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LaScala’s in CC Reopens renovated and with a new name

One of the perks of my job is meeting so many people, really nice people, and one of them is definitely Alicia DiMichele. You may remember Alicia from her popular VH1 show Mob Wives, but I only really know her from afterwards as a business women, a single mom, a popular social media star, who later married her best friend Rob LaScala, a successful restaurateur.

I attended their wedding 2 years ago at City Hall officiated by former Gov Ed Rendell. It was so beautiful.

And now their new venture, definitely a collaborative effort as Alicia helped with the interior design (the dining floor is the same one they have in their very white walled house) of the newly reopened formerly known as LaScala, now LaScala’s Fire 615 Chestnut St serving delicious, simple dishes created with recipes from Rob’s mom Rosemary LaScala, as well as Alicia, Rob told me.

Chicken wings, Salmon, and the Ricotta Board. Mike loved his Chicken Parm, it was so big he’s having it for lunch today.

Rob told me he wanted to serve good Italian food, at decent prices, where people could pop in and out on their way to someplace exciting. He recommends people reserve a table via Open Table during these times. There’s indoor and outdoor dining. They have heat lamps. I felt safe, there’s hand sanitizer through out the place, and the staff was wearing their masks properly.

Alicia and Rob with their family on the left is my other BFF is my head Maureen Vecere, with her husband and Vince Vecere. Follow Alicia on Instagram and get to know her family. I just adore them, and her authenticity connecting with her followers. Also she shares her recipes with us as she prepares dinner, as well as what it’s like to live in a house with 5 men.

The LaScala Restaurant Group has several eateries in our area, in South Jersey and a newly opened LaScala’s Fire in Villanova.

LaScala’s Fire was a great experience. I loved the new bright look, the big windows looking out on Chestnut Street, great scene watching. The food was so good, each dish made with a little love and it tastes it. Mike wants to go back already, you know happy husband makes me happy.

The homemade Tiramisu was the best Mike’s ever had and that is his go to dessert. ( I snuck a bite and I concur.) Best of all LaScala’s Fire is easy on your wallet with most dishes under $20. HEAD ON OVER TO CBSPHILLY to see who was there last night at the Friends & Family fete, including her mom who I immediately recognized from Alicia’s InstaStories (2nd to last photo). What a doll!!

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PhillyWood: Winter Wonderland on Spruce Street for Movie

After pausing for a few months because of the pandemic , the AppleTV series Servant resumed filming in July, according to a Tweet by M Night in July. The filming wrapped last month and Night headed to the Caribbean to film his next movie, OLD as I wrote. BUT it looks like the production has returned to film an additional scene. A winter wonderland, Christmas scene. A reader @ryan_wonderwall tagged me on Twitter wondering if it was the Adam Sandler Hustle movie, I knew Sandler was filming at Oaks so I was suspicious, especially when Ryan mentioned the 2100 block of Spruce Street, where the Turner house in Servant is located. When I check his photo and the movie set photo it was confirmed to me this was probably the Servant film’s missing scene.

Night also released a trailer for the season at the same time while announcing the date.
Thanks @bgrophoto for this shot of them blowing the snow on Spruce Street. Check out his page for awesome drone shots.
What are you doing TONIGHT ?
Night of Lights in Chestnut Hill
through 10/25
Want to see the inside of the Dorothy and Sean Turner’s house at 2108 Spruce Street. It was last sold in 2016, and the real estate listing is still active with interior photos. Check them out here. (Thanks Ryan Wall for this show of the Turner house.)
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Christmas Is Not Cancelled in Philly; Where’s Adam Sandler this week?

Christmas is not cancelled in Philly with the announcement that the very popular Christmas Village is going to pop up again at Love Park for the holidays.

Christmas Village in Philadelphia, the authentic open-air German-style Christmas Market at LOVE Park and City Hall, is excited to announce its return from Thanksgiving Day, November 26 through Christmas Eve, December 24, 2020 with a considerably modified layout and extensive safety precautions in response to COVID-19. In its 13th season, the outdoor market will once again host a Preview Weekend on Saturday, November 21 and Sunday, November 22.

In accordance with all city and statewide guidelines, Christmas Village in Philadelphia will be set up in a socially distanced and safe way featuring only half the amount of vendors, guests will be required to wear masks. This year, visitors can still dine on and enjoy their favorite European dishes including Bratwurst, Raclette Cheese and Schnitzel in a fenced-off and crowd-controlled outdoor food court with spacing between tables.

This year’s outdoor shopping area will be set up with a one-way system around the outer limits of LOVE Park for a linear and spaced walking concept allowing proper social distancing. All vendors will be ten feet apart from each other at minimum. Vendors around the outer perimeter will also all face outward toward the street. Waiting areas for access to the food court and shopping will all be socially distanced. For more info about the new holiday season and all COVID-related changes and precautions, follow @philachristmas on FB, Twitter and Instagram or visit www.philachristmas.com.

Dates 2020:
Preview Weekend: November 21 – 22, 2020
First Day: November 26, 2020
Last Day: December 24, 2020
Hours:
Sunday – Thursday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Thanksgiving Day: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Christmas Eve: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Speaking of Christmas,

The other night Adam Sandler and Queen Latifah filmed a scene for Hustle at the Italian Market, which was decorated for the holidays. In this scene the duo play a married couple taking a stroll of the popular market on an early winter evening. We won’t see the production of Hustle for a few weeks now as they’ve headed to Pottstown to film. Then to Oaks and finally they’ll spend two weeks filming scenes at the Coatesville High School’s gym. The school they’re getting over $80s for the privilege as well as a new scoreboard.

Make sure you get out and enjoy the beautiful fall weather and colors we’re having in 2020. I’ll be back tomorrow with photos from my recent trip to NE Pennsylvania. Have a great day.

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An Electric EVening with Sustainable Princeton & NRG

In partnership with NRG Energy, Inc. and the Princeton Shopping Center, Sustainable Princeton hosted an electric “EVening” of fun and information about energy and how to use it efficiently. With plenty of space to social distance guest test drove an electric vehicle, took an e-bike on a spin, and learn the benefits of going electric, before dining and enjoying live music with friends.

Guests were able to test-drive an EV and speak with dealers. At least five different vehicles –including  Tesla Model 3 and Y, Kia Niro, Hyundai Kona and Audi eTron — were available for test drives! ChargePoint and Apex Solar will be on hand to explain your options and answer any questions you have about home charging.

NRG was on site sharing information on their sustainability efforts and carbon offsets, which allow people to offset the carbon they emit every day.

Sourland Electric Bikes was on hand with a half dozen e-bikes, including Pedego, Giant, and Specialized, which guests took for a trial ride. They were so much faster than I imagined. They’ve really become very popular in the past year. The price averages around $2000.

And then Mike Toub took a test drive, and said I think we should consider an electric car next time. As many of you know this past weekend we went out to Western Pa to leaf peep, and every couple hours Mike was praising the electric car, especially the pick up in the Tesla, who knows maybe in a few years we’ll be cruising the highway in a sustainable energy car.

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Adam Sandler Safely Films Hustle in Philadelphia

Well that ramped up quickly, Phillywood is hosting 2 major film projects this month. Kate Winslet who filmed a HBO series in Philadelphia this week (in Fairmount Park near Valley Green), and Adam Sandler is filming in Center City this week, specifically on Market Street these past few days. I’m sorry I can’t tell you where they will be on any given day, in the name of safety.
Safety is exactly what I’m going to be talking about today. The Adam Sandler movie filming in Philadelphia right now is a Netflix movie “Hustle” about a fired basketball scout who discovers a talented player overseas and then brings him back to America.
Juancho Hernangomez films the Netflik’s movie Hustle in Philadelphia on October 13, 2020

A reader tipped me off to a basketball court being built on a parking lot on Market St, about 15 days ago and a sign that said Netflik. Every day I would drive by to try and figure out when it would be an active film set. If you were following my new social media name @hughe_dillon you would have seen me post clips of the bball court on various days. Sure enough someone in the know did and told me the filming days, which were then pushed forward because of Tropical Storm Delta. What I found observing them filming, is Covid Safety is the key. They’ve thought of everything to keep everyone safe from catching the virus, right down to quarantining actors, NBA players, crew, and extras for the duration of the filming.

Safety: Netflix is taking COVID19 very seriously. They have created a COVID19 Bubble. One of the things I noticed on set is it’s divided into at least two categories, Red and Yellow. In RED all the actors, extras, crew are limited in their bubble on set, as they are transported from holding to the set and most notable they are quarantined in a hotel for days leading up to the shoot of a scene, and everyone is rapid tested everyday before heading to the set. Temperatures are taken as well. Masks are worn at all times when a scene is being filmed. I hear they are being treated very well, are comfortable, feel very safe, and are enjoying this new level of treatment. It’s not easy to be an extra, it’s a lot of waiting around, being patient, but they are passionate and do it for the love of the process (as I do observing them and sharing it with you).

The Yellow area folks can’t go into red, but they might go into the public areas. Then there’s another level probably called don’t even think about going in the yellow or red area. Those would be some of the crowd control folks, the lighting equipment operators, drivers of the trucks, some security, production assistants. Those would be the people who interact with the public the most as they are working on the outside perimeter of the COVID19 Bubble. For example the past two days the extras were staying in a hotel. Note the people with the Yellow and Red Vests on. The transportation vans all have a plastic sheet protecting the extras/actors from the drivers.

In this shot you can see NBA player Juancho Hernangomez filming a scene on the left, the camera man has a mask on as does the sound guy. When Juancho is done he goes to the Covid Safety person, who in the right photo is carrying a blue container. In the container is a bunch of masks (The guy with the mask containers mom contacted me to say she hasn’t seen her son in a month as he’s been quarantined well before filming started).
I noticed that those people are right there when the actor is done filming a scene, to give him a mask. There’s a different person who takes the discarded masks as well.

In this scene on Market Street in front of the Loews Hotel, Adam Sandler valets his car. The shot on the left is during rehearsal, everyone wears a mask during rehearsals. They’re not taking chances and minimizing risks. I didn’t see one person without a mask over the 12 hours I was on set observing.
Only when they filmed the scene did the actors take off their masks.

Standing nearby was the Covid Safety Mask Provider, surrounded by extras. Everyone wears masks until the director shouts “Rolling,” and filming resumes.

As they reset the valet scene, a “stunt” driver returns the car to the start spot where Adam will get in and drive it the 30 feet to the valet station again.

The Covid Safety person is there to collect his mask as he enters the car to shoot the scene again, so he’ll be maskless for the big screen.

Note the socially safe distance the extras are spaced between filming scenes. They literally stood in the spot and spread their arms out to place themselves.

Wednesday night Sandler and crew filmed two scenes on Market Street, I’ll talk more about them at another time. It was so cool to watch, and Sandler was fun on the set. He’s so funny with his dancing, and pretending to shoot hoops. (Other sites with placements PhillyVoice, CBSPhilly online and on screen, WXTU , Philly Inquirer, my Instagram and Philly Chit Chat )
One more thing very Philly about this film, which is actually set in Philly.

PS Philly don’t even try to get on the set. So many people wanted to get photos with Adam, but just because it’s a friendly atmosphere, don’t confuse that with security not being on top of their game. Don’t break the Covid Safety Bubble, you will be taken away, off the set and maybe arrested I’ve been told. Please don’t yell during the filming either. Now that you know when that happens, ie no masks on actors. Thanks. Thanks to the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, and Heery-Loftus Casting for assisting in bringing these productions to Philly, and employing so many of our neighbors, as well as supporting our local economy. If you want to be an extra, the best way to do so is to contact Heery-Loftus. Don’t ask people on the set, they don’t cast, and they’re busy. This is the first major movie being filmed in the USA during the Covid Pandemic. Don’t F it up, LOL!!

Check out this article at Billy Penn chitchatting about the South Fellini shirt Adam Sandler is wearing. HERE

And this great story by Alicia Vitarelli on 6ABC
(How did all these stories get in the press, I was hustling this week. Thanks to my friends at these media outlets for getting out the word that Phillywood is back in business. Support the Greater Philadelphia Film Office.

Here’s a shot just released by Netflik. I shot if from across the street at a different angle. The filming now heads out to the burbs for a few weeks. Hope they make it back into Philly in mid November.

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Chestnut Hill Retailers Join Together for Virtual Fall Fashion Show 10/15/20

Join the Chestnut Hill Business District and several popular retailers (listed below) as they present the Second Chestnut Hill: Fashion’s Night In on Thursday, October 15. To ensure the safety of participating stores and models, retailers will stream from their stores and have the opportunity to showcase various outfits and discuss individual pieces while also answering questions from customers. Chestnut Hill Fashion’s Night In is meant to connect local businesses to the people that matter most — their loyal customers.

The 45-minute virtual fashion show will be hosted by Philadelphia fashion influencer Dani Maiale.

Viewers have two ways to watch the show. The fashion show will be streamed on Facebook Live on the Chestnut Hill Pa. FB Page or patrons can register for free and watch the show on Zoom (link below).
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_t3iX63nlROO1ZE0wlAlWxg (ID is: 858 4689 6481)

Artisans on The Avenue

Chestnut Hill Sports,

TC Unlimited

El Quetzal

Sara Campbell

Along with Bohemian Pink, and Jonesy’s Accessories

Chestnut Hill Fashion’s Night In is the perfect way to see a sneak peek of what you can purchase online or in person this fall and spend time virtually with friends. Before the start of the show, staff from Tavern on the Hill will provide a fall-themed specialty cocktail recipe on the Chestnut Hill Business District Event Page for all to enjoy!

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Sculpture in the Garden

InLiquid celebrates 21 years with a month-long exhibition in collaboration with the Burch Family, Sculpture in the Glen II.This sculpture garden presents work by over a dozen of the region’s outstanding visual artists, including Alex Bard, KateeBoyle, Kenn Brown, Charles Burch, Brent Crothers, Brian David Dennis, Lisa Fedon, Joshua Koffman, Leslie Matthews,Caitlin McCormack, Katia McGuirk, Michael Morgan, Amy Orr, John Parker, Rikki Saunders, Peter Slavin, Stan Smokler,Jonathan Stemler, Vicki Vinton, Hannah Vogel, and Roger Wing

Located at Rose Glen and Mill Creek Roads in Gladwyne, PA, the sculpture garden will have scheduled public hours for audiences to experience and celebrate the work.

InLiquid seeks to partner with businesses, organizations, and individuals to help us offer transformative art experiences for
all ages outdoors during Sculpture in the Glen II.
This outdoor art experience directly benefits local artists and audiences, and will feature:
• Over a dozen large-scale outdoor sculptures
• Proceeds from art sales support local artists and their creative practices
• Free and open to the public with timed entrances to encourage proper social distancing

Visit the outdoor gallery, the experience will offer a perfect opportunity to get outside, practice safe, masked, social distancing, while enjoying some beautiful art in nature.

Scheduled time slots for the public will be invited to register and schedule time slots throughout the month of October. To schedule a private vernissage time slot, or a viewing throughout the month of October, please email elizabeth@inliquid.org.

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Lancaster, Lititz and Leaves

Another weekend, another road trip. These times are trying, but this season is my favorite. As the social circuit photographer of Philly OCTOBER is the height of the fall social season and I would never have the opportunity to travel so extensively. I love getting to know all these day trips from Philly, anyone can enjoy the places I view. Most of what I’m doing is car touring, but I do stop in cute little towns when possible as well.
Sunday afternoon in Lancaster

This weekend I traveled back to Lancaster to attend a BBQ Matt Ray and friends were having at their vacation farmhouse on Saturday.

We had a fabulous time. It was nice to meet Matt’s parents and his childhood friends, as well as Mr & Mrs. Smeriglio
After the BBQ Ray Smeriglio did a fantastic job at lighting the campfire by the creek.
The house and area felt like I was in a scene from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. At any moment I was expecting Ichabod Crane to ride by, especially because there was a covered bridge nearby.

Goats in a nearby field

This Amish man is wearing a mask

Folks in Lancaster County take Halloween very seriously.

Traffic is light on the back roads, allowing you to slow down to get shots. There’s not much of a shoulder to pull over to get shots or selfies though.

There are a lot of farmers markets, and pumpkin patches for you to purchase local produce and crafts from. The leaves are hit or miss in the area. It’s still a must visit through out October, but I think in 2 weeks it’ll be peak leaf peeping time.
There are so many cute B&B’s as well as hotels in the area, but we returned to Lancaster to stay at the Marriott Penn Square. Thanks for all the notes for those who have visited Lancaster over the past few weeks since I first stayed there, as well as the folks who enjoyed eateries the Plough and the Exchange, which is where Matt, Miguel, David and Ray headed for dinner shortly after we took the shot I posted first in this column.
Next week Mike and I are headed back to Northeast Pa. The leaves should be near peak, I hope. Thanks so much for reading chitchat today. See you on Social, HughE
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The Re-imagination of the Nightmare Before Tinsel

Craft Concepts Group and owner Teddy Sourias of Philadelphia’s Christmas Pop-up Bar Tinsel will open the Nightmare Before Tinsel (116 S 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107) for the 2nd year in a row TODAY. This year, during the global pandemic, the former spooky season pop-up bar returns as a socially distanced haunted house, along with a new eatery next door Sueño, featuring traditional and fusion Mexican cuisine by Executive Chef Caroline Hough by with food, drink and art.

Society Hill

New and notable, Nightmare Before Tinsel will take on an asylum theme this year. Tinsel will also be a haunted restaurant with food, drink and art installations. Guests will purchase a ticket in advance and will have a set amount of time inside.

A brand-new haunted parklette will open outside with socially-distanced dining tables. Next door, look for a brand new restaurant to pair with Nightmare with cocktails, beer, wine and food which will also be sold to go legally out of a take-out window – while following all state and city guidelines.


To experience Nightmare before Tinsel guests must buy a time-ticketed experience ($15 to $20)

Ticket purchase includes:

1. Guest admission to Nightmare Before Tinsel

2. One complimentary beverage:
Choice of “Nightmare Cocktail,” a premium craft draft, a glass of wine or non-alchoholic beverage(Valid identification required for all adult beverages)

3. One complimentary dessert

Additional info:
*Masks are required and social distancing is enforced at this restaurant. Safety first!
*To reduce line wait guests are welcome to arrive up to a maximum 15 min prior to their ticket time to line up in a standing cue.

***Note: If you would like a table for seated dining we recommend reserving your table through Opentable.com.

What an amazing pivot this year for Nightmare before Tinsel during Covid19. Creating a minute scary moment, followed by delicious cocktails and light bites. I really enjoyed walking through the Halloween time capsule, which incorporated a lot of last year’s decor, but now it goes bump in the night. At the end you or a nearby ghoul will take that desired selfie for you to share this experience with your friends.

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Scene: #POWERTHEPOLLSPA Party at Jet Wine

The Voter Project and Jet Wine Bar (1525 South St, Phila) teamed up to present #PowerthePollsPA, a pop-up at Jet Wine Bar’s patio which will run through Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

This socially-distanced outdoor Wine Patio Pop-Up highlights the critical need for a new generation of poll workers in the upcoming election. Beginning this Thursday, October 1, and lasting through Election Day on November 3, guests are invited to Jet Wine Bar to view the exhibition of an interactive creation by Philadelphia artist Oluwafemi, and to enjoy a selection of American wines and patriotic cocktails.

Poll Worker Facts:

• Poll workers get paid for their time

• Poll workers generally work the entire day from 7 a.m. to when the polls close at 8 p.m.

• Counties throughout the commonwealth train poll workers on Election Day duties

• Being a poll worker is an additional way to participate in the election process

• A Nationwide goal is set to recruit 250,000 Americans who are interested in signing up to be Election Day workers or volunteers to keep all polling sites safe, readily open, and available for delay-free, in-person voting

Instagram & Twitter: @PowerthePollsPA • Hashtag: #powerthepollsPA • www.thevoterproject.com

#PowerthePollsPA is a collaboration among nonprofit organizations, businesses, and civic organizations such as Civic Alliance, Comedy Central, Fair Elections Center, MTV, Pizza for the Polls, and We Can Vote.