Archive: July, 2009
|photo from wilcoworld.net|
Intensely, sublimely beautiful.
'Welcome to Wilcoton,' declared Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy upon their triumphant return to Wilmington, DE (the closest they've played to Philly on their past few tours) on Friday night. Their last performance in the first state was sold out, so this time around promoters booked Frawley Stadium (home of the local minor league team the Blue Rocks) to accommodate more concertgoers.
Openers Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band delivered a solid set. While Bright Eyes was very much Oberst's project, Mystic Valley lives up to the 'Band' in its name with lead vocal and songwriting duties doled out pretty evenly amongst the band's front line. Guitarist Taylor Hollingsworth delivered blistering southern-rock solos throughout the set (he is from Alabama after all), while Oberst and MVB's other other guitarist, Nik Freitas, comped and strummed along. Nate Walcott's organ swells dominated the proceedings as the dueling acoustic and electric rhythms bounced back and fourth, in and around them, and the grooving basslines of Macey Taylor and pounding drums of Jason Boesel (of Rilo Kiley) churned away underneath and keeping the music moving. The music itself sounded, well, a lot like Lynyrd Skynyrd. In that regard, I am glad that Oberst, one of the most influential and beloved songwriters of the past decade has found a new outlet for his talent, but wish that he had found a new medium in which to express himself, rather than rehashing an old one, even if it is a great recapitulation of the genre. If you like Southern Rock and/or Conor Oberst you will probably like The Mystic Valley Band.
And then there was Wilco. ...
As euphoric and elating as the heroin they sing about, it is easy to see why their last local show was voted #1 concert of the year (in Spark magazine). Their performance was intensely, sublimely beautiful, ranging from the vindictive yet playful noise-rock of 'I Am Trying To Break Your Heart,' to the infectious dance-funk of 'Spiders (Kidsmoke),' the band had the audience eating out of its collective hand for their entire hour-and-a-half set. Singer-guitarist (acoustic mostly), and primary songwriter, Jeff Tweedy's voice sweetly sang his brutally honest lyrics, occasionally erupting into a feral scream or falsetto croon, while lead guitarist Nels Cline, sounding like the demon-child/progeny of Jimi Hendrix and John Coltrane quite simply melted the faces off of everyone present. Armed with an enormous arsenal of pedals and general guitar gadgetry, Nels' electronic moans, cries, and screams take up most of the solo space in WIlco's music. The rest of the band seemed to have no qualms about letting him show off while they perform their songs, but each and every member is just as much a master of timbre and texture as he is; (for example, drummer Glenn Kotche moved from beating the hell out of his drums to silence to gently caressing them with soft-mallets and back again, synth player, Mikael Jorgensen was, at at least one point, playing his instrument with a pillow' pretty intense stuff).
The stands and standing room were packed alike, and it is hard to imagine anyone being anything less than completely satisfied with the concert, whether you went there to see The Mystic Valley Band, Wilco, or both, the audience seemed to be having a great time, all the time, and the performers did to. So Wilco, when are you coming to Philadelphia?
We can't tell you much about tonight's Anonymous Theatre show, and that's the way the Philadelphia Dramatists Center wants it. Here's the scoop from our own Matt Petrillo, who previewed the show in last week's CP:
As the romantic leads stumble through the third annual Anonymous Theatre production, written by a group of unnamed local Philadelphia playwrights, deception and cleverness meet to intentionally befuddle the actors into unstaged chaos. Only the director knows each cast member's piece in the play ' until the houselights dim. Then the shenanigans unwind into a brutal attempt to produce cohesion from confusion.
From PDC's Web site, a brief list of characters who'll show up tonight:
- Raymond, not old but prematurely withered, an emaciated specter
- Daddy Christian, a bear of a man in a dapper light colored suit
- Kingsley, a slight man barely out of his teens
- The Photographer, dressed in a garish and flamboyant outfit, with a hot bod and Brad Pitt's hair from Burn After Reading
- Eclectus, a tropical-bird-like creature with lush and gaudy plumage and a voice as grating on the ear as the sight is pleasing on the eye
Here's hoping they don't crash and burn ' although that's part of the fun.
|A multimedia projection by Renetta Sitoy.|
It's an innovative artist residency program that's only one to weeks long, and is run in Krista Peel and Zak Starer's home. Soon, Peel and Starer hope to find a building to house the program, which will eventually include a gallery, lecture space and (perhaps) a miniature golf course. The ladies over at the artblog have a nice interview with the two:
When did you start the Philadelphia Art Hotel?
We put out a call 6 months ago and got 12 to 13 responses and this year we selected 5 artists.
Why did you start PAH?
In Philadelphia, we are filling a gap. We picked artists whose work we liked, who we wanted to support, who need 2 to 3 weeks free rent.'Our accommodations are free.
So if they're staying in your space where are you going?
Zak is Jewish and from a very large family. We will be family hopping. We are looking for a real house, 3 stories, with one or two spaces available for resident artists.'We're trying to take advantage of that first time home buyer money. We want to create a space where you can live with art. I can't wait to have art.'We're looking at the Kensington area. We can afford that.
The current artists-in-residence (literally!) are Gigi Gatewood, Kelly A. Mueller, Eric Reyes-Lamothe, Renetta Sitoy and Carla Sonheim. And, coolest of all, Peel and Starer convinced the Free Library to allow two of the artists to speak there in August for free. Look out for Sitoy on the 19th, and Reyes-Lamothe on the 31st.
Tuesday: Future of the Left is the sequel to the Welsh Indie-Punk Maniac band McLusky. They feature shredding guitars, twisted lyrics, and a disdain for anything soft. With Sunshine Recorder at 9pm, $10, Johnny Brenda's, Frankford & Girard aves., 215-739-9684.
Wednesday: New York rockers Stellastarr* play melodic dancey tunes with Cure-esque vocals and an overall post-punk aesthetic. With Wild Light, 9pm, $14, Johnny Brenda's, Frankford & Girard aves., 215-739-9684.
Friday: It is obvious how much this band loves Radiohead, which is totally fine. Audrye Sessions play rock layered with sound textures and erratic vocals. At Kungfu Necktie with Paper Route, 7pm, $10, 1248 North Front St.
Saturday: Pop-Punkers The Cab sound like a mix between Panic at the Disco and Metro Stationn. At 6pm, North Star Bar, $10, 2639 Poplar St.
Sunday: German industrialists VNV Nation tear through electro dance tunes with an aggressive edge. At the TLA, $19, 4th and South Streets
Recapping True Blood each and every Monday.
Bill interrupts Hoyt and Jessica's little love tryst, but Jessica's enthusiasm over her new love strikes Sookie in a soft place and she encourages Bill to allow Jessica to tag along on their Texan adventure so they can search for Godric, a missing vamp.
Sam is still swimming since last episode and he and Daphne continues to tread water for what seems like a Vampiric lifetime. It was difficult to really pay attention to their flirtation ' I was more worried Sam may get a Charlie-horse and suddenly drown. But they both manage to make it out OK, and Sam gets a glimpse of Daphne's scratch-scarred back, so the audience is no longer the only one in the know.
Tara tells Maryann that she's leaving to live with Sookie, but ends up in Gran's big house all alone on her birthday as Sookie has already left for Texas. Maryann with her own motives, surprises Tara, arriving with eggs and a giant wedding cake, announcing that since Tara left them, they are bringing a birthday party to her.
Over in Texas, Sookie gets off the plane alone as Bill and Jessica are in travel coffins. She is greeted by Leon the limo driver, who plans to abduct her. Fortunately, the trio's plane has arrived after dark, and Bill is able to break through his coffin and come to her aid. He paternally guides Jessica through her first try at Glamouring (hypnotizing a human) and they learn that Leon was contracted by the Fellowship of the Sun, the creepy Christian cult that Sookie's bro Jason is a member of.
Back at Gran's house, Tara's party is hopping. Sam shows up to drop off a present from Tara's estranged mother, but is quickly roped in to Maryann's hornball-spell. But it's partly Sam's fault, for he seems only to consider the staff of Merlotte's as a viable dating pool. When Maryann goes into the woods and chants, the eyes of all the party participants go black as they writhe and grind into one another or start smushing cake onto their faces. Sam is prompted by this same eye-blackening energy to tell Daphne about his secret identity, but she stops him to tell him that she already knows.
In Texas, Eric meets Bill in his hotel lobby to discuss the search for the missing vampire Godric, leaving Sookie and Jessica upstairs in the suite. A bellhop arrives with a 'Male, straight, B negative' that Jessica sheepishly takes to her room. Sookie and the Bellhop have an accidental conversation within their minds, as he appears to have the same powers as Sookie. Once he realizes this, he takes off down the hall and Sookie follows quickly after him.
'Shake and Fingerpop' was heavy with exposition, as creator Alan Ball, who also wrote this episode, juggles the show's multiple storylines, but humor eases his burden, like Jason Stackhouse's encounters with the Bible-thumping Fellowship of the Sun and the porn Sookie comes across on the hotel TV, with the titles Intercourse with a Vampire, His First Fangbang, and Co-Ed Chowdown.
"Shake and Fingerpop' is the best episode to date of second season True Blood. Finally, Bill and Sookie move past the 'stalwart protector and damsel in distress' storyline and the show revels in its own camp.
When it comes to the two big festivals, I, along with my fellow critics and the staff/interns I berate in to reviewing movies, slog through a ton of screeners to give you the best of the fests (you can read our QFest reviews here and here). But out of the many movies I was looking forward to, I didn't get a screener for St. Trinian's, a not-so-gay movie about an unruly girl's school. The movie is part of a newly re-booted series, originally based on the cartoons of Ronald Searle, who based the fictional St. Trinian's on a real school he observed while staying in Scotland during WWII. A British professor I had in college loved these movies when she was a kid and always told me to watch them.
Check out the trailer below.
Obviously Rupert Everett in drag is a highlight but there's a bunch of other big name Brits in the cast, much like the original films, which points to the source material's staying power within British pop culture. It screened this weekend and I couldn't go. Anyone happen to catch this? I'm going to try to catch Saturday's re-screen.
St. Trinian's, Sat., July 18, 9:15 p.m., $10, Ritz East, 125 S. 2nd. St., qfest.com.
|An artists prepares his "kiosk" for the exhibit "PIFAS Place."|
Imagine that Salvador Dal' is commissioned to design a strip mall. Then, he invites Marcel Duchamp, Luis Bu'uel and Max Ernst to line it with shops and create a surrealist's marketplace. You might be picturing something that looks a little like the Philadelphia Institute for Advanced Studies' new exhibit, "PIFAS Place." But then again, maybe not.
Starting today, converted studios within PIFAS will be open for public as an "alternative marketplace" until the end of July. The space will feature several specific events like a "Get Up, Stand Up" comedy night and video- and animation-screenings at PIFAS Cinema.
The opening and closing dates of PIFAS Place will feature a series of kiosks manned (or woman'd) by PIFAS faculty and outside artists, some of whom are traveling from outside the Keystone state to exhibit their stuff.
'We've never really had a group show like this in our own space,' says co-curator Katie Miller. 'We've never had a show that brings in not only outside artists, but also involves multiple studio openings.'
Describing the 16 featured kiosks as "cultural sites," Miller says the term kiosk is "just a word to describe an artist-run booth" and says those those within the exhibit will include 'a photobooth, self-help booth, racks of zines, stuff like that.'
Wondering what "stuff like that" means? To give you a better idea: everything from a temporary tattoo shop to an installation/"portal structure" titled "The Hyper-Dimensional Vagina."
Fri., July 10, 9 p.m., through July 31, Philadelphia Institute for Advanced Study, 1712 N. Second St., pifas.net.
We get it, David Foster Wallace, you knew (/made up) big words.
Okay, status update: I'm at page 154. According to my official Infinite Summer bookmark, I should be on page 210 by now. Sheesh. I kinda slowed down when I got to the extended crappy faux-ebonics-ish dialect passages that made me want to throw the book down or skip ahead. But no, gotta power through. For some reason. Overall, I'm digging Infinite Jest because it's funny and weird (see stampeding hamsters, below). I've accepted that by the last page I may think back and decide that little to nothing has happened.
And now, DFW decoded by M-W.com (when possible).
|I'm a lamprey.
See my circumoral teeth?
circumoral (adj) surrounding the mouth
synclinal (adj) inclined down from opposite directions so as to meet
uremia (adj) accumulation in the blood of constituents normally eliminated in the urine that produces a severe toxic condition and usually occurs in severe kidney disease
plosive (adj) relating to, or being a speech sound produced by complete closure of the oral passage and subsequent release accompanied by a burst of air, as in the sound (p) in pit or (d) in dog
tympana (adj) a thin tense membrane covering an organ of hearing of an insect
aleatory (adj) depending on an uncertain event or contingency as to both profit and loss
candidiactic (adj) definition unfound, original context lost, no Google hits, maybe I wrote it down wrong?
pedalferrous (adj) not in the dictionary, Google reveals a lot of other people are curious about this word too. This site suggests the word could mean 'iron-foot.' I don't know about that.
Here's the context:
The noise of the herd is tornadic, locamotival. The expression on the hamsters' whiskered faces is businesslike and implacable ' it's that implacable-herd expression. They thunder eastward across pedalferrous terrain that today is fallow, denuded. To the east, dimmed by the fulvous cloud the hamsters send up, is the vivid verdant ragged outline of the annularly overfertilized forests of what used to be central Maine.
fulvous (adj) of a dull brownish yellow
peratogenic (adj) well, according to this book, peratogene rocks are those altered by metamophism
atavism (n) recurrence in an organism of a trait or character typical of an ancestral form and usually due to genetic recombination
semion (n) Greek for "sign." The DFW wiki (of course there's a DFW wiki) has more to say.
|Agh. Clown skull.|
zygomatic (adj) of, relating to, constituting, or situated in the region of the zygomatic bone or zygomatic arch (in the face, btw)
carminative (adj) expelling gas from the stomach or intestines so as to relieve flatulence or abdominal pain or distension
sangfroid (n) self-possession or imperturbability especially under strain
mythopoeia (n) a creating of myth : a giving rise to myths
trivalent (adj) conferring immunity to three different pathogenic strains or species
erumpet (n) I dunno, but Google reveals some Harry Potter connections, like a piece of fan fiction entitled 'Taking the Erumpet by the Horns.' So.
Anybody else doing the Infinite Summer thing? If so, what page are you on?
Since First Friday fell on the front end of a holiday weekend, many of Philly's biggest art-gallery contenders held their horses till today to unveil their July offerings. Here's what's up:
- 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