The trailer for the ridiculous-looking I Am Number Four (Feb. 18, 2011), based on a sci-fi book co-written by expert maker-upper James Frey and directed by Disturbia's D.J. Caruso, just dropped so we thought we'd share it with y'all.
It's a story about a handsome young human-looking alien (Alex Pettyfer, who was born in 1990! We're old) who's being hunted down by some evil dudes from his home planet, so he hides in the Midwest and falls in love with Quinn from Glee (Dianna Argon, born in a more reasonable 1986). We're not sure what Timothy Olyphant has to do with anything, but he's in it, too.
In a classical music world overloaded with Beethoven and Brahms, it's refreshing to occasionally have the chance to hear music that's still hot off the press. Philadelphia Orchestra flutist Jeffrey Khaner and Temple piano professor Charles Abramovic will present a concert featuring new works by four contemporary composersall of who work in the Philadelphia area, or have some connection to this city. Khaner and Abramovic will team up for two pieces: Temple professor Jan Krzywicki's Five Lyrics and Haverford College professor Ingrid Arauco's Vistas will both be world-premieres Thursday night. Abramovic will present two Philadelphia premieres for piano solo: Dream â Play by Adam Wernick, and Philadelphia Diary by Curt Cacioppo, a colleague of Arauco at Haverford. Don't miss the discussion at the start of the concert featuring all four composers, moderated by another Philadelphia composer, Robert Capanna.
TONIGHT, Thu., Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m., $8-$16.50, Settlement Music School, 416 Queen St., 215-569-8080, pcmsconcerts.org.
It's no secret that WRTI-FM's mellifluous J. Michael Harrison is a favorite of mine, a knowing boss with the hot sauce of the Bop, post-Bop and beyond jazz variety on his weekly show, The Bridge. Last week he started a new series called Art-Live (A Reason To Live) whose existence is more real-time live than it is terrestrial, being as it is at Vivant Art Collection in Old City (60 N. 2nd St.) on Wednesdays. Along with curator/gallery owner Florcy Morisset, they put on quite a show of sight annd sound. It's no wonder tonight's subject, Jamaaladeen Tacuma willl appear at the shindig, which starts at 6 p.m.. The Philly- raised and -living international playboy/composer/bassist is a much valued member of the avant-garde musical community (to say nothing of being one sharp dresser) who not only got his chops playing with the legendary saxophonist/composer Ornette Coleman Tacuma's newest effort on his new record label Jam All celebrates the living master.
"Ornette wrote a tune for me on my debut album Showstopper titled "Tacuma Song," recalls the bassist. "On this album of mime, I wrote a song for him called "For the Love of Ornette." (The song is also the title of the album.) "The album is based on those two compositions with several movements that apply to both. It's something that I wanted to do for a long time; to give something back to Ornette from my musical soul and to thank him for guiding me on my musical path as a human being and as a bassist and a musician." While the album features a variety of greats including Ornette Coleman himself (alto saxophone) Tony Kofi (tenor sax), Wolfgang Puschnig on flute and Philly's Justin Faulkner (drums), the Jam All label launch has deep personal roots. "It's been a long time coming with all of the collaborations that I have done in the past and having access to everybody who is anybody in the improvised world. I wanted to start this label to showcase the many talents that work that world." Start your travels in Philly and catch the Tacuma crew at the J. Michael Harrison jam then check out his site here.
On Fri., Dec. 10, the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia is having an open exhibition to display and auction off works submitted to their EndangeredCity art competition. The intent of the project is to shine a spotlight on some of Philly's at-risk historic structures by asking artists to create work that is inspired the buildings on their "Endangered Properties List." Fifty percent of the money earned from each sold piece at the auction will benefit the Preservation Alliance's Advocacy Fund, which actively opposes new development when it puts historic buildings and neighborhoods in jeopardy of demolition.
Each attendee will also have a chance to vote for their favorite piece, giving one winner the opportunity to have their work displayed on the Preservation Alliance's website and e-newsletter. The deadline for submitting artwork to the show, which will be held in the 3000-square foot, newly developed art space at Globe Dye Works, has already passed but there's still time to take a peep and throw some support toward these fantastic old structures that keep our city lookin' sexy..
Every Tuesday, Critical Mass pokes around the blog world so you don't have to.
Here's one reason Philly's so obscene
- It wasn't long ago when I mentioned that Philly had been ranked the 3rd ugliest city in America. Well, unfortunately another list is out and Philly has once again been effectively shat upon. Phawker picked up on a recent Business Insider list, a list Philly actually found itself in the top 10 on. Only this time, we've been named "the 7th most obscene city in America." Pittsburgh is up there, too, at #9, making PA a pretty foul-mouthed state. So here's the score so far: 3rd ugliest, 7th most vulgar, and 4th best pizza. I'd rather be ugly than hungry any day.
- Even though it's not quite winter yet, it sure as shit feels like it. We've been feeling that northeastern winter weather where the wind is so cold, not even eating the 4th best pizza in the country could cheer us up. What's one to do? Hole up and get drunk. Phrequency gives us a list (I guess lists are what's up this week) of winter cocktails that give you a reason to brave the cold on a Saturday night, or a reason to watch A Christmas Story 10 times in a row. There are some awesomely named contemporary recipes like "Sleep is the Cousin of Death" and old historical favorites like the "Philadelphia Fish House Punch" which was first served in 1732.
- Real estate in Philly is pretty hard to come by these days. So much so that it seems like every square inch of parking space is accounted for, making holiday parking a cut-throat activity. The Philly Parking Authority (PPA) will be doing their best Grinch impressions by towing car after car to south Philly before stealing your money and bitching all the while. Philebrity gives us a funny little conversation piece, pondering how long it will take families spending a day in Christmastown to figure them out. I'm voting 20 minutes without help, 1 minute with.
- And finally, Walrus Music Blog and many other Philly music blogs have posted the debut video from Philly atmospheric electronic pop band Nightlands (Dave Hartley of War on Drugs). This is a beautiful little song with collected 1970s footage from the public domain. Philly music has had a good year, let's hope for more of the same in 2011.
On Fri., Dec. 10 at 7 p.m., Space 1026 will auction off donated art works like photography by Zoe Strauss and Chrissy Piper and goods by Adam Wallacavage, who'll hopefully come toting some of his funky Octopus Chandeliers. Up until then, however, they're hosting a slew of special events to build momentum and give potential buyers a chance to peep the schwag that'll be available. Here's a peekof what to expect:
Tonight at 8 p.m. the The Pennsylvania City Powerpointe Society will lead a quirky seminar entitled "Money-Making Schemes: A Seminar for Successfulness." The audio-visual presentations will include humorously-slanted business tips from speakers like Michael Gerkovich, Scott Gelber and Wendy Jane Hyatt.
On Thu., Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. You could win some cash to spend at the following night's auction by participating in the House of $ugar (and blood) BINGO Night hosted by Space 1026-ers Clint Woodside and Ben Woodward. They admit that hosting a game the night before the auction is just a cheap ruse to get people interested in the auction-able art, but hey, everyone loves a good game of BINGO, huh?
And the actual auction kicks off at 7 p.m. sharp on Friday night, with all bids starting at $5. All money earned that night will benefit the good folks at Space 1026, who work throughout the year to encourage emerging artists and to make their creations more accessible to the art-buying public.
We've all felt like strangers at one point or another. And, more often than not, it's the warmth of fellow strangers that makes us feel less alien. Imagine that, instead of starting at a new job or new school, you were taking a spin around a new country. It's a good thing that Oxonian quartet Stornoway packed a healthy supply of pleasantly poppy Brit-folk for their first American tour. Having already built a sizeable following back home, the guys arrive about six months after the stateside release of their debut, Beachcomber's Windowsill (4AD). Though they don't identify themselves with the London scene that birthed the Mumford & Sons and Noah And The Whale sensations, Stornoway's glowing reception in the US is undoubtedly bolstered by those bands' recent success. Regardless of what brought the crowd to Johnny Brenda's for Stornoway's first ever Philadelphia performance, they were there to see one of England's most promising young groups do its thing.
Leading the night was Franz Nicolay, the dapper multi-instrumentalist formerly of The Hold Steady and Against Me!. Nicolay and his band have released several records of original material credited to Nicolay himself, though his own career has yet to match the acclaim of any of his prior bands'. The reason for that certainly can't be chalked up to a lack of charisma; whether wielding a guitar, banjo or accordion, Nicolay presents his tunes with the rousing energy of a cabaret ringmaster. Nicolay's wordy songs aren't too big on hooks, making his set a little tough to get into. Still, it's hard to resist the guy's charm, and his between-song stories and banter were some of the most enjoyable I've heard in a while.
Photo | Eric Schuman
Though Stornoway have but one album to their name (so far, at least), their debut set wasn't just a retelling of Beachcomber's Windowsill. That album's sonic variety really comes through in a live setting, with "I Saw You Blink" and "Zorbing" providing the upbeat bookends to an evening that alternated between sparse emotionalism and jubilant bounce. Lead singer Brian Briggs' soaring voice and the rest of the bands' rich harmonies are the cornerstones for each song, giving a traditional, almost nautical folk implication to songs about love in film ("The End Of The Movie") and ornithology ("Watching Birds"). That juxtaposition between old and new really stands out in a new song, "When You Touch Down From Outer Space," and the very last song of the night, "We Are The Battery Human," a satirical celebration of wasting the day away online.
As guests in our strange land, Stornoway are quickly earning loving favor. As one particularly impressed attendee exuberantly proclaimed, "I freakin' love this British shit!" From endlessly looped violins and empty (?) kegs banged on for percussive effect to a singing saw and a banjo emblazoned with a detailed mollusk illustration, there really isn't anything not to love.
(Video | John Vettese)
(Video | Eric Schuman)
This is the first and last thing you will ever need to read regarding my feelings toward the hero worship given to dog torturer and killer Michael Vick.
I have not given my emotions one day of rest since he became an Eagle. Yet this note sent to ESPN from guitarist Nils Lofgren (famed for his roles within J+Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen's bands) is so eloquent, vivid and heartbreaking it shamed me for NOT having raised more of an issue with those who have suddenly turned Vick into a hero just because he scored a few touchdowns and muttered a few apologies. While I sincerely hope Andy Reid and Jeff Lurie rot in hell for their decision to bring Vick back to professional prominence I somehow feel as if hell is not enough.
The 2010 Comics Issue has long disappeared from the honor boxes but here on the web, but there's still a little more doodly mayhem we want to shine a spotlight on. (We did one of these last week.) Here's one last batch of some of our favorite submissions we didn't have room for in the paper.