If you’re thinking that the last seven days of Philly have been more raw than sashimi, exposed nerve endings and Eddie Murphy combined, then you are so not alone. From quickly losing a ghoulish health commissioner now notorious for tossing human remains in to a dustbin (to think, for a minute there I spent my mornings press Zooming that guy), to a hardcore DA’s race for this city’s streets and its collective soul, to the rush of block rocking protests facing everything from the Israel/Gaza conflict to MOVE’s Poweltown Village disaster, last week – THIS MONTH – feels like it has been one, long cluster-fucking Faustian bargain of wrong with no one coming out a winner. And usually May is so darn pretty and nice. Ack. Anyway, let’s see if we can get some stupid and silly in here, fast.
Music fests return
Philly’s Hova-curated Made in America festival, the one beloved by hip hop millennials and…not so much by the old heads living in the Art Museum area? Word has it that after missing the pandemic’s 2020, the annual MIA will happen, in person, and live. City officials are currently jiggling things around with Jigga. Stay tuned. Also, Dover, Delaware’s Firefly Fest that I said would happen for September in my PW cover, The Comeback, just got its headliners with Billie Eilish, Lizzo, The Killers and Tame Impala. Stay tuned for more acts to follow the ‘Fly.
I never like seeing anything close. Even places I hate. You need a hate to hold onto. That said, the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company on 18th Street – the one-time Bar Noir location that pretended this was New York, and went for a dumb speakeasy vibe – is closing. For now. Shame that. They should have just stayed cool like DJ Bobby Startup and the late great David Carroll built up Bar Noir to be. And if Franklin is going to come back, don’t ask your bouncers to wear funny Trilby hats and vests.
I’ll tell you what’s weird: the very same night that I dined with friends at Estia Downtown, across from the Academy of Music (the Arni Youvetsi was fall-off-the-bone fabulous), Bravo Network Real Housewife of New Jersey Teresa Guidice and her beau Luis Ruelas ate at Estia Taverna in Radnor. Save for our shared ethnic make-up and good hair, that is the only similarity that I have with Guidice. That, and maybe a few table-tossing tantrums.
A Giant supermarket
Just because you call it “Heirloom” doesn’t mean that it holds some elegant allure or that I want a Giant supermarket left of center in Center City at the legendary old Strawbridge’s building on Market Street. Then again, the Fashion District….. ugh. Either way, all this enthusiasm for a grocery store is jarring.
The Main Point
There is an interesting memorialization gearing up for The Main Point, the legendary, intimate Bryn Mawr live venue/coffee house, first opened in 1964, where, as a wee one, I recall seeing Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, Charles Mingus and Bruce Springsteen, to say nothing of being a local time home to the likes of George Carlin, Bonnie Raitt, Muddy Waters, Billy Joel, Philly’s own Jim Croce and and many more. The 40-40-40: Forever Remembered program is in tribute to The Main Point’s 40th anniversary of being closed in 1981. Sounds like a plan. For info and to donate, visit kellycenter.org
More than cheese now
Tria. It ain’t just cheese anymore. Their Rittenhouse outlet, Bar Poulet (literally the only word I can remember from six years of French lessons), is doing chicken right, fried, and with champagne. Not bad.
Hustling to Camden
C’mon, man. Philly has been waiting (especially the Italian Market where he filmed a love stroll with Queen Latifah) for the return of The Sandman, Adam Sandler and the rest of the production of his Netflix film with co-producer LeBron James, “Hustle.” They filmed throughout Philly until around C-19 Halloween 2020, and promised to come back for pick-up scenes. So far, however, the only “Hustle” scenes coming up for Sandler, the Queen, Robert Duvall and the rest of the cast will be in Camden throughout August and September, per their current schedule.
Philly heat for ‘Easttown’
Not for nothing, by the way – and without giving away a major rough plotline for those who need to catch up – HBO’s locally-lensed “Mare of Easttown” got some major Philly heat in its Sunday, May 16 episode by relying upon theatahhh actor and New Paradise Laboratories co-founder Jeb Kreager in a nasty pivotal role. Kreager has been down the television series support role road in shows such as “Mindhunter” and “The Punisher,” but this one is balls to the wall harsh. Plus, Jeb didn’t have to learn to say “warhter” or hang a Wawa to get to the method, maaaan. Also, dig a little deeper into Easttown and you will find several local theater magnates in the Mare cast, such as Kittson O’Neill, the artistic director of Shakespeare in Clark Park (as Officer Holbert) and Suli Holum, a Pig Iron Theatre Co. co-founder and member of the Wilma’s Hothouse company.
DJ Akademiks, a crucial part of last week’s whole Joe Budden podcast debacle where host Budden unceremoniously dumped his co-hosts for wanting equity and some say-so, also is claiming that there is bad blood between MMG label boss and old Meek Mill pal Rick Ross and Millie from Philly with some major beef regarding the latter’s MMG contract with the former. Dag.
Masked Philly: Kelsey Fabian
In Icepack’s continuing saga of asking mask-donning local celebrities what they’ve been up to, beyond the pale, during C-19 – from lockdown to the current, slow reopening – I reached out this week to Kelsey Fabian from PHL 17 Morning News.
The Pennsylvania native newsperson picked up one truly digable hobby during the Great Quarantine of 2020-2021.
“During the pandemic I picked up puzzling,” she said enthusiastically. “I did puzzles with my grandma when I was a little girl, but I hadn’t done one in years until the lockdown. I actually forgot how much I loved them! I found one sitting in our closet during the first week of quarantine, after that I was hooked. I even joined a Puzzle Exchange Group in Philly. And when it comes to work, I learned how to navigate all of my production skills working from home which is something I never thought I would do in TV news.”
The Morning News woman isn’t so much into artisanal crafted masks like many of my Masked Philly interviewees. What she is into, however, is snow. “It’s out of season now, but I really love my snowman face mask. My mom bought it for me in the winter of 2020. I think it makes people smile and laugh. I loved wearing it on TV whenever I was covering fun feature stories during the winter months. It’s just so cute. The whole face mask thing in general doesn’t really bother me. I will admit I don’t love exercising in them, but I love not having to wear a full face of makeup for television. I often only do my eye makeup for work since the rest of my face is covered. It buys me a few extra minutes of sleep.”
Along with getting ready for long, deep breaths, “when masks are gone forever, I guess I will have to put on my full face of makeup again.” Kelsey also is prepping for a huge 2021, personally.
“This is a big year for me – I am getting married in October so I am really looking forward to that! Also looking forward to the honeymoon, I can’t wait to travel again! My fiancé and I have never flown together, so wish us luck.”