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a band you actually never heard of.

5 drinks - because 10 would be too much.

technicolor dream plates.

check out who’s in the closet.

FOURTEENTH STREET Go ahead. Cross the street.

A MAGICAL PLACE WHERE GAMING MEETS MUSIC.

March 2011


CONTENTS.

MARCH 2011

a band you actually never heard of.

5 drinks - because 10 would be too much.

technicolor dream plates.

check out who’s in the closet.

FOURTEENTH STREET Go ahead. Cross the street.

March 2011

13

A MAGICAL PLACE WHERE GAMING MEETS MUSIC.

Cover illustration by Robert Zangrillo

Quickies.

Healthy Living.

6

Fourteenth Street Presents our city-wide favorites

17

Life in Plastic cosmetic surgery is as common as plastic, how ironic

8

Games from The Underground

18

Vegan Vendors

9

Beer Snob 2.0 know what you’re talking about when it comes to beer

19

The Art of Nutrition your favorite color should be rainbow

Sounds & Scenes. 10

PhilaMOCA mausoleum turned Mad Decent turned art gallery

11

Q&A with Philly Film Guru

12

Phila-busters bustin’ ghosts and raisin’ money

13

Ukes in Unison an out-of-theordinary orchestra

Love Drunk. 14

Lose Your Date in 5 Drinks

15

Dating on the DL grab a bite or a drink at these off-the-radar joints

16

Your Couch or Your Bed? when couchsurfing gets frisky

Style. 20

Style Blogs

21

Q&A with StyleCaster

22

The Look Locker peek inside Philly’s hippest closets

Features. 24

This Is Sprinkle Kingdom geeks with lights and sounds

28

Beyond Bread life without gluten

In Every Issue. 8

Then & Now

30

In Memoriam

18

22


FOURTEENTH STREET Editors-in-Chief Josh Fernandez Samantha Krotzer Creative Director Tracy Galloway Publisher Alessandro Satta Managing Editor Trey Shields

Art & Photography Photo Editor Kara Mallon Assistant Photo Editor Mike Revak Designer Amay Smith Contributing Photographers Carroll Moore Katie Yuen Natasha Shapiro Savana Jones Contributing Artists Melissa Moffa Robert Zangrillo Sidney Poor

Editor’s Letter “You want a swig of this?”

Never heard of them before? I bet you are pretty curious about what Sprinkle Kingdom is, too. That means we did our job. Philadelphia is the fifth largest city in the U.S. and you better believe that there are some secrets and great stories hiding behind that census statistic. We did the legwork (hell, we even went to West Philly) and we have dedicated the pages of our first issue this year to letting you into our little insider’s club. We’ll give you something new to say about beer, toss a heads up your way about what styles are actually in, and teach you more than you ever thought you could know about gluten. Just like any good secret, we’ve been dying to tell someone. Go ahead readers, cross Fourteenth Street.

Samantha Krotzer Editor-in-Chief 4/

FOURTEENTH STREET / March 2011

Editorial Sounds & Scenes Editor Lauren Macaluso LoveDrunk Editor Christina Trinh Healthy Living Editor Michelle Kraus Style Editor Juliet De Rose Contributing Writers Caitlin Weigel Lisa Preuninger Max McCormack Natasha Shapiro Fourteenth Street is sponsored by the Temple University Journalism Department. The studentrun publication appears as an insert in The Temple News twice every spring semester. For questions or comments, please contact Professor Laurence Stains at lstains@temple.edu.

Carroll Moore

When a beautiful woman wearing a fez hat offers you a sip of whiskey from her flask it is hard to say “no.” Be glad that we, reluctantly, used our self-control to turn down the offer because then the photos of the Philadelphia Ukulele Orchestra might have turned out a bit out of focus.


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Journalism TEMPLE UNIVERSITY

join a nationally accredited program that features a strong liberal arts foundation

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and individualize your journalism education to your specific career goals

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journalism skills in: reporting writing video audio web

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professional experience with year-round internships at major media outlets Seniors participate in the PhiladelphiaNeighborhoods.com: a converged newsroom in Center City Philadelphia emphasizing neighborhood reporting.

www.temple.edu/journalism


Fourteenth Street

PHILADELPHIA I presents

n case you haven’t noticed, you live in Philadelphia. What was once a metropolis hiding in the shadows of NYC has become a city with an identity of its own. Philadelphia’s neighborhoods are overflowing with culture and hip spots; just as long as you ignore that high murder rate you will do just fine. With this issue you have in your hands we have scoured the city for spots that we think you might be into. Some are cool, some are dirty, and some are just plain weird. This map will give you an idea how far you will have to bike, bus, taxi, subway, hitchhike, drive, or walk. Plus it’s an excuse to use a really old map from the 1700s. By Trey Shields

Mugshots 2100 Fairmount Ave.

PHILLY PICKS. Village Whiskey 118 S. 20th St.

SOUNDS & SCENES.

A 1706 L

LOVEDRUNK. HEALTHY LIVING.

My Thai 2200 South St.

STYLE.

t Wes

8 Static 4522 E. Baltimore Ave

hia

elp d a l i h

P

Long in the Tooth 2027 Sansom St. Best Record Store

Pub & Kitchen 1946 Lombard St. Best Bar


The Barbary 951 Frankford Ave. Best Place to Dance Darlings 1033 N. 2nd St.

The Abbaye 637 N. 3rd St. PhillyMOCA 531 N. 12th St.

Fairfood Farmstand 51 N. 12th St.

Space 1026 1026 Arch St.

Topstitch 54 North 3rd Street

Good Dog 224 S. 15th St. Broad St. Oasis

Adresse Locust Street

The Irish Pol 45 S. 3rd St. Wasted Thursdays

Pumpkin Market 1609 South St.

Sweet Freedom Bakery 1424 South Street

Philadelphia Ghostbusters

Green Eggs Cafe 1306 Dickinson St. March 2011 / FOURTEENTH STREET / 7


QUICKIES.

AND

THEN NOW Northern Liberties

1st Friday Olde City Pabst Blue Ribbon Flight of the Concords Stephen Starr

South Philly

1st Friday Frankford Ave Miller High Life Portlandia Jose Garces

Games from The Underground Raise your avatar’s fist in pride as you check out our list of the most anticipated indie games of 2011. We’ve asked Joystiq’s Editor-in-Chief Chris Grant to give us a preview of the year’s best. By Trey Shields 1. Journey, by ThatGameCompany: The studio behind flOw and Flower is back with its most ambitious title yet: Journey will be downloadable on PlayStation 3, and will put players in a beautiful, sand-covered world where they must work alone or with other, anonymous players online. 2. From Dust, by Ubisoft Montpellier: Sure, this sandbox simulation game has some interesting ideas but the thing that really gets your attention is the

creator: Eric Chahi is best known for designing the classic, rotoscoped Out of this World in 1991 and he’s been pretty quiet since then. 3. The Witness, by Jonathan Blow: Jonathan Blow is something of a “big deal” in the indie gaming space. The outspoken creator’s indie darling Braid was as puzzling as it was poetic. For The Witness, Blow’s created a puzzle-filled (though otherwise uninhabited) island to tell his tale.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky probably would have enjoyed a game like Heavy Rain.

4. Monaco, by Andy Schatz: This action “heist” title won the Grand Prize and Excellence in Design awards from the 2010 Independent Games Festival, as sure a sign of quality as any. The charming, blocky graphics belie a frenetic and decidedly modern multiplayer experience.


2.0

Beer Snob

Philadelphia is a beer city (are you sick of hearing that yet?) In local bars it is common to be greeted with names like Raging Bitch Double IPA, Victory Storm King, or Rogue Yellow Snow. We asked Village Whiskey’s bartender, and resident beer connoisseur, Lindsay Krueger to help those in the dark when it comes to craft beers. So the next time you are out with some friends you can save the embarrassment and actually tell the difference between a Pliny the Elder or an Arrogant Bastard. By Trey Shields

LAGER

For the easy-going, yet indecisive individual Impress: Lager is German for “storage”. The lager is brewed and stored at low temperatures with bottom-fermenting yeast. It is a very well balanced beer that ranges from a pale to dark copper tone. The lager is perfect for easy drinking and goes great with salty foods, fish and chicken. Lindsay’s Pick: It’s so fucking cliché, but I have to go with Yuengling.

MIKE REVAK

WHEAT

For the individual who ordered a Blue Moon that one time at Maxi’s to be “different” Impress: The farmhouse ale received its name from the practice of placing fermenting beer atop barns. Wild yeast from the fields would be carried by the wind and mixed in spontaneously with

the beer. An ale with wheat added to the mash, the wheat beer often has a light lemony or grassy taste. It is fairly pale in color and sweet. Generally low in its ABV, wheat beer is perfect in the summer when garnished with an orange. Lindsay’s Pick: Berliner Weisse. Here is a tip: weisse, wheat and wit all mean the same thing.

PALE ALE

For the hip individual sick of having pictures taken of themselves holding a PBR Impress: Next time you are caught sipping a Budweiser save your dignity by explaining, “I wanted something simple yet sophisticated, like this classic pale ale here”. The pale ale is the most common kind of beer and can describe a multitude of styles. It is generally crisp and has a slight tart or bitter taste. Lindsay’s Pick: Southern Tier

We know, we know. Bud and Miller Lites suck. We were just seeing if you were paying attention. Pale Ale. Whenever I find it I buy a six pack.

IPA

For the individual who likes to “party”, but wants something tasty Impress: The IPA is good for insomniacs. The IPA stands for Indian Pale Ale and derives its name from the age-old practice of placing extraordinary amount of hops in the ale to preserve the beer during long voyages overseas. IPA often has a piney and bitter taste with bright citrus notes. Lindsay’s Pick: The Founder’s Centennial is the most wellrounded IPA.

STOUT

For the individual looking to grow some hair on his (or her) chest Impress: The name was originally given to any kind of “strong” beer, but has now become synonymous with dark porters like Guinness. The stout is a dark robust beer that is made with roasted malts or barley. It has toasty or smoky notes and is great with any kind of red meats. The stout often has a coffee taste, but can be brewed with other ingredients like chocolate, oatmeal or chipotle. Lindsay’s Pick: With no hesitation, Great Lakes’ Edmund Fitzgerald.

March 2011 / FOURTEENTH STREET / 9


SOUNDS & SCENES. I

mpressively laid back and unpretentious, The Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art is an unconventional approach to galleries and stage space. Vistors are welcomed by worn sofas and easy chairs, an eclectic display of art and instruments and even freshly brewed coffee. Gavin Hecker, 35, of West Philadelphia, who serves as a director of the space, hospitably converses with newcomers, inviting them to look around, hang out and even

strum on a banjo, if they so choose. The building itself has an eclectic past, formerly serving as a tombstone and mausoleum showroom, and more recently, as the party and production venue for Mad Decent, the Philly-based record label. But in September, Hecker, a musician and appreciator of all arts, adopted the location with the sole intent to run his audiovisual production company, Tachyphylaxis, from it. Quickly realizing the space’s potential, Hecker knew he wanted to create an impact on Philadelphia’s art community. With the collaboration of a few pals, PhilaMOCA was born. Already on its third show, “Comb the Field,” PhilaMOCA plans to host a new art exhibit every month, as well as musicians, various other performers and whatever the masterminds behind the project feel like doing. Nothing seems unworthy of attention to Hecker. “To have a space like this and just waste it by hanging stuff on the walls is kind of silly to me, so that’s why I have music as well. I also want to get

Flicker Show

Broke? Us, too. Doesn’t mean your only option is the $0.99 movie rentals on iTunes. By Josh Fernandez and Lauren Macaluso

Gavin Hecker, PhilaMOCA Director more workshops and forums to come in here,” he says. “We could even do a chess night…it’s a place for everything.” Check them out at www.philamoca.org

Mugshots CoffeeHouse & Cafe 21st Street and Fairmount Avenue Free. Monday and Friday, 7 p.m. www.mugshotscoffeehouse.com

The environmentally friendly, fair-trade coffee-using Mugshots isn’t all activist work and no play – the cafe screens films every Monday and Friday. Mugshots’ Monday Movie Documentaries and Family Fun Friday films range from Oscar-nominated Spellbound to the Morgan Freeman-narrated March of the Penguins.

PhilaMOCA: NATASHA SHAPIRO

PhilaMOCA

They want to divert our attention… and it’s working. By Natasha Shapiro


SOUNDS & SCENES.

The Piazza’s Artistic Playground

Philly film festival founder Josh Goldbloom shakes up the city’s film scene this summer. By Lauren Macaluso

A

little more than a year ago, Josh Goldbloom decided to resurrect a place in Philadelphia where indie-film lovers, makers and supporters could gather. After dealing with “fuckin’ assholes” and routine long lines and red tape, Goldbloom gave the guys at The Piazza the opportunity to run a free independent film summer series that he would collect and promote. Starting in May, citywide film nerds can gather once more under the big screen in Northern Liberties and enjoy the Philadelphia Underground Film Festival (PUFF).

Photo courtesy PAULLOFTLAND.COM

FS: What motivated you to start PUFF?

JG: I love Philadelphia, I want to be here. I traveled around. I lived in different cities. For me to live in Philadelphia I felt like maybe it was time to create my own artistic playground, if you will. Ya know, I like big shit. When I see ridiculous shit I want to be a part of it and the second I saw that fuckin’ screen I was like ‘Of course, we have to do something here. We have to show films on this screen!’ and it worked. Say what you will about the Piazza and those guys over there, they’ve been nothing but fantastic to us. They’ve allowed me to come in there and work my game and we’ve shown some pretty gnarly stuff on there.

FS: What is the biggest development that PUFF has seen since it started?

JG: We’re only in our second year and we’ve only teamed up with what I think

When does the Piazza actually look like this? We should ask Josh Goldbloom... is one of the best film festivals in the country called Rooftop Films NYC. They do exactly what we’re trying to do but they’ve been doing it for 15 years. We’re also running the Cinefest now so it’s like we brought our team from PUFF to run potentially one of the biggest film festivals in the city.

FS: What’s your hope for the independent film community in Philadelphia?

here in Philly. We have a large source of untapped talent here and it’s time to start rock starring that kinda shit. That’s just our goal. It’s not rocket science. We just want to have fun, throw parties and show some awesome films.

“Ya know, I like big shit.” Josh Goldbloom, PUFF Founder

JG: I want Philly to see fuckin’ everything. All content that comes my way we’re going to find a place for it in Philadelphia. I lived in Austin, Texas for a year and I saw what the entertainment scene can do to the economy and I think its important that we build something

Andrew’s Video Vault at the Rotunda

The Trocadero Theatre

Underground doesn’t even begin to describe the type of films screened at the Rotunda. Whether it’s an obscure science fiction film from the 80s or a documentary about a paper clip factory, Andrew’s Video Vault never fails to provide the ultimate in “B” and “C” rated flicks from every genre.

This Chinatown venue isn’t just for emo and alternative rock acts like Underoath and Thursday – the Troc also hosts Monday Movie Nights every week at the Balcony. Selections range from The Goonies to recent feature films like Due Date. Get there early for free beer and popcorn.

4014 Walnut Street Free. 2nd Thursday of every month, 8 p.m. www.armcinema25.com

1003 Arch Street $3 Monday nights, 8 p.m. www.thetroc.com


SOUNDS & SCENES.

Who You Gonna Call? Not Bill Murray These fans of the 1984 film do more than just tote ghost-zapping gadgets By Lauren Macaluso with it being such an investment but we were like, ‘What else can we do with this stuff in order to make it worthwhile?’” Since June 2009, members of Philadelphia Ghostbusters have been playing the part of their favorite childhood superheroes, building their own Proton Packs (some of which cost hundreds of dollars to assemble) while raising money for local charities and foundations. South Street is the group’s go-to spot for fundraising. A donation to Great Strides: Taking Steps to Cure Cystic Fibrosis, is suggested for every photograph. The first fundraiser the Philadelphia Ghostbusters participated in was in Oct. 2009 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk. Their hope is to raise enough funds to participate in at least two walks a year. Last year they raised almost $6,000 for four charities in the city. “Before I realized it wasn’t a real job as a kid, that’s what I wanted to be,” Dan Ritchie says. “When I found out it wasn’t a real job I said I still want to be it!” “Some people grow up worshipping Superman or Batman and they can’t grow up to be him necessarily,” adds Paro. “Why not grow up to be a Ghostbuster?” Want to know more about these nerds? Instead of waiting for them on South Street flash mob style, go here: www.edfx.com/philadelphiaghostbusters.

KATIE YUEN

O

ver the loud rumble of traffic, five members of the Philadelphia Ghostbusters chitchat before heading over the South Street Bridge. Within minutes, a group of girls approach the Ghostbusters, excitedly begging for a photograph. “She’s from London!” one of the girls shriked. “Can she please get a picture with you?” Paul Poole, 34, of Clifton Heights, Pa., offers advice to new members of the group who are a little wary of being approached by strangers. “Don’t make eye contact, walk with determination like you’re actually doing it,” he says. “Act like there’s something wrong down there.” “People get excited because they think you’re actually going to bust ghosts,” Pool adds. To the 20 or so men and women currently affiliated with the Philadelphia Ghostbusters franchise, suiting up in a khaki-colored jumpsuit and slinging a selfmade ghost-zapping contraption on your back is all in a day’s work. Only, their fascination with the popular film goes much deeper than you’d think. Nate Paro, 27 of Landsdowne, Pa., founded the Philadelphia Ghostbusters after hearing from other Ghostbusters groups that charity work was what kept them going. “It started with a few of us that had made our gear,” Paro explains. “We kind of realized and came to terms


Ukes in Unison Mini guitar + whiskey = next big thing. By Tracy Galloway

Top photo: KARA MALLON

A

t the corner of Aspen and Bucknell streets, you can hear the faint sound of music, but on this quiet residential block, you’d tell yourself it’s just the wind. Stepping closer to the blue brick walls of an unmarked Veterans of Foreign War Post, you learn it’s not the wind – It’s the Philadelphia Ukulele Orchestra practicing. The orchestra members line the perimeter of a meeting table buried beneath a layer of the group’s Budweiser bottles, Coke cans and steel flasks. Binders of sheet music are opened to the 1920s tune, “Tonight You Belong to Me.” The orchestra, which originally started with eight musicians, is now comprised of 12 members from Philadelphia and New Jersey. It isn’t the first of its sort, but with an intriguing wardrobe, a mysterious mentor named Professor Phineas Q. Tinklebottom and a vast repertoire of early 20th century music., it is one-of-a-kind. “There’s The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and they’re very wellknown,” says orchestra founder Cecil St. Vitus. “But we’re sort of the polar opposite of them in that they wear tuxedos and play modern songs in a kind of a goofy way, and I think we dress a little goofier but play our songs very straightforward.” A canvas of red, black and gold, the group dresses in embroidered smoking jackets, fez hats, faux mustaches and bow ties. “I wanted it to look vaguely of a

different era,” says St. Vitus. “Maybe look like people who are trying to class it up and not quite getting there.” The ukulele was the first stringed instrument of at least three orchestra’s members, whom St. Vitus notes “bought their ukleles before our first practice.” Sophinisba d’Chilblains, an early 20th century jazz enthusiast and the group’s newest addition, was playing the ukulele at home by herself for seven months before she was introduced to St. Vitus. “I’d never actually played music before so just the fact that I ended up in a band that plays this music, I feel like I won the lottery,” she says. After toiling in the underground music scene, the group began receiving attention early last year. The ukulele orchestra has since played some of

Philadelphia’s top venues, including the Trocadero and the Kimmel Center. The positive response was somewhat viral, says Horace Dropsy, one of the lead singers in the orchestra. “It spread like wild fire, where we did it for fun to begin with and then we played a few shows and things just kind of exploded.” Somewhere The Professor is smiling at the orchestra’s success. But, who exactly is the professor and why wasn’t he rehearsing? “Oh no, no, he isn’t here, he couldn’t make it,” the band members chime in. Even if The Professor is perhaps shy of crowds, he is always with the orchestra in spirit – they carry around a framed picture of the bearded old bloke…for good measure. “He is the Svengali; He is the puppet-master,” says St. Vitus. “If people in the group want to go in a direction that I’m not comfortable going in, I’ll check with the Professor and he usually nixes it and I’ll break the news with everybody else,”he adds. St. Vitus’ eyes shift and he giggles nervously as most of the members do when talking of their beloved Professor. “Listen to the words of this one,” says 80-year-old Raymond Davenport before everyone raises their ukeleles in unison. “If you marry her, son, you’re better off/ Single, ‘Cause it’s always been my belief/ Marriage will bring a man nothing but/ Sweet Violets.” 14 *Next performance: Friday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Tin Angel, 20 S. 2nd St. March 2011 / FOURTEENTH STREET / 13


LOVEDRUNK. How to

How to

Lose A Girl

in 5 Drinks

Large Brews

What’s the sense in ordering a half-liter of beer when your date is sipping her 12 oz. brew? Skip the 750ml. of Duvel and the liter of Hofbrauhaus. You’ll look like an alcoholic.

Experimental Drinks

You know that drink you’ve wanted to try? Don’t. Stuff like Newcastle Brown Ale belong in the trash. No girl likes the “nasty beer face” and it’s unlikely they’re turned on by bad aftertaste.

Lose A Guy

in 5 Drinks Shots

Shots on a date can only indicate you are not entertained by your date and need to get drunk quick. Shots scream that the drinker is only on the date for a little post-date action.

Sex on the Beach

Stay away from the slutty named drinks, it gives off the wrong impression...unless slutty is the impression that you’re going for.

The “Special”

Beer

The Fancy Drinks

Bloody Mary

Don’t just go with the nightly beer special. You won’t stand out to this girl if you’re slamming Natty Ice or BudLights.

Don’t get a fancier drink than your date. Don’t trump her beer with your Manhattan and definitely don’t try to order wine at a bar to look sophisticated.

It’s always a neutral ground. However, burping like a truck driver is not sexy, so be sure to keep the hops in check.

Talking religion on a date is a total downer – right?

A Fruit Martini

The Fruity Drinks

Similarly, you will not succeed if you answer her gin and tonic with an Appletini or aim to “take it easy” with a wine cooler.

It says ‘I’m easy,’ so opt for a Dirty Martini – it’s sophisticated. That, and you don’t get fruit punch lips. Caution: if you select the fruit martini skip the extra fruit added into your drink. It could come off as high maintenance or being picky.

–Mike Revak

–Jordan E. Strohl

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FOURTEENTH STREET / March 2011


Yes, You Can Hide

LOVEDRUNK.

Three off-the-radar places to take your date when you’re embarrassed to be seen with them. By Michelle Kraus

Portraits of the worst we dated.

top: Darling’s Diner bottom left: The Abbaye bottom right: Slainte Pub&Grill

1 2 3

“I love to read and the girl I was fixed up with said she did, too. Her favorite book is Twilight.” Dylan Bartos, 22, Northeast Philadelphia “I thought this girl was in to me because she would always send me semi-nude photos. I tried to kiss her and she told me I didn’t respect women.”

JOSH FERNANDEZ

Kevin Cook, 23, North Philadelphia

Looking for somewhere to take your special someone? Maxi’s and the Draught Horse aren’t going to cut it anymore – it’s time to hop onto that overcrowded and noisy subway to expand your horizons outside of Temple’s campus. Don’t want to wait two hours getting a seat at Honey’s on a Saturday? Walk one block east and one more south to get to The Abbaye at Third and Fairmount streets. There’s never a wait, and this corner bar in Northern Liberties has everything from decadent potato pancakes to the brunch classic, huevos rancheros. Plus, they have the garden-variety morning booze, something Honey’s lacks. Just getting off of work at midnight? Hit up Darling’s Diner by Second Street and Germantown Avenue with your sweetheart, where you can grab a drink at its full service bar till 2 a.m. or take advantage of their 24-hour food and dessert menu. The Hipsters Paradise, fresh bananas, blueberries, Nutella and peanut butter on your choice of toast, Belgian waffle, and even pancakes, will stun your taste buds. Searching for something more exotic? Make your way down to My Thai on 22nd and South Streets. The attentive staff devote their time to delivering you slightly spicy but sweet entrees that are sure to blow your mind. The cozy atmosphere and the food will have you falling in love with Thai in no time. Slainte Pub & Grill serves delicious bar food in the comfort of a classic sit down restaurant. They have the perfect platter to share including chicken fingers, quesadillas, and potato skin with delicious salsa, ranch and barbeque dipping sauces, and an authentic cheese sauce. Enjoy a variety of draft and bottled beers, red and white wines or a tasty Irish coffee.

“I met up at a movie theater with a girl I was chatting with online. She looked nothing like her photo, and as soon as it went dark in the theater she aggressively kissed my neck until I ‘had to go to the bathroom.’ She caught me before I could escape, and took me home with her. Thank God I came down with the flu…” Olivia Webster, 23, Rittenhouse Square “I was on a blind date at a carnival, and it was going very well...until we reached the ferris wheel. When the ride started, my date not only confessed his undying love and attraction for my friend, but also forgot to mention he was afraid of heights, until he vomited all over me. Needless to say, it didn’t work out.” Caitlin Sullivan, 21, North Philadelphia

March 2011 / FOURTEENTH STREET / 15


LOVEDRUNK.

Your Couch...Or Your Bed?

Illustration by Melissa Moffa

Sometimes the couch surfing wave makes an intimate splash. By Christina Trinh

A

busty French girl leans forward and whispers “Bonjour beau” and giggles playfully. Was it a stroke of luck or was the photo Adam* chose as his profile picture that alluring? His contemplation of why this French bombshell decided to couchsurf his Philadelphia pad was abruptly interrupted when Julie* pressed her lips firmly against his, almost knocking him over. Couchsurfing.com is a volunteer-based “worldwide network for making connections between travelers and the local communities they visit.” The site “hooks” travelers up with local hosts willing to offer free lodging, and thus a cheap traveling experience. Similar to Facebook, the couchsurfing network includes user profiles, photos and friend requests. While Couchsurfing specifically states under its guidelines that it is not a dating site, host and surfer hook ups happen frequently. Many of the hookups that ensue between host and surfer are simply the result of unexpectd chemistry. In August 2009, Adam, who at the time was relatively new to the couchsurfing site, received a message from Julie, a “very sexy, exotic,” 21-year-old French student from Paris who asked to couchsurf his Philly abode. She wrote, “I’m serious, I just like to meet new people and share culture etc., that’s only what I want, that’s why I’m interested in couchsurfing.” “I thought this line in her message was intriguing,” Adam admits. “Now I knew there was a language barrier but I interpreted this as someone who was interested in couchsurfing as well as something more intimate. I figured what the hell; I’ll

16 /

FOURTEENTH STREET / March 2011

host this girl and see what happens.” As soon as Adam met Julie, he felt a mutual attraction that had already built up somehow through their Web exchanges. He showed her around the city and they grabbed food and drinks., which suddenly gave off the impression of a first date running smoothly. Later that night Julie met up with other tourists she had met on her bus ride to Philly and didn’t stay over at Adam’s. The next day, Julie met Adam again and they went for a walk in Fairmount Park followed by returning to his pad to “watch a movie.” They were making out and undressing each other about 15 minutes into the flick. “That night, there was no couchsurfing...it was bedsurfing,” Adam says, “We spent the next two days together before she had to fly back to France. I never saw her again but we still speak occasionally.” Adam has experienced another situation much like the one with Julie through couchsurfing and knows at least four other couchsurfers with similar stories. Although he reasons that hookups happen because of the open-mindedness of couchsurfers, Adam does not think couchsurfing should be used for dating or hook-up purposes. For couchsurfing to work, a high level of trust between surfer and host needs to be established; the sexual intent could undermine this trust. *Editor’s Note: The sources in this article remain anonymous to protect their identity and to respect the couchsurfing.org community.


HEALTHY LIVING. Life in Plastic: It’s Fantastic?

Plastic in your wallet, plastic on your chest -- It’s a double win for surgeons. By Christina Trinh

consumer interest in cosmetic surgery is on the rise. Of the 2,148 people surveyed, 69 percent would choose to have cosmetic procedures if money wasn’t an issue. To bring in the New Year’s, Q102, a Philadelphia radio station that appeals to a young demographic, advertised a contest, “Have Your Breast New Year Ever.” The winner of the contest received the ultimate grand prize— a free boob job—valued at approximately $6,000. Kathryn Morgan, author of Women and the Knife: Cosmetic Surgery and the Colonization of Women’s Bodies says, “Not only is elective cosmetic surgery moving out of the domain of the sleazy, the suspicious, the secretively deviant, of the pathologically narcissistic, it is becoming the norm.”

6

6

A

slender 20-year-old blonde cups her breasts in her hands and pushes them up to accentuate their size and says to her friend, “Best gift I’ve ever given myself! No Victoria Secret push-up bra could ever get you this.” Her friend nods in agreement and says, “Amanda you look like a million bucks.” Amanda replies, “I better. These cost me just around there.” She tugs on her dress, to show off her “best gifts,” tosses her wavy blond locks and struts out of the bathroom. According to 2010 statistics by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 12.5 million cosmetic surgery procedures were performed in the United States in 2009, down 1 percent from 2008; up 69 percent since 2000. However, this decline in cosmetic surgery appears to be a hiatus triggered by the economic downturn rather than an indiscriminate change in attitudes toward cosmetic makeovers. According to a 2010 online survey by Harris Interactive adults on behalf of the cosmetic treatment community RealSelf.com,

“Hi, I’m Barbie and my fake tits are huge.”

%

would choose to have cosmetic procedures if money wasn’t an issue.

March 2011 / FOURTEENTH STREET / 17


HEALTHY LIVING.

Wiz Without (Cow) I Fuck Richie’s. Check out these healthier alternatives. By Juliet De Rose

n a city better recognized for its cheesesteak than its historical background, is there room for vegans -- the most extreme kind of vegetarian? I know what you’re thinking: A vegan cheesesteak not only sounds disgusting but is an oxymoron as well. Cheese? Steak? Vegan? Yes, it does exist and it’s delicious. Plus, you don’t have to feel like a contestant on The Biggest Loser after eating it. Whether you’ve been a herbivore for years or simply testing the waters, living in Philly makes eating crulety-free easy (and delicious). Surprisingly, there are a variety of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants and many are now offering a meatless, dairy-free alternative to the city’s namesake sandwich. If you’re craving the cheesesteaks’s cousin, the chicken cheesesteak, head to Govinda’s Gourmet Vegetarian at Broad and South Streets. Made with soy protein, peppers and soy cheese, it’s filling,

flavorful and completely vegan. If you want to really experience vegan comfort, Blackbird Pizzeria, located at 6th and Lombard Streets, is your destination. The menu is entirely vegan and includes a variety of specialty pizzas, sandwiches and dessert. But it’s the “cheesteak” that keeps hungry Philadelphians coming back. Their version is made with seitan, a wheatbased protein that makes the perfect “mock meat,” mushrooms, onions, peppers and tons of vegan cheese. Still shocked that vegan cheesesteaks even exist? Well wrap

you’re meat-head around the fact that in both 2009 and 2010 PETA ranked Citizen’s Bank Park the most vegetarianfriendly ballpark. Now that’s some food for thought.

Exergaming Revolution How exercise put our asses back in front of the TV. By Mike Revak Dance Dance Revolution It’s the game that started it all. When DDR hit arcades and homes across the world, people never before thought that video games could actually be exercise. All it takes is just a search on YouTube and it’s incredibly clear how popular this phenomenon still is.

Dance Central (Kinect)

Similar to the trend starting by DDR, this is a game where you stand in front of your TV and dance like a fool. It takes DDR’s successful formula and mixes it with the most popular songs and dances to recreate the genre. Step-bystep dance instructions make this a title that anyone can pick up and play.

Wii Fit

Through integrating the use of the Wii Balance Board peripheral, Wii Fit took the already booming genre of exer-gaming to a whole new level. Incorporating technology that allows the device to record and evaluate the user’s position and movement, Wii Fit gave players the chance to work out in four categories: yoga, strength training, aerobics and balance.

EA Sports Active 2

The latest in a series of EA Sports releases into the exergaming market, Active 2 takes the popular formula

established by its predecessor and involves the user in an even more interactive way. Through the incorporation of 30-day workouts and daily activity logs, Active 2 acts as an effective alternative to Wii Fit by featuring a wide range of activities to choose from.


The Art of Nutrition Eat the rainbow! And we don’t mean Skittles. By Caitlin S. Weigel Illustration by Sidney Poor

W

e think about color on a daily basis. We contemplate wearing the green shirt versus the red one, then hop on the orange line to Center City while blaring “Black and Yellow” on our iPods (or, if you’re more old school, the 1999 hit “Blue (Da Be Dee)”). And, although we’ve known about ROY G BIV for the entirety of our lives, colors have an important meaning outside the visual realm. Apparently the Rainbow Connection is more than something a puppet frog is famous for singing about- it’s a concept that should be an integral part of your daily diet. Julie Rhule, a registered dietitian for Temple’s Sodexo Campus Services, stresses the importance of eating a colorful diet. “Deeply hued fruits and vegetables provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and  phytochemicals which protect your body against the effects of aging, and fight cancer, and heart disease,” she says. Eating a variety of colorful foods has numerous benefits for your body. Here’s a list of foods recommended by Rhule that are good for your health and your

“The number one food I associate with green is kale. It’s a ‘super food,’ and studies associate it with fighting cancer.” Rachel Sanchez, healthy eating specialist at Whole Foods

Rainbow Brite obsession: Red foods help maintain a healthy heart and urinary tract. All the usual suspects apply – strawberries, watermelon, cherries, cranberries, and pomegranates – but there are a few curveballs. Beets and rhubarbs carry the same benefits and biting into a big ol’ red onion a day also keeps the doctor away. Orange you glad that carrots and cantaloupe help your vision? Bugs Bunny was right all those years. Munching on the occasional papaya or sweet potato keeps those peepers in check. And that makes it easier for you to read terrible jokes involving fruit. Yellow foods such as lemons or butternut squash assist in the upkeep of your immune system. So next time you’re feeling like you’re too sick to make it to that 8 a.m. lecture, why not try shoveling an entire can of pineapples in your mouth? We all can associate the Hulk with a ripped physical physique. Same goes for the Jolly Green Giant. That’s probably because a healthy dose of Greens builds strong bones and teeth. On the sweet end of the spectrum, you can chow down on kiwis and pears. Or if you’re craving some veggies, asparagus, okra, brussel sprouts, zucchinis, and leeks all pack the same punch. Just make sure you don’t have any broccoli stuck in your newly strengthened teeth. Foodstuffs of a Blue or Purple hue can improve your memory and promote healthy aging. Blueberries, plums, grapes and figs will all have you dancing in the purple rain of good health (Though hopefully not in a lacey white

shirt and crushed velvet suit). If you’re more of a Middle Earth type person, you might try Elderberries, the all-powerful edible version of its Deathly Hallow counterpart. So next time you hit the buffet, remember to stock up on the colorful diet components. The more your plate looks like Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in food form, the better. It’s an eating strategy sure to please both your inner preschool teacher and the nagging doctor voice in your head. (Though I’m not sure what specific color of food makes voices in your head go away.) 14 March 2011 / FOURTEENTH STREET / 19


STYLE. Goodbye Hipster, Hello Glamour

Proenza Schouler

To understand the hipster phenomenon one must understand rebellion. Every subculture is a splinter group; one branches off from another creating a new identity. While self-expression should be lauded, the crux of the problem is about style. It seems like designers are tired of this overexposed nonchalance. This season centers on traditional design with a modern, thought-provoking twist. It’s time to take a look at archetypal looks and create a stylized identity. During Fashion Week, Proenza Schouler, a New York-based women’s wear duo showed an incredibly refreshing spring collection that reworked femininity. Using chiffon, tweed, and lace juxtaposed with dynamic neon colors, they created a new idea about uniqueness. “Suits are the new rebellion,” says Jack McCollough, half of the design duo. Similarily, Christopher Kane, a London-based designer, used lace and argyle and printed it onto perforated leather coated in plastic-like vinyl. While the aforementioned designers’ prices are out of a college-age budget, that sensibility is easy to instill into your wardrobe. Take a hint of vintage 1960s, throw a cropped cardigan over it and add a punch of color where you can. These days, being prim and proper is much more original than a thrifted grandpa sweater with a side of attitude. –Max McCormack

The Blog Buzz Style blogs in the 21st century are becoming practically more influential than Vogue. In other words, they’re attainable, current and inspiring. Here’s a look at two leading blogs and the sartorial savvy ladies behind them. By Juliet De Rose The Man Repeller: Leandra Medine, better known as “The Man Repeller” to her band of cyber followers, has created an art in anti-attraction. Her philosophy is simple: Why attract a man with predictable sexy styling decisions when you can be avoided like the Plague in tailored blazers, lethal weapon-esque jewelery and layers of contrasting prints? Her blog chronicles the fearless high-fashion choices that cause men to shy, albeit run away. Leandra’s snarky vernacular and tounge-in-cheek commentary are hysterically acurate. She’s coined the phrase ‘lady boner’noun: a metaphorical female erection triggered by items such as harem pants, turbans and what she deems ‘birth control glasses.’ She has recently been featured in Lucky magazine, as one of StyleCaster’s “50 Most Stylish New Yorkers” and won the Bloglovin’ award for “Most Orginial Blog.” Hooray! Repellers, unite!

The Blonde Salad: Contrary to what you’re thinking, “The Blonde Salad”

doesn’t refer to food, platinum tresses or erotica. The blog exhibits an array of exqusite editorials, discusses trends, travel and everything in between. The mastermind behind the site, Italian-born Chiara Ferragni, often posts striking images of herself in a foreign city dressed head to toe in designer garbs. Hey, it’s okay; jealously is normal. However, she knows how to incorporate her personal style without being boring and narcissistic. Her aesthetic is about contrasts; mixing sexy with conservative, classic with edgy and designer with mainstream. Self described as “the salad of my life,” this blog is more than pretty pictures. Chiara has exclusive access to the fashion industry and a panache for sharing insightful commentary on the latest happenings.


FS: What do you do at StyleCaster?

JC: My primary responsibility is to pull in clothes, accessories, and shoes for StyleCaster’s trend stories, which walk the line between editorial and shopping content. I attend market appointments, previews, and runway shows to develop story ideas and learn of new trends and designers.

FS: How have your experiences led to your current position?

JC: I majored in Marketing at NYU and interned at Marie Claire, ComsoGIRL!, and the PR firm, Aeffe USA. I also held a retail job for a boutique shop called Rebecca and Drew Manufacturing. I was also a member of NYU’s Fashion Business Association club.

Q&A

FS: Who are your style icons?

Janice Chou of StyleCaster

This white-hot blogger is doing way, way more than telling you when to put on your Wellies in the morning. By Lisa Preuninger

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hen the fashion-focused social network, StyleCaster, first launched in 2009, it set out to help women solve the age-old morning dilemma: What do I wear? The site quickly gained a fan base by providing its users with personalized daily looks corresponding to the weather forecast. Today, StyleCaster incorporates a variety of written and visual content covering fashion, beauty and music. In addition, its full-scale editorials and trend stories have made the site a point of reference for industry professionals thus putting StyleCaster ahead of the curve as other publications shift into the online realm. We interviewed the Style and Market Editor, Janice Cho, to find out more about the company, her personal style and musthave spring trends.

FS: How are StyleCaster members invited to interact with each other? JC: StyleCaster never wants to alienate our audience so we try to keep our articles

less New York-centric and try to create a very inclusive voice. Meaning, we try to provide context and a back story for those we choose to feature or balance our highend pieces with affordable shopping stories. By incorporating Facebook and Twitter applications in each article, StyleCaster invites its users to share and spread pieces they find useful.

FS: In what ways has StyleCaster grown since its launch?

JC: StyleCaster has repositioned itself a few times since its inception. What began was a site to answer, “What’s the weather and what to I wear?” it is gradually undergoing a transition into being an editorial source. With our full scale editorials and original trend stories, StyleCaster is leading the paradigm shift as brands and publications move into the online space. For being accepted by the public, it was definitely a younger demographic that was first to understand StyleCaster’s intent to build a fashion community with credible moderators and editors.

JC: I love all the independent bloggers who have created their own style. From Rumi Neely’s (of Fashion Toast) rocker bohemian look to the Kelly Framel’s (of the Glamourai) Parisian school girl vibe, the most alluring aspect is this growing acceptance of personal style. The notion of being unafraid to stand out even in a quirky way is the most inspiring part to me.

FS: Who or what do you look to for inspiration?

JC: I love flipping through magazines especially ones from France, China and Japan. They take many risks and never shy away from controversy. Also, because I grew up on magazines but work in web, the tactile factor of physically turning pages is so alluring and different from clicking on my computer screen. Magazines still hold a warm, inspirational sentimentality in my heart.

FS: Who are your go-to designers and your favorite affordable brands? JC: I will always turn to Marni, Chloe and Stella McCartney for inspiration. I love vintage diving so my favorite vintage places are Vagabond NYC, 10 Ft Single by Stella Dallas and Amaracord Vintage.

FS: What are your favorite trends for both men and women this spring?

JC: For women, minimalism and 70s Retro. While I don’t work in the men’s market, I hope and pray preppy clothing with Southern tendencies never goes out of style. As for color trends, I love neutrals with pops of vibrant colors such as red and orange. 14 March 2011 / FOURTEENTH STREET / 21


STYLE.

The Look

Locker

The styles that go on behind closet doors. By Juliet De Rose Photos by Savana Jones

Meet David Patrick, Student/Musician www.soundcloud.com/DavidPatrick

FS: What’s your favorite place to shop?

DP: My local Salvation Army. It’s an adventure sorting through old clothes that nobody wants. Eventually, with a vigilant eye, I will find nice vintage pieces or good quality clothes that are ridiculously cheap.

FS: Who is your ultimate style icon?

DP: Andre’ Benjamin (Andre 3000) is someone who never stays the same, forever evolving. Because of it, his style is timeless. From football pads to straw hats with plaid slacks, his style is wicked.

FS: What decade inspires you most?

DP: I wouldn’t mind living in the 1950’s. Suits for men were more form fitting unlike previous decades where zoot suits were popular. It was quite a clean period, fashionably speaking.

FS: Do you have a signature look?

DP: Cardigan sweaters. The Mister Rogers school of thought.

FS: Whose closet do you want to raid?

DP: I would raid the hell out of Ezra Koenig’s from Vampire Weekend.


Meet Jacci Stallone, Blogger/Vintage Seller/ Occasional DJ www.beingperfectishard.com / www.somevelvet.com

FS: Who is the most influential designer right now?

JS: No one came close to Alexander McQueen. I also really enjoy Marchesa, Betsey Johnson, David Koma, Mary Katrantzou, Jeremy Scott and Rodarte.

FS: Favorite blogs of the moment?

JS: Oracle Fox (a lot of amazing beachy, 70s style photos, and insane accessories), Vintage Virgin (this girl has crazy vintage style), Yvan Rodic’s photo blog (thousands of photos of the gorgeous people).

FS: What decade inspires you the most?

JS: The 60s were the most creative period. Everything was so fresh, from the mod scene to the hippie movement. So much music and fashion came out of that time it’s mind blowing. However, I’m also in love with the boho 70s, the extravagance of the 80s, and the dark grunge and hip-hop scenes of the 90s.

FS: What makes your style different from anyone else’s?

JS: I don’t really follow trends or take any advice from anyone else when it comes to style. I get inspiration from things and the people around me but I never let that directly influence what I wear. It also helps that 90 percent of my closet is made up of my thrift store finds; it’s not common that anyone else would be wearing the same thing as me.

FS: Whoses closet do you want to raid?

JS: Daphne Guinness’s because on top of her own insane collection, she single handedly bought Isabella Blow’s entire wardrobe after her death.


This is...

Sprinkle Kingdom At a dump of a house in West Philly, being a gamer has never been so cool. By Trey Shields

I

’M OUTSIDE A GIGANTIC, SEEMINGly vacant Victorian-styled home in West Philadelphia to see a chiptune show – a burgeoning music scene championed by geeks and hipsters alike. A group of college kids have emerged from the shadowed alley to the side, obviously intoxicated and apparently unhappy with their evening party choice as they leave with haste. Hanging from the porch is a shoddy piece of cardboard with a black spray-painted arrow and message for all passersby, “This Way To Sprinkle Kingdom.” As I make my way down the alley I notice


CHIPTUNES. nothing unusual. Fixed-gear bikes line the fence like herded cattle and a number crushed beer cans litter the ground. All this scene needs is the obligatory stumbling, drunk hipster. Almost on cue, a hairy man-child in a bright yellow hoodie nearly crashes into me in the dark and is able to spill out, “Hey man, sorry man. Have a good night man!” Before I can respond, he disappears into the street and into the night. I open the backyard fence to reveal a scene that is, and not to my surprise, like any other typical 20-somethings party. White Christmas lights hang from the sole tree that shelters the yard from the real world. From what I can tell, there are no geeks or nerds in sight. I walk into the kitchen, passing two guys conversing. The shorter one, wearing a black Siouxsie and the Banshees shirt, violently gestures with his hands. “You don’t understand! The level design in Mario ultimately is more gratifying than anything Sega has ever done with Sonic. Well, maybe except Casino Zone.” His exclamatory words don’t affect his lanky, shaggy-haired friend. In typical slacker form, he replies with , “Yeah, man whatever,” and drinks his beer. Behind them, an old television sits on the dining room table playing what appears to be Star Wars: A New Hope. It’s hard to make out because the TV is upside down, and the screen flickers with distorted colors. Luke Skywalker looks like he is on something much more powerful than the Force. I hear the rumblings of a sound check coming from the basement. Instead of the typical feedback screeching from out of tune guitars and PA systems, the sounds of synthesizers reverberate into the trashed kitchen. Immediately nostalgia pours over me as I am treated to sounds inspired by such classic Nintendo games as Mega Man, Zelda and Final Fantasy. People flock to the steps in search of the source of theses sounds that trigger childhood memories. As I descend the narrow, hazardcode-violating steps, a guy named Chris weaing purple suspenders, a ponytail, and a suiting moustache holds out a tin can for donations. I place a couple bucks into the fairly empty can. He nods with approval and I continue into the dark abyss. Ahead of me is a mass of silhouetted heads bobbing up and down lost in their own private world. The ceiling is fairly low and it’s difficult to squeeze by the sweat drenched crowd. Reaching the front I am greeted with a stage made

26 /

FOURTEENTH STREET / March 2011

up of an old, dirty shaggy blue rug and some more dangling cardboard of different shapes and sizes. Christmas lights hang in tangled messes from the ceiling as a giant white screen in the back displays chaotic pixilated images: This is Sprinkle Kingdom. In front of me there is no band in sight. All I can make out is two guys drowning in a sea of cables, keyboards, Game Boys, and illuminated MacBook Pros. They work quickly, aware of the growing crowd in front of them. Finally, to a rapturous applause the duo George & Jonathan introduce themselves. Pressing the Enter key on their respective laptops, the show begins.

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hiptune, often called 8-bit, is a music style that has experienced a meteoric rise in the past ten years. Deriving its name from the use of soundcards pulled from old Nintendo Entertainment Systems (NES) and Game Boys, the genre has hit a chord with the current ME Generation. To the untrained ear, the majority of chiptune could easily be a soundtrack to a game from years past. These were the days when a video game character was a pudgy plumber who simply jumped over obstacles to reach the princess. These memories were part of a simpler life for these now twenty-somethings who seem to be chiptune’s biggest fans. Now they face a monthly rent, health insurance, school loans and inevitable unemployment, things you can’t bypass by pressing the “A” button. Just like the players’ lives, the video game industry has changed. It is a multibillion dollar empire operating more like Hollywood, pumping out sequel after trite sequel. A place where pure, unadulterated enjoyment once existed has taken a backseat to complicated control schemes, violent imagery and sexual exploitation. It’s no surprise that these same hip fans of lo-fi music and indie films have embraced a genre that returns to the sounds of many listeners’ introduction to video games. For many listeners, the initial allure of these bleeps and bloops is the ironyladen nostalgia. Bands, like New York City’s Anamanaguchi, are constantly pigeonholed as “Nintendo-rock” when it couldn’t be further from their aspirations. Peter Berkman, the group’s chief songwriter, explains, “just because a band has a guitar doesn’t make them a rock band. Yeah, it sounds like an old NES game, but we need to move past that.” Anamanaguchi avoids this trap by supporting

their NES and Game Boy with live guitars, bass and drums. Any detractors of the genre only have to spend one minute watching drummer Luke Silas play with frantic precision to realize these guys are serious musicians. Facetiously calling your debut album, “The Best Music,” doesn’t usually scream seriousness, but in George & Jonathan’s case it may be warranted. The album oozes with funk and absurd rhythms on tracks like “Cave Trolls” and “Sludge Mansion.” Kitschy sounds constantly swirl around the listener’s head often citing a handful of genres in seconds. The duo sporadically worked on the album since 2005. Distance played a major part in taking five years to produce just over 30 minutes of music. Although from the same hometown of Chappaqua, New York, George & Jonathan attended the University of California – Los Angeles and Drexel University, respectively. It wasn’t until early last year when occasional e-mails became more frequent that the album began to take shape. Now the band’s discography includes the aforementioned EP called “The Best Christmas,” and an upcoming untitled full-length album.

“Luke Skywalker looks like he is on something much more powerful than the Force.”


Like every other trend, chiptune has found a home base in New York City. Artists may perform at cavernous warehouse spaces in the Bowery or at Brooklyn’s Bell House for the annual Blip Festival. For the past two years, West Philadelphia’s “8-Static” has done its part to promote a monthly show for local and national acts. The most anti-social people in the room have banded together, while the rest of the world looks in.

T

TREY SHIELDS

he sound of shimmering synths fills the room as the lights cut. Feedback erupts from the speakers, and Jonathan triumphantly begins playing the opening keyboard line of “Intro (The Best Party Ever).” The album has only been out for a week, yet the crowd treats the song like a classic. George controls the visuals projected onto the screen behind him. Pixilated images of teddy bears, balloons, and hot dogs explode in an array of colors. Song titles flash, spin, and shrink, sometimes all at once. Any casual observer would notice that half the time it seems like the duo isn’t playing any instruments. This is true. The one hurdle most traditional chiptune acts must overcome is the fact that most of the music is pre-recorded. Using visuals helps mask this, but barely. Jonathan uses an alternative to distract the crowd from his lack of live instrumentation – air playing. His surrounding space is his playground as he mimes, with an over-the-top flare, guitar, bass and saxophone playing. The sheer tongue in cheek emotion displayed on his face as he “air plays” compares to overtly emotive pop stars. As I begin to dance to the music the eponymous logo of a wagging finger flashes across the screen. This graphic designer’s dream of a finger has become the trademark for George & Jonathan. Fingers rise in the crowd in unison. The ferocious wagging of the crowd compliments the current tune, “No More Lies.” Although instrumental, the song’s voices and melodies tell the story of a wife telling her cheating husband to hit the road. It’s a sassy tune for a sassy move. The chiptune scene hasn’t produced an iconic rock star yet, and maybe it never will. If it is any indication from the reaction of the crowd though, George & Jonathan are a nice substitute in the mean time.

A

fter the party has dispersed and only a few attendees linger amidst the many hidden recesses of the kingdom,

(left) Guitarist Ary Warnaar of Anamanaguchi at Kung Fu Necktie (above) James DeVito, Anamanaguchi bassist at KFN.

I join George & Jonathan and the guys from Anamanaguchi on the family room couch. It is around 2:30 a.m. and there’s no sign of the guys slowing down. I place my beer on the nearby coffee table and try to avoid touching the ground, as my shoes seem to be permanently stuck in place. With the show over, Jonathan leaps for his Wii and starts up Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Beers are passed around and the main evening event begins. A postshow session of Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a ritual for the guys in both bands. Each player takes turns in a one-on-one against each other, while others watch in euphoric glee. Classic Nintendo-animated avatars wage war on an assortment of battlefields, to knock out their respective opponent. The guys’ enthusiasm for the game is appropriate as it is a nostalgic return to worlds from the era that inspires their music. Jonathan’s Diddy Kong trades blows with Pete’s Kirby on top of the Mushroom Kingdom. Each powerful hit trig-

gers a high five or a sudden outburst of expletives, sometimes all at once. Finally, with one last strike Kirby is eliminated from the game. Cheers erupt from everyone and a ceremonial handshake commences between the two combatants. Immediately two more players jump in and the cycle continues. Jonathan sits back on the couch content with his performance. He looks around the room, at all the friends and strangers, happy with his surroundings. The kingdom has seen better days, but the trash, dirt, and sleeping homeless man on the nearby couch are all signs of a night to remember. Tomorrow Jonathan will wake up and face another monotonous day of class, where most of his day will be spent thinking about performing with his friends. Trends come and go and chiptune may not be immune to this fact, but at this moment it is not a concern for any of the guys in the room. Because at the end of the day they are all a bunch of nerds. 14 March 2011 / FOURTEENTH STREET / 27


Beyond

Bread

Going gluten free, whether you want to or not. By Josh Fernandez

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atalie Ramos-Castillo can’t stand when her friends or co-workers chomp on pizza, pasta or sandwiches in front of her. The reason is far from Ramos-Castillo hating those foods – in fact, she misses tasting all

three. “A constant has been my one friend who offers me pizza and I have to tell her no, and she always asks why,” says the 21-year-old Temple University senior education major. “After having it more than fives months, I just stare at her at which point she goes, ‘oh yeah…that sucks.’” Ramos-Castillo is among the 1 percent of the U. S. population living with celiac disease, a lifelong inherited autoimmune condition, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. Celiac disease damages the small intestines and prevents foods from proper absorption when a protein called gluten, found in grains such as wheat, rye, triticale and barley, is consumed. If untreated, it can lead to a type of tumor in the bowel called a small bowel lymphoma. Diagnosis for celiac disease includes a blood testing for antibodies found in components of wheat, barley or rye grain, genetic testing since celiac disease is a genetic risk and intestinal biopsy for irritated or inflamed tissue. Whitney Ehret, director of communications for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, says that gluten doesn’t just affect those living with celiac disease – research estimates that approximately 23 million people in the U.S. are gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive.

WTF is gluten? You know when you rip into a chunk of bread and it’s all spongey and chewy? Yup, that’s gluten. It’s an elastic protein in specific grains such as wheat, rye, barley and tritcale.

“People with gluten intolerance or sensitivity don’t have the same autoimmune reaction, but gluten still causes painful and debilitating symptoms that greatly affects the health and quality of life for these people,” Ehret says. There is no medication to treat either – the treatment is to go on gluten-free diet, which, according to a report by food and beverage market research company Packaged Facts, is a rising trend. The February 2011 Packaged Facts report found that U.S. gluten-free foods and beverages markets reached approximately $2.6 billion in retail sales over the 2006-2010 period. Reasons range from celiac disease or gluten intolerance affliction to weight loss or the belief that a gluten-free diet relieves autism in children and adults suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Medical or otherwise, gluten-free food options tend to be hard to identify. Charlene Compher, a University of Pennsylvania associate professor of nutrition science and a clinical dietician and educator, says wheat compounds are useful in the food industry as thickeners, so certain foods like soups and hummus are far from gluten-free. “It can be really surprising what foods contain gluten,” says Compher. “There are ways to get around this, but you work hard at it and your diet is very different from most of the people around you.”

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oth Ramos-Castillo and her mother were diagnosed with celiac disease in September 2010, and drastically altered their diets. “Before I was diagnosed, I was not eating a substantial amount of food because of the reaction, so I felt like I was starving myself most of the time,” Ramos-Castillo says. “The worst part of having celiac disease has been finding out that the food I ate regularly had gluten in

It likes to hide. Check product lables for modified food starch, unidentified starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), texturized vegetable protein (TVP), binders, fillers, excipients, extenders and malt.


it, like soup.” Ramos-Castillo says she’s found two soups sold in the Howard Gittis Student Center’s food court that are gluten free, but other than that, she’s limited to white rice, French fries and salads if she stays in the area. Michael Savett, an insurance law attorney, founded the glutenfreephilly.com blog specifically for people like Ramos-Castillo, living with celiac disease, gluten intolerance or sensitivity, in search of Philadelphia and Delaware Valley food markets and stores, restaurants and other resources accommodating their dietary restrictions. Savett started the blog shortly after his 10-year-old son was diagnosed with celiac disease at age three. He, his wife and his seven-year-old son don’t eat exclusively gluten free, but they do have separate toasters, ovens and other cooking utensils for his son with celiac disease. Savett’s website focuses on reviewing gluten-free products and finding restaurants with gluten-free menus. “One of the biggest downsides of gluten-free dieting is the expense,” he says. “If you’re looking to replicate certain foods, like pasta, then yeah, those things are absolutely more expensive.” Savett’s blog says that gluten-free dieters looking for bread should check out the Udi’s line, “which is good acrossthe-board,” and Schar for gluten-free pasta. He mentions that while restaurant franchises like Outback Steakhouse and Carraba’s added gluten-free options, five out of the seven Philadelphia restaurants owned by Top Chef winner Jose Garces have gluten-free menus, including Amada, Chifo, Tinto, Distrito and J.G. Domestic. Among Savett’s list of markets, bakeries and caterers is Food For All, located in Mt. Airy by Germantown Avenue and Durham Street. Owner and Chef Amy Kunkle opened Food for All in September as a store and café with whole food ingredients and for people with food allergies. “I wanted a place where people with food sensitivity like celiac disease could come and shop or eat,” says Kunkle, whose children are gluten intolerant. “About half of the people who come here

are on gluten-free diets, and I think that number has grown because more people are learning about celiac and gluten intolerance.”

F

or Ramos-Castillo, the last five months have been difficult because she’s has had a non-restrictive diet all her life, whereas someone like Savett’s son has been gluten-free practically his whole life. “With our son, I don’t get the sense that he’s jealous,” Savett says. “We still run into difficulties with school or parties, but we pack food for him and he doesn’t let it get in the way of his life. And that’s probably because a diagnosis at age three is much easier because you don’t have that comparison that you’d have when diagnosed later in life.” Therein lies the problem for RamosCastillo. “Over the last five months, the quality of gluten-free foods that I have found have become tastier,” she says. “Betty Crooker came out with a glutenfree cookie mix…there’s a gluten-free crust sold by Amy’s Kitchen, and although it is $12 per frozen pie, it was a splurge that was needed after watching people eating pizza for five months without taking a bite.” “When I explain to people the strict diet I have to follow, they first thought I was on the Atkin’s diet,” Ramost-Castillo adds. “But that’s not it at all – I would love to go back to eating gluten.” According to a 2008 study by research firm Mintel, the number of newly introduced gluten-free products has increased from approximately 135 in 2003 to 832 in 2008. Mintel predicts anywhere from 15 to 25 percent growth in future gluten-free product sales. “It’s amazing how this industry has grown exponentially since I started keeping track,” Savett says. Experts believe the growth in gluten-free products and retail sales isn’t completely a result of celiac disease or gluten intolerance awareness. Celebrity gluten-free dieters such as those reported by Glamour magazine and including Gwyneth Paltrow and Jenny McCarthy, highlight the trend of gluten-free dieting for nonmedical purposes, including the belief that it alleviates autism symptoms and has weight-loss purposes. Compher doesn’t believe a glutenfree diet can be effective for permanent weight loss, recommending instead that those looking to lose weight invest in a balanced diet from which a majority of their nutrients come from their food and not from vitamins. “People on this

Three million Americans have celiac disease -97% of them are undiganosed. diet lose weight because they eat less, and they eat less because they are having massive portions of the same thing.” “Their diet is much less varied, so they get bored eating, for example, eggs over and over, and so they eat less over time,” she adds. “The weight loss would be temporary because when you start eating regular [foods] again, you’ll probably eat more.” Ramos-Castillo thinks those going gluten-free for non-medical purposes ought to realize the hardship faced by those on the diet because of celiac disease and gluten intolerance. “This has been life-changing for me,” she says. “When I think of people dieting without a medical reason, I get a little upset about it because if I could eat gluten right now, I would.” 14 If you’re newly diagnosed or even just in it for the health benefits, there are plenty of places in Philly that offer up tasty glutenfree products, treats and entire meals. The city was declared the nation’s largest organized collection of gluten-free venues after the National Foundation for Celiac Awwwareness’ 2008 Appetite for Awareness fundraiser, according to foundation president Alice Bast.

Check out our favorite GF hot spots: El Rey, 2013 Chestnut St. Stephen Starr is obviously trying to not be outdone by Jose Garces with this Tex Mex oasis. Sweet Freedom Bakery, 1424 South St. Goodies, goodies everywhere but not a drop to....oh, wait -- you can eat them all and we suggest you do. Horizons, 611 S. 7th St. Yeah, it is a little pricy. And, yeah, it is a lot awesome. -Amay Smith


BYE.

In Memoriam

Illustration KARA MALLON

Former Philly favorites that are pushing up daisies.

30 /

FOURTEENTH STREET / March 2011


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Fourteenth Street March 2011