Archive: December, 2008
British magician Andy Nyman recalls a crazy Christian kids show he saw once. Awesome.
Every Monday, The Showdown tells you who to see and where to see 'em.
Monday: George Clooney and Brad Pitt onscreen at the Troc. The Coen Brothers' fall release Burn After Reading earned the seal of approval from CP's Sam Adams, so that's reason enough to eat snacks and be social. Doors at 6:30 p.m., $3 admission.
Tuesday: Hailing from Sleepy Hollow, Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams' name sounds like a still-brewing J.K. Rowling spin-off. With a smorgasbord sound of folky rock and roll, this Floyd-inspired quartet is just as magical. They even have their own coffee blend! At the World Café Live (Downstairs). Doors at 6 p.m., tickets are $25-35.
Wednesday: Feeling too old for Making Time? Ring in '09 with Philly beardos Pattern Is Movement. With Mural & the Mint, DJ Kyle(m) and Kyle Andrews. At Johnny Brenda's. Doors at 9 p.m., Tickets are $5.
Friday: Charming rockability compliments of the Bee Team. With Joe Jack Talcum & Deleted Scenes. At Millcreek Tavern. Doors at 9 p.m., tickets are $8. Elsewhere, punk Rock legend Ian Svenonius performs at the opening reception for Nathan Nedorostek and Anthony Pappalardo's Radio Silence exhibit. At Juanita and Juan's. Doors at 7 p.m. Free admission.
Saturday: Got a thing for instrumental-ish post-punk three pieces? Catch Kensington's Kitten Disaster live. They're the cat's meow. OK, forget I said that and just check out their show. At the M Room. With Frisky or Trusty, Manawi Thorn & Bells Bells Bells. Doors at 9 p.m., Tickets are $8.
Sunday: We know you love brunch. Don't worry, so do we. Spend it with the jazztastic Victor North Trio. At Nodding Head. Doors at 11 a.m., free admission.
'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except ... the four assholes coming in the rear in standard two-by-two cover formation: A selection of Xmas watchables
Every year, studios fill theaters with a glut of holiday fare that's full of saccharine Christmas blandness. It fills a theme, our hearts are warmed, our movie ticket dollars are spent. But every once an awhile, true classics come along that more than just filler for TNT on Christmas Day. Without further ado:
It's a Wonderful Life
Watch this: To know the feeling of pure joy. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you've heard it all before. George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) wants to die but is saved by an angel who shows him what life would be like without him (i.e. totally shitty). But here's It's a Wonderful Life's dirty little secret: It's the sexiest Christmas movie ever made. In the scene above, George's soon-to-be wife Mary (Donna Reed) gets a phone call from her beau and plays up her happiness in order to make George jealous. As her boyfriend prattles on, George and Mary stare at each other intermittently with such incredible longing in their eyes, it doesn't matter that they're fully clothed. "Are you trying to steal my girl?" Mary's boyfriend asks George at the beginning of the conversation. Shit, son, he already has.
Watch this: Because the shots of early '80s Philly are classic enough. The city may be in the shitter now, but at least it doesn't look like 1983.
Watch this: Because no one does loveable asshole like Bill Murray (see Ghostbusters, Stripes, honestly anything he's ever been in…). So Murray as the ultimate asshole Ebeneezer Scrooge? Perfect. And he's only helped by the various Ghosts of Christmas, including former New York Doll/hot-hot-hot Buster Poindexter David Johannsson.
Babes in Toyland
Watch this: Because it's surreal as fuck, like any good kids movie. This TV movie, based off of the operetta, features Drew Barrymore as a girl who gets transported to Toyland and helps Mary Contrary and Jack Be Nimble (Keanu Reeves at his oh-so-Reeviest!) get married.
Night Court: The Christmas Episode
Watch this: Because of Michael J. Fox! Plus, who doesn't love Night Court?
Watch this: Because it's the best of the four set. Set at Christmastime, Bruce Willis is all true grit and Alan Rickman hams it up so much as uber-villain Hans Grubman, he could feed a family of four. True the Christmas story isn't central to the plot but the holiday soundtrack only adds to the badassery.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
Watch this because: The title alone ain't doing it for you? Martians kidnap Santa. Kids save Santa. There are martians. Stars ultimate camp queen Pia Zadora.
A Christmas Story
Watch this: Because You'll shoot you're eye out, kid! And we all had a Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle at one point in our lives. Gets a spot for the leg lamp alone, if not for being one of the truest pictures of holiday family time. Peter Billingsley (aka Ralphie) is buds with Vince Vaughn and now works as an exec producer on movies like Iron Man and the decidedly non-classic Four Christmases.
Evil Christmas (aka You Better Watch Out)
Watch this: Because of Killer Santa. Hilarious.
Your turn! What are your holiday favorites?
|Photo | Dominic Episcopo|
Who'd have thunk all those years ago that Magnet, the indie rock magazine I used to flip through in the racks at Third Street Jazz and Rock, would be clocking it's 15th anniversary? Staunchly independent, and drawing heavily on Philadelphia writers and photographers, Magnet's become something of a standard-bearer for the indie rock nation (such that it is).
The new issue of the Philly-based mag (for whom I used to write) is The Photo Issue: Magnet's 15th Anniversary Special. It's got Nick Cave on the cover, Cat Power, Elliott Smith, Tom Waits, Pavement, Neko Case, Flaming Lips, GBV (natch) and more inside, including:
15 Years In Philly: MAGNET's hometown scene report
Cut Copy: Notes on the scandals we couldn't print (until now).
Memoir: Juliana Hatfield
Art History: Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures
Fact Sheet: Jenny Lewis
Q&A: Lindsey Buckingham
It's all very exciting. What's also exciting is the magazine's new Web site (which is a major, major upgrade over the old one and, honestly, it's about time), which has a blog format and includes breaking news, a wicked slideshow of images from the anniversary special and, starting today, the magazine's top 25 albums of 2008 (content will be rounded out with a Q&A with the band behind the no. 1 album, best box sets, live albums, reissues, and a chance to vote for the most overrated album of the year).
Regardless of your stance on the state of indie rock in general, or of the magazine's unabashed Robert Pollard adoration, Magnet's always been one of those institutions — like the Mutter Museum, the Schuylkill bike trail, etc. — that make you proud to be from Philly.
Every Monday, The Showdown tells you who to see and where to see 'em.
Monday: VH1 regular Rob Tannenbaum teams up with Rosenbergs frontman David Fagin for some Jewtastic rock comedy just in time for Hanukkah. Upstairs at World Café Live. Doors at 7:30 p.m., tickets are $19.
Tuesday: Indie duo Western Dresses play the M Room. With Orp, the Lemon Treasures & Red and Orange. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $8.
Wednesday: Spend your Christmas Eve with ballerinas and mice. Catch George Balanchine's The Nutcracker with the Pennsylvania Ballet Company, Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra and the Philadelphia Boys' Choir. At the Academy of Music. Doors at noon, tickets are $24-$129.
Thursday: Give, get and be merry. Have a happy holiday with family and friends!
Friday: Post-Christmas Jazz with Jeff Bradshaw's tribute to James Brown. With Brass Heaven. At Warmdaddy's. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $15.
Saturday: Pop punk quartet All Time Low play a tweenworthy show at the TLA. With Sing It Loud, the Friday Night Boys & Runner Runner. Doors at 6 p.m., tickets are $20.
Sunday: Get crazy with Weezy F. Baby and reality TV star/ R&B starlet Keyshia Cole. With Gym Class Heroes and Keri Hilson. At the Susquehanna Bank Center. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $45.99-$85.99.
Live at the Spectrum, 1987.
If there's some reason you would like to hear their entire performance, go here.
Updating a post from last week, Inquirer/Variety critic Toby Zinman, last seen chucking a fake tomato toward the stage during opening night of 1812 Productions' new musical Cherry Bomb, did not review the show for the Inquirer (generally, when a writer previews a show, as Zinman did, the review is handled by someone else). She did, however, review it for Variety. While I'll leave you hanging for the review's big conclusion, the fact of the matter is that Zinman enjoyed the show:
Having created a sophisticated burlesque that is a tribute to a bygone era of show business, director and writer Jennifer Childs finds a pace lively enough to suit contemporary audiences without betraying her material. Her book and lyrics both narrate and comment, with such lines as "I'm a Cherry with a cherry/I will be no man's wife," making "bon voyage-y" rhyme with "sad homage-y" and "enthrallin'" with "gallin'."
The Inky's Wendy Rosenfield writes, before pointing out some areas she feels can be tightened up:
Each sister adds dimension to the family portrait, but Charlotte Ford's grimacing Jessie is a marvel of gawky horror, and when she sings proudly "I am a Cherry," she evokes at least some of the wonder those early audiences must have felt about the spectacle set before them. A quiet thwarted-love story between Hammerstein's assistant, Edgar (a nuanced Dave Jadico) and Addie adds poignancy to the women's lives (all five declared they'd never been kissed and vowed fidelity only to one another). Karen Getz's choreography has the same playfulness she's brought to 1812 in past productions, and Charlotte Cloe Fox Wind's costumes are occasionally laugh-out-loud funny.
Our own Mark Cofta reviews the piece in this week's paper, which hits the streets on Wednesday. A sneak preview of his assessment:
Cherry Bomb culminates in the sisters’ actual act, an anthropological work achieving their greatest goal: to be remembered. Awfulness confirmed, forgiven in advance -- we feel far too much affection for them to join that bully Hammerstein (though he provides us vegetable projectiles).
The early consensus appears to be: The show is good, Charlotte Ford steals or nearly steals it. I caught it on Wednesday. I recommend you see it now.
This post was originally published with the wrong byline. It was written by Jimmy Viola
Ho ho ho. Welcome to the Local Support Holiday Spectacular. My new year's resolution: quit comparing Local Support artists to food.
The A-sides & Sun Airway kick off the podcast with the Christmas-themed "Santa Please" off of Peace On Earth: A Charity Holiday Album II. The song could very well be the last new music from the now-defunct A-Sides to ever grace our ears, so thank Santa or Xenu for one final treat.
Actually, I hate Christmas. Think about Santa for a second: A fat old man who lives in the coldest corner of the earth who, for one night, flies through the air on a sleigh pulled by eight horned beasts, knows where we sleep at night and everything we've done, bad or good, and whether its down our chimney, through our back door, or disguised as a relative, breaks into children's homes for milk and cookies. Regardless, Gang's "Little Drummer Boy" melted my Scrooge-like heart, partially because it sounded like a mix of Devo and Miss Piggy singing Christmas carols.
Lyrics like "Toyland Toyland Little Girl and Boy Land/once you pass its borders you can never return again", which Leopolde perform, but did not write, further the notion that Christmas is a pedophile's fantasy holiday. Musically speaking, their cover of the popular (and slightly creepy) song has the affect of riding a tilt-a-whirl through the fun house at Neverland Ranch after eating too much cotton candy. Effervescent, but also a bit unsettling and disorienting.
If you listen carefully, the down beats at the beginning of every four count for Paper Masques' "Auld Lang Syne" sound just like Facebook chat notifications. I keep checking my computer every four seconds to see if Paris Hilton has returned any of my messages. (She hasn't.)
For The Swimmers, another fixture on Local Support, the Christmas sound they sing of consists of upbeat, hard-rock drumming with deep brass and a synth lead similar to "Boys don't Cry".
If there was ever an epilepsy-inducing Christmas song, the honor belongs to Emotron. They score extra points for their lyrics on their electro-tinged "Santa Clause (I Still Believe in You)," which just so happens to be the theme song (at least in my mind) of a girl I dated in high school.
Brown Recluse Sings' "Purple Snowflakes," a song about Christmas in Chernobyl, sounds so fittingly rustic, melancholy, and like Dr. Dog on a rainy day, I checked the playlist to make sure I wasn't hallucinating from the radiation.
"I Know What Donnie Jeffcoat is Getting For Christmas" — an alien abduction. The Sw!ms yuletide tune evokes images of Christmas trees in outer space and elves on Mars.
Favorite song of the podcast goes to Atom & His Package for combining social satire on Right Wing Conservatives and pop culture, funny lyrics about being Jewish on Christmas, and synthesizer parts eerily reminiscent of Aqua. So Merry Christmas to all, and shove it, Bill O'Reilly.
Go download it now at citypaper.net/podcast.
The A-Sides & Sun Airway - "Santa Please" - Peace On Earth: A Charity Holiday Album II (c)
Gang - "Little Drummer Boy" - Cdr
Leopulde - "Toyland" - A Familyre Christmas-Vol. 2 (c)
Paper Masques - "Auld Lang Syne" - Oh Come All Ye earSnake (c)
The Bigger Lovers - "For Christ's Sake" - This Affair Never Happened... And Here are Eleven Songs About It
The Swimmers - "The Christmas Song" - mp3
The Emotron - "Santa Clause (I Still Believe in You)" - Chicken Ranch Christmas 2008
Brown Recluse Sings - "Purple Snowflakes" - mp3
The Sw!ms - "I Know What Donnie Jeffcoat's Getting For Christmas" - Festooned
The Classic Brown - "Comin' On Christmas" - AR8 (c)
Atom & His Package - "What WE Do On Christmas" - The My Pal God Holiday Record (c)
Pattern Is Movement - "O, Holy Night" - Peace On Earth: A Charity Holiday Album II (c)
Surefire Broadcast - "Let It Snow" - mp3
Johnny & The High Keys - "The Christmas Game" - Absolutely Allentown (c)
Adam Arcuragi - "The Christmas Song" - S/T
The Original Sins - "Bethlehem" - Bethlehem
Zelda Pinwheel - "Little Drummer Boy" - Oh Come All Ye earSnake (c)
Jet Weston - "Jingle Bells" - mp3
King God - "Synthetic Christmas" - mp3
The Castle Arms - "Forever Eve" - Arbor Records Christmas Collection 7 (c)
Eltro - "The Color Of Snow" - Happy Holidays From Miner Street, 1996 (c)
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