Spring is here, and it’s hard sprung. How do we know that Spring is hanging us up the most? Cherry blossom events and FDR Park Flower Show warnings abound. All the National Cheesesteak Day notes in my inbox. More Phillies news than my eyeballs can handle. Yet another Diner en Blanc gets yet another secret location (Wait, it’s in Atlantic City this year. I don’t have to worry about people scuffing my car with their lawn chairs and picnic baskets). And, oh, the wealth of ATVs and dirt bikes, driving through the gas station right outside of my window… starting right about… now.
Chef Henry Morgan, come on down: the once-and-former CookNSolo Philly restaurants man (Merkaz, Dizengoff) headed out to Gladwyne to seek his fame and fortune with Homeroom, “a modern, neighborhood café” with roasted eggplant sandwich and smoked salmon toast.
As we get ready for Sunday’s Academy Awards (OK, it’s probably just me, running around my house in my ‘Power of the Dog’ cowboy gear), and send good vibes to Philly’s Ahmir Thompson for his Summer of Soul Harlem Music Fest documentary, there is one very great omen: Questlove won at the Producers Guild Awards the other day. This after nabbing an Independent Spirit Award the week previous. Another week. Another glittering prize. Here’s hoping.
Did you know it was the tenth anniversary of Tough Cookies’ Adam Weiner’s ‘Get Out the Lotion’ album with his ‘Low Cut Connie’? Man, times flies when he’s having all the fun. Weiner will celebrate that decade’s event with a solo show at City Winery on March 26. We first found him solo over 20 years ago doing that piano-driven Ladyfingers thing, so being alone-again-naturally is awwwwreeeght.
Queens Village is getting a plant-based restaurant, Fitz on 4th, at the spot that once housed Fitz & Starts. Science!
I know we’re still looking to hire someone to run Philly’s schools (I’m laughing at the thought of who wants THAT job), but, here’s a laurel and hearty handshake for the Philly Health Department’s new guy: Frank A. Franklin, PhD, JD, MPH and surely more initials. Frank is going to be the Deputy Commissioner of Health at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health after Dr. Caroline Johnson resigned very quickly after getting the post. Good on you, Frank.
If your spine is the bassline, Philly bassist Jack Zaferes is just your guy. The four-string hand man for Stolen Rhodes and Underwater Country Club is dropping a solo single on May 6 in “Amygdala.” In anticipation of this track (and more to follow?), Zaferes and film director Michelle Goodwin rented Plays & Players and lensed a noir-ish new video you can see here.

Unmasked Philly: Sharif Pendleton
Everybody has a great story about their lives behind, and beyond, the mask now that omicron is down, and the pandemic has been slimed. For now.
Sharif Pendleton – a Logan section native now living in Northern Liberties with his partner, and the man behind Philadelphia Laser and Industrial Design, LLC (aka PLAID) – is one.
A “curious, arts-y and scienc-y kid who used to tear pages out of notebooks and make my own comics,” pursued psychology in college, but always clung to the notion of art and design as his stock-and-trade. Once at UArts and creating “cerebral stuff centered on installations and interactive pieces,” Sharif began to sell as a professional artist, created his own business in 2009 and by 2017, invested in a laser and setup shop in Jasper Studios in Kensington, only to rebrand as Philadelphia Laser & Industrial Design. Along with being part of the first cohort of artists at Cherry Street Pier, SharifI acquired Phillylovenotes – the custom map making business started in 2012 – and now PLAID is comprised of roughly 3 arms: ready-made product, custom orders and Phillylovenotes.
So what does Pendleton do for fun?
Travel is one, though he hasn’t been on a plane in 2.5 years and misses the adventure. He’s reading comic books again. “It’s more relaxing than I remember it being as a kid. And, I’ve started drawing again. Instead of using paper though, nowadays I mostly use my iPad.” Also, Pendleton loves to cook and bake. “My most recent favorite thing to make are cinnamon rolls. They don’t last long, so I try to balance that out with my Peloton. I’m on a Peloton hiatus while I recover from recent cancer treatment, so it’s actually been nice to have the conference to throw myself into.”
The conference Sharif’s discussing is the Tools of the Trades creative business owners connection week through CraftNOW Philadelphia and NextFab, March 23-25 – the first-of-its-kind digital conference focused on connecting artisans to business resources in Philadelphia and beyond.
“It helps people do to better with their businesses, their community and the tools that are available to them. Opportunities that I think this conference provides in addressing a specific population, I think, has sorely been missing. Oftentimes, and I’m guilty of this, creatives work in a vacuum, this is a great way to help people realize that while their businesses may be unique, the challenges and opportunities to address them may not be.