Noisemakers of the Year

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Big Brawler

Daily News veteran Stu Bykofsky spent 2010 ruffling feathers and rattling Philadelphia’s frequently obnoxious bicycle enthusiasts by ragging on them and dismissing bike lanes. City Council, the Democratic Party, the police, BRT and PPA have been repeated and “delicious” targets as well. As can be expected, Byko gets the usual—often ageist—browbeating in the comment gallery (it is after all, Philly.com, once described by Byko as “where cowards, haters and the deranged can leave anonymous droppings.”) Yet he presses on, even seven years after he publicly stated he was tired of writing his column because he had to “deal with too many assholes.” Seems every year, more doo-doo hits the fan: Most recently, Bykofsky was nominated by Philebrity.com to be “cast out like a demon,” alongside corrupt megalomaniac-sexual harasser Carl Greene and the toad that played tonsil hockey with Christine O’Donnell. Does Byko give a shit? Of course not: “I am semi-humbled to be nominated for an award I have never heard of and I have no chance of winning because my current (award-winning) column is neither as vacuous nor popular as my previous gossip column.” May he piss off more people—and generate more conversation—in 2011. (Tara Murtha.)

Guidance Councilor

City Council meetings are boring. We’re talking hours of procedure and talk for a few minutes worth of good takeaway. What’s not boring, however, is Councilman-at-Large Bill Green . Green is brash and blunt and you never know when he’s going to take a swipe at someone, be it Mayor Nutter or some poor department clerk testifying at a budget hearing. When so many Council members seem content to sit around and collect paychecks, Green is hard at work on high profile moves like scrutinizing the budget for ways to save money and developing a business tax reform plan with colleague Maria Quiñones-Sánchez that threatens to turn conventional wisdom on tax policy entirely on its head, or stuff that flew more under the radar like eliminating the so-called “blogger tax” and penning a plan for paperless government. Always outspoker, “It won’t be the first time the mayor is wrong,” Green snarled over a dispute over tax reform. When City Controller Alan Butkovitz weighed in against Green’s plan, the councilman hit back, “It’s disappointing to see the controller embarrass himself like that.” (Aaron Kase)

Whistleblower

The de facto segregation in bars in Philadelphia has long been a hush-hush reality. But Michael L. Bolden, an African-American bartender at Old City’s McFadden’s, had enough. He brought a suit against the bar and its reported parent company, East Coast Saloons, alleging discrimination in hiring practices. The investigation which followed unearthed some damning information, including a text by then-manager Walt Wyrsta to a weekend manager stating: “We don’t want black people we are a white bar!” As a result of the suit, Wyrsta was fired, McFadden’s has enlisted a consulting company to improve their hiring practices and make the establishment friendlier to a multicultural audience, and the company will have to file quarterly reports on their progress to the court. Bolden, also an attorney for Community Legal Services, chose not to pursue financial compensation, saying in a statement “My goal was to effectuate changes at McFadden’s that would positively impact race relations.” He’s even decided to continue working at the bar, which seems like reason enough to go order a cheap beer and tip big. (Alli Rose Katz)

Comeback Kid

How did Michael Vick go from dog fighting/torturing/executing ex-con, to controversial Eagles backup used only for gimmick plays, to perhaps the most valuable player in the league? That’s easy. He runs. He scrambles. He throws 80-yard passes with no apparent effort. Every time Vick touches the ball, there’s a good chance something crazy-good will happen. When Donovan McNabb was traded away in the off-season, nobody figured the Eagles would have a winning year, let alone be a Super Bowl contender. Yet here we are, with Vick inspiring confidence that the team can come back from deficits late in the game in a way McNabb never did. There’s no guarantee the Eagles will keep winning, or even make the playoffs, but Vick has turned their offense into the most exciting and unpredictable the NFL has seen in a long time. (A.K.)

Canine Crusader

Kim is a wolf in business-casual clothing. Inspired by her love for animals and especially pitbulls—and rage for what she sees as their mistreatment— Kim Wolf spent 2010 putting her considerable skills to work for four-legged friends. Inspired by Sarge, the 16-year-old pit bull she rescued and rehabilitated after he spent 14 years abused, she founded the Sarge Fund, which provides affordable spay/neuter and veterinary care to pit bulls. This past May, Mayor Nutter awarded 30-year-old Wolf “Humane Educator of the Year.” She won a similar award from PSPCA and just this month, the Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals also formally recognized Wolf and Sarge for their work in animal welfare outreach and education. In a city notorious for dirty animal welfare politics, under-funding and dogfighting, we need advocates to stay hungry like the Wolf. She keeps track of it all over at elderbulls.blogspot.com, an effort that recently earned a first-place “Animal Welfare Blogger” award by American Dog magazine. (T.M.)

MISTER MISTER

Man Man’s main man Ryan “Honus Honus” Kattner has had a hell of a year. Consider this: Man Man’s Six Demon Bag was Pitchfork’s No. 20 album of the year in 2006, an eternity ago in today’s fast-paced, ADD-addled, flavor-of-the-minute click-through culture that gobbles up new indie acts before the old ones are fully digested. Since then, the group has cycled through a couple lineup changes and put out one more record, Rabbit Habits, which fucking ruled but, alas, failed to have the impact of the two predecessors that earned them the national spotlight. But he’s not fazed. Dude is going about business as usual, using 2010 to explore new avenues and slap a fresh coat of paint on old tried-and-trues. He and Man Man holed up in Omaha, Neb., with producer Mike Mogis to record the tentatively titled Live Fantastic earlier this year, which will hit store shelves sometime in 2011. He’s formed a new band, Mister Heavenly, with Nick Thorburn of Unicorns/Islands fame and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse. The group just recorded an album for their new label, Sub Pop, and played a series of dates opening for Passion Pit along the left coast and into Texas. Actor and friend Michael Cera joined the group on bass for the tour. It’s an exciting time, one that’s poised to glide gracefully past the 15 minutes (which, today, is more accurately 15 seconds) expiration mark everyone might expect. So, don’t worry about ol’ boy. He’s doing just fine. (Brian McManus)  

Garbage Disposer

The City Controller of Philadelphia is a fancy title for “Official Pain In The Ass” for city government. Judging by the year that Alan Butkovitz had, this is a title he seems to relish. City officials cringe with every monthly report Butkovitz releases, as he sheds light on just how messed up our city is and wags his finger at every dollar misspent or misplaced. In 2010 alone, Butkovitz has gone to war with the sheriff’s office over misallocated funds, butted heads with City Council over business tax reform, blasted the city’s lethargic snow removal, and revealed that Philly is the most impoverished major city in the U.S. Not even libraries were safe from Butkovitz’s wrath, as he fingered the city’s top librarian for pulling in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of illegal bonuses. It’s refreshing to know that there is a city official who at least tries to take out the trash (literally, as he reamed out the city for its suspect contract with the solar compactors). Mayor Nutter may run the city, but there’s no question as to who polices it. (Nick Powell)

Word Smith

Storytelling is having a cultural moment as an art form and West Philly resident Juliet Hope Wayne spent 2010 grabbing that moment by the balls. Wayne has an uncanny talent for crafting anecdotes into exquisitely hilarious five-minute yarns she unravels with infectiously wicked glee. We won’t spoil the fun by revealing the punch lines but rest assured the story “Poundcake” can make anyone, especially anyone who’s ever spent time in the dark underbelly trenches of restaurant work, burst into uncontrollable fits of laughter approaching Double Rainbow levels. After winning the First Person Arts grand-slam in 2007, Wayne broke the storytelling gender barrier in 2009 to become the Moth’s first-ever female “Grand Slampion.” Her star rose even higher this year when “The Swimming Pool Story” was featured on the Moth podcast and she was cherry-picked to perform on the Moth’s “Unchained Tour,” where she dished her dark Philly tales across the entire state of Georgia this past October. (T.M.)

City Scraper

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 8 of 8
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1. Ramfuck said... on Dec 15, 2010 at 09:59AM

“WTF are you doin' TPW? You are justifying the existence of a dog killer like Michael DICK by excusing his past deeds just because he can play a silly, stupid, dumb-as-fuck sport like Football. Fuck Michael DICK and fuck his popularity and fuck the Eagles for giving him a second chance. I am ashamed of this dumb-ass city.”

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2. For the DOGS! said... on Dec 15, 2010 at 10:33AM

“I think it's ashame that someone as wonderful and dedicated as Kim Wolf and Sarge are listed after MV, even in the same article. Kim and Sarge fight to save animals and are listed among a dog killer. Disgrace. MV has done nothing to show that he is remourceful in the actions he did, he is only ashamed that he got caught. Throwing a football is no redemption for the actions that he did. WAY TO GO KIM AND SARGE!!!”

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3. Montana gal said... on Dec 15, 2010 at 10:49AM

“What "For the DOGS! said!! It's pathetic that a murdering ex-con whose name should only ever be in the paper again is when he dies the horrible death he deserves.”

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4. pete said... on Dec 15, 2010 at 03:53PM

“You forgot to mention Yogini, writer, singer,
and creative goddess Holly Westergren.
A force of nature, channeling sattvic
energy into this city.”

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5. Phour Loco said... on Dec 16, 2010 at 09:58AM

“Best label in the city in-fucking-deed! "Hissteria" is the tits.”

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6. Scott said... on Dec 16, 2010 at 12:42PM

“Moriarty is also a great musician in his own right, as anyone who ever had the pleasure of seeing his old bands Everything Is Fine and Friends of the Library in the early 2000s can attest.”

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7. ange said... on Dec 23, 2010 at 11:40AM

“Michael Vick is the Bomb on the football field. (And for those who think Football sucks....we are all entitled to our opinions...are we not?) Vick's morals are obviously shaky but since Philly has people ripping bullets through the streets day in and day out killing kids, police officers, etc....I can't really say Vick is the worst or the worst. Besides...he did his time and who's to say he hasn't really changed. No one knows what he feels in his heart about what he did except for him. Did any of you read "A Philadelphia Murder Story" in the same edition?? If so...why are you still wasting your energy on crying over Michael Vick? WTF?”

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8. biffbiff said... on Jan 9, 2011 at 09:40PM

“when i was in the army during the 1950s, l-worth was known as a nasty slammer. i hope it still was. i will never know what is now in MVs heart, i don't care if he plays f-ball or checkers. people evolve. i can't really imagine that a couple of years in a slammer where he probably received nice treatment due to his fame. did much for his character. a couple of million a year might improve mine. i'm 77 years old, never whipped, kicked, beat, starved, or burned a dog. on friday, we are adopting our fourth needy dog in about 30 years”

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