Inqlings: Throwback plan for Striped Bass

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"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" actors Rob McElhenney (left), Glenn Howerton and Kaitlin Olson drew a crowd at City Hall. (See "Roll 'em.")

Striped Bass will close at the end of the month as owner Stephen Starr plans to turn the seafood destination restaurant this fall into a '40s-supper-club-style steak house called Butcher & Singer Steak & Seafood.

Starr told staffers yesterday that they'd be offered jobs at his other restaurants, including Parc, the French bistro he plans to open July 1 on nearby Rittenhouse Square.

Butcher & Singer was the brokerage firm that occupied the space at 15th and Walnut Streets before Striped Bass opened in 1994.

Starr told me he has an Oct. 1 opening targeted and would put $2 million into renovations, including old-time Hollywood-style booths and lamps on the tables. Average dinner check will be $85 a person, about $25 less than Striped Bass.

Starr bought Striped Bass out of bankruptcy and reopened it four years ago.

Stars here on a 'dare'

Society Hill native David Brind amassed a clutch of hot young stars (Emmy Rossum, Zach Gilford, Ashley Springer) and critical favorites (Sandra Bernhard, Ana Gasteyer, Alan Cumming) to work for a pittance here on dare, a feature-length version of the award-winning short he wrote while in the MFA program at Columbia University. It wrapped Wednesday.

Brind, a fan of the high-school-movie genre, says dare drew inspiration from smart examples such as Rebel Without a Cause, Heathers, Election and The Breakfast Club. Though dare is about three types - the good girl, the bad boy and the outsider - "we take these types and really unwrap them, to unveil them as something more than the sum of their parts," Brind says. Bernhard plays a psychiatrist, Gasteyer a mother, and Cumming a semi-famous actor.

Director Adam Salky, a Columbia classmate, shot it at Brind's alma mater, Friends' Central in Wynnewood, as well as at Milkboy Coffee in Ardmore, Bryn Mawr College, the Prince Music Theater, Plays and Players Theatre, the Art Alliance, and assorted homes.

It came together for less than $1 million because it was a passion project, drawing such behind-the-scenes heavies as Mary Jane Skalski, a producer; Kerry Barden, a casting agent; and Charles Mastropietro, whose talent agency represents Rossum, Gilford and Gasteyer.

The film will be shopped for festivals next year, and Brind says he's working on a screenplay that is a ghost story/psychological thriller set in Society Hill.

Gilford and Rossum report getting lots of local love, and both tell cheesesteak stories. Rossum: "I quickly learned of the huge debate - Geno's, Pat's, Jim's or Tony Luke's - and I'm not sure I can decide." Gilford relates: "You better know how to order your cheesesteak, or you'll either get yelled at or get no food."

Roll 'em

Keep an eye out for Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Megan Fox and John Turturro over the next two weeks as Michael Bay puts Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen before the cameras in Philly, starting tomorrow. Among locations: Peco plants along the Delaware, the University of Pennsylvania (because LaBeouf plays a college student), and Eastern State Penitentiary. Last week's shooting in Bethlehem, Pa., was a blast, as the old U.S. Steel plant hosted explosions and whirring Black Hawk helicopters.

Marathon Grill hosted the wrap party for the drama Happy Tears at its 10th and Walnut location. Among attendees on May 31 was costar Parker Posey.

FX's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia drew many hundreds to City Hall on Friday for shooting. Speaking of sunny: The Greater Philadelphia Film Office, which promotes shooting hereabouts, is selling film-theme umbrellas ($10) through www.film.org under "film scene" and then "merchandise."

Happy Birthday, Harris Malden - a very-low-budget indie by locals Nick Gregorio, Eric Levy, Juan Cardarelli, Matt Sanchez and Ben Davidow, operating under the name Sweaty Robot - will premiere this week at the 10th annual CineVegas Film Festival. It's about a guy who draws on a mustache, not realizing that no one is fooled.

Given the hook

Sansom Street Oyster House at 1516 Sansom St. closed last week, and founder David Mink plans to reopen it as soon as he regains the liquor license. Cary Neff, who bought the business from Mink in September 2000, filed for bankruptcy protection last month. Neff owns the French bistro Coquette in Queen Village, which was unaffected. Mink, whose father, Sam, owned the landmark Kelly's on Mole Street, founded SSOH in 1976. Asked for comment, Mink and Neff clammed up.

Briefly noted

Jane Golden, head of the city's Mural Arts Program, is in Hanoi at the invitation of the Ford Foundation to advise city officials on the construction of a several-mile-long ceramic mural to commemorate the city's 1,000-year history. Golden says the Vietnamese found Mural Arts' Web site and sought Golden's expertise in gathering consensus from the communities that the mural - due for dedication in 2010 - will encompass.

Entertainment lawyer Kevon Glickman, who has repped Rick Ross, Trina, the Fugees and Flo Rida and was president of RuffNation Records, has joined Bochetto & Lentz as the Philly law firm adds entertainment and sports litigation, brand management, strategic partnerships, and new-media consulting.

Soft pretzels will be handed out at noon Tuesday along the boulevard side of JFK Plaza as a twisted tie-in to the Olympic team trials for gymnastics coming to the Wachovia Center June 19-22. Also, the movie Bend It Like Beckham will be screened outdoors at Penn's Landing at 7 p.m. Thursday; gymnast Shannon Miller is due, too.

Bill Irwin, appearing in The Happiness Lecture for the Philadelphia Theatre Company, donned his Mr. Noodle persona at Thursday's Phillies game to clown with the Phillie Phanatic. Happiness, at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, has been extended through June 22.

Sales play

Former Eagle Jevon Kearse has cut the asking price of his Moorestown five-bedroom from $3.1 million to $2,699,993. Think of the jersey worn by the Tennessee Titans defensive end, known as "The Freak," and the 93 will make sense.


Contact columnist Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or mklein@ phillynews.com. See his recent work at http://go.philly.com/michaelklein.