We got past Memorial Day without jokers overrunning The Oval, The Piazza, Penn’s Landing, The Hub, Rittenhouse Square and Cheesesteak Vegas.
I haven’t heard much of Philly’s boozers having gone all “DiBlasio” (the not-so-fine art of crowds lining the streets outside bars for curbside cocktails, then remaining there, sloppily drinking) with House Bill 327 now in full effect. Even Jersey managed to not muck up the shore’s first holiday by having too many people bouncing along its sands.
Philly’s “Yellow” looks approachable by next week, so “huzzah” there. We’re good. Not great. But good. So, can we stop with the doofus-y headlines and the chuss features – slimy stories so corny and ooooooozy, Good Housekeeping wouldn’t run them in the least healthy of epochs? “How do I clean my beard in COVID-19?” “How do I date (or just fuck, for Tinder users) in COVID-19?” “What do I do about bad breath and masks?” “What do I do about the way my ears stick out in the mask?” “What do I do about Zoom fatigue?” Stuff like that.
Argggh, and the unendingly dull and same-y tales of C-19 weddings and proposals – the triumph over the adversity of the void and pushing rings over rubber gloves with no one to watch, you know because Zoom fatigue is a thing – WTF? The only thing I want to stop more than a pandemic is wedding stories during a pandemic. We’re at “yellow” folks – write accordingly.
No Phanatic? No baseball
Major League Baseball is considering its options for reopening in the COVID-19 moment, and what sounds as hard and heavy as the crack of a Louisville Slugger is that spitting, showering and fist-bumping (the players, not the fans – PLEASE SHOWER, FANS) will no longer have a place in the game. Same with bat boys and bat girls.
Also to be included in the exclusions could be mascots. MASCOTS? They’re in uniform just like players – why no (in the case of the Phillies, obviously) Phanatic? This can’t stand. The furry, twerking green guy is half the reason I pay $30 for a beer and hit up CBP. Plus, isn’t the Phanatic going through enough already with the potential of having his trademark revoked this year?
And. Does this also mean that hockey – and I’m talking about the Flyers’ recent cash cow Gritty – will ditch its mascots, too? Does John Oliver know about this, as he’s so apt to use the Phanatic and Gritty as funny fodder for HBO’s “Last Week Tonight?”
Cayetana stays busy
For a band that’s busted up, Philly’s Cayetana sure is busy. At C-19 quarantine’s start, they dropped a collection of demos and unreleased songs, “Not What We Meant by New Kind of Normal,” on Bandcamp with proceeds going to buy respirator masks for Phily’s visiting nurses and home health-care workers (Cayetana’s singing-songwriting Augusta Koch’s mom, Catherine, is a nurse who appeared on the cover of the band’s 2017 record, “New Kind of Normal”).
This week, Cayetana bassist Allegra Anka expands the boundaries of her solo project, Danya, with a lo-lo-lo-fi EP, “Syntactic Sugar.” Following a handful of singles in 2018, Anka-Danya’s “Sugar” is gauzily reminiscent of The Cure, only dreamier. Good stuff.
More restaurants close
As part of the continuing saga of Philadelphia restaurants caught in the pandemic fugue state that was my PW “Hunger Games” cover, two more of our favorite dining haunts have perished.
Saté Kampar closed on May 17 at its 1837 East Passyunk Avenue address (apparently she’s planning a take-out service shortly), with its reasons for closing more about landlord/real estate headaches than just COVID-19.
Then there’s chef-owner Peter McAndrews, currently very busy with the still-freshy-opened Modo Mio Taverna off-South Street in Queen Village (the pork Milanese is as big as my arm and twice as juicy), peripatetic sandwich destination, who had to close his Paesano’s sandwich Fishtown outlet at Frankford and Marlborough. Fear not. His partner in the neighboring taco joint they share, Heffe’s Anthony Lolio Heffe, is grabbing the Paesano property for Duke’s of Marlborough. Plus, Paesano thick, sleep-inducing sandwiches will soon be part of Modo Mio’s lunch menu.
If you know me (and you don’t; YOU JUST DON’T), you know that I, like my mother before me, am an opera fanatic. Traditional. Modern. Avant-garde. Italian, German. I even buy pizza from O Solo Mio in South Philly just to sing the title in my best basso profundo.
All this means that I am a huge supporter of David B. Devan’s Opera Philadelphia company and its annual, still-fresh O Fests and its Netflix-i-fication of the classical form.
Like everything else live and on-stage, who knows when will next see the OP out, up-close-and-personal? BUT. The Philly O company’s new-legendary adaptation of Lars von Trier’s menacingly pensive “Breaking the Waves,” which made its world premiere here, in 2016, will get its online debut May 29, at 8 p.m. on YouTube and will run at operaphila.org through Aug. 31.
“Waves” is over three hours long, so grab a good bottle, or three, of red. Remember that its dark and pointy melody was penned by Philly-born, OP former Composer in Residence Missy Mazzoli (with librettist Royce Vavrek, and director James Darrah), and that its dramatic trailer is here.
Appreciating Berg’s work
You know how some people’s life’s work is so much a part of our everyday routine that we lose focus and appreciation? That we pass these tomes so often they become a part of our retinal memory?
Eric Berg made that sort of work and had that sort-of effect. Berg was the Philadelphia sculptor regarded for crafting Philbert the Pig at the Reading Terminal Market, the owl and sparrow-dotted gates to Rittenhouse Square’s Gardener’s Cottage, the giant panda for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the turtle and grizzly bear cluster in Fitler Square (so near where he walked his dog I hear) and the Drexel University dragon at 33rd & Market Streets. He even did many of the animal sculptures that have been at the Philadelphia Zoo since the 1970s.
Berg passed away, as was noted by his family last week, and supposedly was readying new work for our city. Old and new, Berg’s eye for dear detail will be missed, and his sense of joy – that we make his sculptures part of our everyday existence – never taken for granted.