Postgreen Homes, 2424 E. York St. postgreen.com
Best Mechanic Who Will Treat You Like Family
Wayne’s Garage has long been a neighborhood staple, but mechanic Bill not only fixes your car well the first time, he explains everything he’s doing with large, full-color diagrams in a fair but firm manner. What is a brake cylinder versus a brake drum? There’s a diagram for that. He forgives, but wants to make sure you’ve learned from your mistakes: “Next time, don’t let you’re your registration expire,” he calmly advises. He also offers you the option to pay back huge bills on a no-interest plan, just like you’re paying back good ‘ol Dad.
Wayne’s Garage, 4521 Springfield Ave. 215.222.5703.
Funniest Medical Research Team
Medical research sounds cold, detached and impersonal. But the HIV/AIDS Research Prevention Division at University of Pennsylvania is the exception. Even dishing out personal information on sexual practices and doing extensive blood draws, the entire team goes out of their way to make you feel welcome, comfortable and often laugh, even early in the morning. It is this supportive and fun atmosphere that makes the division one of the most successful in the country in an innovative and groundbreaking HVTN 505 vaccine research trial that could, one day, lead to a cure for HIV/AIDS.
HIV/AIDS Research Prevention Division, 3535 Market St. 215.746.7355. med.upenn.edu/hiv/index
Best Karaoke Star of the Gayborhood
Veterans of the Gayborhood karaoke scene know her by name (and voice). But for a stranger, you see her walk up to the mic and think, “They let homeless people sing?” Then she opens her mouth and what can only be years of emotion, stories to tell, sadness and actual raw talent come flying out of her vocal chords. She’s Barbara, who appears to wear a wig and often looks like she’s wearing a Halloween granny costume. She also nails every note of her “Send In The Clowns”-like/Les Mis/old crooner catalogue. Every time a various Karoake VJ announces her name it’s as if time stops; all eyes are on this mysterious creature about to belt out Liza Minnelli better than she can at this point.
Best MC to Take the Thrown
Freeway’s been the king of Philadelphia hip-hop for a very long time, but those days might be over. North Philly rapper Meek Mill’s is taking over. Meek’s built a hefty reputation with dozens of hard-as-nails street releases—including his ferocious Flamers series—and he recently signed with Maybach Music Group boss Rick Ross. Since then, he’s jumped up a level. His latest tape, Dreamchasers, masterfully merges gangster grit with Machiavellian ambition. Freeway and Milly are buds, though—they recently connected in Philly to shoot Meek’s and Rozay’s “I’m A Boss” video—so it’s more like trading places than a coup.
Best Way to Get Swept off Your Feet
There’s all sorts of trendy ways to get in shape right now—kettlebell, hot yoga, fleeing from flash mobs—but there’s only one guaranteed to be more exhilarating than painful: circus school. The Philadelphia School of Circus Arts has been going strong since graduating from backyard classes to a formal school in 2008, with 35 new classes added on just this year. You can learn to how to execute the “bird’s nest” on trapeze, elegantly float and roll in reams of fabric, ride a unicycle—anything under the Big Tent, really. The instructors are all-star; Kendra Greaves is off training with Cirque du Soleil right now. With rolling introductory sampler classes, new “Works in Progress” showcases and the “Phantastical Phanatical: A Philly Circus Cabaret” coming up Nov. 18, you’ll have plenty of chances to check out the high-flying antics before running off and joining.
Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, phillycircus.com
Ever think to yourself: Hey, I wonder where I can have a threesome and then promptly forget about it? Well, one of our writers thinks he's found that place. Want Mexican food that doesn't burn on the way out? Of course you do. More of these questions and answers have found their way into this year's Better Than Best issue. And what's better than best, you ask? We have no idea. We just knew we couldn't use Best Of, because another publication in this town has it on lockdown. But that doesn't mean we didn't put an enormous amount of effort into bringing you the most random hidden gems Philly has to offer. Because we did. And we think we've got a pretty good list going on here.