Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pa Film Tax Credit Explained - PFIA Rally Wed Night Photos

Wednesday night I stopped by the Pennsylvania Film Industry Association Town Hall Meeting, which was more like a rally of the troops to save the Pennsylvania Film Tax Credit at the Pyramid Club in Center City before heading over to Philly Cooks. The guests included lobyist for the film industry, a few politicians, notable people including Sharon Pinkenson, Executive Director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office and concerned friends of film in the state.Which according to today's Philly Inquirer & Philly.com has been saved for one more year. But that doesn't end our support, or your much needed to support. One thing you can do is write or call your congressman, and Gov Corbett to thank them and urge him to support the next time the PA Tax Credit comes up in the budget:
Governor's Office
225 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120

Phone: (717) 787-2500 Fax: (717) 772-8284
E-mail the Governor's Office


John Mitchell, George Bruno and Karla Kay Shatz.

George Bruno just finished a Sly Fox Beer commercial that is pretty funny. (Sly Fox is served at Starr's new place Dandelion)
Meghan McCullough, Film Incentive Group and Michael Yom
Actress Leah Ann Cevoli just moved back to her home town of Philly from LA, to catch up with family members, work on a few projects here and in NYC. Her new project is associate producing/consulting/PR for @ shooting in April @


M. Night Shyamalan on Pennsylvania tax credit. If the tax credit is approved he's going to film his next movie here, it's based on the Night Book series someone mentioned the other night. Then someone also mentioned a Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie project with Paramount.
Bridget Schilki and Nicole Somers volunteer for PFIA and were checking in the folks for the cocktail party/rally.
Sharon, Jason Currie, Vanessa Gutin want to work next year in Philly on film projects.
Heather Seok Executive Director PA Film Industry Association greets the guests and tells them a little bit about the background on what will happen if Corbett doesn't support the budgeted tax credit. In addition to encouraging people to join PaFIA now. Which will support their efforts, in addition to keeping you informed on what is going on with the Tax Credit, and how you can help keep film jobs in Pennsylvania.
The panel consisted of Robin Ross, PaFIA Lobbyist, David Haddad, PaFIA Chair & President, Haddad's Inc., Ray Carballada, PaFIA Vice Chair & President, Shooters, Inc. and Mike McCann, PaFIA Treasurer & President, Film Incentives Group. Haddad, yes that Haddad, stated that some industry may be dead in Pennsylvania, but what the State doesn't realize that the movie industry is alive and well. "It's an industry of content." Then

On Thursday, Corbett spokeswoman Kelli Roberts told The Inquirer that roughly $49 million in tax credits for 60 film, television, and commercial productions will be granted.
"All have been released," she said. "We will honor the tax credits."
A total of $60 million in tax credits for the industry was appropriated in the 2010-11 state budget, of which $11 million is left, Roberts said.
Final approvals of the applications were delayed as part of Corbett's examination of Rendell-approved expenditures, she said.

But there's still work for you to do, for us, for the economy of Pennsylvania. Support Pa Film Tax Credit and call you congressman and elected officials. You talking to me? Guess who this guy "stood in" for this past year?


Friday, February 25, 2011

MY Spontaneous trip to the Philadelphia Zoo

Now that I am doing my blog and event photography full time I snuck away to the Phila Zoo on Wednesday to photograph the animals in what I hope will be the last snowfall of the year.

According to UWISHUNU:
National Geographic Entertainment and the Philadelphia Zoo have joined forces to focus on seriously declining international lion populations. (I realize this is a tiger, but I didn't see any lions when I was there on Wed)

The famous lion statues at the entrance to the zoo will “disappear” temporarily when they’re covered in a bright yellow tarp starting today, February 22. The lions will then be re-introduced in a ceremony on February 28 at 10 a.m., when the zoo’s curator of carnivores will share some of the alarming facts about this decline and what the Philadelphia Zoo is doing to aid in this cause. For more information on what you can do, and to see the "Last Lions" film, check out UWISHNU But first check out a few photos of some of the animals that I photographed on Wednesday when I spontaneously went to the Zoo.

It was great to get out of the house, and or obsess about "What's going on in Philly", "What Stories I should be writing next?", reading my endless emails and press releases etc
I don't go to the Zoo enough, and I really have no excuse it's only about 3 miles from my house within walking distance. I love animals and they are fun to shoot. There were about 3 dozen people there when I arrived about 1:30PM. Winter rates $14; Trolley $2; I walked home.They don't mind if I shoot them candidly or if their mouths are open,
tongue hanging out and drooling.
Remember making those shadow kangaroo ears or was it rabbit ears on the wall?
This is a panther, and these scary beasts can be found along the Western States, and Mexico.
Duck, duck, penguin (ok there's only one duck in this picture)
Here's the other duck (The zoo has a big bird cage, which is open air between two doors and a roof. The Docent told me that she has only been crapped on 5 times since August. Consider herself luck.
Cat nip. I swear a minute before this the kid was running up and down passed the glass enclosure and that panther was following his every move. The family thought it was funny, I'm sure the panther thought it as it's food was teasing her. I had my video camera rolling just in case the pather could break through the netting.
The squirrel monkeys were fascinated by their tails. This one is playing hide and seek.
The other polar bear was lying in the grass. She didn't want anything to do with the snow.
Kiss me once, kiss me twice, kiss me once again. Tomorrow night Valentine Comes to the Reading Terminal. We have a winner for the ticket. Next up the Flower Show tickets. I have about 10 people who guessed Bette Midler was from Hawaii. Do you know what next year's theme for the Flower show is? That drawing will be decided Monday. Then we have The Bellevue gets Engaged contest. Ck on the link for info and tickets. It's a fun event.
nice
Parrot
Don King inspired no doubt

Adorable!! Friday touch up at the salon.
Last night while I was eating a Kokopelli Restaurant and Tequila Bar (They're a new PhillyChitChat.com advertiser so note the live link cause it's a benefit when you're an advertiser.) Any who I had too much delicious coffee there and am rambling. But last night while I was at dinner, tennis great Andre Agassi was speaking at The Wharton School of Business and then had dinner at Pod.
I have 5 fingers. Yep we originated from apes I believe. Of course god created those apes, so please no letters or emails.
I spoke to Thom Cardwell last night. He tells me that the Prince Theater's Oscar Viewing Party was canceled because the guys from Comcast couldn't run a cable to broadcast the show on the large screen in the theater. I don't know of any Oscar Viewing Parties this year, and that's a shame.
Person on cell phone nature is occurring right under your nose and you are missing it
Have a wonderful weekend. Thanks to my sponsors & advertisers: PIFA, The Corner, Del Frisco's, Dancing with the Philadelphia Stars(43 more days til competition!!), CTO Band who was just voted best wedding band 2011 by The Knot, and The Sporting Club.

VOLUNTEER to Feed the Homeless at Arch Street United Methodist Church This Sunday

In the Shadow of City Hall there is a Church where all of God's people can come and celebrate his life: Arch Street United Methodist Church is a community of faith-keeping and faith-seeking people who embrace diversity in our congregation and community, and affirm the dignity and worth of every person as created in the image of God. We celebrate and give thanks for all of the gifts of God among us. Our welcome knows no boundaries, whether of age, racial or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, economic or marital status, or physical or mental ability. We welcome all to share in the ministry, fellowship, and blessings of full participation as members of Christ’s body.
And every Sunday Grace Cafe* operates in the basement of the Church from 5:30PM to 7:30PM featuring local musicians, a simple meal and shared stories. All of the congregation's neighbors, especially center city's most vulnerable citizens, those currently experiencing homelessness, are welcome to attend, volunteer and share their talent.
A few weeks back I visited Grace's Cafe when my friend Andrew Heckenberger came to prepare his monthly meal for the homeless and hungry a volunteer job that he had taken on a year earlier. Each week Grace's Cafe has church groups, students from area colleges, and other volunteers come in and make dinner for the 100 - 140 guests that come for Dinner.
Rev. Reinhard Kruse and his wife Sue review material with Annie Heckenberger, Andrews sister. Rev Kruse told me that Grace's Cafe used to be a homeless shelter, but years ago the City limited it's use because of certain rules and regulations, then finally because of funding. He and others decided to hold holiday meals for some of societies outcasts, and then it grew into every Sunday. He said the men and women who come for dinner aren't looking for anything fancy and are just grateful to have a home cooked meal and some sense of normalcy. Andrew made their favorite meatloaf, scalloped potatoes and then cookies for dessert.

It takes a village to feed 100 to 150 homeless and hungry people every Sunday. On this particular Sunday we had Annie Heckenberger and Andrew Heckenberger; every Sunday you will find Rev. Reinhard Kruse his wife Sue Seated:Ken Dorsey in the middle and Raymond Wilson on the right. Next week it can be you helping out. Send them an email and volunteer, it will be rewarding.
There are several volunteer opportunities that will support the Grace Cafe ministry:
1. Volunteers arrive at 5:00PM to set up the room; prep and set out the food.
2. Volunteers provide a hot meal for about 100 guests. Coffee, tea and other beverages are provided by ASUMC.
3. Volunteers provide musical or other entertainment for at least a 1/2 hour.
4. Volunteers collect and deliver blankets and toiletries for distribution.
5. Volunteers meet, greet and share with Grace Cafe guests during the Sunday Evening program.
6. Volunteers assist with distributing flyers announcing the program on Sunday Evenings from 5PM to 6PM.
7. Volunteers with graphic arts skills are needed to develop posters, flyers and other materials that promote the program.
Parking is available on Broad Street during Sunday Evenings and by arrangement at other times through the church office (215) 568 6250. Volunteering at Grace Cafe is a great way to gain first-hand knowledge of homelessness - its root causes and sustainable solutions.
Contact the church office at secretary@archstreetumc.org to schedule your volunteer adventure!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Serafina Philadelphia Names Their Chef

Serafina opens in April, but today another piece of the puzzle can be revealed

Vittorio Assaf (left) and Fabio Granato (right) owners of Serafina, a restaurant coming to Rittenhouse Square, are excited for the grand opening in April. The duo already own a handful of restaurants in NYC. The location is perfect as it's on what I think is going to be the next little restaurant row, 18th Street between Walnut and Chestnut (After Audrey Claire opens her new place in the former Snackbar, Cook.)
Buddakan's former longtime executive chef Scott Swiderski, left the Starr restaurant last summer saying he wanted to spend time with his family, then look for a restaurant "with a good fit." First he did a stint at The Tap House in West Philly late last summer, then he opened The Corner on Thirteenth Street in December with sous chef John “Chainsaw” Taus (previously of Snackbar where he received rave reviews from Craig Le Ban, then he left to take a break landing at the Diving Horse in Avalon [licking my chops thinking of my birthday dinner there]). (Scott's departure was first noted by Grubby Gossip
"Swiderski out @, which means Taus is back as Exec. What menu changes can we expect?," I already knew but I was waiting for confirmation from Serafina to release the news as it was a done deal last Monday.)

Now Scott Swiderski moves on to Serafina with the well wishes of the folks at The Corner. "It's a great opportunity for Scott to work for a large outfit like Serafina" said the folks at The Corner.
The Corner was thrilled that Scott Swiderski was on board to open the 13th Street restaurant, and is equally thrilled that Scott is going to helm the latest restaurant to join the thriving restaurant community in the hot market of Philadelphia. (first floor dining room The Corner above)
Celebrated chef John “Chainsaw” Taus will now head up the kitchen and continue producing the delicious, cutting edge dishes he's popular for. The above two photos were taken of The Corner last Friday night. Bottom shot is the outdoor patio, which will open again when temps climb above 60F

Join a bus load of Philly Gays to see PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT 3/1/11

Join a bus load of Philly Gays on a fun filled New York City road trip to see PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT -- the feel-good theatrical experience of the year!

Based on the smash-hit movie,
PRISCILLA is the heart-warming, uplifting adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they could have ever dreamed of. With a dazzling array of outrageous costumes and a hit parade of dance-floor favorites, this wildly fresh and funny new musical is a journey to the heart of FABULOUS!

Details:

9:30am - Boarding begins on the 13th and Locust corner of Philadelphia's Gayborhood.

9:50am Bus departs 13th & Locust - PROMPTLY (not 'gay time') - with or without all guests

10:10am Boarding at NJ Turnpike Exit 5 (Fellowship Road and Rt. 73 - exact location TBA)

12:15pm Expected NYC arrival -- lunch on your own

2:00pm Show Time (show ends approx. 4:45)

5:15pm Expected departure from NYC

Sit back and enjoy the company of friends on our deluxe motor coach as we make our own journey to/from New York City. You will have time to grab some lunch before the 2:00pm show. After the show we will make our return trip to Philadelphia while enjoying cocktails.

Includes:

  • Orchestra seating
  • Deluxe Motor Coach Transportation
  • Welcome Mimosa
  • Showing of the movie Priscilla Queen of the Desert on the way to NYC
  • Cocktails and hearty snacks on Return Trip
  • www.TourSignUp.com/NYC

Denver's Geeks Who Drink team got pummeled in Philadelphia's Quizzo Bowl VII and take it hard

Jef Otte wrote a scathing, but funny blog on their loss in Philly in the Denver Westword Blog. The Philly team came in 3rd. The event was held this past Saturday at the World Cafe and was a rousing success. In the video below are some of the questions doled out at the event, and to tell you the truth you would have to be a Philadelphia Historian to get them all right. You're going to love the video, if you love Philly, it's hysterical and informative.




Jef Can your mayor do this, I don't think so?



Check out Johnny Goodtimes blog about the event, try and catch one of his many Quizzo events are the City.

Check out the scathing post by Jef Otte's at Denver Westword Blog

Philadelphia Magazine's PHILLY COOKS 2011 Up A Few Winners Last Night

Last night, dozens of chefs from 40-some restaurants competed in the Philly Magazine sponsored benefit for the Ronald McDonald House at the Crystal Tea Room in Center City.I had been across town covering another event which I will write about next week. Also I wanna thank all the people I ran into at PhillyCooks that 1) tell me they read me 2) wished me luck in my new venture. I'm definitely more busy now than I ever was when I worked a full time job. Last night I wrote about a contest where I am giving away 2 tickets to the Philadelphia Flower Show. I think my question was too hard. It's Drew Becher worked for Bette Midler at the NY Restoration Project. What state was Bette born; then you will know the theme for next year's show. Send me your name & email and I will enter you in a contest for the pair of tickets, which I will draw next Tuesday.
Racing in to catch the last hour I ran into my good friends Dan and Hadas Kuznits, the newly engage, butterfly in the belly couple. Everyone should be in love as much as those two, especially when you are about to do the "I Do's" months away. With them is Waylon Nelson, GM of G Lounge. Saturday night is the THIRD ANNIVERSARY. You know what that means, it's the unofficial beginning of PhillyChitChat cause it was at their opening I met Nicole Cashman who introduced me and invited me to all the right parties, and well here I am doing PhillyChitChat full time and averaging 7,000 readers a day. Mind blowing to me cause I feel like I'm just writing HughE's Curiosity Blog.
Toby and Ken Mallin are flanked by my friends Roberta and Rob Kitchenoff. Rob and I used to work at Kohn, Swift & Graf years ago when I first became a paralegal. Now he has his own firm Weinstein Kitchenoff & Asher LLC.
Following a sold-out event in 2010, Philly Cooks! 2011 will takes on a fresh new look, showcase the talents of some fresh new chefs, and promise a fresh new experience! Decorations were done by the fabulous Brian Kappra's Evantine and the lighting by Eventions Light and Sound.

As in previous years, the area's top chefs will competed for Dish of the Year, Best Appetizer, Best Entree and Best Dessert--and guests snacked on their award-winning dishes during the event as judges such as Marilyn Russell, BenFM, Collin Keefe, Grubstreet, Marc Summers, Tom McGrath, Philadelphia Magazine Editor, Top Chef Kevin Sbraga, Katie Cavuto, Heathly Bites, and Arthur Etchells, Foobooz judge the many dishes on plating and taste in the Judging Room. Bummer I completely missed saying hi to some of my friends.
But I did run into a few new ones out on the main dining room. I've eaten at Ladder 15 a handful of times and enjoyed Chef David Ansill many delicious dishes, but I never tried the Squid "en su tento" which he had last night. It was good, the plating was superb, but I do prefer my squid fried with ketchup. Jennifer Brown and Miranda Paullin complete this picture.Davis Langhorne and Patrick English of Flemings Steakhouse. You know the folks who helped me raise $6000 in my sisters name for Gilda's Club. Love them, please support them, plus their food is yummy.
Don't take my word for it, Sister Mary Paula, IHM told me that her favorite dish came from Fleming's Steak House and that's no lie. She also liked the Chocolate Cake from Moshulu, as did her friends Anne and Judy Wilson.
Heather Flemke and Karen Forster from the Restaurant School
In love, but not with each other Barry Garozzo and Amanda Shoffel (they're BF's) but they love PhillyChitChat.com and read it everyday; they told me they were excited to try all the dishes from the various restaurants at Philly Cooks, but were more excited to meet the guys from PhillyChitChat since "they always shoot the PhillyMag parties," and they're right I do. Thanks you made my day.
Love Connection: I hope these two exchanged numbers the sparks were flying and why not? Chef Jason Cichonski and Tracy Seng, Marketing Director of Philadelphia Magazine. Jason tells me that he is excited for "Mica", which he is working on with Blackfish's Chip Roman. (& No matter how many drinks I plied the duo with neither could give me the specific opening date, but I did hear them mutter something about 3 weeks, but not from yesterday, a Wednesday.) Jason then told me to look for his near Center City restaurant to open sometime late summer or Fall. He has the place, but he's committed to the Mica restaurant and is learning a lot from Chip.
Sandra Va and Chuck Peruto. Chuck was out the door as he had to get back to the office to do some work. But don't feel sorry for him, he lives the life jetting off to Miami at least twice a month to enjoy the summer sun.
Chrissy Bunting, Mike Recchivta, Sean Albright, Carly Subashi, Kate Coffman and Chris Samaras (No doubt I butcherd this names as I couldn't read their writing.)
Tobi Russeck and Tom Schaffling. They both enjoyed the Finley Catering for the Crystal Tea Room Risotto Ball with Red Bell Pepper and the Dining Car's Apple Walnut Pie.
Imogen Pierce, Meghan Delaney and Jenn Condo. Jenn's going to Ireland in less than 14days and is ecstatic.
Marian Conicella, Publisher of Philadelphia Magazine announces the judges winners of Philly Cooks
El Rey - Best Appetizer, Blackfish - Dish of the Year, Moshulu - Best Dessert, Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar won for Best Entree
Dish of the Year - Blackfish - Chip Roman - Hiramasa Sashimi Style
Best Entree - Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar - Pan Seared West Coast Halibut with Soba Noodles and Asian Vegtables with Miso Broth.
Best Appetizer - El Rey's - Ravioles Aquacate y Cangrejo (advacado with crab meat.)
Best Dessert - Moshulu - Michael Cluizel Chocolate Espresso Torte (Last year they won Best Dish for a scallop dish.)
Tracy Mitchell, Jamie Gordon (Realtor not the PR girl), Barbara Mulckhouse and Brigit Brish
Colleen McGovern, Advertising Sales Assistant at Philadelphia Magazine, Alana Tosti (A true beauty junkie with a flair for dramatically high heels or at least that's what her Twitter account says.) and Jennifer Lubas
Michelle Slicer, Catherine Wilkins and Kim Cox lounging in the Mercedes Lounge
with spouses Gary Cox, Mike Wilkins and Dave Slicer. Gary's currently the Sales Operations Manager at Mercedes Benz USA. I think I know what his wife wants for her birthday.
The Winner's Circle: Tammy Nixon, Nestle Waters, Chef Jason Cichonski, Chef Chip Roman, and Julie Hixon, Pharma
If you want to find out which dishes the guests of last night's parties thought were the best check out www.Foobooz.com today for the results.