Reviving a South Street Haunt

I don’t love that it happened. But. Now that the Eagles swiftly blew their Super Bowl chances, with it went every hacky green-and-or bird-like PR strategy in the area.

No “Fly Eagles Fly” dance parties. No green booze. No green food. No marinated Eagles wings and things. Works for me. Save the car horns and set-off alarms for actual crimes – there’ll be plenty.


Dobbs on South

JC Dobbs at 334 South. It was a great idea when it started: a pre-punk, 70s-started, live music dive bar with decent cocaine bathrooms, made whole by its list of eventually famous national acts (e.g. Nirvana) but even more so by its way-more-beloved locals, be it George Thorogood or Kenn Kweder or the late Alan Mann, along with those who never made it out of JC Dobbs in the literal and figurative sense.

Cheers to the fire starters who made JC Dobbs happen and kept its original engine running – owner Kathy James, PR cheerleader Colonel Tom Sheehy, chronicler-curator-open-mic-showrunner George Manney. To varying degrees of success and fabulous flame-out failure, 334 South Street became Pontiac Grille and the Legendary Dobbs after its origin story rock saloon sold out, then closed, then became nothing for a long minute, one more vacant space on a once-happening block that, thankfully, never ceases to try to be cool again (that counts in my book).

This week, the newly named Dobbs on South, purchased by Ron Dangler and Angelo Rullo, is hosting official opening parties for what I hear is half live music/bar space (upstairs) and half sports bar (downstairs). Sheehy would spin in his grave at the thought of the latter (me as well), YET he never shied from asking for an Eagles score or a check in on Sixers games, so who’s to say. Either way, I say good luck to Dangler and Rullo. What’s the worst that can happen?


Wally Smith

Speaking of JC Dobbs and George Manney and his Last Minute Jam Band, ace keyboardist Wally Smith and delightful guitarist Greg Davis used to be a huge part of Manney’s menace and mirth on that tiny South Street stage. While Smith and Davis shared time in Crosstown Traffic along with the Last Minute ensemble, the guitarist had his hand in Beru Revue, and Smith manned the eighty-eights in Quincy and Smash Palace. I bring this up now because Smith has forever been a live gigging monster, and this week, debuts his floating membership organ trio’s residency at 118N Wayne. Starting Sunday January 23 and running every Sunday late-afternoon-through-early-eve, Smith will pound his 80-year-old Hammond Model A organ (“the same beast which used to reside at Walsh’s Tavern in the 90s,” Smith said) and front fresh trios that include Davis (Jan. 23), Kevin Hanson & Erik Johnson from Huffamoose and Fractals (Jan. 30), and David Uosikkinen (Hooters, ITP) with Kenny Aaronson (ITP, Yardbirds) on March 6. And more. And more.


11th Hour Theatre

It’s happening to everybody, so don’t feel bad 11th Hour Theatre Co. of Philly who, as of this week, will “pause” its scheduled in-person events for the rest of the season. However, the first of its live showcases, PROUD: A Cabaret in Color, will shift to a “virtual, work-in-progress presentation,” January 22 at 7 pm with Kyleen Shaw, Nicole Stacie, Phillip Anthony Wilson, and Richard Johnson leading a musical charge through its exploration of the Black experience. RSVP at


Soul Glo

We’re early on this, but the tracks are out there and we’re psyched: Philly’s punk-ish Soul Glo is prepping its new Epitaph label album Diaspora Problems for March. Beware.



Ack. I can’t really abide by anything Fox News, those who subscribe to its duh-ness, or those who perpetrate its crimes in the name of “fact.” See, FACT shouldn’t even come with air quotes. Anyway, I state this because one-time Fox News host Jillian Mele has joined the 6ABC news crew just as Action News anchor Jim Gardner is moving out the door, and vet Rick Williams takes over the 11 pm slot. Ugh, 6. Then again, before we get all mob rules on Mele, perhaps she is like Allison Camorata, the one-time Fox host who went to CNN and shifted like the winds of Vichy. Who is to say? Mele could be worse – say like Amy Wax. Let’s take this slow.


Jose Garces is busy

The dates aren’t set in hard guacamole as yet, but Philly chef Jose Garces is putting into play not two, but eventually four new Buena Onda locations beyond its Baja Peninsula-on-Fairmount roots. The first two will hit Radnor for spring, as well as the Rittenhouse’s area at S. 20th’s Tinto room next to Village Whiskey. So where will the other two Buena Ondas go? Jose isn’t saying yet. And where will Tinto Pintxo and its Basque edible/wine shop location go? Jose isn’t saying yet, though he is hinting at a return to Rittenhouse. We all come back to Rittenhouse.


Masked Philly: Thaddeus Phillips

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 lock down 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 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 Thaddeus Phillips.

Image | Courtesy of Thaddeus Phillips

Philly knows homeboy Phillips as an innovative theater director, designer, and performance artist who put the frills into Fringe Fest faves such as “17 Border Crossings,” “A Billion Nights on Earth,” and “Red-Eye to Havre de Grace,” as well as being a Philly Weekly cover star for his 2020 online iteration of “Zoo Motel.”

Before we talk about his new work, a new Zoo review titled “Zoo Mundo” (and running now until February 13 (tix are $33 and available at, I reached out to TP from his home in South America to hear about his pandemic blues and reds, and how he has spent C-19’s downtime focused on his fam.

“Ok, so my son, who is 9, before the pandemic his school was OK but not great,” Phillips said. “But we found an online platform called Outschool and set up a course scheduale that includes amazing classes that he loves with teachers and kids from around the world — and now he is excelling in everything. We can go anywhere in the world that has wifi and he can still be in school. That is amazing.”

When it comes to masking, Phillips – who is in Colombia – keeps things easy-peasy: “N95! Simple, light, and most safe,” he said.

As for all of the vax and mask mandates, he is all for both, but miffed nonetheless. As we all should be.

“I hate the whole thing and daily think how this happened, how the virus left the wet market and why no one has done anything to prevent it from happening again,” Phillips said. “That being said, we are in a total environmental crisis and this, at least, presented new ways to do this with less travel and with theatre, the new form of performing live over the WWW has been amazing. Everyone must get vaccinated and everyone must wear a mask! That is how the variants stop and THAT is how this ENDS. In Colombia you have to wear a mask [at] all times everywhere and everyone does. The USA is nuts and you can see the results in that insanity.”

And Zoo Mundo?

It is a totally new, interactive work and the opposite of Zoo Motel, Phillips tells me. “This new joint was created not out of necessity, but out of desire. This new joint is an insane voyage around the world done in micro cinema and live performance, 100% analog with sets made by the insanely creative Steven Dufala,” Phillips said. “Zoo Mundo is epic in nature and in a playful and hopefully profound way looks at the big picture of the planet and US where we have been and where we are going. It’s also fun and has a game show from the 1970s that the audience can play.”


    • A.D. Amarosi's Headshot

      A.D. Amorosi is an award-winning journalist who, along with working for the Philadelphia Weekly, writes regularly for Variety, Jazz Times, Flood and Wax Poetics, and hosts and co-produces his own SoundCloud-charting radio show, Theater in the Round for Pacifica National Public Radio station WPPM 106.5 FM and

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