Archive: May, 2012
Every Monday, James Friel rounds up the week's sure-bet live shows that we don't cover in the paper.
Monday: On the outside Allen Stone looks like a pale, nerdy white kid who spends his days writing software or working in a lab, but what lies beneath is a solo artist ready for Soul Train. It’s almost unbelievable to see Stone sing his acoustic-soul tracks. His voice has the range, feel and gut-wrenching pain you hear from blues and Motown greats. 8 p.m., $15-$18, World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St., 215-222-1400.
Harmonious Entities, textile artist Sarah Johanna Wondrack's instillation piece that's currently up at The Last Drop in Wash West, wraps around the interior of the cozy coffee house like a swarm of moths on their way to the apocalypse. Made from wire and recycled tracing paper, Wondrack created the work to "shed light on even the most common and ordinary materials," and by using repetition, she says in her artist's statement, "the objects are exploited and the finished product is greater than the sum of its parts."
Long after the crowd's had split, the bands stopped playing and the City began cleaning the mounds of paper water cups that had accumulated along the side of the road, the last of yesterday's Broad Street Runners were still making their way toward their South Philly finish line. Around 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning, I strolled up the Avenue of the Arts between Washington and Locust streets to snap some photos of these motivated but forgotten few.
Art-geek extraordinaire Courtney Sexton presents a weekly selection of Philly's must-see gallery exhibits.
"Wild Nature" at Wexler Gallery
Wexler is definitely one of my favorite more traditional galleries in town, with a rotation of exhibitions that always manage to be both refined and cutting-edge. Director Sienna Freeman's vision of what contemporary art is and how much of a role the curator can play in making it accessible and successful keeps Wexler a place worth returning to.
The current group exhibition at Wexler (opening tonight) features four artists — Christy Langer, Julie Anne Mann, Andy Paiko and Jennifer Trask — working in drawing, painting, sculpture and metalwork. The connecting themes in “Wild Nature” are the natural world, the human condition and the sublime. Here, the artists “explore the exotic worlds of flora and fauna from an allegorical approach, often drawing from personal experiences, memories and dreams.” Anthropomorphic tree forms drawn in silver leaf on actual wood, drawings on stretched animal skin and found-object/precious-metal wearable sculptures are just the beginning.
Through June 30, free, Wexler Gallery, 201 N. Third St., 215-923-7030, wexlergallery.com.
Every Friday, Ryan Carey covers the people and events that are giving Philly the giggles. Today: Ryan chats with local comedic storyteller Hillary Rea.
City Paper: Are you a teacher like most Philly comedians?
Hillary Rea: I teach acting to elementary-school kids [at the Arden], and I also teach at the Kimmel Center. I do classes there for school groups that come on field trips.
CP: How did you get into Storytelling?
HR: Last summer, I did this artist's residency at Elsewhere in Greensboro, N.C. This crazy old lady, who was a hoarder, used to live amongst her horded belongings from 1940 to 2000, and then died. Her grandson graduated from Penn and went down to her house and decided to turn it into an artists’ studio and gallery. It's a residency where you get a month to go live at this place and work on your art. [I went] last June] … thinking, "I'm not an artist, this is gonna be so weird, everyone's gonna be running around naked ... " The project I ended up doing … I began writing down some of my stories. Eventually I was like, "Now I get it, this is what I do." I spent this last year working on those stories, adding jokes in there when I could or re-working them for performance and things like that. I think there are some storytellers who make a living as comedic public speakers, so I'm trying to find a way to get that somehow into my life.
CP: You got to open for Michael Showalter. How'd you get that sweet gig?
HR: I saw an ad in City Paper that he was coming [on his book tour] that said "Michael Showalter + TBA". I saw that and thought, "Oh that's cool, I wonder how I can try to open for him." My boyfriend was like, "Send him a tweet!" [I tweeted that I wanted to open for him] … and right away he was like, "Send me your reel!" So I did but I never heard back from him. Then I went to his book signing at Penn, and I went up to get my book signed and I had this turmoil, wondering whether I should say something. I'm not really a pushy person, and I get kinda nervous around people. But I decided to say something. I told him, "Hey I tweeted you my video ... " And he immediately remembered. He cut me off, "Oh, I completely forgot to watch your video. Why don't you just come open for me?" But the show was in like two hours! So, luckily, I already had a bunch of shows that week so I just told two of the stories that I was working on at the time, and that gave me a lot of confidence. So if there's anyone you wanna open for, just send them a tweet!
Low Cut Connie has rightly gotten noticed for their lewdness and grit. They show some range with this pretty, low-key number.
LCC plays tonight Fri., May 4, 9 p.m., $12, North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St., 215-787-0488, northstarbar.com.
A legendary comedienne takes the stage at the Keswick Theatre tonight in “An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin.” The show will feature the characters Tomlin has made famous for decades, including Ernestine, Edith Ann, and Mrs. Beasley. Catching up with Tomlin on the phone between gigs, she explained her performance would be, “Informal and intimate. I use film, multimedia to satirize myself, or I interact with screen, or use visuals that might enhance what I’m doing on stage. I like to think of it as filmic, because I can cut and take you any place with me. On the stage I want to create that transformation that the audience believes [I am] another person, or in another location using just my voice and body.” She also promises an off the cuff Q&A. City Paper spoke with her before the show.
City Paper: What prompted you to return to live performance?
Lily Tomlin: I never left! I never stopped doing concerts or Broadway shows. I always do 30-50 dates a year.
CP: You obviously observe and research all the characters you perform. How do you invest yourself in the characters you play on stage or screen?
LT: I don’t know. It’s on the page. You try to get a look for the character that seems right, correct, accurate. It’s the fun of being an actor, [playing] different ages and genders, and what they would do or not do…. I want to do different people and that’s the fun of doing it. When I performed Tommy Velour [a lounge lizard] people wondered, “Who is that guy?” [laughs] and I can’t believe people don’t realize it’s me! I just put on different hair. Would I put a talentless guy on a show? Hip fans aren’t unobserving. In 1977, I opened the box office in Mrs. Beasley’s Red Cross uniform. So Mrs. Beasley sees the kids sleeping in line outside and so she goes and takes care of them. These characters live for me. I have the fun of taking them out into the streets and pretending they are real. Fans—they love the history of every character. I share their made up reality with them. Ms. Beasley cares for them…. It’s like a stunt, but we don’t plan on it, and press comes. She’s in character all day. Then street people start coming by. You stay in character and it’s street theatre. They go on the trip with you.
Here's photographic evidence that Colin Farrell is actually shooting a movie in Philly rather than just eating at Rittenhouse restaurants, working out at the neighborhood’s sporting clubs or hanging out on a boat. Yesterday, he was spotted along an unhappily blocked off Walnut Street while shooting a sniper scene for Dead Man Down. Intrepid Icepack photog Scott Weiner did his own shooting in the line of fire, concentrating on the rooftop shooter (Farrell) and the well-dressed mobster, played by Terrence Howard, below. Dead Man Down will also be filming along Walnut on Friday and Monday, so expect more from Weiner and me.
Photos by Scott Weiner
ICEPACK ILLUSTRATED: BBQ clams casino with chorizo sausage, beef brisket with smoked oxtail, wicked pulled pork sliders with bacon bits, etc.
We need to play around with the top of Icepack Illustrated’s usual spring supper previews this week due to a special announcement. Eve, the one-time-Gilly’s Jeans-employee-turned-Ruff Ryder-rapper-turned-fashion-icon-turned-television-star hasn’t made a record in a minute or played many shows. Here I Am was supposed to be out in 2007 with production from Swizz Beatz and Pharrell Williams and songs featuring Eve’s singing rather than just her raps. But delays from her label interfered and everything was on hold, supposedly, until now with some of Here I Am’s tracks being readied for 2012 release (is the new album called Flirt?). Anyway, she’s playing Kung Fu Necktie on May 9 early (like 6 p.m.), sponsored by Reebok Classics. There’s an RSVP list floating around. Good luck.
Abington-based actor Daniel Spink, brother of film producer J.C. Spink (The Hangover) hasn’t just been busying himself filming From the Head with Matthew Lillard. Dan’s got his own song and music video up on YouTube and Yahoo — “The Carlton Dance” named for the geek on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air — and enlisted folk such as Ron Jeremy, Chris Evans (The Avengers), Rex Lee (Entourage), Stacy Keibler and David Hasselhoff (the star of Spink’s Don’t Hassel the Hoff) to show their faces. Check it.
Mike Cristaldi of Suzanne Roberts Theater fame and the GM of all that is Underground Arts and Underground Eats just told me that the liquor license is set in stone, the in-house restaurant is nearly ready to start firing, and that they’ve got a stand-up comedy Wednesday that’s sure to be ticklish. To test drive the kitchen, this Sun., May 6 at 2 p.m., UA is running The Philadelphia Sandwhich Experiment with Theo Peck and Nick Suarez as hosts/bosses and the professional likes of Tony Luke Jr., Michael Solomonov and Emilio Mignucci joining Philly’s sammich-making amateurs for a shot at a national cook-off title to be held at Brooklyn Brewery several months from now.
Get there and stay there at the UA until the night’s next event (but pay separate admissions, sneak) when the Peekaboo Revue host their “LAS VEGAS and BUSTed FUN-Raiser” at 6 p.m. This is the trip that they’ve been Kickstarting for awhile as Peekaboo needs the cash to pay for their bus trip to Vegas to compete for the heralded titled of “Best Troupe” at the Miss Exotic World/Burlesque Hall of Fame. Pay it in.
And before we leave the bun-and-meat world too far behind, remember that the Philadelphia Burger Brawl is May 6, 3 p.m., at everyone’s favorite sandwich emporium Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catharine St. Jen Carroll, Jason Cichonski and Matt Levin are amongst the artists who’ll be spreading ketchup and ground beef across the gallery’s walls. Click here.
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