October 13, 2014

Snake-Behind-Oven Story Is An Object Lesson In How South Philly Gentrifies And Stays Weird At The Same Time

I mean, there can’t be any other takeaway from this, can there be?

“After I received a tip that a man found a snake on South Street, I had given up hope of her returning to me,” Grow said in an email.

But on Tuesday night, after dropping a small item by chance, Grow had to move her oven.

“That is when I saw a small white head sticking out of the back,” Grow said. “I took it apart and found her; severely dehydrated and hungry with a large scratch on her face.”

Portraits of the snake will soon be sold on Etsy. Oven mitts sold separately.

SNL Weekend Update Contained A Nod To That Restaurant In Fishtown Where You’re Not Allowed To Tip

You know the one, where all the pictures of the owners look like promo shots for the band Air and where, to be honest, we’re not even sure if they serve food at all since all we ever hear about the place is this silly no-tip stunt? NO, NOT PYT, the other place! The one that I’m not sure if it even exists. Has Snopes done anything on this place yet? Anyway.

Happy Columbus Day, From All Of Your Italian Non-Italians And Other Non-Indigenous Peoples

Hey guys, Sweeney here. Just a quick word about Columbus Day, which is today. Without rehashing exactly why this day is horseshit, which many others have done at length and with great erudition, today, I’d like to speak as an Italian-American. Though my surname may not indicate it, I am the proud descendent of Tunos and Gallos, and have Italian blood coming from both my mother’s and father’s side of the family. And I love my Italian-American-ness. I make the gravy on Sundays. I like pointy shoes. I cry when I get happy. I see nothing wrong, if we are to be honest, about putting a chair where you’d like park your car someday.

But guess what? In all of my days, I have never given a dried white turd over Columbus Day, and when I see my fellow wops acting like this

“Christopher Columbus was a great man. Without him, we wouldn’t have the country as we know it. We’re here to celebrate our heritage and to honor Christopher Columbus,” Judge Angelo Foglietta tells KYW Newsradio.
Foglietta says he is appalled that other cities are calling the holiday “Indigenous People’s Day:”
“I think it’s a disgrace. It’s a slap in the face to Italian-Americans, I think.”

… it-a makes-a my blood boil. The legacy of Columbus that we were brought up with is a historical fallacy, and Italian-Americans don’t need the various misdeeds of this guy as an excuse to celebrate who we are. In fact, if you’ve ever hung out with the Tuno sisters, you know damned well we don’t need any excuse at all. So let’s do what we want. Let’s enjoy ourselves. Let’s celebrate who we are. But please, not with this gavone. Basta!


Meet Sonny Forriest Jr., Philadelphia’s Living Metaphor/Vibe Sherpa/Pretty Good Singer

We first became aware of Sonny Forriest Jr. probably in 2008 — that heady time when, you will recall, the Phillies were on their way to winning the World Series, Obama was on his way to the White House, and everyone in Philadelphia was very drunk and very emotional for about three months straight. It was during this fold in the time-space continuum when Sonny seemed to become omnipresent, on the street, at the games, and in our hearts. (So much so that, in 2011, Philadelphia Weekly dubbed Sonny “the Phillies’ other mascot.”) On his motorized Little Rascal thingy, outfitted with a small one-person karaoke setup that played only Philly soul classics, Sonny was and is a sort of good-vibe Roomba. And Philadelphia is his room.

So last night, when it emerged that it was Sonny’s prosthetic leg that was stolen by some dipshit suburban ladybro (sidebar: what is with the uptick in ladybro hate crimes?), our heart went out to the guy. Even though his leg was found before the night was over, it was a shitty thing to have happened. Sonny didn’t deserve this. In fact, Sonny deserves a helluva lot more. In fact, Sonny is kind of a piece of living history.

Sonny Forriest Jr. is the son of Sonny Forriest Sr. Sonny Senior is an almost Zelig-like figure in American popular music of the 20th Century, having played with everyone from Ray Charles to The Coasters to Lionel Hampton. For the most part, Sonny Senior was a lifelong sideman, but in the early-to-mid-’60s, he even cut a few solo sides for Verve, one of which you can hear above. It’s kind of a novelty record, but it does provide a DNA map, if you will, for Sonny Jr.’s sense of humor and good nature.

For his part, Sonny Jr. has lived a life that is every bit as illustrious. He’s a Vietnam vet. Though we can’t locate any particular credits, he claims to have played and sang with many of the legends of Philly’s Gamble & Huff soul era, including Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes and The Intruders (that last group being our favorite in Sonny’s city-singing repertoire). Now, we’d be lying if we didn’t say we get the impression that Sonny might know his share of broken dreams and plans that might not have worked out. But that’s not nearly all we get from him. Because in the here and now, day after day, Sonny gets on his scooter, rides around and spreads joy. He’s a mobile busker, if you will, and entertaining is his life. And as it happens, he’s a pretty good singer.

And, not for nothing, he’s also one of the people who make Philadelphia what it is. Sonny Forriest Jr., we salute you.

October 10, 2014

This Weekend: Street Festival Paradise


>>> Hey, it’s Philly Photo Day! Have you Philly Photo Dayed yet? Well, you oughta!

>>> I just learned of the existence of this Porter Robinson kid like five minutes ago, because these days, if it’s not about Bill Nighy or British folk music from the 1970s, I’m usually not listening. But get a load of this clip above. It’s like Jodorowsky’s Dune meets Air meets 10CC meets M83 meets that horrible “Are we human or are we dancer?” song. The chunk of Bret Easton Ellis that Bret Easton Ellis left in me (it is small and black and malignant) just fucking loves this, man! Porter Robinson is at the Tower Theater tonight. Remember to drink lots of water.

>>> Elsewhere: Jackson Browne at the Academy of Music; Foxygen at Union Transfer.


>>> Holy cow, the weather had better hold out: Blocktoberfest, NoLibs 2014 Fall Music Fest, and, rescheduled from last week, The Black Landlord BBQ, with Weird Hot, St. James and The Apostles, New Sound Brass Band, S.T.A.R.W.O.O.D., The Paper Shakers, DJ Sean Smoove and DJ Botany 500, at the Ukie Club. Plus, there’s the River City Festival at Penn Treaty Park, with Matt Pond, The Lawsuits, TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb, Ginger Coyle, Pine Barons, Katie Barbato and Levee Drivers. People who rent tents are making BANK this weekend.

>>> Elsewhere: As mentioned earlier this week, Jeff The Brotherhood and Diarrhea Planet at Underground Arts; and Electric Six, The Soft White Sixties and Weird Hot at Milkboy.


>>> 100 Old City restaurants, retailers, galleries, theaters and museums will participate in the first-ever Old City Fest. The guys in The Book Trader will not even notice.

>>> And finally, Afrobeat enthusiasts The Budos Band play at District N9NE. Happy weekend, Latte Nation!


Film Sweat: A Pride Of Nighys, Please!

RECOMMENDED: Pride, because any movie with Bill Nighy in it has something over all the rest of the movies that have no Bill Nighy in them, and because 1980s Britain — especially where gay rights collide with socialist worker movements and ESPECIALLY pompadours — continue to fascinate us. Also, just saying, there had better be some Bronksi Beat on the soundtrack to this.

ALSO NEW IN THEATERS THIS WEEK: Kill The Messenger, starring Jeremy Renner as journalist Gary Webb, who exposed the Contra scandal in the 1980s; The Judge, starring Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr. as warring father and son;
Men, Women and Children, because Adam Sandler and Jennifer Garner have to be somewhere, we guess, so why not put them in this moody creeper about kids sexting?; Lilting, director Hong Khaou‘s thoughtful piece on love and loss, starring Ben Whishaw; The Two Faces Of January, screenwriter Hossein Amini (Drive, The Wings of the Dove) directorial debut is an adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith novel with Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst; Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, the Disney-amped, very shouty, Steve Carrell version of the classic Judith Viorst book for kids; Dracula Untold, guys, it’s Lord Of The Rings meets 300 meets, uh, Dracula!; Addicted, you had me at “based on the provocative bestseller by Zane”; Time Is Illmatic, the Nas documentary; I Am Ali, a revealing new doc about Muhammad Ali, using a trove of archival materials; The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, which feels, I dunno, I just can’t care, it’s like a diptych of shit I cannot care about, I’m sorry; and One Chance, the biopic of Paul Potts, who was on “Britain’s Got Talent,” because that’s where we are right now. Like, as a culture.

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.

Daily Show Sends Up The Tom Corbett Wedding Dress Ad Because That Is What It Was Made For

A few days ago, we posted about these utterly ridiculous “Say Yes To The Dress”-style GOP ad campaigns, of which the one for Tom Corbett was particularly, um, wow. Last night on The Daily Show, Kristen Schaal also noted the ad as the final example of a broad effort among Republicans right now to reach out to women in a way that only the most woman-hating party can. Corbett is part of a national GOP detachment from reality, but man, even on his own, the guy really has just had a shit week. We wonder what his Emoji is right now.

Here’s Your Last Chance To Enter To Win Tix To See The New Bill Murray Movie And/Or Jeff The Brotherhood!

Here is a piece of the tag cloud that appears on YouTube beneath the trailer for the upcoming film St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy: “boy family parents divorced friend mentor misanthropic bawdy hedonistic ‘war veteran’ neighbor.” We’ll tell the truth: We LOL’d at that alone. Avid Bill Murray-watchers (present and accounted for) might also recognize that this is also the movie that spawned this instantly legendary tale of how first-time filmmaker Theodore Melfi came to cast Murray. So yes, we are sold. And we’d like to hook you up with passes to see an advance screening next Tuesday of St. Vincent. To enter to win tickets, email ihopeiwin[at]philebrity[dot]com with “1-800-LUV-BILL” 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 Friday — good luck!

I’m at a kind of eerie peace with living in the 1990s again. Like, I know it’s not good for me — actually, I don’t know that at all, and now that I think about it, maybe it actually is good, to slow shit down, to disengage just like we all did in that decade, the greatest era of disengagement ever known to man — but it is what it is. I bring it up because back in the 1990s, man, bands like Jeff The Brotherhood and Diarrhea Planet would be playing at the Khyber and Nick’s, like, every night. We kept it simple: Those were the only bars worth playing then anyway. And when I gaze upon the new-gen of 1990s-inspired bands, I only hope they are getting out of it what we got out of it: A lotta weed, a lotta beer, some sex, no money, but plenty of checked-out, victorious glory. What was the victory, you ask? Fucking not having a job was the victory, dude. It was amazing. Anyway, Jeff The Brotherhood and Diarhhea Planet are playing Underground Arts this Saturday, and we wanna hook you up. Underground Arts is, like, suuuuuper ’90s when you think about it, isn’t it? Man. Youth is wasted on the young. To enter to win tickets, email ihopeiwin[at]philebrity[dot]com with “ZEN GUERRILLA” 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. Chain wallets, though: Chain wallets were fucking wack.

October 9, 2014

This Evening: Disco? Very!

>>> We’re not sure what’s going on with their history of creative involvement with various members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but beyond that we can find almost no flaw in the design of Warpaint‘s career as a pop-experimental guitars-and-drums-and-occasional-keyboards outfit. While they rarely drop a full-length album, (their eponymous 2014 release is their second), there always seems to be a stellar new single or video from Warpaint just when you thought they were off the scene. The above cinematic double dose is no exception. We’ve never seen their live show, but a band that always appears so poised whose music is invariably so tight probably performs with machine precision. Check out Warpaint with Guy Blakeslee at Union Transfer tonight.

>>> Elsewhere: Bookworms of all stripes should come out tonight, either for the Worn Stories launch party we ran an interview to promote earlier, or for a TireFire reading featuring some of the best from home and away.

Terrence Howard Will Not Be Playing Cecil B. Moore In The Upcoming Biopic We’re Just Hearing About

Philly.com reports that actor Terrence Howard has been dismissed from consideration for the starring role of an upcoming Cecil B. Moore biopic due to accusations from two former partners of domestic abuse. Tigre Hill, the Philadelphia filmmaker helming the project, confirmed his own involvement but would not comment on Howard. According to the article, “In light of heightened sensitivities stemming from the headlines surrounding the NFL’s Ray Rice domestic-abuse scandal, some involved with the project were nervous about moving forward with Howard.” We have two questions upon hearing this news: 1) Should we only have misgivings about working with individuals suspected of domestic abuse when domestic abuse is a hot-button issue in the media? and 2) How and why is this the first anyone is hearing about an upcoming biopic about Cecil B. Moore?

Your PA Gov Debate, Recapped In Emoji

Because last night was the third debate between Tom Corbett and Tom Wolf, and because we think we can speak for the whole class when we say that we’ve had enough of Corbett’s bullshit for three lifetimes, Anna Orso at Billy Penn recapped the whole thing in Emojis. And it is beautiful (Orso, you may have noticed, is on a roll now with the Storifying). But if there is a takeaway for the Corbett campaign here, it may well be this: It would not be the worst idea to have Corbett speak in Emoji for the rest of the campaign. It turns out, it humanizes him.

Dept. Of Telling The Truth In Advance: Protestors To Auction Off Contents Of Tom Corbett’s Office At 4PM

Reacting to both Governor Tom Corbett’s overall craven hatred of public education as well as the SRC’s killing-off of teacher contracts earlier this week, later this afternoon, The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign will stage a mock auction that is utterly delicious in its timing. With Corbett still trailing behind Tom Wolf by about 17 points in polls for the upcoming gubernatorial election, PPEHRCorg will join with Moffet School parents, students, and teachers will be holding a mock auction inside of the Governor’s office at 200-South Broad Street, 11th floor, at 4PM and promptly begin “auctioning off the desks, papers and chairs within the Governor’s office as well as telling the staff to go home in the same way that our teachers have been told to just go without health care benefits.” Hey, it’s bound to happen pretty soon anyway.

The Vice Retelling Of Philly’s Weed Bill Would Make A Fantastic Mid-90s Buddy Movie

We at Philebrity have kept up a fruitful relationship with N.A. Poe and Chris Goldstein, regularly looking to either or both of the marijuana activists for equal doses of appropriate radical political insight and utter fringe-of-society insanity, but we failed to see before now what VICE saw when they came to Philly for the signing of the decriminalization bill: a pothead bromance of the Rogen-Franco/Harold-Kumar/Jay-Silent Bob variety:

The two met and bonded over numerous joints in 2011 while camping out on the pavement surrounding City Hall during Occupy Philadelphia. After the movement died down and reforming marijuana laws became a hot-button issue in 2012 (the year Washington and Colorado legalized recreation weed use), Poe and Goldstein focused their efforts on their favorite illegal plant. On October 2 of that year, Goldstein and another activist smoked a joint on Independence Mall to mark the 75th anniversary of the first federal marijuana arrest. That action planted the seed for his next big project.

“I got home that day and Poe was like, ‘Man, we need to do it bigger,’” Goldstein told me.

And do it bigger they did. This Summer, at a theater near you, Poe & Goldstein hit the big screen in, what? Smoke Down Prohibition? The Panic Hour? The NORML Heart? Whatever they call it, all roles, including that of Mayor Michael Nutter, will be played by the father of the VICE authorial voice himself, Mr. Jeremy Piven.

Christian McBride To Host New Multi-Platform Jazz Program, Hopefully Will Throw In Some Smoking Solos

Christian McBride, one of the premiere jazz musicians to emerge in the past few decades, will be hosting a new NPR-distributed radio show aiming to bring jazz to contemporary audiences by combining radio broadcasting with interactive online presentation including chatting and videos. Originally of Philadelphia, McBride is a leading bassist and improvisor equally adept at handling traditional bebop, contemporary fusion, and the more free-form stylings exhibited above. He’s also one of the few jazz musicians considered a household name by many in an era when jazz has largely gone academic. The show “Jazz Night In America,” will attempt to introduce the storytelling and thematics of jazz music throughout history to a new century of listeners.

Read Our Interview With Emily Spivack, Whose NYT Bestseller Worn Stories Launches In Philly Today

The new book Worn Stories, edited by one-time Philly resident Emily Spivack, is now a New York Times bestseller generating a lot of hype. The book collects personal stories attached to articles of clothing that hold sentimental value (a concept Emily’s actively interested in) for their owners. Contributors include John Hodgman, Greta Gerwig and Marina Abramovic. Today at 5 PM, All Ages Productions, who made the above book trailer, will be hosting the Philadelphia launch party for Worn Stories at their new 1315 Walnut office. We spoke with Emily yesterday about her work and her interests, and how they came together to produce the book that everyone’s talking about. Read the interview after the jump! (more…)

This Is What It Looks Like When Perfume Genius Plays Johnny Brenda’s


If you missed this show, well, we wish we could say otherwise, but you’ll probably never get the chance to see anything like it again. Maybe some day you’ll watch a blue whale give birth to a star. Then you’ll have seen the next best thing.

October 8, 2014

This Evening: No Family Is Safe

>>> Before the release of Too Bright, his most recent LP, Perfume Genius was just as original and creative, but also often just as much of a downer, as a lot of the solo singer-songwriters with whom he shares a label (think Cat Power, EMA). Musicians like Perfume Genius, AKA Mike Hadreas, often have a voice and a persona gushing with character and emotion but too often relegated to a piano for an unsettling ballad. If they’re the real deal, though, these artists drop game-changer albums like Too Bright, with which Hadreas has now announced himself as the new swagger king of alt-pop. But don’t take our word for it, take his: “No family is safe when I sashay.” Show tonight at Johnny Brenda’s at 9:15.

>>> Elsewhere: Cruisr, whose excellent “Kidnap Me” we plugged just last month, will be at Boot & Saddle with Suburban Living and Dream Safari.

The Last Thing We’re Posting About The Bizarre Mark Kozelek/War On Drugs Beef, Because It’s The Only Thing That Ever Needed To Be Said

And Perfect Pussy’s Meredith Graves just said it:

[...]in all likelihood, Kozelek chose to say “suck my cock” instead of “I think your band is bad.” “Suck my cock” is a command heard most often in two places: heterosexual porn, and schoolyard taunts between presumably straight boys. In no way does Mark Kozelek actually want his cock sucked by the members of the War on Drugs. What he wants is to make them feel violated, to make them feel submissive. “Suck my cock” is an order, not a request. “Suck my cock” is, when used by the wrong person, the language of physical force, the language of rape. He wants the world to know that he thinks TWOD sucks cock, implying that sucking cock is a bad thing. Who sucks cock? Not straight dudes like Mark Kozelek, but women and gay men. Which one of these groups is he using as an insult?

There’s more on that link, and if this whole strange episode was good for a single goddamned thing, it was good because of this.

SEPTA Extending Weekend Late-Night Service Indefinitely, Much Like Their Smartcard Timeline (Hiyo!)

We kid, we kid (really tho), but hey Philly, you wanted to be drunk on the Subway after closing down The Dolphin? YOU GOT IT. For the foreseeable future:

October 08, 2014
PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTA’s riders prefer rails over roads for weekend late night travel. Responding to the overwhelming popularity of weekend overnight subway service pilot on the Broad Street and Market-Frankford Lines, SEPTA has decided to extend the program indefinitely.

More on the program here.

Jefferson Station Is Just Another Step Toward The End Of Shared Space

Newsworks ran a piece yesterday on the recent renaming of Market East Station to some other name we’d prefer not to utter called “Naming rights and the erosion of public space,” noteworthy and worth reading precisely because it finally gives the appropriate name to the phenomenon of renaming that’s slowly earning this country the name “Corporatist Hell.” “The erosion of public space” is, in fact, exactly what we’re looking at, and as WHYY’s Jonathan Zimmerman points out, it’s sending the message to the generations to come, as well as our own, that there is no space that cannot be bought, sold, and owned rather than just existing to be cohabited. Which means, yes, pretty soon we’ll be zooming down the “Coca-Cola Overpass” sailing down the “Starbucks River,” and dating our articles “Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment.” Let’s face it: Jefferson Station sounds more like a lame 70s cock-rock band: