When Michael Nutter introduced the appearance of The Roots as the subjects and guests of honor at this year’s Mural Art Program’s Wall Ball at North Broad Street’s Vie on Thursday night, the rapping brought up getting a new rap bag.
“I’m learning the lyrics to “The Fire,” said the Mayor, renowned (or is it notorious?) for his repeated variations upon a theme, namely Grandmaster Flash. At least Nutter has moved into the 21st Century.
That’s how The Roots weekend officially began — with a room full of moneyed sponsorship sorts and mural artisans all noshing on Mark Vetri’s nibbles (those deviled eggs were dope) from Vie’s neighboring Alla Spinna with Bluecoat Gin specialty cocktails and guest appearances from Senator Vincent Hughes, filmmaker Sam Katz, Mural Arts’ subject Jerry Blavat and several other dance-it-up DJs like Brendan Bring’Em and Lee Jones.
“No one throws a party like Jane Golden,” said Nutter about the Mural Arts executive director. “Philadelphia has the most murals in the entire universe and she’s constantly hunting the galaxy for even newer ideas.” Later on, Golden would jump up and down on the stage at Vie when she was joined by The Roots themselves, who jumped along with her. Yes. That. Was. Weird. Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter also mentioned that he was a long time part of the Anti-Graffiti Network, the group that later turned into the Mural Arts Program. Success stories abound.
Two days later during the two-day, fifth annual Roots Picnic at Festival Pier, the band tore it up while backing Wale, De La and surprise guest Mos “Yasiin Bay” Def, the latter who thrilled backstage village dwellers with his good mood. Man, I nearly got hit in the head with a basketball when Def ran into me and excused himself. This wasn’t Queens 1989. Then again, The Roots did start the set by singing the Beastie Boys “Paul Revere” in tribute to the late great MCA (Adam Yauch) so there was that.
Next up for The Roots: July 4 at the Parkway with vocalists such as Daryl Hall joining them in free song as well as watching ?uestlove pack up his sister (Donn T) and his mom for the African safari he won ($7 Gs) in auction during Thursday’s Wall Ball.
While Amour, the Palme d’Or-winning drama at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, makes all the headlines (Sony Pictures Classics set a late-December limited release date so that the Michael Haneke-directed film is game for awards season). Several locals who spent their time in the French cinema capitol did OK for themselves during the fest.
Southwest Philly’s Lee Daniels brought his new directorial effort of Pete Dexter’s novel The Paperboy to the big show complete with an infamous Nicole Kidman/Zac Efron peeing scene intact. Then there was Old City’s Breaking Glass Pictures (Mike Repsch, VP of international sales; Rich Wolff, CEO; Richard Ross, co-president; Susan Helfrich, COO) who hit up every party and red carpet bash at the CFF like Diddy’s party on his yacht the Icon, Daniels’ red carpet walk and such. Breaking Glass had a booth at le Marche, held dinners in their beach side office/apartment and made deals to acquire for distribution the likes of the BBC film Shifty (starring Centurion’s Riz Ahmed), Jose Campusano’s dark Vil Romance, a documentary highlighting starlets of slasher horror Screaming in High Heels: The Rise & Fall of the Scream Queen Era, and Simon Chung’s new film Speechless, which is having its world premiere at the upcoming San Diego FilmOut Fest. Breaking Glass also sold off for distribution After the Wizard, a modern continuation of Frank L. Baum’s classic book, for Eastern Europe and Africa as well as Nate & Margaret (a 21st century gay Harold & Maude) starring Roseanne’s Natalie West, The Wise Kids’ Tyler Ross, and Gaby Hoffmann from 200 Cigarettes.
Ooh la la and thanks to Susan Helfrich for the photos.
Several weeks ago, Icepack dropped a clue that the next Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) at the Kimmel Center and its immediate outlets would highlight back-and-forth time travel for its 2013 edition rather than the single locality of its last affair, the successful Francophile-inspired PIFA of 2011.
Icepack was correct and executive director Ed Cambron has already lined up the Kimmel’s resident companies and their friends to take over Kimmel’s lobbies and stages with events that take on defining moments in human history, such as Mandela’s release from prison, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Look for the Wilma’s Bearded Ladies to do something draggy to the Civil War. Poor Abe Lincoln. Will his ghost never rest?
More of this will be announced tonight with a one-minute sizzle reel to be shown at the Arts & Business Council Awards Ceremony at Vie.
Before the dreaded wooden reality of Kim Kardashian at Harrah’s The Pool and the surreality of Beyoncé at the Revel hotel, spa and casino opening (both in Atlantic City, keep your eyes out for Icepack Illustrated and additional Ice Cubes) there was the unholy "Reality TV Divas Live" thing at Parx Casino in Bensalem.
The hang, consisting of pinot grigo slinger Ramona Singer from Bravo’s Real Housewives Of New York City, queen of mean Tracy DiMarco from Jerseylicious (on the Style Network) and Drita D'Avanzo from VH-1’s Mob Wives (the original NYC one, since Mob Wives Chicago starts this weekend) would have been an inauspicious pre-arranged meeting-of-the-minds (your own joke goes here) until the visibly agitated Singer got persnickety about posing with her other two reality sisters in front of the casino plastic signage backdrop. Singer wouldn’t be in any photos and physically separated herself from the other two during the walk of step-and-repeat shame. The blond Housewives member even made a point of walking out from the scene (an interview forum) and away from the stage while seated with DiMarco and D’Avanzo after Ice photog Scott Weiner asked Singer to move over to join the other divas. “I almost had the pea brain tricked into it because she started to move over and then she realized, 'Hey, that's what I said I won't do' and got up and walked out,” says Weiner.
Maybe Ramona doesn’t like Italian girls. Anyway, the other news (ugh, not news, just stuff I suppose) is that DiMarco announced she had just become engaged and showed off a five-karot diamond ring to prove it. You really have to go out of your way to prove things when you’re talking up reality television stuff.
Photos by Scott Weiner
The Rittenhouse Row Festival may have had Jen Carroll and the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby may have had some big ass wheels. For my money though, the South Ninth Street Italian Market Festival beats them all. Where else can you chow down upon pepperoni on a stick, see an Artists Anonymous show at Connie’s Ric Rac while drinking $5 Pabsts, celebrate a procession of the Saints (with a Blessing of the Market at Ninth and Washington as well as a concurrently running birthday celebration for one of its patrons) and sip on a freshly gored coconut? Not Kenzo, my friends.
Along with more cannolis and quesadillas than you can shake a shoe at, the Discount Heroes and a slew of other bands played unending Rolling Stones’ covers. A Rocky impersonator did some form of boxing performance art in the sweltering sun and Ian Peacock and several other members of the DiBruno’s Gourmet Foods staff dressed up in pink cow and blue cowboy gear. Funny thing is, I don’t think they were selling anything even bull or cow related. That’s why I love my neighborhood.
Speaking of what it means to be a neighborhood, toward festival’s end an electric transformer on Ninth and Ellsworth blew out and blacked out most of the houses and businesses in the area, shutting down the festival a wee bit early. Though PECO were quick about getting things fixed, lots of folk preparing Sunday meals with electric heat were left out in the cold. Into the breach came SliCE, the pizzeria on 10th and Federal who were quick to offer their neighbors scads of free whole pizzas as its ovens were roaring but its lights were growing dim. No one in Rittenhouse would do that — except maybe that area’s SliCE.
After a weekend leak that found unlikely performers such as D’Angelo on its list, the real true official Made in America Sept. 1-2 weekend bill is out and it’s good, very good. Rihanna would make it great. Animal Collective, one of Jay Z’s notable faves would make it great. So would Hova’s wife, Beyonce.
None of them will play with co-headliner/host Jay Z. But grunge gods Pearl Jam will. Having the legendarily reclusive soul man D’Angelo play ALONE makes it worth attending.
Same with Drake who is playing in Camden on June 9 and Philly’s Santigold who I interviewed before her recent Troc gig.
Dubstep hairdon’t Skrillex, funky DJ Afrojack, wack hip-hoppers Odd Future, electro-mavens Miike Snow, The Knocks and Passion Pit, punk veterans X (wow, X!), pop electronicist Calvin Harris (who I’ll see tonight at Springle Ball), soul futurist Janelle Monae, indie skronkers Dirty Projectors, UK songstress Rita Ora, Latin lover Prince Royce, and the unholy hip-hop union of Wale, Rick Ross and Meek Mill hit the Parkway, as will The Roots.
Bruce Springsteen and his band are in town that same weekend.
Bet your Made in America dollars (tickets, including a $99 two-day pass option, go on sale Wednesday) that the Boss shows for Eddie V and Jay Z. Expect another Mike Nutter rap whether you want it or not.
After several days of shooting gunfire scenes for Dead Man Down along Walnut Street, I casually asked Greater Philadelphia Film doyenne Sharon Pinkenson where the next film locations would be. “Unless we're affecting normal traffic, we can't give that info out,” said Pinkenson on Monday. “Tomorrow's warehouse shoot is in an industrial area, someplace where I've never been.”
That spot wound up, sadly, getting publicity this morning after an as-yet-identified teenager was gunned down at Kinsey and Tackawanna in the East Frankford area. According to Phillly.com, that youth was pronounced dead at Temple University Hospital late yesterday afternoon. Pinkenson confirms that shooting will resume at the warehouse soon. But I want to leave you with one questionable thing Dead Man Down co-producer Joseph Zolfo told CBS 3-TV on Monday: that Philadelphia is so great a city to film in, because it's so accepting of staged gun fights ...
Photo by Scott Weiner
On Monday night, the Wilma Theater masked its still-building white stage set for their upcoming production of Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches (starts May 23) for a special event. In partnership with the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the theater community grassroots organization for marriage equality Broadway Impact, R Families and The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, the Wilma held a one-night-only staged script reading of 8.
Penned by AFER founding board member and Academy Award-winning scriptwriter (Milk) Dustin Lance Black (pictured), 8 chronicles the historical trial in the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8, with language lifted — often hilariously with its naïve awkwardness — from the trial’s actual transcripts.
Philadelphia’s Mary Martello and Grace Gonglewski (both from the Wilma’s recent staging of Body Awareness) played integral 8 roles as Sandy Steir and Kris Perry, the lesbian couple with kids at the heart of the charges against Governor Schwarzenegger and his state. Other local luminaries included Catharine Slusar, who was outrageous high-heeled fun as the right-wing family advocate Maggie Gallagher, performance-art great John Jarboe and Keith Conallen (late of Theater Exile’s Gruesome Playground Injuries).
Here's photographic evidence that Colin Farrell is actually shooting a movie in Philly rather than just eating at Rittenhouse restaurants, working out at the neighborhood’s sporting clubs or hanging out on a boat. Yesterday, he was spotted along an unhappily blocked off Walnut Street while shooting a sniper scene for Dead Man Down. Intrepid Icepack photog Scott Weiner did his own shooting in the line of fire, concentrating on the rooftop shooter (Farrell) and the well-dressed mobster, played by Terrence Howard, below. Dead Man Down will also be filming along Walnut on Friday and Monday, so expect more from Weiner and me.
Photos by Scott Weiner
Last week, UArts opened its doors for the fourth annual ArtUnleashed fundraiser where 300-plus alumni, student and faculty artists hit its marble halls to display and auction their wares for the University's Sam S. McKeel Promising Young Artists Scholarship Fund. Days before the event, UArts president Sean Buffington told me that over 5,000 students had been aided with over $100 million in scholarships so far. Along with alums Adam Wallacavage, Marc Williams, Deb Willis and legendary local illustrator Arnold Roth (Class of 1950) was on board for the proceedings. The now 83-year-old Roth — renowned for his work for TV Guide, the New Yorker, Playboy, Sports Illustrated and Punch — smiled and chatted to all comers. Roth reserved his biggest grin for his old friend, philanthropist Kal Rudman (pictured above left with Roth at ArtUnleashed), a UArts benefactor and head honcho of New Jersey published-music-industry bible, Friday Morning Quarterback. Rudman has lots of irons in several fires to speak of at present and all will be revealed shortly (stay tuned).
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