Tag Archives: philadelphia

I’ve Fallen in Love With Another

For several months, I kept my feelings of restlessnes secret. No one saw me on my 3 am rides on the Night Owl Bus back to Ardmore, a lovely spot in the western suburbs of Philly. It’s a lovely bauble on the long strand that is in the Main Line.

I reminded myself that for a long while I was truly happy. And then I was dissatisfied, but I was thought I was too old to make a change. I was resigned to staying in the same place until maybe I’d get rescued somehow.

But a friend made a simple statement, “If you are happier here, why not move here?” And the light bulb went off. And I made a decision, gave my landlord my 60 day notice, and established my escape plan.

And as of 3 pm today, I am now completely immersed in feelings of happiness and love. I am now immersed in where I am surrounded by love. Sitting at the computer in my not yet furnished Kensington apartment, I know I have made the right decision. I needed to follow my heart.

And I will shout it to the roof tops…I love Philadelphia with every fiber of my being. And I’m so glad to be living here.

Advertisements

Showdown in Fishtown

sugarhouseno

Casino-Free Philadelphia is upping the ante on it’s battle against casinos in Philadelphia. On Tuesday, September 29th at 6 am about two dozen activists are blocking (civil disobedience) a portion of the Sugarhouse site in Fishtown (Frankford & Delaware Avenue).

They are mobilizing a crowd of concerned Philadelphians to rally near the site and be witnesses to the mayhem that ensues. This action may become an arrest situation, so things might get hairy. And those of us observing may be called upon to help with spreading the news and bearing witness to what happens. Bring your friends and iPhones.

I’m definitely going, so if you want more info feel free to hit me up on gmail or Facebook. Or follow me, @caroline815 on Twitter
For more info, follow @CasinoFreePhila and check out their website… http://www.casinofreephila.org

PA Budget Crisis Explained in Plain English

 

Credit: Alan MacBain from The Mercury

Credit: Alan MacBain from The Mercury

Yes, the Philadelphia public library system is about to close. In case you missed it, here’s the announcement. This week I have seen the uproar of the entire Philadelphia public library system shutting down on October 3. And I’ve known about this situation for months now, and I’ve been to demonstrations, called representatives, but it never occurred to me to say something on my blog except for this. I’m sorry for that. 

Yes, Philadelphia’s famed “Doomsday Budget” is upon us and if no budget, it will be enacted on October 2. This is Mayor Nutter’s “Plan C” budget that was created as a result of the impasse in Harrisburg to pass a Pennsylvania budget. 3,000 city workers will be getting two-week, lay-off notices this coming Monday, September 14th. The Inquirer explained the details succinctly and clearly – so clicky right here

But I hope people dig a little deeper and recognize that the misery is far bigger than the layoffs, library closings, and the shuttering of rec centers. Yes, all those things are extremely bad, but that is only the tip of the iceberg.

The entire Philadelphia services system is running on fumes. Since July, money from the State of Pennsylvania has stopped and anybody to who uses state money gets nothing. Because my agency works with people with HIV/AIDS, I know this first hand. My agency has had layoffs and is borrowing money to stay open. From a bank – with interest. So, yeah the State money will eventually come in, you think, and then everything will be ok.

No, things have changed. Forever. Imagine if your boss stopped issuing you a paycheck and said she’ll pay you back later. You are living paycheck to paycheck. Rent needs to be paid and you need to eat today. So you move in with somebody, sell your stuff, eat Ramen, and stop going to the doctor. And then you get the money back – you can’t exactly recoup your losses easily. So you get a new place and new stuff, but some things are lost forever, until you can make a profit again. But wait, we have a recessed economy. Raises aren’t coming anytime soon and cost of living increases. So essentially, you are fucked. 

That’s how it is for lower-income people in Philly. Services are shuttered already and they aren’t coming back. Pouring food on a person dying of starvation may not save them, since they are to weak to open their mouths to eat. And the budget we are begging for has deep cuts in services. So yeah, we’ll get a budget eventually. But we’ll be getting less. Oh yeah, there will be interest to pay too – so money will be going to the banks as well as the people who need services.

I hate the word services – it is so vague. So let me be specific. Right now, day care centers can’t stay open, which means kids with no place to and working parents scrambling for help. Foster parents aren’t getting paid, which means they can’t buy their foster child school supplies at the start of school. And since Philadelphia teachers can’t get money to have books in their classroom (yeah, teachers usually buy stuff out of pocket for their students), no books at school. Senior citizens don’t have a place to go during the day. Cuts in housing in a city that is desperately in need of it – so more people in shelters and the streets. And the health centers aren’t getting money, so if somebody is sick, well I guess they can wait in line longer. Or hit the ER and endure the 6 hour wait. 

I could go on…but I think you get the picture.

As for what you can do, I say call your state rep. If you know anybody who lives in Delaware County, get them to put pressure on State Senator Dominic Pileggi. He’s on the Senate Appropriations Committee and a mover and shaker with this budget stuff. He’s also a Republican and not sympathetic to Philadelphia so he’s needs nudging. So talk to him. 

Also, what you can do is work to improve life in Philadelphia over the long run. The recession has devastated us all, but threatens the very survival of poorer people. Get involved now and stay involved. Putting in some volunteer labor & throwing in some charitable donations can’t hurt either. In fact, I’ll be hitting you up for the Philly AIDS Walk soon.

Laugh Till You Hurl

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia                                                                                                       (Photo: crapwelike.wordpress.com/category/tv/)

________________________________________________________________

Laughing is a good thing and in Philadelphia we have plenty of opportunities to do that. Open the paper, listen to the radio, visit City Hall and to keep ourselves from crying, we have laughter.  Popping your surgical staples, strangulating your hernia, projectile vomiting variety of laughter. Good times people.

Philadelphia also has a booming comedy culture- with teeming hoards of funny people on dozens of small stages in the city.  I won’t pretend that I am all that plugged into this pool of hilarity, but having taken improv classes at Comedy Sportz I’ve become somewhat familiar with the scene.

PORTALS of INFORMATION

Um, I guess you can skip the rest of my article and checked out two ginormous dumps of Philly comedy info…

Oh look, on PhillyImprov.com there is a list of improv and sketch comedy groups. So I am going to skip listing them for you. Go right here and you’ll find 44-esque (I counted fast) groups to peruse.

And you must see Comic vs. Audience blog. I almost choked on my tongue and ripped off a fingernail when I had seismic laughter checking out the header photo. Or maybe I was having a seizure. The have great event listings. In fact, there are listed comedy events for every day this week. Go there now. Also they have  a database of comics. A great resource for comedians and audiences alike.

OK, so now that I have stolen my own thunder, here is my flimsy overview of comedy in Philly.

Live comedy takes many forms in Philadelphia.  I can think of four subtypes off the top of my head…improv, sketch, stand-up, and people doing colossolly stupid things.

IMPROV COMEDY- (ie. Making Funny out of Thin Air, Causing Altitude Sickness)

There are two types of improv comedy- a) short form improv & b) long form improv. To explain this crudely, short form is bursts of games, structured exercises, and rapid fire improvising lasting only a few minutes. Audiences are delighted by fusillade of surprises along the way. Long form is more scene-based and stories have more time to emerge and develop and captivate the attention of the audience. Both forms are satisfying in different ways   They are distinct entities, but there is a great deal of cross-fertilization and while people may prefer one form over the other, a lot of people do both. Sorry to geek out on you about improv comedy, but it is what I know best.  You can see great improv every week in Philadelphia… Here are some one-off and recurring events.

The Philly N Crowd– These folks are short-form, who perform weekly in Philadelphia. Next show- Friday, July 24th– Location: The Actor’s Center 257 N. 3rd St. $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Comedy Sportz– They are like a university of short form improv silliness. With weekly performances, regular classes, and many alums spinning off their own comedy troupes, Comedy Sportz is everywhere. Check out their Saturday performances at 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm on Saturdays. The Playground @ the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St.  Tickets are $15, with reduced rate of $12 for senior citizens.

Philly Improv Theater (PHIT) is the only longform improv theater in Philly.  The host classes, put on performances, and are active in promoting the improv creative form. From what I can see there are several extremely talented improv groups connected with PHIT. I hate to single any one group out, but a good gateway drug into longform improv is Rare Bird Show. This ensemble of three people are a pleasure to watch as they take one suggestion from the audience and turn it into a 30 minute performance, unique, unrehearsed and never repeated.

Rare Bird show performs Friday, August 7th at 7 pm at PHIT’s location, the Shubin Theater, at 407 Bainbridge St. in Philadelphia. Tickets are $10 and available online and at the door.

STAND UP COMEDY- (Bipolar Swings from Cringing to Laughing up a Lung)

I really should get my friend Darryl Charles to write out this section. He has been on the amateur stand up circuit in Philadelphia for a while now. He’s trying to make it and now that I’ve mentioned him on my blog, he’s halfway there.

Darryl Charles, Phunniest in Philly by Phar

Darryl Charles, Phunniest in Philly by Phar (Photo Credit: Teri Cannistraci)

Darryl can be seen at many open mic nights in Philly, but stand up is a tough business. Often he waits around for hours to get on stage at the Laff House, Raven Lounge, or Helium. Some nights he doesn’t get to perform at all.

Helium’s annual Philadelphia’s Phunniest Person contest commences July 28th with preliminary rounds. Darryl is performing on Tuesday, July 28th at 8 pm at Helium at 2031 Sansom and will be 9th on the list. Tickets are $10, but as you may know, you gotta cough up $ for two drinks. Hopefully, we’ll be warmed up enough to lose our lunch in delightful laughter at Darryl. I’m going and have an extra ticket.

Here’s more stand-up comedy. Check out Ministry of Secret Jokes at Fergie’s Pub at 1214 Sansom St. in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, they are on hiatus for the summer. Their disappearance is for secret reasons (natch). They are very mysterious as you will see by their web site, but apparently they like to blab to the press. Check out this winter article by the Phillyist.  Next performance is September 30th. I strongly suggest you check out their web site because its hilarious & potentially dangerous. PLEASE, do not click the secret button!

SKETCH COMEDY (Vignettes that Will Make You Vomit in Pleasure)

I’m pretty useless in informing you about this form of comedy (which is about short sketches or vignettes- you know kinda like Saturday Night Live). Using Google, I found some great events that HAVE ALREADY PASSED. So, I suck. But here’s some info in case you want to become a scary fan.

Secretpants just performed a great show at the Khyber on July 20th.  They seem pretty funny (or at least their website is). No new events listed, but they have a mailing list, which I just joined.

PHILADELPHIANS DOING STUPID THINGS

Philadelphians being themselves is epic comedy. That is why I love this city. Checking out Wing Bowl photos is a great place to start. Check out Frank “Frank De Fraud” Farrell blowing chunks. Funny and yummy.

Photo credit: www.sfgate.com

Photo credit: http://www.sfgate.com

Eating with Style

Eating is one of my favorite things to do, in fact I do it every day. It’s impossible for me to blog about Philadelphia culture without talking about food. However, I will need to carve out a niche that has nothing to do with talking about signature dishes at new trendy Philadelphia restaurants. In the past five years, I have developed an aversion to eating out. Spending $20 – $30 for 15 minutes of gustatory pleasure makes little sense to me. For me restaurants are gathering places for people, not destinations in and of themselves.

I got out of the restaurant habit when I took a multi-year hiatus from dating and romantic relationships. I tried eating at restaurants alone, but realized I’d rather grab a snack at Wawa and take a walk around the city instead. Sitting at a table surreptitiously eyeing other diners wasn’t that interesting. However, eating junk on the run isn’t desirable either unless you can use sartorial skills and fashion a lovely dress out of the remains of processed meals.

bacos

Since I work near Chinatown, my favorite places to eat are near there…and I adore lunching at Reading Terminal Market. For $3 I can get a decent sized salad at Tootsie’s. I’ve been trying to slowly steer myself toward vegetarianism & now that my friend Cory tell me that Bacos are vegan, I’ve been eating those bullets of smokiness without guilt. They’re kosher too!

In sum, I’m not adverse  to restaurants, but honestly I can’t think of a single meal I’ve eaten that has generated memories that I keep for longer than 30 minutes. My most vivid restaurant memory was sampling toro on a date at Morimoto’s sushi bar. I remember enjoyed toro very much, but cannot actually remember what it tasted like.

But if I want to participate in the life and culture of Philadelphia, I need to find some dining spots that I can afford and enjoy. At the very least, I need to be able to have a place for friends visiting out of town and the occasional celebration.