The 10 People You’ll Meet at Spruce Street Harbor Park



In Philadelphia, there’s always something to argue about. Whether it’s the Phillie Phanaticthe clientele at Center City Sips or the worthiness of Wawa, we are a people who love to gripe. All the time. No matter what.

Or at least that’s how it was until Spruce Street Harbor Park opened this summer to universal praise — and justifiably so. The revitalization of the waterfront is a no-brainer when it comes to things that should happen in this city. By adding hammocks and  floating gardens and brightly colored chairs and, perhaps most importantly, food and booze, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation has given us good reason to go somewhere besides Penn’s Landing when we want to gaze across the river at New Jersey.

But the thing about being universally loved is that Spruce Street Harbor Park brings out all types of people — people who do not usually interact on a day-to-day basis. Here, a roundup who you’ll see when you venture down to the waterfront.

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The 10 Stupid Internet News Stories I Keep Reading

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

The news of the world as brought to me via the Internet tends to be a roundup of humans doing seriously stupid things. And you know what? As I read through the stories that such forums as Gawker, Jezebel, Philly.com and the Huffington Post see fit to dish up to me, I’m beginning to feel an inescapable sense of been there, read that.

Didn’t I just see this same story a few days ago, in some other publication? Isn’t this the third time this month I read that same damn thing? I mean, how many times are you people going to drop shit off subway platforms and then jump down onto the tracks to get them? When another one of you does that, it isn’t news. It’s just déjà vu all over again.

And for this, I’m paying $460 a month to keep every member of my nuclear family tied to the Internet at every waking moment? Think of all the fun stuff I could do with $460 a month if I weren’t giving it to Comcast and Verizon.

Which gave me an idea.

The following is a brief list of Stupid Stuff You People Keep On Doing. If you stop doing these stupid things, there won’t be any news, and the Internet will close down, and I can use my $460 a month to go to Tahiti. So hey, what do you say?

1. Stop punishing women for breastfeeding in public. Oh, no, you didn’t actually do this again, did you? At a country music concert? Oh yes you did. Read more »

Awesome Philly Blog: Say Hello to “Oh, Hello Window Cat”

Queen Village
Jackie Palmer would like it to be stated, for the record, that she has only one cat — one lone, singular, solitary, individual cat, a female rescue named Ellie. Just one.

You’d probably be sensitive about being perceived as a psycho feline hoarder, too, if you ran a blog populated by pictures of other people’s pusses. But that’s what Palmer’s got on her paws hands with Oh, Hello Window Cat, a Tumblr dedicated to the Internet’s preferred domestic species in sun-bathed repose, in Philadelphia and beyond. Read more »

Philadelphians Who Deserve Murals Instead of Kurt Vile

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On Saturday, a Philadelphian decided to buff the Kurt Vile mural, causing shrieks of horror from hip Philadelphians and a Philadelphia public art meme.

People have said the reaction is overblown, but (1) it’s good when people discuss and debate public art and (2) of course it is. Literally everything on the Internet, even the most serious issues, can get overblown — there’s no sense complaining about it. But, sure, this isn’t the nose of the Old Man in the Mountain collapsing — the defacer has already apologized and even the artist says you should calm down. ESPO, aka Steve Powers, was similarly undisturbed about psychylustro covering up. “Nobody writing [graffiti] cares and any attempt to make it appear otherwise is click bait,” he told Hidden City (the Buzzfeed of Philadelphia Buildings, I guess) in May.

That is a point to take: Graffiti by its very nature is a transient art form, and murals come and go, too. David Guinn — who has more good murals in the city than anyone — once had four seasons in South Philadelphia. Now there are only three. The enormous Frank Sinatra mural is gone. Both were covered up by new residential construction, which is a better use of space than a mural. This one just disappeared in a more fantastic fashion. (And, obviously, the uproar was so great that it will be fixed up.)

But the mural got me thinking. I have passed the Kurt Vile mural several times where someone comments about how — while it’s cool — the mural is also an ad for his latest album. That’s weird, no? Did we paint a Boyz II Men album in the mid-’90s? (Not that they needed the increased sales.) A mural that’s also an ad is not exactly the end of the world: We have a mural for Jane Seymour’s jewelry line, after all, and a Vile album ad is certainly a better choice than that. But it got me thinking about other Philadelphians who deserve a mural, perhaps ones who aren’t selling anything. Time for some jokes mixed in with real suggestions!

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Cult Leaders and Ballet Dancers: The Strange Rock School Lawsuit

shutterstock_ballet-940x540

Shutterstock.com

Each year, many up-and-coming ballet dancers from around the world audition for the “summer intensives” at Philadelphia’s Rock School for Dance Education, the prestigious 51-year-old ballet school on South Broad Street that claims “alumni in every major ballet company in the United States, on Broadway and in Europe.” In fact, this year’s summer intensives have just begun. And according to a new federal lawsuit, there’s one parent particularly upset with how things went last year. Read more »

Terry Gross Is Bad for the Country

Photo: William F. Steinmetz/Philadelphia Inquirer

Photo: William F. Steinmetz/Philadelphia Inquirer

Conventional wisdom holds that Terry Gross, host of WHYY-produced NPR staple Fresh Air, is the best interviewer in the business. Conventional wisdom is full of shit. Let’s start with her mannerisms. Sarah Miller captured them perfectly in her New Yorker parody “Gwyneth Paltrow Talks to Terry Gross About Conscious Uncoupling”:

GROSS: Okay, I wonder — could you maybe take — you know, like a typical scene from a breakup and describe it as though it were an opera? And then, maybe, could you describe the same scene through the lens of conscious uncoupling? Could you … do you think you could maybe do that, for us?

The hesitant, beseeching ingénue, so timidly obsequious — cut the crap, Terry. You’ve been doing this for 40 years. If you asked guests to strip naked and stick daisies up their arses, they would. Read more »

Philly, Just Get Over Wawa Already

MO-wawa-contrarian-illo-940x540

First, there’s the name. Wawa. A word that sounds like nonsense. Like baby talk. Like a sad trombone. Wah-wah.

Thinking, I guess, that I’m not originally from here and thus a little ignorant about such things, the Wawa lover will generally inform me, tone pious, that “wawa” is the Ojibwe word for the Canadian goose in the company’s logo.

I mean no disrespect to the tribe — neither the Ojibwe nor the Philadelphian — but no amount of etymology can change the fact that seven years into my Philly life, I’m still mortified to utter the phrase, “We’re going to Wawa for a Sizzli.”

My husband, a Philly native, will drive us 10 miles out of our way on road trips, past BPs, 7-Elevens, Sunocos, Dunkins and countless other pit stops, in order to hit up a Wawa for that Sizzli. Or, more often, for the coffee, which he swears is the best road coffee money can buy. The dark roast is above par, but it’s still just coffee. When a gallon of gas costs three times as much as the coffee you’re driving to fetch and the convenience chain of choice has closed so many city outposts that a soul can hardly even call it convenient, it’s time to question such devotion.

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#FreetheNipple: The Nipple Is Having a Moment

The Ta Ta Top

The Ta Ta Top

2014 is shaping up to be the year of the nipple.

First Scout Willis pranced around New York City topless. Willis was — justifiably — outraged by Instagram’s asinine community standards, which state that female nipples cannot be posted but extreme scenes of graphic violence are acceptable. Then, Rihanna got booted from Instagram for posting photos of a French magazine cover on which she appeared bearing her nipples. Meanwhile, actress-turned-filmmaker Lina Esco launched the hashtag #FreetheNipple and held a topless event in New York’s Washington Square Park.

“It’s not about sitting at the cafe with a glass of wine and no shirt on — it’s about the fact that a woman cannot sunbathe without her shirt on next to a man that has every right to do so,” Esco, who is making a film about the movement featuring Janeane Garofalo, told the Huffington Post in April. Since then, the #FreetheNipple movement has grown in popularity, bolstered by the celebrity support of Willis and Rihanna.

Nipples, it seems, are having a moment.

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