Dear Philly: Stop Patting Yourself On the Back for the Octavius Catto Statue

Photo by Helen Armstrong.

In case you missed it, the Octavius Catto statue was finally unveiled at City Hall on Tuesday. There were lots of Very Important People. There was a gospel choir. There was musket fire. That’s all well and good. Octavius Catto was a great man. But let this sink in for a minute: It’s 2017 and the Octavius Catto statue is the first statue on Philadelphia public property honoring a Black individual. Read more »

Fox 29 Wishes the Late Joe Frazier a Happy Birthday, Touts City Hall Appearance

Early this morning on Good Day Philadelphia, the hosts wished Joe Frazier a happy birthday.

“Philadelphia boxing legend Joe Frazier celebrating his birthday today,” anchor Karen Hepp chirped. “Happy birthday, Joe! Also giving back to the community. He’s going to be meeting with friends and supporters at City Hall this evening to honor championship youth boxing teams and coaches. This year marks the 45th anniversary at Joe Frazier’s gym, located in North Philadelphia. The space has been used to develop several young athletes. He’s turning 73 years old today.”

“He really is a legend,” co-anchor Thomas Drayton replied. “Such a force.”

Yes, Frazier is a legend. But there were some issues with the report. Read more »

Joe Frazier Statue to Be Unveiled Next Month at Xfinity Live

joe frazier and statue

Joe Frazier and a model of his statue that will be unveiled next month at Xfinity Live.


Philly artist Stephen Layne’s 12-foot-tall, 1,800-pound Joe Frazier statue has been bronzed and is finally ready to be erected in its permanent home at Xfinity Live. It will be unveiled in a special ceremony next month.

The statue captures the former heavyweight boxing champion mid-punch. It was modeled after a photograph of the moment Frazier floored Muhammad Ali to win the heavyweight title in 1971. Layne, who attended and taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, says he chose that pose because of the way it represents Philadelphia. “The moment captured in the sculpture reflects the work ethic of Frazier and the city he called home,” he says.

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Joe Frazier Granddaughter Indicted on Bank Fraud, Identity Theft Charges


A 2010 Facebook photo of Tamyra Frazier and Joe Frazier.

Just over three years after the death of Philadelphia boxing great Joe Frazier, his 30-year-old granddaughter could be in a heap of trouble with the feds. Tamyra Frazier of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, has been charged with bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy, and a bench warrant has been issued for her arrest.

According to an indictment filed in Philadelphia’s U.S. District Court by U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger, Frazier used her position as an employee at Beneficial Bank in Jenkintown to provide personal and account information of bank customers to members of an identity theft ring.

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9-Foot Joe Frazier Statue Being Erected at Xfinity Live

Photo by Matt Rourke | AP

Photo by Matt Rourke | AP

Philly artist Stephen Layne is applying the finishing touches to a 9-foot-tall, 1,800-pound sculpture of Joe Frazier that will stand in South Philly at Xfinity Live. The statue captures the boxer mid-punch. Layne modeled it after a photograph of the moment Frazier floored Muhammad Ali to win the heavyweight title in 1971. He thought that pose did a better job representing Philly than the statue of that other (ahem, fake) boxer over at the Art Museum.

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Joe Frazier Statue Soon to Be Bronzed

Newsworks reports that the finishing touches are being put on a new statue of former heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier.  Sculptor Stephen Layne will soon have the nine-foot-tall creation bronzed, in anticipation of an April installation at the sports complex in South Philadelphia

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VIDEOS: 6 Great Letterman Philly Moments


Sometime next year, there won’t be any more Top 10 lists. There won’t be any more stupid human tricks or throwing items off a five-story building. (Okay, I don’t think David Letterman has thrown anything off a building in a while.) But, yes, after 21 seasons of the Late Show with David Letterman, he’s announced his retirement.

Even though I haven’t watched Letterman in some time, this is very much a changing-of-the-guard moment. Ever since I was nine — so, just a little bit before I was old enough to sneak viewings of late-night TV — the late-night hosts were Leno and Letterman. Leno finally retired for good last month (we can assume, anyway) and now Letterman will be gone in 2015. It just seems … weird. Letterman was the late-night talker I watched in high school — well, Letterman and Conan — and now he won’t be on TV any more. For people my age, Letterman may as well have been on since the start of television. It’d be like telling another generation that 60 Minutes has been canceled. This makes me feel old.

As a tribute to Dave, I grabbed some Philadelphia-related clips from Letterman from around the Internet.

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Kalas, Frazier Sculptor Passes Away at 48

Sculptor Larry Nowlan, perhaps best known around these parts for his Harry Kalas statue at Citizen’s Bank Park and the uncompleted Joe Frazier statue, passed away in his New Hampshire home last week. He was 48.

Nowlan, a graduate of Millersville University, started his career as a designer and art director at an ad agency in town, but found the work miserable. Luckily, inspiration struck at the viewing of the Auguste Rodin museum, with Nowlan finding the perfect call against the abstraction that plagued his advertising career. An instructor at a sculpture night class at the Academy of Fine Arts pushed Nowlan to attend art school, which he pursued at the New York Academy of Art before moving to New Hampshire in 1995.

The long-awaited Joe Frazier statue, which Nowlan started work on back in April, for now, appears to be at a stand still. Which, of course, begs the larger question: Who will sculpt Philadelphia’s idols now? [Valley News]


Joe Frazier’s Gym Named To National Register Of Historic Places

The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that Smokin’ Joe Frazier’s North Philadelphia boxing gym has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The gym at North Broad and West Glenwood Avenue also served as a training site for generations of young boxers. Sen. Pat Toomey made the announcement today.

“The National Park Service informed me this morning that it is adding Joe Frazier’s Gym to the National Register of Historic Places,” Toomey said. “The gym embodies the many contributions that Frazier made to the people of Philadelphia as it is where he taught boxing to local youths and encouraged them to lead productive lives.”

Frazier, who died in 2011, will also be honored with a statue at Xfinity Live in South Philly.

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