April 11, 2014

Mayor Nutter And Darrell Clarke Are Getting Real Passive-Aggressive, Writing Letters

FINAL APPROVED PGW LOGO - November 1, 2010It’s not secret around here that Darrell Clarke may have … umm … higher aspirations. So, it makes sense that he’d want to separate himself from Mayor Nutter a bit; make himself stand out. Plus, he’s been doing it forever so why stop now: According to the Daily News, no City Council member introduced Nutter’s proposal to sell PGW yesterday, probably due to the fact that Clarke sent them all a memo about it. The DN says “Language in the asset-purchase agreement requires that documentation be given to the PUC within 60 days of the introduction of the bill. Clarke said that raises concerns that the PUC could reach a conclusion before Council does, thus hampering Council’s ability to have a say in the proposed sale,” and “some Council members are calling Nutter’s bill a sneaky move.” With this, Mayor Nutter let out an audible sigh and dramatically headed to his laptop.

So Mayor Nutter, also using MS Word, typed up his own letter, opening with:

Dear Members of City Council:

I understand that a memo was circulated to you yesterday that raised questions about the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s (PUC) review of the proposed sale of PGW to UIL Holdings (UIL). I am writing this letter to provide you with a clarification of the PUC process and how it aligns with the review of the sale that City Council has now begun.”

Nutter’s letter, which really starts off with the patronizing tone right off the bat, continues saying “please be assured that introduction of the sale ordinance does not trigger the PUC review process … the sale of PGW cannot happen without City Council’s approval to sell PGW’s assets … [and] the PUC will not consider or approve an application that is inconsistent with the transaction that the City of Philadelphia and UIL have agreed to and the City Council has itself approved.” Passive-agressive? Sure, but fair and reasonable. Nutter got real sassy in his closing, however, saying “Attorneys from the City Law Department and Dan Clearfield would be happy to answer any and all questions you and your staff may have about the proposed transaction, the Asset Purchase Agreement and the PUC review process. Please let me know if you would like a briefing.” OH SHIT! “Please let me know if you would like a briefing”? MIC DROP.

April 10, 2014

Our Picks For The Philadelphia Film Society’s Spring Showcase

pfsssEarlier this week we mentioned an embarrassment of cinema riches here in Philly this week, as both the Cinedelphia Film Fest is already underway as the Philadelphia Film Society’s Spring Showcase mini-fest kicks off on Friday. And while Cinedelphia focuses on the weird, the wild, and the DIY (view our preview here), PFS’s Spring Showcase offers more traditional art house fare from around the world. A huge part of the Showcase’s focus is devoted to a retrospective of Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón (Y Tu Mamá También, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Gravity), there’s plenty of other stuff to dig into as well. After the jump, our five picks for the PFS Spring Showcase. (more…)

And Now, Today’s GOOD NEWS: Spring Cleanup Breaks Records, Just Like Last Year Did

goodmotherfuckingnews It seems like every year, as the Philly Spring Cleanup numbers are released, we’re surpassing all of the records from each previous year. And this year’s edition, the 7th annual, was no differet. Spring Cleanup this year featured, by the numbers:

>>> 569 registered projects
>>> 14,225 volunteers — new record
>>> 970,940 pounds of trash removed
>>> 29,940 pounds of material recycled
>>> 126,000 pounds of tires
>>> 3,200 recycling bins distributed
>>> 14 parks and recreation centers cleaned
>>> total of 1,122,880 pounds of materials removed from cleanup sites — new record

Mayor Nutter said, “For the seventh year in a row, Philadelphians have stepped up to the plate and volunteered in the Philly Spring Cleanup … I am truly impressed with the passion and dedication throughout the city to make Philadelphia a cleaner, greener and safer place. Each year we hope to expand the cleanup and I am proud to say that we did that again this year with a record number of volunteers, sites and pounds of debris removed.” So if you helped out, go ahead and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back and maybe relax this weekend. You worked hard.

So there you have it: The world is not totally made of shit. Have you got some good news? If so, send it to tips[at]philebrity[dot]com with “GOOD MOTHERFUCKING NEWS!” in the subject header — we’d love to hear about it.


Dept. Of Not Shocking Studies: People Who Write Yelp Reviews Are Just Really Overselling Things

hate-yelpHey, did you ever think that people who write rave (or scathing) reviews of restaurants on the internet are really saying more about themselves than they are about the restaurant? No shit, right? According to a study appearing in the April 7 issue of the journal First Monday — which studied Yelp reviews for restaurants in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. — “words used in online restaurant reviews provide a surprising source of insight into human psychology.”

Stanford professor of linguistics and co-author of the study, Dan Jurafsky, found that:

>>> Positive reviews of expensive restaurants tended to use metaphors of sex and sensual pleasure, such as “orgasmic pastry” or “seductively seared foie gras.” And the words used in those reviews were longer and fancier.
>>> Positive reviews of cheap restaurants and foods often employed metaphors of drugs or addiction – “these cupcakes are like crack.”
>>> Negative reviews were frequently associated with the language of personal trauma and poor customer service: “We waited 10 min. before we even got her attention to order.”
>>> Women were more likely than men to use drug metaphors to describe their attitudes toward food.
>>> The foods most likely to be described using drug metaphors were pizza, burgers, sweets and sushi.”

Additionally, in news that surprised Jurafsky but does not surprise us in the littlest bit, “the language of negative Yelp reviews resembled the language of people who have been traumatized by tragedies or the deaths of loved ones.” And if that surprised him, we want the life he leads, where he’s never witnessed someone freak out because their food was wrong.

Adjust Your Maps: It’s N3RD Street Now, And There Are Signs To Prove It

As ratified by City Council, the section of North Third Street from Market to Girard is now sort-of officially affectionately known as “N3RD Street,” and signage started going up today as part of Philly Tech Week. We’ll leave it up to you guys to celebrate or groan about this as you did when news of the move first broke, but what we really wanna know is: If a buncha tech bros can change the name of a street with like one move, what must we, as Actual Philadelphians, do so to erase the whole idea of calling Delaware Avenue “Columbus Boulevard?”

Related: Here Are A Few Things To Look Forward To At Philly Tech Week 2014


Noontime Nuggetz: We Really Want That Video Rock T-Shirt

Above is a little ad for Video Rock, a 30-minute music video show that came on channel 17 before anyone in Philly had cable and therefore couldn’t get MTV. While it was local and low rent (wasn’t MTV pretty low rent in those days too?), you could’ve won a Walkman and some Spectrum concert tickets, and all you had to do was mail a letter in which you wrote your top 5 favorite videos, and that was a pretty sweet deal.

Comcast Tower Part Deux Will Be Stopped By No Man, Maybe Have Bike Share


Comcast Tower 2: The Comcastening is now all set to go ahead and be built, as “representatives of developer Liberty Property Trust and the architectural firm of Norman + Foster were at the Civic Design Review Committee in Philadelphia” yesterday where they were told they can just go ahead and get on with it. According to Plan Philly, the committee had generally positive things to say, and they recommended the building integrate itself with the city’s pending bikeshare program. John Gattuso of Liberty Property Trust said they’d “look into it,” which basically means “Haha no we already planned this whole thing, get off it.” The commission can’t exactly tell Comcast (or Norman + Foster or Liberty Property Trust) they can’t build the tower, but they can (and did) tell them they don’t need to consult with them anymore; they’re all good. With that, the regulatory process for the tower is finished, and all that is needed before construction gets underway this summer is for LPT to pull the permits. And then, the age of the terrifying glass elevator of doom will begin to be upon us.

Let The Fire Burn, The MOVE Doc, Is Now On Netflix Streaming

JG move

Jason Osder’s Let the Fire Burn, the by-all-accounts well-made documentary that tells the story of the 1985 MOVE bombing through archival and found footage, is now available for streaming on Netflix Instant. You know, something nice and lighthearted in-between all of those repeat viewings of Rocky.

Our Picks For This Year’s Cinedelphia Film Festival Include Amy Fisher, Amy Fisher, And Amy Fisher

cinedelphia_Poster_webAfter braving a long, cold winter, these nice-weather days make us want to do nothing more than spend every waking minute outdoors. You probably feel the same way. However, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you followed through on that, because the place to be for the next two-and-a-half weeks is crammed in PhilaMOCA with a few dozen like-minded people watching some of the weirdest and most unique films you’ll see all year. It’s the 2014 Cinedelphia Film Festival, presented by Video Pirates, and from today until the 27th it will be bringing you forgotten gems, historical retrospectives, unearthed slashers, mash-ups, and a whole bunch more.

Really, while looking through all the programming, we couldn’t believe how many of these insane things we want to be a part of. You can see the whole schedule of events here, and meet us after the jump for a handful of recommended events.


Here’s A Video Of Some South Jersey Record Plant Workers Explaining Their Jobs To Michael Jackson

It’s the gift we never knew we wanted: Hey, do you know how CDs are made and mass produced? Would you like it explained to you by employees of Sony’s CD Manufacturing plant in Pitman, NJ? Is it 1995? Are you Michael Jackson? If you somehow answered yes to all of these questions, this video is for you, but for everyone else — aka everyone — this video is actually oddly transfixing, as run-of-the-mill industrial workers explain their menial jobs to a camera, knowing full well these explanations are intended for the most famous man in the world. We’re mesmerized.

[via Anil Dash]

April 9, 2014

This Evening: Tango ‘Til You’re Sore

>>> As he does every 2nd Wednesday, Dan Bruskewicz (aka TJ Kong) brings some pals together to play the music of Tom Waits upstairs at Jose Pistola’s. It’ll be just like the video above, but with older fans and less shorts.
>>> Over at Ortlieb’s, St. James and the Apostles continue their Wednesdays in April residency, sharing the stage tonight with Clementine.
>>> And Milkboy plays host to the cleverly-named Bipolaroid and Drone Ranger, with support from Seismic Thrust and Jackie Paper.
>>> Or, we don’t know dudes, find a roofdeck somewhere and take advantage.

And Now, Today’s GOOD NEWS: Philly Rocks Lowest Unemployment Rate Since Wall Street Borked Our Whole Economy!

Though the city may be variously crumbling or burning or self-sabotaging through corruption and stupidity all around us, here is one spot of sunlight, brothers and sisters: Philadelphia’s unemployment rate has dropped to 8.3%, according to preliminary numbers released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) — the lowest number since 2008, which you may recall as being the beginning (or continuation) of some rather unpleasant times. But wait, there’s more! BLS data further shows shows that the number of jobs in Philadelphia is at its highest point since 2003. And no, that’s not some old-style Philly cooking of the books, either; there are actual jobs here. Dig:

The drop in the unemployment rate can be attributed to employment gains and not a drop in the labor force as the number of employed Philadelphians increased by 4,200 from 588,984 in January to 593,183 in February and the labor force slightly grew by 700 from 646,220 in January to 646,940 in February.

It’s not a lot, and yep, we’re still brain-draining like a Real Housewife on White Wine Wednesdays, but hey, it’s progress. We’ll take it.

So there you have it: The world is not totally made of shit. Have you got some good news? If so, send it to tips[at]philebrity[dot]com with “GOOD MOTHERFUCKING NEWS!” in the subject header — we’d love to hear about it.

Full press release from City Hall after the jump. (more…)

Constitution Nerds See Naked Woman On Magazine Cover, Immediately Find Historical Errors

For real though, Constitution Center people, we’re fans: While we were all flooded on Twitter this morning with Suit Corner pictures and news, a good chunk of the rest of the country — or at least those who have a friend who still reads Rolling Stone — was passing around the cover image of the magazine’s newest issue with a naked, written-on Julia Louis-Dreyfuss. The cover features JLD with the Constitution written on her back, but here’s the problem: At the bottom of the Constitution, there’s a prominent, glory-boy signature from good ol’ John Hancock, who signed the Declaration of Independence but not the Constitution. Therefore, You won’t find JH in the Constitution Center’s Signers Hall, aka the city’s best selfie spot. You will, however, find a dude in there with a wooden leg.

In response, the clever whoever-runs-JLD’s-Twitter-account found a way to turn it all into a Veep plug, which really you should all be watching anyway.

What Are You Doing For #PhillyPoetryDay?


This Saturday, all over the city, readers and writers alike of poetry will gather in dozens of locations for the first-ever Philly Poetry Day. A project of Charles Carr, Lillian Dunn, Leonard Gontarek and Jacob Winterstein, it’s a kind of one-day, pop-up DIY festival that gets us where we live — both literally and figuratively: We here at Philebrity have, for the last few years now, had the honor of putting together the 215 Festival, Philly’s annual literary fest that takes place in neighborhoods, bars, and really anywhere except a school. To that end, The 215 Fest and the American Poetry Review are partnering with our friends at Port Richmond Books this Saturday for a reading/BBQ that includes Philly’s new Poet Laureate Frank Sherlock, Jenn McCreary, Chris McCreary, and Pattie McCarthy. But that is just one event among dozens. For more info, check out the Philly Poetry Day website.

Captain Freeshit: Win A Pair Of Passes To See William Tyler And Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen At Underground Arts On Monday!

It was only a few weeks ago when we got all kinds of excited about William Tyler‘s “Whole New Dude” off of his EP Lost Colony. In fact, we just threw that tune above back on and we’re taken into a place again, a place where spring has just spring and new things are on the horizon. And wouldn’t ya know it, it’s actually true this time. Tyler, as it turns out, is just about to grace one of the cooler venues in this city on Monday night when he opens for Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear and Department of Eagles at Underground Arts. It’s the Monday-night vibe to be a part of, and we’d love it if you could be there. To enter to win tickets, email ihopeiwin[at]philebrity[dot]com with “WHOLE NEW DUDE” 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.

Noontime Nuggetz: The A’s & Michael Tearson & LOTS Of 1980s Vibes At The London Victory Club

If you’ve been paying attention, all this week, we’ve been featuring Noontime Nuggetz from some golden moment in the 1980s in Philadelphia, when all bands the bands here somehow managed to be more ’80s then they had ever been before or would be again. This whole wormhole started with The Darrows on Monday, whose post-punk melancholy somehow led the YouTube algorithm to then show us The Daves, whose video was indicative of nothing so much as the suggestion that perhaps, perhaps, there were a subset of people here in the ’80s for whom Real Genius was a whole lifestyle. Today, we consider this clip of Philly power-pop legends The A’s, at the height of their local glory. This was for something called “Gorilla Theater” a local TV and radio simulcast (simulcasting was the streaming of the ’80s) hosted by Michael Tearson. Dig dude’s vibe here — he’s like a switched-on Scooter from The Muppets and somehow, we mean that as high praise. Of all of the modern eras of Philadelphia, we often think that this is the one we’d most like to go back to. Look at this scene: People are swaying in that “Dancing In The Dark” stylee, the band is like the rock ‘n’ roll version of a blow dryer, and there is a unified purpose of P-A-R-T-Y that we wonder if people here will ever have again. Old Philly, we know you are trying to tell us something. We hope we figure out what it is.

Joan Jett Could Front Nirvana At Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction, We’d Rather She Play With Hall And Oates

It seems that Wynnewood’s own Joan Jett, who is somehow not yet in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, may front a four-piece Nirvana (with Dave Grohl, Krist Novaselic, and Pat Smear) at tomorrow’s induction ceremony. That’s nice, and it brings some more locals to stage along with the induction of the E Street Band and Hall and Oates. Thankfully, no one will be fronting Kiss.

Right Now In The People’s Republic Of Comcast: We’re The Worst! We’re The Worst!

xUSSRCAST1.png.pagespeed.icYesterday was a big day for Comcast. After working hard for months to hammer out a deal and acquire Time Warner Cable, Comcast filed their merger paperwork with the FCC. Now all that there was to do was wait (and be accused to being a monopoloy and eventually, somehow, get out of being declared a monopoly). But then, it all had to go to shit, as Consumerist had to go and name Comcast the winner of its 2014 Golden Poo award, for Worst Company in America. Kabletown narrowly defeated Monsanto in the final, with 51.5% of the vote.

As Consumerist says, Comcast’s road to the title wasn’t easy:

Comcast’s road to the Poo started out without a speedbump, as the company powered through the first three rounds without ever giving up more than 30% of the vote [Ed note: To Yahoo, Facebook, and Verizon]. And with two-time reigning champ EA eliminated in Round One by Comcast’s merger partner Time Warner Cable, followed by three-time consecutive runner-up Bank of America’s surprise defeat at the hands of Walmart, Comcast seemed destined for the Final Death Match.

But the nation’s largest cable and Internet provider (which is trying to become even larger), almost got stopped in its track by first-time contender SeaWorld, riding high on waves of negative publicity tied to the documentary Blackfish. Comcast pulled off a buzzer-beater to hold off SeaWorld and earn its place in the Final Death Match.”

For what it’s worth, Comcast’s new acquisition made a good run of its own, defeating the aforementioned EA and Koch Industries, before falling to Monsanto. The good news, however, is if this merger is approved, we could be talking about a dynasty here.

“Who Wants To Sex Mutombo?” Legend Sadly Debunked

Former 76er/rather amazing man Dikembe Mutombo has at long last gone on television and categorically denied that he ever, ever walked into a club and said one of the best things any human might have ever/could have ever said: “Who wants to sex Mutombo?” He even wagged his finger while he denied it, which is as universal a seal of Truth as there is in this life. We did, however, once see him squeezed into a booth at The Continental, legs akimbo hanging out, eating a large plate of shoestring fries. It remains one of the most absurd sights we have ever lain eyes on.

[h/t Deadspin]

We Love You, Old City! Please Stop Burning/Falling Down

This was a pretty crazy way to wake up this morning. To all of our neighbors and friends and the Philadelphia Fire Department, please be safe! We’re keeping you in our thoughts.