April 15, 2014
As Lionel Richie’s hit song said: “All night long (all night, on Fridays and Saturdays for the summer).” After a petition that was started by Streets Dept’s Conrad Benner gained some momentum online, SEPTA will begin running all-night subway service from mid-June until Labor Day on Friday and Saturday nights. According to the Inquirer, “SEPTA’s proposed new operating budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 includes several hundred thousand dollars to run the Broad Street and Market-Frankford Lines all night.”
Additionally, in other SEPTA good news, the fare hike to the already hiked fare of $.25 — making a subway ride $2.50 — that was set to go into effect at the start of the fiscal year on July 1st “won’t be imposed until the [Smart Card] system is fully in place next year.” SEPTA’s operating budget also allows room for 80 or so new hires, while the capital budget also puts money aside for new and repaired vehicles, bridge repair, the Smart Card system, and more.
In summation, fare hikes have been postponed and we get to ride the BSL and the El in the middle of the night this summer if we want to. It’s like weird-guy Christmas, and we can’t wait for the cameraphone shots we get.
April 14, 2014
We’ve been on a kick of so-called “American Primitive” as of late, and Virginia’s Daniel Bachman is truly one of its best young practitioners. As you can see in the video above, Bachman’s youth holds him back none in his quest for bootstomping, racing, rhythmic, rich, finger-picked grooves. He isn’t pacing himself either, as he’s released a number of solo and duo efforts in the last few years that show slowing down isn’t really his style. With support from Fence Kitchen, you can catch Bachman tomorrow night at Random Tea Room. $6-8. 7:30pm.
In things that are pretty far away from Bachman’s instrumental finger-picks: The sweaty, garage-punk of Atlanta’s Black Lips is taking over the big stage at Union Transfer, playing in support of this year’s Underneath the Rainbow. In a support role, Nashville’s rock’n'roll outfit Natural Child will get your all kinds of energized and in the right mindset for a Friday night. $17. 8pm.
Keeping the garage-y thing going, but throwing in a good amount of psychedelia and indie-rock, Canadian wunderkind Mac DeMarco plays a sold out Underground Arts with Juan Wauters and Laser Background. If you didn’t plan for this in advance, you screwed up. Sold out. 9pm.
Local smooth-folker Kwesi K, who is really making a name for himself, plays a record release show at Boot and Saddle on Saturday with support from Maitland and Anthony D’Amato. Kwesi will undoubtedly debut some tunes from his newest EP, Lovely, which is available Tuesday. $10. 8pm.
And if showmanship and energy are your top-two great show qualifications, Kungfu Necktie is likely where you’ll be spending Saturday night, as Atlanta-based punk-as-shit chicks The Coathangers get rowdy behind this year’s Suck My Shirt. $10. 7pm.
According to a press release from the Pulitzer Prize people, the Inquirer‘s architecture critic Inga Saffron has won the 2014 Pulitzer for Criticism. The release says the award was:
Awarded to Inga Saffron of The Philadelphia Inquirer for her criticism of architecture that blends expertise, civic passion and sheer readability into arguments that consistently stimulate and surprise.”
Tonight, the 76ers play their last home game of their abysmal season against the Boston Celtics. Shockingly, their 17-63 record is still not bad enough for the worst in basketball — thanks Milwaukee Bucks — but that was kind of the whole point of this season. So called “tanking,” or purposely not doing your best to win so you can break everything down to the foundations and start all over, is currently the way to go in the NBA if you’ve got no real shot at winning it all. The Bucks, Celtics, and mostly the Sixers have been accused of it this year, where anti-tanking fans have said it damages the game. However, one group of fans thinks tanking isn’t the problem, it’s the system that encourages it: The draft lottery. So they’d like to see that changed.
A group of South Jersey Sixers fans who want the team to win, but in a classier way, have started a petition online at NBArrasing for NBA commissioner Adam Silver to change the draft format to discourage tanking. There are a few different options they put forward, and really the lottery probably has to go — it’s fairly consistently dogged with claims of being rigged — and what better year to do away with it than the year after the Sixers have a real shot at the number one pick. You can read up more on the lottery and sign the petition to ditch it over here.
Baltimore invades Philly this Tuesday for the Wham City Comedy Tour, presented by the Cinedelphia Film Festival at PhilaMOCA (531 N. 12th Street). Wham City is a collective of alt-comics/artists who recently made their Adult Swim debut with a hit mock infomercial. Their road show is a multimedia extravaganza of stand-up, videos, skits and monologues. “Why should I care about these jerks? They’re from Baltimore,” you might say, if you’re anti-non-Philadelphians and pro-name calling. Well, shut up a minute and keep reading: Philly comedy will also be represented in the form of stand-up from Aaron Nevins and a new artistic comedy performance by the always-delightful duo The New Dreamz (Rose Luardo and Andrew Jeffrey-Wright, of Space 1026 and ComedyDreamz, pictured). 8pm. $10.
Can’t get enough Aaron Nevins? OK fine, but be cool about it, OK? You can see him on Friday, too, when Hang On with Aaron Nevins returns to The Playground at the Adrienne Theater (2030 Sansom Street). This month’s guests include Eric Smith (co-founder of Geekadelphia and the Philadelphia Geek Awards) and Michelle Biloon, a super nice person and pro comedian Philly was lucky enough to recently steal from LA. (She’s appeared on Chelsea Lately, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and more. Yeah, I know!) “Hang On is the only talk show that lets the audience interrupt the entire time,” says Nevins. “It’s also the only show in town that has fully functioning pleasure robots that piss raspberry lemonade*.” 8pm. $5.
*This is true.
Laughs on Fairmount is on fire this month, guys. ON FIRE! LITERALLY! Whoops, sorry, I didn’t mean literally–shouting “FIRE” in a crowded blog post about local comedy events is actually illegal! What I meant is “on fire” in terms of all the shows they’re presenting this month in addition to their weekly Monday night open mic. And their next showcase not only has a great line-up of stand-up comics (Scott Bigos, Carolyn Busa, Robert X, Tommy Touhill, Lou Misiano, Alex Grubard and Alejandro Morales), it’s also a fundraiser for The Youth Washed Up, an indie comedy filmed here in Philly by a group of recent Temple grads. “A couple of us went to Temple with these filmmakers, and we wanted to help them raise money to submit to festivals. The Youth Washed Up speaks to me as a child from the suburbs and a generally cool guy with opinions and feelings,” says current Temple student and Laughs on Fairmount producer Alex Grubard. “I’m also hoping that if I help alumni, Temple will give me a break on tuition.” Catch the show this Friday at Urban Saloon (2120 Fairmount Avenue). 8pm. $7.
– Alison Zeidman
Alison Zeidman is a stand-up comedian and co-host of Free For All, a weekly open mic on Wednesdays at Growlers Bar and monthly showcase at Boot and Saddle in South Philly (next show April 21).
Oh glory be, summer is on its way. Unless you were one of those people who got too sweaty already this weekend, this is good news. And along with the coming of summer comes a new season at Morgan’s Pier, this year with Executive Chef in residence David Gilberg who brings back Sunday brunch and introduces lobster rolls, crab cakes, veggie kababs, and more. It’s all happening.
To those of you who, like us, honestly feel that not a single person in the 2015 field deserves or could competently serve in the office of Mayor:
Though this tourism video is more long-form, you only gotta wait about thirty seconds for Rizzo and the Queen (band name alert) in the back of the car. And really, that’s what you came here for.
In a twist of fate that is sure to ameliorate all those butthurt e-cigarette users who were so fabulously shut down in Philly this month, a reader who has dealings with Philly’s Parks & Rec Department forwards this missive along:
To all Tenants and Concessionaires of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation,
In order to help ensure that our recreation centers, playgrounds and parks are clean, smoke-free and ready to use by citizens, staff, tenants and the public as a whole, effective immediately NO SMOKING BY THE PUBLIC OR PATRONS SHALL BE ALLOWED ON ANY LANDS OR FACILITIES UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF PHILADELPHIA PARKS & RECREATION.
Attached is the rule, quietly passed, we assume, and superseding an earlier one:
Click to enlarge.
So, yeah! Don’t be lighting up in the park!
We’ve known about Meek Mill’s lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia for some time now, but we just now learned about the financials Mill is looking to win in the lawsuit, since the city’s so-called false arrest of Mill lowered his asking price in the eyes of Puma.
According to BET, Mill is looking to regain “$22,000 he lost for canceling a private jet flight and $39,000 for missing an appearance at an Atlanta party (both missed as a result of the arrest) … also … the fruitless search and false imprisonment cost him a $2 million endorsement deal with shoe brand Puma. After the negative publicity stemming from the arrest, Mill says he was forced to settle for less than half the contract amount.” So, after all of that, it’s not that Puma didn’t want Mill, they just didn’t want to pay him as much. And it just goes to show, if we legalize weed, multi-million dollar Puma contracts would be unaffected, and that is the world we’d like to live in.
Here is a story about a Natalie Merchant concert that happened in Philadelphia last week, and here is the only thing about it that is interesting:
Merchant did lose patience with cellphones, however, as she confiscated multiple phones (even getting help from Dye) between “Texas” and Ophelia’s “Kind & Generous,” an apt ending for Big Day Out. Asking why it could not still be 1998, when people did not feel the need to be on phones and take pictures all the time, she took a stance rarely taken by performers at a show. And the crowd seemed to be fine with it, as they were joyously partaking in the familiarity of an old tune.
Now. Before you start whining about this, in tones of false umbrage while discussing the natural and inevitable decline of Natalie Merchant’s musical career, the “presumptuousness” of her demanding that people get off the fucking phone while she is performing and the rest of it, a quick question: Don’t you ever feel that your phone is ruining everything? Because it is. But for right now, let us just focus on the concert-going experience, which smartphones have generally rendered completely annoying and unsatisfying. We could go on at length about this, but this piece from a few years back, Six Reasons Why Your Phone Is Probably Ruining Your Concert Experience (And Everyone Else’s) by Maura Johnston, articulates all of it very, very well. You should read it, and remember it.
But back to Natalie Merchant. In a city where national artists on tour routinely have no problem whatsoever acting like dickheads (the great Belle & Sebastian no-show of the late 1990s comes to mind, as well as pretty much every Magnetic Fields show that has happened here), we are surprised that more artists do not demand that you get off your phone. We understand, however, the reasons why: the calls of “prima donna!,” the loss of social media juice/retweets/regrams and in general, the very depressing topic of how your phone is ruining so much Actual Experience — the enjoyment of music being so high on that list. So today, let us go out on a limb and say this much: Henceforth, we will be happy to turn our phones off for any artist with brass balls big enough to actually ask for it. Because we miss living. And music is one of the best things about that. Musicians of the world, please help us remember. This, after all, is what you’re here for.
… though you could be forgiven for briefly being Onion-ed, as we just were, by this “story” detailing an altercation between Ms. Patti Labelle and Aretha Franklin. Though it’s true that levels of shade that would kill ordinary humans were thrown recently when Franklin and Labelle were both being honored at the White House, no fisticuffs were engaged then or at any other time between these high priestesses or — indeed — lady gods of soul. It is our sincere hope that at this time, Labelle has resumed her natural place in the universe, taking walks in her pool and generally not giving a fuck.
April 11, 2014
>>> Every Hessian stoner burnout metalhead from here to the Delco Satan-woods and back will recognize, on a DNA level, the basic proto-metal howl of lost Philly legends Bang. The name will not be familiar to them, as it certainly isn’t to you or me, but apparently, back in 1971, they were there, man, and it was heavy. And somehow, tonight is their first Philly gig in some 40 years, and that is fascinating and beautiful and right and good. So to them, we raise the horns! To those about to Bang, we salute you! At Johnny Brenda’s with Serpent Throne.
>>> Film Fests! We got ‘em! Scroll down, ‘slice.
>>> Meanwhile, the breath of fresh air that is Apartment In The City, the new EP by Teen Men blows like a stirring spring breeze as the group rolls out with Work Drugs at The Boot & Saddle.
>>> And while we’re talking Local Rock, enjoy Needle Points at Guitar Army at The Barbary, or, if you just like records, Rock Tits at The Dolphin.
>>> We discussed Philly Poetry Day earlier this week; check their site for the PPD jawn that’s best for you, or join The 215 Fest and the American Poetry Review at Port Richmond Books for a reading/BBQ that includes Philly’s new Poet Laureate Frank Sherlock, Jenn McCreary, Chris McCreary, and Pattie McCarthy.
>>> If you like psychedelic rock that will scare the hell out of you while also inducing a kind of melancholy bliss, you may not do better than Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra. They play with Philly’s invincible Bardo Pond at Union Transfer.
>>> Suburban freaks, look up in the sky: Somebody threw up the Bat Signal that indicates how you are to gather together for Johnny Showcase and The Mystic Ticket with special guest Martha Graham Cracker at The Ardmore Music Hall.
>>> Foodies: Pace yourselves at the whiskey-tastin’ Whiskey Rebellion at The TLA and 3rd Annual Philly Farm & Food Fest at the Convention Center, because you’re gonna have to stay up late enough to watch Mad Men and still remember it all for next week.
RECOMMENDED: The discovery of thousands of photographs by the late Vivian Maier in the mid-oughts is the stuff of a dreamy art-world fable. Unknown in her lifetime and with her art thoroughly hidden from the few that did know her, Maier’s work has subsequently been embraced by so many, who see in her photos both the roots and apex of modern street photography. And as it turns out, her self-imposed obscurity during her own life now makes her the stuff of legend. Finding Vivian Maier is her story, through the eyes of amateur historian John Maloof, who blindly, fatefully bought a box containing thousands of her negatives in 2005 at an auction, only to find he’d stumbled across one of the most compelling outsider artists of the 20th Century.
ALSO: CLICK HERE FOR OUR PICKS FOR CINDELPHIA FILM FESTIVAL AND HERE FOR OUR PICKS FOR THE PHILA. FILM SOCIETY’S SPRING SHOWCASE, both now underway.
ALSO NEW IN THEATERS THIS WEEK: Don Hemingway, an uneven but entertaining wannabe-Guy Ritchie caper starring Jude Law and Richard E. Grant as bumbling Cockney thieves; Rio 2, pour some out for your homies with kids because they go years at a time not being able to see real movies and having to go see garbage like this; Joe, starring Nicolas Cage in this gritty adaptation of the novel by Larry Brown (what? really?); Child’s Pose, the award-winning Romanian drama about a mother trying to keep her deadbeat son out of jail; Draft Day, featuring Kevin Kostner pounding lots of countertops and acting like football matters; Oculus, a horror jawn about a family terrorized by an antique mirror; The Raid 2, a martial arts sequel; and Cuban Fury, in which a fat guy tries to win the heart of Rashida Jones by salsa dancing in khakis.
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.
Man, Teddy really made us want to visit 1985 Philadelphia, but then we remembered we watched Let The Fire Burn last night and NO THANKS. If you can’t tell due to video quality, that video also includes the late David Brenner at Pat’s Steaks and Kevin Bacon pulling the classic 80s “putting sunglasses on” move on South Street. If this were put together today, it’d feature Black Thought, Bradley Cooper, and if we’re being honest, probably Kevin Bacon. We’re okay with two of those.
April isn’t just the time for film fests, and to prove that, the Philadelphia Book Festival kicks off next week, during National Library Week. The eighth annual festival of the written word will feature author appearances, craft workshops, and more at libraries throughout the FLP system. The headline events, however, all take place at the Parkway Central Library, and include, among others:
>>> Pat and Gina Neely | Monday, April 14 – Food Network stars and owners of popular barbecue joints in Memphis, Nashville, and New York, Pat and Gina Neely have charmed fans across the country with their “down-home, food-and-booty jubilance” (Ebony).
>>> Debbie Macomber | Tuesday, April 15 – New York Times bestselling author and the “reigning queen of women’s fiction” (The Sacramento Bee), Debbie Macomber is the author of more than 150 books that have won her millions of fans and a raft of prizes, including the prestigious Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award from the Romance Writers of America.
>>> Barbara Ehrenreich | Wednesday, April 16 – “Veteran muckraker” (The New Yorker) Barbara Ehrenreich is the New York Times bestselling author of 14 books, including the working class exposé Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch, in which she investigated the economic shadow world of white-collar unemployment.
>>> Lydia Davis | Friday, April 18 – “One of the quiet giants of American fiction,” (The Los Angeles Times Book Review) and “the best prose stylist in America,” according to writer Rick Moody, Lydia Davis received the 2013 Man Booker International Prize for her witty, poetic, and minimalist fiction.
Frank Sherlock will also participate in his first official reading as Poet Laureate of Philadelphia, coinciding with the release of Space between These Lines Not Dedicated, his new poetry collection. In addition, many neighborhood branches will host bookmaking events and author events of their own. The full schedule of events can be seen here.
Say what you will about us, but we keep our promises. And we know this one isn’t as good as Ben Franklin on the bullpen phone, but we’ll take that “I’ve been holding this pose for ten minutes” look on his face any day.
Look, we’re moving very quickly into the world of so-called “wearable tech” and we’ve gotta be careful. There are things we don’t need, and things that make us all look like idiots. Google Glass falls into both of those categories, with it’s too-many-functions and “hey look, I’m an asshole” aesthetic. But if we’re going to be wearing technology, where can the line be drawn? Somewhere on the other side of Beacon & Lively, which was introduced at this year’s Philly Tech Week.
B&L’s The Beacon, which was made and designed in Philly and will begin to be Kickstarted in the near future, is a wearable bracelet that will offer ambient colors and/or slight vibrations to “politely alert you when someone is calling or texting, and with a flick of the wrist you can shut it off.” B&L promise, “the disruptive days of constantly checking your bag or keeping your phone on the table are finally over. The Beacon allows you to stay connected to what’s most important to you, in the way most appropriate for you.” And all while not looking like LeVar Burton on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Beacon’s argument is that “technology can be polite,” if people let it be, and it’s about time people start letting it be. Keep your eyes over here and here for updates.