New Jazz and Bake’n Bacon

A few great concerts to sneak in before the New Year

Maybe I’m a little premature here, what with this being two whole days out from the holiday when PW hits print, but do you actually think that you snagged everything that you wanted for Christmas? We know that Philly restaurants and local live venues might be fucked for the gift of crowds – to say nothing of employees – now that Omicron is high and spread wide, and several eateries will close temporarily. That’s fucked up.

We know that lame Sixers player Ben Simmons didn’t get what we wanted so far as he is still stuck on the team and with a big house he can’t sell in New Jersey. So Ben is double fucked.

We know that our Police Commish, Danielle Outlaw, didn’t get the gift of getting the hell out of Philly for NYC, and getting Manhattan District’s top cop job. Or that DA Krasner got any respect or empathy after apologizing for having said the worst stupidest benign untrue comments about Philly not suffering from a gun violence and death epidemic.

Or that Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese will be in good fiscal shape after having to pay out $20 each to over 18,000+ home cooks not to use its thick white slab of Neufchâtel.

Or that the doofuses getting PA state income tax removed from student loan forgiveness won’t just waste that money on more meal kits, melatonin, and pre-rolls. Or that no one making the laws in Philly’s City Council can make more than $25,000 on the side of Councilmember Maria Quiñones-Sánchez has her way. Dreams dashed. Hopes trashed. And for Jim Kenney. Our Grinch. Our Scrooge. Our every nightmare Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future rolled into one stiff suit. Ho. Ho. No.

 

Delco and Cohen

Delco. It’s a magical place with quaint accents, thick sweaters, an uncomfortably close relationship to all things Wawa, and all made popular by HBO’s Mare of Eastown. OK. How to top that? A first-ever, seasonably chilled, brand-new Flight on Ice Skating Village complete with a lit-up Christmas tree, Zamboni driving and a partnership/ownership card from a one-time NHL hockey player, Colby Cohen of the Colorado Avalanche and the Providence Bruins, Cohen’s no Kate Winslet, but he’s nicer for kids than watching her and Jean Smart smoke cigarettes.

 

New Jazz

You know what no one does anymore, especially during a pandemic? Open new jazz joints. That’s why we love Mame and Mark Wilson for popping the top on Wilson’s Restaurant & Live Music Lounge on Warwick Road in Hi-Nella South Jersey last week, without warning, and booking a full slate of live jazz, blues, and R&B to go with its New Orleans cuisine. Nice.

 

Bel Air

Hey, I saw the trailer at Thanksgiving. It looks glum, and slow. So why not run the glum and slow whole premiere of the new dramatic reboot of Overbrook’s Will Smith origin story, the sit-comic The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – now titled Bel-Air – immediately following 2022’s action packed Super Bowl. That should bring your mood down quick. West Philly’s Jabari Banks stars in “Bel Air,” and many of its early scenes were locally lensed and feature all manner of Philadelphia-made art, crafts, graffiti and landmarks. Maybe that’ll lift and freshen your Fresh Prince spirits?

 

Indie Rock

Before Philly’s rocking tower of song, The Districts, ring in New Year’s Eve at Johnny Brenda’s, they take part in Brooklyn’s San Fermin’s new collaborative album “In This House” with fellow Fermin pals Nico Muhly, Wild Pink, Wye Oak, Sorcha Richardson, Thao Nguyen, and the Attacca Quartet. That’s a bigger deal than you know, so, prepare.

 

Christmas Concert

Just in time to make with the merry, the bright and the money, the artists who made 2020’s The Philly Holiday Album (that’s probably Dawn Drapes, Nik Greeley, Wil Schade, and Taylor Kelly at the very least) will do a live show rendition of last year’s snappy Christmas music remix at MilkBoy on December 22 for The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

 

 Image | Courtesy of Justin Coleman

 

MASKED PHILLY: Justin Coleman

In Icepack’s way too-long, 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 re-opening, present-day un-masking and re-masking, worrying about Delta variants, freaking out about Fauci’s call for a potential third round of vax shots a 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?), the possibility of mix-and-matching vaccines which is weird, AND NOW, YEAH OF COURSE, the whole worldwide B.1.1.529 Omicron variant scare, so welcome to ROUND THREE, I reached out, this week, to Justin Coleman.

Cape May’s Coleman is the brains, brawn, and baking hands behind the Bake’n Bacon food truck whose first-time appearance at downtown’s Christmas Village (next to the Ferris Wheel, yet) is the crispest reason to hit the shopping/dining holiday hotspot.

Running the Bake’n Bacon mobile for a minute, however, meant putting the brakes on a smart business proposal through the pandemic’s initial slow down, and working through his own non-biz concerns.

“I took time to deal and heal with traumas that I faced, and focused more on self-care; and what that means is I spent time reading and searching for passages on improving one’s well-being, relationships with others, and mental care,” says Coleman. “I was able to slow down and stay still, and in that stillness, learn and refocus. It was good to unlearn certain behaviors and relearn more effective and healthier ones. All of that let me be in a much better place to adapt and pivot my business, including finding new ways to connect with foodies all over the region, rethink and expand our future plans, make new connections and network in new ways, and expand into the Philly marketplace.”

Coleman is a fan of the vaccine and the face masks, especially considering that his mask was made by old friend, conscious Los Angeles’ artist Miles Regis, a painter whose work depicts and highlights social injustice. “Mike’s paintings raise awareness on issues in the Black community and highlight the beauty and resilience in the Black culture. His work is truth telling, empowering and unique in capturing the struggles of Blackness as well as uplifting Black excellence.” As far as the vax goes, Coleman is vaccinated, but believes that everyone should do what they feel is best for themselves as well as their loved ones. “Whatever people feel comfortable for their own health and safety,” he adds.

Along with Bake’n Bacon serving seven kinds of mac ‘n cheese, brisket fries and much more, Coleman is most looking forward to shaving (“I don’t have to shave as much as I used to do, so when the mask is gone, I’ll be clean-shaven”) and taking off for the month of January to visit fam in Hawaii. “The food truck has been non-stop all year and we’re at Christmas Village every single day seven days a week through Christmas Eve, plus shipping orders all over the country. So this break is much needed. I’m also looking forward to our second Bake’n Bacon food truck debuting at the beginning of next year for two times the bacon goodness.”

    • A.D. Amarosi's Headshot

      A.D. Amorosi is a Philadelphia-based journalist who, along with Philadelphia Weekly, writes for numerous local, national and international publications including Variety and the Philadelphia Inquirer.