BOLDFACE: A hyperlocal look at Philly’s social scene

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Morgan Charéce Hall

When spring arrives, so do the runners, marathons, sneakers and unnecessary sweat-headbands. I’m looking at you, Broad Street Run.

Jay-Z, Roc Nation and the City of Philadelphia just dropped news on the date (Sept. 3 and 4) and early bird ticket sales for Made in America, Philly’s annual music and culture fest, and our answer to Coachella. And of course, the very quiet MIA announcement came without the headliners being named, so that’s a thing.

By the way, City Council, Jim Kenney and Philly’s Police Department — are we sure having the mayor only pony up $10, 700 for 400+ new officer vacancies during this week’s budget talks actually works? I mean, my annual shoe budget is $10,000.

Has Rupert Grint simply moved to Philly full time at this point? The one-time ‘Harry Potter’ star (yo, the Franklin Institute can use you to boost sales for its Potter Experience, Rupe) is now, also, a large part of M. Night Shyamalan’s new ‘Knock at the Cabin‘, filming now with Jonathon Groff (who is from Bucks County), Dave Bautista, Ben Aldridge and Nikki Amuka-Bird. Yes, they’ll commence to shoot ‘Knock’ in all of Night’s familiar places — the nooks and crannies of downtown Philly, Burlington County, Jersey— through spring, only to get Grint back in place for summer’s next ‘Servant’ shoot immediately following.

No sooner than I was ready to discuss Rabbit with you – South Street’s newest, most low key speakeasy – we have to hold our jets. Hawthornes Restaurant Group, and owners Chris Fetfatzes and Heather Annechiarico, have to temporarily close its Sonny’s Cocktail Joint, Wine Dive and Rabbit locations due to an apartment fire that damaged part of the building above Sonny’s, which, in turn, impacted the building above Wine Dive and Rabbit. Fetfatzes and Annechiarico state that there is no timeline available as to when all three saloon-salons will reopen. I just know I want that Rabbit back.

Walnut near Rittenhouse bookseller Shakespeare & Co. is gone, having lost its lease. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Helium Comedy isn’t just a stately, stand-up club on Sansom Street with a two-drink minimum any longer.  They have divested, diverted, engorged and enlarged and is now its own content streaming brand, Helium Comedy Studios. Recording sets live in their Rittenhouse Helium location (along with their other Heliums along the East Coast), the comedy club’s new channel will release YouTube like blips and clips of performances, workshops, tutorials, podcast sessions and full-blown stand-up specials. In an email note, Brad Grossman, COO and co-owner of Helium Comedy, wrote how their new digital platform will support “eclectic groups of up-and-coming talent” for “the future of comedy as an artform.”  So far, so good. Locals in on the Helium streaming channel package include Philly’s Mary Radziniski.

Philly’s tight knit media community lost one of its own back in March: G-Town Radio founder Jim Bear, who passed away after his long fight against lung cancer. For those who didn’t get a chance to say their goodbyes to the local legend of independent radio, there will a Celebration of Life for Bear on April 30 at Cliveden Carriage House, 6401 Germantown Avenue, from 2 to 6 p.m.

Unmasked Philly: Morgan Charéce Hall

When ‘School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play’ opens next weekend, Morgan Charéce Hall, a multidisciplinary creative from North Philadelphia, will get her shot at an Arden Theatre debut. Hall co-founded the Sankofa Theatre Ensemble, a devised theatre ensemble at the HBCU Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and has stated clearly how she is “committed to creating sacred safe spaces for BIPOC artists to tell stories on their own terms.”

For all of Hall’s longtime devotion to theater and its many arts and arms, outside of performing, she is a woman of many interests.

“Since the pandemic, I’m really in to yoga and actually got my 200-hour yoga teacher certification,” she says. “I also enjoy creating products that help support healthy happy natural hair. I love experimenting and making different concoctions, conditioners, sprays and spritzes for my friends.”

Hall is a tea and fuzzy socks enthusiast, a fan of psychological thrillers, Black Futurism (e.g. Octavia Butler) and books from Adrianne Marie Brown (‘Pleasure Activism’) and Jasmine Mans (‘Black Girl Call Home’). For television and film, she’s up on the Philly-centric ‘Abbott Elementary’ and ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ (but also throws classic 90s films such as Eve’s ‘Bayou’ and ‘Love Jones’ in the mix).

She is big on listening to Jasmine Sullivan, Jill Scott and Tierra Whack (the Big Philly 3) along with Eartha Kitt, Betty Davis, and Jimi Hendrix.

“I also enjoy sitting in silence and just listening to the symphony of the space I’m in. That’s honestly one of my favorites.”

Big on family, Hall also digs hanging with “my mom and aunt to get together and cook….and painting with my Uncle Kevyn, who is an amazing artist.”

Ask Hall if she has one great anecdote about herself and she pops up with this one to remind her to make her inner child proud “in a weird way.”

“I’ve forever been a shy kid but was always super close to my mom and have always loved to make people laugh. My mom says when I was 3, she asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I looked at her with a straight face and said a comedian. Now, when I think of that, it’s hilarious and also sobering that my 3-year-old self would know that word, comedian, and have that be a kind-of-a-secret wish of mine. It’s definitely like a work in progress — a hilarious work in progress. That’s one of my favorite stories because it reminds me to be courageous and confident.”

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