BOLDFACE: A hyperlocal look at Philly’s social scene

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Mike Bowman

Award season is finished. Philadelphians and ex-Philadelphians reign victorious at the Oscars and Grammys. We can breathe sighs of relief, with really no need to make a thing out of “the slap” for longer than need be—even Chris Rock joked during his Atlantic City Borgata show that he was too close to Will Smith’s hometown of Philadelphia to “get into it.”

Boner 4Ever.” I know. That’s weird to write in a newspaper, right? But anyone driving past that graffiti tag along the Beury Building in North Philly knows its beauty and legend. Anyway, we know the Marriott wants a piece of that 4Ever Boner for hotel development. We here at Boldface would like this graffiti declared an historical art work, Or at least, I want it for the side of my house. Take your pick, Philly Art Commish.

And on the subject of commissioners: Welcome Big Tony Watlington, the brand new Philadelphia School District sucker… I mean…-Superintendent.

One of my favorite descriptions of Philly developer Bart Blatstein’s Tower Investments long-delayed Broad and Washington megalopolis comes from its design group, BKV’s notes about being influenced by Parisian and Scandinavian architecture but also taking its cues from its immediate surroundings.  Huh? Are they including the weird mattress store two doors down and across the street? The nearby torn-down McDonald’s with the crumbled arches in its lot? The liquor store on the corner?  Here’s hoping.

Don’t get too comfortable Divine Lorraine-ers. The long-closed N. Broad Street religio-landmark, crammed with tony apartments since its 2017 grand reopening, is set to become a hotel again by 2022’s end, and is telling its leasees that their home spaces will not be eligible for renewal. Dag. That’s cold.

Maybe you don’t know how you feel about this year’s Phillies, because you’re not even sure how they feel about each other or even their manager. I’m sensitive to that. Do know, however, that a Phillies giant, big-time batter Ryan Howard is opening his own in-the-clutch culinary hot spot, Colbie’s, at Citizens Bank Park.

Speaking of dogs, I’ll bite: the Rittenhouse area’s Salty Paws on S. 17th Street is selling ice cream exclusively for pooches with flavors such as peanut butter, cheese and maple bacon (do the goat’s milk, better for your dog), along with dehydrated meat jimmies. Normally, this type of story would be way too cute for me, but since my Tia is more precious than life itself, I GET IT.

You know what sucks? Villanova’s season came to an end the other day with its Final Four loss to Kansas. VU lost 81-65 (those are football scores, pal) and missed out on the NCAA Championship. Why am I grousing about Villanova? Because I spent my first hellish year of college there, and I will never let them live it down.

When SouthWest Philly native director-producer-writer Lee Daniels brings his horror-drama Netflix thriller ‘Demon House’ to film in town this spring, look for longtime friend and former feud partner Mo’Nique to be part of a long cast that includes Andra Day, Glenn Close, Winning Time’s Rob Morgan and Aunjanue Ellis, who was Oscar nominated for ‘King Richard’. Mo’Nique is taking the place of Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer who was originally cast for ‘Demon House’. Daniels and the comedian who won an Oscar for her role in his ‘Precious’ film kissed and made-up right before April Fools Day. Here’s hoping they weren’t kidding.

This might be a little insider baseball, but considering this was a part of Metro’s first Latino issue, it is worth nothing: iHeartMedia Philly just announced that Lizette Alicea has been named to Vice President of Sales for Rumba 106.1, # 1 Para Reggaetón Y Variedad En Philadelphia. Brava.


Unmasked Philly: Mike Bowman

By day, Mike Bowman is the President & CEO of the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFT&CB) and serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Montgomery County Development Corporation. This means, pretty much, wherever you go for fun in the area, Bowman is helping you get there. And stay there.

By night, however, Bowman is a family guy who loves to travel to other tourist locations in the world.

He’s been married to his wife Karen for three decades, and met as part of the hotel business (“I actually threw her out of my kitchen as a young chef because she came in to tell me a guest had complained. That night, we ended up out having a drink together”). Their daughters, Oksana, 17, and Anastasia, 15 – were adopted as babies from the Russia and Ukraine region (“So it’s very emotional for me to see what’s going on there right now. I know many people over there, so it’s difficult.”)

When he’s not working at the VFT&CB, Bowman’s a football enthusiast (“We were longtime season ticket holders with the Eagles. I used to go to games by myself – I’d have to take two to three buses from Northeast Philly”), an avid golfer, a James Bond-and=Batman movie buff (and ‘Ratatouille’ for the kids), and a busy reader.

“I like to read history books,” he says. “There’ve been various times where the world has been affected strategically, and emotionally. Even the encampment at Valley Forge National Historical Park, the tough times Washington faced, is still reflected in things we do today.”

Travel though—that’s his jawn.

“I beyond love the beach, and so does my family. I grew up with it, so I like being at beaches anywhere and everywhere. I’ve been lucky in my career to travel, both professionally and personally to the Caribbean islands, China…I got to see the Eagles play in London, which was really cool to see that city taken over with Philadelphia people. We’re getting ready to head down to Florida in a few weeks with the kids. We usually go around a holiday, but it’s been rough with COVID.

“We’ve also got plenty of regional basketball trips planned in the next several months. I always go back to my roots, and growing up at a young age in the culinary world with some amazing chefs back in the day…they taught me a lot about food, creativity, and leadership as I traveled to some really great hotels and restaurants in Miami, Boston, New York. It did a lot for me, and how I look at things. I like to laugh quite a bit. You’ve got to laugh. I live by that. There are some tough days, you’ve got to wash them off, and just enjoy life.”

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