► Speaking of toasts, while Rit-Row's been sucking up the multi-page-menu multitude of cool booze concoctions at The Franklin and Noble, where's that doggone 20th Street Village Whiskey joint Jose Garces promised before all-y'all started drinking mixed tumblers of bitters and ginners? I spoke to him while he was en route to an appearance on The Today Show. "You can definitely expect a laid-back, drink-driven atmosphere perfect for tasty whiskey cocktails or sampling our 100-plus whiskies," says Garces about opening VW (probably) not until late August. Yeah, he's serving small-plate yum-ables — but it'll be Dave Conn's world-class food to complement drinks, rather than the other way around. "Our focus, as always, is on creating delicious, memorable experiences. This time, though, it's through a cocktail lens." Garces, excited by the "mixology wave," is thrilled to experiment with booze at his Tinto-neighboring white-tile venue. But what's Jose doing with that Western Union space on Locust Street, the one titled as Garces Trading Co. for his October-due food/wine PLCB partnership? "Expect great cheeses and charcuterie, prepared foods and a café which will be a relaxed BYOB." OK.
► A far lesser Jose, steroid-y baller Canseco, is doing a win-a-date night and fighting off "El Wingador" Simmons around July 24 as part of Damon Feldman's circus-like Celebrity Boxing things at Iceworks Skating Complex.
► Green's Bar at Third and Bainbridge became Holy Tomato in the late '60s, according to then-owner David Carroll, who sold that spot to Judy Galfand in 1973 to make it into Judy's. Point: That corner's always been an adventure. In 2006, David Ansill continued the adventure with the delightful gastronomic experiment named after his dad — until last week when he closed. Sad.
►If you like Christian missionaries who do hip-hop or rappers who get really holy with little provocation, you should see NJ MC/motivational speaker Concepts — Lawrence Lockett Jr. — at World Café Live July 19. Amen.
➤ Right after playing a gig with Sir Richard Bishop at Johnny Brenda’s, guitarist Jack Rose — Philly’s answer to John Fahey — signed to Thrill Jockey for a due-by-2010 release. It’s the future.
➤ Actually Andy of the Future is truly the future. But I digress. Richard Wexler, in preparation of celebrating his Sherman Arts league’s first decade this autumn as well as getting the gig doing projections for the Live Arts post-show barroom starting in September, will host Andy of the Future and Agent Moosehead at National Mechanics July 20. So then the future starts, at the very latest, on July 20. Good to know.
➤ I’ll talk about this more next week as it’s a Philadelphia indie-rock congressional mandate. But power pop’s rabid prince Jim Slade just pressed a new Nixon’s Head album, Enemies List, onto CD and vinyl LP. He’s old-school like that. Amorosi hasn’t listened yet but is pretty certain it’s a nasty Slade-ian epic.
➤ The Red Room at the Society Hill Playhouse welcomes the way-French Jacques Brel is Alive and Well there between July 16 and Aug. 17. OK, Brel was Belgian-born. But don’t hold that against him or Bckseet Productions singers Kate Brennan, G DeCandia, Rene Goodwin and John O’Hara.
➤ WHOWHATWHERE: Jack Nicholson was spotted smoking and eating and smoking and eating at Parc while on break from that James L. Brooks flick of his. Don’t be surprised to see Chris Raab from the MTV-produced Jackass and Viva LaBam around town. He’s directing Philly rawwwker Fosterchild’s “After the Fire” vid (for their upcoming CD) as well as putting that band in his locally shot reality show pilot for Road Scholars that’ll feature himself, Lord Bottaro (from CKY and Minghags: The Movie) and Mitchell Canter. And you won’t be seeing Philly director Caesar Augustus (of Augustus Films) or local raunchy rapper Asher Roth for three weeks — they’re off shooting a tour documentary and reality TV show concept to be repped by Ryan Seacrest. Caesar will also shoot Roth’s homecoming gig at Electric Factory co-produced by Invincible Pictures. After playing a gig at A.C.’s Borgata Event Center with the J. Geils Band, earnest Philly rocker/cruise ship first mate John Eddie celebrated his b-day at Havana in New Hope. Hope he had their Bloody Marys — they make the best. Philly actor David Morse, currently on screen in The Hurt Locker, caught Roseanne Cash at the Keswick. No toe-tapping was witnessed.
➤ You want to save the Fountain on East Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Street, don’t you? C’maaan. There’s a “Save the Fountain” event July 21 to raise cash to keep the splashy water splashing and the soft sounds of Frank Sinatra and Perry Como singing — hence its nickname the “singing fountain,” built by The Avenue’s Citizens Alliance five years ago. Three civic associations — East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District, East Passyunk Crossing and Passyunk Square Civic Association — are in on the preservation. Tickets are $25. Call 215-336-1455 visiteastpassyunk.com for info.
➤ On July 18, WYSP’s Tommy Avallone — he who made his directorial debut this spring with the raunchy comedy Community College — plays his flick at the bar where he filmed it: Dante’s on the White Horse Pike in Barrington, N.J.. “It’s like playing Return of the Jedi on the Death Star,” says Avallone of the free screening with pal/Dude Where’s My Car co-star Michael Ray Bower. Hopefully film stars like Rev. Bob Levy will show up. Or send flowers. Flowers are nice.
➤ July 19 at 6:30 p.m. T & P Gallery on Ninth Street and the Girls Rock Philly org host Chicago author Jessica Hopper who’ll read from The Girls’ Guide to Rocking: How to Start a Band, Book Gigs, and Get Rolling to Rock Stardom.
➤ City Paper fave Mary Bichner — the boss of Box Five — may have moved to Boston. But we’ve seem her on CBS News and have been in e-mail touch with her about scoring a musical play Never After and becoming part of ReverbNation/Microsoft Windows’ Sponsored Song Program and her new classicist cut, “Today’s the Day.” Yep, that’s what Microsoft is doing when it’s not busy fucking with my computer. Mary’ll play on July 19 at L’Etage with fellow Beantown neo-classicists Goli. Expect to hear a few Bowie cover tunes (sorry I can’t join in on the singing as she’d asked) and some spare versions of the big orchestral maneuvers she’s been working on.