Oh what fun things there are to do
At the nearby Philadelphia zoo
There’s staring, and gaping
And writing a blog review
There’s “aww”ing at monkeys
And munching on overpriced fries,
There’s harassing the peacocks
And hearing children’s cries
There’s naked mole rats
And snakes of all ages
There’s slumbering albino bats
And birds trapped in cages
If what I just described sounds like a nightmare
Don’t worry, it’s not!
Rest assured that if they were to escape
They’d surely be caught.
If you should ever grow bored,
Climb the animal statues, they’re insured
Or visit the bunnies at the petting zoo
They’ll make the time pass right through
Roses are red
Violets are blue.
Indeed nothing gets better
Than a day at the zoo.
By now you’re seen that, boy,
I’m not the best poet
In fact, I’ve often had to employ
Some jokes to make up for it.
But you really should have known
This entire poem was written by RhymeZone
Please don’t blame me, it’s not my fault
That I’ve yet to act like an adult
For who can resist going a bit cuckoo
When they visit the Philadelphia Zoo?
Oh, Valentine’s day. I love you, I hate you, I mostly hate you. What is it about you that ignites both such a rabid raid of various chocolate aisles at the supermarket and outright collective hatred all at the same time? Is it the lovers frolicking around o Rittenhouse Square even though it is fully below zero temperature outside? Is it the constant pokes we get in the back from the long-stemmed rose that the girl standing behind us on the subway is swinging around in a lovesick ecstasy? Perhaps it’s the fact that nobody knows who St. Valentine is and why he is so qualified to create his own holiday to begin with.
Let’s just come right out and say that I am not the most romantic person. I refused to accompany my friends to see “Dear John” at the cinema because the last time I saw a Nicholas Sparks movie I kept throwing popcorn indignantly at the screen without realizing it. I cannot watch a single episode of “The Bachelor” without either bursting out in laughter or violently insulting all of the contestants. I didn’t even cry during “Titanic”. It’s that bad.
However, I know do I am not the only Valentine’s Day hater out there. This I have learned from having a Tumblr account and a steady exposure to Woody Allen movies. So, without further ado, here are my five pics for things to do if you want to embark outside on Februray 14thwithout wanting to burn down the entire city. Hopeless cynics, this one’s for you.
1) Go on a Valentine’s Day ghost tour
The people over at Ghost Tours of Philadelphia are offering a special Valentine’s Day 75 minute walking tour of Society Hill that includes a tour of the historic Powel House, narrated by haunting love stories and the ghosts they leave behind. See? Love does kill!
2) Avoid Max Brenner’s at All Cost
I can pretty much guarantee you that there will be enough couples taking a “romantic” chocolate tasting date to make you wish the Spanish had never discovered the cocoa bean (even the notion!). Unless your plans include flipping over a table in exhasperation at a public place, don’t even think about it.
3) Treat Yo’ Self 2012
George Bernard Shaw once said, “There is no sincerer love than the love of food”. By that logic, Valentine’s Day should revolve entirely around eating as much as possible, so do yourself a favor and take yourself out on a date. The trick is to avoid anywhere even remotely fancy, as you will undoubtedly trip over the army of red and pink balloons that are sure to be decorating most restaurants. Some ideas: burgers and shakes at 500 Degrees, quesadillas at El Fuego, and pizza from Slice.
Possibly the least sexy film in all of history, this movie will make you either want to marry Meryl Streep for her acting ability, or rethink your decision to study abroad in London. Also, you can get artsy popcorn with hipster drinks like Jones sodas at the concession stand. And, as a plus, you can basically guarantee there will be no couples in the audience.
5) Head over to the PMA for the Van Gogh exhibit
There is no better example of how crazy love makes us than Vincent Van Gogh- the guy cut off his own ear for a girl he had a crush on. We can’t say we’re big fans of being sent body parts on envelopes for Valentine’s Day , but it was certainly creative. Honor his holey artistry by paying a visit to the world-famous sunflower oils currently on display for a limited time at the special galleries of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
And a bonus!
6) Rent a copy of Twilight and remind yourself that love sucks anyway.
I know I should probably not complain about this, but my parents’ stable marriage sickens me. Anytime they come back from a date they find the need to show off the fact that their social lives are much more riveting than mine. They’ll saunter home at some god-forsaken hour (9pm, usually) and break down the door to my room where I am peacefully spending my Friday night the usual way -rewatching the season finale of Chuck on loop and crying to myself- to tell me about their evening.
“Oh Maga, you would not believe the concert we went to at the Kimmel Center!”
“Ay dios, you should have been there, the orchestra practically shook!”
“Why don’t you come along to our tango group and meet somebody your own age?”
“Stop shoving popcorn in your face and listen to our evening!”
Really, it’s enough to make me want to throw said popcorn at their faces (but who am I to waste perfectly good food on pathetic lovesick elders?).
Last week, however, their usual dramatic re-tellings of the event they attended was tinged with something resembling surprise. They’d decided to drop by the Philadelphia Museum’s Art After 5 program, which takes place every Friday night after 5pm and includes a number of entertainment offerings sponsored by the museum- they’ve held everything from Halloween parties to Opera flash-singing evenings- with food and drink to spare. Personally, I really like to go to those sorts of things because it usually means I can eat fancy food while listening to fancy music in a fancy staircase, slowly wondering if Saint-Gaudens’ original intent for his Diana statue (which graces the Great Stairs) was to decorate an extended dance party.
The funny thing is, it probably was.
Regardless, the reason for my parents’ sudden flush of excitement and shortness of breath was a very serious dance party they had inadvertently stumbled into. Let’s be serious for a second- when you walk into the lobby of the PMA, the last thing you expect is to find an inproptu dance floor dating back to your prom years. But with the help of a certain DJ Cosmo and some truly outstanding beats, the Great Staircase of the Philadelphia Museum found itself suddenly flooded with raving dancers, a scene I’m sure it hasn’t witnessed since the days when flash mobbing was cool and original (I’m talking to you, “Friends with Benefits”)
Now, of course, at the name “DJ Cosmo”, you can probably guess what I was thinking:
- Don’t lie, you thought the same thing too. DON’T LIE TO THE INTERNET.
Sadly, the museum hasn’t yet figured out how to hire magical Nickelodeon cartoon characters, but you get the next best thing. DJ Cosmo Baker, who “blends hip-hop, disco, rock, funk, and reggae while staying true to his Philadelphia roots,” is based in Brooklyn, where he helped found The Rub, an internationally known DJ/remix collective. And he’s coming back for a rematch!
This Friday, Feburary 3rd (aka tomorrow), forgo the usual route of either breaking the law or crying into your popcorn, and stop by Art After 5′s “Philadelphia Dance Party” to bust a move, or at least attempt to. From what I hear, the place gets pretty crowded once everybody finds out DJ Cosmo is not really a floating cartoon fairy with a mathematics problem.
Art After 5 takes place every Friday from 5pm-9pm at the Great Stairs lobby of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and it’s free after admission!
I’m going to go ahead and take a break from studying for finals (and by studying I mean opening up Microsoft Word and writing my name in MLA format) to inform you of an extremely exciting event taking place this Sunday, December 11.
What could possibly be worth the possibility of failing your Race and Diversity final? Why, taking an extended study break from 10am to 5pm, to head on down to 461 N. 9th St. for the sorta-bi-annual Punk Rock Flea Market, of course! Hosted by R5 productions, the Punk Rock Flea Market has been active in the Philadelphia community for a few years now, and it’s grown so much in popularity that for this “Holiday Edition”, they will also be hosting a record fair across the street at Starlight Ballroom.
What exactly does this entail? Oh, only about two buildings of stuff to browse through and 300+ tables of vendors selling old records, clothes, art, music, food, junk, bicycles, stereo equipment, instruments, tools, posters, and furniture, not to mention some of the best-quality hipster spotting of the year. In situations like this, I like to play a game called “spot the animal-hat wearing Urban Outfitters weirdo”. You know the type:
My friends and I place bets on who can tally the most sightings in the shortest time period. This is an especially fun game to play anytime one of us goes into the Tyler building.
Nature truly is fascinating.
If the idea of knocking elbows with Occupy Philly enthusiasts makes you want to break out in hives, just think of the possibilities for early Christmas shopping. With famously low prices on everything from kitschy Jesus statues to vintage EPs, you’re bound to find something for any budget. You’ll surely climb to the top of Grandma’s will once you present her with a personalized pair of Doc Martens spelling out G-R-A-M-S on the sole. At $3 entry price (although it is technically a donation, so if you’re too broke to spare a few bucks to go inside a place you will be spending money at anyway, I suppose we could throw solidarity and good manners out the window and simply go in.), it’s well worth the trip down the Broad St. subway line: legend has it that my friend walked out of the last flea market with handfuls Erin-Wasson-worthy vintage clothes and records for under $15.
Yes, I am friends with the sort of people who listen to vinyl records. You may now pause for collective sighs and rhythmic head-shaking.
All proceeds from entry fees go to support the “all ages shows” R5 Productions puts on at the First Unitarian Church and elsewhere throughout Philadelphia- you can thank them for booking Neon Indian at Union Transfer this April . So if on Sunday you find yourself playing The Clash at top volume while you review those last anatomy terms on flashcards.com, perhaps fate is giving you a sign of a place you’d much rather be at. And if you do eventually find yourself abandoning the flashcards and joining the cool kids instead, find me for a bit of a chat –I’ll be the girl with her arms firmly crossed over her chest in the corner silently counting to herself.
We know you’d never go anywhere but the Temple GenEd blog to get your daily dose of Philly culture. But just in case you can’t get enough of our wit, humor, and insight, check out these awesome websites about the Philly area worth a click-through.
Loyal cyberstalkers and family members, I have a confession to make (why does it feel like I always start blog posts this way? What is this, “Maury”?). Ever since a friend lent me her Franz Ferdinand record when I was a wee middle-schooler, I’ve been deeply besotted with Britpop to the point of near musical exclusivity. It’s taken over my iPod, my Pandora account, and my love life. If I’d been alive during Beatlemania, I most likely would have been leading the charge to their hotel rooms, and, like, assaulted a policeman with a can of hairspray to get to George’s room, or something.
Alas, it is not the 1960s anymore. Legends like George, Paul, John, and Ringo set the bar for how big pop could get before many of us were even born, and ever since, newly emerging floppy-haired boy bands can’t even do a nice “Yeah, yeah, yeah” without being compared to The White Album. So many up-and-coming bands have been dubbed “The Next Beatles” that the once heartfelt compliment has become little more than a cliche in the world of record labels and Rolling Stone covers.
In the case of Winsconsin-bred quartet Locksley, it seems silly to avoid the association: take a listen to their latest self-titled record and I bet you my chelsea boot collection that you’ll start seriously considering the concept of reincarnation. With catchy sing-along choruses and strident poppy guitar solos, finding out that the manufacturer’s date on the record is not 1964 may come as a genuine shock. Opening for Tom-Petty-driving-down-the-highway-with-a-guitar-esque (merch-stand-lady’s words, not mine) Will Hodge at the World Cafe Live last Wednesday, it was easy to see why Locksley has become one of the most successful unsigned bands of the last decade: even though they were passing through Philly as an opening band, there wasn’t a single foot in the audience that was not tapping along to the infectious beat.
The dapper group, reminiscent of high-energy acts like The Hives and Rooney, has been together since 2003 and has released three albums, the latest of which is a strong compilation of greatest hits like “Why Not Me (Why Can’t I Be You?)” and “Darling, it’s True”, as well as vivacious new tracks like “The Whip”. Consisting of Jesse and Jordan Laz (vocals, guitar, and bass respectively), Kai Kennedy (guitar and vocals), and Sam Bair (drums), Locksley took over the bottom stage of the World Cafe Live with a rollicking performance, stomping and shouting, and basically re-enacting that scene in “Back to the Future” where Michael J. Fox takes over the band at his parents’ prom. Something that really stuck with me was watching Kennedy and the Laz brothers alternating lead singing- after seeing countless front men getting all the credit for singing lead in bands like The Strokes or Maroon 5, it was refreshing to see bandmates sharing the spotlight for a change. The fact that they jumped all over the stage and shouted at the audience (who didn’t hesitate in shouting back), I’m sure, did not hurt either.
And I can certainly account for their friendliness and positivity off-stage: they were more than happy to meet fans at the merch table and sign stray WXPN subscription cards for people like me.
Meeting them was like meeting Elvis Presley: everything from their skinny suits and saddle shoes to their gelled-up bouffants screamed 1950s rock ‘n roll, and even the way they spoke reminded me of a deleted scene in “Hairspray”, which was both very attractive and very hilarious. Kennedy revealed he was trying out some kind of Buhddist thing where you shave a part of your hair out and let the stress out through there. I told him if I tried that I’d probably end up pulling a Britney, and that would only make me more stressed out, but that I wished him well. Jesse Laz was the most outgoing of the bunch, happily signing a fan’s t-shirt and talking with me at lengths about his dance moves onstage, which he says are trademarked by Usher (we won’t tell). Meanwhile the drummer, Sam, revealed the secret to his exceptional mustache: two kinds of wax, one specially-ordered from Germany. I am certain that that information will come in handy when I need to woo a hardcore coffee shop hipster, and for that I thank him in advance.
And with that, I leave you, my loyal readers, with the single most exciting move brought to you by Laz and Kennedy that evening, during a hectic performance of “She Does”. Enjoy!
As a Philadelphia resident of over eight years and counting, it might shock and render you speechless that I’ve never ventured out into the fray of First Friday in Old City. “But Magali!”, you’re surely exclaiming to your computer screen after you’ve regained your speech facilities, “You love old stuff! And art! And overall pretentiousness! It’s all you seem to write about, anyway! How is it that you haven’t wandered into First Friday yet?”
Nothing other than an hyeractive love of donuts, I’ll answer. It’s just that it takes me a good while to venture out of my cave into respectable society. I can, however, be usually depended upon to eschew the usual “Parks and Rec.” marathon in favor of an occasional night out so long as food is provided and it’s not hailing outside. Last Friday was such an occasion: with Katy Perry’s infernal “Last Friday Night” blaring in my head, I polished off my nice coat, and took the Market-Frankford line to 2nd Street.
Here’s the deal: the first Friday of every month (ha, ha, geddit?), all the art galleries stay open late and host artist receptions, shows, and gallery openings to the public. Places like glass-blowing studio Hot Soup Gallery and Muse Gallery held the door open to the pouring crowds that took over Old City for a few hours, and offered cheese, pretzels, and free drinks just as long as you wandered inside their fine establishment and pretended to actually consider buying a $500 photograph.
Local vintage-y but-still-pretty-expensive boutique Reward had a mini party party a la New York Fashion Week, with free Pabst Blue Ribbon (I didn’t take any, I swear!) and a DJ spinning some pretty rad tunes to the fashionable crowd that mingled amongst $150 corduroy pants and $50 pleated skirts.
My favorite part of the entire enterprise, though, were the vendors that set up shop outside the businesses. For local artists who eschew the bourgeoisie environment of an art dealership (read: artists who can’t afford to show their stuff in a gallery), displaying their handmade crafts, clothing and canvases worked just as well as any gallery space. A lot of weird juxtapositions also jumped at me as I walked past the rows of vendors, like the nice old lady knitting mittens for sale next to a group of energetic Occupy Philly ruffians peddling their message T-shirts to the public.
Everything was going so well, until I absentmindedly stumbled into Broad St. Line A Capella from, you guessed it, our very own university! Apparently they were there to promote the arts or something. Now, don’t misunderstand me -I respect A Capella groups. I can understand that they have some kind of weird pull sometimes to start singing in public places, often with choreographed nods of the head, while a group of onlookers stares at them with a mixture of puzzlement and pleasantry. And heck, I can even understand that people with musical talent just can’t seem to NOT sing. Ever.
But, suffice it to say, I have a very low level of patience when the weather is below fifty degrees outside, and there is no musical accompaniment. And they did sound lovely. Just, you know. Quite loud. They treated the crowd to hits by OneRepublic and something that sounded like a mix of Madonna and Kanye West, though that might have just been me. Needless to say, it was a very interesting way to end the evening.
Also, I’ve just realized that some of my loyal internet stalkers may be members of the Broad St. Acapella Grup, and I’d just like to add -no offense intended. I’m sure you’re all very nice people. Even if you do seem to burst out into song at inopportune moments, like those darned Glee kids.
Loyal readers, beautiful admirers, creepy Internet stalkers, and general public, I have a confession to make. I spend more time at the Kimmel Center than is socially acceptable for somebody whose only musical venture took place at 11 in after-school piano classes. Blame it on two parents whose first date included going to see a performance of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony (I know. I’ve clearly inherited the swag gene). As a lover of classical music and men in tuxedos, being a student subscriber of the Philadelphia Orchestra certainly has its benefits: I manage to get some pretty sweet deals on my favorite performances .