There’s a lot going on this first weekend of fall—from the start of FringeArts to LiCK’s latest Vixens & Vagabonds Queer & Kinky Cabaret to gay night at Six Flags Great Adventure. I round up all the notables below:
Read more »
Two Street by Tribe of Fools: The newest brainchild of the Philadelphia-based Tribe of Fools, the physical theater company has won critics over with its previous Fringe festival hits Heavy Metal Dance Fag and Antihero. The troupe, which consists of Terry Brennan, Zachary Chiero, Tim Popp and Peter Smith, welcomes Peter Andrew Danzig, Isa St. Clair, and Karina Balfour to the group for the FringeArts Festival take on Shakespeare’s classic tale, updated for queer contemporary audiences. More here. September 4-13, The Church of the Crucifixion, 620 South 8th Street. —Bryan Buttler
Read more »
“Sometimes I feel like Martha’s more well-known than I am — she’s eclipsed me.” Photograph by Chris Crisman
Hard to say what Martha Graham Cracker noticed a few seconds ago as she left the band and the stage and slinked through the crowd. Hard to say why she picked out from the 100 people packed into this blackened room a certain middle-aged white guy in a white button-up shirt, but right now Martha has her legs wrapped around this guy’s neck.
The guy is standing next to a rectangular bar at the back of L’Étage, a nightclub and cabaret off South Street. Martha’s sitting on the bar and leaning back into the bartenders’ space, legs up in the air so that her calves are balanced on the guy’s shoulders, wireless microphone in her right hand. She’s singing Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” — like, really singing it, powerfully, seriously, an emotionally naked song about desperation and fear, singing it in her strong, lovely voice, a spotlight piercing the dark and illuminating her face.
And part of the comedy here, part of the reason that all 100 people are laughing and clapping in surprise and delight, is that Martha’s not even looking at the guy who is struggling between her legs. Smiling but struggling as a friend or partner films it on her smartphone. Almost certainly a new experience for the guy, being this close to a drag queen, much less a drag queen like Martha: six-foot-two and hairy-chested, hairy-armed, hairy-legged; not a man trying to pass as a woman but a defiantly unmown lawn of a man in a blond pixie wig and a blue dress and six-inch heels that are now crossed behind the dude’s neck in a hammerlock as Martha’s guitarist and bassist and keyboardist and drummer play the Whitney Houston song and Martha sings:
Read more »
One of the best parts about the FringeArts festival is arguably the Festival Bar. I mean come on, with 120-plus shows, you need a place where you can pop a squat, order a cocktail and let your mind rest from taking in all that art—and trust me, some of that stuff can get pretty intense. Plus, it’s nice to have a place to congregate with other theater-goers, to get feedback about what shows you should see, and which ones you should miss.
For the first time in FringeArts history, the bar will take place in its new permanent home—Chef Peter Woolsey’s La Peg, a bar and restaurant in the barely year-old FringeArts building at 140 North Columbus Boulevard. Throughout the course of the three-week festival the bar will host some performances of its own, starting with a bang with the Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret on September 5th. That show will feature the hairy, leggy drag queen (pictured) backed for the first time by members of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Should be quite the show.
Read more »
Martha Graham Cracker’s world domination tour continues. It all started last year in New York, where she got rave reviews (and multiple invite-backs) performing at Joe’s Pub. This spring she turned the honky tonks on their heads in Austin, Texas. And now she’s making her biggest leap yet—across the proverbial pond and then some to sing in Lublin, Poland’s experimental arts festival “Confrontations” in October.
Read more »
After a jam-packed weekend, Philly Tech Week blows past Manic Monday with a host of activities taking place in venues across Philly through April 12th. Some of the week's highlights? On Monday Tech Mix It Up: A Diversity Networking Affair welcomes people from minority backgrounds, including ethnicity, race, sexual orientation and people with disabilities, to gather to discuss ways to "crack the bro-grammer code." On Tuesday, Hive 76 is pulling vintage video games out of its closet for an evening of friendly throwback competition. On Wednesday play Tech Quizzo at Grey Lodge Pub, and Thursday sees the Rad Girls Philly launch party at the Philadelphia Art Alliance. But I'm just scratching the surface. Go here to see the week's full itinerary. Through April 12th, various times, locations and prices, phillytechweek.com.
Philly storytelling queen Hillary Rea is gathering some of her funniest friends for a night of deceptive raconteuring. Here's how it works: After a series of "personal, awkward, outrageous, gripping, and twisted tales" from each performer, Rea and the audience will do some interrogating to uncover the fibber. Performers include Chip Chantry, T.J. Hurley, Rose Luardo and R. Eric Thomas (pictured). Tuesday, April 8th, 6 p.m., free, Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk.
Rare-video scavengers Video Pirates kick off the 2014 Cinedelphia Film Festival with Video Wars, an indie film shot in Philly and Mount Airy in 1980. It's the first feature film for Mario Giampaolo, and features a handful of hotties from that year’s Miss Hemisphere pageant. The festival continues through April 26th with an itinerary full of other hard-to-find gems. See the full schedule here.
Philadelphia favorite Kevin Allison, star of MTV’s The State and Reno 911: Miami, returns to the city of Brotherly Love for one night only to present a live taping of his popular podcast,RISK!, an award-winning storytelling platform that challenges performers to share daunting and revealing memories and experiences they never thought they’d share in public. The evening, presented by First Person Arts, is the fourth time RISK! has been presented in Philadelphia; this time, the storytelling showdown will take place at Underground Arts, and will feature local storytellers Thomas Dixon, Kitty Hailey, Teresa Marquard, and G Philly's own Alexander Kacala. Friday, April 11th, 8 p.m., $20, Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill Street. —Bryan Buttler.
Looking for something else? Visit our Philadelphia Event Listings page for a good rundown of local goings-on through June.
New York City critics — and Bill Murray — raved when Martha Graham Cracker made her Big Apple debut last year at Joe’s Pub, but that was kind of easy. New York loves its drag queens — even the ultra tall, very hairy variety. Martha likes a challenge, and that’s why she’s accepted an offer to head [way] below the Mason Dixon to put on her first-ever show in the South.
Read more »
B-Boy Blues: The award-winning stage adaptation of James Earl Hardy’s novel B-Boy Blues gets its Philly debut at Painted Bride Art Center. The first-of-its-kind gay, hip-hop love story chronicles the lives of queer black men in New York City. The Philly Gay News does a nice writeup about it here. The event — a must-see one-night-only affair — is being produced with the help of Philadelphia Black Gay Pride. Tuesday, February 25, 7 p.m., Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street.
More to-dos after the jump
Gayborhood lesbian bar Sister’s closed last August, taking with it Philly’s only bar dedicated solely to women who love women. There have been a few female-centric, one-off parties have popped up since — like LickR — and of course we love our Stimulus and Pulse events, but the void is still strongly felt. Maybe this new soiree at Vanity Nightclub will help. Hosted by EDM Nocturnal Philly Radio and Voices Music People, Tongue Tied Thursdays is a new “women’s and LGBTQ” dance party that will go down every single week. Music at tonight’s launch event will be spun by DJs Steal Yo Girl and Messi Messina. And in the vein of Sister’s, there will be shot girls and go-go dancers. 9 p.m., $5, Vanity Nightclub, 2102 Market St.
Across town, another lady will be lighting up the night with her signature torch songs and maybe a martini or six. Martha Graham Cracker hits L’etage for her first cabaret of the year. This time around she’ll be joined by “8-piece absurdist soul outfit” Johnny Showcase. Should be a snazzy good time. 8 p.m., $15, L’etage, 624 S. Sixth St.