After making copy editors and headline writers groan for years, the artist formerly known as the "Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe" — a moniker that resulted from the arts-festival equivalent of a couple getting married but wanting to keep their last names — just announced that it is cutting nearly 40 characters from its name (even the space!) and will now be known as just FringeArts.
They announced this at the groundbreaking of the (at the moment, very cold) new building that'll serve as a year-round HQ for the organization at Race and Columbus, right next to the Ben Franklin Bridge. (That honestly made us wonder a little — a NJ Transit train rumbled by during one of the speeches, and it was ... loud enough that you couldn't hear the speaker, who had a mic.)
But the space looks like it's going to be pretty great — it's huge, and will have a bar and restaurant, and as part of the city's ongoing efforts to make the waterfront not suck, it'll have bathrooms open to the public year-round.
We got a little flutter at something buried in the middle of the release in the "About the New Space" section describing the 240-seat theater space:
The theater will be designed to embrace a full range of performances, from shows like a reimagined Twelfth Night, or What You Will by Philadelphia's Pig Iron Theatre Company ...
That definitely sounded like one of our favorite festival shows ever was getting a revival. Sadly, when we made inquiries, it sounds more like that was being used as an example of a show that might have been put on there if it had existed in 2011, though Pig Iron willl be putting on stuff year-round. Way to get our hopes up, FringeArts.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is now offering a $5 discount to its current special exhibition "Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia" for all visitors to the recently debuted Barnes Foundation. Special exhibition tickets will include access to Main Building, the Perelman Building and the freshly spruced-up Rodin Musuem.
The offer stands until Sept. 3, the last day of "Arcadia," and is being held "in celebration of the opening of the Barnes Foundation on the Parkway and the shared artistic vision between the Barnes and the Philadelphia Museum of Art."
Inside Butch Cordora’s Washington Square West studio, the local conceptual artist shows me the large, yet-to-be-framed mugshots that now comprise his latest exhibition, "Hot and Busted."
Cordora searched thousands of photographs (2,219 to be exact) on the websites of correctional facilities across the country until he found subjects meeting his aesthetic specifications: “Piercing eyes, square jaws — that kind of soap-opera beautiful, like 'Oh my God, you’re so hot.'” Oh, and they’re all Caucasian.
“I had wanted white guys on purpose,” Cordora explains. When browsing the different websites, he focused on the areas of the country where there would be a larger selection of light-skinned beauts. It would be “too easy,” he says, to add African-Americans, a race he notes is all too often associated with crime and punishment in the U.S. “For the white, straight, handsome male,” however, “the world is their oyster.” These are the kind of faces that HHo
One of the men resembles a young Brad Pitt, with a firm jaw and a faint smile. Some, however, have a more haggard appearance. One looks up with tourmented eyes from a head angle that’s reminiscent of Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode III. With tousled hair and pallid skin, his beauty hovers just beneath the surface of obvious strain.
These photographs seem more mysterious and profound than the pop art-y paintings of Cordora’s last show, “Absolution Lab,” and his popular 2010 calendar “Straight and Butch” in which he posed nude with an assortment of naked heterosexual men.
The inspiration for “Hot and Busted” stems from Cordora’s visits to a friend in jail. Though the man in question will not be featured, Cordora claims his mugshot is equally captivating. “You look at him, you’d think he has the world by the balls,” says the artist. However, after 2 DUIs and a house arrest broken on account of soy-related cooking, Cordora’s friend was locked up for six months. The artist visited him every week, and “I just became fascinated – with jail, with the booking process, with the whole idea of taking your freedoms away.” Each mugshot in the show reflects the emasculation and defeat up to the point at which the photograph is taken, explains the artist. Each portrait is therefore not only a face but also a depiction of the harrowing experience of arrest that recalls the mistakes of his friend. “Hot and Busted” is about this push and pull between an attractive face and a crushing experience.
But who are these Luciferan adonises, the focus of the show?
Cordora refuses to reveal names or origins, and he’d prefer you guess their crimes – the list includes everything from armed robbery to failure to possess a saltwater fishing license. Similarly, these convicts and would-be convicts have no idea that their likenesses are being blown up to two feet by two feet and hung on a gallery wall. Questions of morality and legality tossed to the wayside, Cordora cares only that the viewer share his fascination with prison and the contradiction embodied by its most beautiful.
opening reception Fri., July 6, 6 p.m., through Sept. 2, Ven and Vaida Gallery, 18 S. Third St., 215-592-4099, venandvaida.com.
There's a lot going on at Philadelphia Museum of Art — soon the restored Rodin Museum will accompany the Main Building, the Anne d'Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden and the Perelman Building. And starting July 1, general admission will increase from $16 to $20 and will cover two days of entry to all facilities.
In addition, there will be a free shuttle service offered between the three buildings to ease the art viewer's travel time. Don't fret, the tried-and-true pay-what-you-wish admission policy will remain on the first Sunday of each month, and is now available on Wednesday evenings, along with extended visiting hours.
Although the admission prices are higher, so too is the "commitment to ensuring the Museum remains accessible to a wide public," says director Timothy Rub. Well, that and increased revenue.
The jogger's haven along the Manayunk canal known as the tow path will be graced for the next six weeks by a twisting mass of tubes, over 50 feet in total. The art installation Escaped Infrastructure at Canal View Park (4430 Main Street) was created by Lucy Begg and Robert Gay of the Austin-based design firm THOUGHTBARN and funded by the Manayunk Development Corporation and the Mural Arts Program. As people pass by, motion sensors activate a series of hidden pumps to send the waters of the canal through the tubes, which LED lights will set aglow by night, and splashing out the other end, adding some life and movement to the still (and occasionally sickly green) waters.
The upcoming winter months make many city dwellers go dormant, crawling up on their couches, posed for TV sitcoms and Netflix orders. But the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) isn’t letting a little cold weather keep them down. The art house's 2012 Art After 5 schedule includes the usual jazz and rock lineup, but we're most excited for the three dance parties — each revolving around local photog Zoe Strauss. Here are a few Friday-night haps to keep an eye out for. All shows run from 5–8:45 p.m., free with museum admission, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 215-763-8100, philamuseum.org/artafter5.
The Roots left Philadelphia in 1987 to make music and accomplish their dreams. Now, twenty-four years later, the Grammy-winning hip-hop group is giving back to the community that nurtured them through a teamup with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. The collabo will feature a collection of murals that honors the band’s legacy and introduces young people to the larger world of art-making. The eight month “Roots Mural Project” will illustrate the success story of two young Philadelphians, Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter and Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson.
The idea for the project was spawned when ?uestlove narrated the Albert and Greenfield Foundation’s “African American Iconic Images Collection” in January 2010. Jane Golden from the Mural Arts Program comments on the process, “When we asked [The Roots], they didn’t want it to be PR or about themselves. It would represent a broader concept: who are The Roots, what do they stand for and what are their values.” What are those values? Their legacy, Golden adds, is that The Roots are pioneers and role models who represent Philly while making an impact in the music industry. More importantly, the collaboration aims to answer the question to other aspiring artists: How can we make an imprint on this world?
That’s where you come in. The Mural Arts Program, which serves 1000 kids a year, is seeking a multidisciplinary team of painters, writers and visual artists. This opportunity has the potential to involve hundreds, if not thousands of individuals to participate in the mural-making process. Other positions include working on the official website and spreading the word through social media. As a gift to Philadelphians, the project will be a reminder that people should always dream big.
To get involved, visit muralarts.org. But hurry! The deadline is Mon., Nov. 21.
Photo from antennamag.com
Queen Village Art Center has all the bases covered — in colorful marker, paint or blank drawing paper. Even the mirrors, which line the walls of the first floor children’s workshop, are fair game. They’re decorated with the budding creations of young students and, as founder and director Jill Markovitz explains, “We are all about exploring art. If you are constantly focusing on producing the perfect product, you miss the fun in exploring along the way.”
The Art Center, a sister branch of Fairmount Art Center, is in the former home of Philadelphia AIDS Thrift Store. With the help of architect Salerno Ziegler, Markovitz says they “completely gutted the place,” redesigning and remodeling the spot to provide an optimal creative atmosphere. For those who might have visited the previous location, cramped with long, disorganized racks, the renovations are enlightening, literally.
Large glass windows invite natural sunlight to the front studios, large workshops are suitable for adequate table space and spacious hallways of the gallery allow students and visitors to peruse the progress being made each day.
As Markovitz says, “We purposely designed it this way so that students can hear and see all parts of the artistic process.” As their mission supports, the more they see, the more they can explore. “These kids are full of creative ideas, we just try to hone in on what’s developmentally appropriate for the curriculum.”
Abraham Lincoln High, Academy at Palumbo and John Bartram High, are among the local schools taking part in the Get Schooled Attendance Challenge, a nationwide project that promotes attendance and spreads awareness about the teen dropout rate. The eight-week challenge includes wake up calls from celebs like Nicki Minaj and Wiz Khalifa and several contests designed to rally school spirit. As each competition plays out, students are awarded points. The school that racks up the most, and displays an overall increase in attendance will be rewarded with scholarships and appearances from stars like Trey Songz, Ciara and Malin Ackerman, just to name a few.
The challenge could not have come at a more perfect time. According to Mayor Nutter's School Reform Commission, the Philly dropout rate for grades 6-12 is a depressing 37 percent. It even goes on to suggest the factors that typically influence a student to leave school— listing things like abusive foster care, LGBTQ-questioning youth and teenage pregnancy.
Another study, titled "Unfulfilled Promises," also points out early-education indicators, which the writers say are detectable through a pattern surrounding attendance, promotion and grades. The Get Schooled Foundation has used this data to their advantage, seeking to change those patterns and make school a more comfortable environment.
And it seems to be working. In last spring’s Get MotivatED Challenge, Philly’s Lincoln High School received three $1000 scholarships for succeeding in a quiz and dance challenge. And better yet, with an average increase in attendance of 2.01 percent, the Challenge motivated an additional 90 students to come to school. You go, Philly schools.
Lovers of beautiful art and beautiful, beautiful coffee, heads-up: Bella Vista's Shot Tower Coffee, which has become a beacon for espresso snobs and foam-design admirers since its December 2010 opening, announced this week its brand-new quarterly artist series. Four times a year, owners Mat Derago and Mariel Freeman will debut a limited-edition print from an artist whose love of aesthetic beauty matches his or her caffeine addiction.
Way to start things off with a bang: First up is Steve "ESPO" Powers, the Philly-born man behind the crazy-amazing mural project "A Love Letter for You," which you can see from the El (or read about in this article, or check out on the cover of last year's CP Primer magazine).
Created in the style of "A Love Letter for You," Power's print is jammed with bright signage — "Never Say Ever," among them — backgrounded by blue, blue sky. It'd look damn good in our kitchen, actually.
If you want to snag a copy (there are only 60, so hustle!), swing by Shot Tower on Saturday; don't be surprised if you see Powers at the bar, nursing a mean latte.
Print sale, Sat., Aug. 27, 3 p.m., Shot Tower Coffee, 524 Christian St., shottowercoffee.com.
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