Without sounding like your Dad – seriously, I’m neither old enough to actually be your Dad, nor do I want the responsibility of having pre-millennial fucks to fuss over, so disabuse yourself of that notion, RIGHT NOW, MISTER – this is a week to be most careful while walking the streets and keeping glass windows intact.
With the current murderous affairs of Minneapolis at hand between crowds and cops, combined with an incendiary trial’s wrap, an unconvincing defense (there was no defense), and a verdict that had to come back with a guilty conviction, all of us had to be on red alert, and stay safe. Everybody. Black. White. Brown. Asian.
That said, while one side of the ledger has P-Comish Outlaw ready to use tear gas, rubber bullets and less-lethal munitions on any less-than-peaceful demonstrators, the rest of the city’s more tender-hearted honchos are readying virtual, community healing circles for locals to seek support and share their feelings. While that sounds just a little genteel for my taste, I can share one feeling with everyone right now, for this week and beyond: You, me, we, us, all of us, should never have allowed things to get to this point, a constant boiling-over point. In fact, I’ll impart some wisdom my Dad did on me, on many an occasion if you’re looking to me to be some sort-of father figure: WISE THE FUCK UP.
Trees of the city
Speaking of touchy-feelings-filled civic rhetoric, the City of Philadelphia is looking for the public’s input on its new Philly Tree Plan, a 10-year strategic effort for what they call “the planting and care of the urban forest…And will tackle new ways to support residents and address the decline in the city’s tree canopy,” all with a lengthy survey to ensure, you know, that the city tree canopy is OK. A) That’s why I voted YOU in, so that you could do that work. B) I am not going to get involved with any canopies, under any circumstances. You want in? Be my guest.
So far into the middle of my April 22 Icepack, I sound pretty crabby. Guess what won’t change my mood? Dilworth Park’s newly announced, retro-phonic roller rink, opening April 30. Open until June 27, the newly-anointed Rothman Orthopaedics Roller Rink has what sounds like a 50s-meets-70s roller disco doo wop vibe with an overhead hula-hoop installation by Philly’s Lucky Dog Studio, checkerboard flooring and music that promises to turrrrn the beat aroouuuund. I didn’t grow up loving roller skates – I just wasn’t great on any wheels, considering I don’t/can’t drive (and yet, I’m great with ice skates and unicycles, go figure).
Bye Banana Republic
What – no more khaki flak jackets? The towering Banana Republic at the corner of Broad and Walnut Street is closing on June 9, with its going-out-of-business-sale on, rigggght…now. The landlord apparently kicked them out at a time when the renewal of their forever-long-time lease was imminent. Obviously, they’re no fans of faux-hunter fedoras. (YES, I AM AWARE THAT BANANA REPUBLIC IS MORE THAN THAT. BACK OFF MY JOKES, YO.)
On the high heels of a just-announced, live date supporting Lucy Dacus at Union Transer on Oct. 20, Philly folk-soul-hop-glam-rock god Shamir just launched a unisex streetwear capsule collection, Bipolar Butterfly, in partnership with AI design studio Urbancoolab. The stuff is on sale right now, with portions of its proceeds going to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Shop your ass, here: urbancoolx.com/collections/shamir.
Until we can get Adam Sandler back for “Hustle” re-shoots, or get red carpets back on track (nothing for Kate Winslet’s “Mare of Eastown” HBO mini-series, which shot around the Philly suburbs and debuted the other night), we have to get the few celebs who live in our area to go out. Like comedian/Delaware County homeowner Wanda Sykes, who, with wife, Alex Sykes, dined at Jennifer Carroll’s Spice Finch last weekend in the Rittenhouse area, in a move that was a total burn to all those tony Del Cou dining locales. Sykes has long been sensitive to revealing exactly where she lives in Delco, so I won’t bother her on that tip. Next time, try Ariano.
Local rock history
While younger Philly music listeners this week can deal with Meek Mill not knowing what a Ph Balance is (Google it. It’s hilarious), old Ph-heads can check out Chuck Meehan’s Bandcamp for a deep dive into local art rock history, and The Heathens. Vocalist Steven Kishlo’s ‘80s band of avant-punk renown (cats from King of Siam, Informed Sources and The Stickmen made up The Heathens) only ever officially had two songs on the lost epic Philly compilation “Get Off Our Backs, We’re Doing It Ourselves,” and this vault find completes the picture with lots more music and proceeds going to the Environmental Working Group.
Masked Philly: Jameel Farruk and Lucas Kozinski
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 Jameel Farruk and Lucas Kozinski, Philly’s determinedly decadent electro-pop duo, Fried Monk & beautiful-fortune (also done up as “Fried Monk x Beautiful-Fortune”).
Before recording their brave new worldly EP, “Here as One,” the FMaB-f pair focused on their home life and culinary/mix-ology skills throughout COVID-19’s slowdown.
“I love to cook, but admittedly, always had poor knife skills,” claimed Farruk.
“So, I’ve invested time into learning how to properly use and care for my knife. If anyone else is in the same boat, I recommend checking out a book called ‘La Technique’ by Jaques Pepin. It’ll teach you everything you’d want to know about using a chef’s knife.”
For Kozinski, who was initially on the road doing sound for a band when COVID-19 hit, the fear was how long work would be at a standstill.
“I started teaching myself some html and css, then started diving into js. I’ve never felt dumber. I also started reading more books and comics, and learned to make margaritas. There were a lot of margaritas.”
Farruk digs that his mask forces him to pay attention to people’s eyes.
“I’ve been going to the same grocery store for years. One of the clerks there has the most stunning eyes. They remind me of the calm before a storm,” he said.
He said he purchases his face covering masks at ghostcircusapparel.com.
“They’re comfy and they regularly carry kids sizes too, for any parents out there.”
Kozinksi’s girlfriend’s mom gave him his mask, purchased at Old Navy, for 2020’s Christmas in a stocking.
“I’ve seen a few other people wearing it, and we do that wave like we have the same car.”
Along with Fried Monk & beautiful-fortune releasing their first single, “Planet B,” from their new EP (to follow shortly), Jameel and Lucas both have big plans for spring as life re-opens.
“The first thing I do now when I take off my mask is comb my beard. It gets quite unruly under there,” noted Farruk.
“I’m looking forward to returning to a mask-less society.”
Kozinski, on the other hand, is thinking more intimately.
“Drinking normally is a big thing. I’m supposed to have like eight glasses of water a day. That’s absurd. I’m trying to drink more water. Plus, as it seems like things are opening back up quickly, I’m hoping this batch of concert dates sticks and we can all be healthy and vaccinated in the same room.”
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