Somewhere between this week’s official grey-greening arrival of autumn, the virtual ting of an ongoing Philly Tech Week and other local usually communal festivals, I’ve finally hit the wall that is the pandemic blues.
There’s also the steely feel of an Emmys lived out on even smaller sets than usual, and the mean ennui of an election cycle emboldened on both sides by RBG’s passing.
Certainly I’ve bumped into those of you on the street – OK, no I haven’t – masked or not, I’m standing and shuffling six feet away from all of you at all times, so more than likely I just heard you griping loudly on your phone – under COVID’s cloud and woozy from the mixed mists of protest. It’s a feeling of enervated disgruntlement and palpably chewy disgust; something akin to what Eagles fans must feel every season since the last Super Bowl win, up to and including this week, or those forced to drink EVERY FUCKING COCKTAIL THEY CAN by the 11 p.m. last call.
Maybe I just need a fresh messy argument to blow away the webs. Kenney and Krasner are usually up for something good and stupid. Yet, the mayor has been absent since he got caught dining mask-less in Maryland. Isn’t there a statue to be knocked down, a culinary industry and a dining capacity he can fuck over, or a group of homeless people that Kenney can ineffectually gesture toward?
I could very well yell at Comcast Chief Brian Roberts for pushing Peacock down my throat every chance he gets. And no, I don’t want Quibi, either. Know what else? I DO NOT WANT TO WEAR A COAT OUTSIDE TO DINE IN DECEMBER. I love you my restaurant-e-preneurs, but, I can’t get to winter outdoor dining with you. We might as well just go camping. Just get me a plate. I’ll eat in your foyer.
I’m looking forward to fall, and looking further forward to doing some real serious bitching.
So, very recent Masked Philly subject Nick Stuccio’s predominantly virtual Philadelphia Fringe Festival is going gangbusters through October, and that’s delicious. What is usually doubly delicious when it comes to the Fringe is its annual post-Fest, all-chefs goodly gathering for fest funding, Feastival. Created by Audrey Taichman, Stephen Starr, Michael Solomonov and now with Nic Elmi in the mix, the multi-chef event happens at a hangar-like space or pier near Fringe HQ, everybody gives money to eat, drink and sample menu items from every great Philly restaurant, and the Fringe and FringeArts get needed money. And hang. Everybody loves to hang, stand, nosh and try not to spit food while doing all that.
This year, however you won’t need to worry about getting spit on – unless you want to – as Feastival will be a multi-day (rather than one night) virtual event (Oct. 8-11), where you can order from five separate culinary experiences and receive a box with dinner and everything else in which to participate in the experience from home – all while ZOOMing into a Fringe performance. Plus Feastival will share some of its cash by donating to other causes in need of donations: Cooking for the Culture (for Black culinary talent and greater equality in kitchens across the U.S.) and the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association’s Hospitality Assistance Response of Pennsylvania fund for financial grants to unemployed restaurant workers.
Aid for musicians
Give it up for Fred Knittel. The man behind all things Folkadelphia just released Volume 3 of its standing rootsy series “Co-Mission: An Artist Relief Compilation” on Bandcamp with the usual unusual suspects, such as Miwi La Lupa, They/Live, Jake Blount, Giri and Uma and Faustina Masigat playing for funds for COVID-19-struck musicians. Plus, Fred and Folkadelphia get ZIP, as 100 percent of your purchase/donations goes to helping local artists.
Who’s on that ATV?
Do you know how you keep saying to yourself, “Hey, I may not love how loud those ATVs are, en masse and right around 2:30 a.m. in front of my front door, but, they sure look cool. Who is riding them?” I can tell you, firsthand from having him ride past me repeatedly on Washington Avenue in South Philly, that one of the riders is the 215’s own Lil Uzi Vert, whose long hog is a truly impressive beast on wheels. Hey, if the platinum-plated rapper is still driving his ATV next summer, he’ll have to go a different route since the Wash is going to be a pared down fucking mess what with this City’s approval to dropkick the Avenue occurring on Monday, but, hey, progress.
Masked Philly: ROZES
In Icepack’s continuing saga of asking mask-donning local celebrities what they’ve been up to beyond the pale during C-19, this week I reached out to Elizabeth Mencel, the Montgomeryville native-now-Fishtownian singer-songwriter-disco-diva better known as ROZES.
Though she made her bones and big cash from her EDM collaborations such as “Roses,” The Chainsmokers and Galantis’ “Girls on Boys,” ROZES has a sterling solo career’s worth of EPs such as 2017’s “Burn Wild,” 2018’s “I Don’t Know Where I’m Going, But I’m On My Way,” and her fresh September released EP, “Crazy.” So, she’s been busy making hard music during the start of the pandemic’s lockdown. What else?
“I actually started teaching myself how to sew,” she exclaimed. “It’s been an amazing hobby that forces me to be present and focus on the current moment. I’ve been doing a lot of self-discovery and I know that I am privileged to be able to do that during such a troubling time.”
When it comes to wearing the masks, it doesn’t bother ROZES one bit. “I don’t mind wearing masks, especially if it means I’m keeping others safe by doing it. I have some masks with cute patterns. My mom loves sewing them so I pretty much have one for every outfit.”
And as for what she’ll do when the masks come off – if they can come off – beyond getting out there and touring for “Crazy,” ROZES sounds definitive as to her next step. “Go dancing,” she said. “I miss going out to bars and just hanging out with friends.