“The math on the ground is the U-Haul truck to the Trump presidency.”
That was John Fetterman, the goateed lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, talking to CNN on Saturday morning, just hours before Four Seasons Total Landscaping became historic, before The Donald became history and before this city erupted into a gleeful reverie of love and relief unwitnessed since the Broad Street Bullies’ first Stanley Cup, the week that Springsteen brought back the E Street Band, and the day that Pat’s and Geno’s discovered the wonders of Cheese Whiz, all rolled into one gorgeous ball of brotherly and sisterly affection
The Biden/Harris victory is fine. Uncle Joe has always been good for gaffes laughs, and bridging divides, and – as comedian John Mulaney put it best – the vote on Nov. 3 was always just a contest between two old men, one of whom we liked only a little bit better than the other.
I mention Fetterman now, because, if Evil Empire Election 2020 had its star, someone who came out of it smarter and shinier for any consideration in future elections, it’s John.
When he wasn’t busy proudly hailing Pennsylvania for going a vote by mail route for the first time in our state’s history (“the only irregularity we had was the president’s campaign rolling up in a clown car in downtown Philadelphia”), he was ripping Trump for not accepting the consequences. “The president can sue a ham sandwich. He can send a thousand lawyers to Pennsylvania, but it’s not going to change.”
The pro-marijuana, tall-as-a-tree Fetterman is as funny as he is frank with the facts, lives in a reclaimed auto dealership that is cool as fuck, has a wise wife who refuses to back down from toothless terror tirades of a racist stripe, and is a cross between Mr. Clean and the general who initiated the Federation-Klingon War from late 2372 to mid-2373. Bravo.
Note to The Roddenberries: Hire this guy.
Point is, I’m starting now: Go Fetterman 2024. You know. For whatever he wants.
Good old R&B
You can talk about Philly saving the day for the Dems and, you know, the whole nation over the weekend, but, better still, Philly hit it especially hard on Friday and Saturday, when it came to what it does best: good old R&B. While local rapping singer-songwriter Emyne goes the way of warm soul with her new Golden project and a seven-song EP, vocalist Leeyuh Neptune, the Galactic Cloud Mermaid, goes about her business of R&B on the chillier route, “WRLD TOUR,” the icey precursor to her new album “Nedarah.”
Masked Philly: Jose Garces
In Icepack’s continuing saga of asking mask-donning local celebrities what they’ve been up to, beyond the pale, during C-19’s pandemic, I reached out, this week, to Jose Garces: Philadelphia Iron Chef, bon vivant, restaurant owner and music lover.
Along with listening in and watching more than a few virtual live concert showcases, Garces, on the personal tip, spent most of his pandemic off-time installing a small garden on his roof. “I spent a good portion of the summer tending to my herbs and vegetables and learning more about small-scale urban farming,” he said. “I loved being able to pluck fresh tomatoes in the morning for a sauce that evening. It’s been a good experience that helped me maintain my center throughout all the uncertainty.”
Regarding that uncertainty, Garces has slowly taken to expanding his eateries’ outside dining options, “like with the addition of the patio at Distrito, increasing our takeout and delivery capabilities, and performing some much-needed renovations to the Olde Bar and expanding its menu offerings significantly.”
The mask? Garces, the consummate health-conscious professional, is all for them. His favorite mask was made by his friend Wayne Glassman, a tailor in Center City. “He’s got a store on Sansom called Wayne Edwards Workshop that I’ve been going to for years, so it only made sense to ask him to craft my mask. One of my favorite things about this mask, aside from fabric design, is that it’s lightweight enough that it doesn’t distract me and that it causes minimal fogging to my glasses.”
Along with prepping for a future where masks won’t be required (“I’m going to meet up with friends and family, hug them, and share a big meal when that happens. I want to shake the hand of a new acquaintance, interact with people outside of my bubble”), Garces is revamping a new seafood-heavy menu and re-mixing the dining areas at The Olde Bar, launching a web-based cooking show called “Cooking Space” that just wrapped filming, rolling out new menus at Village Whiskey and re-opening Tinto this weekend with some big fresh additions and surprises for wine aficionados. “I’m really excited about all of the projects that I’m working on,” he said, cheerily.
South Philly/Italian Marketeer Frankie Tartaglia, he of Connie’s Ric Rac ownership fame, has long been renowned for his time in the ‘90s doing stand-up comedy and writing for MTV programming. Now he’s finally gathering steam for the long-in-discussion “Not for Nothing” film that he’s written and will direct. (This is the same film that performance artist Thaddeus Philipps said, during our PW cover with him, had cast him in a role as a Mafia don – an offer that he had to refuse as he is stuck in Bogota, Colombia, due to the pandemic). The movie is pretty much cast, and is starting its filming with a punk rock crowd club dance scene at Connie’s – yes, socially distanced, and safely, despite asking its actors to mosh, then pogo up and down.
Res Ipsa Philly to close
Chef-owner Tyler Akin may have recently rejiggered the old Hotel du Pont’s Green Room nearest and dearest to our president-elect’s heart and hearth. But the man behind that Delaware do-over (La Cavalier) just lost his primary Philly digs – Res Ipsa Philly is closing.
I know that you know that pretty much on March 13, all theater stopped, and that all Philly companies closed out their official 2019-2020 theater seasons then due to COVID-19. Through that, Theatre Philadelphia, the organizing and info warehousing web portal for area theater-makers (they gather the nuts, tally the votes and book and then throw the annual Barrymore Awards too) has recognized that Philly’s theater community has gone into virtual pivot mode and is throwing its own fall gathering: Monday, Nov. 16’s “Theatre Philadelphia: A Celebration,” at 7 p.m. Yes, audiences can check into what local theater art makers have been up to, and will be up to in the immediate future, along with being able to participate in various after-party celebrations in various Zoom Rooms. Having attended each and every Barrymore post-party, I can assure you – these people like to drink, so bring a bottle to your laptop, if one isn’t there already. Check here for various ticket options theatrephiladelphia.org.