Thursday, September 27, 2007

End This Trend

Summer's over, so let's hope this is the last we see of this style. These sunglasses are pretty much a universal trend accross Philly, and I'm sure it's the same for all the other Northeastern cities.

Now, we here at the Tweener love the ladies, but we hate the big sunglasses. Here's why we don't like them: You all look like bugs. Not Jackie O...Bugs. Repeat: Not Jackie O...Bugs. Not Jackie O. Bugs.

Not Jackie O. Bugs.

Not Jackie O. Bugs

It also says something when you are willingly covering up 75% of your face when every other girl is doing the same thing. Are you trying to filter out the worthy guys by hiding behind a plastic curtain of judgement? Does this mean that the big sunglasses have become the new online dating?

So let's those eyes, sunshine.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

This is a Bar: Bob & Barbara's

You'll hear it often when talking to freinds, Both hipsters and tweeners alike: "such and such place is a just a cool dive, man. Just go there with your freinds, have a few beers, hit up the jukebox. It's not crowded and there are no assholes".

Hey, I have an idea: Instead of going to a bar where nothing is going to happen, how about I just buy a case of beer, have you all over, and we can play your favorite Teardrop Explodes record and save our goddamn time and money.

Royal Tavern. The Dive. McGlinchey's. The Pub on Passyunk East. 12 Steps Down. Dirty Franks. These are the bars within proximity of the Western edge of Bella Vista, where the "editorial staff" of this blog are located. They are fine places (well, some are, but that's another post) for sure, and you can't blame them for being friendlier to insular groups who sit at tables and don't mingle. They are, after all, neighborhood bars.

The tween' type, however, needs a dependable place for the unpredictable. Seeing as us tweeners are constantly on the outer circle of different groups, there are weekends where we have the scoop of everything going on, and weekends where we don't know a damn thing. Plus, we don't have the scenester desire to go see every sloptastic indie band, every art opening, and every "did this silly motherfucker just play Tears for Fears followed by Kriss Kross?" DJ night.

Luckily, Bob and Barbara's fills the emergency quarterback role for the tweener. Now, Bob & Barbara's is a Philly institution that has been written about plenty, but I want to look at this from the angle of the tweener. The first and most essential quality Bob & Barbara's provides for the tween' is a rotating cast of characters. On a given night, you will see popped collars, art students, disgruntled hipsters who live in Rittenhouse for some reason and unsurprisingly don't like it, meatheads, and the occasional drag queen (never been for one of these nights). You will see these types filter in and out in the space of an hour. It is usually crowded, but not packed, and the disparate characters mix better than you think...Must be the organ jazz.

Of course, this mix creates the likelihood of a night that goes someplace you don't expect. Without getting into details that will cost me my employment, I'll just say it happens enough to keep me coming back. And no, I didn't sleep with a drag queen.

So what is it about B&Bs that sustains it tweener's dream of contrasting social groups coming together under the guise of a whiskey shot and a well-past-its-trend-date PBR? Three factors:

1.) Location. Bob & Babara's is in a neighborhood vacuum. Situated south of the yuppie Rittenhouse, and north of a neighborhood that I'm sure is fine but I can't recall the name, B&Bs is less likely to be taken over by gentri-neighborhood scenesters who will give you the ole' paranoid eyeball.

2.) Spacing. An underrated apsect of bars. Enough stools at the wraparound bar, tables that are unobtrusive, and plenty of standing space. You have the option to interact however the hell you want, and you can have fun showing up with just one other person.

3.) The aforementioned organ jazz. Who wouldn't like this funky shit? They even make sure to throw in a Jimmy Smith tune every other night. The fact that the music has a universal quality ensures you get a diverse set passing through.

That is all I have to say about my current favorite spot. So, save yourself that night of predictability and come out; unless you are from Nothern Liberties...Stay the fuck away.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fishtown in One, Maybe Two Sentences

Man oh man, do I wish I had the capability to embed a google map for this. Here is a one, maybe two sentence guide to places and things in Fishtown.

Girard Ave
Still ugly.

Johnny Brenda's
Nice venue; Pool table a problem.

The M Room
Looks fun from the outside. It isn't.

Canvas Coffee
Go in there when it is completely empty and ask to use the basement. Guaranteed to annoy.

Rocket Cat
Like Canvas, except unnoticeable. Good tuna salad.

Beatdown by locals
Consider dressing more conservatively.

Grew up with the locals who beat you. Don't bother calling.

Three handicapped spots in a row on Hewson & Belgrade
Right in front of my old apartment, the fuck?

Wawa on Aramingo
Spot-a-meth-addict. Technically not in Fishtown.

Conveniently located. Hop on it and you are only two hours from whining about Philly to your freinds in Brooklyn.

"Frankford Arts Corridor"
Either these galleries are hidden to keep people like me out, or someone's really taking the piss here!

Local deli's and pizza places
None good.

Ida Mae's
Dope Irish breakfast

There you go.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Know Your Hoods': Fishtown

^Enjoy this googled picture while it lasts, because this post isn't a photo blog.

Introduction: Houses. Streets. Signs. Corner bars. Corner stores. Slashed tires on a Honda Civic with Maryland plates. If you aware of these things, than you are half-way to unlocking the great mystery of Fishtown.

Fishtown is a hipster/artist enclave in which you will go 72 hours without actually spotting a hipster during daylight hours. Instead, you'll see roving groups of teenage kids wearing hooded sweatshirts. Do not fret. These kids are not thugs, but rather junior neighborhood watchman seeking protection money. Pay them and move along.

Fishtown is composed of the Irish working class, hipsters, and tweeners. The Irish-Americans are proud of their heritage, but wouldn't be able to tell you who won the latest Celtic-Rangers FC match if they tried. What does that tell you? Fuck if I know.

The tweens' in Fishtown are music/art-minded professionals who want a piece of the action. Sometimes they intermingle well with hipsters, other times they are snobbed off by a few for not playing the part. If you are snubbed, don't worry; your snubber has a twelve block reputation to uphold.

There are no WASPs in Fishtown, because living there includes the possibility of regular contact with the dreaded "working class".

This the first in a series of posts. Tomorrow, I will cover the essentials in "Fishtown in one, maybe two sentences".

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Tweener Manifesto

Hello. This is the Tweener manifesto, and we have to say: A spectre is gettin' all up in your spot.

We are the ones at your Fishtown parties, sportin' regular haircuts. We are the ones entering Honey's, recognizing only one couple. We are the four dudes watching your band live, and you are the lead singer wondering who the fuck at least two of us are.

We prowl the Rittenhouse bars, faking it with the J-Crew set. We say "Pat the bat is back!" to all the frat boys, knowing he never left us. We go to Mad River, and then leave one minute later and never come back. That place just blows under all circumstances.

This is the story of the Philly Tweener.

You may ask; what is a 'tweener'?

Wikipedia defines a tweener as someone who is between Gen X and middle aged. Do me a favor, and throw that definition in the marketing garbage can where 'mellenials' should be.

A tweener, in fact, is someone who is in between social circles. For the east coast urban dweller, a tweener is someone who is not quite a hipster, and not quite a yuppie. We are culture vulture, information whores, but we don't have the right job. Or we may not play guitar the right way. Nevertheless, we have friends from both sides, but call neither home.

I can hear you groaning right now. "wahh hipsters, hipsters! Hipsters drive on the road like this. Hipsters take key bumps like that. I'm so sick and tired of people whining about hipsters!"

You're full of shit.

This blog is a Philly guide for the classic tweener. Philly is the key actor in this play. It is the great second city that will threaten, but never be, a first. It gathers your tired, poor, and hungry first city burnouts and feeds them overrated hoagies. Its compact center city, and closeness of surrounding relevant neighborhoods, makes it the best city on the east coast to be a social chameleon.

You may ask: What about other cities? Can a tweener exist in NYC? No. If you are tweener in NYC, you don't have a plan, and you are already broke. Hit mom and dad up for money or move out.

Washington, D.C.? LOL. A tweener needs two subcultures to exist.

So sit back and enjoy. You are going to see the Philly world through our prism. Bars, restaurants, neighborhoods, house parties, social etiquette, bands, street festivals, sports, and defunct creative marketing firms...We'll talk about it.

Coming next week:

This bar could be your social life: Bob and Barbara's
This week in hoods': Fishtown
Have car, will travel to: New York City
Blowing up your spot: Fairmount house party