April 12, 2002 |
Where else can you dress like a woman and not get in trouble?" inquires one burly South Philly fellow in Strut! - Max Raab's affectionate cheesesteak of a movie celebrating the centuries-old tradition of strumming string bands, festooned fancy brigades, and beer-blottoed cross-dressers that is the City of Brotherly Love's New Year's Day pride and joy, the Mummers. A straightforward documentary that takes a look at the past, present and future (see pipsqueaks in plumage!) of Mummery, Strut!
January 18, 1989 |
The Mummers parade was a unique form of New Year celebration in Philadelphia neighborhoods for more than a century before it was officially recognized by the city in 1901. And for generations, the New Year's Day festivities were never postponed. During the first 50 years that the parade was an organized event, it was postponed only nine times; during the next 20 years, nine times and during the last 10 years, six times. The weather in Philadelphia has not changed that much; it is the Mummers' refusal to march at the slightest sign of inclement weather that has changed.
February 13, 1988 |
Ventnor City String Band is getting most of its prize money back. After finishing in last place, the Mummers' newest string band was disqualified by city officials after the New Year's Day parade because it violated an obscure rule about commercialization. The band had failed to cover up the company logo painted on a truck rented to transport props and costumes. Under parade rules, the cash prize Ventnor would have earned simply for participating - $1,248 - was forfeited and divided among the other 24 string bands that marched.
January 1, 1991 |
After the fog, the rain, the snow, the weird heat and humidity, today's weather should be perfect - and perfectly wintry - for a parade. Mummers can expect sunny skies, with temperatures heading from 20 degrees at sunrise to a high of 38 degrees in the afternoon, accompanied by light winds to ruffle floats and backpieces, and a chill in the air to keep spectators moving. "Gorgeous weather. Almost ideal," meteorologist Bob Stauber of the National Weather Service predicted yesterday.
December 31, 1986 |
The bidding was fierce between three local television stations this past summer for the exclusive broadcast rights to the Mummers parade. Emerging from the scuffle with a smile on its cameras and a contract to air the parade for the next five years was KYW-TV, Channel 3, which outbid channels 57 and 10. And after spending an estimated $600,000 for the rights to telecast the parade, Channel 3 general manager Jim Thompson decided the Mummers parade...
December 8, 1994 |
All right, they'll do it. But just this once. After much grousing, the Mummers have reluctantly agreed to go along with Mayor Rendell's plan for a New Year's Day parade on Market Street instead of on Broad. Rendell promised jugglers, stilt walkers, a South Philly food fest, free shuttle-bus service from South Philadelphia - even toilets - to lure people to Market Street. And he promised they'd be back on Broad in 1996. Construction for the Avenue of the Arts drove the Rendell administration to move the parade.
July 18, 2010 |
July 15 looked more like Dec. 31 at the South Philly clubhouse of the South Philly Vikings Fancy Brigade, as the Mummers and friends put finishing touches on 29 uniforms. The Vikings, who won their division Jan. 1, are bound for Hollywood on NBC's America's Got Talent , and their costumes and props headed west Friday. Is America ready for Mummers? Were these Mummers ready for national TV? No. The Vikings' Pete D'Amato says they initially turned down the producers, who had caught a video of their performance and offered an audition.
July 24, 2006 |
The Mummers Museum commemorates party music and dancing, but not the sort that occurred there Friday night, when Philly DJ Diplo hosted a Pan-American bacchanal that included two new bands from Brazil. The show began with a confluence of local iconography: At 9 p.m., beneath banners for Mummers brigades (the "Saturnalian" one seemed especially prescient), the trumpet fanfare from the theme from Rocky sounded and, on a screen behind the stage, clips of Sylvester Stallone in training began.
December 8, 2004 |
Ending a Philadelphia winter tradition, Mummer string bands are going down the Shore. The annual String Band Show of Shows, an indoor extravaganza performed in Philadelphia every year since 1938, will be held Feb. 26 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Two performances are scheduled: at noon and 5 p.m. In addition to the bands' reprising their New Year's Day performances, the event always has been a social affair for Mummers to meet, greet and toast competitors in other bands.
February 10, 1989 |
For the Ferko string band, preparing for the "Show of Shows" meant rebuilding feather-and sequin hats snow-damaged on New Year's Day. The Aqua string band had to rebuild its army helicopter prop. Sequins and helicopters? That shows the diversity of themes to be part of this year's annual String Band Show of Shows, which opens Saturday at the Civic Center, with seven performances over the next two weekends. Sixteen bands will perform expanded versions of their Broad Street routines.