Friday, January 6, 2012

2007 - 2012 Five Years of Philly Chit Chat. The Begining:

I have five years of memories, photos of chronicling Philadelphia and you. Ever so often up until my anniversary day of 7/7/12 I will be showcasing shots from the past. They may have a theme, or could be random, I might just want to chitchat or might be the best of the best over the 5 years as I had so much fun with those 2 listings last week. Today I am listing a few shots I took in the first year, 2007 and babbling about my beginnings. Although Philly Chit Chat the blog didn't launch until July 7, 2007, I did have another blog, one that I had started in 2006 when I lived in NYC called "Confessions of a Paparazzi"
I was living there working on a large legal case that would go to trial.

In 2007, I returned home and continued to use Confessions as my outlet for photos, but I realized there were things to photograph in Philly and they didn't fall under that title. There weren't too many celebrities here. But it would take me 7 months to come up with a new concept.
Although I did keep trying to find those celebrities I would read about in Michael Klein's and Dan Gross' column. I mentioned it to my friend Phyllis Halpern who at the time worked for Mayor Rendell. She told me she knew someone who might know someone who could help me, and introduced me to Thom Cardwell, Director of the Philadelphia Film Festival, at this event It was at this event which I posted on Confessions.
Then in April 2007 the Phila Film Festival was in full swing, and I photographed the comings and goings of people, posting them on Confessions of a Paparazzi. I would also go back to NYC once or twice a week, after work, and shoot movie premiere's, celebrity events or do some street shooting. I was torn between both cities (and still working a full time paralegal job.)
At the film festival I met interesting people (of as Joey Sweeney would call, Philebrities), and I thought to myself I can use this vehicle to write about people and their lives. Tell the behind the scenes stories of the elements that go into an event, who was there and what they were doing. I would cover all people, not just the bold names I read about in the society columns, Michael Klein's Inqlings, Stu Bykofsky or Dan Gross' gossip columns. I also wanted to chit chat about everything in Philly (ie center city), I didn't want to be limited to just covering events, I wanted to know why something happened, or complain about too many banks. I was mad when the Betsy Johnson's store closed on 18th street, and an ATM went into that prime real estate space. So I brain stormed with my good friends Kati and Simon Curtis, who I had met in NYC, and spent many a night on their couch after shooting fashion week celebs, movie premieres, The MTV Music Awards etc. A friend of mine owned, and it was for sale. I originally wanted it, but thought I didn't always want to write about gossip. Eventually Simon had a great idea and came up with Philly Chit Chat cause I am a chit chatter. That's how that name was coined.
Sometimes celebrities did come to town: This was the annual Rhythm and Blues concert at the Kimmel Center in Sept 2007. What ever happened to this event? Chaka Khan and Patty Jackson, WDAS were there. I was equally excited to photograph both of them. I love me some Patty, and these days she is one of the best info givers around via her 411 Patty TV and on NBC10's The Ten Show on Mondays. Since I was a news junkie, these would be my "celebrities", as they still are for many people in Philly. We listen, or watch them everyday. They sign autographs at auto dealer openings, they are at charity events, they make the newspaper.
I had no idea who Brett Coppol was when I took this photo. Now I know him. Around this time I decided I would concentrate on covering charity events. I wanted to know who were the people that weren't making the society column, but were attending this event. I wanted to give them a little love too. It was hard at first to find out when an event was going to occur, and even more difficult to get the permission to shoot it. Had I only liked sports, I would have had a much easier time. I didn't watch sports, I didn't know what a real life soap opera it was, and how insatiable their fan base was.
Noel Zayas always threw great fashion events at the Bellevue in 2007. They were epic, but then he moved away for a bit. Now he's back, and I was happy to see him making a comeback in a big way last year with his own PR/Event company. In this time frame I met Michael Klein from the Inquirer, and I convinced him over a very long period that I could get the photos no one else could get (I was very naive as I had no idea the channels that normally would be taken to be in this position). We had a great 3 1/2 years working together. He was and is still a great mentor to me. (Dan Gross was also kind and helpful. Sometimes my photos would go in his column, [he published my very first pix here in Philly], but his column really didn't run a lot of photos so it was few and far between.)October 2007 at the opening of the Suzanne Roberts Theater. I've skipped a lot of info because of space restraints, but know that this job is 24/7, hustling, covering events and news that the mainstream media at the time ignored, the paper was getting thinner, they hadn't discovered the internet, there was no twitter. I remember once I called the paper in the middle of the night to say a drunk girl drove her car to the middle of Rittenhouse Square, and is resting on a tree, near the lit Christmas Tree. The guy said "is there any blood?". No everyone is fine I responded, thinking he cared. "Well if there's no blood we don't want the story." I ran it on my blog and it was one of the biggest story that year. Imagine someone being able to drive drunk to the center of the square missing people and benches. Now that's a story, and it was. (Happenstance stories are the best, and recognizing what a story is.)
Then I met Nicole Cashman via Michael Klein. I had finally made it, I was at the Holy Grail; she was the PR/Event/Publicists who represented the most important clients in the City and threw the most fabulous events I read about in the papers or saw photos in the magazines. If you were at her event, you were somebody. I'd better not screw this up or it would be back to covering charity events with middle age ladies who didn't own a computer and didn't understand that I wasn't going to put their heads on a naked body. Brian Friedman, and Laura Burkhardt. I had already met Laura, but we weren't close friends yet.
Where am I today, I didn't just want to be a social diarist, I wanted to be a gossip columnist too, I wanted to be a celebrity photographer in Philly, I wanted to promote charities and the unknown people who supported them, I wanted to satisfy my curiosity and share it with a broader audience, and I did. Then when circumstances changed, I monetized it, and it was a success, so far cross my fingers. Thanks!

HAIR at the Academy of Music til 1/8; Then Memphis 1/17 - 1/22

I saw Hair this week. The audience gave it a standing ovation. It reminded me of the modern Occupy Wall Street Movement. The kids were protesting the war, but I was thinking how did they get all this freedom, it didn't just happen. I did love the music, and the joy I saw on so many peoples faces who remembered that era, the songs and the love in of the 1960's. I'm still getting over the fact that my mom thought it was cool to dress me in tye dye for school when growing up. Learn how to do sand art, as well as wear big sunflowers on my denim shirts oh and String Art; thank God that hasn't come back into fashion. I might just have something against the hippie fashion era.
At the end of the show you can get up on stage and "be in" with the actors. It's at the Academy of Music through Sunday. Tickets are still available.

18th annual Hair O’ The Dog Gala Jan. 14 at the Westin Philadelphia at Liberty Place

18th Annual Hair O' the Dog will be held on January 14, 2012 at The Westin Hotel in Center City, adjacent to Liberty Place.

If you are a long time reader of PCC, you know I love love love this event. This will be the 4th time I attend this event and every year it gets better and better (although I did love it on the boat, the now defunct Belle, last year.) Check in should be smooth, and it will be located in the Rotunda of the Shops at Liberty Place which you can get to via the hotel or parking garage. This year the logistics are much better than on the boat as everything is on one floor, the kitchen at The Westin will be supplying the food stations continuously, and their will be plenty of spirit stations for your libations. (The entrance above. THE HOD has the entire first floor to party on.)

Proceeds from the tickets will go to charity, one of them being The Garden of Reflection, Bucks County’s Sept. 11 memorial site located in Lower Makefield Township. Plus Friends Are By Your Side.

“The Garden of Reflection was selected because we believed that the people who suffered extended beyond the city of New York,” said event spokesperson Buffy Morgan. “The Hair O’ The Dog would like to contribute to this beautiful memorial to assist in the upkeep necessary.”

Morgan said the Garden of Reflection should receive between $2,500 to $5,000, depending on attendance.

One of the VIP lounges

The event begins at 9 p.m. and will feature live music by Drop Dead Sexy. DJ Johnny Looch will be spinning tunes as well as DJ Adrian Hardy and

The Exclusive Bottle Service Lounge of HOD 2012 Presented by Cheerleaders in this room. Wait til you see the transformation.

This VIP Access only hide-a-way located within The Westin, has its own private bar, fireplace, dance floor, stylish seating and sophisticated flare. " THE VARSITY CLUB" will feature sounds by DJ Licious "The Duchess of the Turntables" who has worked with celebrities, such as Paris Hilton, J-WOWW, Dev, and Tracy DiMarco of Jerseylicious, to name a few. DJ Licious has played at multiple venues including her favorite spots: Mur.Mur, The Ocean Club, and The Colosseum. Bottle Service packages are extremely limited and include 1 bottle of liquor and 1 bottle of champagne (from select list) per every four guests plus all VIP amenities.

Profile Picture

Manny Romano

The party doesn't stop there. After the nights events at the Westin, head on over to the afterparty spots Whisper, which is open til 3:00AM or G Lounge OPEN TIL 6AM to continue the night. Need a place to stay, the Westin will have special rates for your sleeping pleasure. This year they have something special:

Queen O’ the Dog Selected after Nominations Roll In

Christine Jock is named “Queen O’ the Dog,” due to her battle against an aggressive form of Breast Cancer, causing her to undergo a double Mastectomy during her thirties as a single parent. Shortly after she was diagnosed with melanoma as well. Friends who nominated her after watching a local news broadcast said Christine did not allow her ongoing complications after the surgery deflate her self-esteem. Instead, they said she remained positive and lively through endless letdowns including losing her job.

Queen O’ The Dog” is an achievement for one woman who demonstrates exceptional womanhood and perseverance awarded by Chorus Technology Solutions and Jenna Communications. Celebrity Salon Owner and FRIENDS ARE BY YOUR SIDE creator Martino Cartier will present her with a “Queen O’ The Dog” all inclusive package. Christine will befit a lavish custom-made gown designed for her from the Aci Nae Boutique. She will enjoy luxurious air brush tanning at Julie Dorenbos & Susie Johnsen’s Skin Palette. Additionally, she will enter as a V.I.P. to the event with her and her guest, allowing her the acclaim she so enduringly deserves.


HAIR O’ THE DOG is glamorous gala created by Rob Molinaro and Dan Cronin of Chorus Technology Solutions. The official Hair O’ The Dog after party will be held at Philly’s hottest nightlife destinations: G Lounge, until 6am, and Whisper Club. Both venues are just steps from the Westin. Admission to the after party is complimentary for all VIPs and press. For tickets and information visit


Jenna Communications provides clients with media placements from a database of high-profile influencers from all major media markets within broadcasting, print, and the blog-o-sphere.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

ChitChat: Holiday Celeb Sightings, Eagles, Taylor Swift, Robyn Thicke, Winter Classic

Sorry I am so tardy in getting this news out. I've been sitting on these nuggets all week, but after taking a few days off I forgot how to get my energizer bunny on and produce. Thanks to all my tipsters and readers who helped me put this together.

Tuesday night, Chef David Boyle of Davio's Philadelphia was interviewed with LeSean "Shady" McCoy and Nate Allen of the Philadelphia Eagles on "The Football Show" with Derrick Gunn and Joe Krause WBCB1490AM. LeSean McCoy, Davio's Chef David Boyle,and Nate Allen. As I've reported before McCoy is a regular at Davio's and has been there as recently as December 27th to celebrate being chosen to play in the pro ball. He had the ribeye steak with mac and cheese.

About the same time the entire Duke Basketball team was chowing down at Ruth Chris' Steakhouse, the following day they were spotted at The Shops of Liberty Place food court. Wednesday night they ate crow after losing to the Temple Owls for the first time in 16 years.
Singer/songwriter Robin Thicke performs at the World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on Thursday, Dec. 29. He wowed and wooed the crowd, even giving a young lady in the front row a smackeroo on the lips and a little sexual healing dance. Then he bought the front row champagne, stressing that only the over 21 year olds could partake. It was a hot night for sure as Robin disrobed at least three layers of clothing to get to this T-Shirt. The following day he flew to Miami to be with his equally hot wife, model Paul Patton. They spent New Year's at P -Diddy's house on Star Island with guests like Rihanna, Queen Latifah, Vivica Fox, Nelly, Fat Joe, Matt Kemp, Nene Leakes, Rick Ross, but not Rosie O'Donnell who was turned away at the door with her entourage of six. How embarrassing. Didn't they recognize her? P-Diddy later said it was a mistake.

After the Robin Thicke concert I high tailed it over to Shampoo Nightclub to greet Jersey Shore's Deena Cortese. She greeted fans with that sour puss she calls a smile (I hear she's nice, but if I have to ask you to smile and your being paid to make an appearance that's just a major #FAIL). She was rocking off her glittery-mini and leather Louboutin boots. I saw a lot of her "fans" in the audience similarly dressed and I feared for their future dating lives. The crowds were a little better than last week when Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino stopped by to eek out his waning 15 minutes of fame.Thanks to Matt Hershowitz for the following photos. Both teams playing in the Alumni Game stayed at the Westin Hotel this past weekend. I love how the hotel set up barriers for the fans to stand at and have the players come over to greet and sign for them. It's also a safety precaution so no one gets run over in the drive way. Here Darren Turcotte, NY Rangers signs a jersey for Matt. (Did I mention the swanky Hair O Dog party is at the Westin on 1/14/12. I did a walk through of the rooms last week and will be chatting extensively about the party Thursday.)
Above Matt is with Rick Tocchet. He seems pretty happy for a guy convicted of running a sports gambling ring in 2007, and then just
two weeks ago he had
$18,000 confiscated by the Bahamian government.
from the Nassau Guardian:

Richard Tocchet, 47, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who played 18 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Philadelphia Flyers, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Los Angeles Kings, the Boston Bruins, the Washington Capitals, and the Phoenix Coyotes, was arrested at the Lynden Pindling International Airport on December 23 after he told a U.S. Customs border officer that he was not traveling with more than $10,000.

Tocchet was searched and found to have $18,752. He pleaded guilty to charges of making a false declaration when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez.

Tocchet was lucky to get off with only a warning, but he lost every penny of the $18,752. Geez dude just pay your taxes. What could that possibly be $9,000. Ugh now you have NADA and your ugly mug in the news.
Which wasn't so ugly when you played for the Flyers and had all the girls swooning I recall. I hear Rick, Joe watson, Bernie Perant, Chris Therion, and Eric Lindoss ate at Capital Grille on Friday night. I would place bets that Rick didn't pick up the check.

Del Frisco's

Friday night: #Eagles quarterback Vince Young and his fiance Candace Johnson had dinner at the 15th and Chestnut Street restaurant. They were with parents and uncles. (I took this pix, and then screen shot it off a website. I should put words on my photos. That would be fun, but time consuming.)Saturday Night: Former Flyer's great Dave Schultz, and friends had dinner at the steakhouse.

Defensive End Jason Babin and Sara Babin before they headed out to Todd Herremans and Brent Celek's bar in Old City - 879 for a "Back to the 80's Party" to celebrate the New Year on Sunday Night and a 34-10 thrashing of the Redskins earlier in the day. The boys had been locked away in their hotel room on New Year's Eve as they had a game against the Redskins on New Year's Day. (Thanks to Twitter and the feed which allowed me to piece this story together. Along with the help of the Sweet bartendress at 879)
Is he Axel Rose or probably just a hair bang rocker.

Why yes this is an ice sculpture of a women with vodka coming out of the vajajay
The after party was held at Recess Nightclub around the corner.
Julie Dorenbos, JT Wright and Angela Perfetto getting into the spirit

Speedy recovery wishes to Brent Celek (with Stephanie Dowling) after undergoing two surgeries on Tuesday to repair a torn labrum in his left hip and for a sports hernia.
Lady Gaga was spotted at a few bars in Lancaster County a few days after Christmas (12/27) with her Lancaster County boyfriend Taylor Kinney. Maybe she went to check out her potential news digs in Lititz. Funny how where she lives was a free for all in the press, but when it was reported where Cliff Lee was living people had a bird. Who by the way is back in town and was skating with the rest of his Lee family as mentioned on his blog yesterday.

Christmas week Johnny Weir performed his Holiday Dreams ice show at the University of Penn's ice house. I mentioned that to you in my Philly column that it was going to happen. I don't think I promoted my column enough over on the site. It's under "The Scene" section. I drop alot of good news to know that might be useful and fun to chat about around the water cooler. This year I will try and promote it better, but you should check it out every day if you have time, I usually have something in there and they other folks do too.
Here's the Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus at the event. Thanks to Patrick Hagerty for the above photo. The men put on about 6 concerts a year and are a real hoot. Below is a shot from the event. I love how he doesn't give a flying about what anyone thinks of him or his life.At this event they did a medley of the Village People, which Weir skated too. Reading Johnny's twitter feed, I see that he and his boyfriend spent the holiday's at Weir's family house in Quarrysville, Pa. (this outfit is tame considering his others.
Now that I think of it it reminds me of the one Vasiliki Tsiouris, Opa restaurant [Midtown Village] wore to the Mayor's Inauguration Ball on Monday night.)
On New Year's Eve he declared: I'm married!

The duo married in NYC according to this article: Weir and his boyfriend Victor Voronov tied the knot in New York on December 30. Weir's and Voronov's parents were present during the small ceremony. They exchanged handwritten vows. All this was made possible by the relatively new gay marriage law in New York.

According to their twitter feed: They're honeymooning in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic. (Hmm I take exception to that NY Yankees hat young man!)Taylor Swift visited her summer vacation spot: Stone Harbor, over the holidays. Her family had a house there when she was growing up, but has since sold it. Last week she came to town to visit her grandmom who still has a place there. I specifically was tipped off that she ate at Uncle Bills Pancake house, and other tips came in after that as well as stories began surfacing on the internet. (Source for the shot above)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Mummers Moments in Pixs & Broad and Shunk

Oh my another beautiful New Year's Day. The weather was perfect for some mumming. Even the mummy looking statues in front of Moore College of Art were in the spirit. (I have no idea why this line is under these words.)
Even the mummy looking statues in front of Moore College of Art were in the spirit. I can never understand why someone boo-hoos about the Mummer's parade, and how they don't like it. Who doesn't like a huge street party, with lots of people greeting you with Happy New Year, and appreciate the men, women and children who put so much time and effort into performing musical numbers and skits for your entertainment. Not to mention all the parties, or happenings in the restaurants and bars along the route. While most Cities, I'm looking at you NYC (I lived there I can talk), return to normalcy or pack the movie theaters, Philly extends the fun the next day. And BTW Sugarhouse Casino (and the peeps who lost their monies there), thanks for those fireworks too. They were awesome. (I appreciate it so much I'm giving you a live link which I normally reserve for advertisers and charities.)

crazy love
Bubbles are welcomed, I saw less silly string this yearDuring the Mummer's parade it's 5 O'clock all day long
The Froggers decorated, then posed in front of the patron saint of South Philly, Frank Rizzo
but the cops would have nothing to do with Rizzo being defiled like that and ordered the
adornment off
happy kids along the parade
happy mummers
These poor girls just wanted directions to the bathroom, but this Lyndon LaRouche guy hadn't gotten one person to listen to his diatribe so he tortured the girls before he said "They're right behind you." (BTW "Hair" the musical is at the Academy of Music. this week.)
posing for a pix like only a mummer would know how to
a fixture at City Hall. Remember the church lady in the early 00's, who would scream we would all be going to hell. She died of carbon monoxide. You should get a carbon monoxide detector for your house.these two were defiant in wearing their full faced crochet masks on this New Year's Day when it was nearly 60F out.
just because
Then we headed to the first of the 3 parties we were invited to. First up

Tania and Marc Schade (PLUG of thanks: Long and Foster realtors 215- 409-6900) hosted a most fabulous party at the Ritz-Carlton Residences
The food was delicious and provided by Catering by Miles
I ran into a fan from Virginia, on the left. But she's a big government agency spy or something and wanted to refrain from using her name. But I appreciate all her nice comments, especially when she saw Mike and said, "You're Mike I recognize you from PhillyChitChat."
Evan Solomon and Eric Cahill were there. (Lynsi was attending to guests in the other room as they had a little shindig going on too.)
I hung on the balcony for a bit as I was trying to catch my friends Jim Werner and David Persica in their perspective Mummers organization, but then conversation drew me away and I missed them both. Darn, next year. Then we went up a few floors to another party...
At the home of Noelle and Josh Burg, with Dana and Ron Donatucci, Jr.
The view was fabulous
we stayed her a bit, then did a recap and had a few munchies at Lynsi and Evan's and never made it to any of the other parties. Sorry. Next year though I will have to make it to the annual Broad and Shunk party. Looks like so much fun

Carol Tamburino dancing to DJ Eddie Tully who's played Broad and Shunk in South Philly for the Mummers Parade for the past 9 years. (Carol brought Isgro treats for everyone.)

crazy fun. So I ask you, how could anyone not like the Mummer's Parade. Parties, people and fun all day long along Broad Street. Everyone is your friend, and u can make new ones, meet old ones.

Happy New Year!! Thanks so much for reading over the years. In 2012, you'll notice a few more things.
1) Several readers have told me they missed me talking to them, so I'll be returning to the style of writing where I talk to you more.
2) Highlighting more of the behind the scenes activities like I used to do in the beginning. I forgot that just because something is a given with me, that you my reader might not realize how something, or who someone is.
3) More best of lists, but this time pulling pictures from the last 5 years. 7/7/12 will be my 5th Anniversary.
This year I'm having a big blowout party in the Spring, which will benefit Gilda's Club of SJ. It will be in Philly, with lots of fun people, as well as a big thank you to you.