On Fallon, Villanova Piccolo Girl Plays with The Roots

Things are looking up for the Villanova piccolo girl, aka band member Roxanne Chalifoux. After the Wilcats were upset by N.C. State in the second round of the NCAA tournament, TV cameras showed Chalifoux crying while playing the piccolo. Everyone had a good laugh, and made a bunch of memes, because that’s what college sports are all about: Watching students cry after their dreams are crushed!

Fortunately, Chalifoux took it pretty well. And last night, she was able to sit in with The Roots and chat with Jimmy Fallon, as shown in the video above. She also got a gift basket! Read more »

Comcast’s Morning Shows, Ranked

comcast-morning-shows

As a cable company, Comcast has always owned a lot of television options. But with its acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2009, it got a bunch more. By my count—i.e., Wikpedia’s list—Comcast has 18 different national channels that broadcast in English: NBC, Cozi TV (on channel 10.2 in Philly) and 16 cable networks.

With such a wide-ranging selection of programming, I figured I’d simplify your morning television watching for you. I included NBCUniversal’s two joint ventures—Esquire Network and TVOne—but didn’t include Comcast SportsNet or other regional networks. As such, here are all 18 Comcast morning show offerings, ranked. For purposes of morning shows, I looked at the hours from 6ish to 9ish from Monday to Friday, with some leeway on either side. (For example, if the show continues on into a drunken fourth hour for some reason.) Read more »

It’s the End of The Gallery as We Know It (and That’s a Shame)

Bob Laramie/Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.

Easter Bunny rides the escalator between events during the Easter parade at The Gallery in 1985. | Bob Laramie/Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.

THE GALLERY DIDN’T have a Santa this year. It didn’t decorate for Christmas, either. I felt an odd sadness.

When I was a kid, my mom took me downtown every year on Black Friday. We’d stop at her offices at ARA Services, now Aramark, and then explore downtown. We went to the light show at Wanamaker’s, A Christmas Carol at Strawbridge’s and the Enchanted Village at the old Lit Brothers.

But the main attraction for me was The Gallery. I loved it — and not just because I’d usually come home with a new Lego set that day. Read more »

Here’s an Animated GIF of Mayor Nutter Dancing

Yesterday, a group of 10 local nonprofits — known as Get Hype Phillywere awarded a $5 million grant from GlaxoSmithKline. The money will go to promoting healthier lifestyles for kids in Philadelphia.

“Not only will Get Hype Philly make our young people healthier,” GSK VP Donna Altenpohl said at the event, “it will also help them to lead their peers, their families and their communities to make their neighborhoods a model of a happy, healthy and thriving environment.”

Sounds pretty good. Almost as good was this video posted to GSK’s Facebook page showing Michael Nutter dancing at the event. Read more »

How Awesome Fest Devolved Into an Ugly Lawsuit — Putting Its Future in Doubt

Awesome Fest logo

Awesome Fest was created in 2010, per its website, to “showcase innovative and cutting edge independent cinema in unique and non-traditional spaces throughout the City of Philadelphia.” The past few summers, the festival has screened films and put on musical performances in spaces (primarily outdoors) in and around Philly. Last year, it hosted a wide variety of events: A Karate Kid screening and Q&A with Ralph Macchio, a concert by Macaulay Culkin’s Pizza Underground band, a Wizard of Oz/Dark Side of the Moon mashup at Clark Park and the Second Annual (Kevin) Bacon Festival. Some of these cost money, but all outdoor screenings were free. The festival even held an event in Chicago last year.

Now, the partnership behind Awesome Fest is in turmoil. Founder Josh Goldbloom sued partner Joanna Pang (who also owns the Trocadero) in February for alleged “misappropriation and mismanagement of Awesome Fest finances and for her secret usurpation of total control of the company and its assets” after she refused to give him Awesome Fest equipment — including a $25,000 projector, a $12,000 screen, $5,000 in audio equipment, and a van — that Goldbloom claims he intended to use to host events under the Awesome Fest banner.  Read more »

The Villanova Rout of Lafayette in 8 GIFs

Mar 19, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Josh Hart (3) dunks the ball against the Lafayette Leopards during the second half in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Consol Energy Center.

Mar 19, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Josh Hart (3) dunks the ball against the Lafayette Leopards during the second half in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Consol Energy Center.

By some oddsmakers, the Villanova Wildcats were 22-point favorites coming into their Round of 64 game against the Lafayette Leopards. They covered by halftime.

Villanova opened up a 49-26 halftime lead and rolled to a 93-52 victory over an overmatched Lafayette squad. The Wildcats put six players into double figures and shot 63 percent from the field. They made 11 three pointers and held the Leopards, the second-best three-point shooting team in the country, to 4-of-18 on threes.

“We were afraid of them,” coach Jay Wright said on TV after the game. “And when these guys are afraid, they play hard and they play together.” Yeah. Villanova led 11-2, 34-13, 63-30, 75-34 and so on. Read more »

5 Reasons You Should Root for Villanova in the NCAA Tournament

Villanova Wildcats guard Darrun Hilliard II (4) and guard Josh Hart (3) celebrate after defeating the Marquette Golden Eagles 70-52 during the second half at Wells Fargo Center.

Villanova Wildcats guard Darrun Hilliard II (4) and guard Josh Hart (3) celebrate after defeating the Marquette Golden Eagles 70-52 during the second half at Wells Fargo Center.

I like Villanova’s basketball team.

I realize this is not a popular opinion for all basketball fans in Philly. Villanova is the Duke of the local basketball scene: It’s an obnoxious private school with smart kids, plus it seems to win all the time. It’s in the suburbs. Its two big local rivals (Temple and St. Joe’s) hated Villanova a ton even before the Wildcats’ recent dominance of the Big 5.

But I like the Wildcats. They’ve played good, entertaining basketball since Jay Wright became coach in 2001. He’s been rumored to be taking better jobs — sometimes, even with the Sixers – but has stayed with the Wildcats. They’ve been a tournament team all but one year since the 2004-05 season. For the last decade, Villanova has been the class of Philadelphia basketball — even if they are in the suburbs.

Even the program’s scandals are benign now. Twelve years ago, Villanova suspended 12 players for using a Villanova phone code to make unauthorized calls. Can you even imagine this type of scandal today, with cell phones and Skype?

With this in mind, here are five reasons to root for Villanova this tournament. Read more »

Here Are Renderings of the Newest Proposals for Atlantic City

Atlantic City concept plans

Maser Consulting’s concept plans for Gardner’s Basin (left) and Bader Field

Seven years ago, a buyer offered $900 million for Bader Field. But Atlantic City said no to the deal for the former airport.

It’s now worth about $150 million. When it was for sale in 2009, it attracted no bids. It is now best known not as the first place to be called an airport, but for its empty baseball stadium and music festivals. And now, this: Yesterday, city-hired consultants unveiled concept proposals for Bader Field.

Maser Consulting, which was paid by a Hurricane Sandy recovery grant, also unveiled concepts for Gardner’s Basin. The city-owned plot in the Northeast Inlet is a quaint area with the feel of a smaller shore town. It’s also the site of the the Atlantic City aquarium. Read more »

PHL17’s All-Mummers Channel Staying on Air Indefinitely

mummers-940px

“That is the fourth Macarena of the New Year,” Steve Highsmith said just after we turned on the TV. It was last December. At happy hour, I was talking about the new All-Mummers channel PHL17 had launched that week. When some friends and I returned to my house after happy hour, we turned on the channel and heard Highsmith’s count.

By the time everyone left that evening, we had seen four more Macarena skits in the 1997 parade. The Mummers that year were like the Democrats in 1996: All Macarena, all the time. But I saw more than just that parade. I watched a lot of Mummers during the month of December — more than I’d like to admit. I saw a lot of sequins, feathers and Jerry Blavat. But when the month was over, I expected the all-Mummers Parade channel would be mothballed for another year.

Read more »

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