Archive: March, 2010
Yeah, yeah, complaining about the authenticity of Philly-based cultural copycats Urban Outfitters is a lost cause, but goddamn if we don't love this rant by Decibel Magazine about their "Classic Rock Boyfriend T-shirt" (pictured at right).
Take it away Jeanne Fury (bolds are ours):
Classifying a piece of clothing as "boyfriend" is apparently common as of late. It's clothing for females cut with a less figure-defining silhouette. We're all familiar with the hideous girly t-shirts (a.k.a. Look At My Tits t-shirts). Throw them in the dryer once and they shrink to Olson Twin size. There goes $25. Stick to a regular goddamn t-shirt and you won't have that problem. Apparently, when we don't feel like squeezing into adorable itty-bitty shirts and further compressing our tits, we're identifying with dudes and thus require "boyfriend" attire. But when Hollywood bad-ass Katharine Hepburn famously wore tailored pants, did people say "Katharine Hepburn wears man pants"? No. Katharine Hepburn wore pants. Tagging band t-shirts with the "boyfriend" label is doubly offensive. The slightest notion that a girl can't have her own Iron Maiden t-shirt is ridiculous. It's 2010. Chicks listen to metal. Like, actually listen to metal. Not because their boyfriends or brothers are into it, but because they love metal. Seriously, how long is this ignorant and annoying misconception gonna go on? Looping back to the original argument, clothesband t-shirts especiallyhave no gender. Unless this Maiden shirt comes equipped with a penis and testicles, it's just a fucking t-shirt.
In honor of Fury, and because my BFF went through a period of forcing me to listen to marathon Maiden sessions:
In July of 2002, I had a moment that changed by teenaged life: sitting in the 11th row of the Tweeter Center as I awaited the entrance of Weezer, I caught a drumstick thrown by the opening band. They were called Dashboard Confessional, and their bleeding hearts and screaming infidelities encrypted themselves forever in the pages of my young life. Eight years later, after an extensive hiatus from Dashboard's dialogue, I found myself sitting in the sixth row of the Wachovia Center, waiting for Carraba and the boys to open for Bon Jovi.
Carraba seemed about the same as he took the stage: a trollish-looking guy with dark jeans and tight fitted t-shirt. His hair is in a pompadour that would make Morrissey proud. Dashboard played a sparse six song set leaving some people sour, including my best friend Sarah (who was overjoyed at the prospect of seeing her favorite band from a press seat) and a middle-aged gym-o-holic sitting next to me. But that was about it. Throughout the show an uninterested crowd chatted and checked their watches, save for Dashboard's cover of Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69."
The defining spot of the set was Spiderman 2's power anthem, "Vindicated." Carraba's face was red as Spidey's as he bellowed, quite possibly to ensure himself, "I am right / I swear I'm right / I swear I knew it all along." It was then, as he scrounged for his own last fleeting attempts at self-respect, that I realized that I had grown up, but Carraba and Dashboard Confessional had not.
Bon Jovi took the stage to the rumble of applause. To me, he's Springsteen's less talented, less cool, less rock'n'roll stepbrother, but I can't begrudge the audience's admiration, not to mention the band's 3-hour set.
They opened with "We Weren't Born to Follow," the first track from their latest, The Circle. As it played, I started to feel uneasy. Images of Jon in Obama Hope-style flashed behind the band, as well as pictures of moving circles and bizarre sayings like "Unity is all." The crowd ate it up, hands in the air. It was going to be a long night.
The recent single transitioned well into an old favorite: "You Give Love a Bad Name." It's hard not to dance to this song, especially with Muscle McGee aside me, singing passionately and attempting to twirl me. The middle of the set got downright sentimental as Jon got close to the mic for a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." Singing a song that lends itself to cover-age, Jon excellently brought his signature rough vocals to it. I sang along, enjoying a calm break from the frenzied show; the crowd waved their cell phones in the air.
I gotta give it to the boys: if Dashboard's set was tiny and lackluster, Bon Jovi's certainly made up for it. They trucked through songs from various albums, threw in covers ("Roadhouse Blues"), and generally looked like they were having fun.
Still I felt pangs of guilt sitting there. A true Bon Jovi would have loved this show. As the encore opened with the beloved "Runaway," I thought of my mom standing in our kitchen, wiggling her hips as she sang these very lyrics. Next came "I Love This Town," played with an almost naughty affection, followed by "Wanted (Dead or Alive)" brought out all my Rock Band gusto.
As "Living On a Prayer" crashed its way on stage, the Wachovia Center erupted. My tipsy best friend and our muscled friend excitedly screamed the chorus into each other's faces.
|Emily's burlesque outfit. You'll have to wait
for the video to see how she looks in it.
We sent admittedly shy Emily Currier to Annie A-Bomb's Philadelphia School of Burlesque at the Walking Fish Theatre to learn about the vaudevillian art form. Each week, she'll file a report of her progress from the tasseled and bedazzled frontlines. Catch up on Emily's first, second and third adventures.
Shopping for a burlesque costume is a bit like a scavenger hunt, taking you from hardware, craft and fabric stores to stripper-wear stores on South Street. At the fabric store, I pick up a few yards of tulle, as I tell the shop owner, to make a bridal veil. He practically tears up at the idea and wishes me luck in my new life on the way out the door. Sorry, shop owner (and parents), at this rate I'll sooner see a stripper pole than a wedding aisle. At the stripper-wear store, all the workers are eager to help me. What, does it look like I don't know what I'm doing? Bitch please, I'm practically a professional.
And then, a funny thing happened on the way to the burlesque performance ... I am running late, anyway, and decide to take a new route to save time. Naturally, I get hideously lost. I ask a reasonably trustworthy-looking fellow if I'm going the right way to reach Frankford Ave. "No ... It's actually the exact opposite direction." After he explains the directions to me, as if I were a child, he warns, "Be careful." Now half an hour late, I'm practically sprinting and still manage to get catcalled by several bleary-eyed old men. By the time I reach the Walking Fish, my cheeks are fire engine red, I'm sweating through my shirt and have worked up a nice musky odor. Boys, get ready for me!
Backstage, it's all tits and liquor. "Now don't drink too much that you get wobbly and fall down," Ruby advises me maternally. On my long list of fears, falling down is chief among them, but there's also not being able to get my dress off, missing my music cues, having my pasties fall off, projectile vomiting ...
Anna/Annie A-Bomb is dressed as a disapproving nun and clucks her tongue at us "naughty girls" as an introduction to the show. For only three girls, the night features a diverse range of performances. Ruby Cheex takes the sensible comedic route, pouting and strutting as a picked-on schoolgirl. Leaving feathers in her wake, Sadie VonSinna works "woos" from the crowd as a zombie.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting Miss Dee ... Flowered!"
(That's right, I have no shame left.)
Last on the bill, my mind is basically frozen with fear as I come on stage. As the opening chords of Bat for Lashes' "What's a Girl to Do" play, the dead bride routine I've rehearsed over and over comes to me as a fight-or-flight response. I rise from the grave and sashay down the aisle, clothes are removed and surprisingly I don't get tangled in anything. I try to ignore the audience of unrecognizable and mostly silent strangers when I'm down to my stockings and lingerie... then just my lingerie ... and then it's just me, my veil, my panties and pasties and oblivion.
My burlesque odyssey has come to an end, and what have we learned? Am I a newly empowered and confident young woman now? Let's not get too carried away. I did enjoy myself more than expected and I take away some new clothes-shedding buddies, the knowledge that a group of strangers has witnessed me shaking my ta-tas and my very own pair of pasties.
Stay Tuned for a video of Emily's performance.
Interested in learning le art of burlesque? E-mail Anna Frangiosa (better known as Annie A-Bomb) at afrangio [at] yahoo [ dot] com for more information about and dates of her upcoming one-day workshops and four-week classes. Want to see some titties twirling, but not your own? Visit cabaretredlight.com for the dates of their ongoing show "The Experiment."
City Paper's annual writing contest was a smashing success like three months ago. And, back then, we were all excited to put on a big ol reading with the winners and the judges and then... yeah, there were all these blizzards. So, let's try this again. One week from todayâ at the Tin Angel, you and me are gonna have words.
Here's the line-up:
- Fiction Winner Jessica Penzias, "Death By Oboe"
- Poetry Winner Sean Webb, "The Bridge"
- Fiction Judge Elise Juska, author of One for Sorrow, Two for Joy
- Poetry Judge Thomas Devaney, critic and author of A Series of Small Boxes
- and me, your host
Wednesday, March 31, 7:30 p.m., FREE!, at The Tin Angel at Serrano, 20 S. Second St, 215-928-0978, tinangel.com.
|Photo | New York Times|
Bringing you more Philagrafika 2010 coverage.
Walking past Moore College of Art & Design (20th Street and The Parkway, 215-568-4515), Paul Morrison's piece for Philagrafika literally towers over you. At roughly 40 feet long and 20 feet tall, his black-and-white collage of plant life spans space as well as printmaking history the piece features found images from art history and popular culture. In contrast to Morrison's larger-than-life art, however, he was rather brief while talking to City Paper via e-mail .
City Paper: Who or what are your artistic influences?
Paul Morrison: My influences are wide-ranging and include Albrecht DÃ¼rer, Walt Disney, The Evil Dead and botanical illustrations, amongst many others.
CP: Why do you choose to focus on nature and plant motifs in your art?
PM: I'm very interested in landscape painting.
CP: What messages do you hope to convey by portraying your natural subjects as black-and-white and larger than life?
PM: All my work is in full color; it is just that the color happens behind your eye rather than in front of it. I think cinematic terms like extreme close-up and dolly zoom are useful regarding image size.
CP: What do you feel the relationship between an artist and his audience should be?
CP: Can you describe your exhibit for Philagrafika?
PM: I'd prefer to draw you a picture.
We like American Idol. Too much.
Tommy Button: Last night Miley Cyrus crossed off "Be Mentor On American Idol" on her Things To Do Before I Can Vote list. And I crossed off "Make Fun of 17 Year Old Girl" on my Things To Do Before I Go To Bed List. I don't care how talented she is, Miley Cyrus is a terrible mentor. The only person who seemed to get anything out of mentor Miley was Katie Stevens. And I'm pretty sure Aaron Kelly got a boner.
Molly Eichel: Aaron Kelly was totally in the bone zone during his mentoring sesh, but the problem with Miley is that she has an awful voice. She's great at being a celebrity, but she's a terrible singer. Considering it was Billboard Hot 100 week, I guess it made sense to have her. Miley's only advice was to do crazy runs, "make it bigger" and "push it," which is terrible advice for a show as over indulgent as this one. The only person she could legit not to tell to go bigger was Best of the Night winner Siobhan Magnus. Her version of "Superstitious" was spot-on and it was the first time I really saw her as a contemporary artist. Love the look, too.
TB: Despite her crazy Cape persona, Siobhan brought the most to that stage tonight. Siobhan must have come up with the idea to skat while she was high. It was like she hit a mental block and thought rolling up a spliff might free up her creativity. That never works. You set out to write the great American novel and end up with an American Idol blog.
ME: If Siobhan is rocking the reefer, then Paige Miles is most certainly huffing glue. "Take a Look at Me Now"?! For fuck's sake, Phil Collins is worse than the Eagles. I know she's doing the Mariah version and all, but, sweetheart is no Mariah. Dreadful on all levels.
TB: Up to this point in my Idol viewership I have never seen something that bad in the Top 12.
ME: God, then she was followed up by the horrorshow that is Tim Urban.
TB: "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" is probably the most boring Queen song ever and in Idolville, a cop out. It's a little catchy diddy that you can polish with jazz hands and crowd schmoozing to cover up how much you suck and don't sound like Freddy Mercury. That's exactly what Tim Urban did except he did it with a crazy sociopath grin. Don't say I didn't warn you when your family is dismembered by the Urban Family.
ME: Oh my god, oh my god. What if he wins? What if the 'tween vote takes him over the top? This is just another reason how the budding sexuality of America's youth is ruining my life (the first: The career of Robert Pattinson.) If the 'tweens are gonna skew one way, I hope it's toward Aaron Kelly, whose version of "Don't Wanna Miss A Thing." I've been room temp on Aaron the entire time but he sounded great despite being sick and I know exactly what kind of artist is trying to be.
TB: When Aaron Kelly got all googley eyed over Miley Cyrus I must have smiled for the first time in a week. No shit. Of course, it's just a little celebrity crush and probably the bi-product of his repressed homosexuality, but it's so darn cute! And after the stinkers before him, it was good to see someone step up with some talent, personality and heart.
ME: And that's the problem I'm seeing with Andrew Garcia, Lee Dewyze and Casey James. No heart, no connection.
TB: But I'll rock out to Huey Lewis with Casey James. It was a little cover-bandish but then again, I'm a Bjorn Again fan.
ME: Singers like Huey Lewis don't exist anymore. At least they're not famous. And that's beginning to be a problem for Casey. Who does he want to be? This was all a little Vegas showcase, but worse because I see Casey as more down home alt country ... and because they weren't actually in Vegas and there were no titties. There are always titties in Vegas. Andrew Garcia has the same problem. He kept fighting the rhythm of the "Heard it Through the Grapevine," pumping up the horns so it was show off-y.
TB: Is it better to burn out or fade away, Andrew? With Lee, there are probably a few Nickleback fans out there with rocked boxes but Lee left my box tepid at best. Besides being not interesting, his white guy rock voice is wearing thin.
ME: It was a big risk doing "The Letter" and it didn't pay off. He couldn't make an album of music like that: First off, because it was all a lounge act. Second off, because it was not good. Didi Benami was also pretty lukewarm last night with "You're No Good" by Linda Ronstadt, which is disappointing because she did so good last week with the whole woman scorned thing.
TB: Introducing Didi Benami, Seacrest stumbled and called her Didi Ben-imi. Which if you ask me is definitely a pet name or a safe word. What I am dubbing 'Didicrest' might as well be all but confirmed by their close friends in OK! Magazine.
ME: You know who did pull it out? Katie Stevens. I'm not into the tone of her voice. But she saved herself for another couple weeks with this song. Although, I gotta disagree with Kara, Katie is too White Suburbia for R&B leanings.
TB: Katie had the cards stacked against her picking "Big Girls Don't Cry" because before she even starts singing because I know I'm gonna be annoyed. I can't believe that song was a number one. But to her credit, Katie didn't screw the pooch totally. In fact, it might have been her best so far and it's about time because the way it's looking she's going on tour. Joining her is Michael "Big Mike" Lynche. Big Mike was the classy gent he always has been except for that one time when he wasn't there for his daughter's birth. But, Ellen hit the nail on the head: It was like driving the speed limit. Maybe even five miles under.
ME: Yeah, I wasn't psyched when I heard he was doing "When a Man Love a Woman." It's all getting a little samey-samey and the arrangement aged him. But loved his outfit. Very Esquire. Still, to me, this was a second place performance.
TB: No surprises with Crystal Bowersox either. Powersox picked a Janis Joplin song. STOP THE PRESSES!! Really though, who didn't see that one coming? I love Powersox and she's clearly set herself to win this thing in a big way but tonight was not my favorite of her performances.
ME: Yeah, Powersox is on cruise control but I don't mind at all. I thought she sounded great and I love the conceit of the carpet. Except when Simon started talking about it, rugs were not the first thing I thought of. It was definitely vagina.
TB: I wasn't really waiting for her to sing this like apparently everyone else was because I already knew what it would be like. But I don't know what it would be like to hit the bong with Powersox and listen to her sing gangsta rap to me.
Going Home: Do we need to say it? Paige Miles.
Neighborhood Watch finds fashionable folk all across the city. This week: Scouting during the happiest of hours aka, the drunk one.
We love the flowy construction of the sweater worn by Arielle C. (21) but we have to admit the outfit would look dumpy without those boots. Made by Jeffrey Campbell, the suede sexy steppers were so unique that they drew our attention from the other side of the street. They elongate her legs and rev up the neutral color palette of the entire get-up. She bought them up at her place of employment, J. Karma Boutique (62 N. 3rd St., 215-627-9625), where she works with another of our picks this week.
|PHOTOS | Julia West and Josh Middleton|
Megan C. (24) doesn't need a wild pair of shoes to spruce up her Friday best. She's the inverse of her colleague Arielle, adding more snaz on the top, while leaving the subtleties for the bottom. She has a definite rocker chick edge but she's just classy enough to let Brett Michael's Rock of Love tour bus pass right on by. This pairing aficionado combines head banger chic accessories without going too far and garments from a variety of stores, such as H&M (shirt), Target (skirt) and her own J. Karma Boutique (corset belt and chain).
While the rest of our peeps openly welcome the sunshine, Reverie Vintage's (205 W. Girard Ave., 215-769-2302) Christa C. (40) seems to be approaching it more cautiously. As of yet, she isn't ready to incorporate Easter colors in her wardrobe and she's clutching her convertible Japanese shrug scarf just in case the sun decides to take a leave of absence. But don't misjudge this silver fox; she's not afraid of commitment. It took her months to transition from dyed over gray to the au naturale that we find just as stunning as her amazing, paneled boots. Sorry, Arielle, but Christa gets the Raddest Shoes of the Week award.
We're just going to be blunt, Scott C. (25) has a bulge that almost knocked us off the sidewalk, but thankfully he has a few other things going on that kept us focused on the clothes. Let's start with colorfully speckled shades, the cute striped tanky with the off-centered zipper and the medallion that gave us childhood flashbacks. He says he bought the Neverending Story amulet in Germany. We were impressed to learn it was cut from the same cast as the emblem you see in the movie.
Burlesque Magazine has picked up Emily Currier's Pasty Postulant series and run with it, giving her the link love. We sent Currier a super-shy, super-sweet, super-funny intern to Annie A-Bomb's school of burlesque at the Walking Fish Theatre. She has chronicled her journey every Wednesday.
Later today, we'll post her last entry. So catch up on 'em before you're left in the dust:
Oprah has canceled her Philly hotel reservations. The Housewife Pied Piper was scheduled to be in town next week because of a defamation lawsuit filed against her by the former headmistress at her South African school for girls. Instead, Oprah settled with Nomvuyo Mzamane on undisclosed terms.
Sigh, Oprah, we were so looking forward to a chat about a solid books together, or maybe a good cry. But, whatever, we get it.
RELATED >> OMG Oprah coming to town!
|Photo | Bitterkomix|
Bringing you more Philagrafika 2010 coverage.
Longtime friends and South-African natives Anton Kannemeyer (aka Joe Dog) and Conrad Botes publish the annual satirical fiction Bitterkomix. The art in their comic books drips from the page. It's luscious, dense and very reminiscent of famed cartoonist Robert Crumb (who contributed his talents in Bitterkomix No. 9).
The subject matter in each piece is equally as massive and impressive, railing against everything from Apartheid to racism, sexism, depression and alcoholism. These ain't no kids' books. Simultaneously raunchy and heavy, Kannemeyer and Botes create artwork that stems from South-African culture and is rarely published in anything other than Afrikaans. Their exhibit will be up at the Print Center (1614 Latimer St., 215-735-6090) through April 11.
City Paper: Can you tell me how and why Bitterkomix began?
Anton Kannemeyer: Conrad Botes and I started drawing a comic together in our second year at university. Both of us were eligible for conscription in the SADF, Apartheid's SA Defense Force; as we were studying we were temporarily exempted. So we made an anti-conscription comic, which was published in a very alternative Afrikaans magazine in 1989 I think it had a print run of about 600 copies. In the end we both did quite well in our studies and we both studied for 10 years avoided conscription altogether. By the time we were finished with our MA's, it was discontinued. In 1992 we selected the best comics of our undergraduate years and put it together in a magazine we called Bitterkomix.
CP: Why did you name it Bitterkomix? And for that matter, why do you go by "Joe Dog"?
AK: Well, both of us were quite "bitter" I guess, about a lot of aspects in our childhoods: the Dutch Reformed Church, our parents, schools Christian National Education was what we had, not dissimilar to the Nazi Youth Education and of course this knowledge that you have to go and fight against "communists" one day. Conscription was for a 2-year period with subsequent call-ups. Our focus of attack was therefore the Afrikaans community where we came from. In that sense, especially from GIF (Afrikaner Sekskomix), our attack became quite iconoclastic. I used the pseudonym "Joe Dog" as I was very influenced by punk music, and a name similar to, say, Sid Vicious or Johnny Rotten or Iggy Pop was very appealing to me. Once I started it I couldn't stop it really stuck in people's heads.
CP: Did youmake anything specifically for Philagrafika?
AK: No, we just submitted our publications. I think there was also space concerns from the curators.
CP: The Bitterkomix Web site describes a "dark, perverted atmosphere" as the backdrop for each comic. What outside elements are influencing this?
AK: You found a Bitterkomix Web site? Cool! We are so snowed under with work and so uninterested in the Internet that we have made a minimal effort so far to get ourselves "out there" digitally. I'm really interested in print. But to get back to your question: I think the atmosphere in a lot of the older comics are rather something that we felt is truthful to experiences from our youth, or an atmosphere of moral corruption that we experienced as children and young adults under apartheid. A lot of our stories and images are also very ironic maybe people experience it as "dark," I would rather say a lot of the work exposed the hypocrisy of the Afrikaans community where we come from.
CP: Why do comics? Is it a conscious decision to share your art this way, or is it the type of thing that you and Conrad just can't shake?
AK: Well, I was obsessed with comics from a very young age. And I've always been a big movie fan and reader of fiction. For me it was really the right way to express my ideas. It's quite strange though, as I knew right from the start that this art form does not really exist in South Africa. And there's no market for comics. The people who buy our comic books and yes, we have some fans were or are people who are interested in alternative culture, alternative music, art and literature.
CP: Have you ever been to Philly before? What's your impression of the art community here?
AK: No! I would have loved to come, but it didn't work out this time. Hopefully in the near future!
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