Fuck Buzz Bissinger. The Philly news guy with the new book you should turn your attention to is former Fox29 features reporter Gerald Kolpan. He likes his language brusque yet elegant, and judging by both his first novel, 2009's Etta, and his just-out second effort Magic Words: The Tale of a Jewish Boy-Interpreter, the World's Most Estimable Magician, a Murderous Harlot, and America's Greatest Indian Chief (Pegasus, May 1), Kolpan's thoroughly enamored of Wild West lore. Kolpan says he lets his characters guide their own trajectories and tell the writer where they want to go. Magic Words' Prophet John McGarrigle popped out of nowhere. "I met McGarrigle, the clairvoyant Indian scout, at exactly the same moment Julius, the Jewish boy-interpreter, did. It's a good thing, too — as things turned out, it's only the presence of Prophet John that keeps Julius alive. Without that character, there would've been no book. Don't ask me where he came from." As for what's so darned-tootin' fascinating about the untamed West to a longtime Philadelphian, Kolpan follows his nose, just like any staunch newshound would. "That's where the story took me. As far as writing what I know, the modern world is kind of boring, frankly. The furniture's too simple, the clothing's too dull to describe, and before you can put a character in jeopardy, you have to explain why his cell phone's not working." Kolpan will read and sign at the Free Library May 23. Bring yer six-shooter and $27 for Magic Words.
Is there a strange, wonderful plan to bring Coldplay to Underground Arts — not to eat, but to perform some wack grimy private show — days before their double-duty stint at Wells Fargo Center July 5 and 6?
Owen Kamihira, the proud papa of Northern Liberties' El Camino Real and Bar Ferdinand, is planning on putting an authentic wood-burning stove into the latter loco location soon-very-soon to make his always-tasty empanadas pop. Kamihara is also readying, with Standard Tap per William Reed, the "biggest baddest" Second Street Festival ever for the first weekend in August with, more than likely, manic ole Man Man as its headlining hoedowners.
If you see Jersey Shore's Pauly D at the Pool in A.C. this weekend, congratulate him on his new pre-made various-flavored vodka-drink deal for "Remix" (can't believe no one thought up that booze name before) that finds him in bed with business partner David Kanbar, the co-founder of Skinnygirl Cocktails (that's the pre-made booze that Bethenny Frankel supposedly made a cool $120 million selling). Booze is better than T-shirt time, any day.
All the characters are in jeopardy when Ice gets illustrated at Critical Mass.