Archive: July, 2011
CP's Kelsey McGlynn embarks on a hood-specific summertime boutique crawl. This week, she points her browsers toward Northern Liberties.
Arcadia Boutique, 819 N. Second St., 215-667-8099
The moment I entered Arcadia Boutique, there was a sense of cool that surrounded me. The colorful wall arrangements of accessories and the eclectic assortment of shoes were an instant give away that this store was in style. Alex, an employee, was extremely helpful in guiding me around the shop. She shared that a typical Arcadia customer “definitely comes in looking for something no one else has.” Special to Arcadia, 80 percent of their clothing is made locally and organically. Arcadia is home to a clientele of neighborhood regulars, Alex explained, giving the boutique a hidden-gem feel.
Each week, Peter Chawaga breezes past those big-name theater companies to turn a spotlight on the city's indie stages.
WAG Theater Company is one of Philly’s newest groups dedicated to bringing entertaining and thought-provoking productions to the stage. Co-founder and Philly native Brian Sell tells me that WAG’s goal “is to put out shows that are as entertaining as they are the type of show that makes you think.” Their inaugural production of All in the Timing, a six-act comedy by David Ives about paradox, word play and, above all, amusement, was a big success — meeting the group's goals perfectly.
Brian says forming WAG wasn’t really his intention. “It kind of happened by accident. I decided I wanted to put on a show and the more I got involved the more I realized I had to do it. Eventually it turned into a theater company instead of a show.” Brian recruited longtime friend Nicole Mesiano to partner up with him and they hope to continue their mission with a new season next year. Currently, they are planning productions of Pvt. Wars by James McLure in January and Dog Sees God, Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead by Bert V. Royal next August. Pvt. Wars deals with three Vietnam vets as they recuperate in an Army hospital and Dog Sees God is a gritty update on the lives of The Peanuts characters as teenagers.
WAG Theater promises to keep entertaining the Philadelphia community while utilizing local artists and if their first production is any indication, they won’t have any trouble keeping us amused.
“You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land of whose boundaries are that of imagination.” If you didn’t pick that up, it’s the eerie relics of '50s futurism called The Twilight Zone. But this time, your strange encounters will be softened by garters and glitter. Walking Fish Theatre is presenting The Thighlight Zone, a burlesque revival of the sci-fi icon. The story takes you into a creepy town overtaken with monsters and robots and scantily-clad ladies. Unlike the original, which felt too disturbing to laugh at the ridiculous plots and poorly shaped alien heads, the burlesque stars are all about giggles and glee. Sure to be a rollercoaster of terror and tantalization, The Thighlight Zone will surely prove to be a dimension you want to stay in.
Thu.-Sat., July 7-9, 8 p.m., $10, Walking Fish Theatre, 2509 Frankford Ave., bsomeday.org.
The first book in this series not to have won the prestigious Newbery Award, The Magician’s Elephant (Candlewick) by Kate DiCamillo is no less deserving of attention and praise than its more officially recognized contemporaries. Exploring themes of inequity across lines of culture, wealth, ability and species, the story follows an unlikely cast of heroes (including an adopted soldier-in-training, an orphan girl, a washed-up police chief, a blind panhandler and an imprisoned magician). Readers witness a tale of unapologetic magical realism as the characters’ literal quest to save a captured elephant turns into a fight to find the liberty that has been denied them and bestow some equality onto the unjust medieval world in which they live.
Kate DiCamillo, as always, weaves a heartwarming story that is at once tear-jerkingly sad and ultimately uplifting. As with her other works, the beauty of The Magician’s Elephant lies in its simplicity; the sweeping maxims offered by the narrator convey universal truths without falling into monotonous clichés. Kids will enjoy the adventurous cast of characters and fairy-tale narration and adults will appreciate the simplicity with which complex and difficult life truths are conveyed. A book for optimists of all ages.
On October 8, 1965, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) opened its doors to a record crowd of over 700 people. The occasion? Andy Warhol’s first solo exhibition, with the artist himself set to make an appearance.
Upon arrival, Warhol and his entourage, including muse Edie Sedgewick, ascended a spiral staircase, remaining there throughout the evening as people continued to arrive in droves. When it became clear they would not be able to make it out the front door, Warhol et al. — in dramatic style — climbed further up the stairs and escaped through a rooftop opening.
“And That’s How We Escaped: Reflections on Warhol” — one of three shows currently on view at the ICA — tells the story of that night and reflects on its significance through careful arrangement of memorabilia, drawings, sculpture and photographs.
Though it recalls a larger-than-life event, the exhibit itself is understated. The show consists of four displays set against the gallery’s painted white walls.
A block of text stenciled onto the wall describes the night's events. To the right, a large black-and-white photograph of Edie Sedgewick taken at the show’s opening shows her smiling broadly as she leans over the railing of the gallery’s staircase — teasing, or perhaps taunting, the people below.
Matt Cantor puts Generation Y-ers on blast.
On the Fourth of July, I like to take a moment to reflect on the meaning of America. I’m not sure what it is, but I think other members of Generation Y have a better idea. My sister is among them. Like many in our generation, she was fortunate enough to own an American Girl doll. These are, of course, toys that cost parents $80 each, largely because they came with their own back stories. As far as I could tell, the Girls’ personalities were as follows: Samantha was really privileged and snotty, Kirsten couldn’t seem to leave Sweden behind, Felicity was a Founding Father or something, and Molly had glasses.
My sister wrestled with the decision of which doll to purchase. She was inclined to order Samantha, but she feared that her friends would assume she herself was smug. She ended up with Kirsten — one of the dolls who has since, she says, been “retired.” It makes me feel old to think that these former American Girls are now apparently American Senior Citizens. Another crop of younger, healthier American Girls called “American Girls of Today” grew up to take their place.
Unfortunately, these modern Girls didn’t come with prewritten histories. Instead, there was a blank book in which you could write your own story for your doll. The historical dolls’ stories told how they came to this country, so my sister wrote a detailed piece explaining her own doll’s arrival. It was a shocker. According to the story, Michelle had come to America on a boat with her mother and sister, knowing full well that, as a doll, her fate was to be purchased and torn from her family. She was upset, but shed no tears. Instead, she gave her sister a hug and marched off the boat. After about 20 handwritten pages, I guess my sister got bored, because the story abruptly ends. We’ll never know what Michelle’s life was like on these shores. But we can be sure that she cost a bundle. And that’s what it means to be a true American Girl.
Three particularly tight local bands are going to be playing tonight at North Star Bar.
Soulful funk men Black Stars, led by charismatic young singer Nik Greely, rock a '70s vibe. Their brand of funk rock is definitely danceable and über-retro. Black Stars will also be at the Troc Fri., July 22. Their EP is available for download on their Facebook page.
Bravo, Utah is a Trenton-based rock band. Also dance-y on occasion, Bravo, Utah is more of a head-bob-along, reminiscent of the quiet-loud-quiet dynamics popular during the nineties. You can listen to their tracks on their facebook.
Scoop The Freak is an interesting blend of '60s meets '90s. Inspired by contemporary retro giants like Dr. Dog, Scoop manages to incorporate the vocal-centric qualities of sixties pop with the guitar-driven chords and slacker attitude of '90s staples like the Toadies and Spin Doctors. They will be playing at MusikFest in Bethlehem on Aug. 11 and at Connie's Ric Rac Sat. Aug. 27. Visit their website and check out the opening song of their self-titled debut Cold Blood.
Black Music Month is officially over, but we’re going to hit you up with one last new school pick. We asked Big K.R.I.T. to pick the video himself and this is what he chose.
There’s a lot that I could say about Big K.R.I.T. I could tell you that he makes his own beats, but if you follow music blogs, you probably already know that. I could match up his skills as a producer against his talent as a rapper, but that would be missing the bigger picture. I could call him the savior of Southern hip hop, but that would suggest that it wasn’t great before K.R.I.T. got up in it. Here’s what I will say: there’s so much depth and versatility in his last two mixtapes, KRIT Wuz Here and Return of 4eva, that his artistry not only shines, it transcends.
KRIT Wuz Here and Return of 4eva were released in 2010 and 2011 respectively, but he’s been dropping music since 2005. His earlier mixtapes don’t sound like one place in particular. They sound like Houston, Memphis, Atlanta and a bunch of places in between. He’s been making music for a range of audiences too from the very beginning: smooth Cadillac riding music for people who may or may not own one, bangers ready-made for the dance floor that the ladies can pop to, slow jazzy numbers for moments of reflection– he’s always done it all.
KRIT Wuz Here was a turning point. Big K.R.I.T. didn’t know if he’d be able to make another album, and as such, it was written as a farewell to the game. The darkness of his impending departure manifested itself in soul sampled beats that were as resplendent as they were cryptic. The tones weren’t simply borrowed from vinyl; Big K.R.I.T. seamed his samples to original instrumentation. His music took on a loveliness that was emotionally entrenched and masterfully crafted. It adopted a spirit that estranged it from most modern popular music. He invoked contrasts perfected in the blues of generations past.
Once a year, we like to pretend that grilling hot dogs, watching fireworks and driving five hours in traffic is what it means to be truly American. But let’s be honest: there’s nothing more patriotic than consumerism.
That’s why this weekend we should all quit the act and take advantage of the sales that make this country so great — just tell yourself you’re stimulating the economy. Here’s a rundown of what's not-to-miss this weekend.
Arcadia Boutique sells eco-friendly fashion, including delicate jewelry, feminine dresses and even some items for men and children but for a price — which is why I’m looking forward to the 20-percent discount off everything in-store and online, plus a $50 and under rack. Use code FIREWORKS at checkout at both store locations. 819 N Second St. and 265 S 20tt St.
After visiting Eastern Europe, I’ve come to appreciate the many opportunities that abound in America—and by that I mean the thirty-plus brands of jeans made in the USA available at Charlie’s Jeans. This weekend, everything in the store will be 25 to 50 percent off. Just don’t go overboard and try to pull off the whole jeans and jeans jacket look. 233-237 Market St. and 1735 Chestnut St.
Another beautiful thing about my country—when we get sick of our stuff, we import. Omoi is adorable, chalk full of Japanese pop-culture clothing, accessories and wacky home goods like surfboard-shaped incense burners and shot glasses shaped almost too realistically like wild moose and rabbits. The summer clearance lasts through this weekend, with 40- to 70-percent off many items. 1608 Pine St.
Every city in the U.S. celebrates the Fourth of July, but here in Philly — the friggin' birthplace of independence — we’re going all out. So you don't get overwhelmed, we've put together a guide to some of the best events taking place throughout the city.
Also celebrating a milestone birthday this year, is the American Civil War. Start your holiday festivities with a visit to the traveling Civil War road show, featuring interactive exhibits and informative displays. Fri.-Mon., July 1-4, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sixth & Race streets, historicphiladelphia.org/index.php.
Then get an early fireworks fix at Independence Seaport Museum’s Fireworks Spectacular. Before the show starts, enjoy dinner and drinks at the museum. For a cheaper option, skip the grub and head to Penn’s Landing to peep the show at no extra charge. Sat., July 2, 6:30-10 p.m., $50, Penn’s Landing, 211 S. Columbus Boulevard & Walnut Street, seaportfireworks2011.eventbrite.com.
With all the hot dogs and burgers fired up on the grill this weekend, don’t forget to take time out for desert. Philadelphia Chocolate Tours will host a patriotic Red, White and Blue chocolate tour with stops at a variety of local chocolaterias. Leave with your very own stash of chocolate-y goodness. Sat., Sun., July 2-3, 12:45 p.m., $50, 12th and Filbert streets, philadelphiachocolatetours.com.
Low on cash? On July 3, the Philly Pop’s are playing a free concert on Independence Mall. Pack a picnic, claim your spot on the lawn and enjoy the tunes. Sun., July 3, 8 p.m., Independence Mall, welcomeamerica.com.
- Arts Events
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- LOL With It
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- Film Fest
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- On set
- 10 Track Mind
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- Local Support
- Now Hear This
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- Philly Bands
- Somebody Else Was There
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- concert photos
- DJ Nights Blogged
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- Now See This
- Poetic License
- Printed Matter
- What We Heart
- Idol Hands
- Mad Men
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- 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