Better Than Best: People & Places

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 3 | Posted Oct. 19, 2011

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Best Record Store

AKA Music has the best selection of new records, but their used selection’s not very impressive. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a shiny Coltrane reissue. But if it’s the real thing you crave, your chances are significantly better at Hiding Place. Located directly below Vox Populi, owner Mark Johnson’s a bona fide cratedigger who understands the value of curation. The small, but well-stocked shop specializes in avant-garde jazz, soul music and R&B. Recent trips by this writer have yielded classic LPs by free-jazz icons Roscoe Mitchell and Giuseppi Logan. Folks hankering hip-hop and Philly rarities will also be rewarded.

Hiding Place, 319 N. 11th St. 215.385.4818.


Most Beautiful Building In Philly That You Can’t Get Into

Well, you probably can; there’s a small fee for a tour of the Freemason temple sitting beyond the Northeast Corner of City Hall. The tour will take you to a few of the rooms, which are absolutely stunning, each constructed in a different architectural style and imbued with symbols that’ll have you gazing around the city’s architecture with a new set of eyes. And you’ll find out which city dignitaries are members of the secret society. Hint: a whole bunch of the Founding Fathers, and a few of the current ones, too.


Venue With the Most Squalor

The Rathaus doesn’t even have a proper door, and its only sign is an X that appears to have been tagged on the plywood over it. Inside, it looks like what Satan’s dorm room must have been like. But it hosts some of the finest national and local indie acts in music today. They also just opened a vintage clothing store, and God knows how they manage to prevent all the kids from stealing their merchandise. Must be because the $5 cover price includes unlimited access to the keg.

Rathaus, 31st and Spring Garden streets.


Best Performance Artist You Might Think Is Hammered

Messapotamia LeFae, dancer, burlesque drag-queen extraordinaire and reigning diva of Tabu, can be seen drinking PBR with a straw at every Liberty City Kings (LICK) Drag and Burlesque performance, falling over in her spike heels and raking in the cash as she stumbles endearingly through the crowd in a purple silk kimono, and talking to anyone who’ll listen. Our theory? It’s water and she knows exactly how to scam it. But what’s a dollar compared with the microthrill of her touch on your shoulder as she struggles to right herself?


Best Place To Ask Stupid Questions About Power Tools Without Being Judged

The world of DIY home renovation is a secret world that’s hard to enter. West Philly Tool Library gives you a key, providing a staff of nice, non-judgmental people to answer all your questions about the difference between a round saw and jigsaw and discover why your drill won’t drill into your Ikea shelf (it’s set on reverse). As long as you’re suitably broke, $20 a year gets you access to all the tools your ignorant heart desires.

West Philly Tool Library, 1314 S. 47th St.


Best Rockstar Architecture Firm

When the eco-development firm known as Postgreen Homes debuted its 100K House some three years ago, there was little doubt that a new group of rockstar-architects had officially entered Philadelphia’s homebuilding scene. And yet who could have guessed that in such a short amount of time, Postgreen would not only have completed three more incredibly smart homes that appear to have materialized straight from the pages of Dwell magazine, but would also have three other multi-home projects in progress. The most ambitious of these, a mini-cluster known as reNewbold, threatens to completely alter the public perception of South Philly’s most transitional neighborhood. Keep an eye on these guys; they obviously have no plans to stop making architectural waves anytime soon.

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Comments 1 - 3 of 3
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1. Patricia T said... on Oct 21, 2011 at 02:17PM

“I would like to comment on the article about "Latest Homegrown Talent to Escape Philly - Mike Taylor". 1st it's always great to see that he has been mentioned in Philadelphia Weekly, but the title is definitely not correct. He didn't "escape Philly", he is just expanding his wings. Philly will always be 1st in his heart & he will be back. Whether it's Philly or L.A., let's continue to support him.”

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2. Anonymous said... on Oct 26, 2011 at 08:48PM

“What is the Rathaus!”

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3. Anonymous said... on Oct 27, 2011 at 08:14AM



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