Archive: July, 2009
We're in that weird part of the summer, in which there are just as many First Friday openings as there are Fifth Friday ones. We're cool with that, though. The frontrunner is Art Star Gallery & Boutique (623 N. 2nd St., 215-238-1557), which is hosting Amy Rice's Say Good Morning Tiger Lily (pictured) at 5 p.m. Her paintings fit into the girly/crafty/cutesy vibe that Art Star is famous for, and we're seriously digging the painted frames around them. Also up is Pure Gold Gallery's (1050 N. Hancock St.) Radlands at 6 p.m., Third Street Gallery's (58 N. 2nd St., 215-625-0993) Pennsylvania Sizzler at 5 p.m. and Edge Gallery's A Modern Edge: Part II at 6 p.m. (the latter hosting a Fifth Saturday opening. Woa.)
There's also the Black Women's Arts Festival, which has seriously blown up: Plays, music performances, burlesque shows, poetry readings, youth workshops and more showcasing black women will be taking place at venues all over the city. Oh yeah, and there's Lil Wayne at the Susquehanna Bank Center (1 Harbor Blvd., Camden, NJ, 609-635-1445) at 8 p.m. What? You didn't like this song?
Every other Friday, I'll bring you more from my column Last Chance.
I wrote about this piece, Sarah Knouse's Crawl, in my column, but didn't get to include a picture. (I did, however, have room to wonder how she got it up the stairs without it unraveling, since it's made completely of string.) Isn't this beautiful? Most amazing is that there's nothing propping the sculpture up, like a block underneath her bust or legs ' nope, just string and resin to hold it all together. It also has an eerie effect in person ' it looks so much like the human figure, and is in such an aggressive/sexual position, that it seems almost real.
Crawl is part of Vox Populi's fifth annual "Vox V" exhibit, which features 52 national and international artists and more than 100 works, all curated by video artist Ryan Trecartin and Cerealart founder Larry Mangel. You've only got until this Sunday, August 2 to see it, and you should. The exhibit is a great one-stop shop for a bunch of movements going on in modern art today.
I'll highlight a few more of my favorites after the jump.
Two photographers really stood out to me: Jeanine Woollard and Giacomo Fortunato, who have similar styles and deal with similar themes. Her Whoa shows a naked, young woman straddling a galloping horse ' a tapestry of a galloping horse, that is. Likewise, Woollard's Let Me Go Lover captures a painting of a Middle Eastern couple in the desert, with two actual people standing behind in garb to match the two subjects. I don't have any images available, though, so you'll have to check out her work here.
Fortunato, just as playful but a bit darker than Woollard, is mentioned in my column: "His adults-only photograph Sex on the Mind captures a man watching porn on two separate laptops, while he's wrapped like a present ' head to toe ' in pornographic magazines." You'll have to see that image here (and it's sorta work-safe. Like, just say you were looking at fine art. You were. You have nothing to be ashamed of). It's clearly a critique of hedonism and over-stimulation, but it's so humorous that it doesn't leave you feeling guilty ' just thoughtful. His other works deal with the same themes of overdoing it and sexuality in general.
And lastly, I leave you with Matthew Savitsky's "2(x)ist," a modern take on Picasso's paintings:
Zooman and the Sign, Fri., July 31, 10 a.m., $10, 8 p.m., $20; Sat.-Sun., Aug. 1-2, 8 p.m., $20; Freedom Theatre, 1346 N. Broad St, 215-978-8497, freedomtheatre.org.
Freedom Theatre's performance of Charles Fuller's play, Zooman and the Sign, tackles the disintegration of the urban community through the lens of a wanton murder and its subsequent effects. At the play's heart is a call to awareness that asks the 'audience' to examine and redress all social ills that hold us back.
I spoke with director Johnnie Hobbs Jr., who performed in the first Philadelphia performance of Zooman in 1982 and has been with Freedom for 30 years, about the power of the play and its unflinching look at social issues in America's inner cities.
City Paper: The conflict inherent in Zooman and the Sign is indicative of the battle between those wanting to improve America's inner cities and those standing in the way of change, either through apathy or counterproductive behavior.
Johnnie Hobbs Jr.: Most certainly. There's a ready interplay here that spills over into real life, as inspired by late-'70s Philadelphia that unfortunately carries over into the present. Our most impoverished neighborhoods are faced with a plethora of problems from the proliferation of guns and drugs to the failings of the educational and judicial systems to the sheer fact that we live in a very violent society.
CP: In the play, we certainly get to see what Zooman is, but how does it deal with the why behind his character?
JH: Zooman asks, 'Why am I the way I am?' while directly confronting the audience. He shifts the focus. 'A child ain't supposed to be out on that stoop in the middle of the night,' he says [of the girl he kills] in a moment of reprobation that expands the blame from just this one individual. He asks us to be responsible for our neighborhoods while stating that the family has decayed. When the family structure breaks down, we're left defenseless. The play wants to heal that, while ' and this underscores the poignancy of Fuller's work ' also exploring Zooman's demise, potential as a leader (unfulfilled), and making us see what part we play in this construction/deconstruction. We see where the culpability lies, with the family structure trying to reconcile itself and heal ' remember the victim's family is divided at the play's beginning ' and that's what the sign does.
CP: How has the play been received so far?
JH:Right off the bat, with our short preview run and our opening on Thursday, we received powerful feedback. Several people have been filled with an emotional salt. One gentleman had to leave crying. He said he was a police officer who worked with children like Zooman and just broke down.
CP: Did you have any responses from anyone who directly related with Zooman?
JH:The last two nights we had two different halfway houses come in. Passing me they said things like, 'Aw man, we have to get Zooman off the street.' In other words, he needs help or he needs to leave the community. That ' he's either going to get help or he's going to go away through incarceration or death, and the play tackles that issue. Think about the therapeutic value. I can tell when they leave they're going back to the halfway house and they're discussing it after weighing the impact of it in their minds.
CP: They're seeing their own fate along with examining their lives.
JH: Definitely. Talking to them and seeing the effect, their reaction is a testament to their perception and their sense of themselves. Without a doubt it stays with them and that's a good thing. Someone or something has to be the reservoir for them to rehabilitate themselves and deal with their issues and problems.
CP: It's no revelation that not enough is done to prevent recidivism.
JH: People who work in social services ' police officers, teachers ' this speaks to those people and the task at hand with the hope that they fully embrace their responsibility, whether it's dealing with offenders or helping to prevent someone from becoming an offender in the first place.
CP: Sure, but there's no money in prevention.
JH: It's an old saying ' 'you're part of the solution or part of the problem.' You can put up a blind eye but it's impossible to escape. We're all affected by economics and politics. Zooman says, 'If you don't deal with me now, you'll deal with me later.' We've got to deal with our politicians, the proliferation of guns, and the laws that allow such a spike in sales through straw purchases. Arts, politics, social services, recreational services, education ' it's all part of the community, with each element being just one of the mechanisms. We have to have families, supervision, a sense of right and wrong that will help us survive.
CP: So what of reactions from those within the troubled neighborhoods who live in the shadow of people like Zooman?
JH: It's hard to get them to come into the theater. I don't know if they feel it's not for them. We try for a varied audience, but we want people directly from these communities. When we get them in, a transition, a change occurs ' an epiphany ' but we have to get them in.
CP: The lessons of the play extend to everyone within troubled neighborhoods, regardless of color, with the same issues always applying. Just now I recalled the beating death outside Citizens Bank Park that has three Fishtowners as suspects.
JH: Yeah, the same thought as I would have in any other case went through my mind seeing it on the news. Where were the parents? The upbringing? The education?
CP: There is a fear to give voice and address the underlying causes in depressed urban black communities, and this trepidation exists for both black and white people. With a backlash directed against Bill Cosby and Barack Obama for their criticisms of urban black America, politicians and citizens of all colors are thrown into the unproductive cycle of merely calling for more police/more school funding/more spending that doesn't try to solve the myriad factors that underscore urban decay.
JH: The truth is not always a pleasant thing. Bill Cosby or Obama or anyone who has a strong eye for our social ills speaks to what needs to be said. We need more plays that so doggedly pursue answers while inspiring the audience. There is a delicate balance where you can't say this or that because you're white or because you're black but [the reality] is there and you can see it, but we have to be brave enough to face it. I want the play to bridge that gap. ' The thing we want to do is produce change. You have to be a strong person to be in the arts. You have to tell the truth. You have to be brave. Historically, the artists are first to die, since they're the ones putting it before our eyes.
CP: And the play is fine source material for such boldness.
JH: Charles Fuller has designed a play to hit you in the stomach. You double over and realize something has happened. In that doubling over there's a gestalt, an impact that says, 'Oh my God, this is what's happening to me.'
CP: Does the power of such a socially charged play come with nerve-wracking pressure, or does the confluence of art and social responsibility make the art that much more accessible?
JH: It is incalculable ' what I have at stake in this emotionally. My involvement says that I am inseparable from the experience. So [as a director and teacher] how do I mentor others to teach, direct, act, and commit themselves in the right way? And that commitment leads to a high degree of risk. I think of Michelangelo's risk lying on his back painting the Sistine Chapel. Not knowing is a very exciting place to be ' there's the possibility for discovery, with vulnerability at the heart of our work as artists. It means there's empathy there. You're listening, you're not putting a blind eye up to things. There's thought there. Actors are in a position to have that experience. They have to take themselves further and indeed, it's scary. It's the truth we find in that place and that's what we have to share.
CP: How does the legacy of Freedom Theatre conflate with the goals of the play?
JH: Many of the things I do are an echo of what founder John E. Allen Jr. taught me. Both he and Robert Leslie worked to establish the theater and left us with a strong legacy [Allen having passed away in 1992]. Their philosophy was predicated on a profession based on giving something back to the community and making something viable that will last. Not just a theater, but an institution, so we take great pride in that since it's something that will live well beyond us.
Zooman and the Sign, Fri., July 31, 10 a.m., $10, 8 p.m., $20; Sat.-Sun., Aug. 1-2, 8 p.m., $20; Freedom Theatre, 1346 N. Broad St, 215-978-8497, freedomtheatre.org.
In case you haven't heard, a tepee is going up in the Piazza this weekend. Sherri Hospedales wrote about it in this week's A&E section:
After a road trip last summer to Badlands National Park in South Dakota, Philadelphia artists Matthew Gribben and Sheldon Abba were inspired to construct a tepee like the ones they saw on their adventure. But it's become so much more than that. By the opening of "Radlands," an art show honoring American Indian culture with mixed media, installation and photography, the DIY tent will have morphed into a 14-foot magical structure painted black with glow-in-the-dark features.
If you want to get a taste of the exhibit before tomorrow, Gribben and Abba have been keeping a blog documenting the trip and the making of their show. A video up top is a preview of sorts, and judging by its candlelit setting and a description of hunting for timber in the woods later in the blog, the two artists are seriously getting into character for this show. Never ones to shy away from promotion, they've even got a Radlands T-shirt for sale for $22:
Opening reception Fri., July 31, 6-10 p.m., free, through Aug. 16, Pure Gold Gallery, Piazza at Schmidts, 1050 N. Hancock St., puregoldgallery.wordpress.com.
|Photos by Patrick Rapa|
I'm a man eater, and still you're surprised when I eat you.
She really sounds that good live. You hear Neko Case's tender powerhouse vocals on her CDs and you think wow. But when you're there in the enormous and strange reddish-orange arena that is Verizon Hall and she's up there really puling it off, wow. Especially the choruses, when Case's voice was bolstered by back-up singer (and lead banterer) Kelly Hogan. Case also drew strength from the skilled band of banjo, slide guitar, bass, drums and tambourines behind her. Behind them loomed a large screen that sometimes displayed abstract shapes and other times comically corresponded with the music. Best example: The little girl flying into the Orca's mouth during "People Got A Lotta Nerve." She didn't do "Star Witness," but that's okay. Everything she did play ' including "This Tornado Loves You," "Margaret Vs. Pauline," "That Teenage Feeling" and a rollicking cover of "Train from Kansas City" ' had a casual confidence, a bold and charming clarity. She sounded great and completely at home in a hall built for an orchestra.
Ok, so here's a trailer with no discernible clues to a narrative arc and no big star to carry it. The only real, superficial draw is the Coen Bros. brand. The marketing department over at Focus Features has got some pair releasing this. That being said, I like a trailer with mystery. It's not one of those we-just-saved-you-ten-bucks-'cause-you-just-saw-all-the-best-jokes kind of trailers, nor is it one of those trailers where I can see exactly who the marketing dept. is trying to attract (like when you see two very different trailers for the same movie during, say, Gossip Girl and a baseball game). So, I know the plot of this movie but I had some fun trying to construct one from the info given in this trailer. Come up with anything good?
Susan Ottaviano (who later went on to New Wave stardom in Book of Love) on the making of her Philly band Head Cheese's single 'Jungle Jam' from 1982:
We recorded "Jungle Jam" at Third Story music, an 8 track studio in Philadelphia, in 1981. It was produced by David Javelosa, who we met at the East Side Club. He was performing with his group Los Microwaves at the time. The 'Jungle Jam' video was filmed in and around Philly and is truly a love story to the city. There are scenes on Broad Street, the gargoyles in City Hall, a basement on League street and a pig's head from the Italian Market. The Jungle Jam video has just recently been posted on YouTube. One of the original directors of that video even works for Pixar now. He said that he had more fun on our movie than he does today. You should check it out. It's pretty funny.
Read A.D. Amorosi's interview with Book of Love here.
The last time I saw Frank Malley was, predictably, at a traditional Irish concert. The music was grand, the place was packed, all in great spirits. Frank made time to speak to me before I had a chance to drift over his way. His trademark warmth was intact. "How are ya Frank?" said I.' "OK, fine," came the too quick reply. Squinting at him, with his chemo-thinned fair poking from beneath the tweed cap, I tried again, "Francis, how are you." He looked relieved to be given permission to say, "Well, I'm dying." Being musical I have no problem with people giving organ recitals, so we reviewed all the ways he and the docs had tricked death for some five years. This time, he didn't feel as hopeful. But from that time when he allowed that the disease was really gonna win this time, he struggled for another half a year.
Good man, Frank Malley. He had things he believed in and put his stamina behind them. The Ceili Group and the Ceili Group's Festival were significant beneficiaries of his love of music. When the Festival sent out an invitation earlier this year, urging people to attend a meeting to help plan this year's event, I chuckled to myself, thinking, yeah, it'll take a whole team to replace Himself.
Always committed to promoting the music, Frank wouldn't let me leave a party last year, urging me to wait, the singing would start soon, and I had to hear Rosaleen McGill. He was so right to be proud of her and her amazing gift for the old style of Irish singing. Now who will insist we linger to meet the next generation?
Frank, we're all the poorer without you.
Quoting from an email circulated by Frank's daughter Courtney, herself a singer renowned for her work with Full Frontal Folk and Something Black:
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 1, 2009, 3:00 p.m. at the Irish Center located at Emlen St and Carpenter Ln in West Mt Airy.' In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to any one of the' Breast Cancer 3-Day 'Team Canada' members at www.the3day.org.
|Spock Buckton and Kimberly Kane|
A chat with popporn.com porn dude Spock Buckton ' man about town, voyeur, director, clown.
A.D. Amorosi: You guys were shooting this film forever. What took so long?
Spock Buxton: In addition to writing and directing, we edited the movie ourselves too. Well, not me, but our resident editor who goes by the name of Meat Ball. Like the dopes we are, we shot hours upon hours of footage so it was a lengthy process sifting through all the crap to find some gold. Ironically, we also like to sift through actual crap to find gold, but all we ever find is quarters. Believe it or not, porn studios like Zero Tolerance (who released the movie) actually had slight issues with some of the footage in the movie so there was a lengthy back-and-forth of re-editing where we had to remove scenes.
ADA: I've read that you're calling it "the most retarded adult film ever." Whyfore?
SB: Well, I think the movie kinda answers that question on its own. Honestly, we're the kind of backwards folks who use 'retard' or 'retarded' as compliments. So, calling our movie 'the most retarded adult film ever' is akin to calling it 'the most amazing film ever'. Plus, retarded folks are always doing amazing things. Just look at Stephen Hawking and that retard from Rain Man.
ADA: What made ya'll choose your cast, other than endurance?
SB: We specifically picked the cast based on folks we already knew pretty well. Considering some of the shit we made those poor fuckers do in the movie, there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that we would have worked with a cast that couldn't handle our retarded brand of humor. Also, since these folks were our friends we were able to scam them into working for much less money then they normally would receive
ADA: What's next cinematically for POPPORN?
SB: We shot our second film in June or maybe July? I'm bad at remembering when stuff happens. Too much weed. It's a parody of celebrity scandal and gossip called TMSleaze. We had one fuck of a time trying to find porn performers that resembled douchebag celebs but thankfully we had a crack make-up and hair team that really knocked it outta the park. That flick comes out August 11th from the studio 3rd Degree. Then next month we shoot How to be a Ladies Man with Spock Buckton which will basically be an extended infomercial where I try to teach a bunch of losers my secrets on how to get ladies to spread their legs and let them stick their wieners in. The catch being that I give really, really bad advice.
ADA: Any last words about Making Fuck?
SB: It really is a shame that we were ever given the opportunity to make The Guide to Making Fuck because now there's no fucking chance that we'll ever stop making porno unless Hollywood decides to call us up and lets us start making movies about vampires and werewolves working at space stations. Hollywood, if you're reading this, our Vampire/Werewolf Space Station script is already done.
Popporn ' The Guide To Making Fuck premiere screening, Thu., July 30, 9 p.m., free, National Mechanics, 22 S. Third St., 215-701-4883, nationalmechanics.com, popporn.com.
If you're the type who likes lady rockers, you've got a few choices to make tonight. The red-headed crooner Neko Case, up-and-coming rapper Amanda Diva, wild woman Karen O from Yeah Yeah Yeahs ' they're all playing. Only the thing is, Karen O isn't so wild anymore. While the band's album Zero, which came out this year, is its best yet, I hear she's kind of calmed down her performances. In Nylon magazine, Karen said, "For one thing, I had to stop pouring beer on myself for practical reasons. It ruins your costumes. They would just reek. I switched to water."
Hm, true. And I'm glad she's keeping the costumes. And, to be honest, I'm kind of glad she's playing it straight. Let Zero speak for itself.
Wed., July 29, 8:30 p.m., $25, Electric Factory, 421 N. 7th St., 215-627-1332, electricfactory.info.
- 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