Get Sprung: Places to Go and People to See This Season (Including This Place That Makes Cheesesteak Cookies)

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 3 | Posted Mar. 23, 2011

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Crazy Confections at Cookie Confidential

The cookies here are like contraband. “People like to keep their purchases to themselves so they don’t have to share,” says Melissa Torre, the owner and baker of Cookie Confidential on South Street. The store began as a website-only bakery in 2006, selling crazy cookie flavors like chipotle-chocolate chip, bacon peanut butter and cheesesteak through the mail and at local markets and events. In November 2010, Torre opened a storefront on South Street (near her other job at Tattooed Moms), where she spends six days a week baking up all her crazy concoctions along with the traditional faves. The store also carries local products like Torre’s line of Undercover Cupcakes (with flavors like Maple Bacon Buttermilk and Coconut Key Lime) that come in reusable jelly jars the buyer can later return for a free cookie, and Black Market Brittle (Bacon Peanut, Chili Bacon Peanut, Coconut Pecan). This season, look for new cookie flavors like Sriracha Mango, Maple Bacon Oatmeal and the upcoming Walt Wit cookie made with Philly Brewing Co’s White Ale. These aren’t just cookies, Torre says. “It’s a delicious, gourmet, high-quality, unique experience.” (Brenda Hillegas)

Cookie Confidential, 517 S. Fifth St.

Frank Sherlock's Community of Cultures

Philadelphia is a city of immigrants, and no neighborhood knows better than South Philadelphia. Starting with the Irish and Italians, today’s South Philly is a blend of cultures from all corners of the globe. The Mural Arts Program, endowed with a grant from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, will explore how immigrants shaped South Philly’s history through its collaborative public art project Journeys South. The project marks a step for the Mural Arts Program toward exploring different disciplines. There’s no mural this time. Instead, the program had an open call for proposals from artists of any persuasion to explore South Philly history and culture. Michelle Angela Ortiz, Tony Rocco, Frank Sherlock and others collaborated with neighborhood organizations to conduct research and create works that will be displayed in public spaces around South Philly. Maps will direct people to each installation location. Using video, painting, choreography, printmaking and poetry, each project illustrates the struggles and triumphs of the people who make South Philly home. Every story needs a hero, and for Frank Sherlock, South Philly gets seven. For his part in the project, the poet worked with the Pennsylvania Historical Society, residents and a folklorist to choose seven historical figures from different ethnic groups who had an impact on the neighborhood. He wrote their stories as ballads—the rhythmic, refraining poems that people used to tell stories back when the only way to get news was talking. He chose ballads because “each of these communities is a place where poetry had a very public history in their cultures,” Sherlock says. Along the lines of using old ways to spread news, the ballads will be printed on broadsides, the news sheets that predated modern newspapers. They will be distributed throughout South Philly in boxes. Avant-garde printmaker Erik Ruin will design each figure’s box and illustrate the broadsides. The project is about the sense of community in South Philly despite a clash of cultures. Sherlock wants to express universality through individual stories. “In a ballad of a Vietnamese woman, there are threads where an Irish-American can recognize his story,” he says. “South Philly has a segregated reputation,” says Sherlock. “What I find is a lot more street-level cultural appreciation among communities than what you’d think or what you hear.” (Ada Kulesza)

Journeys South, Through June 11.

Bodacious Bods at Old City's Gallery ML

Preparing to celebrate its one-year anniversary and grand re-opening Friday, April 1, Old City's Gallery ML has been shattering convention and defying expectations since it first opened in April 2010. Dedicated to the idea of bringing body art, the world’s oldest art form, into the mainstream, its founders and owners, photographers Tom Lovelund and Noah Musher, weren’t content to merely be one of the world’s only two galleries dedicated to body art, an accomplishment in and of itself. Gallery ML is the world’s first and only collective body art gallery, showcasing the work of body painters from around the globe. To further bolster this, they’ve launched a revolutionary artist membership program that has created the opportunity for artists whose work might never been seen by the general public a chance for showcase. Along with Tom and Noah, who originally purchased the space as a photography studio, the gallery is also run and staffed by Lawren Alice, gallery director/resident body artist—who took first place at the 2010 Face & Body Art International Convention—and videographer Phil Tartaglione. The only thing more impressive than the passion, energy, creativity, vision and youth (all the staff members are in their 20s) of the team behind Gallery ML is the art they’ve dedicated themselves to creating and showcasing. Rather than the oversexed and gaudy examples that tend to jump to mind when thinking of body art, the pieces featured in the gallery are true works of art, some of which most observers wouldn’t even know was painted on a body at first glance. The pieces are awe-inspiring, kinetic and truly indescribable. Gallery ML is a place you’ve got to see to believe, if not out of sheer curiosity, than to support Philadelphia’s most unique gallery. (Julian Galette)

Gallery ML, 126 Market St. 215.717.7774.

The Heem Team's Dreams

“Heem means greatness and greatness is Heavyweight. Be Heem. Be Heavyweight.” Upon hearing these words from Jesse, CEO of Heavyweight Entertainment, you may ask yourself, “Fuck is Heem?” Well, you know already if your blunt, paper or pipe contains Blue Dream, Grand Daddy Purp, Blackberry, Bleu Cheese or the like. If you’re rocking the most exclusive threads and your tunes are that top-notch sonic fire, you’re working with some Heem. If you’ve got a quality, upstanding woman in your corner, you’ve got yourself a Heem Queen. All in all, it’s any and everything desirable on this planet from the killer chronic to getting that much deserved promotion. “The great thing about ‘Heem’ is that it’s a noun, adjective and verb to describe all things good,” says Philly-born Heem Team member Shepard Heff. “Forward progression and positive energy.” This revolution is being spun into motion by a national collective of musicians, artists, designers, entrepreneurs and scholars centered in North Philly known as The Heem Team. After meeting at Howard University in Wahington, D.C., they started the grind by dropping music, performing and designing apparel. “Man, it’s all about teamwork. The Heem Team is making moves all over the nation; music, entertainment, sports, clothing. We’re the next conglomerate,” says artist/producer M. Rex. The Heem Team headquarters is a West Oak Lane studio called The Womb, the place where all of the Heem Team’s endeavors are spawned. As soon as you hit the door, Heem greets you in the form of herbal aromas and booming rhythms laced with hot rhymes by flame spitters like Philly’s own Drew Poz, Lucky Seven from Buffalo, Dallas-native Jesse, Chicago’s M. Rex or Jay-Z’s Baltimore protege, D. King. These emcees represent different labels (Howhood University, Heavyweight Entertainment, Outtatown Entertainment and The 730 Commission) that have coalesced into one entity. As you venture further, through the fog you’ll see the Heem in action—be it DJ Get ’Em Kid and Matt Cody mixing tracks, the most recent designs for their budding clothing line, Proper Living, affiliates Squizzy and Heff working on the latest content for their blogsite, or Steph Lo-G politicking on the phone with cohorts in California. Now that it’s clearer what Heem is, get ready for the movement. In the words of the afore mentioned Lucky Seven, “You can be Heem, too. You just need to live life like everything’s Heem.” (Ryan Smith)

Bodega Revives Old City

This new performance and exhibition space in Old City generated buzz well before it opened in July. Today, it’s the most exciting and experimental art venue in the city’s so-called arts district, a place where it’s now easier to get good coffee than it is to see art that’s pushing the envelope. The five Hampsire College grads who run the space—Elyse Derosia, Ariela Kuh, Lydia Okrent, James Pettengill and Eric Veit—saw a need for more experimental programming than they were seeing in their trips around town. So in true Philly fashion, they decided to do it themselves—find a space, sign a lease and get it in shape for exhibits. But, the 20-somethings insist, “We’re not a collective.” But they do collaborate. Because the Bodega-ites feel more kinship with what’s happening on Frankford Avenue than anywhere else in town, they recently teamed up with Extra Extra (where Veit will be performing 7 p.m. this Saturday) for a double-venue exhibit by Alex Da Corte. And on May 14, they are collaborating again for BYOB (beamer, i.e projector), a one-night invitational video, slide and light festival. That’s not to say Bodega doesn’t take pride in its own shows. In fact, Bodega will hold a fundraiser May 7 at the gallery to make some needed improvements to the space. The event will feature music by the Ducktails, food by the new truck Yumtown and an auction/raffle of specially made art for the home. Old City art is back. (Roberta Fallon)

Soft Smoke Rises in Gay Rings Above the Roof: Heidi Norton, Carson Fisk-Vittori, Stephen Eichhorn & Ryan Fenchel: April 1-23, opening reception April 1, 6-10pm. Bodega, 253 N. 3rd St.

Mad for Brat's Madi Distefano

Madi Distefano, the artist perhaps most responsible for putting the fringe in Philly theater, is back with Brat Productions, the company she founded in 1996 and led for 10 years. As Brat’s interim co-artistic directors, Distefano and local actor/director/writer Lee Ann Etzold have raised more than $11,000 in 10 days, and the pair is finalizing the cast for Last Call (a collection of free readings of Irish plays at Fergie’s Pub), which Brat will stage later this spring. In her previous tenure at Brat, Distefano’s mission was to make theater affordable (compared with other companies, Brat’s tickets are dirt cheap) and to give it a punk-rock sensibility. The formula—which included staging shows in alternative spaces such as local bars—worked brilliantly, resulting in a host of electrifying productions including the legendary Philadelphia Fringe Festival hit A 24-Hour Bald Soprano and the enormously rowdy rock-a-billy extravaganza Eye-95. With any luck, audiences may soon see more of this local alternative theater pioneer. Distefano says she’s developed a new two-actor/multiple-characters play about Atlantic City titled Meanwhile that Brat may stage in the fall. As for the chances of her returning to Brat on a permanent basis, Distefano says that decision is up to the company’s board. “I feel strongly about keeping the company going because it has always been a place where young theater-makers get to take genuine risks and create new things and I want to give them the opportunity and support to make theater.” (J. Cooper Robb)

Bratwurst: A Party for Brat. Friday, April 1. 8pm. $10. Underground Arts at the Wolf Building. 1200 Callowhill St. 267.601.2231.

My Jello Americans

Corey Kete and Maureen Sheehan are two haute chefs of the Jell-o shot world, who, besides possessing a serious punny bone, have a talent for creating tiny, edible and inebriating sculptures. Using creative molds and hand-infused spirits, they create crazy concoctions like a Thai-inspired coconut vodka shot spiked with basil and red chili and served in a soup spoon; Mt. Fuji, a flaming cone of jello made with plum vodka and almond paste; and for Mardi Gras, King Cake with strawberry vodka, banana syrup and a tiny plastic baby Jesus. The artisanal shots are almost too cute to eat. Kete’s most proud of the MJA School of Dentistry shot set which feature a variety of real-looking teeth ranging from Healthy, made with sweetened condensed milk, to Gold Grills, which contain edible glitter. They’ve infused their creations with just about anything you can think of. “[There were] a couple disappointing encounters with beef jerky-infused vodka,” Kete admits. The duo started jellin’ while they were waitressing at Farmicia and living in Fishtown. What began with Lost-themed jello shots for the Season 6 premiere led to a flurry of creation during the snowstorm of February 2010, and the girls realized they had enough recipe ideas to start a blog ( They’ve since expanded to a mailing list, sending recipes and molds to wannabe Jell-o artists. Check them out at  First Friday events at Part Time Studios and Masthead Print. (Ellen Freeman)

Anthony Ingargiola

Anthony Ingargiola has spent his career fighting for progressive causes and “putting the little d (for democracy) back in Democratic Party politics.” He enjoyed “kicking the butt of the local Democratic Party” while fighting to seat the properly elected Tracey Gordon as a committeeperson in the 40th Ward against the wishes of her ward leader. Ingargiola, a principal at P1 consulting, is challenging the
establishment by managing relative newcomer Anthony Toy’s campaign for Philadelphia City Council at large seat. He is devising campaign strategy, polling, and handling media relations including social media for Toy, who would be the first Asian American elected to citywide office. Ingargiola, previously a regional director for Philadelphia for the coordinated state- wide campaigns of Sestak for Senate and Onorato for Governor, managed the campaigns of Seth Williams for District Attorney and Sam Katz’s unsuccessful race for Mayor. After Councilman Mariano was indicted in 2005, Ingargiola stepped in and helped him pass the most sweeping revision of the Landlord and Tenant Act in Philadelphia in 25 years. Ingargiola also advises “corporations whose purpose he believes in.” He is helping Nexus Homes get the necessary government permits and rallying community and media support so that they can bring their solar geothermal homes with net zero energy emissions to Philadelphia. Ingargiola is Chairman of the Center City Crime Victims Service (CCCVS), an agency that provides crucial life support for victims of crime at their most vulnerable time. The agency assists victims and witnesses navigate through the legal process by assigning them an advocate to serve as liaison to the District Attorney’s office and to accompanying them to court. For those that qualify for compensation, CCCVS will help them apply to the Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP). The agency also offers crisis support and counseling on a short-term basis. (Laura Goldman)

April 7-14


Screening independent American, foreign, documentary and genre films. $9-$165. Various locations. 267.765.9800.

April 9

Go West Craft Fest

Browse the latest Philadelphia’s artists have to offer, listen to live music by Jay Sand, and sip wine at a post-fest exhibition of illustrator Pragya Kothari's work. Noon, free. Cedar Park, 50th St. and Baltimore Ave.

April 15-28

Philadelphia Science Festival

Daily events in neighborhoods all over Philadelphia catering to all tastes and curiosities, ages and inclinations. Various locations.

April 20


These Scots crank it to 11 and will make your ears beg for mercy. 8pm, $20. Starlight Ballroom, 460 N. Ninth St. 215.821.7575.

April 23

Fishtown Shadfest

Featuring food, crafts and live music (Black Landlord, Spinto Band, West Philadelphia Orchestra, Springs), and absent eponymous fish. Free. Penn Treaty Park, Delaware and Beach sts.

April 25-May 1

Equality Forum

Seven-day celebration of international gay culture. Various locations.

April 30

Flavors of the Avenue

More than 20 of Philly’s favorite restaurants offer signature samplings. Browse the free street festival with a craft fair and live music. Noon, $25-$50. E. Passyunk Ave.. 215.336.1455

PIFA Street Fair

Broad Street will transform into a phantasmagorical Parisian carnival for PIFA’s street fair, featuring a Ferris wheel, street performers, food and booze. 11am, free. Broad Street from Chestnut to Lombard sts.

May 1

Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival

Walnut closes down for a fashion and food showcase. It’ll be all about seeing and being seen at this sophisto’s street fair. Noon, free. Walnut St. between Broad and 19th.

May 7

Philadelphia Wine Festival

Wine snobs and aspiring oenophiles can test their palates with samples from 200 wineries from around the world. 6:30pm, $125-$225. Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, 1201 Market St. 215.940.4605.

May 8

Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae

She’s got amazing dance moves and he co-wrote Cee-lo’s “Fuck You.” What more do you want? 7pm, $45. Susquehanna Bank Center, 1 Harbor Blvd., Camden, N.J. 856.365.1300.

May 13

Doug Stanhope

He’s a caustic, fire-breathing comic who has established himself as one of the finest ever. Not to be missed. 9pm, $24. The Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888.

May 14-15

Art Star Craft Bazaar

Local and national artists will sell their unique handmade wares to the tunes of live music on the waterfront. 11am, free. Penn’s Landing Great Plaza.

May 21

Greater Northeast Philadelphia Beer Festival

Sample the finest and latest craft offerings from local and national breweries at this outdoor beer extravaganza. 1pm, $10-$30. Cannstatter Volkfest Verein, 9130 Academy Rd.

May 22

The Punk Rock Flea Market Spring Fever Edition

Punk-rock flea markets, obviously, are the coolest flea markets: There’s no telling what gems you can find, and the proceeds go to making sure First Unitarian Church can keep putting on rocking all-ages shows. 10am, $3. The Punk Rock Flea Market-Dome, 461 N. Ninth St. 215.821.7575.

June 4

Philly Beer Week: Great Beer Expo

More than 50 breweries with samples of over 100 types of craft, so, well, you know the drill, Philadelphia. Noon, 5pm. $10-$60. Philadelphia Cruise Terminal at the Navy Yard, 5100 S. Broad St.

June 12

LGBT Pride Parade

Celebrate love in the sunshine with Philly Pride’s annual pride parade, and what promises to be a colorful, raucous good time. Noon, free. Gayborhood. 215.875.9288.

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1. Anonymous said... on Mar 23, 2011 at 09:58AM


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2. Anonymous said... on Mar 23, 2011 at 02:58PM

“Going to Gallery ML - that sounds incredibly interesting!”

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3. Anonymous said... on Mar 25, 2011 at 07:13AM

“Cheers and long life to the Jello Queens!!!”


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