BOLDFACE: A hyperlocal look at Philly’s social scene

Dan Kulisek

I’m sorry that the Fresh Prince of Overbrook, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock in the face at the Oscars for a dull dated joke, brought violence to the Academy Awards and stole attention from worthy deaf film victors (Best Picture winner ‘CODA’) and Philly’s own Questlove for his Best Documentary win for ‘Summer of Soul…’ I am TRULY sorry. But maybe we can snag some of that jaded entertainment world incident’s spotlight for more earthbound topics such as a still-raging war between the Ukraine and Russia, the living proof of a presidential insurrection on Jan. 6 and the right’s wrong-headed, ongoing attempt to besmirch Supreme Court nom Ketanji Brown Jackson.

You know, actual news. Just saying.

When I lived in Old City in the 90s, you could get floaty MDA and good weed quicker before you could get one nice apple, one wild mushroom or one kale leaf. Now, there is a tony new Riverwards Produce on Bread Street, a second location after RP’s Fishtown food locker, at 3,000 feet of fresh produce. Good on Old City.

Oh, wait, weed: Did you know that the wholesale price for a gram of medical cannabis in Pennsylvania dropped 36% since 2020, but that the retail price for medical cannabis patients is down 14%? No. Me neither. Guess I’ve been too stoned to notice.

For my first BOLDFACE Unmasked Philly several weeks ago, we mentioned the physical plight of longtime, local concert booker-promoter Derek Dorsey and the two charitable events held in his name for medical bills. Solid. You went and paid it forward. But Dorsey’s hospital/financial needs won’t quit. With that, there is a Derek Dorsey GoFundMe page to aid him.

Once GoFundMe-d during the pandemic, then again shuttered due to major renovations, Patti “Bowie” Brett’s Doobies Bar off Fitler Square is again rocking with a new cocktail menu. I know she’s got a stash of that Bowie Beer made special for Doobies, so do that.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie answered questions from the media for the first time in over a year. Know what the outcome was? Yawning. The Ph-Eagles will have an alternate black helmet in 2022 and a green alternate helmet in 2023.

Sorry I forgot to mention this sooner, but one-time 76er and forever baller Charles Barkley dined at DePaul’s Table Modern Italian Steakhouse in Ardmore, sucking down shrimp cocktail, crab cakes with lyonnaise potatoes, one Tito’s martini then a double 1942 on the rocks. That’s my kind of diner. I hear he was “personable and always joking.” Now, since I waited one minute for that, I can tell you in advance, that Mark Wahlberg will hit Philly April 6 with nice things to say about his upcoming new movie, ‘Father Stu’. The last time he was in town it was to open his Wahlburgers jam in NoLibs. Between ‘Father Stu’ and those burgers, we’re going to have a lot to discuss.

Speaking of good burgers, now that Broad Street’s tin-ceilinged live venue, Boot & Saddle, is coming back with new management from avant-garde jazz-bo Ars Nova Workshop’s Mark Christman, will Boot biz partner Evan Clancy from Fountain Porter bring back the tall, cheesy burgers that made B&S as tasty as it was loud?

Also tasty: Cantina La Martina opens below the Market-Frankford El’s at Somerset and chef-ed by Dionicio Jiménez, the one-time kitchen master at Xochitl and El Rey. I hear that Jiménez will rock a mean pastor negro tacos dish. I’ll be there.

To go with the reconfiguration of Dim Sum House University City as a catering operation (yes, expect fireworks, literal and figurative at next Wednesday’s first floor reopening) DSH is dropping another even newer House of Sum and Dim in Fishtown.

Going back to Broad Street for a moment: Yes, the Merriam’s seats are hard to sit in, and the concessions need more alcohol choices. That’s probably why the Kimmel Cultural Campus was hot for a donation from Alan B. Miller en famille to renovate, then rename, Broad Street’s Merriam Theatre to call it the Miller Theater. I would kicked up a few bucks if they would’ve named it A.D.’s Magic Muzik Village or the Amorosi IHop.

Speaking of kicking in needed cash, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and 3rd District Councilmember Jamie Gauthier will commence improvement plans for West Philly’s famed Christy Rec Center at 55th Street, starting with a $1 million funding announcement for phase 1 on March 30.

Unmasked Philly: Dan Kulisek

If you’ve gambled, or gamboled, at Live! Casino & Hotel on Thursday nights and slid anywhere near its black lacquered The Prime Rib restaubar between 6 and 10 p.m., you’ve heard the dulcet tones of Dan Kulisek, the Rib’s wild singing bartender who takes over the piano and the mic for hours at a time along with doing the strolling guitar thing while its Lucky 8 menu is being served.

Getting to know Kulisek, however, you find out that he’s a first level sommelier, a bourbon expert (his fave: Four Roses Single Barrel) and that he’s deeply obsessed with abandoned amusement parks. “Before Clementon Park (in New Jersey) was bought and reopened, I got to explore it in its abandoned state,” he says. “Now, I have season passes to return as a proper guest.” Along with old amusement parks, Dan’s got a running list of places to explore including scrap yards, old cemeteries, and odd houses along Route 9.

It’s a good thing that Kulisek loves amusement parks as he’s got an active family live when not strumming, singing and hitting the 88s at Prime Rib.

The Jersey gentleman – born in Pine Hill, a St. Paul IV high grad where he met his wife, living in Audubon – states that, “On my nights off, I love to cook. I’ve been in the food and beverage industry for over 20 years, so cooking and studying about wine and spirits is what I do. I’m a forever student. Besides that, I hang out with my six-year-old son at the park. He also loves science so we build a lot of crafts around that.”

As for how Kusilik got this new gig at the P-Rib? “I was in a cover band for years along with doing a bunch of solo performing. One night I was playing at Prime Rib and Joe Billhimer, General Manager of Live! Casino & Hotel, heard me playing and asked me if I’d do it regularly.” With that, Dan’s favorite selections to sing is “To Love Somebody” by The Bee Gees; “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Prince and “I’ve Loved These Days” by Billy Joel.

And yes, he does make his own music. “I’m currently working on a solo project. I have a decent amount of original music that I’ve worked on over the years, and can’t wait to release new music from my own compositions.”

Until then, see Dan at Prime Rib.