Let’s do a little late-June, post-Solstice, early-summer spring cleaning here at Icepack, shall we?
First: The mayor’s mad, bad, proposed budget for the next fiscal year isn’t in the pocket as yet, but hearing that some of its original Kenney Cuts – necessary cash for affordable housing, arts and culture, and more – were in transition made me smile. Especially seeing that the African American Museum would win full restoration of the $350,000 allocation the mayor had cut in his initial spending plan – this was a part of my recent cover story on making sure City Council made the mayor see the benefit of reinstating money to Philly’s arts, culture and film.
Let’s see if Councilpersons Gilmore-Richardson and Oh can push hard enough to get Sharon Pinkenson’s Greater Philadelphia Film Office the annual cash that Kenney wants to trim away. Do you really want Atlanta and Pittsburgh to get all of the films and film crews meant for Philly? Just think of “The Sixth Sense” shot at Primanti Brothers with Bruce Willis slobbering coleslaw and fries out of his sandwich rather than the stately, sooky decorum of Butcher & Singer (then Striped Bass). Gives you the chills, right?
Second: Do you know how many emails and texts I got from those NOT included in my Icepack switcheroo last week, “Masked Philly”? Tons. TONS. Many Philly brand names were genuinely hurt that they were not included in my Ice questionnaire as to what famous Philadelphians did – preferably out of the ordinary – during COVID-19’s first three months’ worth of quarantine, and what might life be like without the mask.
Going into Code Green as we will this week – kinda-sorta – the mask will still be a thing (hopefully), and many of you will still shelter at home, no matter how many restaurants that shouldn’t are adding dining alfresco for your eating pleasure (I get that desperate times require desperate measures, but, let us not conduct ourselves like a slob). Anyway. Starting next week, I’ll include a photo of a Philly name in a mask with each Icepack, letting us know what they’re up to – this mask thing is going to last longer than you think. Embrace that.
Jenkins on CNN
Hey, so six-season Philadelphia Eagles’ superstar (fuck you, Big Balls Pederson and Jeff Lurie, for not resigning), top-tier activist and Players Coalition co-creator Malcolm Jenkins just got a great gig with CNN as a regular contributor, not just for sports, but, for commentary about race relations and being black in America. This dovetails handsomely into his new film production company Listen Up Media, and its documentary “Black Boys” due out for autumn.
Starting Thursday, June 25 (and running into August), queer artist of color Adam Chau examines “queer culture in the digital age.” Using traditional blue-and-white aesthetics, the material used in the artworks are derived from smartphone batteries to make a connection between ceramics and technology at The Clay Studio. Nearly 100 iPhone tiles and 10 large plates will be featured online and in-person at The Clay Studio.
Philly’s David Bowden – R&B sensation Pink Sweat$ to most of us – is starting the summer season with a quietly soulful song of protest, “Not Alright” and an announcement that his debut LP, “The Prelude,” is coming July 17. His spring wasn’t bad either, as his most recent tracks before “Not Alright” – “Ride With Me” and “Cadillac Drive” – were both featured on writer-star Issa Rae’s HBO series, “Insecure’s” fourth season and its Atlantic label soundtrack.
Speaking of mod and moody, Philly area R&B, local songwriter, producer and vocalist Lia Menaker made June her own by releasing her debut five-song EP “I Am Kyrøs” as a self-described sort-of “self-exploration.” Think Yazoo meets Moses Sumney on the icy electro blues tip.
‘Gay Guyde to Poker’
Butch Cordora has long been a force in Philadelphia LGBTQ media, starting with his “In Bed with Butch” cable program and the creation of a stark and sensual calendar (Straight and Butch). Now, Cordora is conquering the publishing world the June 26 release of “The Gay Guyde To Poker: Use Your Minority as a Weapon.” Butch started writing the boo about seven years ago, and sought to turn this “historically heterosexual pastime” on its head, from the “perspective of an out gay man.” A big poker player at table games in the Gayborhood and the casinos of Philly and Atlantic City (“where I’m 99 percent of the time, the only gay person at a table of 11”). Butch always felt like an outsider the tables, and used that to his advantage.
“For people who already play poker, even at a beginners level, they may find about half of the book kind of boring as I go through the steps on how to play poker. I get a lot of compliments on the simplistic way I teach in person, so I thought I’d parlay that into this book. I’ll say things like ‘a seven is higher than a six’! lol.. but people really appreciate that.
“And the same goes for Texas Hold ‘Em. (Gotta learn how to play poker first; then transition that into Texas Hold ‘Em.) It’s all very kindergarten, but I thought it was important since this is my first book about poker.
“But, the other half of the book is all about the way I myself perceived the game. The poetry of poker. How it’s a metaphor for life. What you learn by being patient. My personal tricks and tips on how to win (which I’ve never told anyone until this book.) The importance of table manners, etc. And I think that’s what a lot of poker players (even pros) can learn and take away from this book. My personal slant and mantras on this amazing beautiful game.”