Spotlight Philly: Celebrity news, local gossip and stories about the city you love


Welcome to Spotlight Philly, Metro’s new monthly column that brings you the latest celebrity news, gossip, photos—all with added Philly flavor.

For Spotlight’s inaugural column, we’ll dive right into the latest movie news, notably the close of M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘A Knock at the Cabin’ filming in Philly, and the continued use of Fitler Square for Apple TV+’s upcoming season of ‘Servant‘. Cast and crew were filming around 24th and Spruce streets late Tuesday evening, but hopefully, M. Night Shyamalan will take a break from evening shoots to see his singing, piano-playing daughter, Saleka, perform at The Met Philadelphia on Aug. 16 when she opens for Giveon on his “Give or Take” tour. Saleka is currently working a new single, “Seance,” whose video was lensed by sister Ishana Shyamalan, who has credits writing and directing episodes of ‘Servant’.

In other cinematic news, founder-curator Maori Karmael Holmes will host the 11th Annual BlackStar Film Festival for Black, Brown, and Indigenous film and media artists from Aug. 3 to 7, and R&B singer-turned-director Moses Sumney will debut his experimental film, Blackalachia, at the Barnes Foundation on Aug. 5.

Jennifer Hudson — fresh of her EGOT achievement — was in Philadelphia filming the new movie ‘Breathe’ last month. She was spotted at City Hall. The film also stars Milla Jovovich, Common, and Sam Worthington.

On the Philly food scene, Barbacoa Chef Cristina Martinez celebrated winning a James Beard Award medal for best chef in the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as her appearance on ‘Chef’s Table’, by hosting an impromptu block party outside of the Barbacoa on Ninth Street on Sunday with a sheep-filled petting zoo, horse riding lessons, games and food galore.

And over the bridge, baseball legend and former Cincinnati Reds catcher Johnny Bench chatted with former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and former Sixers point guard Allen Iverson at a celebrity blackjack tournament on July 29, at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. Pictured are Johnny Bench, Michael Vick and Allen Iverson at a celebrity blackjack tournament at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. Hughe Dillon

A local focus

Pictured are chefs (from left) Kiki Aranita, Jose Garces and Phila Lorn. Provided

Most Philadelphians are well aware of Iron Chef and multiple restaurant owner Jose Garces’ culinary work in and around the city—a domain that continues to expand with new and exciting endeavors. His new concept, Garces Eats, will feature dishes and new offerings from hotspots like Amada, Olde Bar, Village Whiskey and more and will debut a new open kitchen located on Wells Fargo’s Club Level in October for the start of the 2022-23 NHL and NBA seasons.

Yes, Garces is busy gaining steam at Wells Fargo, wrapping up his first season of residency chefs at Volver, working on a new partnership with a local brewing company for his Buena Onda locations and is also bringing back the Garces Gala on Sept 29 at Live! Casino.

But currently Garces is carousing in Sun Valley, Idaho, at the Global Foodservice Hospitality Exchange Conference.

“I got to really connect with Chefs Kiki Aranita and Phila Lorn, two of our Chefs in Residency from Volver Season 1, during our morning walks,” says Garces. “I found our morning walks to be a source of enjoyment as we shared both the amazing views and our shared excitement over what’s to come.”

As for the rest of Garces’ summer, he enjoys binging ABC’s ‘A Million Little Things’ with his wife, reading Jay Shanty’s ‘Think Like a Monk’ — “I appreciate Jay’s interpretation of Eastern religions, like Buddhism, and the ways you can apply the simplified approaches to many difficult situations” — and applying Shanty’s sense of serenity to his own life.

“I spend non-work time meditating and working hard to find balance in life, and am into Yung Pueblo, which has been a great resource and source of mindfulness.”

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