Best of Philly 2017: Music, Comedy, Theater and More

The War on Drugs plays the new-look Dell Music Center on Sept. 21. (Shawn Brackbill)

Best of Philly 2017 is now online as well as at newsstands, celebrating outstanding food, people, shops and more from across the region. Here are some highlights from the Fun & Games section:

BEST REASON TO GO TO THE LIBRARY
Musical Instrument Collection at the Free Library
Thanks to an innovative new program at the Central branch, you can check out all sorts of musical instruments for three weeks, for free. One of our editors borrowed a ukulele, a bass guitar, and a Fender Stratocaster with a surprisingly loud amp. Our apologies to the neighbors.
1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA | 215-686-5322 | Website

BEST BRO-FREE KARAOKE
Sing Your Life Karaoke at W/N W/N Coffee Bar
Sara Sherr has been ruling the local karaoke scene for a while now, but her newest series—in this unexpected coffee shop/bar/co-working space mashup—is the freshest one yet. The themed Thursday nights include Queer, Feminist, Big Gay Country and, our personal favorite, Protest.
931 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA | Website Read more »

Best of Philly: The 5 Best Friends Your Home Ever Had

Pipes never spring leaks on a plumber’s schedule. One of our Best of Philly picks this year will fix them when they happen. | Photo: Firmafotografen via iStock

Need a plumber stat (that’s doc-speak for “right now”)? Want your friends and neighbors to gush over the way your home looks from the street — or sparkles on the inside? Want to replace those builder-grade kitchen cabinets with something truly original? Don’t want to toss that coffeemaker or toaster? These service providers and craftspeople will help keep your home looking great and working right.

CURB-APPEAL UPGRADE
DIY workshops at Karen Singer Tileworks. At this master tile artist’s workshops at her Germantown studio, you can craft your own address plate, in your choice of styles and colors, so you get exactly what your house longs for. 90 East Church Lane, Philadelphia | 215-849-7010 | Website

CUSTOM CABINETS
Kole Made. The stunning cabinetry, built-ins and shelving coming out of this design-build firm in Brewerytown aren’t just about good looks: Kole Made’s sleek, creative work milks every square inch of potential storage space for all its worth. 3060 West Jefferson Street, Philadelphia | 215-740-7182 | Website

EMERGENCY PLUMBERS
Goodman Plumbing.
 Leaking toilets, flooded basements and clogged disposals always (always!) happen on Sundays. Thank God Goodman is a 24/7 shop, and a great one at that, with experienced pros who are quick to respond and don’t leave until the problem is solved, even if that means installing a new toilet the same day. Service in Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery counties. Multiple locations | 215-364-7775 | Website

HOUSECLEANERS FOR A DEEP CLEAN
EverGreen Maids.
The moment you realize these city-focused cleaners haven’t just de-grimed your baseboards and shined the floors, but also scraped off crust inside your microwave, sucked up dust bunnies from under the radiator, even somehow de-stained the bathroom grout: joy! 1700 Sansom Street, Philadelphia | 215-618-2217 | Website

PLACE TO GET STUFF FIXED
ACS Repair Center. Coffeemaker lost its perk? Vacuum refusing to suck? Your toaster, er, toast? These good people get almost anything working again. Your wallet—and the landfill—will thank you. 6407 Rising Sun Avenue, Philadelphia | 215-725-3112 | Website

Best of Philly 2017: 38 Philadelphians We Love

Instagrammer Albert Lee, left, and Fox 29’s Mike Jerrick. Photography by Adam Jones

Edited by Brian Howard. Reported by Fabiola Cineas, Victor Fiorillo, Brian Howard, Holly Otterbein, Claire Sasko and Sandy Smith. 

tv personality

Mike Jerrick, host, Good Day Philadelphia
The big-yuks Fox 29 host displayed surprising depth and honesty when he disclosed that he was taking some time off to deal with depression. The city’s warm welcome upon his return made it clear that — the occasional on-air gaffe be damned — Philly’s got his back.

instagrammer

Albert Lee, @urphillypal
Philly is filthy with Instagram influencers, but none is so singularly devoted to showcasing the city from all its best angles as this La Salle alum. The result? Thousands of highly heart-able snaps that accentuate the positive. Thanks for making our feeds so pretty. Read more »

Last Chance to Vote for Philly Mag’s Best Teacher Award

Back in April, Philly Mag asked for nominations in our first-ever Best Teacher Award, dedicated to recognizing the most outstanding K-8 educators in the Philadelphia region. After being inundated with nominations, we narrowed down the field to five finalists.

And now it’s your last chance to help us choose the winner — voting ends on Tuesday night at 11:59 p.m. Read about each finalist, then vote now for the teacher you think is most deserving. The winner will receive a $5,000 gift for their school, along with a book donation, both courtesy of Subaru.

The Great Philly Mag Dishonesty Survey


What It’s Like to Live in Philly on $18,000

iStock

iStock

As an adult, it’s interesting to look back on my family’s financial situation growing up. If there were money concerns, my father and mother, a patient-transport assistant and a certified nursing aide, respectively, never struggled in front of my three brothers and me. I was raised in South Philly, and I can’t recall ever being told we didn’t have the financial means for me to participate in sports or after-school activities. It was a comfortable upbringing.

Snapshot: Family Expenses

Home: $200/month for a three-bedroom house (subsidized)
Transportation: $180/month for SEPTA pass and tokens for kids
Education: $190/month for Catholic school (two kids)
Child care: $124/month for youngest daughter’s after-school program
Groceries: $500/month
Dining & takeout: $50/month
Clothes, tech, other: $100/month
Vacation: $0
Savings: $600/year Puts aside $25 from each paycheck

I didn’t attend college, but my parents helped me financially in other ways after high school. When my children were born, they helped with child care and gave me money from time to time. Now, my son is 18 years old and goes to Kutztown University, where, luckily, he pays in-state tuition. He didn’t always know he wanted to go to college, so I didn’t save for it. He received financial aid, and then I took out a loan, which he’s also on, for the remaining portion. I help him apply for as many scholarships as possible. Seeing how much it costs to attend college nowadays, I’ve already started saving for my daughters, ages nine and 13.

My children’s quality of education is important to me. I send both of my daughters to Catholic school because the local public school isn’t great. There are additional costs, like uniforms, but the tuition isn’t that bad. Plus, they offer an affordable after-school program for my youngest daughter that lets me pick her up at 6 p.m. after I get off work.

I’ve been in my current job for five years but have held similar positions most of my adult life. I’d like to make more money, of course, but I try to take it day by day. It would be easier to not have to worry about putting aside enough money for bills throughout the month. I’d prefer to pay all of them on the first of the month and then use the second check to have a little fun. On the rare occasion there is money left at the end of the month, I might get my hair done or buy an outfit online, where I can search for a deal.

I have very little debt — maybe $150 from unpaid bills I blew off when I was younger. I’m trying to clean that up by putting a little toward those when I can. I save for retirement through my 401(k) at my company, but I also try to save on my own with a separate account. My biggest financial concerns are general monthly expenses, like cell-phone bills, utilities and groceries. There are three of us on my family plan, but my youngest daughter will need a phone next fall, because her older sister won’t be at school with her. Groceries are a killer, but I do have strategies to offset that. I shop only twice a month and buy in bulk at BJ’s Wholesale Club, or I’ll go to the Walmart Supercenter because they’re cheaper than the supermarkets near me.

I want to teach my children the importance of being financially independent and cutting costs when it’s possible. If I were a person who smoked cigarettes and was putting money toward those every day, that would absolutely be an expense I would cut. I used to frequently eat out for lunch, but I completely stopped. I’ll use vacation days and stay in Philadelphia, but it’s been years since I’ve vacationed outside the city. My kids know that if there’s something they want and I won’t pay for it, they can put aside money and buy it themselves. It’s about saving when you can and working hard so you don’t need to depend on other people.

— As told to Marina Lamanna

» See more from our Money in Philadelphia package

First published as “Living in Philly on … $18,000” in the April 2017 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

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