PAPERBOY: Slow-Jamming The Alt-Weeklies

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!


CP: “Screw Christmas — summer’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Bold. Provocative. As is CP’s claim that they can find something fun to do every single day, and damned if they didn’t put together a fine list. There are a few fillers that could have gone anywhere – why play “boxers or briefs” in early August? – but the selected events are fun and, except for the big music festivals, sort of off-the-radar. Like an art-and-theater show at Bartram’s Garden in Southwest Philly… who the hell knew?

For the Little Show of Horrors, DaVinci Art Alliance members will riff on Charles Darwin, Little Shop of cp_2009_05_21.jpgHorrors and carnivorous plants for their fourth show at Bartram’s Garden. When else will you get to hang out with venus flytrap art in an 18th-century barn?

CP breaks it down by month, so I’ll do the same with my personal favorites from the list, miserly limiting myself to one per: May’s completely-bonkers aerial dance workshop at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, June’s Fish for Free (out in the Delco ‘burbs, but totally worth it), July’s Ice Cream Festival, and, in honor of my heritage, August’s Pennsylvania Dutch Festival. CP also includes a week of September, but I’ll leave it out, because years of living in upstate New York have ingrained in me that winter will have started by then.

PW: Along similarly, summery lines, this season tends to brings out tricked-out cars and their admirers into parking lots. In Philly and elsewhere, I’ve gaped at over-sized rims and felt speakers rattle me from the sidewalk, but I never knew this type of outfitting had a name, much less a growing subculture behind it.Crunk, funk and punk are just sounds; donk is an obsession.

donk_1.jpgTheories of the term’s origins vary, but the most widely accepted etymology is that donk derives from “ba-donk-a-donk,” urban slang for a woman’s large, protruding posterior.

And what all donks have in common is huge, eye-grabbing wheels. Aside from that, it’s one big free-for-all. Go ahead—donk your Dodge, your Hyundai, your Suzuki four-wheeler. Because if one hopes to understand these cars and the culture that has grown up around them—and, by extension, gain a little insight into class and status in a commercial culture where everything from ringtones to neighborhoodies to newspaper content can be individualized, customized, pimped-up and tricked-out—then Philadelphia’s urban car culture is a pretty good place to start.

Even with guest appearances by Eagles players, the style and the mindset behind it are the true objects of fascination. Writer Christopher Maag (where’d they find this guy?) makes Wheel Thing on North Broad sound like the center of the universe, and the opening anecdote, full of automotive bravado and jealous stares had me — anun-extravagant, car-less city dweller — totally hooked.


CP: Parental advisory: “It’s like the Greeks for high school kids.” Raul Ibañez: risky investment or ball-destroying monster? Christian Bale‘s performance could use a few more expletive-riddled rants. Firehouse-themed bar? Boom. Roasted.

PW: Central PA news in Philly? Kind of a stretch. South Street celebrity: Next stop, a shot at the TLA. I scream, you scream, we all scream for duck fat. A blurry, beat-laden nine years.

WINNER: Nice work all around this week, but it’s gotta be donk. PW takes it for going deep into something that seems shallow.

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