Newly minted Mayor Jim Kenney, for one, seems hopeful. “There’s been lots of strides that the Mummers Parade has made over the years, but there is always one dumb thing that happens that really does affect people and offend people,” he said Tuesday. “We have to try to start over, and we’re working on that with the human relations commission and our LGBT affairs leader Nellie Fitzpatrick.” And now there’s discussion of sensitivity training, pre-screening of acts, sanctions and more.
I like Kenney, and I hope he’s right. But at the same time, this is only his fifth day on the job. It’s easy to have hope less than a week into even the most impossible of gigs, to truly believe that a mix of hard work and know-how can bring about change and uncover truth. (I’ve never been mayor, but I have bartended at TGI Friday’s, so I feel pretty qualified to pass on this advice: When your blender shorts out during the middle of the Ultimate Mudslide happy hour that is Philadelphia, Mr. Kenney, just try to remember all of the reasons you don’t want to go to jail. I find writing them on a napkin helps.) Read more »
The Quaker City String Band (Photo courtesy City of Philadelphia)
If you’ve lived in Philadelphia all of your life, you no doubt know at least a bit about our annual New Year’s Day tradition known as the Mummers Parade. But if you’re a new resident (over 100,000 millennials alone since 2007), the longtime ritual might be a bit puzzling, both conceptually and logistically. So whether you’re an old timer who wants to know what time the Wench Brigades begin or a newcomer wondering what the heck a Wench Brigade even is, our exhaustive Mummers Parade Guide has something for you. Read more »
Sixteen-year-old Niurka Mojica stands in the center of the circle, a mass of blondish curls piled into a bun and accented with a red flower. As three drummers pound congas, she lifts the hem of her billowing red skirt up in the air, then shakes it down to her toes. She puts her hands on her hips and thrusts her chest out. She grabs the skirt again and swivels her hips. Around the circle there are singers and percussionists and other girls shaking brightly colored skirts back and forth. A couple of masked men in satin costumes bop along to the music, as does someone holding a gigantic satin-clad puppet whose horned head almost touches the ceiling.
All of these people at Christ Church & St. Ambrose at Sixth and Venango are members of Los Bomberos de la Calle, a Puerto Rican bomba y plena group that’s part of the new Philadelphia Division of the Mummers Parade, which was formed to increase diversity among the parade’s participants. Today’s rehearsal for the parade has swelled Los Bomberos’ ranks from about 10 to 20, and even brought some people — as well as the giant puppet — from Allentown. On New Year’s Day, group founder Tony Mendez estimates there’ll be 30 or 40 people marching, all of whom will make history: It’ll be the first time in the parade’s 160 years that a Puerto Rican group — or any Latino group, for that matter — will march. Leo Dignam, of the Department of Recreation, told division members at a meeting a few weeks ago, “This will be the big story of the Mummers Parade this year.” Read more »
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin. | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP
Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today:
Porngate investigator Robert Graci stepped down after the Daily News revealed that he once campaigned for Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin, a/k/a the guy he was supposed to be investigating.
“Maybe State Attorney General Kathleen Kane was right about that old-boys’ network in Pennsylvania politics,” the Daily News reports. “Apparently, it even reaches into the state Supreme Court. Wednesday, the chief counsel for the state’s Judicial Conduct Board stepped aside from an investigation into a Supreme Court justice’s raunchy emails after the Daily News reported that he was a friend of the justice’s and had played a lead role in his re-election campaign.”
All of the women on City Council are holding District Attorney Seth Williams’ feet to the fire over Porngate.
The women of City Council are joining with the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization of Women on Thursday to condemn “the demeaning, misogynistic and racist emails” swapped by former state prosecutors who now work for Williams, Philly Mag’s Citified reports. After conducting a review of the email chain this summer, Williams said he wouldn’t fire the prosecutors and would instead only force them to undergo “sensitivity training.” Council members Cindy Bass and Maria Quiñones-Sánchez said this week the prosecutors should be canned. “These people make judgement calls on people’s lives every single day,” said Sánchez. “There’s so much questioning of our judicial system, from the police to the attorney general, and we don’t need to further complicate that with the perception that people making decisions about which cases go to trial think it’s okay to do what they did.” Read more »
“That is the fourth Macarena of the New Year,” Steve Highsmith said just after we turned on the TV. It was last December. At happy hour, I was talking about the new All-Mummers channel PHL17 had launched that week. When some friends and I returned to my house after happy hour, we turned on the channel and heard Highsmith’s count.
By the time everyone left that evening, we had seen four more Macarena skits in the 1997 parade. The Mummers that year were like the Democrats in 1996: All Macarena, all the time. But I saw more than just that parade. I watched a lot of Mummers during the month of December — more than I’d like to admit. I saw a lot of sequins, feathers and Jerry Blavat. But when the month was over, I expected the all-Mummers Parade channel would be mothballed for another year.
Philly Mummers clubs continued a time-honored New Year’s Day tradition with their annual year-kickstarting parade on Broad Street. This year they flipped the route and actual strutted down Broad Street, starting at the judging stand at 10 a.m. in front of City Hall and finishing at Broad and Washington streets in South Philly. I’m a big fan of the day, enjoying the parade, people-watching, meeting friends on the street at my favorite viewing spots, and attending a few parties. Here, a few photos from my Mummer’s day adventure.
Councilman Mark Squilla strutting down Broad Street with the Mummers.
Nearly 4500 people attended the annual Union League Mummers Day Party, which also celebrated the first day of President Gregory Montanaro's two-year term. The Union League is one of the stops along Broad Street where the Mummers stop and perform.
Jonathan Saidel, former Philadelphia city controller, and Judge Maria McLaughlin leaving the Union League.
Parade goers on Walnut Street.
A fan posing with a mummer.
Stacey Kracher and Ella enjoy the Mummers from a terrace overlooking Broad Street.
The Rothman Skating Rink at Dilworth Park was open on New Year's Day.
Tania and Marc Schade hosted their Annual Mummers Day Party at The Residences at the Ritz Carlton
Britta Mulderrig and Michelle Finley at the Schade's Annual Mummers Day Party at the Ritz Residences.
Eagles Offensive Guard Todd Herremans and fiancé, Elizabeth Dee (they're getting married this year), with former Congressman Jon Runyan and Loretta Runyan at the Schade party at The Residences at Ritz Carlton.
Guests at the Schade's Annual Mummers Day Party at The Residences at the Ritz Carlton
Alison Young and Dave Maser leave the Union League's annual celebration with baby Zoe.