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Celebrate Life! …and never miss the chance to enrich it!



give 2 hours a week and get a lifetime of joy. Clerical Support Volunteers also needed.

CALL 1 (888) 467-9330




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) . $%0 %. $%. # %- ! ,,     ! 2# ( 342 %%4  0 ( ) , !$%,0 ( ) ! 0!  

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the thebellcurve CP’s Quality-o-Life-o-Meter

[ - 5]

Lynne Abraham says “local gangs and marijuana growers everywhere are positively overjoyed” at current D.A. Seth Williams’ move to handle marijuana possession cases more leniently. As are local taxpayers who no longer have to pay to try non-violent stoners. Know what, Abe? Why don’t you and Dick Cheney go spoon in a bunker?

[ - 5]

Police use a Taser to apprehend a teenage Phillies fan who ran onto the field at Citizens Bank Park. Here’s to you, cranked-up batboy cop, you’re living the dream.

[ - 1]

Anthony Williams releases a negative attack ad against gubernatorial opponent Dan Onorato. If you haven’t seen it: Imagine a Care Bear cursing out a stick of butter.

[ - 7]

Gov. Ed Rendell announces that the state is wracked with a $1.1 billion budget shortfall. Also: “I’m going to lunch.”

[ - 8]

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe proposes an illegal-immigration bill modeled after the recently passed Arizona legislation. For an encore, he climbs to the top of the Constitution Center and takes a crap down the side.

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[ + 1] The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board

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allows a Sheetz in Altoona to sell takeout beer. Because nothing brings into clearer focus the necessity for draconian laws than their random enforcement.




Steve Wynn, the gambling mogul who withdrew from the Foxwoods Casino project last month, says “we backed out of a deal, rather than backing out of Pennsylvania.” Adding: “Which we are also doing.” Philadelphia magazine’s editor, Larry Platt, gives departing food editor Ashley Primis a photograph of a cyst removed from his testicles. Which themselves had been removed when he took the job. The new owners of the Inky and Daily News choose former Newsweek president Gregory Osberg to be their publisher and CEO. And the editor will be this poster of a kitty hanging from a branch. Hang in there, kitty!

This week’s total: -25 | Last week’s total: 5


AMILLIONSTORIES Now in possession of a number of photographs of males without shirts, but no nudity


t’s bad enough that yogurt and laundry-detergent advertisers target those of us at A Million Stories who, uh, have a vagina. But do the soulless leeches (no offense, ad department!) really have to go after us because we’re from Philadelphia and have a slight dietary problem, too? Last week, we received — and actually read! — an e-mail reading thusly: “XIPWIRE is a new mobile payment (text-to-pay) service that allows businesses and consumers to pay for everything from cheesesteaks to coffee via instant text message.” Oh, lord — we’re surprised they didn’t call them Philadelphia cheesesteaks. We’ll forgive XIPWIRE for its transgression — and the fact that the company is as cap-happy as our mom on the Interwebs — because it’s based in Philly. Plus, XIPWIRE may be onto something. Here’s how it works: If you and your buddy Bob sign up for the program, you can text “ZIP Bob 20” to him, and $20 will go to his account from yours. No credit cards, no cash, no ATMs. (Caution: Do not allow Bob unfettered access to your phone.) The same goes for businesses that have joined — which so far include Mémé, Capogiro and Raven Lounge, to name a few. A handful of other companies, like PayPal, VeriFone and Square, have launched cell phone payment services, but XIPWIRE appears to be the first to provide it through text messages. “It’s something we think college-aged kids who are tech-savvy

will like,” says Sharif Alexandre, XIPWIRE’s founder. “You know, for when they have an immediate need for cash, they’re out at night and don’t want to carry a wallet, or they need to call mom to get money for lunch that very day.” So what you’re saying is, it’s for sloshed 21-year-olds who leave their wallets at Nodding Head every fucking time they go out? We’ll drink/text to that.

Proposed band name: John Yoo’s Torture Porn.


When Ballard Spahr LLP released its report on Lower Merion School District’s covert laptop-tracking

program earlier this week, there was really only one question:

Were school administrators grossburgers who spied on teenagers, or were they just stupid employees who let the program take thousands of photographs, sometimes in students’ homes? Answer: “The vast majority of the images — 87 percent — recovered resulted from the failure to deactivate [the program] on 12 laptops after they had been found. We found no evidence that the feature was used to ‘spy’ on students.” >>> continued on adjacent page

the naked city


(Bonus: Though there were “a number of photographs of males without shirts,” there was no “nudity.” Lucky them.) So they’re nincompoops; that doesn’t means LMSD is off the hook. The report found that the superintendent, assistant superintendent, principals and assistant principals hadn’t the faintest idea how the tracking program worked, let alone that it could take some 30,564 (!) Webcam pics, because the information services personnel “withheld information” and “were not forthcoming.” Also, when people raised concerns about the program, they were roundly ignored. In 2008 — a year before Blake Robbins was photographed in his own home, and a giant headache of a lawsuit ensued — a student intern e-mailed LMSD’s then-technology administrator, Virginia DiMedio, saying it was “appalling” that the district didn’t inform students or teachers about the tracking program. DiMedio wrote back: “There is absolutely no way that the District tech people are going to monitor students at home. There is no plan, no staff, no desire and I believe no technical way to do that. … I suggest you take a breath and relax.” Yeah. Relax. They’ve totally got this. ³ DEPT. OF NAVEL-GAZING

E VA N M . L O P E Z

We know that there’s nothing you love more than journalists writ-

✚ This week’s report by Jeffrey C. Billman and Holly Otterbein. E-mail us at

manoverboard! By Isaiah Thompson

TING WONG, ANYONE? ³ WHEN I’M BUMMED, sometimes all I think

about is Chinese food. There’s this place — Ting Wong, at 10th and Arch streets — I’ve been going to a lot. It’s one of the many underappreciated gems of our underappreciated Chinatown, and bare-bones as they come: They serve their hot tea in water glasses. But the food is absurdly cheap and surprisingly, miraculously, delicious. Black mushrooms in light gravy with Napa cabbage, roast pork noodle soup, steamed squid with bok choy in a light gravy, roast duck in chili oil: all delicious, delicious, delicious — with a simple, wholesome, home-cooked goodness that replenishes the very soul; that, in a nutshell, chases the blues away. It’s a good week for some Ting Wong — a bad week, that is, for Philadelphia. On Friday, 50 elementary school kids at Julia Ward Howe Elementary School were attacked at recess, apparently without provocation, by seven or eight teenagers wielding aluminum baseball bats — attacking some in their heads and faces. Three teenagers have been arrested so far. The next day, two men opened fire at each other near Diamond and Randolph streets in North Philadelphia, critically injuring a 6-month-old baby caught in their crossfire. Two hours later, a 28year-old man was shot in the chest in North Philly, and pronounced dead at 1:15 a.m. — approximately 45 minutes, that is, before another shooting in Southwest Philly that killed a 29-year-old man and a injured a young woman. A half-hour after that, a 13-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl were shot in east North Philly. Both lived, thankfully. That was Saturday. On Sunday, a Philadelphia police officer drew a gun in the middle of a children’s water fight and — allegedly, I guess — shot dead the brother of his estranged wife, in plain view of at least one child, the dead man’s nephew. Our new district attorney, Seth Williams, pressed charges immediately — a proud moment for the city amid a lot of shameful ones. On Monday, a Philadelphia police officer Tasered a Phillies fan — a teenager, mind you — who ran onto the field at Citizens Bank Park. Which reminds me, the Philadelphia Police Department has recently acquired 1,000 new Tasers, primarily for use with the mentally ill. I can’t wait to see that program roll out, can you? Which brings me to dinner tonight: I’m thinking Ting Wong — Buddha’s Delight, maybe — something not too heavy. ✚ Meet Isaiah Thompson at 138 N. 10th St. whenever you’re down. Look for the skinny white guy. E-mail him at

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ing about other journalists. Which is why, despite the copious ink that has been spilled in the last week on the $139 million auction sale of Philadelphia Newspapers LLC, the parent company of both the Inquirer and the Daily News, to a group of lenders headed by New York investment firm Angelo, Gordon & Co., we feel compelled to weigh in. Yes, publisher and “Keep It Local” champion Brian Tierney can be a sanctimonious prick, but in his defense, while other newspapers the country over were making draconian cuts, Tierney’s DN won a Pulitzer Prize for its remarkable series on crooked cops, and the Inky’s investigative work on this city’s wretched justice and property appraisal systems has been second to none. And for all of the ankle-biting that we do, let’s be honest: This city needs robust, vibrant, hard-hitting print operations. Sure, that the Inky allows John Yoo’s torture porn (note to area musicians: John Yoo’s Torture Porn should totally be a band name) to appear on its op-ed pages can be infuriating, as is Stu Bykofsky’s get-off-my-lawn shtick in the DN. But those are small beefs. Given the tremendous work that the papers’ journalists do, it’s a little scary that the dudes writing the checks will now be hedge-fund managers. There’s some guarded optimism, as voiced by Inky business reporter Joe DiStefano, who opined that the higher-thanexpected auction price equaled a “vote of confidence” in the papers’ futures. The fact that the new owners have tapped former Inky and DN publisher Robert J. Hall as chief operating officer augers well, as does the hiring of former Newsweek publisher Gregory J. Osberg as publisher and CEO. “I did not come here just to cut costs,” Osberg told the paper. “The plan is for growth.” Let’s hope. But let’s also acknowledge reality: These new owners are businessmen, and their commitment to journalism will only go so far. They’ve already floated the idea of canning half of the papers’ 3,200 staffers. Indeed, after this same ownership group bought a stake in the Minnesota Star Tribune after it emerged from bankruptcy last year, that paper slashed 10 percent of its work force. These dramas often have familiar scripts: When big-stakes moneymen get involved in newspapers, journalism takes a backseat to the bottom line. To wit: Sam Zell, the real-estate tycoon who bought Tribune Co. in 2007 and quickly eviscerated the reputations of some of Tribune’s imprints, all the while flaunting his contempt for news production. In January 2008, for instance, Zell visited the Orlando Sentinel’s newsroom for a pep talk; a photographer asked about the possible softening of the paper’s news coverage. Zell responded with a sermon on journalistic “arrogance” and proclaiming that if readers wanted stories about puppies, then that’s what they’re going to get, and capped it off with a gruff “fuck you.” (Incidentally, Angelo, Gordon & Co. is also involved in Tribune Co.’s efforts to emerge from its Zell-driven bankruptcy.) Of course, the people that run newspapers want to make money. But the best papers are those that are invested in their communities — those that give a shit — and that attitude necessarily comes from the top. As Woodrow Wilson once said, “Pitiless publicity is the sovereign cure for ills of government.” In a town whose government has as many ills as Philadelphia, we need all the pitiless publicity we can get. Hopefully, the new owners of the city’s dailies take that to heart.

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[ is spooning dick cheney in a bunker ]


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[ the naked city ]

loosecanon By Bruce Schimmel

VANISHING GARDENS ³ IT’S EASY TO miss the massive Common Ground garden at the airport, even from the air. Located at the north end of a runway, near I-95 on Bartram Avenue, its patchwork of browns and greens, dotted with ramshackle sheds, might be mistaken for a squatter’s village. Like a blot to be erased — which is apparently the Nutter administration’s intention. What a waste. With nearly a hundred plots, this community garden is the biggest in the city, among the oldest and easily the most productive. For more than 35 years, its gardeners — many elderly and immigrants — have harvested literally tons of vegetables yearly. Its fruit trees pump out bushels of peaches, pears and apples. In late summer, its trellises bend with grapes destined to become South Philly’s dago red. By this garden’s contract with the city, none of this food can be sold. So, much of the harvest is shared with friends, family and especially with churches and food pantries that serve the hungry. But now, thanks to some cute legal moves, it could all disappear. In a parody of bureaucratic cruelty, this little paradise is slated to be paved and, yes, become a parking lot. Which is why, counters the airport’s Deputy Director James Tyrrell, it paid so many millions for it. Though he couldn’t say how many millions, Tyrrell confirmed that the airport got the garden from the Redevelopment Authority, along with another parcel on Bartram, now filled with cars. Under their new contract, the airport can remove the gardeners, some of whom have farmed the land for decades, with 60 days notice. And those potting shacks and greenhouses are now illegal. Al Moore, 74, is president of the Eastwick Community Gardens Association, and he’s anxious about the future of Common Ground. The former court bailiff says they used to have a 15-year lease. But in 2008 they were offered two one-year leases — and this is their last year. Here’s why: Though nothing’s public, officials confirm that Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler wants to build what she calls “Aerotropolis” — a transportation hub where people and freight would move seamlessly between truck, ship and air. Still, according to Cutler’s aide, Andrew Stober, the gardeners have nothing to fear. “Aerotropolis is 30 to 50 years from now,” he said. Besides, he added, the city recently welcomed a new crop of gardeners to a nearby parcel, bringing in electricity and water. But Moore finds little comfort in this. Ironically, those recent arrivals are actually refugees from “The Farms,” a community garden along the Schuylkill. In 2008, the city tossed them out, and razed their shacks, greenhouses and fruit trees. Asked why the airport won’t issue a 15-year lease, Tyrrell replied, “Why would we? With airport expansion, there’s no reason to enter into long-term [leases]. It’s not like they’ve got loans or have made any capital improvements.” No capital improvements? Tell that to those who’ve invested thousands of hours and dollars in a garden that feeds the hungry. Tell that to an administration that talks up gardening and nutrition, but is walking over those who’ve done this work for years. (

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Those potting shacks are now illegal.

✚ For more on how Philadelphia’s community gardens feed the hungry, down-

load the PDF at

feedback From our readers

DRUG CRAZED Your column stunk (Loose Canon, “Beehives and Hive-Minds,” Bruce Schimmel, April 22). I have been to three Tea Parties in Washington and two in Philly. You havn’t (sic) a clue. What a lazy, no thought, go along with the liberal crowd, mindless, unfocused, rambling piece of crap of a column! Think of my letter not as criticism, but as an intervention. Any descent (sic) person, even one who can’t remember agreeing with you on anything, even someone who thinks the main motivation of your weekly column is to ingraciate (sic) yourself to left wingers, someone who thinks you care nothing about the truth and wouldn’t recognize it anyhow, someone who nearly weekly pukes at your spinelessness, is revolted by your 100 percent dedication to political correctness, cannot stand by and let you descend to the depths represented by your ridiculous beehive column. For your own sake, please print a retraction, claim you were crazed by drugs, despondent at a ruined relationship, desperate for some media attention or anything you can think of, but tell the public you now realize what a tragic mistake that column was. Joe Deegan VIA E-MAIL

KEEPING THE FAITH Your package on the lunacy that is DROP should be required reading for every concerned citizen in this country, let alone Philadelphia (Cover Story, “The Billion Dollar Boondoggle,” Ralph Cipriano, April 22). If the Tea Party jackasses really had half a brain, they’d grasp that it’s not about calling Obama a socialist or a communist or a fascist or whatever ignorant derogatory slander they don’t understand well enough to even spell properly, but the unchecked, unaccountable power grab that’s largely taking place at the state and local level, especially with regard to public-sector pension systems and the fiscal nightmare that will conveniently set in well after the do-nothing fucks who can actually do something about it no longer have to put themselves before the voters. CP’s story rekindled my faith in the future of journalism. Great job. I’m passing it on to as many people as I know. Dom Cosentino AMBLER

FROM THE YOUNG, BEARDED WHITE GUY I’m not sure if I got to meet you that night at the ENPC rally, but I’m glad you came (Cover Story, “Agricultural Phenomenon,” Isaiah Thompson, April 29). What a night that was, so exciting to be a part of something bigger than you, with people you live down the street from. I’m the “young, bearded white guy” who was jubilantly handing out seeds. Great article on urban agriculture, I really enjoyed it. To >>> continued on page 12

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be honest, that seed thing was a last-minute, halfbaked idea because we had a bunch of seeds that my friend Art from our Urban Farm Team at Circle of Hope gave us to do something with. I think he rescued them from being thrown away. But isn’t that the story of all that land we’re trying to put to good use? Anyway, I was pretty happy when not only was almost everyone into sharing seeds to grow some food, but they all were into getting this land redistributed back to good use. I’m glad you came to shine a light on such a good story. Jeremy Avellino VIA e-mAIl

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH The right-wing American media giving legitimacy to these “Tea Party” lunatics has to stop (Cover Story, “You Say You Want a Revolution?” Holly Otterbein, April 15). Free speech is one thing, but I’m really tired of these racists, sexists and xenophobes using terrorist tactics when they don’t get their way. Then they try to cover up their terrorism by whining “free speech,” never mind these are the same people who muzzle the free speech rights of those who disagree with them. (And the FBI is useless, afraid to do anything about them because, after all, the targets of their terrorism are only Democrats.) These neocon goofballs never act up until a Democrat is president. They whined loudly in the 1990s, but were conspicuous by their silence from 2001 to 2009. Not a fucking word about everything the twice-unelected Bush and Cheney junta did.“Tea Party” trash are pissed off because a half-black man is president. They label themselves “independent,” “non-party” or something else, but they never, ever criticize Republicans to the degree they do Democrats. But I do want to personally thank every piece of Tea Party trash because you have managed to awaken my inner liberal. These über-patriots would have been firmly on the side of King George III. Period. Donna Di Giacomo

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[ the naked city ]

[ candidates anonymous ]

<<< continued from page 10

CORRECTION AND CLARIFICATION In the April 29 article “You’ve Come a long Way, Baby,” we mistakenly reported that six states permit gay marriage. In fact, five do — massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and Iowa, as well as Washington, D.C. Although the maine legislature passed a law in 2009 granting marriage equality, in November that state’s voters overturned that law via referendum. City Paper regrets the error. Due to an editing oversight in last week’s A million Stories, a quote from a Sestak staffer that was “not for attribution” was incorrectly identified as “off the record.” City Paper apologizes for the confusion and, for the record, does not print off-therecord comments. Send all letters to Feedback, City Paper, 123 Chestnut

St., 3rd Floor, Phila. PA 19106; fax us at 215-599-0634; or e-mail Submissions may be edited for clarity and space and must include an address and daytime phone number.

jack wagner’s big idea Become governor, overhaul Harrisburg. By Andrew Thompson ➤ Editor’s notE: This is the last in an occasional series of the

four little-known Democratic candidates for governor. Jack Wagner is broke. No, not broke. “Broke” implies that there was something once not broken, that at one point the treasure chest spilled finance onto the ground and that now, after millions spent on television ad blitzes and full-page Inquirer ads, the chest is empty. Jack Wagner just doesn’t have any money. Never did, really. Wagner, Pennsylvania’s auditor general, has about $700,000 cash-on-hand in his bid for governor — more than outspoken liberal Joe Hoeffel, but chump change compared to Dan Onorato, the allegheny County executive and ostensible front-runner. But speaking on the phone while riding on the turnpike from Philly to the Lehigh Valley after clinching a few endorsements, Wagner brushes off his campaign’s supposed destitution. “I firmly believe we’re in the lead in this campaign,” he says. “I’ve been working harder than any candidate for governor, and I believe that personal connection and listening to the thoughts and ideas of people coming from all walks of life has helped me better understand the issues.” The latter may or may not be true, but the former is either political doublespeak or obligatory optimism: By all accounts, Wagner is losing, and he’s losing hard. an april Susquehanna Polling and Research survey showed him with 6 percent of the vote, far behind Onorato’s 32 percent. and this is a campaign with unknown campaigners. Right now, the goal of advertising isn’t to convince anyone why you’re the better candidate — it’s just to tell Pennsylvanians that you exist. (On april 28, reported on Wagner’s first television ad-buy: $9,300 for a local NBC affiliate spot that will run from may 3 to primary day. He also won The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board’s endorsement may 1, which could help his cause.) Wagner’s inability to raise funds doesn’t stem from a lack of ideas or experience. He’s in his second term as auditor general, the first of which came at the end of his time as state senator — before that, he served on Pittsburgh City Council for 10 years. and as auditor, he’s done an impressive job mopping up waste in a state that wallows in its own financial sloth. The Delaware River Port authority adopted his resolution to not engage in financial swaps (those risky bets that partly led to the recession). He also found widespread mismanagement and wastefulness in the Department of Public Welfare, and conducted hundreds of audits on individual entities throughout the state that identified widespread small swindling. But according to Pittsburgh-based political analyst Bill Green, there’s a problem: Wagner isn’t good at raising money. “Knowing and following Jack from City Council to auditor general, he’s never focused on [raising money],” says Green. “and you can be critical of that and say that was not wise, because whenever you get into the big leagues like this is, you need to have a base that you can count on or rely on. and he never put that particular infrastructure in place.” For all the difficulty he’s had building his war chest, Wagner won his 2008 re-election as auditor general with 3.3 million votes — the second-highest number of votes in Pennsylvania history. ask Wagner, and the record numbers happened “for a multitude of reasons, but more importantly it was because the people in my department have done a great job more efficiently.” ask Green, and the stars were aligned. “When you look at it, it was a huge presidential year, it was a huge turnout, and Democrats did very well anyway, and the fact that he was on the top of the ticket on that cycle — I think that just spoke volumes.” There may be some truth to both narratives, but Green’s certainly makes sense. Wagner is, after all, the auditor general, a job without a whole lot of sex appeal, whose issues are hard to campaign on.

ACCOUNTANT IN CHIEF: Jack Wagner, pictured here meeting with this newspaper’s editorial board, is campaigning on competence and pragmatism. But can he excite enough voters to win? PatriCk raPa

Indeed, Wagner’s platform is coolly pragmatic. Instead of using Hoeffel’s liberal-and-proud approach, Onorato’s tale of urban revitalization or anthony Williams’s mantra about school vouchers, Wagner has proposed sweeping changes to how Pennsylvania works on a fundamental level. He pledges to call a constitutional convention to review the state’s constitution and, hopefully, reduce the size of the state legislature by a third, place individual limits on campaign contributions (there are none in Pennsylvania), end no-bid contract procurement and breathe new life into highways and railroads. “There is no doubt in my mind these are realistic ideas,” says Wagner. Some of them may be, but even Wagner’s proposal to slash the size of the legislature was already defeated — after Wagner himself proposed it as a state senator. “Ten, 12 years ago, it was not a sexy idea,” he says. “It was not viewed as something as important as it is today. We weren’t in the worst recession since the Great Depression.” Still, the chances of convincing Pennsylvania’s legislators to give up their own comfy gigs seem remote, at best. as for the other three proposals, they’re just as Wagner describes them: realistic. and therein lies a potential problem: Wagner’s campaign might be just too straightforward, and not quite fantastical enough, to hook voters who don’t already know who he is. He’s not saying he’s going to waltz into the governor’s office and legalize gay marriage; he promises to be a good accountant. It may end up being a bit of a snooze. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the average Pennsylvanian is focused on economic issues more than anything else,” Wagner says. That’s probably true. But the average Pennsylvanian also probably doesn’t know why getting rid of financial swaps is a highlight of Wagner’s résumé in the first place. (

“When you get into the big leagues, you need to have a base that you can count on.”

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[ the naked city ]


[ what, us worry? ]

“I’M NOT GOING TO DEAL WITH THAT” Verna and Nutter respond (sort of) to our DROP investigation. By Ralph Cipriano

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ity Council President Anna Verna looked shocked last week when a Fox 29 reporter asked about “The Billion Dollar Boondoggle,” this paper’s April 22 cover story on the city’s Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP). Mayor Michael Nutter bristled when City Paper asked if he was concerned about the more than $1 billion in payouts under DROP. Both Verna and Nutter said they hadn’t read the story. But the media did. The Philadelphia Inquirer ran an April 27 editorial calling on the mayor and City Council to end DROP. The Daily News ran a cartoon two days later mocking Verna and DROP, and its own anti-DROP editorial April 30. Fox 29 ran seven stories in eight days about “the controversial DROP program.” As this paper reported, DROP allows city employees to double dip in their last four years on the job. Employees enrolled in DROP collect their regular salaries plus up to 48 months of pension benefits in a lump-sum cash bonus the day they walk out the door. Besides their regular salaries and cash bonuses, city employees retiring under DROP also get their regular pensions plus five years of health insurance. And the city has allowed a select few, including Verna — if she wishes — to retire for a day, collect their cash bonuses and go back to work the next day at their regular salaries. Between 2000 and Feb. 1, 2010, this newspaper’s investigation revealed, some 6,638 city employees retired under DROP and collected cash bonuses that averaged $109,277 each, for a total of $725 million. In addition, 2,107 employees, including Verna and five other City Council members, are currently enrolled in DROP. If they stay in the program the maximum four years, according to city records, the 2,107 employees will collect cash bonuses that average $160,525 each, for a total of $338 million. That’s more than a billion dollars in payouts. “DROP is bad all over,” said the Inquirer editorial’s headline. “A lengthy story in the City Paper last week detailed a number of red flags regarding DROP. … The plan has cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and provided little to nothing in return. …

Before trying to raise taxes, Mayor Nutter and City Council should end DROP for all employees.” Much of the reaction to the story focused on the cash bonuses, the largest of which is scheduled to go to Verna on Jan. 14, 2012 — $584,777. “That’s fantastic, where do I sign up?” said Mike Jerrick, Fox 29’s “Good Day Philadelphia” anchor. Verna was not happy when Fox’s Dave Schratwieser pointed a microphone at her after an April 29 City Council meeting. “We have a very challenging budget that we must deal with,” Verna said. “That’s what I’m going to focus on. I’m not going to focus on the DROP program.” “But they say that it’s wasting millions of dollars,” Schratwieser said. “Who … says … what?” Verna replied, visibly angry. “An analysis done by [City Paper] called it a boondoggle,” Schratwieser explained. “The Inquirer did an editorial this week. There’s a cartoon in the Daily News today.” “I did not read the article,” Verna said as she was whisked away by aides. “I don’t know what it says, and at this point in time I’m not going to deal with that.” Two floors below in City Hall, City Paper asked the mayor what his reaction was to the Inquirer editorial. “The DROP program is actually under study right now … and we’ll see what the results are,” Nutter said, referring to an $80,000 Boston College study on DROP due in two weeks. Asked about his views on DROP, the mayor said, “I’m concerned about the DROP program from the standpoint of how does it affect public employees’ behavior. If you use it right it actually is a good management tool to anticipate longer-tenured employees who may be at a

“The mayor’s office is pretty powerful, but I don’t get a magic wand to just do away with things.”

higher salary, to anticipate their retirement and replace them with, in many instances, possibly someone younger at a lower salary, or possibly not replace them at all. “But we also don’t know what the real impact is on employee behavior. Are people staying around longer because we have a DROP program? Are people getting into it just because it exists and retiring earlier than they might otherwise do? We’d like to know the answers to those questions.” (In 1999, the year the city adopted DROP, non-uniformed employees retired at an average age of 60.1 years. By 2005, nonuniformed employees, who constitute 67 percent of DROP enrollees, retired at an average age of 57, according to the most recent figures available.) Getting rid of DROP won’t be easy. “The mayor’s office is pretty powerful, but I don’t get a magic wand to just do away with things,” Nutter said. “DROP is a bill, it’s a law. It would have to be removed through the legislative process if we decide to go in that direction. So I can’t eliminate it by myself even if I wanted to.” Is he concerned about the billion dollars in past and future payouts? “Of course,” he said. “I did not read the story that you’re referring to so I’m not going to get into details about a story that I haven’t read. But one of the major fallacies of people who like talking about the DROP program is, a) they generally don’t know what they’re taking about; b) the money involved is the employees’ money … ” “That’s not necessarily true,” he was told. City employees contribute between 1.8 percent and 7.5 percent of their annual salaries to the pension fund, unless they’re enrolled in DROP, and then they don’t have to make any contributions at all. “I’m not going to debate the issue with you,” the mayor said. “I’m just telling you it’s their money. They’re getting it in different ways. … But I do have concerns about the program. We’re going to study it … and we’ll see what the results are.” City officials also continue to defend Kenneth A. Kent, the actuarial consultant who set up the original DROP program in 1999. As City Paper reported, Kent and his former employer, Mercer Inc., have been the subjects of negligence lawsuits in other parts of the country for making mistakes and statistical miscalculations. But everything’s sunny in Philadelphia. “We are very satisfied with the work that [Kent] is doing for the pension board,” reiterates Rob Dubow, the city’s finance director and chairman of the pension board, in an e-mail. (

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šNeighborhood guide advertorial supplement šNeighborhood guide

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Scene, Be Seen: Outdoor café dining is just one of the amenities Old city has to offer. CynthiA M. philo

Get Your Colonial on! A thriving shopping and dining destination for more than two centuries.


ipstoric™ Old City is the heart of urban Philadelphia. The birthplace of our nation is as enjoyable today as it was in 1776. Old

City is home to historic settings ranging from Independence Hall to Christ Church, all within walking distance of over 200 restaurants, boutiques and art galleries. So make a day of it, or better yet, extend your visit. There’s something for everyone just waiting around the corner; visit

➤ Old City EAt/Drink: Can’t decide on a hoagie or chees-

esteak? Have both at Campo’s (214 Market St., 215-923-1000, Mike and Denise Campo serve up mouth-watering tastes including the “Mama Mia,” featuring prosciutto, sopressata, old-fashioned capicola, sharp provolone, hot and sweet roasted peppers, all on a seeded or plain roll. Don’t forget, you can ship a taste of Philly home to you with their convenient mail-order program. For an old-fashioned ice cream experience, head to the Franklin Fountain (116 Market St., 215-627-1899, Step back in time and enjoy an authentic “Home Made Hot Fudge” — two dipperfuls of Philadelphia vanilla bean ice cream suffocated in Franklin Fountain hot fudge and topped with their fresh whipped cream and a cherry — a true American icon. Enjoy the sights of Old City while treating yourself to a wide variety of premium drinks — rums, Cuban cocktails made with fresh fruits or one of many signature mojitos — and eating authentic Cuban cuisine at Cuba libre restaurant and rum Bar (10

South Second St., 215-627-0666, Need a morning pick-me-up? Visit Double Shots Espresso Bar (211 Chestnut St., 215-351-5171) for a coffee, latte or tea to keep you going while you see all there is to see in Old City. ArtS/CulturE/Shopping: For

unique, funky and fabulous accessories, check out Sioux Zanne Messix, (54½ N. Third St., 215-928-9250) for vintageinspired and one-of-a-kind jewelry, handbag and clothing designs. For a history of wood arts, explore the Wood turning Center (501 Vine St., 215-923-8000, for acclaimed exhibitions of contemporary wood art by local, national and international artists. >>> continued on page 26

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Only at

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Universal PictUres

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➤ PreParation of guk, the customary

Korean breakfast, is explained in great detail in one of the early chapters of Sonya Chung’s Long for This World (Scribner, March 2). The passage isn’t particularly important, but the description is a thoroughly conventional move for a certain kind of novel. Chung is good at assembling these conventions: Long for This World includes a wedding and a funeral or two, a few generations of a family gathering in a single house, and simmering crosscultural conflict between the modern demands of youth and the dictates of tradition. These elements aren’t mere empty gestures. Like a useful cliché, most exist because they get at something universal; this is the case not only with soapy family dramas, but also romances and science fiction and cop thrillers. For some novels, it’s enough to animate these relationships and shared experiences with the specifics of a situation or a culture. But Chung’s story — anchored by long-ago emigrant Han Hyun-kyu’s spontaneous journey back to his Korean hometown, and his combat photographer daughter Jane’s trip to follow him — uses these commonalities to develop a circle of delicately drawn characters out of a series of resonant snapshots. Chung builds her narrative out of those isolated, telling moments. They’re not obviously stitched together, and she moves freely between different characters’ histories and perspectives. But it’s Jane whose particular vision provides a key to the whole. Her debate between love and lust, responsibility and self-gratification, defines her relationships to family and lovers and work. Even as Chung refracts this debate across other scenes and characters, she maintains her photographic style, careful in its reserve, with no unnecessary disclosure. That sense of reserve also hovers over The Singer’s Gun (Unbridled, May 4). Emily St. John Mandel’s strange, spare novel also features a single central character working to define himself >>> continued on page 30

“Unfamiliar Skin” (outdoor installation shot) by Martha Posner, found objects, wire, feathers, pigment, synthetic hair and beeswax. larry Fink

firstfridayfocus By Carolyn Huckabay

➤ Dalet Gallery From a distance, Martha Posner’s sculptures are sweetly balletic: Evoking blissful action, the creamy, rustic children’s gowns seem to float on their own, dancing like little girls do. But step right up, and beautiful quickly turns grotesque. Posner’s “Unfamiliar Skin” comprises a handful of such “shape-shifters,” made of found objects, wire, feathers, pigment, synthetic hair and beeswax. The result is a texture not unlike the flesh of picked-over roadkill, wounded and sticky. It’s a visceral juxtaposition of sweet and wholly unsavory, yet for the artist, transformation is the key. “When the shape is shifting, it enters a transient state,” says Posner in her artist statement, “which transcends categorization as either human or beast.” Whether you choose to get close or keep your distance, you won’t be able to look away. Opening reception Fri., May 7, 5-9 p.m., free, ends June 6, 141 N. Second St., 215923-2424,

➤ B Square Gallery Pigs for sale! Benefiting art therapy programs at local hospitals, this weekend’s adopt a Pig community crawl features piggy banks hand-painted and embellished by local artists and Moore College of art & design alumnae. Each bank — decorated with everything from feathers and sunglasses to cotton candy — costs

$250, and 100 percent of proceeds go to the nonprofit. “They have children with cancer decorate small-size banks while they’re in the hospital,” says Doris Chorney, director of alumnae affairs at moore, of adopt a Pig. “The organization also prepares ‘coping kits’ for the families.” Participating galleries include Dupree, B Square, Da Vinci, Philadelphia magic Gardens and Stoneworks. Champagne reception Fri., May 7, 6-9 p.m., $25, B Square Gallery, 614 S. Ninth St.; community crawl, Fri., May 7, 6-9 p.m., and Sat., May 8, 1-9 p.m., free, various galleries,

➤ lakShmi hair StuDio For something completely different, George alley, creative director of alley Ink Dance, brings Curl Up and Dye to the heart of Old City. Though it’s not an exhibit and it’s not in a gallery, alley argues that the dance piece — in which performers get their hair cut throughout the show as a means of exploring “our obsession with transformation,” says the choreographer — presents an ideal art-viewing opportunity. “I do not understand why we continue to be precious about how we watch dance,” says alley. “Those who buy tickets to sit in the studio will experience deconstructed versions of ballet, african [dance] and punk in a more kinesthetic way; those who watch the piece outside the huge storefront window will experience the piece as an installation.” Fri., May 7, 8 p.m., $8-$10, 21 N. Second St., 215-350-3504,

It’s a visceral juxtaposition of sweet and unsavory.

>>> continued on page 30

the naked city | feature

[ sending bloggerati scrambling ] ➤ album

Will Oldham’s got a voice like a drunken hobo, a strangled cowboy, a drowning forty-niner. It’s rich and warbly and not easily mimicked or improved upon. So raise a jar of moonshine to Philly singer-songwriter Hezekiah Jones (dude knows something about dark country music himself), who is gathering some pals for a big ol’ tribute — hezekiah Jones and Family Sings Greatest Will Oldham Music — Sunday at World Café Live.

With his luscious Life of Leisure EP and its blissfully bleary slow-mo standout “Feel It all around,” Georgia’s Washed Out (aka Ernest Greene) created some delectably gauzy bedroom electro — and sent bloggerati scrambling to their mix-nmatch genre-generators (chillwave?), pun-mills (glo-fi?) and psych textbooks (hypnagogic pop?). He also hit on a moniker that neatly encapsulates the sound’s distinct yet ineffable mood, evoking the comfortingly woozy languor and golden haze of possibility that can follow in the wake of utter emotional exhaustion. —K. ross hoffman

M.J. Fine does it again

—Patrick rapa

➤ dvd The poster child of bespectacled teenage apathy finally makes her DVD debut. Daria: The Complete Animated Series

➤ theater B. Someday Productions, the risk-taking project of Frankford avenue’s Walking Fish Theatre’s founders michelle Pauls and Stan Heleva, brings Kensington native mark Borkowski home with plays set in Philly. Gravedigger (through may 23, bsomeday. org) includes three eerie one-acts: Twilight’s Child (directed by the author), A Gravedigger’s Tale and The Mutilation of St. Barbara. Expect whores, junkies, drama and death — exactly what people —Mark Cofta assume about the neighborhood.


comes out Tuesday, and the ennui-filled, deep-voiced morgendorffer is just as glorious as her mTV days. The original music (which introduced me to bands like the Cramps) was given the combat boot because of rights issues, but the set contains every episode from the 1997-2002 run, plus the series’ two made-for-TV movies. It’s good to see some old faves on the tube again: Kevin and Brittany, Quinn and the Fashion Club, and Trent and the rest of mystik Spiral. But they might change their name. —Molly eichel

[ movie review ]

Iron Man 2 [ B ] What if tony Stark were real? What if reporters analyzed the goings-on of a

➤ the transition from lead singer to solo

artist was a smooth one for Natalie Mer­chant.When she left 10,000 Maniacs in 1993, the band was at its peak popularity, with steadily increasing sales and a well-received spot on MTV Unplugged. Since then, the group has limped along with one replacement vocalist or another, but it’s never matched its earlier success. Meanwhile, Merchant went on to outperform her old crew with a pair of platinum discs. But what’s she been up to lately? After taking off to have a daughter six years ago, Merchant’s back with Leave Your Sleep, a two-disc set of songs inspired by 18th- and 19th-century poems for children. It’s stunning, both in its musical scope — more than 100 players help Merchant turn obscure old rhymes into lively jazz, folk and rock songs — and its depth of research, with the singer’s notes filling a beautifully packaged book. Among the standouts are a bluegrass take on Ogden Nash’s comic caper “Adventures of Isabel” and John Godfrey Saxe’s political parable “The Blind Men and the Elephant,” which brings together Hazmat Modine, the Fairfield Four and The Ditty Bops for an improbable mix of klezmer, gospel and swing. But Merchant cribbed lyrics from Mother Goose long before she became a mom. “Eat for Two,” from 1989’s Blind Man’s Zoo, draws on Humpty Dumpty to express regret and resentment over an unwanted pregnancy, and Merchant adds her own moral:“Pride is for men/ Young girls should run and hide instead.” Factor in jangly and determined guitars, and you’re left with the best thing she’ll ever write. Most of Zoo’s other songs follow one of two bland formulas: Deceptively upbeat arrangements add little juice to Merchant’s musings on imperialism (“Please Forgive Us”) and environmental contamination (“Poison in the Well”), while meandering melodies suck all the air out of her big statements on war (“The Big Parade”) and poverty (“Dust Bowl”). The exception is “Trouble Me,” which coasts on Jevetta Steele’s warm backing vocals.Which gets to the crux of the problem: Even with impeccable lyrics and a heart in the right place, Merchant’s glassy timbre and garbled diction are grating as hell. (

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THE STARKNESS: Robert Downey Jr. suits up again as billionaire playboy/superhero Tony Stark in Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2.

billionaire weaponsmaker/superhero so cool that folks cheer when he screams “I have successfully privatized world peace!” at Senate hearings? In real life, we’re scared on our own soil. In Iron man Land, with Stark’s shadow looming over the stars and bars like an armed beach umbrella, we don’t agonize over North Korea stockpiling warheads or extremists cultivating splinter cells — why should we, when the dude with the suit eats his Wheaties, just like us? Picking up after Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) reveals his Iron man identity, Jon Favreau’s sequel has a new baddie (mickey Rourke), a new hottie (Scarlett Johansson), a new business rival (Sam Rockwell) and a new BFF (Don Cheadle, replacing Terrence Howard). Stark, resisting pressure to surrender his suit to the military, ensures the government that america’s enemies are lagging behind technologically. He’s wrong — the vengeful Russian Ivan Vanko (Rourke), hell-bent on righting past wrongs, builds some toys of his own, nearly besting Iron man in a surprise attack. This, coupled with the fact that the palladium running his heart is slowly poisoning him, causes Stark to lose focus — but he’s forced to snap into it after arms-race player Justin Hammer (Rockwell) hires Vanko and funds an army of ’bots set to kill. Justin Theroux, tackling his second-ever screenplay, exploits Downey’s gift of glib, keeping things popcorn-friendly with throwaway giggles that distract from the movie’s many ridiculous moments. (Did we just watch Stark build a DIy particle accelerator in his garage?) Favreau’s put together an unchallenging, easy-to-watch two hours that’ll appeal to anyone who got lost in the 2008 original. But the movie also posits, clunkily, what it’d be like to live in an america where peace of mind is as simple as knowing a playboy can incinerate any threat with a wave of his gilded palm. In real life, Times Square almost turned to rubble. In Iron man Land, Stark has a suit that shrinks down to the size of a briefcase, meaning the key to domestic tranquility could be categorized as a carry-on item aboard a Southwest airlines flight. —Drew Lazor

Eat ME

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➤ tribute/country



[ kaleidoscope ]

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[ arts & entertainment ]

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➤ dance JOHaNNa auSTiN

➤ visual art

dead reckoning

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Braving the new world

Rebecca Davis has carved a special niche for herself by staging dance works inspired by literary classics, famous people and world history — she’s created pieces about Van Gogh, Darfur, the Enron scandal and Helen Keller — and all bear her special technique for blending the real with the imagined. Now comes Braving the New World, which uses the work of aldous Huxley, George Orwell and Ray Bradbury as springboards for commenting on our current state of privacy (or lack thereof) and growing government control. This new ballet presents one man’s struggle to be an individual in a society that makes everyone conform to a predetermined destiny. Will he succeed? There’s only one way to find out. —deni Kasrel

“I adapted the definition from an Army manual,” says artist Matthew Osborn of his latest show’s title. “It’s a navigational term about keeping a log of where you’ve been.” “Dead Reckoning” at Bambi Gallery will be a culmination of five years’ worth of sketchbook drawings, applied to wood panels and painted across walls. The mainly acrylic-and-pen illustrations feature quirky characters that Osborn has created, then drawn and redrawn over the years. Often uncomplicated in design, the illustrations, whether through text or imagery, reflect the not-so-simple struggles of human relationships. As with so many flawed personal interactions, there is an air of humor about these sketches, which Osborn manages to find and pull to the forefront of his work. —Julia West Opening reception Fri., May 7, 6-10 p.m., free, through May 30, Bambi Gallery, 1001 N. Second St., 267-3191374,

Fri.-Sat., May 7-8, 8 p.m., $25, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St., 215-985-0420,

➤ theater

museums are the places where a culture’s detritus goes to find its final resting place and valuation, but what happens when the museums crumble away? The meta-archivists at Slought are tackling that question with “Commercial america,” a — well, they hesitate to even call it a show — a display of objects formerly housed at Philly’s long-defunct Commercial museum. The city dispersed most of the artifacts to other museums and cultural institutions, but the dregs remained in storage for 19 years before being discarded in February. Slought’s show is thus made up of items that were 24 hours from being garbage, and will be exhibited as-is, sans context or descriptions. antiquated dioramas, wicker baskets, horse saddles, even filing systems and letters from the museum’s files — in other words, a bunch of stuff, lifting the curatorial filter and allowing each viewer to devise his own narrative for a gathering of ephemera. —Shaun Brady

—Mark Cofta Through June 27, $30, Independence Studio on 3, Walnut Street Theatre, 829 Walnut St., 215-574-3550,

This research program is designed to assist African American residents in Philadelphia in getting screening for breast, colon, and prostate cancer. If interested in learning more about or participating in this research program, please call



Through June 12, free, Slought Foundation, 4017 Walnut St., 215-701-4627,

Walnut Street Theatre offers special treats for musical theater fans in their intimate Independence Studio on 3. While Fiddler on the Roof plays on the main stage, Eric Rockwell and Joanne Bogart’s The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) romps on the third floor, a good-natured spoof of musical styles in five scenes. Victims include Rodgers and Hammerstein (Oklahoma!), Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd), Jerry Herman (Gypsy), Andrew Lloyd Webber (Jesus Christ Superstar) and Kander and Ebb (Chicago). Last year’s studio season-ender, the classic parody Forbidden Broadway, scored accolades, sold-out houses and a Barrymore Award, so why not lampoon musical theater again?

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coMMercial aMerica

the Musical of Musicals (the Musical!) TOm millER

➤ visual art

Navigate Your Health

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Thursday, May 6 b street band bruce springsteen tribute dj ed smooth

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spin it at 360

Friday, May 7 lost in paris dj gabor kiss Saturday, May 8 jd valenteen mr. greengenes dj basara

tâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s play.


exit 37 off i-95 or exit 351 off the pa turnpike.

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dress code enforced.

➤ jazz ➤ dubstep/electronic

➤ jazz

suB swaRa

kaRl BeRgeR

It was only a matter of time before dubstep got its very own Asian Dub Foundation. NYC crew Sub Swara can’t be tagged and bagged quite so summarily, but their eclectically curry-spiced output — deliciously sampled on 2008’s Coup d’Yah and multiple remix projects since — does as much as anyone to realize the genre’s inherent potential for groove-heavy globalism, with an Eastern-leaning transcontinental take on East London riddims that folds in everything from ragga toasting to raga droning, Bhangra beats to Balkan brass. —K. Ross Hoffman

BoBBy Zankel / RudResh Mahanthappa

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Bobby Zankel’s avant-big band, Warriors of the Wonderful Sound, have been wrestling their way through the dense foliage of the saxophonist’s compositions for almost a decade now, overspilling the tiny stage at Tritone once a month. During that time, the ensemble has become a proving ground for virtually every young musician on the local jazz scene. as cohesive a unit as they’ve become, Zankel never lets them coast; every performance seems like an open rehearsal, watching the band wrestle with the intricacies of his music. For the first time, Zankel is handing the reins over to another composer — and in Rudresh mahanthappa (pictured), may have found someone who will make the Warriors sweat even more than he does. The Indian-american altoist has embraced the band’s combination of dexterity and rawness to create a suite titled “Dasha.” at a recent rehearsal, mahanthappa guided the Warriors through his contortionist melodies and Vishnuarmed rhythms, looking for a combination of Sun Ra and m-Base, calling in one section for the feel of the face-melting climax from Raiders of the Lost Ark. —Shaun Brady

Thu., May 6, 9 p.m., $15, with EOTO and Ryat, World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St., 215-222-1400,

➤ rock/pop/nonsense

haiR RoCket


If Dan Snaith’s tuneful, ’60s-kissed 2007 album Andorra could be summed up by the title of its stunning tone-setter, “melody Day,” his new one is more like Rhythm Night. Like his close friend and stylistic fellow-traveler Four Tet, the free-floating IDm/psych/ pomo-pop polymath is currently embracing the sparseness, throbbing pulse and structural minimalism of dance music to an unprecedented degree. Of course, he does it on his own organically mutating, texturally expansive terms, exploring quite a range from shimmering harps and Tibetan singing bowls on “Bowls” to the burnished quivering synths and Beach Boy vocals of “Kaili” to the twisted disco nightmare of advance single “Odessa.” Caribou’s clubward shift is a bold, bracing and largely rewarding one — here’s hoping the more stripped-down, straight-ahead beats won’t compromise the energy of what has long been one of the most visceral and riveting stage shows in “electronic music,” powered by Snaith’s infectiously exuberant drumming. —K. ross hoffman Sun., May 9, 7:30 p.m., $13, with Toro Y Moi, First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., 877-435-9849,

—Shaun Brady Sun., May 9, 8 p.m., $12, International House, 3701 Chestnut St., 215-387-5125,

➤ singer-songwriter

shelBy lynne Now that she’s split with Lost Highway and launched her own Everso Records, Shelby Lynne’s calling all the shots. With the aptly titled Tears, Lies and Alibis, she’s serving up her first batch of entirely self-penned songs since 2003, and she’s entrusted them to a sympathetic producer — herself, naturally — and a classy crew of Muscle Shoals players. Good call, boss. —M.J. Fine Sun., May 9, 7:30 p.m., $31-$44, with Findlay Brown, World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St., 215-222-1400,

➤ folk-rock/americana

Bobby Zankel and Warriors of the Wonderful Sound featuring Rudresh Mahanthappa, Sat., May 8, 8 p.m., $25, Science Center Theater, Montgomery County Community College, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, 215-641-6518,

➤ electronic

German pianist/vibraphonist Karl Berger performed alongside many of the greats in improvised music, including Don Cherry, whose music he revisits with an all-star septet Sunday at I-House. But his most important contribution was the co-founding, with Ornette Coleman and vocalist Ingrid Sertso (who will also appear), of the Creative Music Studio, an influential center for music study in Woodstock in the 1970s and ’80s where Cherry forged his innovative blend of free jazz and world music. Alongside other instrumentalists who performed with the late cornetist/composer, Berger will revisit several of Cherry’s works with an appropriately open-minded spirit of reinvention.

R a N D e e S T. N I C h O L a S

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[ arts & entertainment ]

[ music picks ]

phosphoResCent The story so far: Last week Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart made a call for fans to donate locks of hair, which his band would then burn and inhale for whatever ungodly reason. This sent Bucks County’s Chris Blasucci into a furor; his one-man-production Hair Rocket has been doing this for the better part of two years. (He doesn’t inhale, but rather uses collected hair for the launching of bottle rockets. Somehow. Still gross, but slightly less.) While there’s undeniable shtick at play — Hair Rocket’s debut EP is called Novelty, after all — the songs stand on their own. “Imagining” rocks like a stripped-down, drum-machine take on Spoon. This of course hasn’t stopped Blasucci from calling Stewart out, and deeming his May 6 Khyber show the opening gambit in a “follicle war.” Stay tuned.

Can you judge Matthew Houck by his covers? Phosphorescent’s sparsely peopled ’07 breakout gave a hirsute, backlit nod to the inexorable Will Oldham, and last year’s outing was a straight-up Willie Nelson tribute. Here’s to Taking It Easy should be an homage to the Eagles, all palm-tree’d and sun-dappled, and that’s roughly how it plays, with a newly full-fledged band injecting some welcome sunshine and a rangy Neil Young looseness into the ’Bama-born Brooklynite’s soft-country politesse on instant-classic sing-alongs like the wistful, Clem Snide-ish “The Mermaid Parade” and the terrific jaunty moper “Heaven, Sittin’ Down.”

—John Vettese

—K. Ross Hoffman

Thu., May 6, 9 p.m., $8, with the Danvilles, Nikki and the Weeps and Solved with Science, Khyber, 56 S. Second St., 215-238-5888,

Wed., May 12, 9 p.m., $10-$13, with The Quelle Source, Blockley Pourhouse, 3801 Chestnut St., 215-222-1234,

clog the

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[ album reviews ]

[ sniffling indie ]

✚ hiGh nUnes

The GreaT UnsTeady

I know: The phrase “ukulele-strumming, singing-songwriting YouTube sensation” makes me wanna barf a scarf, too, but Julia Nunes deserves a second click. And it’s not just because of that thousand-mile stare. See: Nunes has got this smoky, emotive voice and knows how to write big, pleading choruses to showcase it. And on the five-song acoustic opus I Think You Know, a lot Julia nunes You Know of the verses have the musical and writerly weight of I( RThink ude ButleR) choruses, too. She’s just always on. Nunes plays the North Star on Saturday afternoon (4 p.m., all ages). Give her a shot: She’ll only make you think of Ani DiFranco once or twice. I know. —Patrick Rapa

✚ new BomB Jerks At first listen: TJ Kong (singer/guitarist Dan Bruskewicz) and the rest of the Philly trio seem to play a contemporary-ancient brand of Americana similar to The Band or, at its crankiest extreme, Captain Beefheart. Throughout: the broke-dick vibe of Idiots, Bruskewicz’s grave lyrics and gravelly vocals give off a loneliness that matches the ensemble’s bare-bone arrangements. tJ Kong & the Bomb But: Spend time with crabby epics like “Everyone We atomic Idiots | ( s e l f Know” or the curtly clever “Helena Handbasket” and R e l e a s e d ) you find that TJK&TAB — who play Johnny Brenda’s on Friday — hardly sound American at all. More like: avant-garde blues with a dirty Mersey Beat that’d shame the Animals. —A.D. Amorosi

✚ a hand Up

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Flanked by Muppets: On the cover of his new CD, saxophonist John Ellis provides a sense of the mischievous music he concocts on the second outing with his band, Double-Wide. An eccentric quartet: The foursome consists of Ellis’ tenor with sousaphone, organ and drums (with additional help from harmonica and trombone on some cuts), providing a unique pal- John ellis & ette for Ellis’ carnival compositions. A brass band double-Wide Puppet Mischief parade: Inspired by the leader’s New Orleans roots, ( O B l i q s O u n d ) the ensemble marches from swampland to smoky bar, corralling a Mardi Gras atmosphere without the drunken stumbling. They play Chris’ Jazz Café on Saturday. —Shaun Brady

one Track mind

[ arts & entertainment ]

➤ When Wine-sWigging keyboardist Franz Nicolay left The Hold

Steady last year, he told Paste: “They have their one big idea — making literate, wordy lyrics over big anthemic rock — and the last two records were about as good as I felt like I could do with that idea.” Singer-guitarist-lyricist Craig Finn believes in omens, and being called a one-trick drug mule by a guy who’s committed himself to life behind a handlebar mustache was probably an epiphany. and here we are with Heaven Is Whenever, The Hold Steady’s most musically varied record yet. among its 10 tracks are extended ballads, Southern-tinged arena rockers and strange studio anomalies. Not every gamble pays off. Finn’s signature speak-singing is occasionally replaced with dumb old sing-singing. There’s an unforgivable sound effect on “Barely Breathing.” maybe one too many thin, midtempo numbers throughout. But “The Weekenders” (the first single) and “We Can Get Together” (a heartbreaker about ’90s twee darlings Heavenly) are as gripping and memorable as anything this band has ever done. and then there’s this bit, snuck into “Soft in the Center”: “man, if money didn’t matter then I might tell you something new. you can’t tell people what they want to hear if you also want to tell the truth.” It’s hard to stay cynical with The Hold Steady blaring, but that line echoes long after the music stops. It’s the sound of a songwriter shrugging in the hole he dug himself. Five albums in, plus all the stuff he did with Lifter Puller, Finn’s lyrical m.o., the reason the critics and fans go nuts, is well established. It’s gotta be tough to break free of that. He doesn’t stray far from it here. These songs are adorned with Hold Steady staples: hospitals and bars, evangelical declarations, sly euphemisms for ugly acts, references to literature and pop culture with varying degrees of obscurity, crazy positivity. The gang’s all here, too: highas-hell scenesters, bloodied users and mysterious women who do mysterious things. Some things “she” does/says on the new album: 1) wants to know what’s going on in the room that’s all the way in the back; 2) kept threatening to turn us in; 3) said the theme of this party’s The

the hold steady

Heaven Is Whenever | ( V a g R a n t )

Industrial age, and you came in dressed like a train wreck. Who “she” might be: 1) St. Theresa; 2) Hurricane J — “They didn’t name her for a saint/ They named her for a storm”; 3) your Little Hoodrat Friend — not called by name, but a known lurker in Finn’s lyrics. Teetering on the edge of semantic saturation, the word “heaven” appears on just about every track. Sometimes it’s the place; usually it’s just a namecheck: “She played Heaven Isn’t Happening. She played Heaven is a Truck. … ” By the end you’ll wonder whether the album’s obsessing over saved souls and the afterlife, or merely ruminating on the word itself. It’s a smartly gray area, and part of why The Hold Steady works. These are Catholic prayers the atheists know the words to. Drug songs the drinkers sing along to. If you never bought into it before, there’s nothing much in Heaven for you. —Patrick rapa

photoscream ➤

➤ IT’S A KInG ThInG “Wine and Ponies” Like adolescence, the transition from emo-punk to power pop is nothing if not awkward. When SoJersey combo It’s A King Thing made the move on its recent Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. — a joke only a linguist could love — it fumbled like Michael Cera in that movie. Songwriting is heart-on-the-sleeve with decreased bite, making the album’s lows unbearably saccharine and sappy. Then again, at its best, King Thing ascends to absurd levels of Fountains of Wayne-style catchiness. Cue the jangly “Wine and Ponies.” It’s a breezy midtempo number punctuated by a choral “bop bop” clip and a tuneful guitar lead; simple, pointed and fun. The lyrics are less lovelorn letters than passing thoughts in the face of loss. “I’ll be here in the morning/ And you won’t ever hear me snoring.” In this we see hints of moving on; perhaps it will continue on a broader scale when they get to album three. —John Vettese

This week on our a&e blog: arT Phag, i d o l h a n d s , c o veTed, neighborhood w aT c h a n d m o r e ! c i T y Pa P e r . n e T / criTicalmass.

The Album leAf may 2, first unitarian Church John Vettese

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iron Man 2 See Drew Lazor’s review on p. 29. (Pearl; UA Grant; UA Main St.; UA Riverview; UA 69th St.)

conTinuinG The Back-up plan|COstensibly, Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) is one of those rare


C I T Y PA P E R . N E T / M O V I E S


Despite its title, the movie Kim Ji-Woon’s self-dubbed “kimchi Western” most resembles is Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time

STARTS FRIDAY, MAY 7 P h i l a d e l P h i a C i t y Pa P e r | m a y 6 - m a y 1 3 , 2 0 1 0 | C i t y Pa P e r . n e t |

“Everybody loves babies,” reads the campaign for Focus Features’ long-hyped documentary, and for once the advance publicity dovetails seamlessly with the actual product. If there’s a principle behind Thomas Balmès’ casually arranged excerpts from the first year of four infants’ lives, it’s that, no matter what and no matter where, babies are easy on the eyes. But “aw shucks” isn’t enough of a thesis to hang even a 79-minute movie on, and precious little else emerges from the film’s weak juxtapositions. Flitting from San Francisco and Tokyo to mongolia and Namibia, Babies takes in both ends of the child-raising spectrum. In California, blue-eyed Hattie tries out downward-facing dog in a mommy and me yoga class while Namibian Ponijao plays in the dirt, gnawing on rocks and bones. The moment is good for a knowing chuckle from anxious Westerners — and would-be for Namibians if any were likely to see the film — but that’s as far as it goes. Balmès shoots in fixed tableaux and leaves the (mostly offscreen) parental dialogue unsubtitled, a strategy which hints at visual poetry, although mainly of the Hallmark card and calendarart variety. But the lack of translation or narrative entrée also favors English-speaking audiences, whose linguistic and cultural reference points make the San Franciscans’ experience that much more accessible. For all the care put into its images, Babies is startling unreflective, a series of elegantly shot drive-bys devoid of insight or empty. The movie’s flaccid spine isn’t nearly enough to support the heaps of jelly piled around it. —Sam Adams (Ritz Five)

in the West, an operatic genre riff in which style drives the stagecoach while story chokes on dust in the back. There’s plenty of plot, mostly involving the possession of a map that points to an unknown treasure somewhere in Japanesecontrolled manchuria, but trying to follow the hectic backand-forth would only distract from the fun. Kim cleverly shifts the setting from the american West (or its Spanish equivalent) to Japanese-occupied Korea, with the manchurian border standing in for the new frontier. Jung Woo-sung takes on the role of the hard-bitten antihero, with Lee Byunghun filling in for Lee Van Cleef, albeit with a black-on-black fashion sense more appropriate to a hip synth-pop band. But instead of Eli Wallach’s thoroughly venal (and equally irreplaceable) Tuco, the stool’s “weird” third leg is provided by ubiquitous leading man Song Kang-ho, a self-interested bumbler whose greed is offset by his genial semi-competence. at once massively scaled and likeably unambitious, the movie shoots its balls in the air and then scampers to catch them all; if a few drop, the gymnastics are still a gas to watch. Kim, who contrives to light sawdust-strewn saloons in the emerald and scarlet hue of the nightclubs in A Bittersweet Life, shoots every scene and builds every sequence as if it’s his last, pushing past mere excess into almost surreal abandon. you don’t feel the mad passion of Leone behind it, but a steadily spreading grin that never stops growing. —S.A. (Ritz at the Bourse)

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romantic-comedy heroines who take life by the balls. Rather than search for her elusive soul mate to get to the inevitable endgame of kids, she skips the middleman and opts for in vitro fertilization. But then, of course, love happens and Zoeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best-laid plans go to shit, much like her moxy. Love is in the form of Stan (alex Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Loughlin), a cheese farmer who inexplicably decides to stay with this woman heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just met, even after she drops the bomb that sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s knocked up. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Molly Eichel (UA Grant; UA Riverview; UA 69th St.)

The CarTel|B New Jersey spends as much or more on public schools than most other states, yet director Bob Bowdon sees the Garden State as an example of whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going wrong in U.S. school systems in general, despite a â&#x20AC;&#x153;spending explosion.â&#x20AC;? Bowdon reports, spending can reach $400,000 per New Jersey classroom, and yet the outcome seems relentlessly grim: Only 39 percent of eighth-graders read proficiently and only 40 percent can manage math. More than 75 percent of New Jerseyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s high schools have been warned they may be placed on the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s list of failing schools. Having covered the state as a TV reporter and producer for some 15 years, Bowdon has plenty of research and interviews to support his contentions, mainly that the teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; union and other corrupt organizations are to blame â&#x20AC;&#x201D; teachers remain underpaid and students undereducated, as administrators make all kinds of money. Good teachers, the film argues, are poorly served by this union, which proscribes creativity (one teacher says sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unable to start a garden club because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s against union rules) and protects bad teachers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Wanting lousy teachers out of the classroom doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mean youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re against all teachers,â&#x20AC;? says Bowdon,

â&#x20AC;&#x153;a point so obvious I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t believe it needs to be made.â&#x20AC;? and yet it does â&#x20AC;&#x201D; apparently repeatedly. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Cindy Fuchs (Ritz at the Bourse)

Clash of The TiTans|CThe revamped Clash of the Titans appropriates the main characters â&#x20AC;&#x201D; demigod Perseus (Avatarâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sam Worthington) must defeat the monstrous Kraken to save the city of argos â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and stops only occasionally to wink and nod at the â&#x20AC;&#x2122;81 original. In between the innumerable barbaric yawps, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s little in the way of plot. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;M.E. (Roxy; UA Riverview; UA 69th St.)

exiT Through The gifT shop|ABanksy, the anonymous, subversive U.K. graffiti trickster, appears on camera at the outset, his face shrouded in darkness and voice altered, to explain how heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d turned from subject to filmmaker when he discovered that the filmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s original director was a far more fascinating character. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unclear, however, whether Thierry Guetta â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the eccentric French-born video enthusiast whose footage provides an invaluable document of street artists at work â&#x20AC;&#x201D; is the bordering-on-insane clown presented in the film, a willing accomplice, a patsy manipulated by Banksyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s puppetry or even the elusive artist himself. But, as recounted by Rhys Ifansâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; oily bedtime-story narration, Guetta transforms himself from a voyeur into an â&#x20AC;&#x153;artistâ&#x20AC;? known as Mr. Brainwash to huge success. The result is an authentic assault on the art market, which gleefully hangs itself with Banksyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s acidly-offered rope. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Shaun Brady (Ritz Five)

The movie begins in solid TĂŠchinĂŠ territory, with the blossoming of a mildly inexplicable and evidently doomed romance between Jeanne (Ă&#x2030;milie Dequenne) and Franck (Nicholas Duvauchelle), a headstrong thug whose aggression she takes for charm. The two shack up, then crash and burn as only young lovers can. What happens next comes as a shock, although it likely wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t so for French viewers, who would be intimately familiar with the 2004 episode in which a woman falsely claimed to have been the victim of an anti-Semitic attack by a gang of non-white youths. The potential for satire, a kind of hate-crime Ace in the Hole, is ripe, which may be why the elliptical TĂŠchinĂŠ skips it altogether, focusing exclusively on the personal ramifications. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;S. A. (Ritz at the Bourse)


The girl on The Train|B

Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller), fresh off some sort of nervous breakdown and recently arrived in L.a., is a 40year-old frozen at 25, at the instant just after his life went wrong. The sole new relationship that Greenberg strikes up is with Florence (mumblecore actress/director Greta Gerwig, who imbues Florence with a remarkable range of emotion), his brotherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s aimless personal assistant. Most films would paint Florence, the younger woman, as Greenbergâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s savior, the ray of light that leads to redemption. Director Noah Baumbach, however, has never seen other people as the solution to anyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s problems. The film, as a result, is often incredibly funny, and even holds out something like hope at the end. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;S.B. (Ritz East)

Drawn from a sensational real-life incident, andrĂŠ TĂŠchinĂŠâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s The Girl on the Train falls deliberately, if not always gracefully, between two stools.

KiCK-ass|B+ Dave (aaron Johnson) is a typical bored teen who struggles with the idea

that masked avengers arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t present in real life to regulate injustice. So the beanpole purchases all the appropriate accoutrement and eases into his new Kick-ass menacing moniker. When he runs aground in the lair of a drug king, he's saved by Hit-Girl (a tremendous ChloĂŤ Grace Moretz), a tween killing machine. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a real crimefighter on a vigilante mission, along with equally lethal, Shatnerstammering father â&#x20AC;&#x153;Big Daddyâ&#x20AC;? (Nicolas Cage), to wrest control of the underworld from mafia capo Frank Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;amico (Mark Strong). The real distinguishing characteristic of Kick-Ass is that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s devoid of all traces of mortal transcendence â&#x20AC;&#x201D; there are no radioactive spider bites driving Dave to use his might to make right. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no real motivation, even, for him to pick up the hero torch, save for something we all long for at one point or another: the desire to be admired. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Drew Lazor (Pearl; UA Riverview)

[ movie shorts ]

If movies were judged on the sheer number of times the ensemble cast walks in slow motion set to bassheavy music with the sole direction of â&#x20AC;&#x153;look like a badass,â&#x20AC;? then The Losers is Gone With the Wind. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;M.E. (Pearl; Roxy; UA Grant; UA Main St.; UA Riverview; UA 69th St.)

26-year-old Elm Street series, a new group of fresh-faced upper-middleclass white kids are terrorized in their dreams by the one and only Krueger, given a new lease on â&#x20AC;&#x153;lifeâ&#x20AC;? by brilliant character actor Jackie Earle Haley. The plot is basically the same: The vengeful specter stalks pretty high-schoolers (Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker) due to a gross injustice their parents collectively committed years back. There is one vital distinction, though: In 2010, Krueger is an accused pedophile, which conveys much more seat-shifting unease than the dubious, why-donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t-youjust-say-molester â&#x20AC;&#x153;child murdererâ&#x20AC;? title weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been fed through eight flicks. New-look Freddy sheds Robert Englundâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s propensity for vaudevillian one-liners, favoring instead a guttural growl not far removed from Haleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Watchmen hero Rorschach. Modern-day touches (one victim runs a â&#x20AC;&#x153;vlog,â&#x20AC;? lolz!) are merely a means to a time-honored end: Watching scared kids get skewered. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;D.L. (Pearl; UA Grant; UA Main St.; UA Riverview; UA 69th St.)

a nighTmare on elm sTreeT|C+

The seCreT in Their eyes|C+

The losers|C

For those horror-remake viewers who carry with them the expectation that chunky Version 2.0 production budgets will translate into pitch-perfect performances and crisp character development: you do realize that Freddy Krueger is an undead, sweater-wearing burn victim with steak knives screwed to his hand who enjoys disemboweling teen cuties in their sleep, right? In Samuel Bayerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reboot of the now-

When not making films in his native argentina, Juan JosĂŠ Campanella maintains a busy sideline helming TV shows like House and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. He combines those two worlds in The Secret in Their Eyes, which often feels like an overwrought L&O episode inflated to feature length with melodramatic flourishes and political pretensions. Sprawling over 25 years, the story centers on a 1974 rape and murder




Grab the one you love and head to 258 South 15th Street Philadelphia

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  10 City Paper Readers will be selected to attend GIRLS NIGHT OUT with a guest!

TODAY, May 6th from 12:00-12:30 PM to pick up passes to an advance screening of

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No purchase necessary. While supplies last. One per person. Each pass admits two to an advance screening of LETTERS TO JULIET at The Prince Music Theater. This film is rated PG for brief rude behavior and sensual images, some language and incidental smoking. Seating at theater is limited to capacity and is NOT GUARANTEED. Employees of Philadelphia City Paper, Summit Entertainment, and Buca di Beppo are not eligible. No phone calls please.









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City island | D Ritz at the Bourse

the Joneses | C+ Ritz East date niGht | BUA Grant; UA Riverview For movie full reviews and showtimes, go to that has weighed on the mind of criminal court investigator Ricardo Darín (Benjamín Esposito) ever since. Deciding to tell the tale in novel form, he reconnects with an ex-boss and almost-lover (Soledad Villamil), seemingly hoping to rekindle their never-consummated romance as he finally lays the case to rest. Darín’s dissatisfaction comes not from an unsolved mystery, but from justice unserved. Campanella employs the crime thriller to explore the ways in which one’s obsessions can both fill and empty a life. But, perhaps too inured to the attention spans of viewers distracted by commercials, the director hammers those points repeatedly and relentlessly. —S.B. (Ritz Five)

The Square|A-

reperTory film Send repertory film listings to

aNDreW’S ViDeo VaulT

CiNema 16:9 35 N. Lansdowne Ave., Lansdowne, 484-461-7676, Broken on All Sides (2010, U.S.): a doc that looks at the overpopulation of Philly’s prisons. Fri.-Sat., May 7-8, 9 p.m., $12. The Thorn in the Heart (L’épine dans le coeur) (2009, France) Director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) profiles his aunt Suzette. Fri.-Thu., May 7-20, 2, 7 and 9 p.m., $5-$7.50.

ColoNial TheaTre 227 Bridge St., Phoenix­ville, 610917-1228, Dark Victory (1939, U.S., 104 min.): Ronald Reagan and Humphrey Bogart join Bette Davis, who plays a spoiled heiress who goes blind because of a brain tumor. One of Davis’ great weepies. Sun., May 9, 2 p.m., $4-$8.

fliCKeriNG liGhT film SerieS Mount Airy Arts Garage, 542 W. Carpenter Lane, The Tracker (2002, australia, 90 min.): Four men, including one indignous australian, search for a supposed fugitive in ’20s australia. Sat., May 8, 7 p.m., $5-$6.

hiWay TheaTre 212 Old York Road, Jenkintown, 215-886-9800, the Ultimate Sports Movie night: Glen Macnow and Ray Didinger sign copies of The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies and introduce a screening of one of the best of the genre: Bull Durham (1988, U.S., 108 min.). Wed., May 12, 6 p.m., $10-$20.

iNTerNaTioNal houSe Ibrahim Theater, 3701 Chestnut St., 215-387-5125, Gift (aka Venom) (1966, Denmark, 96 min.): In this film that helped abolish censorship in Denmark, a hedonist insinuates himself into his new girlfriend’s upper-class family. Thu., May 6, 7 p.m., $5-$8. Movies

liTTle TheaTer 7141 Germantown Ave., 215-2473020, 35 Shots of Rum (2008, France/Germany, 100 min.): a father-daughter relationship, Claire Denis-style. Fri.Sun., May 7-9, 8 p.m., $6, includes popcorn..

muGShoTS CoffeehouSe aND CafÉ 2100 Fairmount Ave., 267-514-7145, Up (2009, U.S., 96 min.): an old curmudgeon (Ed asner) tries to sail his house to a tropical locale with the help of balloons, but a roly-poly stowaway is on board. Sat. May 8, 7 p.m., free. 2012 (2009, Canada/U.S., 158 min.): Roland Emmerich destroys the world. again. Sun., May 9, 7 p.m., free. A Mighty Wind (2003, U.S., 91 min.): The Waiting for Guffman crew lovingly skewers folk music. Wed., May 12, 7 p.m., free.

peaCe CeNTer of DelaWare CouNTy 1001 Old Sproul Road, Springfield, 610-544-1818, The Cove (2009, australia, 92 min.): This academy award-winning doc looks at activists fighting the dolphinhunting practices of Taiji, Japan. Fri., May 7, 7 p.m., free.

philaDelphia CiTy iNSTiTuTe liBrary 1905 Locust St., 215-685-6621. Gloomy Sunday (Szomorú vasárnap) (1999, Germany/Hun-

gary, 112 min.): In this film set in WWII-era Budapest, a restaurant owner, a pianist and an SS officer all love the beautiful Ilona. Wed., May 12, 2 p.m., free.

WooDeN Shoe BooKS

puff Piazza at Schmidts, 1050 N. Hancock St., Wah Do Dem (2010, U.S., 80 min.): a young Brooklynite (Sean Bones) tries to find himself in Jamaica after his girlfriend (singer Norah Jones) dumps him. Thu., May 6, 6 p.m., free.

704 South St., 215-413-0999, Examined Life (2008, Canada, 87 min.): Filmmaker astra Taylor grounds modern philosophy in real-life situations. Sun., May 9, 7:30 p.m., free.

SeCreT CiNema Moore College of Art & Design, 20th and Race streets, 215-965-4099, Underworld

More on:

Cinema: the life and Works of J.X. Williams: a retrospective of the

work of the reclusive underground filmmaker, including his most famous work, Peep Show (1965, U.S., 46 min.). Fri., May 7, 8 p.m., $7.

 CheCk out more r e p e r t o r y f i l m l i s t i n g s at C i t y pa p e r . n e t / r e p f i l m .









-Joshua Rothkopf, TIME OUT NY

-Elizabeth Weitzman, NY DAILY NEWS



The more you think about this unusual film, THE MORE FASCINATING IT BECOMES!” -Kenneth Turan, LA TIMES







-Thessaly LaForce, THE NEW YORKER




philaDelphia film SoCieTy


Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut St., Alien (1979, U.S., 96): a mining ship must investigate a possible SOS, but discover some aliens with a saliva problem instead, forcing Ripley (Sigourney

NOW LANDMARK’S RITZ FIVE 214 Walnut Street (Bet. 2nd & 3rd Sts.) or www.landmarktheatres .com PLAYING 215-925-7900

-Kenneth Turan,



-Peter Travers,



The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St., The Magnificent

Trocadero Theater, 1003 Arch St., 215922-LIVE, Dirty Dancing (1987, U.S., 100 min.): Nobody puts baby in the corner. Mon., May 10, 8 p.m., $3 goes toward a drink or snack.

[ movie shorts ]

P h i l a d e l P h i a C i t y Pa P e r | M a y 6 - M a y 1 3 , 2 0 1 0 | C i t y Pa P e r . n e t |

Delivering on the promise director Nash Edgerton displayed in his gleefully nasty short, Spider (which unspools before the feature), The Square alternates between nervous hilarity and gasp-inducing shock. after Carla (Claire van der Boom) discovers her husband’s bag of cash, she gives her married lover, Ray (David Roberts), an ultimatum: Help her steal the dough and escape or she will end their relationship. Injecting mildly violent moments that unnerve Ray, this airtight film becomes more absorbing as obstacles keep him from his morally dubious goal. The Square remains gripping right up to the riveting end — when Edgerton pulls the rug — and the floor — out from under everyone. —Gary M. Kramer (Ritz at the Bourse)

The BalCoNy

Weaver) to kick ass and take names. Screening features a new print of Ridley Scott’s classic. Wed., May 12, 7:30 p.m. $6-$10.

the agenda | food | classifieds

the Girl With the draGon tattoo | B Ritz Five

ema from the 1910s to the ’70s that looks at the effects of drug culture on the movie industry. Fri., May 7, 7 p.m., $5-$8. Red Planet Mars (1952, U.S., 87 min.): a scientist receives a message from a Utopian Mars, but are the dispatches for real? Sat., May 8, 7 p.m., $5-$8. Slaying Goliath & Camden High: See Sam Kaplan’s piece on p. 45. Tue., May 11, 7 p.m., $5-$8. Purvis of Overtown (2006, U.S., 67 min.): after Purvis young learns to paint in prison, he returns to the neighborhood of its youth and transforms it into an outdoor museum. Wed., May 12, 7 p.m., $5-$8.


Ghost Writer | BRitz Five

with roots in hell: a survey of cin-

Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane follow-up follows the fall of a wealthy family. Based on Booth Tarkington’s novel. American Babylon (1987, U.S., 79 min.): In his last film as Richard Mahler, Roger Watkins directs his final pornographic opus about two sexually dysfunctional couples. Thu., May 13, 8 p.m., free.

the naked city | feature

alSo playiNG

Ambersons (1942, U.S., 88 min.):

a&e | feature | the naked city the agenda classifieds | food M a y 6 - M a y 1 3 , 2 0 1 0 | C i t y Pa P e r . n e t

40 | P h i l a d e l P h i a C i t y Pa P e r |


the | May 6 - May 13


[ Your to-do list, no matter what you’re doing ]

By A.D. Amorosi

➤ We love independent promoters here

at Icepack. They’re furry, cute and make squiggly noises. Wait. Might be thinking of Tribbles. OK. We still dig Philly’s indie promoters, especially since they’re being besieged by a proposed City Council bill — 100267 — regarding special assembly occupancies. The bill makes it so local promoters must get permits from the police commish 30 days before each event, create a detailed security plan and maintain order so attendees don’t congregate in a disorderly fashion, amongst other things. That’s strict. Who’s going to the orderly party?! I’ll be writing in upcoming weeks. ➤ Larry Magid is independent since his Electric Factory Concerts parted ways with LiveNation in February. While Magid modestly insists there’s no big news (“yet”— and he wouldn’t confirm or deny rumors that he’s bringing Paul McCartney to A.C. or Philly), he did add that Bryan Dilworth’s new company is booking Electric Factory (gigs with Broken Bells and Hole), but isn’t an outright hire. “I’m just trying to have a little fun and set the future up for some people that’ve been with me for a while by keeping my hand in things,” says Magid, who also brought on Carolyn Kalinoski to do promotions. ➤ Philly noise-king Matt Garfield of Mose Giganticus just signed a contract with the hard-n-heavy Relapse label. Though Gift Horse ain’t getting released till July, Mose’ll mosey to Danger Danger Gallery May 8. ➤ Just ’cause childhood pals Sean Stein and Brett Perloff hate each other now since co-owning Pearl didn’t jive for them, doesn’t mean life stops. Perloff, who sold his interest in Walnut Street’s Strongbox in November ’09, is currently readying an undisclosed-as-yet spot with ex-Denim-dude Wayne Schulick. As for Stein, he and Gary Dorfman open Jake’s Sandwich Board near 12th and Sansom on May 10, where they’ll be roasting pigs whole. ➤ First we heard local comedian Kent Haines — winner of 2008’s Philly’s Phunniest at Sansom Street’s chuckle boite Helium — was leaving town after making a mega-success of himself following 2009’s Comedy Central series Live at Gotham. Sob. Then we heard Helium was heading west. It is, but won’t skip town. Marc Grossman’s opening Helium No. 2 in Portland, Ore. More locales are being considered. ➤ Mad muralist/sketcher Raphael Tiberino’s having a big art show May 7 at Salon Joose on North Third. It’s not just a retrospective of the last 20 years. “The show’ll deal with oil paintings, watercolors, pen, inks and prints from Philly to New York and back again and, of course, comic book pages,” says Tiberino. “It’s going to be a real celebration.” ➤ More ice at (

WRESTLEMANIA: The high-flying Cassandro (center) partners up with doppelganger Mini Cassandro at Lucha VaVOOM. Courtesy of luCha VaVooM

[ let’s get ready to rumble ]

HoocHie coocHie Slam Wrestling. Burlesque. Midgets. Lucha VaVOOM has it all. By Kristen Humbert luCha VaVooM | Fri., May 7, 8 p.m., $24, Trocadero, 1003 Arch St.,



here’s nothing like the promise of seeing tits after a long day of watching race cars. That is what drew men at the Long Beach Grand Prix to Lucha VaVOOM’s stage — that and the masked wrestling. They drooled as the lithe and flexible Karis, VaVOOM’s resident hula-hooper, entertained them during the race. The men salivated as she slowly spun and stripped, until off came her top — revealing that “she” was really a “he.” Transforming expectations is the nature of Lucha VaVOOM. With a handful of 15-minute lucha libre-style masked matches, complemented by burlesque and narrated by a rotation of fringe comedians, VaVOOM fills a campy niche all its own. It stems from the visions of founders, Liz Fairbairn and Rita D’albert. Both women share a musical background. Fairbairn managed costumed metal-ers GWaR and was once a member of Polkacide, a hardcore polka band. D’albert played guitar for ’80s girl group The Pandoras. Neither foresaw a future filled with fighting rings. But Fairbairn fell for a lucha libre wrestler, or luchador, who ignited her passion for the sport. She roped in D’albert, who was then performing burlesque, and VaVOOM was born.

The show has played to packed houses since 2002, when the two found a home at L.a.’s Mayan Theatre. The most telling attendees, claims Fairbairn, are the loyal lucha libre fans. “The quality of the wrestlers is really good,” she says, “unlike some of these hybrid entertainment shows — they have just some hack with a mask on. But our guys are actual trained Mexican wrestlers.” Like their american WWE cousins, luchadores have larger-thanlife characters, such as Dirty Sanchez and the Crazy Chickens, yet the focus is on acrobatics as they perform riskier maneuvers such as high-dives. Not to be outshone, VaVOOM’s burlesque acts include big names like New york aerialists the Wau Wau Sisters, who will be on the bill in Philly. Hosting will be comedian Blaine Capatch, a former writer for Blue Collar TV. D’albert believes that talent trumps cliché — always a risk when you’re balancing transgendered performers, nearly nude dancers, oh, and did we mention “mini” luchadores? “Mini wrestlers are actually great wrestlers,” says D’albert. “In Mexico, they’re just people. It’s not like, ‘Oh look! It’s midget tossing!’” as for the burlesque dancers, D’albert says, “They are not people pandering to the crowd. They’re doing an amazing act that just happens to involve stripping.” What pleases D’albert most is the response to the transgendered performers. “you see Karis and you see guys in the audience go, ‘Oh my God, that’s the hottest chick. I’m going to hit that!’” D’albert says. “Then afterward, they go, ‘you know, I still would.’ ” She adds, “He’s the prettiest girl in the show.” (

“Oh look! It’s midget tossing!”

claimed “Pitbull of Comedy” has appeared in films such as “Dreamgirls” and “Get Shorty.” Bobby Slayton Thu, May 6, 8 pm; Fri-Sat, May 7-8, 8 &10:30 pm; $15-$30, Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom St., 215-496-9001. Q THE N CROWD DOUBLE HEADER Short-form improv comedy

from the Philly mainstays (special double-header show). Fri, May 7, 8pm, $10-$15, The Actors Center, 257 N. 3rd St., 215-925-7060. Q TOM PAPA The “Marriage Ref”

host has appeared on late night television and in feature films. Thu, May 13, 8pm; Fri-Sat, 14-15, 8 & 10:30pm, $20-$30, Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom St., 215-4969001.


discussion that features talks by three religious leaders about the value of prayer in handling family issues. Thu, May 13, 7-9pm, FREE, Settlement Music School, Mary Louise Curtis Branch, 419 Queen St., 646-233-4102. Q FRIENDS OF ELWYN BALL Help


Latin Roots and Rhythms Festival kicks off with performances by ensemble Latin Viesta and dancer Tomas Dura. Fri, May 7, 8-10pm, $17, Nueva Esperanza Academy Charter School, 301 W. Hunting Park Ave., 215-457-3667. Q LATIN ROOTS AND RHYTHMS FESTIVAL: SATURDAY From noon

to 5 p.m., the festival will feature a Latino street fair with food, music and workshops. At 5, Kulu Mele West African Dance Ensemble and Raices de Borrinquen/Familia Rojas will perform. At 8, flamenco troupes Pasion y Arte and Flamenco Ole will perform. Sat, May 8, noon-10pm, $25, Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, 601 N. Lansdowne Ave., Drexel Hill, 610-622-1189. Q LATIN ROOTS AND RHYTHMS FESTIVAL: SUNDAY Celebrate

professors and students and learn about the Rutgers MBA program. Tue, May 11, 5:30-7pm, FREE, Rutgers-Camden University, 303 Cooper St., Camden, NJ, 856-2251766. Q WALL BALL 2010 The Mural

Arts Program hosts its annual Wall Ball fundraiser. Ball features cocktails, food, a silent auction and mural-painting. Thu, May 6, 6-9:30pm, $200-$500, Loews Philadelphia Hotel, 1200 Market St., 215-627-1200.

✚ GALLERIES Galleries are usually open Tuesdays through Saturdays; please call the gallery for exact days and hours. Receptions are denoted by a *. Q 3RD STREET GALLERY, 58

N. 2nd St., 215-625-0993. NEW WORKS , Features new oil works by Edwina Brennan. Runs through May 30. Opening reception Fri, May 7, 5-9pm *. REALISTIC/IMAGINARY PHOTOGRAPHS, Features photos by Ruth Humpton with various themes and color patterns. Runs through May 30. Opening reception Fri, May 7, 5-9pm *



601 W. Allens Lane, 215-248-0546. CARPENTER’S WOODS, Features Linda Fry Goschke’s photographs of the titular Mount Airy park, highlighting its varied bird population. Runs through Jun. 11. Opening reception Fri, May 7, 6-9pm * Q BAMBI GALLERY, 1001-13

N. 2nd St., 267-319-1374. DEAD RECKONING, Features sketches by Matt Osborn. Humorous and bizarre images comment on everyday happenings. Runs through May 30. Opening reception Fri, May 7, 6-10pm * . HOW’S MY DRIVING? Features tapestries by Erin M. Riley. With a penchant for cars, Riley’s work is colorful and echoes photographs. Runs through May 30. Opening reception Fri, May 7, 6-10pm * Q LGTRIPP GALLERY, 47-49 N. 2nd

Street, 215-923-3110. SPECTRAL VARIANTS, Features geometric mosaics by Paul Fabozzi and Seonglan Kim Boyce. Inspired by the mathematics and observations of everyday life. Runs through May 29. First Friday reception Fri, May 7, 6-8:30pm * Q LEEWAY FOUNDATION, 1315 Walnut St., 215-545-4078. SHOUTS FROM THE WALL, Features about 50 limited-edition prints, posters and apparel by members of Taller Tupac Amaru, an Oakland-based political artist collective; members of the Philadelphia-based collective, RECLAIM: Silk Screen Production and Community Workshop; and individual local artists. Runs through June 25. Q LOCKS GALLERY, 600 Wash-

ington Square S., 215-629-1000. NEW LIGHT, Features a group of artists utilizing light and reflections in their paintings. Runs through



Mother’s Day with Casa de Venezuela and Ensemble A Contratiempo. Sun, May 9, 3pm, $17, Nueva Esperanza Academy Charter

OPEN HOUSE Meet with Rutgers

P H I L A D E L P H I A C I T Y PA P E R | M A Y 6 - M A Y 1 3 , 2 0 1 0 | C I T Y PA P E R . N E T |

children and adults with disabilities by attending this fundraising ball, which features food by Tom Kribel, an open bar, wine, cheese and live music. Fri., May 7, 6:45-11:45pm, $300, Loews Philadelphia Hotel, 1200 Market St., 215-627-1200.


food | classifieds

Q BOBBY SLAYTON The self-pro-

School, 301 W. Hunting Park Ave., 215-457-3667.

the agenda


[ the agenda ]

the naked city | feature | a&e


Submit information by mail (City Paper Listings, 123 Chestnut St., Third Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106), e-mail (listings@citypaper. net) or fax (215-599-0634) to Molly Eichel. Include details of the event, dates, times, address of venue, telephone number and admission price, if any. Listings must be received at least 10 days in advance of publication. Incomplete submissions will not be considered, and listings information will not be accepted over the phone. movie passes, concert tickets, dvds and more!

 AgenDA picks [ so bad, it’s awesome ]

➤ Birdemic: Shock and Terror Birdemic: Shock and Terror is most likely the worst movie you’ll ever watch. And that’s exactly why it’s a must-see. The made-for-midnight film is about a couple trying to survive a bloody attack by malicious birdies. But this ain’t no Hitchcock (although it touts a Tippi Hedren cameo, it’s really just archival footage). The trailer shows actors who make Taylor Lautner look like John-Goddamn-Gielgud and the best CGI birds a $10,000 budget can buy. All reports say director James Nguyen didn’t mean for Birdemic to be a so-bad-it’s-good cult classic but has since embraced his film’s inherent hilarity. How could he not with a movie this fowl (Everybody now: groan)? Sat., May 8, 11:59 p.m., $9, Ritz East, 125 S. Second St., 215-925-2501, —Molly Eichel

215-238-1236. FaIR OPHELIa, Features photography and video art by Julianna Foster and Lori Spence as they re-examine and create an original depiction of Ophelia from “Hamlet.” Runs through May 30. First Friday reception Fri, May 7, 6pm, *. OWNING CaTS, Features mixedmedia works by Gabriel Boyce. Runs through May 30. First Friday reception Fri, May 7, 6pm, *. THE SUN ROOM, Features photographs by Bryan Graf that explore the relationship between photography and environment. Runs through May 30. First Friday reception Fri, May 7, 6pm, * n WeXler Gallery, 201 N.

3rd St., 215-923-7030. THOMaS HUCKER aND THOMaS HUaNG, Features furniture in many artistic forms, including various weaving patterns. Runs through June 26. Opening reception Fri, May 7, 5-8pm, *


[ make the homies say ho! ]

➤ rock/pop

➤ aqua Teen hunger Force Live

THuRsDAY 5/6 n BrOther deGe with Skeleton-

breath, The absinthe Drinkers & yuri Gohen, 9pm, $8, M Room, 15 W. Girard ave., 215-739-5577. n BrOther hiJinX, 9:30pm, Free, Triumph Brewing Co., 400

Union Square, New Hope, 215-8628300. n enGliSh Beat, 8pm, $33, Sell-

ersville Theater 1894, 24 W. Temple ave., Sellersville, 215-257-5808. n eOtO with Sub Swara & Ryat,

10pm, $15, World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St., 215-222-1400. n FantaSy SQUare Garden

with The Prigs, OudBlues & Monuments, 9pm, $10, Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford ave., 877-4359849. n hair rOCKet with The Dan-

[ tmi ]

villes, 9pm, $8, Khyber, 56 S. 2nd St., 215-238-5888.

➤ spiLLing YouR guTs AT FiRsT peRson ARTs

n hiM, 7pm, $33, House of Blues, 801 Boardwalk ave., atlantic City, NJ, 609-236-2583.

Breakups, hookups, questionable decisions, public mistakes: Nothing is off-limits in this world of digital oversharing. At what point does full disclosure become too much? Three writers — former Gawker editor Emily Gould, whose outspoken blogging has created controversy with her blunt discussions of celebrity, media and overt sexuality; local writer Liz Spikol; and graphic artist Emily Steinberg — will discuss the changing nature of the personal and the public, all hosted by media psychologist Judith Sills. Audience members can get in on it, too, by anonymously writing down their secrets (a la PostSecret) to be distributed and read aloud during the event. Tue., May 11, 7:30 p.m., $10, Arts Bank, 601 S. Broad St., 267-402-2055, —Alexandra Harcharek

& young the Giant, 7:30pm, $18.50$21, Trocadero, 1003 arch St., 215-922-5483. n OnUFraK with Mighty Chondria

& Even Man Out, 8pm, $8, North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St., 215-6840808. n OUr laSt niGht with John

Fonda, With Life In Mind & Texas In July, 6:30pm, $12, Barbary, 951 Frankford ave., 215-423-8342. n POPi with Head of Command,

Sam Doom, Inmyj & TasRokit, 9pm,

Jones & Big Terrible, 9pm, $8, Khyber, 56 S. 2nd St., 215-238-5888. n BeaCh hOUSe with Washed

Out, 8pm, First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., 877-435-9849. n deCaP attaCK with Throne

From Loyalty, 9pm, Free, Millcreek Tavern, 4200 Chester ave., 215222-9194. n dUnGeOn’S MUSiC Philly UnderGrOUnd with Frank Cer-

vantes, Tony Cooksey, How’s Never & Joshua Kruse, 9pm, $5-$8, Tritone, 1508 South St., 215-545-0475. n GanG Green with Loafass,

Bucket Flush & Hate and War, 9pm, $10, M Room, 15 W. Girard ave., 215-739-5577. n GrandChildren with TJ Kong

and the atomic Bomb, The Chimeras & Skeletonbreath, 9pm, $10, Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford ave., 877-435-9849. n JiM hOPPer, 6:45pm, $75, House of Blues, 801 Boardwalk ave., atlantic City, NJ, 609-236-2583. n JUlian Velard with andrew

Vladeck, 7:30pm, $12, Tin angel, 20 S. 2nd St., 215-928-0770. n MarK KnOPFler, 8pm, $39-

$95, Tower Theater, 19 S. 69th St., Upper Darby, 610-352-2887. n taylOr haWKinS and the COattail riderS with Lovedrug

& Metropolis america, 9pm, $15$17, The Note, 142 E. Market St., West Chester, 800-594-8499. n the JOy FOrMidaBle with

The Dig, 7pm, $5, Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., 215-291-4919. n the MiChael ChanCe Band

with Winslow, 8-11pm, $10-$10, Puck, 85 Printers alley, Doylestown, 215-348-9000. n the POWderKeGS with Nohow

On, Galaxy of Tar, Walkin In Monologues & Urban Fetch, 9pm, $7, Fire, 412 W. Girard ave., 267-671-9298. n the rOWdieS with yes Way, Ted!

& Seraph In Travail, 7pm, $7, Fire, 412 W. Girard ave., 267-671-9298. n Walter SChreiFelS with Like

a Fox & Lowry, 9pm, $10, North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St., 215-684-0808.

sATuRDAY 5/8 n aQUalUnG, 8pm, $8-$25, World

Café Live, 3025 Walnut St., 215222-1400. n Giant Mind with Pete Staff and

the Oxford Circus, The Lawsuits, Sky Ship, Down, Beast! Criminals Hate answering Machines, Larry Saklad & Rasan allbritton, 6:30pm, $8, M Room, 15 W. Girard ave., 215739-5577. n iKe reilly aSSaSSinatiOn

with Mean Streets & Hey angel, 9pm, $10, Khyber, 56 S. 2nd St., 215-238-5888. n JC BrOOKS and the UPtOWn SOUnd with The New

Motels & The Rebel yell, 9pm, $10, North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St.,


>>> continued on page 45

n MinUS the Bear with Everest

n alriGht, JUniOr with Desoto

P h i l a d e l P h i a C i t y Pa P e r | M a y 6 - M a y 1 3 , 2 0 1 0 | C i t y Pa P e r . n e t |

As if Aqua Teen Hunger Force couldn’t get any weirder, the Adult Swim ’toon has stepped through the TV and made it to 3-D. After the live-action episode last May, creators Dana Snyder and Dave Willis decided to take the show on the road. The live version features everyone’s favorite characters — minus Frylock because, according to their website, “He wanted too much money.” But Shake and Meatwad will be there with Carl in all his hairy-shouldered grossness. Expect silly segments like “America’s Next Top Meatwad.” Admit it, you always wanted to hang with those foulmouthed Jersey creatures. This is as close as you’re going to get to wading in Carl’s pool. Sat., May 8, 8 p.m., $24, Trocadero, 1003 Arch St., 215-3362000, —Julia West

FRiDAY 5/7

food | classifieds

n VOX POPUli, 319 N. 11th St.,

$7, Fire, 412 W. Girard ave., 267671-9298.

the agenda

n Salt art Gallery, 212 Race St., 215-939-7426. REaWaKENED SPRING, Features the works of Chris Clark, Eve Biddle, Pete Zebley and Denise Fike, who use vivid lines and bold colors. Runs through May 7.

[ the agenda ]

the naked city | feature | a&e

May 28. First Friday reception Fri, May 7, 5:30pm, *. 1968, Features art that thematically celebrates the gallery’s opening year. Media includes car parts, Plexiglas and other unusual tools. Runs through May 28. First Friday reception Fri, May 7, 5:30pm *


Single? What are you waiting for?

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• Concerts • Comedy Nights • Wine Tastings

• Boating • Travel • Horseback Rides

888-600-5999 or visit us online at

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56 South 2nd St.


Open everyday 5p-2a Kitchen Open All Night Happy Hour Everyday 5p-7p


Hair rocket


The Danvilles (f/Mike from the Bravery) Nikki and The Weeps Solved with Science FRIDAY 9PM


Alright, Junior Desoto Jones, Big Terrible First Friday Art Show (upstairs) featuring work by: Chris Stubbe, Willie Alsedek, Sarah Cassano, Mary Varnier, Marie Stavrovsky & Jeff from Vose! SATURDAY 9PM


Mean Streets, Hey Angel MONDAY 8PM

Friday, May 7 Scrappy Happy Time 6pm Hired Guns Blues Band 10pm

Vose (CD Release)

Saturday, May 8 Traditional Irish Music Session 4pm Troubaduo 10pm

ike reilly assassination

Book Your Next Party at Fergie’s! Graduation, Birthday, Anniversary

cHip cHantry’s one Man sHow (w/special guests)

Monday Nights Best Open Mic in Town 9:30pm

An Evening of Stand Up, Sketch & Musical Comedy. Khyber Karaoke w/ Party Peter (immediately following Chip Chantry)

## #%

Tuesdays & Thursdays Quizzo: Pub Quiz 9:30pm


Blinded passenger

No Cover Downstairs!


Busses (Record Release Show) Imperial China Corey Duncan (of Oh! Pears) Jeff Zeigler (of Arc in Round)

215.238.5888 WWW.THEkHYBER.COM


up Therapy Bar








Hip Hop on the Main Floor House Music on The Roof


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Latin Night/Free Lessons On the Main Floor Mixed Music on The Roof


Hip Hop on the Main Floor w/Strength Dance Competition/ Pole Dancing Oldies Music on The Roof


FREE, 21+

Continuation of Center City Sips 5p-7p Hip Hop on the Roof & Main Floor

1214 Sansom St. 215-928-8118

116 S.18 th Street 215-568-1020



Wired 96.5 on the Main Floor House Music on The Roof Thursday Birthday - bottle of champagne and cake on the house!

the agenda | a&e | feature | the naked city food classifieds



portioncontrol By Drew Lazor

of slice and men

48 | P h i l a d e l P h i a C i t y Pa P e r |

M a y 6 - M a y 1 3 , 2 0 1 0 | C i t y Pa P e r . n e t

➤ Brian Dwyer knew he was on to some-

thing when complete strangers started showing up at his work bearing gifts. The artist, who along with Chris Powell has organized “Give Pizza Chance” — he believes it’s Philly’s first pizza art show — recently received an e-mail from an unfamiliar guy. He’d heard about the show on the Web and wanted to get a piece in; Dwyer told him to meet him at his job at Trader Joe’s. The guy walked in toting a box top from a Ray’s Pizza in NYC, the crown logo worked into a snarling Rat Fink. He handed it over. “[I said], ‘Thanks, pizza brother,’” Dwyer recalls. “He says, ‘Pizza brothers for life,’ and just walks out.” It’s hard to imagine such a sincere anonymous interaction taking place if Dwyer were in the curatorial weeds of an exhibit focused on, say, STDs. His favorite food had long struck the 25-year-old as a realm ready to be mined for expression. Pizza, or, as Dwyer dubs it, “the official sponsor of creative people the world over,” has served as muse for more than 25 artists who’ll display work at the Rocket Cat Café starting Friday. The sheer expanse of media is beefier than an extra-large Meat Lover’s. Dwyer and Powell (drummer for Man Man and Need New Body) collaborated on an interactive “pizza wall” complete with laminated toppings. There are pizzafied prints, tees, afghans, line drawings, watercolors. Janet Kotz and welder Matt Shiley have teamed up to construct a giant pizza clock with toppings for numbers and slices for hands. Joshua Boyd Taylor has even created a small model pizza, dipped it in resin, coated it in amber and stuck it on the end of a bamboo cane for a work titled “Jurassic Pizza.” “It’s pretty high-concept stuff, ” says Dwyer, who counts Lazaro’s, Rustica and Lorenzo’s among his favorites. Rustica, in fact, is a sponsor and providing free pies. Dwyer stresses that people should come early if they want to witness a special surprise which “may or may not involve skateboards.” Both Powell and Dwyer are confident that the show will become annual, even if they don’t collect a lot of dough. “We’re spending our own money from our own bank accounts to have a pizza party,” says Dwyer, “because it needs to happen.” (  “Give Pizza Chance” opening party Fri., May 7, 6

p.m., free, through May 31, free, Rocket Cat Café, 2001 Frankford Ave., 215-739-4526,

SALAD DAYS: Lyonnaise duck salad is just one of a gang of excellent plates at Garces Trading Co., where Jose Garces has once again succeeded in nailing a non-Latin concept. neal santos

[ review ]

Trader Jose Philly’s Iron Chef further expands his territory with Garces Trading Co. By Trey Popp GarCes tradinG Co. | 1111 Locust St., 215-574-1099, garcestrading- Open daily, 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Cheese, $6; charcuterie, $8-$11; antipasti, soups, salads, $5-$11; pizza, $12-$24; pasta, $10-$28; grilled fare, $22$28; plats du jour (for two), $28-$45; desserts, $2.50-$6. Wheelchair accessible.


at Buchanan speared a fractal tuft of frisee from his Lyonnaise duck salad, catching a bacon lardon in its springy kinks. “you’ve got a wholesale invasion,” he was saying, “the greatest invasion in human history, coming across your southern border, changing the composition and character of your counMore on: try.” The chicory crunched between his molars, slipping slightly where a poached egg yolk had slicked the white-green shoots. “Look,” he went on. “They’ve got their own language, their own culture. They don’t want to be americans.” Bill O’Reilly took his eyes off a grilled pork chop to scope the deep-dish pizza. It’s the liberals, he declared. “They, under the guise of being compassionate, want to flood the country with foreign nationals, unlimited — unlimited! — to change the complexion, pardon the pun, of america.” O’Reilly went for the pizza. The roasted San Marzanos here are as concentrated as tomato

preserves packed during an august heat wave. a drop of olive oil glistened for a moment on the crease between his lips. “That’s where Pat Buchanan is right. you let that happen, there’s no more United States of america. It’s gone.” OK, OK. The McLaughlin/Crossfire/Factor circus didn’t actually come to Jose Garces’ latest to make wild-eyed predictions about an anglo-Hispanic culture-clash cage fight. Those quotes date from 2007, the last time the punditry worked itself into a lather over immigration reform. But if the Senate really does intend to kick off another round of foaming at the mouth, wouldn’t it be beautiful if Garces Trading Co. catered the floor debate? Cuisine is culture, and Garces keeps proving that there is no limit to his talent for assimilation. Fast on the heels of Village Whiskey, Garces has served up another non-Latin venue. Garces Trading Co. basically embodies the american idea of a Euro-style café-cum-gourmet shop. more food and Characteristically, the restaurateur nails drink coverage the vibe, all the way to the Dansko clogs at c i t y p a p e r . n e t / beneath the host’s charcoal suit. m e a lt i c k e t. The well-stocked cheese counter is one way to go at Garces Trading Co., but there are better values elsewhere. For starters, the boutique wine shop managed by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the first PLCB outlet wholly contained within a restaurant. Competing restaurateurs must be gritting their teeth over this partnership. With operating hours that more or less mirror those of GTC’s kitchen, the wine shop blurs Philadelphia’s ByO line in the most advantageous and customer-friendly way possible. The selection is trim by retail standards but expansive compared >>> continued on adjacent page

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Philadelphia City Paper, May 6th, 2010  

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