May 26, 2015

Right Now In The People’s Republic Of Comcast: You’ve Got A Fast Car


This Thursday, Comcast’s Xfinity store in Mount Laurel will actively be courting the Pennsyltucky crowd by featuring an actual NASCAR car, Preston & Steve Show castmember Casey Boy and an appearance by something called Cleatus, which is supposedly the Fox Sports mascot but to us looks like what would happen if Franklin and that shitty robot from Real Steel went through Seth Brundle‘s teleporter together. As we are growing increasingly weary of mentioning, this is a happening that is clearly not for us. Still, this all feels like a perfect storm of lowered expectations (and higher bills for those who take on the X1 Entertainment Operating System whatever?) that has us feeling a sense of contentment for cutting the cord that is admittedly unbearable. As for everyone else, what was it in “Fast Car” that Tracy Chapman was getting at about making a decision to change or just giving up and living and dying with the status quo?

Philly Boy Roy Covering Styx Is Exactly As Glorious As You Would Hope

To which we ask: Philly Boy Roy, is there anything you can’t do? This is perfect and all, but if we are being completely honest here we have to admit that we wish The AV Club chose “The Grand Illusion” over “Renegade” for this round of their A.V. Undercover series. We’d love to see how Jon Wurster, er, Roy, would’ve taken that one on.

This Is What Happens When We Forget To Post The 1983 Memorial Day Block Party Video We Always Run

In all the hubbub of four-day break planning last week, we neglected to run to Philebrity evergreen that is the 1983 Memorial Day Block Party video. Gawker, on the other hand, did, totally stealing our shirtless Old City thunder in the process. Sigh. Okay, lesson learned. We could make excuses here, but we honestly thought the video would go all Skynet on us and post itself at this point. While we go scrounge for leftover burgers we thought we had in the fridge know this — we will never let you down on this most important of matters again.



ADVERTISEMENT

New Online Petition Aims To Oust Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Buzzkill

i_love_cannabis_marijuana_pennsylvania_postcard-p239279665599283570trah_152When Republican House Health Committee Chairman Matt Baker announced that he would not allow the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to vote on any medicinal marijuana bill a few weeks back, the move very obviously turned heads and drew the ire of those seeking to make such a treatment option available here. Which brings us to this online petition that calls for Baker to step down for its organizers claim is a violation of “the trust between him and the people of the state of Pennsylvania.” Patch.com lights up some more details:

Some expressed frustration that a single person had the power to prevent a vote on a bill that gained broad bipartisan support in the Senate and presumably would enjoy similar support in the House.

“How can one man have so much impact…something doesn’t seem right about that,” commented Reddit user keystroker007.

Others questioned Baker’s motivations in preventing the House from considering the bill.

“It’s absolutely ludicrous to think that medical cannabis is not beneficial for human health issues,” writes Randolph Yale, on the petition. “This guy is not for the people, he is for himself and his pockets. He needs to go!”

Biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is Baker’s top campaign financier, providing over $5,000, according to VoteSmart.org.

Alas friends, medicinal marijuana might come to the Keystone State after all. This Penn Live piece states that “House officials say Rep. Jim Cox of Berks County is drafting medical marijuana legislation that could eventually be amended into a separate bill outside of Baker’s committee.” In other words, Baker might not be able to bogart this issue forever.

Noontime Nuggetz: What The People Of Circa-1979 Philadelphia Were Actually Like

Earlier today we stumbled upon this experimental 16mm film from 1979 in which Marc Librescu captured people walking in Center City on what appears to be an ordinary autumn or early-winter day. For a hypnotizing three minutes shoppers, workers and other denizens of the place we call home pass the camera as it captures their fleeting movements on film. Who were these people? Where were they going? How much did it rain that day? Were they happy? Are they still with us? These are amongst the myriad questions that will flow through your mind as you watch this inadvertent fashion parade of a time that is so long gone now we can barely comprehend that we actually lived through it ourselves.



ADVERTISEMENT

This Moment In The Philadelphia Bike Wars: Ron Deets vs The Khakied Rage Dude Of Pine Street

FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Last Wednesday, South Philly resident Ron Deets was riding on the Pine Street bike lane when he was cut off by an SUV. After tapping the side of the vehicle to alert the driver to his presence, Deets found himself the victim of a strange and frightening incident as the car’s owner proceeded to drag and allegedly assault him. You can see the disturbing video of the confrontation above, but what is even more troubling is how after Deets stopped traffic and called the police the cops let the driver go…despite the above bystander video. (After the story aired on FOX 29 last week, the PPD is now further looking into the matter). We salute Deets for standing up to himself as well as bicyclists throughout the city who have to deal with this kind of shit on the regular. Although if you ask us, the real crime here might just be against fashion itself — i.e. the dragging dude’s pager-packing dadbelt, an accessory that makes us wonder if this event actually occurred in 1996 and we have all just fallen through some fracture in the space-time continuum caused by ragey car-owning entitlement.

FYI: The Roots To Headline This Year’s Welcome America 4th Of July Festivities


At a press conference that just wrapped up at the African American Museum, Mayor Nutter was on hand to help unveil the lineup for this year’s Wawa Welcome America festivities for the Fourth of July. The biggest news released was that The Roots would be returning to Philly (though really, they never left) to headline the massive Parkway concert on the 4th of July alongside of Miguel and Jennifer Nettles. Whether you choose to check this out or take the housebound Aimee Mann approach to the holiday is entirely your call. You can find a full recap of the announcements here.

The Week Ahead In Comedy: Don’t You Forget About Me

Photo by Cara McGuffin

Photo by Cara McGuffin

It’s not every Wednesday that you can go see Matt Fulchiron in Philadelpha, which is why this coming Wednesday is no ordinary Wednesday! Because Matt Fulchiron WILL be in Philadelphia on Wedesday. You probably know Matt from his appearances on Comedy Central Presents, Live at Gotham, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and Tosh.0, and this week he’ll be at Pub Webb Live as part of his East Coast Tour. Also on the show are Alex Grubard, Eddie Finn and Nat Margolis. Wednesday 8PM, $7 in adv, $10 at the door.

Everyone loves Monday Holidays, popcorn and debut shows from new sketch groups, and this week, get some popcorn and you can have all 3. The House of Solitude debut sketch show, Together Forever, features sketches about police spouses, large pants, astronauts in love, and imaginary boyfriends, along with a healthy dose of skinny ties and 80’s music. Directed by Maggy Keegan (Figment Theater, Mani Pedi) and written by Dan Corkery (Alley of Nightmares, Goat Rodeo) and Caitlin Weigel (Mani Pedi, Sketchier) Together Forever will keep you laughing until you drive hoe and begin to feel very, very alone in the world. Thursday and Friday, 9PM, $10 at the door.

Once upon a time, there was a comedic five-headed monster called TDtF that you could find raising HECK and stumbling off stage at any comedy venue in the Greater Philadelphia Region. Today, The chances of seeing the members of the comedy collective Mike Rainey, Pat Kelly, Steve Rees, Danny Ozark and Eric Todd in the same room is slim. On Friday, this group of stand up veterans get together one more (last? I hope not!) time at the Comedy Clubhouse in Manayunk. BYOB, you will probably want some B. Friday, 9PM, $10.

Did you see Mad Max: Fury Road? Did you see Pitch Perfect 2? You probably did, and you did because you probably love movies. On Friday night you can see 8 of the cities top comedy minds build movie pitches right before your very eyes at Alex Strang’s Move Plotz! The game, developed by local game designer Alex Strang fuses elements of improvisation and storytelling and a hardcore love of Hollywood and spins off 2 new zany movie pitches. Friday, 10:30PM, $10 in adv, $12 at the door.

Joe Moore is the genial jerk who is head writer of sketch group Dog Mountain, host of monthly show Guilty Pleasures and a sketch comedy instructor. Hunt him down on twitter @TheJoeMoore.

This Video Tribute To Spruce Street Harbor Park Is An Instant Souvenir Of The Weekend’s Good Vibes

Judging from the massive number of deeply hungover folks we’ve already encountered this morning, we’re guessing that you guys didn’t want this longest of weekends to end either. While Memorial Day is now behind us, there’s much giddiness around Philebrity HQ today due to thoughts of the long lazy days that lie firmly ahead. (Why yes The Key, we would love to read your listicle of Philly summer songs, please and thank you). We totally get if you are feeling a bit lethargic about the whole work thing today, so here’s what we suggest — check out the latest Uncover Philly video from Cory J. Popp that was shot at Spruce Street Harbor Park over the weekend. This mighty bit of instant nostalgia will make you yearn to go back. What’s everyone doing after work today?

May 21, 2015

This Weekend: Time To Sit Back And Unwind

THURSDAY:

>>> David Cronenberg‘s 1986 remake of the 1950s cheesefest The Fly is one of the decade’s best films, taking his carefully crafted body horror oeuvre to the next level. So you can imagine our disdain when we learned that the film will be the focus of tonight’s Mega-Bad Movie Night at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Fortunately, we were relieved to discover that the panelists — including Kennedy Allen of the Black Tribbles podcast — will not be MST3King the movie itself, but rather poking holes in its various scientific inaccuracies. Something we are totally cool with because teleporters would make life so much easier all around.

>>> The final Wine & Wilde event is going down at the Rosenbach, with a talk by Allen Crawford entitled “Oscar Wilde’s Aestheticism” that will be as informative as it is tricky to spell.

>>> Related to the previous event, The Smiths Social is back at the Troc with Morrissey and Marr music from The 18th Pale Descendants. We would go out tonight, but we haven’t got a stitch to wear.

>>> The Urban Geek Drinks: Post-Election Defrag Edition event at Frankford Hall will let you schmooze and discuss politics while drinking huge-ass beers. You approve of at least one of those things at the very least, so go.

>>> Mural Arts’ Off the Wall Ball at the Electric Factory is a fundraising opportunity to give back to the program that has become an integral part of Philly’s cultural landscape.

>>> A screening of the documentary Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, D.C. at Drexel will show how, holy shit, real life sometimes is like Fugazi.

>>> FEELING GOOD: The Sun-Ra Arkestra under the direction of Marshall Allen hits the Ardmore Music Hall. Yes yes yes.

>>> TireFire Readings return to Tattooed Mom, with unmissable words and insights from Jeff Parker, Christian Tebordo, Dan Torday and Jaime Fountaine.

>>> World Party plays World Cafe Live. We’re still trying to figure out “Is It Like Today?”

FRIDAY:

>>> Spruce Street Harbor Park opens for its second year! If you weren’t already sold on the summer hang, you will be thanks to some great new programming and partnerships from the DRWC (sigh, and yes, more hammocks). Kicking things off tonight will be the debut of the Visit Philly Beer Garden Series. Your body will thank you, even if your liver doesn’t. Expect much more on Spruce Street Harbor Park in the now-hopeful days ahead.

>>> Pig Iron Theater Company’s I Promised Myself To Live Faster opens at FringeArts, bringing with it a dazzling, science fiction-tinged effort inspired by the works of Charles Ludlam that appears to be a gloriously gay mash-up of Greek legends and Barbarella camp. Two great tastes that taste beyond great together.

SATURDAY:

>>> The Blue Cross Riverrink Summerfest is now underway as well, bringing with it a brand new roller skating rink that JUST OPENED and a corresponding retro DJ set tonight from a man who knows everything about “Summertime,” Jazzy Jeff. The vibes are everywhere this weekend, aren’t they?

>>> Freak folkers On The Water are celebrating the release of their new effort, Cordelia, with a record release party at PhilaMOCA that will see the band joined by like-minded acts such as Impressionist and Liz and the Lost Boys.

>>> Invisible River’s “Flying River Dance” at Spruce Street Harbor Park does the impossible by bringing real beauty to the Delaware.

>>> Stones Night at Underground Arts will let you get your ya-yas out through performances by Rolling Stones tribute acts Brown Sugar, Nasty Habits (doing Let It Bleed in its entirety) and Dead Flowers.

>>> More tribute acts: The Rent-A-Cops (The Police) and Krush (Rush) are at World Cafe Live. This weekend is weird.

>>> The Art Star Pop Up Shop begins a summer residency at, you guessed it, Spruce Street Harbor Park. Stop on by and get some locally made crafffffftttttttsssss.

>>> Talkin ’bout Pop Musik at The Dolphin with DJ Robert Drake playing those perfect ’80s jams.

SUNDAY:

>>> Punk Rock Flea Market debuts at Spruce Street Harbor Park, where will it will run weekly throughout the summer. That scream you just heard was us losing our goddamned minds with excitement over this.

>>> Or you could just spend Sunday night at the 700 catching up with all of the old heads while DJ Jeremy Grites plays the sweet sounds.

MONDAY

>>> It’s Memorial Day, and you probably aren’t doing anything but eating burgers and/or watching Jaws.

Film Sweat: I Love You Tomorrow, You’re Only A Day Away

Philebs is taking tomorrow off to get an early start on the holiday weekend, so here’s your Film Sweat!

RECOMMENDED: Will Tommorowland be a new franchise-starting blockbuster or is it merely a misguided Objectivist parable? We are hearing reports that suggest both of these things, which kinda just makes us want to see it more. Taking inspiration from the Disneyland attraction and then bouncing off onto weird tangents from there, this seems like a return to the fun George Clooney roles that we have been missing without realizing. Admittedly this could be because of the sheer volume of Over Our Heads-era The Facts of Life we’ve been watching of late, but it’s nice to see George not being all womp womp on screen. Better still is that the film is playing at the Prince Theater, which will kick off a nice new phase for the venue now that it is in the hands of the Philadelphia Film Society.

ALSO NEW IN THEATERS THIS WEEK: Janus Films‘ stunning restoration of Satyajit Ray‘s The Apu Trilogy will once again turn attention to how the film is a defining moment in world cinema; In the Name of My Daughter is a French drama about love and betrayal that is set in 1976 and stars Catherine Deneuve; and Poltergeist is a remake of the 1980s Tobe Hooper horror effort that will prove once and for all that Sam Rockwell is no Craig T. Nelson; I’ll See You in My Dreams is an indie ensemble drama that looks ripped right from the 90s, and we mean that as a compliment; Far from the Madding Crowd brings Thomas Hardy‘s literary classic to life with help from the always great Carey Mulligan; and Lambert and Stamp is a must see documentary about the men who made The Who happen.

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.

FYI: New Photography Exhibition Celebrates City Halls Peregrine Falcons

Gah! You see this adorable little fella? He’s one of a family of Peregrine Falcons that calls City Hall tower home. The endangered species will take the spotlight in the new photography exhibition Philadelphia’s City Hall Peregrines. Featuring photographs by Pennsylvania Game Commission volunteers and local falcon fans alike, the show opens on June 1st in the NE corner of the seventh floor of City Hall. (Which sounds like some artistic bureaucracy but totally isn’t). During a press event tomorrow morning, the PA Game Commission’s Art McMorris will band four baby Peregrines, and we are going to try to clear our schedules to see this because ohmygod are these things totes adorbs. So much so that they make us sound like a middle schooler apparently. Still, awwwwww.

Right Now In The People’s Republic Of Comcast: Fun With The Comcast Shareholders Meeting!

USSRCAST1Earlier today, Comcast held their 2015 Annual Meeting of Shareholders at the Kimmel Center. You can read the dry details of what formal business was tended to here, but what is really interesting are the concerns raised by shareholders. Along with discussions about income inequality, a press release just issued by citizens advocacy group Common Cause reveals how investors and allied organizations attempted to get Comcast to release lobbying details. After the jump you can read the release in full, and learn about some Comcastic inside baseball. Whee! (more…)

Pattern Is Movement Record “Save Me” For Shaking Through, And They Might Just Be Able To Save All Of Us

What’s that Morrissey line about missing someone who just left? That’s how we feel about the long farewell of Philly’s Pattern Is Movement. Since the 22-year-old group made the announcement last month that they were parting ways following a final tour that wraps up at Johnny Brenda’s on June 20th, it has slowly occurred to us what a void is going to be left by their dissolving. That feeling is only growing after watching the above Shaking Through video in which the hirsute duo record part of their song “Save Me” at Old City’s St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. These videos are still a bit too Portlandia for our tastes, but damn it if there aren’t sincere. You can learn more about this episode and the recording process here. We’re going to miss these dudes.

Previously: R.I.P. Pattern Is Movement

Recommended Reading: Inga Saffron’s Scathing Critique Of The Plans For The Boyd Theatre Space

Eimer Architecture

Eimer Architecture

We’ve been wondering what would be popping up at around the site of the Boyd Theatre in the wake of that iconic building’s demolition and it looks like we are getting our answer…and it’s not ideal. Site owner Pearl Properties have just released proposed construction concepts from Eimer Architecture in advance of a design review with the Historical Commission this coming Tuesday. The Inquirer‘s Inga Saffron broke the news of this architectural wet fart and she is not happy about it one bit. In fact, she has unleashed a torrent of vitriol upon the proposed construction that is as blunt as it is seemingly accurate:

A filing made public Wednesday shows that Pearl plans to replace the Boyd’s exuberant, art deco auditorium – a triumph of Hollywood’s golden age – with a generic, 341-foot-tall apartment tower wrapped in red, white, and gray metal panels. In addition, a bland, three-story commercial building will be wedged between the Boyd’s old marquee facade and the limestone building that occupies the corner of 19th and Chestnut.

It would be an understatement to say that Pearl’s design is no gem. A charmless, bulky stack of rentable units, it does no justice to the memory of the Boyd or, for that matter, to the lively commercial architecture that lines this stretch of Chestnut Street.

Pearl’s 27-story tower, which will back onto Sansom Street, is a plain rectangular slab that has been broken up by baylike setbacks at the corners, and what look like scrims and inset windows on the east-facing facade. Based on drawings prepared by Eimer Architecture, it appears that structure will be wrapped up with metal panels, now the default on developer-built apartment buildings. That isn’t architecture; it’s a colorful form of weatherproofing.

And it just goes on from there. Saffron makes some extremely valid points about the blahness of contemporary design and how a space with such a rich history demands better. There’s understandable anger to be found about this issue, but even more prevalent is the sadness that comes from realizing that the once-great Boyd might have been lost to bring in a replacement that appears to be forgettable at best. We’ll be watching this project develop with great interest, and, apparently, little hope.

And Now, Today’s GOOD NEWS: Neighborhood Bike Works To Create A Bike Education Hub In West Philly

NBWlogoNeighborhood Bike Works — Philly’s organization dedicated to increasing “opportunities for urban youth in underserved neighborhoods in greater Philadelphia by offering educational, recreational, and career-building opportunities through bicycling” — have furthered their mission with a much welcome announcement yesterday that they will be establishing a community shop and bike education hub on Lancaster Avenue. From the press release:

“By this fall, youth will be building bikes, setting out on rides, and acquiring job skills at our new bike education hub near the intersection of the Mantua, Belmont, and Powelton neighborhoods,” said NBW Executive Director Erin DeCou. “Neighborhood Bike Works has always been a neighborhood institution, but with this move we’ll be closer to
more of the communities we serve.”

The organization’s new headquarters will be at 3939 and 3943 Lancaster Avenue. This site, which is actually two side-by-side storefront properties, is one mile from NBW’s current headquarters. Later this summer, NBW will begin moving out of its current headquarters in the basement of St. Mary’s Church on Locust Walk, at the edge of the University of Pennsylvania campus.

NBW uses bikes as a hook to engage Philly youth, ages 8-18, in healthy development. The organization offers a tiered array of classes and events that instill confidence, inspire health and adventure, and build skills for future success. NBW also hosts adult repair classes and “Bike Church.” Bike Church offers open shop hours for anyone in the community interested in getting help fixing their bike or purchasing affordable donated bikes or bike parts.

To help cover the costs of the move and this new initiative, NBW is attempting to raise $15,000. Those interested in getting involved can do so here.

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.

From The Good Morning Files: Fox 29’s Sweet 16 Poop Party Story

FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

On Sunday, a Sweet 16 celebration in Levittown was thrown into chaos when bodily waste apparently fell out of a plane and onto the party. It’s a horrific tale to be sure, and one the FAA is currently investigating. The strangeness of this event didn’t stop Fox 29 from turning the story into an excuse to make some poop jokes (which PhillyMag has ranked here). You can see the resulting piece above, unless you feel like the local news is, er, shitty enough.

May 20, 2015

This Evening: Baby If You Ever Wondered, Wondered Whatever Became Of Me

>>> The Night Terrors: Hot in the City double feature at PhilaMOCA showcases two unjustly forgotten 1980s action flicks — Siege and Enemy Territory (starring WKRP in Cincinatti‘s Gary Frank and “Ghostbusters” singer Ray Parker, Jr. no less). We recommend checking out this low on budget/high on entertainment flicks for an alternative to the usual summer movie fare. (With the exception of the absolutely stellar Mad Max: Fury Road). Presented by the always interesting Low Culture Media.

>>> High Vibes with Data Garden DJs at the Dolphin will make you feel like dancing through sets from DJs Chris Powell, J. Termini and Joe Patitucci. They’re celebrating music from people all over the world, so definitely jump aboard this love train.

While You Were Getting Ready For Work, City Council’s Website Was Getting Hacked

HackersAs voters were saying out with the old, in with the new (Hi Helen Gym!) to City Council last night, nefarious cyber forces not entirely unlike the ones faced by Sandra Bullock in The Net were conspiring against PHLCouncil.com. CBS Philly is reporting that the website was hacked this morning by an “international underground hacking team” who replaced the site’s usual content with alleged information on their group and their religious beliefs. After being locked out of the site for two hours, the site was restored to normal and the following statement was issued:

We have no information on who is behind the hacking. The website software has been updated to address vulnerabilities. To be clear, PHLCouncil.com is hosted separately from the City government’s website. No City information that would be deemed sensitive was ever compromised or accessed. The Police Department and OIT have been informed and are working with City Council to prevent future attacks.

So all’s well that ends well right? Sure. Just as long as this doesn’t become a basis for a CSI: Cyber episode, because that show is grim.

WXPN’s Michaela Majoun To Leave The Airwaves Next Month

michaela-majoun197x150For the past 25 years, Michaela Majoun has hosted the XPN Morning Show, easing listeners into the day in the most soothing, Kasey Chambers-heavy rotating way possible. It seems incomprehensible to imagine WXPN without her, but that’s what we’re all going to have to do because she is leaving on June 30th. From The Key:

I’m leaving to pursue writing,” Majoun says. “I’m working on a couple of things right now. I’m finishing a screenplay to submit for a competition. I’m also working with a historian I recently visited in New Orleans to turn one of her books into a television series.”

Majoun, who also helped break new artists with the Women’s Music Hour during that show’s time on the air and is a staple on Philly’s arts/culture/charity scene (and, according to the Key piece, also worked on Designing Women before coming here, wow) will be a much-missed presence. Whatever the future holds for her we hope it is happy. And pledge drive free, obvs.