Happy first weekend of September - and happy Labor Day weekend, too, for our American cities! Let's take a look at what's been happening around the Ist-a-verse.
The deaths of two firefighters shook Bostonist this week. Boston's firefighters bent over backwards all week long - first, they fought flames pouring from the Boston Tea Party museum, and then a restaurant fire killed two and injured many more. Their efforts make everything else - like Tom Brady's indecisiveness, the Sox's stumbles, the return of the college hordes, chaos on the Common, and hormone-filled rich kids - seem trivial.
As LAist melts away in their heat wave and weird weather, they beg Hollywood to make a bio-pic of the posthumous tap dancer extraordinaries, the Nichols Brothers (you must see this), but for them not to film the movie, or anything for that matter, on their hard-to-find street without proper notification. In one of LA's more trendy neighborhoods, they caught up with a famous homeless person, the Silver Lake Five Dollar Guy, and found the Elliott Smith tribute wall (where he once posed for an album cover) to be defaced by graffiti.
This week was surprisingly busy for the end of August for DCist, what with two major White House resignations and the national obsession over what's really going on in public restrooms. But they still made time to put together a glossary of wine terms and a list of jokes about some local firefighters who are suspected of running a prostitution ring. They never knew "firehose" was actually spelled differently, for example.
Despite their need this week to do some good old-fashioned hating, Phillyist was in good spirits this week, with the Philadelphia Live Arts and Philly Fringe festivals kicking off, cheap lobster, and a few helpful readers helping to solve a mystery. They also got some awesome eclipse shots, spread some local TV gossip, and got a few chuckles.
This week, Torontoist found one of the cutest signs ever, reinvented its city's transit survey, investigated how "real" its city's violence is. They were plenty curious to end the summer, too: they tried to uncover a history mystery, tried to pin down its city's fascination with facades, and tried to figure out what was so bad about carpooling.
The UK doesn't have Monday as a Labor Day, but Londonist don't mind. They did their partying last week at the world's second largest carnival. The good vibes continued as they witnessed the unveiling of a statue to Nelson Mandela. They also said happy birthday to Londoner Winnie Langley, who just turned 100 despite having smoked five cigarettes a day since she was a child. They resisted buying her a £25,000 hearing aid, and a very, very expensive skull.
SFist found out that revelers/navel gazers at Burning Man suffered two setbacks (one minor and one fatal) early on in the festivities. Also, Safeway stores seem a bit shady when to comes donation demands and its staff, SF Chronicle editor-in-chief Phil Bronstein gets some Mediabistro love, and the comment thread lit up when the topic switched to increasing property tax payments. In a refreshing twist, an innocuous car accident ended up cooling off Mission district-dwelling San Franciscans if only for a few, glorious moments.
Labor Day generally signals the end of summer at Chicagoist, so it was natural that they and their readers took a long look at a proposed ordinance allowing dogs to eat with their owners at outdoor cafés. Readers also had definite opinions on a report that showed that one in four Illinoisans are obese. School is also back in session, and some are being given the right to choose what school holidays they honor, which means that students could have more time in class to hone their math skills before deciding to take city college courses as casino workers. Meanwhile, funding was approved for the region's public transportation system, which Bears linebacker Lance Briggs should use more often since he apparently can't handle the power of a Lamborghini.
Austinist continued its ACL Music Festival previews by chatting with Peter, Bjorn, and John, Bloc Party, Ghostland Observatory, and The Broken West, and debated whether folks should try to see Wilco or My Morning Jacket. Meanwhile, a more indie-centric winter music festival is shaping up to be a serious contender to Pitchfork's summer event in Chicago . Austinist got riled up by the new Iraq war documentary, No End in Sight, but mellowed out after hearing that Texas was relaxing its marijuana laws. Meanwhile, Red Bull's Flugtag had 80,000 attendees cheering for ridiculous flying contraptions (none of which did much flying), while a smaller number of die-hard hipsters celebrated the arrival of NYC scenesters-extraordinaire, The MisShapes.
The final week of August was anything but slow for Gothamist. A reader sent us a gross image (NSFW) of a subway flashing that made us question the cleanliness of subway seats. Mayor Bloomberg unveiled a new program to give tips to tourists - just in time for the influx of new naive college students. We spoke to two ASCAP officials to better understand the world of music licensing and it turned out that a 7-alarm fire at a September 11-scarred building that left two firefighters dead was caused by smoking. And founder of punk music (and more) club CBGB's - end of an era indeed.
From top: Photograph of Boston's Tea Party Museum fire courtesy of Kendra Hoyt for Bostonist; photograph of a faith-filled sign by Miles Storey/Torontoist; photograph of San Francisco geyser by evansent; and photograph outside the former CBGB's by ~Raymond on Flickr