Archive: October, 2012
Which came first, the band’s name or its sound? Not sure which is the case with Philly four-piece The Sea Around Us, but the two match up immaculately, immersing the listener in a surging tide of lustrous guitar and weblike rhythms, buoying resonant vocals that seem to be both echoing from afar and intimately close. The band recently recorded its full-length debut, Amor Fati, with in-demand local producer Kyle “Slick” Johnson, and it’s a richly ornamented cabinet of eccentric indie-pop wonders. The title is a Latin phrase evoking not only an acceptance but an embrace of one’s fate, a concept touted by Friedrich Nietzsche. The album radiates just such an effusive embrace, sans the philosopher’s bleak nihilism. This is decidedly sunny stuff, albeit with complex subtleties to be found within those beams.
Thu., Nov. 1, 8 p.m., $8-$10, with Jounce, Icewater and The Defog, Milkboy, 1100 Chestnut St., 215-925-MILK, milkboyphilly.com.
When you’re John Vanderslice — exacting songwriter and studio tinkerer of the highest order, a man who used to spend about three months just setting up drum mics — it’s a big deal when you flip the script and make an entire album in three days. The San Francisco indie-pop savant experimented with the brevity thing on last year’s White Wilderness — a collaboration with the Magik*Magik Orchestra that sounds nearly as dense, melodically rich and playfully skewed as his other, more painstaking recordings. Whether or not he returns to his meticulous old ways on the next album, Vanderslice the live performer remains the same: warm, spontaneous, loose, animated and joyful, even when he’s singing paranoia- and pathos-soaked narratives about terrorists, small-town dreamers, crippling depression or Romanian gymnasts. There’ll be no orchestra tonight, but Vanderslice typically brings a couple multi-instrumentalist co-conspirators along for the sonic ride, and we hear Eric Bachmann of co-headliners Crooked Fingers may join them.
Thu., Nov. 1, 9:15 p.m., $15, with Crooked Fingers, Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 215-739-9684, johnnybrendas.com.
City Paper photographer Neal Santos (@nealsantos, if you're Insta-nasty) helped us pick the winner of our first Instagram contest, which asked readers to tag red images to #cpwin for a chance to snag a pair of headphones designed by Wu Tang producer Rza. We got lots of great around-the-city shots, but we could only choose one winner: @louperseghin for his gorgeous, well-composed photo of a crackly red-and-white stone wall.
Thanks to everyone who participated. You can peep all submitted images in the slideshow below.
We ventured to South Street to find out what horror-movie moments still manage to make grown men and women mess their drawers. When we asked locals about their all-time favorite villain, there was a reigning champion. Can you guess who it is? No, it's not Sandy!
Have faves of your own? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @citypaper with the hashtag #cpscarymovies.
Every two weeks, Critical Mass will feature one Philly love note in its collaboration with blogger Emma Fried-Cassorla of phillylovenotes.com.
LOVE NOTE RECIPIENT: The Cloisters at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
I AM: Kristina Jenkins, the editor of Where Philadelphia magazine. I’m a tenacious cheerleader for all things Philly-centric and devoted to providing my visitor-readers with a uniquely local experience. Personally, I am known for being a fan of the finer things in life — particularly food, drink, art and fashion.
MY LOVE NOTE:
I don’t remember the first time I visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but my mother tells me I was a wee thing of just three or four. My second visit to the great bastion of art, at age 14 or so, was much more memorable, however, and the feeling of youth is wrapped up in why I love those hallowed halls, specifically the medieval “Cloister with Elements from the Abbey of Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines.”
I was on a school field trip, surrounded by friends and teachers, but somehow I ended up wandering into the Cloister alone. Experiencing that history and ethereal atmosphere all by myself altered my little existence somehow, and opened me up to the unexplainable joys great cultural experiences can impart.
The exhibit itself is fairly simple — there are no sweeping landscapes, lifelike Madonnas or jarring canvases — just ancient marble transported from southwestern France and reconstructed here in Philly. But with the water making music from the fountain in the center of the room, the ceiling painted not in frescoes but to resemble the sky, the exhibit transports. I love the space not only for the gorgeous ancient architecture but for the room's tranquil otherworldly atmosphere.
It might be ironic that one of my most beloved spots in Philadelphia takes me beyond the city, but perhaps it’s that transformative spirit that makes that room so special. No matter how many times I visit the Museum — which I’m fortunate to say is fairly often thanks to my line of work — I’m able to visit the Cloisters, where the feeling of awe returns, undiluted.
Have a favorite spot you'd like to write a love note to? Send it to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's our Halloween issue! Pat Rapa talks with professional actors about the roles they've played in haunted houses in less-flush eras of their careers: "I wandered around, mean as fuck, glaring at people and barking at them in a voice like Jack Nicholson chewing on speed and broken glass."
Theresa Everline hangs out with mummies at the Penn Museum: "There are numerous human heads with (ew!) preserved hair. There’s a falcon, an ibis, a herd of cats, a crocodile and two young children — all mummified."
Mark Cofta goes to the Adrienne for Luna Theater Company's 70 Scenes of Halloween, in which a resentful suburban married couple are stalked by two scary monsters: "Beast and Witch are simultaneously neighborhood children, Jeff and Joan’s friends and the couple’s barely controlled ids.
And a roundup of Halloween events, from Dracula ballet to a Rocky Horror Puppet Show to zombie-pop.
Deni Kasrel on human-robot choreography in Science per Forms from Carbon Dance Theatre: "Homer must be reprogrammed, not merely asked to avoid beaning the other dancer."
Patrick Rapa talks to Kate Ferencz about her band Evil Sword and their love of costumes and weirdness. " Regardless of what time of year it is, if you come to an Evil Sword show you are expected to wear a costume."
Michael Pelusi has a few things to say about the Aimee Mann/Ted Leo show at Union Transfer on Friday: "Thirteen years after Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia, Aimee Mann has found another simpatico filmmaker: Tom Scharpling, host of The Best Show on WFMU. Scharpling’s videos for songs from Mann’s latest album, Charmer (SuperEgo), delight in testing the resolve of her deadpan. ..."
Peter Burwasser is intrigued by the gigantic Cage: Move From Zero series starting up on Friday: "Was John Cage a creative genius or a clever charlatan?"
Sam Adams calls the highly ambitious adaptation of David Mitchell’s sci-fi epic Cloud Atlas "a movie of big ideas — and only some of them are terrible." Directors: Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer Stars: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Hugh Grant Grade: B+ Theaters: Franklin Mills, UA Grant, UA Riverview.
Christian Graham reviews The Other Son, "a West Bank story of mistaken identity and clashing cultures that, unfortunately, fails to hit as hard as it could." Director: Lorraine Levy Stars: Emmanuelle Devos, Pascal Elbé and Jules Sitruk Grade: B- Theater: Ritz Five.
Drew Lazor calls indie drama Smashed "a forthright exploration of alcoholism clipped by its own rhetoric." Director: James Ponsoldt Stars: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul and Octavia Spencer Grade: B- Theaters: Ritz at the Bourse.
Plus, a roundup of rep films by Christian Graham that includes all kinds of old-school Halloween flicks, like The Monster Squad at The Balcony, The Exorcist at County Theater and Halloween at Rave.
WHO: Squarepusher with Justin Paul, Kezner and Mount Kimble
WHAT: Forward-thinking electronic-music pioneer Tom Jenkinson, aka Squarepusher, is back with a new album, Ufabulum, on Warp Records and a dazzling live show to complement it. On his acclaimed new tour, he’s based the performance on a self-crafted a/v rig of “video synthesizers,” which are manipulated live to create a stunning sci-fi-inspired audio-visual experience. Expect a fresh set from the ever-morphing Jenkinson, who claims the show will include current material only. The supporting lineup consists of Playloop’s Justin Paul, Kezner and Mount Kimbie.
WHEN & WHERE: Sat., Oct. 27, 8 p.m., $25, TLA, 334 South St., tlaphilly.com.
WHY: Cause you wanna Squarepush-push it real good!
Back in September, I told you about a strange small Italian restaurant that was opening underneath the Walnut Street Bridge. All we knew that it was called Sotto and that its cast of characters seem to move exclusively by night. Or maybe that was me, I was moving exclusively under the bridge by night. Weird, right? OK. Well, several neighborhood Icepack tipsters checked out the BYOB joint, Sotto Ristorante Italiano, found out it was operated by the same folk that run Radicchio Café, and had a three-person multi-course meal (they raved about the lobster ravioli) that ran under $100. Yesterday The Insider confirmed that owner Luigi Basile is indeed serving up classic trattoria fare, so there you go.
Ricardo Lagomasino is one of the great Philly journeyman drummers. You’ve heard him in the guitar army-ing Many Arms and the sax attacking Extreme Fishkin amongst other projects. Now Lagomasimo has his own lean spacey sunshiny chamber act, The Sea Around Us, whose new album (Amor Fati) is finished and whose next gig is set for Nov. 1 at MilkBoy Philly with Jounce and Icewater on the bill. You can hear some older Sea music here or see them playing a live track here. Have it your way.
A little bird in the big publishing biz tells me that Laura Burkhardt is back where she started — topping the masthead at Where, the Philly hotel-motel-holiday innnnnnnnnn magazine that she left for PR game. No word yet on what’s what with editor Kristina Jenkins and the rest of the crew.
Nobody does Sinatra like the King of Atlantic City, Joe Piscopo. Sinatra wouldn’t have had it any other way what with the blessing he gave Piscopo (cufflinks, etc). Paisan Joe and his orchestra have two Sinatra tributes coming Nov. 1 at The Madison in Riverside.
No sooner than I mention Philly’s Bradley Cooper and his 2013 schedule he goes and gets himself additional plans that’ll keep him squarely on the East Coast for some time. Last night, word got out that he’ll be part of the next Cameron Crowe film with Emma Stone. Whether that means a Singles or a Vanilla Sky, we have no clue as yet. (JUST DON’T MAKE IT ANOTHER WE BOUGHT A ZOO, PLEASE!) Today, The Vulture reports that a big part of getting Coop to the Crowe comes down to the film’s producer Scott Rudin. Word has it that Rudin will massage Cooper’s ego and his thesssssspian bug by trying to get a three-month run of The Elephant Man, the Coop’s favorite play that he spent the summer performing in diapers at the Williamstown Theater Festival — onto Broadway. Rudin, through the Shubert Organization, has produced plenty of plays, some (like Doubt) that he’s even made into films, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Question is, which one comes first? Who cares, as long as Cooper gets his Philly nut off first with that David O. Russell ABSCAM flick? As for The Elephant Man, if David Bowie, star of The Linguini Incident and Labrynth — can do it, surely Cooper can.
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