REVIEW: The Book of Mormon at Forrest Theatre

Monica Patton, David Larsen, and Cody Strand.

Monica Patton, David Larsen, and Cody Strand.

It’s hard to believe the Broadway production of The Book of Mormon will turn five next year, and that the show is just as inappropriate, just as bawdy, just as funny as ever. I mean, what show has a supporting character named General Butt F*cking Naked and has a climatic Act Two number called “Joseph Smith American Moses,” a hilarious spoof on the Uncle Tom’s Cabin ballet from The King and I, where the lyrics go like this: “F*ck your woman, f*ck your man, it is all part of God’s plan. Mormons help God as they can, here in Salt Lake City land!”

As I watched the national touring company, which has planted itself here in Philly at the Forrest Theatre through the holidays, I couldn’t help but think that now, more than ever, in a world of Kim Davis, Donald Trump, and Ben Carson, we need this type of show and humor. It proves that the belief systems of organized religions are just as absurd as the premises put forth in the show: you know, that God will send a magical frog to cure villagers of their AIDS. The catch? They have to have sex with it (or, as one of the characters puts it, it’s a “magical f*ck frog”). Read more »

15 Things to Do in Philly This Week

The Christmas tree at City Hall will be lit this Thursday. | Photo by Kevin Burkett via Flickr

The Christmas tree at City Hall will be lit this Thursday. | Photo by Kevin Burkett / Flickr

The holidays are in full swing as the Philadelphia Museum of Art throws an ugly sweater bash, plus East Passyunk Avenue lights their tree and Choral Arts presents the world premiere of seven new Advent works. There’s also plenty of theater, performance, and author meet-and-greets this week.

Cast of This Is the Week That Was | Photo by John Flak

Cast of This Is The Week That Is | Photo by John Flak

This Is The Week That Is With 1812 Productions

The city’s funniest theater troupe is celebrating 10 years of this annual send-up of politics and media. Through December 31st, various times and prices, Plays & Players Theater. 

Pop-Up Play in a Pub

Inis Nua Theatre presents Last Christmas, a tale starring Adam Altman and written by Welsh playwright Matthew Bulgo. Tickets include the performance, plus a beverage and a meat or veggie pie. December 1-3, 6 pm, $15, Fergie’s Pub.

Read more »

21 Ways to Observe World AIDS Day in Philadelphia

World AIDs Day

December 1st is World AIDS Day, a chance to not only memorialize those who have died from AIDS, but to promote activism, education, and community engagement on all matters related to HIV/AIDS. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, and this year, Philadelphia-area organizations will offer a host of events that will feature the AIDS Memorial Quilt and the AIDS Fund Traveling Timeline titled “1981 Until It’s Over.” We rounded up local 21 events where guests can view the quilt, the timeline, and, in some cases, both, along with speaking engagements and workshops of how to add a square to the quilt.

Prevention Point Philadelphia: Display of quilt. Now through Sunday, December 13th, 8 pm to 11:30 pm, free, Prevention Point.

William Way Community Center: Display of quilt. Now through Monday, December 7th, various times, free, William Way Community Center.

A portion of the AIDS Timeline.

A portion of the AIDS Timeline.

Siloam Wellness World AIDS Day: Display of quilt. Now through Monday, December 7th, 10 am to 5 pm, free, Siloam Wellness.

Jefferson World AIDS Day: Display of quilt. Now through Friday, December 4th, 10 am to 5 pm, free, Dorrance H. Hamilton Building. Read more »

Cirque Du Soleil Breaks the Mold With Avatar-Themed Production

Toruk Header

I get off a 32-seat plane in the middle of Lafayette, Louisiana and head almost directly to the town’s Cajundome, an arena that houses the likes of Disney on Ice, monster truck shows, and Frozen sing-alongs. But they’ve never hosted a Cirque du Soleil production, until now.

It’s a low-pressure market to “try out” Cirque’s newest concept, and the locals are ecstatic (the clerk at my car rental window literally could not stop talking about it). Not only was the Cajundome getting Cirque, but they are the second city world wide to premiere a multi-million-dollar risk that involves not only Cirque’s artistic partnership with Hollywood mogul James Cameron, but a completely different style of presentation. Richmond, Virginia is next, followed by Allentown at the start of December.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime to work with Cameron,” says the production’s artistic director Fabrice Lemire. “We are thinking outside the box. The public needs to come in with an open mind. Usually with Cirque, there is a formula. If people are coming in to see that formula, they won’t get it.”

Read more »

What to Expect at Philly’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

2009 Thanksgiving Day parade in Philadelphia. Photo | AP/Matt Rourke

2009 Thanksgiving Day parade in Philadelphia. Photo | AP/Matt Rourke

Philadelphians will be able to walk on by at tomorrow’s 6ABC Thanksgiving Day Parade, as Grammy winner Dionne Warwick and a host of other celebrities headline the 96th annual festivities on the Parkway, billed as the oldest Thanksgiving parade in the nation. Read more »

Martha Graham Cracker’s Newest Gig: Kimmel Center Leading Lady

Martha Crop

My chat with Dito started a few minutes early because he feared he’d face a long commute going to his gig at People’s Light: It was the day that a man shot at a police offer on 676, and then proceeded to ram his car into a school bus.

“This is why we need art,” I said.

“Exactly,” he replied. “There’s a Leonard Bernstein quote about this.”

I believe I found the quote after a little searching: “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” Ironically enough, that’s exactly what van Reigersberg will be doing during his new show playing the Kimmel Center’s SEI Studio in December. Read more »

PHOTOS: Macy’s Adorable Peanuts-Themed Holiday Window Display

Peanuts Header

Let’s face it: These may be the best Macy’s holiday windows ever.

Usually, the department store’s flagship location in New York City gets over-the-top holiday displays, but this year, our very own Center City store unveiled an adorable and highly stylized series of Christmas windows featuring Charlie Brown, The Peanuts gang, and other scenes from television and the movies.

The vast majority of the Macy’s windows on Market Street feature displays that depict some of the most memorable moments from the iconic holiday special A Charlie Brown Christmas, complete with Lucy’s “Psychiatric Help” booth and that poor, dismal Christmas tree that Charlie tries to decorate. Peppered in with the Peanuts is a gorgeous display of a child watching Miracle on 34th Street, with giant Macy’s parade balloons literally floating out toward shoppers, and another Miracle-inspired window.

Take a look at some of the shots below, and make sure you stop by the store during your holiday shopping to catch the animated windows yourself. If you go starting November 27th, you could also treat yourself to the department store’s Christmas Light Show and Dickens Village on the inside. That runs through December 31st.

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Forget Patti Pies: William Way Center Hosting Gay Thanksgiving Weekend

Patti LaBelle

From Patti LaBelle’s Cooking Channel show.

If you’ve been stalking Walmart shelves waiting for a shipment of Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pie, I have a better suggestion: Head on over to the William Way LGBT Community Center this weekend for gatherings that are surely better than trampling over people to get a big screen television set at Best Buy. Read more »

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