Thursday, July 30, 2009

Goodbye Philadelphia

Time to go...

Many memories and so much music, my three years in Jersey (so close to Philly) have been a fantastic experience.

No idea if I'll keep posting. Still have a lot of stuff on Philly venues etc as well as other things, and I always wanted to do a giveaway too, had these cool cd's back in February but time flew...
Whatever. Have a great summer!!.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hearings for parking tickets in Philly

Drafted july'09, post activated a little later...
Yesterday I had a hearing for a parking ticket (Philadelphia). Figured I'd write about it since I tried to do a little research on the web before attending and couldn't find anything.
So, I got to the Parking authority half hour in advance but signed in anyway. They told me to sit and somebody would call my name. They said it would be 1 hour wait, give or take. Room was crowded, I left and came back 15 minutes later. I had printed photos, etc (they said to bring "evidence") but once they called me (aprox. 30 minutes after sign in) I was in for a surprise: a woman showed me a paper with my ticket nr and amount owed and asked if that was the ticket I was disputing. I said yes. She asked if the vehicle was in my posession (had been towed! -uggg. Got it back the same day after paying the towing), I said yes and just like that she said "The city of Philadelphia would like to cancel this ticket as a courtesy". No showing photos, no explaining....seems the money collected for the towing was enough. I asked about a refund for the towing amount since I didn't agree with the fine, she said impossible (!!!)
Hearings are usually scheduled approx 3 months after the fine. My ticket was a relatively small amount ($45), and it was defective (they said I was parked in the wrong street). They had no reason to issue it either because the signs were not where they should have been. In fact they towed like 20 cars at once...
It would have been easier to me to pay that fine than having these adventures, and if I had been guilty I certainly would have. But quite a few of the people in charge of traffic fines in Philly are of the highly predatory, abusive and cheeky kind (NY too), and that should be fought, if it's a nuisance. Abuse is never something one should remain passive about.

And just for the record, traffic officers in general have all my admiration (once my car stopped dead in the middle of the Walt Whitman bridge, electric everything not working -battery-, couldn't even turn on the lights or use the car horn to signal (yep, really really scary). I managed to place the emergency triangles with cars speeding by and making gestures to me and blowing their horns -like it was my idea to stop there!-, and officers showed up really soon, pushed my car with theirs all the way to a safe location, and made sure I got it under control. But there sure are some rotten apples in the basket.
Just info...
Tags: disputing parking tickets Philly

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Elizabeth and the catapult at the World Cafe FAN

Another fantastic concert by them, this time with a bassist. A great last FAN for me. Setlist: Just uploaded a bit of "Rainiest day of Summer" to youtube (ahem, the whistling, pre-recorded, right?), which I love, so really glad they played it this time. Impossible not to think of The Carpenters and a bit of the Beatles' Abbey road-ish vibe, but all put to use for the best.

Elizabeth has one of the most beautiful voices I've heard (even better live). And fat chance that she hits a wrong note with it.
Can't believe they aren't more known. Can't believe that song was not on youtube yet (I checked 3 times, still can't believe it). They've even made it to a popular movie soundtrack ("New in Town", Renee Zellweger...ahem, not supposed to admit that I watch those silly movies. But lately I even enjoy some of these quite a bit (watched "Penelope" and "In Brugues" last week and really enjoyed them -thought I wouldn't, you never really know).

A few weeks ago they did another concert here in Philly (posted about it below), and I asked her which of her songs was her favourite. She told me but then by the time I got to write the post I wasn't sure (I have this terrible memory that mostly remembers what it shouldn't. The other stuff, it doesn't really care much about!). So I asked her again this time: it's "Golden Ink".

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge

When I started blogging about the Tower Theater I wanted to do a post on things to do while in Philly, for those who aren't from around these parts. But then I'd hardly seen anything myself. I've done a better job of my "tourist" duties by now and this is the number one thing I suggest.
Just like when going to New York everybody recommends (me too) walking the Brooklyn bridge, I'd not seen any such thing about the Ben or any other Philly bridge in the usual tourist guides etc. And it is a great thing to do. You'll get glimpses of the city like this one (note the train!- btw, another option is taking that train -NJ transit-, ride in the first car, first row, there's a window in the front -generally quite dirty but not enough to block the view...almost)

It's a gorgeous walk, and even on relatively hot days there's a nice breeze up there.
I don't think it's always open (I've only recently seen people up there, and just did this a few weeks ago), as there's a pretty "drastic" weather in this city sometimes and also some maintenance work going on on the bridge itself, but you can check its status here. Right now only the south way is open. And if you're into photography, you'll be busy. This is my  favourite bridge.

Once done, I used to recommend a little walk (around 15 min) to "The Franklin fountain". Not anymore. Go to Bassetts instead. Better ice cream, waay better service than the snotty brats at Franklin and to top it, cheaper. On 1136 Arch S.

Well, to continue after the bridge, you're in Market street, which at that point is one of the liveliest places in the city, full of little restaurants, bars, and a few feet from concert venues like the Tin Angel or the Khyber, so plenty to do (terrible area to park, though). Or get yourself a Rocky or Philly T-shirt for $5 at Old city t-shirts (233 Church St, same price in 2009 as in 2016!)

So July = people going missing (it's called holidays). Lucky them will be lying on the beach somewhere nice, reflecting on nothing at all. I'm still here though, stuck with the usual stuff... really should know better by now. Take at least a "mental holiday", hmpf. A permanent mental holiday from certain things should even be better... will work on it, hope I'm luckier than with my new year's resolutions...shouldn't be difficult...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wilco and Conor Oberst at Frawley Stadium (Delaware)

Conor Oberst
A few pics, will post more later. Also uploaded a few bits of Wilco's show on youtube. Unfortunately the bits of Conor I recorded were so loud that the sound was completely distorted..

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Diane Birch at the World Cafe

Diane Birch

Was hardly familiar with Diane Birch when I went to XPN's free at noon a few Fridays ago, one of those artists who are at their best live.

A pic and setlist:
Diane Birch setlist
Great voice and surprisingly strong songs for a first album-.

Melody Gardot at the World Cafe

One of the few that sell out in Philadelphia (her city) as soon as a concert is announced. Pic and setlist of her June show:

She's another one to see live, I have yet to listen to either of her albums in full (ahemm, specially the last album. Read somewhere that the orchestration's excessive, I agree it dilutes things quite a bit), but live she's a different story. And her sense of theatrics is fantastic, always so perfectly put together and taking full control of the stage. But why does she insist on speaking in French???.
The best moment is still by far when she plays "Worrisome heart", that song's atmosphere fills the room to its last bit of space.
Uploaded on youtube a bit of the jazzy cover she did of "My favorite things" that night.
Tags: Melody Gardot setlist, Melody Gardot concert Philadelphia

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Camera Obscura finally...and tour

So a few days ago I had the chance to finally see Camera Obscura play live, and it was one of the music sets I've most enjoyed so far. Bummer that these things end so soon.
Although their image is pretty serious, offstage the band are at the very least as nice as their songs -the kind of people you'd like to have as friends.
And when they started playing the chords to "Honey in the sun" ... drummer Lee Thompson will make your jaw drop.. to the floor.
Asked Tracyanne what she's listening to these days and I'll share, hope it's ok. Surprising stuff, really: lately lots of Michael Jackson (these days...), Kanye West, Grizzly Bear and Anni Rossi, who's been supporting them on tour. That mixed with the usual: Patsy Cline... Who'd have guessed! (not the Patsy part).
They came to Philly's TLA, a few weeks ago and I couldn't make it (hggg). There's a nice review here (don't agree with the lyrics being any weak though. And the titles of their albums, like "Underachievers try harder", how cool is that!!) and some videos on youtube.
Their US tour now finished, they're back to Europe with a lot of dates, here (i should be able to make one, don't know yet where though!). Lucky UK is first.
Hands down, one of my most played bands these days.