Saturday, November 25, 2006

Inky Come Lately

The Philadelphia Inquirer decided today to report on musicians being robbed of their gear in Philly. Philebrity pointed out the Metro's slow-on-the-draw coverage of this trend over a month ago. My favorite sentence from the Inky story is:

At least eight bands have had their equipment stolen while on tour in the city since March, the most recent earlier this month.

The bold print is my emphasis as I note that today is November 25. I can't wait to read the Inky's Thanksgiving Day coverage this Christmas.


Philly Owns Christmas!

That's right. Philadelphia is all over Christmas this year.

At least at the box office.

Hometown hero Will Smith tugs the heart strings December 15th in The Pursuit of Happyness (can't say I approve of the spelling, but there's probably an explanation), while Sylvester Stallone delivers body blows December 22nd in Rocky Balboa, shot here in Philly.

The Rocky site plays the "Gonna Fly Now" theme. Turn that shit up!


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving 2006

Feeding on the encouragement of one BKJ reader, I'm live blogging the Thanksgiving Day parades again this year from the warmth and comfort of Lancaster, PA.

Last night's fun at the Khyber ended too late for Amtrak, so I was on the rails early this morning and we're joining our holiday program already in progress.

8:55 AM: It's raining in Philadelphia, and from the looks of the wet spots on the backs of one dancer's yellow parachute pants, this guy took a spill somewhere along the parade route.

Still in Philadelphia, here comes the first balloon of the day. It's Barney! Or some facsimile of Barney. It's big, it's pink/purple, and it looks like a dinosaur, but I'm pretty sure this is a sweat-shop bootleg Barney.

Pat Sajak takes Tony Danza's place as the honorary grand marshall of the parade this year. His duties are pretty simple. "My job is to eat the turkey."

9:06 New York: The 80th Macy's Thanksgiving Parade has gotten underway, and the rain is falling on A Chorus Line. The line between attractive for stage and attractive for television has blurred dramatically, or this could just be par for NYC. No doubt these actors are the envy of every other parade participant today--they're done for the day.

9:2? Philadelphia: I've already lost track of time (can't see the clock from my chair). Winnie the Pooh is making his way past the Art Museum. The narration of the parade is surprisingly informative, going into detail about A. A. Milne's creation. Pooh-san is much beloved in Japan (as is the next character, Hello Kitty--Kitty-chan), and I was fortunate enough to see my 2-year-old niece meet him at Disney World in October. I'll keep the personal remarks to a minimum. Oh, look who's decided to show up; it's Mayor John Street.

Cecily Tynan is having way too much fun with the Pirate Cove float and the nautical dialogue. Of course, she has some experience in these matters.

9:28 New York: What the hell is going on? These kids look like Oompa Loompas. Oh, it's the Grinch. Look, he's stealing Christmas. OK. The song's over. Wait. Where's he going? Is he coming back? We just saw him steal Christmas, but they left out the Grinch's transformation and change of heart. The whole lesson of the story has been lost. It seems appropriate that both parades have gone to commercial at this moment.

Bloody Mary time.

9:34 New York: Martin Short in a helicopter is actually funny. The Color Purple's "Mysterious Ways" sounds nothing like U2's version.

9:36 Philadelphia: Kelly Ripa is back in Philadelphia, perky as ever. Hilarity enrupts in our living room when they begin airing recorded clips of Disney on Ice and my father unwittingly asks, "How did they get the ice on the street?" Mercy.

More commercials. While the ads run, I come across the following facts from NPR: The balloons in New York must come down if the wind gusts to 34 miles per hour, or the wind blows at a sustained 23 mph. Only once, 1973, did the balloons have to come down.

9:50 Philadelphia: Sajak's out, Ripa's in. This has become a parade tradition: Ripa infusing new blood into the back end of the ceremony.

9:53 New York: The Rockettes have arrived. Those costumes do not look warm. My uncle just announced out of the blue, "I'm not fond of fondue."

9:54 Philadelphia: Kelly's turkey hat is fantastic! And here's 12-year-old Bianca Ryan. Just wait until her voice changes, she'll be coked-up and washed out, but she'll always remember the time when she was America's sweetheart. Huh, look at that split screen technology. It's like she's singing to herself.

10:00 Philadelphia: Someone is performing "Walk Like an Egyptian," and Kelly's wearing a King Tut hat. I just realized that every time a marching band comes along, the Philadelphia parade cuts to commercial.

10:13 Philadelphia: Civic Pride Moment: Philly celebrates its roots and Kevin Bacon with a tribute to Footloose. The man himself is nowhere in sight.

10:20 New York: Said of the Mr. Peanut balloon: "a legend among legumes." The broadcasters are announcing "a surprise visit by the Energizer Bunny." A surprise? Really? C'mon.

10:26 Philadelphia: Desperate to sate her hat addiction, Kelly's stolen Cecily Tynan's baby's hat. Let the "Kelly eats children" rumors start.

10:32 New York: The Sesame Street characters are singing about "another sunny day." The parade's gone metaphorical. Deeeeep. And now, New York has a King Tut performance, too. Sure, their dancers didn't bump into each other the way ours did, but only Philadelphia will be hosting the real King Tut.

11:07 New York: Why are Daryl Hall and John Oates performing in the New York parade? Shouldn't they be in Philly? They are treating the City of Brotherly Love like an abandoned luncheonette. Where is their plaque: Broad Street or Broadway? Tear it up! Boo! I'm out of here. Actually, I nod off into a disheartened slumber and wake up midway through the first quarter of the Lions-Dolphins game. Something smells good.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Guess What's Still F'd Up

One week and counting to fix a broken handrail at 34th and Market.


Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

Last night there was a huge banner of 2006 National League MVP Ryan Howard on City Hall. I saw it on the way to the North Star for the Hold Steady show, but I was sans camera. Even though I am not a Phillies fan, I recognize that Howard's achievement is great publicity for this city I call home, and I planned on dropping by the Hall today to snap a picture.

This award is a big deal, right? It was a big deal for me when Albert "El Hombre" Pujols took the honor in 2005. So, you'd think Philadelphia would hang that banner proudly for a while, right?


The banner was already gone this afternoon, and I'm left reprinting the stock image that's all over the internet.

When I read this story about Mayor Street botching Ryan Howard's name at the ceremony, I realized the banner wasn't meant as a tribute, it was just a giant cue card for Hizzoner. Next time, the mayor's handlers should make the cue card bigger and place it in front of the podium, not behind it.

One last thought: Howard for Mayor.

*in the interest of giving the full story, the banner originated at Citizens Bank Park, and I believe it's been returned there (unconfirmed).


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Modest Mouse on Marr

All the years of being "The City that Never Sleeps" finally caught up with the Big Apple, as New York City seemed tired last night.

The level of affected boredom in that town always drives me nuts, but it was particularly irritating last night at the Bowery Ballroom for Modest Mouse.

Let's go to the tale of the texts.

8:30: Bowery Ballroom is a fantastic venue!
Still relatively sober as I send this message. The Bowery is a great place to see a show, better than the Roseland.

9:30: David Cross and Johnny Marr performing a parody of U2’s “One” in commemoration of the Bank of America merger. Funny stuff.

About 5 beers into the show at this point. Opening act Marcellus Hall is lounging in a private, screened off room in the back of the balcony. I later discovered the Bank of America song that Johnny Marr and David Cross sang was actually performed at a Bank of America corporate event to celebrate their merger with MBNA.

Soon after sending this text I stepped across the velvet rope into the VIP section, removed a table tent emblazoned with "Reserved Modest Mouse" and had a front-railing view of the stage. The only problem was sneaking back in whenever my beer cup ran dry.

11:??: Best show ever. Ever.
Texted this after Modest Mouse played "Trailer Trash." Closing their encore with "Doin' the Cockroach" also cemented this sentiment in my mind. In the sober light of day, this show was fantastic, but I'm not sure it can top the time I saw Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick performing "The Show" (not the featured link, but really worth watching).

The only defense I have for my following name-dropping is that it was my first celebrity run-in (except when I saw this guy in Lancaster about 20 years ago). With the opening strands of “Doin’ the Cockroach,” I yelled, “David, good to see you,” shook Cross’s hand (abiding Ice Cube's words), ran down the stairs, and waded straight to the front of the stage before Isaac announced, “I was in heaven, I was in hell, believe in neither but fear ‘em as well…”

As the drunken bumpkin from the sticks (Philly), I was completely entertained and going bananas, as every one around me was doing their best to appear bored. At least they were nodding to the music. As I was stompin' my feet and jumping around, I high-fived a guy in the middle of "Cockroach"—damn, you should’ve seen the scared look in his eyes. He gave me his wallet.

I waded unaccosted to the front of the crowd like a giant through tall grass, and I was drumming on the stage by the end of the song. Right in front. Stompin and pogoing, and generally being a rowdy concertgoer in the midst of a bunch of staid, bored hipsters. This would never happen in Philadelphia, I've tried. Bunch of dispassionate, world-weary fuckers. Philly kicks NYC’s ass.

??:??: NYC is a town of pussies and posers. I am king of of New York.
The double “of” was not intentional. The alcohol hammer had dropped.

After the show, it was over to Brooklyn where I met the "grandmother of literary hipsters," Maud, who hates to be called “grandmother” or “hipster,” even though that's how my friend described her. For the rest of the night, I had to keep this in mind as Mrs. Parker's devotees maintained a steady stream of doting at the round table. She seemed like a good shit (and was dressed a bit like the Queen's mum), and you gotta give her credit for keeping her blog going after the novel-ty has worn off for her.

My friend Dennis was also at the bar. When "The Writer's Mind" opens in New York, go see it.

Modest Mouse: 11/18/2006
Paper-Thin Walls
Float On
The View
Fire It Up
We’ve Got Everything
Missed the Boat
Tiny Cities Made of Ashes
Black Cadillacs
Trailer Trash

Continental Breakfast???
Ocean Breathes Salty
Bury Me With It
Doin’ the Cockroach


Friday, November 17, 2006

The Philadelphia Sixers: Update

Don't look now, but the Flyers have won 2 in a row. One more win on Saturday, and they'll be the first Philadelphia sports team to hit 6 wins this season.

The Sixers won on Wednesday to improve to 4-3, so they're still in the running to be the first to 6 wins.

The Eagles (5-4) square off against the Titans on Sunday.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Philadelphia Sixers?

The sports section leads with its comprehensive and in-depth coverage of how bad Philadelphia sports teams suck. It's a portrait of futility that The Blarney Stone commemorates with a board detailing years and games lost by the Flyers, Sixers, Phillies, and Eagles since this town's last championship (1983 Sixers).

Taking a look at the sports in season at the moment, I wonder: Which team will be the real 6-ers come Sunday?

The Flyers are an abysmal 3-12-2 with 3 games to play before Sunday (11/15, 11/16, and 11/18)
The Sixers (3-3) got off to a fast start before returning to mediocrity. They could be 6-3 if they win on 11/15, 11/17, and 11/18.
The Eagles are a hair over .500 with a 5-4 record. If they beat the Titans on Sunday, they'll be 6-4.

So, will the real "sixers" please stand up?


Anne Frank's Tree

The chestnut tree growing outside of Anne Frank's house (huis) in Amsterdam is going to be cut down because it is rotten with fungus.
Nothing to add, just putting the word out in case Bloody Knee Jerk is your source for news.

I wish I could save it with some sort of pesticide.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Taking Excellence to New Lows

Most uninspired headline ever. Courtesy of the new Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Decemberists perform at the Electric Factory

Perhaps it is fitting that this uninspired show was given such an uninspired headline. The Decemberists played like they were going through the motions. Welcome to Dullsville.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Tower Records, R.I.P., But Still a Rip!

Certainly not fresh news, but Tower Records is going out of business. They've hired people to stand on the corner with signs foretelling their demise and promising big savings.

Currently these big savings are 30% rock and pop CDs (40% off hip hop). That's 30 percent off the list price, which at Tower Records was always $15.99 and up. Quick math prices CDs that used to cost $15.99--$18.99 at $11.20--$13.30.

Congratulations Tower Records, you're finally selling CDs at a price comparable to what A.K.A. Music has always charged. Don't let your boarded-up front door hit you in the ass as you leave South Street (or the revolving door on Broad Street).


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Ghost of Christmas Past

It's only November, but with the rash of Flyers firings and resignations, Christmas has come early!

Dec. 9 at the Keswick Theater: A Peter White Christmas.
Share the holiday spirit with a 4th-line center who never hustled and his drunken, out-of-work father-in-law. All the seasonal pageantry of a has-been and a never was…on ice!

Unless there's another Peter White (Warning: link plays smooth jazz).