Go Away With … Kevin Bacon

Kevin Bacon Band

By Jae-Ha Kim
Denver Post
January 20, 2009

There are many aspects to Kevin Bacon. There’s the actor (“Frost/Nixon,” “The Woodsman,” “Apollo 13,” “Footloose”), the director (“Loverboy,” his wife Kyra Sedgwick’s series “The Closer”), the producer (“Wild Things”) and cultural icon (Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon).

And then there’s his music.

With his older brother Michael, Kevin has been touring for the past 14 years as part of the blues-tinged folk band the Bacon Brothers.

“I can’t spend as much time touring as I’d like because of my other job,” says Bacon, 50.

“But music is something very important to me that I just really love.”

The Bacon Brothers’ latest CD “New Year’s Day” is available on iTunes and Amazon. It also will be released in stores this March.

Though Bacon has filmed in numerous exotic locations and traveled worldwide with his wife, only one city cuts it as his favorite place in the world: his hometown of Philadelphia.

FAVORITE DESTINATION: Philadelphia. It’s a short hop on the Amtrak down to Philly — about an hour and 15 minutes from New York. I’ve lived in New York since I was 17 and don’t see myself moving back to Philly, but I will always go back there. It’s an interesting place to explore and you can’t compare it to other cities. It’s unique.

WHY PHILLY? It’s a major East Coast city that still has a small town feel. You can run into people that you know from your old neighborhood or just lose yourself in the bustling, diverse downtown area. There’s a beautiful campus, a lot of historical elements with the Liberty Bell and just so much to see. I love New York, but there’s something really special about Philly. Everything is on a really small scale and it feels almost like a dollhouse. I love the little tiny streets, some of which are made of cobblestones. It has a feel that’s missing in a lot of other places. It really is special.

CH-CH-CH-CHANGES: Philly was very different when I was growing up there. My father lived in the same house that we grew up in until he died. It was a little more Old World during my years there. Now it has gotten much more cosmopolitan with all these cool restaurants, the art district with all the galleries and clubs. It’s not lacking for anything. A lot of people who want to live in New York City, but can’t afford Manhattan, are opting to buy condos or houses in Philly, rather than moving to the suburbs, and then they just commute to work.

BEING RECOGNIZED: Once you get outside of New York, people are always a little more excited to see you. I thought everyone would be blase about me back home but they all wanted to feed me. I shot “The Woodsman” there and all these people came by my trailer with cannoli and egg sandwiches for me. It was great!

PLACES TO EAT: You have to go to the Italian Market in South Philly. The best day to go is Saturday ’cause it’s really alive and a lot of fun. There’re two famous steak houses — Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks. In my opinion they’re both good, but there are plenty of other steak shops in town that have great menus. No matter which one you go to, you have to get the cheese steak with hot peppers. You’ll be in heaven. The best way to tell if you’ve had a good cheese steak is if you feel the need to shower afterwards. Also, Melrose Diner. It’s a great place to get something to eat after you’ve been hanging out. You’ll have a waitress call you, ‘Hon’ and just make you feel at home. It’s a Philly thing. They always call you, ‘Hon.’

ECO-FRIENDLY TRAVELER: I walk at least 40 blocks every day and use public transportation. When I go to Philly, I don’t drive. Why would I want to get into a car and sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic when I can take the train to downtown Philly? There’s a fantastic book called “You are Here” by Thomas Kostigen that I wrote the foreword for and he walks you through some of the consequences of our daily actions. I tread lightly talking about this because sometimes it can backfire. On the other hand, I feel that maybe I can do my part in some small way to show by example that it’s not that hard to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle. One of the things we do with the Bacon Brothers is encourage people to fill their water bottles up with tap water or from the fountain. Tap water is not bad for you. The Bacon Brothers even sell aluminum water bottles, not that you have to use ours. I’m horrified at the amount of plastic bottles that get thrown away every day.



CELLULOID MOMENTS: In the film “Rocky,” Sylvester Stallone’s titular character, Rocky Balboa, ran up the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

PHILADELPHIA FACTOIDS: The Italian Market is the oldest outdoor market in the United State. Philadelphia’s Johann Behrent built the first American square piano in 1775. Back then, it was called the pianoforte. Betsy Ross made the first American flag here. Benjamin Franklin founded the first public zoo.

To learn more about Philly, check out gophila.com. For information about the Bacon Brothers, go to baconbros.com.

© 2009 JAE-HA KIM

Comments (1)

  1. This is one of my favorite celebrity “go away” stories of yours. I think I enjoyed it so much because I like the actor Kevin Bacon, because I can almost here his voice saying these things, and because his answers seem so down-to-earth. He makes me want to go to Philadelphia.

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