Archive: November, 2011
Reporter Meg Augustin takes you inside some of Philly's most fab dwellings to showcase our city's unique grasp on design and architecture.
Thanksgiving is upon us and that means open belt buckles and leftovers for days. But for those looking forward to hosting the holiday feast, Thanksgiving Day is about more than just food prep. Whether it’s your first time hosting the family dinner or you’re simply looking for new ways to entertain the crew, you know the big day also calls for a touch of décor.
Plopping down paper plates and 2-liter bottles of soda may make entertaining a little easier, but if you really want to give your guests a holiday feast to remember, a few simple flourishes can set the mood. We’ve put together four Thanksgiving table ideas, all with different families and occasions in mind, with help from designers Ashley Hannan and Naomi Stein. Along with ideas and tips, home shops Terrain and Hello Home have provided some of their favorite for-purchase tabletop items to help you get the ball rolling.
RUSTIC AND FARM-LIKE
Simple and inexpensive tableware such as a white Ikea tablecloth and blue-and-white kitchen towels keep things easy and worry-free when stains inevitably occur. If you aren’t stocked with simple linens, pick up something like this one from Terrain. The simple piece will work for multiple seasons and occasions and can handle a few stains.
When stopping by the grocery, grab a few extra rustic fruits like pears or apples for decoration. Or do as we did and reuse your Halloween pumpkins. While any colors will work, we loved the pop of orange against the simple country blue.
With this table theme, we suggest buying a case of Mason jars — which can be found at grocery, general or craft stores — and using them for drinking glasses and candleholders for later dinners. While you're at it, grab a cheap pack of brown paper bags. These versatile sacks work as a variety of canvases. Set them beneath each place setting with a guest’s name for an easy place card. If you’re in the mood for family sharing, place a few bags on your entry table or sideboard and ask guests to write down what they are thankful for. In the end, you have a sentimental and interesting piece for scrapbooking or framing. These cheap bags can also be used to encase leftovers to send guests home with, or as a distracting “coloring book” at the kids table.
Philadelphia Voices of Pride performed a polished set of pop tunes on Saturday as a part of their latest choral ensemble, Glitter in the Air.
The concert, which got its name from pop powerhouse P!nk’s closing track on 2008’s Funhouse, was an eclectic mix of feel-good songs. And though the presentation did have its fair share of corny moments (see: Katy Perry’s “Firework”), the showcase proved to be another impeccable performance from a group of uplifting, chipper men and women of all age groups who have clearly done their homework.
With a dash of pop charm and a heaping scoop of choral perfection, the hour-and-a-half-long show demonstrated a thorough understanding of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” formula for performing a pop song, never straying too far from the original composition of timeless standout songs like “Over the Rainbow” and “True Colors.”
With that said, the choral arrangements of certain songs didn’t exactly match up to the auto-tuned perfection of the show’s Glee-inspired setup. The show’s title track, Elton John’s “Your Song” and — despite the gentlemen’s admittedly charismatic performance — “Telephone” did not translate well when put into the context of a group performance. But thankfully, the crop of talented vocalists redeemed themselves by the time the latter half of the show ensued, tugging on heart strings with a flawlessly untouched version of “Mad World” and making the venue’s gay men jump for joy in their seats upon hearing the first few notes of favorites like Madonna’s “Vogue” and contemporary, homo-happy songstress Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.”
Sprinkle in a random but much-welcomed sampling from Rent, and you have one seemingly simple but entertaining-all-the-same exhibition of familiar pop hits that successfully aimed to please.
Photo by Brandon Baker
Brian Wilensky highlights the week's sure-bet live acts.
Monday: Writing such deliberately delicate, heavy-on-the-heart folk rock, A.A. Bondy creates a vibe that you know him very well. People share feelings like the ones he sings about with only true friends. And if you’re any kind of friend, you’ll keep listening. 8 p.m., $13-$14, with Gold Leaves, First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., 215-821-7575.
Tuesday: The experimental math-rock clang and menacing chaos of Fairless Hills’ The Joint Chiefs of Math fits in with their math rock superiors nicely, but their vocals could fit them into a hardcore scene. Make up your mind, already. But be mindful, one may be easier to access than the other. 8 p.m., $5-$7, with What Why Wherewolf, 2 Wheels 1 & Man the Fire, North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St., 215-787-0488.
Wednesday: Dovetailing off Dropkick Murphy’s commercial success, The Swaggerin’ Growlers do the Boston-Irish folk-punk thing. When they get up on stage, they give it their all, it’s the only way they know — according to “The Life We Chose.” Go see the show to find out. Or just listen to the song. 8 p.m., $5, with Erik Peterson of Mischief Brew & Mirrors and Wives, Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Frankford Ave., 215-291-4919.
Man Cave is a testosterone-laden Monday feature that highlights the weekend haps of a pop culture-loving Philly dude.
When I first saw Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, I was 18. It was the last time my parents took my little sister and me out to see a movie as a family. I hadn't read the books (still haven't). I wasn't into it. I considered it to be a kid's film and I — probably hungover — slept through most of the matinee. But when I heard that some of my buddies were going to be getting together to nerd out over this shiz, I knew it was time for my Hogwarts reboot.
The truth of the matter is, Harry Potter is very much a kid's film, complete with a pod race and everything. Also, I'm starting to wonder if any fantasy epic can exist without a prophesized "chosen one." Harry is simply the messianic descendant of Frodo, Neo, Luke Skywalker, dude from Dune and that young chick from Narnia. My apologies to the heads if these are out of order. Still, J.K. Rowling's version of Jedi powers are sorta badass in their own right. Harry's naive bravery and his buddies with unique skills are effectively nerdy in a way I can really appreciate.
Man On Wire was a different variety of wizardry. If you're unfamiliar with the British documentary about the French tightrope walker, check out City Paper's 2008 review. There's an encouraging dudeliness to Philippe Petit's patently illegal quests for high-altitude absurdity. Petit is the John Dillinger of high wire walking, and if you haven't seen his clutch appearance on The Colbert Report, cruise over to Colbert Nation. Then, stream the hell out of that docco on webflix.
Shopping Spree columnist Julia West with some of her faves from this weekend's Holiday Art Star Craft Bazaar.
The holiday craft bazaar was torture on my self control. Each impeccably-set-up booth was a display of tight craftsmanship and good taste, and I wanted to buy all of it — for myself, no less. I went in with a list of people to shop for, but forgot all about their personal style and taste. Instead, I found myself muttering “I really want this” a few too many times. My will was strong, though, and the only thing I picked up for myself was a calendar from local favorite Corina Dross. It playfully insists that, based on certain prophecies and rumors, this is the last calendar you’ll ever need. Here were some of the other highlights:
Mokuobi Threads This is a Brooklyn-based artist who was selling the loudest wallets, pencil bags, tees and a few other vibrant trinkets.
Mello Press Amanda Mello is a Philly girl who letter presses phrases like “i miss your face” or “nerds!” onto cards. She was also slinging some fancy map coasters for $20 a set (pictured).
Adam Smith I was the picture of financial responsibility when I didn't buy an entire wall of prints from local artist and badass Adam Smith. I would have treated myself to one if I could choose a favorite.
Just a reminder: The deadline for COMICS ISSUE submissions has been extended until Monday. Why not take this weekend to whip up something? Amateurs welcome! Pros welcome!
Last night, Walking Fish Theatre debuted their Midnight Monster Mayhem burlesque show, a tribute to horror-show hosts and their “damned and dateless” fans. The show incorporated numerous ’60s and ’70s B-movie shorts such as The Pig Keeper’s Daughter — my personal favorite — and Bad Girls Go to Hell, which functioned as entertainment for a waiting audience as well as the perfect introduction to B-movie culture.
The show focuses on Mistress Paulina, a local TV show horror host, much like the eighties’ Elvira, whose midnight TV spot is being threatened by more profitable infomercial segments. The audience is introduced to her show and her loyal hunchback sidekick Clurb (aka Jane) just as her livelihood and passion are put in the hot seat. Amidst her seemingly final horror-movie broadcast, characters such as the new boom girl Bambi, station manager Action Alan, Daisy the “personal trainer” and a slew of B-movie regulars, like sea monsters and space aliens, get down and dirty with burlesque-style stripteases. In the fashion of true burlesque, the players of Walking Fish Burlesque know how to add hilarity into their sexy showcase. Even Clurb, played by Gina Martino, whose expressive face and mile-high personality won the show, excels in both self-deprecating humor and a naughty negligee.
The overarching story was the perfect setting for burlesque. Instead of an exhibition of string of striptease acts done to unrelated songs, Countess Paulina and Clurb’s horror-movie showdown was the perfect venue for numerous stints of striptease hilarity. Each dance was so perfectly exhibited, planned and choreographed that even if a bra failed to unclasp, it was integrated into one of the many sarcastic sex moves. And when you weren’t watching enticing clothing removal techniques, the intersecting writing was humorous and appealing. In total, Midnight Monster Mayhem proved to be the perfect burlesque – intimate, lively, witty, naughty and fun.
Fri.-Sat., Nov. 18-19, 8 p.m., $15, Walking Fish Theatre, 2509 Frankford Ave., 215-427-9255, bsomeday.org.
In this week’s Agenda section, Brandon Baker writes about the weekend’s U.S. Mr. Gay 2011 pageant. Today he chats with hunky Philly contender, Dashiell Sears, about pre-show butterflies, gymnastics and how he plans to use the title if he takes it home on Saturday night.
Philly’s gay studs don’t come packaged more perfectly than this, folks. Dashiell Sears — who captured the 2011 Mr. Gay Philadelphia competition after dazzling judges with a gymnastics routine — will be duking it out with hotties from across the country to snatch the title of U.S. Mr. Gay 2011, held this weekend in Philly.
But despite the mounting pressure, the 20-year-old political science major claims he’s not a bit nervous.
“When it’s all said and done, it’s not going to change my life too dramatically,” he says. “I treat it as something where I can go, be myself and see how I can relate to the crowd … it’s a lot of fun.”
Since claiming the Philadelphia title in April, Sears has taken a more humble approach to his Mr. Gay glory, using his newfound pageant power to fundraise for the Noble Beast Foundation and participate in a conglomeration of local LGBTQ benefits.
“I’ve gone to a lot of fundraisers wearing my sash and I wrote for phillygaycalendar.com and Philadelphia Gay News,” he says about the opportunities that have been tossed his way.
If nothing else, Sears is certainly a man that knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to “grab life by the balls.” At the age of two he was enrolled in a gymnastics program at the YMCA and has since become one of Temple star gymnastics athletes alongside two other openly gay teammates.
“I’ve been an athlete pretty much my entire life,” he says. “I’ve been in the sport for 18 years, 13 years competitively.”
After 28 years of entertaining millions of housewives, retirees and anyone with a day off, Regis Philbin took his final bow this morning as co-host of Live! with Regis & Kelly. In front of a live audience that included family, friends and colleagues like Joy Philbin, Kathie Lee Gifford, Donald Trump, Tony Danza, Judge Judy and Katie Couric, his show business career of over 50 years was suitably celebrated with just the right combination of laughs and tears.
Viewers got a rare look at Reg backstage before the show. After a warm greeting from his long-time executive producer Michael Gelman, he was escorted down to an already teary-eyed Kelly Ripa before they took their final walk onto the stage. A long standing ovation was followed by a montage of Regis impersonations over the years. Dana Carvey, Ben Affleck, Darrell Hammond humorously showed that the key to being Regis is talking in the third person and shouting, "I’m outta control!”
The mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomburg, stopped by to give the man of the hour a key to his hometown and offer some post-Live! career moves — a taxi driver, a Calvin Klein billboard model, a Yankee or maybe even the mayor’s successor in two years.
His wife Joy and daughters JJ and Joanna expressed their love and pride in a taped piece, showcasing the family-man side of the 80-year-old TV vet. Joy even got up to reveal their infamous honeymoon story, which Regis has referenced many times on the show, but never told due to embarrassment. It turns out that Regis forgot to make a reservation for their honeymoon, something that shouldn’t come as a surprise for fans of his absent-minded shtick.
Every Friday, Ryan Carey covers the people and events that are giving Philly the giggles.
Philly Improv Theater's (PHIT) education director Mike Marbach created Sideshow Showcase, a new improv show at the Arts Parlor for those weekends when PHIT is not scheduled at the Shubin Theatre.
"The point [of the show] is to give people a chance to grow, rather than keep doing the exact same thing they always do,” says Marbach, who has experience directing the PHIT house team Asteroid. “I want to challenge the groups to step out of their comfort zones and try new things. Also, I want there to be a good opportunity for new groups to perform. I don't necessarily want peoples' first time on stage to be at a pressure-filled show where they might be getting judged — like PHIT’s Cage Match, or a high-profile festival show."
Marbach has set up the Arts Parlor (a large dance studio) with folding chairs and a performance area where teams can be blacked out. The Sideshow Showcase can seat around forty, plus standing room.
This week's show features Iron Lung, a witout.net nominee for best improv group, who will be debuting their new style of long-form that they've been developing under the tutelage of ImprovBoston's Steve Kleinedler. I'm not allowed to say what it is, but Iron Lung's Jesse Carpenter says it’s something that’s “never been done … in Philly."
Also on the performance slate is improv darlings Aaron Hertzog and Becca Trabin’s Get a Room, Temple’s resident improv troupe Fowl Play, and the debut of a brand new Philly improv team.
Tonight, 8 p.m., $5, Arts Parlor, 1170 S. Broad St.
Photo of previous Sideshow act Beirdo by Erin Pitts
- 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