August 18, 2014
When the Steve Powers Kurt Vile mural in Kensington was buffed a couple of months ago by an angry DJ Lee Mayjahs at the end of his rope, we were ready to respond with some semi-real-talk urban theory as well as a bit of semi-facetious music world conspiracy theory. Now the Shepard Fairey mural, with regard to which we already offered a maybe not so facetious conspiracy theory, has been defaced by a still undetermined number of still unidentified taggers. Being that there’s no evidence that this was a targeted affront by a single entity with a specific agenda, this time around, we have less to offer in the way of critical analysis of the tensions in the city or in the art world. Shepard Fairey is a street art icon. Maybe the taggers thought they were vandalizing his mural in homage? On the other hand, maybe they just don’t like Hennessy. Or tramp stamps.
August 15, 2014
>>> From the department of Making Our Own Fun: We’re happy to be all mixed up in tonight’s BITBY Summer Sounds show at the TLA. We’re buds with the BITBY guys, and look forward to jamming out on a really strong bill of locals including Commonwealth Choir, Pine Barons, Air is Human, Shorty Boy-Boy, Weekender, Sad Actor, Mark Lanky and some dude called Sweeney or something. Listen to a bunch of the acts above.
>>> Congrats to our friends at Milkboy, celebrating their 3rd Anniversary Weekend with a bunch of free shows. Tonight, it’s The Ataris, Cheerleader, Alright Junior and Strap.
>>> Meanwhile, it’s also a nice night for some Wayne’s World at The Oval!
>>> And of course, we’d be remiss if we did not mention the Philadelphia Folk Festival, already underway in Schwenksville.
>>> Aw yeah! Hit up Hawthorne Park at 12th & Catherine for some good ol’ South Philly hangin’; maybe check out Washington Ave. Pier while you’re at it?
>>> Fellow Britpop fiends, take note: The Awesome Fest closes out with a screening of Pulp at Liberty Lands! Yes, THAT Pulp!
>>> Elsewhere: Milkboy 3rd Anniversary continues with The Lawsuits / Mo Lowda & the Humble / Our Griffins (the best show of the bunch, IMHO); Ron Gallo / The Bernhardt Family Band / TJ Kong at Bourbon & Branch; and Guitar Army at The Barbary.
>>> “The Polido Social Club is a weekly hang out of sunset riverside explorations curated by a revolving cast of tropical taste makers. ‘Polido’ is a term Portuguese folks use for polite, polished, sleek, and smooth ~ which is exactly the type of evening vibe the social club wants you to feel.” Well, shit, we’re sold. At Morgan’s Pier. Polido!
>>> And finally, the ICA@50 Closing Party with Bardo Pond and more.
RECOMMENDED: If Fela Kuti did not exist, it is but a paltry hope that someone somewhere would have invented him. The legendary Afrobeat pioneer/political activist/formidable rake was put onto a new generation and a wider audience in general thanks to the popular musical bearing his name a few years back, but Finding Fela aims to paint a more realistic portrait. It will be thrilling and wild nonetheless. Director Alex Gibney culls together historical footage and new interviews alike (including noted Fela fan Questlove) to tell a story of not just this most legendary of musical pioneers, but also the political climate in which he existed that drove him to activism, imprisonment, hedonism and, most wonderfully, pure creativity.
ALSO NEW IN THEATERS THIS WEEK: The Giver starring Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Alexander Skarsgård and Katie Holmes in an adaptation of Lois Lowry‘s novel about a utopia gone wrong; Land, Ho!, a road/buddy movie starring Paul Eenhoorn and Earl Lynn Nelson about two old codgers touring Iceland and trying to get over the past; A Five Star Life, an Italian number starring Margherita Buy as a luxury hotel critic whose personal circumstances grow ever more uncomfortable; and The Expendables 3, the latest in Sylvester Stallone‘s old fart action franchise.
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.
On last night’s Garfunkel & Oates, the girls discovered there was a porn parody of themselves out there called “Garfinger & Butts.” Naturally, they went to the nearest dildo shop, where they ran into this guy. And ‘lo, there was laughter, as well as the realization that, you know, a few left turns, and this is how it could have gone for Oates. There but for the grace of God go all of us.
We’ve been telling you about Pier 53, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation’s transformation of an old pier into a new park, for a little while now — well, actually, since 2010. But today brings great news: It’s open! The park, at Washington Ave and
Columbus Blvd. Delaware Ave., sits on the former site of of the city’s immigration station and the nation’s first Navy Yard, and this morning, Mayor Nutter cut the ribbon on it. Among the park’s features:
· Panoramic views of the Delaware River, Center City and the Benjamin Franklin and Walt Whitman bridges
· An on-grade path allowing visitors to reach the tip of the pier and touch the water
· An elevated boardwalk allowing visitors to pass over wetland habitat below
· “Land Buoy.” a striking 55’ spire by artist Jody Pinto that allows visitors to climb a 16’ spiral staircase to a platform that allows for views up and down the river. The Land Buoy also emits a soft blue light, acting as a beacon and an invitation, and recalling the pier’s history as Philadelphia’s immigration station. (See our previous post on this.)
· Ecological enhancements including intertidal and riparian plantings, and innovative stabilization methods
· Sensitivity to the historical context by repurposing some of the materials of the site (both natural and man-made) into new park elements, including furnishings and a gateway marker at the intersection of Columbus Boulevard and Washington Avenue announcing the entry point to the park.
· Interpretive signage relating the site’s history as the nation’s first navy yard and an immigration station where over 1 million entered the US.
You can see more images of the completed park here, or better yet: Go see it for yourself! It’s a beautiful day.
Pier 53, Complete With Glowing Land Buoy, To Open On Aug. 15th
[Photo: Douglas Bovitt]
Earlier this week, we engaged you with a question that veteran Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky himself first posed: Is he, Byko, a bigot? In this case, he was referring to his own positions on immigration in a recent column; but for those of us who’ve had to endure the man for however long, Byko’s flippant question seemed like an opportunity to revisit years of the man saying just the shittiest, shittiest things about every stripe of human under the sun. (And don’t give us that, “But I’m racist against everybody so how can I be a racist!” guff, buddy: for this is the age-old canard of all actual racists.)
For our part, we ran a poll just asking the question, and as of this writing, 73% of voters say yes, Byko is a bigot, with the rest of the voters clowning him for being an old, shitty bigot. But polls can be tricky things: For one, we didn’t give voters too many options — the poll was more an exercise/gag than anything else. For another, hardly anyone voted because Real People do not, have not, and will not ever care about media-on-media shenanigans. Far more convincing on the matter of Byko’s brokedick campaign of hate is the proof dredged up in the Storify below, compiled by activist Helen Gym, who asked folks on Twitter for some of their (least) favorite Byko lowlights. What you’re about to see is stunning in its banality. (more…)
August 14, 2014
You may have seen the photo that the Philadelphia Daily News tweeted last night along with the caption “Tomorrow’s front page”. You may even be among the many dozens who tweeted back urging them not to run it. Really, if you pay attention to Philadelphia’s online news network at all, you’re aware that the Daily News were ready to run a sensational front-page photo that depicted protesters as inflammatory, out-of-control upstarts along with their cover story on the events in Ferguson, and that Twitter responded thus:
If you’ve been paying attention today, you know that the DN quickly responded to this feedback and ran a second edition of today’s paper with a different photo on the front page, and that editor Mike Days himself logged in to the DN Twitter account to address the firestorm that befell them in response to their first choice:
The story of Michael Brown and the situation in Ferguson have stimulated serious and heated conversation about media presentation of police violence and the victims of police violence. You can follow this ongoing conversation by watching the #IfTheyGunnedMeDown hashtag.
That the DN were initially inclined to contribute to the trend of irresponsible and incendiary media response to national crisis is regrettable. That they were able, thanks to social media, to be shown and to see the error of their ways and adjust their coverage accordingly, is important. If this is a step toward media being able to work harder and more quickly to better represent the opinions, the feelings, and the needs of the many — if it’s a step in the right direction — it’s a small one. But if it’s at least a small step, let’s hope it’s the first of many.
In the meantime, if these events have impacted you and you’d like to make it known that they have, go to Love Park tonight to gather for the National Moment of silence for Mike Brown.
To summarize the story in one sentence: Charles Bonfante III, a personal injury attorney and founding member of Pink cover band Funhouse, named for Pink’s fifth album, is suing singer Collette McLafferty, formerly of Philadelphia, for almost $10 million in damages that she must now try to raise via this indiegogo campaign, for contributing to the band as a hired vocalist after Bonfante quit due to a falling out with his co-founder, citing in his 112-page complaint that, in addition to profiting off of his cover band idea, she is not, in his opinion, young or hot enough to look the part. Does that sentence confuse you? Why, because the amount seems totally unreasonable? Because the grounds seem totally unreasonable? Because its syntactic construction is a little ornate? Sorry about that last one. Point is, a cover band is not an original idea in the first place. We’re not lawyers over here, but come on, can you really sue someone for stealing your idea to steal someone else’s ideas?
CORRECTION: This article initially stated that Charles Bonfante III was Pink’s ex-drummer. Charles Bonfante has never had any affiliation, musical or otherwise, with Pink. The article also initially stated that Collette McLafferty had joined Funhouse as a member. Collette McLafferty was hired to contribute vocals to Funhouse, but she did not join the band as a member. We apologize for this mistake.
The neon arms race on 9th & Passyunk is beginning to escalate, it seems. Photos have surfaced of the sign that Pat’s Steaks are putting up today, as owner Frank Olivieri said with regard to Pat’s competitor Geno’s Steaks, “just to make them a little crazy.” Since this is the first time Pat’s is putting up a new sign in the 84 years since its opening, we’re game to watch the competition play out. As long as it doesn’t interfere with nearby land and air traffic.
A key write-in from a reader with an eye for key commentary:
This Spruce Hill statue of author Charles Dickens and Little Nell Trent, the character Dickens immortalized in his novel The Old Curiosity Shop, sends an antiquated message with which residents of West Philadelphia are none too comfortable. As the spot-on social critic we have to thank for the above image may or may not know, and as the statue’s sculptor Francis Edwin Eldwell obviously chose to ignore, Dickens’ will forbade anyone from constructing any monument in his honor. He definitely did not sign off on a likeness depicting him in an imperious pose on a high pedestal above one of his female characters.
Historic Germantown, home to the site of Philadelphia’s one Revolutionary War battle and one of the only houses on the underground railroad that still stands, has just announced that Trapeta B. Mayson will join the organization as Executive Director. An established resident of Germantown, a former project manager for the Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change, departmental Vice President at the Please Touch Museum, and Supervisor at the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, Trapeta is, in a word, qualified. She is also a published poet and the recipient of a 2002 Pew Fellowship. Known as “Freedom’s Backyard”, Historic Germantown encompasses a lot of local, state and national history for one executive to manage. Luckily, it sounds like Trapeta’s used to managing a lot.
Governor Corbett and seventeen other state and local Pennsylvania politicians just signed a statement demanding that The Discovery Channel cease production of Amish Mafia, the hit reality show that chronicles the lives of a group of criminals operating in Lancaster County. The statement alleges that the show offers an unrealistic and offensive presentation of the lives of Amish people, who in real life are peaceful and nonviolent. The characters on Amish Mafia are hardly peaceful or nonviolent. They are also hardly Amish. They are also hardly people. The language they use (not Pennsylvania Dutch, the actual way they use the English language), the heists they run and the interpersonal conflicts they deal with episode by episode are clearly the stuff of fiction, and not realistic fiction. The Pennsylvania Amish community and the Mayor of Lancaster, who also signed the statement, have good reason to be upset. Whether this is the issue that most urgently demands the governor’s immediate attention is another question.
Looks like maybe the imbroglio surrounding the proposed $2 cigarette tax for education funding and the continuing ambiguity as to when and from where this funding will come has finally caught the attention of the people at the top. We’re talking, of course, about Beyonce. #BeyGOOD, Bey’s charity organization, and STATE bags have teamed up to deliver new school supplies, including these super crisp #BeyGOOD backpacks, to 2000 students returning to school in the fall in six cities including Philadelphia. #BeyGOOD will also hold a pep rally to support local organizations in Philly (because pep rallies are the thing these days) on August 27th at the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia. Forget Harrisburg. Bey, it’s you. You’re the one we need.
Ok. For a while, we weren’t paying Mo’Ne Davis the attention she deserved, but in the past couple of days, we got our act together and embraced Mo’Ne as our idol, our savior, and the wind beneath our wings. Now that we have, if anyone gets in her way with a despicable interview question, we’re ready to tear him a new one. You can watch the video above and hear the question for yourself, but we won’t repeat it here. Suffice to say that Eric Bolling of Fox & Friends doesn’t realize that a thirteen-year-old girl can be not only a baseball player but a baseball icon. Well, get used to it, buddy, she is. And she’s our icon. Strike you out? Dude, we hope she punches you out.
Everyone knows that Fox are not exactly the standard of journalistic integrity or humility. They’ve taken cheap, cheap shots in the past at people who didn’t deserve it. We cringed, but we didn’t shoot back. But now they’ve taken a shot at Mo’Ne. And we can’t stand for that. Because, Fox, you have freedom of the press like the rest of us, and that’s an ironclad law, and we’ll defend it to the death, even for you. But there’s another ironclad law we’ll defend to the death: You. Do. Not. Fuck. With. Mo’Ne. Davis.
That’s right y’all. His Holiness, The Bishop of Rome, The Absolute Sovereign, Pope Francis has publicly stated, or at least dropped the vaguest possible hint of, his interest in visiting Philadelphia. As you may remember, we posted a few times a few months back about the possibility of a papal visit, or, more specifically, Governor Corbett and Mayor Nutter‘s initially botched attempt to secure a papal visit. But now we are seeing that all of these shenanigans may have actually paid off some? Who knows, maybe it was the Pope Francis #1 jersey, maybe it was Nutter’s monster press release singing the Pope’s and our praises, maybe history’s coolest Pope really does want to hit Federal Donuts. In any case, for now, we at least have a softly whispered Italian “yes”.
It’s getting to be that time of year again. Back-to-school? No. Back-in-time. The Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia is bringing another Philadelphia 19th c. Base-Ball Exhibition & Fair to the Navy Yard September 6-7. Once again, you’ll be able to see entire teams of hardcore baseball/history nerds go at it in period attire with period gear. We’ve all got plenty of time to experience the future of baseball thanks to Mo’ne Davis. For one weekend only, go experience baseball’s past in all of its ridiculously mustachioed glory.
August 13, 2014
That’s right. The mastermind behind LCD Soundsystem and the guy who played the friend in The Comedy will be playing a DJ set at Morgan’s pier, as he has every year since the venue’s opening, on September 13th. Another night with JM by the water at a massive outdoor bar for $10? Do it.
When the big concert in your city is One Direction and Five Seconds of Summer at the Lincoln Financial Field, you might want to figure out something else to do. Here are a few places to start the search:
>>> Nerd Nite, which, although you might think it sounds off-putting based on its branding, should offer a perfect combination of affordable happy hour prices and top-notch highbrow presentations on contemporary topics including evolutionary biology and performance-enhancing drugs. Frankford Hall at 7:30 PM. As they put it: “Be there and be square.”
>>> You can also hit up Jose Pistola’s for yet another Evening With Tom Waits courtesy of TJ Kong.
>>> You can also… well, okay, if you really want to see One Direction, we can’t blame you. Hits are hits. Maybe you’ll see us there. Siiiiiiike!
Ron Tomalis, former Pennsylvania Education Secretary and current education advisor to Governor Tom Corbett, has resigned from his post, effective in two weeks. In the fifteen months for which he worked as education advisor to Governor Corbett, Tomalis’ achievements included working primarily from home, occupying an office that was outfitted with a nameplate bearing his name only a day before an ABC affiliate visited for an interview for which he wasn’t present, and sending a confirmed 5 work-related emails. Frequently referred to as a “ghost employee” by the media, Tomalis was under scrutiny for months leading up to his resignation for receiving a six-figure salary that appeared to be bankrolling a permanent vacation. As education secretary, Tomalis was also unpopular due to his lack of an education background and his apparent resultant cluelessness. Tomalis’ statement of resignation answers none of the questions raised about the position from which he is resigning. It does, however, announce that he’s looking for work.