How does the chain of connections start? Well, Connections.Media picks someone we feel drawn to hold space for. Like anything, it is a feeling in your gut, something you just have to reach out and begin. Then we follow the journey from there, as one person picks the next, based on the conversation that took place on that day, in that moment. After 5 conversations a theme reveals itself, and a chain is complete.
Follow this theme of "AWARENESS"
Town of Birth: Bridgeport, CT
Occupation/Job/Life Purpose Work: Today - General Manager of The Parker, a new jazz lounge. Soon - WHO KNOWS, new adventure.
“Do I have any freedom in my life? Yeah, sure, relative freedom. Am I free in my own mind to think what I want? Yeah, sure. Am I free to say what I want? No, 80% maybe? 75%? We’ve gotten so USED to lying, which is basically just not being free. Like, “How are you?” “I’m good,” even though you’re really not. Nobody wants to hear that, so just tell us you’re GOOD so we can go on to the next question and you can lie about that too.”
The night [Becca and I] met, we had a good conversation. I felt like maybe there was a feeling, like a gut feeling that I should be interviewed, but I have no idea because I don't know what her motivations are for this project, maybe it's a study of psychopaths and their friends and Becca thinks I'm nuts, I don't know. But my gut tells me, her gut told her (lots of guts).
“So, it’s like this… We have to be hungry all the time for food to be super delicious. The human thing is to slowly recalibrate, to get back to what you think is normal.
I remember a buddy and I got into a car accident in Florida, worst car accident I’ve ever been in. We were going 80mph in the rain and we spun out and hit a tree, ended up upside down, in a pickup truck. Everything WAS everywhere.
We had just gotten cups of coffee, and when we got in the accident it went everywhere. I thought it was his blood, and he thought it was my blood, because it was warm liquid and we just got in a car accident. We were like ‘Oh my God, are you okay?!?’ We got out without a scratch. It was pouring rain, we were on a Florida interstate, people were running towards us, we were like ‘I can’t believe it, we’re okay!’
I didn’t realize, but I was standing in a huge anthill and ants were crawling up my leg and biting me. I looked at them, and I was like, ‘Ants are biting me,’ and my friend said, ‘Get out of the anthill man,’ and I was like, ‘I will, but it’s really amazing, I’m so happy that the ants are biting me.’ My perspective had shifted so greatly that it was like a wonderful thing that I was feeling all these ant bites. I wasn’t paralyzed, I wasn’t dead, I was ALIVE. I was crying, the ants were biting me, I was like ‘Oh my God, this is amazing.’
Well for weeks afterwards, I was soaking up everything, feeling like life is so precious and it’s all going to go away and you spin off the road and…that lasted for a while.”
Philip Cohen’s vibrant charisma spills over into every area of his life. He is an animated storyteller, infusing his conversations with energy and humor, a trait that has allowed him to thrive in Charleston’s food and beverage industry. He has the remarkable ability to form connections with people within minutes of meeting them, and his love for helping people feel comfortable and welcome has kept him in the business over the last two decades.
His skill at engaging an audience has allowed him to take his in-depth knowledge of the F&B industry to uncharted territory - the world of podcasts. He co-hosts Effin B Radio, a Charleston-based food and bev comedy podcast that allows both his knowledge and his humor to shine.
These days, Philip is preparing to direct his energy into another new adventure - moving to New York to support his wife’s work. For now, he is content to enjoy the ride and focus his passionate nature where it is naturally the strongest: into his boundless, enthusiastic love for his wife and daughter.
“Take the form of the body for example...We applaud the female form because we’ve hypersexualized it, where the male form is basically a crime. The female form is art and beautiful, and the male form is like, ‘you’ve better have that shit covered up, dude, nobody wants to see that.’ How did that happen? As I say this, I also really, truly love the female body. I think the female body is the most beautiful thing in the universe. I appreciate that beauty with complete respect.
Then we talk about The PATRIARCHY. In my humble opinion, is often confused for men dominating women in society - but really it’s the male HALF of us dominating the female half of us, in BOTH men and women. We ALL HAVE BOTH. When it’s out of balance it fucks up both genders.
Personally, I really and truly love women's' inability to put up with injustice and all around bullshit. In my opinion, women have more integrity than men, and women think about the whole where men tend to compartmentalize, making men more likely to rationalize a bad choice.
Look at different times in human history, and see that patriarchy or matriarchy balance tends to shift in lots of cultures.”
Favorite meal to cook at home?
Roasted Whole Chicken with vegetables cooked in the rendered chicken fat
Anything my daughter dresses up in
What’s your favorite thing about being a dad?
Just having someone trust and love me so much. It's also amazing to watch my daughter tackle obstacles, learn things, she is so strong and able.
What's your favorite hobby to do alone?
All my hobbies involve other people (Table Tennis and Poker), I guess writing is my favorite hobby that I do totally solo.
How do you think people see you?
I often wonder, I hope they see a good person, that's funny and intelligent. Someone that doesn't accept the assumed beliefs of society, a questioner. But, honestly, I believe that most of us are probably way off, seeing ourselves differently than others see us, and I'm sure I'm right in line with everyone else, so whatever I think others may think about me, I'm probably wrong.
“You know, after the car accident, I tried to hold on to my grateful mindset. But life slowly SHIFTED, and the other day I complained about how little cream cheese I got on a bagel with lox and cream cheese, you know? That’s fucked up, I don’t want to be that person, so I decide not to think like that anymore - but we slip. We’re only as thankful as we’re REQUIRED to be. And when we are required to be, we fucking are, immediately, but not before. And you can’t fake it, you can’t get yourself in there and be like ‘oh I’m so thankful.’ Like yeah, I’m thankful, I still think life is a gift, but when I say life is a gift right now, it’s not the same as when I said it right after the crash.
Same words, DIFFERENT power, and I couldn’t keep the power. It’s too overwhelming.”
Barbara Brock. Barbara is one of the most interesting people I know, she is terribly honest, and doesn't usually hit it off with strangers, but I thought this would be a connection that would get along well.
“It’s funny what happens during horrible things: we come together, we drop prejudices, we release lots of things pretty quickly.
I remember when Hugo hit, I was with my grandmother. She was a crazy food pack rat, she had multiple freezers in a separate building off her house, so when the power went out she had all of this food that was going to go bad. So, we cooked a bunch of it and filled a red wagon with meat and stuff that we’d grilled up, and we went around the neighborhood giving it out. It was like a community of love. These people that drove past each other for years and were just like ‘whatever, fuck you,’ living their life - when something relatively horrible happened, they were coming together and sharing things, like ‘oh you need a chainsaw? I got you, you need to hook into our generator for a few hours?’
That’s what happens in most cases, horrible things bring out the best in us. I think in order to really change society, we have to HOPE for something horrible that doesn’t eradicate us. Then we CAN blossom.”
Editor in Chief: Becca Finley
Article: Caralie Byrnes
Photos: Caitlin Billard
Stay tuned for the ‘Connections’ book coming out January 22, complete with all 55 Connections, and how they fit into the Charleston community. Brand new pics + quotes.