Phoenixville Firebird Festival

phoenixville

The ninth annual Phoenxville Firebird Festival outside of Philadelphia welcomed some 15,000 people to watch a 30-foot wooden bird that took 20 days to be built by community members in a nod to mythology of rising from the ashes.

SACM and I went with friends who live in Phoenixville.

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Pizza Brain

As Time magazine, the New York Times and USA Today have reported, Pizza Brain, the world’s first pizza museum featuring the Guiness-certified largest collection of pizza memorabilia ever amassed, has opened in my Philadelphia neighborhood of Fishtown.

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All American Rejects concert

allamericanrejects-xfinity

Some friends and I went to the free and surprisingly fun All American Rejects concert at Xfinity Live this Saturday.

Eagles locker room

As a part of a leadership class, I had the chance to visit the Eagles locker room yesterday.

When you visit the Eagles locker room, everyone stands in line to take pics of the Vick and Desean Jackson lockers. Me? I made a bee line to see the pre game home of 6’10”, 330 lbs offensive lineman King Dunlap

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Bicycling over the Ben Franklin Bridge [VIDEO]

Today, Big Timbs and I took a quick bicycle ride across the Ben Franklin Bridge, almost two miles long. The bridge between Philadelphia and Camden presents some beautiful views, particularly at sunset. We were riding along the bridge between 6 and 6:30pm.

See some photos on Facebook here. Check out video below.

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Market Frankford El roundtrip

Fulfilling another of my resolutions for the year, SACM and I took the historic El in Philadelphia from 5th Street westbound to the 69th Street limit in Upper Darby, where I had never been before, for a great lunch and a walking tour of sorts today.

We then went the distance: from 69th Street Station westbound to the Market Frankford Line’s end at the Frankford Transportation Center, near where I once lived. That full trip — including a five minute delay for a track change — took 45 minutes or so.

Gaul Street Block Party

This weekend was my annual Block Party, the second I’ve gotten to get to attend and this year was even better than last year.

I felt more a part of the community. A few friends and my many neighbors ate bratwursts, drank beer, jumped in the 16-foot inflatable pool, played flip cup and had an all around good time.

Check out all the photos here.

Wing Bowl 19: ‘This would only work in Philadelphia,’ says porn legend Ron Jeremey

People still filing into Wing Bowl 19.

It was about 7:30 a.m.when porn legend Ron Jeremy leaned into a microphone and told 15,000 people inside a basketball stadium everything anyone needed to know about the sleazy entertainment, competitive eating binge before us and its place of origin.

“This,” started ‘the Hedgehog,’ his signature long, greasy hair and mustache alive in the sea of Wing Bowl 19 Friday, Feb. 4, “would only work in Philadelphia.”

I arrived at the stadium district of South Philadelphia with a buddy some two hours earlier, slinging back Kenzingers on the walk from the subway to the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Sixers and Flyers. We were there to see our first competitive eating match — this a battle of several dozen eaters cleaning the meat off of hot buffalo wings — but the event has developed its own reputation for other kinds of excess: large-scale entourages entering on floats, strippers, porn stars, event promotions and marketing, flashing, drinking and its ilk.

Some see Wing Bowl, which was founded by a couple of sports talk shock jocks at 610 AM WIP, as perfectly Philadelphian in its regional flavor and for giving sex and sleaze to binge eating, a true carnival of excess. Of course, others just see it as the most boorish display in a city known for such depths. [The second Philly institutional event of the year for me.]

Whatever the case, it was an experience I’ve wanted to see first hand, and I thought I ought to pass on some of my experience.

Below, I share text message reports from that day, those that I sent and some I should have.

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Mummers Parade 2011: Reflections on marshalling with Hegeman String Band

A quick morning run through of the Hegeman String Band routine before heading to the 2011 Mummers Parade

The bus driver didn’t have a beer. At least that’s what I’d say if you asked me on the record.

It was just after 6 p.m. on New Year’s Day 2011, and I was squeezed between two other fellas dressed in black sharing a vinyl bench on a yellow school bus that was careening above Center City Philadelphia by way of I-676. The bus was full, half with other mostly 20-somethings in black and an older crowd in flamboyant and flowery costumes. Every inch of the bus that wasn’t stuffed with human was reserved for coolers of canned beer and, judging by the frequency of offerings, either a dozen or one-well-circled bottle of liquor.

I’m sure most of that made its way up to the bus driver, flashes of yellow street lights and a city skyline coloring his face in his wide bus rear view mirror, otherwise darkened by the cold, black winter night. I just can’t say what happened when it got there or what happened to all the bottles I had to turn away.

One was a blackberry rum.

I can’t remember the others because the singing was just too loud. I’d never sung along to so many songs I didn’t know. Their words, their meaning, their origins.

This was halftime of the 2011 Mummers Day Parade from the eyes of someone who was in it. Or, in my case, someone who was temporarily welcomed into the century-old Philadelphia tradition. A tradition so outrageous and beloved that only Philly could keep it so well unknown (despite small attempts to spread).

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Broad Street Run: my first organized race

I finished today’s Broad Street Run, my first organized race ever.

I finished then 10 miles in more than 90 minutes. Not exactly lightning quick, but good for, of course, quicker than 10 minute miles over the run.

It is a great experience to be running along the damn -near straight and flat Broad Street 10 miles through the city of Philadelphia, through various neighborhoods, with fans lining up much of the way, and 30,000 people shouting at you and cheering you along the way.

My lessons? Pee early because the lines get crazy the closer to launch time.

Peep video kicking off the rainy race below.