Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Philly Things

Long-time fans of Beyond You & Me know that Cassie is from Philadelphia. In fact, she didn't leave it until she married P. and went first to California, and later to Yale. Despite its occasionally provincial character and her own ambivalence about its smother-love, Cassie is at her core a Philly girl. A South Philly girl to be exact. South Philadelphia is a small town within a big city, once mostly settled by Italian and Jewish immigrants, but today a rainbow of colors and cultures. In fact, the famous "Ninth Street Italian Market" sits now in a sea of Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants and groceries, much like New York's Little Italy has been nearly swallowed up by Chinatown. So today's post is about things Philadelphian.

An early fan of Beyond You & Me is Philly Future. The site is about everything Philadelphia, and a good place to get to know this charming city that is too often overshadowed by New York. Philly's museums are more human in size (my favorite is the University of Pennsylvania with its outstanding collection of Babylonian art).

Another old fan (who has been overlooked until now) is Bella Vista Social Club. The denizens of this blog are graduates of St. Maria Goretti High School in Philadelphia; Cassie went to South Philadelphia High School, and occasionally clashed with the "Goretti Gorillas" who would, she told me, hike up their Catholic school uniforms to miniskirt lengths before and after class. I'm stumped at how to characterize this fun, rollicking mix of politics, Philly insider stuff and personal matters. Whatever you call it, have a visit to the club. And for those of us who weren't lucky enough to be born Italian, social clubs are often where the Mafiosi hang out!

Girlfiend is not only from Philly, but stone hilarious, at least if you like your comedy derisive and in-your-face. Not Girl Friend, you read it right the first time: Girl Fiend. As in fiendishly funny and wry. It's a personal bout with the world, and I'm not sure whether the world can take her on. Always biting, never dull, she's unique in her observations about life, people, Boyfiend, pregnancy, and therapy. Look out, here she comes!

A newer fan is Blankbaby. I'm stumped to characterize this strange, touching slice of things Philadelphia and not. Want to know how the author got the confirmation name "Fabian"? Maybe you're not Catholic and wonder what a confirmation name is and why he would have one. Ever speculated about HDTV or cheesy lines of dialog in movies? How about "Doctor, why couldn't you save her?" "Because there are no injections against the Devil"? To find out which movie this execrable line is from, go to Blankbaby.