At the movies

Just when you think we should be nicer and brighter to each other, the closer we come to Christmas, the more the unseasonable (or maybe it’s unreasonable) character flaws in our favorite state and city celebs seem to spewing forth like wicked poison eggnog mixed with flaming hot Cheetos. Is Larry Krasner really suurrrrrrre that this Philadelphia of his isn’t that violent when it comes to gun crime? Are we worried about what acting Pennsylvania Health Secretary Alison Beam knows, secretly, to make her quit the gig so quickly after taking Rachel Levine’s place? (Police Commish Danielle Outlaw certainly wants to get out of here fast. She’s practically on the Acela to NYC now).

Is the money it’ll take having Philly’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, & Sustainability get together with this city’s Office of Innovation and Technology so innovative or cost efficient when all they’re coming up with is a way to reduce delivery trucks unloading their wares? Will the state’s investment of nearly $113 million really make Roosevelt Boulevard safer, or more confusing? How many more services does Councilmember Cherelle L. Parker think Philly-food-delivery companies DoorDash, Grubhub, and UberEats can do for us if they loosen the fee cap? Will UberEats do my laundry or grout my bricks? And seriously, who is calling whom out in Berks that they’re running out of 610 numbers and we need to give that metro area a fresh 835 exchange? Don’t lie to me at Christmas.


Music at Anchor Rock Club

If you haven’t made your way to Atlantic City’s Philly-owned Anchor Rock Club since its opening, Jan. 16 is your best shot, with tickets just going on sale for local alterna guitarist/giant Kurt Vile and Lydia Lunch’s best Philly buds Pissed Jeans hitting the shore live rawk salon in the dead of winter. Yes, it will be freeeeeeeeeezing, but yes, it will be worth the extra layer of clothing.


No worries about Starr

Cool heads prevailing: I have not yet spoken to Stephen Starr about his Starr Restaurant Group selling off a tiny chunk of the operation to Philly’s dreaded evil commercial food hacks at Aramark. Rather than look at it as something tragic, I think not: spitballing here. Starr is a smart guy with a lot of investments in space, staff and security internationally, and needs a righteous infusion of cash as the world is still reeling from nearly two years of COVID. Aramark is looking for respect. I do not in any way expect Starr to allow but one Aramark culinary director or cook anywhere near Morimoto, Buddakan, Serpico, LMNO or any of his hot spots. So relax, Philly fine diners. Starr isn’t serving hot dogs. Yet.


Oscar for Questlove?

So, before you start thinking that you have heard enough of Philly-born Questlove’s directorial debut, “Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” think again. Award season is starting now, and look for The Roots’ rhythmatist to get an Oscar nom. And how didn’t this happen sooner, he is finally set to release a “Summer of Soul” soundtrack in January with its first single, “Sing A Simple Song,” dropping for release this week.


New Shyamalan flick

No word yet as to when its filming will start (even though, as always there is a due date from Universal of Feb. 3, 2023), but it looks as if Philly’s M. Night Shyamalan has a new film prepped to lens somewhere within local city limits, Knock at the Cabin, and that its surely frightening lead has been cast: wrestler turned actor Dave Bautista of Guardians of the Galaxy fame. Shyamalan has been on a streak with Old (2021), Glass (2019), Split (2017) and The Visit (2015), even if the first flick on that list represented M. Night’s first film created outside of the Philly area.


A sad NYE

This might be the saddest New Year’s Eve ever. I ran into Philadelphia DJ/curator/music maker David Pianka, who, for the first time in 20 years, isn’t having some sort of Making Time affair within city limits so to wildly ring in the next year. Too risky to lay out money for additional DJs and venue what with the heightened COVID variant fear. Shame too, as Making Time just celebrated its 21st anniversary back in September with LCD Soundsystem frontperson James Murphy in Fort Mifflin. Sobbing. That said, do not cry for Dave P. He will be spinning in Barcelona for the New Year’s Eve celebration. Book that plane now.


Masked Philly: Philip Search

In Icepack’s way too-long, way overly complex and continuing saga of asking mask-donning local celebrities what they’ve been up to, beyond the pale, during C-19 – from lockdown to the current reopening, present-day unmasking and re-masking, worrying about Delta variants, freaking out about Fauci’s call for a potential third round of vax shots mere five months after the last, new mask and vax card mandates, ignored or not ignored (I mean why did I wait in line at the Convention Center if you’re not asking to see my card?), the possibility of mix-and-matching vaccines which is weird, AND NOW, YEAH OF COURSE, the whole worldwide B.1.1.529 Omicron variant scare, so welcome to ROUND THREE, I reached out this week to Philip Search.

Last week Icepack dropped news on Search’s local enterprise, putting the fish back into Fishtown at the brand new The Fin. But, like everyone else, The Fin’s beverage manager had a lull at COVID’s start that lasted into the variants and quarantines and such. So……… he got to planning.

 Image | Courtesy of Philip Search

“I was working at a new bar concept in Queen Village and suddenly found myself on lockdown without my normal creative outlets,” says Search who, famously, brought his bar curatorial talents to the South Street bar Bahn Mi and Bottles.

“So, I purchased a planer and started building furniture from reclaimed wooden beams I had salvaged from homes that were being remodeled in the Fishtown area. While this was enjoyable, I found myself missing making beverages for other people. As take-out rules changed and to-go drinks became a thing, an interesting opportunity developed; restaurants and bars who made quality cocktails were struggling with translating those same drinks to a format that worked for to-go. I partnered with a longtime industry friend, and for the rest of lockdown we utilized our experience and my knowledge of manufacturing, canning, and food science to help change this. We assisted many popular spots in producing quality, consistent, safe, and delicious canned cocktails. This experience really pushed me to grow in my craft and helped me in setting up the expansive beverage program at The Fin.”

Bringing quality cocktails to the masses: my type of guy.

When it comes to masking and vaxxing, Search digs the comfort of both. “My mask is extremely comfortable, stylish and functional, made by a local artist and given to me by my partner in crime in the canning projects. You can’t go wrong with a blue and gold color palate. I support wearing masks. People seem to miss the difference between getting vaccinated and its purpose and the purpose of a mask. The mask helps slow the transition of the virus, clearly if it’s a proper mask and is worn correctly (the adjustable nose bridge really helps with this). The vaccine boosts our bodies’ ability to fight the virus, less severe symptoms, less death, and hospital resources not being tied up needlessly.”

Along with getting The Fin’s wine program up to 325 wines in total by the spring, as well as its cocktails, set to number 120 by that same time in 2022, Search is focusing on getting The Fin open, now, and planning for a fishy blow out end-of-year soiree.

“New Year’s will be huge,” he says. “So big, in fact, it might be time to retire this mask as my go-to and debut something great for our New Year’s Party at The Fin. I haven’t bartendered or written a New Year’s beverage menu now for two years. That’s exciting too. I can’t wait to start to work on events and special menus a little bit more like old times. It is also just nice to be able to be back behind the bar in person and help launch another major new cocktail destination. I am excited for that and the new year to come.”


    • A.D. Amarosi's Headshot

      A.D. Amorosi is an award-winning journalist who, along with working for the Philadelphia Weekly, writes regularly for Variety, Jazz Times, Flood and Wax Poetics, and hosts and co-produces his own SoundCloud-charting radio show, Theater in the Round for Pacifica National Public Radio station WPPM 106.5 FM and

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