We told you about the Philadelphia Beard and Moustache Competition at Studio 34 this past weekend. But Greg P was kind enough to let us post his excellent portraits of the contestants. Calamity Rose is a clear favorite but John Buckler is a close second. You can see more of Greg P's photos on his personal site or his Flickr site.
The header on Puppet Uprising's Web site right now Five Acts * Five Companies * Five Desserts * One Play is enough to pique our interest. But it's the secret part that really sends our drama-club hearts aflutter.
Here's the deal: At 8 p.m. tonight through Monday (that's the Ides of March, hint hint), get yourself gussied up and head to the Broad-and-Vine subway stop, and make sure you're wearing a red carnation so the folks running the show (Missoula Oblongata and Puppet Uprising) know who you are. They'll lead you to an undisclosed location for a night of snacks (we're hearing rumors of hot toddies and cupcakes) and theater (this year's production, in case you hadn't guessed, is Julius Caesar).
As that headline suggests, five companies are joining forces for this five-act endeavor including Philly's own Green Chair Dance Group, Puppetyranny and Fence Kitchen. Did we mention that an emperor-size party's scheduled for closing night? Did we mention the hot toddies?
Missoula and the Uprising have been at this DIY theater game for years, presenting The Tempest in 2008 and King Lear in '09; tickets ($20 ahead of time; $25 at the door) have been known to sell out, so buy yours now. And don't forget that carnation.
|Photo | Kristen Humbert|
|Just another night of bingo with the ladies!|
Last month, we sent our intrepid reporter Kristen Humbert to review Urban Saloon's Naughty Bingo. If her write-up excites you, be sure to sign up for the next event, on Fri., Feb. 26 at 7 p.m., soon these things always sell out.
Urban Saloon was the place to be seen and slapped on Jan. 15, as it played host to the third monthly Naughty Bingo bash. If visions of Grandmas in knickers squirming for a bingo bone are dancing in your head, fear not this game is for those who can get both dirty and down.
Players were each given eight bingo cards, one for each round. And instead of the trusty row-of-five, a number in each corner of the board had you win for the "celibate" round; and a "V" shape scored in the "quivering love purse" round (rounds also involved "right nut," "left nut," and the ever-important "dick and balls"). But if you didn't call out "I'm Coming, Bitch!" when you were one away from Bingo, you were slapped on the rump with a paddle.
The later it became, the slap-happier the crowd got, as practically any offense aroused this gleeful punishment (we're talking ass up in the air in front of the whole room here). In addition to bingo, there was also a deep-throat contest with bananas and a fake orgasm challenge. Prizes included an in-home blowjob class for 25, fancy panties, an inflatable sheep (yea, we know), and clitoral stimulation cream, all of which was donated by Feminique Boutique and Lolly 38.
Though the group entered the event as strangers, the camaraderie grew with each round of both bingo and booze. Ladies who were too shy to shout out in the beginning were giving their best moans by the end. Sometimes all it takes are drink specials and anal sex references to bring people together.
|Photo | Bill Hebert|
A Lesson in Binary Opposition
Choreographed by and starring Viji Rao (pictured, right) and Miro Dance Theatre's artistic director, Amanda Miller, the two-woman show How Am I Not Myself? offers a series of nuanced reflections on the lives of two dancers and their often-complex feelings toward their classical training.
Originally a ballet dancer, Miller spent nine years with the Pennsylvania Ballet, leaving in 2003 to found Miro with Tobin Rothlein, this show's director. Likewise, Rao trained in Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance form from Tamil Nadu, before moving toward more contemporary work. The show reflects this shift from the classical to the contemporary. Miller and Rao change in and out of costumes from various points in their dance careers, reinterpreting their own personal histories through dance.
Rothlein, a video artist with a background in documentary film, provides the self-critical lens that makes these performances so interesting: Miller and Rao engage with video projections of themselves, which chastise the real-life performers even as they dance, accusing them of abandoning their classical roots.
How Am I Not Myself? serves as a telling example of the difficulties faced by artists working between disciplines: The perfomers' video alter-egos seem particularly invested in maintaining a binary opposition between Miller and Rao's earlier classical work and their later contemporary work, but for Miller and Rao, the situation is more complicated. For them, the show suggests, the shift from classical to contemporary was not sudden or definite, but rather the result of a gradual incorporation of new ideas about dance into a repertoire that had previously been limited by its classical nature.
This is potentially weighty stuff, but the performers keep everything relaxed and fun. The dancing is interspersed with personal narratives, in which Rao and Miller, in a refreshingly unaffected tone, perfectly convey the frustrations but also the many joys of a dance career that is not confined to the classical canon.
|Courtesy of Pig Iron Theater Co.|
Philadelphia's freewheeling, progressive theater company, Pig Iron, will bring its annual benefit cabaret and auction to the Trocadero this Friday. But what's with the event's hammy name, "Hams Across America"? "We're nerds who love wordplay," says Pig Iron star Dito van Reigersberg. "And the campaign in the '80s that tried to make a human chain across the country. And failed. We also love failure."
Fri., Jan. 29, 7 p.m., $25-$75, Trocadero, 1003 Arch St., 215-922-6888, thetroc.com.
Just a quick reminder that our Old City neighbor, Vivant Art Collection, is hosting a fundraiser this evening to assist with rescue efforts in Haiti. They'll have light refreshments, as well as psychologists, grief counselors, politicians and members of the Haitian community on hand; and all donations will go directly to the Haitian Rescue Fund.
Florcy Morrisett, Vivant's owner, tells us that not only will they be accepting donations, but a portion of all art sales will go toward the Haiti Rescue Fund, as well, so if you're looking for something new to hang on your wall (like A. Giervilil's Market V, pictured above), now's the time.
Additionally, Morrisett and the Haitian Professionals of Philadelphia have gathered a truckload of medical supplies, which Morrisett tells me they've shipped today. "It's one bit of good news we have today," she says.
Vivant Haitian Relief, Mon., Jan. 18, 5-8 p.m., free admission (donations welcome), Vivant Art Collection, 60 N. Second St., 215-922-6584, vivantartcollection.com.
As music ed Pat Rapa noted in this week's cover story, Kenzo bluesman Jack Rose was preparing to go on tour for his new album, Luck in the Valley, at the time of his Dec. 5 death. As a tribute to the man whose personality and cooking skills were, according to friends, as lovely and striking as his ragtime instrumentals the Luck in the Valley record release party on Feb. 13 will feature performances by Thurston Moore, Pelt, Meg Baird, D. Charles Speer & The Helix and more. Tickets for the show, which will take place at The Latvian Society (531 N. Seventh St., 215-922-9798) on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m., go on sale on this site on Mon., Jan. 10, and cost $18.
If you didn't torture your hungover self on New Year's Day to wake up and see the Mummers, you've still got a chance to check out what may be the very best/least racist group of the parade: Space 1026's Vaudevillians. Their "Philly Phood Phantasia" performance, which came in fifth in the parade, was utterly strange and maybe even a little beautiful. It's going down again at 10 p.m. tonight after the Pabst Blue Ribbon Art Contest Viewing Party at Tattooed Mom (530 South St., 215-238-9880).
|Photo | Lauren Seibert|
Twirling on her toes, glimmering in a white tutu and crown, the Sugar Plum Fairy spins gracefully across the stage ' only to stop with a sigh, shrug, and take a drag from an imaginary cigarette. Suddenly, the music switches from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker score to a heavy beat, and Sugar Plum is rapping.
A Sugar Plum Fairy turned gangster, breakdancing mice, a 'Hip Hoppin Santa'' all this and more turned the traditional Nutcracker ballet on its head in ContempraDance Theatre's Philly-Nutt-Crak-Up, a blend of comedy, jazz, hip-hop, modern and ballet dance. The Nutcracker spoof Saturday night throbbed with energy, acrobatics and exaggerated capers, and while it was clearly more of a family-oriented show, the flood of references to Philly culture kept the adults in the room grinning. The music ranged from Tchaikovsky to Mortal Kombat, James Brown and Fatboy Slim.
|Photo | Lauren Seibert|
In ContempraDance's version, Clara is known as 'Liberty Belle Anne' (played by dancer Jackie Kokolus) and hosts a Christmas slumber party for her pajama-clad girlfriends, who playfully fight over presents and throw down preppy dance moves to Cyndi Lauper's 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.' Suddenly, accompanied by Harry Potter theme music, 'Uncle Franklin Rosselmeyer' (played by Ryheen Thomas) bursts in to charm the girls over and distribute his gifts of life-size 'City Hall Dolls.' The dolls, including a Barbie and Princess Leia, each unstiffen to perform individual dances poking fun at today's pop culture.
The awkward, fumbling 'City Cheesesteak Guy' (dancer Timothy Zimnoch) fills the Nutcracker role, and Liberty Belle Anne spends the rest of the show searching for him. Other Philly references include a visit to the Kingdom of Prussia and a dance-out between the Phillies and the Yankees. Guess who wins?
|Photo | Lauren Seibert|
As goofy as ContempraDance's scenes may be, the group knows how to dance. With the ability to switch instantly from ballet movements to hip-hop or feats of breakdancing, the dancers never left the audience bored. During the dream scenes, the squeaking, headlamp-wearing 'mice' had us laughing at their backflipping antics and their names ' R2, R3, R4 and 'King R5.' The 'Prussians,' played by Stephanie Vasta and Matt Torchia, stunned with their acrobatic moves; a group of tiny girls in tutus melted our hearts as adorable 'Penn's Cherubs' and 'Hershey Kisseritas.'
The only part of the show that seemed a bit out of place was the 'Philly Flake' character, danced by Heather Bare, who pranced around to a valley-girl voiceover repeating, 'I'm like, freaking out totally' Like, oh my god'' But in the end, City Cheesesteak Guy's ultimate superhero transformation wrapped up the show on a cute note. Lighthearted and fun, ContempraDance's holiday spoof is great for a night with the family ' as long as everyone's from Philly.
ContempraDance Theatre, 396 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne,' 610-225-3007, contempradancetheatre.org.
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