Archive: October, 2009
Every Thursday, we give you this week's LGBTQ to-do list.
Halloween is arguably one of the best weekends in Philadelphia and ' come on! ' this year it's on a Saturday. You shouldn't have any trouble finding spooky ways to entertain yourself this weekend, but I thought I'd do a little wrap-up of a few gay events I thought looked the freakiest. And by freakiest I mean totally friggin' awesome.
-Celebrate like they did in the '20s at a screening of the 1922 horror film, Nosferatu ($5-$10). The film, which will still spook you out of your skivvies, plays on Fri., Oct. 30 at 7 & 11 p.m. in the Neo-Gothic sanctuary of the First Unitarian Church (2125 Chestnut St., 215-563-3980). The thing that takes this event from being kind-f cool to fantastic is the live pipe organ accompaniment by diva organist T. Desiree Hines, who Carolyn Huckabay wrote about back in May. Hines will not only be improvising throughout the film, but she will also key traditional organ repertoire and an original piece by Philly-born composer Joseph Hallman entitled "Petite Suite Macabre."
-Pull out your naughtiest attire to attend Q Lounge's (1234 Locust St., 215-732-1800) S&M Halloween Party on Sat., Oct. 31 at 10 p.m. (free). The entire staff will be decked out in S&M gear, so don't be afraid to take your costume to the limits. The person sporting the hottest get-up will receive a $200 cash prize.
-If you still have some Halloween spirit left on Sunday head back to the First Unitarian Church (2125 Chestnut St., 215-563-3980) for the Name That Tune Costume Party ($25) on Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. The deal: Come dressed as your favorite song. Whether it's Madonna, Cher or Debbie Harry, there's a whole slew of hits you can deck yourself out in. Whatever you do, though, skip the Miley Cyrus/Taylor Swift numbers. That's so summer 2009.
Itching for more gay events? Check out our LGBTQ listings.
|Between Spaces, cut paper, tape and mixed media, 2008|
You've got but two days to check out Sarah Steinwachs' "Square Roots" over at St. Joseph's University Gallery, an intricately dense cut-paper exhibit that reminds us that Target and Chipotle aren't the only reasons to go to City Avenue. "Square Roots" is a series of manipulated grids that focus on themes of three-dimensionality, in-between spaces and the joys of imperfection. The Tyler/Yale grad was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about patterns, the rough-and-tumble nature of her work, and the art of patience.
("Square Roots," through Oct. 30, St. Joe's University Gallery at Boland Hall, 5600 City Ave., 610-660-1840, sju.edu/resources/gallery.)
City Paper: What's the creating process like for you? Walk us through how you get from single sheet of paper to finished product.
Sarah Steinwachs: First I have to come up with a pattern. Depending on the paper this is done either free-hand or by using a guide, like a printed grid. I use various kinds of paper-grids, arches, magazines, envelopes, wax, mylar, etc. ' Sometimes the pattern is inspired by surroundings ' generally various grids that I see in the city ' though the later ones start to become more organic. The tricky thing is trying to figure out if a pattern is poetic, or profound, or visually unique, or if it is clich'd, cutesy, etc.' Sometimes I won't know this until I have finished cutting the pattern out. ' This part of the process is the labor intensive ' mark after mark, a kind of meditative journey.
The other part of the process is superimposing the patterns on one another.' This is akin to painting for me. It is direct, and fast, and very active.' I get very excited watching how the colors and shapes interact spatially with one another. I have many patterns, so I can really be very engaged in "playing" to see how space compresses, or' gets emphasized. During this stage I will also paint on top of the patterns, or run them under water, or other stresses that may alter the form, color, shape of the patterns.
CP: In your artist statement you say you were unfamiliar with the tools you were using, so the imperfections were more interesting than trying to be exact.
SS: There is something thrilling about "ruining" something that I have taken so much time and care making. Each piece is different, and sometimes they want to fall apart and become more' organic, or look like they have been effected by time, and other ones want to be rigid. I let the piece dictate what happens.
Since I began, my ability with the knife has gotten a lot better, so in order to have the irregularities take place in the process, I either have to' make more intricate patterns, or push the amount of space to actual paper so that it will get weak and break on its own. I really don't force the "organic quality," because it will look trite and made-up.
CP: How long' did it take to make these pieces?
SS: It is hard to say how long, because I don't work on one piece at a time. Generally each pattern takes 15-60 hours, and I will have several patterns ' four or five ' superimposed on one another. I spent this summer ' June through September ' working on six 12-by-12-by-4-inch pieces.
CP: Is your background in hand-cut paper, or painting, or another medium?
SS: My background is in painting, but in grad school I started drawing, and making paper constructions of brick walls. Since grad school, primarily drawing, gouache painting. Two' years ago I started working with cut paper. The impulse to cut paper was directly related to highly detailed city scape drawings of bricks, and weeds, and crumbling sidewalks ' PHILLY ' that I was making. I was pressing really hard into the paper-indentations, incisions, etc. I liked the physicality of what was happening, so I thought I would cut out the bricks to see what happened.' There was something intriguing about the fact that what was illusion became actual just by cutting holes into the paper ' it went from illusion to object. This contradiction is still what I am playing with. From certain viewpoints the piece will look two-dimensional, and others like a' relief.
CP: I love the juxtaposition of rough-and-tumble and delicate in your pieces. They're very structural, yet could crumble at any moment. What do you hope audiences get out of your work?
SS: "Wabi-sabi" is a term used in Japanese design ' celebration of imperfection. ' So often times in Japanese design you will see decay as part of the piece ' the tea bowls that were irregular, with "ugly" glazings ' as a reminder of true beauty and humility, or in a tea house you might see a crafted beam with a log found in nature side by side in the structure.
I look at Philly in much the same way ' the evolution of time that plays out on objects, neighborhoods, etc., and how profound this visual residue is, because it says so much about the beauty and ugliness of everything all at once. The problem with this is that it is overplayed and can become saccharine, so the struggle in the work is getting it to have some of these implications without being so obvious or trite, and be inventive with it.
Jordan Reid isn't bitter ' anymore. The actress took to her Web site last week to publicly discuss her role in the development of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, from its nascent stages, as the original Sweet Dee.
A fresh-faced college grad straight off the bus in L.A., Reid knew no one expect old flame Rob McElhenney (aka Mac). They rekindled their romance and started to create a show based around four L.A, TV actors looking for their big break. Miraculously, FX picked up their DIY pilot, which evolved from It's Always Sunny on TV to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and gave them the cash to turn it into a real TV show. And that's when things went south for Reid:
Around that time, my relationship with Rob began to unravel, and I started to sense that I was on unsteady footing on the set, despite our 'all for one' pact. I was surprised to learn that Rob, Glenn and Charlie had all been made executive producers, while I simply remained the lead actress. I went very quickly from being at the center of the project to standing on the periphery, and'truth? It felt like it had everything in the world to do with my gender. To me, FX felt like a cigar-smoking, whiskey-drinking old boys' club. I was welcome when I was the girlfriend of the creator, and once I wasn't'well'I was persona non grata ' and my role in creating their new pet project was forgotten.
So Reid was booted out in favor of Kaitlin Olson, who married McElhenney last year. Reid says she's gotten over it, but she's still gotta feel burned over the entire thing. Here's what annoys me: She says that she thinks she was squeezed out because of her gender, but she admits that it was her own meekness that prevented her from asking for a showrunner credit, which would have saved her job. More important is the role she would have played on It's Always Sunny. Sweet Dee is an integral reason why the show works. Rather than relegate the lone female to straight man status (like most sitcoms), Sweet Dee/Olson is just a ridiculous as the rest of the boys. Olson is also fantastic at what she does, as evidenced by her freakout scene in "The Waitress is Getting Married," or when she sings "Runaway Train" to the hitchhiker in "The Gang Hits the Road," or this:
h/t Videogum and Caitlin
|Marion Boyars, 336 pp., $17.95, Sept. 1|
Imagination, according to the 11th-century Latin text The Great Ladder of Heaven, consists of 12 levels. On the lowest level are images we recognize from our everyday lives. On the second level are images that we haven't yet seen, but can be sure are real, such as faraway lands or people. On the third level are images that nobody has ever seen, but that everybody knows exist, such as ' if you happened to inhabit Europe in the Middle Ages ' gold-guarding griffins.
These griffins, and many other creatures who occupied the third level of medieval Europeans' imaginations, appear in Spike Bucklow's The Alchemy of Paint: Art, Science and Secrets from the Middle Ages, a history of color, chemistry and cosmography in medieval Europe. Though a chemist by training, Bucklow largely omits modern science from the book, intending it rather as a 'primer or visitor's guide to the traditional world view.' By this book's account, the traditional world was a place imbued with far more cosmic meaning and spiritual direction than ours.
To addicts of Dan Brown and other authors of crypto-religious thrillers, Bucklow's book might be an especially intense fix. Almost every page illuminates a secret, symbolic meaning behind some literary or exegetical text. The 'All the world's a stage' monologue in As You Like It, for instance, is revealed to be an extended metaphor about the human soul's journey through stages characterized by planetary qualities: a Martian (warlike) phase, an amorous Venutian period and so on.
The biggest riddles in the book, however, are recipes for paint pigments. These recipes could be, variously, 'scientific poems' that frankly admitted the pigment they promised was impossible to make (metallic blue), coded secrets about the illusory nature of reality (dragonsblood), or illustrations of universal principles (Spanish gold) ' in short, almost anything except straightforward lists of ingredients. Understanding the philosophical and religious significances of each pigment, Bucklow argues, can nowadays provide 'access to the most profound levels of meaning in some of the greatest products of European culture.'
But Bucklow never shows that this profundity was apparent to medieval Europeans beyond a small community of reclusive alchemists. He devotes scant space to individual paintings, artists or historical events, focusing instead on long explanations of esoteric legends or belief systems. Although he drops many interesting anecdotes along the way ' did you know that women in ancient Greece prospected for gold by drawing tar-tipped feathers through lake mud, then burning the feathers and sifting gold dust from the ashes? ' Bucklow's narrative often meanders into theoretical discourses whose relevance to the main subject is not clearly established.
Like a lapis lazuli stone, glittering with tiny specks of pyrite, The Alchemy of Paint is resplendent with eye-catching factoids. The rich portrayal of a traditional culture promised in the preface, however, is as elusive in this book as that famous blue mineral was in medieval Europe.
Did you see the cover of City Paper today?
The story is about the resurgent punk forefathers The Dead Milkmen, written by Rodney Anonymous himself ' with the band's signature smiling dead cow carved into a pumpkin. (Read the story here.) FYI: That wasn't Photoshop, people.
Ryan Keerns carved the pumpkin.
Mark Stehle took the photo.
Reseca Glasser designed the cover.
AND did you see all those amazing shots with the story itself? That was the work of Nina Sabatino ' none other than DM drummer "Dean Clean" Sabatino's sister.
Our boy Scott Yorko wrote a fab Agenda piece for tomorrow's issue about the live Michael and Michael Have Issues show at the Troc, scheduled for tomorrow. But he just told us that it's been postponed. Here are the new details straight from the Troc:
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 12
@ The Trocadero
An evening of comedy with
Michael and Michael Have Live Tour
Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter
Tix: $24 / Drs: 7pm, Show: 8pm / All Ages
(This is the rescheduled date of the show on Thu. 10/29 that was postponed.
All tickets will be honored at the rescheduled show. Refunds are also
available at point of purchase)
So when you read Scott's piece tomorrow, cut it out and tuck in you 2010 calendar for the February 11 issue. Or in your gournal.
Every Wednesday, Critical Mass pops into a neighborhood and finds its most stylish residents.
This week I took a stroll down to the Piazza to explore this favorite Northern Liberties hangout. I didn't bump into Tony Danza, but I did find a few great examples of NoLibs style. Tights, sweaters and tough-girl boots were definite wardrobe staples. This first chic lady donned a gold off-the-shoulder sweater with opaque black tights and suede pumps.
Gabriella H., 19, student
Personal Style: 'Comfortable but chic.'
Olivia L., 29, candle-maker
Favorite Philly Store: 'Anthropologie."
Rebekah C., 18, writer
Her Closet is Filled With: 'Secondhand clothes and earth tones.'
Michael L., 27, DJ/designer
Personal Style: 'A mix between thrift store and street wear.'
Heather R., 23, analyst
Shopping Recommendation: 'If you want boots, you go to Gilly Jeans.'
|St. Martin's, 308 pp., $23.99, Aug. 4|
Susan Shapiro's fictional debut, Speed Shrinking, proves that the memoirist and New York University instructor has a knack for cross-genre storytelling.
The novel, a semi-autobiographical twist of Shapiro's life, finds bestselling self-help author Julia Goodman falling to pieces after her entire support system leaves town. All at once, the New Yorker's husband heads to Los Angeles for a work-related trip; her newlywed best friend, Sarah, moves to Ohio; and, worst yet, Dr. Ness, her therapist, crutch and major lifeline, tells her he's moving to Arizona and will only drop by the Big Apple every few months.
Our protagonist transforms into the 'acclaimed self-help guru who suddenly can't help herself.' Julia binge eats on cupcakes and other sugary goodness to deal with the loneliness, leaving her to figure out how she'll lose weight and piece herself together in time from her Today Show appearance to promote Food Crazy, a book which, ironically, deals with food addictions.
To accomplish this, she decides to find a new therapist. Julia goes through eight therapists in an eight-day period ' among them, Dr. Cigar, a man who, as his name implies, smokes cigars several times a day, and therapist No. 7, who has a ferret caged in the waiting room ' until she's had so much therapy from so many different approaches, she manages to pick herself up and roll with the punches.
The first person-narrative is overloaded with dialogue, sometimes going on for three pages with little or no exposition. This structure is anything but tedious and, in fact, makes time fly by while reading. The story as a whole is told with such vivid detail, pains and humor that it's easy to follow and easy to love.
Julia Goodman is Shapiro's Carrie Bradshaw; through her main character, Shapiro shares a vulnerable part of her life, and she does it with brutal honesty. Julia is flawed, yet she's driven to fix herself completely. Her reliance on therapy is proof alone that therapy has become an easy escape.
The need to get help ' and the lengths she's willing to go to accomplish that need ' counteracts any codependency issues Julia suffers from. (Which is possibly why's she's so into the self-help subset of nonfiction.) Her journey over the course of the book is one that will keep readers glued to their seats, whether they're at home or in their therapist's waiting room.
In last week's Agenda Section, Josh Middleton told you about the FirstGlance Film Fest (and even gave you a review of How I Got Lost). The Fest announced their juried awards and we added some vids for your viewing pleasure.
Chasing the White Dragon ' Kathilynn Phillips
Dark Room Theater Double Feature - Benjamin Pollack
Smile 'Til It Hurts - Lee Storey
Best Historical Documentary
The Color Bearers ' John Foley
"Peter Arthur" ' James Bartolmeo
Best Breakthrough Performance - Britt Flatmo
"Abuelo" ' Mary Ann Kellogg
"Lady Feet"- Christopher Toppino
Best Local ShortIn Search of Aztec Gold"
- Nardeep Khurmi
"Tripping Up" ' Greg Koorhan
"Free The River Park" ' Tara Nurin and Rob Stuart
"Friends of Independence" ' Joe Medeiros
Melancholamorbus ' Ryan O' Laughlin
American Terror: Company Man - Joseph Krzemienski
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