Archive: April, 2012
For the fourth annual Mütter Museum Ball at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the theme turned to Prohibition’s Roaring '20s and its celebration was geared to the medicine and electricity of the times. “We chose the 1920s, a banner decade for medicine, because during that time echocardiograms came into use,” says J. Nathan Bazzel, the school’s director of communication. “Penicillin was introduced and groundbreaking research and implementation in radiology took place.” That’s all well and good but the next thing you know J. Nathan was whisking me off to the floor of the Cat’s Meow dance party where cabaret chanteuse Jill Tracy was serenading the crowd in the VIP Speakeasy Lounge where Bar Mistress Meredith was whipping up healing waters from the fruits of a few flowers and pulling up bottles of Philly-made Bluecoat Gin from a tub just brimming with the stuff. Along with the gin and absinthe found in the lounge, VIPs were treated to molecular gastronomical dessert displays and large scale replicas of ancient found-in-Philly prescriptions pads for alcohol, the liquor cure once considered medicinal. Indeed, I played doctor and patient, having quite a bit of healing to do the next day.
Impressive permanent collections may have put our area museums on the map, but it's the rotating exhibits that keep visitors coming back. Every Thursday, Abigail Minor updates you on the newest and most browse-worthy. This week: Little Saigon, faceless rag dolls, and mountain racers.
“Exit Saigon, Enter Little Saigon” at the Asian Arts Initiative
“Exit Saigon, Enter Little Saigon” is a Smithsonian-originated exhibit, brought to Philadelphia by Boat People SOS, celebrating the progression of Vietnamese America from 1975 to the present. Photographs document the Vietnamese journey from black and white cramped refugee camps in the Philippines and Japan to the freely colorful celebrations in Little Saigon – the name of the Vietnamese community in California, as well as a term for any Vietnamese oasis. Expressive photos not only take you through Vietnamese Americans’ tumultuous history of escape from war, but also through their artistic and societal strides through images of movie posters and life-sized cutouts of Vietnamese American icons.
Opening reception, Fri., April 6, 6 p.m., exhibit through June 1, free, Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine St., 215-557-0455, asianartsinitiative.org
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): Buyers of romance novels purchase an average of 50 books per year, and those are pretty much all the same story. You’re a better and more original romantic, with at least 50 new stories per day.
Taurus (April 19-May 18): “People want to see their genitals on your face.” (Megan Andelloux, founder and director The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health) And while you’re at it, look ‘em in the eye.
Gemini (May 19-June 21): “If you were to draw me in a comic book, / I would have a collar around my neck / and the leash attached would be held by my heart. / It'd be a cartoony heart, more like a valentine / and less like a fist.” (Rob Sturma)
Each week, Nina Willbach puts together a rundown of book-centric events. This week: celebs on bikes, Easter tales and a literary safari!
Thursday, April 5
Words in Exile
As a literary genre, African-American poetry has often dealt with the need to carve out an identity, a process that frequently involves looking to an African past — both real and symbolic — to make sense of the present. Keorapetse Kgositsile has a unique vantage point on this: Born in Johannesburg in 1938, Kgositsile came to the U.S. to evade the oppressive South African apartheid system and pursue his work as a poet and political activist. Even before his exile, he was exposed to African-American culture and sought it out, reading works by poets like Langston Hughes and listening to jazz greats like John Coltrane and Nina Simone, and began writing himself. His poems read as a cry against oppression, mixing memory with powerful emotion. With his African roots and American education, he's credited with bridging the gap between these two literary cultures, and as an important figure in the Pan-Africanism movement. Less than 20 years after the fall of apartheid, Kgositsile's voice is stronger than ever, reminding never to underestimate the power of poetry in the ongoing battle against oppression.
6 p.m., free, Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk, writing.upenn.edu/wh.
The wired-weird and wooly Busses — Dave Brett, Jason Bachman, Nick Apice — didn’t just make their next two songs, “Metal” and “Shangri-La,” a single available for free download at their website. They streeeeetched the two tunes into an EP (for “extra peculiar”?) that they’ll give away at a Johnny Brenda's record-release bash this Friday, April 6, with Break It Up on the bill. Mwhahaha.
We don’t know what her connection is to the Philly-famous Rocky Balboa is but native New Yorker Rene Lopez, in honor of the boxing movie’s 35th anniversary, lensed a video for her new single “Shing-a-ling Is What I Bring” inspired by Rocky. Me. I’m lensing a video based on Mean Streets.
Matt Levin is testing his lunches at Square Peg, April 5, 11 a.m. Jewish wedding soup, a duck club (which I once belonged to) and his usual fried chicken with, wait for it, Kool-Aid pickled watermelon are on the big lunch board.
Tiger Strikes Asteroid gallery member Michael Macfeat with the curatorial aid of TSA’s Terri Saulin brings his new Bar Sinister exhibition of color bar prints and sculptures to the Tiger April 6. He’s a bibliophile, so expect some crowded frames.
Every Thursday, Al Harris rounds up the top comedy shows of the week. This time around: the "amazing racist" Ari Shaffir, two guys named Matt Weir and hip-hop funny man Ricky Night.
The "amazing racist" Ari Shaffir brings a fresh batch of offensive humor to Philly for a series of shows this weekend. Shaffir, who gained eternal Internet infamy when his parody of the Amazing Race made it on YouTube, has been touring nationally with Joe Rogan for the last few years. The comedian describes his act as akin to a puppet show, but filthier and without puppets.
Thu. April 5, 8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. April 6-7, 7.30 p.m. and 10 p.m., $16-$33, Helium Comedy, 2031 Sansom St., 215-496-9001, heliumcomedy.com.
In the last ten years, Jason Kernevich and Dustin Summers have gone from back-table gigs selling posters at the Church to doing illustrations for the pages of the New York Times. There have been stops along the way — working with Wilco led to working with R.E.M., for instance. They relocated to Brooklyn and Seattle respectively, and finally circled back to Philly two and a half years ago to set up permanent shop. They've been working the lecture series for about five years now, and as they prepare for a hometown talk tonight at 6 p.m., back at the First Unitarian Church, they took some time to speak with CP.
CP: I see your work as simultatneously clean and rustic — clean in the sense that you don't clutter a lot of shit around it, and rustic in the sense that it has a very handmade quality.
Dustin Summers: It's really important to us to keep it as elegant and simple as possible. We like for the finished product to to have a human quality to it.
Jason Kernevich: That's just the way we like our images, with that hand-done element; we definitely feel more connected to work that communicates that aspect.
Can you speak at all to your creative process?
DS: We probably spend about 75% of the time figuring out the concept. We don't really spend a lot time thinking about the image, which probably sounds weird since we're visual artists, but we're much more concerned with the concept.
JK: Basically, we just like to design rectangles. (Laughs.) Seriously, though, rectangles draw your eye in. You kind of need that boundary. When we're in the planning/sketching phase, If I have a big, blank piece of paper, it's difficult for me to begin. I need that confinement. For the most part, my sketchbook is full of words.
Do you prefer making posters or designing book covers, or would you rather just do projects like the Gatsby business cards?
JK: I get restless. If we've been doing illustrations for 18 months then I want to do a Gatsby-type project or typography type thing.
Sir Richard Branson didn’t just wake up, hit the morning show circuit (Fox’s Good Day with Mike Jerrick who got his head rubbed Three Stooges style by the British knight) and introduce his airplanes to the Philadelphia market. The first Virgin America flight from Los Angeles arrived Wednesday at Philadelphia International Airport as part of the inauguration of new daily nonstop service to the West Coast, which makes VA the first new airline in eight years to begin operations in Philly.
The shaggy-haired sun-kissed Branson was a guest of honor at Hotel Palomar’s Virgin America airlines party hailing that day’s launch. No, Overbrook-ian Will Smith wasn’t there as had been tweeted and rumored heatedly throughout the day. Nicki Minaj wasn't either (instead, she hit radio stations and FYE, see this week’s Icepack Illustrated). But Smith’s one-time DJ and buddy Jazzy Jeff spun tracks for a dancing Mayor Michael Nutter and his missus mayor Lisa at the hotel-motel-holiday-innnnn. And Smith’s After Earth collaborators were on board at the Palomar/Virgin bash — his director M. Night Shyamalan and co-star Zoe Kravitz, who was there but not posing with her beau, Penn Badgley from Gossip Girl.
This year, exactly 213 pieces of poetry and 65 pieces of fiction were submitted to our annual writing contest. All authors’ names were removed before the entries were delivered to the judges. Each judge — Duane Swierczynski for fiction, Brian Teare for poetry — named his favorites and two runners-up. Read on!
Three weeks in town and she had taken up with bike messengers, idlers who perched on the Rittenhouse gates, who burnt whole afternoons in the booths at McGlinchey's awaiting summons. Already she had made more acquaintances in the city than he had in 15 years. Aging youngsters hard-living above Fairmount, diving in South Philly, squatting four to a room in Fishtown. She talked about them as if they were old friends he should know already. She didn't talk about her mother. And she hadn't talked about the funeral, had she?...
FICTION RUNNERS UP:
One thing that I probably never mentioned to you — and don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm not really proud of this, I'm just a little conflicted about it at the moment — is that I am good friends with Jennifer Garner. Really good friends. Really, pretty good friends, though I consider that something fluid and moving towards 'really good friends'. I want you to understand, it's hard being Jennifer Garner, really hard, in a complex way. I should know, I am her friend...
She had learned to size people up very quickly and he didn't seem pervy or creepy like some men. He smiled with his eyes, not his teeth.
"I'm Echo," she said.
"Echo," she said again.
She was about to repeat herself but realized he was teasing her...
it's me, tom, talk
as fog not cheap & dead
that tree was a phone
cracked as winter's up
a little girl's eyes...
POETRY RUNNERS UP:
Seven billion gods woke up this morning.
Those who had it ate a little breakfast.
Of course each didn't wake at the same time,
it was like a wave in a stadium, each little god
the westward way — the way the west
was waiting, wild, way out, wasting
space with all its obvious placeness:
its dust and deadly colored canyons
contrast against the wide horizon...
We're planning to have a reading with the judges and winners. Stay tuned.
Every Wednesday, Chris Brown digs into our listings bin and pulls out a little something something for you to do every day of the week.This week yarnbomb with ishknits, talk art with the Dufala Brothers and discover What Lies Underneath ...
Second-hand furniture often requires a leap of faith. You don't know where it's been previously, but wouldn't it be swell if you did? Tim Miller and Jenny Chen recognize this uncertainty, and their Creative Ventures project aims to pen a narrative to every woe-begotten bookshelf and worn-out couch. Not only do they rescue the wares, but they pair it with a blog post that provides all the pertinent details. Get in on the action at their talk tonight.
Wed., April 4, 6 p.m., Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk, writing.upenn.edu.
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