Icepack and I – inexorably and interchangeably the same, both of us bugged, yet beatific – will not bore you with a year’s retrospective of Hammer-like horrors, the ones that scream out “COVID” or the roll call of decimated Black bodies – shaming those who choose to ignore the caw, yet numbing in its specter.
I mean, who needs 365 whole razzinfrazin days and nights when the last week’s worth of dread would be enough to tranquilize a herd (immunity) of elephants?
I won’t even bother to reprint what I’ve written in the past about the messes our mayor, governor and DA made again, then again. That’s why God made little “search” buttons on the collective top-right. Besides, Wolf and the KenneyKrasner Hydra will make more mistakes.
There’s a reason black vultures are soaring sadly over Lancaster County. The whole state’s collective conscience is on fiery lockdown. The complete lack of a traditional light/holiday show at Macy’s due to a pandemic’s panic – of masked families crowded around the Wanamaker’s eagle, as opposed to, say, unmasked protesters allowed to gather, however peacefully – only pushes the metaphor of an endless void into harder focus. Plus, the noise of Julie Andrews’ chatter and a million yelling kids distracts you from the wafting perfume scent and its incoming headache.
So, things, good and bad, at year’s end.
The long-rumored alternative 2020 Mummers Parade was never a rumor despite local writers’ slow crawl for attention and hits. Who didn’t know? It was always as clear and present as a plastic, red gemstone on cheap gold lame’ marching down 2 Street come Friday. If renegade Mummers want to bump, grind, play accordions, drink heavily and wear feathers, have at it. The Mummers, too, have their own promise to make good on: Do away with any and all blackface. Forge a new tradition to go with the golden slippers.
Why is Krasner still around?
A recent study from the Philadelphia Inquirer shows 8,500 shootings since 2015 with a conviction rate of just 9 percent. That stinks. And, if Philly’s citizenry is unhappy with this statistic, why isn’t DA Larry Krasner farther back in your rearview mirror? While some of Krasner’s reforms of the criminal justice system were necessary (e.g. outrageous bail monies that don’t fit the crime), slowing arrests or lessening charges when it comes to capital crimes (ask Sean Schellenger’s mom how she feels) is disruptive and wrong. And, oh. Fuck the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for ruling that Krasner can continue to handle Mumia Abu-Jamal’s appeals – despite the D.A.’s notable conflicts of interest – to serving life in prison after being convicted of killing Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.
Missing Saint Nick
How are we still seriously OK with Carson Wentz after Sunday’s crushing, fatal defeat? I have been saying this ever since Eagles’ QB Nick Foles saved Philly’s ass, won the Super Bowl, then got summarily dismissed and traded to Chicago: Jeff Lurie got rid of the wrong guy.
Four Seasons gala
It is not Philly’s fault that Four Seasons Total Landscaping became infamous. It took a New Yorker such as Rudy Giuliani to make that blunder, maybe the worst part of many Manhattanites not-so-sudden-but-rushed migration to Philly. Happily, the local landscaping firm will make the most of its 15 minutes when it holds its upcoming surf and turf gala to raise money for ALS awareness. Crab cakes aside, this should take the smell off the joint.
Keep on baking
Pizza. I don’t ever eat carbs – no, no, no – but, I have to admit that the glut of new, inventive pizzerias – for personal reasons beyond the culinary, especially the brand new The Angelo in Old City – in town, striving for excellence, lightness and innovation, is tempting. Keep on baking.
Though I would have been happier seeing The War on Drugs do something bolder than a live album and Low Cut Connie’s Adam Weiner win acclaim for his new, most personal music (“Private Lives”) than his swell pandemic FB Live show, where Philly music is concerned 2020 is finally the year that Philly’s Lil Uzi Vert found success and respect. Not only did he finally drop a new album in Eternal Atake, the Francisville native rapper just got a book deal to write fantasy fiction through Roc Nation’s new publishing imprint, Roc Lit 101. Meek Mill will write his own book there on criminal justice and survival. Be impressed.
There are so many locals of note – friends, acquaintances – who passed away this year, with so many funerals and rites that we have had to miss due to the pandemic. As we exit 2020, I’m singularly saddened by the passing of Randy Alexander. A friend first, a fellow journo second, and an old-school publicist third (known for his longtime handling of Gamble & Huff, the Springsteen-related Light of Day Foundation, etc.), Alexander was tenacious and cocky always because he wanted you to KNOW his clients, and feel what they were about. I will miss that. Plus, he had amazing stories about those he loved and those he really didn’t love – gossip all the juicier for his dramatic telling. His family has costs associated with Randy’s care. Get to work. https://www.gofundme.com/f/randy-alexanders-cancer-battle.
Masked Philly: A.D. Amorosi
I am cheerfully refunded, on a weekly basis, to find out what Philly’s notables are up to, beyond their usual, during this extended lockdown. Gets you out of your shell knowing that you are not alone baking bread or making necklaces or brewing your own beer. As this masked quarantine won’t end for some time, I have a list of who I’ll pester to tell me what their days are like beyond the pale, what the mask means to them and theirs, what life will be without it.
I did, however, get a note from someone last week asking about my 2020 behind the mask. So, hey.
As someone who reviews new art for a large portion of my daily bread, my “beyond the usual” comings and goings of 2020 have been mostly about deep cultural dives into archival materials. Yep. I’m nerdy like that. At one point, it was going to the Library Company of Philadelphia. Another involved me hunting through stacks of pre-1950s recordings for the roots of R&B and hip hop on one side and experimental “space” music on the other. If it was fresher air that I wanted, I could work my wife, Glamorosi’s garden while our pharaoh hound, Tia, playfully rubbed her head in the grass. Mostly though, I did the research.
The mask? I physically hated the fucking mask until winter came, and I could breathe lighter through it. That said, and since, I have become one with it and its necessity. I may even keep wearing it far after Fauci tells us otherwise. That’s how you’ll recognize me in 2021. The guy who keeps wearing the mask.