Archive: November, 2011
Queen Village Art Center has all the bases covered — in colorful marker, paint or blank drawing paper. Even the mirrors, which line the walls of the first floor children’s workshop, are fair game. They’re decorated with the budding creations of young students and, as founder and director Jill Markovitz explains, “We are all about exploring art. If you are constantly focusing on producing the perfect product, you miss the fun in exploring along the way.”
The Art Center, a sister branch of Fairmount Art Center, is in the former home of Philadelphia AIDS Thrift Store. With the help of architect Salerno Ziegler, Markovitz says they “completely gutted the place,” redesigning and remodeling the spot to provide an optimal creative atmosphere. For those who might have visited the previous location, cramped with long, disorganized racks, the renovations are enlightening, literally.
Large glass windows invite natural sunlight to the front studios, large workshops are suitable for adequate table space and spacious hallways of the gallery allow students and visitors to peruse the progress being made each day.
As Markovitz says, “We purposely designed it this way so that students can hear and see all parts of the artistic process.” As their mission supports, the more they see, the more they can explore. “These kids are full of creative ideas, we just try to hone in on what’s developmentally appropriate for the curriculum.”
Ryan chats with actor and standup comedian Christopher Titus, who's performing this weekend at Helium Comedy Club.
City Paper: You're not known as a very political comic, but I understand you're doing more of that these days?
Christopher Titus: Here’s what bothers me about political comics. They give me their opinion, but I don’t know why. I don’t know who they are enough to care. I did two pseudo-political shows: Neverlution and The [Fifth Annual] End of the World Tour. And by the way, there are forty-seven minutes at the end of the End of the World Tour that Comedy Central lost. They film a ninety-minute show and then they cut into a sixty-minute program. One day I called them and asked about the unused portion of the show, and they said they just kinda let it go, they lost it. So I made them find it [and they said] I could release it on my own. I’ve had so many deals over the years. I decided I’m gonna own all my specials. Now I know why Prince painted "slave" on his face.
CP: Tell me about your podcast?
CT: There are so many comedy podcasts, and [Mark] Maron does it the best. It’s a weird outlet for me to be current all the time. A friend of mine was a DJ on the East Coast. I would send him a two-minute bit called the "Armageddon Update." I stopped after a while and started the podcast a year ago [and it] has taken off. You can say so many things on a podcast that you can’t say anywhere else.
CP: How do you like playing Philly?
CT: I’ve played Philly twice. Helium's ... the kind of club a comic loves. It’s sorta underground and it has a low ceiling. The laughter just rolls at you. The people are right on top of you. Bill Burr always recommended this city. I like playing the East Coast. Out in Idaho, they'll be polite, but on the East Coast, everybody expects you to be on top of your game.
Our resident DJ on his most boogie-worthy pick of the week.
WHO: H-Foundation, Charles Lazarus , Rob Paine, Willyum, Carlos Izaguirre
WHAT: This party serves two purposes: to debut the latest Worship Recordings release and celebrate DJ Rob Paine’s 40th birthday. To set it off proper, they’ve got DJs Halo and Hipp-e joining forces with Jamaica's H-Foundation and Charles Lazarus. With lots of talent, visuals by Jeff King and free PBR and well vodka for the first hour — it's sure to be a birthday affair to remember.
WHEN & WHERE: Sat., Nov. 12, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., $10-$15, Barbary, 951 Frankford Ave., 215-634-7400, ticketleap.com.
WHY: Big boomin’ friendly vibes will permeate all night strong.
Bruce Reinfeld may have spent the last year putting the final touches on Analog Style for a Digital World, the debut recording from his HiFi Disco (short for High Fidelity Distribution Co.) ensemble. But he hasn’t eschewed that which he does first and most: highly graphic photographic art.
The post-Pop snapper with an eye for the everyday (lensed during his road trip travels throughout the U.S.) keeps his subjects un-staged and improvisational. Working with 35mm film bodies and $25 plastic Brownie cameras -- along with infrared film and black-and-white stock in 35mm and 120mm format -- Reinfeld captures urban and rural landscapes, local totems and junk culture then hand paints his efforts. Now home from his roaming (he’ll be gone again after his Milkboy Center City CD release party, Dec. 8), Reinfeld’s current warehouse/studio space, a mere four blocks from the Piazza, will play host this weekend (Nov. 12-13) to his fine-art artists sale. For only the third time in his 15-year photographic career, Reinfeld is holding a pop-up show where he’ll offer 50 percent to 70 percent off his finest photographs, old and new, large-scale and small. Do that.
Sat., Nov. 12, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 13, 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; High Fidelity Studio | Warehouse, 1338 N. Mascher St., highfidelitydisco.com.
After single-handedly drawing her 54-piece deck of art cards, “Portable Fortitude,” local artist Corina Dross decided to reach out for assistance on her next project. To create the “The Last Calendar You’ll Ever Need,” she enlisted the help of her sister, painter Josie Mosser, who provided the color to Dross’ sketches representing the Mayan prophecy that 2012 is the end of the line. The finished product is a full-color, sketched plant- and animal-heavy calendar with each month depicting what may or may not be in store. To celebrate the release, West Philly art space/clothing boutique VIX Emporium is hosting Magic and Mayhem, a bash that owner Emily Dorn says will feature what could possibly be “the last wine and cheese you’ll ever eat.”
Sat. Nov. 12, 6-9 p.m., free, VIX Emporium, 5009 Baltimore Ave., 215-471-7700, vixemporium.com.
Devoted poet/avid concert-goer/nerd-grrrl extraordinaire Jane Cassady's weekly horoscopes run in this space every Friday morning.
Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): Happy birthday! This week, meditate on TV shows about cupcakes: The sudden ubiquitousness of red velvet, the intricacies of frosting roses, the elaborate themed showpieces displaying an array of sweetness, that’s you.
Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” (Semisonic, "Closing Time") This week, and every week, really, let one thing go and let one new thing start, even if it’s trying a new recipe or getting attached to a new sitcom, it’s a little way to keep starting life over.
Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): Take whatever you did with your extra daylight saving time and invest it — even if it pays dividends of dancing or of extra sleep, you’ll be rich with it soon enough.
After my feature on the Barajagala Tribal Bellydance troupe they’ve received all manner of requests for gigs and pairings. Like this week’s teaming with the West Philadelphia Orchestra for Nov. 10’s dance party at Tritone. “Elliot Levin came to our Halloween bash and jammed with us,” says Irene Reinke, BTB spokes-goddess, so now they’re returning the favor. You might as well stick around Tritone for a day (you won’t have many more chances) and catch the record release party for the psych-bluesy St. James & the Apostles whose Live-at-Tritone release gets its proper debut Nov 12. Plus, the first 25 paid customers (doormen, watch that guest list!) get a free CD of Jamie Mahon/Mike Kiker’s blustery new work.
You know like I know that Cook on Rittenhouse is Audrey Clare Taichman’s kitchen-nook-classroom-like environs for chefs to strut their experimental food stuffs. (Foobooz jotted down a list of its December gigs with Peter Woolsey from Bistrot La Minette, Monica Glass from 10 Arts dessert cart Nick Macri (Southwark) and Brian Kane (Zahav) doing a one-night-only drink-and-charcuterie soiree.) On Wednesday night though, Cook’s Jackie Baik and Lily Cope hosted the scholarly nosh spot’s first ever cocktail party with the boys of the ’booz (Arthur Etchell) and Philly mag (Jason Sheehan) to commemorate what Sheehan called the magazine’s “first ever bar issue.” While George Costa from Pub & Kitchen and Southwark made magic potions (he promised to answer my question — “who makes Philly’s best sazerac?” — at Southwark soon), Rick Fitzgerald (pictured) creator of the Philly Flyer, Philadelphia’s official cocktail, basked in the glory while serving a mean concoction. Costa had an interesting thing to say about the cocktail revolution and the “mixologist” phrase. He loathes it. “At home you’re a mixologist,” said Costa, referring to the phrase as pretentious and laced with Mr. Boston homespun badness. “Mixologist is a bullshit term. At work, you’re a bartender.” Costa is definitely a bartender.
Leon Ware wrote “I Want You” for himself. The song went to Marvin Gaye, the title track of his 1976 album. Gaye and Ware produced the album together with T-Boy Ross, Diana Ross’ brother. Ware laid down the conceptual foundation; Marvin Gaye imbued it with his personal desire — a lustful, lovesick tribute to then-girlfriend Janis Hunter. Upon release, it was met with mixed reviews. Today, it is widely regarded as a landmark record, a zenith of musical sensuality.
It’s easy to say that I Want You is sexy. Not just because of its subject matter, Marvin Gaye made enough legendary sensual music for his voice to personify the concept of what sexy should sound like. But, I Want You isn’t just sensual. It sounds like it’s from a different space, from another planet. Twinkling wind chimes, reverberating strings and synthesizer solos deepen the astral effect. Gaye didn’t just want his girl; he wanted to transport her.
Speak to Leon Ware for longer than five minutes, and you’ll find out that the astral quality was entirely intentional. Ware says he’s always been called a “spacey little guy.” While explaining a love song, he’ll drift into meditations on humanity, then postulations on the cosmos. They are all one in the same to him. To understand Ware’s deviations, musically and otherwise, one must first see that sensuality, divinity, life itself and love itself are all interchangeable in his eyes. “I never work at [music,] and it never works at me. It’s like a joining of forces that continuously caress…” he begins.
Mara Model rounds up the events taking place during the fourth annual Israeli JazzPhest, happening all over town from Nov. 10-20.
✚ Oran Etkin & Kelenia
Oran Etkin and Kelenia have broken world boundaries with their uplifting and hypnotic sound. This week Etkin brings that diversity to the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz. The Grammy-nominated Israeli clarinetist will feature his newest album, Kelenia, which recently won the "Best World Beat Album" at the Independent Music Awards. Kelenia, named for a word in the Bambara language meaning ‘the love felt by those who are different from each other,” is rife with a diverse mix of West African Malian-, Jewish- and Middle Eastern-influenced tunes. Thu., Nov. 10, 8 p.m., $15, Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz, 738 S. Broad St., 215-893-9912, clefclubofjazz.org.
✚ Seeds of Sun
Seeds of Sun’s goal of introducing a new and exciting Israel sound hasn’t gone unnoticed. The internationally acclaimed ensemble returns to Philadelphia with its unique tribute to Israel’s legendary composer/lyricist, the late Naomi Shemer. Combining Shemer’s compositions with various genres of world music, this Kabbalat Shabbat concert celebrates the land and people of Israel and features crowd-pleasing selections of Shemer's greatest works. Fri., Nov. 11, 6 p.m., free, Congregation Beth Am Israel, 1301 Hagys Ford Road, Penn Valley, 610-667-1651.
✚ 4 Flute Flight Ensemble
Jazz flutist Mattan Klein, accompanied with his ensemble, the 4 Flute Flight, adds a new dimension to the genre by combining four unique flute voices with an energetic acoustic rhythm section. The result? A surprising world-jazz sound that draws from jazz, ’70s fusion and Middle Eastern and Brazilian music. Sun., Nov. 13, noon, $15, World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St., 215-222-1400, philly.worldcafelive.com.
✚ Omer Avital Group
Known locally from performing in the Yemen Blues Tour, the Israel-born composer and arranger Omer Avital is seen as one of the most exciting jazz musicians today. The Omer Avital Group consists of bass, drums, four saxophones and a repertoire that’s punctuated by Avital's original compositions and the group's renowned improvisational skills. The range of sounds couldn’t be anymore opposite — from classical and folk to sounds that span the globe. Wed., Nov. 16, 8 p.m., and 10 p.m., $15, Chris’ Jazz Café, 1421 Sansom St., 215-568-3131, chrisjazzcafe.com.
✚ Shai Maestro Trio
The Shai Maestro Trio features up-and-coming pianist Shai Maestro, bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Ziv Ravitz. Maestro has performed with world-renowned musicians such as Jorfe Rossy, Ari Hoenigh, Edward Perez, Diego Hart and Avishai Cohen. Sun., Nov. 20, noon, $15, World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St., 215-222-1400, philly.worldcafelive.com.
There are deep crevices — musical ones, emotional too — into which 85-year-old Tony Bennett brings his sense of song. As the last man standing in the saloon that is the standard-bearing songbook, he has done and been it all while remaining clear to his vision. “All the songs I sing are old songs,” said Bennett with a smile from the stage of the Academy of Music, another room (one of the best during his 60 professional years, “my favorite concert hall in the world” he stated) another sell out. “I like the old songs.” The audience loved the old songs in accordance with Bennett’s clear but salty scuffed voice to say nothing of his liquidly inventive band: drummer Harold Jones, guitarist Gray Sargent, pianist Lee Musiker, bassist Marshall Wood. Bennett’s took some gorgeous spins through these time worn tracks. “Watch What Happens” became a coolly cosmopolitan jazz number as he subtly shifted through the phrase “Let someone with a deep love to give/Give that magic to you” – his hand suavely in his pocket -before launching into the jovial “They All Laughed.” As pianist Muskier thundered through some truly theatrical strides, Bennett used his smokiest grainy voice until he power blasted his way through the finale.
After he finished singing the hearty country-pop classic, 1952’s “Cold, Cold Heart” Bennett told the story of a phone call from Williams to the effect of how the New York City Italian had ruined his song. Bennett told how he Bob Hope gave him his stage name and how he and Rosemary Clooney were the first American Idols. He soft shoed and spun handsomely during “I Got Rhythm” and a taut and tender duet of Stephen Sondheim’s “Old Friends” with his daughter Antonia. Bennett let his voice do the prancing during “Just in Time,” “The Best is Yet to Come” and the slower “The Good Life.” Mostly, he worked at hushed and dramatic levels during the stately “The Shadow of Your Smile” and the grand “Because of You,” found currency in Ira Gershwin’s “Who Cares” and it takes on banking and stocks and found the delicate dearness of romance within the silken sluices of “But Beautiful.”
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