Have A Laugh at Helium
By Cristina Perachio

The Washington Post’s Katie Namrevo found that if she laughed 30 seconds to five minutes as often as 10 times daily, she had more energy and craved food less. While you may not be able to replace your diet with regular rounds of laughter, it’s definitely worth a try. Helium, located at 2031 Samson Street, is a barrel of laughs comedy club with a bar and lounge area as well as an intimate showroom. They are also dedicated to showcasing local comedians and helped one lucky comedian possibly get his big break this week.

On Tuesday, November 28, 2007, Comedy Central held live auditions for their hit show Live at Gotham, a half hour of the country’s newest up-and-comers of comedy performing at the Gotham Comedy Club in New York, as well as other Comedy Central projects. Ten of our city’s top comedians battled for a spot on the show with cameras rolling in front of a live and audience. Local comedic contenders Pat Barker, Joe Bubblewicz, Chip Chantry, Chris Coccia, Steven Gerben, David James, Laurence Mullaney, Andy Nolan, Anton Shuford and Roger Weaver were all well received from the lively audience at Helium.

If you missed out on this week’s show, you can still help support local comedy at Helium. Every Tuesday night is open-mic night, admission is free and the show starts at 8 p.m. If you’ve got a funny bone, sign ups for open-mic begin at 6 p.m. Also, be sure to check out their specials like $6 martinis on Thursdays or get $5 off Wednesday through Friday with a student ID.

For more information about Helium call 215-496-9001 or visit


Free At Last
By Manuel Agurto

Since his debut in 2003, Freeway has stayed quiet, and many wondered if the follow up to the spectacularly produced Philadelphia Freeway would ever come out. Finally four years later, Freeway returned to the studio to record Free at Last, and outing that serves to further Free’s reputation of talking about street life differently than other rappers, with a sense of morality unseen in hip hop today.

With production that rivals his debut, it’s a surprise that Just Blaze and Kanye West were absent this time around. Free delves further into this in the track "It's Over," a Jake One produced track that uses a sample from "I'm Afraid the Masquerade Is Over," with heavy horns and a drum part that absolutely kills it.

On tracks such as "Reppin' the Streets," Free rasps about his hood life with a sense of nostalgia, as the old school drums and electric piano fill the song with the same type of soul Free spits with.

Although Jay does not come out as strong as he can on the gangsta flossing “Roc-A-Fella Billionaires,” the other collaborations on this album shine. Jadakiss and Busta Rhymes take over on the track "Walk Wit Me," and with Free's verse sandwiched in-between the two it seems he can barely keep up.

50 cent also makes an appearance on the album, but does not rap one verse. Instead, he's singing the hook for "Take it to the Top".

But wait, I thought 50 was supposed to be a rapper? 50 keeps his reputation for catchy hooks but not much else on this made for radio track. Overall, Free At Last is a strong sophomore attempt from the Philadelphia rapper, but not as much as his debut.

3 out of 5 stars

Hit Repeat Tracks:
“Its Over” “Reppin’ the streets” “Walk wit Me”


The N Crowd
By Caitlyn Conefry

Bouncy, spastic, and romping, “The N Crowd” is a Philly-based theatre troupe that delivers its improv comedy gag with wild, slapstick delivery and over-the-top acting.

The show is divided into miniature ‘games’ – the comedic challenges that inspire the troupe’s explosive antics à la Whose Line is it Anyway? Rules are established at the beginning of each game and audience participation is encouraged.

When the performance starts, the tiny crowd is provided with pen and paper and asked to write down any line they’d like to see spoken by a performer during the night. It’s strangely satisfying to watch troupe members yell out “I’m a dirty slut!” while trying to improvise a skit about the black plague.

The spotlight loves these comedians; they each show off what appears to be a solid background in acting – characters portrayed within games range from an emphatic sky diving instructor to the eldest child of Britney Spears and Kevin Federline.

Training in acting seems coupled with some singing experience. (One game required every cast member to break into song until another in the comedy crew decided to play off a line in that song with his or her own completely original, improvised scene.)

So why’d such a versatile group of theatre folk choose comedy?

"There’s nothing better in the world than what? Laughing, right? …It gives more of a satisfaction when you make someone laugh rather than, ‘Oh I like your artwork’ or ‘your music was good’… it’s something different when it’s on the spot, ya know?” Comedian Brandon Libby said.

“Also, our remake of Scorsese’s Last Temptation of Christ bombed,” fellow Performer Michael Connor added.

You may not have a constant stitch in your side – at times it’s hard to tell what the hell is even going on. It’s all part of the fun though, for those of us who take our humor on the zany side.

This group has the sort of chemistry that makes you think they’re one big wacky family off-stage. And you’re part of the inside joke, in their humble, yet intimate theatre.

Shows occur Friday nights at 8, located at 257 North 3rd street (a block or two south of the Spring Garden bar district, if you are so inclined…)


Mood, Food?
By Ashley Blount

Its 8 a.m., school starts in twenty minutes, being late on top of being immensely tired is going to make a terrible-horrible-no good-very-bad day. With only a few minutes to eat breakfast, I grab a pack of peanut butter crackers and head out the door.

While this might seem like a mediocre supplement to a full out sit-down breakfast, the carbs plus protein in peanut butter crackers is a combo that gives lasting energy.

While in class my mind keeps racing and I have trouble focusing.

When you are feeling frazzled or you can’t seem to concentrate, yogurt is a great snack because it’s loaded with DHA omega-3, which is fatty acid that improves brain function and helps one think clearly.

After a long day at school, there usually isn’t much time to relax with schoolwork and other activities. It is important to treat yourself every now and then so stop by the nearest Cold Stone Creamery for their delicious Raspberry Sorbet.

You’ll feel better knowing that carbs such as sugar, starch and fiber release serotonin, the brain chemical that makes a person happy

So try these fast food fixes the next time you wake up to a terrible-horrible-no-good- very- bad day!


HipHop Gets Live at the Troc.
By Manuel Agurto

In the world where mainstream rap is considered real hip-hop, it’s hard to tell who’s a true hip-hop fan. However, standing outside Philadelphia's Trocadero Theatre, it was almost impossible. The whole block in front of the theatre, which spanned from 10th street to 11th, was filled with people, all waiting to see two of hip-hop’s biggest legends – Ghostface Killah and Rakim – along with relative newcomer to the game Brother Ali. The Rhythm Roots All-Stars, a 10 piece, Latin infused band from LA backed the three MCs, making Hip Hop Livemore than just the name of the show, but actually bringing hip hop alive. The crowd boasted guys in fitted hats and dress-sized shirts to girls in dreads sporting grateful dead shirts, all pumping their fists and nodding heads to classic anthems such as Rakim’s “It’s been a Long Time” and Brother Ali’s “Truth Is.”
But while hip-hop has turned mainstream on the radio and the television, absolutely none of it was present at Hip Hop Live. The evenings first performer, Brother Ali, made that clear, with introspective lyrics laid over old school laid back beats, it was like traveling back to 1987 when hip hop was only allowed for people with skill, and the money was just a bonus. Dressed in a flight jacket and a throwback Allen Iverson jersey, Ali spent as much time paying tribute to the legends he was performing with as he did rhyming in his southern tinged voice.

As Brother Ali left the stage the drummer started on a very familiar beat, and as it got louder hand formed Ws were raised and a chant of “Wu-tang” was started. The band exploded into the first song and 11 guys who were not Ghostface came on stage rapping, but the real explosion of sound came when the Wu-tang legend himself came on stage. Ghostface stood in the middle of the stage almost godlike with his entourage surrounding him, and in his orange shirt, white hoodie and his football-sized chain he rocked the hell out of the packed court sized theatre. About three songs into the set, the smell of weed started to waft into the air, the air of a non -smoking space. The smoke was coming from the stage, from three of the guys of Ghostface’s crew, and the only thing they did the whole time was smoke. On the other side was two other guys drinking, and with Ghostface’s frantic running around and brazen rapping, gave his set a very music video-esque feel. The only thing missing was girls dancing, but by the time “c.r.e.a.m.” came on girls had already made their way to the stage to dance along with the rappers.

The real treat of the show however was at the very end, as the boom boom crack bass and snare of “I aint no Joke” came on, and the master MC, Rakim came on. Rakim ran through a set of classics from all his albums, and would often cut out to let the audience rap his songs for him. To his credit, the whole crowd consistently nodded their heads, as they sang along word for word. No doubt that these were real hip-hop heads, couldn't catch them dead at a Soulja Boy show. As the show finished, Brother Ali was headed out of the door, and when asked about working with Rakim he said “He was real cool, one of my legends since I was young. He was cool about everything you know, even when doing regular shit like ordering food; a real pleasure to work with.”


MtvU Woodie Awards hits NYC with a bang
By Ashlyn Coyne

Lights flashing, cameras rolling, crowd screaming. The screen on stage showcases bands most don’t know but wish they did. Trey Martino keeps the acts coming, announcing each award and band excitingly over the microphone. The anticipation and energy is thick throughout the crowd.On Thursday, Nov. 8, the college and university-exclusive MTV channel, MTVU, hosted their fourth annual music awards show called the Woodie Awards. The 2007 Woodie Awards were held at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City and aired on MtvU’s channel on Nov. 15.
The Woodie Awards highlight and recognize less known musical acts who tend to be overlooked in the mainstream music scene. There are no horrible performances by Britney Spears here, or any song or artist as annoying as “Soulja Boy.” Each category is a different “woodie” or a different aspect of a band which recognizes their true talent.

The show kicked off with Lupe Fiasco, performing his song “Superstar.” The already enthusiastic crowd got a little louder when Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy joined Fiasco on stage to finish out his song.

Q-Tip, member of legendary hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest, was the first person to present a woodie, and he listed the nominees for “Woodie of the Year.” Beating out Common, Lily Allen, The Shins and Amy Winehouse, Gym Class Heroes proudly took the stage to accept their woodie, thanking “management and our fans…it’s been a very blessed year.”
The next woodie was called the “Left Field Woodie.” This particular award was for very talented artists who most people have not heard of and couldn’t locate their C.D. in a music store. The nominees were CSS, The Knife, Klaxons, Madvillain and Rodrigo y Gabriela. Madvillain took home this woodie, which he accepted via satellite.

Two-time woodie award winners Fall Out Boy then took the stage to present the Best Video Woodie. The nominees were Justice “D.A.N.C.E.,” Motion City Soundtrack “Broken Heart,” RJD2 “Work It Out,” Say Anything “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too” and TV on the Radio “Province.” The winner was Say Anything, who were greeted on stage with a huge applaud from the audience as they thanked their management, fans and parents.

Kenan Thompson came on stage next and introduced Tokyo Police Club, who performed two singles, “Cheer it On” and “Nature of the Experiment.” With their unique vocals and upbeat energy, their performance really had the crowd cheering.

The Alumni Woodie was presented next, and this award is for the more popular bands that were once in the same position that the woodie awards winners are in. They may have made it bigger than the rest, but they remain true to their roots. Spoon won this woodie award, beating out Bright Eyes, Modest Mouse, The Shins and Talib Kweli.

Next to perform, introduced by Talib Kweli was Spank Rock. They performed their two songs called “Loose” and “Rick Rubin.”

The next woodie was the Viral Woodie, which is for bands who are “infecting” campuses and computers everywhere. Motion City Soundtrack announced the nominees which were The Academy Is, Fall Out Boy, Linkin Park and Meg & Dia. The winner of the viral woodie was The Academy Is who thanked their management, fans and Fueled By Ramen label.

Tom Delonge and Dave Kennedy of the band Angels and Airwaves came out to announce the woodie for Best Music on Campus. The nominees were Acadia from the College of Oneonta, Danny Freeman from University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Rudy and the Rhetoric from University of Washington, Show me Action from Lehigh University, and Stella by Starlight from Duke University. Stella by Starlight were announced the winners, and graciously accepted their woodie and thanked everyone for voting for them humbly.

Singer, songwriter, humanitarian and activist Annie Lennox announced the nominees for Good Woodie. The nominees were all talented artists who use their voices and music to send a positive message. The nominees were Alicia Keys, Guster, Linkin Park, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Thom Yorke. Guster won the Good Woodie this year but was unable to make
the awards ceremony.

With only two more performances and two more award categories left, Lupe Fiasco took the stage once more to introduce The Academy Is, who played two songs for the eager and screaming audience. They played their two songs called “Everything We Had” and “We’ve Got a Big Mess on Our Hands,” both from their newest album.

The next category was the Best Performing Woodie. Muse took this woodie home, beating out Daft Punk, Lil' Wayne, The Academy Is and The Rapture.

The final category of the night was the Breaking Woodie. These nominees are all emerging artists who are really making a name for themselves on college campuses all across the nation. The nominees were Boys Like Girls, Peter Bjorn and John, Rich Boy, Silversun Pickups and Tokyo Police Club. The extremely popular Boys Like Girls took the last 2007 woodie home.
MTVU’s own VJ Kim Stolz and artist RJD2 introduced the act that would close off the night, Rilo Kiley. Rilo Kiley was a great finish to an amazing awards ceremony, closing with two new songs called “The Moneymaker” and “Breakin’ Up.”

The Woodie awards are for bands that are growing in their popularity, especially at colleges and universities. This award ceremony is a great way to recognize and acknowledge the “little”bands that are usually better than most mainstream music. The night was filled with appearances of great musical acts and mind-blowing performances. The Woodie awards took NYC by storm and the 2008 awards will be even better.


The 'Conchords' Are In Flight!

By DaVonne Armstrong

The Flight of the Conchords, of New Zealand, is a two-man acoustic guitar act bringing folk song parody to the forefront of comedic entertainment. Bret “Rhymenoceros” Mckenzie and Jemaine “Hip-Hopapotamus” Clement are childhood friends from the “folk ghettos” of Wellington, New Zealand. I know what you’re going to say? They’re just a New Zealand rip off of Tenacious D, the acoustic metal duo from the states, but these two acoustic comedic powerhouses couldn’t be any more different. Unlike their head banging, side splitting, metal oddity counter parts Jack Black and Kyle Gass (Tenacious D), Mckenzie and Clement use genuinely witty comedic skills supplemented by amazing yet simplistic acoustic guitar playing to deliver a kick-ass show that will leave you giggling to yourself for days. In short, their show is a lot less over the top and chaotic than that of Tenacious D, so their humorous story telling becomes the secret ingredient to their charming attraction to an audience.

A Little Back Story

According to their comedy profile, these “robros” were influenced by folk music at an early age. Around 1998, when they claim to have invented rap, they decided to expand they’re musical range and began parodying other genres as well. However, the full prospective of what they were trying to accomplish with their folk music parodies was not entirely understood until the release of pop/rock musician Roger Whittaker’s EP around 2001. It was at that moment that these boys claim their general audience started to understand what they had been poking fun at all that time. It was at that point that their style of entertainment became so popular in New Zealand that they say it was the best damn thing since rugby (which they also claim to have invented in 1989). So what was next for our New Zealand funny men? Presumably the States of course.

It’s Business Time!!

So now that you know where they are from and how much they are not like Tenacious D here’s where you can find them: Log on to and put Flight of Conchords in the music search and comedy search. Go to and search Flight of the Conchords for short videos of their stand up act and comedy skits. If you have cable, tune into HBO on Mondays at 10:30pm to witness a week in the life of Bret and Jemaine as they try to make a name for themselves in NYC. Or if you want a quick preview to see if you can handle the mother flippin’ greatness of the Conchords, click on the links below and enjoy!
She's So Hot (BOOM)

Add to My Profile More Videos

FOTC / Hip Hop

Add to My Profile More Videos


Italian Way of Life

By Ted Layton

I have lived in many places around the world. And even though I am an experienced traveler with a very open mind, I cannot seem to avoid experiencing some level of culture shock when I live in a new country. From nude bathing in Stockholm, public spitting in the Dominican, the burning of effigies in Ecuador to the Day of the Dead in Mexico City. There is always something new, strange or extremely fascinating to be found in every culture.

It took me a while to find the subtle cultural difference between Italy and the rest of Western Society. Overtime, I found that the most interesting and, in some ways, most refreshing thing about Italian Culture is their adamant desire to not fill their lives (and homes) with consumer products. They don’t have a second car or a flat screen TV in every room in the house or cell phones for every member of the family, as are the expectations for Americans.

In Italy, boys rarely have more than three pairs of pants. Italian girls don’t have more pairs of shoes than they can count on one hand. This is not to say that Italian people don’t have the space in their homes or the money to own these things. In fact, most Italians live comfortably in spacious abodes. They simply have a different view on the value of their personal possessions.

The Italian philosophy on shopping is far different than the American way of ‘Bling Bling’, Wal-Marts and strip malls. Italians would rather save up to buy fewer higher quality items that are timeless and fashionable than for the ‘two dozen at half price’ no name brand item.

The reason for this shopping behavior is closely related to a long held idealism of La Bella Figura. Translated literally, it means “the beautiful figure,” which is the Italian term for taking pride in your appearance; the need to look your best at all times. The emphasis placed on a healthy sense of self worth has proven to be a very good thing. They are much happier, more relaxed and more productive in the clothes they choose to wear. I know I am. (I just went to the H&M Flagship store in Milan, and I feel and look great having been selective in my purchases.)

But this lifestyle of sparse buying spills over into other parts of society as well. When talking about the transportation the cars are much smaller, if people drive them at all. But most choose to Motor-scooter, bike or even walk from point A to B. Quick errands and nightly outings are easily transportable through the very efficient and economical public transit system, which includes buses, trams, trollies, trains and metros.

At home, Italians find innovative ways to get through daily chores while saving on their utilities. Most apartments have a terrace or balcony that is used as a drying rack on Sundays. A drying rack above the sink is also a typical invention that dries dishes and silverware well.

Most homes are uncluttered and open, providing a greater space for family and friends to interact and spend time, which is valued in Italian society.

Italians are not better nor do they think they are. They have embraced Western culture in many ways. However, their consumer behavior is an exception. They don’t choose to buy more for cheap, but instead pay glamour at a fair price.


Does Anyone Want to be Number 1?

By Mike Birnbaum

This past weekend brought us another exciting weekend of college football, and surprise, it was filled with many upsets. Four of the top ten teams in the country lost, including number one LSU and number two Kansas. Going into the last week of the season we should see Missouri become the number one team in the country. Following in a close second will be West Virginia. But with that being said, I do not think that both of these teams will be playing each other for the BCS National Championship. I think that West Virginia will destroy Pittsburgh this weekend, and Missouri will fall to Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game. Leading me to believe that we will see Ohio State creep back into the picture, and meet West Virginia for the national title in January. But since this has been one of the most upset filled seasons of college football ever, nothing is out of the question.


By Adia Barboza

The doors to Babylon Cartel’s clothing release party at the Draught Horse flew open at 11 pm on Saturday night. Within the first ten minutes, Temple students had rushed in two by two sporting nothing less than vivid colors and mini skirts, despite the fact that the temperature in Philadelphia had dropped below 39 degrees Fahrenheit that night. Everything about the release was urban chic, from the ladies in fishnet stockings and red painted lips to the guys in brown leathers. DJ Qlassick added to the zestful mood of the celebration by spinning one hit after another, and designers Gianni Lee and Brandy Staton bounced from one side of the Cherry Pit to the other making sure everything was running smoothly for their big night.

The Babylon team decided to take their designs to the next level this year by branching further into women’s clothing. Since women deserve the best in high fashion and vintage couture, Gianni said that the line was a challenge. Bassador, an underground musical artist, said he was most excited to see the new line designed for women. This year we can expect to see more feminine skirts and jackets.

But one thing hasn’t changed. Babylon Cartel’s merchandise is as full of dynamic colors as the party was with New York fitted hats! Gianni said to me that the best theme song for Babylon’s newest clothes would be Lupe Fiasco’s “Superstar.” With lyrics like ‘If you are what you say you are, a superstar / have no fear, the camera is here,’ I can understand why. The sexy pouts on the models’ faces as they strutted around the party and the graphic tee’s they sported all sent a message to the partygoers of ‘look at me, I’m a celebrity.’ When I asked Brandy if she could pick one piece as her favorite, she took a minute to decide, but came to a graphic tee with the phrase “the 80’s is dead” printed on it.

The mood of the party only got better as the Temple football players entered the building. Hype off of the team’s victory, Brian Sanford, a sophomore who plays defensive end, said, “I heard the last party was hot and I like their clothes.”

After speaking with both Gianni and Brandy, I was better able to understand the mission statement of their line, Babylon Cartel. Brandy explained that the name Babylon Cartel was chosen because of its rich meaning. The land of Babylon was the location of the Hanging Garden; which is now one of the 7 Wonders of the World. In ancient times Jewish people were exiled to Babylon for not fitting the mold. There they found a luxurious life wrapped inside of corruption. Since the duo wanted to create something that would be nondiscriminatory, the name seemed to be a perfect match. The designers say that most of their creations are things they have thought of themselves, but there are other inspirations as well. Gianni’s closet is full of Jordan’s, premium denim and sweaters. He also envies celebrity styles like Pharrel Williams and David Beckham, for their ability to turn something casual in to street chic.

So what’s in store for Babylon Cartel? Brandy and Gianni are planning to just go with the flow, and we here at UrbanLegend wish them the best of luck!