Archive: May, 2011
Are you ready for something entirely unrealistic? This video (below) of the Charlie Hunter Trio depicts three musicians. But wait. You can clearly hear four instruments, right?: the drums, sax, guitar and bass.
Well, Charlie Hunter plays guitar and bass at the same time. And the fact that he built an 8-string guitar in order to accommodate bass and guitar strings on the same instrument is not the most bizarre part. The really troubling issue is that he can simultaneously process bass rhythms, chords and lead scales — a task for which Pearl Jam requires three individual musicians. This YouTube vid is from way back in 1995, rumor has it he has consolidated down to a 7-string meta-instrument for his contemporary mind-blowing jazz show.
It's not fair. It's just not.
You have three chances to see him this weekend:
Tonight, 9 p.m.$19, World Café Live, 500 N. Market St., Wilmington, 302-994-1400, queen.worldcafelive.com.
Sat., May 7, 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St., 215-222-1400, philly.worldcafelive.com.
Devoted poet/avid concert-goer/nerd-grrrl extraordinaire Jane Cassady's weekly horoscopes run in this space every Friday morning.
Taurus (April 19-May 18): It’s a new month, try a new medium. Try working in exaggerations, or omelets, or check-off boxes. Whatever you make, be prolific.
Gemini (May 19-June 21): Whatever you have to say that’s new, say it — ring it out across the crowd and damn the judges. Read it off paper, or off your phone, or scan the wall murals for hidden messages, just say it, already, say something new.
WHO: Shej Zandy, Datgurl Curly, Venus7, Lee Jones
WHAT: Building on the lengthy success of the Sundae party, Lee Jones is teaming up with miss Venus7 to launch a new weekly event on a more traditional party night. The Saturdae launch features the Sisters of House tour, with a couple of NYC's finest lady DJs, Shej Zandy and Datgurl Curly. Also, by utilizing both the interior and patio area, they've created a party that works for adults and families. This Mother's Day Eve, Kirkworx will be onsite offering free face paintings for children 12 and under.
WHEN & WHERE: Sat., May 7, 3 p.m.-8 p.m., Marathon Grill, 19th and Market streets, 215-561-1818, eatmarathon.com.
WHY: The weather is nice and you wanna listen to beats, dance and sip on drinks under the sun.
Every Friday, Ryan Carey takes a look at who and what’s giving Philly the giggles …
Louis Katz is a funny comedian. You might have seen him last night on Jimmy Fallon. His Comedy Central Presents... special this year was, in my opinion, one of the best of the season. His album is even better. He’s sneaking through Philly for a one-night show tonight at Helium. I spotted him on my radar and harassed him for a bit. Enjoy.
City Paper: How long have you been a comedy writer?
Louis Katz: I’ve actually never had an official standup writing job. In my bio, it says that I first wrote jokes for Carson, but it was a write-in thing. I haven’t been on a show staff, although I work on Marc Maron’s old online show. I also worked on a few pilots for Dave Attel. I have a good reputation as a writer, but I do most of my writing for myself. I think the album is much better than the special. The special, which they edit themselves, is on TV. The album, they let me do a whole edit myself. The album is exactly my vision; exactly what I want it to be. My vision for my standup.
Each week, Emily Apisa puts together a rundown of book-centric events that’ll keep you “lit” all week long.
[ Thursday ]
➤ Jennet Conant
Before Julia Child became a celebrated chef and cookbook author, she traveled the world as part of the Office of Strategic Services. Jennet Conant’s A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS uses government documents and interviews to flesh out her account of Julia Child, her husband, and Jane Foster during the 1940s and ‘50s. This fluid narrative gives perspective on the pop culture icon before her shrill voice rang out of television sets across the country. Check out Drew Lazor's review in this week's Food and Drink section.
Thurs., May 5, 7:30 p.m., free, The Free Library: Central Branch, 1901 Vine St., 215-567-4341.
[ Friday ]
➤ Binding a F**cking Zine with ScrewSmart
The title of this event may be a little jarring, but don’t be put off. Binding a F*cking Zine with ScrewSmart is simply a DIY workshop for budding Zinesters. Learn how to hand stitch pages into pamphlets, and because Wooden Shoe teamed up with ScrewSmart, guests will get some new perspective on adult sexual health in a totally modern (and non-preachy) way.
Fri., May 6, 7-9 p.m., free, Wooden Shoe Books & Records, 704 South St., 215-413-0999.
The models are still basking in lovely Marrakech, and Alex is pegged as the surfer girl, but she’s a little (or way) too emo for that. Why does sweet Hannah never stand out? Her face is spritely and her pigtails are adorbs, but at the end of the last couple episodes, she’s been overshadowed. Bring some drama, already.
Miss J was the Ghost of TopMod go-sees, and the first stop was Vogue Italia EIC, Franca Sozzani. Over tea she glanced at each woman’s portfolio and asked about their goals and aspirations. Brittani stood out while Alex was superficially charming. Next, the girls were tutored by a bellydancer on the art of swaying your hips with a tea tray on your head. I wasn’t really feeling this, and it was a tad pointless. Later the models donned glitzy costumes and danced for a bunch of strangers. Molly tripped and frowned for the rest of her dance. Alex pulled out some moves and got a group clap going, but was overzealous and dropped her tray. Brittani improvised a cool dance and kept her tray afloat. Oh, Hannah did alright.
Brittani won the challenge and chose Hannah for her runway coaching with Miss J, who wore a rather dashing man-skirt. The girls stopped at a food stand with goat heads, eyeballs, and brains. Al Grosso! Brittani got queasy from the brains, skipped dinner, and didn’t feel any better in the morning.
Renowned fashion photographer Friedemann Haus shot the models in guest judge Daniella Issa Helayel’s designs in an outdoor market. Hannah had difficulty evoking the story and overposed. Molly performed well and Mr. Jay told Alex to chill out this time, and she was not happy about getting lectured. She didn’t talk back this week, but kept pouting her lips. Brittani did a whole Actors’ Studio thing and pretended she had arrived at her destination after the desert voyage from last week’s shoot.
At panel, Alex was finally sent home for her lackluster performance. Next week Brittani sheds tears and Andre Leon Tally is totally turned off.
Chef and restaurateur Chip Roman has a whole slew of things coming up. His newly opened Mica in Chestnut Hill just started the same sort of four-course $45 prix fixe Tuesday dinner (a different seasonal ingredient weekly) that’s been successful at his Conshohocken eatery Blackfish. He’s gearing up for a collaborative cook-off with his one-time mentor Georges Perrier at Le Bec Fin on June 13 — seven courses for $95 (reservations: 215-567-1000). But this week, Roman opened his doors to Kevin Sbraga, another one-time Perrier protégé and Top Chef’s season seven winner. The beetroot gazpacho with goat cheese sorbet was a masterful mix of the gently spicy and coolly textural. The steamed halibut with lobster chunks and artichokes cooked and cut different ways (a Sbraga signature) and the rack of lamb with a tangy tandoori yogurt were the most delectable highlights of the meal. But a big part of the night was watching throngs of Top Chef aficionados chatter at Sbraga (“is Padma as pretty in person as she is on TV?”) and pose with him for photos. I actually felt bad that the chef had to be so genial. “I don’t mind at all,” said Sbraga. “I like to think I’m a people person.” Sbraga talked with me about the night’s menu (“everything but the beetroot gazpacho which is a long time favorite of mine, was made specifically for this night”) and how much he digs Roman and this Conshy hot spot. Then conversation moved to the question of the hour: where will that Philly Sbraga restaurant open, the one that’s been in the planning stages since he won Top Chef? “Right now, I’m looking very seriously at a space between Rittenhouse and Washington Square,” he smiles. OK THAT’S NOT TOO WIDE A SWATCH. Then Sbraga throws a little focus my way. “We’re looking at something that’s a little bit bigger than this,” said Sbraga pointing at the 30+ seater. That’s a start.
The Philadelphia Film Society is having a cool run: Last month it was the Wanamaker organ’s debut for the screening of the silent Metropolis at Macy’s in March, this month on May 16, the PFS will hold a screening of the movie Philadelphia in the Mayor’s Reception Room.
Call for the Cure, Philly’s CBS-3/CW 57/KYW News Radio/WYSP/WOGL on-air fundraiser for the upcoming Susan G. Komen Philadelphia Race for the Cure event (Mother’s Day, May 8), raised $553,157 for breast cancer research, education and outreach. Brava and bravo.
Three guitar geniuses in one big ball: Philadelphia shredding monster Nick Millevoi will open for fellow six-stringer Nat Baldwin at First Unitarian Church Side Chapel on May 6. Millevoi’s first solo guitar release, Black Figure of a Bird, was recorded by Philadelphia-based guitarist/sitar-ist/master of all things classically Indian, Eric Carbonara. Whoa.
She’s not just a cultural icon: Mia Farrow has “used her platform as an artist to draw needed attention” to humanitarian causes, notes arts administrator J. Patrick Moran. Named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2000, Farrow has traveled around the world to speak out for kids affected by violent conflicts — and she was among the first figures to highlight the tragedy in Darfur. Her efforts helped her become one of Time magazine’s most influential people worldwide. Next week, in Philadelphia, she’ll receive another prestigious honor: the Marian Anderson Award, for which Moran is executive director.
Legendary contralto and Philadelphia native Marian Anderson was born at the turn of the 20th century. She was a powerful force in gaining acceptance for African-Americans in classical music, and went on to become a US Special Envoy to the Far East, as well as a delegate to the UN’s General Assembly. As a fellow artist-humanitarian, Mia Farrow has followed in her footsteps.
The award, begun in 1998, celebrates artists like Anderson and Farrow, who have dedicated themselves to humanitarian issues. Recipients have ranged from Bill Cosby to Maya Angelou and Elizabeth Taylor to Quincy Jones. Tuesday’s ceremony honoring Farrow, at the Kimmel Center, will bring together a star-studded ensemble of Farrow’s fellow artists. “We wanted to assemble a group of women who excel in their arts” and are “interracial [and] intergenerational,” says Moran. The night will be hosted by the Emmy Award-winning Judith Jamison of Philadelphia, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The Philadelphia Orchestra, directed by Cristian Macelaru, will perform works including Bernstein’s overture to Candide; one of Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances, Op. 72, no. 8; and Mendelssohn’s Overture to Ruy Blas, Op. 95. The orchestra will also back some impressive guest stars: opera’s Angela Brown will perform, as will Carly Simon. For her performance, the singer-songwriter — who is also a friend of Farrow — will join forces with son Ben Taylor as well as the Keystone Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir. On top of all that, 2010 Best New Artist Grammy winner, jazz singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding, will offer a solo tribute to Farrow.
Tue., May 10, 8:30 p.m., $18-$106, Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, 260 S. Broad St., 215-893-1999; the Kimmel Center box office; and philorch.org.
Fleet Foxes are an American fantasy. Their brand of flannel-clad folk rock sounds as though it’s the work of a team of 19th-century lumberjacks, crowded around a fire to sing old English tunes after a hard day in the woods. And the songwriting and lush harmonies are good enough that it hardly matters that they’re actually 21st-century indie rockers.
Their new album, Helplessness Blues, marks no giant leap from its self-titled predecessor, but that’s not a bad thing. Why change such an effective formula? These are a songwriter’s songs: well-constructed, strongly melodic, and straightforward without being boring. That’s particularly true of the heartbreaking first song, “Montezuma.” It derives its power from a plaintive melody as well as lyrics that sound much more autobiographical than the typical Fleet Foxes song. “So now I am older/ Than my mother and father/ When they had their daughter/ Now what does that say about me?” Here, Pecknold has found an often-elusive balance in lyrics that feel ancient but also authentic. Typically, the band seems more interested in painting lyrical pictures than in offering personal insight, and they might fairly be criticized for inauthenticity: their olden-day persona can sometimes ring false. But in songs like “Montezuma,” the band presents a boomerang-generation concern—my parents were so much more accomplished at my age! —without forsaking the aged feel. It’s a sign of real timelessness.
The other standout track is “Helplessness Blues,” a song whose opening vocal line is strong enough to carry the song over an incredibly simple guitar part. After a few quick strums of a single chord, the guitar sits on just one note, and the basic chord doesn’t change until almost a minute into the song. When it does, it’s a big payoff, accompanied by thick harmonies. Like many Fleet Foxes songs, the tune morphs completely halfway through, piling on harmonies, electric guitar, and trademark rich drumming. Josh Tillman consistently gives the toms their due, avoiding the typical rocker’s focus on snare and thus adding to the band’s already expansive sound.
It can only be the most grandiose act of passive aggression that Obama waited until three days after the royal wedding to pull the trigger on the most wanted criminal in the history of the world. Britain, consider your thunder stolen.
It is interesting, though, to think how much more common these big events occur. They used to come pretty rarely: the final episode of Seinfeld, who's the next Oscar host, Captain Sullenberger landing a jet safely on the Hudson, the occasional environmental disaster, you know ... the usual.
But lately it seems like every man woman and child is talking about a major current event every couple of weeks: oil spills, Japan's radioactive earthquakes, the most devastating series of tornados in history, a royal wedding, Osama Bin Laden's death. To me, this means at least one of two things: (1) the world is getting smaller and our digital life makes it hard to be out of the loop, or (2) alarmingly important things are happening with more frequency.
It's probably a coincidentally timed combination of both, which sets up every news day to look like it's our last. But does the stuff we gab about at the water cooler define us? Only if you think the '60s were defined by Vietnam and Woodstock.
- Arts Events
- First Person Fest
- Last Chance
- On the Fringe
- Philly Artists
- The Curator
- Visual Art
- Arts News
- Artist Profile
- Arts Preview
- Street Art
- Been There, Done That
- Big Ups
- LOL With It
- Critical Mass
- Friday Fill-in
- Ice Cubes
- In Memoriam
- Just Do It
- Just Opened
- Art Phag
- Film Fest
- Movie Review
- On set
- 10 Track Mind
- Album Review
- Concert Review
- Local Support
- Now Hear This
- One Track Mind
- Philly Bands
- Somebody Else Was There
- The Showdown
- concert photos
- DJ Nights Blogged
- Night Watch
- Now See This
- Poetic License
- Printed Matter
- What We Heart
- Idol Hands
- Mad Men
- True Blood
- Useless Lost Recaps
- Couch Potato
- Shore Trash
- Turned ONN
- Video Games
- Free Online Game
- PlayStation 2
- The 1-Upper
- Web Junk
- CAGE MATCH
- Free Online Toy
- Weekend Omnibus