Photo by Alexander John at last week’s Hot Mesh (l-r): his best friend Eli, who handles music, Icon Ebony-Fierce, and Josh Schonewolf bartending.
Josh Schonewolf and I met at Supper for happy hour to talk about a few things. I sent him a couple links that I’d read and been thinking about: a HuffPost story about gays being bullies to other gays, and this bummer of a NY Times feature about being 20-something and coming to the idea of work in new ways. Schonewolf’s embarking on a new chapter in his life, promoting and producing events, largely gay-themed, and it’s already starting to take off in pretty thrilling ways. He’s already somewhat of a big name in the gay community via his blog, Josh Can’t Cook, which he started in 2010. He gets stopped on city sidewalks (outside of Philadelphia, too), has been featured in the pages of Philadelphia Gay News and has dates’ roommates bug out when they find out they’re going for drinks with Josh Can’t Cook.
The blog started as a stress-relief from a soul-crushing finance job he maintained just to have a job. The Temple ‘05 grad studied communications with a TV/media performance focus but found himself in an office full of women that he wanted to destroy. Not with malice, of course, just, ya know, because the office environment can do that to a person. The site boasts 1 to 5,000 page views a week and he tries to publish twice a week including awards for restaurants and recipes. The blog’s not going anywhere, though – he’s slated to start shooting 20 episodes next week. He’s only made 15 since the blog’s inception but they’re no joke. Even at three minutes in length, he prepares about a dozen jokes for each and has a crew help him with production. They get made in his home’s kitchen in Newbold and starting in April or May he’ll start revealing his new ’season’ to the world.
Schonewolf loves a party, but he’s a pretty atypical nightlife personality. He told me he loves the phrase “Life’s a party, all you have to do is RSVP,” and I really believe he means it. He just likes to throw parties and that’s how it all got started. He threw a Halloween hat party and had a blast with it. Then things got serious and he made his first philanthropic event debut with a benefit for New York’s Ali Forney Center on a Friday night last August. 300 people came and 30 gifts were provided from various area businesses. I was curious about the logistics and I dug: What does it cost if your event flops? Typically, at a place like Tabu Sports Bar & Lounge, if your crowd doesn’t make it to a bartab point ($500), you have to pay the difference. Schonewolf brought his checkbook but he didn’t have to write one – it was a hit.
Then this winter he hosted Josh’s Drag Ball, a fundraiser for Philadelphia’s The Attic Youth Center, that corralled 15 queens and even pulled one in from RuPaul’s Drag Race (Milan from Season 4). It was a freezing cold night in December but the people came. But this brings us to one of the primary subjects of hour snack chat – we are drowning in drag. Drag’s fun and we love it. But he’s interested in bigger and better events that don’t use drag as the primary crowd bait. He and Brandon Robert of PhillyDragopolis are officially working together to produce some big events in the future. Ideas in the pipeline are food-adjacent events. Yes, there’s a drag brunch that happens at Fire & Ice in Old City once a month, but he also has hopes for working with talented young chefs and LGBT local musicians. Think a locally-based Top Chef or a Voyeur-based American Idol. He kept some secrets but we’ll be hungrily looking for details as they emerge.
The idea of dwelling in the world of gay nightlife and event production’s frightening to me. Gay people can be really mean to other gay people and it’s sad. It’s something that our own Goddess Isis tries to refrain from with her positivity in the phrase “Be a light.” Or as they say in Paris is Burning, “We’re not going to be shady, just fierce.” And Josh is like a fierce Real Housewife. He loves the whole franchise and has often asked me who my favorite housewife is. I can’t answer that – I only watch without sound on the treadmill. But one night at Stir he asked me for a housewife tagline; you know, the one sentence self-descriptive introductions they give at the beginning of each episode. It’s generally a “I may look like this but I’m actually that.” I improvised ‘I may be a writer but I can read even better.’ I was pleased with myself mostly because Josh cheered me on. “YES!” Well, when I read Josh I see a light.
Josh runs a party on Monday nights at Tavern on Camac called Hot Mesh, and hosts a party called Ratchet on Wednesday nights at Tabu Sports Bar & Lounge.
Last night, up in the Grand Ballroom at the Sheraton Center City Hotel, Henri David held his hugely popular annual Halloween fete which, now in it’s 44th year, is the longest running event of its kind. For those who have never been, the party is sorta like the Olympics of Halloween costumes. Seriously, there wasn’t a single half-assed costume in the bunch. Add in an array of incredibly fabulous drag queens and a crew of beef-cake male strippers and, well, you’ve got yourself one hell of a night.
WARNING: Photos contain nudity. More specifically, male nudity. And lots of it.
Dispatching from South Philly and New York City, Sunny Ali & The Kid have slowly unveiled a spooky batch of tracks from themselves and their friends. The nine tracks released on the 27th are as wide-ranged in their bizarro funk as they are creepy and frighteningly groovy. This, their third in a series of three, is the final collection of 26 tracks that’ve been Bandcamp-released over the past week. They’re kitschy and scary, but always polished in their dazzling web of genres and styles. A look at the records’ tags shows you that they know they’re working with a mixed bag: “american rock and roll country hip hop lo-fi psychedelic punk slime spookwave Philadelphia.”
Basically, these three records, essentially free to listen to for a limited time, are the ideal soundtrack to your not-that-thematic-but-still-a-costumey-Halloween-party-for-young-adults. Doesn’t get much better. Just about every track’s got a groove, a danceable movement to it or at least a rhythm that’s way cooler than howling winds or creaking doors. Even though a BUNCH of those sounds are present on these three records, it’s never tacky: chainsaws, ghoulish whines, zombie growls, slash strokes, off-putting organs, thunder and supernatural noises populate many of these tracks.
In an era where many musicians are quick to put out holiday-themed releases that sink their cache and sully their name (Have you seen the deluge of Christmas albums that started this month? Lookin’ rightatchu, Cee-Lo), this one’s on the money. There’s no pretense or commercial hook here. Clearly these guys enjoy a little make-believe and gothic dress-up enough to send up a salute to many Americans’ favorite time of year, nay, favorite day of the year. In fact, these records combined kind of feel like a hip-hop artists’ fascination with a horror genre not unlike the Wu-Tang’s obsession with martial arts. The sophistication evident in the employ of samples, found sounds and sound bytes is impressive. Give em’ some spins as you greet trick-or-treaters, carve pumpkins and decorate Halloween cookies; or as you get dressed slutty and embark on intoxication. You won’t regret it, freaks, geeks and treats.
Thanks to Hurricane Sandy’s swift shift, Halloween in Philadelphia will go on as planned. If you haven’t already nailed down your own plans just yet, here’s a few events to consider:
Halloween Smackdown 2012: Whether you want to come dressed scary or slutty, costumes are mandatory at this divey dance party. As an incentive, the best-dressed folks in attendance will receive prizes and possibly a $20 credit to your bar tab. This is all in addition to free candy, Halloween-themed cocktails and tunes from DJ Phunkenstein aka. “The Monster of Ceremonies.” 8pm. Free. The Dive, 947 E. Passyunk Ave.
The Devil’s Crawl: Don’t want to commit to just one bar all night? Well then how about hitting five of NoLibs’ finest watering holes—Gunner’s Run, El Camino Real, King’s Oak, Boardwalk Bar and PYT—all while simultaneously helping a good cause? Here’s how it works: first, visit Gunner’s Run or Boardwalk Bar, pay $10 and donate either a food item or new/lightly used jacket to Feel The Warmth. In exchange, you’ll receive a pair of devil horns, which will allow you take advantage of drink specials at each participating bar. 5pm-12am. $10. Various locations around The Piazza, 1001 N. Third St.
Wild Wednesday Halloween Costume Party: Rather than getting stuck at some shitty frat house, Temple students of legal drinking age can party it up at The Horse where, like every Wednesday they will have super cheap booze including, $1 Bud Light cans, $4 well drinks and $3 surprise Halloween shots. Depending how clever your costume is, you may also be able to score yourself a prize. 9pm. Free. The Draught Horse, 1431 Cecil B. Moore Ave.
McCrossen’s Halloween Party: Basically this bash has everything you need for a good time tonight: beer, festive cocktails, a dance floor and free admission. The winner of their costume contest will go home with a $50 gift certificate and a bottle of wine from sommelier Lauren Harris. 9pm. Free. McCrossen’s Tavern, 529 N. 20th St.
Tap our Pumpkin!: While other local establishments may have one or two seasonal brewskies on tap, tonight, Devil’s Den will be serving up an impressive array of special aged pumpkin beers from their cellar in addition to their usual selection 200+ beers. This includes 2011 Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin, 2011 Bruery Autumn Maple and a firkin of Southern Tier Pumking on the hand pump. Costumes are encouraged. 7-11pm. Free. Devils Den, 11th & Ellsworth Sts.
This storm’s really got the east coast’s panties in a twist. Wal-Marts and Fresh Grocers are sold out of batteries, bread, water and candles. And no one will discount the body count already – the death count’s almost 70 from the Caribbean. But boy do we love a panic, don’t we? The worst is yet to come, it seems, even as the Schuykill and Delaware frighteningly swell as I type. But some Philly businesses are fighting this storm like it’s the 2012 election. Did you see the boarded-up boardwalk biz that likened their unscaredness of Sandy to their hope for Romney?
#openinPHL is a trending hashtag on Twitter that has businesses and city organizations tweeting strong words. For instance, @PhillyFireDept says: “”We hope business are #closedinPHL and not #OpenInPHL”.” (Quotes used to emphasize misuses of grammar and capitalization.) FooBooz polled readers and 37% say it’s wrong for a restaurant to be open and 55% say only if it’s voluntary for employees to show up. Only 8% basically say ‘Yeah, I want to eat and drink.’
Things are just as bad in New York, it seems. Sunday night, Louis C.K. canceled a Midtown comedy booking and penned a pretty great open letter to his fans. So here in Philly, we’ve seen some cancellations, too.
UT cancelled tonight’s Heartless Bastards show (with Futurebirds and Dana Falconberry). But the Dead Milkmen seem on for Wednesday night. The Troc cancelled last night’s lineup of Rita Ora and Iggy Azalea but seems to be cool with screening 1987’s The Monster Squad tonight. Tomorrow night’s TLA night of Pierce The Veil (with three other bands) seems to be a go, as does their sold-out Halloween night on Wednesday with Foxy Shazam. The Electric Factory has postponed tonight’s show with the xx, however Deathlok’s on for the 31st. Sound Tribe Sector 9 seems to be still selling tickets to Wednesday night’s Tower Theatre show while John Legend’s cancelled his Thursday spot. Kung Fu Necktie’s cancelled tonight’s Screaming Rattler set but doesn’t seem ready to axe anything tomorrow or later. Looks like Johnny Brenda’s is saying Sean Hayes’ set is cancelled tonight but that they’re open for business until Sandy says ‘Nuh unh.’
And maybe tomorrow everything’ll just be automatically cancelled when we don’t have power, internet, cell phone use and the fear of Walking Dead-style mania in the streets of Philadelphia keeps everyone indoors reading books or something. Until their tablet or laptop runs out of juice. But if Sandy’s done by Wednesday morning, imagine the freaks that’ll come out as the winds die down. Oooh, it’ll be scary.
While this meteorological phenomenon may have put a damper on Halloween 2012, it’s also given folks along the east coast two awesome and super easy DIY costume ideas, possibly to reserve for future use.
It’s hard to say right now what, if any, local Halloween parties will be going down Wednesday night as planned, but seeing as most of us are stuck spending the next 48 hours cooped up in our homes—with or without electricity—what better time to get crafty and construct a new costume?
Yeah, you saw this one coming. While you can opt to embody either the innocent or rebel version of Grease’s leading lady, badass Sandy is likely to be the easiest.
Step 1: Unless for some strange reason you happen to own a black lycra body suit, rummage through your closets and drawers for any and all tight-fitting black garments. A simple strapless black top and leggings works just as good. If you don’t have a black leather jacket, any shimmery black jacket will do. Complete the ensemble with a pair of black pumps and a pretty belt.
Step 2: Draw a hurricane symbol like the one shown above on a piece of cardboard, color it in with red marker/paint then cut it out and tape it to your chest. A simple red “H” would also work.
Step 3: Tease your hair to the high heavens and proceed to curl. For those blessed with a naturally curly mane, this may be as simple as drying your hair upside down then adding some mouse/gel.
Step 4: Apply your sexiest red lipstick.
Step 5: Dangle a real or fake cig from your lip.
And for the fellas…
Step 1: Paint your entire face green and blacken your eyes with green/black face paint or matte green/black eye shadows, which can easily be found at any drug store or your girlfriend’s makeup bag.
Step 2: Create a few stitched-up cuts on your face, again using either face paint or makeup. You can easily create a wound with a little red lipstick/lip liner and black eye shadow. For the stiches, black eyeliner would work great.
Step 3: Gel or spray your hair down as flat as possible.
Step 4: Create bolts from whatever you might have lying around your house (a corkscrew being the easiest option), then paint them silver or black and stick on your neck. You can either construct them from
Step 5: Wear all black, possibly a black blazer or suit/tuxedo jacket.
My previous Glenn “Hurricane” Scwhartz (In A Hurricane) DIY costume idea is also now eerily appropriate. I swear I had no knowledge of Sandy when I came up with it.
Just follow the balloons down Fabric Row tonight as practically every business and boutique will be celebrating Fourth Friday with even more discounts, specials, snacks and booze than usual. Meet Lynn Bardowski, author of the new best-selling book “Success Secrets of a Million Dollar Party Girl” and enjoy a cocktail at Urban Princess Boutique (750 S. 4th St.) then play dress up at Lois A. Wigs (754 S. 4th St.). Meanwhile, fellas will definitely want to stop into BUS STOP (727 S. 4th St.) where they’ll be unveiling their new, bigger, badder and sexier selection of designer men’s shoes with ice-cold beer and a 15 percent off deal. Finally, hit Red Hook Coffee & Tea (765 S. 4th St.) for an after-party with beer and a new artist debut exhibit. 5-10pm. Free. Various locations along S. Fourth St.
As part of its Diamond 75th Anniversary celebration and coinciding with Penn’s Homecoming Weekend, the Women’s Committee of the Penn Museum is bringing back its annual jewelry extravaganza featuring a hand-picked selection of antique, estate, and high-end jewelry from over two dozen exhibitors. Who wouldn’t mind spending a few hours drooling over amazing bling? 11am-5pm. Through Sun/28. $15-$25. Penn Museum, 3260 South St.
My favorite thing about this season: pumpkin lattes and the non-stop neighborhood fall festivals. In addition to various specials and autumn brews at the Avenue’s many beloved watering holes and restaurants, there will be live music throughout the day, a craft show at Nice Things…Handmade (1731 EPA), free drawing and art lessons by Young Rembrandts and a tightwire demo and circus performance by Charm City Movement Arts (11:15am-1:15pm). As part of Spooky Saturday, there will also be all sorts of family-friendly happenings, including kid’s costume contests, a pet costume contest, pumpkin decorating, trick or treating at the Singing Fountain and more cider and candy corn than you could possibly want. 11am-4pm. Free. Various locations along E. Passyunk Ave.
Whether you’re a mother of a little girl or you have a little niece, you definitely want to check out this insanely adorable line children’s of clothing and accessories for girls aged 3yrs-10yrs. Sarah Lewis will be showcasing Girl and a Mouse’s fall 2012 collection all day at her awesome Fishtown boutique. Not a bad idea to get started on your Christmas shopping. 11am-4pm. Free. Adorn Boutique, 1314 Frankford Ave.
Hit the nearest ATM, withdraw $20 and see all the great stuff you can score at this first-ever Germanton flea market. Over 40 vendors will be in attendance selling items both new and old—from designer shoes, jewelry and furniture to garden tools, art and books. To top it all off, a few surprise local food trucks are expected to stop by. 9am-4pm. Free. Germantown Life Enrichment Center, 5722 Greene St.
If you’ve been pondering a new do, book an appointment ASAP for this Sunday at Giovanni & Pileggi. Not only will the salon be offering a really sweet deal ($25 haircut, $20 blow dry), but 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the Philly-based non-profit, Breast Health International. 12-4pm. $20-$25. Giovanni & Pileggi, 258 S. 11th St. 215.568.3040.