Let’s start with something frivolous for once: Philly football (because how serious can anybody on that team – front office or backfield be – what with the stupid decisions they’ve all made since their last Super Bowl win) and the hiring of young Nick Sirianni as the Philadelphia Eagles new head coach.
One, is there really a whiff of racism to be smelt and dealt among the Eagles executive branch, as is rumored, considering how longtime Eagles assistant head coach Duce Staley got passed over for the top job, not once, but, twice? The Duce rocks, and if he was passed over due to any quotas or agendas beyond winning, fuck them. No wonder he’s asked to be released from his contract. The Detroit Lions certainly had no problem hiring the Duce.
Secondly, and far beyond the scope of potential racist hires, sure, Sirianni is qualified and family-born-and-bred to be a baller. But at 39 years of age, were Jeff Lurie and Howie Roseman perhaps looking for a playmate rather than a babysitter for their childish QB, one always looking to steam off and leave home?
Thirdly, and this is but fleetingly related to Sirianni, why does everyone discuss Carson Wentz as if he is a broken tube amp stereo system, a Manchurian Candidate or a Scientologist, an artifact to be re-tuned, de-tuned or fine-tuned, and that the Eagles need a coach who can fix him?
The hell with football – boxing is my favorite game as you’ll recall from my South Philly Sonny Conto story. And last weekend, the punching pride of West Philadelphia, Stephen Fulton, became the Junior Featherweight World Boxing Champion after a unanimous decision victory over challenging pugilist Angelo Leo. Get it.
Roots record reissued
If you really know me beyond my love of boxing (and you don’t, honestly, but, let’s pretend) you know that I am as big a fan of multi-disc, rarity-packed, historical, musical box sets as I am The Roots, Philly’s finest. This week, then, is a double-dose of double-funk fun as the local hip hop heroes mark the 26th anniversary of their second full album “Do You Want More?!!!??!” with a fresh, vinyl reissue of the record. Expanded into three LPs, the new “Do You” features a big book with several fresh essays from Questlove and studio session photos of The Roots at The Trocadero, Sigma Sound’s Ivory Studios Suite #3, and Nebula Sounds in Philly.
I won’t wait in his line, any line, but he’s my neighbor, and I appreciate his get-up-and-go-and-dough: The Italian Market’s Angelo’s Pizzeria is taking on an additional address – Bar One on the corner of 9th and Catharine – for a thing that Danny “Angelo” DiGiampietro will call Luciana’s Bar & Grille. Atza nize.
Problems with Pyle
Three great big “fuck yous” go out to PA House of Representative’s member (R) Jeffrey P. “Jeff” Pyle. One for his transphobic post mocking ex-PA health secretary Rachel Levine, a transgender woman, while comparing her to Philly’s founding father with this dumb joke “American citizens express optimism and renewed hope as Benjamin Franklin joins Joe Biden’s cabinet.” A Revolutionary War-aged joke – good one, “Jeff.” Two, for making the sad, simpleton’s comment on Facebook. Now THAT’s Revolutionary War-era tech for you. Thirdly, for being the sort of pompous douchebag who actually self-attached quotes around a nickname he gave himself. Think Seinfeld, George Costanza and “T-Bone,” and you’re halfway there.
Change of plans
In a COVID-19-infused Philly, apartment buildings are the new black, apparently, now that downtown’s Pearl Properties is turning (back) its old school Hilton Embassy Suites Hotel on 18th and the B. Franklin Parkway into The Terrace on 18th – a suite spot with nearly 300 apartments and a first-ever Center City Victory Brewing Company bi-level brewery and taproom; this in opposition to going the new tony hotel route that Pearl peeps had planned pre-pandemic.
What’s up with Whiteside?
Hey, what’s happened with longtime Temple U WRTI-FM 6 AM-in-the-morning classical host Gregg Whiteside? He’s been a decades-long stalwart at the station, either blaring out Philadelphia Orchestra broadcasts, talking sports or hosting Breakfasts with Bach. Seems as if Whiteside is ready to hang up his Sousalarm (“Don’t Hit the Snooze Alarm…March to the Sousalarm”) and retire from radio. He’ll be missed, but good on him for deciding to get out from behind the mic, and have some fun. How much friggin’ Bach can you handle?
Masked Philly: Tim Lu
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 NoLibs-es-es Tim Lu, a partner in Glu Hospitality, which means everything from Copenhagen Anejo and Set NoLibS, to co-owning Leda and the Swan, Germantown Garden, Germantown Garden Grille, Vesper Dayclub, Vesper Center City, Hunnies Frisky Chicken, Tiny’s Burger Joint, the soon-to open-Bagels and Co. PLUS three more new restaurants coming soon, one of which will be taking over the former Walhburger space. That’s right. Marky Mark may be able to open a film, but neither he nor Donny can sell a burger in Philly.
With all those restaurants to look after, you wouldn’t think Lu had time to have children, let alone hang out with them. And yet: “The one great silver lining of COVID for me was my ability to spend consistent quality time with my kids – drawing with them, having more sit-down dinners and impromptu heart-to-heart conversations with them,” said Lu. In further consideration of, and proximity to, family and home, Lu trained himself to look past the currency of business now, into the future.
“I looked more into home design…utilizing my house because we were stuck from stay-at-home orders.”
The mask? Lu is not a fan.
“I really dislike face masks other than the safety benefits,” he said.
“There have been once or twice I ran out of the house without shaving and the face mask allowed me not to not worry about it. When I’m able to take off my mask it’s usually when I get home or in the car and I can start processing my day and slowing down.”
The mask he does use most often, a red-white-and blue mask purchased from Swag in N. Liberties, is “symbolic of the balance between pursuit of happiness and the recovery that the U.S. will face during and after the pandemic.”
While Lu is excited for it to be easier to do things without hesitation and planning (“I would love to take my family on a spur-of-the-moment vacation without the fear of being on a plane with masks”) and not having to explain to people to stay masked (“Some get very defensive when you tell them to put masks on; I would love for it just not to be a thing”), what the restaurateur really craves is heat.
“I can’t wait for warmer weather for outdoor activities. My kids are active so it will be nice to get them out to the park more, or swimming. Warmer weather also alleviates our constraint for seating for our outdoor venues of Germantown Garden, Vesper Dayclub, Anejo, Set Nolibs, and Figo Figo Italian restaurant in the former Wahlburger space. I’m excited about having four new restaurants after that, like Bagels and Co at the Piazza in the former Saige Coffee space. I’m excited we finally can open Leda and the Swan back up in Center City. We had just opened it last year when COVID shut down bars and restaurants a few weeks later.”