Archive: December, 2011
Devoted poet/avid concert-goer/nerd-grrrl extraordinaire Jane Cassady's weekly horoscopes run in this space every Friday morning.
Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): If possible, throw a penny in the fountain in front of Cezanne’s Large Bathers in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Make a wish about the way light hits things. Study the blues and darks and shimmers. If you are not in Philadelphia, any fountain will do.
Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): “Without deviation, progress is not possible.” (Frank Zappa) Study the little ways to change the path this year, Aquarius, and celebrate the ways in which your pretty deviations have already been so fruitful.
Over the years, fans and critics have begged Nintendo to take a step forward with its golden, multi-platinum The Legend of Zelda franchise. Nintendo’s last major release in the series, 2006’s The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, garnered enough praise and attention to warrant its own historic place in the vault of Zelda masterpieces, but was still torn apart for its “throw every Zelda game in a blender and burn it to a game disc” approach to its development. Thankfully, such is not the case with The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
That isn’t to say that gamers won’t still be scouring the world in search of Zelda or collecting heart pieces — just about every beloved Zelda staple returns to Skyward Sword in full force. How these things are collectively put together, however, makes this a Zelda game that stands out nicely from its relatives, creating a cohesive adventure that never fails to keep gamers enticed. Unlike many of the past few entries, Zelda gamers are immediately given a sense of direction in what might be the most thoughtfully put together first 30 minutes of a Zelda game yet. Players are enraptured with a wholesome cast of characters that includes a version of Princess Zelda that — surprise, surprise — isn’t actually a princess. In fact, for the first time, players are given the sense that there is purpose for venturing across foreign lands to save the buxom beauty, rather than being sent off to fight against hellish fiends and traverse dark dungeons to save some uppity bitch in a tower.
But what Skyward Sword really nails is its execution of combat; gone are the days of waggling the Wii remote in frustration, and welcomed are the days of precise 1:1 motion control thanks to the Wii Motion Plus accessory. Controls are not quite as intuitive as one might initially prefer, but by the time a few hours have passed in the game, it becomes difficult to imagine pressing a button to control any of the franchise’s basic gameplay mechanics. Skyward Sword offers what is, without question, the most engaging combat ever to be found in the franchise, requiring strategic slice-n-dice swordplay against enemies that are shockingly talented at being a nuisance to take down.
Sexologist Jill McDevitt’s debut book, Fighting the Crusade against Sex, reads like a Sex and Society 101 textbook — only it's something you'd actually want to read.
The controversial figure, who opened up the sex-positive, feminist sex shop Feminique Boutique in West Chester in 2008, recently wrote her first autobiographical work on the experience. The notorious scandal that ensued between a church, several lawyers and a politician put McDevitt — and her shop — on the map. It also exemplified the tensions around sex in middle-class America. While the ensuing circumstances flooded the media, McDevitt chose to write her own story, one which not only details the fight to save her store but her own personal trials on the stage of sexuality. “The stories about going up against a Catholic church, a local government, and managing a national blogosphere news story make more sense when the reader understands my coming-of-age story," McDevitt explains, "and knows how I came to be so passionate about female sexuality."
Despite her unique title, McDevitt’s memoirs make it obvious that sexologist is an occupation like any other, just with a little more flair. The book is split into two parts, with every other chapter detailing her personal life story — from her first high school love, her initial prudishness, her first sexual experiences and heartbreaks and, finally, her most recent relationship.
City Paper's resident DJ on his most boogie-worthy pick of the week.
WHO: Frankie Bones, Nigel Richards, Lee Mayjahs, Carl Michaels, John G, Elvis Suarez, DZA, Eddie Tully, DJ Bruce, Karl K, Mason, Jae Kennedy, Seraph, Andy Sine and Dave Vaux
WHAT: I’m not feeling the flyer design on this but I’m glad the 611 Camp has brought back their holiday party — this time benefiting local hunger-relief org Philabundance. Get ready to rock the night away with a variety of EDM sounds coming from a stacked lineup of local talent, including many 611 veterans.
WHEN & WHERE: Thu., Dec. 29, 10 p.m.-3 a.m., $10 or free with canned-food donation, Zee Bar, 100 Spring Garden St., 215-922-2994, zee-bar.com.
WHY: This is your last chance to party in style, before the New Year festivities turn every local bar into amateur madness all weekend.
Our Top 21 Albums issue came out Dec. 22, but that doesn’t come close to telling you what 2011 sounded like. To help find the devil in the details, we’ve asked City Paper’s critics, friends and family to name some of their favorite songs — be they secret gems on terrible albums, sleeper tracks you missed, huge pop songs that need defending, or just plain good songs everybody already knows and loves. (Ignore the video, this is about the audio.)
It makes no sense that the song that rocked me the hardest this year was Craig Finn’s ode to the Minnesota Twins, which appears on The Baseball Project’s High and Inside. “These are grown men,” Finn pleads. That’s debatable. “These are heroes.” They most certainly are not. “Please don’t call them Twinkies.” Why would I call them anything at all? I stopped caring about baseball when I was 6, right about when I learned the Phillies wouldn’t let a girl be their third baseman. I’ve never been to Minneapolis, and I don’t have much use for Finn’s work with The Hold Steady. But Steve Wynn’s guitar solo is short and sharp, Minnesota native Linda Pitmon’s drumming is even more passionate than usual, and I appreciate the nerdery that goes into writing a couplet like “Oliva hit the singles and Harmon hit the homers / Mudcat Grant won 20 games and they didn’t play in a dome yet.” Aw, well, at least it’s not about basketball.
Sports nut Massimo Pulcini rounds up a week of everything Philly sports. Ice skates!
EAGLES POUND COWBOYS, STILL ELIMINATED FROM PLAYOFFS
After months of hype, disappointment and faint hope, the Eagles season essentially ended before they even got a chance to play their own game on Sunday — the Giants statement-win over the Jets eliminated the Eagles from the NFC East division race. Despite the circumstances, the Eagles still played with the intensity of the team that seemed reborn and refueled at the end of the season, nearly shutting out the 'Boys 20-7.
Our guys looked sharp on offense and defense for the third straight game. Starting fast with an attacking and aggressive game plan, Philly scored with their first opportunity with the ball. QB Mike Vick found tight-end Brent Celek on the first offensive possession when they hooked up for a 13-yard touchdown pass less then four minutes into the match.
On the following Cowboys possession, Dallas QB Tony Romo injured his hand when he was hit by defensive-end Jason Babin and was forced to leave the game. This was around the same time word of the Giants victory had spread — so the Cowboys, who had nothing to play for against the Eagles, sat out several players like Romo and running back Felix Jones. In their places entered former third-string QB Stephen McGee and the recently un-retired running back Sammy Morris. While efficient and showing flashes of playmaking ability with his arm and legs, McGee and the backup-heavy Dallas lineup served no match for the newly gelled Eagles defense, as the Cowboys only posted 238 total yards, including a mere 81 on the ground. The Eagles defense played lights-out during the Birds' three-game winning streak, holding opponents to 36 points and 683 yards with 16 sacks, led by book-ends Babin (18 sacks in 2011) and Trent Cole (10 sacks).
Our Top 21 Albums issue comes out Dec. 22, but that doesn’t come close to telling you what 2011 sounded like. To help find the devil in the details, we’ve asked City Paper’s critics, friends and family to name some of their favorite songs — be they secret gems on terrible albums, sleeper tracks you missed, huge pop songs that need defending, or just plain good songs everybody already knows and loves. (Ignore the video, this is about the audio.)
If you like a song with lots of moving parts, you might dig this crazy, creepy epic on the Felice Brothers’ Celebration, Florida. It’s got fire and anguish and messed up time signatures and screaming kid choruses and shaky Dylan vocal parts and a buried guy digging himself up and walking back into to down. The rest of the album didn’t quite live up to the promise of its grandly strange opener, but how could it? This song demands loud repeat listens.
Want pre-New Year’s Eve local celebrity blabbing that doesn’t involve Arlen Specter’s standup comedy routine at Helium last night? How about this: Word just hit the sleepy but pricey community of Lancaster County, Pa that Lady Gaga was rumored to be looking for a large property to purchase. CBS21 (WHP-TV) claims that Gaga looked at a $1.7-million, 6,000-square-foot house in the gated Bent Creek Community in Manheim Township. She’s visited restaurants in the area and was rumored to have dragged her native Lancaster-ian beau Taylor Kinney of Vampire Diaries renown.
For Gaga this will surely mean an Amish influence to everything she does going forward. Look for mutza suits made out of meat, sparkler-shooting cone bras to be forged from Triblend denim and yokes. Lots of yokes.
Oooh, her new neighbors will love her first present to them — a Born This Way outtake titled “Stuck on Fucking You.” Perhaps it’s just Gaga’s way of expressing her desire to move to this exclusive community.
Reporter Meg Augustin takes you inside some of Philly's most fab dwellings to showcase our city's unique grasp on design and architecture.
With every new year comes a long list of make-the-next-one-better resolutions. The Great Indoors has its own set of resolutions. Well, they are more like wishes for the upcoming year. These are five things we’d like to see happen in Philly’s world of design in 2012.
1. A Divine Lorraine Makeover
This building (pictured) has been on the Preservation Alliance’s “in-danger” board for years. It’s time to get something done. A few years ago the current owners, a Dutch redevelopment company, threw in the towel on reinventing the place and stripped it of all its assets. The beautiful furnishings, moldings and wall coverings were taken out, leaving a mess for crack addicts to call home. I honestly don’t care what it’s made into — a mass community center, a collection of high-priced condos, an artists’ community, a hotel — it just needs someone to love it before its current structurally sound state is lost once and for all. Ideally, I’ll win the lottery and take it over.
2. A Philly Section on Apartment Therapy
In 2010, Philly was namedone of the top 10 cities for design by Cities x Design. Today, we sport numerous interior design consultants, shops, innovative communities of architects and artisans, woodworks and design enthusiasts. We have one of the best restaurant scenes in the country — which is due in part to the competitive design atmosphere of restaurant interiors. And did I mention the awesome projects of DesignPhiladelphia? If that’s not enough fodder for our own Apartment Therapy section, I don’t know what is. Currently, only a few writers, like Kristen Lubbe are reporting on Philly’s design situation. But with more writers come more topics and more national support and awareness for our design community ... and eventual world domination! (OK, I got a little carried away).
Our Top 21 Albums issue comes out Dec. 22, but that doesn’t come close to telling you what 2011 sounded like. To help find the devil in the details, we’ve asked City Paper’s critics, friends and family to name some of their favorite songs — be they secret gems on terrible albums, sleeper tracks you missed, huge pop songs that need defending, or just plain good songs everybody already knows and loves.
The Asteroid No. 4 aren’t part of this recent psychedelic rock movement. They’ve been at it much longer. “Wicked Wire” is lyrically perfect for opening Hail to the Clear Figurines, stating this is, “Just another day/ With my wicked wire.” Its echoing vocals are like the bad influence in your head. The layered guitar fuzz and giant drumming feel heavy like you’ve been moving into a new apartment all afternoon, but the background harmonies feel soothing, bringing us back to the summer of love just before the high wears off.
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