Archive: March, 2011
The perfect balance between classic circus sideshow and burlesque performance, the Pretty Things Peepshow at the North Star Bar last night was fantastic, funny, creepy and beautiful.
GoGo Amy, clad in handmade pasties, shined as the night’s burlesque queen. Her pin-up style hair and makeup made undressing a classy affair. Each of Amy’s outfits are handmade by the Pretty Things company and put together in just the right fashion for easy access to a “peep” at Amy’s tattooed body.
Gorgeous Miss Heather Holliday displayed her talent by swallowing swords – yes, multiple swords – and fire. Although she refrained from the stripping, she wore chest-enhancing corsets throughout the night (not a bad trade-off).
Little Miss Firefly was a riot. At a mere 27 inches tall, she did her burlesque number on a bed of broken glass. The straightjacket bit was priceless as she successfully freed herself from a straightjacket to the tune of (the appropriately chosen) classic “Little Bitty Pretty One.”
The emcee of the night, Donny Vomit, was definitely the comedic relief. The audience laughed at all of his jokes, including the one about how difficult it was to find a child-size straightjacket for Little Miss Firefly. His handlebar mustache — held perfectly by his own homemade wax — and pinstripe vest suit were circus sideshow authentic (it should be, considering Donny was a sideshow emcee in Coney Island before joining the Pretty Things).
Unfortunately I missed the Roller Derby Fashion Show because they went on before the scheduled start time. I did get to meet many of the roller derby girls from the Philly and South Jersey leagues, though, so I was able to see their rockin’ outifts. They even tried to get me to try out and join their team (I’m seriously thinking about it).
The merch was limited but I wanted everything available. Handmade pasties by the girls seemed like a pretty good seller. I bought fantastic lip gloss, as worn by the Pretty Things women, reminiscent of Dorothy’s ruby slippers.
For more info about the peepshow, including their upcoming performances, check their website. And if you, too, are interested in joining the roller derby chicks check out phillyrollerderby.com or sjderbygirls.com.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals will be playing a sold out show TLA Friday night. Their generally very well reviewed, new eponymous album runs more on the side of straight-up chick-rock but still incorporates some of their old Bonnie-Raitt-meets-The-Band jam-blues. The southern twinge is still there but less rootsie and harder rocking.
The XPN darlings are best regarded for their live shows, offering dynamic energy and virtuoso musicians. Their big dates this year include Bonaroo and Mountain Jam.
They'll be preceded Friday night by supporting act, The Belle Brigade. This brother and sister indie folk-rock duo are the grandkids of John Williams (yes, the composer of Star Wars).
It might be sold out, but this is 2011. Use your imagination and the internet to get yourself in the door.
This week the girls saw a giant tasseled rope that said “Pull Me” on it, and immediately started squealing for joy. I’m starting to wish they were just a tad smarter. The rope unfurled a banner with all of the makeover looks written on it. A montage of “Oh my god, I really really really want that look” and “I hope I don’t get the ‘Dutch boy” followed. Off to the salon, the hair stylists start snipping, dying, and weaving before they really tell the girls what’s gonna happen. Brittani gets the “Dutch boy,” which is actually a striking geometric bob. I bet on her as a finalist.
Monique, who’s a dead ringer for Olivia Munn, gets extensions because she’s so sexy. Or just doesn’t look like a boy. Speaking of which, Sara gets a boy cut, and is justifiably upset about it. Androgyny isn’t just looking like a boy, it’s looking like a pretty boy. I’m not sure Sara fits that bill. I would’ve gone with an asymmetrical mohawk — just something less predictable. To be fair, she’s pretty photogenic.
Alex (who everyone’s afraid of) is a brat about getting a weave, which was long, blonde, and yawny. Dominique got awesome auburn curls, and everyone else’s look was ho-hum, except for Molly’s. Her big, blonde, tight curls, are a great look, but her weave went awry and her tracks were a mess. At which Alex, the wicked one, laughed.
Stylist Lori Goldstein and photographer Pamela Hanson (whom we all know and recognize, right?) do a paired photo shoot with couture dresses. Brittani and Hannah were the best by far, with that magic you see in fashion editorials. Mikaela and Sara’s photos are totally dead, and Hanson made them walk forward just to look like something was happening. Alex was an ornery diva during her and Monique’s shoot, complaining about her swollen lip, and then shooting down Monique when she tried to chill her about it.
I dig the pre-panel clips of Tyra talking to Talley, and Talley’s grey velvet hat, which has what looks like a jumbo stippling brush in it. Alex got best photo at panel, (don’t ask me why) but what was reprimanded for her attitude. Brittani, who should’ve been called first, went third, and Dominique (the cutie with the freckles) went home for lack of inspiration.
Every Thursday, open-miker Matt Cantor gives you the skinny on a local open-mic night so you'll know which stages to call home. This week, he plays Milkboy Coffee in Ardmore.
Milkboy Coffee has built itself into much more than a coffee shop with a stage: in addition to regular shows, it’s now got a recording studio with a wealth of engineers, and even its own record label. A few weeks ago, I headed to Milkboy’s smaller, purely acoustic stage in Bryn Mawr; this week I checked out the company’s main location in Ardmore. It’s a big café with a roomy stage and plenty of seating, most of which was filled this Tuesday as performers sang through a very crisp sound system. The place has made itself into a brand of sorts, selling Milkboy merchandise and CDs — but with only two locations, it retains a strong local flavor. The same might be said of its tasty hot cocoa. Unfortunately, in the evening, the kitchen is closed at Milkboy — but there are a huge variety of drinks on offer.
Sign-ups were promptly at 6 p.m., and by the time I got there, perhaps 10 minutes later, the list of 20 performers was already almost full. The show began an hour later, and with each player allotted two songs, it moved quickly
Performers were mostly singer-songwriters with acoustic guitars; there was also poetry, a few keyboard acts and a violinist. Since Milkboy is a coffee shop rather than a bar, a wide range of ages were represented, from teenage to middle age. There were amusing poems from Lori, who told the story of her crippling addiction before revealing that the vice in question was peanut butter. The appropriately-named Steven Singer got the crowd singing along with an upbeat solo version of “Under Pressure”; at the song’s wailing climax, one young audience member permeated the room with a pitch-perfect echo of Freddie Mercury. With a powerful high voice, Sam Vile packed a gritty punch into his songs, radiating a dark intensity mixed with moments of humor. And Elliot Levy had a chatty audience completely rapt and silent for a pair of spoken-word pieces. One inspiring poem sought to remind listeners how lucky they were: given human reproductive biology, we’ve got about a one in 21 trillion chance of being born, so let’s make the most of it.
The nitty-gritty for performers: Tuesdays, sign-ups at 6 p.m., show at 7 p .m. Milkboy Coffee, 200 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore. Free entry, two songs each.
Every year bands and artists from all over converge on the wide streets of Austin Texas for the music portion of SXSW for an audience of press, publicists and other industry types. And fans. I've decided to ask a few interesting people why they're making the trip this year.
Where are you from?
I’m from the Faroe Islands and I live in the capital of the Faroe Islands called Tórshavn. Faroe Islands are 18 small islands in between Iceland and Scotland and there are 48,000 inhabitants. We have our own language.
What does your music sound like?
I play folk/acoustic/alternative.
Is this your first SXSW?
I played at last year’s SXSW at Momos.
What are you hoping for out of SXSW?
I hope that a lot of people will come to see my show and that I hopefully will get an invitation to play at another big festival somewhere.
Who’s the most famous people from the Faroe Islands?
Out most famous Faroese artist is Teitur, a singer/songwriter.
Until this dirty old town gets its own slice of Bravo's Real Housewives franchise, the closet thing we gots is our sisters of the Garden State and the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Never let it be said that the ladies of these shows lie dormant until the camera hit. (OK. Bravo did capture this affair for its next season of RHoNJ) During the weekend, Albert Manzo – better known to fans of the show as “Albie,” the son of Housewife Caroline Manzo - held a launch party at Kiss & Fly in Greenwich Village for BLK. Water. What the hell is it, this BLK. water of which the Manzo son speaks? The first we heard of it was in a Grub St. San Francisco posting for Fancy Food Show where Albie Manzo was pushing BLK water in January 2011. It's a zero calorie, zero carb, zero sodium filtered spring water produced by Eclipse Concepts Inc. of Canada with a propriety blend of “miracle molecules” that makes it healthy — fulvic acid trace mineral complex that once infused makes it both naturally black in color and good for you. Somehow. Something about electrolytes.
Anyhow, Bravo was out to tape the event as Teresa Giudice (the table throwing one) Caroline Manzo (the protective matron who co-owns The Brownstone catering facility) and Jacqueline Laurita (the other one) hung with Albie and brother Christopher Manzo. Atza nize.
➤ AROUSE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY BRUNCH If March Arouse didn't kick your ass too much, come to the follow-up brunch. The whole place is rented out, and the menu includes yummy items with vegan/vegetarian options. The cash bar will offer $5 mimosas and bloody marys. RSVP (a must) to email@example.com with your name and number in your party. Sun., March 13, 12-2 p.m., $20, Marathon Grill, 1818 Market St., 215-564-4745.
➤ DANCING WITH MYSELF: A CELEBRATION OF SOLO SEX Drag and burlesque performances by ScrewSmart, Ms. Mary Wanna, and Chlamydia Dell'Arte along with DJs Gonza and Kit help the crowd rejoice in self-love and -loving. Cash bar will be available. Proceeds benefit ScrewSmart, a sex-positive queer sex education group. Fri., March 11, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., $5-$10, Danger Danger Gallery, 5013 Baltimore Ave., myspace.com/dangerdangergallery.
➤ DOMINATRIX GAYBINGO It's time the collared and cuffed spin on the classic game. Proceeds benefit the AIDS Fund. Sat., March 12, 7-10 p.m., $20-$25, Gershman Y, 401 S. Broad St., 215-545-4400.
➤ DRAGAPALOOZA: BROADWAY DIVAS Divas from Philly and abroad perform tunes from Wicked, Chicago, Hairspray, Dreamgirls, Rent, Gypsy, and more. Hosted by Brittany Lynn, the show divas include Joey Josephs, Alexis Cartier, Isis and Jason Cozmo, Navaya Shay, Cherry Pop, Mrs. Pinklewinkle, Omyra Lynn and Diana Dharling. Sat., March 12, 8-11 p.m., $25-$45, Voyeur Nightclub, 1221 St. James St., 215-735-5772.
➤ LGBT ADOPTION CAFE The National Adoption Center presents this informational session with adoptive parents in the LGBT community, adoption agencies, and social workers. A light dinner is included. RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Beth Vogel at 215-735-9988 ext. 304. Thu., March 10, 6-8 p.m., FREE, Commodore Barry Club, 6815 Emlen St., 215-843-8051.
➤ MEN OF ALL COLORS TOGETHER’S THEATRE OF UNDERSTANDING This open discussion focuses on race, particularly racism, myths about race, social disparities, and how it is divisive in the gay community. Sat., March 12, 2-5 p.m., FREE, William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St., 215-732-2220.
➤ PGMC AUDITIONS Try out to join Philly's premiere gay men's chorus and sing at their June concert. Email Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus to secure a slot. Wed., March 16, 5:45-6:45 p.m., FREE, Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion, 2111 Sansom St., iagsdc.org/indsquares.
➤ PGMC DANCE AUDITIONS The Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus is looking for volunteer dancers, both male and female, to accompany its June 18 shows. Dancers should be familiar with boy-band choreography from doo-wop to hip hop. Rehearsal will be Tue.sday nights from mid-April to mid-June, and dress rehearsal is June 17. Sat., March 12, 2-6 p.m., FREE, Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion, 2111 Sansom St., iagsdc.org/indsquares.
➤ SIRENS AUDITION Come show off your moves for a chance at a guest or regular spot with the women's nightlife dance troupe. Get there by 10 to try out and 11 to watch. Fri., March 11, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., FREE, Sisters, 1320 Chancellor St., 215-735-0735.
➤ BACK TO THE ’80s This members-only '80s party is more adventurous than any you've been to before, featuring couples and ladies only. Come in your favorite retro outfit and boogie to '80s hair bands, new wave and Top 40. Rad. Sat., March 12, 9 p.m.-3am, $15-$80, Pleasure Garden Club, 61st St. & Passyunk Ave., 800-493-1591.
➤ FANTASY, ROLE PLAY & TALKING DIRTY Learn how to talk dirty with your lover and about comMon. fantasies and ideas for role play. Bring someone or come alone, all genders and orientations are welcome. Sat.,, March 12, 7 p.m., $20-$30, Sexploratorium, Passional Boutique, 620 S. 5th St., 215-923-1398.
➤ THE G-SPOT AND FEMALE EJACULATION Juicy Justine will teach you all about that sweet spot: from where it is to how to make it feel oh-so-good. Also learn about various orgasms and squirting. Fri., March 11, 7 p.m., $20-$30, Sexploratorium, Passional Boutique, 620 S. 5th St., 215-923-1398.
I love books. Not just reading, but books themselves: the experience of opening a new volume for the first time, the artful arrangement of text and pictures on the pages, the way they can, as one author noted, “furnish a room” — and the fact that when we read them, we’re engaged in an activity that has remained unchanged for centuries.
These days, though, books’ dominance is being threatened by digitization (I’ll save my diatribe against Amazon’s Kindle for another day). That makes the design of the physical book an endangered art form, or at least a changing one. That in mind, the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington is holding a symposium March 25-26 called “The Art of the Book in the 21st Century.” Books have inspired an entire artistic genre exploring the creative possibilities of the book as a physical object. Works use the book — its cover, its pages, its text — as a jumping-off point for three-dimensional pieces. The DCCA, a non-collecting museum, is currently holding an exhibition on artist books alongside the symposium. Works range from pop-up books to books spread open and attached, birdlike, to the wall; other pieces include blank books built from exotic materials, as well as unbound pages meticulously structured. (Visit the DCCA website for more examples.)
Some of America’s premier book artists, representing cities from New York to St. Louis, will speak at the symposium. Keynote speaker Buzz Spector is a book art pioneer; Brian Dettmer — recently featured on NPR — creates artwork by transforming vintage books and explores their shifting meaning in the digital age. Bettina Richards founded Chicago’s Thrill Jockey record label, which has recently published artists’ books that go with CDs. Also speaking is Mark Dimunation, head of the Library of Congress’ Rare Book and Special Collections Division, which includes the biggest collection of rare volumes on the continent.
Fri. and Sat., March 25-26, $15-$100, Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, 200 S. Madison St., Wilmington, 302-656-6466, thedcca.org/ghsymposium. Includes services for those who are hearing impaired.
The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at UPenn is currently home to "Inhabiting Geometry," an exhibit by architectural big shot Anne Tyng. Tyng — one of the first women to receive a master's degree in architecture from Harvard — has been teaching architecture for 30 years at UPenn, and has created an exhibit which is part geometric theory-oriented and part aesthetics-oriented.
The result is somewhat overwhelming for this English geek but you have until March 27 to enjoy the polyhedronic bliss of Tyng's shape philosophy at ICA. A former long-term collaborator with architect Louis Kahn (pop-culturally noteworthy as the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary My Architect: A Son's Journey), Tyng puts her order-from-chaos-esque worldview into her arrangement of models and drawings.
Every Wednesday, Critical Mass pokes around the blog world so you don’t have to.
➤ Ah Juggalos, the one group of people in this country that we can all have a united laugh at every once in awhile. Clown face paint, weird trailer parks hip-hop style and Faygo-stained teeth are the mark of the weirdly cultish fan base of the Detroit hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse. Known for being aggressive, unpleasant, and befuddled by things such as spelling and magnets, everyone feels compelled to take a shot at them now and again. Philly sketch comedy troupe Secret Pants recently weighed in on Juggalos, teaching us that the face painted fan is okay, after all … unless you’re a racist.
➤ After waking up on an unfamiliar floor after an eventful Friday night, my thoughts can vary anywhere between “that was fun” to “where am I?” to “am I dead?” Regardless of your booze induced fears, illnesses, or wounds, the fact of the matter is you should get some food, coffee, and water in you to soak up all that nasty poison at the pit of your gut. Phrequency provides us with a diverse list of hangover hangouts to get your half-asleep comfort food fix. Whether you’re looking for breakfast foods, mac and cheese or a hair of the dog that bit you, there’s a place for everyone here.
➤ When Philebrity isn’t posting funny pictures or ranting about the current happenings of the city, they sort of act as web-based historians of Philly’s more bizarre events. Recently, they dedicated a post to the memory of Philly’s most memorable Mardi Gras festival. Sounds fun, right? What’s not to like about drinking in the streets amongst flying beads and sparkly parade floats? Hell, the whole point of the night is to celebrate debauchery. Well like a 16-year-old given the keys to a new convertible, Philly just couldn’t handle the responsibility. You see, nearly 10 years ago to the day, Philly held Mardi Gras celebrations on South Street. Around 11 p.m., the crowd finally drank enough to lose touch with reality and started going bat-shit insane, looting five stores and attempting (and allegedly failing) to flip news vans. We’re not mad, Philly … just disappointed.
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