Archive: April, 2011
A perfect complement to weekly dude column "Man Cave," Jillian Weir-Reeves' "I Am Woman" adds a feminine touch by chronicling the weekend adventures of a single social butterfly in the city of sisterly love.
You know that annoying person who, once the weather gets a little warmer, feels the need to workout and sign up for gym classes after sitting on her ass all winter? They try to encourage their entire group of friends to workout with them in preparation for the “ultimate beach body." Well, that person is me. It's like a switch goes off in my mind and I feel compelled to workout. I jump right into the swing of things with Vitamin Water, Ensure shakes, Luna Bars, Pilates, yoga in the morning, and cute little exercise clothing. I look pretty legit to others, but all my close friends know I’m a fraud.
Along with the exercise, I've convinced myself that all the time spent in the gym needs to be coupled with dietary restrictions. I allow myself meat twice a week, sweets once a week and I try to drink three glasses of water a day. I keep track of my weight day by day as if I am going to see immediate results.
So, of course, I was completely sore on Sunday. My legs and abs felt like they were wrapped in a million rubber bands. I stayed in bed all day, not wanting to move or even raise my arm to change the
TV channel. I did manage exert all the energy I had for the day by waddling to the kitchen to make myself a salad. As painful as it is, I will be in the gym come Monday and Tuesday. I have no idea why I put myself through this annual torture. Maybe it is a curse of sub-conscience vanity?
Monday: With an ear toward the psychedelic folk sounds of the ‘60s, The Curious Mystery spins a dynamic web of organic pop. To go along with their hazy, swirling sounds, there’s an air of mystery as to the band’s origins. Their varied influences don’t really help to pin them down: atonal jazz solos, Middle Eastern drones and syncopated percussion give their music both a worldly and otherworldly sound. Primarily a duo, The Curious Mystery recently expanded for their second album, We Creeling, and may feature several collaborators on their new tour. w/ Ghost/Light, Curious Buddies, 8 p.m., $5-$10, Danger Danger Gallery, 5013 Baltimore Ave.
Tuesday: If last year’s burst of so-called ‘chillwave’ music raised your ire, then give a listen to what Toro Y Moi have cooked up for 2011. Chaz Bundick’s stylish, tropical project indeed features some tin-can production and bubbling synthesizers, but Underneath The Pine is a much more developed statement than last year’s Causers Of This. The new songs are more straightforward and boast some seriously catchy hooks, both vocal and instrumental. Bundick’s new direction shows that the artists behind any musical movement shouldn’t be swept under the rug once the fad has passed. w/ Braids and Adventure, 7:30 p.m., $12, First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., 215-563-3980.
Wednesday: Shilpa Ray, leader of the Happy Hookers, is a force. Her instrument of choice, the harmonium, wheezes out extended chord progressions as the rest of the band sculpts a dramatic and often sinister backdrop for Ray’s seedy tales of urban bohemia. Oh, and she belts out these songs with a wail that would make Screamin’ Jay Hawkins proud. The group’s latest, Teenage And Torture, is a cinematic series of seedy vignettes detailing the high highs and low lows of New York life. w/ Acid Mothers Temple, 9 p.m., $12-$13, Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 215-739-9684.
Thursday: Yes, he’s the son of Crowded House leader Neil Finn, but Liam Finn is hardly one to rest on the laurels of his father’s legacy. A multi-instrumentalist/songwriter, Finn’s live shows are an exhausting showcase of his capabilities at the mic, on the guitar and behind a drum kit. Having just announced a new album (due out in June), Finn will most likely play a good lot of new songs at this show, though he’s made plenty of music since his 2007 debut. Last year, Finn teamed up with some of New Zealand’s other up-and-coming youngsters to form Barb, whose self-titled album featured a love song to Leonardo DiCaprio. w/ The Luyas, 8 p.m., $16-$24, World Cafe Live, 30th St. & Walnut St., 215-222-1400.
Friday: Thanks to all his touching, heartbreaking and all-around wonderful albums, The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle remains a cult sensation. w/ Megafaun, 9 p.m., $18-$27, TLA, 334 South St., 215-922-1011.
Saturday: Halloween is far too far away, but The Young Werewolves never fail to serve up a little terror regardless of season. The Philly shockabilly trio’s newest material features expanded instrumentation and more intricate arrangements, but they never lose sight of what makes primal rock n’ roll so appealing in the first place. A spitball in your face, a boot in your shins and a beer down your back. Just watch the hair, will ya? w/ The Soundouts, Black Cat Bones & Smoker and The Rollers, 9 p.m., $10, Trocadero Balcony, 10th & Arch Sts., 215-922-6888.
Sunday: That indie-gospel outsiders Danielson are performing in town on a Sunday is more than just a coincidence; it’s a sign. Leader Daniel Smith has been known to travel with a rather large number of musical acolytes, many of whom are members of Smith’s actual family (as opposed to the more communal ‘Famile’). Smith also brings a childlike theatricality to his shows, not unlike the school or church plays from everyone’s youth. To bear witness to Danielson’s performance is to see the creative light that folks like Sufjan Stevens and members of WHY? and Deerhoof have known about for years. Hallelujah! w/ Strapping Fieldhands & Hermit Thrushes, 9 p.m., $10-$12, Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 215-739-9684.
Man Cave is a testosterone-laden Monday feature that highlights the weekend haps of an everyday, pop-culture-loving Philly dude.
If you're my age, you were in 6th grade in 1995. CD players had only recently become household items and there were certain bands that exploded just as nearly every middle class family in America (even the cassette tape holdouts) had finally purchased the laser-guided magic boxes. It may be no coincidence that many of us seemed to own these five CDs (in no particular order):
Ace of Bass: The Sign
Yikes, I may never be allowed inside Kung Fu Necktie again, unless I say I was mocking these Swedish pop stars while listening. But I wasn't. I was jammin' out. "All That She Wants" was moody and mysterious — an interesting twist on top 40 pop. But my personal favorite was "Don't Turn Around." Looking back, I hope there's truth to that Lester Bangs quote, "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool."
Hootie and the Blowfish: Cracked Rear View
"Only Wanna Be With You" was practically the department store national anthem that year, but for the entirely confident (and blissfully unsophisticated) music fan, there are other tracks on here that were quite enjoyable. "Let Her Cry" equals the bittersweet setting of boys standing on one side of the dance floor and girls standing at the other. "Time" was sorta rockin', as much as a Hootie song could rock. But "Hold My Hand," was practically unlistenable ... even to a 6th grader.
The Cranberries: No Need To Argue
"Zombie" was just rocking enough for me to be able to mention it during recess without eating a fist. But the rest of this disc from these post-Celtic folk rockers was something I could only listen to with earphones on, lest I require self-defense classes.
Chicago duo The Hood Internet has been a mash-up sensation for years now — their mixtapes, blog and DJ appearances have garnered them an ironically iconic standing. The mighty Philadelphyinz are bringing them through for their monthly soirée, Click @ Medusa. Expect sweat, ceiling bangin', tears, citywide specials, tongues in cheek (literally), tongues in cheek (figuratively), and more yadda-yadda-bing-bang to get you all walla-walla-shim-shang.
The Feeko Brothers, comprised of Billy Bob Thompson and Christian Alsis, have been appearing all over Philly — Ministry of Secret Jokes, Meg and Rob’s final show, Philly Sketchfest, etc. I was able to track them down for a little Q&A before their big gig on Wednesday at Helium.
City Paper: How did the Feeko Brothers originate?
Billy Bob Thompson: We were both bitten by a radioactive comedy bug after owl parents were gunned down on our home planet that blew up.
Christian Alsis: Now that the joke answer is out of the way, we met at Temple University’s film school. We had both been hoodwinked into thinking we could become famous film directors. It’s that shame, unspoken of until just now, that helped us develop a bond.
BBT: Yeah, Temple was great! They not only took our money, but they took our youth as well!
CA: While we were there, we made a bunch of comedy videos for our classes and we really learned a lot about the collaborative and creative process.
CP: What were some memorable Milestones up to this point?
BBT: Our video “Coach & Kid” was featured on the main page of FunnyOrDie.com which is a comedy website mainly for rich and famous celebrities. Not sure why we were on it. Maybe they thought Christian was Jimmy Kimmel.
CA: Oh, screw you, Billy! You know how sensitive I get when you bring that up! I got two words for you: new SNL cast member, Paul Brittain!
BBT: I LOOK NOTHING LIKE HIM, YOU SON OF A BITCH!!!
CA: WE LOOK EXACTLY LIKE BOTH OF THEM, ASSHOLE!!!
Devoted poet/avid concert-goer/nerd-grrrl extraordinaire Jane Cassady's weekly horoscopes run in this space every Friday morning.
Aries (March 21-April 18): Happy birthday to my dad, the standup comedian. May you be as sharp as Bill Hicks, as revolutionary as Jon Stewart, and far more emotionally healthy than Marc Maron.
Taurus (April 19-May 18): “You're talking to the pieces of a man who's trying to make it/ through the puzzles, travels, struggles, battles/ a body pillow pimp trying to snuggle with my shadow” (Felt). Of course, sweetheart, of course.
Gemini (May 19-June 21): To the Gemini browsing the art supply store with me, saying he misses drawing — so draw! Look at all these sketch pads, in every shape, size and texture. Look at all the pencils and markers and paint. Look at the glitter!
One of our pretty contestants lost her shit this week, and it wasn’t Alex. After Monique went home, everyone wished Alex was gone instead, especially Brittani. Cue confession booth threats to beat Alex up, which no one will actually make good on. The girls then did a challenge photo shoot in the Warriors In Pink line benefiting the Susan G. Komen Foundation, sponsored by Ford Focus.
Brittani cried after Nigel, who took the photos, pointed out that ”I don’t think, I just do” doesn’t really mean anything. Everyone but Alex didn’t get the concept of the shoot or their basic characters, and gave blank model stares. So naturally, Alex won the challenge, and, lucky lucky, won a Ford Focus and a spot in a PSA for Warriors In Pink. The others were not having it, and while they sat on break, Brittani said Alex was the ugliest one there, that she makes stupid faces, neither of which is really true. She ended up shouting across the room, making a scene on set. It’s weird that Alex has been so flamboyantly off-kilter, but one by one, the other girls are freaking out for no apparent reason. Alex’s (probably) unintentional distractions are working in her favor.
Miss J took the models on a field trip to Universal Studios. He hopped out to take a picture in front of the Bates Motel when Norman walked out and knifed him. It turned out to be Mr. Jay, and the girls did a Psycho-themed photo shoot, with everyone mad for something fashion. Mikaela never really acted in her photos since the beginning, and with the simple task of being crazy for sales, just tossed the shiny boxes around and made zero facial expression. Hannah, who was crazy for handbags, talked about loving handbags instead of just acting it out, and got one good shot.
At panel Nigel brought up the tiff at the Warriors shoot. Brittani, instead of briefly apologizing, made a speech about how the girls hate Alex and that the judges should send her home just for that — while crying. Alex seemed upset, but didn’t respond, and Tyra lectured Brittani about how unprofessional all that is and showing respect. Brittani ran away, and Tyra nonchalantly said, “Brittani has left, but we’re gonna continue.” Brittani could be seen backstage crying and gulping down water.
Every Wednesday (and sometimes Thursday), Emily Apisa puts together a rundown of book-centric events that'll get you lit all week long.
Thursday: She may have been a part of the Lost Generation, but Philadelphians can find Gertrude Stein and her vast influence at The Kelly Writers House. In celebration of the notable expat and her cosmopolitan lifestyle, the event titled "Nothing Elegant: A Stein Celebration" will feature read-alouds, musical performances and interactive theater, all of which are tied together by a common thread: Gertrude Stein. The reception following the event maintains the spirit of the evening with period foods from Stein’s contemporary Alice B. Toklas’ cookbook. Thu., April 7, 6 p.m., free, Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk, 215-746-7636.
Friday: Though One Book, One Philadelphia has concluded for the year, The Rosenbach Museum & Library holds tight to inspiration this year’s book selection with its thematic tour titled Documenting Native American Culture. This hands-on tour investigates the portrayal of American Indians in literature. Guides will explain various topics including Pocahontas and John Smith’s relationship, the representation of American Indians in “The Last of the Mohicans” and the influence of American Indian authors. Fri., April 8, 3 p.m., $5-10, The Rosenbach Museum & Library, 2008-2010 Delancey Place, 215-732-1600.
So... What in the world is PIFA?
It's a ginormous multi-disciplinary arts thing going on all over the city — like Fringe/Live Arts, except totally Frenched out. The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts opens tonight with a Philadelphia Orchestra/PA Ballet throwdown at the Kimmel. I'd say the odds on you seeing Natalie Portman at this event are 1 in 5 (not on stage). Anyway, yes, we covered the living hell out of PIFA in our current issue:
John Vettese talked to local superphotographer J.J. Tiziou about shooting the arts in the city and the making of the How Philly Moves mural. READ IT
Deni Kasrel got the lowdown on free trapeze lessons, that huge Eiffel Tower they built inside the Kimmel, and more. READ IT
A.D. Amorosi shot the merde with Emmanuelle Delpech on Remember Paris, which stars Nichole Canuso, Geoff Sobelle and zero mimes. Actually there so much more to it. You should just READ IT
Lee Stabert downloaded all you need to know about Augmented Reality, which reveals hidden public art via smartphone app. Very cool. READ IT
Shaun Brady talked to ?uestlove about Philly-Paris Lockdown which is "a hip-hop, classical and jazz interpretation of nine pieces by the likes of Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky." WTF? Just READ IT
Mark Cofta made only the most sophisticated fart references in his interview with Seth Rozin about A Passing Wind. READ IT
And, finally, we wrap it all up with a ton of PIFA picks. READ THEM TOO
PIFA runs through May 1. More info at pifa.org.
If you check out Icepack in print you’ll see I spoke with Greater Philadelphia Film boss Sharon Pinkenson about The Bourne Legacy and how close that film is to starting pre-production in the area. Another one long rumored to use area locations — director Christopher Nolan’s next Batman flick, The Dark Knight Rises, will be shot in Pittsburgh starting this summer according to EW.com. Tax credits don’t just help Philly. All Pennsylvania cities benefit. So what about the news that M. Night Shyamalan’s movie with Will and Jaden Smith, One Thousand AE, is finally getting ready to go before the cameras? “Again, it’s not officially green lit, so we don’t have a start date yet,” says Pinkenson who stated the same about The Bourne Legacy. “Late summer for principal photography would be the soonest, I think.” I think so too.
So what’s new about Cinefest 2011 for Thom Cardwell, the development director of the Philadelphia Cinema Alliance other than a batch of new scarves? “Well, there’ll be some new ensembles, too,” says Cardwell who’ll bring out his best new outfit for red carpet event for “Philadelphia-homegrown” and the film Cost of a Soul that acquired a distributor, Relativity. “I’m always excited to see the films in the Festival of Independents because it proved that our city and its regional filmmakers are producing quality films, growing up and out as filmmaking community.” Beyond that, Cardwell recommends international films, including Francois Ozon’s Patiche and Score: A Hockey Musical from Canada that opened the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. “Of course, I want you to announce the 17th Philadelphia QFest, July 7-18,” says Cardwell. Hosted with TLA Releasing, and featuring the American premiere of The One, a romantic comedy with a gay twist. Now you know.
I love the tag line that the Ninth Annual Northern Liberties Variety Show is using for its April 9 showcase at Johnny Brenda’s. “Lower your Expectations… and you won’t be disappointed.” With proceeds benefiting the Northern Liberties Townwatch committee, self-titled “D-list celebs” Greta Alexander and David Murphy host ukulele players, fire-eaters and Liberty Lands’ Bag Pipe Man.
When I stopped by the Gift of Life’s Home Cook Heroes launch party at their new Family House at Fourth and Callowhill the other night, I ran into Laura Burkhardt, the editor of Where magazine for the last 25 years. The always cheery Burkhardt seemed happier than usual. Why? She’s moving on to the next phase of her life and leaving (amicably) Where for greener but undisclosed pastures. Brava. While she will still work on events with the leisure/hotel magazine, Kristina Jenkins takes over Where editorial duties.
If you haven’t lived and loved Madame Saito’s brand of French and Japanese cuisine to at Tokio on Headhouse Square for 23 years, you ain’t been living. Now together with new chef and artist Craig Kandel (who re-designed the space with Philly burlesque queen Melissa BangBang) Saito is re-opening the newly re-done Tokio Sushi Bar and its neighboring sister restaurant The HeadHouse (right next door) April 9 with guest chef Ian Lawrence from Nama Sushi Bar in Knoxville TN and performances by Bang-Bang and Ginger Leigh.
The Ryan Seacrest Foundation just selected Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as its newest site for the construction of The Voice, an interactive closed circuit broadcast multi-media center where kids get an outlet for activities related to radio, TV and new media. They’ll be able to broadcast like a DJ and chat with celebrities with this service.
Fans of The Many Moods of Ben Vaughn — the radio show and his actual feelings — can celebrate again. The now-relocated local will play his second area gig this month with the Knife & Fork Band at the Northeast Philadelphia landmark Tacony Music Hall on April 8 with The Speedwells on the bill. Advance tickets for the 4815 Longshore Ave. gig at groovedisques.com.
The people’s choice winner of last week’s Spirits Premiere event presented by Philadelphia mag was Patron’s Perfect Margarita with Patron Resposado Tequila. This means my fave, the Tres Leches Triple Cream Dutch Martini got robbed. I’m dyin’ here.
Certain Circuits’ on-line magazine and West Philly’s Radio Eris collaborate this weekend at ErisTemple, 602 S. 52nd St. The April 9 event features a release of Eris’ “Yellow Video” along with performers Courtney Bambrick, Jane Cassady, David Hewitt, and Horsey. All monies raised go to the print run of the magazine.
Sad news from the world of Sally Starr. The Philly cowgirl kids’ show television host and radio personality let go of her long time (60+ years) radio show. Starr started on the AM dial (WJMJ) in the late ’40s and wound up at Cruisin’ 92.1 WVLT-FM, the station she retired from. Sadder radio news: Dr Cosmo, longtime 103.3 WPRB FM Friday night DJ passed away over the weekend. Noted for bringing some of Philly’s most experimental, freakish and bizarre music acts on air, he will be missed. There’s a memorial broadcast being planned for this weekend. Lastly, the friends of Michel Notredame gathered at the Abbaye this Monday to celebrate his life. The legendary Art Museum area bar owner passed away in Oostende, Belgium. His Cuvee Notredame at 17th and Green St. and its basement Club Nostradamus were a haven to cabaret locals, goth heads and fringe sorts.
The Painted Bride Quarterly and poetess Kathleen Volk host a reading at the Black Sheep’s second floor (247 S. 17th) on April 12 with Philly expat Samantha Barrow, D&M and Maleka Fruean.
WHOWHATWHERE: There I was watching Philly’s Marsha Ambrosius doing her thing — selling out the TLA — the other night when I swore I spied Patti Labelle running by me. Three minutes later Labelle’s on stage with Marsha, and the two are launching into the Labelle classic “If Only You Knew.” When the pride of Red Bank NJ, director Kevin Smith sold out the Keswick for his one man monologue, he turned it into a two-man show by bringing on the “Jay” (Jason Mewes) to Smith’s “Silent Bob.” Smith also discussed how he’s probably going to quit directing after his hockey flick, Hit Somebody starring West Chester’s Kyle Gallner (as Wayne Gretzky) goes before the lens in 2012 — that after he releases his new horror film, Red State. Stoner rap god Wiz Khalifa made a pit stop at Hot Topic just to drum up interest in his new CD Rolling Papers. Britain’s The Joy Formidable had pop matters to attend to when they hit 104.5 FM to promote what could be the dumbest album title ever, A Balloon Called Moaning. Comedian Jackie “The Jokeman” Martling and Angel Porrino, from E!’s Holly’s World paid a visit to Port Fishington’s Invisible Studios to film several commercials. At his Parx Casino promo spot, Mike Sorrentino hung out with his family while security scrutinized the Situation’s situation. That’s because the Jersey Shore star’s security is handled by his brother Marc.
Money well spent: On March 19, when Marc Vetri got together a baker’s dozen of Philadelphia’s finest chefs at Urban Outfitters Headquarters at the Navy Yard to support ACHIEVEability. They raised $185,000. On March 29, when Zama restaurant along Rittenhouse Row hosted a benefit dinner for the people of Japan at a $100 per person, over 100 people came to support Chef Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka (including Eagles’ tackle Winston Justice) and raised $14,500.
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