Photograph by Steve Boyle
The Joltin’ Jabs gym on Sansom Street is just a few blocks away from Rittenhouse Square, but be forewarned, ye who enter — you won’t be pampered, coddled or comforted. You will sweat, and you will suffer.
The man responsible for your pain is sitting across from me on a folding chair, surrounded by heavy bags and speed bags hung from the ceiling — the tools of his trade. Joey DeMalavez — former pro boxer, current Philadelphia trainer du jour, future shoo-in for reality-TV stardom — wears red track pants, a white knit cap on his shaved head, and a Joltin’ Jabs long-sleeve shirt that doesn’t hide his ample biceps or the tattoos that run up his neck and down to his wrists. There’s a skull on his right hand, an open Bible with a heart on the left one, and a bold letter on each finger that together spell out JOLTIN’ JABS.
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Trim and dapper in a dark suit and bright tie, Louis C.K. looked surprisingly businesslike for a guy testing out new material last night at Helium. The club had announced a little after 1 p.m. yesterday that C.K. — arguably the biggest star in the comedy galaxy at the moment — would be that evening’s surprise headliner. Within minutes, a line stretched down Sansom Street and around the corner; hours later, a second show was added, and both were sellouts. Word from those leaving the 8 p.m. set was that he was polished, smooth, hilarious — less like a stand-up sweating it out at the comedy gym and more like he’d been doing these bits for years.
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Mark Gail/MCT/Getty Images
As the clock wound down in the second quarter of the Eagles game against the middling Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the visitors had already piled on four touchdowns. All signs — particularly the Birds’ defense, which resembled matadors and turnstiles — pointed to a rout. In the wake of a heartbreaker loss to the lousy Miami Dolphins the week before here at home, a letdown against the Bucs had season-ending implications. The fans knew this. Which is why, as the players jogged off the field at halftime, a shower of boos rained down. These weren’t your garden-variety “We’re not happy” boos. This was a deafening, guttural roar. A seismic display of frustration. A tsunami of “You suck.” Read more »
Jaws goes over the X’s and O’s in his office at NFL Films. Photograph by Jared Castaldi
Outside of Canton, there may be no greater shrine to the legacy of professional football than the headquarters of NFL Films, hidden away on a nearly invisible road in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. The entrance to the house that Ed and Steve Sabol built is lined with archival photographs, game-worn helmets and, in the lobby alone, 71 gleaming Emmy statues, with scores more scattered throughout the winding halls. It’s a Tuesday during the season, and as usual, Ron Jaworski sits at his desk on the second floor. In sharp contrast to the glitz elsewhere, the walls of Jaworski’s lair are adorned with only a few relics from his playing days — snapshots, a locker nameplate, a couple pigskins on a shelf. There are five other guys in here, most hunched over computer screens, logging game film or unearthing obscure stats. It feels sort of like a locker room, with furniture from IKEA. For Jaworski — the first quarterback to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl, 35 years ago — that’s just fine. He’s a married father of three who settled in South Jersey when he joined the Birds and never left. But this is his natural habitat. Read more »
James Harvey, a.k.a. “The Philly Van Man.” (Photo by Nell Hoving)
One-third of all working people are now self-employed. We spoke with a handful of local entrepreneurs about the freedom and frustrations of their on-demand jobs. Read more »
Photo by HughE Dillon
Say this for Hall & Oates—they are nothing if not punctual. Last night’s curtain-raising show at the new Fillmore Philadelphia was set to start at 8pm, and I was still exploring the new venue when Michael Nutter introduced the hometown duo on stage. But no one in the sold-out crowd was there for the mayor, and really, the night felt more like a grand opening featuring a special musical guest than a Hall & Oates concert. The music was what you’d expect from two guys in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, who both gave requisite props to their hometown. But the star of the show was the Fillmore itself.
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Photograph by Jonathan Pushnik
The following is a typical day on the air with Josh Innes, the new afternoon-drive host on 94 WIP, Philadelphia sports-talk radio’s long-running leader. If you don’t like sports radio — or sports, period — bear with me for a minute. The Josh Innes Show rarely goes where you’d expect.
It’s late July in the station’s studio overlooking 4th and Market, and Innes is praising Jonathan Papelbon, the crotch-grabbing closer the Phillies just traded, to almost no one’s dismay. Innes says he appreciated Pap’s big-mouthed jackassery, especially in a town where “there’s nobody interesting who plays sports.” His co-hosts — Spike Eskin, WIP’s program director and son of Howard, and ex-Eagles lineman Hollis Thomas — disagree that the pitcher’s honesty about his lousy team was a good thing. Spike tries to run the old “Would you tell your girlfriend her new dress looks horrible?” scenario. Read more »
Courtesy of BB Gun Press
Move over, Francis—there’s another Papa headed to town. One of the more bizarre subplots surrounding the papal visit involves the costumed Swedish rockers Ghost, who were forced to move their scheduled concert at Union Transfer from tonight to this Tuesday. That didn’t sit well with the band, whose skull-faced frontman, Papa Emeritus III, dresses in black pontiff robes and sings tunes with titles like “Satan Prayer” and “Deus In Absentia.” One of Ghost’s guitarists—a Nameless Ghoul, as each masked instrumentalist is known—called from their gig in Pittsburgh to discuss (in an exceedingly polite manner) how their live show is like mass, his love of certain Philly institutions, and a most unholy competition between the band and “Frankie.”
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When I heard Dave Grohl fell off the stage in Sweden last month and broke his leg, I had two thoughts—I hope he plays the rest of the Foo Fighters tour on a replica of the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones, and I really hope they don’t cancel their Philly dates.
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Sébastien Le Toux after a missed goal earlier this year. Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty
The funeral begins at parking lot C, marching slowly past the team’s corporate offices and into the plaza, where kids kick soccer balls on a grassy expanse and folks line up for fast-food giveaways. It’s a gorgeous spring evening in Chester, at the city’s biggest attraction — PPL Park, the waterfront coliseum that’s home to Philadelphia’s pro soccer team, the Union. The stadium is also the rallying point for the most dedicated fan base in town, the Sons of Ben. Before tonight’s match against rival D.C. United, they’re marching in unison to protest the team’s front office. Loudly. “We’ve had enough!” they chant while carrying a massive banner that reads UNION FANS DESERVE BETTER. They’re also carrying a coffin for the team’s CEO, whose photograph is labeled “Serial Franchise Killer.” Read more »