September 23, 2014

ICA Opens Four New Exhibits, None Short On Transformative Flavor

unnamedThe Institute of Contemporary Art at The University of Pennsylvania opened four new exhibits this weekend, on the heels of their 50th anniversary celebrations and the success of Ruffneck Constructivists, including Alex Da Corte and Jayson Musson’s Easternsports, pictured right, about which we were already raving way back in July. Easternsports, though too expansive for the one sitting we gave it this weekend, definitely delivers on the technicolor mischief we were hoping for, but it doesn’t outshine the rest of the work currently showing. Moyra Davey’s Burn the Diaries intimately presents an exhaustive catalogue of stolen moments that document that artist’s preoccupations, and Nicole Eisenman does double duty with Dear Nemesis a solo show of paintings and drawings, and Readykeulous by Ridykeulous: This is What Liberation Feels Like™, her curatorial collaboration with A.L. Steiner that tears the patriarchal architecture of the canon of modern art a giant screaming new asshole. We highly recommend you check this stuff out, and in fact, if you need a date, we’re planning on heading back soon. The density of the material, never mind the amount, nominates it for repeated and extended viewing. And once you enter the chamber inside the opposite facing video screens of Easternsports, you’ll probably want to hang around a while.

Watch Gayle King Of NBC News Repeatedly Call Ukee Washington “Ukulele”

Huge thanks to the tipster with the vigilant ears that caught this ridiculous mistake/stunt/gem. Apparently this has been going on for days and no one has commented. Either Gayle is really losing it or she’s pulling some serious shit, but no matter what this stuff is pure gold.

Tricked-Out Water Ice Truck Brings History To Your Neighborhood

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Keep your eyes peeled for the new mobile vendor rolling through your neighborhood, because it’s not selling ice cream and it’s not selling drugs… actually, it’s not selling anything, but it is providing a service. The service of history! Yes, now that the History Channel is pretty much only showing you speculative fiction about Nazi aliens, real history needs to find new venues from which to reach the public. Enter the Philadelphia Public History Truck. Funded at first only by microgrants and pocket money, and now in part by a grant from the Barra foundation, the History Truck is a refurbished water ice truck stopping at sites around town to bring history-oriented programming. Erin Bernard, the temple Grad student and public historian responsible for piloting the idea, sees the truck as an integration of experimental curriculum and public service. We are not sure if the Truck has its own jingle, but we hope it’s “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”.



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Nutter Joins With Mayors Nationwide To Form Green Mayor Justice League

planeteers-youth Apparently, Mayor Michael Nutter was also absentmindedly scrolling past countless photos from Climate March on Facebook this weekend, because we just received a release from his office detailing his new climate initiative. Nutter has been foregrounding green issues throughout his career as mayor, but this time he’s thinking bigger. Partnering with the mayors of Houston and LA, Nutter has helped form the Mayors’ National Climate Action Agenda, which is kind of like Bizarro Superman helping to form a new Justic League. The three mayors decided to form the MNCAA (we figure it’ll be easier if we just start using that acronym right off the bat) while serving on President Obama’s Climate Preparedness and Resiliency Task Force in the interest of “calling for national and international binding emission reductions agreements, establishing stronger inventory standards and reporting, committing to a set of local actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and growing the carbon offset market by removing barriers to municipal offset projects.” We’ve got to hand it to Nutter. No matter what he’s pulled in the past, we’ve always been able to count on him to be an advocate for green initiatives.

Not Even Lawyers And Trending Hashtags Will Keep The #PhillyHateCrime Suspects In The Clear


Since persons of interest to the case we can now conveniently call the #phillyhatecrime submitted to questioning last week, information has been hard to come by, but now a report from the Philadelphia Gay News has exactly the news we’ve been waiting to hear. A source close to the PGN confirms that the individual hours-long interviews that the eighteen persons of interest have been giving have been time-consuming, but they haven’t been a waste of time. The word is: “people are going to get locked up.”

As soon as the first video of the attackers surfaced, we were all worried that none of the young, well-dressed, white men and women accused would receive an appropriate sentence. The PGN report does make clear that all of the suspects have good legal counsel on their side. In this case, the police seem to be taking this as all the more reason to put in the time and effort to really skewer these pigs. The same police source told the PGN that “What happens with cases like this is that, if you rush it and don’t do a good job, they’ll start throwing out charges later on…But we’ve put together a great case for the DA and we’ll be working in conjunction with the DA to bring the charges.” In a fashion similar to those who hijacked the #McGlinnocent hashtag to turn it against the perpetrators and their sympathizers, the police have seen the measures taken to protect them as an opportunity to work twice as hard to show them the proper justice.

This piece at Untied is probably the best we’ve read on this debacle, but we are happy to say it might have gotten one thing wrong. “You’re resigned to the fact that if the suspects are found guilty, they will not receive the proper punishment,” writes author Zachary Wilcha. There’s always good reason to make such an assumption. But this time around, even the cops are ready to see the guilty parties served right. It’s up to the DA’s office to put the final nail in the coffin, but the city’s made enough noise by now that they know what could happen if they don’t.



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September 22, 2014

Breaking: Philly Cigarette Tax Passes State House, Still Must Clear The Senate

Watching the smokes-for-schools tax has been sort of like A Very Special Episode of Family Ties, but after months and months of ups and downs, might the baby elephant finally be born? Via Metro:

The $2-per-pack cigarette tax passed Monday in the state House of Representatives with a vote of 114-84.
The tax, which city officials have said could raise more between $45 and $80 million for city schools, still faces another major hurdle. It still needs to pass the state Senate.

Pennsyltucky Senators, the ball is in your court. Let not your heart be drawn to fuckery.

This Just In: Corbett & Wolf Will Debate On Live TV, Er, At 8AM On A Wednesday Morning

Um, okay:

Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Candidates, Republican Governor Tom Corbett and Democratic nominee Tom Wolf, will square off in the only debate between Corbett and Wolf scheduled to originate from Philadelphia, Wednesday, October 1, 8-9 a.m. at the CBS Broadcast Center. KYW Newsradio’s “Breakfast with the Candidates” will be broadcast live on KYW Newsradio 1060 and televised on The CW Philly 57 (WPSG-TV). The one hour forum will also be streamed live on www.CBSPhilly.com and rebroadcast on
CBS 3(KYW-TV) on Sunday, October 5 at 1 p.m.

KYW Newsradio Special Contributor and veteran news anchor Larry Kane will moderate the discussion, along with panelists CBS 3 Anchor Chris May and KYW Newsradio Reporter Cherri Gregg. KYW Newsradio has hosted “Breakfast with the Candidates” for its sizable Morning Drive for more than 20 years, including the campaigns for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Mayor’s office.

The roundtable format will allow the candidates to discuss the issues at hand without the conventional time limits of a debate format. Listeners and viewers will be able to suggest topics of discussion by submitting questions in advance and during the hour via Twitter using the hashtag #cbsphillydebate. There is no studio audience for the debate.

No studio audience. 8am. Larry Kane. This is destined to be… strange.

Captain Freeshit: See The Rentals This Thursday At Union Transfer!

When eyeballing post-music-industry scenarios, consider, if you will, The Rentals: The group was introduced into the pop marketplace in the 1990s as a kind of side dish to Weezer (Rentals leader Matt Sharpe was in the big W for its earliest, and many will argue best, incarnation). Like Spoon, who also enjoyed the fruits of major label money, pressure and misguidance in the same era, The Rentals’ brief brush with fame and hitmaking (“Friends With P,” as good a 90s modern rock radio jam you will find) should have, by rights, killed them. It did not. In fact, it slowly but surely made them stronger. Fast forward to 2014, twenty full years after people of a certain generation argued amongst themselves over the “integrity” of Pavement versus the “accessibility” of Weezer. All of those people are dead now. But The Rentals remain, and even have a new record out. To illustrate this reflection on the nature of time and victory, we have tickets to see The Rentals this Thursday at Union Transfer with Mates of State and Someone Still loves You Boris Yeltsin, and we’d like to give them to you. To enter to win tickets, email ihopeiwin[at]philebrity[dot]com with “LOST IN ALPHAVILLE” in the subject header. You’ll automatically be subscribed to the forthcoming new Philebrity Reader weekly newsletter and win chances for other exclusive free stuff. We’ll pick winners on Wednesday. We bid you luck.

The Week Ahead In Comedy: Phoning It In

For the past few months, a (flock? school? herd?) bunch of comedians, artists, and filmmakers have been recording three-minute sketches using only their phones and screening them for an audience of their friends under the umbrella moniker Phone It In. This Sunday, they’re taking it to the next level with a public screening of The Phone It In Film Festival at PhilaMOCA. These shorts top out at three minutes, though many are much shorter, and all of them are brand new. Sunday is your chance to see them all before they disappear forever into an easily accessible YouTube page. You can even submit your own work. See their website for details. Sunday, 7pm. Free to those who submit videos, $5 for audience members.

Fortune Feimster stands out. Her name, her style, and her unmistakable brand of aggressively uninhibited comedy are like nothing and nobody else. You may have seen her on Chelsea Lately, and now you can catch her live, Thursday through Saturday at Helium Comedy Club. Philly’s own adorably smarmy (smarmily adorable?) teddy bear Dave Terruso hosts. Thurs.-Sat., various showtime, tickets available online.

Friday night, Dave Metter kicks it classic-TV-style with What’s My Line?, a variety comedy quiz show that pays homage to the quiz shows of yore, at Philly Improv Theater. NBC10.com reporter Alison Anne joins comedians Kate Banford, Tim Butterly, and “stalward louse” Alex Pearlman in a lively game that will keep everyone guessing and/or in stitches. Friday, 10:30pm, tickets available online.

– Alejandro Morales

Alejandro Morales is one of the six rotating hosts of the award-winning (and later, award-losing) Laughs on Fairmount open mic, every Monday at 8pm at Urban Saloon. See his webseries at thedatesshow.com and follow him on twitter @AlleyHandRow.

Why Did City Councilman Bill Greenlee Kill Off A Perfectly Sane Bike Lane?

Last time we encountered City Councilman Bill Greenlee, it was in the context of a proposed “Promoter’s Bill” that quickly revealed itself to so wildly out of touch with how events are booked and promoted as to be laughable — that is, if it wasn’t revealing of an entire political culture here in Philly that still operates in much the same way as it did in the 1980s: Oddly Soviet/bureaucratic, generally negative in approach, and distinctly un-modern. At the time, Greenlee did seem to have an a-ha moment when the entire city asked him, “Dude, what are you talking about?” And it is our hope that a similar moment of healing will occur as signatures to this petition, which asks Greenlee to take another look at his blocking of a new bike lane on 22nd Street, mount up.

At issue: Greenlee’s out-of-hand dismissal (co-signed by Council President Darrell Clarke) of a new bike lane system along 22nd Street that was approved and planned by the Streets Department that Greenlee had killed off, seemingly because he just felt like it. This post on the Bicycle Coalition’s blog outlines both the proposed lane options, as well as the fact that Greenlee interfered with the Streets Department, all while flat-out refusing to even meet with the Bicycle Coalition. Now, 22nd Street is a huge corridor for cars and bikes alike, but the way this has all gone down suggests that the shoot-down is as much a piece of a larger (and wrong) cultural conceit coming out of Greenlee’s office (and others) as it is about a specific bike lane on a specific street. Though we are ever loath to quote someone commenting on a blog, take a look at this anecdote and tell us if you’ve not encountered this kind of dynamic with Old Soviet Philly before:

Last time Greenlee was involved in his shenanigans – the requirement that council approve all bike lanes rather than letting streets do it – I called his office in opposition.

I spoke to a very nasty woman on the phone who I assume was his LD or some other high ranking aide.

She told me this, verbatim: “When you people have kids, you’ll just leave the city anyway.”

Groan. It’s almost as if you can smell the bad coffee and hear the B101 in the background, no? In any case, as we said, the Bicycle Coalition petition is up, and whether you support or oppose this particular lane, this is Philly, and one Councilperson standing in the way of stuff already signed off and approved by the Streets Department is almost always a bad look, we believe. If you feel the same, let Greenlee know.

Noontime Nuggetz: John Coltrane At Temple University’s Mitten Hall

On November 11, 1966, just nine months before his untimely death, John Coltrane played Temple University’s Mitten Hall in a concert that immediately passed into jazz legend. It was, by all accounts, Coltrane at an apex of what we’ll call “wildly evolved,” with an expressive, propulsive group (including Alice Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders) behind him who themselves went on to break barriers. This week, Resonance Records releases a recently discovered, pristine recording of the concert, called Offering: Live At Temple University, which is an event for jazz scholars and fans alike, but also for Philly music buffs in general. To celebrate, Ars Nova Workshop, Temple University Libraries, and Resonance Records are presenting “OFFERING: ON JOHN COLTRANE,” this Tuesday, September 23, 5:30pm at Temple University Paley Library. There, noted Philadelphia-based jazz critic and author Francis Davis (who was in attendance at the concert as an undergraduate student at Temple), noted Sun Ra biographer and jazz historian John Szwed, and Baltimore saxophonist Carl Grubbs, and J. Michael Harrison of WRTI-FM, host of “The Bridge,” will talk Coltrane, jazz and Philly. Above, a quick doc on Offering, to put it all in context.

Readers Cameraphone: Another Day, Another Phila. Parking Authority Shitbag In A Handicapped Parking Spot

The PPA parks illegally in front of my building all the time—this photo is taken near the North East corner of 39th and Chestnut. There’s a medical clinic in the building, and the PPA guy is parked in a handicap spot.

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As you can imagine, we receive photos like this from time to time, and when we do, our feeling veers between two kinds of feelings of utter powerlessness. There is the editorial powerlessness — “Does anyone even care that here’s yet another photo of the PPA doing something inherently hypocritical and assholish?” — and then there is the civic powerlessness — “What can even be done, as the PPA has for so long made both the City and its citizens its bitch that we now bear all the behaviors of those locked in any kind of abusive relationship?”

But then, we remember that, if nothing else, we do have a voice and a platform to remind people, any time a photo like this comes in, that we as Philadelphians need to elect officials with the guts to knock the Philadelphia Parking Authority off its grotesque and corrupt perch, and that we also need to let them know that this is a priority worth pursuing. That — listen up, mayoral hopefuls — if you make this a campaign issue (and by “this” we mean ACCOUNTABILITY AND REFORM FOR THE PHILADELPHIA PARKING AUTHORITY), the people will respond in the affirmative. Because really: Fuck these guys. Enough already.

Seeing something around town of note? Cameraphone it to: tips[at]philebrity[dot]com.

40th St. Trolley Station About $600K Shy Of Becoming This Awesome Bucolic Piece Of Eye Candy

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Slowly but surely, the University City District is amassing the dough and the momentum to transform the 40th St. Trolley Station, at the junction of Baltimore Avenue, 40th Street and Woodland Avenue, from its present dumpy self to the unique, green landmark you see above. And with UCD having raised $1.4M of its $2M goal, as detailed in this Daily Pennsylvanian article, there are lot of forces to marshall — not the least of them SEPTA, who, er, like to take their time on doing things — but UCD is now closer than it has ever been to realizing the project, with plans to announce a timeline this fall.

Here’s Your Chance To Own A Giant Painting Of A Woman’s Breasts “Similar To Those In North 3rd’s Back Bar”

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Have you ever been sitting around, nursing a drink in the stalwart NoLibs gastropub N. 3rd, taking in the certain “duuuuuuuuuuuude” je ne sai quoi of the bar’s decor, and thought to yourself, “One day, dawg, I’m gonna make my place look just like this?” (Sometimes we like to imagine that the look of the place is what might have happened if, instead of becoming recording artists, the Eagles had opened an interior decorating firm.) In any case, if this is your vibe, Desperado, fortune has smiled on you: This 4′x4′ canvas (artist, perhaps with good reason, unnamed) “similar to those in North 3rd’s back bar” is currently up on Craigslist for the sweet, sweet price of just 99 bones or clams or whatever it is you people call them. That’s less than $50 per breast, bro.

Here’s Some Stuff You Can Do Whilst Waiting Around For The Suburban Bro & Ladybro Gay-Bashers To Get Arrested

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It’s Monday morning, and guess what? Still no arrests in the Center City hate crime that rocked Philly all last week. That is infuriating in a situation that was already double-plus infuriating to begin with, but thanks to the efforts of some good people, there are some ways to register your disgust in a healthy, productive way. As we mentioned last week, there’s a petition up on Change.org to get the state of PA to change its hate crime legislation to include sexual orientation among its criteria, and that is now rolling along and gathering lots of signatures. What’s more, State Rep. Brian Sims and others have organized a rally at LOVE Park this Thursday, Sept. 25 at 2:00PM to call for passage of more inclusive hate crimes legislation. There, elected officials, friends, supporters, LGBT community leaders from the William Way LGBT Community Center, GALAEI – A Queer Latino Social Justice Organization, the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission, representatives of the City of Philadelphia, and more will gather to make their voices heard. We’ll post more info as it becomes available.

Lastly, listen to City Councilman Jim Kenney in Council session last Thursday, officially denouncing the attackers and doing so quite eloquently.

Video: Good Morning! Everybody Do The PA Turnpike Limbo!

You’re on ISLAND TIME, now, mon! Or, actually, no, that’s just I-76 time. On Saturday, when one man’s commute to the Rock N Roll Marathon race expo fell prey to the usual local traffic, he met some pals and they decided to turn those lemons in to some delicious steel drum lemonade. What happened next was a lot like that REM video for “Everybody Hurts” only a lot less sad, and probably not at all a metaphor for the apocalypse. If anything, this is the direct opposite of that.

September 19, 2014

This Weekend: The Fall Festival Frenzy, Plus The Usual Shows And Screenings

FRIDAY:

>>> The Outbeat Festival, America’s first Queer jazz festival, will be in Philly celebrating the much under-discussed queer tradition in jazz.

>>> If it’s really your bag, you can go see Lily Allen at Electric Factory.

>>> Go see Giuseppe Makes A Movie at PhilaMOCA, for which we’ve provided a trailer above that probably tells you very little about it, if you need to check out some experimental film that has nothing to do with David Lynch.

SATURDAY:

>>> All of Philly’s biggest authors will be at the Authors Brunch at Pretzel Park in Manayunk, probably discussing Philalalia.

>>> The Clark Park Music Festival featuring Katie Frank & The Pheromones / Mo Lowda & The Humble / Heat Thunder, & more will celebrate the Fall equinox by partying like it’s still summer.

>>> The PHS Fall Festival at the Navy Yard will aspire to do the same.

>>> Of all of the festivals you can hit this weekend, the Brauhaus Schmitz’ 6th Annual Oktoberfest Street Festival will have the most and the best beer.

>>> The Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Festival in Philadelphia includes two days of music-infused race courses with an inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll 5k on Saturday, Sept. 20 and the historic Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 21.

>>> Birds of Maya / Axis:Sova (Chicago) / Apache Dropout (Indiana) @ Everybody Hits [THAT'S A ROCK SHOW AT BATTING CAGES!]

>>> We shouldn’t really have to tell you why you should go see Paolo Nutini at The Trocadero.

>>> The Color Of Noise, a film about the artist Haze XXL and his notorious record label, Amphetamine Reptile Records, will screen at Underground Arts, to be followed by a Q&A and accompanied by an exhibition of Haze’s fine art linocuts.

SUNDAY:

>>> The picture says it all:

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Click above or visit philebrity.com/openinphlwithnofootball/ to see the list!

>>> See Tweedy at the Merriam Theater if you’ve always wanted Jeff Tweedy to drop his world class backing band and go on tour with his son like Ornette Coleman.

>>> KRS-One, MC Shan, Das EFX, and J-Fletch at The Trocadero should offer a rare but priceless dispatch from a bygone era of hip hop.

>>> Hit up the 3rd Annual LOCALS+ONLY Sunset Cruise on the Benjamin Franklin Yacht if you are long overdue for that DATE NIGHT.

>>> The Fantastic Imagination, Myrrias, So Cow and Shark? will be at Silk City at 8. So Cow came all the way from Ireland, and they’re only asking you for 7 dollars. Throw the boys a bone.

Film Sweat: Bertolucci At The Bourse

RECOMMENDED: Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1970 masterpiece The Conformist is back in theaters, in Philadelphia at The Ritz At the Bourse, for a limited time, and we have no choice but to pick it because to pit it against the other movies out this weekend (with the notable exceptions of the documentaries) is a pretty classic gun-to-knife-fight scenario.

ALSO NEW IN THEATERS THIS WEEK: This Is Where I Leave You, the ensemble comedy that will probably go the way of most ensemble comedies, The Maze Runner, this week’s obligatory YA sci-fi adaptation, A Walk among the Tombstones, in which Liam Neeson chases down yet another kidnapped wife, Tusk, Kevin Smith’s latest attempt to escape the legacy of Clerks, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, the new romance of parallel perspectives that has nothing to do with The Beatles, My Old Lady, a light romantic comedy that should be an easy paycheck for Kevin Kline and Maggie Smith, The Green Prince, which is probably the most important movie on this list, and Last Days In Vietnam, the likely runner up for the most important movie on this list.

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.

Our Final Five FringeArts Festival Picks

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>>> Lovertits: Annie Wilson‘s “burlesque-postmodern-dance-theater-bad-improv performance” has been topping lists since FringeArts first announced their lineup. An exploration of the female body and perceptions of the female body that promises to be illuminating, exciting and a little disquieting, Lovertits will at the very least be among the more memorable of this year’s events.

>>> Fando Y Lis by Fernando Arrabal, a new translation by Emily Schuman: Emily Schuman is a young theatre artist, but she knows her stuff, and this production of an absurdist classic will surely infuse it with contemporary flair without sacrificing any of the power of the original work.

>>> Living In Exile: A Retelling of The Iliad by the Philadelphia Experimental Theatre Ensemble: Accompanied by live music and servings of bread and wine for the audience, this production has the potential to meet its Greek ambitions. It’ll either turn out to be Fellini’s Satyricon or Disney’s Hercules.

>>> (re)Visions, New and Revised Works from Other Case Notes Ensemble: These selected works from a relatively young ensemble are supposedly about the following: 1. Three Sisters and the Virgin Mary. 2. Feelings may be stored in overhead compartment. 3. If the shoe fits. And more. Cryptic was the right way to go for this lesser-known group. We’re intrigued.

>>> Johnny Showcase & The Mystic Ticket: Johnny’s a little crass, and his videos and costumes are pretty low-budget and goofy, but there’s no denying those pipes. This is blue-eyed soul at its best, which you can really only say about Johnny Showcase and Boz Scaggs, so you know this show will be a unique opportunity.

Skipping Jury Duty Is Easy If You’re Willing To Go To Juror Scofflaw Court And Act Like A Weirdo

Juror scofflaw court is apparently doing the opposite of what it was designed to do, which doesn’t actually surprise us. If someone is unwilling to show up to court for jury duty, that someone is probably not going to be any more willing to show up to the court where they’ll be sentenced a fine and more jury duty because they didn’t go to jury duty. But juror scofflaw court survives, because although it’s understandable that people don’t want to go to jury duty, according to Jury Commissioner Daniel Rendine, “It’s just not fair to their fellow citizens.” So now the same people who have to go to juror scofflaw court because they skipped jury duty go to juror scofflaw court to get out of jury duty, claiming snow, drug addiction, and improper usage of capital letters as excuses. We can all learn a little more about human nature by pondering the irony that people will put more effort into getting out of jury duty than it would take them to go to jury duty in the first place.