Archive: August, 2012
Philadelphia's very original, very funny all-girl sketch-comedy troupe ManiPedi was founded in the summer of 2011 by Madonna Marie Refugia, who was asked to put something together for a show at Camp Tabu. She enlisted the help of funny ladies Shannon Brown, Briana Kelly, Kaitlin Thompson and Aubrie Williams, and named the group after a word she made up to describe the moment when she gets drunk and can't feel her hands and feet.
I asked member Aubrie Williams what about ManiPedi's comedic influences. "We're all Kids in the Hall fans, we love The State. We love Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Louis CK, of course. We've also been super inspired by Philly groups Camp Woods, The Feekos, Secret Pants and Meg and Rob. Separately, we're also influenced by different things, and we have different voices when we write sketches, which makes the collaborative process really awesome."
words: MJ Fine | photos: Chris Sikich
“There’s only one queen, and that’s Madonna,” Nicki Minaj concedes on “I Don’t Give A.”
Well, sure: Queen’s just one of the many roles Madonna’s played in her 30-year career, and the MDNA Tour features several of them: warrior, majorette, Gaultier muse, freedom lover, spiritual guide and street dancer, surrounded — as always — by a troupe of impeccably chiseled and coiffed dancers who were pressed into duty as assassins, wire-walkers and gospel singers.
But when the show made its North American debut on Tuesday, wide swaths of the audience didn’t automatically give the queen her due. The boos came early, when Madonna didn’t take the stage on time — as though anyone had someplace more important to be on a Tuesday at 10 p.m. Later, when she urged the crowd not to take freedom for granted, some grumbles ran through the Wells Fargo Center, as though the woman who was recently slapped with a $10.5 million lawsuit by Russian concertgoers for speaking out in support of gay rights would just shut up and play the hits.
Not on this tour, which has featured declarations of support for the young jailed women of Pussy Riot. Not in Philadelphia, which is — not coincidentally, Madonna noted Tuesday — the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence. And not on the first night of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, where one GOP woman after another tried to close the party’s gender gap.
ICEPACK ILLUSTRATED: Where Beanie goes trouble follows. Where there’s Will, there’s way goodness. Where’s Corey Feldman anyway?
Though due to report to prison in September, City Paper cover subject Beanie Sigel was ready for bear with a just released, critically acclaimed new album This Time and a slew of sensational promotional duties before him. Now, he won’t be around to do Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with his Philly pals in The Roots, or the gig mentioned in a recent Ice Cube that gave the date of his last Philly show (Sept. 8, TLA) before going to federal prison on Sept. 12 on tax evasion charges. Beanie and a pal got snagged in Delaware County on the morning of Aug. 29, hours after This Time was released, on drug, weapons and driver’s license-related charges with a $300,000 cash bail for his troubles. Rather than pay the bail or its 10% fee, Sigel did something wise this time. “He’s starting his federal sentence two weeks early,” says Randy Alexander, publicist for Sigel and his just restarting Conshohocken-based label Ruffhouse. “All of his promotional dates are scratched. Everything’s cancelled. He’ll be picked up from Delaware County jail and taken directly into federal custody.” The label issued a statement from Ruffhouse boss Chris Schwartz. “Obviously, we’re very disappointed. However, Beanie has done nothing but display the utmost professionalism in all the initiatives related to the promotion of his new release. Beanie obviously has been struggling with some personal issues, and we continue to support him now and throughout his impending incarceration.” Alexander says that the label still, of course believes strongly in the record and Beanie as an artist. “We’re going to continue to pursue its promotion with the same ferocity that Beanie made this thing with.” That’s cool for the label, but Beans let me and a whole lot of people around him down with the stupid ass move.
Chef/owner Christopher Kearse’s Will BYOB eatery on East Passyunk opened with a bang last Friday, selling out several seatings with 70+ diners. It could’ve been the crispy skate with the sliver of black garlic paste on the plate, the white chocolate cheesecake, or the dense-yet-delicate corn soup. Mostly, it’s because Kearse has been a legend in Philly cooking circles for years and foodie peeps have been salivating for the moment that he’d open his own spot. Solid, brah.
Hey, so maybe you’re pissed that the parking is skint, that the city is using public land for a pricey all-cash concert, that Chris Cornell ain’t playing and that Mayor Nutter is telling those without Made in America tickets to stay home and download the music. Boo ya. We got the Clydesdales on the corner of 25th & Fairmount today (Aug. 30) at 6:30 p.m.
Anton Newcombe and the rest of the Brian Jonestown Massacre were in classic form at Union Transfer last Thursday. Newcombe was accompanied by original founding member Matt Hollywood despite the feud they've admitted having between each other. This is probably why they covered all the necessities from their neo-psych classics Take It from the Man! and Their Satanic Majesties Second Request. A steady tambourine drove “Anenome” to the peak of their set. And everyone in the room lost it when they ended the show with “Straight Up and Down,” because they too don’t care where they’re living or dying. Newcombe, led the droning jam on it, trading his guitar for keys for the latter portion of it, and, being a no-bullshit type of guy, didn’t even bring the band out for an encore. He didn’t exchange a word throughout the entire set aside from barking at one of his bandmates for starting a guitar intro too soon. So, in other words, despite his new sobriety, Anton Newcombe hasn’t changed a bit.
Magic Castles opened the show with their own space-traversing psych fresh off their debut, which came out this year on Newcombe’s own A Records.
Every week, Brittany Thomas rounds up the week's sure-bet live shows. This week: Work Drugs, Eww Yaboo, Gemini Wolf and more.
Monday: Ghostly, bittersweet vox from singer Megan Cauley interlace with Michael McDermott's echoing harmonies atop suspenseful, rhythm-heavy electro-pop compositions in Gemini Wolf. The Philly duo will bring a live drummer to the stage this week and fill our Monday with mesmerizing melodies of psychedelic proportions. 8 p.m., $7, Silk City, with A Study in Terror, Juliet Hope Wayne, 405 Spring Garden St., 215-592-8838.
Two weeks ago, we dropped a cover story on Philly MC Beanie Sigel, his new label contract with Conshohocken’s Ruffhouse to go with his new album This Time and mentioned how he had set up pre-prison live gigs for New York City and Los Angeles to start. But I still hankered for a proper hometown send off for Sigel before he goes away for a spell. My prayers got answered by Live Nation’s Stacie George who claims that Sigel’s going-away live bash will occur Sat., Sept. 8 at the TLA. No word yet on when tickets go on sale but expect them to drop and sell out quick.
While this brotherly-lovin’ city might not have the movie-star power of, say, LA or NYC, that’s not to say Philadelphia is without its own ambitious filmmakers. Average Superstar Films, founded by local actor Loren W. Lepre, is hosting “A Night of Short Films II” for those interested in seeing what he's been up to since his first Night of Short Films in June. That evening included films like The Video Journal, Alice and The Fairy Prince, and was so well recieved that the duo's been invited to host short film nights every other month.
Besides shorts, they'll also play trailers for upcoming local films and a secret celebrity guest speech beforehand. Films on this Sunday's itinerary include David Speers' Guest of a Nation, Matt Garrett's Beating Hearts and Iraq vet and Temple alumni David Speers' much-hyped sci-fi narrative Infinite. October’s lineup is nearly full, but local filmmakers are encouraged to submit anyway: No fees are charged for submission of trailers, films or company banners. Sun., Aug. 26 at 6 p.m., The Balcony, 1003 Arch St., $6.
Twenty-six year-old Temple grad James Hesky has just been named Philly’s Phunniest 2012 at Helium. Hesky — who works with special-needs adults — has been doing comedy in earnest for just four years. I got to chat with him the day after he won the thousand bucks and the title.
City Paper: Congratulations James! Tell us about your comedy background.
James Hesky: I always loved comedy growing up. I used to make my parents come into Blockbuster with me so they could rent George Carlin VHS [tapes], because they were all NC-17. I heard about the Northeast Philly Comedy Cabaret open mic, and I got my start there. I went out and did a couple of open mics, and I was awful — just like everyone is when they first start — so I wasn’t having a good time. I put it aside for a while. A couple years later I was getting ready to graduate from college, and I was like, “Well, now’s a good a time as any to try it again.” I had been keeping up a blog for me and my friends, and I thought, “Well I’m still exercising that muscle a little bit, so let’s try comedy.” Then I went out and I met guys like Conrad Roth and Chris Cotton and Danny Ozark and Monroe Martin. Those are some of the guys that got me started going to every open mic in the city Sunday to Thursday, sometimes twice a night.
CP: That seems to be common, the false-start comedy beginning. Why do you think that is?
JH: I think if you’re self-aware, you realize how much you suck when you first get started. And it’s so painful to be up there being absolutely terrible, eating it when you first get started. And stepping away gives you enough space to come back at it the right way. And you either learn or you don’t, but the people that stick with it learn that you can get up on stage multiple times a night and you can work through that pain a lot faster. When I bomb it’s like the worst feeling in the world, and I know when it’s not a good joke or I’m not getting the reaction that I want. It’s hard to put yourself through that over and over. When you got on-stage multiple times per week, it’s like, “Oh, I had a bad set, but I’ll be better later tonight or tomorrow.” You start to learn that there’s something there in the joke, you’re close to it, but there’s something missing. And learning that feeling is pretty important.
Hey, Philly feminists! If you’re looking to spend some time with like-minded ladies to learn about the process of making your own zine, clear your schedules for August 26 from noon to 5 p.m., when Philly Feminist Zine Fest debuts at the William Way Community Center (1315 Spruce St.) for an afternoon of workshops focused on the creation and content of zine production.
Classes will cover a broad range of topics, including how to use your writing as an outlet for anger, stress and grief, how to channel your creativity to be an ally to sex workers and how to utilize your zines in different, creative ways.
The event will double as a fundraiser for Project Safe, an outreach and support organization for Philly sex workers, and ActionAIDS will be there to provide free, rapid and confidential HIV-testing all afternoon.
Our resident DJ on his most boogie-worthy pick of the week.
A true OG of the dubstep and grime scenes, MRK1 lands in Philly to drop soundbwoy knowledge on an all-ages crowd. In addition to his world-renowned DJ sets, this Manchester, England native has releases dating back to ’02, including work with his group Virus Syndicate and solo releases on labels like Planet Mu, Contagious, H.E.N.C.H., Southside Dubstars and more. Rage Hard Productions is bringing this legend to town, alongside local DJs Endboss, Bassdread, Rise and Grind and Fratello.
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