Archive: April, 2012
They describe themselves as “gritty traditional American music.” Having caught nearly every set they played at Folk Alliance this year, I can only improve on Tumbling Bones’ self-portrait by filling in the color bit. Jake Hoffman, almost a local guy, having grown up in Lancaster County, is the fella with the big voice suitable for jugband material. Sam McDougle plays some funky fiddle and Peter Winne sings, writes originals and drives the rhythm on guitar while Hoffman can drive a mob of dancers with his old time banjo. When the band speaks of American tradition please keep in mind that all traditional music was “popular” music in the day it was composed. Thus, when they reach back to rearrange a Motown number that people have been singing non-stop for 40-50 years, understand that they are on the cutting edge of confirming that music’s elevation to traditional status.
The Tumbling Bones play tonight, Mon., April 16, 7 p.m., $7, with Robert Sarazin Blake, Fiume, above Abyssinia, 229 S 45th St., 215-387-2424, abyssiniarestaurantpa.com.
The Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom, bursting and vibrant, and our tongues tingle in anticipation of coconut ice cream and backyard bbq fare. Spring is here and our senses have been ignited with all the season’s splendor. But there’s a scent in the air that makes our heart race. It’s the smell of money burning a hole in our pocket, and we know just where to blow our paychecks this weekend.
Fair and Square is a precious pop-up shop meant to ring in the opening of fancy-pants Rittenhouse Tavern. It opened Tuesday, and you’ve got until April 24 to snatch up a handful of lovelies. We’ve been getting a little squealy over the Besty Ann Paper. Let’s just say we’ve been sending out lots of unnecessary thank you notes and comically early birthday cards just so we can use these bad boys. And we’re eyeing up those “porceline wares and wearables” by Miss Millie.
Through April 24, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th St., 215-545-4302.
Art-geek extraordinaire Courtney Sexton presents a weekly selection of Philly's must-see gallery exhibits. This week: found asparagus and a dude living in a gallery like it's the apocalypse.
“The Last Days of the Apocalypse of Now” at Pageant Soloveev
According to Jay-Z, Beyonce, the Illuminati, and a lot of high school kids on facebook, 2012 is the year of the apocalypse, and Tyler artist Nick Lenker decided to explore what it might be like during one’s last few days on earth. In his installation/performance piece this weekend, the artist will spend three days (beginning 8 a.m. today and ending at 11:59 p.m. Sunday night) living in the Pageant Soloveev gallery and performing various tasks. Visitors are welcome to come share the space; they may not be privy to all of the events that take place, but they are encouraged to drink, as Lenker will be bartending each night between 9 and 11 p.m.
Lenker’s project is “influenced by ideas about domestic space, rites of passage, masculinity, gay subcultures, and the artist’s own experience as a Jehovah’s Witness.” After this weekend, “remnants” from the project will be on view May 2–5 at Tyler’s Temple Gallery.
April 13–15, Pageant Soloveev, 607 Bainbridge St., 215-925-1535, pageantsoloveev.com
Why this band is still playing in church basements (even if it is the First Unitarian) is beyond me. Since forming in 2004, along with a smattering of singles and EPs, they’ve released five full-length albums, each one stronger than the last, and in 2008 were the musical guests on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Generally categorized as chamber pop/orchestral rock, the band’s sound has evolved (particularly for their latest album, Rot, Gut, Domestic) into pretty gritty rock tinged with something of the ethereal. Last night’s “As Tall As Cliffs” (Not Animal), for example, was a much harder version than you’ll find on the album. It may have something to do with the overhaul of members that took place in 2009, and the exit of Emily Watkins. Without her vocals, Margot loses a bit of the sweet sadness that, in my opinion, was a nice, subtle complimentary layer of soft beneath the cut-into-you reverb we know they are capable of.
Nevertheless, front man Richard Edwards was mesmerizing throughout the whole set, and Erik Kang brought it on the violin. “Skeleton Key” was a crowd-pleaser, as was the acoustic “Broadripple is Burning” (listen below), which did recall that earlier haunting melodic sound I associate with the band. Fitting for the location, the show ended with an encore set of “The Devil” and “Christ.” Silence overtook the crowd for “Christ” as the rawness of Edwards’s voice paired with a chillingly beautiful piano solo. Somewhere between Jesus Christ breaks your heart/Every night when he doesn’t come and But you break my heart/Every night when you fall apart, I actually almost started crying.
Though he’s been in town for one week, I’ve been fairly mum on the subject of Colin Farrell's stay in town while readying to film Dead Man Down with Dominic Cooper (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, My Week with Marilyn) and Terrence Howard (Iron Man).
That said, I saw him for the first time on Thursday during a media dinner at Davio’s when I got a text saying “check out a.kitchen and aka Rittenhouse” that I forwarded to intrepid Icepack photographer Scott Weiner. Sadly our photog Weiner was busy photographing elsewhere and, though we spotted Farrell, my mini-cam wasn’t up to paparazzi snuff. It was funny though — at the same media dinner, Philly Chit Chat’s Hughe Dillion said he was getting his own tweets and went and grabbed a few cool blurry shots.
Since that time, it is you, yes you, Philly, who has had the best view of the not-at-all-reluctant-to-be-seen, scruffy Farrell, popping out of the Sporting Club, popping into Barclay Prime, strolling past Parc and generally running all around Rittenhouse Square. Stand around the Square for awhile and you’re sure to see him. This is so unlike the Smiths, Will and Jaden, who have been holed up apparently eating take out in their Villanova digs.
Weiner will be around to shoot Farrell and co. once they truly go into filming mode (as he did with National Treasure and the De Niro/Brad Cooper pairings that lensed in Philly) and we’ll throw up the funnest of photos. And thanks Philly for keeping an eye out until then. Keep me posted.
Impressive permanent collections may have put our area museums on the map, but it's the rotating exhibits that keep visitors coming back. Every Thursday, Abigail Minor updates you on the newest and most browse-worthy. This week: electricity tubes, salty endings and a jazz oasis.
“Tempus Fugit” at the American Philosophical Society Museum
What better way to reopen after a long hiatus than with an exhibit on the complexities of time? The American Philosophical Society Museum is back with “Tempus Fugit”, featuring select items from its collection interspersed with the appropriate pieces of Chicago artist Antonia Contro, many of which, through video and sound installations of rapidly flipping pages, reflect the dwindling beauty of printed books. Contro is the first artist to compile an exhibit within the Museum’s walls, and she does so by titling the divided exhibit cases after musical terms such as “adagio (slow movement)” and “aeon (eternal time)”, within which are her responses to: the ancient pages of the Book of Hours, an illustrated documentation of the seasons and holy day devotions, a static electricity tube reminiscent of Benjamin Franklin, and scattered items such as shattered glass left behind by General Electric founder Elihu Thomson.
Fri., April 13-Dec. 30, $1, American Philosophical Society Museum, 104 S. Fifth St., 215-440-3442, apsmuseum.org.
With the help of City Paper film critics, Josh Middleton counts down this weekend's eight new movie releases, from lowest- to highest-graded.
THE THREE STOOGES [ C- ] Drew Lazor's review is coming soon. Until then, knock somebody upside the head with a frying pan and yuk about it.
Every Friday, Ryan Carey covers the people and events that are giving Philly the giggles.
Matt Ferguson (aka Mattstache) has been making silly videos with his high school buddy for a decade. A month or two ago, he uploaded one that hit half-a-million views in two days. The particularly hairy Rutgers professor had quite a full beard, and thought it'd be fun to incorporate the incremental removal of said beard into one of his silly lip-syncs. The result was a video so ridiculously goofy that Huffpost, CBS Newsblog and a number of heavy tweeters took notice. Singing along to David Guetta's "Turn Me On" (feat. Nicki Minaj), Ferguson recorded six different "heads" of his in choreographed lip-synch, each head with a slightly different facial-hair situation and a different persona.
"For the next video, we're thinking about doing some side content with the individual personas, because the specific personalities seem to be what people really like about the video."
Ferguson isn't your typical YouTube fame-seeker. A professor of American studies, he is also the assistant director of student life at Rutgers New Brunswick. A generally silly guy, Ferg's partner in crime is fellow Cherokee High School grad Brian Bennet, who now has a video production company in Hollywood called Dynasty Films. You may be familiar with the chilling time-lapse segments in Breaking Bad? Those are Dynasty Films' handy work. Mattstache's video isn’t quite as dramatic as that, but what it lack in heaviness it makes up for in facial hair! Check it out below:
Each week, Nina Willbach puts together a rundown of book-centric events. This week:tree-hugging Catholics, the history of straight people and Sonia Sanchez!
Friday, April 13
The History of Straight People
Most of the discussion surrounding queer identity has to do with creating specific words for this or that sexual leaning. What used to be the “gay” community became the “LGBT” community. After further discussion, this already long string of letters got a “Q” and sometimes an “A” tagged on to include just about everyone who's not a self-proclaimed homophobe. In the search for appropriate terminology among a minority community, there's a lot of defining in opposition to the perceived mainstream: if we're not straight, we're gay. If we're not heterosexual, then we must be some other sort of sexual. But at what point did a straight identity become synonymous with the mainstream? This is the question asked by Hanne Blank in her newest book Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality. The book chronicles the term “heterosexual”, from its invention in the 1860s, to its subsequent influence on Western laws and culture. She explores why, in a world where men and women had been procreating for years, the term surfaced as a distinct word for a lifestyle that many would come to know as “normal”. In this little-known history, Blank paints a vivid picture of the intersection between language, culture, and sexuality that continues to shape our world.
5:30 p.m., free, Giovanni's Room, 345 S. 12th St., giovannisroom.com.
Devoted poet/avid concert-goer/nerd-grrrl extraordinaire Jane Cassady’s weekly horoscopes run in this space every Friday morning.
Aries (March 21-April 18): Happy birthday to my dad, the standup comedian. In one of his jokes, he points out that no matter how much you mess up in traffic, you just do a little apologetic wave. He feels that you should be able to use the little wave in other parts of life as well. This week, wave off all of your mistakes and drive on.
Taurus (April 19-May 18): “This is the room one afternoon I knew I could love you, and from above you how I sank into your soul, into that secret place where no one dares to go.” (Neutral Milk Hotel) Let someone get to know you that well, even if it’s messy.
Gemini (May 19-June 21): “Keep plugging away. / Keep on truckin'. / Keep the faith in a tiny glass jar and only unscrew the lid when you're feeling doll-sized. You can do this / it / anything.” (Rob Sturma)
Cancer (June 22-July 23): Whatever you’ve lost, it’s OK. Let it go. Soon enough, you’ll be collecting love like a wildflower bouquet. So many different kinds of wild love.
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