January 26, 2015

Some Kid From Haverford Is One Half Of America’s Best New Podcast

While you all have been freaking out over Serial over the last few months (we didn’t bother, it felt too required/possibly classist/j-school/etc.), we’ve been quietly geeking out on one of our favorite new podcasts to come down the pike in a good long while. Co-hosted by Haverford native son PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, Reply All is a podcast not so much about the Internet as it is about Internet phenomena, such as the woeful tale of the man who accidentally invented the pop-up ad, or this week’s episode, about France’s apparently widely adapted (and state-instituted, because France) pre-Internet wave of sex chat rooms circa 1982. Goldman and Vogt’s show — their second together; their first was the popular TLDR podcast — is all the things you want from a podcast: Funny, thoughtful, and surprising. We can’t recommend this one strongly enough. The R5 connection is just icing on the cake.

Update: Spoke Magazine Now Out And Available On A Soon-To-Be Impassable Street Near You


Back in the fall, we told you about Spoke Magazine, a new resource/read for Philly bicyclists. Well, though you may not be biking anywhere the next few days (unless you are one of those intrepid Nordic superhero types, in which case, Sköl!), Spoke is no longer forthcoming. We’ve spotted it around town, sporting a sweet Hawk Krall cover. We’re sure there’s copies at Milk & Honey near 4th & South, if you’re interested, but otherwise, follow Spoke on Twitter.

PSA: Be The Mayor’s Intern And Learn About Sadness

We know that’s not supposed to be the takeaway here, but c’mon.


MTV Alums Shoot New Web Comedy About, Um, The Creative Class In, Um, Fishtown

Written and directed by MTV alums Ted Pauly (himself a Philly expat; he’s also the former singer of ’90s indie band Haywood) and Melissa Silverman, the settings of the new web comedy All Over It should look familiar. In the trailer above, for instance, we spot Kung Fu Necktie, the gross piece of Front Street KFN sits on, and that loft… it also looks familiar, no? That’s the space at 6th and Girard that you may have wondered about. That loft also serves as the scene of much of All Over It‘s action; there, H. Jon Benjamin and Ben Sinclair lead an ensemble cast centered around one of those live/work spaces you always hear about and are like, “Yeah, no.” If the trailer is anything to go by, it’s all feeling very Broad City in a way that is frankly rather close to home indeed.

All Over It premieres on a smartphone near you on February 2.

The NASA Photo Of What #PHLsnowgasm2015 Looks Like From Space Will Give You A Snowner



City Of Phila Declares Snow Emergency In Effect At 6pm, Everyone Go Home/Start Drinking

So sayeth The Nutter, sending City Hall employees home while also adding the following Angry Principal Nutterisms:
· “Do not throw snow back into the street, it is dangerous and an insult to the work of the Philadelphia Streets crews.”
· “Philadelphia is apparently the city of French Toast.”
You’re damn straight, Wonder Mike. Meanwhile, as a public service, the only thing “Snow Emergency” really means for you personally is, doy, don’t park on a snow emergency route.

City Hall says more snow info/advisories will be issued later this afternoon.

Listen To Philly’s Own Dream Safari Cover That Song From Sonic The Hedgehog

Now here’s something delightfully snow-day for you: Dream Safari is the nom-du-MIDI of one Chris Coulton; if the name or vibe sounds familiar, you may recall that we’ve written about Coulton’s music before, originally released under the name “Flamingos” but since changed to the equally Panama-Hat-sounding Dream Safari. Coulton just released an homage to what remains, for us, the signature activity of the early 1990s — Sonic The Hedgehog, a game so emblematic that its franchise is still going, all these years later. The Dream Safari version above is appropriately fun and even what we used to call “gabba” back in the day. Cue it up as you head home from work in preparation for some deep blizzard gaming this week.

News You Can Use: How To Walk On Ice

Timely info this morning from our friends at Little Baby’s:


Click to enlarge.

As in all things, “Think of yourself as a penguin and you’ll be alright.”

Use This Handy Chart To See If Your Fave Local TV News Prefers Snow Hysterics

As we noted on Twitter yesterday, our friends over at PhillyWx.com do a great job of separating weather predictions from hype and hysteria on a regular basis. But in times like these, their services feel essential. Particularly of note: The following chart they compiled of who’s predicting what:

Telling, no?

January 22, 2015

Here’s Your 2014 #PhilebrityAwards Wrap-Up

Philly Jesus rapped. That pretty much sums up the 2014 Philebrity Awards.

Philly Jesus rapped. That pretty much sums up the 2014 Philebrity Awards.

Last night’s Philebrity Awards ceremony at Johnny Brenda’s was a huge success. While we recover from the festivities, we wanted to just offer up huge thanks to all of our winners, nominees, voters and audience members. We couldn’t have done it without you! For those of you who couldn’t make it out, what’s your deal? Amongst the many highlights: The majesty of Ron Gallo‘s opening number (a stunning cover of “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”), an Amy Winehouse/Patti Smith medley by Alexander Kacala, lots and lots of musical mayhem from Weird Hot, the comedy stylings of East Coast Power Nap and deadpan virtuoso Chris Davis , Philly Jesus rapping!!!, The Satellite Hearts fronted by Fergie for a stirring rendition of David Bowie‘s “Moonage Daydream,” and the awkward banter of our own Joey Sweeney and Chris Cummins. It was one for the Philebs history books for sure, but most important were the awards themselves! Here, at long last, are your winners:

>>> Excommunication – Diner En Blanc
>>> Non-Profit of the Year – Mighty Writers
>>> Phoodie of the Year – Rooster Soup Company
>>> Festival/Gathering of the Year – Spruce Street Harbor Park
>>> Comedian/Comedy Act of the Year - Robert Ecks
>>> The Philebrity Award for General Fabulousness – Mo’Ne Davis/Honorary Runner-up Fergus “Fergie” Carey
>>> New Business of the Year – Philly AIDS Thrift at Giovanni’s Room
>>> Philly Writer of the Year – Holly Otterbein
>>> Outstanding Do-Gooder of the Year – Alex Rice, Coach for the Taney Dragons
>>> New Musical Artist of the Year – The Satellite Hearts

That’s a wrap on the 2014 Philebrity Awards. All of us here at Philebrity are looking forward to seeing what inspires (and in the case of the Excommunication award, infuriates) us in the year ahead!

[Photo by Mary Brickthrower]

January 21, 2015

#PhilebrityAwards Polls Are Officially Closed!


Wanna know the winners? See you tonight! Otherwise, we’ll have them posted tomorrow!

Dept. Of Money For Nothing: What Nicole Cashman Buys In A Week

NicoleCashmanWe don’t even know where to begin with this one. So, Philly Mag‘s Shoppist blog has just debuted a maddening new feature called Receipt that bills itself, without a shred of anything even vaguely resembling conscience, as a “voyeuristic look into the weekly spending habits of Philadelphians.” The first person to be featured? Nicole Cashman, because we live in a completely random universe full of chaos and pricey linzer tarts.

We can’t say we are surprised by any of her purchases — which include $263.89 of takeout dinner from Morimoto, $2,792 on bar stools, and $73.86 worth of diapers and car accessories from Amazon. What we did find fascinating however were the bizarre questions that came into our head after we finished the piece. Does Nicole like One Shot better than La Colombe? Will the bar stools be difficult for Oksana to dust? Would it be the worst thing in the world if we just packed in this whole writing thing and took a quiet, nobler job far, far away from bougie cashflow breakdowns? We don’t know the answers to any of these, so it’s probably best we just forget about this whole thing.

Last Call For Your #PhilebrityAwards Votes!


Just a friendly reminder that the polls for the Philebrity Awards close at 3pm, so if you haven’t already voted, please do so now. (Click here to cast your votes). And be sure to join us at 9pm at Johnny Brenda’s for all the fun and mayhem you’ve come to expect from our little ceremony!

Breaking: Ken Trujillo Ends His Mayoral Run

phl2015With the mayoral race still in its slow, uncertain early stages, we haven’t really had the opportunity to know what makes Ken Trujillo tick as of yet (or learn hardly anything about him, really), and now we won’t get the chance to because he is withdrawing from his campaign. We just received a press release from Trujillo’s office stating the following:

“It is with great regret that I announce today I will no longer pursue the office of Mayor of Philadelphia. My wife, daughter and I are greatly saddened by this decision, but there are family matters that require my full attention. I am announcing this now because I believe strongly that we must leave the door open for another candidate to enter this race. Philadelphia needs someone who has the skills and values to put Philadelphia first, and I very much hope voters will have such an option. I am grateful for the extraordinary support I’ve received, and it is my sincerest regret that I will not be able to pursue this campaign to the end.”

So long Ken, we hardly knew ye.

Previously: Who The Hell Is Ken Trujillo, And Would He Be Worth A Damn As Mayor?

This Moment In Byko: Dollar Stores Are “Awesome”

Richie-richIn a piece which apparently slipped through a wormhole from 1989, Stu Bykofsky has declared that dollar stores are one of his guilty pleasures. He even refers to them as “awesome” and makes a quip about his adjective use, what a scamp! As you may have guessed, the article itself is a teeter totter ride between inanity and borderline jinogism. Example:

How many stores can you go in with a $10 bill and exit with a filled shopping bag and folding money as change? And not everything in there is from China, although there is more from China than you find in the Beijing H&M. But that’s another matter.


He goes on to relate a meandering story about a wholesaler pal named “Tony” (his parentheses, not ours) that we are still trying to take in before offering up some dollar store shopping tips:

Don’t buy the food – especially the pet food! Some comes from China and you know about China’s rigorous health standards. Other stuff I suspect was pulled off other shelves after a recall. I avoid anything best fresh, like donuts or bread. I’m even suspicious of the bottled soft drinks, many labelled in a foreign language. Not to be nationalistic, but if it didn’t make the grade in Ecuador, I’m not drinking it here.

Now look, we have no beef with dollar stores. But we aren’t writing puffy praise pieces on their, er, awesomeness either. Maybe this article just got to us because it reads like Byko doing the most amazingly self-aware impersonation of himself ever. In which case, well done sir.

January 20, 2015

Who’s Who In The #PhilebrityAwards: Excommunication

Ahh yes, the last and perhaps most important Philebrity Award: Excommunication. The following people make us feel icky. It’s as if every time we see one of them we become trapped in some Tastykake-centric version of Tom Petty‘s “Don’t Come Around Here No More” video. Here’s our picks for who should be sent packing:

·Darrell Clarke, City Council President
Do you even have to ask what Darrell Clarke is doing here? Just hit the above link and go through our vast Clarkeives and marvel and the hows, the whens and, most importantly, the whys. We had a good run Darrell, but it’s not us, it’s you.

·Diner En Blanc, Serial Abusers Of Public Space
Even if you can somehow its carefully manufactured whimsy or its weird registration policy, there’s still the fact that by its very existence Diner En Blanc is a tepid, bourgie clusterfuck that exists solely to make the boring feel elegant and reinforce their shared elitism/disconnect from reality. And if you actually go to this thing, be sure to let us know so we can excommunicate you as well.

·Steve Keeley, Creepy Local News Person
Real talk: We actually enjoy Steve Keeley as a reporter, but man does he confuse us. Sometimes he looks like he leapt off the cover of a Bizarro World Harlequin Romance novel and other times he’s bringing his shirtless luminosity to supermarkets. We don’t get you Steve, but I think we understand you. Which is the most disquieting thing of all.

·Lynne Abraham, Ghost Of Philadelphia Past & Hopefully Not Future
Why do we feel like if Lynne Abraham wins her mayoral bid Philadelphia will immediately begin to seem like a neverending phone call from our moms asking us how to fix the cable because Cake Boss is coming on?

·Bill Cosby, Fallen Comedy Icon
We’ve watched that episode of The Cosby Show where Sondra and Elvin declare their intent to open up a wilderness store a good 672 times, so this one hurts. Even without his extensive Philly ties, Bill Cosby is deeply embedded in our shared culture. As Suzanne Vega once reminded us, when heroes go down, they go down fast. This is certainly the case with Cos. Even without formal charges being filed, Cosby’s rep is shattered due to the numerous allegations launched against him. God, how we dread the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode inspired by this whole mess. Ugh.

Who do you think should be cast out of Philly? VOTE NOW!


Who’s Who In The #PhilebrityAwards: Outstanding Do Gooder Of The Year

Given the slog through the worst parts of life that makes up the majority of the Philly news cycle, stories about great people doing greater things far too often get lost in the shuffle. But not right now. You see, it is time to celebrate those who commit themselves to making life better for people in Philadelphia. With that in mind, here are your Philebrity Awards nominees for Outstanding Do Gooder Of The Year:

·Alex Rice, Taney Dragons Coach
Even though they were eliminated from the 2014 Little League World Series, the Taney Dragons are still champs in our eyes. Coach Alex Rice is a huge reason behind the squad’s success. Mo’Ne Davis‘ groundbreaking playing has made her a household name, but it’s still important to remember that Rice gave her the guidance she needed to become such an unforgettable player.

·Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia aims to make biking better for cyclists in our area. To accomplish their goals they have done everything from intensive studies of what bridges are biker and pedestrian friendly to try to raise awareness about how to make biking safer.

·Brian Sims, State Representative
Every now and again a public figure comes along and captures Philly’s imagination with a vicelike grip. The latest member of this esteemed group is Brian Sims. State Representative, tireless LGBT activist and all-around great dude, Sims is the exact type of politico Philly desperately needs more of.

·Connor Barwin, Fundraiser/Football Person
We don’t follow the football, but apparently Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin is pretty good at it. We’ll leave it to the hoagiemouths amongst you to debate this point on WIP…also, what are you even doing here? What does matter to us is Barwin’s Make The World Better organization, a non-profit that strives to provide “access for every child to play spaces that are fun, educational and safe.”

·Sylvester Mobley/Coded By Kids
Iraq War veteran Sylvester Mobley started Coded By Kids with the goal of “providing disadvantaged inner city children with the technical skills, support and industry exposure necessary to gain access to opportunities in STEM related fields.” Through hosting a variety of programs, Coded By Kids teaches adolescents the skills they’ll need to land them rewarding jobs in the fields of science, technology, education and mathematics that will ensure they become the leaders of tomorrow.

Who do you feel did the most good for Philly in 2014? VOTE NOW!


Who’s Who In The #PhilebrityAwards: Phoodie Of The Year

Not to get all Oliver! on you, but enjoying food, glorious food is one of our favorite things to do in this town. Philly is a Phoodie’s paradise, and as such it is time to celebrate the men and women who regularly make consuming mass quantities here such a joy. Here are your Philebrity Awards nominees for Phoodie of the Year:

·Elizabeth Halen, Baker/Inventor of the Pummplecake
Merging apple and pumpkin pies into a massive, delicious cake is easily one of mankind’s greatest achievements. Elizabeth Halen is the creator of the desert paradise known as The Pummple Cake. While this concoction has got her plenty of praise from mainstream media, Halen hasn’t forgotten her roots and can still be found crafting amazing treats daily at Reading Terminal Market’s Flying Monkey Bakery. (We recommend the Mint Whoopie Pies).

·Foolish Waffles
You know that episode of Maron where Marc encounters the guy who is obsessed with waffles? That man is us every since we found out about Foolish Waffles. The immensely popular food truck can regularly be found bringing syrupy deliciousness throughout the Philly area. (They do the waffle-obsessed a solid by posting their travel schedule on their website). And the toppings…oh man, the toppings.

·Danya Henninger, Food Reporter
If there’s a food/drinks writer whose guidance we trust implicitly it is Danya Henninger. The Philadelphia Local Editor of Zagat.com as well as a contributor to Philly.com, Edible Philly and Philly Beer Scene (amongst others), Henninger covers all aspects of the food beat and is as skilled at interviewing homebrewers as she is giving the lowdown on new restaurants and favorite haunts.

·Kensington Quarters
This beautiful addition to Fishtown’s growing dining scene is the perfect destination for the carnivores amongst you. A butcher shop, restaurant and classroom all in one, the space (from owners Bryan Mayer and Mike Pasquarello) showcases locally sourced food and aims to provide a complete dining experience. Or you can just go there and get the meat sweats. We won’t judge.

·Rooster Soup Company
The Rooster Soup Company restaurant is a partnership between Federal Donuts and the Broad Street Ministry that would see leftover chicken being made into various soups that would be sold with the proceeds benefiting the community outreach organization. The “radical hospitality” of this project’s Kickstarter was a huge success, and we can’t wait until its brick and mortal store opens later this year.

Who will win Phoodie Of The Year? That’s up to you, so VOTE NOW!


Who’s Who In The #PhilebrityAwards: New Business Of The Year

2014 saw the debut of lots of great new businesses in the Philly area. Selecting the five most noteworthy to nominate for the Philebrity Awards was a Herculean task, but we somehow managed. Here’s what we came up with:

·Everybody Hits
Batting cages in NoLibs? What’s next, mini golf? (Oh wait, see below, shit). The Everybody Hits Batting Cages at 529 West Girard Avenue are a terrifically retro place to work on your baseball/softball skills or just hang with friends. Bonus points: Everybody Hits has also been known to throw dream pop shows. Oh hell yes.

·Good Spoon Foods
The mission statement of Good Spoon Seasonal Foods is a simple one: “Soups and stews from scratch. Made with fresh, local ingredients.” Located at 1400 N. Front Street, the soupery lives up its goal of providing delicious soups (ooh, Sengalese Chicken and Peanut Stew!) that are all locally sourced. Sure, we dig their ideology. But we love their food even more.

·Philly AIDS Thrift At Giovanni’s Room
2014 was the year we almost lost Giovanni’s Room, the country’s oldest LGBT book store. (It was originally founded in 1973). Fortunately, that didn’t come to pass as Philly AIDS Thrift decided to merge with the store. Now, Philly AIDS Thrift At Giovanni’s Room showcases the kitschy treasures of the former as well as the LGBT-themed literature that made the latter so beloved. This is some real chocolate in your peanut butter/peanut butter in your chocolate-styled synergy here.

·St. Benjamin Brewery
Kensington’s St. Benjamin Brewery is the latest independent brewery to open in a city already obsessed with beer. So naturally they should do well here. A “3 barrel nanobrewery,” St. Benjamin’s offers brews like Koffee Kolsh (made with Reanimator coffee), Troubleshooter Pale Ale and the wonderfully named English mild ale Foul Weather Jack. We expect to hear lots more about (and drink plenty of) St. Benjamin’s brews in the future.

·Keystone Mini Golf
Hey, if NoLibs can have batting cages and Barcade, then surely Kensington can have mini golf! Keystone Mini Golf and Arcade is like a fever dream of nostalgic fun that transports us back to our misspent youth. The 9-hole course plays just like you remember it, only indoors, and you have student loans to pay back now. This place hits our retro-loving sweet spot in a big way.

So there you have it. Now it’s up to you. Which of the above establishments will win New Business Of The Year? VOTE NOW!


Who’s Who In The #PhilebrityAwards: General Fabulousness

Each year at the Philebrity Awards, we celebrate one person who most represents our town in a, well, fabulous way. This year’s nominees have each gone above and beyond in their shared quest to make Philly a more terrific place to be, and we love them all for it.

Here then are your nominees for General Fabulousness:

·Fergus Carey
Fergie. He’s been called “Philly’s Favorite Publican” by Beer Scene Magazine, is an avid supporter of Philly’s arts scene (he serves as president of Brat Productions‘ Board of Directors) and really is just one of the most delightful and interesting people we’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering. Fergus Carey is a true Philly icon…as anyone who has ever imbibed in one of the establishments (which include Fergie’s Pub, Monk’s Café, Grace Tavern and the late Nodding Head Brewery) that he owns or co-owns will be quick to point out.

·Lillian Dunn
Lillian Dunn has devoted herself to encouraging the arts within the City of Brotherly Love. Whether serving as the Artist Residency Program Manager at North Philly’s The Village of Arts and Humanities, helping to establish #PhillyPoetryDay, or her work with APIARY Magazine (which she co-founded and serves as Executive Editor of), Dunn works tirelessly to spread the word about the importance of arts and literature while also fostering awareness about how vital it is for people to connect with their communities.

·Alexander Kacala
We first heard about Alexander Kacala back in 2010 when he made a courageous It Gets Better video, and since the he has been on our radar thanks to his commitment to the LGBT community–as well as his truly fabulous drag queen persona Tammy Faymous. Although he tends to perform sans drag these days, Alex is no less stylish. He has written for Philly Mag‘s Shoppist blog and Philly.com, been featured as one of Geekadelphia‘s Geek of the Weeks and performed for Quince Productions. He recently began blogging at his own site, FaymeProblems, which chronicles his amazing ongoing exploits.

·Philly Jesus
The story of Philly Jesus is long, strange and endlessly fascinating one, but we’ll try to give you the Cliff’s Notes: After being run over by his ex-girlfriend in 2005, Michael Grant turned to satanic music and using heroin and crack before he became born again. Now he uses his artistic abilities to share the word of Jesus Christ throughout Philly…which has led to lots of media attention and some legal woes. Nevertheless, Philly Jesus continues to spread the gospel to anyone who will listen both online and around LOVE Park (where he has been known to baptize tourists).

·Mo’Ne Davis
The gender bias-shattering Mo’Ne Davis and the Taney Dragons were the only sports story we cared about in 2014. How could you not? Davis and her teammates were so full of infectious positivity that we actually found ourselves watching the Little League World Series. Davis became an inspirational role model who never seemed to let her sudden fame go to her head. She’s a great kid, and she’s one of Philly’s own!

Who will you pick to be the most fabulous? VOTE NOW!