April 11, 2014
SURE, IT'S based on the infamous episode sparked by the late cheesesteak impresario Joey Vento posting a sign at Geno's insisting patrons place their orders in English. But at its essence, "Down Past Passyunk" is a legal drama. As in the law of unintended consequences. The A. Zell Williams ensemble piece is having its world premiere staged by InterAct Theatre Company through April 27 at Center City's Adrienne Theatre. It is an intense, thought-provoking piece that starts out as what appears to be the kind of wise-guy riff on working-class Philadelphians that Bruce Graham has taken to the bank for decades.
September 19, 2011 |
It's a Jeopardy! trick question and a parlor-game stumper: What is the official language of the United States? No, it's not English. Nor is it any other tongue. The United States does not have an official language, despite the universality of English and the frequent attempts by congressional conservatives to enthrone it as the sovereign tongue. The individual states? That's a different story. English is the official language in 30 states.
January 20, 2009
THANK YOU, Stu Bykofsky, for your column on the Mummers and B Love Strutters. My husband is a longtime Murray Comic and my sons are B Love Strutters and none are racists. I appreciate you defending the tradition. Pam Hershman, West Chester Stu, you're dead right regarding the editorial on the "racist" Mummers. Do you need to be a knucklehead to qualify for the board? This is one of the reasons I stopped reading the DN years ago. Bill Yurkow, Philadelphia Stu: What a surprise - the self-loathing idiots who preach tolerance are the most narrow-minded intolerant Kool-Aid drinkers, always playing the victim.
April 15, 2008
AS A LAWYER who has had the privilege of representing Joey Vento and Geno's Steaks for many years, most recently in his litigation with the City Commission on Human Relations, I am writing in response to your April 14 editorial. It is always interesting to see a newspaper taking a position opposed to the protections afforded by the First Amendment. You minimize the fact that the ordinance allows the government to violate a citizen's constitutional rights - it "may need tweaking" indeed.
December 21, 2007
I COMPLETELY agree with Joey Vento. My four grandparents came from Russia to New York's Lower East Side in the early 1900s and didn't speak a word of English. They learned. And they learned quickly in order to survive. And, regarding Vento's sign - what's the big deal? If customers can't speak English, how can they read it? Harry Jay Katz, Philadelphia When the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations was created in 1952, discrimination was rampant throughout the U.S. I imagine, at that time, the commission performed legitimate work to ensure that individuals weren't persecuted based on race and other factors.
August 25, 2011 |
"WE WERE business competitors but we were friends," Pat's King of Steaks owner Frank Olivieri Jr. said of Joey Vento yesterday. Vento, the philanthropic owner of Geno's Steaks, died Tuesday at 71. "He was the hardest working guy in cheesesteaks. He has a fabulous store over there," Olivieri said, blaming the media for the perception of an intense rivalry between the catty-cornered shops. Olivieri acknowledged that there was a more fierce competition when his father owned Pat's.
June 18, 2006 |
Wanna know what Joey Vento doesn't like? Whiners, that's what. The whiners who got corporal punishment taken out of schools. The whiners who call him a racist because there's a rebel flag tattoo on his forearm. The whiners who turn every last thing that happens in this country into a potential lawsuit. Go ahead - ask him what he thinks. Everyone else is. "I grew up where they called me every name in the book: Wop! Dago! Guinea! Midget! But come on! You've got to roll with the punches," says Vento, the 5-foot-5, 66-year-old impresario of Geno's Steaks.
January 6, 2009
GENO'S owner Joey Vento has a problem with aliens who jump the fence after his own immigrant family entered legally. When he appeared with comics in the Mummers Parade, he was cheered. Critics later claimed that his skit was racist and xenophobic, but he was spoofing the discrimination suit filed by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations over a cardboard sign in his steak shop that reads: "This is America. When ordering speak English. " The commission ended up dismissing the suit because you actually have to discriminate against someone - and they actually have to complain.
December 18, 2007
THE CITY'S Commission on Human Relations says it will take about two months to decide whether cheesesteak entrepreneur Joey Vento discriminates against customers who don't speak English. Two months? Two minutes would be more like it. This case is weak where it needs to be strong. There's no proof anyone was denied service because he failed to adhere to the sign on Vento's steak-shop window: "This is America. When ordering, please speak English. " Say what you will about the sign.
August 28, 2010 |
Medford Township Police Chief Anthony Canale denied Friday that there was any impropriety in having his officers make periodic vacation checks on the Shamong home of Joey Vento, owner of Geno's Steaks in South Philadelphia, who donated a motorcycle to the department. Canale's comments came as a result of recent stories in the Camden Courier-Post that raised questions about the department's relationship with Vento. Vento was on vacation in early March when Medford police performed regular checks of his home.