yes, but that doesn’t even really matter right now since this is probably the 50th time we’ve listened to this song this week already and we think there might be something serious happening. The video is good though, and maybe it’s the clown, but a War On Drugs Talent Show seems like the saddest of the talent shows. Until that adorable guitarist shows up at least.
Somehow, there are still tickets available for the War On Drugs’ Union Transfer show on March 18th, though we’re guessing there aren’t many.
Here at the Philebs, we’ve made our thoughts on TED Talks known before — often, they are the vocal equivalent of an inspirational throw pillow — but we serve the people and the people like TED Talks (probably) so let us tell you about these TED Talks.
This year’s TEDxPhiladelphia: The New Workshop of The World goes down at the end of March, and actually features some pretty remarkable people. When it comes to these things, it’s all about what you’re saying and sometimes, more importantly, how you’re saying it. We have a little bit of trust in Helen Gym, Sonia Sanchez, Brian McTear, and Chris Bartlett, all of whom are among this year’s speakers. It’s not our thing, but maybe this one won’t be totally awful? We dunno, we think that might be the most positive we can be right now.
As we knew would happen, thanks to our primer from Committee Of Seventy, there will be a special election to fill Bill Green’s now-vacant City Council seat. City Council President Darrell Clarke announced that he will issue a writ of election, which is just as fancy as it sounds, on March 24th, and the election will take place on May 20th, the same day as primaries.
There is no primary in this case though, as the person with the most votes just straight-up wins, and he or she will serve the remainder of Green’s term until January 4th, 2016. Here are the technicalities:
The deadline for each party to file its nomination certificate designating its candidate is April 8, 2014, or 15 days following the issuance of the writ.
Democratic and Republican parties select one candidate each according to their internal party rules. There is currently one “minor political party” in Philadelphia: the Libertarian Party. That party also may select one candidate according to internal party rules.
Anyone intending to run as an independent may begin circulating petitions to get their names on the ballot on Monday, March 24, the same day the writ of election is issued.
“Anyone who wants to serve the people of Philadelphia ought to have an opportunity to do so. I urge all those interested in running for this seat as Independent to contact the County Board of Elections in Room 142 in City Hall or at 215-686-3943,” Council President Clarke added.
Independent candidates must collect a minimum of 1,785 valid signatures to get on the ballot. Democrats and Republicans wishing to run as Independent candidates must re-register their party affiliation as Independent by the date they file nominating papers.
The deadline for each political party to file nomination papers is the same as the deadline for the parties to file their nomination certificates: April 8, 2014.”
There’s more information for the voter — or potential candidate … we believe in you — over here.
Didn’t we tell you festival season was upon us: This coming April 10th to 26th, Video Pirates presents the second-annual Cinedelphia Film Festival at PhilaMOCA. It’s everything PhilaMOCA does well; the weird, the rare, the goofy, and the brand-new to Philly. We only have the Opening Weekend lineup so far, but it’s jam-packed with unique events, such as:
>>> VIDEO PIRATES: LIFE OF PIA – World Premiere of the latest feature-length Video Pirates presentation, a multimedia celebration of the life of ‘80s icon Pia Zadora! Six months in the making!
>>> TRIPLE FISHER – Philadelphia Premiere of this metadrama mashup of three early ‘90s Amy Fisher biopics; director Dan Kapelovitz in attendance.
>>> MR. MIKE’S MONDO VIDEO (1979) – Special 35th Anniversary screening of Michael O’Donoghue’s sketch-filled MONDO CANE parody featuring a host of guest stars from Bill Murray to Klaus Nomi to Sid Vicious.
>>> THE WIZARD (1989) with a Nintendo World Championship reenactment – 25th Anniversary screening of THE WIZARD with a live video game tournament! Attendees compete for prizes!
And all of that only takes us to the 13th. We’ll have more info when more programming is announced, but you can check more events out here and get a festival pass here.
March 4, 2014
>>> Well, Mardi Gras is happening, and while there’s probably a whole shit-ton of things going on, we really just don’t care. But as long as you avoid that behavior above, you’ll be fine.
>>> And over at Johnny Brenda’s, garage-rockers The Men hit the stage on the occasion of their 5th album in five years, today’s release Tomorrow’s Hits. Follow?
“In 2013, more than 13,000 volunteers helped collect 1,014,540 pounds of trash and 23,341 pounds of recycling across the city,” claims the website for this, the 7th Annual Philly Spring Cleanup. That’s quite a gauntlet to be thrown down, but we think you can do even higher totals this year, Philly. Why? We’re estimating that in Philly, as we speak, there’s 23,341 pounds of frozen dog turds alone, buried under the piles of ice/slush/dirtsnow that still dot your block. Here’s hoping that be April 5th, they’ll be ripe for collection and banishment.
The sketch previewed above, which airs on tonight’s edition of Comedy Central’s Kroll Show, features a concept not too far-off from whatever the History Channel is trotting out these days: A pawn shop owner from Pittsburgh switches shops with his cousin, a pawn shop owner from Philly. The yinzer is played by Pittsburgh-native Jon Daly, but Kroll himself (originally from Westchester County, NY) does a pretty solid hoagiemouth. We mean, it’s not Kevin Bacon in Sleepers, but few things are.
PREVIOUSLY: NYT Wonders If Hoagiemouth Is Dying, Has Obviously Never Hung Out With Your Mom’s Friends
The DUI Council of Lancaster County has unveiled this “police taxi,” designed to sit out on the street and remind people of the choices that face them when confronted with the temptation to drink and drive. It’s a clever message and all, but something tells us that the folks at Uber are looking at this right now and thinking, “Oh snap, maybe THIS is what we should use to pick up people when the ‘peak rate’ goes above 5x.”
We hyped it up a bit before it all started, but the 2014 USA Curling Nationals are in full-swing out at the Iceworks Skating Complex in Aston. We’ll have a first-hand account of what that’s all like later this week — and yes, it is being livestreamed right now — but first, let us introduce you to this minor sport, because as I said in the headline, I have watched over an hour of curling:
Curling is basically shuffleboard.
Wait. Can I start over? Cool?
Okay. Over the last two Winter Olympics, I’ve watched over an hour of curling. I’m not an expert on the subject, but I’ve seen enough to basically know how curling works. So, casual curling viewer, let’s begin.
A curling match features 10 “ends” — like frames in bowling — and each end consists of seven or eight stones — like bowling balls. The exact number isn’t really important, but it’s definitely more than five. Wait … yes. It’s definitely more than five. The goal of these ends is to get as many of those stones in the house — that big red circle at the other end of the ice — as you can. Wait, did I mention it’s played on ice? Curling is played on ice. And the goal is to get more rocks or stones or those big things closer to the center than your opponent.
There are like four people per team. There may be a fifth person but that one guy might have just been the other guy and I counted him twice. He was definitely wearing the same hat as the other guy, if he wasn’t the other guy. But yeah, like four to five people per team. They take turns throwing these rockstones down to get them in the house. It’s basically that simple.
Oh, the announcer guy said something about a guard rock or something? But I don’t know, I’ve watched over an hour of curling and it’s only come up like three times so it can’t be that important.
The people with the brooms use the brooms to sweep the ice so the rockstones can move faster. I’m not sure why they don’t just do it every time, but it’s probably because their lower backs hurt a bit from doing all of that sweeping. Oh, and there’s a lot of yelling which makes me a little anxious but it seems to be positive yelling. Like the one guy was yelling “HARD” which made the guys sweep harder. But come to think of it, the other guy, who wasn’t American, sounded like he yelled that too. But he wasn’t speaking English. So making a “HARRRR” sound in curling must just mean “Hey guys, keep doing that thing that you are doing right now.” Like I said before, I don’t know everything about curling, but I can’t imagine a situation where that isn’t correct.
They also have these slidey-shoe things where they can just kinda skid across the ice without worrying about falling. Do you think people have tried to put those on actual shoes and market them to the public? I mean, you’d never slip on ice again. Maybe I should look into that.
But that’s not really important to curling as a sport, that’s just guys yelling and walking on ice. I feel like I’m getting off-track here, and maybe if you don’t get it than you just aren’t cut out to be a die-hard curling fan like I am. Okay, now I’m definitely off-track. Can I start over?
Curling is basically shuffleboard.
– Jim Adair
UPDATE: An actual, informative break-down of curling can be found in the comments below.
Once again, we’re back with our semi-monthly Goats-appreciation Nugget. This time around, we’ve got “Do The Digs Dug,” ripped right from some VHS taping of Yo! MTV Raps that needed its tracking adjusted.