Philadelphia Business News reports:
Television coverage of the New Year’s Day Mummers Parade is assured for at least three more years.
SugarHouse Casino said Tuesday it has signed an agreement to be the title sponsor through 2016, with the broadcast continuing on PHL 17.
“SugarHouse loves the Mummers,” said SugarHouse general manager Wendy Hamilton. “Several of our own team members have been part of the parade since they were young, and the rest of us grew up watching along Broad Street,” Hamilton said.
The recent stability, of course follows several years in which the parade’s future was in doubt, following the 2007 financial collapse and its affects on local government budgets.
Every year the Mummers do stuff that seems really racist to some and ohwateva innocuous to others. But this year, the outcry was fiercer than ever after one skit managed to insult both Indians and Native Americans. Cowed by the backlash, the Mummers have finally apologized! Wait, what’s that I’m hearing? Ah, no, they haven’t. Instead, one umbrella-toting troupe–the Froggy Carr Wench Brigage–has said sorry for what in some circles passes for an even greater crime: holding up the parade. Due to their shameless, gratuitous, not un-amusing camera-mugging, the Froggies basically held up the entire procession for 20 minutes. So here it is, the official, historic act of contrition: “I want to apologize.” — Captain Joe Renzi. [Daily News]
You may recall that in late 2011, Philly Mag provocatively called for the abolition of the Mummers. Reveling in the infamous foyer showdown that got enraged Mummer-defending Philly poet CA Conrad ejected from the magazine’s premises, irascible Philebrity blogger Joey Sweeney wrote, “we’re kind of wondering what it would take for someone to come down to Philebs HQ and do that to us.” After a year of fruitless wondering, Sweeney may have finally struck gold with his latest offering, “Surprise! The Entire Enterprise of Mummery is Build on Racism and Ignorance.” [Philebrity]
I was struggling to explain the Mummers to a friend of mine from out of town the other day, when it hit me. “Lots of cities have New Year’s Day parades,” I told her, “and Philly’s just happens to be done by drunk amateurs.”
That doesn’t mean the Mummers are wholly amateurish. (And, well, most Mummers aren’t actually drunk, at least while performing.) Run around South Philly in the fall and you’ll see groups practicing their moves under I-95 pretty regularly. Lots of the floats are impressive. The string bands are generally pretty good. I spent a few enjoyable hours on Broad Street yesterday gawking. The Mummers Parade is Philadelphia’s annual people-watching Christmas. Read more »
Public service announcement: According to a study flagged by the Washington Post, more pedestrian deaths occur on New Year’s Day than any other time of the year. Half of those, no surprise, occur between midnight and 6 A.M. Philly would seem to be at a slightly higher risk: Most cities don’t have giant, day-long street parades the entire town comes out to watch. [Wonkblog]
The first words I read yesterday were “‘TWO STREET’ TRAGEDY’ Fire destroys Fralinger String Band’s props & floats.”
I gasped. “Oh my god,” I said to my boyfriend. “Did you see this? This is horrible. It’s … it’s … ” I couldn’t continue; I was getting too emotional. I even had to take my glasses off so they wouldn’t fog up. Read more »
They said the show would go on, with or without their equipment. And there was no reason not to believe the champion Fralinger String Band when they said it. Still, it’s a relief for our Mummers viewing pleasure that most of their gear survived the fire at 2nd and Wharton yesterday. Said band captain Tom D’Amore:
At first glance, it doesn’t look like anything is unsalvageable. Maybe some of the foam work might need to be replaced, but that’s to be determined. We don’t know yet. That just might dry out. We might be able to wring it out, but we’re very optimistic with the way everything looks. We got out of there in record time. It’s fantastic. [CBS 3]
Three weeks before the parade, fire crews are at the scene of a South Philly fire that may have destroyed a considerable amount of Mummers gear.
The 4-alarm blaze began at a building on 2nd and Wharton around 2:30 p.m. Officials say one elderly person was injured in the blaze. Officials have not yet revealed the person’s condition. The fire broke out near a warehouse that houses props and equipment used in the Mummers Parade. The fire spread to the warehouse and is currently causing extensive damage.
The storied Fralinger String Band, which won the Mummers String Band title every year between 2003 and 2010, also stores its equipment in the warehouse. Though the extent of the damage is unclear, Fralinger’s Steve Coper confirms that he’ll be playing on New Year’s Day. [NBC 10]
Last year, congressional redistricting initiated by the Republican-controlled legislature in Harrisburg took a chainsaw to Pennsylvania’s 7th District, turning it into what the National Journal ranked as one of the 10 most gerrymandered districts in the nation, and what Delaware County Democrat Greg Vitali more eloquently described as an “unmitigated, absolute disgrace.” Read more »
With all the hubbub about Secret Service agents and their supposed illicit activities in Cartagena and, now, El Salvador, I got to thinking about one of 2011′s biggest sex scandals right here in Philadelphia: the so-called Mummers prostitutes bust. Back in October—after what was probably a very stimulating and very expensive six-week undercover investigation—Philadelphia police arrested three men and eight women, alleging they had turned the Downtowners Fancy Brigade clubhouse in South Philadelphia into a veritable whorehouse and illegal drinking establishment. Six months after all the headlines and torrid special reports on local TV, I decided to check back in with the, er, ladies and gents to see how it all worked out. And it turns out that there were some developments just this week. All of the following information comes from the Philadelphia Police Department and court records.
Read more »