Philly never misses a reason to party — especially if that reason is being melted in a steel furnace — so things are likely to get pretty metal in Fairmount this weekend, where people are planning to party in a vacant lot to celebrate the letter that launched a thousand memes.
In February, residents in Brewerytown and Fairmount posted photos to Reddit of an anonymous letter that had been slipped under their doors.
The letter, which was inexplicably headlined “ABBA,” detailed how all of the food people have eaten since first grade is still alive in their bodies and that the only way to be saved is to become a “solid steel statue” or to “seal yourself in cement.”
The letter’s author proposed erecting a steel furnace so people could be mixed with metal to prevent further harm to themselves.
“Of course, you’ll be sedated first,” the author wrote.
The letter called for people to attend a meeting about the furnace at the vacant lot at 27th Street and Girard Avenue at noon April 27.
The author ended the missive with the words: “Do attend.”
And oh, Philly plans to.
But that was two months ago, when the furnace meeting seemed like a lifetime away. Now, the day is upon us, food-filled Philadelphians, and here is how the people of Philly are steeling themselves to become steel.
At this point, trying to explain the steel furnace to someone who isn’t up on it is like trying to explain Game of Thrones to someone who’s never watched an episode but wants to catch the final season.
It’s easier to lie than to try to explain all the fire, death, and metal work.
Chaperones, do attend
According to a Reddit post, two upstanding gentlemen (but not as upstanding as they’ll be when they’re melted with steel) posted a Craigslist request for a drinking chaperone to accompany them to the Steel Furnace Party.
The men didn’t want the chaperone to drive them, they just wanted someone with them to maintain relative sobriety (“We don’t mind if you drink at the event, just keep it together”) so that the chaperone could make sure they got in an Uber at the end of the day.
These guys are really taking that “you’ll be sedated first” bit to heart.
The pay was listed as $50 upfront and $20 every hour thereafter. Applicants were asked to submit a resumé. The position is now listed as filled.
There’s nothing like a good cold beer after being turned into a a hot steel statue, and because this is Philly — where beers are created for everything from speeches to mascots — of course a local brewery has invented a beer for the Steel Furnace Party.
Crime & Punishment Brewing Co., located near the lot where the furnace party is to be held, has created “Do Attend," a jalapeño double IPA that’s jokingly intended to simulate what it’s like to have molten lava poured on you, according to PhillyVoice’s Brian Hickey.
We’ll drink — and solidify our bodies into steel statues — to that.
Songs to become steel to
Nobody wants to become a steel statue while listening to the screams of other people becoming steel statues, so someone by the name of MikeRob has created a “Furnace Party” playlist for the event.
The electronic songs, which have no lyrics, are as mechanical and dystopian as a steel furnace that turns humans into statues. The songs have titles like “Of course, you’ll be sedated first” and “27th and Girard.”
While one 15-second song on the list is called “ABBA,” it is not actually a song by ABBA, so we’d like to suggest adding ABBA’s hit “S.O.S.” to the playlist because those Swedish legends, who are somehow inextricably and inexplicably tied to all this, deserve to be honored too.
Team Cement vs. Team Steel
This is Philly, so of course a rivalry had to be created.
While many were immediately enthralled by the idea of becoming a statue, several people pointed out that the letter’s author gave a second option for survival: being sealed in cement.
It seems like those planning to attend Saturday have formed into two camps: Team Steel or Team Cement.
Stickers have been created, shirts have been made, and lines have been drawn. In the battle for the human soul, who shall prevail? Only time and molten metal will tell.
Even for those who had fun with the letter, it raised concerns about the author’s mental health.
So one man, Dennis Scoleri, started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the Philadelphia Mental Health Clinic in light of Saturday’s event.
“If we can turn even a percentage of the effort that is being put into memes right now into action, we can make a difference and help some people out,” he wrote.
Because as silly as Philly can be, the people of this city also have a large capacity for kindness. Just don’t tell anyone that. We have a reputation to uphold, and that reputation is turning people into steel statues.