Know how you know someone is good, I mean, really good? When they’re the first one you call when you’re in need. I need a duck dish, I call David Katz. I need peak lapels, I call Commonwealth Proper. You get the picture. “When a major artist comes to the club and I need a bassist, Lee Smith is my first and only call,” says Alan McMahon from Chris’ Jazz Café. Smith made his mark as a first-call bassist for decades, jamming with jazz-cats like Sonny Fortune, Chris Potter and Kurt Rosenwinkel. This weekend, Smith’s finally dropping his first album as a leader, with an Oct. 5 gig at Chris’ to celebrate. He’s a must-see. (And Shaun Brady’s interview with him is a must-read.)
Right before Philly’s downtown restaurant renaissance of the ’90s, our neighbors in Chestnut Hill started their own quiet foodie revolution. Leading the charge was Jan Wilson, an area native who owned a gals’ clothing boutique in the area (Strawflowers) before moving to Center City and making babies (and booking Hot Club and Ripley’s) with David Carroll. Then she returned to Chestnut Hill to open Cafette (8136 Ardleigh St.). Wilson was doing farm-to-table vegan fare before there was a catchphrase for it and powerhouse fried chicken when Michael Solomonov was a tot. Wilson is celebrating her achievements, cuisine and Cafette’s 20th anniversary with deals all October long. Now where’s that cookbook, Jan?
Maybe Brian Dwyer and his Frankford Avenue dough salon Pizza Brain have received an inordinate amount of press and praise since opening, but how could we stop the (cheese) ball from rolling when October is National Pizza Month? Check out their Philly Pizzalebrity Wall of Fame mural, created by local illustrator Hawk Krall, on First Friday, Oct. 5. (Lots more on the mural on p. 47.) “We’ll be attempting to make a pizza that day based on one of Little Baby’s ice cream flavors and they’ll be attempting to make an ice cream based off one of our pizzas.” Attempt is the optimal word here. The Peanut Chews VW bus will be there, too, giving out candy. Hopefully, the Tums truck is around the corner.
Hey needy money-grubbing art fucks: the Knight Arts Challenge is back for its third year and they’ve got $9 million+ to spend on your goofy, I mean, noble, enterprise. Don’t tell ’em you want to buy a cool handmade sock monkey you saw on Etsy. Make up an arrrtsy idea, submit it at knightarts.org by Oct. 15 and watch the cash roll in.
Local filmmaker, model and wheatpaste god (We Do It Inc. is his company) Jere Edmunds is dropping new episodes of 5 on the Go, his area newsy/artsy show, through PhillyCAM this week. Tune in on Comcast (66 and 966) and Verizon Fios (29 and 30). ™ Icepack gets illustrated at citypaper.net/icepack.