Thursday, July 31, 2008
The Sixth Borough has decided to start it's first-ever contest: The Dirtiest Bathroom in Philadelphia Contest! We are looking for stories, pictures and tales of the worst bathroom experiences in the city. The winner will recieve fame and acclaim of being a public establishment with a truly disgusting bathroom.
We (mostly, Tabitha and Gregg) have already have had some discussions as to the leaders for this illustrious title:
1) The second floor unisex Khyber bathroom which leaks to the stage below
2) The bathroom without any doors at Upstairs at Sal's
4) Dirty Frank's
5) The bathroom at the Shop-Rite on Ridge Ave. in Roxborough
6) Any bathroom in the 300/400 level at Citizen's Bank Ballpark
Oddly, the cleanest public bathroom in Philly award might go to the South Philly Chickie and Pete's, which has a bathroom attendant.
ADDITION: Comicvsaudience's Dave Walk has a solid nomination: the bathroom at the main branch of the Free Library. GG completely agrees with this nomination. That bathroom is disgusting.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
the only thing that's real
The needle tears a hole
the old familiar sting
try to kill it all away
but I remember everything
What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
goes away in the end
You could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
I wear this crown of shit
On my liar's chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Beneath the stains of time
the feelings disappears
You are someone else
I am still right here
What have I become?
my sweetest friend
Everyone I know
goes away in the end
You could have it all
my empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
If I could start again
a million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way...
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Getting To Know Manayunk
Manayunk is located in northwest Philadelphia. "The Yunk" as locals call it was at one time a former mill town turned into a bleak wasteland of American post-industrial waste. But today, thanks to gentrification and access to American Apparel, Manayunk is one of Philadelphia's most vibrant communities.
Main Street in Manayunk is one of Philadelphia's premier shopping destinations. There are not one but THREE stores where faded 60's relics sell overpriced beads in the name of freeing Tibet. Shoppers in Manayunk give visitors a chance to feel the sensation of the Cherry Hill Mall while enjoying the decaying smell from a filthy river located only feet away.
Do you like the Old City scene but can live without the overwhelming presence of rich Indian girls from UPenn? Then try Main Street, where it's always pledge week. It's a perfect place to wear a dirtied white "Cocks" baseball cap and a t-shirt tucked into khaki slacks. The Manayunk Brew Pub is a great restaurant featuring microbrews, excellent food and a chance to have a recent Villanova graduate to make lewd and threatening remarks to your wife.
Sadly, the premier spot in Manayunk's nightlife scene -- The Grape Street Pub -- is no longer with us. For years, the Grape Street was the premier place in the city to see the irritating go-teed philosophy major from your dorm play acoustic covers of Smashing Pumpkins songs.
A great place to commit a sex crime.
Manayunk offers its visitors a wide array of recreational activities. A popular spot for Yunkers and guests alike is the Manayunk Canal Tow Path. Located directly in the rear of restaurant loading docks, with limited lighting and overgrown shrubbery making you completely invisible to anyone who could possibly hear your screams, the Tow Path is a great place to enact upon your disturbing sexual-power issues.
Bike Race Weekend
It isn't the summer in Manayunk until Bike Race Weekend. The annual event attracts tens of thousands of people who line Manayunk's small, winding and incredibly hilly streets who pretend to watch professional bicyclists. The race starts at 9 but public drinking starts at 6 a.m., making the bike race course a likely spot to see a shirtless man pounding a Lager while grilling bacon. It's a great chance to play beer pong with slutty teenagers or to hear lifelong 'Yunk residents drunkenly recount, play-by-play, the Roman Catholic vs. Cardinal Dougherty Catholic League girls basketball finals from 1982. It is truly one of the best civic events in the history of planet earth.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I went up to the Great White North for my summer vacation and to check out Just for Laughs, the Montreal Comedy Festival. Years ago, what started as a strictly French language affair has blown up to be the place to go for up and coming comedians from all over the world. Many of the greats have made their mark on the stage at Just for Laughs throughout the years, from Bill Hicks, to Bob and David and The Kids in the Hall.
This year the all-star gala included Jeremy Piven, Jimmy Fallon and Kathy Griffin. Being a certifiable Anglophile, I went straight for the British stand-up comedy showcase, Britcom.
Craig Hill, a flaming Scotsman who wore a leather kilt and took the stage gyrating to Madonna, hosted the “British Invasion” of comedy. He explained the tourist industry in Scotland, “You can always tell when somebody’s a tourist because they’ve got something that the Scots don’t. Hope.”
I recognized Paul Tonkinson from his stint on Asylum, a mid-nineties comedy series starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson. Tonkinson discussed the pros and cons of married life with a bit of a violent edge, kind of like if Louis C.K. was a Manchester United fan.
Paul Foot was very good, too, and he was dressed much like a young Rod Stewart in a stylish cream pantsuit. One of Foot’s rants was about the awkwardness that occurs when two people are eating cake together, and no one goes out of their way to point out the moistness of the dish.
Most of the comedians in this show were fairly young, so it was great to see some new faces that you wouldn’t necessarily see on Comedy Central. There really was something for everyone, from Hal Cruttenden’s dry observations to Pete Firman’s gory magic tricks.
If you are interested in going but can’t afford tickets to more one or two of the shows it’s still worth making the trip because they have a huge free street festival every night of Just For Laughs that takes up most of the Latin Quarter of downtown. I got to see some French clowns, too. I don’t speak the language, but there was a woman standing on an oil drum in full makeup, yelling at the audience, while the face of a crying clown was projected behind her. Apparently French Canadians take absurdist comedy very seriously, which I guess is why no one laughed during the performance. I also found out that there are no less than two clown colleges in Montreal.
There were a huge amount of people at the street festival, several thousand had gathered for the festivities in the Latin Quarter, but it was ok, I didn't feel like my life was in danger or I was going to pass out. So it wasn't like when Live 8 came to Philadelphia. My friends and I went down to the street festival just about every night of our vacation and saw something new every time. There were giant mechanical insect puppets, break-dancers, fire-eaters, and various costumed actors in hospital gowns pretending to be drunk.
On the whole, the experience was a positive one. There were at least five other festivals going on at the same time as Just for Laughs -- Reggae, Jazz, and a number of French drama performances. I can’t say that I was really digging the Reggae, but at the very least it was in a lovely spot on the waterfront, and Montreal does have some pleasantly mild summer days.
One last thing that was funny, but not actually related to the comedy festival. One night I bought a pack of Canadian cigarettes - Viceroy's - and instead of the typical "cigarettes kill " warning there were statistics of all the deaths in Canada in 1996. I’m not sure why they chose 1996, but basically they were saying tobacco kills the equivalent of a small Canadian town every year. Sure, ok, fine. It's bad for you. But the weird part was that they had statistics on murders and suicides, too. And about 500 people were murdered in the entire country of Canada that year.
Alas, our holiday had come to an end and we crossed the border to head home, back to Philadelphia, the city that has more murders than the entire country we had just visited.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
These quotes -- chanted by children, parents, the elderly and the handicapable -- were loud and proud today outside of Eastern State Prison, where Americans who no doubt ate Freedom Fries in 2002 flew French flags on Fairmount Ave.
Today I, Sixth Borough Correspondent At-Large Reporter Gregg Gethard, attended the "Bastille Day" festivities in Philadelphia's beautiful Fairmount neighborhood. This is an annual tradition in Fairmount and has been held for the past 14 years. Who knew? I spent nearly every weekend from the year 2000 to 2003 on a variety of possibly scabies-infested couches in dingy apartments located between Girard and Spring Garden avenues and had never even heard of this event.
My reporting headquarters was The Urban Saloon, a "suburban sports bar attached to a Day's Inn" which recently opened up on Fairmount Ave. and has already rocketed up the list of Philly's worst bar, competing for honors with The Irish Pub and Finnegan's Wake. (The Urban Saloon, however, wins points for its incredibly surreal open mic comedy night on Monday night's. Being a fan and supporter of awkward public situations, I am pretty addicted to attending and performing at bar open mic nights. The Urban Saloon has the finest in the area, I believe.)
The usually empty Urban Saloon was filled with people on ahot and humid Saturday afternoon. Lines were long for both the bathroom and at a small table set up to serve patrons warm American beers in small plastic cups. The attendees were a mix of people in their older-30's who have not completely given up on life (although there were more than just a few women wearing shirts with pictures of animals on the front) yet mixed in with recent college graduates who should face extermination.
But, standing out the most in this sea of human mediocrity, were the occassional men dressed in 19th century French gentry outfits. Most men I come across wearing these outfits are either into really singular sexual roleplay adventures or are hobos who live in the infamous "rape tunnel" around 7th and Fairmount. But today, they walked around the crowd watching Adam Eaton destroy the Phillies season just like everybody else.
Finally, around 5:30, proceedings began. Set up in the middle of Fairmount Ave., not too far from Zorba's, was a podium with a guillotine front and center. A guy in his 50's dressed as a French peasant, obstensibly a mover and shaker with the local Fairmount development community, introduced the festivities. He talked about how we lacked freedom, how we lacked rights and how we wanted change.
It felt somewhat like I was hearing a MoveOn.org supporter talk about Barack Obama, except I didn't want to claw out my eyes. The guy talked at length, occasionally making a funny joke about Dubya or John Street. He also made reference to "Karl Rovespierre."
This allowed me to heckle with what I remembered from my European History II class (where we spent about two weeks on the French Revolution) I took my junior year in college. "I love the month of Fructidor!" was a personal favorite of my own heckles. My friend Mike started chanting "IndieMac" over and over again to remind people of our looming economic doom.
And then, eventually, standing on top of the prison was a woman claiming herself as Marie Antoinette.
Marie Antoinette precariously stood on the edge of the prison, blasting the crowd with comments about her wealth and power. Or something like that. She sounded pretty drunk. After about ten minutes of banter, she told the crowd to chant along.
"If they have no bread... then let them... let them eat cake!"
Then, from the top of the prison, Eastern State employees dumped Tastycakes onto the crowd by the shovel-full, flying through the air, crashing into the skulls of the elderly and polluting our already precarious eco-balance.
Then, the man on the podium ordered for the storming of the Bastille to begin. A few guys carrying muzzles shot blanks above. Marie's guards fired blanks back. It was all kind of confusing until it was announced that the people had stormed the Bastille and brought out some middle aged due.
"WE FREED LARRY MENDTE!" exclaimed the dude on the podium. I, unfortunately, did not bring my "Larry Mendte Is Not A Criminal" that my friend Paul T. from Secret Pants made.
Then after a few minutes we were told that our mob had captured Marie Antoinette. She was then brought to the guillotine, not by force, and I was expecting The Reign of Terror to begin at any second. The man asked the crowd if we wanted her to die.
Everyone screamed and wished this re-enactment actress/Rembrandt's waitress death. The crowd was extremely blood thirsty yet still family friendly, kind of like a Phantoms game.
"Slice her womb," my friend Mike yelled.
Two guys in hoods took to the podium. They then tested the guillotine out by taking a leftover watermelon from Gallagher's last area show and sliced it. And then again.
Then the guy on the podium said "Oh, we're going to keep her alive instead."
Then a couple of people threw Tastycakes at them.
And then it was over.
All-in-all, it was a pretty cool afternoon. If there's one thing we in Philadelphia are good at, it's coming up with reasons to drink shitty beer in the streets. I liked this better than Two Street circa Mummer's day (too cold and too many sexual assaults) but not as much as I like the Manayunk Bike Race (good temperature and the right amount of sex crimes).
It also gave me an idea. Re-enacting foreign revolutions could become a hot new local trend. I think I want to give one a try -- the Romainian Revolution of 1989, complete with the execution of Ceaucescu and his family and with people dressed as glue-huffing Bucharest orphans.
Monday, July 7, 2008
In this clip, Sixth Borough Acting School alumna, Rosie O'Donnell, shows off the "Shubin Method". This ground-breaking technique was created by The Sixth Borough's master acting coach, Patrick Kelly. The Shubin Method allows the actor to become mind-bendingly annoying while at the same time breathing through her anus. It is this dramatic shift in the locus of breathing from the mouth-nose region to the anus that allows Rosie and other masters of the Shubin Method to transform themselves from normal intelligent people into actual retards. The Method can be adapted to allow the actor to similarly become black, gay, or Mexican. Classes begin August 30th in Jason's urethra. $250 per credit hour.
Did you ever want to read historicaly themed, sexually-tinged fan-fiction about the woman's suffrage movement? If so, now's your chance! The above link has it all. Fictional accounts of Warren G. Harding's mistress! Of Teddy Roosevelt's daughter! Of Woodrow Wilson't mistress! Totally NSFW unless you work at a museum detailing life in the 1920's and you also have a lax internet usage policy at your workplace. Warning: this is HOTTT!
Also, after that site, feel free to visit a website featuring lengthy fictional articles about Steve Perry, the lead singer of Journey. anyway u want it that's the way i need it 4 realz
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Getting To Know East Falls
East Falls is located on the hills to the east of the Schuykill River, providing the area with sweeping vistas of disgusting standing water. The neighborhood is an ecelctic mix of post-grads from area schools such as Philadelphia University, La Salle University and St. Joe's University and lifelong residents who proudly call themselves "Fallsers." The post-grads have flocked to East Falls because of its proximity to Center City and also because diplomas from these institutions can barely be used for toilet paper, making it essential for grads to live with six of their friends in sub-standard housing. Fallsers never left the neighborhood due to its proximity to oxycontin.
Famous Faces In East Falls
The East Falls neighborhood was the longtime home of the Kelly family who sprung timeless whore Princess Grace and her brother, swimming champion and local politician John B. Kelly, who was possibly homosexual since he liked swimming so much.
East Falls has long been the traditional home of the area's politicians. Currently, U.S. Senator and multiple stroke victim Arlen Specter lives right around the corner from Pennsylvania governor and casino afficianado Ed Rendell.
Weekly, residents and visitors of East Falls can watch as Ed Rendell gets pestered for change by a semi-retarded hobo who has camped out at the Sunoco A-Plus at Calumet and Ridge.
Community Spirit In East Falls
Post-grads and Fallsers, while coming from significantly different backgrounds, have joined together to help make East Falls a community that cares!
Despite their out-of-town presence, post-grad East Falls residents are seen frequently helping out lifelong residents in a variety of ways. Recently, at the McMichael Park a new East Falls resident was helping a pregnant teenager understand her social place by screaming "How does it feel to meet an authority figure who does not detail cars for a living?" while repeatedly striking her with an extension cord.
Fallsers welcome newcomers to the neighborhood with open arms. Many times, Fallser teenagers will sit on your front step while smoking drugs. Also, many Fallser teenagers like making newcomers feel right at home by making suggestive comments about your alleged sexuality while shining lazer pointers directly into your retina as you walk from your car. And residents who live near Midvale Ave. also love one of their more well-known neighbors, a 16-year-old teenager with a dirtlip and back-long red dreadlocks who enjoys repeatedly jumping on the hood of your new car while singing outdated Eminem lyrics.
Nature In East Falls
Do you like the outdoors? Then why not spend all morning drinking and go sit on the ledge off of the Schuykill River and try your hand at fishing!
Capturing fish from the river is a hobby many East Falls residents enjoy. Nothing can make a man prouder than holding up a still-breathing trout to show off to your friends and then throwing the fish into the garbage can located behind the Sunoco A Plus right across the street.
Getting To East Falls
Walk to the right of the art museum and head up Kelly Drive. About a mile up the road, flash your genitalia to a passing vehicle headed northbound and arrange a deal for the driver to take you to East Falls.
After the terms of your arrangement have been fulfilled, ask to be physically thrown from the car at the Sunoco A-Plus located at the intersection of Ridge and Calumet. Then feel free to wander and explore this neighborhood of many wonders!
GETTING TO KNOW MOUNT AIRY
Mount Airy is one of several neighborhoods comprising Northwest Philadelphia. On one side, it is bordered by Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia's toniest neighborhood, and on the other by Germantown, one of Philadelphia's crummiest neighborhoods. Thus, Mt. Airy is somewhere in between and is rife with class struggle -- a perfect set-up for you to indoctrinate the neighborhood's residents via socialist leaflets handed out at area coffeeshops.
Mt. Airy residents pride themselves on their cultural diversity. In fact, when meeting a Mt. Airy resident for the first time, be prepared to hear about how diverse their neighborhood is. And it isn't just when you first meet a Mt. Airy resident as, actually, all anyone who lives in Mt. Airy ever talks about on their neighborhood's cultural diversity.
Mt. Airy is also noted for having the most anti-Bush bumper stickers found on the back of Prius cars anywhere in the continental US. This celebrates the neighborhood's commitment to becoming a "green neighborhood" while also celebrating the fact that Mt. Airy residents know what the word "impeach" means.
CLOTHING IN MT. AIRY
All male Mr. Airy residents between the ages of 15 and 55 wear toeless sandals at all times of day, complete with matching braided belt. This is a handy look when you wish to impress somebody by repeatedly telling them how culturally diverse your neighborhood is.
SHOPPING IN MT. AIRY
Another popular Mt. Airy destination is the Weaver's Way supermarket co-op. Here, people can actually work a select number of hours at Weaver's Way -- for free -- which allows them the opportunity to later purchase organic grains at expensive prices.
EDUCATION IN MT. AIRY
The Mt. Airy Learning Tree is one of Philadelphia's finest community learning schools. Classes range from "Mastering The 40 Words Successful People Know" to a personal favorite, "Candlemaking With Roberto." Roberto is a Brazillian who learned his candlemaking skills while growing up in the favela slums along the outer rim of Rio. He wears tight shirts and has tanned muscles and gentle, caressing hands. His exotic features, sensual touch and his uncanny ability to mold a candelabra make him ideal to fulfill your fantasy of having a secret midnight, moonlight tryst in a dumpster outside of the Taco Bell on City Line Avenue with a Brazillian candlemaker.
DINING IN MT. AIRY
The Wawa at the corner of Allens Lane and Germantown Avenue makes spectacular made-to-order hoagies.
FAITH IN MT. AIRY
Right across the street from the Wawa is the Philadelphia headquarters of the Hare Krishna religious group, allowing residents and visitors a rare chance to look,touch and smell a sari. Seminal 90's hardcore band and Krishna devotees Shelter frequently play outdoor shows in their large backyard.
TRAVELLING TO MT. AIRY
Stop being a dick and get a car.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
The picture above this text is of an actual waterslide. There is only one place on earth where something like this could even be thought of: Action Park.
Action Park was a mostly water-based amusement park located in Vernon, New Jersey, about one hour west of New York. Advertisements for Action Park constantly played during cartoons and other programs geared for teens and children. And it looked amazing. Crazy waterslides, trapeeze swings into the water, alpine slides, some weird ride where you put on a body suit and a giant fan blows hot air and hoists you into the air, bungee cords, etc.
I always wanted to go to Action Park. However, my parents would never take me and my brother. The reason is simple. As you can tell from the picture linked above, Action Park was obviously run by maniacs. The place had so many awful stories it became colloquially known as "Traction Park."
The loop-de-loop waterslide was all anyone who went to Action Park talked about when they returned home. Even as a child, I knew that there was no way that a loop de loop waterslide could actually work. In order to thrust a human being to get through a loop like that, one would need the pressure of Hiroshima. And even if you could get through an upside down waterslide, there was also a good chance that you'd just fall to the bottom and break your spine. Or there's a good chance you could get stuck and slowly drown.
I have told many non-North Jersey people about this contraption. Absolutely none of them believe me. But here it is, forever captured in film.
I wrote about Action Park on my old website. I have recieved dozens of comments about the place, including many from people who have claimed or know someone who claimed to have gone through the looping waterslide. I find this completely impossible and incomprehensible.
One popular rumor in North Jersey: Action Park employees actually sent a test dummy down the waterslide, where the torso got stuck in the middle of the loop but its head was decapitated and was later found in the pool.
Just even taking the time to design and build a waterslide of this insanity proves that Action Park was the World's Most Threatening Waterslide Park. But that was the joy of Action Park. Anytime you went to the place, you took your life into your hands.
This is a link to a list of major deaths and accident occurring at water-themed parks throughout the country. Many of the items listed occurred at Action Park.
Other rides of note at Action Park: The giant fan which sent you flying into the air by blowing wave after wave of fierce, scalding hot air directly into your face; the "Canyon Rapids" raft ride where patrons were forced to duck from dangling tree limbs and also had their head and upper neck region slammed into artifical rocks; tarzan swings where patrons leapt off of a deck and hung onto a rope until they fell into disturbingly cold water that was green from algae; and a wave pool filled with the rowdiest, filthiest persons from the North Jersey area, policed by teenage lifeguards experimenting with painkiller abuse.
But, aside from the infamous upside down waterslide, Action Park was best known for its alpine slides. For those not familiar with the alpine slide, allow me to explain. Action Park was part of the Great Gorge ski resort. Action Park patrons could take a ski lift up to the top of a mountain and then ride in a clumsy go-kart type contraption down the mountain via a cement course similar to what you would see in Olympic luge competitions.
When one arrived at the top of the mountain, they were shown a picture of Poloroid photographs of alpine sliders who disobeyed one of the safety rules and suffered brutal injuries. I saw pictures of compound fractures, face bruising and shot after shot of sickening road rash, including one photo I could never get out of my mind of a teenage girl who was missing the skin to her entire stomach as she laid semi-conscious in a pool of her own blood on a side of the mountain.
These photos scared the hell out of anyone who actually wanted to ride the alpine slides. However, once you went to the top of the mountain, there was no other way down. Thus, most of the people going down the alpine slides rode as slow as possible for fear of impalation.
Another great aspect of Action Park was the fact that State Highway 94, an incredibly busy road, bi-sected the park in two. There were two options to get from one side of the park to the other: take a death-defying sprint across this highway or to take the chintzy train that takes you from one side of the park to the other.
Obviously, most people took the train. But even the train had a myriad of problems. Case in point: my friends Dave and Kevin went to Action Park as part of their altar boy trip, they took the train over the highway, the train's engine CAUGHT FIRE as they were on the bridge over the highway and they were forced to jump from the bridge onto the road underneath them, where Kevin fractured his ankle but, to make ammends, Action Park gladly provided him with four free passes for a return visit.
Unfortunately, people with sense intervened in Action Park's decades long reign of terror. There were always rumors of the state closing Action Park or if it going bankrupt due to a multitude of class-action lawsuits. It eventually did close and was reinvented as "Mountain Creek" and is now known for its impeccable safety record.
It just goes to show that the homogeony of the American suburbs really takes away from our greater culture. This is a land where one should be free to sprint across highways like a Mexican border hopper, where one can watch their child lapse into a coma after getting swept under the dangerous undertow of the wave pool and where one can attempt to defy the laws of physics and go through a loop de loop waterslide.
Read more about Action Park here! At least 6 deaths, constant emergency room visits, bumper boats located in a pond filled with snakes, patrons routinely overcome with gas fumes, kayaks stuck in dangerous electrical wires, water cold enough to routinely cause cardiac arrest, forced enemas via waterslide, getting jumped on by people falling off of clips and miniature golf courses also infested with snakes.