PAPERBOY: ‘More Popular Than Jesus-Rock’ Edition

paperboyartthumbnail.jpgBY DAVE ALLEN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week, PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!

ON THE COVER

PW: In his chronicle of touring with Philly band mewithoutYou, Steven Wells goes waist-deep into a weird mix of evangelical Christianity, punk rock, and Utopian socialism. Though the band’s Philly roots don’t quite come through – we catch them in Tennessee and at a festival in Illinois – Wells does shed light on a form of Christian communal living taking root in the city. The movement, as well as the band, is seedier than it sounds.

In an Irish dive bar in deepest Fishtown a preacher with intense eyes, a sensible haircut and the mad scragglypw9-25-08.jpg beard of an Old Testament prophet is necking bottled lager and trying to make sense of the fact that Philadelphia is the hub of a radical, right-on, righteous Christianity a million miles removed from the leading brand peddled by the gun-gripping, gay-baiting, mega-church-attending Christbots of the religious right.

His name is Joshua Grace.

Grace’s Circle of Hope Church on Frankford Avenue attracts about 250 regulars.

At the crowded service I attend most everyone is under 30. Tattoos and groovy haircuts are prevalent. Grace tells me there are drug addicts here as well as people holding down well-paid Big Pharma jobs.

The piece has a delightful, crazed touch of Gonzo – Wells bristles at some of the God-talk and attempts to incite a riot at a Christian music festival – but comes up short in its artfully disorganized delivery. We only get the band’s offstage antics and odd proselytizing, without hearing how this message works itself into the band’s music. Even if he can’t stomach the tunes, we should at least know how they sound.

cp_2008_09_25.jpgCP: Lots of smart, bite-size items in this year’s Choice Awards. Though the ink ran after I drooled all over the pics of Zoë Lukas’ baked goods, I could still tell that the CP staff was hitting one after another out of the park with their plaudits and puh-leezes.

Some highlights: Great barbs aimed at Kenny Gamble (“The song is called ‘Love Train’, not ‘I Do Whatever the Fuck I Want Train'”) and Mayor Mike’s embarrassing-dad antics, an attaboy for Deadspin editor-in-chief AJ Daulerio, and a giggle-inducing shout-out to Rittenhouse’s newest hotspot:

When you step into the men’s room at Parc (227 S. 18th St., 215-545-2262, parc-restaurant.com), the dazzling array of nudie pictures above the art-deco urinals is bound to capture your attention. The eye-popping collection of vintage porn suggests that the folks behind this dirty john collage thought patrons were looking for a little release.

INSIDE THE BOOK

PW: We’d like to thank you, Herbert Hoover. Get your tickets to see Craig Lindsey’s man-crush. ¡Que caliente, y que diversidad!: The tacos of Philadelphia. Starting the Slow Clap for a former indie flavor of the month.

CP: Stewart Ebersole lifts his fists like antennas to heaven. Table 31: can’t breathe… sinuses packed with meat. Hope you’ve got some comfortable crime-fightin’ shoes. The voice, the hair, the childhood acting career… my heart melts for Jenny Lewis, and so will yours.

WINNER:
Chase Utley’s smiling face rendered in icing helped me to overlook “Best Use of the C Word” in the Shopping & Style section (I don’t like her either, but that shirt is lame), clinching it for CP.

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