October 27, 2014

The Week Ahead In Comedy: Funny Females, Vicious And Magnificent

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If you’re wanting to see some hilarious comedy while also being inside of a Happy Birthday Bar, look no further than Funny Females at Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar tonight. Hosts Rachel Fogletto and Phyllis Voren host some of the funniest stand up comedians in the city at their recurring show and at a price (FREE!) that can not be beat. Besides your two fantastic hosts, the show features sets from Kate Banford, Vickie Fernandez, Gina Stitzer and Natalie K Levant. Monday; 8PM Free.

Is comedy funnier in drag? Do jokes lose sheen when the comics wear sheer? Find out on Wednesday, as The Trestle Inn hosts The Vicious Variety Show. The brand new show will feature a stand up competition where 3 comics, Rick Robotin, David Piccolomini, and N.a. Poe will each perform a set of stand up in drag. In addition to the competition, you will also hear from the dark lord of comedy and metal The Necrosexual, Philly’s Funniest Matt McKusker, and Scrapple TV’s Ian Morrison. Wednesday, 7PM, $6.66 in advance.

On Thursday, the city’s finest showcase The Magnificent Seven returns to Boot and Saddle. The 7th installment of “Magnificent Seven” is a little unique in that instead of seven performers on the show, this time there is EIGHT! Joining hosts Aaron Hertzog and Alison Zeidman are comics John McKeever, Chip Chantry, Bobby Lorello, Juliette Hope Wayne, Michael Rainey and Michelle Biloon. That’s a definite 14% increase in performers and a very likely 100% increase in funny! Thursday, 9PM, $7.

– Joe Moore

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

Watch Questlove And Christian McBride Talk James Brown In New HBO Doc Tonight

Like this Summer’s Get On Up, this movie about James Brown is also a product of Mick Jagger’s pet obsession, but at least it features the man himself. Brown, not Jagger. Although, yeah, Jagger is in there too. Fortunately, he’s in good company. Mr. Dynamite premieres tonight at 9 on HBO.

Recommended Reading: Penn Design Students Discover “Fingers Of High Ground”

This article at Penn Current about new Rockefeller-funded research by the Penn School of Design on rising sea levels on the East Coast is pretty mind-bending in its representation of the structure and ecosystem of the coast of Norfolk, Virginia. The basic revelation of the findings is that the ocean doesn’t wash up on an even coastal plane so much as a “gradient” of “fingers of high ground.” The implications of this research are changing the conversation about coastal planning and rising sea levels so drastically that what was once considered a problem to be addressed is now better understood as a natural process to observe and carefully manage:

Mathur and da Cunha found that the change in their design vocabulary opened up an entirely new—and more accurate—way of understanding the interaction between land and water as dynamic rather than static. From there, the whole language changed: “Accommodate” replaced “confront,” “adaptable” replaced “fixed,” “soil” and “pine hummocks” replaced “steel” and “concrete.”



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Ebola Paranoia Triggers Epidemic Spreading Quickly Across Philly: Racial Profiling

Racial profiling is not a new problem in Philly or anywhere, but once in a while, thanks to new confusions and fears, it shows up in a new guise. The latest iteration of racial profiling in Philadelphia comes to light on the heels of the dangerous outbreak of paranoia in America in response to the far less dangerous outbreak of Ebola in America. Philly.com spotlights the case of Roselyn Gray, a Liberian-born receptionist who was recently ambushed by masked healthcare workers and shuttled to UPenn for Ebola testing after her symptoms of an allergic reaction to penicillin were grossly exaggerated. The story is disturbing because it is not at all unique. Dozens of similar cases have been reported. We’re not doctors over here, but we are compelled to ask: is the best way to control a deadly disease to intimidate minorities until they’re afraid to seek medical attention?

UberX Launches In Philadelphia To Parking Authority Crackdown

UberX launched in Philadelphia this weekend to an unpleasantly surprising reception from the Philadelphia Parking Authority. PCMag.com reports that five UberX drivers have been impounded in Philadelphia since its launch. While Uber does not offer its users any warning or disclaimer about UberX, it is actually classifiable as an illegal service, because UberX drivers, normal people in normal cars, don’t necessarily have commercial driving licenses. In fact, in most cases, they don’t. Uber is calling this reaction from the PPA an abuse of power, but UberX has had similar problems in the past in Hoboken and DC. In those cities, the controversy inspired some to push for the legalization of UberX’s service model. We’re not sure how this will play out here, but given the possible elimination of certain other transportation options in the city, we hope some resolution is found.



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Brian Sims Trolls Corbett, Wins Internet

When we heard about Governor Corbett‘s photoshop fiasco just a few weeks ago, we were so baffled we had to follow the story all the way to the source. State Rep Brian Sims, however, has done us one better: he followed the story to the source and then rewrote the story with himself as the protagonist. Revisionism at its best! No wonder he won the internet.

You Still Don’t Have To Worry About A SEPTA Strike Until You Do In About A Week

FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

We’d like to point out that the last time we wrote about the possibility of a SEPTA strike, we saw it slated for April. Now we’re back on the topic, and no schedule for the strike has been set. It’s not quite surprising, to us, or to SEPTA workers, that the motion to strike passed the union unanimously yesterday. A week-long recess with the ball in SEPTA management’s court could be more than enough for the two parties to settle on the issue, and while the stakes are pretty high for the union, no one is really psyched on the possibility of seeing this whole idea take shape in real time. In the worst case scenario, though, we can always swallow our pride and kneel before the monolith of Uber.

October 23, 2014

This Evening At The Philadelphia Film Festival: High School High

Key & Peele/alt-comedy fans, take note: The locally-produced Teacher of the Year features an ensemble cast that includes Keegan-Michael Key and Jason and Randy Sklar. Made in the mockumentary mode perfected by, say, Waiting for Guffman or Best In Show, this one won’t break any molds, but it does look like a great set-em-up-and-knock-em-down for a talented comedic cast.

10:25 PM at Ritz East. Tickets here.

This is more like it: Tu dors Nicole has “film festival” written all over it — it’s in black and white, in French, has a cool synth-y soundtrack and would seem to be about youthful disillusionment and boning dudes in bands. That is all the stuff I like in movies. And other than a plot that involves stealing stuff, these are the only things I like in movies. Does anybody steal anything in this movie? I mean, c’mon, it’s about a bunch of dirty French Canadians, they must steal something.

8:30 PM at PFS Roxy Theater; screens again at 12:00 PM, Sat, Oct 25, at Ritz East. Tickets here.

The Times They Are A-Changin’: WPHT Cannot Find An Asshole Big Enough To Fill Its Afternoons

The Daily News reports that Dick Morris, the conservative talk radio host for WPHT, is leaving his post to focus on campaigning for 2016 candidates for office, which, if you know anything about Morris’ politics or what the political landscape will likely look like come the 2016 election, could be a total disaster. While Dick might have a good shot at helping some huge assholes get elected, there’s no word as to who might be elected to replace him. Maybe there just isn’t any asshole bigger then Dick.

This Evening At The 215 Festival: Kickoff, Steak and Cocktails!

Because you’re going to need a little help if you want to be informed enough to properly navigate this year’s packed 215 festival, here’s a brief who’s who to help you plan your evening tonight:

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Headhouse Square, 7 PM: Kickoff Reading With Philadelphia Poet Laureates:

>>> Frank Sherlock is the poet laureate of Philadelphia, the author of the acclaimed Space Between These Lines Not Dedicated and, with CAConrad, The City Real & Imagined, and also a dutiful and faithful employee of Dirty Frank’s, which, in our opinion, recommends both highly.

>>> Soledad Alfaro-Allah is Philadelphia’s youth poet laureate, a veteran of the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement Slam League, and a pretty solid tweeter. She hails from Mt. Airy.

Jim’s Steaks, 8PM: J. Robert Lennon, Wintfred Huskey, and Erik Bader:

>>> J. Robert Lennon is the author, most recently, of Familiar, his seventh novel, and his new collection See You In Paradise is forthcoming next month.

>>> Wintfred Huskey’s novel Blowin’ It was just released by The Head and The Hand Press last month. Read the exclusive excerpt we ran when it dropped here.

>>> Erik Bader, once upon a time, was a frequent Philebrity contributor. His works include The Pilot and the Panda, The Daily Miltonian: Volume One, and The New American Novel.

Tattooed Mom, 9 PM: Gigantic Sequins and Bedfellows 215 Reading and Cocktails:

>>> Gigantic Sequins is Philadelphia’s biannual black-and-white print literary journal. They publish poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and more often than not cool black-and-white comics and illustrations.

>>> Bedfellows Magazine is Philadelphia’s literary theme magazine devoted to stories of desire and intimacy, with a focus on challenging conventional wisdom about sex writing.

Right Now In The People’s Republic Of Comcast: The Holidays Are Here!

It’s weird to think about it, but even totalitarian regimes celebrate holidays. Hence this year’s Comcast Holiday Spectacular, a hellish cacophony of carols and strings that will be ruining the season for everyone who works anywhere near the Comcast Center from Thanksgiving through New Year’s. You can click through the link above and check out their site for more information (if you need to better prepare yourself or something), but we’re just going to close this post with the image that came with the press release we received, which is, actually, just a picture of a snowman:

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The Way We Live Now: $2.00 Cigarette Tax Inspires Attractive Street Art


Some decent #streetart in #brewerytownbeats – nice

A photo posted by Peter Ochester (@brewerytownbeats) on

The little pen and pencil crest makes it all feel kind of honorable, no?

In A Sick, Sad World, It’s Nice To Know The Musicians Section Of Philly Craigslist Is Rife With Lovable Goofballs

Really. When’s the last time you headed over there? Been a while? It has been for us, too. Meanwhile, everybody, MEET DALE:

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“If you don’t like double bass drum patterns on the choruses of your songs, get the hell out of my face. If you have a problem with a quad china crash set up I’ll help you get over it by handing you a beat-down.” It’s hard not to look at this as some kind of deep, metaphorical life advice. A design for living, if you will. And though, yes, there is at least some likelihood that Dale is not real, we’re pretty sure this ad for an “early” R.E.M. cover band is. As of this writing, we’re this close to responding to both in earnest.

SPOKE Magazine Is The New Source Of In-Depth Journalism For Cyclists


Making a magazine, making a video! We're with #malixmedia

A photo posted by Spoke Magazine (@spoke_mag) on

Founded by a crew of established and up-and-coming Philadelphia journalists and cyclists, SPOKE magazine will be a new free quarterly magazine for this city’s bicycling community. However, it’s not a lite lifestyle and recreation publication; the SPOKE team are committed to substantive writing on topics like bike law, cycling education and infrastructure spending. The SPOKE website will go live in the coming weeks, and the IndieGogo campaign that will cover the project’s additional funding needs will launch on Nov. 6th. Check back for more complete coverage when SPOKE is up and running.

Dice Raw’s LP Jimmy’s Back Will Come Back Tomorrow At The Freedom Theatre As The Last Jimmy

Tomorrow night at 8 PM at the Freedom Theatre, The Last Jimmy, the theatrical adaptation of Dice Raw’s LP Jimmy’s Back, will premiere with Dice in a starring role. Jimmy’s Back is Dice Raw’s concept album that dropped last year. Inspired in part by Michele Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, and also by Dice’s relationship with and sorrow over the murder of Jimmy Davis, his childhood friend and fellow Philly rapper, Jimmy’s Back explored Dice’s investigation of and his feelings about mass incarceration and prison reform. The Last Jimmy, for which you can watch a promotional video above, an adaptation for the stage by writer Philip S. Brown, will expand on these ideas in the interest of raising awareness and inspiring others to respond.

Noontime Nuggetz: Cold Fronts, “Hit Me”

Lyrics videos are usually pretty tiresome, but luckily this one for a burner from Philly power-pop superheroes Cold Fronts makes up for it with singing leads and weird glitchy germs. Cold Fronts play Philly next on November 9th at the Barbary with Empires.

New Exhibit At Practice Gallery Explores History Of Pennsylvania Dutch Magic

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Artist Nick Lenker has a new exhibit up at Practice Gallery that combines performance, ceramics and mixed media to build a narrative study of his personal relationship to Pennsylvania Dutch mysticism. The exhibit, a video installation titled “Long Hidden Friend,” after an 1820 treatise on natural medicines called “A Long Lost Friend,” incorporates plates adorned with “hex signs” and other mystical Pennsylvania Dutch iconography, a performance detailing an ancient rite, and sculptures rigged to cast spells in real time. Alchemical practices and occult iconography have inspired some of the world’s worst art, but based on the images from this exhibit, and the writing about it, “A Long Lost Friend” is not a representative example. If it’s true that “With only the subject’s appearance as the forgotten redneck member of Daft Punk offering any overt humor, the process we witness is otherwise quite somber,” then it sounds pretty cool to us.

Mo’Ne Davis Is Now The Star Of A Spike Lee Joint!

This documentary was condensed into a minute-long Chevy ad, but luckily, the whole thing is available here. ESPN reports that being paid to appear in the ad will not affect Mo’Ne’s NCAA eligibility, should she choose to pursue a career in college sports. So this thing is pretty much a win-win for everyone.

October 22, 2014

This Evening At The Philadelphia Film Festival: Double Feature, Anyone?

A good night for it, no? Meanwhile, consider this — just how mind-blowing/inspiring is it that Jean-Luc Godard is still making movies? And, furthermore, that they retain their topical/heady/wild sensibility, even when so many of his contemporaries died or checked out? To think of it, frankly, makes me feel something you hardly ever feel when thinking about film these days — majesty, honor, tradition. That said, will his new one, Goodbye to Language 3D, be any good? It doesn’t matter — it’s enough that it exists — but it might be good anyway. It’s a romance set against the craze of modern life as well as a critique of “how we absorb information through a barrage of ideas and images flickering on screens of all sizes.”

Screens at 6:45 PM (and again at 1:15 PM on Sat, Oct 25) at Prince Music Theater, with Matthu Placek’s A Portrait of Marina Abramović Tickets here.

Ray Liotta stars in this Martin Scorsese-produced gangster drama about Asian-American gangs of New York in the 1980s and ‘90s. Right?

Screens at 10:10 PM at Ritz East. Tickets here.

The Way We Live Now: The Philadelphia Beard and Mustache Club

Meetings every third Sunday of the month at Tattooed Mom, The Philadelphia Beard and Mustache Club is pretty much what it sounds like — only maybe better, maybe less… what’s that show we don’t watch on basic cable? Anyway, like that, minus the corny bits — which leaves behind only what there should be, only what there was in the beginning: Men and their beards. In fact, said corn had a lot to do with their inception. After its founders “attended a poorly executed beard and mustache competition in West Philadelphia” — let us pause to appreciate the screenplay-inspiring potential of that phrase — “they wanted to create a club that would represent Philadelphia as a force to be reckoned with in the world of competitive bearding as well as a means to create a community of both beardo’s and beard lovers to socialize and above all else have fun!”

OK, so maybe it’s a little bit corny. But so is believing in God, or binge-watching Gilmore Girls, right? In the meantime, The Philadelphia Beard and Mustache Club has done actual good, raising money for PAWS, helped drive membership for the Young Friends of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and lots of other stuff. Not least among those goods: Friendship, and grooming! Click on the image above to follow these lovable men on Facebook/find your husband since you can’t show your face at the farmer’s market anymore, having already exhausted that supply of beardos.