Archive: September, 2011
The onset of autumn brings fall festivals and block parties out the ying-yang. Here are a few to check out this weekend ...
River City Festival Besides the endless food vendor choices and activities for the little ones, the fourth-annual RiverCity Festival will shine a big ol' deserving spotlight on Fishtown. Highlight performances include the West Philadelphia Orchestra (pictured) and the Lenni Lenape Native Americans. While the excitement is overwhelming, there’s always time to try beer crafts from the Philadelphia Brewing Company and Six-Point Brewery. Yes, Fishtown is looking sexier already. Sat., Oct. 1, noon-5 p.m., free, Penn Treaty Park, 1199 N. Delaware Ave., rivercityfestival.org.
The Revolutionary Germantown Festival The Brits may have won the Battle of Germantown, but that doesn’t mean we can’t relive it. The Revolutionary Germantown Festival returns this weekend with everything from battle reenactments and shopping to the ringing of the Concord School bell. Keep your eyes peeled for the remade exchange between the two soldiers who put the battle on hold (hint: even soldiers loved their dogs). The festival ends with Oktoberfest at Grumblethorne. So really England, who’s laughing now? Sat., Oct. 1, 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m., free, revolutionarygermantown.org.
Midtown Village Fall Festival The sixth-annual Midtown Village Fall Festival welcomes autumn with an exciting outdoor, five-block bash. The all-day festival features a non-stop adventure for the senses. Sample food from various Midtown Village restaurants and get your browse on at a plethora of sidewalk sales. Families can enjoy the moon bounce, sidewalk chalk and pumpkin painting. But for the rest of us, there’s beer, live music and even sumo wrestling. Sat., Oct. 1, noon-8 p.m., 13th Street from Locust to Chestnut streets and Sansom Street from 12th to Juniper streets, midtownvillage.org.
The Morris Arboretum Fall Festival This event features everyone's favorite fall activities: pumpkin painting, apple sampling and a make-your-own scarecrow contest. Two categories for the competition include designer scarecrows and (wait for it) Harry Potter-themed. Wizards made out of straw? I’m game. The winner will even have their entry put on display during the Morris Arboretum Scarecrow Walk. Game on kids! Sun., Oct., 2, Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Ave., 215-247-5777, upen.edu/arboretum.
Not enough laughter for ya? Check out Ryan Carey's latest LOL WITH IT column for information on the upcoming Philadelphia Improv Festival. That should do the trick.
Tomorrow, the Schuylkill River is going to get loud when traditional Chinese drum beats begin echoing from the bow of over 130 dragon boats. The annual feat is the fastest growing water sport in the world and, starting seventeen centuries ago, it’s also one of the oldest.
According to ancient legend, the tradition began when a group of steadfast citizens paddled from Hunan’s shore to the underwater grave of Qu Yuan — a beloved Chinese poet, political figure and hero who drowned himself in exile. These rowers wanted to honor their fallen soldier in an annual race to his burial ground, proving that their fight against tyrannical rule would be everlasting. The drums were incorporated as a way to scare fish away and to keep their paddle strokes in unison.
Grave-hopping aside, the Philadelphia dragon boat community continues to carry on this tradition with a variety of teams that strive to exemplify one critical aspect of the sport: solidarity.
Take, for instance, team Hope Afloat. Formed in 2001 for breast cancer survivors, the Philly-based crew touts themselves as a “floating support group,” claiming that dragon-boat rowing is a refreshing opportunity to participate in non-contact, physical activity and, as member Andrea Reiss puts it, a way to form meaningful camaraderie. “It’s not an individual thing,” she says. “you’re all in it together.”
Dragon boating is a sport fueled by achieving positive goals — even if that goal is as simple as making it to the finish line. So if you find yourself within earshot of the Schuylkill tomorrow, it might be worth stopping by to check out the action. Who knows, you may walk away feeling all inspired and stuff.
Sat., Oct. 1, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Along Boathouse Row, Near Kelly Drive and Sedgely Road, philadragonboatfestival.com.
This month, Ryan's dedicating his LOL WITH IT column to Philly Comedy Month. The three-week affair kicks off this week with the Improv Fest, which boasts shows from popular out-of-town improv comedy acts and local favorites.
Now in its seventh year, executive producer Matt Nelson says this year's Philly Improv Festival lineup is all about variety and accessibility. "Overall we'll feature 40 acts — about a third of which are local, and all of whom will come out to put on damn good shows." Here are a few of the damn-good highlights:
King Friday & Double Date Wed., Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m., $10, ➤ Philadelphia's King Friday is a group of Del Close cultists who perform with Philly Improv Theater. And hailing from New York, Double Date (pictured) is a two-woman, two-man cast that writes every show about a funny date. The audience is encouraged to place a wager on whether or not true love will actually pan out.
The N Crowd, Iron Lung & 'Till Death Do Us Part Thu., Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m., $10 ➤ The actors making up local comedy troupe the N Crowd are beginning to make a name for themselves nationally, appearing at improv festivals in Toronto, Richmond and Baltimore, as well as the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival. Iron Lung is one of the Philly's most exciting new improv group, especially if you like beards (the facial hair, not the life-partner subterfuge). And 'Til Death Do Us Part is Steve Roney and Mary Carpenter of Philly's ComedySportz.
ShawnMikael(s), Firth&Arjet & ImprovBoston Mainstage Fri., Oct. 7, 8:30 p.m., $10 ➤ From Washington D.C., ShawnMikael(s) is made up of two long-form comedians who have won Harrisburg ComedyZone's Improv Throwdown two years in a row. Firth&Arjet is two ladies who perform simultaneous monologues called duologues, and spend the rest of the show realizing their individual characters. ImprovBoston Mainstage is the city of Boston's improv home team. Stick around for the Amie and Kristen show at 10 p.m., featuring Amie Roe and Kristen Schier (LOL WITH IT's favorite improv duo).
BWP, Hello Laser, Rare Bird Show & Drum Machine Sat., Oct. 8, 10 p.m., $10 ➤ BWP is comprised of Connie and Connie, a couple of ranting coffee-talkers. Hello Laser is a New York-based group that has developed their own form called "The Snapshot," which "explores the often-bizarre and always hilarious avenues born from a single frozen moment." Rare Bird Show is Philly's once-top-dog of improv, now on special-engagements-only status due to the departure of member Alexis Simpson. Drum Machine, from Minneapolis, is Jill Bernard's rhythmic one-woman improv show. I have no clue what beat boxes have to do with improv, but I'll be damned if I'm not gonna find out.
Pop culture crit Diana Palmieri on last night's episode of Jersey Shore.
When the episode starts, Snooki, still in her skanky pink leopard dress from last week, declares that she’s depressed because Jionni left. She’s so upset that she can’t sleep, so she actually leaves the apartment for a day in Florence. She hightails it to the nearest bar, orders a beer most likely before noon, and starts dancing her troubles away on the non-existent dancefloor. In between burps, she exclaims, “This is the worst day of my life.”
Meanwhile, JWOWW tries to convince Jionni, who is about to board a train to Rome, to stay and talk to Snooki. When Snooki starts crying after speaking to her Mario Brother on the phone, JWOWW scolds her like the small child she is, “You’re not being Sam right now! Stop!” The best part of this exchange was how the camera zoomed in on Sam’s face when she rebuttled, “That isn’t me anymore!” which is kind of true. Snooki didn’t have to dodge futons being hurled her way.
WHO: DJ Chip Dish, Liberty City Drag Kings and Burlesque, Dumpsta Players, Tammy Faymous, Spin Tribe, the Dancers of Gunnar Clark's BODYBAG.
WHAT: Who says you have to be in the Gayborhood to hit up a good queer dancefloor? This weekend, the William Way Community Center hosts the debut run of its soon-to-be-annual fundraiser at the Trocadero in Chinatown. During the five-hour soiree, guests — who are encouraged to arrive in go-go attire — will be entertained by a lineup of local acts like the Liberty City Kings, drag queen Tammy Faymous, and Gunnar Clark and co. will perform his dance piece, BODYBAG. Once you’ve perfected your own go-go moves, you can use your ticket to gain free admission to Voyeur’s after-hours bash.
WHEN & WHERE: Sat., Oct. 1, 9 p.m.-2 a.m., $15-$35, Trocadero, 1003 Arch St., 215-732-2220, indigogo.waygay.org.
WHY: You know you wanna shake it with the gays!
Devoted poet/avid concert-goer/nerd-grrrl extraordinaire Jane Cassady's weekly horoscopes run in this space every Friday morning.
A Fresh Start Mixtape
Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): "Rush" (Big Audio Dynamite): “Situation no win. Rush for a change of atmosphere.” It’s not as dire as that — just let go of anything that’s weighing you down, anything that costs more than it gives. So very much is waiting.
Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): "Thunder Road" (Bruce Springsteen): “Hey what else can we do now except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair. Well the night's busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere.” Take a leap-of-faith road trip on to your next big thing.
Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): "Plenty Is Never Enough" (Tenement Halls): “Oh, come out with me love, we’ll disappear in the evening light. Oh, come out with me, love, into a world that’s sparkly bright.” Sparkly bright like you! Your constant wishes for everything are beginning to pay off.
Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): "Cherry Red" (Ida Maria): “I’m gonna be your girl tonight. I’m gonna make you apple pie. I’m gonna wear my cherry red, I’m gonna give you lots of … ” luck! Everything pretty and sweet is rushing toward you, dizzy and at top speed.
ICEPACK ILLUSTRATED: Space 1026 for kids! Joshua Scott Albert’s Staph infection! And yeah, more Kendra
Every couple years somebody kinda-anonymous comes along and shakes up their insular self-congratulatory community. Surely you remember the single-paged (both sides!) Xeroxed anti-fanzine broadside Cherry Coke which, during its brief tenure, dissed Philly music clowns hard? That was a decade ago. Ah, memories. This year it’s a blog and not a photocopy and food rather than music that’s had Philly’s cooking-circle’s panties bunched: Staphmeal.com. Anonymously, the writer charged George Perrier with racism, Bryan Sikora with dick-ish-ness and Stephen Starr and Jose Garces with nabbing tips. Perrier even got a lawyer on the case which led the anonymous chap to outing himself. So welcome Joshua Scott Albert, a 25-year-old ex-employee of Amis (whose Marc Vetri he’s hated on), Zavino and a.kitchen who has a funny YouTube vid of himself getting arrested for being drunk outside Barbuzzo. Yowsah.
They may be scuzz punks but they know their way around a nize melody: Philly’s psych-garage faves Far Out Fangtooth release their vinyl wonder Pure & Disinterested on the grand-just-grand Siltbreeze label Oct. 1, at Kung Fu Necktie. Do that.
Space 1026-ers Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Rose Luardo and Ted Passon just made themselves a children’s television program — Joke Summer School — and have placed it on a Comcast On-Demand channel Activity TV. The sketch and joke show for kids finds Passon behind the lens, directing while “Rose and I write and star in the show,” says Wright, crediting other writers Thom Lessner, Doogie Horner and Laris Kreslins, as well as local comedians in the show, like Carolyn Busa and Sidney Gantt. Check an episode online here. Meanwhile, there’s a huge buzz going about N.E.R.D. Pharrell Williams coming to Philly’s Comcast Center to discuss Karmaloop TV, the mini-TV network/on-line site dealing with slightly older adults.
If Suburgatory was a live gig it would be the klatch of weird-area suburban punks playing at the Balcony at the Trocadero Oct. 4: Get Railed (from Delco), Acidfinger (from Levittown) and KMX (from King of Prussia). Oink.
Comedian Patrice O'Neal is in Philly this weekend for a string of shows at Helium Comedy Club. But first he chats with us about prepping for the roast, his battle with fast food and, as a 45-year-old vet, how he's staying relevant among the constant influx of fresh-faced up-and-comers.
City Paper: Your performance on the recent Charlie Sheen Roast seemed more natural than the other performers. Was it entirely off-the-cuff?
Patrice O’Neal: I prepared, but you leave space to maneuver. Sometimes you’re able to go off script and improv. It’s like sports: The art goes with the preparation and professionalism, and vice versa. As long as you have your fundamentals — preparing what you want to do and writing it down — [you'll be] fine. Ssometimes you have to be involved with the situation that’s in front of you — like a tired L.A. audience. It's not like I was planning on being a crusader. I was just trying not to suck.
CP: What's it been like having Diabetes?
PO: I got the diagnosis when I was 21 or 22. It’s starting to take its toll now. It’s one of those diseases that are bad, but it’s such a long deterioration process. As opposed to cancer or HIV, diabetes is such a gradual attack, and then one day you wake up and your feet are hurting and your eyes are blurry and then you’re scrambling. [But if you eat right], it’s something you can attack and have a long healthy life.
I’ve never been too enamored by the glitz and glamour of the lives of celebutantes, so you won't see me glued to the TV screen during any number of E! reality shows.
Let's just call Kendra an exception to the rule.
Playboy Bunny turned reality star Kendra Wilkinson (as she's still known professionally despite taking her football-playing hub's last name) has returned from her brief hiatus with not only a new season of her eponymous hit TV show, but a brand-new book that serves as a follow-up to 2010’s Sliding Into Home.
Being Kendra: Cribs, Cocktails & Getting My Sexy Back (It Books, Sept. 20), written in collaboration with Joseph Shapiro, skips the sugar that coats other books of the same genre in favor of a “no bullocks” language that is, in fact, a fair representation of the star “being Kendra.” The book is 225 pages of Kendra spilling inside details on her marriage, her experience on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, and even unloading a few personal secrets regarding her time in Philly.
Kendra, a resident of Philadelphia for a brief period of time prior to her husband Hank Baskett’s (forced) departure from the Eagles, openly criticizes the City of Brotherly Love in her book, instead dubbing it the “City of Husbandless Kendra.”
In the book, she insists that it was almost entirely the decision of the producers of her reality show that she move to the apartment complex at Two Liberty, where she resided for several months.
“Life was hell,” she says of her time in Philly. “On TV nobody saw what really happened in Philly; you didn’t see me crying into my pillow or staring up at my ceiling all night instead of sleeping.”
But if Kendra does harbor ill feelings toward this city, you'd never know it in person. At a Sept. 28 book signing at Barnes & Noble, the Playboy Bunny cheerfully expressed that when it comes to Philly, she “loves it,” even adding a brief tangent on the deliciousness of our coffee and — surprisingly — breakfast burritos.
And if her well-attended event was any indication, Philly loves Kendra back. She pulled in a multitude of people from all over the region, including two preteen girls who had played hooky to come to the event, as well as a young gay male in line who was a little too excited while recounting his story of Kendra gifting her stripper pole to him.
The crowd even included a middle-age male fan sporting a lumber branded T-shirt and rugged baseball cap. Hardly the type you’d expect to find at such a book signing, but never underestimate the luring powers of Kendra’s vivacious personality and Barbie-esque good looks. (And for my male friends who may be curious — yes, she does look just as good in person.)
The late Mitch Hedberg is one of the most beloved comedians of all time. He had an endearingly mellow, quirky delivery and an ability to paint vivid mental pictures with fewer words than almost any comic in history. To honor his talent, the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art has been working with a team of local artists to bring "their image of Mitch's jokes and life" to Philly.
"Our artistic tribute to Mitch is something we've been wanting to do since we first opened our doors a year ago," says PhilaMOCA artistic director Gavin Hecker. "Mitch Hedberg's comedy always brings a distinct visual image into the minds of his audience. Our artists will be representing his work in creative and inventive ways."
In addition to the exhibit of Hedberg-inspired art works, this weekend's opening exhibit will feature a few local standup comics, a screening of previously unreleased Mitch footage and refreshments provided by nearby nanobrewery Mellody Brewing.
Oct. 1-22, opening reception Sat., Oct. 1, 7 p.m., free with museum admission, 531 N. 12th St., 267-519-9651, philamoca.org.
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