Blown coverage

Image | Gerd Altmann

It’s the first week of August. You’re busy gasping for air, pulling down your masks in the humidity. Who could concentrate or express themselves, broadly, beyond thought bubbles through this heat? With this hottest month, then, it’s time for A.D.’s short attention span theater, and a bunch of short hard jabs, wonky random observations and rude news blips. 

Why so little coverage? 

So, was it me or did the Philly Inquirer avoid any real, deep reporting on last week’s angrily tragic intentional hit-and-run that found one Steak 48 mother-of-three, Adriana Moreno-Sanchez, dead, and a handful of others horribly wounded? I knew more from Inky’s front pages about COVID-kids going to back to school (yawn), spiking local tornado counts (double yawn, who doesn’t leave a room when someone boringly espouses extensively on rain and wind), and the mess of Sixers Ben Simmons and Daryl Morey (triple yawn, mega ugh) than the depths of the depravity that was that hit-and-run. Actually very few outlets and writers I would’ve expected to hear from had anything to say about this, save for 6ABC’s Dan Cuellar’s live and doggedly on-the-case reporting. So, why so little news of this beyond Action News? If the cops and those in psychiatric care dropped the ball on the guy who did the killing, why don’t we know this?

Now hiring 

Since it was Montco police who caught the driver in the Steak 48 murder, it is weirdly interesting to note that Montgomery County’s Correctional Facility and its Department of Human Resources just announced they’re seeking qualified applicants for correctional officer jobs. Is Montco here to buck the defund-the-police trend?

Simmons’ trade price 

Going backward to speak on Ben Simmons (yeah, I know what I just said), and maybe Sixers’ owner Michael Rubin: the top ticket asking price that you’re looking for in trading Simmons to the Spurs or the Warriors (rumored in sports circles to be four, first-round picks, three pick swaps, and a young player in exchange for Simmons). Sixers front office, you do know Ben’s on the losing side of bozo, that the reason you’re getting rid of him is because he blows (or at least blows in Philly) and cost us a title? You’re going to be lucky if you get four good tires for him.

Meek Mill lobbies Senate

Now, I would normally call on Philly’s Meek Mill to pull out his pal card with 76ers owner Rubin, help out here, and bring some sense to the trade. But Millie is actually smartly busy in an activist, socio-political sense with his calling on the U.S. Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to bring about criminal justice reform at the national level through the “Protect Our People” campaign. Uninterrupted and More Than A Vote, both started by LeBron James, numbers among its members such luminaries as WNBA baller Natasha Cloud, Kevin Hart, dog killer Michael Vick, and OH WTF Ben Simmons. C’mon, man.

Great start for pitcher 

Quick slide from b-ball to baseball to welcome pitcher Kyle Gibson to the mound, especially since he made a strong Phillies debut in his weekend 15-4 win over the Pirates. He reminds me of another Phillies classic thrower, Hall of Famer Jim Bunning – the pitching and his baseball unionizing innovations, hopefully not all of his politics.

No Boss rest stop 

NJ isn’t just for cops who are pissed off they can’t stop the underage drinkers hanging around the bars in its shore towns. The late likes of James Gandolfini, Celia Cruz, Frank Sinatra and Whitney Houston, along with Jon Bon Jovi, Connie Chung, Toni and Judy Blume – New Jersey-ans all – got their roses last week with a series of Jersey Turnpike-approved Garden State Parkway rest stops. Atza nize. Then again, why no Springsteen? Now that he’s on Broadway and writing books with Obama, is he too good for a rest stop?

Comcast profit spikes 

Along with its plan to feature real-time Olympic footage into commercials during an Olympics no one watched anyway (with an expected high rate of profit despite athlete dropouts and twisties), Philly’s fave cabler, Comcast saw a massive Q2 profit rise due to huge sales of its broadband services (and yet, their phones are for shit) and a quick rebound in business at NBCUniversal. Good for Brian Roberts, David L. Cohen & Co. Now, make those bundling packages better, would you?

New music 

In preparation for his Pink Moon tour (he’ll hit Philly’s TLA in November), soft, but swaggering Philly nu-soul lion Pink Sweat$ just teamed up with the equally swaggering but soft IV Jay for a steamy new track “Vibrate” and its swell, corresponding video. “Vibrate” is the first song from IV’s upcoming EP, executive produced by Pink Sweat$, who also got tagged as a co-writer on her previous 5TH ELEMENT EP.

Tony Luke Jr. album 

The 2300 Arena finally hosted a party the other day for sous vide sandwich king, actor and singer Tony Luke, Jr. for his debut album “Strong In Broken Places,” which happens to be dedicated to his son, Tony III, who passed away from a heroin overdose four years ago. Raise a glass to the two Tonys. The album was released in June, features a handsome cover of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” and finds its proceeds going to the Sound Mind Network for those struggling with mental health and addiction issues.

Image | Courtesy of Anthony Mauriello

Masked Philly: Anthony Mauriello/Maria TopCatt

In Icepack’s too-long and 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 and new mandates – I reached out this week to drag entertainer Anthony Mauriello, better known as Maria TopCatt. 

This Drag Mafia soldier and the celebrated creator of TopCatt Cabaret, the last Wednesday of every month at Concourse Dance Bar, of course, took some time for self-care and pandemic pausing, some binge watching, and perfecting a few skills, “that I thought I was pretty good at but found room for improvement. Those skills were drinking and eating!,” laughs TopCatt. “Now, I’ve walked A LOT to burn off those extra pounds. I wake up, pop in my earbuds and just walk as far as my feet would take me. Very Forrest Gump of me, I know. I also finally moved into my own place, so painting and decorating a house became skills.”

TopCatt seems iffy about wearing masks. A fave mask was given to the drag doyenne by dear friend and fellow drag colleague Eric Jaffe. “We were at a gig and I really needed a mask for this new outfit because I left the matching mask that I had made at home, and I could NOT put on a mask that didn’t match my outfit AND I really wanted to wear this new really cute outfit that I made specially for this gig! Eric then reaches in their bag and pulls out this mask and hands it to me! It went perfectly with the look, and it was over the top! Queens helping queens, one magical mask at a time.” But, ask TopCatt what will be the fate of the mask going forward, the drag doyenne jokes, “Burn it! I’m kidding! I spent way too much money on them to throw them away. And all of them have different stories attached to them…. I’m just trying to follow the guidance of science! If they say ‘put it on so we can continue to prevent,’ then sure enough I will and I will do it in style!”

Currently, Maria is prepping for the mega-reveal of TopCatt Cabaret, “my biggest lineup yet, with the biggest names I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I am consumed with preparations for that show! Feathers, sequins, fringe, it’s everywhere! But, I have a nice long week planned to unplug from everything and relax… so I’ll just be tumble weeding around and I can’t wait to do nothing.”


  • 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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