Molly Eichel: Philly wasn't totally shut out of Super Bowl

Abdur-Rahim Jackson: Super Bowl gig
Abdur-Rahim Jackson: Super Bowl gig
Posted: February 05, 2013

LAST NIGHT'S Super Bowl halftime show had some local flavor courtesy of West Philly-born and raised Abdur-Rahim Jackson.

Jackson, a Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts alum, choreographed the "Crazy in Love" portion of Beyonce's halftime spectacular.

This isn't the first time Jackson has worked with Queen Bey. He choreographed her video "Halo."

"[Beyonce] is hardworking. We are both Virgos: Her birthday is on the 4th [of September], mine is the 8th. And her work ethic: breaks don't exist," Jackson said. "I'm the same. You want to get the task done. Nothing is tense, everything is professional."

Jackson, who attended Juilliard and danced with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for almost a decade, can next be seen on the season premiere of NBC's "Smash" at 9 p.m. Tuesday. This month, he'll start work as a dancer in "Black Nativity," a movie starring Academy Award nominee Angela Bassett and Oscar winners Jennifer Hudson and Forest Whitaker.

Talent must run in Jackson's blood. His brother is the Daily News' own Street Gazer/Party Person Big Rube Harley, and their li'l bro is Hot 107.9's DJ Damage.

When one Wingador closes . . .

What does a champion do when he's put out to pasture? For legendary Wing Bowl competitor Bill "El Wingador" Simmons, he trades in an arena of screaming fans and scantily clad ladies for a quiet day with his family.

Simmons was asked not to attend this year's Wing Bowl, a competition he's won five times in its 21-year existence, because of charges of cocaine distribution stemming from a June arrest (Simmons was officially indicted on Thursday, coincidentally before Simmons' former big day).

On most days, Simmons gets up at 3:30 a.m. for his job as a truck driver, but he was given the day off. Instead of taking his place among the favorites at the Wells Fargo Center, he listened to Wing Bowl on the radio while eating breakfast with his 6-year-old-son, Sean.

We chatted with El Wingador - a self-described "guy with an eating disorder who doesn't like to lose" - before Wing Bowl. He didn't seem interested in treading on the past. "I hosted a wing contest at Bogeys in Pitman [N.J.] and I'm looking at these guys and I'm glad I don't do this anymore. I had fun, I enjoyed it but at the end of the day it's just an eating contest," Simmons said last week.

But on Friday, he had changed his tune: "It was just enough to get my competitive juices flowing," he said, adding he could make a comeback. The wing champ was disappointed that non-local Jamie "The Bear" McDonald, of Granby, Conn., took home the crown.

Simmons checked out NoLibs' PYT with his 14-year-old daughter, Felicia, eating only two burgers and a milkshake, before dropping Felicia off at her basketball game, picking up Sean from school and throwing the football around with his young son.

"Wing Bowl right now is nothing compared to what I got going on," Simmons, 51, said. "All I am is Bill Simmons, who is just trying to make it in this world."

'Katie' mines 'Silver'


Katie Couric will host an entire episode of her talk show, "Katie," dedicated to the mental-health message in the Delco-shot "Silver Linings Playbook," complete with appearances from Rydal's own Bradley Cooper and his movie pop, Robert De Niro. "Silver Linings Playbook" was written by former Haddonfield Memorial High School teacher Matthew Quick, who used to work at a neural-health facility and has used mental-health issues in subsequent work (Boy21 is a must-read). Word is that De Niro even sheds some tears for Katie. Check it out at 3 p.m. Monday on 6ABC.

Hello, new friends!

Welcome to, as my esteemed colleague Will Bunch referred to it, the Molly Eichel administration of this column. I'll be taking over for the equally esteemed Dan Gross, whom I've been reading since he took over the column from Stu Bykofsky.

I know Dan's many fans will miss him in the paper, but I'll miss him as a friend. I loved running over to his cubicle to dish some dirt before it hit newsprint, cooing at baby pics of his beautiful daughter and receiving hilarious emails from him at all hours of the night. Dan was always a willing hand with a phone number or a joke, and I couldn't have taken over the column without his guidance and big-brotherly support.

So, what does the Eichel administration mean for you, dear reader? It means the same juicy tidbits about all things Philly. But a new era means a new voice. I want to create new bold-faced names, people you might not already be familiar with: artists, rappers, fashionistas who deserve their due. Know of someone doing something new or groundbreaking in our fair city? Is some famous face behaving badly? Or just want to commiserate with me 'bout Dan's departure? I want to hear it. Tip me off at or on Twitter @mollyeichel.

On Twitter: @PhillyGossip and @MollyEichel

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