Archive: November, 2011
It was the Thrilla in Manila and the peace summit in Malta. It was a marriage and a divorce. It was a bro-down and a beat down. It was the way-mega-sold out Watch the Throne show at Wells Fargo.
Even Michael Vick, Kiajfa Frink and Todd Herremons were made by the epically rising cubes that popped from each of two stages that the hip hop supa-stahrs appeared upon. Actually those stages made my neck hurt, having to look up to view Kanye West (dressed at the start in a Spartacus tunic top designed by Robert Geller with a black leather Ben Hur-ish warrior kilt) and Jay Z (clad in black, topped by his famed New York Yankees cap which he doffed briefly at “Empire State of Mind’s cheery end).
“Do you know it costs five bucks to get out of Jersey now?” I asked Dan Montgomery by phone as the band rolled into Roanoake where they were gigging a couple nights back. “No way!” he exclaimed, as we eased into a discussion of the level of extortion his boyhood pals from Jersey would have to come up with to see him. It was ever thus, triggering a stream of consciousness recall of his boyhood, when mom and dad abandoned Cobbs Creek for Pennsauken. They were the ones who had to travel for a visit. “One uncle never did come over, cause he refused to pay the 50 cents for the bridge!” Yeah, Montgomery roots down and back on both sides.
The roots go so far that while Montgomery and associates have been touring out of his present home in Memphis for a year behind his most recent studio recording, You Will Never Be a Bird, they have introduced a new recording made here in Philly. It’s a little artisinal EP that Montgomery says was created with assistance from his friend, Jan Bohan, at his last World Cafe gig. “She’s a great taper! We’re selling copies at shows, calling it the first of the official bootleg series.” If you miss him in town he promises to have copies on his website shortly, snickering, “Just in time for holiday giving.”
Ryan Carey on who and what's giving Philly the giggles.
Michael Ian Black's new comedy special, which spawned the CD Very Famous, was taped right here at the Troc. And a week from tonight, he will be performing there again. The former member of The State and Stella is more famous for his sketch and film comedy — you may remember his scintillating performance in Wet Hot American Summer — than for standup. But punchlines are definitely not foreign to Black, who was one of the floating heads on VH1's I Love the... series and briefly guest-hosted The Late Late Show when Craig Kilborn retired.
Very Famous is very funny, but it's not laugh-a-minute, since Black's style is more conceptual and clever. He opts for longer setups and bigger rewards — which is risky in comedy — but I'd have a hard time imagining him doing it any other way. Some of his topics include his preference for "girly drinks," high expectations for his kids' Halloween costumes, an anecdote about the time he tried skydiving, and "opportunities to be hilarious" (often at the expense of others).
I asked Black about his penchant for post-modernism, to which he replied, "Well, I don't even know what that is, because isn't the present as modern as it can get? And wouldn't everything after the modern be the future?"
Black's smartass-professor style is more popular with certain demographics than others, and I asked him about his target niche.
"This special is only enjoyable for experts on eighteenth century France. If you're not fluent in French, don't even bother..."
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): To a Scorpio pal who builds elaborate architecture out of Legos, and who alerted me to the existence of Lego conventions — people and conventions are so wonderfully specific. Good for you if even in your spare time you are building something innocent and complicated, all at once.
Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): Every good mixtape contains a few skippable tracks. For instance, the stars often like to include a Glee cover of a belty pop song — delightful, but certainly not for everyone. Celebrate the miracles of imperfection this week, the reasons we are both human and divine.
Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): To the Capricorn in the picture, head of a festive zombie family — it’s exactly right, given the number of times you’ve resurrected yourself, how hungry you are, and how tireless. May you roam the streets forever, uncursed, never to be decapitated or set on fire.
ICEPACK ILLUSTRATED: TV Casualty, Dancing With the Stars, Boot & Saddle, Hop Sing Laundromat and more.
The singularly named Lee of Hop Sing Laundromat texted me last night to say that while he was considering 11/11/11 for the loud opening of his quietly approaching bar, it just didn’t seem right — a leak amongst those closest to him (he wouldn’t say — he’s too gentlemanly for that) had announced it to way too many people. He joked (we hope) about going on vacation in Europe before he was truly ready to pop the cork. As always, stay tuned. HSL passed its health inspection last week and awaits inspection from the Liquor Control Board. Across town, John Longacre’s American Sardine Bar at 18th and Federal passed its health inspection, waits for LCB to inspect and should open before next weekend.
Philly’s TV Casualty starring Brian Sokel (Franklin), Atom Goren (Atom and His Package), Andy Nelson (Paint It Black), and Chris Wilson (Ted Leo’s Pharmacists), just released a vinyl slab of Misfits covers to benefit Center City’s LGBT-specific Attic Youth Center (matadorrecords.com).
On Tuesday’s Dancing With the Stars a costume contest got announced — one where two of the show’s prancers would dress up and be voted on. Five finalists were announced including Amanda Wolff from Dresher, PA. a costume apprentice at the Walnut Street Theatre. Vote before midnight tonight.
I’ve heard rumblings in my neighborhood about Avram Hornik’s plan for the Boot & Saddle at Broad and Ellsworth not being up to South Broad Street Neighbors Association’s liking. They want things nice and quiet — whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy? — and may put up a stink when the liquor license transfer comes-a-courtin’. It’s Broad Street, folks, not a residential block. Don’t make me put a boot up your saddle. Be nice.
Remember I said all those swell things about Roger Waters when he got all Pink Floyd-y at his big The Wall showcase at Wells Fargo? Surely, I’ll have bigger better things to say when he plays on July 14 at Citizens Bank Park. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday through ComcastTix.com.
Our resident DJ with his most boogie-worthy pick of the week.
WHO: Jay Yo, Shawn Ryan, The Magic Message, Cousin Brian, White Girls, DJ Gitano, Rock Tits, DreamBoy DreamGirl, DJ Bruce and Dave Tidey
WHAT: Hosted by Daniella Sansotta, this daytime affair is an excellent way to get your weekend in the groove — with a nice variety of local DJs, vendors and more action going down for your pleasure. Also, if it happens to get super rainy, the event will move inside The Fire.
WHEN & WHERE: Sat., Nov. 5, noon-9 p.m., free, The Fire, Fourth and Girard streets, facebook.com/event.
WHY: This will be your last chance to shake that ass at an outdoors party before it gets too damn cold out.
In the romantic drama Like Crazy, Felicity Jones plays Anna, an English student at a Los Angeles college who develops a passionate romance with Jacob (Anton Yelchin). Their relationship hits a snag, however, when she willfully disregards her student visa guidelines, and is later unable to return to the States. Like Crazy chronicles this long-distance relationship over the ensuing years. City Paper met with Jones to talk about love, whiskey and crying on cue.
City Paper: You are getting considerable attention for this role — including a Gotham nomination for breakthrough performance. How do feel about all this attention?
Felicity Jones: It’s very surreal. It’s hard to see yourself in that way. I think my natural inclination is to focus on my work and hope that people like it.
CP: What attracted you to playing Anna? She can be very selfish and unsympathetic.
FJ: That’s what I worried when I first watched it. I thought, everyone’s going to hate this person …
CP: But that’s what makes her interesting.
FJ: Exactly! What I liked about her is that she pursues the guy. It’s by her own volition that the relationship happens. There is also an element of insanity about her. I wanted her obsession to be a focus. I’d just watched Breaking the Waves. I liked the idea of this person being completely overwhelmed in every sense by another human being, and willing to make huge sacrifices because of that — almost as if they can’t live without that person.
If you were a private in the army and went AWOL in Iraq, where would you hide? In the body of a teenage girl, of course.
Plays & Players is presenting the world premiere of Pardon My Invasion, an adult dark comedy about Private Malcolm Jack and his residency in 13-year-old Penny’s body. Penny’s mother tries to lure Jack out, and what follows is nothing but pure, rowdy fun.
Naturally, casting Penny/Private Jack was no easy feat. “This city [has] an amazing abundance of quality young female performers — but to find one that can be a 13-year-old girl going through puberty and a [twentysomething] male full of the bravado and the pain necessary to represent a soldier, well, it was no easy task,” says artistic director Daniel Student. “Emily Gibson has both the natural instinct to take on both of these characters.”
Plays & Players has been heralded in Philadelphia Magazine’s Best in Philly issue twice in a row, and this is the fourth year in a row the theater is featuring the world premiere of a local playwright. “It feels that each year we are able to stretch our audience’s expectations more and more and challenge them to deal with potential discomfort of [the] subject matter,” Student says.
The play undoubtedly resonates with current issues, including the impact that the Iraq War has had on recent generations. “But what truly makes it unique is that it is a consistently surprising, artistic and imaginative play from Joy Cutler,” says Student. “Joy’s background in performance art lends [itself to] an absurdist style that is a joy to watch: sergeants popping out of armchairs, women with cannons for breasts, and a grown man dealing with the physical limitations of having his first period while stuck in the body of a young girl.”
Bodily functions and gender reversals naturally make for a hilarious play, which is smartly written by Cutler. The California College of Art graduate has had her plays produced in Indonesia, Amsterdam and Berlin. They’ve been seen locally at the Philadelphia Bake-Off, New Play Festival and the 2011 Philadelphia Fringe Festival.
Nov. 3-19, $10-25, Plays & Players, 1714 Delancey Place, 215-735-0630, playsandplayers.org.
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