While I may not have been familiar with Fire & Ice prior to my cooking session with Executive Chef Chris Nguyen, apparently the Old City restaurant is known to quite a few locals for their monthly “Drag Yourself to Brunch” event which is–yep, you guessed it–brunch and live drag show. Now, I don’t know about you, but if there’s one thing I love more than a plate of scrambled eggs, it’s a crew of fabulous drag queens.
The next edition will be going down this Sunday, May 19, featuring special VIP guest Johnny Weir. Admission is $35 if you wanna eat and drink (price includes a free Bloody Mary or mimosa) and just $10 should you just want to catch the show.
Either way, I recommend sticking around for lunch/dinner. Perhaps these pics might entice you…
On The Record: Talib Kweli, Fitz & The Tantrums, Little Boots, Lady Antebellum, Classixx, And Mikal Cronin
Prisoner of Conscious
Sounds like: A really mixed bag from Kweli’s fifth, and not in a pleasant, mixed-nuts kind of way—all over the place, too many guests, not angry enough.
Free association: Let’s be real: Dude’s almost 40. Maybe his venom’s drying out.
For fans of: Tribe/De La/Nas/Mos Def + Busta/Nelly/Miguel, conscious rap.
Fitz & the Tantrums
More Than Just a Dream
Sounds like: The L.A.-born retro and soul-inspired vehicle for Michael Fitzpatrick’s Stax and Motown worship’s sophomore doesn’t pop like their debut.
Free association: Did that whole retro soul thing already have its moment?
For fans of: Mark Ronson + Mayer Hawthorne, Hall & Oates on speed, trends.
Sounds like: The British electro diva’s second is a surprisingly sultry and complex dance music affair, despite its big producers, yielding nuance and depth.
Free association: Which song’ll burn up dancefloors all summer? It’s hard to pick.
For fans of: Annie + La Roux x LCD Soundsystem, Madonna/Robyn, ecstatic dancing.
Sounds like: Harmless, listenable country pop from the Nashville trio; their fifth may not win them awards like Need You Now did, but it’s still an easy listen.
Free association: This is radio country that makes us hate Taylor Swift more.
For fans of: Sugarland/Rascal Flatts x Miranda Lambert, FM twang, Tennessee.
Sounds like: A delicious debut of electronic dance music from L.A. best buds who clearly love some Italo disco, but also R&B, crafty production and beats.
Free association: Blast this on your way to the beach with windows open ASAP.
For fans of: Nico Jaar + Phoenix x Hot Chip, Erasure/Depeche Mode, sick grooves.
Sounds like: Frickin’ excellent solo Merge debut from the Ty Segall team player full of old-school angst, thoughtful lyrics, a little chaos and plenty of noise.
Free association: Believe the hype! One of the best statements of the year.
For fans of: Weezer x Pearl Jam, Toro y Moi + Nirvana, powerhouse garage noise.
Tom Jones is the man on so many levels. His most recent, Spirit in the Room, is a stunning achievement from a 72-year-old stud. His 40th LP of covers—nay, let’s call them interpretations—bears the Welsh superstar turning Leonard Cohen, Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan sings into gut-punching, heart-wrenching exorcisms. It’ll be fascinating to watch this legendary entertainer swagger around the stage on South Street tonight. And Jones has had enough panties thrown at him to stock up a Victoria’s Secret outlet. With good reason: Back in the late ‘60s, when he was giving us “What’s New Pussycat?” and “It’s Not Unusual,” Jones wore tight pants and nearly-unbuttoned shirts. He moved like a maniac, and his ‘fro game was tight, yet felt so natural and effortless.
In the ‘70s, he gave us “She’s a Lady,” and in the ‘80s, he blew Prince’s “Kiss” up into a million pieces. But just about every song he’s ever carried with that smooth, full-throated baritone larynx is compelling. The beauty of that gift he’s carrying around in his neck is that its so capable. You want pop? Bam. A little country? Twang for days. Sad spiritual? Man, that’s dark. Folksy capriciousness? Guess who just bested Joni Mitchell and Donavan.
Jones married his high school sweetheart, but don’t sleep—he’s like the 007 of the British Invasion. He may not tear up the stage like he did on his own TV show or in his endless slew of Vegas shows, but he’s still got that legendary bulge in his throat.
8pm. $50. Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South St. 215.922.1011. tlaphilly.com
When I lived in Brooklyn, I made it to the Flea once. There were bikes of all shades and colors, cool jewelry (I bought some Erica Weiner stuff), furniture that made me daydream of the budget and apartment I’d one day have, oh and food. And drink. Pretty sure I had a bangin’ pink lemonade. I never thought the spot was so organized that it could up and declare a new location. Like Philly. But on June 2nd, a Sunday, the Brooklyn Flea arrives at the Piazza. The five-year-old successful flea market will have its first weekend in the Jared Kushner-bought Bart Blatstein monstrosity in just a few short weeks.
Kushner’s the husband of Ivanka Trump, and he owns the New York Observer. He’s teamed up with Flea co-founder Jonathan Butler and Eric Demby to bring their model to a Philly space, their first moment of expansion. We’re hoping it’s a continuation of a trend; seems like New York’s finally seeing the beauty of our fair city. In the not-too-distant past we’ve seen stuff like 3rd Ward, SuitSupply, Joe Coffee and, wait, is that Uniglo coming to Philadelphia? Man, it’s awesome.
Here’s the rundown on the Philly Flea: It’s a curated shopping and food experience for your Sunday morning and afternoon in Northern Liberties, and it launches on June 2. There are limited spots, a fee, an application process, and the powers that be pick and choose to achieve a blissful mix of art, furniture, vintage, modern, crafty, handmade, prefab and mad food. (Among the vendors slated are Philadelphia Salvage, Three Potato Four, At Home Modern, Peg & Awl and Forage Haberdashery.) Brooklyn Flea’s been a fertile starting place for dozens of businesses looking to start small, build clientele and create a name for itself before moving into a brick-and-mortar location. No doubt that’ll happen in our Philly locale, and it’s exciting to see which startups will get the green light from the Philly Flea team.
The Piazza’s one weird space. But did you know that it can contain nearly 8,000 people? There’s no other space within a short radius of Center City that can so easily and professionally host such an excellent collection of vending tables and tents. There’ve been maybe a dozen businesses that have come and gone since Blatstein cut some deals for cheap rent in the piazza’s youth, a result of a number of factors, no doubt. Personally, I have no desire to dine at a place like Gunner’s Run (again). But when the Flea’s chosen food vendors populate the Brooklyn Philly Flea, they’ll pretty easily become the most solid eats outside of the dependable Bar Ferdinand and El Camino Real that will neighbor the flea (and benefit handily).
It’s just good all around: New York expanding to Philadelphia, sophistication in the form of curated shopping, a thing to do every weekend and a revitalization of one weird, underused space. Starting in June, you’ve got a good reason to head up, if nothing else for a good place to stroll with a coffee in hand and peruse high-to-low-end goods and art. Plus there’s like a 1000-percent guarantee that some cuties’ll be shoppin’ too.
Also, one quick note about the Flea’s June 2 opener: Since it’s the day after the sure-to-be-bangin’ Roots Picnic, call it the official “Roots Family Post Picnic Brunch,” ’cause according to insiders, Questlove and a slew of other dope local DJ are set to rock the Piazza stage.
This just popped into our Inbox from the Morgan’s Pier team:
“We can’t believe it’s almost here! Our doors re-open TODAY at 4pm, and the kitchen fires up at 5, with some exciting new additions and some old summer favorites.
Dave P of Making Time will be kicking-off our entertainment season in a BIG way with a FREE DJ set of futuristic sounds for your ears from 10pm-2am! We’ve also got a weekend of incredible DJ’s lined up like Harvard Bass, Liv Spencer + Prince Language. See the full list here and click here to RSVP for FREE admission to this Friday & Saturday’s shows!
Keep the dance vibes going all summer with local DJs every weeknight, and DJs from across the globe every weekend—like Simian Mobile Disco, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, and Dimitri From Paris.
Throughout the season, our buds over at R5 Productions are pulling out all the stops with FREE shows every Wednesday Night—including some heavy-hitters like Cold Cave, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and We Were Promised Jetpacks—from June 5th-August 28th.
This year, we’ll have a picnic menu, with all items around $10, that’s foodie, vegan, veggie, kid, omnivore—you name it—friendly. This menu is served in our Picnic Area. Although we won’t be taking reservations for this section, with 300 seats, there should be plenty of room for all.
In addition to the picnic options, there’s also a $30 fixed price menu, served exclusively in the elevated Dining Area. Space is limited so we encourage you to make your reservations here.
You can always find our upcoming events, specials and information at MorgansPier.com and for our nightly dinner specials & updates as they happen keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter. Can’t wait to see you at the Pier!
Man, oh man. We’d been checking in on the site to see what kind of shows and schedule they were booking, but we weren’t expecting this kind of fullness. Not gonna lie: In reading the hours of operation—and by that, we guess, they mainly mean when the kitchen’s open, not how late they’ll be serving drinks—it’s gonna be a service industry summer at the Pier. The picnic menu’s available from 5 to 11pm Sunday through Thursday and only 5 to 10pm on Friday and Saturday.
Things I can’t wait to put in my mouth from that menu: Smoky Party Wings; honey + chili glaze ($7.50), Blistered Shishito Peppers; ranch dressing + lemon wedge ($7.00), BBQ Pulled Mushroom Buns; house tofu + cucumber salad ($6.50), Really Good Fries; spicy salt + daily aioli (Side $3.00/Basket $7.00), Poached Lobster & Bibb; green goddess + brioche crumbs ($10.00), White Fish Salad Sammie; baby arugula + pickled red onion ($8.00), Slow Roasted Bacon Sammie; pickled cabbage + spicy mustard ($7.50).
Oh, and the talent. A handful of shows that made our eyes bug: a Classixx DJ set on Friday, June 14th ($5.00), a Cold Cave show a few days later on Wednesday, June 19th (free), then a Simian Mobile Disco DJ set on Saturday, the 22nd ($5.00), and OMG a Small Black free show on Wednesday, June 26th, and DAMN a James Murphy DJ set on the weekend of July 4th ($10.00) on Saturday night, the 6th). There’s obviously a ton more booked, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg and the tip that’s closest to May.
Check out this cool lil’ mini-short doc about DFA records to get excited for James Murphy to visit our little pier on Columbus Ave.
!!! (Chk Chk Chk)
Sounds like: They’re back!!! If you thought they’d lost steam, maybe they did, but it’s returned—and their characteristic funk is danker and tighter than ever.
Free association: Slick production = a headphone masterpiece and party starter.
For fans of: LCD Soundsystem x old-school Stones, the Rapture/Hot Chip, parties.
New History Warfare, Vol. 3: To See More Light
Sounds like: The seasoned woodwinds master delivers outstandingly out-there avant jazz and freak funk with Justin Vernon vocals and tripped-out noise.
Free association: The bits of bizarre clear out when the sax funk rumbles through.
For fans of: Miles/Coltrane x Brian Eno, Josh Redman + Transmission, jazz noise.
If You Leave
Sounds like: The gloomy debut of 4AD Brits who began with Elena Tonra, a woman with a stunning voice and devastating lyrics full of dark drama and ethereality.
Free association: Definitely couldn’t handle this all day unless it was January.
For fans of: These New Puritans/Cat Power x the XX, Bat for Lashes, doom and gloom.
Sounds like: Another excellent batch from Argentinean/Swede Jose Gonzalez’s project, and this collection’s got a louder, slightly chaotic rock feel to it.
Free association: Dude can do no wrong. It would’ve been impossible for this to suck.
For fans of: Kings of Convenience/Beirut x Galaxie 500, Lil Pocket Knife, Scandanavian funk.
Praxis Makes Perfect
Sounds like: Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip’s sophomore is another smash concept LP, this one about a communist Italian publisher.
Free association: Some super-solid, playfully weird electronic sonic storytelling.
For fans of: Handsome Boy Modeling School + Gorillaz x the Drive soundtrack.
Sounds like: The dixie chick’s collection of covers, from Jeff Buckley to Eddie Vedder to the title track’s Roger Waters; it’s a stunning set of vocal achievements.
Free association: Always loved her; hopefully, this is the start of a solid solo career.
For fans of: Brandi Carlile with Ben Harper, Lucinda Williams, liberal country girls.
We caught up with Ang Bocca via email this week a few days before she and her band, The Damn Band, take the stage at Ortlieb’s on Friday night to, hopefully, play some new stuff they’ve been cookin’ up. It was tough shortening her verbose answers. But she dropped a few gems along the way. Can’t wait to see what she and her band’ve got up their sleeves this Friday. Get your info tight!
PW: Ang! What’s goin’ on? Seriously, what’s happening? Does the Ortlieb’s show signify a new project or new band or new record or new something?
ANG BOCCA: A LOT is going on! We are recording our untitled EP with Collapsible Empire, which will be hot and ready for release appropriately by mid-summer (July-ish). We are really super stoked to be playing Ortlieb’s! It’s one of my favorite hangs and also one of my personal favorite venues. It just looks like it popped out of a Tarantino movie. Barb (drummer & co-captain) and I haven’t performed for a minute because we have been recording. And this gig has a NEW feel for us. We have a few friends playing with us this time. We have Rachel Icenogle on electric cello, Joe Smith of Southwork on bass and Joe Humeaus of Nobody Yet filling in on guitar. I’ve been calling it Flamingo Friday! I don’t have any idea what that means, but our music feels hot pink for this show to me.
Tell us a lil’ about yourself, would ya? Where’d you grow up? Who is your spirit diva? (Spirit divas are the diva you most embody and, in a way, function kind of like a human spirit animal.)
I’m from South Philly. I was the only blonde pale person from my neighborhood. I grew up wanting to be a ballerina and competetive figure skater. I was uber serious about the dancing, but when I wasn’t getting far, I chose to try skating, and I was uber serious about that, too. I was involved in theater in between all of this. However, when I was on the ice, I had a lot of alone time and would come up with beats and melodies. I would fake sick during a lesson if inspiration struck and would record it into my Nokia. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was uncontrollable and as most people do when they fall in love with music, it became the most important thing to me forever. Hmmm, my spirit diva? Oddly enough, I always have weird dreams where Ryan Gosling shows up randomly and grabs my chin to feed me one-liners of brilliant advice, like “What’s the matter with you? You act like you’ve never been loved before!” And then he walks away. It’s very cinematic. He’s also my spirit animal.
What kinds of things have you been singin’ lately? What kind of stuff’s been influencing you? Like rock ‘n roll times? R&B flavors? Pop delights?
I’ve been lovin’ me some JT. Of course. “Pusher Love Girl” blows my mind. I cannot wait for the next 10 tracks he’s releasing. He’s my pop delight. We are pretty exclusive. I love Bruno Mars, too. He’s my side piece. Robyn’s Body Talk is literally my favorite pop album, probably of all time. I am a nerd for doo wop and swing. I love Cab Calloway—he was a huge inspiration for our EP—and I am an avid rockabilly and Americana fan. I love local bands of those genres, like Coffin Fly and the Lawsuits. The Lawsuits just played a kick-ass show at Johnny Brenda’s with Grandchildren! Just the other night, Brendan from the Lawsuits was singing some ’90s jams at Hotbox Studios with Kyle Perella from Levee Drivers and Ron Gallo of Toy Soldiers. It was slammin’.
How long’ve you been at this grind? I’m sure your performance art has taken many shades of packaging and focus. So, what’s the end goal?
I have many shades of purpose. Right now, it’s hot pink. Ya know, I’ve been wanting to perform my entire life. There was never a question in my mind that I wasn’t going to produce art in some fashion. The grind has been long. So many bands, open mics, weddings, cover bands and musicals, etc. I know that everyone in this music game has to really love it in their gut. It is your only relationship that you always have. We work that extra job to pay for our music. Rock ‘n roll, man. Nothing beats the feeling you get at a show or music blasting in your car. It is essential. We’ve re-worked all the songs, replaced band mates, and chose to work with Collapsible Empire. It finally feels right. We just hope to reach people and make people feel like they can have fun and also feel a part of this with us. I found that a lot of my writing draws from my friends’ experiences, and it reaches people we don’t personally know, and there’s something really beautiful and priceless about that. Success is truly just relentless belief in yourself and what you’re doing. And I honestly feel that same way about music as I did when I first fell in love with it, if not more.
Does Philly have your heart? Is this the city you want to keep working on your craft in? Why? And where do you most like to sing your heart out?
I love Philly. There’s no place like home. I really want to make the most of this life thang. So, the more I see, the better. Motown Philly is back again, and I intend on bringing Philly to any and everywhere I go. Philly is awesome, though, and the perfect way to spend a day here is to go grab some grub and see some local art. We have the best of both worlds. Most things can’t beat a soft pretzel and a local live show. And I sing my heart out most in the shower. Duh. Doesn’t everybody?
*Photo c/o G. Marie Photgraphy.