Archive: June, 2011
Black Music Month has rolled in, so all June long Critical Mass will be featuring videos of some of our favorite artists from now and then.
This week’s blast of new school hotness comes from none other than local rap duo Sgt. Sass. I had the pleasure of talking to both DT and KD. I asked which video of theirs they would pick for the series. KD suggested “Demonstrate,” and DT was quick to co-sign. “Artistically,” KD began, “it’s most close to where we are, I guess.” Demonstrate” is an unabashed, energetic, queer, club-inspired, booty-poppin’, intensely arty, eclectic celebration. Sgt. Sass is that too.
The two were homies at art school. DT makes “crazy image manipulations,” both photo and video. KD produces performance art and dabbles in multimedia painting. For them, hip-hop is another avenue for creation. And that’s how they want people to remember them. KD explained, “[Hip-hop] was used as a venue, instead of a lifestyle or something, a show-off kind of thing, like an accessory or something like that. I want people to take hip-hop serious for what I grew up with it being which was a mean for expression.”
When hearing Sgt. Sass, it’s easy to focus on is how progressive they are. They love Courtney Love as much they love Remy Ma, and Wu-Tang over industrial beats. But, beyond the superficial, they’re more connected to the early years. Like the pioneers of yore, they embrace the unchartered and respect the elements. Also like the pioneers of yore, their brand of hip-hop alchemy isn’t always well received.
Sgt. Sass doesn’t believe that the expression or the reception of queerness in hip-hop has progressed during their time, but are hopeful about breaking down the door soon. They’ve got a slew of upcoming shows and projects to make sure that they do. DT’s just released a solo single, “That Morning Star,” for his upcoming solo project, I Destroy. KD’s solo album, The War, drops this Independence Day. Sgt. Sass’ next project is due out next year. As for shows, they’ve got one tomorrow at Tritone. What can you we expect? An appearance from Sugur Shane, surprises, and a “heckuva playlist.” Whether they’ll back it up, in more senses than one, I have no doubt.
Sgt. Sass plays Sat., June 11, 9 p.m., $10, Tritone, 1508 South St.
Intrepid CP entertainment reporter Peter Chawaga sets out on a weekly mission to find the best, quirkiest and - most importantly - still operational record stores our town has to offer.
Philadelphia Record Exchange has been in the same location for 26 years and it’s clear that in that time they've overcome one of the most frustrating record store flaws. While I admit that half the fun of visiting a vinyl purveyor is looking through their stacks for hard-to-find gems, it's still so much easier to Google. That's why Philadelphia Record Exchange’s incredibly clear organization makes it a stand out store in the city.
The store occupies three floors in a converted town house at 618 S. Fifth St. They have over 5,000 records covering pretty much every square inch. The most impressive thing is that you can go inside and follow signs and labels until you know precisely what collection you’re looking through. The top floor houses their jazz and soundtracks collection, the main floor holds the R&B, hip-hop and dance records and the basement is full of classic Rock albums. That’s not to say that each floor is limited to these broad genres, because each is divided into sub-categories so you can find exactly what you’re looking for … and I mean exactly. They have plenty of divisions for even the smallest sub-genres so even the most selective vinyl fan can find their favorite stuff. They have a rare combination of enough jazz and classic rock to attract older customers as well as a large selection of electronic and hip-hop records to satisfy DJs looking for new samples.
It’s hard to say what the coolest record in the store was, but the owner told me they’ve had collections worth thousands of dollars come in and leave within a few days. Philadelphia Record Exchange is doing a stellar job competing with digital music meccas — offering a big chunk of records for 99 cents or less. It's not as easy as a point and click, but you're bound to find something here that you'd never know to look for on Google. Give it a try the next time you're in the market for new jams.
The F Harold Comedy Festival is a well-run series of shows that attracts a different lineup of comedic acts each night. The festival, organized by Philly prov-man Rick Horner, features many of Philly's brightest improv, sketch and standup comedians.
"It's the recall of the spring starter festival for PHIT, [and it's] Philly-only," says Horner. "The original F-Harold grew into the Philly Improv Festival, which eventually came to feature improvisers from all over. I was trying to revive the Philly-only notion, but I wanted to add the other big pockets of Philly comedy, sketch and standup."
Horner is quite pleased with the current state of our city's improvisation scene. "Whether people came up through Comedy Sports or PHIT, the people who used to be in the audience are now onstage, so it's kind of like we've eaten our young," he says. "And the new fans coming to see their friends perform are also becoming fans of the people who've been around longer. It's exciting that it has that natural order."
Horner is a Philly native who studied at Second City, and is excited to perform in the festival with his group Whip Suit. An active member of the improv community, he recently produced Duofest and runs The Improv Incubator on Sunday nights at the Community Education Center (3500 Lancaster Ave.) He welcomes anyone to come to the incubator for "an evening of practice, exercises, collaboration and other assortedness."
Through Sun., June 12, various times, $10-$25, Walnut Street Theatre, Studio 5, 825 Walnut St., 215-925-2182, fharoldpresents.com.
Representation of LGBTQ individuals in popular media has rapidly increased over the past decade. When Queer as Folk (QAF), one of television’s first mainstream LGBTQ-interest shows, premiered in 1999, the concept of a show entirely (or, at least, primarily) about the gays was new and groundbreaking. By 2011, however, such shows are old hat. But unlike QAF and other LGBT productions, many of these new shows break the mold of “traditional” representations of gays and lesbians in popular television by rejecting rather than exacerbating hypersexual and gender-specific stereotypes of homosexuality. Let's take a glance at some of the heavy hitters:
As much as Glee, the wildly-popular musical comedy on Fox, has jumped shark this season, its writers have used new characters and plotlines to expose the complexities of gay life in high school. The show’s central gay character Kurt (Chris Colfer), often referring to himself as an “honorary girl”, represents an effeminized vision of homosexuality and fits comfortably into many people’s image of what gay men should be. Luckily, gay representation in Glee doesn’t stop there. Blaine, a newly-introduced character played by Darren Criss, challenges stereotypical conceptions by playing a masculine, non-marginalized gay man that's free, for the most part, of angst. The second significant gay storyline in Glee follows the pseudo-romance of characters Santana and Britanny. Santana gives voice to those already comfortable with alternative sexualities but unable or unwilling to come out, an archetype not often represented in popular media; Brittany’s sexuality, constantly in question (even by Brittany herself), is a breath of fresh air in an industry where it seems necessary that all characters have comfortable (but form-fitting) labels.
Christopher Seybert dishes on the week's best and worst moments in daytime talk.
While everyone is talking about New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s weiner, only one Hollywood family could potentially steal his thunder: the Kardashians. Making the rounds in New York to promote season 6 of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kourtney and Khloe made some news of their own Tuesday morning. At an appearance on Fox & Friends, Khloe’s mesh top shifted, revealing that she was braless.
After some racy tweets between the sisters joking about the nip slip, they showed up to Live! with Regis and Kelly and chatted about it. Kourtney was trying to make Khloe self-conscious, but it didn’t seem to faze her too much, as she jumped over to Regis’ chair and shook her ta-tas. As anyone knows, this could have been a lethal combination: a shimmying Kardashian and a 79-year-old man who’s had triple-bypass surgery. Thankfully, all parties involved escaped unscathed.
The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus (PGMC) greets their big 3-0 with a “rollicking” choral revue that highlights the musical stylings of boy bands from the 1960s to today. The performance will celebrate everything from pop superstars (The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Jackson 5) to teen heartthrobs (Hanson, ’N Sync, Backstreet Boys) and all the boy bands in between. PGMC also promises that songs from diverse acts such as Queen, The Monkees, and Boyz II Men will also appear among the nearly-sixty showcased during the show. One of Philadelphia’s premiere LGBT performance groups, PGMC creates music that “entertains, inspires and affirms with a spirit of friendship and hope.” Aw.
Sat., June 18, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., $20-$50, Temple Performing Arts Center, 1837 N. Broad St., pgmc.org.
Devoted poet/avid concert-goer/nerd-grrrl extraordinaire Jane Cassady's weekly horoscopes run in this space every Friday morning.
Gemini (May 19-June 21): Like my mom, who had twins on her birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mom, Katie, and Eddie!), you will find yourself overwhelmed with friendship and calendar-luck. Write in whatever you wish.
Cancer (June 22-July 23): “Coming from a former Communist country, I will never do something for some reason. I will do only things because I like to do it.” --Christo, when asked why he was making The Gates.
As we mention in this week's A&E section, lead singer of Pretty Poison and South Jersey resident Jade Starling will headline and shoot footage for her new music video at nightlifegay.com's Triumphant Pride celebration on Sunday. We recently caught up with her for a chat about her new music, gay rights and why she think Lady Gaga should be the new Oprah.
City Paper: So a lot of people know you from the '80s group Pretty Poison and the hit song “Catch Me (I’m Falling),” but what have you been up to recently?
Jade Starling: Basically, this past year I’ve been trying to finish [my new] album, [Captive], and get all the producers and remixers together. I’m looking forward to putting out new music. I’m still with the group Pretty Poison. My bandmate and producer Whey Cooler did a lot for the new album.
CP: What can your fans expect from your new music?
JS: What they know us best for is dance and club music, so we’re getting back to the roots about what we do best. I love my fans very much and it’s great for me to be back in Philly again reaching out to the people who put us on the map. I’m so excited about doing Triumphant Pride and seeing all my family and friends from the area.
First person to email email@example.com with the subject GIMME BRIGHT EYES TICKETS will win two box seats for tomorrow night's gig at the Mann. GO!
UPDATE: Congratulations to our winner, Sarah!
More info on the show here.
WHO: Nigel Richards, Michael Myers, Christian James, Adrock, Adam Freemer:, Mike Alba, Eddie Tully,
Deep C, Yan & Alex M, Joseph LuVitt, Gallo, John G.
WHAT: GET WET will be an epic two-area boat party with 11 DJs rockin’ your body for 9-plus hours. This fourth annual event includes an open bar from 3 to 4 p.m. so you can get nice 'n’ toasty under the sun. Of course, there will be all sorts of barbecue (veg options, too) available and plenty of people ready to move their feet to the groove.
WHEN & WHERE: Sun., June 12, 3 p.m.-12 a.m., $10, Moshulu, 401 S. Columbus Blvd., 215-923-2500, wantickets.com.
WHY: Who doesn’t like to get wet when they're getting down with the beat?
See Also: City Paper's DJ Nights listings
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