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Saturday, February 21, 2015

City Beat (ICON): Stolen Joan of Arc

City Beat February 2015

A article on the ‘man bun’ got us pondering famous hair bun styles in history. Ballerina buns, Emily Dickinson’s schoolmarm look, Princess Leia’s French rolls, or messy buns with chopstick antennas. Most of the man buns we’ve seen have been on male model types who have little to loose by going ugly. The man bun is really a contrived look on a par with women who dye their hair blue. The rugged PECO worker or neighborhood FIOS installer would never think of doing his hair up like a French maid. Should this cosmetic blight be allowed to continue?  Might we suggest fashionista vigilante action, such as gangs with hair scissors to send these knots flying?   

One good job deserves another. This seems to be the philosophy of PGW’s VP of Marketing and Communications, Doug Oliver, who wants to be mayor. The sharply dressed “go to” smiley executive says he’s ready to be a consensus builder.” His photo and logo,”DO2015” has the pitch perfect ring of Nordstrom’s gift wrapping but is there anything inside the box? Running for mayor, it seems, is all about product. Lynne Abraham’s product is her legacy as former DA. The other contenders--Anthony “Tony” Williams, Nelson Diaz, Ken Trujillo, Milton Street (and possibly) Alan Butkovitz—make us think of cold oatmeal sans cinnamon accents. It doesn’t help the city that Terry Gillen had to drop out of the race due to a lack of funds, while lesser lights like Milton Street continue to be bankrolled.  

Was Joan of Arc burnt at the stake only to be stolen from the Divine Loraine Hotel? For some time now we’ve been hearing stories of how developers shell out cash to neighborhood youths to get them to climb to the roofs of old buildings and dismantle  prized features. The gold Joan statue that used to grace the portal above the Loraine’s front door was not a work of art like sculptor Emmanuel Fremiet’s Joan on the Parkway, but it was stunning enough. It can still be seen in old renderings and photographs of the place. The Loraine’s Joan disappeared sometime in the late 1990s.          

Has Latimer Street’s Pen and Pencil Club become the Mutter Museum of journalism? While it’s true you won’t find the skulls of Damon Ruyan, Red Smith or George M. Cohan behind any glass containers there, you will encounter a bevy of talkers who have opinions on everything. While deadline-conscious journalists cannot afford too many ‘till the wee hours’ boozy nights, “I just got off work” restaurant workers and other nocturnal party animals can. The expansion of P&P’s membership in recent years to include everyone but journalists has caused one observer to write: This place is a monument to the cigar-chomping, typewriter-banging old-school newspaperman who hardly exists anymore (outside of Hollywood).” We tend to think that when ‘theme bars’ like P&P attain comfortable status quo institutionalization (a place where politicians hold court and participate in panel discussions), it’s really time for adventurous journalists to look for a living museum.   

We celebrated with Paul Stinke when the former Reading Terminal Market head announced himself a candidate for City Council. Stinke’s impressive resume includes a stint as Finance Director of the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation. His family was on hand for the festivities. The 6’4” Stinke towers over nearly everyone he meets, including his small stature older brother who introduced Paul after Rep Brian Sims’ rousing opening speech. If we could make any campaign suggestions for Paul, they’d go something like this: Up the amp in your public talks. It’s okay to show some passion and to let your voice rise and fall like ocean waves meeting the shore. (2) If you really want a seat on City Council, you first have to win the hearts and minds of Mr. and Mrs. Philly Joe Average, so go light on ideological references to lgbt activists outside the mainstream.   

“The Body of an American” at the Wilma had us coasting in confusing boredom for the first 25 minutes but when the play picked up we were on the edge of our seats as much as we were when we saw Gone Girl at the Roxy. Our wish was to let Blanka Zizka know how much we enjoyed the performance but we were told she was in Chile for a theater conference. The same Wilma official told us that Blanka really didn’t want to go to Chile because she likes opening nights, but in the end the offer proved too enticing. The Body of an American is an intense, often uncomfortable look at what war can do to the human psyche. The drama also inspired the Wilma’s large stable of (cliquish) 20 something actors to break out into frenzied Whirling Dervish dancing towards the end of the reception.