BOLDFACE: A hyperlocal look at Philly’s social scene

Lane Savadove
EgoPo’s Lane Savadove goes shopping for lambs for Curse of the Starving Class.

The news of this weekend’s mass shooting on South Street was hard-on-the system, but not impossible to believe. The only thing you can say after close-to-home tragedy such as this — beyond the usual pointing fingers — is to try and find a way to move forward.

So then, it’s weird, but just lovely that the cool, calm of The Roots Picnic, the lush Philadelphia Flower Show, the Philly pride of Adam Sandler and Jeremiah Zagar’sHustle premiere, and the Love From Philly showcase at the Oval is all taking place in the wake of South Street’s horror.

It may sound trivial, but there is real joy to be found after such darkness. To use my favorite quote from “Anthem,” and the poet-lyricist Leonard Cohen, “There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

To go with all things Philly, while everyone was busy celebrating Sandler and Zagar at the ‘Hustle’ pre-Netflix premiere, Rupert Grint aka Ron Weasley from the ‘Harry Potter’ series, dined at Lola’s Garden in Ardmore. Sources say that Grint – currently giving over his entire career to M. Night Shyamalan for a horror film currently lensing around town (‘A Knock at the Cabin’) then the next Apple+ season of ‘Servant’ – was friendly to fans and taking selfies.

Like clockwork, once a Roots Picnic ends, an announcement for Jay-Z’s annual Made in America gets made. For 2022, it’s headliners Bad Bunny and Tyler, the Creator, some Philly flavor in Lil Uzi Vert and Jazmine Sullivan, and some Pusha T and Burna Boy for good measure. And, as always, many many many pissed off Art Museum homeowners.

Another more intimate, but no less crucial fest — Greg and Jen Seltzer’s Philadelphia Music Festival, which supports the local scene and raises money for children’s music education programs around the city — also dropped word of its annual happenstance: this time, at Ardmore Music Hall, Johnny Brenda’s, World Café Live, Underground Arts, MilkBoy and more, Oct 10-15 with Low Cut Connie, Empath, GHOSH, Ron Gallo and othahs.

Before we get away from music – and this week, we can use all we can get – it is important to note that Philadelphia rapper and producer Tierra Whack, hot on the heels of her Roots Picnic gig and her song, ‘Heaven’s’ appearance in ‘Hustle’, got another new job—she is a brand ambassador at Piercing Pagoda. Along with repping the ultimate in earring hole pokers, Whack will have her own self-designed products as part of the ambassadorship.

Iron Chef Jose Garces and his partners in Ballard Brands are gearing up to expand their Baja-inspired taqueria, Buena Onda, nationally with a major expansion and a franchise launch permitted in nearly 30 U.S. states. That said, joining Garces’ already-cooking Buena Onda at 1901 Callowhill, he’s got a Buena Onda coming to 114 S. 20th Street and 200 Radnor Chester Road in Radnor, PA in early July. Start close to home, then expand-expand-expand.


Unmasked Philly: Lane Savadove

EgoPo Classic Theater at 12th and Vine has long brought what they call “emotional depth and physical commitment to classic literature.” That means Artistic Director Lane Savadove — who started EgoPo in 1993, but brought it to Philly in 2005 — has made the most of his devotion to “kinesthetic awareness.” This month, June 15-26, at the URBN Center Annex Black Box Theater at Drexel University, that kinesthesia comes to master playwright Sam Shepard’s criminal ‘Curse of the Starving Class,’ courtesy of director Savadove.

“The biggest thing in my life right now is the opportunity to go back to the play that got shut down 2 1/2 years ago, right before it opening,” says Savadove. “It’s a huge theatrical romp with a ton of challenges: live lambs, cooking on stage, running water, mud, blood and more. I have an amazing cast and feel privileged to be back in the rehearsal room sculpting this work so that an audience can finally enjoy it. After having “weathered’ Hurricane Katrina back in 2005 (the reason Savadove’s EgoPo moved to Philly), I felt much more grounded in carrying on despite the obstacles of recent years.”

“Shepherd’s language is an ocean wave that just keeps coming in,” says the director. “Actors need to learn to ride that wave, and I love listening to them when they become pro-surfers riding that language wherever it takes them.”

When Savadove isn’t tackling mud and blood, he is busy with his seven-year old, Emmeline.

“There is a focus on cooking and food adventures – she’s fallen in love with grilled chicken hearts from the amazing outdoor Cambodian Food Market at FDR Park,” he says. “I love the blurry line between child’s play and making theater, and I enjoy playing with her as an equal. I’ve also been loving introducing my daughter to Trombone Shorty who I think is an amazing entry point into the complexity of contemporary New Orleans jazz.”

Savadove is obviously still attached to his old stomping grounds. To help heal that wound, however, Savadove has found another, cool local interest—football.

“As a long time Philadelphia Eagles season ticket holder, I am certainly watching closely and waiting for August to come.”