Loving the mob is as patriotic a pastime as baseball and sequestration. That’s why I leapt fork-first into a pasta-and-red-wine dinner with former Colombo and Gambino associate Sal Polisi and one-time Colombo capo Michael Franzese — stars of the National Geographic Channel’s new Inside the American Mob docu-series — at Dante & Luigi’s in South Philly the other night. When they weren’t noshing on manicotti and chicken parm, the pair dished the dirt (or ladled the gravy) on the fall of La Cosa Nostra from its ’70s peak to its rat-infested present, and laughed about the funnier elements of some of their schemes. (Franzese had a film production company that just happened to make money with B-movie fare like Savage Streets.) While the six-week series focuses on New York City’s five families, the upcoming Aug. 4 episode explores the Big Apple’s relationship with Philly after Angelo Bruno was assassinated in 1980. “He was kind of quiet,” Polisi says of Bruno, the so-called Docile Don. “We thought the Philly mob was a bunch of farmers, really, until [bloodthirsty Nicodemo] Scarfo showed up. Then things heated up.” Look for the Philly Mob episode to feature Inquirer scribe George Anastasia and witness-protected Phil Leonetti. Badda-bing.
Stick a fork into Fork, Etc. Well, it’s not done, but those real close to the Ellen Yin-owned/Eli Kulp chef-ed Old City restau-bar hint that Etc. is getting a groovy face lift, inside and outside, and will become a separate eatery (from its grand, delish next-door-neighboring Fork) focusing on pasta and lite-bites.
So I’m talking to famed, one-time PAFA student/filmmaker/musician David Lynch about his exquisite new blues album, The Big Dream, and I ask him why, last year, he made a pit stop in Philly for a minute, even stopping by the London Grill. “The primary reason I was in Philadelphia was to talk to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts about an upcoming show of paintings,” says Lynch. “I also wanted to show my wife where I used to live, went to school — the neighborhoods and all that.” Look for a show of Lynch’s macabre abstract masterpieces next year.
Several weeks ago, I ran into brand-building producer/Hashtag Multimedia CEO Craig Kaplan at the Amadou & Mariam show at World Cafe Live. He’d never witnessed the blind, Malian music-making-marrieds in concert, but was immediately drawn to their emotional content and complex psychedelic sound. Upon hearing that two filmmakers were in serious lack of funding for their The Magic Couple documentary on Amadou & Mariam, Kaplan agreed to be the film’s producer. He’s flying to A&M’s Paris shows this week and has started a Kickstarter so you can help.
Icepack gets illustrated every Thursday at citypaper.net/criticalmass.