Tony Danza shot scenes yesterday inside Front Street Gym in Port Richmond as a shady fight promoter in the independent drama The Nail: The Story of Joey Nardone, in which cheesesteak baron Tony Luke Jr. plays a onetime fighter, just out of prison, who pumps up a teenager who's being picked on. Also shooting yesterday was former boxer Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini (playing a trainer). A bunch of local actors are getting screen time in The Nail, including "Stink" Fisher (who played Dennis Franks in Invincible), WIP's Hugh Douglas (as a prison guard), and Kathy Romano of the Preston & Steve show on WMMR. Romano shot her scene Wednesday at Ray's Happy Birthday Bar in South Philly. She plays a mother whose daughter dies, so she got to emote. Filmmakers hope to have the final cut ready by September.
City Hall transformed
The traveling cinematic circus known as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen should be out of here about now, on its way to Princeton, then to L. A., then to somewhere overseas.
Kevin Dunn and Julie White, reprising their Transformers roles as the parents of lead Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), were spotted working Thursday in the City Hall courtyard, which had been done up like a Parisian streetscape. Some passersby heard minor explosions, a recurring effect in the action-adventure, and Broad Street was briefly closed so Transformers cars could roar by.
Among the actors was NBC10 reporter Kristen Welker, who wouldn't talk about her experience but commended director Michael Bay: "I did about four takes of my scene. He's clearly someone who pushes his actors to try new things and be creative." Welker says she was called out of the blue.
Meanwhile, Bay played location scout of sorts, leading a crowd of cast and crew to a night out at Pearl in Center City on June 12. The next day, Pearl got a call to reserve the VIP room for Saturday night with a request that it be stocked with Heinekens on ice for Bay, LaBeouf, Megan Fox, and several other cast members, crew and producers after the day's shoot.
Q-ing up a new morning show
Q102 will announce its new morning show on Tuesday - according to a question mark-filled "save the date" notice circulated at the top-40 station last week that advertised a party that night at Center City's G Lounge. The show, which I hear will start no sooner than June 30, will replace that of Chris Booker, who was abruptly silenced May 23; he's being paid to sit at home with Alycia Lane for the year remaining on his contract. May's Arbitron ratings were released last week, and Booker's numbers were among his best ever. He had the largest cumulative audience in town among all listeners ages 18 to 34 and women 18 to 34. So, why ditch him? Talk is that the Clear Channel station is thinking long-term and had to lock in a cheaper, syndicated show now. That is, if my guess is correct about Q102's new morning guy: Elvis Duran, now on Clear Channel's Z100 in New York and two other stations.
Wednesday's Great Chefs Event at Osteria restaurant - which drew a slew of chefs from around the country, cooking fancy nibbles under a tent on Broad Street - netted $150,000 for the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. The real fun was later, when the chefs motored after midnight to South Philly for cheesesteaks with Whiz. Among them: Marc Vetri of Vetri and Osteria; Joseph Manzare of Zuppa, Globe and Tres Agaves in San Francisco; Rocco Whalen of Fahrenheit in Cleveland; Jeff Benjamin, co-owner of Vetri and Osteria; Paul Kahan of Blackbird and avec in Chicago; and Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix. Consensus: Geno's beat Pat's.
Georges Perrier used a saber to pop open a bottle of Moet & Chandon on Thursday at the Ball on the Square, the annual benefit for Rittenhouse Square. He also picked up smaller sharp implements as his Signature Catering created the evening's food.
The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists has reached out to Fox29 to express concern at what it says was the release of at least four African American staffers, including anchor Dave Huddleston, assistant news director Leslie Patterson-Tyler, writer-producer Sherylle Linton Jones, and assignment editor Denise Haley, who resigned. The PABJ said it was assessing whether this was "unfairly disproportionate" to the total number of newsroom employees at Fox29, which neither the PABJ nor the station would specify. "PABJ realizes that most media companies are facing budgetary issues in this economy; however, the overall product and the diverse voices that African Americans and other minorities bring to the media in the Delaware Valley should not be compromised," the group said in a statement. Fox29 said: "We remain committed to a diverse news operation that reflects the community we serve both on and off the air."
Don't expect Action News alumna Michele McCormack to return to Philly soon: She just won a promotion to main weeknight anchor on WDJT, the CBS station in Milwaukee.
Michael Bradley will fill in this week for Jody McDonald's afternoon-drive show on WPEN-AM (950).
A bar full of extras is needed for a music video being shot next Sunday night at Whiskey Tango in Northeast Philadelphia for Jayy Mannon from Bonehead, whose song "time" is featured in Natalie Paige Bentley's film City of Mother Love. Interested? E-mail Bentley at email@example.com.
That was Charles Barkley and Howard Eskin sharing a cheese plate over cocktails Thursday night at Rouge on Rittenhouse Square.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett and CBS3 anchor Susan Barnett will headline today's Irish Festival on Penn's Landing.
NAACP chairman Julian Bond surprised staff Thursday at Mount Airy's Geechee Girl Rice Cafe by showing up with about a dozen members of his extended family for a reunion. Chef-owner Valerie Irwin's menu is inspired by the cuisine of South Carolina's Gullah Islands, which maintain a direct link to the culture of West African slaves brought to this country.