Icepack | Jan. 30-Feb. 6

All things film, food and signs pointing to Meek Mill’s new boo in this week’s Icepack. | Image: Erik Witsoe

Writing this while the immediate mourning for Philly basketball great and cultural avatar Kobe Bryant and his daughter goes on in real-time is rough.

Especially considering the family left behind and the possibility of good lives left unfinished. Condolences are not enough. The Bryants will be missed much more than we gather at present. Heavy hearts abound.

A Ritz buyer?

No sooner than I report the Ritz at the Bourse was closing Jan. 31, with the mention of potential buyers afoot, a savior with a wad of cash has made their presence known: J. Andrew Greenblatt’s Philadelphia Film Society may just be waiting for the ink to dry before claiming the Ritz as another PFS (hello, Roxy) screening room.

“Tim Lu and Derek Gibbons … are on a roll. The pair is opening another CC spot, Leda and The Swan at 1224 Chestnut this week for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and an introduction of its live entertainment/music program.”

Spotted in town

Here are two job openings and fillers you would not have imagined. One) Right after I spotted former Inquirer top editor William K. Marimow at the Carl Dranoff architectural tete a tete for A. Eugene Kohn’s new book, “The World by Design: The Story of a Global Architecture Firm,” and their joint Arthaus condo project, Bill goes and joins another Inquirer alum, Brian Tierney’s PR and marketing agency Brian Communications on Wednesday. Two) So, I stopped by bearded baseballer Bryce Harper’s Blind Barber barbershop/restaurant-bar for a lounge area cocktail when who do I spy spinning? Philly’s own platinum-plated rapper-turned- marijuana advocate, Asher Roth. Nice touch.

Next up for Brad

It was such a big week for music that no one seemed to notice that Philly boy Bradley Cooper got his next directorial/starring project – a cinematic autobiography of conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein – picked up by Netflix. Originally set up at Paramount, Cooper has some top-tier producers behind the project (Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, “Joker”’s Todd Phillips), and will be co-written by Josh Singer (“Spotlight”).

A helping hand

Don’t get bright ideas about me writing further about your (mis)adventures on GoFundMe or Kickstarter. This is special: the suddenly sad tale of Philadelphia theater and independent film practitioner Michelle Pauls. 

Soon to be seen in the web-series “Certifiable,” the found-on-Amazon-film, “Deadly Gamble, and HBO’s locally-lensed “Mare of Easttown” with Kate Winslet – to say nothing of roles across Philadelphia stages and a 2010 Barrymore Award for Educational Excellence and Community Service – Pauls, according to her GoFundMe page, recently learned from her husband of 22 years that he wanted a divorce. In addition, she said she learned her family is now facing extreme financial hardship, stemming from the breakup. Pauls says she now needs a leg up re-starting her life, caring for her child, saving her house and getting a lawyer. Check and “Michelle is starting over – please help her” Go now, in fact. As of early this week, she was almost halfway to her goal of $10,000.

A new spot in town

Tim Lu and Derek Gibbons – the peeps behind Glu Hospitality, Vesper Center City and Germantown Garden – are on a roll. The pair is opening another CC spot, Leda and The Swan at 1224 Chestnut this week for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and an introduction of its live entertainment/music program. Depending on who is telling the story – DaVinci, Yeats – the actual Greek tale is not-so-pretty (Zeus forcibly seducing Leda and all). Here’s hoping Philly’s Leda & the Swan is on the right side of mythology. Lu and Gibbons will soon name the full-out restaurant and bar in Northern Liberties that they’ll open later this February. 

Welcome, Frannie Nicks

Also in opening mode, at a space on South 8th Street that has gone through more occupants than I can count (OK, the Mildred and James were two), chef-owner Ilisha Sampson is taking over the old Arcadia for her own soul food dining spot, Frannie Nicks. Officially opening on Feb. 1, she’s named my neighboring Italian Market hot spot after her grandmother, is serving up dishes such as fried whiting and chicken wings, is making sauces from scratch, and is weirdly sharing her kitchen with that building’s other somewhat-recent occupant, Ease. And yes, Sampson is doing nibbles for Ease as well – this should be happily schizophrenic.

Meek update…

Right before opening the Grammy’s emotional live tribute to the late, great Nipsey Hussle on Sunday night, Philly rapper and prison reform activist Meek Mill made the rounds of social media and The Jasmine Report with his rumored girlfriend, the now-pregnant Milan Harris. Harris, a clothing designer and fellow Philly rapper who owns Milano Di Rouge at 1509 Spring Garden Street, has claimed that she and Mill are just friends. 

In December, Mill seemed to counter that with the line “They know you mines.” Anyway, they were spotted together at a day spa by the J-Brand crew.

And maybe this is wishful thinking, but, if you’re looking at a possible Meek appearance in the area, would a pop up at the Roddy Ricch gig on Jan. 30 at Theater of Living Arts be apropos? Roddy, a Grammy nom for his work with Mustard, and on top of the world with his No. 1 album, “Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial,” was part of Mill’s “Letter to Nipsey” track that dropped on Jan 25, and was part of Meek’s on-air trib to Hussle with another one time local, John Legend. Here’s hoping.


  • A.D. Amarosi's Headshot

    A.D. Amorosi is an award-winning journalist who, along with working for the Philadelphia Weekly, writes regularly for Variety, Jazz Times, Flood and Wax Poetics, and hosts and co-produces his own SoundCloud-charting radio show, Theater in the Round for Pacifica National Public Radio station WPPM 106.5 FM and

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