No Roots on July 4th?

The Roots' Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson performs during an Independence Day celebration Saturday, July 4, 2015, in Philadelphia.

The Roots’ Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson performs during an Independence Day celebration Saturday, July 4, 2015, in Philadelphia.

Say it ain’t so, Questo.

The Roots won’t be headlining the Wawa Welcome America! Festival on July 4th, according to this report from Billy Penn.

The Philly natives have played the annual concert since 2009. But new Mayor Jim Kenney is apparently doing some behind-the-scenes tinkering.

“There are exciting changes going on at WaWa Welcome America and we look forward to announcing them at a press conference in the coming weeks,” Lauren Hitt, the mayor’s spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement.

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11 Things You Might Not Know About Pencils

Photo | Pixabay

Photo | Pixabay

Happy 158th birthday to the pencil with attached eraser! It was on March 30, 1858, that Hymen L. Lipman received a patent for his remarkable invention — a tube of wood with graphite at one end and a rubber eraser at the other. Lipman, born in 1817 in Jamaica to Jewish parents, came to Philadelphia around 1829. The family settled here, and Lipman became a stationer, selling paper, pens, ink and the like. In 1840, he started the first envelope company in the country. Eight years later, he married Mary A. Lehman, daughter of the founder of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (precursor to the University of the Sciences).

Lipman’s pencil had an eraser that was inserted into the hollowed-out wooden pencil the same way the graphite was; users could sharpen either end. In 1862 he sold the patent to one Joseph Reckendorfer for $100,000. Reckendorfer then sued the Faber company, a German pencil maker, for patent infringement. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually ruled that the erasered pencil was simply a combination of two previously existing objects with no new use and therefore not a proper “invention.” Here are a few more penciled-in facts you might not know about both ends of every writer’s favorite tool. Read more »

WATCH: Four Recently Born Lemurs at the Philadelphia Zoo

Four black and white ruffed lemurs were born at the Philadelphia Zoo last month — and now the zoo has released incredibly cute photos and video.

Kiaka, a 9-year-old female, gave birth to a conspiracy of lemurs — this is possibly the term for a group of lemurs — on February 21st. The father is 10-year-old Huey; it’s the first successful lemur birth at the Philadelphia Zoo. Read more »

11 Things You Might Not Know About the Founding Fathers’ Dogs

Admiral Penn from Violet Oakley's mural series at the Pennsylvania State Capitol. Photo used courtesy of the Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee and Brian Hunt

Admiral Penn from Violet Oakley’s mural series at the Pennsylvania State Capitol. Photo used courtesy of the Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee and Brian Hunt

Today is National Puppy Day, which is proof, we guess, that every dog has its day, seeing as every dog in the world was once a puppy. We hope you have a pup with which to celebrate. If not, you should adopt one! Meantime, here are stories — some shaggier than others — about our founding fathers and their faithful canine friends. Read more »

11 Things You Might Not Know About St. Patrick

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St. Patricks, from left: Statue in Agahower, Andreas F. Borchert/CC BY-SA 3.0 de | Stained glass window from Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland, CASicarr/CC BY 2.0 | With shamrock in stained glass window in St. Benin’s Church, Kilbennan, County Galway, Ireland, Andreas F. Borchert/CC BY-SA 3.0 de  | Statue near Saul, Albert Bridge/CC BY-SA 2.0

“Since when,” my enraged friend demanded, “did St. Patrick‘s Day become a two-week holiday?” She was irate that her exit off of I-676, not to mention any number of her neighborhood’s streets, had been closed last weekend for the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. The Erin Express bused honorary Irish revelers through town for two consecutive weekends, and It’s Always Sunny got its Irish on way back in February. In case you haven’t caught on, this city is St. Patrick-crazy, which really isn’t surprising, considering that Philly has the second-largest Irish population by percentage of the nation’s major cities, as well as the many contributions emigrés from the Old Sod have made here. So long as you’re using a fourth-century British saint as an excuse to go drinking — again — you might as well know who you’re drinking to. (That’s his church, by the way, just off Rittenhouse Square.) Read more »

PHOTOS: Le Cat Café is Finally Open — We Checked it Out

Le Cat Café | By Mariam Dembele

Le Cat Café. Photo | Mariam Dembele

Are you a cat lover? Do their little paws and furry tails overload your cuteness receptors? Do you secretly follow multiple cat blogs on Instagram — and find yourself liking every pic? If so Le Cat Café at 2713 W. Girard Ave. is the spot for you. By now you’ve probably heard the spiel: cats and cappuccinos. But were you wondering what it’s like to be surrounded by eight of the furry felines? We were, too, so we stopped by Wednesday last week on their first day of appointments (the grand opening was Sunday, March 6th) to check it out. We were not disappointed.

As Philly Mag’s Sandy Hingston had previously hypothesized, this is not the right place to compose a formal email or leisurely drink a glass of water — in fact I would strike getting any work done from your agenda. However, I would argue that it’s a pretty enjoyable place. We stopped by last Wednesday around 2 p.m. — after the cats were tired out from playing and were in the mood to snooze — making it the perfect spot for cat cuddles and photo ops. Read more »

PHOTOS: Le Cat Café is Finally Open — We Checked it Out

Le Cat Café | By Mariam Dembele

Le Cat Café. Photo | Mariam Dembele

Are you a cat lover? Do their little paws and furry tails overload your cuteness receptors? Do you secretly follow multiple cat blogs on Instagram — and find yourself liking every pic? If so Le Cat Café at 2713 W. Girard St. is the spot for you. By now you’ve probably heard the spiel: cats and cappuccinos. But were you wondering what it’s like to be surrounded by eight of the furry felines? We were, too, so we stopped by Wednesday last week on their first day of appointments (the grand opening was Sunday, March 6th) to check it out. We were not disappointed.

As Philly Mag’s Sandy Hingston had previously hypothesized, this is not the right place to compose a formal email or leisurely drink a glass of water — in fact I would strike getting any work done from your agenda. However, I would argue that it’s a pretty enjoyable place. We stopped by last Wednesday around 2 p.m. — after the cats were tired out from playing and were in the mood to snooze — making it the perfect spot for cat cuddles and photo ops.

Read more »

The 20 All-Time-Best Philly Names

Clockwise from top left: Catto, Anderson, Crumb (By Christian Lessenich - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7025854), Birdsong, Coltrane (By Gelderen, Hugo van / Anefo - [1] Dutch National Archives, The Hague, Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANeFo), 1945-1989, Nummer toegang 2.24.01.05 Bestanddeelnummer 915-6748, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27600885) and Clark. Photos public domain except where noted.

Clockwise from top left: Catto, Anderson, Crumb (Christian Lessenich, CC BY-SA 3.0), Birdsong, Coltrane (Gelderen, Hugo van / Anefo, Dutch National Archives, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl) and Clark. Photos public domain except where noted.

We were thinking the other day about E. Digby Baltzell, the Penn sociology prof who coined the term “Wasp,” for “White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.” It would take a guy named E. Digby Baltzell to come up with something like that. Really, could there be a more Wasp-y name? And that got us thinking about other great Philly names — ones that suit their bearers’ careers or personalities so well, or are so onomatopoeically perfect, that those people really couldn’t have been called anything else. In their honor, we created this, the first-ever list of Great Philly Names. Read more »

Signs of the Apocalypse: The Peeple App Launches

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I’m approaching that age where it’s time to decide if I want to bring children into this world.

Most days, the answer is yes. I love kids, and for whatever reason — blind optimism, naïveté, Ambien — I believe that the human race is a good one and that we’ll eventually wake up from this fever dream we call election season.

But on other days, the Peeple app launches. Read more »

Koresh Celebrates 25th Anniversary Season With Performances This Week

Koresh Dance Company

Koresh Dance Company

Twenty-five years ago, trained dancers were seeking an outlet for their performance artistry in Philadelphia. In 1991, this dearth inspired an Israeli instructor at the University of the Arts, Roni Koresh, to create Koresh Dance Company. He says his original vision — to create a vibrant, world-class dance troupe right here in Philadelphia — has far exceeded his expectations as the company approaches its Silver Anniversary World Performance, running this Thursday through Saturday, March 10th through 12th.

“There’s a lot more maturity to the company. The artistic level as risen tremendously, and the organization has grown remarkably,” Koresh said. “When we started, it was just an idea. Now, we have a home in Philadelphia, and the company is known all over the world.” Read more »

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