Philadelphia Weekly, August 10, 2010 PuppeTyranny! brings its trademark sock and marionette whimsy to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan prelude, transposing the adventures of Peter from Edwardian London’s posh Kensington Gardens to Philly’s own urban Kensington. The troupe’s ragtag band of actors, musicians, puppeteers and Lost Boys patch together shadows, animation, live music and dance to bring to life the story’s various fantastical characters, including fairy queens and invisible flying goats. Peter is as strange a creature as any: Not yet the boy crocodile hunter of Disney fame, he’s a downy newborn, escaped from his crib and convinced he’s a bird. Baby Peter’s dreamy after-hours adventures in the park are enough to push the old nostalgia button—even if our own childhood idylls involved more tube slides than immortal birds. The show repeats on Saturday. (Lauren Smith) 8pm. $5-$10. Emerald Street Urban Farm, 2312 Emerald St. 267.909.2633. puppetuprising.org Image: Puppet Uprising.
Philadelphia Weekly, August 3, 2010 The Internet has made any fool with a flip cam and a ukulele an artist. YouTube teems with the masturbatory short films and webcam navel-gazing of the wireless masses, and blogs swarm like locusts. But if the web is an established venue for “art,” it’s been largely untapped as a medium for it. This month at Extra Extra, Constant Dullaart and Artie Vierkant use the Internet as canvas, palette and gallery, warping its iconography and working through and underneath its networks. The two artists—who developed the show together but have never met in person—have been mysterious about the exact content of the exhibit, offering only a bare-bones website (artievierkantconstantdullaart.com) and links to before-the-fact reviews as clues for what to expect. But follow their internet Reese’s trails a bit and hints emerge: Vierkant’s collaged videos and Dullaart’s virtual galleries of Duchampian readymades, links to empty domains and nowhere sites (including, wryly, urinal.org) crawling with parasitic ads and stock photos. Both artists have used the internet as a muse before: Vierkant recreated the histogram curves of video stills in Styrofoam, Dullaart modeled the spin of YouTube’s loading wheel, the creep of the player’s red bar, and the […]
Philadelphia Weekly, July 20, 2010 As any self-loathing, college educated American knows, the French just do it better. Art, fashion, kissing, health care, counterintuitive spellings—they have us gauche, HMO-saddled Americans beat. Bistrot La Minette seeks to save us from our cheeseburger gobbling selves with two things the French do really well: food and movies. Every Monday and Thursday this summer the restaurant is redefining the old date formula of dinner and a movie, serving up glorious French dishes and cinema in their garden courtyard. Consider it the bistrot’s noble attempt to rescue modern romance from the clutches of Applebee’s and Twilight. This week’s movie is Russian Dolls, a breezy, pan-European tryst with an effortlessly gorgeous cast of jet-setting Frenchmen. With Chef Peter Woolsey’s menu brimming with classic French delicacies and imported wines and Audrey Tautou, requisite star of all French films, fluttering on the big screen, you can indulge that Euro-envy and pretend for a little while that you’re one of them. (Lauren Smith) Movie at 8:30pm. Free with dinner. Bistrot La Minette, 623 S. Sixth St. 215.925.8000. bistrotlaminette.com
Philadelphia Weekly, July 13, 2010 Literal fishing in Brooklyn probably requires some bureaucratic hopscotch and about a gallon of disinfectant. But LaTonia Phipps’ autobiographical one-woman show, while it is inspired by a memory of fishing with her mother in Prospect Park, is more concerned with proverbial fishing. Protagonist Tia Lite casts her line into the pond of memory, but she isn’t hooking guppies and goldfish. She’s tangling with some nasty, toothy eels: the death of her mother, her sexuality, her identity as an Afro-Latina. Swirling from Brooklyn to Ghana, Jamaica to Costa Rica and back, Fishing in Brooklyn explores the memories and music of the Afro-Latin diaspora: West African drums, Caribbean marimbas and borough beats. Tia’s encounters with the women of her past—both ancestors and role models—help her reclaim her cultural heritage and her mother’s memory. What she ultimately catches in this trawl is nothing less than her alma, her soul. (Lauren Smith) 7pm. $5-$10. Also on Thurs., 6pm and 8:30pm. The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St. 215.573.3234. therotunda.org
Philadelphia Weekly, July 6, 2010 So exchange rates got the better of your Parisian vacation, and all your plans for revolution have fizzled. Instead of drowning your sorrows in croissants and Godard, join Philadelphia’s sans-culottes and displaced Francophiles in an uprising against Bourbon tyranny and ridiculous wigs in Fairmount’s annual Bastille Day celebration. First build your esprit du corps with French cuisine and crafts supplied by local restaurants and shops, then watch as musket-toting revolutionaries storm the walls of the Bastille (played by Eastern State Penitentiary) to capture a TastyKake-hurling Marie Antoinette and drag her to the guillotine. Regicide is a possibility, but this commemoration of the French Revolution is more Monty Python than Intro to Western Civilization, and more likely to end in champagne at a bar than in a Reign of Terror. At least here there’s no Robespierre… and everyone accepts American dollars. -Lauren Smith 2pm (storming at 5:30). Free. Eastern State Penitentiary, 2124 Fairmount Ave. 215.236.5111. easternstate.org Photo by Ben Mason on Flickr.
Philadelphia Weekly, July 6, 2010 BalletX is enough to make you forget everything you thought you knew about plies and relevés. Vigorous, athletic, expressive, and, yes, sexy, BalletX’s original choreography expands includes moves that don’t even have French names. The company is celebrating its fifth anniversary this week with a summer series of three challenging, emotive original ballets, two of which are world premieres: Matthew Prescott’s “Journey of the Day,” a buoyant piece set to the bluegrass-infused classical of Curtis double-bass prof Edgar Meyer’s Appalachian Journey, and Matthew Neenan’s “The Last Glass,” inspired by the street-parade choruses of indie band Beirut. We may still be nursing emotional wounds from second-grade dance recitals, but BalletX shows us just how relevant the art form can be. (Lauren Smith) Through July 25. $20-$30. Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad St. 215.546.7824. balletx.org
Philadelphia Weekly, July 6, 2010 (as Lauren Smith) She & Him, the duo of actress Zooey Deschanel—she of the dark bangs, elfin features, and cotton commercials—and singer-songwriter M. Ward lit up the Great Plaza’s River Stage Friday night with a pleasant but unremarkable set of fizzy, retro folk-pop. The lopsided pronouns of their name—selected, according to Deschanel, to draw attention away from their, or rather her, marquee light names—are a hint to the off-kilter stage dynamics of this twosome. Ward may be a Monster of Folk, a songwriter and guitarist with a retro twang and ear for subtle pop grooves, but beside Sundance sprite Deschanel, he’s the shrugged-off him, a producer shuffled on stage to back his winsome little wunderkind. Make no mistake: the butterscotch voice and dewy eyes may be Zooey’s, but the lush, strum and reverb music behind her is all Ward. It’s a thankless role. On stage Ward mostly played second fiddle to Deschanel’s jangling tambourine. She hopscotched across the stage, chattered with her trademark deadpan whimsy (“My dad’s family are Philadelphia people from way back. Maybe I’m related to some of you.”), and bent her voice from back porch drawl to cabaret croon. Like any good actress she stole […]