Miley Cyrus photo via Shutterstock.com
Every once in awhile, someone asks me how I go about coming up with topics for articles and blog posts. Since the fake, talking-to-college-kids answer (“I just observe the world around me, man”) is much more palatable than the real, depressing answer (criminal caffeine abuse and subhuman sleep deprivation), I never really considered trying to explain the process formally. And now it looks like I’ll never have to, thanks to a new doohickey from web marketing firm HubSpot that’s offered to do all my not-that-critical thinking for me.
The Blog Topic Generator, launched to complement other services offered by the automated marketing platform, almost comes off like a proper clowning of Internet content creation, spitting out a week’s worth of trite “ideas” using nothing more than a few nouns you’re asked to input. But it seems to be positioning itself as a legitimate tool, which means it behooves us to use it legitimately.
While it doesn’t spit out headlines in the infinitely useful “winning a game of Clue” or “babies + Beyoncé” formats, HubStop’s auto-offerings seem to be optimized for maximum web traction and your-mom-on-Facebook shareability. What better way to rack up ideas for the rest of May and test its mettle than to plug in a bunch of Philadelphia-centric terms and see what comes up? Here are 10 of my favorite results from my Philly-fixated time spent with the tool. All these posts are most likely coming to a bereft-of-creativity city blog near you within the hour — and I’ll probably be writing all of them.
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“What I got from my father was a burning desire to succeed. My father was into fame and leaving his mark.
“He was a city planner, sort of a genius in that world, the Robert Moses of Philadelphia. He was on the cover of Time once, and I remember going to his office and seeing, like, two hundred copies, which he would hand out to people. I would never do that in a million years. I don’t save clippings.
“Anyway, we’d walk down the street, and even up to the time he died, people would say, ‘Mr. Bacon,’ and I’d turn around and they’d be talking to him. What I got from my father, frankly, was the desire to be more famous than him.”
–Kevin Bacon, in Esquire‘s Style Issue
Yes, it helps that The Roots are the house band, but it feels like Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show is sometimes a celebration of … Philadelphia. Latest exhibit? Kevin Bacon’s entrance on Friday night.
The 157th Anniversary Concert and Ball, Philadelphia’s annual white-tie gala, celebrated the Academy of Music’s 157th birthday on Saturday, January 25th.
Music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra along with host stars the Bacon Brothers and special guest artist Jill Scott entertained attendees during the concert. Nézet-Séguin told the audience that he had been a long-time fan of Scott’s and when he found himself in his dream job of conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra, he just had to perform with the home-town girl. He called it a dream come true.
The night began with an open house reception before the anniversary concert at the Academy of Music where guests dined on delights by chef Jose Garces. During the concert portion, newly installed Adele Schaeffer, chair of the board of trustees of the Academy of Music, told the audience that the evening’s funds would be used to restore the building’s HVAC system, which dates back to 1966. After the concert, guests made the annual trek up Broad Street to the Hyatt at the Bellevue Hotel. The ball included dinner and dancing to the music of six bands, including The Eddie Bruce Band, in the Grand Ballroom.
See HughE Dillon’s photos from the Academy Ball after the jump »
This Friday, July 26th you can watch some Bacon while eating bacon on the Parkway. That’s right, Food & Flicks at The Oval presents Footloose, starring THE Kevin Bacon, while food trucks will be serving bacon focused dishes plus a pig roast from the new Cherry Bomb Bus. Participating vendors include:
- Local 215
- Guerilla Ultima
- Sweet Box Cupcakes
- Mac Mart Cart
- Sum Pig
- Little Baby’s Ice Cream
The event runs from 6:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.
The Oval [City of Philadelphia]
For those of us trying to guess how The Following would wrap up its first season, creator Kevin Williamson shared a clue with Entertainment Weekly. “People live, people die,” he told the mag, coyly. But the real hint was in his explanation of what makes for a good TV ending. “I loved finales as a kid. Knots Landing had the best finales.” And so it should be no surprise that, in the tradition of those campy 80s soaps like Knots and Dallas, we’ve been left with a whopper of a cliffhanger. Williamson had suggested that the Joe Carroll story would draw to a close, and it did. Or did it? The only thing I’m sure of is that the season is over, Kevin Bacon will be back, and my eye is still twitching from that interrogation scene. Read more »
To paraphrase Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects, the greatest trick Joe Carroll ever pulled was to convince the viewers of this show that we are not being tortured, too. With one episode left, the FBI isn’t on the verge of victory; it’s just finally running out of ways to botch their pursuit of Carroll and the Nutjobs (sounds like a band at this summer’s WXPN festival). Joey has been locked away for safe keeping, and Ryan’s boss is being fitted for a cool eye patch, a la Samuel L. Jackson in The Avengers. As for the rest of the gang, there’s no shortage of blood, booze and groan-inducing plot twists to sort through. Read more »
Television shows offer escape from reality, but yesterday, it was nearly impossible to watch anything on TV without thinking about the attacks on the Boston Marathon. Staying tuned to CNN seemed like my civic duty. The Phillies game didn’t feel the same. Caring about the Flyers and Sixers missing the playoffs was absurd. And a ridiculously over-the-top series about fake killers didn’t deliver the usual silly fun. Nothing we’ve seen this season is as sick as what just unfolded in real life. Read more »
Daddy issues! Smackdowns! A shocking backstory! Bad prose! Last night’s episode offered up a variety of twisted treats as we head toward the final three installments of the season. Once again, there’s not much forward motion—Ryan inches closer to Carroll’s compound, and the story crawls to its conclusion. But there’s much to discuss, from little head-scratchers to big-picture riddles that could foreshadow how this will all wrap up. A few key points worth reviewing: Read more »
With a title like “Whips and Regret,” safe words, gimp masks and sex tapes, you’d figure this episode of The Following would be exciting (or kinky, at least). Instead, it was the most snooze-worthy chapter yet. Bouncing back and forth between Carroll’s hideout and Ryan and Debra’s sex-club sting, the plot didn’t stir up as much scary tension as we’re used to seeing. It was also, for the most part, fairly plausible. Perhaps that’s the problem—we, like the Followers themselves, have been conditioned, and anything resembling reality is just plain boring. So rather than examine the story itself, which didn’t take us very far, let’s take a look at where the central characters stand as we head into the show’s final four episodes.
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