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Archive for October, 2010

CONCERT REVIEW: Social D At The Electric Factory

Sunday, October 31st, 2010 ARTHUR SHKOLNIK Friday night I arrived at the Electric Factory and saw gray-haired grandpas, hawked and studded teens, and everyone in between standing side by side; three generations of concert-goers with one thing in common – an abiding faith in Social Distortion – a legendary band that, for over 30 years, has both defined and transcended the rebellion and attitude of punk rock while remaining fearlessly unabated in the face of its own evolution. This is undoubtedly due to the hardships a now 48-year-old Mike Ness has faced on his long and arduous path through love, loss, and drugs, compelling audiences with crunchy riffs and  gritty lyrics filled with personal experience and raw honesty.

Outside of the sold out show, marooned fans stood shivering from icy blasts of wind, as they hoped and pleaded with passers-by for spare tickets.

During the Sex, Love, Rock n’ Roll Tour of 2004, I was the one without the ticket, gambling on the kindness of strangers. Back then I was enough to run into an individual who sold me his drunken girlfriend’s ticket, as she was apparently passed out in his car. I’ll never forget that, and found myself hoping, in very much the same way, that everyone who showed up without a ticket in their hands this time around somehow managed to get inside to see the show.

Mike Ness has become a brand unto himself, even pioneering his own clothing label, Black Kat Kustoms. Before lunging forward into the standing room, I decided to stop by the merch booth, but decided to pass on the $25 tour shirts – a little rich for my tastes.

I was lured forward by the sound of a sardonic, joyful, acoustic-wielding Englishman named Frank Turner, who opened the show backed by a merry band of misfits fresh out of Winchester. This five-piece quickly won over the audience with heartfelt and extremely fun folk tunes inspired by and rooted in a lifetime spent consuming all things punk rock. I was blown away right from the start by the stage presence and endurance of a band that I thought would simply be standing between me and Social Distortion, and would venture to say Frank Turner was one of the best opening acts I have ever seen.

Immediately following his set, Turner manned a now highly congested merch booth, taking the time to shake hands, take pictures, and talk with each and every fan. I had a hard time choosing one of his albums, but Turner recommended his first one, Love Ire & Song, stating that I should start at the beginning and we could “grow together.” He then went on to say that it would be “ten of the finest American dollars I’ll ever spend.” Frank Turner would indeed be a hard act to follow.

Next up Lucero, a five piece outfit straight out of Tennessee, took the Factory stage with lead singer Ben Nichols sporting a black ten-gallon hat. band performed a solid set, covering “Kiss the Bottle” by Jawbreaker, and getting right down to business, hardly speaking at all between songs. Organ effects on the keyboard added a tinge of distinctiveness to the melodic blend of whiskey-swilling cowpunk and country soul.

As soon as Lucero had finished up their set, I knew it was ‘now or never time’ to move up to the front if I had any chance of navigating my way through the dense and growing crowd. After making my fair share of enemies, I found myself a dozen or so feet from the stage for what turned out to be a seemingly eternal wait as song after song blared on the house speakers and the mob, filled with restless anticipation, expressed their disappointment both audibly and physically, as slurred speech and a few drunken fists flew through the air. A fight here and there was quickly silenced as the bouncers played one of their most favorite games – toss the drunk.

Finally, scarlet lights beamed upon the stage, as a contrastingly hokey “olde tyme” ditty introduced Mike Ness and company, decked out like old-school gangsters. Craziness erupted in the pit as soon as the band strummed out the opening riff to their 1983 release, “Mommy’s Little Monster.” Ness went on to play “Don’t Drag Me Down,” sarcastically calling it a song which, “believe it or not, is about racism right here in America.” Show-goers thrashed about and old head’s threw one another high-fives as the fierce energy and driving force of the performance summated in a built-in suspense and tension which nearly drove my skeleton to jump out of my throat.

I always considered Social Distortion’s radio hit “Ball and Chain” to be a pretty tame song overall, but I’ll never make that mistake again. As the chords rang out and the gritty sincerity of Ness’s vocals thundered through the Factory, a massive, outward push from the center of the room widened the mosh pit, and soon the entire floor was engulfed in chaos. I had to double-take to my left when I saw a person bound to a wheelchair crowd surfing his way across the room.

Ness undoubtedly knew he was in the City of Brotherly Love, stating “You’ve got to be a survivor to grow up in this motherfucker. It’s sink or” He even switched up the lyrics to “Ball and Chain” for the occasion, substituting “Been drinkin’ since a half past noon,” with “Been drinkin’ on South Street all afternoon.”

Ness took a brief trip down memory lane to 1982 and his first Philly show before jumping into “Through These Eyes,” off of his 1996 release White Light, White Heat, White Trash. The band then slowed things down with “Bakersfield,” off of the upcoming January release, Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, but not before explaining the origin of the song. “Have you ever had the misfortune of being stuck somewhere you just didn’t want to be? Like, maybe a Creed concert, where your only choice… is to take a revolver and blow your head off – because it’s all over,” Ness caustically declared.

The band then followed up with one fist-pumping anthem after another, playing “King of Fools,” “When She Begins,” and “Making Believe,” all from the 1992 studio release Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell.

A dying breed of raconteur, Ness dissed New Jersey time after time during the set, calling Atlantic City “a place where good times go to die,” and even referencing TV’s “Jersey Shore” and The Situation, clearly appalled that someone could become such a huge tool in such a short period of time.

The band encored with “So Far Away,” and “Prison Bound,” a personal favorite of mine, for which Ness took the reins, as he plucked, pinched, and bended his way through an inimitable guitar solo. Ness then told the audience he was “going to play an old song in a new way,” and then broke into a rockabilly rendition of “Down Here (With The Rest Of Us)” a lyrically heavy, partially autobiographical song performed by a visibly and audibly bemused and reflective Ness. He then jumped into “Cold Feelings,” after which he asked the stage crew to set a more sensual tone with some mood lighting.

“Fellas, we’re gonna slow it down and I’m giving you five minutes, to grab your girl, or if you don’t have one, find a girl in the audience, and the right words in to her ear, so that she’ll speed home tonight and not be able to wait to take you to bed,” explained Ness. “Now, some of you will say something really stupid, and fuck it all up; you’ll be sleeping on the couch, and she’ll throw you the Jergens. I’ve been in the doghouse before… and I’ll probably be there again,” Ness quipped. “You’ll thank me later.”

The band closed out their set with June Carters’ “Ring of Fire,” and Ness gave two solid chest pumps with his fist as he exited stage right.

Social D’s seventh studio album, and the first to come out in the past six years, Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, is set to surface in January 2011, and features a new line-up, consisting of David Hidalgo Jr. on drums, Brent Harding on bass, and former Youth Brigade fellow Jonny Wickersham on guitar. Mike Ness is the only original group member still remaining after three decades, and through countless change-ups — the last one as recent as 2010 when drummer Scott Reeder left the band  — Ness has uncompromisingly continued pouring his life into his music. He would be the first to tell you that not a day goes by that music hasn’t saved his life.

Here’s to another 30 years.

[Mike Ness illustration by Wacky Cracka]

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Saturday, October 30th, 2010

For a few hours, anyway. More Restore Sanity rally signs HERE.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: CBS News reports Stewart’s event drew 215,000 people to the National Mall in Washington, based on a crowd estimate from The same company, which examines aerial photos of crowds to gauge attendance, estimated between 78,000 and 96,000 people attended Beck’s rally in August. That estimate of Beck’s crowd proved very controversial, as various sources reported wildly different numbers. A Comedy Central representative told Entertainment Weekly that 250,000 people attended in person, while 4 million streamed the event on their computers at home. Prior to the rallies, the network submitted an event permit which estimated that 60,000 people would attend, but it seems the crowd well exceeded expectations. MORE

RELATED:  Metro has announced preliminary ridership numbers for yesterday’s rally insanity, and they were through the roof.  825,437 Metrorail trips were taken yesterday by first count, eclipsing the record from the 1991 Desert Storm rally, which drew 786,358 trips. MORE

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CONTEST: Win Tix To See Brat Productions’ Carrie

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

After playwright Erik Jackson wrote an impassioned 6-page letter asking Stephen King to entrust him with one of his great bestsellers, the world-renowned novelist agreed to allow Jackson and Theatre Couture (creators of the off-Broadway hits Charlie! and Tell-Tale) to mine Carrie for humor, developing it into a dark comedy for 2006’s sold-out off-Broadway run at PS122 in New York, featuring the internationally-recognized drag queen Sherry Vine (aka Keith Levy) as Carrie White.

Carrie – which has also been a 1976 feature film directed by Brian De Palma, a 1988 Broadway musical, a 1999 feature film sequel, and a 2002 television movie – tells the story of young Carrie White who is painfully shy, unfortunately naïve, and telekinetic. Carrie’s fundamentalist Christian mother Margaret has been tormenting her for years, and things are even worse at school. When a terrified Carrie gets her first period in the school locker room’s shower, her classmates taunt her and pelt her with feminine products. Banned from the prom for the locker room harassment, the gorgeous but cruel Chris Hargensen hatches an awful plan to exact revenge by humiliating Carrie in front of the whole school at the senior prom. But, what Chris doesn’t know is that Carrie can move things with her mind, and she’ll soon find out that she picked the wrong girl to mess with.

BRAT Productions presents Carrie like never before in a black comedy by Erik Jackson, based on the legendary 1974 novel by Stephen King. Fresh from last Halloween’s critically acclaimed Haunted Poe (Best Production of a Play, Philadelphia Weekly), BRAT offers another distinctive theater experience with the gender-bending Philadelphia premiere of Jackson’s adaptation of King’s bestselling novel.

HOW TO WIN: We’re make this super-easy — first reader to email us at FEED@PHAWKER.COM with the words THERE WILL BE BLOOD in the subject line wins a pair of tickets for the night of their choosing between now end the end of the show’s run on November 7th. The performance schedule is HERE (scroll down a bit) . Please include a cell phone number for confirmation. Good luck and godspeed!

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Corbett Tells Supporters To Suppress Philly Vote

Saturday, October 30th, 2010 Seizing on an issue that could galvanize their base, some of the state’s top Democrats on Friday accused Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Corbett of encouraging his followers to suppress voter turnout in Philadelphia. The Democrats pointed to remarks Corbett made Thursday to a Republican audience in Delaware County. Noting that Gov. Rendell was calling for a 50 percent turnout in Philadelphia, Corbett said, “We want to make sure they don’t get 50 percent. Keep that down.” The issue exploded after campaign aides to Corbett’s opponent, Dan Onorato, posted video of the remarks on YouTube. Rendell called the comments “almost a federal crime” and Mayor Nutter led seething Democrats at a City Hall news conference railing against them. MORE

CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY: “Tom Corbett is the state’s top law enforcement officer. It’s his job to protect the rights of voters, but instead he is encouraging voter suppression,” said Mark Nicastre, spokesman for the state Democratic Party. “Tom Corbett needs to come clean about his voter suppression plans and end any efforts to suppress the vote in Philadelphia.” MORE

PREVIOUSLY: PA Guv Candidate Tom Corbett Says Unemployed Don’t Want To Work

PREVIOIUSLY: Is PA Attorney General Tom Corbett Abusing The Power Of His Office To Silence Critics?

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White House Statement On Philly Terror Threat

Friday, October 29th, 2010


Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release                                           October 29, 2010


Statement of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs


Last night, intelligence and law enforcement agencies discovered potential suspicious packages on two planes in transit to the United States. Based on close cooperation among U.S. government agencies and with our foreign allies and partners, authorities were able to identify and examine two suspicious packages, one in East Midlands, United Kingdom and one in Dubai. Both of these packages originated from Yemen. As a result of security precautions triggered by this threat, the additional measures were taken regarding the flights at Newark Liberty and Philadelphia International Airports.


The President was notified of a potential terrorist threat on Thursday night at 10:35, by John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism. The President directed U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and the Department of Homeland Security, to take steps to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and to determine whether these threats are a part of any additional terrorist plotting. The President has received regular updates from his national security team since he was alerted to the threat.


RELATED: Two suspicious packages on planes in Dubai and London led U.S. authorities to search cargo planes headed from Europe to Philadelphia and Newark today. Thus far, a law enforcement source told The Inquirer, a search of UPS planes in Philadelphia had discovered no potential explosive or other suspected terrorist devices. The threat was serious enough that President Obama was notified of a potential terrorist attack late last night, the White House said. . MORE

UPDATE:  Two packages containing explosive devices originating in Yemen and bound for two places of Jewish worship in Chicago set off a global terror alert that began when one package was found at a FedEx facility in Dubai on Thursday, and then another was found early Friday morning near London, sparking a day of dramatic precautionary activity in the United States. Speaking at the White House Friday afternoon, President Obama confirmed that the two packages contained explosives. Earlier reports had said that the device found in Britain did not. Mr. Obama called the packages a “credible terrorist threat against our country.”  MORE

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Full Body Scanner Operational At Philly INTL

Friday, October 29th, 2010

FOX 29: The first full body scanner are now in operation at Philadelphia International Airport. 450 scanners will be installed in 65 airports nationwide by the close of 2010. So, what does this new technology mean for you? Is it too revealing? It is an invasion of privacy? Some say that these images go too far in the name of safety. Others have no problem with this safety measure. Fox 29’s Chris O’Connell reports that when you walk thru Terminal F at the airport, you actually have a choice. You can go thru the whole body scanner or take the traditional route of the metal detector and a pat down. MORE

MSNBC: Starting Thursday, the manual search will involve a slide of the hand compared to the traditional pat down, NBC News has learned. TSA agents will use the front of their hands in searches, and the new process will include an agent running his or her hand up the inside of a passenger’s leg. TSA did not confirm details for security reasons, but did acknowledge a change in procedure.”TSA is in the process of implementing an enhanced pat-down at security checkpoints as one of our many layers of security,” said Luis Casanova, a TSA public affairs officer. Pat downs are used on passengers who opt out of full-body scanner technology, as well as those that set off walk-through metal detectors or are selected for a random search. MORE

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LADY BUGGING: Philly Dude Tells (Almost) All About His One Night Stand With Christine O’Donnell

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

GAWKER: Things got physical on the couch pretty quickly. It wasn’t long before we’d moved from the living room to my bed. I won’t get into the nitty gritty details of what happened between the sheets that evening. But I will say that it wasn’t half as exciting as I’d been hoping it would be. Christine was a decent kisser, but as soon as soon as her clothes came off and she was naked in my bed, Christine informed me that she was a virgin. “You’ve got to be kidding,” I said. She didn’t explain at the time that she was a “born-again virgin.” She made it seem like she’d never had sex in her life, which seemed pretty improbable for a woman her age. And she made it clear that she was planning on staying a virgin that night. But there were signs that she wasn’t very experienced sexually. When her underwear came off, I immediately noticed that the waxing trend had completely passed her by. MORE

RELATED: Yes, we did pay for the story/photos. I won’t get into how much, but it was a pretty modest amount. We verified any of the facts he provided us with to feel really comfortable that this was all legit. MORE

RELATED: This story is just another example of the sexism and slander that female candidates are forced to deal with. From Secretary Clinton, to Governor Palin, to soon-to-be Governor Haley, Christine’s political opponents have been willing to engage in appalling and baseless attacks — all with the aim of distracting the press from covering the real issues in this race. MORE

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SCIENTIST: Zombie Apocalypse Could Happen

Thursday, October 28th, 2010
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: In the zombie flicks 28 Days Later and I Am Legend, an unstoppable viral plague sweeps across humanity, transforming people into mindless monsters with cannibalistic tendencies. Though dead humans can’t come back to life, certain viruses can induce such aggressive, zombie-like behavior, scientists say in the new National Geographic Channel documentary The Truth Behind Zombies, premiering Saturday at 10 p.m. ET/PT. (National Geographic News is part of the National Geographic Society, which part-owns the National Geographic Channel.) For instance, rabies—a viral disease that infects the central nervous system—can drive people to be violently mad, according to Samita Andreansky, a virologist at the University of Miami in Florida who also appears in the documentary. Combine rabies with the ability of a flu virus to spread quickly through the air, and you might have the makings of a zombie apocalypse. MORE

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CARTOONISH: Charlie Sheen Goes Buck Wild

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

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Feds Not Saying Dick About Old City Porn Raid

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

INQUIRER: The Old City headquarters of a lucrative web of companies providing Internet sex videos and telephone sex chat was raided Wednesday by federal and state authorities. Law-enforcement agents descended on the offices of National A-1 Advertising and National A-1 Internet at 106 S. Seventh St. in the morning and did not leave till after 8 p.m. A U-Haul van was backed up to the entrance of the building and box after box of evidence was handed from agent to agent into the van until they reached a box labeled “#81.” Some of the boxes were labeled “operator/chat logs.” Others were labeled to indicate they contained evidence from, a subsidiary of National A-1 Internet. A report Wednesday about the raid by, an adult entertainment news source, described as “a leading adult industry provider VOD provider.” The focus of the investigation was unclear. MORE

CBS PHILADELPHIA:  Law enforcement officials executed search warrants at a location in Center City Wednesday morning in connection to a prostitution ring investigation. MORE

AVN: AVN called the Philadelphia bureau of the FBI, but the agent in charge, Special Agent J.J. Klaver, would not reveal the reason for the raid, but reiterated previous reports that no one was charged or arrested in connection with the raid. He also said that no news would be forthcoming from the FBI about the raid. “Any information about the raid will only come from the U.S. Attorney’s office, not our office,” said Klaver. “And it will probably not be today, or for quite a while.” AVN called the U.S. Attorney’s office in Philadelphia, and spoke with Public Relations officer Patricia Hartman, who said even less than Klaver. “Our office does not confirm or deny the existence or non-existence of investigations,” she said. MORE

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TEA FARTY: Joe Miller Drops To Last Place; O’Donnell Is Melting…Melting; Olberman Lowers The Boom

Thursday, October 28th, 2010 After several rough weeks on the campaign trail, a new poll out of Alaska shows Republican Joe Miller has fallen to last place in the three-way Senate race. A Hays Research Group poll released Thursday showed write-in candidates, presumably meaning Sen. Lisa Murkowski, in the lead with 34 percent, Democrat Scott McAdams with 29 percent and Miller with 23 percent. Murkowski is waging a write-in bid since losing the Republican primary to Miller. Miller’s plunge in the new poll comes on the heels of several misfires in the local and national press. Most recently, Miller’s employment records from his job as a part-time attorney with local government were unsealed Tuesday, in which he admitted to using company computers for political purposes and then lying about it. Until the Hays Research Poll was released, almost every public poll of the race since the Aug. 24 primary had shown Miller in the lead, with either Murkowski tied with or trialing him, and McAdams several points behind both candidates. MORE

TALKING POINTS MEMO: Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell has joined the ranks of Republicans who take a hard line with reporters when things go wrong — in this case, a local radio station in Delaware says, her campaign threatened to sue them if they posted an interview online. To watch the interview, click here. The fireworks begin a bit more than halfway through, when Jensen discussed O’Donnell attacks on Democratic nominee Chris Coons’s record as New Castle County Executive. Jensen pointed out the pluses of Coons’s leadership — the tax increases were fairly small in the face of a massive revenue shortfall after the subprime collapse, and he negotiated tough deals with the public employee unions — and asked O’Donnell what tax and spending decisions she would have done differently. O’Donnell became unable to give specifics at a certain point, and the subject became only more heated as callers continued asking, as well. O’Donnell repeatedly insisted that she was running for Senate, not for county council, while Jensen countered that she was criticizing Coons on the basis of his county performance. MORE

VIDEO: What The O’Donnell Campaign Didn’t Want You To See

HUFFINGTON POST: The “Countdown” host railed against the movement, using an analogy to call their candidates, “a group of unqualified, unstable individuals who will do what they are told, in exchange for money and power, and march this nation as far backward as they can get, backward to Jim Crow, or backward to the breadlines of the ’30s, or backward to hanging union organizers, or backward to the Trusts and the Robber Barons.” How strongly does Olbermann feel? He spent nearly 20 minutes on his harsh indictment of the tea party. MORE

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ARRESTED: For Drinking Coffee While Democrat

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

HUFFINGTON POST: A Democrat was arrested by local police at a public meet-and-greet event for Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Monday, with three men pulling him out of the building and pushing him to the ground for allegedly causing a disturbance in the coffee shop. Jon Taylor, the man at the center of the controversy, said he was “manhandled” by police from Louisa, Va. He and three other Democrats — including his wife, who held a sign promoting Cantor’s Democratic opponent Rick Waugh — went to the event with the intent to ask Cantor questions since he has refused to debate Waugh. When Ray Minter, the owner of the coffee house, asked the Taylors to leave, they refused, and local authorities intervened. Minter said they were being disorderly, but the group of Democrats said they were simply drinking coffee and waiting for Cantor to arrive. “I don’t mind people being here that don’t agree with the Congressman or want to ask questions,” Minter said. “[But] they were acting up and speaking, and indicating that they were not going to sit quietly during the event.” According to the Louisa Central Virginian, approximately a dozen officers from the police office came to the scene. The department is saying there was no excessive force used in subduing Taylor. MORE

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Iverson Signs $4 Million Deal To Play Ball In Turkey

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

NBC PHILADELPHIA: Longtime 76er Allen Iverson has agreed on a two-year, $4-million contract with the Turkish team Besiktas, reports the Associated Press. He’s expected to officially sign with Turkey this week, according to the AP. The 35-year-old, 11-time all star struggled to remain in the NBA but with no team wooing him, he’s found himself ready to suit up for the Turks. The Besiktas are considered third among the three most powerful franchises in the Turkish first division and start league play over the weekend. Besiktas have a strong following in Turkey, and team officials believe Iverson could be an immense gate draw, according to Yahoo Sports. MORE

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Via BuzzFeed

Cost of the War in Iraq
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