empty Lot full of trash and over grown weeds
There are long grass patches growing over the sidewalk of the house on the corner of E Walnut Lane and Morton ave. It is next door to a daycare center and walking children back and forth to the center is made extremely difficult and treacherous. This type of environment allows mosquitoes and ticks to thrive.
Junkies night and day and especially when kids are going to and from school selling and highly soliciting drug sales with litter of needles everywhere. a disgrace!
Image via facebook.com/conniesricrac
BY JOEY SWEENEY
If you’ve ever lived near the Italian Market and truly used it as a resource, you’re kind of ruined for just about any other neighborhood in Philadelphia. It’s not that the Market is particularly grand or, frankly, even pleasant (cue the live chicken place smell), it’s just that, once you scratch the surface, you realize: Everything is in there. If there’s a thing you can’t get in the Italian Market, there’s a good chance it’s a thing you don’t need.
With perhaps the only exception being, up until a decade ago, live music. That's when Frankie and Joe Tartaglia Jr. and their buddy Pete Pellulo took Mrs. Tartaglia’s old knick knack shop on 9th Street and turned it into Connie’s Ric Rac, where they started having music and comedy shows. At first, the Ric Rac wasn’t much; on bricks and mortar level alone, it still isn’t. But Connie’s Ric Rac is possessed of a kind of old South Philly anything-goes magic that no other venue in the city even gets close to. It’s a simple black box with a concrete floor, a PA and a stage on one end, and the most rudimentary bar on the one side. (The bar still feels “new” — for the first few years of its existence, the Ric Rac was BYOB.) But when it’s Friday night and Johnny Showcase has the place packed, or mid-sketch on one of the comedy nights that helped really build Philly’s indie comedy scene over these last few years, you feel an electricity in that place that feels like it’s jumping right outta the ground.
And as the guys have worked their asses off over the last ten years, Connie’s Ric Rac has found itself at the crossroads of different creative scenes and a South Philly that’s in the middle of a hard merger with New Philly. It’s to their credit that it feels perfectly settled in either camp. All this weekend, Connie’s Ric Rac celebrates with pretty much a Friday-night-through-Sunday-night continuous show and party; on Saturday afternoon, they’re even closing down the 1100 block of 9th Street. Because Lord knows, there’s enough of 9th Street’s heart and soul inside the Ric Rac that it’s only right and natural to let it go air itself out once in a while.
“It’s not just the pitchers who will be throwing curves on opening day,” ran an AP item in April of 1971, announcing the arrival of what would come to be known as the Phillies’ “Hot Pants Patrol.” From ’71 through 1982, when feminist outcry quite rightly brought down the Hot Pants Patrol, female ushers at home games at Veterans Stadium were decked out in maroon micro-skirts, short shorts and white go-go boots. (The Phanatic came along in 1978; we don’t even wanna know what the relationship there must have been like.) In the pics above, you get a sense of what the uniforms were like, but as a gig back then, you’re going to have to use your imagination regarding how much it must have sucked. (Then again, maybe not.) If you think Philly’s loaded with slobs now, buddy, you shoulda been here in the ‘70s.
BY JOEY SWEENEY
This summer, there is one song that I have listened to more than any other, and it’s this one, “Masterpiece” by Big Thief. I could not give over the exact reason — I believe this is one of those songs that hits one’s own emotional register with a knockout punch of oblique spiritual truth that feels like, and thus is, a kind of release. But I can, at least, talk about what’s going on in “Masterpiece,” and why Big Thief is my favorite new band in a very long time.
“Masterpiece” rips open with a guitar chord straight out of every FM rock radio dream you’ve ever had, peeling out a gravelly cloud of roadside dirt and dust and then does an almost counter-intuitive thing: It gets really, really personal. The lyric picks up almost mid-conversation and drops you down in something out of one of those Dirty Realism stories from the 1980s. You’re in a diner with your dearest friend where confidences are being exchanged with desperate finality, even if it is the desperate finality of nothing changing.
"You whisper to a restless ear, 'can you get me out of here?
This place smells like piss and beer, can you get me out?'
You were asking me, how to get you free
I only know the recipe to roam”
Embedded in here is the thing that drew you to glam, that said fuck yeah to riot grrl, that got you all-in on Lucinda: A fierceness that punches its way out of a house of fragile cards. Live, Big Thief does the same exact thing as the songs on the Masterpiece album do — and they all do some version of this — with frontwoman Adrianne Lenker at the helm while guitarist Buck Helm does some of the most give-no-fucks Richard Thompson scraping you’ve ever heard. (Full disclosure: I opened for these guys about six months ago, and they blew me off the stage and into reverent fandom immediately.)
"Old friends, old mothers, dogs and brothers,” goes the valedictory lyric in “Masterpiece,” and all of that is conjured in as real a way as any Springsteen song. But there’s no romance of the working class here, no nostalgia or teary eyes. Instead, there’s a toughness that you’re gonna need in these strange days of fear and maligned hope. Maybe that’s why I can’t stop listening to it. Maybe everybody could use a little bit of that right now.