I know, Philadelphia doesn’t seem so singularly important at this exact moment when it’s Delco getting the Emmys (HBO’s “Mare of Eastown” hat trick) and the PA county seat getting the spotlight (for my fellow paisans, yet, first Lou Barletta, now Guy Ciarrocchi) running for governor. Abbondanza.
Want to know why Philly is paling at present? Hubris. Soft-as-pudding Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner has decided that debating his Republican challenger for Nov. 2’s general election for district attorney, Chuck Peruto, is a waste of time, and that the future race was already deep in the bag for the soon-to-be-re-victorious incumbent. Larry, you’re making Philly look worse than it already is when you consider our capital crime rates, and your legendarily lame reactions. (Did he ever even put in an appearance at Pat’s Steaks after two murders? C’mon, man. Show up, at least.) Look, there are a lot of reasons-on-the-regular to not talk to Chuck Peruto. I’ll give you that. But, as a matter of civil discourse and good old-fashioned Philly tawk: do the debate, Larry.
Brooklyn Bowl, Live Nation partnership
This one is RIGHT UNDER THE WIRE – announcing today, first day of autumn: the long-rumored Brooklyn Bowl Philadelphia, the live-venue, pins-knocking new partnership between Brooklyn Bowl and Live Nation. The new Fishtown venue will open Nov. 4 next to the Fillmore Philadelphia and Punch Line Philly, so it’s part of that entertainment complex. And the first night will feature none other than Questlove of The Roots along with the Brooklyn-based B-Bowl’s house band, Soulive with George Porter Jr. of The Meters. The Fishtown Philly Brooklyn Bowl, all 1,000-person capacity, joins other outposts of the BB live venue/bowling joint in Nashville and Vegas, and tix for the inaugural series of shows go on sale Friday, Sept. 24 at noon here: http://brooklynbowl.com/philadelphia.
No booze for you
I would have thought that, yes, I could have used a drink or three when I heard the news of Krasner’s debate hubris, but Pennsylvania liquor stores having a two-bottle limit slowed my roll. That level of rationing is not my cup-brimming cocktail. At. All.
Philly Weekly, you are getting this first: Jose Garces’ Volvér at the Kimmel Cultural Center is officially reopening for the first time since the pandemic, initially on Sept. 24, and then with a brand-new Chefs in Residency Program with Garces on the front line, starting Oct. 6. Jose will showcase minority and emerging chefs from around the region during the residency, each of whom will be represented by eight signature dishes alongside Volvér’s standard menu. While details are still being hammed, we learned that each chef in residency will work with Garces for around six to eight weeks – starting Oct. 6 with Garces and Chef Kiki Aranita (running through Nov. 28). For December and January, Garces will work with Chef Phila Lorn as the second chef in residency (see below). Stay tuned for more.
Make a donation
Plus, you can help Jose’s resident chefs program by coughing up cash if you’re not hungry. All donations will be made via the Garces Foundation and Garces will match up to $5,000 per chef. “By working alongside our artistic partners like the Philadelphia Orchestra and Philadelphia Ballet, our hope is to amplify and empower the marginalized in our communities,” notes Garces.
A fresher Fresh Prince
So, the Peacock reboot of Overbrook’s Will Smith’s ‘90s comedy “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” may do some location shooting here, soon, as the root of the new dramatic tale – like Smith’s comic saga – starts in West Philly, and the producers are looking for some true grit. (Plus, the new “Will” is a local, West Philly actor and recent U of Arts grad Jabari Banks). One bit of real West Philadelphia flavor that I am hearing the Westbrook/NBC peeps will have for its new show is some fresh artwork licensed from muralist, sculptor and prince-ss of Powelton Village, Ellen Tiberino (who is also currently swamped doing work for the art peeps at Bartram Gardens) and incorporated into the NBC Peacock show. We’re hearing that the filmmakers already did some shoots locally for the Philadelphia scenes, and that any additional filming will depend upon its writers. Ellen, it is a great time to get involved with Smith and Westbrook Studio as they just got involved with stars such as The Chainsmokers and Zoe Kravitz for two separate new series, just hired away Jannat Gargi from quirky news-driven producers Vice Media to head Westbrook’s own new documentary division, are having a moment in the sun with the number-one flick, “Cobra Kai,” and are in talks for a buyout from the Mayer/Staggs media company, which just spent a cool billion dollars to become a majority investor in Reese Witherspoon’s media company Hello Sunshine. They’re going to NEED A LOT OF ART, ELLEN.
Philly music happenings
Two top-tier, big-deal, major-label Philly-based musical artists dropped hints to their upcoming-in-October new projects. The War On Drugs just released the title song, “I Don’t Live Here Anymore,” as a single in anticipation of its Oct. 29 LP on Atlantic Records. Also, from Atlantic (do we owe that label money?), Philly activist-rapper-ATV enthusiast Meek Mill gave up the name (“Expensive Pain”), final release date (Oct. 1) and cover artist (Nina Chanel Abney) for his upcoming fifth, full-length disc.
Did we really need to go all the way to Arizona to find someone to take over 94.1 WIP’s Spike Eskin slot? I’m talking to you, Rod Lakin. I would’ve done it for a third less.
Masked Philly: Phila Lorn
In Icepack’s way too-long and now 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, and new mask and vax card mandates – I reached out this week to Phila Lorn.
Lorn is the beloved one-time chef at Cozara, the current sous chef at Terrain in Glen Mills, and the husband to Rachel Barag Lorn, the banquet director at the Logan Hotel. Not only is he prepping to open “Philly’s next epic restaurant,” on his own, Lorn is in on Sept. 30’s cool collab dinner with Chef Bobby Saritsoglou at Stina to benefit Cambodian American Girls Empowering with an eight-course feast created by both chefs for $65. Plus, he’s in on the massive Garces Project at Volvér described above.
What did Lorn do differently, beyond the pale, during the pandemic, so far? “The short answer is nothing,” he says, with a laugh. “If anyone knows the life of an active chef… that there’s never ‘nothing’ to do. I didn’t want to start a sourdough starter kit, build a birdhouse or relearn how to play the flute. I just wanted to reintroduce myself to my beautiful wife Rachel and spend time with her in our house. It was time especially well spent, as we are now expecting a baby.”
Not for nothing, but I can’t think of a better way to do “nothing” during a pandemic.
Lorn’s favorite face covering during most of the pandemic is a yellow bandana made from a very special Fishtown based artist named Rachel Leah Gallo. (“When I was running the kitchen at Stock Fishtown, she was my partner in crime on the line and then an amazing artist by night. My wife and I went to one of her gallery exhibitions and purchased two beautiful bandanas from her.”
In terms of the vax, to be very blunt, Lorn says, “if the scientists told me that stuffing a rabbit up my butt would save just one life…expect to see some bunny ears. If we learned anything from 2020 is that life is fragile. My parents are getting older and my family is very important to me. By all means, I will do what I must to be part of the solution.”
Along with preparing to welcome a baby boy, Otis, (“Rachel and I love Otis Redding. A true soul singer”) and planning their own noodle bar in South Philly (“serving Cambodian food and drinks reflective of FDR Khmer food culture”), Lorn is pleased to be involved in the Garces/Volvér jawn and the Stina meal, “showcasing the food I grew up eating everything Sunday at my mother’s house on 4th and Mckean.”