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Grand Jury INDICTS State Senator Vincent Fumo

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

Fumo, 63, is charged with conspiracy, fraud, obstruction of justice and filing false tax returns. Thefumo_final.jpg 267-page indictment alleged that Fumo, one of Pennsylvania’s most powerful politicians, exploited the neighborhood charity he helped create and controlled: Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods.

“Besides relying on his income and assets to support his lifestyle, Fumo regularly endeavored to gain personal benefits and gratuities frmo [SIC] others, including entities over which he had influence, such as the Senate [and] a non-profit organization he established and controlled, Citzens Alliance….Fumo stated to a close confidant his philsophy that a person is best advised to spend ‘other people’s money,’ ” the grand jury said. “Fumo often referred to this goal by the acronym OPM.” The grand jury also alleged that Fumo used his legislative staff for personal and political purposes.

“Defendant Vincent J. Fumo systematically, routinely, and improperly used the funds and resources of the Senate for his personal and political benefit,” the grand jury said. “He directed that Senate contractors and employees employed by the Senate serve him in any manner he desired… to further his political goals and attend to his personal wants.” The grand jury also alleged that Fumo:

-Used Senate employees as campaign aides.

- Used Citizens Alliance to fund political polls.

- Took trips to Cuba paid for by Citizens Alliance.

- Defrauded the Independence Seaport Museum.

- Used Citizens Alliance to pay for “tens of thousands of dollars of goods,” including tools.

– Used Citizens Alliance to buy a bulldozer to clear land on his 100-acre farm.

- Used Citizens Alliance to fund a grassroots group at the Shore to help stop a dune replenishment program that threatened to block his view.

- Used a Senate-paid private to spy on his ex-wife, former girlfriends and political rivals.

If convicted, Fumo could face at least two years or more in federal prison.

INQUIRER: The Bill Comes Due

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THE EARLY WORD: Tattooed Love Boys Don’t Cry

Friday, February 2nd, 2007


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Thursday, February 1st, 2007


30th Street Station [Photo by MooCat]

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Sidewalking: Hello Fancy Pants, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

Thursday, February 1st, 2007


The Art Musuem
WHEN: Sunday 3:42 PM
WHY: This guy rolls into the joint, suave as hell, right? Like heís John Lurie circa Down by Law and asks me if I can bum him a smoke. I take one look at his 30ís style pants and brown rimmed Fedora and next thing I know Iím back at his place rolled up in flannel bed sheets and I canít find my panties. Sike. Never happened. Cool pants, tho.

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Wednesday, January 31st, 2007


Aftershocks of the $68 million sale of Thomas Eakins’ The Gross Clinic rippled across the city’s cultural landscape yesterday as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts disclosed that it had sold one of its most recognizable paintings – Eakins’ The Cello Player – to help finance the deal.

“We gave it long and careful and agonizing consideration,” said Herbert Riband, the academy board vice chairman. “Our board did not undertake this lightly.”

Riband would not disclose – and said he did not know – the identity of the buyer nor the price paid for the large 1896 oil portrait of renowned cellist Rudolf Henning, intense and alone with his instrument.

The painting was purchased by the academy in 1897 and has been on public view there ever since.

INQUIRER: OK, Explain To Us Again How The Pennsylvania Academy Of Fine Arts Can Sell An Eakins Painting And The Vice Chairman Doesn’t Know WHO Bought It Or HOW MUCH They Paid?

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Way Back When, Before There Was A Native Rodent Population, Rats Had To Be Shipped In Fresh Every Day

Friday, January 26th, 2007


[Photo Courtesy of]
The City of Philadelphiaís photo archive contains over 2 million images that date back as far as the late 1800s, i.e. the last time a Republican won in this town. In all seriousness, this is an INCREDIBLE visual record of the cityís evolution and a relatively new web site,, is making it available for online consumption and purchase. To date, some 22,000 images have been digitally scanned, at a rate of roughly 2,000 images a month. So, if youíve been wondering why the line at Kinkoís is so godamnned SLOW, well, now you know. Phawker will be showcasing images from the PhillyHistory archive and their respective backstories on a regular basis. And to just to make local history fun, letís have a WRITE YOUR OWN CAPTION contest right fuckiní NOW! So lend us your wit, send in your idea of a makes-milk-shoot-out-yer-nose caption for the above image to First prize is a pair of tix to see Yo La Tengo At The Troc On February 10th. Second prize, a set of steak knives. Third prize, YOU’RE FIRED!

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Thursday, January 25th, 2007


evacartoon.jpgBY EVA LIAO This Christmas, my friend Emma got the new MacBook Pro, Adam scored a new skateboard, Nicole took a ski trip to Colorado and I got an enema. It’s not what you think, you perv. You see, this year I decided to forego the holidays, which was the easy part, and join my mom in holistic rehab, which was the difficult part. You see, my severely bi-polar mother has suffered from ever-worsening alcoholism for about 10 years now and so, oddly enough, rehabs hold a special place in my heart. For years they served as the backdrop for some of our key mother-daughter bonding moments. Plus, you meet the most interesting people in rehabs.

Then again, everybody seems interesting when you’re 12.

Anyway, when my mother asked me if I would attend this family rehab program with her over the holidays, I wasn’t exactly thrilled — what 22 year old wants to NOT party around the holidays? — but I knew she needed me. And so I jumped on the next plane back home to California, San Diego to be exact, land of high colonics and raw foodists. My mother was checking in for a few months, but I was only signing on for the first three weeks. Truth be told, even though I wasn’t the patient, I was afraid what detoxing would do for my poor, overworked liver and hard-won tolerance. I mean, it wasn’t exactly like I was the poster child for sobriety considering that most mornings I woke up on three pills of Ibuprofen and a cigarette. Not to mention I never, ever left my house without my flask.

All told, as anyone who has ever been to rehab will tell you, it was the very best of times, it was the absolute shittiest of times. But in the end, it was time worthwhile.


1. Rehab romance! During my stay, I secretly rendezvoused with a very distinguished-looking older man. This charming gentleman is an ex-New York model turned small-time L.A. actor who, at heart, was born and raised a Santa Monica surf bum. Despite the age gap, he rendered me smitten with his shameless confidence, sharp blue-eyed stare and mysteriously calm machismo. He shared with me delicious stories of his five-year stint of homelessness in Europe while drawing a portrait of me in black and red. He showed me an old photo of himself in an issue of National Geographic catching waves at Venice beach and reminisced about working with Will Ferrell on Talladega Nights. I can’t deny that I fell half in love with him during the time we spent together — until I came home and made the mistake of looking him up on IMDB. Turns out, dude was 56, a number so high I had to retract my invitation for him to visit me in Philadelphia. But in my defense, I’ll be damned if any 56-year-old man ever looked so good.

2. Romance aside, I befriended the most fascinating group of too-smart-and-addicted for-their own-good whack jobs: A well-known Canadian pianist; an eccentric 40-year-old genius (who behaved more like a 12-year-old prodigy on crack), a Rastafarian Peace Corps dropout and a college professor who dazzled me with stories about growing up in Harlem and jazz in the ’70s.

3. A rediscovery of health and THE WILL TO LIVE! You really never know how great health is until you lose it and miraculously get it back. Not only was I fully enjoying the benefits of being sober (the added energy, the vivid thoughts, the hand-eye coordination), but I was in California, which meant substituting breakfast cart bacon breakfast sandwiches smothered in cheese with fresh, plump fruits and vivid green vegetables every day. And like I said, this joint was holistic, which meant yoga in the mornings and meditation in the evenings. If it weren’t for all the people suffering from withdrawal and dealing with neurotic emotional issues, you’d think it was Canyon Ranch.

4. I wasn’t allowed to smoke, so I quit. And now — guess what? — I don’t smoke. No matter what I tell you later at the bar, always remember and never forget: I DO NOT SMOKE.

5. And of course, spending time with the mother proved to be good for the both of us. This Christmas, instead of wanting to throw her out the window or simply feeling helpless and anxiety-ridden around a mom pumped full of meds and her daily intake of 30 cans of beer — I sympathized with her. And I was pleasantly reminded that when sober, my mother was a rather enchanting person. In fact, during the three weeks we spent together, not once did we pull each others’ hair or throw glassware at each other, as we tend to do when together for more than 48 hours. And who knew? Without all the screaming and airborne objects, it was a lot easier to actually have a conversation.

But alas, while those things were great and all, I can’t go on pretending like it was all sunshine and lollipops. It was rehab for God’s sake, which in many ways means it sucked. Which brings us to…


1. Wheat grass juice — twice a day. And I’m not talking about the sissy, overpriced stuff you get at Jamba Juice. It was the real deal: The grass grown in its own greenhouse, we had to cut it, then take it to the ‘juicing room’ in which we mushed out 2 oz of pungent, nauseating green goop. This thick, pasty liquid tasted worse than the cheapest rotgut I’ve ever had, and yet they say the health benefits are unlimited. Helping the cleansing process along, I forced myself to drink up twice a day, as recommended, because I figured my liver needed the help. And my headaches, itchy skin and chronic fatigue were all sure signs that my own personal detoxing was coming along just fine.

2. Wheat Grass Enemas. Some people (read: coke heads) were advised to snort the wheat grass goop up their nose to clear and heal the nasal passages (burns like hell I hear). I, on the other hand, had it rectally administered during a regularly scheduled colonic. I’ve already made the mistake of explaining this awkwardrehab2.jpg process to friends who will now crudely make fun of me for months, so I’ll just leave the details to your imagination.

3. The Talent Show. Like I said, rehabs like this are basically summer camp for the problem kids. So of course we had to have a talent show, a concept that baffles me to this day because I can’t imagine why anyone would want to see middle-aged, burned-out addicts perform Rod Stewart covers on a 5’x 10′ stage. The images of the 60-year-old contortionist and the goofy Russian kid doing victory jumps on stage still prove painful to remember. But nothing hurt more than watching the skinny, bouncy blond girl sing an off-key version of Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle.” At one point, my “movie star” boyfriend looked at me, flabbergasted, and whispered, “This must be where Christopher Guest gets his material.”

4. Assholes. To state the obvious, living with the sick isn’t easy. It’s an experience that readily tests anybody’s nerves, stomach, compassion and resolve. Watching my mother wither and moan, and then dry heave into a toilet for two hours a day was by far more difficult than weathering my own withdrawal symptoms. Needless to say, detox makes for a lot of unhappy campers, all those raw nerves no longer protected by the numbing balm of Chivas and Xanax, and many of them were straight up dicks. Understandably so, but capital-D Dicks nonetheless.

5. Circle Time. I saved the worst for last: “circle time,” “testimonial time” or any other one of those cheesy group times really, really made me want to shoot myself in the head. Sure, the 12-step classroom time made me cringe as well (classes with titles like “You Validation” and “Discovering Communication”) but nothing was worse than the sessions where people revealed the most personally unflattering, self-pitying stories about drunken sharts (yes, a shart is exactly what you think it is) and the like. It was like passing around your dirty underwear for everyone to laugh at privately while they gave that I understand look. And at the end, we all had to hold hands or even more embarrassingly, hug ourselves — I remember thinking: I’d rather have the enema.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Eva Liao is 23 years old and from Los Angeles. Her favorite band is the Velvet Underground. Thatís why we hired her. Eva goes to Temple. Some would call her an intern, but we call her Assistant Editor because we believe the media should empower young people, not belittle and exploit them. But thatís just us.

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Cover Wars: Whose Artfag Kung-Fu Is Stronger?

Thursday, January 25th, 2007


Someone important once said: Writing about comedy is like square-dancing about acupuncture. Or they should have. And now, for all intents and purposes, it has been said. And not a moment too soon, because PW rock’s its first, and possibly last, annual Humor Issue this week and boy are my arms tired! Props for the 411 on local laugh shacks and the aspiring showbiz Sheckys that fill them with hot air, laughing gas and two-drink-minimum guffaws. Which reminds us, did you ever hear the one about the lollipop and the jump rope? Skip it, it sucks. [insert rimshot here] Yeah, we got a million of ‘em — literally. After all, if there’s a million stories in the naked city, there’s at least a million jokes. Hell, my knuckles get sore just thinking about doling out all those punchlines. Where am I going with this? I thought you knew. Well, you’ve been a dynamite audience, ladies and germs — and I’m not just saying that. OK, maybe I am. Just to sum up: Groucho glasses on the cover of the Humor Issue = Overplayed Comedy Signifier + Overstating The Obvious. WINNER: City Paper

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PHOODIE: Continental Knocked Off, Gunmen Order $10,000 Worth Of Black Sesame Crab Cakes And Boneless Duck With Tamarind Glaze, Leave Shitty Tip

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

continental.jpgStephen Starr says that surveillance videos from the Continental (138 Market St.) have been turned over to police after the popular nightspot was held up last week.

Two armed men wearing ski masks snuck into a side entrance of the Continental about 2 a.m. on Jan. 18. They threatened employees at gunpoint and made off with $10,000, an investigator with Central Detectives told the Daily NewsChristine Olley.

Reached yesterday, Starr was hesitant to discuss the incident, but praised police for “doing a terrific job trying to catch these guys and doing a great job in cleaning up Old City.”

DAN GROSS: Stand And Deliver, Your Crabcakes Or Your Life!

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HOLLA: Note To Self, Make Chuck D. A Man

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

wookie-thumb.thumbnail.jpgBY JAMES DOOLITTLE It takes about all of five minutes for the uneasiness to begin while watching Byron Hurt’s “Beyond Beats and Rhymes: A Hip-Hop Head Weighs in on Manhood in Hip-Hop Culture.” It’s a sense of imminent dread that has nothing to do with the focus of the film, but rather the perceived vanity of its director. With a front-ended bio that firmly establishes Hurt as the former quarterback of the Northeastern University football team — that’s right, THE Northeastern University football team — chopped together with plenty of runwayesque shots of ourwantbustarhymes.gif strapping narrator/director/star, there’s a strong sense that someone is so in love with himself it, well, hurts. Truth be told, however, Hurt’s self-indulgent intro does have a purpose, for in setting himself up as an All-American Playa, his gradual disappointment with where hip-hop wound up cuts deeper than one would expect. Whether through interviews with the likes of Fat Joe, Chuck D., Clipse and Busta Rhymes, or simply in his one-on-one interactions with the everyday fan, Hurt’s film consistently runs up against a brick wall of indifference, and the strength of “Beyond Beats” is how Hurt is able to channel his frustration into something resembling a call to action. Of sorts, a great companion piece to Nas‘ “Hip-Hop is Dead” LP from late last year, and well worth a look — especially if the screening’s free. MORE AFTER DA JUMP (more…)

Some Ass Clown Punks Da Mayor On Wikipedia

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

According to the online encyclopedia – which has a well-earned checkered reputation as both an everyman’s Britannica and a site where bias, slander and outright untruths reign – Mayor Streetbozo3.jpg once played Bozo the Clown.

Wikipedia’s bio on the mayor included: “At the same time that Street practiced law, he also began a media career in Philadelphia. Street worked for television station WPSG-TV and, for a four-year period, he played the character Bozo the Clown on Philadelphia’s Bozo the Clown children’s television show. When Street ran for Philadelphia City Council, he ceased his media career.”

“I’m sure that isn’t true,” said Joe Grace, Street’s spokesman. “Wikipedia has had many problems with people sabotaging other people’s Web sites.”

Founded in 2001, Wikipedia is the online encyclopedia that allows most anyone to create and edit its content, which means it can change daily. Sure enough, hours after we talked to Grace, the mayor’s bio had been changed.

PHILLY.COM: ‘I’m Sure That Isn’t True’ Isn’t A Very Convincing Denial
WIKIPEDIA: Never Even Went To Clown School or, For That Matter, Crazy College

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THE NEW PANIC: Toe Sucker Strikes Again

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

In just about every case, the attacker ordered his victims to remove their shoes. He then checked for hidden money and groped or sucked their feet. He also fondled the genitals of one victim and toesucker.jpegpenetrated another woman’s rectal area with his finger, another officer said.

In the latest incident, the woman was on Aspen Street, near 25th Street, where a taxi had dropped her off, when the man approached her and held a gun to her head, police said. She screamed, and he ordered her to keep quiet and walk three blocks with him to a small park off Brown and 22d Streets.

The man then robbed her of $40 and ordered her to unfasten her jeans and remove her shoes, according to Sgt. Brian King. He checked the shoes for more money and then fled, King said. The attacker did not suck her toes, police said. Police described the suspect as black and clean-shaven, in his mid- to late 30s. He is about 5 feet, 8 and 140 pounds and was last seen wearing a green jacket.

INQUIRER: That’s Not Funny, That’s SICK!

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MILESTONE: Academy of Music Turns 150, Considering Chin Tuck And Getting Eyes ‘Done’

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

The academy had a grand ball on January 26th, 1857, and after America’s first opera house premiered Verdi’s ĎIl Trovatoreí that same year, it has been in continuous use ever since.academyofmusic.gifThe “open horseshoe” shape design has offered more visibility than most opera houses to the audience seated on both sides of the balconies, surrounding a 5,000 pound crystal chandelier, which was loaded with gas burners, until it was electrified in 1900.

Legendary singers have performed there from Maria Callas to Enrico Caruso. The world renowned Philadelphia Orchestra spent more than 100 seasons in the academy, until it moved down the street to the Kimmel Center in 2001.

While we remember the Republican national convention in Philadelphia in 2000, the academy hosted the 1872 Republican convention.

KYW: Went Electric Exactly 65 Years Before Dylan

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Cost of the War in Iraq
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