Project Turns Military Uniforms Into Paper and Vets’ Experiences Into Triumph

Keefe, center, with participants at a Combat Paper NJ workshop.

Keefe, center, with participants at a Combat Paper NJ workshop.

David Keefe holds a MFA with a speciality in printmaking and painting, and is a practicing artist in New Jersey.

He’s also a Marine vet, who served in Iraq, 2006-2007.

Needless to say, when the Printmaking Center of New Jersey suggested he cut up his old military uniform and transform it into paper, he had to think about it.

“I decided to go ahead with it because it was a good way for me to tell my story, my complex vet experience,” he said. “Once I did it, it was an immediate transformation on my part. It was something that I wanted to communicate, and a lightbulb went off.”

In a nutshell, Keefe teamed up with co-director Eli Wright to establish a New Jersey branch of Combat Paper, which offers workshops all over the Mid-Atlantic region, providing military vets and community members a chance to not only make paper out of their old uniforms, but create something much more profound. Read more »

Five Best Bets for PIFA 2016

Further details about Kimmel Center’s PIFA 2016 were released late last week, including the unveiling of the festival’s signature installation, The Kinetic Tree, at Commonwealth Plaza. There’s quite a lineup of announced performances, and tickets for all of the gigs are currently on sale via the Kimmel website. However, the huge selection of shows can be somewhat overwhelming for those who aren’t quite sure how to navigate the offerings. We hand selected five best bets for PIFA presentations that should be on everyone’s to-do list, including both free and ticketed shows for kids and adults. Take a look at the preview gallery below, and book your tickets by visiting this link.



Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2016-17 Season Highlights Diversity of Sound

orchestra preview

Clockwise from upper left: Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Susan Graham, E.T., Simon Rattle

The Philadelphia Orchestra truly remains the city’s only A-list organization so far as attracting world-class classical music talent to the region, and their 2016-17 season, which was announced late yesterday afternoon, solidifies their ability to present diverse and wide-ranging programming… even the entire score of E.T.

In a statement, the Orchestra’s Musical Director, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, suggested that the upcoming season demonstrates the close bond that he has developed with the musicians throughout his tenure with the organization. Read more »

Best Things to Do in Philly in January

January 6

Sarah Gliko stars in Tom Stoppard's "The Hard Problem," opening January 6th at the Wilma Theater. | Photo by Jauhien Sasnou

Sarah Gliko stars in Tom Stoppard’s “The Hard Problem,” opening January 6th at the Wilma Theater. | Photo by Jauhien Sasnou

The Hard Problem at the Wilma Theater

For years, Philadelphia actress Sarah Gliko longed to perform at the renowned Wilma Theater under the directorship of its co-founder, the peerless Blanka Zizka. “But I was off of Blanka’s radar,” says the 36-year-old Point Breeze resident. “And then she saw me in Lantern’s production of The Liar, and things changed.” That was in 2013. Since then, Gliko has been cast in the Wilma’s critically acclaimed Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq in 2014 and last year as Ophelia in the theater’s intriguing adaptation of Hamlet. Then, for her third Wilma play in as many years, she landed the lead in Tom Stoppard’s first work in a decade, The Hard Problem, which opens January 6th. “This role is a real challenge,” she admits. “There’s so much material, and it’s loaded with some very heavy and heady ideas. I have to find the passion and movement underneath these big ideas and elevate the human story that is pulsing below. It’s not going to be easy.” Through February 6th. 

Read more »

Review: Kristin Chenoweth Sings With the Philadelphia Orchestra

Chenoweth

Toward the end of Kristin Chenoweth‘s set on Saturday evening with The Philadelphia Orchestra, she turned to the audience and said, “There’s only about 20 minutes left, and then you can go and pee. Oh, and if there are any straight men in the audience, my name is Kristin Chenoweth.”

That’s the typical kind of camp one would expect from the Broadway star who has both a Tony and an Emmy to her name. Let’s be clear: Ms. Chenoweth and The Philadelphia Orchestra are odd bedfellows at best, but how can you not adore the pint-sized soprano sipping soda from a giant cup between her big musical numbers? And how could you not love her commentary on Wawa (“You can buy a candle there. You can buy a Slurpee there. Heck, you can buy an entire five-course dinner there!”)? It worked as an evening of endearing entertainment. Read more »

Review: Handel’s Messiah As Intimate As It Is Grand

Photo from Friday evening's performance from The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Photo from Friday evening’s performance from The Philadelphia Orchestra.

There was something tangible about Friday evening’s performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Philadelphia Orchestra, featuring a host of opera notables and the large-scale Philadelphia Voices choir, that made the otherwise massive Verizon Hall feel like an intimate chamber venue. Indeed, there was all of the fanfare and glorious music that is associated with the iconic holiday work, but underneath those layers, Yannick Nézet-Séguin was able to lead his musical troupes to a notably warm and dear sound that was remarkably tender. Read more »

Q&A: Getting Down With The Skivvies

The Skivvies

If you’ve never seen Lauren Molina and Nick Cearley, you don’t know what you’re in for. The Broadway stars, who met back in 2003, are better known as The Skivvies, and they’re the hottest cabaret act in New York. But they aren’t your typical singing duo: The pair literally perform their entire act in their underwear, and they do mashups of classic and pop songs with a series of guest stars who usually strip down as well. Nick (who is openly gay) and Lauren were in town back in February, and they’re returning with their new holiday show at the Kimmel’s SEI Studio. We sat down and chatted with the duo about how they started and what they love best about Philly.

G Philly: I know you guys were just in Philly a year ago, so it’s great to have you back so soon. What did you like about the city and performing at the Kimmel Center?

Lauren Molina: I just love the energy and the history of the city and the art and theater scene. But I absolutely love the food.

Nick Cearley: My favorite thing was figuring out where we were going to eat after the show!

LM: We went to that place with the guacamole…

GP: El Vez?

LM: Yes, El Vez! That place was delicious! We loved the Reading Market. We went there and got coffee and there’s so much to see. But so far as the Kimmel is concerned, the sound system in that space is fantastic. Their workers are on the top of their game and they made us feel so special. That’s the thing about Philly. It’s such a good community for the arts and they make everyone feel comfortable and taken care of.

NC: Their social media game is really good too. The other thing is that it’s really rare that a guy like [artistic director] Jay [Wahl] brought us back two times in one year. It’s really special for us. We did Valentines and now we’re doing Christmas. It’s like a holiday tradition now. Read more »

Hilary Hahn’s Homecoming

hilary-hahn-philadelphia-orchestra

Hilary Hahn | Photo by Michael Patrick O’Leary

She may be from Virginia, but violinist Hilary Hahn spent her formative years in Rittenhouse Square, studying at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music from ages 10 to 19. And that makes her an honorary Philadelphian in our book.

Hahn, 36, has performed literally all over the world, becoming recognized as one of the modern masters of her instrument. But she’s no snoot or slave to Strauss: She’s a big proponent of contemporary “classical” music, she has a fun Twitter account with 54,000 followers that purports to be run by her violin case (@ViolinCase) — and how many classical players do you know who turn up on late-night TV?

Hahn takes a moment from her busy schedule — and it just got busier; she gave birth to her first child in August — to bring her prized 1864 Vuillaume to town to perform Vieuxtemps’s Violin Concerto No. 4 with the Philadelphia Orchestra. “She is a magnificent musician, an absolute master of her craft, and loved by our audiences,” says conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. “We all look forward to welcoming her back.”

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 »

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