Casual observance tells me that you guys could use some tender loving care this week. It’s been a rough summer, I know – the back-and-forth mask mandates, the vax questions, dodging bullets, the fact that you can’t get a decent slab of beef now that Primal Meats is gone, hearing that even de Blasio is pumping over $200 million into fighting crime in Manhattan while Kenney and Krasner give our neighbors in Philly muskets and good luck wishes.
So this week is strictly for you. I’m Icepack-ing a lot about what YOU seem to like, Philly. The things that seem to grip you and yours, rather than toast me or my royal we. So no sashimi. No opera. No heady Merlot or saxophones. Just you and your beer and your hoagies and your PC everything (I’m not even a paragraph in, and I’m getting the bends).
Iggles are back
End of August in this city coinciding, as it does, kinda-sorta with summer’s sundown, always comes with its annual traditions – last shore trips with the family, last shore trips without the family, dog earring websites for your friends’ shows for Philly Fringe Fest, listening to DA election candidates shilling for money. And Philadelphia Eagles training camp on South Broad, just blocks away from the Columbus statue, still there, still pissing a lot of people off, save for Italians. Abbondanza. While last Sunday’s public Iggles practice could not be held in front of fans at the Linc, we know because we know from the last many practices that we must get SB-winning QB Nick Foles back, even though I like paisan Joe Flacco. We must do everything to help power superhero wide receivers DeVonta Smith (fix the limp he got Sunday) and John Hightower (so far, showing good hands), and running back Miles Sanders. We have to get Greg Luzinski BBQ into the Linc. And most of all, we have to kick ass, and not stay ruinously psyched out by getting killed by the Patriots last week.
Whack song on Madden
That said, check North Philly rap mistress Tierra Whack with her newest song “8” on the Madden NFL 22 soundtrack wearing Eagles green on the cover.
Ruining baseball card tradition
And before I get out of the snore of sports in Philly, it is important to note that Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, with Jay-Z, is applying for an online sports betting license in New York to form a Fanatics Sportsbook, which would also enlarge and enrich his b-ball apparel empire into the massively influential sports gambling realm. Remember Michael, it’s not a gamble if you’re winning. Rubin is the same person ruining the tradition of baseball cards now that he has talked the Major League Baseball Association into ending its 70-year card deal with Topps for a new exclusive deal with his Fanatics. The Topps deal expires after the 2025 season, and MLB’s deal with Fanatics starts in 2026. Nothing is sacred. I bet Rubin gets rid of the hard, pink bubble gum stick.
Ultimately none of us really wound up liking AMC’s filmed-in-Philly all-over-the-place “Dispatches from Elsewhere.” Not even the network, and they pick up everything for a second season. Heck, not even the eternally likeable Sally Field and the guy from OutKast playing the recorder helped. Who hates a recorder? C’mon, man. Well, apparently the owners of the cool, minimalist “Latimer House” at 1200 Latimer don’t even like their space now that it’s tainted by “Dispatches,” and they put it on the market for $6 million. Hey it still has that new-ish smell hatched as it was in 1997, so….
Laura Jane Grace music
Fresh from performing the inaugural live show at Philly’s Four Seasons Landscaping over the weekend – a garden center gig that got as much worldwide press this time as it did when Rudy Guiliani got when he made his November 2020 pit stop there – Laura Jane Grace just cut a deal with Audible’s Words + Music series for “Black Me Out.” Due to drop in September, the sound story promises an “inspiring examination of identity and creativity, from the founder and frontwoman of notorious punk band Against Me! recounting the story of her life, her rise to fame, and the painful but powerful moments that have led her to where she is now… a trans woman struggling to live as her true self.” I bet Rudy wishes he got a deal like that, post Four Seasons Landscaping, as opposed to selling gold bar futures.
Vax Up Philly Parade
Since the rain screwed everything up last weekend, and everyone was mushroom hungover between three Phish shows in Atlantic City and one long night with Dead & Co. at CPB, the VAX Up Philly Parade, community-minded event with free vaccinations, live music, and eatibles (sadly no edibles) from Snacktime Philly, Radio Kismet, and Conrad Benner’s Streets Dept happens Aug. 29, from 11 am at FDR Park on. Why not? Save the ’shrooms for after.
Masked Philly: Andrew Scott of OhBree
In Icepack’s too-long and now 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 and new mask and vax card mandates – I reached out this week to Andrew Scott of OhBree.
Living in West Philadelphia while the band (between five and nine members at a shot, between studio and the stage) records a new album at Sleepless Sound Studio in Germantown, Scott and the delightfully infectious (not that way) and way poppy OhBree, have, of course, focused its energies away from live performance and into other activities during COVID and Delta.
“This might be pretty basic, but I started making pizza from scratch every week and got really into editing and perfecting my dough recipe,” says Scott. “And I’m feeling like a boss when I get the second proofing just right. I’ve now memorized a killer base dough recipe that is absolutely perfect for pizza, baguettes, zeppole, focaccia, and who knows – maybe I’ll find another great use for it! Pigs in a Blanket or something – hmmm.”
In terms of vax and max, Scott is fully vaccinated and happy to be so. “I have a great mask that was made by my mother-in-law that has a floral pattern to match my floral hat. One time last year some guy at a gas station yelled at me from another pump that he liked it, so you know I’ll be wearing that one on the regular.”
And of OhBree’s future: “When the COVID lockdowns started last year, I was in a writing slump. After a couple months, I decided to just start writing down whatever bizarre concepts I could think of and mock up some songs about them. In the end, I came up with 10 tracks that we’re going to turn into a two-sided album about evil counts, short British soldiers, headless chickens, getting eaten by bears, obsession with trains, and stuff like that. It will be our first album in four years (maybe five by the time we release it), and I feel like it’s a truly cathartic combination of our newer sound and our old goofball vibes.”