If you’re wearing your “Hey, I voted on Tuesday, and all I got was this lazy, hubris-filled District Attorney again” T-shirt, welcome to another week in Philadelphia where you can shoplift all that you like. This Election Week’s special? Pocket over the usual $50 limit and get your recently confiscated ATV back on the street by the weekend, now with a free, full tank of gas. And while I may not be confident, at all, in our incumbent, second-round DA, I am fairly confident that this area’s election/voting administrators – the people at the polls and behind the polls – are playing and plying their trade according to Hoyle, that there isn’t the sort-of chicanery that voting officials are often accused of to forge stolen elections and breed partisan toxic environments on either side.
One of the things that made my father’s residence at an area rehab/assisted living center toward the end of his life enjoyable and flavor-filled was the tradition-tweaked Venezuelan menu and the homemade chocolate delights at Sazón on Spring Garden Street across from Union Transfer. I could stop in that colorful corner spot for arepas, hallacas and homemade chocolate desserts – anything – and my dad would be pleased. Give it up for St. Alphonso’s Pancake Breakfast Where I Stole the Margarine. Anyway, Sazón is leaving the block and the corner space at 10th, forced out by a landlord who sided with pot-smoking neighbors who made dining and working at Sazón impossible (Sazón stopped paying rent in protest, but last week a judge found in favor of the landlord). Don’t fear too much though: Sazón Restaurant & Café 2 is readying a new, fully stocked ghost kitchen for a take-out and delivery deal fresh out of 1308 W. Girard. My father, Alphonso, would be pleased.
New music space?
Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but I’m hearing words and rumors about fresh, live music activity coming out of the old, historic JC Dobbs/Pontiac Grill/The Legendary Dobbs space on South Street. Apparently, there was archival documentary footage being shot out of the 304 South Street space – a revolutionary, Philly hot spot which, in one guise or another, played host to Nirvana, Rufus Wainwright, George Thorogood, Tool, G. Love & Special Sauce, Kenn Kweder, Tommy Conwell, Mikey Wild and more bathroom coke snorting than one room could handle. Charmingly documented by the late, great George Manney with his “Meet Me on South Street: The Story of JC Dobbs,” the film is a must-see for those who care about what is called “the evolution of Philadelphia’s fertile music and arts subculture in the 1970s. If 304 South Street is indeed reopening (and honestly, I’ve heard this a dozen times since its last owner, beloved South Street habitue Heshey Schlachterman, sold it to Ron Dangler and Angelo Rullo between the end of 2020 and the top of 2021), please just take care of it. Once upon a time, it meant a lot to a lot of people.
A trash theater spectacular
Now that locals have finally found some long overdue respect for Philly’s trash people (if, and until they strike; then everyone will be pissed the fuck off), Philadelphia Theatre Company is gearing its return to live stages to such love with a world premiere trash theater spectacular, “The Garbologists” by playwright Lindsay Joelle. While the play itself starts its run on Nov. 11, look for PTC to manage several community programs and partnerships – including a city-wide #supportsantiationworkers campaign to show love for Philly’s sanitation workers, a special night for sanitation workers and their families, a famous local artist working on turning trash cans into art, and a special event with Ya Fav Trashman, the Philly blogger/Instagrammer/Tweeter responsible for all this adoration.
KOP gets its pizza fix
Why should Chancellor Street and the Callowhill area in Philly get all the wood-fired, wonderful Vetri Pizzeria fun? Master Mark’s tony Maurizio mozzarella home is hitting up the King of Prussia Town Center with 100-plus seats across its new indoor and outdoor environs. Boom.
New Lil Uzi Vert track
Not sure how he got away with doing it so quietly, the usually loud and proud Philly rapper, producer, stylish ATV driver and forehead gem enthusiast/multi-platinum superstar Lil Uzi Vert dropped a new track, “Demon High,” over the weekend at all DSPs and streaming services, and with production help from Pro Logic, a mixologist associate of Meek Mill and Post Malone. Dag.
Kudos to Philadelphia Magazine’s food editor Alex Tewfik for putting money where one’s mouth is – literally and figuratively, as a diner and as a critic – for getting away from the culinary editorial desk, and into opening an actual restaurant: Mish Mish on East Passyunk Avenue.
Masked Philly: Dave Hause
In Icepack’s way too-long and now, way, way overly complex and 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 reopening, present-day unmasking and re-masking, worrying about Delta variants, freaking out about Fauci’s call for a potential third round of vax shots mere five months after the last, new mask and vax card mandates, ignored or not ignored (I mean why did I wait in line at the Convention Center if you’re not asking to see my card?), and the possibility of mix-and-matching vaccines which is weird, right? – I reached out this week to Dave Hause.
Hause has forever been this city’s most literate (think Tom Petty meets Social Distortion, but smarter), notably working class (what the hell does this even mean now?) punk poet with cherished bands/brands such as Paint It Black, The Loved Ones and The Falcon. With his first solo single (“Melanin”) and debut solo album 10 years ago, Resolutions, Hause has made his own way. Now, together with his multi-instrumentalist brother Tim, more acoustic than electric guitars, and his own label, Dave Hause continues the solo challenge with his newly-released, self-released LP Blood Harmony.
Now living in sunny Santa Barbara, California, with his wife and two children, Hause informs me that his last 20 months-plus have meant being able to focus on being a dad. “My wife had our twins in January of 2019, and we released our last record, Kick, in April 2019,” says Hause. “We toured extensively throughout 2019, the boys turned 1 and then we did two substantial tours in early 2020, one of which got cut short by COVID. Once it set in that we weren’t going to play another show for a considerable amount of time, I honed in on being a dad. Connecting with the boys, reading about parenting, taking them out for long walks, playing in the park, just being immersed in that world and lifestyle; it was a huge gift. I never would’ve taken that kind of break from the road, I would have continued to work like I always had, but this forced me to get very slow, very still, and just be their dad. We are so lucky we didn’t get sick, and that the boys were that age when the world shut down.”
Rock on, Hauses.
Dave is fine with wearing the mask, and as an again-touring musician, is fond of air-flight masking. “I especially like it on planes, you can’t smell the unpleasantness of modern air travel and people are less apt to chatter with you when you’re masked. I think I’ll always do plane mask from here on out. The vax too, is cool, a tremendous solution to this giant, worldwide problem in such a short period of time. It’s a place we can point to in recent times where the government was able to successfully do something good for the citizens. Nothing makes it more aggravated than these nitwit, green belt, internet researchers who are anti-vax. Letting crazy steer sane is a real pain in the ass.”
As one who tours, Hause, of course, wants to go back to “buy a ticket, walk into the show without a weapon and come party.” And while he doesn’t believe that he has the leverage of arena-stage artists, Hause’s hope “is that promoters/venues take that bull by the horns to keep things safe so we can go on with the show.”
As for the folksy, still punkish power and might of his new Blood Harmony? Dave Hause is as modest as he is wise. “I think Tim and I just wrote the best songs we could write at the beginning of the year, and the main rule we follow is to make something we would want to listen to. The tone of the songs dictated the production, and Will Hoge and the incredible cast of players we had play on the record interpreted them better than they even sounded in my head. It was a quantum leap for us forward, being able to go down every creative path we wanted to with a group of players like that. “