Tonight: Snakehead Hunting at John Heinz

The invasive Northern Snakehead fish can survive on land for three days and in water indefinitely. (Brian Gratwicke/Flickr)

All summer long, the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge — a big, gorgeous stretch of protected marshland near the airport — is hosting Snakehead Fishing Nights, calling on the public to help rid their waters of the dreaded “frankenfish.” Why is this organization, usually dedicated to keeping animals alive, so intent on killing these particular fish?

Here’s what we know about the Northern Snakehead:

  • They’re an invasive species, imported from China, with no natural predators in North America besides all the things that usually eat fish.
  • They breathe air, meaning they can squirm around on land whenever they want to.
  • They are slimy and have teeth.
  • They have snakes for heads.
  • Adult snakeheads eat other fish and frogs. Sometimes they eat mammals, including rats.
  • Oh so now we like rats?
  • The species is sometimes called the “frankenfish” because you can just name things whatever apparently.
  • OMFG I just watched a video where some dude tries to catch one using a duckling as bait. Don’t look it up.
  • Snakehead fish have been found in FDR Park, the Schuylkill River and video games.
  • The Syfy network has released three informative films about this animal: Snakehead Terror (2004), Frankenfish (2004) and Swarm of the Snakehead (2006).
  • Snakehead fish dream of sprouting hands and seeing what kind of trouble they can get into that way.

Read more »

Best of Philly 2017: Music, Comedy, Theater and More

The War on Drugs plays the new-look Dell Music Center on Sept. 21. (Shawn Brackbill)

Best of Philly 2017 is now online as well as at newsstands, celebrating outstanding food, people, shops and more from across the region. Here are some highlights from the Fun & Games section:

Musical Instrument Collection at the Free Library
Thanks to an innovative new program at the Central branch, you can check out all sorts of musical instruments for three weeks, for free. One of our editors borrowed a ukulele, a bass guitar, and a Fender Stratocaster with a surprisingly loud amp. Our apologies to the neighbors.
1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA | 215-686-5322 | Website

Sing Your Life Karaoke at W/N W/N Coffee Bar
Sara Sherr has been ruling the local karaoke scene for a while now, but her newest series—in this unexpected coffee shop/bar/co-working space mashup—is the freshest one yet. The themed Thursday nights include Queer, Feminist, Big Gay Country and, our personal favorite, Protest.
931 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA | Website Read more »

Music: 10 Shows to See in the Next 7 Days

Jamila Woods plays Johnny Brenda’s on Wednesday. (courtesy of the artist)

Jamila Woods @ Johnny Brenda’s | Wednesday, July 26
With her supple voice and message of resistance and persistence, this Chicago soul singer makes you sweat and swoon on last year’s HEAVN. These songs are groovy, optimistic and empowered.

Boston / Joan Jett & the Blackhearts @ BB&T Pavilion | Thursday, July 27
Save a space for Boston in the amazing history of fans becoming the lead singer of their favorite bands. After the death of longtime singer Brad Delp in 2007, Tommy DeCarlo — then a manager at Home Depot — wrote a tribute and posted it on MySpace. Within a year, he was hired full-time, singing “More Than a Feeling” and touring the world. He’s got the pipes. Anyway, here’s some Joan Jett, because she’s great. Read more »

THEATER REVIEW: Bucks County Playhouse’s Guys and Dolls is a Show to Love a Bushel and a Peck

Darius de Haas and Company in Guys and Dolls at Bucks County Playhouse. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Any opportunity to see Guys and Dolls—near the top of the top among American musicals—is a treat, and I especially looked forward to it at Bucks County Playhouse. It’s an ideally intimate venue, as well as one rich in history and atmosphere. The cast has many terrific performers (BCP does very well with casting in general). Most of all, the director is Hunter Foster, Artistic Associate here, who two summers ago led an exceptionally intriguing version of Stephen Sondheim’s Company.

Foster’s Guys and Dolls, always enjoyable, has many good things and at least one sensational one. Darius de Haas, a delightfully winning Nicely-Nicely, delivers his 11 o’clock number, the rafter-raising Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat, with effortless charm, musicality, and a gorgeous voice. It brings down the house, as well it should. Read more »

Video Evidence: Don’t Miss These Artists at XPoNential

Offa Rex — British folk singer Olivia Chaney playing with the Decemberists — performs on Friday. (Shervin Lainez)

The XPoNential lineup is always an impressive mix of old favorites, rated rookies and artists hitting their stride, but this year’s roster looks especially hot. The amazing Hop Along leads a stellar cast of locals that includes No Good SisterThe Dove & The WolfHardwork Movement (whom I seem to write about every week) and more.

There’s lots of WXPN-style star power, too, like Wilco, Charles Bradley, Conor Oberst, Spoon, Chicano Batman, Drive-By Truckers and Hurray for the Riff Raff.
Oh, and some rare treats: Philly singer-songwriter Amos Lee playing with New Orlena’s famous Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and a set by Offa Rex — in which British folk singer Olivia Chaney fronts the Decemberists.

Since the festival includes multiple stages and venues (Wiggins Park and BB&T Pavilion), you’re gonna want to study the schedule and do a little research ahead of time. Here are some videos to help you out… Read more »

33 Things to Do This Weekend

Nobunny plays PhilaMOCA on Friday.


Shark Tank: The Final Episode @ PHIT
Extended for two more shows. A parody of the popular TV show about inventors seeking funding from rich people. Includes a large cast and video elements. Created by Max Sittenfield and Sean Keegan-Landis. Friday and Saturday.

Back to Back to Black: A Tribute to Amy Winehouse @ Ardmore Music Hall
Remember Jones and his 15-piece orchestra pay tribute to the singer who gave us “Rehab” and “You Know I’m No Good.” They perform her album Back to Black in its entirety. Read more »

Tonight: Hardwork Movement and Strange Parts

Hardwork Movement recalls Teddy Pendergrass on their latest track.

Built on a bedrock of horns and guitars, the music of Hardwork Movement is always jazzy, smart and fun as hell. The Philly hip-hop/soul collective just dropped this new track “Becca’s Movement” (produced by Weathervane Music), a song about hope and desperation with a chill beat and a passionate chorus that reminds me of Teddy Pendergrass.
Read more »

14 Things to Do in Books, Comedy, Art, Movies, Storytelling, Tattoos and more

Let Me Make You a Martyr starring Marilyn Manson screens at PhilaMOCA on Thursday.

Mystery-Author Panel @ The Rosenbach | Wednesday, July 19
Philly-area crime/mystery writers Dennis Tafoya, Merry Jones and Jon McGoran will participate in a panel discussion about writing, local crimes that have inspired them and more.

Tell Me A Story @ Shot Tower Coffee | Wednesday, July 19
Hillary Rea hosts this storytelling night with the theme “Make a Splash.” Speakers include Cecily Alexandria, Max Barth, Anna Goldfarb, Ted Passon, Rina Patel, Caroline Rhoads and me, Pat Rapa. Read more »

Music: 9 Shows to See in the Next 7 Days

Algiers plays Johnny Brenda’s on Saturday. (Joe Dilworth)

Kendrick Lamar @ Wells Fargo Center | Wednesday, July 19
Everyone agrees that Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar is one of the fiercest (and low-key funniest) performers in the business. His lyrics are bold and powerful, and span the emotional spectrum. His aesthetic is engaging and ambitious, and pushes mainstream hip-hop into weirder territory. Of the three videos released so far for his critically acclaimed latest record Damn, none has fewer than 26 million views. The one below has 248 million. So. I don’t know why this show isn’t sold out yet — except everybody’s strapped for cash and it’s in a big giant sports arena — but that just means you have time to make an impulse purchase. (See Also: Kendrick Lamar brings a pop-up shop to Philly.)

Ghost @ The Fillmore | Thursday, July 20
For all the face paint and the costumes and the Satanic Panic rigamarole, Swedish band Ghost’s music is surprisingly accessible. It’s just as much power-pop as heavy metal. But the lead singer is a “demonic anti-Pope” with a skull face, so I guess it’s a little spooky. “Hey mom, I’m worshipping the devil tonight. \m/” “That’s nice dear. <3” Read more »

Let’s Watch a Bunch of Tim and Eric Clips

Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim met as film students at Temple.

Before Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim moved to Hollywood to make big (and weird), they were known around Philadelphia for their uniquely off-kilter comedy shows. When they weren’t playing in bands, the Temple film students could be found in small clubs and galleries showing pre-taped comedy bits and sketches with an off-speed sensibility and unpredictable structure. Traditional punchlines were rare.

In L.A., they honed and mutated their style for Adult Swim staples like Tom Goes to the Mayor, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and, most recently, Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories. That quintessentially disturbed and awkward Tim and Eric aesthetic — also seen in a feature-length film and commercials for deodorant and light bulbs — is often imitated with limited success. There’s more to it than just glitchy editing tricks and creepy extras, people.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Awesome Show, the duo will stop by the Merriam on Thursday for a live performance. And to celebrate that, let’s watch a bunch of videos from Tim and Eric’s impressive and bizarre career so far. Some of this is NSFW, NSFL, etc. Read more »

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