We might want and need Larry Krasner to book our bad guys, and keep them booked beyond an overnight vacation. But, you have to admit, Philly always gets the greatest of the baddest.
For instance, I have been penning covers on the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market before it was built, before Philly Weekly bought out City Paper, for whom I wrote about developer Brian O’Neill’s chilled baby. Whom I didn’t meet during my hard hat journey onto Essington Avenue was the icebox’s one-time CEO Caesar “Sonny” DiCrecchio, who, as of this weekend, was accused by the FBI to be skimming millllllllions of dollars from the market’s operating accounts for over a decade to line his pockets and pay for extravagant trips. To quote Jimmy Cagney, “Never steal anything small,” and Sonny didn’t: He and others at the world’s largest fridge allegedly cut fake checks, paid them to faux companies and kept living high on the well-chilled hog until they couldn’t. Which was like, until last week. Bang.
The Philadelphia ATV rider whose road rage on Broad Street made the New York Post upon arrest that is going very viral? Gregory Stevens has the best look and the best dreadlocks since Migos. This guy should be in movies, and make his fame that way, rather than worrying about getting his bike bumped.
One-time Democratic state Rep. Leslie Acosta, the one who pleaded guilty in an embezzlement scheme, while still remaining in office? Brava. The Philly Inquirer, Spotlight PA, and LNP-LancasterOnline may still want federal courts to unseal her records, and view the judicial proceedings. I say, she’s got the legals by the balls and should be free to fuck up again.
As for the Brothers Dignam, who watched over total Philly events such as the Broad Street Run and the Mummers Parade, but then allegedly embezzled funds intended for youth baseball leagues and city recreational activities to pay off phone bills? Priceless. James Cagney would be proud.
New ghost kitchen
If you see rapper, producer and weed enthusiast Wiz Khalifa in Philly this week, say “hello” and welcome him to the local virtual kitchen trend. Wiz, a native of Pittsburgh, is gearing up to introduce, then launch, his own ghost kitchen and food brand in Philly any second. And yes, it is stoner food for the munchies, maaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.
The fans are back
Sixers’ Joel Embiid may be out two weeks with a wonky knee injury, but you know who is back at the Wells Fargo Center for the 76ers? Fans. After one whole year and a few days, everything is back to (the new) normal at WFC. What this means for additional events – from Ice Capades (fuck that) to Powerhouse concerts – is anybody’s guess. Me? I’ll be happy just to drink one of the long luge rainbow margaritas. Wait. Is that a thing or am I imagining this?
Wrecking ball at work
I get why the bulk of the block of historic (circa 1800s) federal-style buildings on the 1700 block of Walnut got razed last week – the fire from last May. But why the equally historic 700 Chestnut Street’s properties at 730-32? Where now shall I get my Christian ministries books and watches and diamonds exchanged? And who needs another 42 residents – the reason for the wrecking ball – in Philly? Sacre bleu?!
While Philly auteur M. Night Shyamalan started filming for his spooky (what else) Apple+ TV series, third season of “Servant” last week in Ocean City, N.J., the North Philly-filmed “Concrete Cowboy” about this town’s Black horseback riders just got a release date for Netflix of April 2. If you don’t care about horses, fine. But Idris Elba is in it. Which means if he was riding a carousel horse or a hog or a tricycle, I would watch. All this leads up to a Philly-based drama that most of us slept on: “The Inheritance,” which got its virtual release via Philly’s CineSPEAK and Lightbox Film Center on Friday. Roslyn native and one-time West Philly house dweller Ephraim Asili wrote and directed the activist-driven movie in quietude, and made film stars out of local poets Ursula Rucker and Sonia Sanchez. Nicely done.
You miss chef and co-owner Tyler Akins all day, every day Res Ipsa Café as much as I do, right? Akins has gone off to Delaware (the Green Room) and the business of helping local restaurants get their chunk of the $28.6 billion in culinary enterprise coronavirus relief funding. And what about Res Ipsa’s other chef, Michael Vincent Ferreri? He’ll be bringing his future-forward Sicilian food vibe and fried olive oily everything to South Philadelphia’s Bok Building and its eighth floor foodie row by reopening Irwin’s (beyond pop-up status) in April.
Masked Philly: Chill Moody
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 Chill Moody. You don’t need to look at this week’s PW cover story to know that the beloved local rapper and producer has blossomed into an existence as a full-blown entrepreneur with his own lifestyle brand (nicethings) under which exists a record label and live events company (nicethingsMUSIC), a line of beverages (nicethingsBEER with Dock Street, nicethingsKOMBUCHA), a clothing line and a consulting firm. If you do, however, read my cover this week, you’ll find that everything from his 2020-due new album, his healthful Kombucha and his Chill Moody sneakers were put on hold for a minute due to COVID-19.
So what else did Moody do with his downtime?
“The first few months of the pandemic quarantine were tough,” noted Moody.
“I had to pivot a little spiritually and artistically at first. I started painting. I stopped drinking. I meditated a lot more. I started making beats. Virtual shows started popping up, and similar opportunities supplemented some of the income. Then, I started finally selling Kombucha,” he said with a laugh.
“That helped my mood.”
Moody’s own mask, designed and manufactured by @GetUpArt (Philly) is comfortable, and the rapper doesn’t mind making it a part of his daily regimen. So, in with the mask and GetUpArt is Moody, they even did an illustration of the rapper in his specially designed mask.
And as for what he and his nicethings everything has planned for 2021?
“Everything is right back on schedule and honestly looking even more promising,” he said.
“Losing 2020 gave me time to adjust some of the plans I had and create some new ones. Also, everyone on my team leveled up during the pandemic. The whole team has so many new nicethings going on that they are adding to the pot, we are all elevating each other. We didn’t have to downsize or anything. All of the things I had planned back in March 2020 and some new things will be ready to go. We’re set on beverages: nicethingsBEER, nicethingsKOMBUCHA and this new fermented fruit beverage that we’ve been working on will be released, and the world is going to love it all. I have a new line of sneakers dropping this year, really excited about these jawns. The music never slowed down, I’ve been more creative throughout this whole pandemic than I’ve been in my entire life. The art I’ve created during this whole thing is the “good.” We will just continue to build until live events are back.”