Monthly Archives

December 2015


Philly Gossip: Nicki Minaj & Meek Mill at River Rink and Eats Big Ass Slices, Spotted Bill Murray (again) and Jennette Mccurdy

Nicki Minaj is the #1 celebrity moment of Philadelphia. She’s giving me paparazzi life as we close the book on 2015, which left us a little celebrity starved except for that time Bill Murray attended his son’s wedding, a story I broke. Nicki fell
in love with a home town rapper Meek Mill. He tweeted 5 years ago that his goal
was to date Nicki and have knock her up, I think he’s well on the way as in less than a year they are engaged.

To kick off 2015 Meek Mill instagramed this photo from the 1925 Lounge last January of one of their first dates after attending a Wale concert at TLA.

 She popped up
during his set at Made In America, then again when he did WDAS
Powerhouse, and now she’s standing by him during his court hearings, and
Philadelphia confinement. Meek’s not allowed to leave the Philly area until after his February 3 hearing, at which time he might be sentenced for violating his probation. She’s been staying at a Center City hotel. She’s been spotted at living her life at lots of spots.

Twice they’ve gone bowling together at
South Bowl in South Philly. Plus they were spotted eating at Capital Grille as I reported last week. I heard she had asked all the servers their names, and she addressed them by them during the course of the 2 hour steak, potatoes and cheesecake dinner.

She was also spotted shopping at Nieman
Marcus KOP on Christmas eve eve and instagramed several pics of her new buys, including an interesting interaction with a couple of guys.

 Tuesday I got a tip at 11PM that they went to a family members child’s birthday party at
Blue Cross Ice Skating Rink.

The party she attended at the Blue Cross River Rink was in the kids tent where they have games like air hockey, pinball and basketball throw

My tipster indicated he thought they’d be leaving soon so I hung by her car.

Then I heard fans screaming her name so I ran over to the Chestnut Street bridge area to try and get a shot. This is the shot she took when she was rink side.

This group and I think that’s Nicki in the blue jeans, started to walk out the door to leave, but fans had gathered and they went back in and out the side door,

unfortunately I hadn’t started my New Year’s diet and couldn’t hustle over to the side quick enough to get a photo like these fans did. They were screaming I Love You Nicki!!

I did follow her car for a little bit, and she ended up sending her driver into “Big Ass Slices” in Old City for a few slices to take back to her and Meek’s hotel. Nicki is scheduled to perform in Las
Vegas tonight and left her hotel yesterday to fly there, but Meek has to stay behind and do community service today.

As Nicki was leaving on the jet plane, Wed afternoon, her boo Meek Mill and Quincy Harris, Fox29 were on hand as Mayor Nutter honored members of the Northwest Raiders football team for winning the Pop Warner National Super Bowl Championship for the “Midget” Division.

Looks like Bill Murray is back in town. Last night he stopped by the Black Powder Tavern last night! He had the veal burger ;).

She posted this last night. Not sure why she’s in town, do you know why?

ICarly’s Jennette Mccurdy was Spotted on Walnut St. She posed with a few fans and then headed into Urban Outfitters.


The Best 2015 Moments in Philly Engagements, Rainbow Crosswalks, Drake, Emmy Awards, The Pope and more

The best moments in Philadelphia

 Ian Larson and Jamie Reibenbach got engaged. It was Easter and I was on my way to dinner at my sister’s so I couldn’t angle for a better shot, and celebrate later. But I did see this wondrous moment and capture this.
 The Rainbow Crosswalks. Frannie Price, and Chuck Volz who have been instrumental leaders in the LGBTQ community for decades, with then candidate for Mayor, Jim Kenney
 Original Reminder, John James pointing at his photo when he protested for LGBT civil rights in front of Independence Hall in 1965
 Lawrence Brownlee (Charlie Parker) greets Philadelphia Opera supporters at the After Party of the Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD at the Academy of Music in June. In April, the opera opens at the Apollo Theater New York , NY
 Every single walk that happens is a moment to touch someone’s life, whether it’s funding raised, or a participant in the Walk. This is the Delaware Valley Stroke Council walk. This group are the survivors of a stroke. Most are able to do the 5 k walk. It’s inspirational just to be in their presence.
 I am so blessed to be on Fox 29 for nearly 5 years now. Here’s the Halloween Show with Quincy Harris as Drake, surrounded by a few zombie friends from Eastern State Penitentiary
 Zany Henri David with Mayor Michael Nutter at the Philly Pride Parade.
 My Mike learning to paddle board at The Reeds Hotel in Stone Harbor
  Guests frolicking in the fountains at Dilworth Park during the Philly Mag Best of Party.
 Tyra Banks promoting her show FAB Life, taking a selfie with Philly Daily News Gossip Girl, Jenny DeHuff, after grooming her. Both have moved on to new gigs since this photo was taken. Congrats to Jenny who is now at the Metro newspaper, where just this year I finally got several photos publish. It took years to break into that paper. You’ll also see me in the every other month column picking my 5 favorite events to do that month, and I have an online column. So the Metro did it up big for me.
 John J. “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, Business Manager of Local 98; Chris Bartlett, Executive Director of William Way; and David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation at the Mark Segal Book Signing “And Then I Danced: Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality”. At the time this photo was taken there was a bitter protest of NBC10 cameramen against Comcast, the mothership. Doc and David were often across the table from each other in negotiations.
 Finally something solid comes her way, as business leaders break ground for the future of the Divine Lorraine Hotel’s new life as an apartment building.

 Being nominated by journalist at the Pen & Pencil Club was one of the highlights of my year. I am truly honored by this nomination, especially being recognized in breaking news on my Social Media as I really honed my SM to bring the news and helpful tips to the reader in a timely, concise – 140 characters (lol) way.

 The Vatican Splendor exhibit at the Franklin Institute. Here a guests puts her hand in the handprint of Saint Pope John Paul. It’s an amazing feeling.
NBC 10 photojournalist Brad Berner picked
up an Local Emmy for Education/Schools: News Single Story or Series for
“Playing For Funding”.” Brad got up, thanked the academy and then
thanked the band, asking them to play “Bennie and the Jets,” which they
did and he danced his way off stage at the Hilton on City Avenue
 The Pope at Sts. Peter & Paul Cathedral – In Philly
 The Pope Mobile on the Parkway
 Finally got an IPhone and did face time
 Martha Graham Cracker getting exposed to the masses. Go see her.


 Amazing Connor Barwin and his philanthropy, making Philly a better place. Here he is at the Ralph Brooks Park dedication ceremony with Steve Cook who did the murals at the Ralph Brooks Park
 Stephen Starr and the original work staff at the Continental Old City. The restaurant that really put chic, fun modern dining on the map in Philly. 
When the American Suicide Awareness honored me with the Humanitarian
Award this year. The event over sold out, my family
came and lots of friends like Sheila Hess, our new Philadelphia City
Rep, of course at this moment I had no idea that in a week they would
announce it. Thanks to you for your support.

New Year’s Eve Dinner with Chef Matt Zagorski

Chef Matt Zagorski
Cooks Up His First New Year’s Eve in Philadelphia in Years:
4 Courses $75

Formerly of LaCroix, Rouge, Opened 500 degrees, and Hickory Lane Zagorski is now cooking up his signature dishes at Penn 6 – 114 S 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

The New Year’s Eve Menu $75 per person – 2 seatings

Philly Best Events of the Year 2015 – And the TOP 5 Picks – With Info on Producers

So many great events happened in 2015, it was hard to choose, but I did. Let’s check them out. Criteria was definitely about execution, and participation of guests. I do try and find out who does what, but sometimes the event coordinators and or PR don’t know. Everyone who does these events should be recognized, some of them are just spectacular.

Founded by the local start up Chatterblast, the  Annual Flip Cup Championship at Field House brings together friends and family in the name of charity and serious competition to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Yep everyone seems to be participating and dressing the part.

Decor: Chatterblast Food: Field House

Each year the Young Friends of National Museum of American Jewish History hosts two big events, the “Midsummer’s Eve” Dance where guests wear white, and the Maquerade Ball: Celebrating Purim, where guests wear costumes. It’s a great organization to get young people involved in supporting the museum, and nearly everyone participates in dressing for the theme.

One of the best events this year was at the Eakins Oval, as “Future Sensations.” The exhibit, which celebrated the 350th anniversary of Parisian building materials company Saint-Gobain, featured five distinct light-up “pavilions” that weigh between 20 and 50 tons, and were between 13 and 32 feet tall. It wasn’t an earth shattering experience (more of an advertisement about what the company does for billionaire corporations), but because it brought Philadelphian’s together to experience it, as well as wait in lines for hours to chit-chat, it earns a place on the Best Philly Event’s list. Also Philly was the only spot in the USA it stopped on it’s tour, and we got lots of great press.

Diner en Blanc will always be on the list. Because seriously who would have thought 4500 would carry their own tables, food, and chairs; wear white to picnic with strangers in the rain at an undisclosed location. Again this is an experience, whether you do it once or all 4 times it’s happened in Philly. What I don’t understand is why people mock it or outright hate it. OK you don’t like it, why do you think it’s ok to be so mean about it and judge others? It’s not ok bully.
Above: Theresa Grady and Narberth Mayor Tom Grady make their way through the Navy Yeard to attend Diner en Blanc for the fourth time.

Event Coordinators of Diner en Blanc
Natanya DiBona and Kayli Moran 
PR : Aversa PR
Philly Style Magazine – their Best of PSM is always the hottest party of the summer. Alice in Wonderland is 150 years old this year, and PSM went with the theme and did a great job at it’s execution. Lots of different restaurants catered the event. Cashman & Assocs. did the PR
The Tall Ships were pretty spectacular despite the over hyped duck being lame
The Young Friends of the Academy Ball Monster Ball at the Ritz. It’s a standalone event, or you can purchase a year long membership which includes this event, a day at Radnor Hunt, a cocktail party and a stint on the Young Friends of the Academy Ball committee and ticket to the Ball every January. This year Martin Short will be joining the Philadelphia Orchestra on January 23, 2016. The monies raised at the event go to the restoration of the grand old lady of Locust Street.
TICKETS STILL Available for Concert and Gala
This year’s young gala chairs are Katie Gagnon and Cory Siegfried. Lexie Norcross, Philly Voice was the media sponsor for the party. This pix could easily been in the Philly Best Dressed column tomorrow too. 

  Jazz Age on the Delaware
Amazingly successful. Happy it was a reasonably cool August day.
Event Coordinators of Diner en Blanc
Natanya DiBona and PR : Aversa PR
With musical selections by Mole Street Productions
  aspireLIFE’s JAM 2015 for the American Cancer Society co-founded by George Azar, a 15 year survivor of cancer. It’s always a great time and turnout of his friends and family.
Held at Hotel Palomar 
Harry Connick Jr performs at Penn Medical 150th Anniversary. The set up was amazing. The tent had to be flown in from Germany, and was the largest one in existence in the world. The tent covered the entire top of the Art Museum Steps, including the fountain, which made for a glorious centerpiece. There was a gigantic LED screen behind the stage that showed a live view of the Parkway.
This is one of my favorite photos of the year. It was taken at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s “Discovering the Impressionists” Opening Gala. It was a crazy hot day. I had covered the Molestice earlier in the day, and it was a client event. I didn’t have time to go home and change, even though home was across the street from the Art Museum. To me this was a must cover event, and it had to be covered during the cocktail party. I like to choose the people I photograph, if you don’t arrive during the cocktail hour, but during the dinner hour, you don’t get the pixs you really want, just the shots people are willing to interrupt their dinner for to pose for you. Anyway, we’re so lucky to have such amazing institutes in our City. To have these galas where supporters pay $1,000 of dollars to attend these events, and the proceeds go to acquire more exhibits as well as fund art education at the museum. Below is what you would call the money shot. I always want to shoot Gerry Lenfest, he’s very philanthropic and an important person on the cultural scene. The museum’s PR built this shot for me as I told them who I wanted in it. I stood by the paintings I thought would be a good background, and the photo happened.
Jennifer Thompson, Curator, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Hannah Henderson, Trustee Emeritus, Board of Trustees, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Sally Sharkey; H. F. “Gerry” Lenfest, Chair Trustee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Gail Harrity, appointed President and COO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Franklin Institutes Vatican Splendors – Just amazing. Go see it, it’s there until
Food: Frog Commissary  
Music Production: Mole Street

Thank you Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office for Communications, Brian Tierney, Donna Crilley Farrell, Meg Kane, and City of Philadelphia for making this happen, and happen for me.
Many people had their hands in the production of this event, but none more than
ESM Productions

These are the Top 5 Best Events of 2015

The Friends of Rittenhouse Square hosted the 32nd annual Ball on The Square. Over 400 well-dressed
guests attended, dining on Starr Events Catering and danced to the
Eddie Bruce Orchestra
while surrounded by the beautiful decor of Evantine Design, all to raise funds for the popular park. – This year they are re-doing all the flower beds.
Audio/Visual/Lighting: Eventions
Food: Starr Catering

  The Best Decorated events this year were:
 The 25th Anniversary of Manna at the 23rd Street Armory. It’s a cavernous, cold space that houses military vehicles. Next door is Manna, the organization that provides delicious, healthy meals for people with chronically ill who said let’s turn that space into something special for our event. The space was transformed into a magical, lovely cocktail party with many lounges, plenty of seating areas including community tables, amazing lighting and flowers by Beautiful Blooms. The event production companies who pulled it all together were two new on the scene two companies Event Strategy Group and Mole Street Productions co-produced the 25th Anniversary Party.

On Saturday, October 31, 2015, Devereux, a leading national nonprofit
behavioral healthcare organization, hosted its annual Hope Gala at the
Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia with the theme “Into the Woods” making a mystical Halloween evening.
This year the gala was held on Halloween and the theme was a masquerade
black tie ball. Proceeds from the Hope Gala
benefits Devereux’s programs which serve more than 3,500 children and
with intellectual and developmental disabilities and behavioral health
challenges in southeastern Pennsylvania. The black-tie event included a
cocktail reception and a sit-down, buffet dinner by the Finley
Catering.  The gala’s
decorations were amazing, with trees, weeping willows and the most
magnificent table decorations by
Devereux in house Planning Committee
Hoffman Design Group, Inc.
Food: Finley Catering
The Philadelphia Zoo’s 6th Annual Global Conservation Gala. The proceeds from this gala will support the expansion of the world-leading Zoo360 network of animal exploration trails (see the trails in the ballroom). The Zoo Gala is always one of the most gloriously designed events, and this year they didn’t disappoint. Held for the second time at the Bellevue at the Hyatt, the Grand Ball Room was transformed as if you were eating dinner in the middle of the jungle with the animals roaming around you in the Zoo360. Event production was by the Zoo’s in house event planning team headed by Mary Love, who had a vision and she tapped Penncora to execute it.
Event Production: The Philly Zoo team headed by Mary Love
Decor: Penncora
Audio/Visual/Lighting: Eventions
Food: The Bellevue
My #1 pick for the best event of the year, with the criteria being decor, participation and execution ta da:
The Free Library of Philadelphia’s year-end gala, Through the Looking Glass: A Wonderland Ball, which took place on December 5, 2015. The theme of this black-tie affair celebrated the 150th publication anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Event Producers: Fred and Neil Stein of The Creative Group, Inc
Decor: Penncora
Lighting: Pro Vision
Food by:  Brûlée Catering

How Did Philly Notables Celebrate Christmas: Announcements, Puppies, Presents

I hope you had a marvelous Christmas. As some of you may have heard my beloved mother in law, Eleanor Toub, passed away on Christmas Eve after a short illness. She lived a few floors above us at The Philadelphian, so I got to spend many cherished moments with her. Soon I will write my memorial to her so you too can see how remarkable she was. Today let’s focus on celebrations of love, and joy this holiday season.

Congratulations to Molly Sullivan French (sideline reporter for the Philadelphia 76ers on Comcast SportsNet.) and her hubby Tommy French and baby makes 3 in May. Maybe on their anniversary as Molly and Tommy were married in May in Honolulu.

Former CSN reporter Maria Papadakis popped up on Christmas day with her squeeze Chris Konopka at his parents house in Toms River. Maria and Chris then jetted to Naples to spend the rest of the holiday at her mom’s house.Usual the pair live in Toronto where Chris is goalie for their professional soccer team.

HELLO I need walking privileges
OMG now I’m going to have to get Mike one of these

Notes are the best

My friend Gwen Bailey hosted a few celebs who gave back on Christmas
Charlie Mac, Bernard Hopkins, Meek Mill and Yazz the Greatest with Gwen Bailey and Quincy Harris on mic
Patti LaBelle at her house in Wynnwood

Ron Jaworski’s grandsons are so fed up with the Eagles, they’ve become Pittsburgh Steelers fans
 The Papale family headed for an Eagles disappointment on Saturday
 The Vetri family ate at Pizzeria Vetri in Spring Garden on Saturday
 6 months ago Fierce Pierce was looking for love on the Art Museum Steps, now it looks like he found it somewhere else
Former Ela Sous Chef Billy Riddle popped the question to TopCheftestant, celebrity chef Jen Carroll and she said YES!
The duo moved to DC over the summer and plan to work in Mike Isabella’s new restaurant Washington, D.C.,

Congrats to Adam Joseph, partner Karl K and Jacob as they welcome a new addition to their family

Merry Merry, Happy Happy. Tomorrow I will start posting my Best of 2015 columns. Monday we return to posting events and Philly Gossip. I still have Philly events I haven’t written about, instead of saying last week, or last month I’ll be saying last year.