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Let’s face it, we all have had that one night of insomnia in which we flip rigorously through the television channels finding some hope of relief of boredom at 3:00 a.m. when we stumble upon the Adult Swim  channel.  Underbelly receiving their award at the Philly Geek Awards.

You think to yourself, “It’s 3:00 in the morning, who is going to know I’m watching Anime?” which is, let’s face it, borderline cartoon porn at times. Yet, we get that guilty satisfaction in which we can’t stop watching whichever program is on.  

The scarier part? The fact that these shows used to be aired during daytime television for children. Prime example, Pokémon. I remember back in 6th grade the biggest “it” thing to do was to trade Pokémon cards and win infinite battles with ridiculously over priced cardboard cards that had certain powers and strengths.

Well, it’s been quite a few years since those days and I have the next “it” thing:

Underbelly

Underbelly is a YouTube sensation that has soared with fans and the recent recipient of the best web series award at the Philly Geek Awards.  The comical web series has over 20,000 followers and a worldwide viewership. Underbelly is a group of actors/comedians that in a nut shell analyze a variety of anime shows and mock them with their commentary over episodes, games, comic slides and at times own person skits. Underbelly is a YouTube sensation that has soared with fans and the recent recipient of the best web series award at the Philly Geek Awards.

I couldn’t find a skit that didn’t have me laughing out of my chair and completely agreeing with every factor they pointed out to poke fun of about each show ranging from the Pokémon obsession to the breast enhancing of the female anime characters over the years. My favorite has to be the Pokemonaholics series, which almost had me reaching for my inhaler gasping for air I was laughing so hard.

Now, don’t get me wrong, their skits are not always about Anime series, but comic books as well with the characters trying to get “George Lucas” rich as they re-create famous comic book heroes.  The actors are hysterical and extremely talented.  I couldn’t find a webisode I didn’t like.  

And for all you ladies out there who may not get that college guy who hasn’t matured hysterical humor yet, they have something to cater to you as well. ‘The Top Ten Sexual Pokémon’ had me wondering if I should be disturbed by how accurate the assumptions were or turned on, but none the less hysterical, and from a female point of view.

And if after all that you still can’t motivate yourself to show any interest in the gaming, comic, anime specter, Underbelly shows that it can cater to any audience and adapt to any “review” by having their own hilarious commentaries on popular movies.  Underbelly speaks what we all say whisper to one another during the scene while watching the events unfold at the theater, and overall just adds talent and most likely better one liners then what we would point out.

 

The next time you decide to log onto Facebook for the hundredth time that day, or have insomnia, or need to pass time while enduring having to sit at yet another one of your children’s sporting events, check out Underbelly's YouTube channel. 

Karen Stebbins is a writer, student, full-time employee, cheauffer, chef, educater,comedian, soccer mom, party girl (when she's not in bed by 9:00 p.m.) and a friend to all.  aspires to be a professional writer and maybe make it to the New York Times best seller one day! This is her first article for Philly2Philly. Welcome to the team, Karen!!

Contact Karen at karen12486@hotmail.com

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9/11 National Moment of Remembrance

 

Stop and Remember

 

9/11 Memorial Moment

 

The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a resolution(S. Res. 237) calling on all Americans to participate in a Moment of Remembrance on September 11, 2011 at 1 pm. For one minute, first responders, houses of worship, towns, and others throughout the country will sound sirens and bells in a signal to each of us to STOP AND REMEMBER the 10th anniversary of the tragedies of September 11, 2001.

 

 



Lest you think this post-modern sculptural detail at left — one of many small treasures from the Blue Grotto — is merely a slapdash piece of whimsy made up of two found objects, allow me to explain its meaning as told to me directly by the artist, Randy Dalton.

There is a reason that it’s become a part of my show, BEAUTIFUL ZION: A BOOK OF THE DEAD. The Caged Unicorn was created about a decade ago to symbolize the extradition, conviction and life imprisonment of “the unicorn killer,”  CEC neighbor Ira Einhorn (his surname meaning literally one horn;  “the unicorn” was also Einhorn’s nickname).  

Einhorn was a pal of ’60s radicals Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin and involved with the first Earth Day celebrations in 1970.  He also counted rock star Peter Gabriel among his friends and was sometimes paid well by socialites for serving as their New Age guru. Ira went on to murder his girlfriend, a young ballerina and privileged graduate of Bryn Mawr College named Holly Maddux, in 1977. The cold-blooded killing happened around the corner from the CEC in Ira’s home at 3411 Race Street.

Ira was a fixture in West Philadelphia, a charismatic and eccentric celebrity, community activist and nearby UPenn graduate who was no stranger to the CEC staff of artists and activists, some of whom also knew and admired Holly. Despite Ira’s pose as a hippie and supporter of love and nonviolence, he was known locally to be a physically abusive womanizer. When Holly tried to break up with Ira he killed her, stuffed her body in a trunk and hid it in his closet.  18 months later in 1979 police found her body there and arrested Ira, who didn’t seem surprised but refused to admit guilt, instead shrugging it off and telling officers, “you found what you found.”

“The unicorn killer,” as the media dubbed him, had his bail reduced thanks to his clever defense lawyer, future US Senator Arlen Specter.  One of Ira’s wealthy friends paid the bail and he promptly fled to Europe before the murder trial began, perhaps also with the help of wealthy friends.

Ira was tried and convicted while living the good life in Europe under an assumed name and with a new Swedish wife. 16 years later in the early 1990s he was finally found in France and arrested. However France, which has  no death penalty, refused to extradite him to Pennsylvania, a frying state, as part of its international human rights policy.  

With some legal hoop-jumping, prosecutors in Pennsylvania were able to guarantee the French government that if found guilty Einhorn would not be executed.  In the end he was tried in absentia, found guilty and sentenced to life without parole. Still, France delayed 8 more years before finally extraditing him, only after feeling certain he would get a fair retrial.  Einhorn was given a new trial, again found guilty, and finally began serving his life sentence in Pennsylvania 2002.

Coincidentally, around the same time Holly  went missing in the late 1970s someone donated two holly trees to the CEC which Randy Dalton planted on the grounds. They were a  male and female tree (both are required in order to produce berries).  The staff named the female holly tree Holly in honor of the missing Holly Maddux, making it a living vigil on public display in a show of local support for the victim.  

When Einhorn was arrested  they celebrated, ceremonially wrapping the male tree loosely in barbed wire, symbolically “imprisoning” Einhorn.  By the time of Einhorn’s extradition in 2001 the male tree had caught a disease and died, and a joyful ceremony was held to uproot the tree and discard it. “Holly” has continued to thrive on the CEC grounds to this day (pictured at right).

Holly MadduxAn old photo of Holly Maddux also hangs on the wall of the Blue Grotto near the Caged Unicorn. Today there is also a memorial Myspace page in honor of Holly.  Ira’s grisly act was covered in detail in the New York Times  and Time magazine  and was covered in depth on TruTV.  (Another website provides gruesome crime scene photos of Holly’s decaying corpse in Ira’s trunk, to which I won’t bother providing a link.)

Although neither the CEC nor its staff were directly involved with the case, their physical, social and emotional proximity to the events left its mark on their psyches and even crept into the Blue Grotto, which is perhaps blue for more than one reason.

The more I get to know the joint the more it seems an appropriate match for the darkness and light traversed in BEAUTIFUL ZION: A BOOK OF THE DEAD.  Tickets are available here. The show closes 9/17/11.
            
- Jeffrey Stanley, East Passyunk, South Philly

Jeffrey Stanley is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, filmmaker and recent transplant to Philadelphia from New York City.  He is a faculty member at New York University Tisch School of the Arts and will be teaching two theatre courses at Drexel University this fall.  His solo show Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead is currently running in the Philly Fringe at the Blue Grotto in the cellar of the CEC in West Philly. For tickets and more info please see http://www.brain-on-fire.com/beautifulzion .



Watch Margaret Dunning from Michigan drive her 1930 Packard. She is 101 years old!!  Great story.

Courtesy of the New York Times.


According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Philadelphia Eagles have signed Michael Vick to a six-year $100 million contract. Furthermore, the Eagles are going to give Vick $40 million guaranteed.

michael vick eagles redskins

One of the Eagles' top priorities this offseason was to re-up Vick and this will pretty much guarantee he finishes his career in Philadelphia.

Last season Vick was an MVP candidate as he revitalized his career. He racked up 3018 passing yards, with 21 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions to go along with 676 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns.

Contact The People's Blogger at peoplesblogger@yahoo.com

Are you interested in writing for Philly Buzz? If you think you have a story to tell or something interesting in the area or world to report about, hit us up at phillybuzz@philly2philly.com or use this form right here to submit content.




For those of you who just felt the building shake you weren't imagining things. A 6.2 magnitude earthquake just hit around 2:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time and was felt from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia to New York and Boston.

Contact The Peoples Blogger at peoplesblogger@yahoo.com



Quick question and don’t think about it. What do dinosaurs, robots and funk have in common? Come up with anything? I didn’t think so. While you may not have had an immediate answer before, Philadelphia-based band Mojoceratops is aiming to change that. And with a new album nearly ready for release and a single, “Partybot-9000,” available on iTunes, Mojoceratops is poised to take over the Philly funk scene.Mojoceratops pictured (from left) are BJ Felsted, Jerry D'Agostino, Brent Penman and Schuyler Schweers.

The funk beast, recently reappearing on earth after spending a few million years at an intergalactic dance party, took note of how drastically unfunky Earth parties had become and decided he was just the dinosaur to change that. Using an arsenal of funk-infused, danceable beats, radio friendly hooks and fun, inventive lyrics, Mojoceratops is aiming to save Philadelphia and then the whole world from the dull mediocrity that has pervaded our planet’s parties. 

While searching the popular news aggregator Reddit one day, Jerry D’Agostino (vocals/keyboards) came across a news story about the discovery of a new species of dinosaur. After a few drinks, the man who made the discovery landed on the unconventional name “Mojoceratops” for his find.

While it may sound like an odd choice, the name lends itself well to the dinosaur, which sports a unique, almost heart-shaped, design on the top of its head and it’s thought to have used these frills to attract mates. It was then that D’Agostino knew he had found the perfect mascot to embody his new project – a dinosaur that evolved to look funkier than its mates.

A huge fan of monster movies, such as “Godzilla,” D’Agostino noted that he loved the way monsters can represent so many different aspects of our personality and felt that the Mojoceratops embodied the spirit of his latest project – a funky beast that just wants to party and have a good time.
“It’s like that character Slurms McKenzie on ‘Futurama,’” said D’Agostino. “Mojoceratops just wants everyone to party all night long.”

As incredible as it may sound, and despite already recording, producing and mastering their first album “Dino Dance Party,” Mojoceratops has only been in existence since March, 2011. Initially formed by friends D’Agostino and drummer Brent Penman, the longtime duo teamed up with producer/bassist B.J. Felsted and the current incarnation of Mojoceratops began to take shape. It was only once the trio added the shredding guitar work of Schuyler Schweers that the group was complete and production began on their first album of 11 dance party hits. 

D’Agostino and Penman, initially from New Jersey but now calling Philadelphia home, were formerly members of the band “Jersey Fresh,” where D’Agostino played guitar. After putting an ad on Craigslist searching for a local bass player, the two were hooked up with Felsted and the trio realized they had a great deal in common, both musically and personality-wise.

“We had a bunch of songs, but didn’t have a bass player,” said D’Agostino. “The songs grew from there but they really took form and became what they are today once BJ and then Sky came on board.”

Along with their excellent guitar work, both Felsted (a native of East Haven, CT now living in Upper Darby) and Schweers (a native of Havertown now living in Upper Darby) bring with them a background and education in music production.

“Sky brings a few key things to the group, like awesome rock and roll guitar work,” noted D’Agostino. “But his big personality and ideas always seem to go hand in hand with ours. In fact, he’s already written a new song that we’re already performing called ‘How’d You Get Away (With Murder on the Dance Floor).’”

Though “Jersey Fresh” managed to produce a handful of singles, it was nothing to the extent of Felsted’s previous band, “Bad Apples,” which recorded two albums (“Home” and “Today Begins at Night”). While the majority of songs were written by D’Agostino, once the group began recording and mixing their work, Felsted realized the potential of the sound they were creating. After that process was complete, the group had their album mastered by Gene Paul, son of legendary musician Les Paul.

“Jerry had written the songs and I put my playing and style into it,” said Felsted. “This album has more direction than the ‘Bad Apples’ albums and we had a better idea of the sound we wanted. ‘Bad Apples’ stuff was more jazzy and the tones were warmer but this is more party/rock and roll influenced – mainstream but with a sense of humor.”

While the band is focusing on producing and performing as much original material as possible, there is one cover they intend on keeping in their live-performance repertoire – James Brown’s “Living in America.” Not only because it fits perfectly with their funky sound but also because the tune conjures up images of iconic Philadelphia boxer Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed as he prepares to fight the Russian Ivan Drago in “Rocky IV.”

There’s no denying the influence The City of Brotherly Love had on their work. The foursome are working hard to get their music out to as many people as possible, especially in this area, as Felsted described that “there is a lot of Philly in our sound.”

“We only have a handful of gigs lined up right now,” said D’Agostino. “You know how bands used to hit telephone poles with fliers? We’re trying to do that on the internet.  We’re trying to get our stuff on blogs and trying to get people to hear it.”

For more Mojoceratops visit their homepage, on Facebook, on iTunes and on Jango internet radio.

Are you interested in writing for Philly Buzz? If you think you have a story to tell or something interesting in the area or world to report about, hit us up at phillybuzz@philly2philly.com or use this form right here to submit content.



The Duke Avatar

There are two major stories happening on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and they are ugly. One of them is the wave of flash mobs in Philadelphia. The other involves a series of massive riots in London.

Philadelphia's flash mob riots are a reminder that the city of Brotherly love is full of plenty of hate. And, London's riots remind us that radical violence among youths isn't just an American problem.

But, this goes deeper than that. Philadelphia's flash mobs are an urban problem - involving the African American community. Even Mayor Nutter came out and admitted it. Black kids are targeting people walking down the street and throwing haymakers at anyone and anybody they see who isn't one of their own.

Philadelphia Flash Mobs

Last week Mayor Nutter called out the parents of black teenagers who are behind these violent riots in Philadelphia. And, he's right on. He certainly stirred up some of the masses on Twitter though. They had some really intelligent things to say about the Mayor this week:

Take this comment by a kid on Twitter:

"Somebody smack #MayorNutter in his bald ass head"

"#MayorNutter a D***head for thinking n****s gonna be in the house by 9."

And, here's another one: 

"#MayorNutter can't put us in the house at 9 he just a Mayor not the f***in' president he can eat a d**k forreal."

You can view all of these "intelligent" comments regarding Mayor Nutter on Twitter right here to see for yourself. Just scroll down to read the brilliance emanating from these kids.

In the case of London, we have anarchists who thrive on situations like this to "get back at the man." A lot of these anarchists talk  a good game. They call out the United States for war crimes, yet it's OK for them to attack people in public and destroy public property. Yeah, sounds pretty hypocritical to me.

It would behoove police departments in Philadelphia and London to employ the best solution...well the only real solution and that's violence against violence. There are some cases where the Police need to employ military-like tactics to reel in unruly citizens. And, when you have situations like this which put the public at a serious risk - good old fashioned police brutality is certainly in order. The curfew in Philadelphia is a great idea, but it doesn't go far enough. Police need to be given carte blanche to use brutality when necessary.

Sure, it will piss off the bleeding heart libs and America haters, but who cares. These people are so out of touch with reality they still think that violence among poor people is "normal" because they're poor. Some idiots like this one here feel that ending the war on drugs is the solution to ending the Philadelphia flash mobs!

A lot of these liberals even defend it they are brainwashed by the notion that poverty causes violence! Wrong. Bad decisions cause violence. Irresponsibility causes violence. Poor parenting leads to poor decisions. And, these parents who happen to be poor allow their kids to make poor decisions.

That's the only thing "poor" about all of this.

One of the biggest travesties is that the London riots and Philadelphia flash mobs are giving social media a bad name. Social media is one of the greatest things we have, but these irresponsible goons are turning social media into a haven for criminal activity and sheer idiocy.

Contact The Duke at theduke0000@yahoo.com



Photo 1. Women's top four race winners Noelle Nicolo, two-time High Heel Race winner Laura Heenan, Sharon Place and Michelle Trumbetti pick up their prizes from the Second Annual High Heel Race in Avalon.

Photo 1. Women's top four race winners Noelle Nicolo, two-time High Heel Race winner Laura Heenan, Sharon Place and Michelle Trumbetti pick up their prizes from the Second Annual High Heel Race in Avalon.

2. Race participant Charlie Hunter trots down the race line with heels that he made himself and inserted into his favorite pair of sandals.

  

Race participant Charlie Hunter trots down the race line with heels that he made himself and inserted into his favorite pair of sandals.

3. In the final men's heat runners Jan McCurdy and Grey Daniele battle for second and third-place with John Bruno behind.

In the final men's heat runners Jan McCurdy and Grey Daniele battle for second and third-place with John Bruno behind.

4. The men's top five winners, two-time High Heel Race winner Jeff Matty, Greg Daniele, Jan McCurdy, Charlie Hunter and John Bruno get together at the Whitebriar's post-race party to receive their awards.

The men's top five winners, two-time High Heel Race winner Jeff Matty, Greg Daniele, Jan McCurdy, Charlie Hunter and John Bruno get together at the Whitebriar's post-race party to receive their awards.

 

 

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