Archive: February, 2010
|Courtesy of Gene Schmidt|
|Gene Schmidt, doing his N.Y. project in 2007.|
Gene Schmidt, a New York-based artist, is best known for measuring the width and length of his home city with 30,000 yard sticks. Pretty crazy. Well, dude wants to do something similar in Philly his plan is to go from North Philly to the University of Pennsylvania, laying out square panels that each have one letter on them, which together spell out St. Paul's texts on love. (Because, as Schmidt says, "Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love.")
Problem is, he needs to raise about $13,000 in 38 days to do it (for supplies, a van, stuff and people to document it, and so on). You can donate to the fun cause, titled "Lovetown PA," here, where you can also check out a vid of his plan.
Good luck, Schmidt!
Jacques-Jean "JJ" Tiziou come on down!
Tiziou will head up How Philly Moves â a 50,000 square foot mural facing Interstate 95 at the Philly International Airport. The scene is of a busy bunch of dancer performing in a variety of styles. Tiziou already held one photo shoot as a way to explain his design, but you can get in on the action too. From the press release:
On March 5-7, 2010, an additional 60 dancers will be photographed by JJ Tiziou at the Painted Bride Art Center and a selection of these images will be incorporated into the final design of How Philly Moves. Both professional dancers and those who simply like to dance are invited to submit an application to be photographed. The 60 dancers selected will be notified in advance of this three-day event. Information on applying can be found at www.muralarts.org or www.HowPhillyMoves.org.
From now until its dedication in June 2011, Tiziou and a crew of 40 artists and workers with Mural Arts Program will tackle the massive enterprise.
Two big art jawns in one morning? I need more coffee.
Also, read our esteemed Publisher Paul Curci's take on the project.
|Courtesy of PW Style|
Every Tuesday, Critical Mass pokes around the art blog world so you don't have to.
In case you were thinking that Philly may be heading in the moral direction of Salt Lake City (hahahaha, right), naughty signs have begun popping up on the streets. Philebrity got wind of one that will give AA a run for its cookies and juice.
Every well-stocked bar needs its own jigger. Philly Design has found true proof that it is hip to be square with their profile on local designer Josh Owen's cubic marvel containing six of the most commonly desired drink measurements.
As you've surely heard from us and everyone else, Philagrafika 2010 officially opened its doors this weekend. The art from this international printmaking festival serves to not simply please the eye. Just check out these newlyweds.
If this recession has got you hiding your cash under your mattress, try using that copy of Going Rogue instead. PW Style gave it a shot, and with Heather Rivers' 80 (wayward) steps, you can too.
Green Philly profiles Arcadia, the city's one-stop-shop for all things enviro. Sure, it;s not new, but this Northern Liberties boutique offers clothing for men, women, and babies, as well as home dÃ©cor and even an in-house eco-travel agent which is worth remebering regardless. With all that stuff in one place, it makes it easier to defend the wasteless trend.
- Avatar C+ Shaun Brady said, "So Avatar is a simple, very familiar story of Cowboys and Indians, a child's game played in the most spectacular sandbox that modern special effects can conjure."
- The Blind Side D I said that it "comes off as a love letter to the privileged white Samaritans who deigned to take in the poor black kid."
- District 9 B Shaun Brady said, "This is, make no mistake, an action film, in which shit blows up, truckloads of ammo get spent and bodies explode in visceral showers. But Blomkamp never loses touch with the emotional toll of the carnage, even if his characters ultimately get overwhelmed by technology in the closing minutes."
- An Education B
- The Hurt Locker A- Sam Adams said, "Kathryn Bigelow's ride-along with a Baghdad bomb squad is thrilling, even when it shouldn't be."
- Inglourious Basterds B Sam Adams said, "It's history as filtered through Jackrabbit Slim's."
- Precious B+ Shaun Brady said, "Daniels' sophomore effort behind the camera is a vast improvement, even though it doesn't correct any of his worst tendencies. Instead, in "the novel Push by Sapphire," Daniels has found a piece of source material whose own penchant for extremes gives his own a purpose."
- A Serious Man A- Sam Adams said, "Joel and Ethan Coen have an almost chronic aversion to being taken seriously, which is probably why A Serious Man, in addition to wrestling with profound issues of morality and religious faith, is also one of their most antic and even occasionally silly films."
- Up B+ Sam Adams said, "The movie's latter section has its charms but after the depths explored in its opening reels, the rest of Up feels shallow and arbitrary by comparison."
- Up in the Air B+ Sam Adams said, "Loosely adapted from Walter Kirn's novel, Up in the Air hits the predictable beats of a belated coming-of-age story, but it's exceedingly well accomplished, with a confident visual style light-years beyond Juno's functional setups."
- James Cameron, Avatar
- Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker Read Sam Adams' interview with Kathryn Bigelow
- Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
- Lee Daniels, Precious
- Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
- Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart B
- George Clooney, Up in the Air
- Colin Firth, A Single Man B-
- Morgan Freeman, Invictus B
- Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
- Matt Damon, Invictus
- Woody Harrelson, The Messenger A-
- Christopher Plummer, The Last Station Opens in Philadelphia on Friday.
- Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones C+
- Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
- Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side I said, "Bullock's got the sass-and-class thing down."
- Helen Mirren, The Last Station
- Carey Mulligan, An Education
- Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
- Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia C+
- PenÃ©lope Cruz, Nine C-
- Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
- Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
- Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
- Mo'Nique, Precious
- The Hurt Locker, Mark Boal
- Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino
- The Messenger, Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman
- A Serious Man, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
- Up, Pete Docter, Tom McCarthy and Bob Peterson
- District 9, Neil Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
- An Education, Nick Hornby
- In the Loop, Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche
- Precious, Geoffrey Fletcher
- Up in the Air, Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner
- Ajami (Israel)
- El Secreto de Sus Ojos (Argentina)
- The Milk of Sorrow (Peru)
- Un Prophete (France)
- The White Ribbon (Germany)
- James Horner, Avatar
- Alexandre Desplat, Fantastic Mr. Fox
- Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders, The Hurt Locker
- Hans Zimmer, Sherlock Holmes B
- Michael Giacchino, Up
- "Almost There," Music & Lyrics by Randy Newman (The Princess and the Frog)
- "Down in New Orleans," Music & Lyrics by Randy Newman (The Princess and the Frog)
- "Loin de Paname," Music by Reinhardt Wagner; Lyric by Frank Thomas (Paris 36)
- "Take It All," Music & Lyrics by Maury Yeston (Nine)
- "The Weary Kind," Music & Lyrics by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett (Crazy Heart)
- Burma VJ
- The Cove
- Food, Inc.
- The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
- Which Way Home
- China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province
- The Last Campaign of Booth Gardner
- The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
- Music by Prudence
- Rabbit a la Berlin
- French Roast
- Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty
- The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)
- A Matter of Loaf and Death
- The Door
- Instead of Abracadabra
- Miracle Fish
- The New Tenants
While most of you were either sleeping or bitching about the groundhog's shadow, the heads of the Kimmel Center and representatives of philanthropist Leonore Annenberg's Annenberg Foundation announced the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, that will run for three weeks starting April 7, 2011.
Like the Live Arts Fest with a French theme, the PIFA promises "an out-of-the-box" citywide celebration with nods to Philly's arts, cultural and culinary scenes influenced by early 20th Century Paris.
So far that means a first-time collaboration between the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Pennsylvania Ballet on the classic French ballet Pulcinella, and The Roots playing with a yet-unnamed French chanteuse. Additional performances will be unveiled on April 7, 2010.
Funding for the massive event comes from a $10 million Annenberg grant and corporate sponsorship.
"Not in memory has the city hosted so much performing and visual arts linked by a common thread and packed into a one-month festival," said PIFA executive director Ed Cambron in a press release. "The philosophy for PIFA is collaboration, creativity and innovation, which means our audiences will see a multitude of new works, unprecedented partnerships and performances that will happen only here."
|Courtesy of Philagrafika|
|Haiti poster, by Sue Coe.|
Bringing you more Philagrafika 2010 coverage twice a week, at least.
We promised in this week's cover story that Critical Mass would give you much more content on Philagrafika 2010, the brand-new international printmaking festival that's taking over this city from now until April 11.
Out first interview is with Sue Coe, whose works will be up at the Print Center (614 Latimer St., 215-735-6090) throughout the entire festival. Coe, who considers herself a journalist, opts to use printed images instead of words to explore politics and social issues. Originally hailing from England, Coe now resides in New York, which gives her an expansive perspective on pressing social concerns. She's dissected animal rights, apartheid and prisons through her stark black-and-white prints already, and for Philagrafika Festival she created an homage to fallen cherry trees.
City Paper: Who or what are your influences?
Sue Coe: They vary. This year it's Posada, the Mexican printmaker, and Munakata Shiko, a Japanese printmaker and also help on wood-carving technique from my friend Dr. Eric Avery, who is a wonderful printmaker from America and also in this show. My biggest influence is reality, seeing the world, and trying to process what is happening through my art.
CP: Tell me about the political commentary behind your art.
SC: It comes back to that theme of power and control, who has it, and who does not and why? I am wary of telling people what to think; I do not like being told what to think. All my work is my own inquiry and despair for the state of the world, and joy in the making of art, and sharing that work with people, and getting their comments.
CP: You've changed mediums throughout your career. What is your primary medium now?
SC: This varies also. For the last two years I have worked in oil painting, which is a slower medium than I am used to but the content dictated the form, the history of circus elephants in America. This year it will be all woodcuts, a medium I love because it's so simple. You need no real equipment, [just] some wood to cut marks into it can be any found wood, from some old furniture or scraps, and you can carve into them with knife, and then use just a wooden spoon or round wooden door handle to rub the back of paper.
And sometimes ... magic happens. For sure, you have no idea what it will look like. The grain and age of the wood will give a resonance to your image. The basis of all the mediums is drawing it's the skeleton of any body of work so that is my primary medium, and again, all you need is a pencil and some paper, and so armed, you can go anywhere and record anything. I love the elegance of black and white, and the ability to respond quickly to events through art.
CP: Can you describe your exhibit for the Philagrafika festival?
SC: The wood blocks used to be cherry trees that were cut down to make way for a giant gas line that came from Canada to N.Y. I saw them fall, and then lay on the ground dead, and wanted to give them back some life by making art with them. It's the theme of how we humans only see what we want to see, what is being concealed, and our power relationship to other creatures. We also have made some very cheap prints, and a pamphlet called Blindsight, to donate for a local animal rescue group called Main Line Animal Rescue. This is linked to the print I did of Michael Vick. That way people can get some little token piece of art, and have their money go to a good cause.
At first glance, The Losers looks like your run-of-the-mill actioner, with an ensemble of Hey, I Know that Guys who you secretly wish were given the opportunity to do more with their lives (Idris Elba is the black George Clooney, for chrissakes), directed by a hack whose biggest credit to their name is Stomp the Yard. Based on DC/Vertigo comic, it's about a group of special forces commandos (led by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) left for dead by their no good handler (played by Jason Patric). But then you get to that part about two minutes into the trailer where Chris Evans pretends to shoot Anonymous Evil Dudes with his fingers and they actually fall down dead, I stopped shaking my head and thinking, "This guy is too charming to have his best film be Not Another Teen Movie."
'Cause that was badass, son.
Plus, I find Jason Patric sadly hilarious and I'm pretty much always down to watch anything involving a guy who was out-acted by Keanu Reeves.
Verdict: I've already bought my ticket.
A concert a day keeps the doctor away.
Monday: Mariah Carrey's shattering wine glasses tonight. She's been doing plenty of touring, so catch the pop sensation before the threat of exhaustion. Remember last time. It's okay, girl, we still love you. Just make sure you sing "Fantasy." 7:30 p.m., $59.75 - $200.75, Tower Theatre, 19 S. 69th St, 610-352-2887.
Tuesday: If you don't have tickets to the sold out Delta Spirit show tonight, you're going to have to do two things: First, buy your tickets for their next show at KFN on Feb. 9. Second, find yourself a different show for tonight. Fire Blue Sun are probably your best bet. Their songs have a touch of cheese, but you have to enjoy the fact that they are dedicated to the dark side, making songs like Evanescence, only without the powerhouse voice of Amy Lee. Their guitars are a little wonky-sounding, adding some funk to the package and making for a trippy sound. With Dayseam, $8, 8 p.m., M Room, 15 W. Girard Ave., 215-739-5577.
Wednesday: Playing around with dub sounds and hopelessly long solos, Retribution Gospel Choir are melodramatic yet somehow fun. With With Midnight Sounds, $10, 8 p.m., Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., 215-291-4919.
Thursday: Seattle homies Minus the Bear strike a fine balance in their music. They take beard-band-music, indie pop and rock together, swirl them all together so that no one genre has the upper hand for too long. They're going to be way the hell out in Allentown, but worth the trip. With Phantogram and Maps and Atlases, $16 - $18, 7 p.m., Crocodile Rock Cafe, 520 W. Hamilton St., Allentown, 610-434-4600.
Friday: Nneka's Afro-German roots meet head on with American blues guitar and pop, creating an explosion of sounds rich and sweet. But never too sweet, this independent girl will also kick your ass if you mess with her. At 9 p.m., $15- $17, World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., 215-222-1400.
Saturday: If Cat Power's voice and Neko Case's voice made sweet, sweet love to each other, you'd likely get the voice of Pepi Ginsberg. But the soft sounds are delivered with razor sharp lyrics that tell amazing little stories. With Exit Clov and The Armchairs, $10, 9 p.m., Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 215-739-9684.
Sunday: The man who told you back in 1988 that the Revolution will not be televised: Gil Scott-Heron. What better way to spend your Sunday than in an intimate little place with the a badass poet-musician? At 6 p.m., $25, Tin Angel, 20 S. 2nd St., 215-928-0770.
|Photo | Bill Hebert|
A Lesson in Binary Opposition
Choreographed by and starring Viji Rao (pictured, right) and Miro Dance Theatre's artistic director, Amanda Miller, the two-woman show How Am I Not Myself? offers a series of nuanced reflections on the lives of two dancers and their often-complex feelings toward their classical training.
Originally a ballet dancer, Miller spent nine years with the Pennsylvania Ballet, leaving in 2003 to found Miro with Tobin Rothlein, this show's director. Likewise, Rao trained in Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance form from Tamil Nadu, before moving toward more contemporary work. The show reflects this shift from the classical to the contemporary. Miller and Rao change in and out of costumes from various points in their dance careers, reinterpreting their own personal histories through dance.
Rothlein, a video artist with a background in documentary film, provides the self-critical lens that makes these performances so interesting: Miller and Rao engage with video projections of themselves, which chastise the real-life performers even as they dance, accusing them of abandoning their classical roots.
How Am I Not Myself? serves as a telling example of the difficulties faced by artists working between disciplines: The perfomers' video alter-egos seem particularly invested in maintaining a binary opposition between Miller and Rao's earlier classical work and their later contemporary work, but for Miller and Rao, the situation is more complicated. For them, the show suggests, the shift from classical to contemporary was not sudden or definite, but rather the result of a gradual incorporation of new ideas about dance into a repertoire that had previously been limited by its classical nature.
This is potentially weighty stuff, but the performers keep everything relaxed and fun. The dancing is interspersed with personal narratives, in which Rao and Miller, in a refreshingly unaffected tone, perfectly convey the frustrations but also the many joys of a dance career that is not confined to the classical canon.
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