BOLDFACE: A hyperlocal look at Philly’s social scene

Amy Needle

Without leaping down your throat and into the Philly-political scene before you’ve had your first cup of coffee (good morning) or your first cocktail (good evening, I hope), I think it’s hilarious that PA House reps are wasting their time going after District Attorney Larry Krasner with a warrant of impeachment. Like the scent of burnt grease around Pat’s and Geno’s and, quite frankly, me, there’s no getting rid of Krasner. This 21st century DA’s brand of justice or un-justice — take your pick, whatever side you happen to fall on — is with Philly to stay. If Philly happens to change its mind, it will come down to the election process and not a bunch of Republican state House hacks wasting time and money with partisan head games.

At present, there is a fresh Pitchfork-approved band, The A’s, who have announced a new album, called ‘Fruit’, and is fronted by the shiny, happy duo of Amelia Meath and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig. Respectively hailing from Sylvan Esso and Daughter of Swords, the pair is also members of Mountain Man before coming together for the folksy, poppy new band, The A’s. Question, though: have they worked this out with the legendary, pre-punk era Philadelphia band, The A’s, who – still, and on occasion – trot out 80s Top Ten faves such as “Woman Has the Power,” and whose solo membership is still doing shows? I’m making some calls after this to A’s Richard Bush, Rick DiFonzo and Rocco Notte to see if that’s all OK.

Congrats to South Philadelphia Barbacoa and Casa Mexico owner Cristina Martinez for winning the James Beard Award for the Best Chef Mid Atlantic region. Big ups.

Speaking of Philly cuisine, last week’s BOLDFACE mentioned that the iconic Happy Potter’s Rupert Grint dined in the burbs in-between takes of M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘A Knock at the Cabin’. After that, Grint was spotted munching on sweets at Crumbl Cookies in Wynnewood. Around the same time, the Grof – Philly’s own Jonathan Groff who also appeared as part of the Spring Awakening segment in NYC during the Tony Awards broadcast – was spotted hanging with his ‘Knock on the Door’ co-star, Ben Aldridge, in Rittenhouse looking for a bite to eat. Does M. Night Shyamalan not feed these guys? (I kid. The cast and crew had a wrap meal at Harper’s Garden on S. 18th Street before they left town, so let’s hope they loaded up on their bone marrow with herbed ricotta and HG’s Chicken Two Ways.)

Philadelphia’s GoGo Morrow, the simmering R&B vocalist just signed to Interscope with an appearance at the Roots Picnic afterparty at World Café Live, will appear singing her freshly-released single, “In the Way,” in New York this Friday at the Black Art is Forever Event in partnership with the Tribeca Film Festival. ‘Blackish’ creator, writer and showrunner under Kenya Barris is responsible for getting Morrow signed to Interscope, and will be attending the Tribeca fest/Black Art event.

Give it up for The Balcony Bar at the Kimmel Center. We’ve missed the views and the booze, so it’s great that the Double B is returning in time for Center City Sips with rotating DJ lineup starting Wednesday, June 15. I’ll be there exactly at 4:30 when it opens.


Unmasked Philly: Amy Needle

Pretty much everything you see and feel that is cool about historic Philadelphia is because Amy Needle helped make it so. As the President and CEO of Historic Philadelphia, Inc. – which operates the Betsy Ross House and downtown’s interactive Once Upon A Nation storytelling performances – her HPI renovated the gorgeous Franklin Square in 2006, and manages its jam year-round. And starting Tuesday, June 21, she’s bringing back the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Fest, “a celebration of light and culture with magnificent steel-framed and silk-wrapped giant lighted sculptures, over 30 larger-than-life displays radiant in brilliant colors,” until August. And yes, the 200-foot-long dragon, the walk-through panda bamboo forest and a kaleidoscope selfie spot returns.

What is Needle’s story, though?

She lives in Merion Station. Her favorite holiday is Halloween. She digs walking her dog (a labradoodle, Charlie) and, “since spending so much time there during the pandemic, my backyard garden has never looked better,” says Needle, whose other pastimes include baking for friends, and visiting her kids who are scattered across the country.

Plus, I’m still basking in the glow from earlier this year when my and my son’s alma mater, University of Kansas Jayhawks, won the national NCAA basketball title,” says Needle. “I was glued to the entire March Madness. As we approach summer, I’m all about the beach read, with local fave Jennifer Weiner, Ellen Hilderbrand, and Mary Alice Monroe. I’ve been loving ‘The First Lady’ on Showtime, and never miss a ‘Top Chef’ or ‘Master Chef’ when they air.”

The nice thing about Needle is that she loves her job offering tips on navigating “our inspiring Philadelphia treasures” and grateful to be telling our nation’s history.

“Thanks to Ed Rendell’s vision, HPI worked closely with the city to renovate Franklin Square,” she says. “It was a joy to watch neighborhood residents reclaim it, and find it wonderful that people continue to discover its beauty. One special things about Franklin Square, to me, is that it has a life from morning until night – in the early morning, neighborhood residents from Chinatown dancing or do tai chi, mid-morning brings visits from area daycare centers to our playgrounds, and afternoons bring children and people out for a carousel ride, mini golf, or a SquareBurger snack. Then, evenings are highlighted by date nights, family outings, and the free Franklin Square Fountain Show. There is literally something for everyone.”

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