What’s Worth Seeing in November: Usher, Bob Dylan, Jerry Seinfeld, the PMA Craft Show and More

Corrina Burns | Photo by Jauhien Sasnou

Corrina Burns | Photo by Jauhien Sasnou

The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence
November 5-23
Off-Broad Street Theater
Time and time again, we’ve heard that there’s a dearth of roles for actresses of a certain age. “But I think that might be changing,” says Corinna Burns, the female lead in Azuka Theatre’s The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, a 2014 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Last season, the 42-year-old Swarthmore grad was cast in just one show. This season? “I have five shows,” she says, including Revolution Shakespeare’s just-wrapped Macbeth and a Fringe play that won accolades from the New York Times. “I feel very lucky. It’s an embarrassment of riches.”

More November must-dos after the jump

10 Things To Do In Philly This Week: Jewish Film Festival, First Person Arts, Martha Graham Cracker Sings the Music of David Lynch and More



Who to See at First Person Arts Festival 2014: Kathryn Erbe, Marcus Samuelsson, Ira Glass and More

Kathryn Erbe, Marcus Samuelsson, and Ira Glass will appear at the First Person Arts Festival.

Kathryn Erbe, Marcus Samuelsson, and Ira Glass will appear at the First Person Arts Festival.

The First Person Arts Festival marks its 13th year next week, and it features a star-studded lineup. The festival runs Tuesday, November 4th through Saturday, November 15th and includes celebrity chefs, TV stars and a live edition of the First Person Arts podcast.

Kick off the festival by spending the night of Tuesday, November 4th, with Marcus Samuelsson, the star of Top Chef Masters and ABC’s The Taste. Celebri-chef Samuelsson will prepare a meal from his new cookbook Marcus Off Duty with the help of local Top Chef competitor Jen Carroll. Tickets for the 7:00 p.m. dinner are $150 and include access to a special book signing.

StrippedStories_Anya-Garrett

Giulia Rozzi and Margot Leitman star in “Stripped Stories” | Photo courtesy of Anya Garrett.

If you’ve recently thought, “Wow, I could really go for a sex-themed variety show starring two awesome female comedians,” well, First Person Arts has totally been reading your diary. Comedy Central’s Margot Leitman and MTV and VH1’s Giulia Rozzi will tell their sexiest “Stripped Stories” onstage Saturday, November 8th, at Underground Arts. Doors open at 9 p.m.. Live music will be provided by Philly’s Johnny Showcase, and tickets are just $22.

Storyteller, author, comedian, and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax is bringing her one-woman-show Ruby Wax: Sane New World on tour, stopping at the FPA Fest on Thursday, November 13th. Based on her best-selling book Sane New World: A User’s Guide to the Normal-Crazy Mind (a copy of which is included with your $35 ticket) the 9 p.m. show combines humor with Wax’s Oxford University Masters degree in cognitive therapy.

Attention all Law and Order: Criminal Intent binge-watchers: Detective Alex Eames, a.k.a Kathryn Erbe, will join The Good Wife‘s Zach Grenier and Alex Morf for a one-night-only dramatic reading of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into NightThis semi-autobiographical tale of a family’s struggle with addiction is part of Outside the Wire‘s Addiction Performance Project. The free reading is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 15th, at the Christ Church Sanctuary and features a post-performance discussion of addiction.

PhillipBailey

Earth Wind and Fire’s Philip Bailey | Photo courtesy of the artist.

Let the storytelling continue when Earth Wind & Fire lead singer and eight-time Grammy winner Philip Bailey shares tales from his memoir Shining Star: Braving the Elements of Earth Wind & Fire. A truly behind-the-scenes look at the legendary group, music icon Bailey will be interviewed by WDAS’ Patty Jackson about his amazing journey. The $40 ticketed event begins Saturday, November 15th, at 8 p.m. at Mother Bethel AME Church.

Also on Saturday, November 15th, the inimitable Ira Glass takes the Merriam Theater stage at 8 p.m. to talk broadcast journalism, what makes a good story, and more. The creator of This American Life will mix stories with pre-taped quotes and music in order to recreate the sound of the show for the live audience. Tickets range from $28-$125.

For ticketing, information about these events and a full calendar of the First Person Arts Festival, visit FirstPersonArts.org.

Interview: Two-Time “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia” Steve Clark

Steve Clark

Steve Clark

To be named “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia” is not an easy task. Yet, Steve Clark has won the title, not once, but twice: the Philadelphian has taken home the crown from First Person Arts two consecutive years in a row (2013 and 2014). We had the chance to sit down with the superstar storyteller to learn how he works his magic to charm audiences with his tales (we’ve also got his winning story on video for you).

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LGBT Black History Month Spotlight:
7 Questions With Comedic Storyteller
R Eric Thomas

In partnership with Philadelphia Black Gay Pride, every day throughout the month of February we will spotlight an influential black mover and shaker in the city.

Today: Philly playwright, comedic storyteller and all-around hilarious person R. Eric Thomas. Since moving to Philly from Baltimore to chase down Patti Labelle (an adventure he describes in the video above), Thomas has racked up all kinds of accolades and achievements. He’s won two First Person Arts StorySlam competitions, he was invited to give a TedX talk, and he’s written and performed some of his most popular work, including Will You Accept This Friend Request, to sold-out crowds. He is currently working as an admin at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, and continues to perform his unique style of “stand-up dramedy” around the city. You can catch him this week, in fact, when he hosts First Person Arts‘ annual Valentine’s Day story slam, “The Ex Files.” More info here.

7 questions with R. Eric Thomas after the jump

Provocative LGBT Images Up for Grabs in Zoe Strauss Silent Auction

"Women Kissing" is one of the LGBT-centric images available in Zoe Strauss's silent auction for First Person Arts.

“Women Kissing” is one of the LGBT-centric images available in Zoe Strauss’s silent auction for First Person Arts.

Out Philly photographer Zoe Strauss has released a series of images from her 2007 documentary project, “If You Break the Skin, You Must Come In,” to a silent auction benefitting First Person Arts. The project was inspired by a sign she saw off the interstate in southwest Philadelphia advertising an AIDS prevention clinic. The original image, which was included in her 10-year retrospective in 2012 at Philadelphia Museum of Art, is included in the auction.

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ThinkFest Video: R. Eric Thomas


Playwright and stand-up dramedian, R. Eric Thomas, shares a life-changing moment of creative enlightenment through meeting his personal idol, Patti LaBelle.

Living in Baltimore and considering himself “creatively bankrupt,” he went against his better judgement and moved to Philadelphia, even though his preconceived notions of Philadelphia were entirely based off of the opening rap montage of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as well as the positively apocalyptic Avenue of the Arts shown in the movie Philadelphia. The city he now calls home is responsible for “waking him up” to a creative side he considered long gone until he found the innovative community he longed for through the nonprofit organization, First Person Arts.

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