The Hit List: These Are the 10 Best Shows in Philly in June

Girlpool’s Cleo Tucker, left (guitar, vocals), and Harmony Tividad (bass, vocals). Photo via Holly Matalon.

1. Chris Rock

Good luck finding reasonably priced tickets for the sold-out event, but whatever you have to fork over is probably worth it to see this comedy mastermind in action. Just watch his 1996 live special Bring the Pain should you still need convincing. If you just can’t score tickets, hilariously irreverent In Living Color alum Craig Robinson at Helium (June 16th to 18th) is a good backup. June 3rd at the Borgata

2. U2

Love him or hate him, it’s hard to deny that Bono and his bandmates put on one hell of a live show, and their 30th-anniversary performance of Joshua Tree will be no exception. Brush up on the lyrics of “With or Without You” for the obligatory stadium sing-along. June 18th at Lincoln Financial Field Read more »

I Love My Job: Jack Morey of Morey’s Piers in Wildwood

Jack Morey in front of the WipeOut slide at Ocean Oasis Water Park and Beach Club in Wildwood (left) and testing out Morey’s Great Nor’Easter coaster (right).

Though summer doesn’t officially start until June 21st, here in the Philadelphia area, we like to think it starts this weekend. So we checked in with Jack Morey of Wildwood’s legendary and longstanding Morey’s Piers to see what’s in store this season.

I grew up in… Ft. Lauderdale, but I was born here. My dad’s from here, my mom’s from Reading. They met in Wildwood. He was a builder. She was engaged to somebody else, and he had to convince her to marry him. And we spent our time between Ft. Lauderdale and here in Wildwood.

We opened our first hotel in… 1957. My dad used to build doo-wop hotels for other people, and one day he decided to do it for himself. In 1957, he opened the Fantasy. Every other year, they’d sell a hotel and build another and move closer and closer to the beach.

Jack and his father in Wildwood.

These days, the Morey’s family owns… Morey’s piers, the water parks and resorts. There are three active amusement piers, two water parks and four hotels — the Port Royal, Blue Palms, Starlux, and the Pan-Am.

This year at Morey’s Piers we’re… doubling-down on food. We’re reinventing most of the menus, and we’ve got a new relationship with the Garces Group. They’re consulting, not running. But they’re helping us get a lot more serious about the food. But the really cool thing is the Penthouse at the Pan-Am, where our family lived in the summer in the 60s and 70s. We just redesigned it for this season, back to an awful lot of what it was originally was: an elegant showpiece born in the early 70s with a little bit of James Bond, some 60s old school glamour. It’s a helluva place.

Not Your Average Jersey Shore Motel: The Penthouse at Morey’s Pan-Am resort.

The last time I was on a roller coaster was… very recently. It was the Great Nor’Easter, our coaster that was built in 1995. We just re-tracked the entire thing at a cost of $5 million. It’s a much smoother ride now. Guests now demand a smoother experience. Shaking your brains out used to be cool.

People would be surprised to know that I can… barefoot waterski. My dad taught me years ago. I can also ride a unicycle.

The best non-Morey’s place to eat in Wildwood is… the Lobster House. There’s something about it. It’s not the finest of food, but it’s classic and just tacky enough to be fun. Here at Morey’s, you’ve gotta eat at Breakfast In the Sky, our Ferris wheel gourmet breakfast 150-feet in the air. And Joe’s Fish Company, which is super great and really fresh.

The hardest thing about my job is… that it’s a seasonal business. It takes 1,700 people to make it go around.

My role at Morey’s is basically… the planning of it all. My brother Will is the CEO. I get to travel a lot and see a lot of things that wind up shaping the environment that we’re in. I have a backlog of projects on my desk. You want to build them all, but you just can’t. I’m working on four for next year. If I’m lucky, we’ll get to do one. In the next three years, there will be a major waterpark expansion and at least one new rollercoaster. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also really hard.

Will’s role is… lots of things. I get to think of ten things and he gets to keep me from building nine of them.

The best place I’ve traveled to was… New Zealand, three or four years ago. My son was in school in Australia and we went to visit him, because we were afraid he wasn’t going to come home. New Zealand is like a giant national park.

One crazy project I haven’t been able to do yet… is a really large rollercoaster that will connect two piers together. It’s really beautiful to look at, and it’s all designed.

Ten years from now, Morey’s will be… internationally recognized as the best seaside park in the world.

The last book I read cover to cover was… Let My People Go Surfing. That’s an excellent book. And Hillbilly Elegy is terrific as well.

The hardest decision I ever had to make in this business… was when we were considering putting up a gate for all of the facilities, meaning people would pay general admission to walk onto the piers. We were on the fence for a long time. We actually decided to do it and then got cold feet. I think it would have been a disaster. Would have changed the entire culture of the boardwalk. This is a very public place. We made the right decision.

I get most of my ideas from… public spaces in cities. I love public spaces. There is a very social thing going on in public spaces. I don’t like theme parks that much. It’s a very controlled environment. The city’s big organic thing is a better social experience.

When someone uses that spray sunscreen near me, I think… man, that is really stupid.

The furthest I have ever driven was… from Seattle. It was a few months ago. I was leaving Colorado — it was me, my wife, and our two dogs — and I thought rather than just go home, let’s go to Seattle and Oregon. We did 8,260 miles in a small Jeep.

My second favorite shore town is… probably Cape May.

If I were the mayor of Wildwood, I would… embrace longer-term strategies in order to develop a really unique resort. Those strategies would include a beach park — a park on the beach. Only Wildwood has the opportunity to do that, because we have the widest beach. And I would focus like a hawk on public spaces, because only then would the place become a great spot to live year-round. The other thing I’d do is merge all three towns together — Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, and North Wildwood. Them being separate is a carryover of provincial thinking from 100 years ago that makes no sense whatsoever today.

The negative partying reputation that Wildwood has… is, no doubt, to some extent deserved, and it’s a very hard thing to get rid of. But I don’t think it’s a crazy party place. When I talk to people who don’t think they’ll like it, I give them some free pier tickets, and they always love it.

The best beach movie ever made was… Jaws. We played Jaws on the beach 15 years ago and 600 people showed up to watch it.

When we hear complaints about Morey’s… we consider it a learning opportunity. The customer really is often not right, but still. I would rather hear critiques than people always saying nice things. I can’t make the place better when you just say nice things. You gotta have some thick skin in this business.

Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter

Behind the Line: Bob & Barbara’s Bartender Kelly Wolff

Kelly Wolff fiddles with the TV remote behind the bar at Bob & Barbara’s.

Behind the Line is Foobooz’s new weekly interview series with the people who make up Philadelphia’s dynamic bar and restaurant scene. To read last week’s Behind the Line with Sylva Senat, go here.

You can argue all you want about which dive bar in Philly is the best, but when it comes to national recognition for being Philly’s ultimate dive and one of the country’s best, no one competes with Bob & Barbara’s at 15th and South. So we got longtime Bob & Barbara’s bartender Kelly Wolff on the phone to see what it’s like working there and what you should never, ever play on the jukebox. Read more »

Here’s the Guy Who Hit a Kid With an SUV in Kensington

Left: SUV driver Vince Broomall in a state photo. Right: an image from the surveillance video that shows the SUV driving down the sidewalk just after hitting a young boy.

If you see Vince Broomall behind the wheel of a car, you might want to get out of his way. Philly Mag has learned that the 26-year-old Aston resident was the one driving the SUV (his mom’s SUV, by the way) that hit an 11-year-old boy in Kensington on Tuesday, May 16th. And while Broomall hasn’t been arrested or charged in last week’s incident, he has had some run-ins with the cops related to his driving. Read more »

Philly Actors Win Big at New York’s Prestigious Obie Awards

Obie award winners Jennifer Kidwell and Scott Sheppard in Underground Railroad Game.

If your aspiration is to be a big Broadway star, then it is a Tony Award that you seek. But in New York’s world of more independent, experimental, and DIY theater — the so-called “Off-Broadway” realm — the top prize is an Obie Award. And on Monday night, at Webster Hall, two Philadelphia actors got the prestigious Obie honors. Read more »

Neighbors Outraged That Police Didn’t Arrest the Driver of This SUV

An image from the surveillance video. The light-colored SUV can be seen on the sidewalk, just seconds after allegedly striking a child.

Tuesday was almost a tragic day for a woman and her young son in Kensington. A light-colored SUV jumped a curb and hit the child, neighbors say, and someone inside the car allegedly tossed four bags of heroin out the vehicle just after it happened. And now the neighbors want to know why no one has been arrested. Read more »

Behind the Line: Sylva Senat, Philly’s Best Under-the-Radar Chef

Maison 208 chef Sylva Senat in an alley near his Old City home.(Photo courtesy Neff & Associates.)

Behind the Line is Foobooz’s new weekly interview series with the people who make up Philadelphia’s dynamic bar and restaurant scene. To read last week’s Behind the Line with Michael Solomonov, go here.

We’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for Maison 208, the new 13th Street restaurant from Sylva Senat, the Haitian-born chef whose trajectory has taken him through the kitchens of Stephen Starr, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, groundbreaking Indian restaurant Tashan, and, most recently, Bravo’s Top Chef, where he had quite the respectable run during the last season. Well, Maison 208 is set to open any day — hello, City of Philadelphia, please sign the paperwork! — so we asked Senat to break it all down for us.

Read more »

LISTEN: Bill Cosby’s Interview With Michael Smerconish on Sirius Radio

Left: Michael Smerconish (via Twitter). Right: Bill Cosby (via Wikimedia Commons)

Bill Cosby doesn’t give interviews every day. In fact, he almost never gives an interview these days thanks to the litany of sexual assault allegations against him. Well, with his Montgomery County criminal trial rapidly approaching, Cosby decided to grant an interview … to Philly’s own Michael Smerconish. Read more »

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