Critical Mass 1.0
Excuse me to all those folks who just don't have TV they have HBO and have seen this teaser before, but Casa Eichel is sans premium channels and I just caught this glimpese of Boardwalk Empire, a new show exec produced by Martin Scorsese (who will also direct the pilot) and Sopranos writer Terence Winter, about the mob that ruled Atlantic City during prohibition. The pilot begins 90 years tomorrow, when the 18th Amendment was put into effect, with Steve Buscemi as Enoch "Nucky" Johnson, the boss of the crime family that ruled AC for the first half the 20th Century. Joining Buscemi is Gretchen Mol as his moll, Kelly MacDonald (No Country for Old Men), Dabney Coleman (9 t0 5!!) Michael Pitt (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Last Days), Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) and CP hero Omar Little, aka Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire, the ugh-worthy Wonderful World, which was released today). The show was shot in Brooklyn, and not Atlantic City, but I think I'll deal.
In other Wire alum news, I can't wait for David Simon and Eric Overmyer's Treme, about post-Katrina New Orleans, starring Bunk (aka Wendell Pierce) and Lester Freamon (aka Clarke Peters). The trailer is below, but it doesn't get at separate post frankly because Bunk and Lester aren't in it.
So, who wants to invite me over so I can watch these?
Boardwalk Empire is slated for a late 2010 release. Treme is slated to premiere in April.
|Emilio's winning design
For season 7, Project Runway is back where it belongs in New York City. It's time to make it work, bitches.
While L.A. may be high-end and not totally clueless about fashion, New York is where the show belongs. And what comes with shooting the great ProjRun in New York? The return of Bitchmasters Michael Kors and Nina Garcia. Together they will mold seamstresses/seamsters into designers, and artists into fashion know-it-alls. With a few tears along the way, of course.
Meet the newest cast of ambitious little divas: Seth, Janeane, Ping, Ben, Anthony (who I think I'm going to love for ever and ever, no matter what cattiness he may pull out later), Jay, Pamela, Anna, Jonathan, Jesse, Mila, Maya, Christiane, Jesus, Emilio, and Amy. It's a lot to remember but you won't have to remember one of them. More on that later.
The first challenge shockingly was for the crew to create an ensemble that represents each of them as a designer. The purpose is so we, and the judges, can understand each designer as artists, but it's within the process of the whole thing that we get a little glimpse into the more interesting characters. Janeane is going to be that girl who cries about everything (see: Ricky Lizalde from Season 4), which, in the end, will probably break her.
Ping is the misunderstood artist that people perceive as plain old weirdo (see: Ari Fish, Malvin Vien from Season 6). Crazy or not, this woman put together a piece that was striking, bold and certainly left an impression on the judges, even if the judges weren't entirely sure what that impression was. Ping said that she makes clothes that move with the body, and you can tell with her red and black-draped ensemble, but will she be able to incorporate her ideals into the specific challenges that the judges present?
And then there's Anthony, the black gay guy from the south toting plenty of fun sass and possibly a good sense of humor (see: Philly's own Jay McCarroll from Season 1, Santino Rice from Season 2, anyone you like to watch more than you like their designs). But girl, you need to step it up a bit. Kors said that Anthony's peculiar black-printed mini halter would be great if the model was trying to steal bottles of champagne. I want to see Anthony stick around if not for his designs but at least for his hilarious presence.
Christiane was out after making a blue and yellow-printed hodepodge mess dress that had God knows what going on all over it. And the girl left a sloppy hem, too. What? You think the judges won't notice that? The messy and boring design wasn't what the judges (and guest judge/coat hanger Nicole Richie) were looking for, so they sent Ms. Christiane home before she could get too comfy at Parsons.
Emilio's intricate weaving of fabrics, including those large polka dots that can be peeked above, paired with "a fun yet sexy full skirt," as we heard Richie say a few too many times, won the challenge. Now Emilio has some serious bragging rights for being the first winner and setting the bar for where everyone else should be in the weeks to follow.
|Photo | Neal Santos
Time after time, staff photographer Neal Santos kicks ass and takes names with every ridiculous assignment we throw at him (despite erroneous claims to the contrary).
Just in the past month, he's hung out with tea-drinking drag queens, Kurt Vile and the entire cast of Brat Productions' 24-hour The Bald Soprano. (Have you seen our 2nd Season Arts cover yet? What do you think of it?)
It was cold. There was fire. There was water. There was expensive equipment. There was the City Paper honor box. And there was the cast of Brat Productions' Bald Soprano. ... This shoot was one of the more stressful ones. Happy it's over, and please no more fires.
Sorry 'bout that, Neal, but no promises. Scroll through the photoblog for outtakes from a ton of Neal's other excellent work that didn't make it into the paper.
|Photo | John Vettese|
Even though Holly Otterbein convincingly blew their cover yesterday, I nonetheless showed up at Johnny Brenda's quietly wondering if this mysterious band billed as Meth Beach was actually a freeform ambient drone headtrip. Nope - it was indeed the boys from Dr. Dog, warming up some material from their new Shame, Shame, due out April 6 on Anti- Records. Quite a bit of it, actually; of the forthcoming record's eleven tracks, the band played a generous six of them, intermixed with favorites from 2008's Fate and 2007's We All Belong.
Unsurprisingly, the new tunes don't make any departures or sudden 90-degree turns from the 60s rock foundation that dual songwriters Scott McMicken and Toby Leaman have built on for the past eight years. This is not a bad thing. Rather, it's solid Dr. Dog, a sharpening of their studied classic motifs and intricate structural interplay. Or to put it in less smarty-pants language, the new shit rocks as timeless rock songs should, and the band is tight as ever, riffing off one another with crazy energy.
Standouts were the first and the last of the new offerings (full setlist below). "Mirror Mirror" playfully rides a midtempo groove and supple funk organ into a big chorus. In "Stranger," the bigmuff guitars took center stage, racing across octaves in the verse and refrain to swell into a ebullient coda. Chords slammed loud and bright, then ended cold, the capacity crowd erupting into applause.
That level of reception was definitely a winning point; the Meth / Dog guys bulked up their set with unfamiliar material and never once lost the room's enthusiasm. On the other hand, they were playing to the choir so to speak, and not all of the new material resonated in this same manner ("Later" just kind of unremarkably came and went). It remains to be seen how well it will go over in front of the more general audience they'll face at The Electric Factory on May 13, or nationally once the new album drops on the band's new, heavy-hitting label.
Shame, Shame could end up being an amazing masterstroke, Dr. Dog's breakout, defining work. Or it could merely a fine addition to an increasingly strong catalog. Whichever the case, based on the songs premiered last night, it's no dud. This is going be a collection of music we as a city should collectively anticipate and embrace.
|Photo | John Vettese|
|Photo | John Vettese|
|Photo | John Vettese|
|Photo | John Vettese|
|Photo | John Vettese|
|Photo | John Vettese|
The Way The Lazy Do
Army of Ancients
The Old Days
I Only Wear Blue
Where'd All The Time Go
The Rabbit, the Bat and the Reindeer
|Photo | John Vettese|
|Abuelo and Maria Esther (Grandfather and Maria Esther), by Katrina M. D'Autremont, 2006|
We got word last week that the Pittsburgh-based Silver Eye Center for Photography's 2009 Fellowship Competition winner is none other than Philadelphian Katrina M. D'Autremont. Big ups! The gallery's hosting an opening reception tomorrow out Pittsburgh way if you're itching for a weekend road trip.
D'Autremont isn't from from Philly she was born in Denver, went to school in Arizona and New York, and spent several years traveling around South America. But she lives in Philly now, so it's fair to say she's ours.
The competition pitted 186 submissions from 32 states against one another, and was judged by Andy Adams, editor of Flak Photo. Here's what Adams had to say about D'Autremont's winning series:
The photographs ... present scenarios that explore issues of intimacy within her mother's family in Argentina. Like a shoebox of snapshot memories, her pictures depict the private rituals that comprise a family's life: cleaning the kitchen, watching television, gathering for a family feast. Interior domestic spaces dominate and each of her family members is underscored by the place that binds them together. The house where she was raised plays a significant role and in many cases the environment is a lead character, revealing how place (and our memory of it) influences and forms us.
|La Ventana de la Cocina (The Window of the Kitchen), by Katrina M. D'Autremont, 2006|
D'Autremont's winnings include a cash award of $3,500 and a two-month-long exhibition of her series, "Si Dios Quiere (If God Wants)," at Silver Eye. We'd also like to congratulate local boy Daniel Traub, one of 10 of the competition's honorable mentions; you can check out his work in an online gallery at silvereye.org. Happy road trippin'!
"Si Dios Quiere (If God Wants)" opening reception Sat., Jan. 16, 7-9 p.m., $6, Silver Eye Center for Photography, 1015 E. Carson St., Pittsburgh, 412-431-1810, silvereye.org.
It's not a good day out there. Not for the Haitian community or their families living elsewhere. Nor for the family and fans of Teddy Pendergrass, of which we consider ourselves one having spoken with for him on more than one occasion. Maybe we could use a laugh.
Our favorite Twit(ter), drummer and the only man on late night television not quaking in his boots, Philly's ?uestlove, takes part in a Funny or Die skit with Wu-Tang Clan leader and Quentin Tarantino pal RZA where the percussionist and the rapper/producer make their own NBC TV screen test for Parks and Recreation. RZA stars, ?uest narrates and if the actual Amy Poehler show was this hilarious I wouldn't dare step out during my weekly TiVo-ing of it.
RELATED: ?uestlove today
We like American Idol. Too much.
Molly Eichel: The ATL is always fruitful for American Idol. Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson, Seacrest? All from the 404. I've always wondered what it is about Atlanta. The rich musical tradition of the American South? The myriad of opportunities for Coca-Cola product placement (ahhh!)? The roller skating?
Tommy Button: Let's cut the bullshit: Vanessa Wolfe. If you weren't completely moved by that then go ahead and wash down that bottle of Paxil with a fifth of Jack because you will never love anything ever. Now, I have a certain affinity for the South an affinity I won't try to explain to anyone born above the Mason-Dixon. Vanessa was country in all the right ways. Even in the kind of fucked up grill that will totally get fixed when Taylor Swift gets too old, which is a time, let's face it, that is quickly approaching. Vanessa is what American Idol is all about. I am worried, however, that Hollywood will swallow her up. She needs to get a little swagger and a little sex. It sounds like a daunting task but twenty bucks says Vanessa Wolfe is the hottest piece of ass in wherethefuckever, Georgia. It should come naturally. As long as she doesn't think too much about the competition and keeps her head high she'll do fine. Still, nothing can ruin a good country girl like California.
ME: I have to agree with you, Tommy. She had the most interesting voice of the evening, kind of like Hot Tattoo Mom from last season but with an actual voice. And, too, I love "Wagon Wheel" by the Old Crow Medicine Show. But I'm worried that she'll end up getting lost in the Hollywood shuffle because she can't do the runs that other girls can do, like Keia Johnson who simply killed it with "My Heart Will Go On":
Those highligher pants were a bold move but, as Vanessa said, sometimes you need to take a risk or two in life. Just don't do it again. What Keia and Vanessa really represented, though, was the best part of this episode. Usually when a singer steps up to the plate, you can tell whether they are going to be good or not simply by looking at them. But this time around, all the fucknut weirdos seemed to pull it off. Like Skii Bo Ski, whose own shirt bearing his own moniker was spelled wrong and who apparently was tasered by police while strapped to a hospital gurney after admitting to swallowing crack. Already a winner, he could have been one of those squeaky freak outs but wasn't half bad.
Look, I said half bad.
TB: Also: Mr.Pants-On-The-Ground. Lookin' like an awesome man, Mr.Pants-On-The-Ground.
If I have to tell you this is the best thing ever, just stop reading. You're wasting everyone's time.
ME: Musical genius and civil rights crusader? General Larry Platt, I will buy whatever you're selling.
In which Tommy and Molly judge guest judge Mary J. Blige
ME: First off, love the outfits she wore, especially that white, floor-length tube dress with the black belt. She could have given some style tips to Randy who decided wearing white pants was OK. Look, Dawg, I figure you taped this during the summer but the no white pants after Labor Day rule should sometimes be amended to no white pants ever.
TB: I love Mary J. Blige (referred to as 'MJB' from this point on.) Her random cell phone commercial appearance aside, MJB is a class act. And so damn cool. She was accommodating when necessary but MJB is real y'all when you suck she's gonna laugh at you. She's basically woman Randy Jackson. And that's not because they're both black. Calm down, ya racists.
ME: Kara and Mary looked like two high school girls smoking their first J all giggly, trying to hold in their laughter. It was kind of adorable. Do you think Paula woulda felt left out if she was there? Granted, I would have liked some more technical criticism from Mary J. but I'll forgive her because it was only auditions. They also introduced her as the Empress of Soul but I always thought that was Gladys Knight. Thoughts?
We like American Idol. Too much.
...Ladies and gentleman, this is American Idol
Tommy Button: My expectations for this season of American Idol are so high I might just drink a jar of acid if it disappoints. Can you really live with my blood on your hands, Simon? Of course you could. And that's why you're the best.
Molly Eichel: Last year for all of its Gay Pixie Dust Clusterfuck Vs. Wonder Bread with an Acoustic showdowns was kind of a disappointment. Other than the glorious Danny Gokey, there was no one I really championed. And I mostly liked Gokes because of his dead wife.
TB: If you haven't been keeping up with the off-season news, allow me to drop some knowledge: Every season the producers of AI tinker with the format in their unrelenting pursuit of pop perfection but Season 9 will bring some unprecedented changes. Paula Abdul's off the show, most likely because they stopped stocking Bloody Mary's and Quaaludes in the green room. But in her place will be America's favorite non-porn star lesbian, Ellen Degeneres (although she won't be taking her seat at the judges table until Hollywood week.) And quite possibly the saddest news of late, this will be Simon Cowell's farewell season and he better be out for blood. It's about time Simon Cowell slapped a contestant. The man has nothing left to lose. This is the season to turn up the asshole all the way to 11. Shit, I know I will.
TB: American Idol kicked off it's ninth season in Boston, Massachusetts. The first contestant said "friggin' ahhsome" at least twice in her audition. She also used the American Idol video game as a testament to her singing ability. Annnnnd that's all I have to say about Boston. Really though, the talent was pretty slim in Bean Town but all the better. It just made Ashley Rodriguez look like the fucking champ she is. She came out looking like a super fox and had the chops to back it up. The only thing that could possibly of made her better was if she had a Maddy Curtis story (she's the 16-year-old Hollywood hopeful whose parents, after giving birth to a child with Down's Syndrome, adopted two more also with Down's. Fuck you, Sarah Palin.) Here's Maddy:
Anyway. Ashley Rodriguez: Sure thing.
ME: Ashley does have chops and so many people butcher the song she did "If I Ain't Got You" by Alycia Keyes but lemme give a shout out to my girl, GFS-grad Claire Fuller. She was in it for maybe 20 seconds but she's from Philly and was solid (she's at about 6:55 of Maddy's video). I also loved Amadeo Dirrico doing "Hootchie Coochie Man." His name literally means for the love of god. Dude probs won't make it in the Top 12 he's not attractive enough and his voice isn't controlled enough but I love his personality. He also revealed Kara's inner Guidette when she responded with that "I bet your mom makes a mean sauce" comment (no Kara, I bet she makes a mean gravy). Plus, bonus points to Idol producers for the shot of the pile of Italian men post-Amadeo's Golden Ticket-win set to "Funiculi, Funicula" (thanks Charlie), which is a song about how fun it is to ride a train about a mountainside ... but will now forever be associated in my mind with jumping in a large pile of sweaty, Italian men. Or what Tommy likes to call Monday night. Here's the clip of Amadeo because I love him:
TB: Besides its lack talent, Boston also had a lack of weirdos. I mean, sure, it's got you're run of the mill weirdos but nothing spectacular. Just you're average delusional contestant set to take the world by storm only to be berated by the rich and famous.
ME: Let's not forget anime freak Mary Doyle, who is clearly into cosplay. Or Andrew Fenlon who responded to the question "Why are you here?" With "I'm here auditioning for American Idol. That should be fairly obvious." He's single , ladies!
TB: My favorite was the "holla" kid aka, Pat Ford. I'm going to go easy on him, though because I'm pretty sure Randy called him a loser after he sang. Here's his segment:
Yeah. Randy Jackson just called that kid a loser. He at least had some moves.
ME: Yeah, but Randy also said he would want to hang out with that kid. In what fucked up Terry Gilliam universe is Randy Jackon's straight chillin' with Derry, N.H.'s Pat Ford? But I'll hang with you Pat. Call me!
In which Tommy and Molly judge guest judge Victoria Beckham
TB: Before tonight I don't think I've ever heard David Beckham's wife speak Posh or whatever. She was actually really charming, nice and a good counter balance to the endless bottom of suck that is Kara DioGuardi, who seemed to suck even more without Paula. That was the only thing missing this year vibeology. Ten minutes in and I was already jonesing for the ol' boozehound. I even wept a little when a contestant mistook Kara for Paula. If only...
ME: I would have liked Victoria Beckham more if SHE ATE A MOTHERFUCKING CHEESEBURGER. Seriously, give Karen Carpenter over there a ham sandwich and I'd be much happier with her performance as a judge.
TB: The return of Idol was like the sex after a long time apart--a little sloppy and rushed but still feels good to be in the arms of someone you love. A couple more fucks and we'll find the groove again, don't you worry.
|Courtesy of Curiosity Shoppe|
Yet another sad, sad development on the slow death of South Street: Along with Pearl Art & Craft Supplies and the already-shuttered TLA Video, Curiosity Shoppe (529 S. Fourth St., 215-413-2301) will be closing its quirky, tchotke-filled doors within the next month or two. "Let's just say it was mostly the recession that caused this," says owner Peter Macleod. "There were other factors, but that made the decision easier."
Macleod says there are no current plans to take the Shoppe online or elsewhere, but he did tell Critical Mass that there will be a slew of sales between now and the closing date, which he predicts will be the end of February. All clothes are 50 percent off, holiday ornaments are 75 percent off, books are 50 percent off, knickknacks are 50 percent off, Halloween costumes/makeup/masks/funky-looking stocks are 50 percent off, and political tees are 25 percent off.
The very fact that "knickknacks" and "funky-looking stockings" are categories of their own exemplifies why I'll miss the Curiosity Shoppe. Farewell, Macleod & Co.
Watch this sweet vid of Islands' "No You Don't," in which Michael Cera trips out Ã la a high school anti-drug film strip.
Cera appears at a theater near you on Friday with Miguel Arteta's Youth in Revolt. Cindy Fuchs saw it and totally dug it, giving the film an A-:
Nick Twisp (Michael Cera) is a nice kid. So nice that he's a good student, a virgin and a source of comfort for his frazzled mom (Jean Smart). He's also so aware of being nice that he keeps a picture of Frank Sinatra, circa "Nice 'n' Easy," on his bedroom wall. But when Nick meets the poetically inclined Sheeni (Portia Doubleday), all that niceness is suddenly a problem. Their separation leads him to desperate measures, embodied by his alternative self, a pencil-mustachioed, skinny-white-slacks-wearing, troublemaking Francophile named Francois Dillinger. Keep reading...
Check back soon for an interview with Cera about his experiences on Youth in Revolt and his thoughts on why not judging books by their covers is totally racist.
Drew Lazor just showed me this vid of Cera's Letterman appearance, including a clip of 10-year-old Cera on La Femme Nikita (!!!):
RELATED: Trailer!: Youth in Revolt
- Arts Events
- First Person Fest
- Last Chance
- On the Fringe
- Philly Artists
- The Curator
- Visual Art
- Arts News
- Artist Profile
- Arts Preview
- Street Art
- Been There, Done That
- Big Ups
- LOL With It
- Critical Mass
- Friday Fill-in
- Ice Cubes
- In Memoriam
- Just Do It
- Just Opened
- Art Phag
- Film Fest
- Movie Review
- On set
- 10 Track Mind
- Album Review
- Concert Review
- Local Support
- Now Hear This
- One Track Mind
- Philly Bands
- Somebody Else Was There
- The Showdown
- concert photos
- DJ Nights Blogged
- Night Watch
- Now See This
- Poetic License
- Printed Matter
- What We Heart
- Idol Hands
- Mad Men
- True Blood
- Useless Lost Recaps
- Couch Potato
- Shore Trash
- Turned ONN
- Video Games
- Free Online Game
- PlayStation 2
- The 1-Upper
- Web Junk
- CAGE MATCH
- Free Online Toy
- Weekend Omnibus