There are plenty of nu-comedians and hipster standups who we adore: Doogie, Juliet, Chip — I’m looking at you. Danny Ozark, I miss you more than epaulettes. But let’s give a hand to a hard-working vet, a Philly star of stage and radio, Joe Conklin. No matter what else he does, Conklin holds a special place in my black comic heart for his impersonations. I grew up loving David Frye, Will Jordan and Fred Travalena. It’s a lost art. So hearing that Conklin just struck a deal with Bensalem’s Parx Casino to host his own show every Wednesday starting mid-April is tops.“[Parx boss] Tony Ricci is a local guy, he grew up here, listening to all of us on the radio at WIP,” says Conklin. “It just clicked.” Conklin will work into the mix musical elements, some sketch comedy and celebrity MCs. He pro-mises to tap fellow comic Big Daddy Graham for their Two Funny Philly Guys routine. Coolest, though, is that Conklin is looking to da yout’ for fresh laughs. “We plan to tap into the burgeoning open-mic scene. There’s a ton of really smart young comics working the mics, and I want to use a chunk of time for those guys every week.” Bravo, Joe.
Down around my sleepy Italian Market neighborhood, we’re still sad that the lady who put the cunt into country, Carman Luntzel, had to shutter Carman’s Country Kitchen (11th and Wharton). Still, there’s been lots of hammering and cleaning at that location, and just the other day came news of yet another lass, South Philly’s own Christine Liskowicz, opening a cafe spot titled Porto by summer. Let’s give the girl a hand.
Steve Oskie, the man who helped cross the T’s and dot the I’s for Jerry Blavat’s autobiographyYou Only Rock Once, tells me that its publisher, Philly’s Running Press, is getting ready for the paperback edition. While Oskie mentioned late spring/early summer 2013, several bookseller sites say August.
Ex-Stateside landlubber chef George Sabatino is headed to Avram Hornik’s Morgan’s Pier on the Delaware. Along with the dining areas alongside the bar, there will be a newly reconfigured eating-only spot.
The last time we checked in with the Philly DoGooder folk they were filling Hamilton Hall several weeks ago with the winners of its first-ever awards for local video goodness. Next up is the national contest — vote for your favorite video at youtube.com/dogooder by April 5. Looking ahead: Their partners at the Spruce Foundation host their sixth annual gala dedicated to next-generation philanthropy April 6 at World Café Live.
Every Thursday, Icepack’s sequel, Icepack Illustrated, pops up on City Paper’s arts and entertainment blog, Critical Mass. It’s a lot bigger, and it’s got photos. Go to citypaper.net/criticalmass.