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Publisher Nancy Stuski Editor in Chief Lillian Swanson Senior Editor Patrick Rapa Arts Editor/Copy Chief Emily Guendelsberger Digital Media Editor/Movies Editor Paulina Reso Food Editor/Listings Editor Caroline Russock Senior Staff Writer Daniel Denvir Staff Writer Ryan Briggs Copy Editor Carolyn Wyman Associate Web Producer Carly Szkaradnik Contributors Sam Adams, Dotun Akintoye, A.D. Amorosi, Rodney Anonymous, Mary Armstrong, Meg Augustin, Bryan Bierman, Shaun Brady, Peter Burwasser, Mark Cofta, Alison Dell, Adam Erace, David Anthony Fox, Caitlin Goodman, K. Ross Hoffman, Deni Kasrel, Alli Katz, Gary M. Kramer, Drew Lazor, Gair â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dev 79â&#x20AC;? Marking, Robert McCormick, Andrew Milner, Annette Monnier, John Morrison, Michael Pelusi, Sameer Rao, Elliott Sharp, Marc Snitzer, Tom Tomorrow, John Vettese, Nikki Volpicelli, Brian Wilensky Editorial Interns John Corrigan, Taylor Farnsworth, Melvin Hayes, Sara Patterson, Brooks Phelps, Julie Zeglen Production Director Michael Polimeno Editorial Art Director Reseca Peskin Senior Designer Evan M. Lopez Editorial Designers Brenna Adams, Jenni Betz Staff Photographer Neal Santos Contributing Photographers Jessica Kourkounis, Mark Stehle Contributing Illustrators Ryan Casey, Don Haring Jr., Joel Kimmel, Cameron K. Lewis, Thomas Pitilli, Matthew Smith Human Resources Ron Scully (ext. 210) Circulation Director Mark Burkert (ext. 239) Sales & Marketing Manager Katherine Siravo (ext. 251) Account Managers Colette Alexandre (ext. 250), Nick Cavanaugh (ext. 260), Amanda Gambier (ext. 228), Sharon MacWilliams (ext. 262), Megan Musser (ext. 215), Stephan Sitzai (ext. 258) Office Coordinator/Adult Advertising Sales Alexis Pierce (ext. 234) Founder & Editor Emeritus Bruce Schimmel

citypaper.net 30 South 15th Street, Fourteenth Floor, Phila., PA 19102. 215-735-8444, Tip Line 215-735-8444 ext. 241, Listings Fax 215-875-1800, Advertising Fax 215-735-8535, Subscriptions 215-735-8444 ext. 235 Philadelphia City Paper is published and distributed every Thursday in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, Bucks & Delaware Counties, in South Jersey and in Northern Delaware. Philadelphia City Paper is available free of charge, limited to one copy per reader. Additional copies may be purchased from our main office at $1 per copy. No person may, without prior written permission from Philadelphia City Paper, take more than one copy of each issue. Pennsylvania law prohibits any person from inserting printed material of any kind into any newspaper without the consent of the owner or publisher. Contents copyright Š 2013, Philadelphia City Paper. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Philadelphia City Paper assumes no obligation (other than cancellation of charges for actual space occupied) for accidental errors in advertising, but will be glad to furnish a signed letter to the buying public.

contents People Who Died, see p. 8

Naked City ...................................................................................4 A&E................................................................................................14 Movies.........................................................................................18 Agenda........................................................................................20 Food ..............................................................................................25 COVER ILLUSTRATION BY CAMERON K. LEWIS

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naked

the

city

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

[ - 4]

The Phillies sign a 25-year TV deal with Comcast SportsNet. So now we all have to do the same.

[ -2 ]

North Philly residents complain that their neighbors dump feces outside and live in dangerous conditions. And West Philly residents do not.

[ -2 ]

Northeast Philly residents report smelling a noxious odor. And South Philly residents do not.

[ 0]

The New York Times runs an opinion piece warning NFL teams not to pick up Michael Vick if the Eagles release him in the offseason because of his dogfighting past. It was written by your uncle, who’s about six months away from a hoarding intervention.

[ 0]

[ 0]

Experts say the Rittenhouse Square building that’s currently home to Anthropologie could sell for $35 million. Or $12 million, if you remove all the decorative pillows. Disgraced Monsignor William Lynn is said to have lost 80 pounds while serving 18 months in prison. In his latest op-ed for the Times, your hoarder uncle praises Lynn’s dedication to fitness, but says churches should think twice before hiring the man to be their priest.

[ + 2 ] The Free Library buys the Rosenbach Mus-

eum and renames it the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation. Bell Curve predicts the following sequence of name changes:The Fillmore at the Rosenbach (three months),The Rosen (11 months) and, finally, Anthropologie (ad infinitum).

[ -1 ]

A grocer in Haverford is stung by a scorpion that stowed away in a shipment of bananas from Honduras. “Uh, yeah, that’s one way to look at it,” says scorpion. “You could also be, like, ‘Innocent scorpion who was just chillin’ on a banana suddenly gets dropped a thousand miles from his mom and dad and little sister and is understandably a little agitated.’”

This week’s total: -7 | Last week’s total: -4 4 | P H I L A D E L P H I A C I T Y PA P E R |

BOARDED UP: These four blighted properties on the 5000 block of Baltimore Avenue have remained vacant. NEAL SANTOS

[ development ]

MISSING LINK One block of Baltimore Avenue could connect West Philly’s biggest commercial strips, but neighbors say a nonprofit keeps blocking the road. By Ryan Briggs he corner of 51st Street and Baltimore Avenue is a confusingly troubled intersection. It could act as a bridge between 52nd Street — the biggest commercial strip in West Philadelphia — and the thriving neighborhoods to the east. Instead, there’s dozens of empty lots and boarded-up buildings. It’s difficult to look at the emptiness and not wonder, “What happened?” Some neighbors say that the politically connected nonprofit Baltimore Avenue Redevelopment Corporation (BARC) is what happened. BARC’s string of ever-changing plans for the vacant properties, backed by the threat of eminent-domain seizure, have scared serious investors off the block for more than a decade, they say. Now, it’s rumored that BARC has asked the city to seize even more private land. The possibility of private development at 51st and Baltimore seemed unlikely 17 years ago, when this all started. But the Rev. Joseph D. Patterson of Hickman Temple A.M.E., a church that still towers over the block, saw opportunity in the blight. In 1996, he proposed a daring plan. In it, the city would con-

T

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demn nearly all the properties opposite the church, then transfer the land to BARC, the nonprofit Patterson had founded just that year. BARC would transform the land into a combination medical center and pharmacy, to be leased by nearby Mercy Hospital. The city would get more medical options to an underserved area, and Patterson’s nonprofit and church would get the rent money. Patterson, the influential president of the Philadelphia Black Clergy at the time, had the ear of many politicians — Rep. Chaka Fattah announced Patterson’s retirement to Congress. Within a year, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell was on board, steering nine private lots and millions in subsidies to BARC. But the plan might have been a little too ambitious: One property owner resisted the eminent-domain process for years, and financing proved tricky. Ultimately, the pharmacy was dropped, and a large parking lot and seemingly superfluous side yard added to the center. Still, it was something positive on a block that had been left to rot. The Samuel J. Patterson Wellness Center — named for the Reverend’s father — opened in 1998. “Our vision had always been to provide medical services to those residents in this medically underserved area,” said Dr. Benjamin Smallwood, BARC’s current president, in a recent phone interview. “That’s always been the vision. It’s never changed.”

The threat of eminent domain scared investors.

>>> continued on page 6


[ is thinking about free speech ] ✚ WILL NEW DILWORTH PLAZA RESTRICT PROTESTS? Occupy Philly protesters were not happy in November 2011 when they were evicted from the large concrete apron in front of City Hall known as Dilworth Plaza to make room for a $55 million renovation that includes an ice-skating rink, cafe and other improvements. Some demonstrators denounced the project as a playground for the 1 percent and questioned the leasing of the public space to the private Center City District. Many, however, ultimately concluded that the weathered wasteland could use a facelift. Plus, the assigned federal monies could not be repurposed. But one slide in a March 2011 Center City District presentation, overlooked until now, would certainly have given protesters pause: On City Hall’s north side, there is a plan for a “Speakers’ Corner,” riffing on the original in London’s Hyde Park.

“The design of the Plaza contemplates incorporating a ‘Free Speech Zone’ on the north apron of City Hall, much like the area on Independence Mall designated for the exercise of free speech,” Paul Levy, CEO of the Center City District, wrote

in an e-mail. “We are seeking to balance all related interests with the programming and public events that will occur with

great frequency in this renewed public space.” There’s a strain of European mimicry in Philadelphia, but it generally takes a Francophile bent: Witness the

Rittenhouse bistro Parc, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway obliterating a streetscape in favor of a frail homage to Paris’ Champs-

feedback

NEAL SANTOS

[ a million stories ]

From our readers

Élysées, and Bart Blatstein’s proposed “Provence” casino on North Broad Street. Add to that City Hall, the Free Library and Family Court, which are all inspired by Parisian originals. But the Dilworth Speakers’ Corner has implications far beyond the aesthetic.

Free-speech advocates typically malign free-speech zones, which have proliferated in recent years, as measures to restrict and contain free speech — the zone at Independence Mall very much included. In 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that the U.S. Park Service had violated the First Amendment rights of an anti-abortion activist when it ordered him to relocate his protest from the Liberty Bell’s entrance to a designated “free speech area.” >>> continued on page 7

photostream ➤ submit to photostream@citypaper.net

JUST ADD MUSTARD: The monument in Manayunk’s Pretzel Park casts a sharp shadow on the snow. Laila Seseg Chakars, a second grader at Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School, took this image Jan. 3 while enjoying a snow day off from school. LAILA SESEG CHAKARS

WHO BENEFITS FROM TAX ABATEMENTS? As Daniel Denvir notes in his terrific column, “How the Rich Stole Christmas” [Hostile Witness, Dec. 26, 2013], property-tax abatements will cost city schools nearly $50 million in lost tax revenue in 2014 alone. Public school students suffer, but who benefits? Wealthy former Main Liners and Manhattanites, who are trying to escape the boredom of people exactly like themselves by moving to luxury lofts occupied by more people exactly like themselves, benefit from residential tax abatements. Property-tax-free occupants of Symphony House, Waterfront Square, the Ritz-Carlton, and Dockside can commute to and from work or other Center City destinations via courtesy shuttles in order to avoid any unwanted contact with working- or middle-class Philadelphians or their sidewalks, underscoring that wealth doesn’t trickle down to the community if it doesn’t enter the community. As for the trickle-down effect of corporate welfare on the surrounding community, this theory has already been debunked in the context of publicly funded sports stadiums. See, for example, the work of John Siegfried and Andrew Zimbalist (www.uwlax. edu/faculty/anderson/micro-principles/stadiums. pdf) in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, which concludes that “there is virtually no evidence of any perceptible economic development benefits from sports teams or stadiums.” Why would giving $28.8 million worth of tax breaks to Comcast lead to a different result? (Incidentally, Comcast’s 2012 revenue: $62.5 billion.The Philadelphia Eagles’ 2012 revenue: $306 million. I guess our collective subsidy for Shady McCoy is a bargain.) Tax abatements must end, effective immediately. If Philadelphians who have both resources and souls want to refocus them on a year-round effort that extends beyond Philabundance donations at the holidays, try unionizing the South (and South India) to give corporations one fewer excuse not to do business here once we stop “incentivizing” them so lavishly and unnecessarily. Hop Wechsler O A K LY N , N . J . ✚ We welcome and encourage your feedback. Mail letters to Feedback, City Paper, 30 S. 15th St., 14th floor, Phila., PA 19102, or email editorial@citypaper.net or comment online at citypaper.net. Submissions may be edited for clarity and space.

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[ the naked city ]

✚ Missing Link

Sean Dorn, who owns a variety store across the street from the wellness center, says that’s not entirely true. In 2005, he says, BARC tried to get the other side of the 5000 block of Baltimore — the side containing Hickman Temple and his store — certified as “blighted” in hopes of eventually building a massive charter school. Dorn says that idea fizzled, but added that BARC has sought other land in the area for other tangential ideas. “At one time, they had a three-fold brochure showing some kind of seven- or eight-story building at [51st and Baltimore],” said Dorn. “It mentioned job-training centers, senior centers and a bunch of vague social services.” Keith Brown, a business owner on that corner, says BARC tried to have his automotive shop and four dilapidated storefronts condemned around 2010 for a second charter-school proposal. “They just came up one day with someone from L&I and started posting up orange stickers that said ‘condemned,’” said Brown, who has owned a business in West Philadelphia for 26 years. “I was so mad, I went to straight to City Council.” After Brown confronted Blackwell, he says, his property was eventually struck from the condemnation list. But the threat of eminent domain still hangs over the four storefronts, two of which were recently sold to new owners. “You’re going to tell these people that are trying to start businesses to leave because this church wants a school?” said Brown. “It’s about money. I don’t even understand why a church has to make more money when they’re supposed to be a religious entity.” The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA), which handles condemnation and eminent-domain proceedings, says BARC has asked them to condemn the buildings on the 5000 block for other projects more than once over the years — most recently in July. “They approached the Authority about six months ago with a new proposal to expand the [wellness center], add more parking and build student housing,” said Tracy Pinson-Reviere, a project manager for the PRA. Pinson-Reviere says the PRA is considering the plan, but that condemnation was “not definite.” Confusingly, Smallwood suggested that BARC’s latest proposal may have already fizzled. “Because of the Affordable Care Act, we believed that there was a demand for medical space for medical practitioners,” Smallwood says. But with the rollout of Obamacare going less than smoothly and a 50-percent vacancy rate in the existing wellness center, the expansion is “in flux.” BARC would nevertheless like to acquire the four buildings next to Brown’s auto shop for some future project, says Smallwood, despite the two new owners. “I don’t understand how four buildings that 6 | P H I L A D E L P H I A C I T Y PA P E R |

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NEAL SANTOS

<<< continued from page 4

Keith Brown

are falling down could have anything to do with any development,” he said. “Some of them don’t have any roofs, some have no backs. I don’t see how you can renovate them.” One, 5042 Baltimore Ave., was, in fact, being renovated until recently. Mahari Bailey, who owns a café and salon on 52nd Street, had installed new windows and stabilized the precarious building. But no longer: He listed the partially completed building for sale last month. Bailey declined to be interviewed, but an associate said Bailey had complained about “threatening behavior” from city building inspectors since he’d purchased the property — just five days after the date of sale last July, Bailey received a citation from L&I. The source believed this was evidence that Bailey was being pressured to unload the property. With Bailey’s renovations halted and the latest BARC plan apparently not going anywhere, Brown and Dorn can only contemplate the eyesore across the street from the windows of their respective businesses. What happened? “The more I’m around this block and find out its history, the more I’m convinced the reason it doesn’t look like [other blocks] is precisely because of the eminentdomain plans continually scaring away everyone who would have fixed it up,” said Dorn. (ryan.briggs@citypaper.net)


[ the naked city ]

✚ a million stories <<< continued from page 5

The city says the same permit requirements will remain in place. The court, which previously described “the streets and sidewalks of Philadelphia [as] an undisputed quintessential public forum,” found that the “maintenance of the public order … does not license the government to deprive an individual of a Constitutional right irrespective of the circumstances.” It cited a Supreme Court finding that a “park is a traditional public forum” and that “traditional public fora are defined by the objective characteristics of the property, such as whether, by long tradition or by government fiat, the property has been devoted to assembly and debate.” As for other questions, Levy referred City Paper to the city, which said that the same permit requirements — applying to all protests of more than 75 people — will remain in place once

Dilworth reopens this fall. “Demonstration permit requirements are as set forth in the policy,” says Bob Allen of the Managing Director’s office. “The requirements applied before and will apply going forward.” Neither Levy nor Mayor Michael Nutter would comment on whether the city or the CCD planned to curtail protests in the plaza.

In 2003, the city settled a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of protesters, who, in 2001, claimed that officials attempted to block their 48-hour vigil proclaiming the innocence of

Mumia Abu-Jamal. He was convicted of the 1981 killing of Philly Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981. “The areas of the Plaza that are open to normal pedestrian traffic will have to be open to protests,”

says Philadelphia ACLU senior staff attorney Mary Catherine Roper. “Like any other place, the city can impose reasonable restrictions and permit requirements there.” —Daniel Denvir C I T Y PA P E R . N E T | J A N U A R Y 9 - J A N U A R Y 1 5 , 2 0 1 4 | P H I L A D E L P H I A C I T Y PA P E R |

7


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PHOTO BY NEAL SANTOS

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a&e

artsmusicmoviesmayhem

icepack By A.D. Amorosi

➤ SINCE THIS IS our annual People Who Died issue, where we bring out 2013’s dead and celebrate them with handsome portraits and kind words, may I mention some things that died in the more metaphorical sense. In 2013, the real Bon Jovi ended (it’s not the band without Richie Sambora). The mind-numbing wealth of violent crimes dialed back quite a bit, with the 247 homicides in Philly last year being a significant decrease from 331 in 2012 — let’s keep that up. The Farmers’ Cabinet shriveled up, as did Walnut Street’s Alfa. NBC’s Philly-set medical drama Do No Harm was DOA, as were locally lensed films Paranoia and Dead Man Down. And, finally, the constant rage and ill will toward Eagles’ quarterbacks slipped away (for now). You’ll be missed. ➤ Ooh, wait, guess what else is gone: Salento, on 22nd and Walnut. For the last six years, it’s been a cute eatery on a block that lacks cuteness. Hey, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia/Mac’s Tavern 2 bar peeps still looking for a property to settle into: 2216 Walnut could be a good location for you. ➤ If you’ve read my City Paper coverage of Broad Street Ministry and Bill Golderer, you know I love their policies and outreach beyond mere charity. So ordaining young David Norse as the city’s first openly gay male Presbyterian minister, as BSM just did, is one more super-duper feather in Golderer’s cap. Good job. ➤ Hey, several new-ish Philly restaurants did some switcheroo-ing during the holidays: My Italian Market neighbors the Calmels (of Bibou fame) just released chef Val Stryjewski from running the kitchen at their new Le Chéri on Rittenhouse Square, and rumor has it that Jose Garces’ Rosa Blanca just swapped out their chef de cuisine with a chef from Tinto. ➤ Rustic Music near 13th and Pine has long been a must-stop. If you’re drinking hard at Dirty Frank’s and suddenly want to buy a squeezebox or a used Boz Scaggs album, Rustic is your place. Well, stretch those calves, drinkers: Rustic will move to the 200 block of South 10th Street any second now. ➤ Jere Edmunds is one of my oldest friends — a Grace-Jones-lookin’ model, an excellent documentary filmmaker and one heckuva promotional wheatpaster.This January, Edmunds is also Scribe Video Center/PhillyCAM’s Member of the Month. Several of his films from the ongoing 5 on the Go series will screen at Scribe this month, including one he directed with his uncle Allan Edmunds — the visual artist and educator, not the shoe guy. ➤ Icepack gets illustrated every Thursday at citypaper.net/nakedcity. (a_amorosi@citypaper.net) 14 | P H I L A D E L P H I A C I T Y PA P E R |

THE GANG’S ALL HERE: A still from James Broughton’s nudie film The Bed (1968), screening on Valentine’s Day at International House.

[ film ]

RETURN OF THE REPRESSED A provocative film series revives a bygone era of sexual liberation. By Shaun Brady s the sexual revolution gained force in the mid-1960s, filmmakers like Radley Metzger, who produced titillating lowbudget movies, were suddenly propelled to the front lines. Not that they necessarily noticed at the time. “I’d like to say I was the flagbearer for a movement, but if I did, I’d be making it up,” says Metzger, now 84, from his home in Manhattan. “I remember asking my mother as a little boy what it was like to live through the Roaring Twenties, and she didn’t know what I was talking about. When you live through something, I don’t know that you have the perspective to see it in that broader context.” Metzger will be visiting Philly on Friday, Jan. 24, to screen and discuss his 1972 movie Score as part of International House’s film series “Free to Love: The Cinema of the Sexual Revolution.” Based on an off-Broadway play, the film is an early depiction of bisexuality that shows a swinging couple getting it on with a number of friends and acquaintances — including a telephone repairman originally played on stage (though, sadly, not on screen) by a young Sylvester Stallone. “Free to Love,” which begins this week and runs through mid-

A

J A N U A R Y 9 - J A N U A R Y 1 5 , 2 0 1 4 | C I T Y PA P E R . N E T

February, includes more than 60 commercial and underground films produced between 1963 and 1987, effectively surveying the cinematic portrayal of the era’s new freedoms. “For the past few years there’s seemed to be a resurgence of extreme radical conservatism focused on women’s issues, sex and sexuality,” says series curator Jesse Pires. “That got me thinking about this era that was a high watermark for liberalism and the counterculture. Enough history has gone by that it seemed like a good time to take a fresh look.” Bookended by Vilgot Sjöman’s landmark diptych I Am Curious (Yellow) and I Am Curious (Blue), “Free to Love” features Ralph Bakshi’s animated Fritz the Cat, the groundbreaking porn classic Deep Throat and Paul Mazursky’s all-star comedy Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, among others. Many of the programs will feature introductions and discussions by experts, like critic J. Hoberman and historians Eric Schaefer, Whitney Strub and Elena Gorfinkel. The series captures a unique time in cinema and America in general, when the mainstream and the avant-garde ran on parallel, often intertwined tracks: Suburbanites hired babysitters and waited in lines to see hardcore pornography; Hollywood films broached sex without tawdry giggling or soft-focus romantic idealization; adults were depicted as adults and not overgrown children. Of course, that

Suburbanites waited in lines to see pornography.

>>> continued on page 16


[ the chaos is what we like ] soundadvice

[ album reviews ]

➤ you blew it! | B

➤ nils frahm | B+

Above all, Florida’s You Blew It! deserves credit for touting initials-carved-in-tree-trunks sincerity in these cynical times. Keep Doing What You’re Doing (Topshelf) swells and sweats with moments of unabashed catharsis, turning Tanner Jones’ snide, throwaway remarks into revelries carried by ’90s guitar twinkle and vastly improved production values. A line like “For every good thing I could say about you/ There’s a great reason why I refuse to” coulda been Trapper Keeper poetry, but when the cymbals are —Marc Snitzer crashing this hard, it’s more like a war report.

As the music industry settles in for its long winter’s nap, it’s hard to imagine a richer hibernation soundtrack than Spaces (Erased Tapes), an engrossing compilation of performances by Berlin pianist Nils Frahm. These improvisations and reworked compositions range from placid zone-outs to ecstatic space-drones to visceral flights of flash. Since they’re live recordings, Frahm’s reveries are interspersed with bursts of applause, creating the odd sensation that you’re being cheered on for relaxing. You’ve earned it.—K. Ross Hoffman

➤ débruit & alsarah | B+ A meeting of the minds between freaky French electro-funk/hip-hop producer Débruit and classical Sudanese singer Alsarah, Aljawal (Soundway) offers an astonishingly fluid fusion that, even in a musical climate overrun with trans-cultural cross-pollinations, feels surprising and truly exotic. Who knew how natural and satisfying it could be to connect the dots between whirling-dervish music and the ecstatic stutterings of Chicago footwork? —K. Ross Hoffman

flickpick

By Patrick Rapa

➤ angel haze | C Dirty Gold (Island/Republic) is Angel Haze’s first studio LP after five unremarkable years in the mixtape game. Corny self-help quotes are scattered across these unfocused, Billboard-aspiring struggle raps and spurious I’m-the-boss ones. “You only get one moment in this life to be great,” she tritely spits on “Battle Cry,” a Macklemore-y, clichéweaponized fight song with a stock Sia chorus. Dirty Gold is not —Elliott Sharp Haze’s moment.

[ movie review ]

HER [ B+ ] THEODORE TWOMBLY (Joaquin Phoenix) loves Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). Their romance develops slowly at first; they’re from different worlds, and he’s still wounded from his failed marriage. But as they get to know each other better, there’s no question that their love is real. Would now be a good time to mention that Samantha is a computer program? To be more precise, Samantha is an operating system, introduced into a future Los Angeles where human interaction is waning. Theodore, a former altweekly writer, works for a company called BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com, where he dictates mock-personal correspondence to a computer that then prints it out in a facsimile of human script. There are parents and children, husbands and wives, whose whole lives are built on his letters. But IRL contact is tougher for Theodore — at least until Samantha comes along. Her, whose setting is a placeless fusion of the real L.A. and Shanghai, presents itself as a movie about technology, but writer-director Spike Jonze isn’t overly concerned with the sci- in his sci-fi romance, or the fact that Samantha is a computer product who, in theory, would be source-code-bound to obey Theodore’s commands. What interests Jonze is love, and how — or whether — it survives the way that relationships allow people to change, sometimes in incompatible directions. Johansson’s voice-only performance places Samantha as a girl-next-door type, developing unfamiliar emotional needs and then disguising them with jokes; you don’t need to see her eyes to picture her waiting for the right response. It’s a magnificently designed film, shot in smoggy pastels with the (human) characters in collarless retro-chic shirts. But it’s also more intellectualized than it could have been, as if Jonze is waiting for the audience to meet him halfway as well. —Sam Adams

Human interaction is waning.

LOVE IN THE TIME OF AI: In Spike Jonze’s new film, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) falls for a computer program voiced by Scarlett Johansson.

LO TIMES

➤ FOR OHIO DUO COUNTER INTUITS, the DIY/ lo-fi cred runs deep.They’ve got the pedigree:Times New Viking’s Jared Phillips on guitar and Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments’ Ron House on the mic. Their music is all fuzzed-out, amped-up and agitated; it sounds like it was recorded on space station Mir right before the fall. But what’s the lofi-est thing about Counter Intuits? It’s a tie between 1) The part where they thank Radio Shack in the liner notes of their self-released cassette Sheets of Hits, and 2) The fact that when I asked Phillips to send me some music, he realized he doesn’t have any digital copies.

City Paper : What’s with the Radio Shack hat tip? Jared Phillips: You try making a lo-fi record and not make 15 trips to Radio Shack just to make one microphone work. It ain’t easy, trust me. They’re actually a rip-off, but what can you do? CP: What is it about lo-fi recording you like? Don’t you risk chaos on every track? JP: The chaos is what I like. If not for that, I’d risk just being a shitty pop-song musician. With a four-track, I can at least have a little danger. Also, it makes Ron sound a little better. CP: Why are you playing so few shows? JP: I live in Cleveland, and Ron [who lives in Columbus] is almost 60 years old with a family. That should explain itself. I would’ve grown up in the mid’70s, but I’m trying to remedy that, obviously. (pat@citypaper.net) ✚ The Counter Inuits play Sat., Jan. 11, 9 p.m., $10, with Watery Love, Amanda X and Taiwan Housing Project, Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 215-739-9684, johnnybrendas.com.

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✚ Return of the Repressed

[ arts & entertainment ]

<<< continued from page 14

Erotic material designed to provoke real thought. all came to an abrupt halt with the culture wars and AIDS crisis in the 1980s, but for a brief moment, all shades of desire seemed ripe for exploration. “I can’t think of any other time in recent history when people were really interested in exploring and promoting healthy attitudes toward sex,” Pires says. “It was operating on a subterranean level — it bubbled forth, and then it seeped back into the nether regions.” The pretense of legitimacy that marked early hardcore films has mostly fallen by the wayside, devolving into the innumerable context-free couch grope-fests that now litter the Internet. There was a darker side to that former era, too, as demonstrated by the less-than-enlightened backstories of films like Deep Throat that have come to light in ensuing years. But even the most base exploitation quickie at the time seemed to have something more than gratification on its mind. “There’s work in this series that is really provocative, infusing radical politics with sex and sexuality,” Pires says. “Things are much different these days, so I think younger people especially might be interested in seeing explicit erotic mate-

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rial that was designed to be titillating, but also to provoke real thought and examination.” For a filmmaker like Metzger, who shrugs off any such radical intentions, commercial and aesthetic interests simply aligned. “There were two kinds of movies at the time that were open to the independents,” he recalls. “One was eroticism and the other was horror. They didn’t require the independent filmmaker to spend inordinate amounts of money to reach an audience. That was what initially attracted me to eroticism, and then each film I made tended to create enough money to make another film. In order to survive, we had to go with the market.” (s_brady@citypaper.net) ✚ “Free to Love: The Cinema of the Sexual Revolution,” Jan. 10-Feb. 15, $9 per screening, International House, 3701 Chestnut St., 215-387-5125, ihousephilly. org/freetolove.


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movie

Show us your Philly.

shorts

FILMS ARE GRADED BY CITY PAPER CRITICS A-F.

Submit snapshots of the City of Brotherly Love, however you see it, at:

photostream@citypaper.net

August: Osage County

✚ NEW AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY | C The first two films adapted from the work of playwright Tracy Letts, Bug and Killer Joe, were both nastily barbed plunges into contagious amorality, tautly directed by William Friedkin. As with those earlier films, Letts penned the screenplay for August: Osage County, but whether the blame falls on his adaptation, the original Pulitzer-winning play or John Wells’ slack direction, the third time loses the charm. The cast is packed with A-listers, but they’re engaged in a virtual tournament of acting at one another. For sheer ferocity, Meryl Streep walks away with the trophy. She’s let off the leash as the pill-popping matriarch whose husband drowns himself at the outset, stitching together a Southern Gothic grotesque out of wild gesticulations and claws-bared put-downs. Julia Roberts fares better, at least when she’s not being drawn into shout-offs with Streep, while Chris Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch add heft to this emoting tug-of-war. But most of the performances become as stifling as the un-air-conditioned Oklahoma setting, and Letts scripts the recriminations and confessions as a relentless succession of explosions — as monotonous as a two-hour fireworks display. —Shaun Brady (Ritz Five)

HER | B+ See Sam Adams’ review on p. 15. (Ritz East)

THE LEGEND OF HERCULES Read Drew Lazor’s review at citypaper.net/movies. (Wide release) 18 | P H I L A D E L P H I A C I T Y PA P E R |

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LONE SURVIVOR | CPeter Berg undoubtedly intended to honor the sacrifices of soldiers fighting in ugly wars by recounting the story of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and his fallen compatriots. But is “honoring” synonymous with “cataloging in minute, gory detail”? Once the Taliban goes on the attack, the four SEALs’ suffering is depicted with the flesh-rending fetishism of The Passion of the Christ combined with the snowballing misfortunes of a Coyote/Roadrunner cartoon. The film’s jingoism is cloaked in a war-is-hell evenhandedness, but the film is apolitical to a fault. The mission’s importance is never broached, let alone that of the war, and hints that the soldiers’ fates might have been different had resources been better allocated are shrugged off in favor of more splatting bullet hits and bone-crunching tumbles down rocky inclines. Mark Wahlberg (as Luttrell), Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster generate a genial camaraderie if not much in the way of individual characters, but Wahlberg devolves increasingly into action-hero mode as his team diminishes. The fist-swinging finale seems especially ridiculous in the context of modern warfare, but by that point the film will have already separated the unabashed flag-wavers from anyone looking for a more nuanced approach. —Shaun Brady (Wide release)

✚ CONTINUING AMERICAN HUSTLE | BA lumpy cocktail of polyester suits and plunging necklines, David O. Russell’s semi-fictional take on the Abscam scandal wants to be a movie and a half. The performances


are oversized, the plot overloaded, the camera work arbitrarily frenetic. When Russell’s not ripping off GoodFellas — which, very frequently, he is — he likes to pointlessly swing the camera toward an actor’s hands and back up again, not because hands are important but because he just can’t keep still. Unlike, say, Robert Altman or David Mamet, Russell doesn’t have any particular affection or feel for the professional con artists played by Christian Bale and Amy Adams, and he garbles a subplot about how Adams got stuck for months using a fake English accent with Cooper’s FBI agent. But then almost everything about American Hustle is garbled; the good bits (which are significant) are mixed in with the junk willy-nilly. Even for Russell, who’s hardly a master of structure, it’s an unforgivably sloppy mess. That people buy into it feels like the biggest swindle of all. —Sam Adams (Wide release)

ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES | B More than most sequels, Anchorman 2 has a tough row to hoe. What made the first film great was its chaotic unpredictability and the rush of momentum that made it (barely) hang together. The Legend Continues, released nine years later, wisely takes a different tack, taking the edge off impressively coiffed newsman Ron Burgundy’s Stone Age prejudices and placing him at the dawn of the 24-hour news cycle. Leaving San Diego, where he’s been reduced to a drunken SeaWorld announcer, Ron (Will Ferrell) takes a job at the fledgling GNN, bringing the rest of his news team — Paul Rudd, David Koechner and Steve Carrell — with him. Ferrell

and director/co-writer Adam McKay find ways to top the first film’s key setpieces, even the one that seems fundamentally impossible to surpass, until the one-upmanship becomes a joke in itself. The film’s take on the rapidly squandered promise of round-the-clock news lends a surprisingly poignant note, but not so much as to overshadow the delirious, low-calorie silliness. —Sam Adams (Wide release)

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS | B+ Inside Llewyn Davis, the story of a humbled folk singer surfing couches in 1961 Greenwich Village, is one of Joel and Ethan Coen’s most perfect films. After two viewings, I’m hard-pressed to identify a significant flaw in the film, which is built around a rich and nuanced performance by Oscar Isaac. Llewyn (Isaac), modeled on the singer Dave Van Ronk, is a folkie who doesn’t much like other folks. He’s functionally homeless, toting a swollen duffel bag and a battered guitar case from one friend’s apartment to another. Inside Llewyn Davis is a movie about artistic failure — and that’s not a spoiler. It’s 1961 in the Village and Bob Dylan is on the horizon. Llewyn’s a dinosaur who doesn’t see the comet coming. But more than that, it’s a portrait of crippling depression. Between Llewyn’s shell-shocked affect and the chilly light of Bruno Delbonnel’s cinematography, it’s a cold, valiantly unlikable movie, without the stylized performances that usually endear even the Coens’ most repugnant characters. Isaac channels most of his non-hostile emotions into Llewyn’s songs, which form the movie’s emotional backbone, but even on stage he’s turned inward. Although Dylan has yet to plug in his electric guitar and the

[ movie shorts ]

coffeehouse scene is still lively, Llewyn’s already dead. —Sam Adams (Ritz East)

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET | AThree hours long without an ounce of fat, The Wolf of Wall Street is an utterly controlled monument to self-indulgence. As Jordan Belfort, a small-time broker who makes several fortunes selling penny stocks to increasingly well-monied chumps, Leonardo DiCaprio finally pays off the unrealized potential of his long collaboration with Martin Scorsese. Working from the real Belfort’s autobiography, screenwriter Terence Winter structures Wolf as a series of swindles and bacchanals which grow redundant and draining by design; Jordan’s the life of the party, but he’s also the one waking up in a puddle of fluid the morning after. He’s surrounded by men, including Jonah Hill as a composite second-in-command, who’ll do anything for him as long as the money keeps coming — and it does. Wolf runs the risk of making financial corruption seem attractive, but that’s because it is — at least to those of sufficient amorality, willing to pay the fines and do their brief terms. It won’t turn people off financial crime any more than any cautionary tale can stop people from trying drugs, but it’s a frightening and clear-eyed look at why so many indulge, and why they get to keep on indulging. —Sam Adams (Roxy Theater, UA Riverview)

610-527-9898, brynmawrfilm.org. Lenny Cooke (2013, U.S., 88 min.): A doc about a talented basketball player whose career failed to launch. Q&A with filmmakers post-screening. Wed., Jan. 15, 7 p.m., $12.

citypaper.net [ BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW ]

FREE TO LOVE: CINEMA OF THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION International House, 3701 Chestnut St., 215-387-5125, ihousephilly.org. I Am Curious (Yellow) (1967, Sweden, 121 min.): The controversial film about a twentysomething’s sexual and political adventures. Fri., Jan. 10, 7 p.m., $9. Pink Narcissus (1971, U.S., 71 min.): This collection of surreal sexual fantasies shot on 8 mm is a classic of early gay film. Sat., Jan. 11, 5 p.m., $9. In the Realm of the Senses (1976, Japan, 109 min.): A graphic depiction of eroticism still censored in Japan. Sat., Jan. 11, 7 p.m., $9. Deep Throat (1972, U.S., 61 min.): The groundbreaking porno with a dark backstory. Sat., Jan. 11, 10 p.m., $9.

More on:

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19


agenda

the

LISTINGS@CITYPAPER.NET | JAN. 9 - JAN. 15

[ that general feeling of having too many feelings ]

CRANE STATION: Blue Cranes play Chris’ Jazz Cafe tonight. JEN DOWNER

The Agenda is our selective guide to what’s going on in the city this week. For comprehensive event listings, visit citypaper.net/events. IF YOU WANT TO BE LISTED: Submit information by email (listings@ citypaper.net) or enter it yourself at citypaper.net/submit-event with the following details: date, time, address of venue, telephone number and admission price. Incomplete submissions will not be considered, and listings information will not be accepted over the phone.

THURSDAY

1.9 [ theater ]

✚ VANITIES Hedgerow Theatre revives OffBroadway’s longest-running nonmusical, 1976’s Vanities, in which Jack Heifner explores how the world changed for American women in the 1960s

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and ’70s. We meet a trio of women who live through these changes, played by Lexi Anne, Meredith Beck and Sarah Gafgen, as high-school cheerleaders and best friends on the day of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. Then the play jumps forward to 1968, when the trio are college sorority sisters, and finally 1974, when a reunion reveals their different life choices. The play holds up surprisingly well today — not as a nostalgia piece, but as a brave and heartwarming portrait of three women growing up. —Mark Cofta Through Feb. 9, $15-$34, Hedgerow Theatre, 64 Rose Valley Rd., Rose Valley, Pa., 610-565-4211, hedgerowtheatre.org.

[ pop/punk ]

✚ RADIATOR HOSPITAL There’s a lot of yearning on

Something Wild (Salinas), the first full-length album from West Philly’s Radiator Hospital. Yearning, pining, longing — that general feeling of having so many feelings that you don’t know what to do with them and you might just lock yourself in your bedroom and write some songs because, oh my God, you guys, just a lot is going on right now. Radiator Hospital singer/brainchildconceiver Sam Cook-Parrott gets that. The songs on Something Wild definitely tap into the more irrational (and therefore, beautiful) end of being recklessly and maybe unrequitedly in love, as is seen on tracks like “Our Song” (“Sometimes I hear you crying alone in the shower/ But I don’t make a sound”) or “Your Boyfriend” (“Don’t tell the truth/ Don’t say if you love me too”). Lyrics like those are flanked by either bubblegum’n’-high-tops pop-punk or Cook-

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Parrott’s lone acoustic guitar. He’s crying because whomever he loves won’t love him too; but you and I have been there, so why not sing along? —Marc Snitzer Thu., Jan. 9, 9 p.m., $10, with Potty Mouth and Thin Lips, Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., 267-639-4528, bootandsaddlephilly.com.

[ jazz ]

✚ BLUE CRANES Yes, they hail from Portland and their latest record, Swim (Cuneiform), was produced by the Decemberists’ Nate Query, but don’t approach the Blue Cranes looking for irony or affectation. So many musicians combine influences from modern jazz and indie rock that it’s become almost meaningless to define a band that way, but over the course of full albums this quintet has honed a sound that roots exploration in song

forms. The band’s raw expressiveness foregoes the need for a vocalist, while keyboardist Rebecca Sanborn and the sax tandem of Reed Wallsmith and Joe Cunningham provide enough charged melodicism and taut electricity to stand in for a guitarist. What sets Swim apart is the churning emotion at its core. You don’t have to know that the group’s members went through a variety of lifechanging experiences in recent years to hear the darkness and hope, the foreboding and grit that have seeped indelibly into their music. —Shaun Brady Thu., Jan. 9, 8 p.m., $10, Chris’ Jazz Café, 1421 Sansom St., 215-568-3131, chrisjazzcafe.com.

[ theater ]

✚ UP FROM THE ASHES Havertown playwright Kate

McGrath explores the nationchanging 1911 fire at a New York City factory owned by the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in her new one-woman play starring Isa St. Clair, examining the American labor movement’s efforts before and after the tragedy from multiple points of view. Factory owners, protesters like Mother Jones and Rose Schneiderman and immigrant workers — 146 of whom perished in the fire, most of them young Jewish and Italian women — are all brought to life. Given the recent devastating fires under similar unsafe working conditions in Bangladesh garment factories, McGrath’s script, developed through a residency with Iron Age Theatre and the Philadelphia Dramatists Center, addresses the present as much as the past. Up from the Ashes runs this weekend in Iron Age’s Norristown home base and


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Jan. 9-12, $10-$20, The Centre Theater, 208 DeKalb St., Norristown, Pa., and Jan. 17-19, Off-Broad St. Theatre, 1636 Sansom St., 610-279-1013, ironage-theatre.ticketleap.com

SATURDAY

1.11

mâche totem — the New Zealander’s shaggy blond mop-top is, evidently, unmistakable in any medium. His recent follow-up, by contrast, presents him as a lounging loverman, all in white and gold, with a pencil-thin ’stache

[ psych/r&b ]

✚ CONNAN MOCKASIN The cover of Connan Mockasin’s 2011 album ForeverDolphin Love depicted him as a brightly painted papier-

and a come-hither gaze. The corresponding musical shift, from folky, glam-psych meanderings to fever-dream, seductive smooth jams, is just as marked: Caramel (Mexican

Summer) was recorded in a Tokyo hotel room with the express intention of embodying the sounds suggested by its title, and none of indiedom’s recent, rampant flirtations with R&B really serve as proper preparation for the album’s sultry strangeness. It’s probably best described as Barry White by way of Ariel Pink, with a side helping of Ween and/or Beck at their most Prince-addled and narcotized. And while that may sound awfully arch and off-puttingly irony-prone, Mockasin makes it surprisingly easy and enticing to succumb to his lavish alien lovescapes. —K. Ross Hoffman Sat., Jan. 11, 9 p.m., $10, Making Time with Making Time DJs, Voyeur, 1221 St. James St., igetrvng.com.

[ rock/pop ]

✚ JJL Will someone please make Jay Laughlin into the mega-sensation that he should have been from the start (oy, the ’90s) and get him the fuck out of Philly? Nothing against the hometown team, mind you, but, whether it’s been with the glam-ish Like a Fox or the power pop-hobnobbing (and still legendary amongst the locals) Lenola, I’ve longed to hear him on a bigger stage, metaphorically speaking. Until that time comes, the JJL power trio kills it every time they play, with a rhythm section (Like a Fox’s Brian Wilkinson and Pete Girgenti) that’s buoyant and combines well with Laughlin’s soupedup, arena-worthy guitar-and-

synth crunch. What sells the JJL show is Laughlin’s voice, a supple, soaring tone with a catch in his throat that would make poor old Johnnie Ray cry.

Sat., Jan. 11, 9 p.m., $10, with Gondola and Shitty Wizard, Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., 267-639-4528, bootandsaddlephilly.com.

[ comedy ]

1.13 [ rock/pop ]

✚ DAVID KOECHNER Let’s skip the Champ Kind quotes for the next hundred words or so. Anchorman 2’s been buzz-marketed enough. Truth is, David Koechner’s best characters have almost no Steve Carell connection — like TBones Tibbons, of the long-overlooked musical duo The Naked Trucker and T-Bones (featuring him and Dave Allen). No? OK, Koechner also starred in Cheap Thrills, a very, very dark comedy on limited release last year, playing a rich man who eggs on a couple of out-of-luck losers in increasingly sadistic dares for money. Let this small string of standup dates remind us that there’s way more to this dude than loud, boisterous, Adam McKay-style douchebags. But, all right, fine: Whammy.

Sat., Jan. 11, 8 p.m., $19.50-$25, Trocadero, 1003 Arch St., 215-9226888, thetroc.com.

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MONDAY

—A.D. Amorosi

—Marc Snitzer

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[ the agenda ]

✚ CLOUD CONTROL With its most recent album, 2013’s Dream Cave, Australia’s Cloud Control moves far ahead of the current folksy-psychedelic pack. Fronted by Heidi and Ulrich Lenffer, Cloud Control does the occasional synthesizer-pop tune or two ULRICH LENFFER

—Mark Cofta

JEN CAREY

next weekend in Center City.

(check 2011’s Bliss Release for that), but more often than not they go for a misty-mountain vibe that’s more daydreamy and poppy than epically torrential. If you can’t get with the rural pastoral feel of “Dojo Rising,” wait for the spaced-out


[ the agenda ]

askpapa

E VA N M . L O P E Z

By Ernest Hemingway

➤ THE SHORT ANSWER IS DOING THE THING Dear Papa:The landlord’s son — who is now, I guess, a teenager — shovels the walkway every time it snows. He’s one of the reasons I never want to move! Should I tip him? —The Lady Upstairs Dear Lady: Work is good and valuable and teaches its own lessons, so it is good that this young man is doing work. But a person should be paid for his labor. You do not know if his parents are paying him, if this is the way that he earns $10 from his father or his car money from his mother, but it does not matter. It is good to have a young man on your side. A slip of a fin to a bright-eyed youngster can win you a friend to run errands, or to bring in your mail when you go fishing. Or, at the end of a long night or a longer morning, your young friend may find it in his heart to carry you discreetly up the stairs. Dear Papa: I was not invited to a wedding, but I really love the couple. I want to send them a gift! Do you think it would make them feel awkward because they didn’t invite me? For what it’s worth, the wedding is very small because they don’t have much money. (Also, it happens to be a lesbian wedding.) —Weddingless in the Wissahickon Dear Wiss: I’ve never known a woman to turn down a gift, but I have known them to look the horse in the mouth. Best not make it a gift they can read into, because one woman is a fine enough reader, and I can tell you from experience that two women together are the biggest readers around. Give some cash to your poor Sapphic friends. Perhaps they also will carry you discreetly up the stairs the next time you need it. (askpapa@citypaper.net) Hemingway communicates with writer Alli Katz via Ouija board. Send her your questions for him.

“Moonrabbit” or the new wave folk of “Ice Age Heatwave” to come around. —A.D. Amorosi Mon., Jan. 13, 9 p.m., $10, with Royal Shoals and Avers, Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., 267-639-4528, bootandsaddlephilly.com.

Waits, Man Man, Dr. Dog, etc.), which will be releasing their sophomore LP, Dark Arc, this March. It’s a good fit for the band’s expansive, idiosyncratic vision of Americana, which combines warmly earnest

THURSDAY 1.9 STUNTLOCO DJ SYLO LUKE GOODMAN

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✚ SAINTSENECA This Columbus, Ohio, quartet recently signed with the Antilabel (home to Neko Case, Tom

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WEDNESDAY 1.15 NEAKO FRESH MOSS BONNIE BLUNTS

www.silkcityphilly.com 5th & Spring Garden C I T Y PA P E R . N E T | J A N U A R Y 9 - J A N U A R Y 1 5 , 2 0 1 4 | P H I L A D E L P H I A C I T Y PA P E R |

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mandolin, dulcimer, balalaika and Turkish baglama) that align them with artsier DIY collectives like Cuddle Magic and Mutual Benefit. —K. Ross Hoffman Wed., Jan. 15, 8 p.m., $10, with LVL UP and Glocca Morra, World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St., 215-222-1400, worldcafelive.com.

[ dubstep/house ]

✚ SKREAM The intimate Dolphin hasn’t received the credit it deserves for its sleazy atmosphere and solid sound system — two factors that should be a treat for British producer/DJ Skream and his slimy, emotional, dubstep-heavy tunes. Though responsible for pushing the agenda of dubstep to the U.K.’s rave-crazed masses as a solo artist (and as a member of the Magnetic Man DJ unit), Skream’s recent work shows signs of straying from the genre he helped make famous. While his 2010 solo album Outside the Box features as

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[ the agenda ]

much straight-up electro as it does dubstep, Skream’s most recent mixes on the Defected label benefit from a richly soulful house-music ambience and disco’s giddy rhythms. —A.D. Amorosi Wed., Jan. 15, 10 p.m., $15, Dolphin Tavern, 1539 S. Broad St., 215-2787950, thedolphinphilly.com.

More on:

citypaper.net ✚ FOR COMPREHENSIVE EVENT LISTINGS, VISIT C I T Y PA P E R . N E T / L I S T I N G S .


f&d

foodanddrink

feedingfrenzy STEVE LAURENCE

By Caroline Russock

➤ NOW SEATING

Vegan Commissary | Steve Laurence’s Vegan Commissary is bringing elevated vegan fare to what was once strictly a meatballs-and-red-sauce zone. Now serving weekend brunch and dinner on four nights, chef Leigh Needham’s menu is a seasonally inspired international assortment of vegetable fare from local producers. The East Passyunk BYO’s opening menu kicks off with edamame hummus and butternut squash gnudi. Tue., noon-8 p.m.. Thu., noon-9 p.m.; Fri., 5-10 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 5-10 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 1703 S. 11th St., 215-964-3232, vegancommissary.com.

HIGH BAR: Eggplant agnolotti and Sichuan pork belly set the table at High Street on Market. NEAL SANTOS

[ review ]

Torero Tapas Bar | Miguel Marti Rossello, a Mallorca native and former chef at Mixto, has opened a tapas bar in the Italian Market. Located on the same stretch as market stalwart Villa di Roma, Torero Tapas Bar is serving traditional snacking fare. But the most authentic items on the menu have to be the 2-ounce pours of beer (zuritos) and wine (chikitos). Daily, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; 940 S. Ninth St. ➤ COMING SOON

This year is gearing up to be a huge one for restaurant openings. Here’s a just a handful of those to watch. ➤ Two new spots from Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook are coming to the 1600 block of Sansom Street: Dizengoff, a hummus-centric lunch place, and Abe Fisher, highlighting Jewish foods from around the world. ➤ Jose Garces has two on the books for 2014, the long-awaited Volver in the Kimmel Center and new plans for the Second Street Bookbinder’s building. ➤ Looking forward, there’s Aldine, the exciting Rittenhouse solo project coming from George and Jennifer Sabatino, and The Brig, Marc Vetri’s foray into the Navy Yard. Got A Tip? Please send restaurant news to restaurants@ citypaper.net or call 215-735-8444, ext. 207.

GRAINS OF PARADISE High Street on Market is bready for its close-up. By Adam Erace HIGH STREET ON MARKET | 308 Market St., 215-625-0988, high-

streetonmarket.com. Breakfast and lunch: Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; dinner: Tue.-Thu. 5:30-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 5:3010:30 p.m.; $3-$23.

n the first day, Kulp created bread. Miniature caramelizedonion bialys, to be exact, riding comets of cream cheese suffused with the essence of grass. I can’t say for sure if Eli Kulp baked these babies on his official first day at Fork, where he’s More on: been head chef for about a year and a half. But it was something of a watershed moment when a server first passed me a plate of them across the bar, a few weeks into Kulp’s tenure. It was my first bite of his cooking, and it tasted, instantly, like a new era for Fork. “When I first met with Eli, I specifically remember telling him how we had been making the same style rolls forever,” Fork’s co-owner, Ellen Yin, says. She wanted something new, and the bialy was born. Tiny pretzels came, too, with cheesy magma cores. Pumpernickel followed. Sam Kincaid, a Madison, Wisc., baker, joined Fork’s team

O

citypaper.net

as pastry chef, and with her came squid-ink sponges and beef-fat rolls. Bread pairings and courses popped up, and soon, “people were ordering the House Menu” — Fork parlance for their customizable tasting — “just to get the bread.” So when it came time for Fork’s adjacent café, Fork etc., to become a new concept, High Street on Market, “I think our mutual love of grains sort of became the backbone,” explains Kulp. “It fit really well into the idea of craftsmanship.” Named for Market Street’s colonial moniker, High Street opened in September for breakfast, lunch and brunch, meals that see luxe yogurt, dreamy duck-meatball sandwiches and Rival Bros. coffee populating the wood-top tables in the blueberryand-cream-colored space. The breads are extraordinary — great, brown masses fortified with local, heirloom and ancient grains by Alexandre Bois, a veteran of New MORE FOOD AND York’s acclaimed Sullivan Street Bakery; DRINK COVERAGE he joined Kulp’s expat army in May to AT C I T Y P A P E R . N E T / oversee the bread program while Kincaid M E A LT I C K E T. focuses on creative pastries (pistachio escargots, ham-and-gravy Danishes) and desserts. Dinner service at High Street came online in October with candles and broccoli-rabe cocktails. The transition from morning to evening is seamless, with connective threads casting déjà vu through the meals: The electric lacto-fermented chow-chow that sits on the tables during the day in little glass pots emerges at >>> continued on page 26

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[ food & drink ]

✚ Grains of paradise <<< continued from page 25

The bar, for Kulp, is set high; on this night, he surpassed it. night as a spicy garnish for crispy, chrysalis-light broccoli tempura. The blistered long hots that chaperone afternoon sandwiches become a blistering chermoula scattered over roasted Hubbard squash hummus. And, of course, the bread: sour levain marbled with earthy black vegetable ash; nutty buckwheat jeweled with fat Jersey cherries; the Anadama, a dense New England-style loaf sticky with molasses. There are fluffy, steaming potato rolls, too, brushed with toasted malted-rye syrup and beer before baking so they resemble adorable baby spuds. “Where Fork is a step left of mainstream, we wanted [High Street] to be a couple more steps left,” says Kulp, who looms like a totem pole in the open kitchen, a pencil tucked behind his ear and a head taller than anyone else. I wondered if the view from up there was disconcerting one night, a Saturday that saw Fork mobbed but a half-full High Street dining room with all the energy of a spelling bee. Roasted in beef fat and slightly dehydrated to intensify their flavor, the umami epic of “dry-aged” beets created a mini-commotion at my table. Sorry, Farm and the Fisherman’s Bloody Beet Steak: You’ve been ousted as the best beet dish in town. Disappointment courted other bites. Little shrimp preserved under a cap of nutmeg-scented foie mousse: kind of a bore. Hay-smoked ham, the night’s protein for two: beautifully cooked but not very smoky — and easily upstaged by its Castle Valley Mills polenta and a salad of Brussels sprout, apple, kohlrabi and bacon vinaigrette. Kulp’s goal for High Street is to be “on the edge” and “ahead of the status quo,” but he wasn’t getting there with those plates. The pastas I tried were well made and perfectly cooked, but offered thrills on paper only. Lobster bottarga, a topping for lovely seaweed bucatini, sure sounded interesting, but the cured red petals Kulp crafts from the crustacean’s liquid roe lack the marine punch of typical tuna-roe bottarga. At the end of the meal, Kincaid’s savory-skewing desserts featured elements of coffee, rye, buckwheat and buttermilk and felt like a punishment for my grand expectations. A month later, I ate at a different restaurant. This High Street seemed more focused, leaner and more confident, and the jammed dining room reverberated with electricity on what should have been a sleepy weeknight service. The bar, for Kulp, is set high; on this night, he surpassed it with hit after hit, starting with that tremendous broccoli rabe cocktail. Wicked fingers of razor clam — breaded, fried and dunked in habanero buttermilk dressing — seemed to have gotten lost on their way to Oyster House, but were perfect and welcome nonetheless. Al dente coins of buckwheat orecchietti cradled crispy okra and sweet crawfish tails in one clever pasta dish; agnolotti hid charred eggplant seasoned with brazen jerk spices in another. The latter came garnished with sweet, tangy, cheese-like drifts of caramelized goat’s yogurt that Kulp conjures in an immersion circulator, just the kind of genius little trick I’ve come to expect from him. Braised rabbit leg tangled with candied chestnuts, bit26 | P H I L A D E L P H I A C I T Y PA P E R |

ter treviso and mustard oil-marinated apple orbs in an arrangement that recalled the root vegetable salad at Fork. My favorite dish, meanwhile, echoed Han Dynasty around the corner: firm, chilled, chile-oil-bathed shavings of Country Time pork belly, fried scallions and zippy red watercress beaded with wild, West Chester-harvested Sichuan peppercorns. Local Sichuan peppercorns — who knew? Evan Strusinksi, who forages Pennsylvania to Maine for chefs like David Chang and Mario Batali, that’s who. The peppercorns crunched between my teeth like candy, releasing their numbing compounds and intoxicating perfume. Later, in a sundae, I located the joy Kincaid pours into her morning pastries. Three treatments of farmer Tom Culton’s persimmons (fresh, spun into sorbet, compressed in verjus blanc) brought brightness and balance to torn hunks of sticky date cake, buttermilk ice cream, roasted dates, coffee butterscotch and honeyed almonds. Paired with friendly, well-groomed service, it was one of my best meals of 2013 — and the only one finished with robust Rival Revolver, served in a cast-iron Le Creuset French press that matches the room’s teal wainscoting. That Pantone harmony is no accident; Yin and Kulp are a detail-obsessed duo that won’t rest until High Street is the best restaurant in Philadelphia. Right now they’ll have to settle for merely the best bakery. (adam.erace@citypaper.net)

J A N U A R Y 9 - J A N U A R Y 1 5 , 2 0 1 4 | C I T Y PA P E R . N E T


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[ i love you, i hate you ] To place your FREE ad (100 word limit) ➤ email lovehate@citypaper.net AKWARDLY ADORABLE His awkwardness along with seemingly condescending and cold look on his face is enough to keep some from talking to him, “Arrogant” is among the adjectives people think of him the most. There seems to be deep thought and curiosity etched in his face quite frequently. He looks like he is always contemplating something, As though he might take everything literally to the bone and he might misunderstand any figurative speech, He radiates intelligence. However it is sometimes masked by geekiness. In some eyes and in some circumstances these go hand in hand. They do in this case. He obsesses over the most minuscule subjects and over-analyzes the single detail he is currently examining. He may look quite simple and straightforward, but when you dig beneath the surface you find all of the fascinating flaws and strengths that make him quietly shine.

horse us running side by side together like you said with you on the left and me on the right enjoying each other!

I HATE YOU J. how much of a pothead loser do you have to be to make up that you saw me and yelled at me about a face I made at you? Of course if I saw you I’d make a face at you...or would maybe spit on you...duh haha you think I like you? Haha everyone knows you are a scared little spoiled baby who is a shallow obnoxious

should definitely mean it. And when you told me you loved me on Oct. 8, 2011. I really believed that, I think about it alot and honestly it helps me get through the day. I smile to myself and say. I love him, “My heater” you and I haven’t had a argument in awhile and I want to keep it that way. I am so glad that we found our common ground and we are starting to learn each other more and more. I am so glad I found you, even though you are 23 and I am 38, we are 2 of a kind. I love you “My heater” you are so fucking warm when you skin is against mine. Muah!

BITCH! You know what why do some women get on the train and look you up and down? Don’t you know that you can never compare to anyone? I hate the fact that you are just looking at everyone and your hair is all fucked up, your clothes look like you got them out of the dirty clothes bin or something. I just don’t understand why not just get on the train, stand in you space and not look all in other people’s faces like you’re crazy or something. Then I saw this girl with grandmom eyes! I call them that because I am in my late 30s and she had fucking bags under her eyes that could pick groceries up! Why do you look so fucked up early in the morning? Some of the school kids actually look older than the real grown-up people. WOW!

EVERY SONG! Every song on the radio reminds me of you! I keep playing this song over and over and I can’t help but think about you being inside me and doing what you do best! I love you so much and I wish that you and I can be together and defeat all odds of the pursuit of happiness. I love the fact that you game me a sad voice and I fell right along into it. I want to be with you so much you just don’t know..you are in the air that I breathe you are in my dreams with the white

I keep playing this song because it reminds me of you....and honestly it is getting a little tired because I am tired of all the bullshit that you do...it doesn’t make any sense that we have good sex, actually terrifiic sex and you act like a asshole...I am tired of it and I wish that you would act the way you were before so I will not get any mixed feelings...I am tired of feeling like this to be honest. I love you and you know I do...but this is getting ridiculous! Make up your mind if you want me to be your girlfriend or you want to be friends.

NOISY NEIGHBOR Any other time you sitting in your living room watching someone bring someone in the house! Now you sitting there acting like you don’t know anything and I think that is fucking sickening even for you! Then I saw you peeking out the window when my friend came by for a visit we started to sit on the porch but I was thinking to myself I know she sitting there minding someone’s business. I better not sit out there, she is probably looking so hard she could see my fucking cavities! Mind your own business.

ANNA Just thought you should know that I know about you and Xavier right after you moved into your current apt and I had just told you I loved you. I know how you don’t feel bad about it. You can’t deny what you’ve written. your own words point the finger right back at yourself. and I have my strong suspicions about you that Tuesday night last spring when I showed up after work, and it took you too long to answer the door, and you face and ears were all red, and then he emerged from the direction of your bedroom a few minutes later. I gave you the benefit of the doubt all the time. but you’ve lied to me, and made me the fool. I’m the fool for believing your lies. the offer to come find me when you’re ready is null and void. get your shit together and stop being a fucking icy bitch to everyone you know. that’s all I got.

JUST FRIENDS

PARK-DICK

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Park dick, you know it’s a bigger crime to let underage drinking than littering in that shitty park. You even had the fuckin nerve to put a note on a tree in the patch of woods that read “If you can`t put your beer cans in the trash bag you won`t be allowed to drink here no more”. Your a gutless fuckin bitch ass mother fucker. Give me a fuckin attitude about litter and there is underage drinking and dope smoking in the park and don`t say a goddamn thing to the dope smoking, underage drinking drunks. You truly are a jack-ass.I observe a lot, jackass. Your a low-life piece of dog shit. Can`t wait until the cancer set`s in,so you could suffer a nice painful death. And you have the nerve to give me dirty fuckin looks which don`t bother me,scum bag. Its people like you that gives the neighborhood a bad name. I could tell being “retarded” runs in your family. How did you survive that abortion that your parents had on you,peckerhead. Walk around with your friend`s dick up your ass like your someone important. Every time you kiss your wife,now you know what the mailman`s dick taste like.

PLEASE GO HOME attention whore who buys her friendship from people and has to have fake lesbian best friends that have to be even more insecure (if that’s even possible) and less attractive than you so you can boost your over-inflated ego that you mistake for pride and yeah you are going to be single for the rest of your life or at least just be swapping sloppy seconds within your lame tribal cesspool of scared little baby pot head losers. On your own none of you would amount to anything. Enjoy your masked self-hatred.

I LOVE YOU! When you tell someone that you love them you

I MET YOU! When I first met you I thought you were a nice guy, then I finds out that you are just like all the other people that I know, a piece of crap! How dare you complain and talk about someone and their well being! I think that it is bullshit that you think that you can get away with doing what you are doing! Nobody says anything and everyone turns their backs like they don’t see anything! If you were to go nobody would be upset! I think I would attempt to do cartwheels! Nothing surprises me anymore! Nothing! PS: Man the fuck up and grow some balls, if you claim you have them TRY using them for a change!

Oh my goodness, you sat in my living room for like forever playing a fucking playstation 3. Why can’t you go the fuck home like normal people. My boyfriend is not too pushy like I am so he act like he didn’t want to say anything. Please if you have a girlfriend or someone else contact them and go over their house and par-lay cause you aren’t going to do that shit at my house. Boyfriend...I am not trying to put you on blast that is why I am not going to mention your name....grow some fucking more balls and tell your company to go the fuck home already.. ✚ ADS ALSO APPEAR AT CITYPAPER.NET/lovehate. City Paper has the right to re-publish “I Love You, I Hate You”™ ads at the publisher’s discretion. This includes re-purposing the ads for online publication, or for any other ancillary publishing projects.

C I T Y PA P E R . N E T | J A N U A R Y 9 - J A N U A R Y 1 5 , 2 0 1 4 | P H I L A D E L P H I A C I T Y PA P E R |

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Philadelphia City Paper, January 9th, 2014  

Philadelphia's Trusted News and Entertainment Source

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