If your April, so far, has included stuffing your Casa Mexico and Cicala sidewalk-delivered dining container recycling into your regular trash bags, driving by churches with stoop-sitting priests to collect takeout palm on Palm Sunday, accidentally drinking from that bottle of homemade hand sanitizer (love that ethanol rush, though), and running up and downstairs for your multiple, daily Amazon Pantry and goPuff deliveries to get your exercise, welcome to weird week 3 (or is it four?) of the Gov. Wolf-extended, stay-at-home-ordered mandate.
If anything good has come out of the forced home-sitting adventure – beyond painting everything that could be painted and realizing that Netflix DOES have a finite endpoint of which I’m nearly reaching its closure – it is hearing from old friends – people you couldn’t imagine would rear their heads, but happily have.
A DA challenger?
Presently, I’m thinking of Chuck Peruto, the eternally tan, shark skin-suited God-love-him, Philly-famous, swinging, Rittenhouse Square-housed criminal defense attorney renowned for repping for Gary Heidnik, who quietly dropped a note onto Facebook about his desire to run against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner when The Kras goes up for reelection next year. I would have expected to see Peruto at a virtual Zoom sale at Boyd’s before I thought he would run for public office as such.
But Chuck makes decent points about Larry being way too liberal when it comes to catching and housing the bad guys (hell, even Jim Kenney is pissed at The Kras), and seems to be a justice-for-all-sort, even though in his past that has meant a whole lot of equally sharp-dressed drug dealers got off scot-free. The suits and the haircuts alone get my vote, Go, Chuck.
We don’t hear from Comcast or Xfinity unless they want to raise our cable bill or remove Starz from our channel stable, and fuck up our time with “Outlander.” I can’t believe that (SPOILER ALERT) old Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser is dead.
Anyway, a memo went around that the corp’s top execs such as Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, CFO Mike Cavanagh, Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell and Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch have donated their salaries to coronavirus relief charities and that Roberts said that Comcast would commit $500 million to help staff with pay and benefits. Atza nize.
By the way, in mentioning Gary Heidnik above, is it me, or did the death of Ira Einhorn – the so-called Earth Day activator and activist who, in 1977, killed his ex-girlfriend, Holly Maddux, while living in Philadelphia – last week get surprisingly little play in the media? The “Unicorn Killer” died of natural causes on April 3 at SCI Laurel Highlands, PA – the prison where he was housed after being extradited from France in 1997.
There was never anything good or noble about Einhorn – he was a killer, and acted with an air of entitlement due to his connection with the Bronfman family – but Einhorn was national front-page news forever, and put Philly on the map for the non-mob crime before bastards like Heidnik and Fast Eddie Savitz came along. Just saying. Good riddance. But, we could use some news beyond COVID-19.
Paloma, the delicately flavored, upscale, Mexican-French BYOB at Eighth Street in South Philly was an underappreciated treasure, and owner-operators chef Adán and Barb Cohan-Saavedra were wonderful hosts. Sadly, they closed their Paloma (opened in Bella Vista in 2010 after 10 years at Oxford Circle section), right before Christmas in 2016. Just as sad is that the California architecture-influenced space has been vacant – that is until now. Quietly, and just in time for pandemic take-out – Lazeez Indian Cuisine has opened at 763 S. 8th St.
Music fests’ fate
Music fests in the Philly area, plentiful as they are not, are glorious, necessary annual affairs. Without too much fanfare, though, the Firefly Music & Camping Festival in Dover, Del., set for May (one of the largest, star-studded festivals on the East Coast) and the cool, creaky West Philly Porchfest in June both have been postponed, and-or canceled due to coronavirus. What we’re waiting to see – and soon – is if C-19 will affect Live Nation/Mann Music Center affairs such as The Roots Picnic with Meek Mill and the Hall & Oates-dictated Hoagie Fest with Squeeze, to say nothing of summer’s longtime Philadelphia Folk Fest or events the Philly block party scene. Everyone has been tightlipped, and we want answers. We need to know if we’ll have to wear masks to go with our Vans.
On the positive music tip, you get characters such as University of the Arts grad serpentwithfeet who is putting time to good use with a new single, “A Comma,” which appears as part of Adult Swim’s ever-continuing Singles series. Plus, the serpent born Josiah Wise will have a full-blown EP called “Apparition” out in late April, produced by Wynne Bennett, who has worked with Janelle Monáe – serpentwithfeet’s spiritual experimental-hop sister.
COVID-19 has taken many people, famous and not famous, international, national and local. On a widely known tip, it robbed us of New Jersey’s Adam Schlesinger, Philadelphia trumpeter Wallace Roney, and vocalist/choir director Forrest Glass. But this one is a little bit personal as this guy played with my father, Philadelphia saxophonist Alfonso Amorosi.
Guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli passed away on April 2 – a jazz guy who made playing pop OK. Back in the day, classical and jazz musicians were loath to play on pop music sessions. Pizzarelli changed that and was really one of the first noted non-purists in session music. Known for a sprightly vibe in league with hot jazz as well as a moody blues tonality, Pizzarelli started off at the tail end of the big band jazz era with leaders such as Lionel Hampton and Benny Goodman and segued into jazz gigs and recordings with Miles Davis, Gene Ammons, Zoot Sims, and Dizzy Gillespie. He backed Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett. He played on Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind.”
By the late ‘50s, though, he recorded with The Drifters, and later in the ‘60s, Petula Clark, Roberta Flack, and Bryan Hyland’s “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.” Judy Collins and Janis Ian (for “On Seventeen”) used Pizzarelli on their folkier hits. McCartney used him. Phil Spector used him. Henry Mancini used him. He played as part of “The Tonight Show” band with Johnny Carson.
He’s one of music’s most underappreciated players, and leaders, and his kids are excellent players in his spirit. Bucky will be missed.