After being part of Philly’s social-scenic firmament forever, I’m thrilled to create a seismic shift, and play the name game with BOLDFACE at Metro Philadelphia.
Hyper-local in a fashion that all Philly news should be, BOLDFACE is designed to connect-the-dots between this city’s diverse people and scenes, spill some tea, drop news-knowledge, and have fun with this city’s most prominent (and up-and-coming) names, places and ideas. Plus, every BOLDFACE has a “personality profile” at its close, one currently tied to getting out of the pandemic—Masked Philly, which covers a personal journey through this time in town.
I hope every Metro Philly reader loves BOLDFACE as much as I love reporting and curating it. Enjoy.
I still don’t know how I feel about Overbrook’s Will Smith’s Peacock streaming reboot of his ‘Fresh Prince’ jam, ‘Bel-Air’. Do I hate it, or do I really, really hate it? I can tell you that ‘Bel-Air’, so far, has scores of Philly flavor – Will’s character (played by U of Arts grad Jabari Banks) eating cheesesteaks and rhyming to Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares,” scenes shot under the El, artwork by West Philly’s Ellen Tiberino, among other local painters and sculptors. But having legendary North Philadelphia rapper Freeway playing a basketball coach to the new Will? Amazing. Worth the price of admission, or at least a temporary Peacock membership.
Speaking of Meek, the Philly rapper – along with Jay-Z, Lil Baby and Sixers owner and fanatic Michael Rubin as its principal partner – went into President’s Birthday Weekend as the new owners of the local, throwback sports/lifestyle brand, Mitchell & Ness. The Philly-based vintage sports apparel company has been around since 1904, cost $250 mil to acquire and will be part-and-parcel of Rubin’s Fanatics sports apparel fiefdom.
Of course, you’re awaiting the near-holy union of Joel Embiid and James Harden on the boards for a fresh take on the 76ers. Until then, for powerful local b-ball action, enjoy the all-shot-in-Philly-by-Philly-director Jeremiah Zagar trailer for ‘Hustle’. The Netflix jam stars its co-producer Adam Sandler, and can start a drinking game now as to every local landmark that speeds by on your screen. The just-announced ‘Hustle’ release date? June 10.
Sadly, I didn’t make it to the opening of Old City’s new lounge, Frame. Still coming to terms with what happened the first time the words, “lounge” and “Old City” met-and-married. It wasn’t pretty. I have, however, heard nothing but great things about its 29-year-old, local Executive Chef Brianna Wellmon and the magic she’s making (late night, too) since mid-February’s opening. Surely, I can be convinced.
Philly’s stoner-focused GoPuff digital-delivery system just hooked up a multi-year agreement to become an official sponsorship partner of McLaren’s Formula One racing team. Vroom. Every time you smoke a joint and see a GoPuff’s logo on a speeding McLaren MCL36 race car during the 2022 Formula One season, you’ll woozily recall what eight bags of Flaming Hot Cheetos and a row of Federal soft pretzels tastes like. Savor it.
Masked Philly: Amy Frear
BOLDFACE’s Masked Philly section features local Amy Frear, the one-person-show star of Inis Nua Theater’s comic ‘Finding Fassbender’ at the Drake. Not yet announced is that longtime Inis Nua founder and Producing Artistic Director Tom Reign has opened his job title to include a Co-Artistic Director, Barrymore Award-winning Charlotte Northeast. Northeast (her bio jokes about that being her real last name, not a Philly joke), is an actor, director, coach and producer of “rarely produced classics, new work and work not yet invented,” beloved for having co-written the oft-performed ‘The Complete Works of Jane Austen, Abridged’. Congrats, Northeast.
Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve asked mask-donning local celebrities what they’ve been up to, beyond their day jobs: from lock down, through openings, re-openings, vax cards, no vax cards, maskings and un-maskings and every variant. This week, BOLDFACE reached out to Amy Frear.
Frear has taught acting for stage and screen at Temple U. and University of the Arts, devised her own theater work, and appeared in productions for area companies such as Theatre Exile and Delaware Shakespeare. Along with having acted in Inis Nua’s ‘Our Few and Evil Days’ in the past, she is currently the singular stage focus of February’s one-person show, ‘Finding Fassbender’ at The Drake.
What she focused on, however, through the pandemic’s comedown, is another of Frear’s skill sets.
“I’m a filmmaker, so I experimented with my video camera and started making weird little shorts at home in my room, and used Zoom to record things with collaborators and friends,” says Frear. “All this time on my computer got me interested in creating interesting ways to share my work online, so I learned how to code. It was something I never thought I would do before the pandemic, but it kept me pretty sane throughout the really lonely times. Coding was like a puzzle and I got to use different parts of my brain. There are many ways I can relate to my character, “Eve” in Finding Fassbender, but after the past two years, I love how she forces herself to try new things, throws herself out there for the sake self-discovery. Oh! And during the pandemic I also adopted a sweet pup named Frankie, so I can relate to “Eve” enjoying time on the couch with her cat in her lap watching back-to-back episodes of television shows as well.”
Extra points to Frear for relating her C-19 life to her current role on stage.
When it comes to the mask and the vax, Frear wears a handmade face mask to celebrate her cousin’s marriage, and is vaccinated and boostered to the max.
Frear is excited for her run of ‘Finding Fassbender’, “and to see theater folks, audience members, and students that I haven’t seen in real life for ages! I’m also excited to see local productions this spring like ‘Carroll County Fix’ at Azuka and ’72 Miles to Go…’ at InterAct.”