Archive: July, 2011
WHO: Sleepyhead, Saur, Battleaxebaby, Kid Queasy/Bombe
WHAT: This party is one of my personal faves and I feel like this edition is going to be extra nifty. Recently relocated from the west coast to Brooklyn, Sleepyhead is a rising talent in the bass-music world. His upcoming releases on Party Guy and Embassy Records are heaters and I’m sure Philly is going to like the beats he'll spin at Medusa Lounge tomorrow. Plus the local boy Saur will be bringing the moombahton flavors alongside the resident selectors.
WHEN & WHERE: Fri., July 22, 10 p.m., free, Medusa Lounge, 27 S. 21st St., 215-557-1981, medusalounge.com.
WHY: Who doesn’t like blood on the dancefloor?
Each week, Emily Apisa puts together a rundown of book-centric events that’ll keep you “lit” like a firecracker all week long.
[ Wednesday ]
➤ Andy Laties
As an author, activist and bookseller, Laties’ second edition of Rebel Bookseller combines his three careers. The book is an updated version of his six-year-old title, both of which explain the nature of the bookselling beast. With the rise of electronic books and the decline of big-time bookstores (Borders, anyone?), Laties explains the important void that independent booksellers fill. Wed., July 20, 7 p.m., free, Wooden Shoe Books & Records, 704 South St., 215-413-0999.
[ Thursday ]
➤ Esmeralda Santiago
Conquistadora is the newest addition to Santiago’s growing portfolio of ethnically charged works. Santiago first caught the attention of literary circles with her memoir When I was Puerto Rican, and she has continued to achieve acclaim for her writing achievements since. At this author event, Santiago will shed light on her newest novel. Set in 19th-century Puerto Rico, this piece of historical fiction is driven by a female protagonist who relies on her sturdy backbone to run a sugarcane plantation. Thu., July 21, 7:30 p.m., free, The Free Library (Central Branch), 1901 Vine St., 215-567-4341.
[ Friday ]
CP reporter Matt Cantor set his iPod to shuffle. This is where it led him ...
1. Sufjan Stevens – “The Tallest Man, the Broadest Shoulders…” This guy never ceases to amaze me. His songs are both highly innovative — not quite like anything else out there — and at the same time incredibly accessible. On top of that, despite its bright, upbeat melodies, this album is shot through with a vague but powerful sense of sadness.
2. The Beatles – “Two of Us” On my all-time favorite song list. It’s apparently a song by Paul about his wife, but it absolutely sounds like John and Paul are singing about each other. That’s all the more heartbreaking because it was recorded at a time when the Beatles were en route to breakup. I read somewhere once that John couldn’t make it through the tune without crying.
3. Radiohead – “Everything in Its Right Place” It’s only about a decade old, but it already feels like a classic. On albums like OK Computer, Radiohead established themselves in the “rock genius” category with complex, multilayered instrumentation. The first track on Kid A is almost more impressive, though, because it achieves a unique sound with nothing more than a repeated keyboard pattern.
Neighborhood Watch looks for Philly’s most fashionable. This week, Kelsey and Diana gather a list of "chic essentials" along Market Street.
Stefana blocks the sun in style, with a pair of electric blue Knockaround shades
As we strolled down Market St. trying to escape the sun, we ran into Stefana (20), who seemed less than threatened by the heat. She was sporting a classy little black dress from Charlotte Russe, a fantastic floral Lilly Pulitzer scarf, and her trademark Knockaround blue shades.
Originally from Romania, this fashionista explained, “I wear mostly jeans back home, but a lot of dresses here.” Her style is mostly preppy but she also channels Kim Kardashian’s chic essentials, “everyone should have really good black leggings, one nice black blazer and nude pumps.” Stefana is living proof that accessories make an outfit. “I love scarves, but I really love my gold Lilly bracelet,” she gleamed.
This summer she is on the prowl for the perfect BCBG shoes from her favorite shopping site, ideeli.com.
Married in Spandex won the audience award for Best Documentary
The 17th annual QFest came to a close Monday night with a party at Trust (249 Arch St.) that featured a Metro Men's Clothing-sponsored swimwear fashion show and a rollcall of audience and jury award winners by WMMR's Pierre Robert. In its successful two-week span, this year's fest boasted a guestlist of over 100 international filmmakers and seven world premiere screenings. Here are the ones that took awards home (i.e. great Netflix queue additions):
Jury Award Winners
- Best Short Film: (tie) The Queen and The Kiss
- Best First Time Director: Romeos
- Best Documentary: Wish Me Away
- Best Feature Film: Tomboy
Audience Award Winners
- Best Short Film: I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone
- Best Documentary: Married in Spandex
- Best Comedy: Eating Out – Drama Camp
- Best Feature Film: Gun Hill Road
When the lights come on at Temple Repertory Theater’s production of Sam Shepard’s Buried Child, it’s hard to imagine a more dismal scenario. An older man with a hacking cough sits miserably atop a dirty couch, slowly sinking into its ripped cushions. In front of him, an ancient-looking TV flickers dimly. The only other source of light comes from a low-burning bulb, dangling haphazardly from the ceiling.
With Buried Child, Shepard takes a critical look at the American family and shows it at its worst. Dodge (Gregg Almquist), the sickly old man seen at the play’s opening, was once a well-established farmer. Now, however, he is miserable, lifeless and full of contempt. He lives in a rural, Midwestern farmhouse with his wife, Halie, and their two adult sons, Tilden and Bradley. Halie, (Nancy Boykin), is cold and distant. She criticizes others for “un-Christian” behavior, but blatantly carries on an affair with another man. Tilden, (Rob Kahn) has the mind of a child and appears to be mentally disturbed, while Bradley is ruthless and violent. He shrinks from his mother and torments his father. Dysfunctional doesn’t even begin to cover it.
There are indications, however, that things weren’t always this bad. When Tilden’s son, played by Julian Cloud, arrives at the farm after being away for almost a decade, he is shocked at what he finds. He remembers his grandparents as good-humored, loving even — leaving audiences to wonder: what was it that happened to this family?
Every year the good folks at XPN bring us a sweet gang of indie-rock/alt-country/folk and other festival-friendly acts. If I'm being completely honest, though, this weekend's lineup has me less excited than many previous years, but that may be because I'm less of a folk/roots kinda guy and more of a rocker. Still, there are plenty of acts that my fellow young-heads can enjoy. Here are some picks:
[ friday ]
Citizen Cope: This urbanesque reggae-folk crooner is no stranger to Philly, and usually has several sellouts of the TLA or packed Factory shows every time he visits. 9:55 p.m., River Stage.
[ saturday ]
Givers: The latest incarnation of post Paul Simon worldbeat joy-rock, these truly generous sonic euphorists can make Vampire Weekend actually sound goth. 2:55 p.m., Marina Stage.
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists: Probably the most rockin of the acts I'm familiar with, Ted Leo and his Pharmacists are sort of jacks-of-all-rock-trades. Generally speaking, you're going to get some mix of punk rock and pop-rock (but never pop-punk... fret not). And if I'm continuing to be completely honest, the dude's voice always reminds me of Ben Folds. 5:15 p.m., River Stage.
"Mexican Revolution and Beyond." Could there be a drier title for a roomful of highly detailed black and white photos? At times shockingly intimate — corpses, said to be suicides, stretched beautiful and nude, and autopsies in progress, striking in their immediacy some 70 plus years after the images were captured. Juicy in the extreme, this is not strictly war or history, the images are really frozen life.
From a photo of the man who precipitated the revolution, Porfirio Diaz through Villa and Zapata to the soldiers, irregulars for the most part, male and female, the people who changed Mexico forever fill one section of the north wall at Taller.
But life after revolution is much like the story of how life changes after enlightment. Before? Chop wood, carry water. After? Carry water, chop wood. So the Casasola Archive, now celebrating its 100th anniversary of visually documenting life in Mexico, shows us what life was like, mostly in the capital, up through 1940, day by day.
Who will find this fascinating? Anyone who loves the first part of the last century and would like to compare and contrast that urban center's life and progress with others. Transportation mavens will love the old buses, trucks and cars seen from above, completely clogging a downtown intersection during a strike. One still shows a group of gay men posing for the camera, gorgeous, amused and queenly, disdainful of the inconvenience of a police raid. People earning a living and at leisure in a huge pool, modern for the time pool, people on the street and in studios, three decades of Mexican life sizzle on the second floor of Taller. As Taller's visual arts manager, Rafael Damast, readily admits, no matter how often he looks at these photos, more details become apparent to him.
Through July 23, Lorenzo Homar Gallery, Taller Puertorriqueño, 2721 N. 5th, 215 426 3311, tallerpr.org.
Each week, Dylan Rhys Williams reviews a new childrens' book that'll twinkle the imaginations of kids and kids at heart.
Rarely does a work of literature fall into both the “stream of consciousness narration” and “young adult fiction” categories. This week’s pick, How I Live Now (Wendy Lamb Books, 2006), fits comfortably and elegantly into both. Written by British author Meg Rosoff and winner of the coveted Printz Award, the story follows the journeys of protagonist Daisy, a 15-year-old New York City outcast who is sent by her archetypal wicked stepmother to live in England with a colony of bizarre, genius cousins. As a literal World War unfolds around them, Daisy and her cousins are left alone to witness and survive the rapid denaturation of modern society brought about by foreign military occupation.
Although targeting a slightly older audience than most of the other works covered by this column, How I Live Now is an incredible read for tweens and up. The story deals at once with basic literary themes of home and belonging as well as more complex, adult concepts like anorexia and the multiple roles a child must adopt when living without parental influence. Although at times straddling the boundary between captivating stream-of-consciousness and unintelligible first-person gobbledegook (the story is written entirely, for example, without quotation marks), the distinctive narrative voice carries the story beautifully and engulfs the reader in the persona of Daisy. Kids will love the adventures of the kids wandering the desolate, war-torn countryside; adults can enjoy the depth of the characters, as well as the complexity of the themes Rosoff tackles. An exciting and haunting tale made beautiful by the telling.
Have a children's book you'd like to have Dylan review? Email him at email@example.com.
Man Cave is a testosterone-laden Monday feature that highlights the weekend haps of an everyday, pop-culture-loving Philly dude.
Woody Allen's latest flick has become his highest grossing film in North America. And for good reason. It's the clarinetist's best film since 1999's Sweet and Lowdown. Set in Paris, two engaged American travelers (Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams) are tagging along on dad's business trip. The wistful Owen, a Hollywood screenwriter wanting to take a stab at the great American novel, is inspired by the old-fashioned qualities of Paris, while bossy McAdams wants him to get his head out of the clouds and stick to his Hollywood gig so they can maintain their standard of living. Wilson fuels his Parisian romance (which is to say, with the city, not with his fiancé) with walks around town in the middle of the night. Fun plot twists ensue (rather early on), and while the Man Cave is usually a spoiler's den of iniquity, I'm going to honor Allen's well-crafted narrative curveballs. I will say, however, that Marion Cotillard shows up looking so dreamy that after the movie my mouth got me in trouble with the wifey (d'oh!).
Owen Wilson does a great job taking the Woody Allen character type and making it his own. It's a bit of a relief that Allen has stopped playing himself on screen (which is not to say that it didn't work during the '70s, but these days it's more dynamic to find other popular thespians who can do his neurotic archetype). Some classic Allen strategies remain, such as a fixation on the architecture of the city, a two-minute opening montage, set predictably — yet enjoyably — to jazz clarinet. The combination of Allen's old-school big-city feel with the ambitious narrative engine gives Midnight in Paris a modern-classical dichotomy, which has been arguably Woody Allen's singular aim in 40 plus years and almost 50 titles of film-making. Kudos to the skeevy weirdo on knocking one out of the park.
I also grabbed Tropic Thunder from the the used DVD bin at Tunes. For one reason or another I had been overdue to see this gem by one of my favorite comedy directors (I have always enjoyed Ben Stiller better as a director than actor) and Tropic Thunder didn't disappoint. You know the plot by now (crazy action director tries to get more realistic performances out of his actors by choppering them into the actual jungles where Vietnam was fought, only to accidentally get blown up and leave his actors stranded amidst a brutal heroin militia that they think is part of the movie). What you might not have really soaked in are the hysterical faces, voices and little moments that make this big-scale comedy epic such a win. Tom Cruise as the profane millionaire studio head ... how did they even get him to do that anyway? Has Cruise ever played a single straight-up scatological comedy role? There's also Nick Nolte as the (sometimes) handless coastguard sanitation vet; Jack Black as the jonesing heroin addict (and what's with that accent?); and a black-face Robert Downey Jr. explaining why actors should never go "full retard" if they're trying to win Oscars. This movie is basically a comedy dream come true, and the Man Cave gives it 6 high fives (out of 6).
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