Since we’re focusing (or not quite being able to focus, knowwhatimsaying?) on all things weed for the 4/20 holiday, I would like to state that I wrote this particular Icepack dabbing hash oil.
Not only did I smoke hash oil, I infused my morning avocado with it and ate that, as well as rubbing some oil into my fingertips, so that, as I typed, my laptop and I merged, and felt the same burning tingle, together. Yeah, I go that extra mile for you, people. Also, I better wipe my keyboard down right now. That was just stupid. So, what was I saying? Anyway, every Icepack item this week is tinged with what reggae master Pato Banton lyric-ized, “the sensimillyaaaaaaaaa,” in the hope that you too will appreciate this Icepack high, rather than not. At least this time out.
Welcome Keystone Shops
The first bit of Philly weed news comes by way of Florida, and its Trulieve Cannabis Inc. The big money Tallahassee , FL team just extended its tentacles into Pennsylvania as of last week, readying to purchase a dispensary license from Anna Holdings so to run three local upcoming pot retail stores (the Keystone Shops) before the end of the year.
How much was the PA marijuana deal worth? $60 million for the license, to start. Nice work if you can get it.
New place to cure munchies
By the way, Pennsylvania, if you’re going to get more weed, you’re going to get way more munchies. Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop and its January 2021 acquisition of the chicken-y good Wing Zone – currently planning world domination with 30 new Capriotti’s units and 30 Wing Zone locations across the U.S. – just got locals to drink the Kool Aid. It has one location in the multi-ghost-kitchen space on 13th and Girard during the pandemic and another opening in Royersford next month. OK, Capriotti’s does cheesesteaks, and though you might be thinking, “Don’t WE own the patent on cheesesteaks?” it is important to note that Cap cheesesteaks can also be made with Impossible™ plant-based meat. The only thing Impossible about Pat’s and Geno’s is…
Before April 2021, the last classic of stoner psychedelia tied to Philadelphia, the last local true weed head plus epic, was The Goats’ “Tricks of the Shade” from the Ruffhouse label in 1992, (the same year that Joe Nicolo and Chris Schwartz’s hip hop label released DMX’s single debut, “Born Loser” and its famed “I had to scrap with a pit because I tried to take his bone” lyric. Rest in peace, kind sir). Over last weekend, however, Philly’s own Zack Schwartz, Rivka Ravede, and Corey Wichlin – collectively, Spirit of the Beehive – dropped their spookily psilocybin-laced fourth (and best) album “Entertainment, Death.” I haven’t yet spoken to the Beehive about their incessant and literally buzzing, tripping, schmoking new sounds, but, just know that I’m looking for you.
This week’s “Are You Fucking High?” Award goes to the assclowns who stole the beaver statue at Rose Valley Road and Traymore Lane in Rose Valley Borough. The Albert Laessle sculpture of the semi-aquatic genus Castor is a 95-year-old marker for the Great Minquas Path, stretching from the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County to the Schuylkill in Philadelphia, and was stolen before the weekend, and the state police are looking for the beaver crooks. Laessle was, legendarily, an instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, crafted the “Billy” goat sculpture in Rittenhouse Square, as well as the Philly Zoo’s “Penguins” statue. If you beaver thieves are reading this, put down the pipe and bring it back.
Also in the “Are You Fucking High?” column, but not for the win, of course, is springtime’s version of the Philadelphia Phillies who would have to be stoned out of their ever-loving gourds to miss balls as they did in the last 10 days. Know how when you smoke just a little too much and you do that goofy, loosey goosey five-fingered wave in front of your face? This is what I imagine the Phils have been up to in April so far. Get a Cipriotti’s sandwich in these guys, for God’s sake.
In the “No way, I’m not THAT stoned: That really is a big sneaker” department is South Philly musician and art-making bros Steven & Billy Dufala’s long, skinny, decade-old, faux sculptural sneakers (Special Air Mission 28000) exhibited at Philly’s Fleisher/Ollman Gallery VS rapper TOMM¥ €A$H’s four-foot-long, recently-released Superstar collaboration with Adidas Originals. While Steven Dufala is currently busy articulating the design for Theatre Exile’s version of Zoo Motel this month In collaboration with Thaddeus Phillips starting April 15, Dufala’s intellectual property lawyers are calling bullshit on Adidas, CA$H and all manner of copyright issues. You can’t discuss a sensitive subject as such, meant for the courts, but, my WPPM/Theater in the Round radio interview with Steven can be heard on soundcloud.com.
Masked Philly: Asher Roth
In Icepack’s continuing saga of asking mask-donning local celebrities what they’ve been up to beyond the pale during COVID-19’s pandemic, I reached out this week to Asher Roth. Philadelphia’s Roth is a legend when it comes to marijuana’s pop cultural mythology and its idealized reality. A forever pro-pot activist and an icon of stoner rap, Roth’s single debut was a 2009 hit, “I Love College,” as was his first LP, Asleep in the Bread Aisle, on Universal/Schoolboy Records; the latter launched by Roth’s original manager Scooter Braun. Icepack readers last week recall that the object of Taylor Swift’s loathing, Braun, just did a mega merger between his Ithaca Holdings and BTS’ label HYBE with shares divided-up between his original clients such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, J. Balvin and Roth, who got a sweet, near-$100,000 pay-out. (No, Roth is not at liberty to discuss the deal, beyond saying that Braun’s shared-stock-thank-you is “generous but complicated.”)
What Roth can discuss is stuff he’s mastered during the pandemic’s lull, such as “learning chess, betting on baseball, brushing up on my history and gearing up for our third season of Sunflower Philly,” the bucolic garden/arts space/community hub he co-created along Cecil B. Moore. (I joked with him if he could only bet on chess, then we’d really have something).
“I’ve just started working on The Greenhouse Effect mixtape created purely by fan, follower and friend submissions,” he said.
“I’ll release an a capella on Wednesdays on the RetroHashDiscord. Producers from all-skill levels will then download the a capella and create a composition around it. They submit their final work the corresponding Sunday. Then Sunday afternoon we gather on Twitch, discuss our favorite submissions, give feedback and choose the best one for the final mixtape. It’s my first foray into digital collaboration and has been a lot of fun.”
Roth is also running a 4/20 sale at his RetroHash.com, for 20 percent off, most notably his new album, “Flowers on the Weekend” vinyl, from 4/20-4/30.
Roth’s mask, created by Vianna Fahmie and her mother for Sunflower Philly, is a wearable he doesn’t mind donning.
“Especially in the city. When biking and maneuvering through the streets that are overloaded with construction, it’s advantageous for many reasons. I agree with its safety, and while the summer might not be as pleasant, it certainly was a welcome face layer in the winter. My only beef is they don’t go well with glasses.”
Roth can’t wait to drink beer, eat French fries and maybe even tour when the mask-wearing is relaxed (“Even though, personally, I feel as if masks will continue to be part of our societal fabric. I imagine masks being worn at shows, on public transportation, in airports, gyms etc. for the foreseeable future.”)
“Also Sunflower Philly is heading into its third season, meaning we’ll be running our community development programming here in our outdoor space in N. Philly from April ’til October. Our first event was held around the first day of spring; a massive success but also indicated how ready city-goers are to be active and mask-less. I think it’s important we continue to take responsibility for ourselves and others and mask up when in public,” he said.