Sorry I was mostly MIA in January. We are in the middle of renovating our house, specifically the kitchen right now, but it’s really been disruptive and thrown me off my game. GAME you say, we’re going to the Super Bowl. Sunday was nothing short of spectacular.
It’s A Philly Thing. We are a City of winners. Philly can handle a massive rowdy crowd, now. I was there for the 2008 Phillies and it was a disaster. I don’t understand why when a sports team wins, it’s people damage property. Philly has taken those lessons from 2008, and even the Eagles win 2018 and have done a magnificent job in it’s crowd control with this years Phillies Pennant win and this weeks Eagles NFC Championship. They barricaded the sidewalks, and kept people in the streets. Now I did hear some complaints of people getting “crushed” near City Hall between people and barricades, but overall it was great. I didn’t see any serious issues, and was really impressed how the City cleared the streets via bullhorns at 9:45pm.
Nothing says Eagles spirit than the landmarks in Philly being bathed in green light. The Franklin Institute looked glorious last night.
SPOILER ALERT for Abbott Elementary:Last week on the show a fundraiser was kicked off to raise funds for a trip to the iconic Franklin Institute. Well Tuesday the show filmed the class going on that trip. It was a success.
Based on the book Dennis Tafoya’s book Dope Thief, Sinking Spring follows long-time Philly friends and delinquents who pose as DEA agents to rob an unknown house in the countryside, only to have their small-time grift become a life-and-death enterprise, as they unwittingly reveal and unravel the biggest hidden narcotics corridor on the Eastern seaboard.
The film set won’t be obvious to you as it’s going under a different name. Sorta like when Servant filmed the first season and it went under Uncle George’s Production, and then I revealed the name and Uncle George (a producer) called me up on the phone and asked me to remove my post. I didn’t.
Filming begins next week in West Philly, and continues in our area through July, including a few shoots in Bristol, Pa.
Happy Birthday Josh Moore, Josh Eat’s Philly !! (This dude eats Philly with the most fantastic posts, and is sooo skinny. Super nice guy. Go help him celebrate today, and raise money for a good cause.
My @vanleeuwenicecream BIRTHDAY PARTY is this Thursday (2/2/2023) from 5:30pm – 7:30pm at their brand new Fishtown location (1601 Frankford Ave)! ✨ • During the celebration, $1 from every sale of “Josh’s Birthday Party Sundae” will be donated to @philabundance! So please come out and celebrate with me while we all support this amazing cause!
I have a million of these photos, as does millions of people around the world, especially here in Philadelphia. Jerry Blavat, legend, family man, friend to everyone he met has gone on to entertain in the heavens. The man who told us all to live, be happy “You Only Rock Once”. Philly is heartbroken. I don’t think I’ve seen such an outpouring of love for a person, especially not a Philly person, than I witnessed Friday when it was officially announced the Geator with the Heater, my man Gerald Joseph Blavat had died. This is my personal account of my friendship with Jerry, but I know he touched many people’s lives, and did so much good in the community.
He was Philly’s biggest cheerleader of the people. He was the gatekeeper of music of a certain generation, and introduced the music to every generation after that. Where else are you going to hear Run Around Sue, or Heatwave with such a lively narration from the DJ.
When I was in high school my mother gave me one of Jerry’s albums, it was recorded at Memories in Margate. She told me I’d love his delivery, style, and the music he played. She was right. I wore that album out. When I was finally old enough to go to a club, 18 at the time, I headed to Memories of Margate to experience what I had been listening to for years. When I went to college in Dover Delaware, I made a pilgrimage to Margate with friends to experience the joy I had with Jerry and the oldies. I could have gone to any club, but his delivery, rhyming was unique and hyped the experience to a level no one else could, and no one will ever be able to do.
I can’t recall when I first met Jerry, but it was shortly after I became PhillyChitChat. I would see him at events, and I was able to tell him many times of his positive impact on my life. In 2011, he invited me to photograph his annual Jerry Blavat Concert of Love at the Kimmel Center. I couldn’t make it to the concert as it was always held against the Academy Ball, but for several years I would head to his after party to photograph him and his friends. Then I would send them out to the wireservice and place them locally in the press. The access he gave my was unprecedented and I will always be grateful.
In 2012 PNC Bank regional president Bill Mills was on hand to greetoriginal Supremes’ Mary Wilson, who was partnering with the African American Museum of Philadelphia to present “Come See About Me: The Mary Wilson Supremes Collection” which featured more than 30 of the Supremes glorious gowns, videos, images and artifacts that tell of the meteoric rise of one of the most famous American groups of all time.
Over the years I continued to photograph Jerry at as many events as I could make… as well as have dinner at the Palm, Rittenhouse Grill and the Saloon. Jerry enjoyed quiet little tables away from people, but whenever he was recognized he was “ON”, and sincere. He appreciated where he was in life, and he knew it was the fans who put him there.
I really wish I could find the photos and video of Jerry and Steve spinning at the Jefferson Methodist Hospital Women’s Fashion Show in 2015. That was a fun time as the duo spun side by side.
About 8 years ago my sister bought a house in Longport, a few blocks away from Memories of Margate. I used to go a few times a summer, sometimes with her, or with friends. During the pandemic I watched Jerry on FB live, until the back porch opened for “dancing”, then mask wearing on the dance floor, where security would now yell for us to put our masks on, to the time where life seemed normal again, and security would just yell for us to not drink on the dance floor, as Jerry sang a little jingle about people he spotted in the crowd.
Nothing will ever seem normal again, especially down the shore. The other day someone asked me if you were to tell someone in the future about Jerry Blavat, someone who didn’t know him, what would you say. You missed out on the most incredible, kind, charismatic superstar, who made you feel like you you were the most important person in the room. He looked you in the eye when he spoke. Jerry was definitely one of my biggest cheerleaders and I am going to miss the kind of encouragement.
Our hearts are broken as we all thought The Boss with the Hot Sauce was immortal, for now The Geator with the Heater, Emcee Extraordinaire Jerry Blavat will live forever in our memories, in our hearts, and on the internet where at any given time we can hear Jerry say My Man!! Youtube
Keep On Rocking, cause you only Rock Once. Love you Jerry. xoxo HughE
I went to a very fascinating exhibition last week: The Clay Studio hosted the opening reception for Figuring Space, a new exhibition comprised of full-scale, figurative sculptures by 12 leading ceramic artists based in the United States, on January 12, 2023.
12 artists contributed to the exhibition: (not in order) Tip Toland, Jonathan Christensen Caballero, Kyungmin Park, Sergei Isupov, Christina West, George Rodriguez, Cristina Cordova, Chris Rodgers, Roxanne Swentzell, Kensuke Yamada, Roberto Lugo and Victoria Walton
The exhibition is of full-scale, figurative sculptures in clay by the top artists working in clay in the United States.
Figuring Space is co-curated by Jennifer Zwilling, (l) Curator and Director of Artistic Programs at The Clay Studio, and Dr. Kelli Morgan, (r) Professor of the Practice and Director of Cultural Studies at Tufts University, Kelli Morgan, Professor of the Practice, Tufts University, who shared her integral knowledge of the historical use of the figure in American art over the last 200 years to deepen The Clay Studio’s usual focus on contemporary ceramic art.
The Clay Studio inspires curiosity and discovery around the art and craft of clay, drawing together students, artists, and an engaged public into a welcoming community. Every day, in our classrooms, studios, galleries, and neighborhoods, we deepen the connection between people and clay with the highest quality programs and exhibitions. Founded in 1974, The Clay Studio continues in the belief that shared creativity, so fundamental to humanity, is a critical force for good.
For more on this fascinating exhibition head HERE, the show runs through Apr 16th, 2023 at their studios and then head there, 1425 N American Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122. You’ll thank me. Plus you’ll enjoy the Clay Studio craft shop, as well as learning about all the programs they offer.
Without a Cue, a murder mystery production company, founded in 2002 by Traci Connaughton, based in Montgomery County, celebrated its first brick & mortar space last night in the historic Curtis building . The space at 7th and Walnut will be called the Red Rum Theater, a 100-seat cabaret-style venue and will offer appetizers and spirits from Pops McCann Whiskey to guests seated at cocktail tables during live performances.
The night kicked off with an official ribbon cutting, followed by a preview of their first production of its popular “Golden Girls” murder mystery, which debut earlier this year at Craft Hall.
The show’s opening night, January 17, coincides with what would have been “Golden Girls” star Betty White’s 101st birthday.
Each show begins as the audience arrives at a party thrown by the Golden Girls. Then suddenly, a party guest is murdered. Clues are then delivered to the audience’s tables as they interact with the cast to solve the mystery.
“This has been a project in the making for 20 years, and a major goal for the development of Without A Cue,” said Traci Connaughton, executive director of Without A Cue. “Choosing the Curtis as our future home seemed out of reach at first, but it was a dream venue and a perfect fit for our new theater. We are so excited to continue our in the heart of Philadelphia providing laughter and joy to many.”
Red Rum can be reached from the entrance off 7th Street, in the space formerly occupied by Cooperage bar and restaurant. Parking for the Curtis Center is available in the building’s parking garage.
“Golden Girls Murder Mystery” runs through April 29th. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to show time for check in. Your proof of purchase will serve as your ticket, but they have a list as well.
Thanks Andre Flewellen for shooting the opening for the team.
Happy New Year!! No really, I finally feel confident that we are back after the pandemic. My business is picking up, most of my columns have returned. Thanks to Metro Philly,CBSPhilly, Philadelphia Tribune and my blog PhillyChitChat for continuously publishing through those 3 years. During the past year Main Line Today approached me to do a party photo column, and last fall Philly Style began publishing again in print and now in 2023 online again. Philly Chit Chat and our team are ready to photograph your events, openings, parties and get you the newsworthy publicity you desire, in this very tight market. Hire or Advertise with Us – Also Subscribe to this blog in the upper left hand corner.
I took a walk down Walnut Street last week. It had been a minute or months really. SO MUCH has changed, and I do note some of it on IG, but will be updating to my readers here on the blog this week as I know many of you are not on all my social channels. I appreciate your readership now numbering at more than 45ks subscribers, thanks.
The Barnes and Noble is getting ready to move to it’s new location at 1708 Chestnut Street, the former Forever 21 clothing store. It was so exciting when that opened, but it’s great that the B&N is just moving and not closing like they did. Right now at the old B&N location, 1805 Walnut St. , everything is 25% off, with calendars being 50% off. I got a few. I’m old school and love a book.
Wasting no time, the Barnes and Noble space has been filled. Sources have told me that a Stephen Starr restaurant is going to occupy this space, all three floors. That’s 24,000 square feet of fun dining with views of Square. Could it be the Pastis that he hinted at in Philly Mag last month that might bring an all day party to the tony Rittenhouse Square area? Or is it his new concept he’s been planning for before the pandemic. Which reminds me I saw an Allan Domb real estate (mayoral candidate) rent sign up at the old Alma de Cuba, so a Starr concept will not be opening there.
We’ll have to wait and see what Starr concept will be going into 1805, as the normally tight lipped Starr releases this info on his time table, but I know it’s gonna be good:
Starr in December’s Philly Mag: QUOTABLE: “I’m looking for the new restaurant that will be iconic in 10 years.”
Speaking of a scene, I met friends at Steak 48 the other night for drinks at the bar and a bite to eat. It’s one of my favorite spots to see who’s out and about. It was a Thursday and it did not disappoint. Spotted: Avenue of the Arts Executive Director Laura Burkhardt and Visit Philly’s Michael Newmuis, Carl Dranoff, and new co-artistic directors of Philadelphia Theatre Company, Taibi Magar and Tyler Dobrowsky. Nearby was Philly legends DJ Arun, and DJ Aktive, the later just got back from DJing for Janet Jackson’s New Year’s Eve Party. He’ll be going on tour with her this year as well.
Also if you haven’t had a chance go catch “Jagged Little Pill” playing on the Kimmel Cultural Campus at the Academy of Music. It’s not a bio, but inspired by her iconic album. It’s there thru 1/15/23
Speaking of DJ Aktive, he normally spins at Ms Patti LaBelle’s New Year’s Eve Party, which I normally attend as well. Both of us had other gigs, but Patti’s team was nice enough to send photos my way. I love this one that NBC10 anchor Jacqueline London has on her IG with NBC10’s Brittany Shipp and Frances Wang.
Hosting the New Year’s Eve Party this year was Ms. Patti LaBelle’s daughter in law Lona Azami (green dress) and her husband Zuri Edwards. Here with Jackie, Brittney and Frances. (I hope you had a chance to read about Frances in the December People’s health magazine where she revealed her battle with perioral dermatitis, or skin inflammation. Ms. Patti LaBelle was in the same issue talking about living with Diabetes 2) Also spotted at the party were Mike Jerrick, Michelle Miller and Josh DeMarco, James “Miss Patti Pie” Wright, Troy Clemons, Terra Neff, Nicole Hill and my friend Danielle (don’t use my last name; Danielle and I met over 15 years ago on the red carpet of VH1 Fashion Rocks)
Last night we (Danielle and I) attended the Sixers together with my bud Michael Newmius,Visit Philly (although he did just announce he’s leaving for a fantastic opportunity.) Who knew there was a VIP dining section under the “bleachers” at the Wells Fargo Center. Talk about a hot spot, so many movers, shakers and chitchat readers there. A great group of people from all walks of life, and age groups. I captured a few and posted on my IG Reel.
Finally speaking of vibey spots: Restaurateur and Co-Owner Justin Veasey, and partners Mike Connors and William Muhr Jr., announce the construction of SIN Philadelphia at 1102 Germantown Avenue, on the ground level of The Beverly – a 51 luxury apartment complex also slated to open later this year.
SIN, which stands for Steak Italian Nightlife, is currently under construction and it aims to open in September. When opened, it will offer vibe dining, which is found in New York, Miami and LA – where a nightlife experience (music/entertainment) is paired with the dining experience. SIN will also specialize in the city’s newest upscale brunch that will be the hottest spot in the city on Sunday afternoons.
And if Pastis doesn’t open on Rittenhouse Square, maybe it’s destined for Fishtown as I heard that was the spot it’d go last summer. When you get out and about, people remember you are the rumor king.
Thanks for all your tips, and rumors. We appreciate it. BTW I hear Dranoff is about to announce his new restaurant to open at Broad & Spruce Streets at Art Haus, next month.
One last thing, last fall I did hear the rumor Michael Nutter was running for mayor; I tweeted about it in October. I ran into him a few weeks later, and he told me he wasn’t running, but that was 2 months ago. Maybe he’s changed his mind. You should ask Shelton Mercer, I ran into former Mayor Nutter and he grabbing a bite to eat Christmas Eve Eve Eve at Time in Midtown Village. Tobias Harris was nearby celebrating a Sixers win with his wife and friends.
I just got this in the mail today: Broomall is about to get a whole lot sweeter on Friday, January 13, when locally owned and operated Broomall Crumbl Cookies, located at 1991 Sproul Rd, Unit 42B, Broomall, PA, 19008, opens its doors at 8am.
No word or even a rumor if Tobias will be there this time. OK ChitChat tomorrow. Thanks HughE
The Philadelphia Fund Alliance (PFA), a group of Philadelphia-based asset management industry professionals, is pleased to announce that it raised $125,000 at its annual fundraising gala on Nov. 4, benefiting Commonwealth Youthchoirs, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Germantown that transforms the lives of young people through the power of music. Since its inception in 2016, PFA has raised close to $600,000 for Greater Philadelphia area charities.
Peter Riviello, Dan Porter, Ryan Schrader and Andrew Piazza of Mondrian Investment Partners
The annual fundraiser not only supports a great cause, but it also highlights Philadelphia’s deep roots and influence in national financial markets and services, including traditional mutual funds and alternative asset vehicles.
Joe Del Raso of Troutman Pepper, Matthew Tomasicchio, Chad Gazzillo and Michael Frac of KPMG LLP
Taylor Brody, Zack Bradley, Wesley Davis, Jennifer Hillman, Claire Olivar and Alexa Tzarnas of Stradley Ronon
Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) celebrated its 50th anniversary and recognized Dr. Richard J. Cohen’s retirement as President and CEO.
Over 400 friends, family, and supporters joined the event at 4601 Market Street to commemorate 50 years of public health leadership and innovation, and honor Dr. Cohen’s 42 years of service as he transitions to PHMC’s Public Health Fund.
Councilmember Isaiah Thomas, Councilmember Jamie Gauthier present Dr. Richard J. Cohen, President and CEO PHMC with a City Council Citation for his 42 years of service to PHMC. Mayor Kenney was on hand and thanks Dr. Cohen for his lifetime of service
With the generous giving of the attendees and supporters, the event raised nearly $300,000, funding that will contribute to critical public health supports and services to meet the rising demands across our region. Congratulations PHMC. Additional Photos can be found at CBSPhilly and Phila Tribune
On Saturday, December 3, 2022 Children’s Crisis Treatment Center’s Board of Directors, along with Honorees Felecia and Jeffery Weiss and Janet, Buz and Matt Teacher celebrated 50 years of their vital mission to help children renew their sense of hope for a brighter future.
Join the CCTC Team, with a $1200 sign on bonus HERE
Since the start of CCTC in the basement of the Franklin Institute, CCTC has been passionately dedicated to helping children and their families heal from traumatic experiences, and to renewing their sense of hope in a brighter future.
CCTC’s Anniversary Gala honored the agency’s 50 years of providing high-quality mental and behavioral health services to children and their families living in the Philadelphia region who have experience the impact of child abuse, neglect, traumatic events, and other challenges to childhood development. Currently, CCTC serves over 3,500 children and their families each year through its center, school, and community-based programs.
Hanukkah is most joyous this year. The first year since the beginning of the pandemic the 2022 holiday season has been bursting with great happiness.
Last night neighbors in Old City gathered to celebrate the start of Hanukkah at the Betsy Ross House, where the Old City Jewish Arts Center hosted a community menorah lighting. Afterwards guests bundled up and enjoyed latkes, doughnuts, and family-friendly programming in the courtyard.
The iconic 19th-century boathouses along the Schuylkill River light up for Hanukkah during the Boathouse Row Festival of Lights from December 18-23, 2022. Two great spots to catch the colors for free: Fairmount Water Works or the platform above the Fairmount Fish Ladder on the Schuylkill River Trail just off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Stay tuned for information about a free virtual lighting ceremony scheduled for December 18, 2022.
Monday, December 19, 2022 | 5-6 p.m.
Celebrate the second night of Hanukkah at Shady Brook Farm during this community event co-hosted by Bucks County Kehillah. After lighting the menorah, counselors from Bucks County’s Camp Galil Jewish summer camp lead craft-making exercises while The Little Shul by the River Band pumps out some festive tunes. Registration is required.
Rittenhouse Square: The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and Center City Kehillah host a community candle lighting with treats, music and more in Rittenhouse Square park. Registration is encouraged, and young professionals are invited to mix and mingle with members of local Jewish groups at Misconduct Tavern following the event.
Blue Cross River Rink: This fire- and ice-themed happy hour at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest offers a chance to connect with young Jewish professionals from Greater Philadelphia over cocktails and a latke bar. After a few drinks and light bites, stick around for the lighting of a giant menorah at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are required and come with two complimentary drinks.
South Street: Local religious leaders Rabbi Kamesar, Rabbi Goldman and Rabbi Romirowsky lead the Headhouse Shambles’ menorah lighting. The free event features light refreshments and a brief service under the 18th-century structure at 2nd and Pine streets.
Rabbi Zalman Wircberg “Hate has no place, and how do we fight with it? Not with swords, we fight hate and evil with light, and that’s always been the tradition, the Jewish tradition, where we bring in more light. A little light dispels a lot of darkness. When you bring it into the world and you demonstrate your pride and your values and you stand strong, that is the way we combat, banishing hate.”
Personal Note thanks to Rabbi Wircberg for always being a spiritual role model, to his community, as well as to me. Thank you for the honey bread he’s delivered to me during the pandemic during Sukkoth, un announced. Just out of the goodness of his heart and shared pride in Philly as a wonderful community. (Once he dropped it off at my house, and this past year I saw him at the Old City Festival.)
For more events and things to do for Hanukkah head to Visit Philly
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