Archive: February, 2010
We like American Idol. Too much.
Tommy Button: The great thing about group performances is that it's in direct contradiction with what American Idol is all about. Up is down! Black is white! People must talk to one another! Of course some eyes are going to get clawed out. The whole thing is like a summer camp team building exercise that ends with everybody pissed off and one girl crying in the corner about how she wants to go home (Read: The Phoenix.)
Molly Eichel: I love group day, simply because it brings out the Machiavellian worst in people and I'm sucker for watching human frailty writ large (why else do you think I watch this much television?). Plus, they play a lot of dramatic music and Ryan Seacrest narrates it like each group is trying to diffuse a nuclear bomb.
TB: The featured groups during this particular episode tend to be the dysfunctional ones. No one wants to see a group of people being happy and getting along. The Cleavers beat that horse to death. Probably the biggest clusterfuck of the night were The Dreamers. Mary Powers was running around 'firing' people and grabbing producers like a crazy person trying to shuffle the group around. It's not like practicing or something like that would have done any good. It's a rookie mistake to think that a regime change will make any difference and Powers' douchery really ruined her initial charm for me. I'm over this little sassy pants.
ME: See, the thing is Mary's just aw-ite. She's got the Nikki McKibben rocker mom thing going for her and that's it. So what? I could also get knocked up at 16, smoke a pack of cigs a day, do some half-assed karaoke version of Stevie Nicks but that just makes me a single mom on the road to emphysema. Not a star. You need Haley Vaughn-style talent to justify that level of batshit. I didn't notice before but she's got a terrible case of the Crazy Eye.
TB: The Mighty Rangers were also just as bad but instead of arguing the whole time they pretended everything was hunky dorey when really no one knew what the fuck they were doing. Half of the group forgot the lyrics after Simon announced, as he does every season, that if you forget the words you suck and are going home. So you think this would be a priority for Chunky Fly Glasses Guy, but it apparently was not.
ME: HOW HARD IS IT TO LEARN ONE VERSE? I know the entire Bruce Springsteen catalog backwards and forwards and they can't learn one goddamned verse? Only Tori Kelly and Maddie Penrose made it through. I can't remember anything Tori did so I don't care about her but who is god's name told Maddie Penrose that wearing large, brightly-colored, plastic-framed glasses was an alright fashion move? She had a pair per outfit so I'm thinking that they were fake, and on behalf of people with poor vision who think sticking small pieces of plastic in their eyes is gross, I take umbrage!
TB: Team Awesome started with potential but by the end they had become just Team Some. Things really started to go down hill with Big Mike's update on his wife's dilating vagina. I mean, if he can't be there the least he could do is tell America his wife's cooter is now 8 cm wide! Uh-oh, she's crowning!
ME: You heartless Idol bastards! She had her baby on national television and you're still gonna kick the guy off for his big-mouthed dad. Whose with me for a Keep Big Mike petition! But speaking of people they kicked off during the telecast, I was sad to see Prison Matt go when his group made the idiotic decision to sing Gwen Stefani's "Sweet Escape" if only because we can't call him Prison Matt anymore.
TB: And what would group performances be without a rivalry? I love taking sides but in the case of Destiny's Wild vs. Neopolitan, everybody loses. Neo sucked and Destiny's Wild was nucking futs with that weird tiger claw, acrobat guy. Worst of all, both groups performed Lady Gaga (with slightly less vag.) This sounds like the nexus of the shitty universe, I know, but magically every member from both groups got through to the next day.
ME: I love the fights that Idol manufactures. Considering Acrobat Guy's talents, how many of you were hoping for a Sharks vs. Jets-style sing-off? All they needed was some in-time snapping and Simon as Officer Krupke to take his night stick to them when they were finished.
TB: With things like the Destiny's Wild/Neopolitan feud I forget how awesome groups like Three Men and a Baby can be. Andrew Garcia is clearly the Selleck of the quartet and even though Katie Stevens was billed as the "baby," she seemed more like a Ted Danson. I'll let the other two fight over who gets to be Guttenberg.
ME: Judges weren't the focus this round, simply because there's too many fake feuds, too little time for Simon/Kara/Randy/E-dog to piss all over the hopes and dreams of these bright young things.
TB: It felt like the judges were phoning it in tonight. Simon fell in love with a boat analogy and Kara just sat there slack-jawed. Randy twiddled his thumbs and Ellen had a few quips but wasn't her most on. There was an apparent feud between Ellen and Simon amidst Hollywood week so perhaps tensions were running a bit high. But I feel the judges' pain. Although I love me some Hollywood week, it's only an appetizer and I can only eat so many Southwestern Eggrolls before I want my damn Peppercorn Big Mouth Burger.
|Pantheon, 399 pp., $27.95, Jan. 12
On this snowy Thursday, we've come to realize that a good book can get us through even the most serious cases of cabin fever. (And a bad book ... well, you'll hear about that tomorrow.)
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein's new work of fiction, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God, about an atheist author who battles between faith and reason, should get you through to springier weather. Here's what Justin Bauer had to say about Goldstein's novel in January's Shelf Life:
36 Arguments does not lack erudition: There are long disquisitions on the prisoner's dilemma and on Kabbalistic numerology, sometimes even delivered by stock characters like the gray-suited conservative demagogue who faithlessly advocates for the Almighty. Nonetheless, Goldstein's book is a complex confection for a novel of ideas. It's written in 36 chapters, with titles like "The Argument from the View from Nowhere," with an appendix of supporting logical proofs, and it's about a psychologist who has himself written a book disproving the existence of God, containing in turn an appendix with 36 logical proofs. All the care and self-awareness that Goldstein has coded into her novel elevates and amplifies her subject, leavening the dry philosophy and grounding her flights of fancy. She is aware of the power of variation and the elegance of recursion.
To win a copy, answer me this:
In what year did Goldstein become a MacArthur Genius?
Every Thursday, we give you this week's LGBTQ to-do list.
This week I put together a few Valentine's weekend events that should suit everyone, no matter what your thoughts on the mushy, Hallmark-adoring love fest.
If you're in no mood for any of the romantic crap, you'll have a blast at Marathon Grill (40th & Walnut sts., 215-222-0100) on Fri., Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. or Sat., Feb. 13 at 10 p.m. Nine poets, including openly gay ones like Saida Agostini, Ms. Wise and Leslie McIntosh, will serve Valentine's Day the what for during the Cupid Ain't @#$%!: An Anti-Valentine's Day Poetry Movement. Organizer J. Mase III says the poetry will be perfectly suited to those ready to laugh away their bitterness about the holiday. So says Mase: "My hope is that when people come this year they will be able to laugh at themselves and find community among others that may not usually seek that kind of space."
The men of Brothers Network have organized a pro-Valentines discussion all about black-on-black love taking place at the Arts Condo Community Room (1324 Locust St., 215-546-1925) on Sat., Feb. 13 at 2 p.m. The free chit chat will feature a panel of six black couples who will talk about the evolution of their personal relationships and more political topics like the lack of the black men loving black men image in the mainstream media. I second that emotion.
SisterSpace, of the Delaware Valley is throwing their annual Valentine's shindig on Sat., Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. at Stir Lounge (1705 Chancellor St., 215-732-2700). The ladies-only affair will hop with music, drink specials and a presentation by the gender-bending lads of the Liberty City Drag Kings and Burlesque Review. The measly $5 cover will benefit SisterSpace, an organization that arranges events to spotlight and empower the lesbian community. Shine, girls, shine!
It's not a Valentine's event, but the love continues to flow on Thu., 18 at 8 a.m. when Mayor Michael Nutter joins the Independence Business Alliance for a breakfast and discussion at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel (1200 Market St., 215-627-1200). For $25 you can hear Nutter gab about current issues facing the LGBTQ community in Philadelphia and respond to his guest's questions or concerns about his push for progressive gay legislation in the city and state.
Check out more V-Day events, for both Phag acolytes and breeders, over in Agenda.
Itching for more gay events? Check out our LGBTQ listings.
Now this is a good idea: Riot Grrrl foremothers Bikini Kill are soliciting your memories, anecdotes, photos and videos for a kind of online oral history database about the band.
It doesn't have to be fancy or well-worded, we'd just like you to leave a record of your experience and get an idea of what Bikini Kill means to you. Maybe it's your reaction to a song we wrote, something weird that happened at one of our shows, a personal anecdote or just WHATEVER. Send yr story to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post it or just leave a comment somewhere on the site. You can also send us images to post.
Here's a little something to get you in the mood. It's the time Roseanne and Jackie picked up a young punk hitchhiker (played by Jenna Elfman (Dharma)) and she schools them on Riot Grrrlishness. It's freedom rock, man.
New York, Los Angeles, and Passyunk Ave: three areas that are hip to the new retail trend dubbed 'pop-up shop.' Instead of claiming a permanent residence, many retailers are cleverly keeping customers wanting more by briefly inhabiting a storefront then just as quickly disappearing. This weekend the businesses of East Passyunk Avenue are expanding the 'pop-up shop' concept into an entire 'pop-up 'hood.'
Boutiques, grocers and more will pack up their most appealing products and set up shop for three days in a Center City storefront. The building will become what event coordinator Matthew Vlahos describes as a microcosm of the East Passyunk neighborhood. It's simply transferred to Rittenhouse. Customers can meander through stores' booths, enter to win door prizes or run into local celebs, like Project Runway winner and current Celebrity Fit Club boot camper Jay McCarroll, manning the Fringe Salon booth. On top of creating an intimate retail experience and close-knit community, businesses will, naturally, offer sweet deals, including discounts from spots like Sweet Jane's Vintage & Records, Sixteen Hundred Below, and Bianca Simone Boutique.
In a discouraging year for all business, Vlahos and the storeowners hope the Pop-Up Passyunk event will help draw the Center City shopping crowds' attention towards the south. Says Vlahos: "Instead of making them come to us, why don't we go to them?
For more shopping events, go to citypaper.net/shoppingspree.
Pop-Up Passyunk, Fri., Feb. 12-Sat. Feb. 13, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 14, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., free, 208 S. 16th St.
We like American Idol. Too much.
"Hollywood is a disgusting town." Ellen Degeneres
Tommy Button: The first three weeks of American Idol are basically a parade of goons and crazy people bookended by some talent right after the commercial break. But this. This is serious. Hollywood week is where the pant-splitting antics won't cut it anymore and if you suck, it's time to look into the eyes of the four-headed monster and accept your fate. However, one of those heads belongs to one of the most absolutely charming people ever! Ellen Degeneres has pretty much everything: She's funny, she's smart AND she thinks its cool to wear jeans and a jean jacket!
Molly Eichel: Propensity for the Canadian Tuxedo aside, Tommy, you're my favorite male lesbian.
TB: The stand out of the whole first day was Compton native Andrew Garcia with his Allen-esque rendition of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up." If anything, he was the most honest of any of the contestants. He was comfortable and he was feeling it. Kris Allen pulled this shit like this out around Top 10 so if this is what Andrew has to offer for the first day of Hollywood, he'll be awesome in the Top 5. That's right. Top 5. I'm calling it.
ME: GangDad Andrew came up with something vastly different than anyone else and I'lld remember him for that. But that's what I don't get about Hollywood week: If you know exactly what you're in for (singing a capella or with your own musical accompaniment for the judges) wouldn't you come up with something that would blow each and every judge's boxes?
TB: Haley Vaughn (the black Carrie Underwood) is another sure thing. I'd bet the farm on that little ray of country sunshine.
ME: If this girl doesn't go Top 12, I may have to rethink my Idol love/move to Mozambique to further avoid the idiocy of the American people. The producers are giving her a ton of camera time though, so I think they're also digging her and considering that Idol is fixed to a certain degree, this is def a good sign. Other high lights for me included Didi Benami, who sounded shitty and shaky at first and then pulled it out at the end. And Dreads Mom Crystal Bowersox, who along with her amazing last name, is totally adorable but desperately needs some Crest White Strips. This is Idol in 2010, baby, and we're living in an HD Nation.
TB: Yet for every sunny day, some rain must fall. It was a sad day for Mr. Skiiboski who, in this humble fan's opinion, was fucking robbed. Sure, he wasn't that great and kind of obnoxious but you can't tell me this man was not good for another day in Hollywood or at least a round in the group audition. Skiiboski, baby, was never gunna make it, sure, but he still got shortchanged.
ME: RIP's Skiiboski's 15 minutes. We hardly knew ye.
TB: Unlike auditions, there are no real crazies so everyone who doesn't get through is just kind of bad. The only loser screen time we get is seeing those bright eyed hopefuls from the past few weeks go home with their shattered dreams. A particularly tough one for me to see leave was Vanessa Wolfe. I can't even look at her without sobbing like a little bitch. But tonight she sucked. I don't think she is in a constant state of suck, but her nerves got the best of her and she just blew it. American Idol is great for the few who make it far but there are others who probably get more out of one day than the winners get out of the whole shebang. Vanessa Wolfe is one of these people.
ME: I, too, was sad to see her go but if I learned anything from watching this show, it's that American Idol is a cruel bitch of a mistress. You just weren't meant for stardom Vanessa, but with a boob job and a manageable alcohol problem, you could be the best stripper your backwater Tennessee town has ever seen. The real tragedy here is Big Mike Lynche, who missed his child's birth to take the Idol stage. Then his dad went blabbing to the local papes about his son's good fortune and the Idol producers kicked him off the show. See, cruel bitch.
ME: I dug Ellen as a judge. She has this nicey-nice persona as a comedian, but she wasn't afraid to tell it like it is. Even when Paula was being a bitch, she masked it in enthusiastic niceties or vodka-infused slurring.
TB: I don't even feel like I can write about Ellen Degeneres without getting goosebumps and giggling like a school girl. My hearts all a flutter! OH, I hope she likes me back! I don't want to make any rash decisions here because we are in the honeymoon phase still, but she might just be my personal new fave over Randy Jackson. Now, the two as a team I can get behind that all the way. Simon leaving will destroy the show but replacing him will destroy it faster. Especially if it's Howard Stern. Fuck that guy. Ellen should just take his spot and be Randy's PIC (partner in crime.) They can make fun of Kara, talk about pussy. It'll be great.
|photo by Michael T. Regan|
|Too Tuff in 2008|
The assault charges against Joseph Hicks better known as Too Tuff, resident DJ of Philly's hip-hop forefathers Tuff Crew were dismissed last night. Hicks toughest fight is still pending however, as he's suffering from thyroid cancer.
For immediate release to all media outlets!
Today at 4:58pm in courtroom 804 at Philadelphia's Criminal Justice Center, all pending charges against Joseph Hicks -aka DJ Too Tuff of the legendary Tuff Crew were dismissed!!
Thank you to all who supported Too Tuff and believed in god, the justice system & the values of love, loyalty and altruism!
Today our prayers were answered,
...next we take on a cure for cancer!
Extra special thanks to the legal dream team of Katherine Muns esq. & Adrienne Kosinski esq.
|Courtesy of Thomas Kilpper|
Bringing you more Philagrafika 2010 coverage, at least twice a week.
Thomas Kilpper, a German artist who's exhibiting at the Temple Gallery (2001 N. 13th St., 215-782-2870) through April 11, is best-known for creating the largest print on the world. Titled State of Control, it takes up 1,000 square feet of a floor at the Ministry for State Security, and explores East Germany history from the Nazi era to the present. While he didn't create an original work for Philagrafika, he has decorated Temple's walls with huge, formidable prints of prominent historical characters and scenes.
City Paper: Your prints are very intricate they involve multiple people, and you often occupy buildings to make them. Can you describe your artistic process?
Thomas Kilpper: For me, it crystallized that I can develop my work best in more complex projects. At first, there were the empty buildings, the real-estate junk of our society, as unused resources where I found it amazingly interesting and attractive to appropriate them, to occupy them, and to redefine and reanimate the site through my intervention. But the effort to get these projects going and to get permission from the owners soon proved a bit outrageous weeks and months of patient waiting and communication back and forth are necessary, and often it still doesn't work out in the end for one reason or other. So now that's only feasible for me in individual cases, since I have received almost no institutional help.
CP: Did you make a work specifically for Philagrafika?
TK: I was supposed to develop a new project for Philagrafika but for several reasons it was not possible, and we are planning to relocate that to a later time. Let's hope that will work out!
CP: I read that your piece State of Control is the largest print in the world. Did you set out to create the largest in the world, or did the piece make that happen on its own?
TK: It is the space and the dimensions of the site that dictate, somehow, the size. And I mean "size" as well from the angle of the enormous political and social dimension of the site. To go out and create an art piece at such a controversially loaded place needs something fundamental to cope with it. And the space I was working in the former canteen was that large, 800 square meters. That was a huge challenge, and I was happy to take it on.
CP: How does history factor into your prints?
TK: The location is a key reference and starting point, but I define location in very different ways. In the case of my project State of Control, at what had been the Ministry for State Security, it was clear to me from the very beginning that my work would not be limited to the German Democratic Republic, Mielke and the Stasi, but also the policies in the Federal Republic, dragnet investigation, mass data collection, SchÃ¤uble, as well as the Nazi past, the Gestapo, SS and figures like Heydrich, Dickopf, Saevecke.
CP: What is it about portraits in print that intrigue you so much?
TK: I am intrigued in finding ways to deal with the site, its history and social function, and what that means in relation to our presence and future. Using portraits of people involved in the site and its context is one method to bring it together. Of course, I am fascinated at the fact of how subtle faces differ, and how subtle you have to work to express totally different characters, different people. It is a classical format that will always be intriguing and interesting.
File Under: Never Mind
When you read Icepack tomorrow and I know you will, first thing you'll see a bit that asks the musical question "is World CafÃ© Live's booker/talent buyer Laura Wilson leaving her position there to return to Los Angeles." We asked (and she wasn't ready to comment on the move) not only because we heard she was from close-to-WCL sources. The big word was that the venue's VP/General Manager Neil Sulkes told WCL's exec staff that it was happening (in three weeks) and that he would buy talent/book until they found someone. Nothing bad or sad; Wilson has gone back-and-forth from L.A. before during her time under then WCL booker Karl Mullen whom she replaced after his departure. Sulkes has big time experience. Everything was neat and friendly.
Well, between late Monday night and Tuesday afternoon things changed because Wilson wrote me back to say "I'm not going to leave." Well, yay to that, but what happened? Did hearing The Residents there on Monday night send out positive rays? Did WCL's head honcho Hal Real offer Wilson more money than Lady Gaga (Wilson's rumored new employer for whom she would've worked in tour finances so the whispers went)? Probably not "Poker Face" money, no. So why is she now staying? "I like my job," she exclaimed via email. There's probably more to this story so we'll report back on all developments. Or maybe there won't be any. Who knows?
In this column's past, Neighborhood Watch immersed itself in one neighborhood each week and found its most stylish inhabitants. We're switching things up. Now, this will be a space for us to find fashionable folk all across the city. But we're still keeping the hood theme kinda, sorta by taking note of where we found our subjects and trying to glean which trends are specific to which neighborhoods.
|PHOTO | Julia West and Josh Middleton|
Snow has transformed our city streets into a winter wonderland. While you may think this would make our job harder, we actually had a ball out on the sidewalks slipping and sliding, dodging icicles falling from great heights and picking out the cutest snow bunnies scurrying from warm spot to warm spot. We decided to hit up the Market Street thoroughfare because we knew this would be the one place not ignored by plows.
Ashley C. (18) was courteous enough to hop off the phone while we bugged him about his cute, but less than insulated, outfit. "I don't care if [my gear] is that warm," he says, "Just as long as it looks good." Our favorite parts were his Armani Exchange jacket (not even buttoned, mind you), his faded H&M skinnies and the most practical part of all his fantastic clunky snow boots.
|PHOTO | Julia West and Josh Middleton|
We caught Chris P. (16) outside of the Gallery while he was on his way to have lunch with friends in Chinatown. We liked his hair the most, which he says is cut in the kitchen by a friend who has no training. He also looked pretty snazzy in his casual, monotone get-up that he accentuates with the pop of blue in his scarf.
|PHOTO | Julia West and Josh Middleton|
Ronald S. (63) apparently has a clairvoyant connection with threads and it seems to be leading him in the right direction. "I see something at a store, "he says, "and it says 'take me home,' so I do that." The cap spoke to him from a hat shop in Wilmington and he connected with that $15 jacket in a local thrift store. If only we had such a baller inner voice. Sigh.
|PHOTO | Julia West and Josh Middleton|
Caution signs like the one behind Sonya S. (24) need not apply when you know how to stomp through the slushy streets in boots like that. "I've been wearing heels since I was 16," she says. Other attention grabbers include that vibrant jacket, the multi-colored gloves and the neck scarf she borrowed from her auntie. But with all that color she keeps it in check with the neutral bag, shoes and tights. She knows what's goin' on.
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