Of course the Sixers lost. But you knew that would happen. That Ben Simmons would fail in the fourth quarter. That’s over though. Celebrating towering Sixer Tyrese Maxey and not-so-much Simmons AND definitely not $35,000 man Joel Embiid – no matter what happened with Game 7 – should be a big, bright idea citywide, going forward. Please. Billboards. Top of PECO Building light display. Sandwich specials named after him at Schlesinger’s.
I remind you of this because Philly (or at least its severely shortsighted team managers and owners) have a thing for forgetting the real true heroes of the game, the cats who got the jobs done. Like QB Nick Foles, who actually won a Super Bowl for the Eagles, as opposed to Carson Wentz, who touted his SB ring, and turned into a do-nothing dickwad for most of the rest of his time in Philly. Foles got the big game’s MVP then went on to start only five games the next season. Wentz? He whined until he got traded to the Colts. So, Michael Rubin: make a big thing of Maxey so that he doesn’t pull a Foles and opt out of his contract for lack of play. Leave the bellyaching excuses to Embiid and the lameness to Simmons. (Speaking to my aforementioned point: 6ers coach Doc Waters was a prick for not starting Maxey. Dummy). And remember the words of Deadspin’s Bryan Fonseca, who last week wrote, “The Sixers chose Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and Brett Brown over Jimmy Butler in 2019 and now they’re living with the result.”
Cocktails to-go ends
The close of last weekend’s all-together too-sudden end of to-go cocktails and outdoor-dining drinks in PA (any end to drinking outdoors, really) is not only a kick in the rubber parts to an industry all-but decimated by the pandemic, but just a stupid set of moves when it comes to keeping restaurants busy, profiting and getting their taxes to the state and city’s Caesars. Making cocktails-to-go a permanent fixture, with Gov. Wolf’s hello? I’ll drink to that. Maybe not outdoors, but…
Lucy Dracus music
Virginia native-turned-Philadelphia house hopper Lucy Dracus not only just dropped my single of the summer with “Brando,” she’s also got a shimmering, matching album to go with it, in “Home Video,” and will hang out at Repo Records on June 25 at 5:30 signing copies and hanging tough-but-tenderly. By the way, the Dacus meet-and-greet comes just weeks after Philly expat Michele Zauner’s Japanese Breakfast album release signing and shaking (hands), making Repo THE place to be for indie label industry slogs and snogs and such.
Speaking of Zauner (kind-of) 13th Street Kitchens’ (Kensington Quarters, Prohibition Taproom) Michael and Jeniphur Pasquarello are setting up the Spring Garden neighborhood for the August reopening of Union Transfer (with its handful of sold-out Japanese Breakfast shows), by opening the long-discussed La Chinesca. The Mexicali-inspired restaurant with the SoCal touches and Chinese spices popped its top at the weekend with Nicholas Bazik, (13th Street Kitchens’ culinary CEO) and ex-CookNSolo chef David Goody as La Cinesca’s executive chef.
‘Old’ from M. Night Shyamalan
Anyone keeping track of Philly auteur M. Night Shyamalan’s spring shooting schedule along 22nd & Rittenhouse/Spruce/Pine/Fitler Square for Apple TV+’s “Servant” series should not bother with their usual star fucking or Night sighting this week. During his end-of-Tribeca Film Festival sit-down the other night, Shyamalan stated that this end-of-June week is Hell week for “Old,” his upcoming scary ageing drama as he is looking for its real denouement, what he called “its minor note.” Considering that the show’s tropical holiday horror epic, his first not to be shot in the Philly area, is due to screen in theaters (no streaming for this one, folks) starting July 23, that’s cutting it very close.
More restaurant news
One point lost in the overall coverage, last Friday, of Connie’s Ric Rac closing (end of an era DIY punk rock stuff) and South Philly Barbacoa Christina Martinez and Ben Miller’s takeover of the Ric Rac for the purposes of a liquor license for their lamb tacos and consommé is what would happen to its current hot spot at 1140 S. 9th St., the Ellsworth corner of the Italian Market. Miller told me that rather than get rid of its current home, the twosome was keeping that address as well, and together with their other restaurant, Casa Mexico on the block, would make for one long separate but equal space, and a genuine dynasty expansion, involving tradition and transition. So bully to that.
Masked Philly: Zeek Burse
In Icepack’s 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 and present-day unmasking – I reached out this week to Zeek Burse.
This Philadelphia griot, model and humanitarian is so many things to so many people – an audio, visual and literary artist, often working in an amalgamation of both anthemic and organic expression – that a simple question like “whatareyoudoin” becomes a tree with many limbs yielding multiple fruits.
Come pandemic quarantine, Burse worked his way forward in creating new working and living atmospheres.
“I’ve made my apartment cozy, yet creative” said Burse. “It’s my sanctuary now, having added plants, painted my bedroom white so that I’m greeted by the natural sunlight, every day.” Burse also learned additional skills to further his visual art.
“I created a three-piece multimedia project, one element of the project being a coffee table book, which I’d never done, but spent a good week researching how to create.” This project came as a result of a grant Burse received from Black Music City: to create a piece of art paying homage to a local Black musician.
“We chose Bilal and his song ‘Soul Sista.’ The entire project (music video, photos in the book) were all done on the iPhone12. I learned how to edit both the music video and the photos, and to be clear, this is 32 different women of color having their own photoshoots, at 32 different times at 32 different locations around the city! It was to celebrate the beauty, resilience, strength and courage that they bring to the world.”
Burse’s impression of the mask for C-19 safety, then not wearing one presently, comes with a surprising response. “I knew the day that we’d begin to ‘unmask’ would come… but because I, like so many others, have had ‘always wear a mask’ inundated into our psyche, I’m finding myself having to reassure my inner self, that it’s now safe – to a certain degree – and even relatively common to not wear a mask. It’s a bit of a mind trip. When I first heard we were being encouraged, then required to wear masks, the first thing I thought of was, ‘How am I going to work-out at the gym or sing?’ Perform through that? Then again, I have always been a bit of a germaphobe, so even having to breathe my own air back in fucked with my head a bit. I’m taking the unveiling, depending on the environment, one step at a time.” (Burse’s mask comes courtesy designer Capri Lewis and N-Dowd, ndowd.com)
Along with the upcoming coffee table book, Burse also just partnered with LIFEWTR and Issa Rae, the latter of which has a mini film element to it that he’s producing. “When it comes to how the pandemic changed how I make art… I engulfed myself in knowledge on software and executing things with quality at the forefront, all because of the inability to interact with other creatives, physically. It was either innovate, or get left the fuck behind… and well….. the latter wasn’t and never will be an option for me.”