When David Headley got arrested in October in Chicago on international terrorism charges, can't say I was shocked. The son of Philly's late Serrill Headley, owner/founder of the Khyber (back when it was Khyber Pass), was part of the old Old City, when the area was weirdly abuzz with allsortsa noise regarding terrorism. Before the Simons turned the Khyber into a onetime indie-rawk paradise, Second Street overflowed with coked-up feds, mob cats, whores and drug dealers bar-hopping between a Len Barry-tended Khyber and the hellish after-after-after spot Purgatory which existed before 32° (née Upstairs at Nick's). Dave Headley circa '86 and '87 made a mess of his mom's Khyber. Maybe his head was on more nefarious activities? Who knows? Heck, Strawberry Street into the 2000s was said to have housed apartments full of arms runners. Problem was, everybody ran scams throughout the '80s and '90s in the OC. Throw a rock. Take a number. This is relevant to Old City now because though it's not the first time the rumor's sprung up, it's the most formidable — Stephen Simons is looking to unload the Khyber from his slate of successful munching bizzes such as Royal Tavern and several Cantinas. Sellsellsell. If that happens, an area trying to change its stripes (successfully, in my eyes) will lose a friend. Then again, maybe it needs a new coat of war paint to get bands and audiences supercharged. Stay tuned.
► On Dec. 16, atop The Balcony atop the Troc, Calvin Weston — jazz-bo extraordinaire — leaves the comfort of Tritone to jam the Drug Bunny Holiday Party with Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Whatever (ex-Phil Moore Browne-rs) and Billy Martin (of Medeski Martin + Wood). More MMW: Dec. 30, Medeski's The Word (with Robert Randolph) reunites at TLA for one of only four gigs.
► After Space 1026 hosts its annual holiday auction (Dec. 11), the collective's flashiest member, Thom Lessner, will drop his Spandex-y hyper-electro band Sweatheart's new 12-inch EP, Tell Your Sister. It already caught the ear of one name-brand rockah. "I sent a promo of it to my idol Justin Hawkins from The Darkness and it won him over enough to sing on our next record, so he says," states Lessner. "You know, when he's not busy writing for Adam Lambert or playing with Meat Loaf and Brian May."
► Dec. 14. A day that'll live in Philly foodie infamy: Michael Schulson (ex-Pod) soft-opens his pan-Asian Sampan at 13th and Sansom. Another former Pod person, master chef Hiroyuki Tanaka, seeks the same day to soft-open sushi spot Zama (19th and Sansom ).
► Sorrowful farewells to Philadelphia giants Jack Rose and Harry Ochs, whom we knew well, and Judy Dillon Wilkens, whom we merely heard stories of.
► Robin Renee, the mistress of subtly sinewy funk (check her spirit.rocks.sexy), hits National Mechanics' once-monthly-Monday Soul-Only soirees with co-host John Cecil Price, Dec. 14. Renee's also looking for a nice vegan roommate.
► Philly's mistress of vocal jazz, Mary Ellen Desmond, will show off panels from the AIDS Quilt on display in The Church of St. Luke and The Epiphany's sanctuary during her Dec. 13 "Comfort & Joy Concert." The show will donate proceeds to the AIDS Fund, one of the supporters of The St. Luke's Hospitality Center as well as the center itself. Plus it's a great chance to hear Desmond with Tom Lawton on piano, Larry McKenna on tenor sax, bassist Lee Smith and drummer Dan Monaghan. Bob Perkins from WRTI FM will be along for the ride.
► Director Tigre Hill revved for the February 2010 première (day, location TBD) of The Barrel of a Gunwith yet another trailer posted at thebarrelofagun.com on Dec. 9 in honor of Officer Daniel Faulkner's death 28 years ago. While the first trailer was about death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal's incarceration and the theories behind it, the second trailer honors Faulkner and his widow, Maureen. It's a must-see clip for those on the side of Faulkner. Remember, too: Hill's re-editing his film after finding new evidential information and footage. Stay tuned.
► What's In Bed with Butch's Butch Cordora doing Dec. 10? Blowing up images from his man-on-man 2009 calendar, and hoisting them onto AxD Gallery's walls during its "Naughty" xx-hibition.
► Remember I told you months ago about how Philly's Celebrity Boxing promoter Damon Feldman drove to New York City and weird points Pennsylvanian to get reality shlub Jon Gosselin to sign on the line which is dotted? Well, it looks as if Feldman got Gosselin's ex-gal-pal, Hailey Glassman, instead to ref a cat-fight or two. Also coming up: John Wayne Bobbitt, a fave of Feldman's. The battle royal is Dec. 18 at Philadelphia Airport's Ramada; Feldman and Glassman will have a press conference at Grey Social Dec. 15.
► WHOWHATWHERE: We caught Diddy tacking on another $10,000 to a $1,000 check that Wired 96.5's Chio in the Morning planned as part of his Christmas Wish charity. Sarah Costello got the cash and Diddy and his gals from Dirty Money (they'll be on Puff's Last Train to Paris CD in 2010) got the publicity. Tony Danza and Randall "Tex" Cobb were spied sitting, not hitting at the Blue Horizon. Kyra Sedgwick and a lady friend ate oysters at XIX at the Park Hyatt's bar, this while her brah-in-law and her hubby, The Bacon Bros, gigged with Mummers at Electric Factory. El Vez and Los Straightjackets sat and supped at Silk City for brunch the day after their World Café Live Christmas showcase. Val in the kitchen made some mex-mazing dishes in their honor, and the Elvettes came too and ate. And this isn't a WHOWHAT, but rather a be-on-the-batch-for: Y'all know Brian O'Halloran, as the beleaguered "Dante Hicks" from Kevin Smith's chestnut Clerks. The film he did with Corey Feldman written and directed by area-suburbanites Vince Scordia and Jeff Siegel, Hooking Up, came out this week. I can't care what the movie looks like, it's more awesome with his presence.
► Want the Cross pen Allen Iverson used to sign his contract with the Sixers? Jackoff! OK it's cool. The auction benefits Sixers Charities and Comcast-Spectacor's Foundations and ends Dec. 17.
► Jukebox Zeros make their next Positively Sick Tritone event, Dec. 11, one for the kids by getting involved with Toys for Tots donations, a set of J-Zero holiday songs and some help from Full Blown Cherry and Peek-A-Boo Revue girls. Bring toys for the children, maybe a few for the gals, too.
► King Britt's Saturn Never Sleeps free sampler is his way of thanking all for making his Painted Bride monthly a sweet success. You can download it here (saturnneversleeps.com/2009/11/25/sns-sampler-no-1/) then thank Ras G, Afta-1, Rucyl and Britt at the Bride Dec. 10.
► 6 ABC's Jim Gardner will get the 2009 Gold Medal Award from the Philly Public Relations Association on Dec. 14 at the Ritz-Carlton. That's cool. But it's also one of the last chances you'll get to. see weatherdude Dave Roberts and Gardner together. If you're a non-member, it's worth the $75 (ppra.net, 215-557-9865).