Archive: June, 2012
If you’re looking to satisfy your Blues Brothers fix, look no further. Starting tonight at Liberty Lands, Awesome Fest — an organization dedicated to screening movies of the highest caliber at unconventional venues — will present “The Awesome 80s on the Awesome Screen!”, which is exactly what it sounds like. With one crowd-pleasing hit from each year of the glamorous decade, Awesome 80s will put a little more blues-playin’, ghost-bustin’, jungle-alien-fightin’ flicks into your summer. Each screening is BYOB, but we suggest leaving the parachute pants and hair gel at home.
Below is the Awesome 80s schedule. Each movie begins at sundown.
- June 28 – The Blues Brothers (1980, 133 min.)
- July 5 – Stripes (1981, 106 min.)
- July 12 – The Road Warrior (1982, 95 min.)
- July 19 – National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983, 89 min.)
- July 26 – Ghostbusters (1984, 105 min.)
- Aug. 2 – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985, 90 min.)
- Aug. 9 – Top Gun (1986, 110 min.)
- Aug. 16 – Predator (1987, 107 min.)
- Aug. 23 – Beetlejuice (1988, 92 min.)
- Aug. 30 – The Wizard (1989, 100 min.)
Housed in an unassuming three-story rowhome, The Dive (947 E. Passyunk Ave.) features enough secondhand smoke to allow you to effectively puff a whole pack without touching a ciggy to your lips. You can while away the hours on dollar beers and microwave menu offerings with absolutely no natural light to remind you of the greater world. While this certainly has the potential to lure in hardcore drunks, don't let the description fool you. What makes the Dive great is its dedication to providing a no-frills setting for all the good things that can happen at a bar: compelling conversation, good company and the flowing exchange of revolutionary ideas.
Every few months, this potential is realized in the form of an organized reading on the Dive's second floor. A refreshing alternative to the city's more formal literary settings, Jaime Fountaine's Toiling in Obscurity is a free reading series dedicated to "showcasing the unpublished, unpolished work of the working class writers in Philadelphia," because, let's face it, most writers still need a day job and dollar beers are all they can afford. Forget the sterile quiet of Barnes and Noble or the stuffiness of the public library — your neighborhood bar is as good a place as any to hear some damn good writing. Check the next one out tomorrow at 7 p.m. Go to jaimefountaine.com for a list of future dates.
words by M.J. Fine | photos by Chris Sikich
Most years, AthFest lures us down to Athens, Ga., with a combination of longtime loves and new discoveries and keeps us running from venue to venue. This time, with few favorites at the festival, we got back to basics and plotted our schedule the old-fashioned way: by reading blurbs about the bands and seeing those that sounded most interesting. With more than 130 artists in the mix, that’s a tall order. Somehow we saw about two dozen; some were great, and none were truly bad. And unlike most events this size, nearly everyone we saw was a local and not just making the festival circuit. Here are 10 highlights:
Kishi Bashi: Though he’s only a frequent visitor and not an Athens resident, Of Montreal sideman Kishi Bashi picked up the prize for Best Music Video for “Bright Whites” at the Flagpole Athens Music Awards on Thursday night. But in his part-heartfelt, part-drunken acceptance speech, he thanked the scene for making him feel at home and promised to move his family down as soon as possible. Later in the show, he backed up his bona fides by outrocking everyone with a two-song set of loopy violin-and-vocal virtuosity.
Young Benjamin: For Mazarine Records’ showcase Friday night at New Earth Music Hall, the schedule went off the rails pretty quickly, with Young Benjamin, the first of six bands, starting almost half an hour late. All was forgiven, though, once we heard the tender chillwave songs Matt Whitaker coaxed from a single guitar and an array of looping pedals. Later, we’d learn that Whitaker’s solo project was inspired by his work as a music therapist with dementia patients, but his moody music and friendly demeanor struck a chord with a younger-skewing crowd.
powerkompany: We’d seen Andrew Heaton in Packway Handle Band and Marie Davon in Venice Is Sinking (in which she goes by her real name, Karolyn Troupe), but powerkompany doesn’t sound like either of the multi-instrumentalist husband-wife duo’s other bands. Davon’s voice sounds more powerful, the textures more sensual than expected. Violin trouble riled Heaton and knocked the New Earth Music Hall lineup even further off schedule, but somehow things clicked musically most of the time.
Thayer Sarrano: With a voice like a barb dipped in honey and dreamy alt-country tunes to match, Thayer Sarrano should’ve cast a spell on Farm 255’s outdoor stage Friday as midnight approached. But too many distractions — competition from the DJ next-door, an overenthusiastic chair collector and a brazen cockroach — took away some of the magic. Bet she’d be great in a venue with chairs and doors.
On random months throughout the last couple of years, The Food Trust has been hosting Night Market food and music events sponsored by various Philadelphia businesses. In addition to hosting over 60 food vendors, including ?uest Loves Food Pop Up, this month's show, happening Thursday on Washington Ave, will also include a performance from South Philly rock band Discount Heroes. They'll be taking the stage along with several other local live acts and bookended with a little karaoke action. 6-10 p.m., free, Connie's Ric Rac, 1132 S. Ninth Street, 215-279-7587.
Green space isn't common in Center City and landmarks around Rittenhouse Square are slow to change. So don't be surprised when walking down Walnut Street that the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has taken over that odd vacant lot right across the street from Rittenhouse Square and turned it into a garden focused on growing food for the City Harvest program. City Paper went to the opening and took a few pictures.
The Lombard Swim Club by Michael Blancato
The Lombard Swim Club is a fancy, members-only venue that caters to some pretty high-class clientele: Cliff Lee, Stephen Starr, Jose Garces and Ed Rendell have all been spotted there. If you can get your foot in the door, it's a pretty great place to hang out. But unless you’re a member of the Philadelphia elite, you probably won’t receive an invitation to this exclusive Club this summer. Fortunately, however, pool boys are easily seduced. Bribe them by tossing shiny things in the water. If this gambit fails, blame your behavior on the heat.
Every Monday, Brittany Thomas rounds up the week's sure-bet live shows. This week: Purling Hiss, Fucktard, Erin Willett and more.
Monday: Brian Medlin's voice and the droning piano chords are hauntingly reminiscent of Elliot Smith, particularly his From a Basement on a Hill album. Despite noticing the similarity immediately, there's something unique to Medlin's sound, something incredibly endearing about the passion in his lyricism. 8 p.m., free, North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St., 215-787-0488. northstarbar.com.
Lama Marut's bio is not that of your typical Buddhist monk: Born Brian K. Smith, the motorcycle enthusiast and former surfer descends from a long line of Baptist ministers. Changing the course of this lineage, Smith earned his Ph.D. in Comparative Religions before taking the name Sumati Marut when he was ordained into monkhood. Although his background may lead some to dismiss the authenticity of his particular Buddhism (yes, he's a white dude in a robe and he lives in Cali), his eclectic influences may be the key to his success. His video and audio podcasts are downloaded 25,000 times a month, and his Twitter presence earns him a spot second only to Deepak Chopra in the increasingly popular genre of inspirational tweets.
With his extensive Internet presence and commitment to spreading knowledge of self-awareness, Marut has developed a base of fans that connect to his unique blend of Eastern and Western religious practice, making him arguably one of the hippest monks around. This universal appeal is evident in his newest book, A Spiritual Renegade's Guide to the Good Life, in which he focuses on the concept of karma in applying ancient Tibetan practice to a contemporary world of consumerism, commercialism and info overload. Where the book could fall into new age cliches and posi-vibe-vagueness, Marut manages to keep his advice succinct and direct, providing specific meditations and plans of action for staying happy in a modern world. For some in-person wisdom, hear him speak tomorrow at Penn Bookstore (3601 Walnut St.). Sticking to the good karma theme, the event, which starts at 7:30 p.m., is completely free.
The U.K.'s most loved modern-day rockers The Hives played The Electric Factory last night, turning a Wednesday night concert with a modest-sized turnout into an all-out interactive experience.
Do they have a reputation for putting on some of the best modern rock shows? Yeah! Did they live up to expectations? Yeah! Did they nail their set and have the crowd in rock 'n' roll convulsions? Yeah! (Bit of an inside joke from the show. "Yeah" is probably the Hives' favorite word — and the one they heard back from the crowd for every question asked by frontman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist. Guess you had to be there ... )
Almqvist's whole stage persona was very much ringleader-esque as he spoke in bold, dramatic boasts, parading from one end of the stage to the next, tipping his top hat, slowly shedding his classic black and white tuxedo.
While the band of Swedish natives never quite had the same amount of success here in the U.S., their latest release Lex Hives has brought attention to some of their early-2000 hits and sparked a revival of enthusiasm for their undeniably catchy punk-rock sound that hasn't much strayed from its roots over the years.
Their presence was powerful — Almqvist's performance is like a blend of the erratic dance style of Joy Division's Ian Curtis and the maniacal antics of a more-energized Jim Morrison.
The stage backdrop certainly helped set the mood, too. A haunting, sepia-toned image of Almqvist as a psycho puppeteer, with finger strings extending off the canvas and onto the stage, was an awesomely creepy setting that was 100 percent appropriate for the band's manipulative stage shenanigans.
Opening with the hilariously repetitive song "Come On" from the latest album, (which literally are the only two words for the entire three minutes of the song), and transitioning into older crowd-pleasers like "Walk Idiot Walk" and "Hate to Say I Told You So," The Hives maintained their energetic, cut-and-dry rock 'n' roll.
Photos by Rick Kauffman
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