First Jay Z’s 40/40 Club in Atlantic City announces it’ll stay shuttered for good (they battened down the hatches during Hurricane Sandy and never re-opened since), Now comes word that Sammy Hagar’s AC outlet, Sammy’s Beach Bar is dead in the water. Mr. Can’t Drive 55 can’t come to an agreement with Caesars Hotel and Casino Entertainment group. Word has it that Hagar will look to other area casinos for a partner. You saw how things worked out between Hag and Eddie van Halen, so there’s that.
Brittany Lynn is a drag revolutionary, being that she was the first ever drag Mummer. At the very least, she is the tallest of Philly’s drag doyennes. Tonight, March 14, Lynn will host “Get Sacked” at Sugarhouse Casino starting at 6 pm. Nothing dirty. Philly’s LGBT athletes will join Lynn, her Drag Mafia and the Andre Richards Salon for a night of good clean gown-wearing frolic.
FEATURING: Kitten, Body Parts, Caitlin Rose, Jacco Gardner, FIDLAR, Sky Ferreira, Brooke Waggoner, Autre Ne Veut at lots more.
Kitten at Cheer Up Charlies, 1:10 p.m.
Awesome awesome awesome wake-up surprise. Poppy thrashy glammy punk band from L.A., whose front-lady (Chloe Chaidez) is very obviously the source of their moniker. It suits her in just about every sense — she’s tiny, frisky, young and restless, also damn near feral, a non-stop ball of energy in shiny skin-tight jeggings and bronze glitter eyelashes (plus a complicated multi-layer lacy top scenario). Vamping, gyrating, flailing her hair, sinking to her knees, shaking her ass at the photog, jumping off the Marshall stack. The rest of the band did their darnedest to match her energy too, not that it was any contest. I could try to remember more about what they sounded like, but clearly that wasn’t the point.
Cayucas at Cheer Up Charlies, 1:30 p.m.
This is who I’d actually come to see. Fresh-faced, Vampire Weekend-looking (and -sounding) sunny guitar-pop guys. Some nice polyrhythms in their vaguely tropical-ish self-titled set-opener [self-titled songs: always a good idea], and the other couple they played were nice and bouncy enough, but nothing really stood out like the NPR-endorsed earworm that got me there, the super-catchy “High School Lover.” Which they didn’t play because they ran out of time after three songs (they keep ’em short ‘n’ sweet at Cheer Up). Then again, I have the mp3 so I guess that’s okay.
Body Parts at Cheer Up Charlies, 1:50 p.m.
Another happy discovery. This LA five-piece had everything you’d want from a standard-issue dancy indie-pop outfit, but even more on top of it: nifty three-part harmonies, an extra-tight, extra-funky rhythm section, amusingly deadpan yet friendly banter, thoughtful song structures and maybe most unusually (at least for something to notice upon first blush) smart and intriguing lyrics. Made me think of both of Montreal and Talking Heads at various points. Could get interesting.
“Happiness bleeds,” growls Cleaver.
“All over,” comes in Lisa Walker high and sweet.
“You and me,” returns Chuck, this time with an adlibbed “motherfucker” that signals both the lyric’s specificity and diffuseness. Funny for one, painful for another, real for all, which if you know them is standard Wussy.
The most underappreciated band (say I and all members of the tribe) of our young century is smoothing out the edges, hitting the road with purpose, and noising up as they go. New drummer Joe Klug pushes the pre-Strawberry stuff into a new context, insisting the band’s melodic beauty can rock with abandon. He beats their sonic forms into new shapes, giving their sound a new almost tactile quality. The addition of Klug and old Ass Pony John Erhardt on steel guitar turn the once plaintive “Hairbrained Horse” into a cri de coeur, infuse pretty ditty “Maglite” with punky din, and blow up Strawberry cut “Pizza King” into an explosion of drum and drone.
FEATURING: The Soil and the Sun, Divine Fits, Chelsea Light Moving, Shugo Tokumaru, Marnie Stern, Azari & III, Icona Pop, Nicolas Jaar, an endless ribbon of bats and lots more.
Austin’s blowing up. The city is expanding rapidly — it was the second fastest growing city in the nation last year — and it’s easy to see. (And easy to see why.)
The quick driving tour my buddy gave me after I touched down on Monday offered abundant visible evidence of the town’s growing pains. The plaza where I did some yoga and thrift-shopping last year; the dusty food-truck-filled lot where we’d grubbed at the end of each night; multiple former sites of installations and pop-up venues: all now new, in-construction condo developments.
South by Southwest, the city’s annual orgy of hyperactive media saturation and corporate sponsorship, is bloating, too. For the first time this year, the official music conference stretches across five days instead of four, now taking over Tuesday night, and the unquantifiable slew of attendant goings-on means this thing is practically a full week. (Not even mentioning the film and interactive portions.) My M.O. for this year, in part to ward off the 20 percent increased risk of burnout with that extra day, is to really, really let it be low-key. Pace myself. Enjoy it. Not worry about which of the hundred-squillion bands I might be missing at any given moment. And, overall, not to get — as Hundred Waters’ drummer so aptly quipped this evening (can’t believe I’ve never come up with it before) — South-by-South-Stressed. Also, to focus on bands I’ve never seen before, especially those that are completely new to me.
So far so good. It’s Tuesday night (only Tuesday, it’s felt necessary to keep reminding myself) — and I’ve already had well over 24 busy hours of show-going, despite getting late starts both yesterday and today.
Dancefloor Diplomacy — featuring City Paper writer Jakob Dorof — is back with its second song, and it's a crazy rick-moody, trip-horror, collagit-prop (yeah, I'm making these up) piece of work. You may remember their only other release, last year's "We Are Ready," well this one's even deeper and darker and the "samples" are harder to ID. Zomby did the beats. Fashion label En Noir did the visuals. Vice did an interview with Dancefloor Diplomacy and it's a good one.
Philly standup veteran Mike Rainey is releasing his first book, Terrible Advice on Amazon. He kicked off the self-published book release with a show at The Arts Parlor last Friday with performances by Philly’s Phunniest winners Tommy Pope and James Hesky. The seeds for Terrible Advice were planted when Rainey was flipping through a self-help book, and found the advice to be so awful it demanded a satirical retort. Instead of a soothing new-age narrator, he found it fun to write from the point of view of a world-class jerk-off.
We asked Rainey what’s the worst piece of advice he’s ever received. “A coworker handed me a mason jar full of grain alcohol, along with a bottle of Snapple. He said to mix the grain with the iced tea to cover up the smell in case I wanted to drink it on the ride home from work. I did not, partially because it’s a terrible idea to drink grain alcohol and drive, and also because the gent who gave it to me had a gold front tooth.”
And the flip side? “The worst advice I’ve ever given was telling the mother of my three children that I’m incapable of impregnating a woman. She fell for it all three times.”
The Delco behavior-support specialist for at-risk youth has been putting fundraisers together via Comedians For A Cause for the past three years with fellow comic Joe Mayo. “We have raised money for reputable organizations such as Autism Speaks, Easter Seals, and St. Jude’s Hospital. We also have done fundraisers for individuals who have needed financial assistance due to medical or tragic circumstances. If we hear of anyone with a worthwhile cause, then we’ll do everything we can to raise money and awareness for them, free of charge.”
Since its inception in 2001, DysFUNctional Theater has shone a light on some of the more obscure plays about female experience. While The Vagina Monologues is anything but obscure at this point — being performed every year at thousands of venues and college campuses around the world — it’s still a natural fit for the folks at DysFUNctional. The monologues in question deal with all aspects of having, and owning, that previously un-talked-about body part, whether it be orgasm, sexual abuse, menstruation, or birth. For the 15th anniversary of V-Day, the global anti-violence event of which The Vagina Monologues is only a part, a new campaign called One Billion Rising will ask audience members to rise up and dance in support of the one billion women who will experience violence in their lifetimes.
Sun., March 10, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., $10, The Rotunda at Penn, 4014 Walnut St., 215-573-3234, dysfunctionaltheater.com.
“Let your beauty run wild,” read Philadelphia poet laureate Sonia Sanchez from one of six haikus (followed by a much longer poem assisted by saxophone) she wrote for Wangechi Mutu’s exhibition — the first at the expanded Leonard Pearlstein Gallery at the new URBN building, home of Drexel's art and design programs.
As Dr. Joseph Gregory, chair of the departments of Art and Art History at Drexel and overseer of the gallery, told me that evening, Sanchez was instrumental in bringing Mutu — an Kenya-born artist based in Brooklyn — and her work to Philadelphia. He introduced the two almost a year ago because Sanchez was interested in writing poetry based on Mutu’s work. When he pitched the inaugural exhibition at the Pearlstein to her, “She said yes on the basis of Sonia Sanchez being involved.”
And, as Sanchez said, Mutu’s work does run wild — syncretism being a necessity of her personal history, savage beauty being her aesthetic calling, and collage her primary medium. In that regard, the gallery doesn’t save the best for last, putting the chimeric “Three Huggers” and the even more bizarre series “The Histology of the Different Tumors of the Uterus” right up front. (Glitter will never be the same.)
Also showing are a few of her short films, the most memorable of which is “Eat Cake,” a solo performance (like most of her work) in which the artist squats before a tree in a white (wedding?) dress devouring a chocolate (wedding?) cake. The image reminds one not so much of Marie Antoinette, but of Bertha Mason (née Antoinette Cosway) of Jane Eyre and The Wide Sargasso Sea — precisely the sort of maligned post-colonial female persona that would figure in Mutu’s art.
The exhibition’s centerpiece is “Suspended Playtime” (shown, above), an installation of dozens of improvised trash-bag soccer balls suspended from the ceiling by golden strings. At some point early in the evening a few youngsters decided that it was an obstacle course to be walked through, and not gingerly. The adults soon followed suit, resulting in the coterie of young women who assist Ms. Mutu staying busy throughout the event untangling strings and salvaging dropped balls.
Accompanying the exhibition was the Drexel Dance Ensemble, choreographed by Tania Isaac, whose work clearly shares Mutu’s preoccupations. The dozen or so dancers, outfitted in multicolored and feathered flesh based unitards, entered the gallery from several directions, posing and writhing in pairs until joining together for an extended finale that saw the ensemble divide, subdivide, coalesce, splinter again, recombine, and build its momentum from the slow and eerie to the frenetic. It was an attentive dedication to Mutu’s work, containing within it some of the uncanny mix of violence, provocation, and grotesque seduction that has made the 40-year-old Kenyan so major.
Through March 30.
If you like Philly film and think Kickstarter’s a kick, Philadelphia Film Society’s has your cup of tea. PFS took over the Roxy Theater building on Sansom Street (with more than one floor for screening) last year and now the local cine-festival producer has a $40,000 goal for its Kickstarter campaign: a Roxy renovation that includes everything from new seats to paint touch ups. Give until it hurts, cineastes.
Everything is coming up rosy — English rosy with the Philadelphia International Flower Show’s omnipresent Britishness — Brilliant! opened during the weekend at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Along with serving up shepherd’s pie, a fine Beef Wellington and a well’s worth of gin drinks, the Brilliant! black tie gala offered an early look at mini-fields of green topped with pig statues, sensational manicured rose gardens and several Queens — cardboard cutouts of Elizabeth the likes of which are strewn throughout Center City.
Lansdale band Friends with Murder does their song "Dearly Beloved" at good, old Laurel Hill Cemetery, final resting place of people named Wister, Wistar, Furness, Rittenhouse, Pemberton and Peale — not to mention Harry Kalas and Adrian Balboa. This video makes me wonder: Is there anything Laurel Hill would say no to?
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