Metro Philly’s top stories of 2014

Metro Philly’s top stories of 2014
Metro file photos

Becoming Jen Lydon

Brian Lydon, the long-time Metro ad-salesman, revealed to his co-workers on March 19 that he was living a lie. Brian Lydon and his slick-backed hair and pinstriped suit was only a mask, he told his assembled co-workers.The real Brian was a leggy blond who enjoyed wearing high-heels and lipstick. Brian Lydon was in reality Jen Lydon, a transgender woman.

In June, almost three months after coming out to her co-workers for the first time, Metro profiled Jen Lydon and her lifelong battle with gaining acceptance from family and friends.

Kurt Vile Mural

Kurt Vile, a Lansdowne-born singer/songwriter learned via text message in that his prized Fishtown mural was defaced. Vile’s manager texted him and mural painter Steve Powers,with a photo of the white-washed artwork with the message, “RIP.”

“We were both like, ‘What the F___,” Vile said. “By the end of it we were just like, ‘That’s ridiculous. We’ll figure this out.'”

DJ Lee Mayjahs was caught white-handed painting over the Powers (aka ESPO) original, which was created in conjunction with Vile’s 2013 album “Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze.” Mayjahs confessed through an assortment of online venues. The paint was eventually power-washed off, and his mural was restored to its original luster.

Philly Jesus

2014 was the year of Philly Jesus.

Mike Grant, the bearded Christ imitator who preaches to tourists and locals at LOVE Park, uses an iPhone as a bible. The 27-year-old Olney native struggled with homeless and addiction before finding Christ and deciding to imitate Christ full-time.

Philly Jesus started going viral after he was spotted confronting an Upper Darby-based group of black Israelites known for their racist, misogynistic, and hateful speeches directed at everyone not part of their cult, usually at top volume in front of The Shops at Liberty Place.

After Philly Jesus was arrested in Novemberfor “disorderly conduct” and “failure to disperse” he went global, with media from across the U.K. visiting Philly to report on him. Charges were dropped by the December, and Philly Jesus continues to preach.

Students Rap Video

In October, a rap video featuring students from several Northeast Philly schools engaging in illegal activities was posted on Youtube and went viral.

The video for “Creep with Me,” by local rapper Apex P, showed teens using drugs, drinking alcohol, twerking and even holding a gun.

The video was filmed on a 70-acre vacant lot in Bridesburg known as “Cokies.”

City Councilman Bobby Henon expressed concern and worked with National Grid, which owns the lot, to implement new security patrols. Twitter exploded with commentary from the students about fallout from the video as police investigated — but no charges were ever filed.

Gay couple assault

In September, a gay couple was attacked by a group of 15 people while walking in Rittenhouse. The attackers insulted them for being gay. One victim required surgery to have his jaw wired shut for eight weeks after the attack.

As news of the attack spread and police released surveillance footage of the suspects, social media sleuths scoured the internet and indentified the attackers. Three suspects, of Bucks County, were arrested and charged with aggravated assault in the case. Charges were upheld after a recent preliminary hearing.

Russia annexes ‘Always Sunny in Philadelphia’

A bizarre adaptation of Philly native Rob McElhinney’s “Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” — called “In Moscow, Always Sunny” — premiered in Russia in May.

The adaptation for TNT, one of Russia’s only privately owned TV channels, is reportedly an official adaptation and recreates Always Sunny, episode for episode, with Russian actors portraying the lovable gang.

But there are a few changes.

Gag man Charlie Day’s character, Charlie, is named “Fat” in the Russian version. And instead of a bar called Paddy’s in South Philly, the Russian show centers around a bar called “Philadelphia” in Moscow.

Pot smokers want reform

After Philadelphia decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, marijuana legalization activists N.A. Poe and former Marine Mike Whiter set their sights on a bigger goal — statewide legalization.

They are planning to lobby Democratic Gov.-elect Tom Wolf, who gave vocal support during his campaign to marijuana decriminalization and legal medical use.

Poe ran for City Council on a pro-marijuana platform. Whiter was the first Philadelphian to be cited under Philadelphia’s new decriminalized marijuana laws.

Montco Killing Spree

On Dec. 15, troubled Iraq veteran Bradley William Stone, 35, killed six members of his ex-wife’s family in a daylong rampage across several towns in Montgomery County. Stone’s own two daughters, aged 5 and 8, were unharmed and he dropped them off with a friend. Stone was found dead in the woods less than a mile from his Pennsburg home a day after the rampage. He killed himself by overdosing on antidepressants, authorities announced last week.

The holy father is coming in 2015

After months of speculations, Pope Francis confirmed in November that he will make his first visit to the U.S. to attend the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. Earlier in 2014, Mayor Michael Nutter and Gov. Tom Corbett participated in a joint visit to the Vatican to make their personal entreaty to the Pope to come to Philadelphia.

Fallen firewoman

On Dec. 9 Joyce Craig-Lewis, 36, became the first female firefighter to die in the line of duty. Craig-Lewis headed toward the basement to stave off a fire in a West Oak Lane home, which allowed her fellow fighters to rescue an elderly woman.Firefighters found Craig-Lewis in the basement, but couldn’t get her out before she died. She left behind a 16-month-old daughter and a 16-year-old son. Craig was buried in the same cemetery as Lauretha Vaird, who 18 years prior was the first female police officer killed in the line of duty.