Dan Gross: Teammates help Utley fight animal abuse

The SPCA fundraiser held by Chase Utley (left, in 2009) and his wife drew support from fellow Phillies Jimmy Rollins (center) and Ryan Howard, among others.
The SPCA fundraiser held by Chase Utley (left, in 2009) and his wife drew support from fellow Phillies Jimmy Rollins (center) and Ryan Howard, among others. (Associated Press)
Posted: May 02, 2011

JUST BACK from the West Coast, Phillies including Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick turned up at the Electric Factory on Thursday night to support Chase Utley and wife Jen at their annual All-Star Animals Casino Night to benefit the Pennsylvania SPCA.

The couple formed the Etana Fund to Stop Cruelty Against Animals with the PSPCA several years ago. It's named after an abused dog whose medical bills the couple paid. The Utleys are the proud parents of a pit bull named Jack.

Funnyman Joe Piscopo; former Gov. Ed Rendell; Phillies players Shane Victorino, Cliff Lee, Ben Francisco, Brad Lidge and Mike Zagurski; General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and President Dave Montgomery also came out to support the animal-welfare casino fundraiser, which featured a live auction emceed by Comcast SportsNet's Michael Barkann and CBS3's Susan Barnett.

The event raised more than $307,000 for the Etana Fund.

Watch our video interviews from the event at PhillyGossip.com.

Stars coming for Comic Con

Blaxploitation stars Pam Grier and Richard Roundtree are among headliners to appear at the Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con June 17-19 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The dynamic duo of Adam West and Burt Ward, as well as Billy Dee Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Bruce Campbell ("Evil Dead," "Burn Notice") John Schneider ("Dukes of Hazzard), Julie Benz ("No Ordinary Family") and Adam Baldwin ("Chuck") are also among the 500 guests coming to the convention. More info can be found at wizardworld.com.

More 'Must be the Music' cast

Filmmaker Sal Mazzotta and boxing promoter/actor Joey "Eye" Intrieri have been added to the cast of "Must be the Music," the hip-hop murder mystery shooting in the area with Charles S. Dutton, Felicia "Snoop" Pearson of "The Wire," Tariq Trotter of The Roots and Cat Washington, formerly of Oxygen's "Bad Girls Club." Mazzotta and Joey Eye both play gangsters.

Speaking of 'Bad Girls Club'

Crazy, but Bunim/Murray Productions again seems to think trouble-making women can be found in Philadelphia. The Oxygen reality show is holding a casting call from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Fado (1500 Locust). Women who like to drink, fight and call each other "bitch" are encouraged to apply. Producers are also casting men for the show "Love Games." You must be 21 and bring photo ID and a picture of yourself that won't be returned. If you can't make it, you can download an application at bunim-murray.com/casting/bgc or www.bunim-murray.com/casting/lovegames/.

Schoolly, Abel work again

Philly hip-hop legend Schoolly D is recording two tracks for filmmaker Abel Ferrara's "444," which stars Willem Dafoe. Schoolly has previously contributed music to Ferrara films, such as "Bad Lieutenant" and "King of New York."

Leno helps honor Eubanks

Jay Leno offered videotaped congratulations to his longtime bandleader, Kevin Eubanks - who played Friday at the Convention Center - when the Mount Airy native received the Arts & Business Council's Anne d'Harnoncourt award for artistic excellence.

Out and about

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade requested a private room at Del Frisco's (15th & Chestnut) during an off night from the Heat's series with the Sixers the other week and ended up across the hall from another private room where six Sixers were eating.

* Boxing legend Smokin' Joe Frazier donated signed gloves for the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists local's Ed Sciaky and Bill Bransome scholarship funds at an annual AFTRA party at Paddy Whacks (2nd & South) the other night.

Frazier's an AFTRA member, as were fellow guests Joe Conklin, WMMR's Pierre Robert, WIP's Rob Charry, WOGL's Tom McCarthy, KYW NewsRadio's Paul Kurtz and retired broadcaster Dick Sheeran.

* Chester County "Jackass" Bam Margera hung out with Jared Leto on Saturday night backstage at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, where Leto, a former University of the Arts student, played with his band, 30 Seconds to Mars.

Rushdie at Drexel

Author Salman Rushdie, best known for the fatwa declared by the Ayatollah after he published The Satanic Verses, is the first speaker in the Drexel University College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Lecture series. The free event, at 6 p.m. Wednesday, is open only to Drexel students and faculty.

Firefighters seek volunteers

The Cheltenham Township Fire Department has used part of a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant it recently received to make documentary recruiting videos featuring firefighters on the job and talking about why they became volunteer firefighters. U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah introduces one clip that launches at 8 tonight at facebook.com/ctfd.net.

Don't forget your roots

There's still time left to enroll in Daily News assistant news editor Karin Berry's genealogy class at Mt. Airy Learning Tree. "Use the Internet to Find Your African-American Ancestors" starts from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday and runs for three consecutive weeks. The fee is $39. Enroll online at mtairy


Visit PhillyGossip.com for Dan's latest updates or follow PhillyGossip on Twitter. Have a tip? Call 215-854-5963, or email grossd@phillynews.com.

For recent columns, visit www.philly.com/DanGross.

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