Monthly Archives

June 2008


GREAT CHEFS: ALEX’S LEMONADE GALA re: Cancer sucks, it’s one of my favorite charities to support

(I posted something on Sunday too, so check out the Strongman Competition held over the weekend, now on to today:) A couple blocks of Broad Street around Fairmount were closed to traffic 6/18 as the “Great Chefs Event” was held to benefit the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. The Great Chefs Event: The Great Chefs Event is an annual fundraising event that started in 2006 with Philadelphia’s greatest chefs coming together to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation in the fight against childhood cancer. In 2007, The Great Chefs Event grew into a national endeavor with several of the greatest chefs from across the country traveling to Philadelphia to join in support of this event.

Volunteers from Rita’s Water Ice with the Alex’s Lemonade Stand ice sculpture; Tanya and Madalyn
Donna Coghan and Charlie Pasquale Megan & Adam Spivak (I used to work for Adam’s father at HA Winstons, a hundred years ago, in Cherry Hill when I was a teenager)

Joanne Mardes, Nichole Hayward and Becca Elias

Another auction where the generosity of businesses and folks in Philadelphia really came through, thanks. Thanks to the Omni Hotel for putting up all the visiting chefs!! And to all the sponsors and big hug to you!! Oh and the Chefs, love you and your food. Check all the names out at and other photos, but please finish reading Philly Chit Chat first:
Twenty Manning Kiong Bahn, Suzy Jun and Jisu Kang
The atrium of Osteria containing some of the chefs. Many of the participating chefs are James Beard Award Winners who travel far and wide to participate in this very special event. All of the chefs donate the food to this event and some even close their restaurants to travel to Philadelphia to be a part of the truly special event. – Kiong Bahn, Twenty Manning, PhiladelphiaJohn Benno, Per Se, New YorkChris Bianco, Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix Clark Fraiser & Mark Gaier, Arrows/MC Perkins Cove/SummerWinter, Ogunquit, MaineKatsuya Fukushima, Café Atlantico/minibar , Washington D.C.Jose Garces, Amada Restaurant/Tinto/Chilango, Philadelphia Paul Kahan, Blackbird/Avec, ChicagoLachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, ColoradoJoseph Manzare, Zuppa/Globe/Tres Agaves/Pescheria, San Francisco Jeff Michaud, Osteria, Philadelphia Emilio Mignucci, DiBruno Bros., Philadelphia Luke Palladino, Ombra Restaurant, Atlantic City David Pasternack, Esca Restaurant, New York Bryan Sikora, Talula’s Table Restaurant, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania Michael Solomonov, Marigold Kitchen, Philadelphia Brad Spence, Vetri, Philadelphia Daniel Stern, Gayle/ Rae Restaurant, Philadelphia Marc Vetri, Vetri/Osteria, Philadelphia Rocco Whalen, Fahrenheit Restaurant, Cleveland
Aislinn Fletcher and Erica McLaughlin from the Restaurant School at the most popular station of the night, the dessert table.
Justin and Michael Solomon from Zahav

Ellen Milgrim, Andrew Keiser and Michele Sherman enjoyed all the chefs and were happy to support Alex’s Lemonade Charity
David Neff with Gail & John Scardapane of Saladworks, a sponsor.
Robin Blumenfeld Switzenbaum and her brother Eric Blumenfeld
Chase Utley and the girls from Neff & Associates who orchestrated the Great Chefs event this year

Jon Runyan greets Chase Utley I think for the first time

The shot that was in the Inquirer:

Mike Perry, Brooklyn Brewery and Tom Kehoe, Yard’s Brewery right here in Philadelphia

Luke Palladino, Ombra Restaurant, Atlantic City

Rocco Whalen, Fahrenheit Restaurant, Cleveland serves a curried chicken spring roll, which I have to say was my favorite. It was unbelievable tasty and after trying several other tables I had to go back for one more. Tom Collichio of Craft Restaurants and ‘wichcraft in New York City was a first timer at this third annual event.

Jay Scott, the father of Alex Scott who had the first lemonade stand years ago, says he expects the event to raise $100,000 for research towards a cure for childhood cancers. Next to him here is Alex’s mom thanking the guests for coming out to support Alex’s Lemonade Great Chef’s Event
As the live auction begins,
one of the biggest selling items was a home cooked meal by Jeff Michaud, Marc Vetri and Jeff Benjamin, served by Jay & Liz Scott and entertainment by Phil Roy (on left). Two dinners went for $17,000 eachA few of you may remember that about 6 weeks ago I asked for your prayers as my sister was diagnosed with Stage 3C Ovarian Cancer at 46 years old. Because of a series of misdiagnosis’, infections, crappy doctors and now the Mersa infection, she still has not started her Chemo, and it doesn’t look like it’s in going to be anytime soon. It’s been horrible for all of us, and I really don’t allow myself to wallow in thought of the unknown except for 5 minutes a day; We would appreciate your prayers and good thoughts for my sister Judy. Thank you.

PHILADELPHIA STRONGMAN COMPETITION 2008 re: photos of really big guys I wouldn’t want to piss off

Strong·man (strôngmn) n.: an intense sport of which the modern derivation is a direct descendent of the Scottish and Icelandic/Scandinavian test of manhood. A typical strongman competition is a test of strength, endurance, ingenuity and heart. It consists of events adopted from traditional Scottish Highland Games, variations of powerlifting, Olympic lifting and just plain “crazy” events such as the rope and harness truck pull.

As part of the Sunoco Welcome America Celebration, a Strongman Competition was held at Eakins Oval in front of the Art Museum on Saturday and Sunday.

A nice sized crowd came out to watch in the summer heat to see the Strongmen
Food of the champions, Little Ceasar pizza, yum and lots and lots of water
Gerard Benderoth who won yesterday’s competition resting before the competition
” Farmer’s Walk – Competitors carry heavy objects weighing from 275-400 lbs in each hand for a set distance, and compete for the fastest time. A variation involves use of a heavy frame with parallel handles” In this instance this contraption weighed 800lbs. Gerard Benderoth

Gerard Benderoth

Gerard Benderoth, Philadelphia City Hall and the World Flags along Ben Franklin Parkway. The flags represent countries that are members of the United Nation.
Phil Pfister, who was the Met-Rx World’s Strongest Man in 2006.
When Pfister won the title, he pocketed a cool $41,000 grand prize and became the first American to win the crown since Bill Kazmaier won his third-straight strongman title in 1982. The prize money supplemented what Pfister already receives from working as a firefighter in West Virginia, where he lives with his family.

When I read that the Strongman competition “is a direct descendent of the Scottish”, it explained why this guy was wearing a kilt, especially on this 90F day. – It takes about a dozen guys, strength and rope to move the 800lb weight back into place.
If he was Britney Spears, this photo would be worth a pretty penny. I guess guys do wear something under their kilts.
It takes about 4 guys to move the anvil back. I have no idea how much it weighs, but I wouldn’t lift it.

I do not know who this guy was, anyone know? Update: Thanks to my commentor who tells me it’s Josh Thigpen but after the three guys before him couldn’t go more than 5 feet with the 800lbs of hell, he completed the course

grabbed the anvil dumped it
Josh Thigpen made a beeline
over the fence

high fives along the crowd
finishing with the Marine hi five then he ripped off his shirt
and lifted a girl, probably his girlfriend. Yes the testostorone was flowing at Eakins Oval, which would have made Eakins happy.
I have to say that I love the 10 day July Fourth celebration – America’s Birthday – that Philadelphia puts on. I look forward to it every year as I enjoy the festivities, the people, the red, white and blue, the concerts and most importantly the FIREWORKS. I have to admit that no matter where I have lived in Philadelphia, I always have to had to have a view of either the Art Museum or Penns Landing so I could have a party and celebrate Fourth of July. For the past 7 years I have both views, granted PL is a mile away buy I can still enjoy those, the Art Museum, well that’s my front yard. I always wait in anticipation for the announcement of who is going to be the headline act at the July 4th – This Year it’s John Legend, who I really enjoy, but more importantly from a celebrity photographer stance he’s always been terrific and always gives a good shot. I just saw him last week at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards in NYC and took this shot; plus chatted with him about his performance. He’s really looking forward to performing here, but he’s not having a cheesesteak because they are too fattening. Wanted to know if anyone sells turkey cheesesteaks, thinks they have less calories.


As I left work yesterday, I notice many of the people passing me had big smiles on their faces as they sucked on various colored round ice cream pops. I then came to the culprit, who I later found out was James Hampton who’s job it was to give out FREE M&M’s Ice Cream Treats, and it wasn’t even the first day of summer? Remember when Good Humor or Rita’s used to give out ice cream on the first day of summer. The new treats came in the same 5 colors that M&M’s came in, which looked familiar, but weren’t chocolate inside at all, just vanilla.
This guy actually stopped traffic, got out of his $25,000 gas guzzling SUV and snagged two of the free treats, one for mom he said. Note the traffic light is red for the opposing traffic and cars have to go around his truck, maybe he heard about the delicious sweet tasting bar that made him do it. Ought oh, here comes trouble
The PPA officer told James that he might want to go back to his truck.
And we all did the perp walk ’cause I wanted to know what was going on (It was all for you guys, not my own curiosity, I swear)

Turns out that the M&M giveaway truck was in a NO Parking Lane, and it didn’t matter that they were spreading joy & happiness, they had to move it. I asked James where would they go, he didn’t know, but they had 6 cases of bars to give out and they were going tonight. I asked the PPA officer if he realized how many folks were going to miss out on this freebie, and did he have one. He mumbled something like he doesn’t eat that stuff, and they could park where ever they wanted, but it had to be a legal spot if it was going to be on his watch. So once again the PPA ruins the day, by taking candy out of the mouths of babes. With that the M&M Ice Cream truck was off to it’s next destination, and as it passed by these two kids and their mom they just stood there cried as it went by. (OK they didn’t cry, but they did look at it drive by and seemed sad, I know I was sad.) Officer John Doe went to the next offending vehicle, who was moving boxes into the US Post Office. I overheard PPA asking them to move their truck and they refuses, as they sucked on their M&M ice cream. He wrote them a ticket. So that’s it from the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly affection, for this week. Thanks for my booming numbers, I will try and continue to post interesting stuff, celebrities sightings, Philly’s Social Diary, tidbits, friendly gossip and whatever else seems pertinent at the moment. PS: If I didn’t post your event this week, I will be getting them all out next week so that I can get up to date. Don’t forget to check out the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival over in Northern Liberties this weekend.

75th anniversary of Screen Actors Guild (SAG) – “THE ANATOMY OF A MOTION PICTURE” re: continuing with my movie making related posts it seems this week

The film office sent me the press release on this event a few weeks ago, I was a bit bummed as I was in NYC that week to cover the myriad of events which I already wrote about on this blog. I changed my schedule and literally came back to Philly in the middle of the night to attend this free seminar at the Philadelphia Library, not only because of the interesting subject, but because of the connections that I always need to make to make Philly Chit Chat the blog to turn to for social news, event coverage, celebrity sightings and well everything Philly. What I got also was a better understanding of Philadelphia’s film community, and how each speaker really aspired to achieve something greater for each other and for the Philly film community. Even though I was sleep deprived, more than usual, I was very glad I caught this seminar. Diane Heery, Heery Casting believes an actor should do their homework, read variety, and create your Iactor (iActor puts SAG members at the fingertips of casting professionals, and is the only online casting directory that exclusively features SAG members and automated Station 12 cast clearance. ) (a lot of the photos seem to be dark, but that’s because I didn’t always use a flash, and the lighting in the Montgomery Auditorium is non existant.)

One of the speakers was a cinematographer who’s name I missed. He says it’s important to frame the shot and capture the story with it. He may have a stadium full of extras, but only need to focus on the principles, its still important to have the stadium full, or at least shoot it in a way that it looks like the stadium is full. As a photographer his segment was very interesting to me and I hung on every word which screwed up my notes as I didn’t take any! John Rusk, First Assistant Director, The Happening
Missy Moyer, Production Manager, The Woodsman
Mark Rosenthal, Screenwriter, Mona Lisa Smile
Jeffrey Cox, Special Effects, Unbreakable
Matt Shapiro, Film Editor, Old Days
Diane Heery, Heery Casting
Michael Lemon, Mike Lemon Casting
Jesse Cute, Publicity & Promotions, Terry Hines & Associates
Jesse Cute, Publicity & Promotions, Terry Hines & Associates. I liked what he had to say. His business is to promote the film, promote the actors, promote Philly. “Philly is my Passion” My mantra exactly. (I would love to cover events for them)Michael Lemon, Mike Lemon Casting wants you to know your character, relax, know your lines, the scene, be present in the moment, bring a headshot, research the director. For me it was great to finally put a face to the names that I had heard over the years, either via quotes in the media or through friends who may have been gotten parts through their agencies
At one point there was a fashion show, it was kinda strange, although the fashions were of local designers who may have dressed various celebrities. I just couldn’t wrap my head around that subject.
The panalists who gave up their Saturday to give us an informative chat about the film industry in Philadelphia
GPFO’s Joan Bressler who helped put this event together chats with Mark Rosenthal, Screenwriter, Mona Lisa Smile and other guestsActress/Producer/Screenwriter Kamilah Boyete who has just completed a script about a young girl who comes of age in Philadelphia. She will be filming it this summer, and hopefully we can all see it in April at the Philadelphia Film Festival or at the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival that STARTS TONIGHT — YIPPEE. In fact with Kamilah is a screener from the PIFF, Keith Cohen. Entertainment attorney Christopher Cabott ( )greets Philadelphia actor John Wooten, who can be seen in the upcoming “Dream of the Romans” and “Tenure”

Missy Moyer, Production Manager, The Woodsman said it best when she said, and I paraphrase: Movies are made by individuals, not equiptment, and it comes down to the passion of the person to get the job done. Breaking News: after 6 years without a Philadelphia SAG office, news was broken at the event that this will all end in the next 3 months as a new Philly SAG office will be opening. To me it’s just a testament of all the hard work Sharon Pinkenson, Joan Bressler, the Greater Philadelphia Film Office and the talent pool in Philadelphia has done to probe that we are Phillywood and movies, TV and other types of media can rely that their project will be in good hands.



it’s no longer in the Courtyard. Last week when it was booted to accomodate the filming of Transformers 2, it found a spot at the Northeast corner of Dilworth Plaza. Business picked up beyond the four walls of City Hall and now it will remain at that spot for the rest of the season. Where you can still buy strawberries at $5 a quart, a price that has remained for the past 5 weeks since the market opened**. On a better note cherries and blueberries are both $3 a quart, and for some reason that price seems more reasonable. The girl at the Strawberry counter told me to go buy them somewhere else if I didn’t like the price, and you know what I will ’cause those berries look beat. I wish they sold cut flowers.

(Hughe’s Update) OK I did some research: Many farmers market sell strawberries at $5 – $6 a quart, and although supermarkets may sell them for $4 a quart, they are grown in California, so it is important for us to support our local farmers especially during strawberry season, but only if the strawberries look and taste good. But if you are going to use them for soup, it doesn’t matter what they look like:

Strawberry Soup

2 ½ cups of Jersey Fresh strawberries1 ½ cups of water ½ cup granulated sugar 2 TBSP of lemon juice2 tsp fresh lemon peel, grated, zest only½ cup Jersey Fresh white winePrepare the day before or several hours before serving.
Puree 2 cups of strawberries in blender. Slowly add water. Slowly add the ½ cut of sugar, the lemon juice, lemon peel and white wine and blend well. Refrigerate. Chill well. Before serving, garnish with ½ cut remaining strawberries sliced in half. Serves 6.