Best of Philly: Best Philadelphians 2016

From left: Taff, Ubiñas, Woodard, Mustafa. | Photograph by Nell Hoving

From left: Brian Taff, Helen Ubiñas, Omar T. Woodard, Yasmine Mustafa. | Photograph by Nell Hoving

TV Reporter

Brian Taff, 6 ABC

Let’s face it: Philly broadcasters have traditionally been little more than talking heads. But Taff is doing something different. He regularly takes to Facebook to break an unwritten rule of TV journalism by expressing his personal opinions on controversial topics like gay marriage and the hate-filled antics of Donald Trump. In an even tone, he calls for civility and
logic in an era that lacks both.


Helen Ubiñas, Daily News

Sometimes, being an outsider is a good thing. Ubiñas moved to Philly from Connecticut four and a half years ago and has used her column to point out just how screwed up this city is when it comes to handling issues like poverty and crime. She knows things can be better, and she’s not afraid to use some stunt journalism to prove it: She recently made national headlines when she wrote about how it took her all of seven minutes to buy an AR-15 rifle in Philly — and much longer to get rid of it at a police station. Read more »

DNC Guide: The Parties and Events

Blavat: Bobby Bank/WireImage/Getty Images; stadium and fox: istockphoto; Loews: G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia; Kimmel: M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia; Noah: Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central.

Blavat: Bobby Bank/WireImage/Getty Images; stadium and fox: istockphoto; Loews: G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia; Kimmel: M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia; Noah: Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central.

For the I’m-With-Her crowd: The Emily’s List party
What: This powerful PAC has been supporting pro-choice female candidates since the ’80s and has raised more than $400 million for their causes. Obviously, this is the election they’ve been waiting for, and they’re hosting a party at the Kimmel Center on July 27th to celebrate. (Psst … look for Ed Rendell in the crowd.)
Can You Get In? Hells yes! It’s free, but you’ll need to RSVP on their site.

For US Weekly Subscribers:The Creative Coalition’s concert and VIP party
What: This nonprofit uses star power (it was founded in the ’80s by Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon and others) to press for arts advocacy, public education and First Amendment rights. Not surprisingly, they’re known to throw kickass parties. The big one will be on July 27th (venue TBD) and feature Fergie as headliner. Can You Get In? You bet! About 500 tickets are available for purchase on their website; proceeds benefit the charity.

For the Smart-asses: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah tapings
What: The quick-witted Daily Show stars will be telecasting from Penn’s Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts from the 26th to the 29th. (The last time the show was broadcast from Philly was during the 2000 RNC.) Can You Get In? If you were one of 800 Penn students who won the ticket lottery in April, yes. For everyone else, there’s still a good chance; reserve your ticket on the show’s website.

For Political Fanboys/girls: The Atlantic HQ and Politico Hub
What: Both influential media outlets are rounding up their top talent and setting up shop for the week. Politico’s multimedia space in 2 Commerce Square will have nonstop programming, daily briefings, conversations with experts, a nightly lounge and a live watch party. The Atlantic will be at the Field House and offer in-depth analytical morning briefings along with discussions, luncheons, nightly networking cocktail receptions, and a workspace and lounge. Can You Get In? Access to the Atlantic’s HQ is limited; request an invite on their site. Politico’s Hub is open to the public.

For Lifelong Dems: Phantastic Philadelphia 2016
What: Bob Brady is kicking off the festivities with a bash at SugarHouse Casino on July 24th. Five hundred-plus bigwigs, from members of Congress to state senators to local ward leaders, will be getting down to live doo-wop (a favored Brady musical genre) curated by Jerry Blavat. Can You Get In? If you aren’t an elected official or working for one, most likely not. But then again, politicians are always up for discussing favors.

For News Chasers: The major-league media party
What: Correspondents, bloggers, Snapchatters and 10,000 other members of the media will flood Citizens Bank Park on July 23rd for a welcome bash where Philly’s hometown flavor will be on display. Five stages of local musical acts are expected (including the CAPA Jazz Band and DJ Jazzy Jeff), and more than 30 local restaurants (including options from Starr, Garces and Solomonov) will serve up eats. Can You Get In? Are you a member of the media who got your paperwork in on time? Then congrats, you’re in.

For the What-election? crowd: Philly Feast and Center City Sips
What: The Host Committee — the Philly-based group helping to coordinate
everything — is keeping the locals happy with Philly Feast, a daytime food-truck festival (with live music) in Old City on July 25th. And they’re partnering with the Center City District for a special Sips on July 27th; you can mix it up with delegates and convention guests at Dilworth Plaza, Comcast Plaza and Centre Square. Don’t know or care if Hillary is spelled with one “l” or two? These events are for you. Can You Get In? Yes, both are open to the public.

For the Power-in-Diversity crew: The 2016 DNC watch party celebrating the black vote
What: Actress Vivica A. Fox, activist group Dogon Village and some PA Dems are hosting a watch party at Penn’s Landing with dinner, dancing, and a performance by Grammy Award-winning singer Howard Hewett. Five hundred people, including pols and civil rights leaders from around the country, are expected to attend. Can You Get In? Yes. Tickets ($50 to $125) are available at Dogon Village’s website.

For the “Party” people: The hotel bars
What: Thanks to a divisive election, some companies and media outlets known to throw top-notch convention events are staying away this year. But there’s one tradition that can be counted on: The bars in the hotels where large groups of delegates are staying will be lively fun zones. Head to 12th and Market and hop from the Marriott Hotel Downtown (where the delegates from California, Florida and Iowa will be staying) to the Loews Philadelphia (where New York and Virginia are sleeping). Can You Get In? Probably. Buying a few rounds helps.

Published as “The Philadelphian’s Guide to the DNC” in the July issue of Philadelphia magazine.

On Philly Fatherhood: My Dad, Vacation King

Photograph provided by Ashley Primis.

Photograph provided by Ashley Primis.

Most of the year, there was Regular Dad.

Regular Dad was kind of like Don Draper (minus the three-martini lunches and workday naps). He was a hardworking, good-looking, big-city, big-job media guy, with monogrammed cuffs on custom dress shirts. He lunched at the Rainbow Room. His job was high-stress, and we didn’t see a lot of him: He left our bucolic New Jersey home each morning before the sun had fully cracked the horizon and came home late each evening — all to beat the rush-hour traffic. His long commute, which was filled with off-ramps and toll roads, bridges and tunnels, was something he did every day for nearly 30 years without complaint. Regular Dad was pretty great as far as I was concerned: Decades later, I still remember jumping off the couch each night when I saw the headlights of his car pan across our family-room window as he turned into the driveway. I would race the dog to see who could get to the garage door first.

after the jump »

I Tried It: The Eyebrow Shaping Treatment That Costs $600


Going under the blade for good brows. | iStockphoto/Jacob Wackerhausen.

It’s very easy for most women to justify absurd beauty and fashion purchases. We practically have our master’s degrees in it. That stupidly expensive midi dress? “It can be dressed up or dressed down. I’ll basically live in it this summer!” That insanely pricey lotion? “I only have to use the tiniest amount, so it’s actually a good value in the end!” And the eyebrow treatment I just got that cost more than a car payment? “It’s gonna save me minutes every morning, for years, and that is priceless!”

But, in the end, was it actually worth it?

Read more »

The Best Christmas Lights In and Around Philadelphia

The popular light display at Shady Brook Farm. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

The popular light display at Shady Brook Farm. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

Shady Brook Farm

931 Stony Hill Road, Yardley

You haven’t seen the Statue of Liberty, Leaning Tower of Pisa or Great Wall of China until you’ve seen them made out of Christmas lights. Weave your car (or let a tractor pull you) along the two-mile path past the Seven Wonders of the World and through tunnels made of twinkling lights as you view more bedecked trees, snowmen and toy soldiers than you can possibly imagine. You’ll end up at the farm market for hot chocolate, s’mores by a bonfire, and, if you want, the perfect tree to haul home. $20 per carload during the week with a food donation; $25 on weekends.

Go here for: Family tradition; the Flemings have been running this farm for generations and the holiday show for 20-plus years.

Read more »

The Work Issue: The New Rules of Networking

Illustration by Matt Chase

Illustration by Matt Chase

Does it seem like there are more networking events than ever? There are. Connections are still at the heart of business, but the old rules no longer apply. We asked some of Philly’s networking all-stars how they make the most of their time.

Business is personal is business.

Those blurred lines? Blame Mark Zuckerberg, not Robin Thicke. “So much is available online — who people are and what they’re doing. There’s a very thin line between personal and professional,” says Brigitte Daniel, executive vice president of Wilco Electronic Systems. But that’s not a negative. “There was a time when it was thought you couldn’t do business with friends,” says Marc Brownstein, president and CEO of the Brownstein Group. “Today, with so much sharing, you have more opportunities. Most of my clients are my friends.” This is especially true in Philadelphia, a town that’s not very transient. Which really means that you must … Read more »

The Lineup for ThinkFest 2015 Is Confirmed!


Planning the lineup for ThinkFest takes about six months, so you can imagine how exciting it is for us to finally announce that all the speakers are confirmed. Our goal for the event is to create a platform where a whole bunch of interesting people can share their stories and ideas, which range from taking Hollywood by storm to developing a medical technology that will forever alter lives to suddenly becoming a darling of the startup world. Read more »

Join Gov. Wolf, Mayor Nutter, Abbi Jacobson, Todd Carmichael, and More at ThinkFest 2015


To state the obvious: Philadelphia is not a city that has a wide reputation for innovation. (Still waiting for those Metrocards!) But while we might not have the collective cash of Silicon Valley or the in-your-face flash of New York, this town is filled brilliant people who are moving things forward, discovering better ways, and thinking without limits.

This is what ThinkFest is all about. Read more »

Why Philly Chefs Keep Opening Fast-Casual Restaurants

Illustration by Gluekit

Illustration by Gluekit

“If I had a nickel for every time I heard the expression ‘I’m going to be the Chipotle of blank,’ I’d be rich,” says Steve Cook, the local restaurateur who, along with James Beard winning chef Michael Solomonov, owns the fine-dining eateries Zahav and Abe Fisher. Of course, given that Cook and Solomonov also own fast-casual hummusiya Dizengoff and the fast-growing Federal Donuts empire — five locations and counting — it’s probably something he’s said to himself.

Who can blame him? As Philadelphia diners have stepped up their demand for good food at every price point, a whole new market for quality eateries has opened up — one that just happens to include more takeout counters than OpenTable reservations. Read more »

We Tried It: Primp & Play, Philly’s New Kid-Friendly Spa


Your new favorite relaxation spot. | Image via Primp & Play.

This post originally appeared on Wee Wander, a website dedicated to helping parents navigate Philadelphia.

I couldn’t help but have a knee-jerk reaction to the news that a new kid-friendly spa was opening in Philly. I can’t quite pinpoint what didn’t sit right, but it had something to do with sending the wrong message to little (very little) girls and boys about external beauty … and maybe also a little something to do with Honey Boo Boo. But then I actually read the press release and found myself getting excited because this wasn’t shaping up to be your typical Toddlers and Tiaras type of place. And my recent visit confirmed just that.  Read more »

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