August 25, 2014

Watch The Taney Dragons On The Today Show Now, Make Parade Plans For Wednesday Later

Yon Taney Dragons went on the Today show with Matt Lauer this morning, as part of a full press junket they’re in the middle of. This was awesome and cute, but what we’re really stoked for is the parade this Wednesday. Details are still being worked out, but we’ll share them as soon as we get them.

Slideshow: Diner En Noir, 8/21/14

Created with flickr slideshow.

In the great Diner Wars of 2014, we here at Philebrity are proud to have backed Diner En Noir, which went down last Thursday night at Penn Treaty Park. And a good time was had by all, and more than that, too: As a result of the efforts of the event’s creators and over 300 attendees, funds and awareness alike were raised for both Philabundance and the Friends of Penn Treaty Park. We’re waiting on an official tally later this week, but in the meantime, check out the photos above.

[Photos: Gregg Simms]

August 21, 2014

Weekend Picks: No One Is To Blame


>>> Fans of great music/impressive beards owe it to themselves to catch Pattern Is Movement tonight at the final Spruce Street Harbor Park concert of the year. Joining the lads is Moon Bounce, and it’s free. These are all good things.

>>> Diner en Noir. Obvs.

>>> Want to peep on dead hunks but not willing to commit to full-on necrophilia? If so, head on over to Laurel Hill Cemetery for their Hotties of Laurel Hill: Dead, Gone & Extremely Handsome event. Wait, what?


>>> Real talk: Every time we hear Howard Jones‘ “No One Is To Blame” (featured above) we are instantly thrown back into middle school. Count on more nostalgic time travel from the Retro Futura 2014 Tour at the Keswick, featuring Jones alongside of fellow 1980s hitmakers Tom Bailey (the Thompson Twin now gone solo), Katrina (without The Waves), China Crisis (whatever) and Ultravox’s Midge Ure (ohhhhh Viennnnaaaaa).

>>> If the above concert isn’t enough of a time warp for you, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is screening at midnight at Ritz at the Bourse. Features a live “shadowcast” by Philly’s Transylvania Nipple Productions. Yes friends, Rocky Horror is still going strong. Somehow we think The Perks Of Being a Wallflower is to thank/blame.

>>> Oakland, California’s Hieroglyphics comes to TLA, featuring Del the Funky Homosapien (who also founded the hip-hop collective).

>>> The Smiths Social hits the Troc. Expect lots and lots of complaining about World Peace Is None of Your Business.


>>> THE SLEEPER HAS AWAKENED. We’re all really excited about David Lynch‘s PAFA exhibition next month, so we plan on prepping ourselves for that wonderment by catching a screening of Dune at International House. (It’s better than its reputation suggests). Presented by Exhumed Films, the weirdo flick is the second half of a 1984 sci-fi double feature that also includes the equally underrated Star Trek III: The Wrath of Khan. These will be presented in their original 35mm format. Yes.

>>> Office Space and South Park are some of the least sexy things we can think of, so it’s going to be fascinating to see how Miss Rose turns the properties into a Mike Judge/Matt Stone and Trey Parker-themed burlesque show at PhilaMOCA.

>>> The Victoria Freehouse is hosting a Doctor Who premiere party. So, you know, nerds.

>>> Philadelphia Flea Markets invade The Kimmel Center for a day of browsing, shopping and endless Portlandia sketch material.


>>> A Night of Short Films XI at the Troc showcases some great noirish indie shorts from the likes of Philly’s M. Sean McManus and Spain’s Rubin Stein.

>>> It’s a slow Sunday in August. There’s not too much going on, so why not just throw on some Ride or Kitchens of Distinction, sit in air conditioning and so some reading. We’ve been meaning to revisit Vonnegut’s Galapagos, and we just might do that. Maybe you should as well.

Chris Cummins


Happy Trails to KYW’s Harry Donahue

For the past 41 years, Harry Donahue has been as much of a part as KYW Newsradio 1060 as the station’s fake teletype machine sound effects. (Always with the clackety clacketing). With his trademark deep voice and no nonsense approach to reporting the news, Donahue has become that increasingly rare thing: A Philly media treasure. So it hurts that much more that we’re losing him.  On Friday, Donahue will do his last shift at KYW before retiring, checking off one more box on the list of great veteran reporters who are leaving us to deal with the cold news of the day by ourselves. From CBS Philly/KYW:

“When I was hired at KYW, I couldn’t believe it,” Donahue said recently.  “It was, and remains, the preeminent radio station in Philadelphia.  I’ve done what I always wanted to do. To work in my hometown and having been part of this iconic radio station -– it just doesn’t get any better.”

Donahue began waking up the Delaware Valley on KYW Newsradio 35 years ago, and was the primary anchor for coverage of some of the region’s biggest news stories, including the mass conducted by Pope John Paul on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and championship celebrations for both the Phillies and the 76ers.  He covered two Super Bowl appearances by the Eagles. Donahue was also on the air during Philadelphia’s first violent confrontation with the group MOVE and during the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Good luck Harry, and thanks for all your diligent work. You will be missed indeed. Related: We don’t even want to think about the day Jim Gardner retires.

Chris Cummins


The Taney Dragons Loss To Las Vegas Won’t Stop Fans And It Won’t Stop The Taney Dragons

The Taney Dragons suffered a hard loss to their LLWS opponents from Las Vegas Nevada last night, giving up eight runs despite Mo’Ne Davis’ six strikeouts. Mo’Ne also hit a run that fans hoped would begin a rally, but Vegas brought in a pitcher with enough heat to stop the Dragons where they were.

It was tough to watch, but the Dragons were gracious on Twitter, and their followers were not disheartened, retweeting and favoriting by the hundreds. The Dragons aren’t superhuman, and they can’t and won’t win every game, but what is almost supernatural is their ability to draw unanimously positive media attention no matter what they do. You already know how we feel about Mo’Ne Davis, but we are really, really far from being the only ones. Last night’s game on ESPN was the highest-rated in LLWS history, and drew 10 times as many viewers as the Angels/Red Sox game. As history has proven, you can win the popular vote even if you lose the election.

We’re standing firm behind the Dragons, and we urge — demand — that you do as well. They’re playing tonight at 7:30 against Jackie Robinson West from Chicago. If you make it out to the bar to support, you might see us there, screaming and making fools of ourselves. But we’re pretty sure we won’t be alone.


Giovanni’s Room To Reopen As Nonprofit Thrift Store Oct. 10th

You may remember us posting last month about the Giovanni’s Room possibly reopening. The word is in. Philadelphia AIDS Thrift (PAT) will be opening Philadelphia AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room on October 10th. The new store will sell LGBT literature and thrift clothing at the Giovanni’s Room storefront on 12th and Pine stocked with 2,000 LGBT-related titles to sell for proceeds to donate to AIDS Fund. It won’t be the same Giovanni’s Room, but at least they’re not gutting the building and turning it into a Starbucks.

Councilman Bobby Henon “Spinning” Out Of Control

Today’s perfect storm of white idiocy comes to you from Councilman Bobby Henon, who will be “spinning” tonight for Philly Play at T.G.I.Fridays as “DJ Hizzle”. Henon, who, despite the fact that he is an elected public official, obviously has no idea that race is the most pressing issue in the collective public consciousness right now, tweeted the above photo last night to promote the event. Maybe he thought that playing a DJ set at the address “1776 Ben Franklin Pkwy.” would make him look more patriotic? Actually, it just makes him look more retrograde.

Larry Elder Freaks Out At Marc Lamont Hill On CNN And The Whole Thing Is Just Really Sad

University of Pennsylvania alum Marc Lamont Hill appeared opposite conservative radio host Larry Elder yesterday to debate issues in America of race, violence, and (briefly) mental health on CNN, Salon reports. Moderator Brooke Baldwin opened the debate with a question about the mental health of young men of color, asserting that the issue is rarely discussed. Hill offered a perfectly cogent answer, to which Elder responded with a mini-rant about the tendency among black Americans to focus on racism as a predominant issue in America. To watch an American person of color tell American people of color not to worry about racism in America is pretty bizarre, but the world of conservative radio and the people who populate it are pretty bizarre. After Elder becomes defensive and angry with Hill for continuing to try to discuss the problem of racism in the context of violence against unarmed black men, the video becomes harder and harder to watch. Luckily, Hill is used to handling conservative bullshit on the air without losing face:

Noontime Nuggetz: We’re Three For All

They’re no Philadelphia: Get to Know Us or Passion for Fashion — both of which remain the high-water mark for local jingles — but these above ads from KYW’s 1979 3 For All ad campaign feature real Philly folks (as well as the occasional Lena Dunham lookalike) singing brutally off key. There’s some glimpses at places long gone here, as well as a general feel of what the city was like back in ’79. Does anyone know the name of the bar featured in the second clip here? Wherever it is/was, we want to hang there immediately.

Chris Cummins


#dinerenblanc Spot BLOWN! Philly Police Blog Reveals DEB Location, Can’t Cover Tracks Faster Than We Can Follow


We’re not saying for sure, but it looks like Diner en Blanc will be on the gross median strip at Broad and Pine. An anonymous tipper we’re going to have to buy at least a few rounds had the ingenuity to google “diner en blanc broad pine” and found more than we ever could have hoped. Our new heroes @PhillyPolice, who are way better at keeping the city abreast of possible traffic than keeping a secret, put up a traffic advisory for Diner en Blanc yesterday stating “…an event will be held on Broad Street between Pine Street and Chestnut Street.” The post on the Philly Police blog has mysteriously been removed, but if you get your search terms right this language is still on the internet for your eyes, and all eyes, to see. So, if you want, head down to UArts or the Philly DoubleTree Hilton or Sumo Sushi tonight, and you may very well be in or around the vicinity of Diner en Blanc. But no matter where DEB turns out to be, trust us, Diner en Noir will be the move tonight.

Readers Cameraphone: Hey, That’s My Bike!

A mystery-finding reader writes:

One is on the river by Morgans Pier, the other at 15th & Locust. I always like to say that September in Philadelphia means two things: the leaves will change colors and college students will get their bikes stolen. But I can’t figure out how/why the tires are still secured.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in our years of city life it’s to never underestimate bike thieves. They are magic. Maybe the owners of these now unfortunate bicycles should get together with this guy.

Previously: Readers Cameraphone: Yo, We’ve Got A Bike Theft In Progress At 9th & Christian!

Chris Cummins

Breaking: City Ends Lap Dance Tax Efforts

Our long local nightmare is over. Or something. Why? Because the city has decided to abandon their efforts to tax, wait for it, lap dances. CBS Philly reports:

The Nutter Administration has decided not to appeal a July ruling by Common Pleas Judge Ellen Ceisler, who threw out the lap dance tax. City officials confirmed the decision not to appeal but had no further comment. In the past, Administration officials had contended that the Revenue Department’s decision to seek back taxes on lap dances was appropriate under the amusement tax.

There’s much more info on the nuts and bolts of this decision at the link above, but the real take away here is that you are free to enjoy your lap dances without fear of having to pay more from them. MAKE IT RAIN. In the meantime, this little ditty suddenly seems that much more relevant.

Chris Cummins

August 20, 2014

This Evening: Bears, Spiders and Mormons

>>> Bear in Heaven, a group whose members remain, sadly, not nearly hirsute enoug given their name, hits Johnny Brenda’s, with support from Weeknight and Young Magic.

>>> The raucous garage rock of Merge Records’ Spider Bags hits Boot and Saddle tonight. Say what you will about their music, but you’ve got to admit their name is the most indie rock name to come along in some time.

>>> Already seen The Book of Mormon? Then for a different take on the religion, check out Steven Fales’ Confessions of a Mormon Boy. Part of the ongoing GayFest, the one-man show (which opens tonight for the first of five performances at the Adrienne) chronicles Fales’ experiences with sex, drugs and being ex-communicated from the church.

Chris Cummins

Awesome Fest Summer Camp Sleepover Comes Back To Town For Another Night Of Anything Goes Horror

Last year, on Friday, September 13th, The Awesome Fest took over Adventureland Day Camp in Bensalem for an all-day, all-night horror movie marathon, including a screening of the apropos Friday the 13th and Philadelphia premieres of a few summer horror gems. This year, Friday falls on the 12th, but that’s not stopping Awesome Fest from hosting their second annual Summer Camp Sleepover. This year’s lineup of screenings includes Jason Lives: Friday The 13th Part VI and Pumpkinhead, as well as Philadelphia premieres of Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead and Wolfcop. Just like last year, the event is BYOB and T (Tent) and offers a host of summer camp activities to finish your summer right. We’ve got to hand it to Awesome Fest for having the insight two years in a row to bring together all of the best parts of summer camp and combine them with beer.

FringeArts Is Hosting Three Weeks Of Totally Sick And Totally Free Late Night Events As Part Of 2014 Fest

1.FringeArts_CHRISTEENE & The Boyz

Back in June, when FringeArts released the first rough overview of their 2014 festival, centered this year at their new permanent headquarters on Delaware and Race, we were pretty stoked. Now the festival’s three week program of late-night music, comedy, theater, and whatever else can’t be squeezed into those categories, has been released, and we couldn’t be more stoked. In addition to the previously announced premieres from Pig Iron Theatre Company, New Paradise Laboratories and the Pennsylvania Ballet, you can also now officially look forward with absolutely no patience to opening night performances on Sept. 5th from Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret and members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and then a parade of other events featuring Dennis Diamond and Daryl Hannah, Christeene, Mary Beiser, Champagne Jerry, Doll Parts, and too many more to name. Also, all of the late night performances are free. Don’t make any plans to go away for the late summer holidays. You are fucking booked.

Department of That E-Mail Your Mom Just Sent: The Purge: Philadelphia Is Not A Thing

Sigh. NBC 10 (from which the above image originates) is being uncharacteristically non-fear mongering by debunking the current Twitter rumor that a real-life version of the movie The Purge — in which all crimes, especially murder, are legal for a brief period — will be happening in Philadelphia this Friday night. So if you’ll just humor us for a second while we play Snopes, this is just the latest lame urban legend sweeping the stupidity prone nether depths of social media, so fear not. It’s safe to go out this Friday. Well, about as safe as it always is anyway. So go ahead and tell your folks that it’s cool for them to go to Kohl’s on Friday like they had planned.

– Chris Cummins

The Ebola Bucket Challenge Is The Bucket Challenge That Challenges Bucket Challenges

Ordinary people and high-powered celebrities all over the internet have been embracing the Ice Bucket Challenge as a way to raise awareness about ALS (Lou Gherig’s Disease) and contribute to a collaborative viral video campaign. Dissenters all over the internet have embraced the popularity of the Ice Bucket Challenge as an opportunity to level criticisms against those who have chosen to publicly make light of an issue that drastically affects the real lives of countless people. Philadelphia comedians, almost all of whom are neither high-powered celebrities nor ordinary people, have chosen to respond in the way of Philly comedians: with an extremely dry and dark joke that refuses to directly engage with the issues that the Ice Bucket Challenge illuminates while also calling out and burning those who refuse to directly engage with the issues that the Ice Bucket Challenge illuminates. Participants in the “Ebola Bucket Challenge” raise awareness about the Ebola virus, and about viral (no pun) social media campaigns that both raise and misdirect awareness about deadly diseases, by refilling a Brita filter, chugging a beer, and pretending to accidentally contract Ebola. At the moment, they’re not raising the money that the Ice Bucket Challenge is raising, but at least their bucket challenge has the name of the disease it’s trying to combat as a part of its title.

This Year The PA Election Will At Least Have A New Website

The office of City Commissioner Al Schmidt has just launched a website called, in an effort toward better election transparency and voter outreach. The website provides resources and data for voters, candidates, election officials and researchers who want to investigate registration, voting options, polling activity and etc. While it might seem like a no-brainer to put up a website offering information for prospective voters about basics like elected officials and election dates, there aren’t actually too many counties with a comprehensive online hub of voting resources for the public. Transparency hasn’t exactly been the name of the game in past state elections, as the City Commissioner’s office are clearly aware. Will an online map of polling stations do anything to address Pennsylvania’s history of election fraud? Maybe not. But, like The Wire‘s Jimmy McNulty, we at Philebrity are just happy to be in the 20th century.

Noontime Nuggetz: That Time Don Polec Rode An Ostrich

Seeing how the current news cycle is intent on convincing us that we are all well and truly fucked, the need for fluffy human interest reports is greater than ever. So where, local news progams, are your Don Polecs and Grover Silcoxes? Yes friends, there’s no room for mustached reporters spewing wackiness amidst all the nihilistic hellfire that is the media right now, so allow us to don our Get Off My Lawn persona for a second and reminisce about the “good old days” when men could ride ostriches at the Spectrum for the enjoyment of thousands. Jesus. Still, Don Polec, we miss you more than we knew.

– Chris Cummins

Places We Can’t Understand: Elegance by Edythe

Located deep in the cream dried beef-encrusted heart of Northeast Philly — which, truth be told, is the original Place We Can’t Understand — is a mysterious department store known as Elegance by Edythe. Writing on the well-kept brickface outside proudly exclaims that the establishment is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, an admittedly impressive feat given today’s brutal retail environment. Yet each year the building closes for most of the summer, and the awning-covered windows often seem dark and/or emblazoned with signs making unverifiable claims like “Fall Starts Here.” What little online presence Elegance by Edythe has seems equally baffling. Potential shoppers can learn that the store specializes in high-end women’s sportswear…annnnddd that’s pretty much it, aside from some residual confusion by would-be shoppers as to when the place is actually open.

We’ve never been so bold to step inside it’s doors, but for that there is good reason. You see in our minds, the shop marks the last remnants of bygone retail era in which employees fight a losing battle in the war between couture and Iggles jerseys. This hub of, well, elegance could very well be the department store where Luke and Laura once danced the night away while on the run from the mob. (Or, at the very least, that shop from The Twilight Zone where the mannequins all came to life). We would be crushed if we entered its doors and found out that there was no such stateliness to be found.

Questions remain: How does such a Saville Row-esque destination survive in Northeast Philly? Is the whole place just a block-long ghost of a better, forgotten past? Or is it a reminder of what the Curiously De-Feminized Women of the Northeast should aspire too?  We may never know. What is clear that is if there is still an Edythe out there toiling away in her vast Bustleton Avenue storefront we would like to salute her for fighting the good fight. Whatever exactly that is.

Previously: Places We Can’t Understand: The P.J. Whelihan’s Wells Fargo Center Smoke Dome

Is there a Place You Can’t Understand in Philly? Some nook or cranny that makes no sense whatsoever? Let us know about it at tips[at]philebrity[dot]com.

– Chris Cummins