Scenes from a South Philly Saturday

Today’s post is sponsored by my love for all things Philly and silly. It is also an effort to avoid talking about the fact that THE WORLD IS IN A TERRIBLE STATE OF CHASSIS (here’s some Irish love).


Saturday night after I returned home was one of many karaoke nights at Adobe. We walked in shortly before last call, mostly because we’d lost track of time while talking about morticians. A short Italian guy was half way through singing “Burning Down the House” to a crowd of unimpressed, totally loaded South Philly natives and hipsters. And I was thrilled to be there–I mean it. The first week or so after I return from Spain is always a whirlwind of bagel consumption and love for  all the linguistic subtlety I probably miss when speaking Spanish.

Off-key singer after off-key singer climbed on stage and groups went wild for an awful but sincere rendition of “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” As Adobe’s young busboy passed out soft pretzels, a well-built man sporting a sweatband and a ponytail took the stage. He had chosen to perform “Sweet Transvestite” of Rocky Horror fame and perform it he did, all attitude and unencumbered movement, sharp and sassy head-swings, hip swivels, and—praise Julie—a decent voice. As delightful as a performer with presence always is at amateur karaoke night, the best part of the whole scene was the sound guy’s wife/friend/lover/sidekick: a woman in a knee-length, hot pink smock at the back of the stage. She stood next to the MC and spent the entire duration of the song with her arms crossed, side-eyeing the singer. She looked confused and horrified and from the back of the bar we marveled at her ability to not smile.

When the song finished, our sweet transvestite hopped off stage to applause and cheers. I raised my Yuengling and intoned “YAAASSSSSSS!” The side-eye woman threw her head back ever so slightly and looked around for someone who could commiserate. She found no one.

We left the bar shortly after, only to encounter a fully grown man passed out across the street. We tried, politely, to wake him.

“Hey man, are you OK?” my friend nudged his hand.

He didn’t respond, just went right on sleeping. Two women stopped and inquired.

“Ey, he alright?”
“We don’t know…”

One of the women, a tiny blond in a tube-top, leaned down in front of his face and shouted:

He startled awake and sat up like Pinocchio, arms slack and legs straight.

“BRO!” he looked around and blinked his eyes.
“YA GOOD?” she repeated.
He looked through her, pointed his index finger in her direction, and declared “YEA BRO, I’M GOOD, BRO!”

The women left and after a few minutes we had Pinocchio up, walking, refusing a cab, and looking for assurance that we would get home safe. Yes, we told him, don’t worry, we’ll get home safe. As we parted ways, he held himself up on a pole, placed a hand on his hip, and asked:

“Hey… are you guys gonna watch WWE tonight?”

We were not.

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