NORTHEAST-born and -bred Val Keil is Playboy's Miss August. In the July/August issue of the lad mag, Keil poses in old-timey cinematic shots that recall the Golden Age of Hollywood (sans Hays Code restrictions, of course).
"I don't think there's been a centerfold in black-and-white in a long time, so I'm honored to have that," Keil told me, in an unmistakable Philly accent. "It makes me look so glamorous!"
Keil, a 2009 graduate of MaST Community Charter School, decided to send her pictures to Playboy on a whim, telling herself she would be a Playmate of the Month or nothing at all. Playboy flew her out to LA, and weeks later she got a call from the mag saying that Hugh Hefner liked her pictures and he wanted her for the August centerfold.
Her "awesome" family, including big brother and dad who were hesitant at first, are proud of her, Keil said.
Before making the move to LA two months ago, Keil worked at the Torresdale Frankford Country Club, XFINITY Live! and Reedy's Tavern on Frankford Avenue, where she'll be Saturday from 2 to 10 p.m., signing copies of her issue and headshot and hanging with locals.
Since making her move, Keil has had fun hanging at the Playboy Mansion. Last night, she attended the weekly game night with Hef and his wife, Crystal.
She's still bringing Philly flavor to the manse.
"A lot of people say, 'Where does your accent come from?' I don't think it's that strong," Keil said. "It's simmered down a little bit since I've been in LA. But if I have a strong accent, I don't want to lose it."
'Million Dollar' baby
Jon Hamm's had a flash of Philly. Former Inquirer Phillies beat writer Jayson Stark has a cameo in "Million Dollar Arm," about two Indian cricket players who won the chance to try out for the Pittsburgh Pirates after winning a reality show created by agent J.B. Bernstein, played by Hamm, of "Mad Men." Joining Stark on set were Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci, CBSSports.com's Scott Miller, USA Today's Bob Nightengale, Yahoo's Jeff Passon and Fox's Ken Rosenthal, a/k/a "The Hack Pack."
Stark, now the senior baseball writer at ESPN.com, told me that he was on the Atlanta set for 16 hours, completing 62 takes for two pivotal scenes. The importance of the scene all but guarantees that he won't be left on the cutting-room floor. "I will appear in this movie for at least three seconds," Stark promised.
A highlight? Going out to dinner with hard-core baseball nut Hamm, who is a die-hard Cardinals fan.
"It was amazing to watch the process unfold and the attention to detail and how important it is to the people telling this story to get every nuance right," Stark said.
* In other Philly sports-media news, the website Deadspin got its hands on a picture of what looks like Ike Reese passed out at the Pen and Pencil Club, a private club for journalists and service-industry pros. The club has an off-the-record policy, so I'm assuming the tipster was not a journalist. Check it out at ph.ly/ike.
Producers from Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater will be at the Kimmel Center on July 27 looking for Philadelphia talent. Producers will see only 300 acts (starting at 10 a.m.), so show up early if you want a spot.
For audition guidelines, check out apollotheater.org.
The Sporting Life
* New Flyer Samuel Morin, 2012 draft pick Scott Laughton, head athletic trainer Jim McCrossin and Flyers alum Bob "The Hound" Kelly will be at Stone Harbor Elementary School today as part of Trial on the Isle. They will run a "Hooked on Hockey Clinic" at noon and sign autographs at 1:15 p.m. At 3 p.m., look for a beach-volleyball game featuring the 2013 Flyers prospects (hubba, hubba!).
* Today, law firm Zarwin Baum enlists the likes of Fox 29's Mike Jerrick and Kacie McDonnell, comedian Joe Conklin, D.A. Seth Williams, soccer gold-medalist Heather Mitts and many more Philly celebs for the PHILAlympics, in an effort to find Philly's "Phunnest" company. All proceeds go to the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House.
On Twitter: @PhillyGossipDN