Archive: March, 2010
Apparently, it's "Something that reminds smart people they are better than dumb people."
I also enjoy "a good excuse to grow a mustache."
Really, it's all for the 25th Independent Spirit Awards, which airs this Friday on IFC at 11 p.m. EST (thanks a lot, California).
Like we told you when the noms came out, Philly has a big stake in them this year with nods for Precious' Lee Daniels, (500) Days of Summer writer Scott Neustadter, Maria Bello, Big Fan and, most importantly Tom Quinn's Mummers' flick Near Year Parade, which Mark Mauer told you about upon its release. It's up for the John Cassavettes Award given to a feature made for under $500,000. Give another big "Hell Yeah!" for Quinn, why dontcha?
|Evan M. Lopez|
Gawker brings up a point about Inquirer movie critic Carrie Rickey's review of The Art of the Steal, the documentary about the Barnes Foundation controversy and the subject of this week's cover story.
A tipster points out a conflict of interest that's apparently pissing off some insiders at the Philadelphia Inquirer, the financially teetering Brian Tierney-owned paper. A new documentary called The Art of the Steal explores the struggle over control of Albert Barnes' multibillion-dollar art collection after his deatha struggle between keeping the collection in Merion, PA, or moving it to downtown Philadelphia.
The problem? The Inquirer's review of the movie is written by Carrie Rickey, the paper's film critic, who happens to be married to Paul Levy, the director of the Philadelphia Center City District. As our tipster points out, "Mr. Levy's organization has actively campaigned in favor of the transfer of the Barnes Foundation collection to center city Philadelphia."
Rickey's reviewwhich was certainly sympathetic to the move of the collectiondid not carry any disclosure of her husband's role in the incident. Which doesn't look too good.
They're right, it doesn't look good and a note of disclosure certainly wouldn't have hurt anyone, but does this make me discount Carrie's review? No. Carrie's a long-time film critic who understands that she's judging the merits of a film narrative qualities, visual details rather than its standpoint. It may be because this is a review rather than an unbiased piece of reportage but I think disclosure on Carrie's part (who, full disclosure, I know, being a movie critic myself) is somewhat superfluous.
She's not judging the controversy, she's judging the film, which, for the record she only gave 2 1/2 stars to, saying "As a movie, Steal is as finely wrought as the decorative ironworks that hang on the walls of the Barnes between Picassos and Seurats. Yet as a narrative of the facts, it is as one-sided as a plaintiff's brief." Our own Shaun Brady, on the other hand, gave the film a B+. Gawker doesn't mention that.
Agree with me? Disagree? Give it to me in the comments below.
And don't forget to read Sam Adam's story, The Art of The Art of the Steal.
UPDATE: Carrie Rickey left me a message clarifying why there was no disclosure of her marriage to Paul Levy in her review. She says that the Center City District had no involvement in the Barnes move and only welcomed the institution after the judge ruled that the Barnes could legally move. "Had Paul been involved with lobbying the Barnes movie, I wouldn't have reviewed the movie," says Rickey.
|Photo | Josh Middleton|
The Doggfather was more than two hours late for his set at TLA last night. He didn't apologize and there were no excuses, but if I had my guess I'd go with something green, stinky and more than likely medicinal. In hindsight, though, his untimely beginning wasn't a setback; the hard-partying mayhem that followed Snoop Dizzle's arrival was worth the wait fo' shizzy.
The house was packed with a nicely varied crowd of all ages, colors and types a good indication of how long Snoop's been doing his thing and how many different kinds of people his jams have reached. At one point I was lodged between a whiter-than-white frat dude, who seriously knew every lyric to every song, and a rigid desperate housewife-type standing next to her equally uptight husband. It may not sound like the ideal spot to be situated at a Snoop show but we were all in harmony, especially when hovering above our head was a fully formed Buddha cloud that rivaled the blast at Hiroshima. Puff.
Preceding Snoop's entrance onto the stage was a hilarious montage of film clips made up of some of his apprearances in videos, movies and commercials. It was mostly a lot of shots of him in gangster threads with smoke pilfering out of his mouth, frantic machine guns firing and even a few Godfather clips thrown in to help set the mood. I was expecting a more lavish entrance, but before I knew it Snoop was front and center with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth, dressed simply in a track jacket and an oversized yellow tee that read "We Da West."
He appropriately began the show with "Smoke Weed Everyday," an anthem that was taken literally from the get-go. He was surrounded at all times by three MC's who threw in their adlibs and occasionally filled in when regular Snoop contributors, like Dr. Dre, were needed on a track. Also planted prominently at stage left and right were two huge, identical-looking bodyguards and spilling in all directions in the background were a entourage of nicely dressed nieces and nephews drinking, dancing and just being present. It looked like one big Snoop family reunion.
|Photo | Josh Middleton
The D-O Double G was in lively spirits throughout the show. He was slinking around the stage, sparking up frequently and at times commenced to banter with the audience especially a young lady in the front row who he announced was flashing her ample "chocolate milkshakes" at him all night long. Much of Snoop's music is undoubtedly for the bros, but he made sure to include the females by dedicating every other song to them and pulling out a few romantic, down tempo tracks like "I Wanna Fuck You" and "Sexual Seduction."
The better moments of the evening came when he cranked out better known hits like "Drop It Like It's Hot" and "Nothin' But A 'G' Thang." He also did an awesome back-to-back tribute to TuPac and Biggie Smalls with "Ride or Die," and "Hypnotize." But the highlights were unquestionably "Gin & Juice," "Ain't No Fun," and the final track, "Who Am I? (What's My Name?)."
Snoop didn't perform an official encore, but before leaving the room he imparted three Snoop-isms that we should be sure to start every morning with: "1. Brush your mother fucking teeth, 2. Thank God that you lived to see another day (Amen) and 3. Smoke weed motherfuckers!"
In case you missed their Philly Fringe performance last summer, Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental obliged the audience with a video-projection recap of the happenings of Microworld(s) Part #1. When last we saw them, Milo, an expat Serbian played by actor/ director Thaddeus Phillips, and his rubber ducky Fumio, played by a watering can, escaped the collapse of the Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo.
We join our heroes as they drift through the blue-tarp ocean, filled with bottles and rigged up by opaque wires. Composed of recycled and found objects, the set quickly becomes the most charismatic member of the cast. The blue tarp fills multiple roles as the ocean, a bank, and, most memorably, a gorgeous night sky lit by twinkling stars.
According to the program, all the show's lighting was powered off the grid by a Weza foot pump. The movable set along with the clever use of lighting created astounding and oftentimes surprising special effects that could be the envy of Blockbuster budget movies. Flashlights became a truck, the sunrise and sunset, and fuel for a shadow puppet play.
The plot, well, was simple enough but not always coherent. After arriving in Brazil, Milo wants to secure a micro-loan to makes his dreams of a bicycle-powered shadow puppet play come true. Despite his obvious comedic talents, Phillips' stream-of-conscious performance style, coupled with his thick Serbian accent, shrugs off a lot of the play's themes and depth. In addition, much of the dialogue is in Portuguese and Croatian and, though the action is still easily conveyed, adds an extra, unneeded layer of obscurity to an already difficult play.
In the end, Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental succeeds in creating comedic whimsy and eco-consciousness with ease. With their simple but multipurpose sets, they achieve a level of innovation that goes refreshingly beyond mere shock value.
A concert a day keeps the doctor away.
Monday: Surfer Blood are one or two notches lighter than their name insists. They're spacier, too, which makes for some energetic garage-surf-rock-on-the-moon tunes. The opener, Turbo Bats also lend a hand tonight in the beautiful but odd resurgence of garage surf rock. With Turbo Fuits, $10, 7 p.m., The Barbary, 951 Frankford Ave., 215-423-8342.
Tuesday: Danish band Efterklang are in no rush to find the end of a song. They carefully allow their constructions to unfold gradually, providing breathing room for the sweeping instruments and subtle vocals. Even the quick ditties are sprawling and feel like some important soul-searching journey. With Balmorhea, $13, 8 p.m., First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., 215-423-8342.
Wednesday: Calling out Asher Roth, sampling MGMT, giving a nod to Biggie and wrapping it all up in a Peter Pan-esque refusal to grow up? And all of this in one song? Hip hop locals Chiddy Bang pack a wallop with each song and bring their highly concentrated pop culture references to the Khyber tonight. With 2 AM Club and Outasight, $8, 8 p.m., Khyber, 56 S. 2nd St., 215-238-5888.
Thursday: Happy Hollows feature lady vocals that don't fuck around. Determined, focused and razor sharp, Sarah Negahdari's pipes are part Kathleen Hanna and part Karen O. With Shutters and Attia Taylor, $8, 8 p.m., North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St., 215-684-0808.
Friday: Local legends and percussion gods Man Man will be at the Troc tonight and there isn't a single place in all of our fine city that you should be other than right there with them. Seriously. They'll be there in all their weird, zany splendor possibly in white jump suits and using drums to kick the shit out of every song they play. With Javelin and Skin Cells, $14, 8:30, The Troc, 1003 Arch St., 215-922-5483.
Saturday: Mike Silverman, aka That One Guy, has a Primus-esque spookiness about him, wth his home made instrument known as the magic pipe. No, not that kind of pipe. It's a harp-shaped pipe that Silverman crafted, therefore he knows exactly how his baby works and how to finagle it to make some wonderfully strange sounds. At 9 p.m., $15 - $17, World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., 215-222-1400.
Sunday: I mentioned a resurgence of jangly, crunchy garage surf, right? Fishtown-ers The Spooks will bring plenty of that marvelous grit toonight. Screeching surf guitar? Check. Mellow bass lines? Check. The beating of cymbals to the point where they sound like they might fly off and decapitate a bitch? Um, check. A song about a deadly monster rising from the sea? Please. Of course.
With The Runaway Suns and Junkers, $5, 8 p.m., M Room, 15 W. Girard Ave., 215-739-5577.
UPDATE: Will from the Spooks shot me an e-mail telling us the Sunday show was cancelled (Boo!) and that was rescheduled for Saturday, March 6 (Yeah!) with the Runaway Suns, Junker, Reading Rainbow and Far-Out Fangtooth at the Elbo Room (4940 Cedar Ave.). It all goes down at 9 p.m.
There she be. Saturday night West Philly's dapper gents Grandchildren took the stage at Kung Fu Necktie and played to virtually no one. At first the floor was generously filled with beer drinking showgoers for openers New Connection, and even more so for The National Rifle, a band that clearly loves what they're doing without ever acting like you need to love it, too. They aim for a care-free fun that excited the audience.
As fun as they were, it didn't make sense that more than half the crowd had filtered out by the time Grandchildren began their ultra rich and sharply layered harmoniousness. But like a cartoon pie cooling on a cartoon window sill, luring in the entrance, the dreamy sounds of guitars, cymbals, loops and trombones wafted out to Front Street until the crowd began to swell. If at any moment the songs became too dreamy, too smoke-filled, the boys would use their pounding percussion to shatter the sound and shake the floor. Remember in their interview with City Paper's John Vettese (go there to also listen to two Grandchildren tunes) they mentioned trading instruments and positions on stage? That alone was worth the price of admission. The six of them played musical chairs with, well, musical instruments, switching between two drum kits, guitars, trumpet, tambourine and loops. They even took turns with the airy cries of lead vocals. But it was the African influenced drums that were the driving force behind each song, making you wonder how the hell they didn't bring Kung Fu Necktie crashing down all around them, leaving nothing but a smoldering stage.
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