The Philadelphia Art Museum Steps Shouldn’t Be Used for Advertising

The iconic staircase has been transformed into an ad for a superhero movie. Plus, Bradley Cooper accused of "Jewface."

A mural on the Philadelphia Art Museum steps advertising the upcoming Warner Bros. movie Blue Beetle

A mural on the Philadelphia Art Museum steps advertising the upcoming Warner Bros. movie Blue Beetle (Getty Images)

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Update: It turns out I’m not the only one who hates the Blue Beetle ad on the Art Museum steps. Everybody does. Read what others have to say here.

Philadelphia Art Museum Steps Get an Advertisement for the New Blue Beetle Movie

On Tuesday, the iconic steps of the world-class Philadelphia Museum of Art were transformed into a giant advertisement for Blue Beetle, an upcoming Warner Bros. movie I had never heard of until this happened. So I guess the advertisement is effective in that sense. We have this movie that most people haven’t heard of and that we can’t use our actors to promote, because of the whole strike thing. So let’s slap a mural advertising it onto the one staircase in Philly that everybody knows: the steps the namesake character runs up triumphantly in Rocky.

So that’s what they did. News cameras actually showed up for this. Getty Images sent a photographer. There were giveaways, of what I’m not exactly sure. People took selfies of themselves sitting on the huge advertisement. No word on how many of them actually bothered to, you know, go inside and see the actual art.

I’m not a fan of this plan. We need to protect public spaces from corporate influence and advertising gimmicks, most of all places like the Art Museum steps, which are so well known and such a gathering place for the community. We’ve seen what happens when you start blurring lines like this: You get a public park shut down and walled up for weeks so somebody can make money selling tickets to a Chinese lantern festival. Chunks of FDR Park are closed to the public for the Flower Show. Maybe Liberty Insurance Company would want to buy an ad on the side of the Liberty Bell?

As for the Blue Beetle: Guy suddenly develops an exoskeleton, fights bad guys. Opens in theaters this Friday. Woo-hoo.

Developing Story: Kensington Police Shooting

On Monday, a Philadelphia cop shot and killed a man in Kensington after police pursued him for a traffic stop, with the cops claiming he was driving erratically. Soon after that shooting, police said that the cop only shot the man after the man got out of the car, ignored commands, and lunged at an officer with a knife. But now, police are changing their tune. The Philadelphia Police Department now says the man police shot and killed was inside his car at the time the cop pulled the trigger, and they’re not saying whether he ignored commands or lunged. The cops involved were reportedly wearing bodycams that were live at the time, so we can only imagine we’ll have more on this one soon.

Father of Teenage Philly Terror Suspect Speaks

West Philly lawyer Qawi Abdul-Rahman didn’t exactly want to talk to me when I asked him about the arrest of his 17-year-old son on terrorism charges. (You can read about my interaction with him here.) But he did want to talk to the Daily Beast. (I’m so offended, Qawi!)

One thing a lot of people have been wondering is: How could a father not know his son was talking to overseas terrorists and plotting to build bombs, as prosecutors have alleged?

“I didn’t see it coming at all,” Abdul-Rahman, who just ran for Common Pleas Court judge in Philadelphia, told the publication. “I go to court because I want people to know that Muslims are out here doing things in the community, for the community. I’m an American like everyone else.”

Interesting that he didn’t adopt the usual “Not my son, my son is a good boy” approach.

Local Talent

One of the most anticipated movies this fall is Maestro, a Leonard Bernstein biopic directed by and starring none other than Jenkintown heartthrob Bradley Cooper. There’s already a bunch of Oscar buzz about Cooper’s performance. And now we have a taste of what the movie will look like thanks to this trailer:

I’ve never been a huge Bradley Cooper fan. But a Leonard Bernstein fan I am. And I’m enthused! Not everyone is, though. Some have accused Cooper of “Jewface” thanks to the prosthetic nose he wears to look more like Bernstein.

Speaking of music that’s better than it needs to be, David Devan has been with Opera Philadelphia since 2006 and the head of the group since 2011. But now, he’s stepping down at the end of the upcoming season. He’s chosen not to renew his contract.

David Devan, the outgoing head of Opera Philadelphia

David Devan, the outgoing head of Opera Philadelphia (photo courtesy of Opera Philadelphia)

It’s a true loss for Opera Philadelphia, as Devan has really transformed the company from a yawn-inducing classical performance group into an innovative organization that’s been able to draw younger crowds and carry opera in Philadelphia into the future. One of his simplest changes: renaming the group from the mouthy and overly formal Opera Company of Philadelphia to just Opera Philadelphia. (I would have gone with Opera Philly, but maybe that would have been one step too close to all-out anarchy.)

Opera Philadelphia has created close to 20 entirely new operas under Devan’s leadership. He even once paired renowned mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe with beloved Philadelphia drag queen Martha Graham Cracker in a show/dance party at the TLA. Stodgy no more! News of his departure comes amid budget and staffing cuts at Opera Philadelphia.

By the Numbers

$2,000: What your average Harrisburg legislator makes per day. Pennsylvania’s state legislators are the third-highest paid state legislators in the country.

164: Years the Philadelphia Zoo went before hiring a woman to be its president.

$8 million: What Phillies pitcher Taijuan Walker just paid for a home in scorchingly hot Arizona. He’s on a four-year, $72 million contract with the Phils.

And from the Whack-a-Jay Sports Desk …

The Phils headed to Canada last night, and we just have to say that this made us giggle:

Boston Bosties. Meantime, in Toronto, the Blue Jays had lefty Yusei Kikuchi on the mound, pitted against Zack Wheeler, and both had near-perfect early innings, with the former allowing an Edmundo Sosa single in the third and one by Bryson Stott in the fifth, and the latter giving up a walk in the second and a single in the fourth. My esteemed colleague Victor sent me a message saying the game was boring, and I introduced him to the concept of a “pitcher’s duel.” He was not impressed.

In the sixth, finally, Sosa got his second single, and rookie Johan Rojas doubled up the left-field line to bring him home. In the bottom half, Whit Merrifield reprised the single, and a Wheeler walk to Brandon Belt put men on first and second. Wheels got a double play next, but a George Springer single tied it at 1-1. With Yimi Garcia in for Kikuchi, Stott walked in the seventh and stole second but was stranded there. In the eighth, Jordan Hicks subbed for Garcia and struck out Cave, Rojas and Schwarbs. Seranthony came in for us, and the Jays got a walk, a single and another walk to load them before Springer hit a grounder that Bohm somehow got to home for the second out.

Alas, Seranthony then whacked Cavan Biggio with a pitch to bring home a run. That was enough for him; Jeff Hoffman came in. He held the line, but … could the Phils take the lead back in the ninth? Nope. We lose, 2-1. Thanks, Seranthony.

And in Doop News …

Some dude named Messy (?) came to Subaru Park in Chester for the semifinals in the Leagues Cup, and people got really excited and put on dumb-looking pink shirts in his honor and paid too much for tickets and like that. The Union weren’t exactly favored, and that was probably the right call, since Inter Miami scored three minutes into the game. Talk about discouraging. Then the Messy One notched one, 20 minutes in:

Sigh. And one more by Jordi Alba in stoppage before the half. We almost got one at 60 minutes, but nah, their goalie just got a finger on it. And so close again at 66! But Miami came even closer two minutes later. At 72 minutes, finally, a vindicating goal by old head Alejandro Bedoya. Doop! No one could say we didn’t fight back and have chances. But it was Miami that scored again, at 83 minutes. On to the finals for them. Staying home for us.

All Philly Today sports coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.