Archive: December, 2009
|Robert Altman's Brewster McCloud plays March 11.|
A.R. McElhinney, the filmmaker/curator, sends out the 2010 schedule for his Andrew's Video Vault events every second Thursday of the month at the Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St. (He also does the Chestnut Hill Film Group.) As always, McElhinney presents rare classics that have often never been available on DVD ' like Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons in May, which is only available on Region 2 DVD. All Andrew's Video Vault events are free and start at 8 p.m.' JANUARY 14, 2010 Nightwatching (2007 / 134 minutes)' Martin Freeman stars as Rembrandt in Peter Greenaway's mystery about the creation of the painting commonly known as 'The Night Watch.' Go Go Tales (2007 / 96 minutes)' Abel Ferrara's strongest work in years is a saturated gambling fantasy set in a NYC strip club fallen on hard times.' It features indelible character work from Willem Dafoe, Asia Argento, Matthew Modine, Bob Hoskins, and especially Sylvia Miles and Roy Dotrice. FEBRUARY 11, 2010 Napoleon (1927 / 235 minutes)' MFM (Jon Allen, David Stanley Aponte, Robert Cozzolino, Rick Henderson, K. Malcolm Richards & Kevin Riley) perform live accompaniment for Abel Gance's silent epic. MARCH 11, 2010 Alice in Wonderland (1933 / 76 minutes)' The under-appreciated Norman Z. McLeod helms MGM's live action adaptation of Lewis Carrol's classic.' An all-star class showcases Edward Everett Horton as The Mad Hatter, Cary Grant as The Mock Turtle, W.C. Fields as Humpty-Dumpty and Gary Cooper as The White Knight. Brewster McCloud (1970 / 105 minutes)' Bud Cort stars as a boy who lives in the fallout shelter of the Houston Astrodome and wishes to fly.' Robert Altman's early movie features Margaret Hamilton, Sally Kellerman, William Windom, Shelley Duvall, Stacy Keach and Jennifer Salt. APRIL 8, 2010 Mr. Boogedy (1986 / 46 minutes)' The beloved made-for-TV-movie about a novelty salesman and his family who move into a haunted house. Saturday the 14th (1981 / 75 minutes)' 'Just when you thought it was safe to look at the calendar again.' Bride of Boogedy (1987 / 100 minutes)' More ghostly high-jinks ensue in this sequel to Mr. Boogedy. Saturday the 14th Strikes Back (1988 / 78 minutes)' Ray Walston, Patty McCormack and Michael Berryman star in the kooky monster-spoof sequel to the 'original' parody, Saturday the 14th (1981). MAY 13, 2010 The Magnificent Ambersons (1942 / 88 minutes)' The Mercury Theatre's second movie is Orson Welles' adaptation of Booth Tarkington's novel about a wealthy family's decent into ruin and the rise of the automobile.' With indelible performances from Agnes Moorehead, Ray Collins, Dolores Costello, Joseph Cotton and Tim Holt. American Babylon (1987 / 79 minutes)' Roger Michael Watkins' penultimate film as 'Richard Mahler' presents two sexually dysfunctional married couples as an allegory of late Twentieth Century living.' With Bobby Astyr, Michael Gaunt, Tish Ambrose and Taija Rae. JUNE 10, 2010 Blind Alley (1939 / 69 minutes)' Gangster Chester Morris faces off against psychoanalyst Ralph Bellamy as lives hang in the balance.' Cinematography care of Lucien Ballard. Mikey and Nicky (1976 / 119 minutes)' John Cassavetes and Peter Falk star in Elaine May's gangster drama. JULY 8, 2010 The Body Beneath (1970 / 82 minutes)' Vampires masquerade as clergy in Andy Milligan's off-beat UK-lensed thriller. Door To Silence [aka, Le porte del silenzio] (1991 / 87 minutes)' Insanity and the supernatural fugue for John Savage in one of Lucio Fulci's last movies. AUGUST 12, 2010 Mandingo (1975 / 127 minutes)' James Mason lords-over Richard Fleischer's lurid Gothic melodrama of slave breeding in the pre-Civil War Deep South. Whity (1971 / 95 minutes)' Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Western! SEPTEMBER 9, 2010 The Tarnished Angels (1958 / 91 minutes)' Reporter Rock Hudson is drawn to has-been pilot, Robert Stack and his wife, Dorothy Malone in Douglas Sirk's rich cinemascope adaptation of William Faulkner's novel, Pylon. Maybe I'll Come Home In The Spring (1971 / 74 minutes)' Salty teen runaway Sally Field returns home after a year on her own living with Hippies and has trouble adjusting to middle-class adulthood in Joseph Sargent's made-for-TV-movie photographed by the great Russell Metty.' With David Carradine. Damaged Lives (1933 / 61 minutes)' 'His life of debauchery brought disease to his wife!'' Edgar G. Ulmer's superb Art Deco melodrama about a couple diagnosed with syphilis. OCTOBER 14, 2010 Secret Beyond The Door (1948 / 99 minutes)' 'Some Men Destroy What They Love Most!' Joan Bennett and Michael Redgrave star in Fritz Lang's Freudian Bluebeard yarn. From the Life of the Marionettes [aka, Aus dem Leben der Marionetten] (1980 / 104 minutes)' In color as well as black & white film stock, Sven Nykvist's photographs Ingmar Bergman's German-language TV-movie exploring a businessman's murder of a prostitute. NOVEMBER 11, 2010 The Man I Killed [aka, Broken Lullaby]' (1932 / 76 minutes)' Ernst Lubitsch directs Lionel Barrymore and Phillips Holmes in a favorite of Gilles Deleuze about the guilt afflicting a French Soldier after World War I. American Nightmares [aka, Combat Shock] (1986 / 92 minutes)' Buddy Giovinazzo's grungy chronicle of a deranged Vietnam veteran descending into madness on Staten Island. DECEMBER 9, 2010 Before I Forget [aka, Avant que j'oublie] (2007 / 108 minutes) In one of the great movies of the last decade Jacques Nolot writes, directs and stars as a gay man adjusting to his lover's death, advancing age, and his failing body. Poison (1990 / 85 minutes)' Todd Haynes' masterful first feature is inspired by the writings of Jean Genet and propelled by Haynes' own unique sense of collage. The Meatrack (1970 / 65 minutes)' A young boy grows up to be a hustler in this time capsule of a more carefree and groovy era.
A concert a day keeps the doctor away.
Monday: If it's fuzz you want, then Christmas has just come early for you, my friend. The Chickens make warbly electro lo-fi, charged with a moodiness all too fitting for a Monday night. They're brooding at times, but by the next track they've flipped to something neurotic that could make the youth start dancing like supercharged epileptics. With the always fun Ultrathin, Tonstartssbandht and U.S. Girls, 8 p.m., $7, Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., 215-291-4919.
Tuesday: Remove yourself completely from Tuesday, and maybe the planet. With sweet, airy synths and delicate female vocals, I'm half expecting to spot a unicorn at the Sunny Day in Glasgow show. Or at least a couple of fairies. Their music is filled with rainbows and sunshine, but never becomes sickeningly cutesy. A.D. Amorosi even wrote about them in this week's issue. With Reading Rainbow and Ape School, 9 p.m., $10, Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 215-739-9684.
Wednesday: The Sleepwells live up to their name. Not to say that their gentle tunes will bore you to sleep, but they may lull you to a less-focused state. There's a type of music that sounds like it was made for roadtrips, full of fun adventures and self-searching. The Sleepwells are the nighttime version of that. Just don't fall asleep at the wheel. With Fishstick, Vice Royals, and Handsome Devils, 7 p.m., $8, North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St., 215-684-0808.
Thursday: The gloomy boys from Thursday are back. Well, kind of. They're in Allentown. Normally I wouldn't suggest a screamo band but, damn it, it's Thursday. Yes, they border on cheesy, but sonically they are somewhere entirely different. While they are playing a ways away from the city tonight, it's worth the trek if you missed them a few months ago. With Dillinger Escape Plan, Fake Problems and Endless Hallway, 6:30 p.m., $15-$17, The Crocodile Rock Cafe, 520 W. Hamilton St., Allentown, 610-434-4600.
Friday: I promise this will be the only show you go to this week where you will receive a free vibrator. The Khyber's Third Annual Vagina Jam will be the site to find some of the most vulgar and offensive music in Philadelphia. Dirty Diamond will perform pop hits from Neil Diamond and others, only he's going to replace the words that make you blush. With Bong Hits for Jesus and Action Park, 8 p.m., $10, The Khyber, 56 S. 2nd St., 215-238-5888.
Saturday: Sassy, foot-tappin' lady folker Suzie Brown may be a local, but you wouldn't know it. She's got a twangy acoustic style paired with a voice that's all country. Her voice teeters on passionate and she sounds like she's prepared to let everything go. With Liz Longley, 7:30 p.m., $10, Tin Angel, 20 S. 2nd St., 215-928-0770.
Sunday: Generally, people love ska or they can't stand it, and I understand that. If you're someone who loves it, or one of those few people on the fence about porkpie hats and 12-piece horn sections, then the Slackers are the ones to see tonight. These guys are the cool, relaxed ska folk, not to be mistaken with that strung out, uptight pop punk ska that was so popular in its day. No, this is ska the way it was meant to be: slow-burning and layered. With Bullbuckers and DJ100dbs, 8 p.m., $15-$18, TLA, 334 South St., 215-922-1011.
Photographer Christopher Gabello and Varga Bar recently teamed up to make a 12-month calendar of Philly-bred pin-up girls, all made to look like Alberto Vargas' pin-up paintings. (In fact, one of City Paper's very own interns was deemed adorable enough to be a Varga girl.) The calendar debut is tonight at 9 p.m. at the Varga Bar (10th and Spruce streets, 215-627-5200), and includes a one-hour open bar, complimentary munchies and 50 percent off the calendars. Good boyfriend/girlfriend gift, perhaps?
|Photo | Michael Regan|
|Aryon Hoselton and the Vaudevillians during a choreography session in 2007|
Even though newbie Jeffrey Billman doesn't get it, we've got some Mummers news for y'all. Hillary Rea, former CP intern extraordinaire and sometimes contributor, lets us know that the Vaudevillians New Years Brigade ' the Space 1026-ified Mummers, like Ryan Creed told you about in 2007 ' will host their third annual sew-a-thon this Saturday, December 19 at Space 1026, where you can help them make their costumes for this year's parade. This year's performance is Philly Phood-themed.
In these difficult economic times, VNYB decided to cut back their 24-hour Sew-A-Thon to a mere 12 hours. However, those 12 hours will be jam packed with sewing, dancing, spirited discussions about the spandex stretch index, and an all around positive open studio party and community gathering.
In the spirit of traditional telethons we are encouraging the folks who attend to perform magic, sing karaoke, and show off any other talents they so desire. VNYB will also show Mummers and Philadelphia related movies up until 7pm.
At 8 p.m., the entertainment will switch over to a concert by Lovers and Maple Rabbit. A $5 suggested donation for the mummers/bands is welcome. Here's a video from last year's "nuclear winter" performance (the TV announcers even mention the sewing marathon):
Gotta love this line: "It's good to know in the post-apocalypse, the Phillies will still be around."
What, exactly is the deal with the Vaudevillian NYB? The aforementioned Creed let you know in a cover story before their inaugural strut in 2007:
The Mummers Parade, once exclusive to South Philadelphia, now has a bigger, younger and more diverse audience. The 1026 Mummers ' named the Vaude-Villains ' are bringing this new face of Philadelphia to a beloved tradition in their own ragtag, seat-of-their-pants manner.
Trauss brushes aside the idea that the Vaude-Villains' involvement in the parade is peculiar or special: "It is an obvious thing to put together. We are people who do crafts and art projects, and then here's a completely other sector of Philadelphia that also has a huge art component, but it's a sector you don't normally think about. We all have art as huge parts of our lives, and we might as well make art together."
Vaudevillains NYB present 3rd Annual Sew-A-Thon, Sat., Dec. 19, noon-midnight, $5 suggested donation, Space 1026, 1026 Arch Street, Second Floor.
|Photo | Lauren Seibert|
Twirling on her toes, glimmering in a white tutu and crown, the Sugar Plum Fairy spins gracefully across the stage ' only to stop with a sigh, shrug, and take a drag from an imaginary cigarette. Suddenly, the music switches from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker score to a heavy beat, and Sugar Plum is rapping.
A Sugar Plum Fairy turned gangster, breakdancing mice, a 'Hip Hoppin Santa'' all this and more turned the traditional Nutcracker ballet on its head in ContempraDance Theatre's Philly-Nutt-Crak-Up, a blend of comedy, jazz, hip-hop, modern and ballet dance. The Nutcracker spoof Saturday night throbbed with energy, acrobatics and exaggerated capers, and while it was clearly more of a family-oriented show, the flood of references to Philly culture kept the adults in the room grinning. The music ranged from Tchaikovsky to Mortal Kombat, James Brown and Fatboy Slim.
|Photo | Lauren Seibert|
In ContempraDance's version, Clara is known as 'Liberty Belle Anne' (played by dancer Jackie Kokolus) and hosts a Christmas slumber party for her pajama-clad girlfriends, who playfully fight over presents and throw down preppy dance moves to Cyndi Lauper's 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.' Suddenly, accompanied by Harry Potter theme music, 'Uncle Franklin Rosselmeyer' (played by Ryheen Thomas) bursts in to charm the girls over and distribute his gifts of life-size 'City Hall Dolls.' The dolls, including a Barbie and Princess Leia, each unstiffen to perform individual dances poking fun at today's pop culture.
The awkward, fumbling 'City Cheesesteak Guy' (dancer Timothy Zimnoch) fills the Nutcracker role, and Liberty Belle Anne spends the rest of the show searching for him. Other Philly references include a visit to the Kingdom of Prussia and a dance-out between the Phillies and the Yankees. Guess who wins?
|Photo | Lauren Seibert|
As goofy as ContempraDance's scenes may be, the group knows how to dance. With the ability to switch instantly from ballet movements to hip-hop or feats of breakdancing, the dancers never left the audience bored. During the dream scenes, the squeaking, headlamp-wearing 'mice' had us laughing at their backflipping antics and their names ' R2, R3, R4 and 'King R5.' The 'Prussians,' played by Stephanie Vasta and Matt Torchia, stunned with their acrobatic moves; a group of tiny girls in tutus melted our hearts as adorable 'Penn's Cherubs' and 'Hershey Kisseritas.'
The only part of the show that seemed a bit out of place was the 'Philly Flake' character, danced by Heather Bare, who pranced around to a valley-girl voiceover repeating, 'I'm like, freaking out totally' Like, oh my god'' But in the end, City Cheesesteak Guy's ultimate superhero transformation wrapped up the show on a cute note. Lighthearted and fun, ContempraDance's holiday spoof is great for a night with the family ' as long as everyone's from Philly.
ContempraDance Theatre, 396 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne,' 610-225-3007, contempradancetheatre.org.
Admit it, you want more from this week's Movie section.
Hey, remember when A.D. Amorosi interviewed the Broken Lizard boys?
Natalie Portman, everyone's favorite vegan child assassin, is attached to star and produce in the adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, according to Variety. Published by Philly-based Quirk Books (who got an honorable mention in our Big Vision issue) and written by Seth Grahame-Smith, Pride has already spawned the sequel Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and the upcoming prequel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadful. Lauren Fleming reviewed the book for our March Book Quarterly. Here's what she said:
Pride and Prejudice is arguably one of the best love stories ever written; by many readers' standards, impossible to improve upon ' that is, unless zombies are added. Seth Grahame-Smith reanimates Jane Austen's classic by adding elements of gore, death, cannibalism, war, ninjas and combat to make a perfect story even "perfecter." By delicately weaving carnage into the original text, Grahame-Smith enables readers to view characters in a new, ass-kicking light. Even the most mundane passages of Pride and Prejudice become wildly entertaining as zombies are beheaded by delicate ladies in formal attire, causing onlookers to politely vomit. Enhanced by 20 bloody, old-timey illustrations, this novel is flawlessly executed with the prowess of a skilled ninja whose well-spent hours in the dojo have enabled him to perfect the craft of deadly novel writing.
Over at MTV's movie blog, Adam Rosenberg says a film adaptation will ruin the book, writing "The risk here is that we'll end up with nothing more than a period zombie flick." But what's the problem with that? Zombies are modern movie phenomena, often in place to symbolize society's current social ills. Take Zombieland which used its undead supporting players as a stand in for our lack of personal contact and highlight the importance of personal relationships. Also: zombie boobs. I may be wrong here (please lemme know in the comments if I am!) but I've never seen a period zombie movie and considering all the sequels and remakes in theaters, any idea with a modicum of originality is pretty fucking sweet.
Portman's involvement only helps the movie's cause. I have enough faith in NatPo to believe she won't make something shitty, especially because she's at a nice high point in her career. She's carving out a niche for her production shingle handsomecharlie and she doesn't need to take on as much crap as a lot of actresses her age. This year saw her directorial debut in anthology film New York I Love You, which I didn't like overall but enjoyed her segment about a dancer father and his young daughter. She can currently be seen in theaters in Jim Sheridan's Brothers, and even though I've spent this paragraph defending Portman's involvement, I still didn't like:
Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his sister-in-law, Grace (Natalie Portman), sit together, sharing a spliff and their high school infatuation with U2's "Bad." It's a bombastic song, and much like the rest of U2's esteemed catalog, contains little subtlety, not unlike Brothers itself. Tommy is the red-headed stepchild of the Cahill family, sent to prison for a bank robbery and assault. He's released just as his older brother Sam (Tobey Maguire), a captain in the Marines, is shipping out to Afghanistan. But when Sam is shot down and taken prisoner, Tommy begins to fill Sam's role as father to his two young nieces (comic relief in the form of Bailee Madison and Taylor Geare) and confidant to Grace. Just as Tommy gains a sense of purpose, Sam loses his. Based on Susanne Bier's Danish film, Jim Sheridan's adaptation is faithful to the plot while betraying its visceral spirit. Where Bier's film was driven by raw emotion ' fear, anger ' Sheridan's comes off like a polished, knock-off purse: It looks OK but it's nothing like the real thing.
|Courtesy of Pig Iron Theater Co.|
|Dmitri/Chekhov Lizardbrain, as played by James Sugg.|
In City Paper's article about the revamped version of Pig Iron Theater Co.'s Chekhov Lizardbrain ' the one that landed lead James Sugg an Obie Award, and returned to Philadelphia yesterday ' Sugg says that he and co-artistic director Dan Rothenberg purposely made the play less obtuse, more "easy to get" than the version that first appeared here in 2007. And though I never saw the first incarnation, I must say: well done. It's just clear enough to wrap my head around halfway, but still steeped in enough mystery to leave me joyfully wondering about its nuances for the next week or two.
The play centers around Dmitri (played by James Sugg), a socially awkward, friendless botanist who exists "somewhere on [the autism] spectrum" ' somewhere right around Asperger's, it seems. His alter ego/imaginary friend, Chekhov Lizardbrain (also played by Sugg), narrates the story in a tone that's funny but desert-dry. Lizardbrain begins by saying that, throughout the play, they'll be following the rules about theater placed forth by Anton Chekhov: there will be four clear-cut acts, someone must own the house, etc etc. They then set about breaking every single one of those rules, plus some.
And why? Because, first and foremost, Chekhov Lizardbrain is a play about memory and the brain, and traditional theater is incapable of portraying such nebulous, cryptic themes. Ostensibly, the plot of Lizardbrain centers around Dmitri as he recalls a chance encounter with a childhood friend, who offers to sell him his house. Only the plot doesn't follow Dmitri so much as it follows Dmitri's mind ' in a style that borrows heavily from the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, we see Dmitri as he attempts to remember, fakes remembering, backtracks and sometimes completely makes up everything surrounding that encounter with his childhood friend.
It's Dmitri's wishful memories ' the ones that still retain the essence of the actual event, but are embellished to make him feel more capable and loved ' that are the saddest, most poignant parts of the play. Even if he could go back in time, he knows full well he couldn't change who he is ' so he only hopes that the people around him would change, recognize his social awkwardness less, and pay attention to his intelligence about plants and the mind more. This, and the jokes made about traditional theater, are the greatest strengths of Chekhov Lizardbrain. (Many of Dmitri's idealized memories are set on a sort of traditional theater stage, with everyone speaking in proper English and wearing top hats ' which gives Suggs and Rothenberg a great opportunity to lampoon the old guard.)
The play's only weakness, as far as I can tell, is the unimportance of what Dmitri's actually remembering. Would it have made any difference if he had remembered his first day of school, instead of recalling when he bought his first house? It doesn't seem like it ' but give me a week or two to think on it. Maybe I'll change my mind.
|Courtesy of The Dumpsta Players|
Every Thursday, we give you this week's LGBTQ to-do list.
' Face it: No matter how much you complain about holiday music, there's still a tiny part of you that becomes giddy when someone strikes up 'Jingle Bells.' On Fri., Dec. 11 at 8 p.m., you can join the chorus when the Traverse Arts Project holds the first annual Tappy Holidays: Holiday Celebration and Sing-Along ($5-$10) at the Arch Street United Methodist Church (55 N. Broad St.). Organist T. Desiree Hines will be there playing traditional carols, like 'Joy to the World,' as well as more secular tunes, such as 'O' Christmas Tree.' Also featured will be readings of 'The Night Before Christmas' by Bob Hitchen and 'The Nativity Story' by 2009 Barrymore nominee Keith Conallen and singer Amanda Damron.' But don't shy away if you celebrate something other than Christmas. Hines says the diversified program will also include traditional stories and songs for those who celebrate Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Stick around for the free reception afterward to re-wet your pipes, because I know you'll still be singing when you get home.
' On Sat., Dec. 12 at 9 p.m., Sisters Nightclub (1320 Chancellor St., 215-735-0735) will host their Sinful Christmas Party. This lesbian dance bonanza will feature a mix of Top 40 dance and hip-hop by DJ Steve Singer and exotic dance performances by the sexy Sirens, who promise to be decked out in provocative holiday attire. Also, for those looking to turn on some holiday heat, pick up an arousing package at the Party Gals Naughty Toy Table. There's no telling how many goodies, or girlies, you may take home.
' The wacky Dumpsta Players are up to their old shenanigans again, and this time they're trashing Bucks County's two biggest douchebags in their newest show, Jon & Kate + HATE in Outer Space. The curtain goes up on Wed., Dec. at 11 p.m. at Bob & Barbara's (1509 South St., 215-545-4511) and it only costs $1.99. DJ K-Tell and the rest of the Players will take Jon & Kate on a tragic adventure that includes interactions with the Octomom, Regis Philbin and some alien leader named Nueva Gabor. (Read more in this week's Agenda section.) Don't ask me, just go see it!
Itching for more gay events? Check out our LGBTQ listings.
|Donated by Julie Ahn|
In this week's Arts & Entertainment section, A.D. Amorosi gave you the LD on Space 1026's Art Auction, which will be held this Fri., Dec. 11 from 7-10 p.m.:
As multimedia artist A.J. Wright reminds me, Space 1026's annual auction helps ensure the collective can continue to offer promising artists from all over the world a collaborative, supportive gallery environment. That's cool. But what's going to make me bid (other than ever-charming Todd Kimmell hollering as auctioneer)? Donations have been pouring through the gallery's big mail slot every few hours, says artist/publisher/co-organizer Alex Lukas, and this year's work is of the highest caliber he's ever seen. Most of the donations have come from artists who showed at 1026 in 2009 and went on to big, bright futures: Andrew Schoultz and A.J. Fosik, for example, were here in January ' and then exhibited in Paris and participated in the Havana Biennial, respectively. Others, like painter Matthew Palladino, are fresher to the scene.
That's cool, A.D., but can we see it? Indeed: Space 1026's Flickr stream features about 40 images of the donated pieces. In addition to Julie Ahn's work pictured above, there are turkeys with boobs, MJ, the Phillies, and several other offensive and beautiful things.
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