The AV Club, September 28, 2011 Punk and race have had a long and tetchy relationship, what with some of punk’s skinhead outliers dealing in shock-value fascism since the ’70s. But while white-power wackos the National Front corralled East London kids into a safety-pinned Hitler Youth and Siouxsie and Sid flashed their sensibility-shredding swastikas, The Clash headlined the Rock Against Racism concert and Afro-punk bands Death, Pure Hell, and others challenged the image of the skinhead. The recently releasedWhite Riot anthology looks unflinchingly at this sometimes uncomfortable history, charting how punk aesthetics have been deployed by both racists and members of all races. Anarchist collective Wooden Shoe Books stirs up further havoc and thought, hosting a related discussion about bigotry, equality, and music—a rebel yell against racism in book-club form. Wooden Shoe Books, Friday, October 7, 7pm.
The AV Club, September 2011 (lost in website overhaul) Day 1, September 23 Summer music festivals have come at an increasingly steep price since the love-and-peace crowds descended on the Catskills for an impromptu Aquarian Exposition. Now a trip to Lollapalooza or Bonnaroo will set you back several hundred bucks, expose you to Coldplay and a rash of merchandising, and force you to subsist on rationed water and hashish as you live in a badly-pitched tent with your college roommate, her boyfriend, and their dealer for four days. There’s an easier path, however, a way to see the big names in little bands and still sleep in your own bed. The indie indoctrination comes to South Philly as Popped! Music Festival relocates to the stately FDR Park. Friday, The Shins, still dreamily melodic if not as life-altering as Zach Braff claims, headline with their half-forgotten Beach Boys-do-Dr. Seuss ditties. Who knows, their return might be enough to make you forget that even your mom has “New Slang” on her iPod. Meanwhile Animal Collective zoo-escapee Panda Bear plays his folk-electro Tchaikovsky, and NASCAR bastard Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. wins the admiration of your friends—and instantly becomes uncool. Day 2, September 24 […]
The AV Club, August 11, 2011. (No longer on their website after a website overhaul that eliminated all local interest content. It can be resurrected through the Wayback Machine.) For a Bromley boy, alien immigrant, and Goblin King, David Bowie sure does like Philadelphia. We already paid tribute to him in July for the recording of David Live—the musical wake at the end of his skeleton-march Diamond Dogs tour—at the Tower Theater. But Bowie, a quick-change artist cycling from alien trans-ient to Soul Train conductor in one record spin, transformed so radically in the ’70s that we don’t feel we’re repeating ourselves by mentioning him again. The Bowie who croaked and rattled through David Live was hardly the Bowie who arrived at Philly’s Sigma Sound on Aug. 11, 1974 to record the songs that would become Young Americans. He was still otherworldly, flame-haired, and strung out into another universe, though not yet down the rabbit hole of pool exorcisms and urine preservation. He’d tired of the apocalyptic mythology, cut-up lyrics, and spandex jumpsuits of his previous rock incarnations—Ziggy Stardust, his American cousin Aladdin Sane, and their Orwellian friend Halloween Jack. At Sigma Sound Studios at 12th and Race, the studio of Gamble and Huff’s then-current Philadelphia Soul, Bowie would fashion himself a […]
The AV Club, August 7, 2011 (no longer on their website due to loss of local interest content in website overhaul) Jenny Starrs, 15, has a storybook name, star-spangled eyes, mall princess clothes, and an open-diary honesty. She’s the self-identified biggest Taylor Swift fan among her girl gaggle of bffs, and ticks off her favorites with the fickle conviction of fifteen—and a thousand internet quizzes. Favorite Taylor Swift song: “Stay Beautiful,” a twangy, boy-dazzled chorus from Swift’s first album. Favorite Taylor Swift boyfriend: muscleboy and Twilight paramour Taylor Lautner. Saturday night, standing in line at Lincoln Financial Field to see her idol, the subject of a hundred magazine collages and leader of countless car sing-alongs, Starrs is ecstatic, beaming in anticipation of a fairytale come to life. Taylor Swift sung about fifteen once—that wobbly, diary-charted age between dolls and school dances, packed lunches and dinner dates, the tipping point where boy cooties become tongue kisses and promise rings mean nothing when it’s true love and he kisses you in the rain. That worldwise but nostalgic song earned her a VMA—but also, infamously, the ire of Kanye West. That real adult world has its glamour, its gold-plated astronauts, and its J. Mendel dresses—but […]
The AV Club, August 6, 2011 (no longer on their website due to overhaul) August is the traditional dumping ground for worthless movies–long-shelved rom-coms and schlocky horror feasts dumped on audiences when they’re too heat-dazed and CGI-blinded to notice. And in Philly, apparently, August is the resting place of musical misery. We can accept differences in musical taste (keep on rocking out to the Allman Brothers, Dad) but we just can’t take artists who screw with fans, blab to the press about romantic conquests, and project a general air of self-important sleaziness. In an industry of studied debauchery and cultivated “bad boy” images, it takes a lot to stand out for douchiness. But these five artists or bands somehow manage it. Here’s a list of the musical dirtbags who are coming–or planned to come before melting down in a collective, vomit-splattered hissy fit–to our fine city (or rather, most to Camden, take that as you will) this August. Adam Levine (and Maroon 5) First up is Adam Levine, who continues to ride the train of Songs About Jane‘s 2003 success all the way to the Susquehanna Bank Center tonight. Levine is a perverse crossbreed of Conor Oberst and The Situation who somehow multiplies […]
Philadelphia Weekly, January 4, 2011 Forget the ham-fisted stunts of Michael Moore and other soapbox documentarians. Kazuhiro Soda’s frank, taboo-busting “observational documentaries” immerse viewers in the action, forgoing dictatorial narration in favor of allowing the audience to form their own opinions about what they’re viewing, be it the operations of a Japanese mental-health clinic or the machinations of a local election. Tonight, Soda conducts a master class about his Buddhist-inspired, cinéma vérité filmmaking, introducing Philadelphians to the zen and no-frills honesty that has guided his oeuvre. For homework and follow-up, head to International House for the Monday night screening of Soda’s 2008 documentary Campaign and Tuesday night’s Mental, his disarmingly candid exploration of psychiatry in a society that associates mental illness with shame. (Lauren Smith) Tuesday Jan. 11. 5pm. $15-$25. Scribe Video Center, 4212 Chestnut St. 215.222.4201. scribe.org
Philadelphia Weekly, January 4, 2011 Terrible disfigurement apparently makes for great entertainment—at least, that’s the basis of TLC’s primetime lineup. But before there were Little People in a big world and a girl Born Without a Face, there was Joseph Merrick—freak-show attraction, specter of the London streets and eventual toast of Victorian high society. The notorious Elephant Man roamed 19th-century England with a burlap sack over his bulbous head, gawked at by circus attendees, recoiled from by nurses and doted upon by socialites (tragically deformed people were the Pomeranians of the hoop-skirted set). Merrick rears his giant head in Philadelphia in Fever Dream Repertory’s production of Bernard Pomerance’s 1979 Broadway version of the fabulous freak’s sad life. Wade Andrew Corder follows in the footsteps of role originator Philip Anglim and modern-day iconic weirdos David Bowie and Mark Hamill, portraying Merrick sans makeup and prosthetics, depicting his deformation entirely through tortured movement. -Lauren Smith Through Jan. 20. 8pm. $20-$25. The Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St. 267.997.3799. adriennelive.com Photo: Matthew Hurst.
Philadelphia Weekly, October 5, 2010 Of course—two of DesignPhiladelphia’s best events are on the same night. You could join once and future Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby victors for an exhibit and discussion of their wackiest vehicles, be they buggies for undead Amish or giant bike-mounted octopuses. The peddlers will reveal all the bicycle-rigging and creative daredevilry behind their vehicles. Learn the tricks of the trade and, come May, you too could be teetering through Kensington with a parade float attached to your ten-speed. Or you could go underground with Marianne Bernstein, the force behind last year’s Welcome House in Love Park, and a team of video artists for the opening reception of The Philadelphia Underground and witness the transformation of Dilworth Plaza into a subterranean cinema and dancefloor, with the opening party music supplied by Broadzilla DJs. The installation will project site-specific films onto the walls, sculptures, and even waterfalls of the often dismal sunken plaza. Take your pick. But if you try to make it to both, we recommend taking the subway instead of a zombie buggy. -Lauren Smith Derby: Saturday, Oct. 9. 6pm. Free. Skybox, 2424 E York St. 215.925.7676. kinetickensington.org Underground: 7pm. Free. Dilworth Plaza, near the Broad Street and […]
Philadelphia Weekly, October 5, 2010 Just weeks after conjuring up the spirits of Bono and company, BCKSEET Productions continues its tributary Sunday night concert series by resurrecting the leper messiah himself—David Bowie’s fluorescent-haired, glitter-spangled alter ego—for a performance of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The most sparkly account of the apocalypse ever (take that, Revelation), the eleven songs document the arrival of a prophetic, guitar-playing Starman to a doomed earth, his rise to rock superstardom and his death at the hands of his fans. All through October, BCKSEET founder Greg DeCandia will lead the collective’s own extraterrestrial spiders through a Moonage Daydream to a final, hollering rock ’n’ roll Suicide, proving once and for all that there is life on Mars. It just happens to wear cherry-red platform boots and spandex kabuki gear. (Lauren Smith) Saturday, Oct. 10. 7pm. $15. L’Etage, 624 S. Sixth St. 267.603.3533. bckseet.com Photo from BCKSEET Productions.
Philadelphia Weekly, September 28, 2010 This month at Jolie Laide, brushstrokes hatch out patterns, yarn explodes into knitted bedlam and insulation is caked in Neapolitan stripes. Though their choices of medium are different—paint, yarn, building materials—Andrew Holmquist, Mike Andrews and Easton Miller share a delight in dynamic textures and surfaces. Holmquist plays with the possibilities of paint application—grimacing faces bite into his textural paint blurs, with jagged teeth and sharp eyes reminiscent of de Koonings’ women. Andrews creates tangled tapestries—knitting mishaps and unhinged potholders raveled into outlandish quilts. His works are messy eruptions of yarn: Sheila Hicks’ wall hangings unspooled and grafted onto Grandma’s homemade sweaters or gigantic scarves knitted by Timothy Leary. And Miller has apparently riffled through fabric stores, Home Depots and coin-operated toy dispensers to turn up the textiles, polymers and keychains he incorporates into his painting-sculpture crossbreeds. Foam insulation crawls in contours over and under lattices of acrylic paint, rabbit’s-foot keychains dangle from canvases of basketball covering and red eyes glare out of a noodly plane of fireplace and pond sealants. Their triple stare is penetrating: This is art that encroaches on your space—and looks back at you. (Lauren Smith) 6pm. Through Oct.30. Jolie Laide, 224 N. […]