Archive: July, 2011
Christopher Seybert dishes on the week's best and worst moments in daytime talk.
Everyone Wants a Piece of Letterman
We’ve all heard the idiom “Lightning doesn’t strike twice,” but is that really true? If David Letterman’s week means anything, then that saying is the furthest thing from the truth. On Sunday night, Jimmy Whittemore, an intoxicated 22-year-old, broke into the Ed Sullivan Theater where Late Show with David Letterman is taped and caused $5,000 worth of damages. Whittemore was arrested and charged with burglary in the third degree and criminal mischief in the second degree. Letterman joked Monday that Jay Leno had an alibi, but did he have one on Wednesday?A
And if that wasn't enough, the Ed Sullivan Theater was host to another crime scene Wednesday night when 42-year-old Alvin Moore used a newspaper stand to break into the studio’s lobby, causing $1,500 in damages. A coincidence? A sign of the apocalypse? A taste of karma for Dave being in Oprah’s dog house for so long? Nope, Moore was admittedly just an attention-seeker looking for his 15 minutes. Wouldn’t sleeping with a Kardashian have been a lot easier?
Grace Ortelere makes shopping even more fun (and cheap!) with her weekly roundup of the best bargains in Philly.
This weekend, shopping for vintage looks won’t be a chore, and with a month of summer heat still left, it’s still a good time to stock up on sandals. Hit up this weekend’s big sales.
➤ Most of us seek the perfect vintage store in search of hidden treasures, only to find ourselves sifting through musty-smelling Gap shirts from 2009. Spare yourself the stench at Once Worn Consignment, which stocks both brand names like Forever 21 and designers including Gucci for seriously low prices. If somehow cheap isn’t cheap enough, this week pants and jewelry at the store are 20-percent-off, and designer items will be 20-percent-off on Saturday and Sunday. 910 N 2nd St., 215-627-1122, oncewornconsignment.com.
➤ There are no hidden treasures at Wilbur Vintage, because there is no dirt to dig through to find the colorful and carefully selected pieces sold here. It’s just as easy to find rare jewelry as it is to strike up a conversation with the friendly owner, Dan, who this week is offering 50 percent off items marked with a red dot and 15 percent off regular-priced jewelry until August 16. Mention this column to get your discount! 716 S Fourth St., 215-413-5809, wilburvintage.blogspot.com.
➤ Bus Stop Boutique, one of Philly’s best stores for one-of-a-kind shoes, is having an even bigger sale this weekend. It’s their annual warehouse sale, happening up the street from their boutique. It’s certainly worth strolling on over for pairs of shoes as low as $25 while they clear out their summer items and donate a portion of the proceeds to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. 750 S Fourth St., 215-627-2357, busstopboutique.com.
➤ To mix your vintage purchases with some new contemporary clothes like Michael Stars shirts and J Brand jeans, head over to South Moon Under — or use the code EXTRA25 online — for an additional 25 percent off sale items. Some summer looks are as much as 75-percent-off. 1731 Chestnut St. 215-563-2298, southmoonunder.com.
- TALKING SHOP: Fab fashions abound in Manayunk
- Shopping Spree — Candy Depew: Candy Coated
- NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH: Rompers are the thing this year
- City Paper's Shopping/Style listings
Local poet Dilruba Ahmed is celebrating the launch of her first book, Dhaka Dust, at The Black Sheep Irish Pub in Rittenhouse Square tomorrow. Ahmed, who grew up in Ohio and western Pennsylvania but moved to Philly to be near family, draws on her Bangladeshi heritage to convey the mindset of a first-generation American. “Many of the poems have to do with my effort to represent a speaker who was shaped by western culture but at the same time was influenced by a ghost homeland — a homeland that was out of reach,” says Ahmed. Her parents first arrived in the United States in the late 1960s. While many of the poems take place in Bangladesh, a fair number take place in America and Europe as well, furthering the duality of the themes in her writing. One example of this can be found in her poem Ghazal.
The launch of Dhaka Dust is funded by Friends of Writers in conjunction with Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers (of which Ahmed is an alumna). The celebration will feature light refreshments, a cash bar, and readings by poets Tua Chaudhuri and Ross White, fiction writer James McAdams and, of course, Ahmed herself. And while you’re there, pick up your copy of the book for a discounted price and maybe chat it up with Ahmed. Trust us — she’s very friendly!
Sat., July 16, 8 p.m., free, The Black Sheep, 247 S. 17th St., friendsofwriters.org.
You know him by his steaks, fresh and frozen. You know him from his guest spots in films like the Mighty Macs, 10th & Wolf and Invincible. Better still you know him from starring roles in his own movie, The Nail and his whack television commercials filmed by Marc Brodzik. But this week, you will know Tony Luke Jr. from his number one spot on CDBaby’s R&B charts – blue eyed soul division - for the song he recorded with Whey Cooler (of Pretty Poison fame) “Right Here.” When I spoke to Luke Jr. before The Nail came out, he admitted to me that not only had he held a desire to be a soul singer, he had secretly finished work on reams of recordings at studios throughout the city. From the sounds of the new track, the secret’s out and people are loving it.
When I caught up with Luke he had just left MilkBoy Studios in Philly where he recorded a voice over for several commercials for the Hustler cable channel (“I’m the voice of the sleazy director”) and was already in New York City at 4th & Broadway’s Man Cave where he and Chase Utley were celebrating Philly with cheese steaks and Phillies paraphernalia (“It’s a kid’s playpen up here”).
Luke Jr. always wrote and recorded his own material. It was a must. “But having a hit record was elusive to me. It was the one thing in my life that I thought might not happen.”
CP's Brian Wilensky is on a mission to hit up every karaoke haunt in town — and then share all the mellifluous details.
I think it’s safe to say most people have been to a karaoke where the only people with the stones to actually get up and sing sounded like a train wreck. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good time. That being said, I promise not to drop any singers’ names in this week’s post.
The first song I caught was an attempt at some unidentifiable soulful R&B number. Next was a Top-40 rock hit from Chevelle, “Send the Pain Below,” and Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bark at the Moon.” Both of which just had an uncomfortable vibe for karaoke. After that it stayed Top 40 with Sugar Ray, Lady Gaga and even the Backstreet Boys.
But credit must be given where credit is due. And it all goes to the brave soul that nailed every line of “Rapper’s Delight,” right on cue and with almost as much flow as The Sugarhill Gang back in '79. Oh, and it was his birthday. A little bit before him a group of people were feeling brave and tried to sing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” But, unlike the birthday boy, the drunken fog that it looked like they were in kept them about one measure behind the karaoke system the entire time.
McGillin’s is the longest operating bar in Philadelphia (since 1860). Its dark olde-timey bar vibe is great for a night out with olde friends. And for a Wednesday night, the place was jammed; there weren't enough seats to accommodate everyone downstairs. Luckily, there’s an upstairs bar. But if you're coming for karaoke, sign up and sing like no one’s listening. Nobody here cares if suck.
Nitty Gritty for performers: Wednesdays and Sundays, 9 p.m., free, McGillin’s Olde Ale House, 1310 Drury St., 215-735-5562.
Devoted poet/avid concert-goer/nerd-grrrl extraordinaire Jane Cassady's weekly horoscopes run in this space every Friday morning.
Cancer (June 22-July 23): The stars are making a mix called Pretty Moody for a Summer Mix, and it’s all songs we know you’ll like. They are for sipping pensive beers or driving back from the beach with noodly muscles. We love you like the finiteness of time.
Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): Your time spent Googling phrases such as “Riot Grrrl” and “Bikini Kill” will pay off handsomely. You’ll rise up like a punk rock Nike of Samothrace, all wings and drapery, all scars and tattoos.
It may seem inappropriate to call a play that takes place entirely in one room disjointed, but that’s the best way to describe the only real problem with Queen of All Weapons. Over the course of 90 minutes, a meandering storyline is rescued by engaging, multidimensional characters and clever dialogue, with plenty of uber-depressing jokes to go around.
John Rosenberg’s three-person play (the subject of a feature in this week's City Paper) brings two drug-addicted former soldiers into close contact with Anna, a renegade member of the German terrorist group Red Army Faction. The war in Vietnam has just ended, and although both men served, their experiences are as different as their personalities. Mean, callous Maceo is still fresh from “the shit” in Vietnam, while romantic Kevin spent the war in Europe. When Anna shows up at the pair’s San Francisco apartment after being shunned by her friends and husband, Maceo disappoints her by revealing that regardless of what Kevin may have said in his letters, the closest the two have ever come to a revolution is selling drugs to Black Panthers.
In the arguments that follow, Rosenberg’s script explores the concepts of revolution, failure and jealousy, all while weighing the pros and cons of ardent dedication to a cause. Unfortunately, while these themes are well-developed, the way in which they’re discussed results in an episodic quality that pervades the entire play. I almost expected the text slides from Clerks to pop up during scene changes.
This does not, however, sound the death knell of the piece. The tension among the three characters was enough to raise my blood pressure, and James Tolbert’s gritty performance as Maceo simultaneously breaks and adds to the tension, such as when he masturbates to movies on TV, or when he informs Anna that although he made a Nazi joke earlier in the evening, it is still “too soon” for her.
As Queen of All Weapons draws to a close, it’s unclear whether the characters have learned anything or just spent a night talking and getting high. But since the play suggests that most revolutions amount to little more than people sitting around making big plans, maybe that’s just as well.
Queen of All Weapons runs through July 31, $10, Papermill Theater, 2825 Ormes St., 510-292-6403, queenofallweapons.com.
Aaron Nathans’ latest EP may be about mortality, but that doesn’t mean it lacks a sense of humor. Nathans, who will celebrate the release of Alchemy of Memory at Bryn Mawr’s Milkboy Coffee tomorrow, writes acoustic tunes that blend clever lyrics with folk-pop melodies that often belie the songs’ more serious themes. The new, self-released record — “a do-it-yourself from start to finish,” Nathans says — touches repeatedly on the topic of memory. Deceptively lighthearted premises serve as jumping-off points for addressing more weighty themes.
“My four-year-old daughter,” for example, “loves” the album’s leadoff track, the singer-songwriter tells me. But the song, in which the narrator is “reincarnated as his own granddaughter,” is at its heart about lost things, Nathans says. Another track, “Everything You See Is Who I Am,” is on its surface an amusing number about messiness — but the messes we make are rife with distinct memories. “Green Song,” meanwhile, addresses the collective memory that goes into songwriting. “Everybody has their influences,” Nathans says, so really there’s “no such thing as a new song.”
Nathans was this year one of 32 musicians chosen out of 800 entrants to play in the Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk competition. With his performance, he followed in the footsteps of Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, and Lucinda Williams, all of whose careers were spurred by the competition. The CD release party, however, will see him in a much more intimate setting: the Bryn Mawr Milkboy is a small coffee shop with a stage but no sound system. The show will thus be truly acoustic.
Nathans is joined on the bill by the Ronstadt Generations, a southwestern family band featuring an array of instruments (and yes, they’re closely related to Linda). Members will also back Nathans’ voice and guitar on a few tunes.
Friday, July 15, 7:30 p.m., $10 suggested donation, with Ronstadt Generations, Milkboy Coffee, 824 W. Lancaster Ave, Bryn Mawr, 610-527-0690, aaronnathans.com.
We never thought board games would ever need to go all speakeasy, but its happening. Bingo has gone underground and it’s ready to party. Taking the old-time pasttime out of nursing homes and church socials, the Underground Rebel Bingo club has adapted the game to a younger, wilder generation. Originally started by two guys in their basement, the bingo phenomenon is now out of control. Setting up on major stages across the world, Rebel Bingo events offer a wild night of excessive drinking, sexy “call” girls, face paints and following “B-5” with “Fuck-you.” Yes, there’s lots of swearing. Even if you are a bingo winner, the crowd determines whether you are truly a “winner” or a “loser.” If you lose, you might get a giant “Fuck you” banner in your honor.
With rules like “no boring people” and “no customer service,” the group re-envisions low-key. Not unlike Fight Club, the number one rule of Rebel Bingo is to keep it undercover. For fear that the old regimes of Bingo will hear about the rascal takeover, this group has decided to keep the whole deal on the DL. “If you don’t know who we are yet, it’s because we haven’t told you.” Their meeting locations are only told to ticket holders. However, we got a little insider info for the City Paper crowd. Ripping through the Blockley in U City, the raucous rampage of a game will only be in town for one night, so don’t miss out. But remember, what happens at bingo stays at bingo.
You can never have too many burlesques around town. This weekend there are two thrillers. With the backdrop of Penn’s Landing’s tall ship Gazela behind them Cabaret Red Light (Melissa Bang-Bang, Annie A-Bomb, Cubby Altobelli, Kimberlie Cruise) take on the tale of the Pirates of Ponzi with pasties, bustiers and live gypsy swing music by the Blazing Cherries from July 17 to 19. Va-va-voom. Further up north at Port Fishington’s Walking Fish Theater — after selling out last weekend’s three night run of the comically campy sci-fi sexy The Thighlight Zone, Aurora VonDyke, Tesla Tease and the rest of the girls and boys will be back for another three-day run July 17-19. Hit both burlesques.
Unless my instincts are wrong, mega-pizza enthusiast Brian Dwyer (we last wrote about his benefit at Johnny Brenda’s where he was vying for a mighty pizza oven) will get the zoning he seeks for the 2313 Frankford address for Pizza Brain. That’s his planned pizza restaurant (that’s where that oven is going), museum and live performance space, and the spot where the Guinness Book of World Records will visit to consider his massive pizza ephemera collection for record status.
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