Bittersweet news to report from Philly’s thriving comics scene today, Locust Moon Comics, West Philly’s premiere comic book store/art gallery will be closing up shop at the end of the year. They made the announcement via the store’s Facebook page. This decision was made so that the store owners can focus their attention on Locust Moon Press, their publishing venture that has met with widespread acclaim through their work on the anthologies Once Upon a Time Machine and Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, which won Eisner Awards (the comic industry equivalent of the Oscars) for Best Anthology and Best Publication Design earlier this year. A Kickstarter for their next project, The Lost Work of Will Eisner, is currently underway. Because Philly is also home to great comic shops ranging from Brave New Worlds to the back issue heaven that is Ontario Street Comics, the retail void will be immediately filled. But where Locust Moon always succeeded most was as a focal point for community events, be it open drawing sessions, author events, or collaborations such as their recent Prometheus Eternal event at the Art Museum. These will all be sorely missed. (It is unclear as of this writing what the fate of the annual Locust Moon Comics Fest will be). Even with the store closing, there’s comfort to be found that Locust Moon will continue to be a dynamic force upon the local and national comics scene. The store may be shuttering, but the brand will continue to thrive.
Today, the Philadelphia Zoo unveiled two new red panda cubs who have yet to be named even though they were born in June. THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN, PHILADELPHIA. The Zoo is letting the public help choose the cubs (one of which is male, the other female) via their Facebook page and we thought we’d get in on the fun with the following suggestions.
• Comcast and Fios
• Phil and Phyllis (after the long-gone Phillies mascots)
• Independence and Hall
• Fish and Town
• William and Penn, obvs
• Forman and Mills
• Corruption and Blight
• Citywide and Special
• Jawn and Jawn
• Tasty and Kake
• Wingo and Hocking
• Frank and Rizzo
Remember that scene in Logan’s Run when the gigantic robot thing wanted the freeze the movie’s heroes and use them for food? We’re guessing you don’t but that matters not for our point is the same: That is the exact vibe we get from the Benjamin Franklin bust featured in the forthcoming One Liberty Observation Deck. We would be way more into this thing if it stammered out Philly Phun Pfacts Max Headroom-style but instead it just stares curiously into our souls, looking like a level boss in a Philly-set videogame (one who doubtlessly throws killer Liberty Bells and Arctic Splash containers at players). And yet this still isn’t even remotely the scariest Franklin effigy in the Philly area. Amazing.
Today’s Nug comes to us via the Philadelphia Department of Records’ YouTube page, an invaluable collection of film ephemera featuring our city. Narrated by Ed McMahon (doing his best Troy McClure), the above Philadelphia: Tomorrow City – Today showcases what Philly was like in the late-1960s — complete with appearances by Mayor James Tate and Marian Anderson. Originally created to draw more business and tourism to the city, this film is now a visual time capsule of a long-gone Philadelphia that seems unrecognizable to us. We’re going to spend our lunch break taking this all in, and we recommend that you do the same.
The lineup for next year’s Firefly Music Festival (to be held on June 16th through the 19th) at the Woodlands of Dover, Delaware has just been announced, and there’s much to unpack here. We were shocked that Mumford & Sons is top-billed at this thing, but then again we are shocked that the band is even a thing. Also surprising, but in a good way, are the appearances of M83, Major Lazer, Teen Men, Fetty Wap, and Son Little (hello Philly!). Did your favorite make the cut? Will this lineup actually get you to go to Delaware? Sound off below!
“This Is It,” the new single from Philly’s MINKA, has the band stoking the fires of 1980s nostalgia by presenting a tune that could understandably be mistaken for the B-side of Joe Jackson’s “Look Sharp.” This is a much welcome burst of throwback pop that manages to be optimistic and paranoid all at once, yearning for escape for realizing the impractical difficulty of making a change. But instead of being bogged down by the sad realization that the day-to-day slog may be unavoidable, the song is a party that seems to suggest that maybe, just maybe, things aren’t as bad as they seem. At least that’s how we interpret it, but the song’s unavoidable funkiness might be clouding our judgement a bit. You can catch this and more from MINKA’s banger-heavy songbook when they play Underground Arts on December 18th.
Already feeling seasonally afflicted from the holidays? Cory J. Popp can help. The latest visual tone poem from the Philly-based videographer spotlights the autumnal wonder of the City of Brotherly Love. This footage is two minutes of soothing seasonal immersion that might as well be shoving a pumpkin pie in your mouth whilst humming “Over the River and Through the Woods.” Who else is up for a Wawa Gobbler right about now?
>>> At times jangly, other times soulful, Philly’s Post War Dream bring to mind everyone from The Frames to early Death Cab for Cutie. They’ll be playing a release party for their new EP We’ll Be Just Fine tonight at Milkboy on a bill that also includes Quiet Company and The Burgeoning.
>>> Philly AIDS Thrift at Giovanni’s Room is hosting an LGBT Comedy Night featuring Sampson McCormick (of That B*&#! Better Be Funny fame) with all proceeds going directly to the store, so laugh and support a great cause.
While out earlier this morning we were delighted to see scenes from A Charlie Brown Christmas recreated in the windows of Macy’s flagship store on Market Street. Despite the clear commerce involved here tying in with The Peanuts Movie, this felt like a much needed dose of holiday purity that is the perfect antidote to everything that has happened in Cherry Hill over the past 24 hours. (The fact that Peanuts is timeless while Shrek is stuck in the disposable pop culture amber of the aughts isn’t lost on us either). All of this leads to something larger we’ve been thinking about of late: How the inherent melancholy of Charles Schulz’s characters is absolutely perfect to promote a holiday that is, religious connotations aside, representative of crushing disappointment. Is there any difference between say an under-appreciated gift or a holiday connection that didn’t live up to its potential and Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown at the last second? Come January 2nd, aren’t we all just lonely Blockheads dazed from the events of the previous season that passed in a Pig Pen dirt cloud frenzy and left us stained by our own diminished expectations? The curse of hindsight being what it is makes it clear that Charlie Brown, Linus, et al were just Schulz’s way of bracing young readers for the world ahead of them. Not a particularly original observation we realize, however it is a reminder that while life may occasionally a Snoopy vs. the Red Baron flight of whimsy, it still too often is just a kite-eating tree. Good grief indeed.
When Philly dream pop faves The Morelings played Bourbon & Branch this past July, a highlight of their set was a cover of New Order’s “Lonesome Tonight.” (Which we’ve previously written about in-depth here). The band is currently rehearsing new material and will play along side of Bondage & Discipline and Likers at Ortlieb’s on December 4th.
The South Philly Casino: Still a thing! Yesterday, a five-hour zoning hearing was held in which Cordish Co. (one of the partners in the Live! Hotel & Casino project) found themselves once again dealing with the allegations of racism that have followed them of late. From NewsWorks:
Despite objections from some civil rights advocates, a City Council committee advanced a proposal to build a hotel and casino complex in South Philadelphia.
The move is seen as a victory for Baltimore-based Cordish Co., which has been hit with accusations from former workers at sites in Kansas City and Louisville that the company kicked out or banned black customers. In some instances, former staffers allege that Cordish hired white patrons, known as “rabbits,” to create disturbances that would lead to a black customer getting tossed out of the venue.
Cordish, however, contends that those allegations, described in federal discrimination lawsuits, are the claims of only a handful of upset customers and former workers.
Even with the casino getting zoning approval, this isn’t a done deal yet. We’ll hace more updates as they come.
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens opening one month from today, sci-fi nerds throughout our area are beginning to freak the fuck out over the possibility that this new flick actually might not be terrible. As such, planning for local tie-in events like Atomic City Comics’ Star Wars: Journey to the Force Art Show are underway. We have no idea whether or not the film will be worthwhile, yet we can tell you that the enthusiasm for the new Star War has already surpassed that of 1983, something we didn’t think possible given the lackluster prequels. Just check out the above picture we found while browsing 2 Warps to Neptune of fans lining up to get into the Sam Eric/Boyd to see Return of the Jedi some 32 years ago on opening day. Granted it was a substantially different movie going environment then, but look at this scene. Who were these Philadelphians of the eighties? We know sooner can answer this than tell you what Mark Hamill is up to in the new movie. What we can tell you is this, if you don’t give a shit about these movies it’s going to be a rough couple of months.
This evening at WHYY Studios, the fourth in the ongoing Speak Easy series of public discussions about enriching life in the Philadelphia area will be held. Tonight’s topic? How to strengthen the often difficult relationship between the police department and the communities they serve. Dr. James Peterson, host of WHYY’s The Remix will moderate a discussion about “how police, individuals and communities can work together to improve public safety and create opportunities for dialogue and cooperation.” Something that is much needed in the aftermath of the Department of Justice’s report on the PPD. The event is free to attend, but registration is required.
We told you yesterday about the Yuletide brouhaha that was emerging over in New Jersey about the Cherry Hill Mall‘s Adventure to Santa experience in which kids who want to tell St. Nick what they want for Christmas would have to have their parents shell out upwards of $50 and endure some holiday-themed Shrek antics before getting to do so. In the wake of a growing PR nightmare, mall execs have announced that now, with a reservation, anyone who wants to can see Santa for free (although you’ll still have to pony up some dough if you want a picture or video taken with the gift-giving bear icon). Fortunately, now that this issue is solved the world can go back to being completely carefree and without problems. Oh wait. Shit.
>>> Stopping by Philly in support of their album Half Free, U.S. Girls play Johnny Brenda’s tonight, showcasing the 4AD band’s genre-leaping pop. (As seen in the Abba-esque pop treat above). In a night of slim pickings, this is hands down your best bet.
>>> Trainwreck, the Amy Schumer/Bill Hader comedy you meant to see during its theatrical run but spaced on is the Movie Monday flick at the Troc tonight. You have no excuse for skipping it this time.
>>> Have you guys watched W/Bob and David yet? Netflix that shit, it’s like 1998 all over again, only good this time.
With a growing number of states announcing that they would be banning Syrian refugees in light of Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, Governor Tom Wolf has publicly stated that they would still be welcome in the Keystone State. From Penn Live:
Wolf administration spokesman Jeffrey Sheridan said that, even as more details on the Paris attacks emerge and its perpetrators are brought to justice, “We must not lose sight of the fact that families leaving Syria are trying to escape the same violence and unimaginable terror that took place in Paris and Beirut.
“To assist the settlement of families fleeing the humanitarian crisis in Syria, the federal government coordinates with local charitable organizations in Pennsylvania and other states,” Sheridan said. “Pennsylvania will continue working with the federal government to ensure that all individuals have gone through the proper screening process.”
Gov. Tom Wolf wants “Pennsylvania to continue to build on its rich history of accepting immigrants and refugees from around the world but he is also committed to protecting Pennsylvanians and will work with the federal government to ensure it is taking every precaution necessary in screening those families coming into the country,” Sheridan said.
Due to the fear and xenophobia that results from terror attacks, this is a decision that will spur much debate despite the salient points he makes here. (We can only imagine what the local talk radio/comment board discussions on this story are like). On Saturday, Wolf also released a statement saying that residents of the state should also report any suspicious activity to state police. Feel free to sound off on your thoughts on this below, and be thankful we aren’t one of America’s Shittiest States.
Remember the failed EarthLink municipal wireless initiative that died back in 2010? Just like your hopes, the equipment that would have been used in the citywide Wi-Fi rollout have been sitting alone and abandoned. Earlier today, City Controller Alan Butkovitz released a video of the gear languishing in a city-owned warehouse. On the Office of the Controller website, he released a press release that included the following statement:
The Controller recommends the Administration immediately conduct an assessment of the wireless equipment to determine its value and compatibility with current technology. It’s also an opening to discuss the wireless equipment with Comcast as the city continues its negotiations on the latest franchise agreement, according to Controller Butkovitz.
“Now is the ideal opportunity to communicate with Comcast about the wireless assets and if the equipment can be utilized to meet the objectives of the latest agreement,” said Butkovitz.
“Almost 30 percent of Philadelphians do not have Internet access,” said Butkovitz. “Our city needs to bridge the digital divide and continue to work with community partners like Comcast, who share the same goals.
“We should incorporate all assets that can support these efforts and reduce the technology gap, rather than let the equipment collect dust in a warehouse.”
Whether or not this equipment is any more useful now than that iPhone 3G you have sitting around remains to be seen. (Our gut is telling us probably not so much). For now, join us in watching the above video while The Price Is Right sad trumpet plays in your head on an endless loop.
Longtime Philebs favorites Matt Pond PA are playing the Foundry this Wednesday in support of their recent album The State of Gold. Joining them will be opener Laura Stevenson, and we’ve got four pairs of tickets that we want to give away to you fine, fine people. To enter to win e-mail ihopeiwin[at]philebrity[dot]com with “SPACELAND” in the subject header by noon tomorrow. You’ll automatically be subscribed to the forthcoming new Philebrity Reader weekly newsletter and win chances for other exclusive free stuff. Winners will be picked late afternoon tomorrow. Good luck!