LEGENDARY former Sixer Julius Erving was a featured guest at last week's Wall Ball, a gala benefiting the Mural Arts Program.
Doctor J is one of the few (living) people who has both a Philly-based statue and a mural in his honor. "That kind of cements your legacy, huh?" Erving said.
It also has to be surreal, right?
"Oh yeah," Erving said. "I have been in a couple of situations where I'll take someone up to [the mural's location at 1219 Ridge Ave.]. We'll drive up on it and they won't know what they're going to see. Here's 6'6" me and here's me with 24 feet added."
On Friday, the Roots will share that feeling of seeing themselves writ large on the side of a building when their mural, on the side of World Communications Charter School at Broad and South, is officially dedicated.
But while the Roots' Questlove and Black Thought will surely be dressed to the nines, they'll have to step it up to compete with Doctor J's outfit on Thursday: a sleek black tux topped off with quarter-size golden bears at his cuffs and studs.
Apparently, Erving's quite the accessories maven. "It's old-school, when we used to dress up," Erving said, obviously excited I noticed his teddy bears. "I have a good collection, so I'm pretty proud of that. I'm sure one day it will be on the block with all the memorabilia. But not now."
Tyler Perry's "The Haves and the Have Nots," the new soap on Oprah Winfrey's OWN channel, will have a little bit of Bucks County flavor.
Tyler Lepley, a former football star from Doylestown's Central Bucks West, will appear in his first major acting role, alongside John Schneider of "The Dukes of Hazzard," Tika Sumpter of "Gossip Girl" and Crystal R. Fox of "In the Heat of the Night." The show explores two families from two very different socioeconomic backgrounds. Lepley plays Benny Young, the eldest son of the poorer clan who is trying to keep his family together.
"I definitely wouldn't think in a million years I would be an actor," Lepley said. "It really speaks to the grace of God. He works in mysterious ways." Lepley was pretty content working as a personal trainer in LA when a client said he had "the right look" for acting.
Lepley doesn't think of "The Haves" as a soap opera, preferring to refer to it as a fast-paced "sexy drama." (Although, he admits to loving "Melrose Place" during its '90s heyday.) Perry, Lepley said, is very involved in the day-to-day of "The Haves," writing, directing and producing the series, based on one of his plays.
"[But Perry is] also very receptive to any input anyone has around him," Lepley said. "You want to be creative and collaborative and you need to be open to do that."
"The Haves and the Have Nots" premieres tonight at 9 on OWN.
Investigative reporter Ben Simmoneau is out at CBS3. A rep confirmed that his final day was last week. No word from Simmoneau on where he's going yet. He joined the station in 2008.
Simmoneau joins the more high-profile recent departures of anchor Susan Barnett and reporter Robin Rieger.
* Cast members of the Food Network's "Mystery Diners" were seen hanging out on Market Street in Old City last week. The crazy-addictive show purports to go undercover at restaurants to document the bad behavior of the staff. A source told me "Mystery Diners" producers had been looking for a Philly-area spot to film an episode. Looks like they found one.
* Midtown Village restaurant queens Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran will appear on the Cooking Channel's "Pizza Cuz," in an episode talking about lady 'za barons. Turney and Safran will discuss their asparago pizza from Mediterranean spot Barbuzzo. "Pizza Cuz" airs Mondays at 9 p.m.
* Rupert Jee, the deli owner who makes frequent appearances on the "Late Show with David Letterman," decided to travel down to Cherry Hill for a consultation on a little facial pick-me-up. Jee, the owner of Hello Deli (located across the street from Letterman's Ed Sullivan Theater home), visited plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Davis to look into getting a lower eyelid reduction.
* Rapper Eve hit up Mitchell & Ness before a recent FYE record signing. Word is she snapped up a purple snapback hat, emblazoned with '1990,' and repped her hometown with a Sixers tank top.
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