As usual, there’s way too much to see at this year’s 19th iteration of the Fringe Festival, with 143 different events split between the “curated” shows, a.k.a. the performers who are invited and paid for by the festival, and the “independents,” a.k.a. the come-one-come-alls, which include everything from a comedy hypnosis show to stuff you should actually see. Today, we’re focusing on the latter to bring you our 9 must-see independent shows. (Click the show titles for ticket links.)
The Awesome Fest’s eight-week summer movie screenings at Liberty Lands Park end this Friday with the East Coast premiere of Deathgasm, a gory, but hilarious, independent horror-comedy film.
The Awesome Fest, created in 2010 by Josh Goldbloom, is “a scrappy DIY community project designed to showcase innovative and cutting edge independent cinema in unique and non-traditional spaces throughout the City of Philadelphia.” Every summer since their debut, The Awesome Fest has held annual outdoor film and music festivals with more than 200 screenings, concerts, stand-up comics and art installations, all free and open to the public.
To conclude this summer’s movie screenings, held at Liberty Lands Park on North 3rd Street between Poplar and Wildey streets, Goldbloom and his team will show what they call “the most insane film we’ve ever screened outdoors.”
Deathgasm first premiered at South by Southwest Film Festival back in March. “It’s a gorefest comedy and it really goes for the jugular,” Goldbloom says. “It’s a ton of fun, its hysterical and the production value is though the roof. Personally it’s one of my favorite films I’ve seen all year.”
The film has been playing at different film festivals all around the world and is going to be released in theaters and on DVD by October. The blood-spattering gore and crazy comedy of Deathgasm can be compared to cult classics such as Evil Dead and Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive.
After the film series ends in Philadelphia this week, Awesome Fest plans to head out to Chicago to work on the Bruce Campbell Horror Film Festival. “It’s such a big deal to us to work with horror legend Bruce Campbell,” Goldbloom says.
Deathgasm will screen this Friday, August 14 at 9pm at Liberty Lands Park, and is not appropriate for children. Goldbloom calls it the “craziest outdoor film Philadelphia will ever see.”
Tomorrow afternoon, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance‘s STAMP program, an initiative to get young people out to Philly’s cultural attractions, will host an Old City museum crawl for area teens aged 14-19.
The day starts at the National Constitution Center (NCC) at 3:30 pm. From there, teens can venture out to explore participating museums in the vicinity, which include the African American Museum, National Liberty Museum, National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia History Museum and Independence Visitor Center.
Few things are more satisfying than waking up one morning, deciding you’re going to call out of work and declaring the rest of the day “Treat Y’rself Day.” With that in mind PhilaMOCA is hosting a whole daylong festival dedicated to treating y’rself and, in turn, treating s’meone else.
This weekend’s Treat Y’rself Fest is a benefit supporting October’s March to End Rape Culture, organized by Square of Opposition Records, Permanent Wave, Philly activist group Pussy Division and Pittsburgh music blog Grey Estates. For the day, curators have lined up a dozen bands, and a host of record, craft, clothing and food vendors so you can treat y’rself in a variety of ways.
For your ears: local bands The Pretty Greens, Littler and Mercury Girls will headline alongside Ohio’s Leggy. Other acts, like Ghost Gum and Kississippi will perform throughout the night. Vinyl retailers Sit & Spin Records and Rainbow Records will be on hand to sell you tunes that you can crank up at home.
This weekend, on August 8th and 9th, Wilma Theater will host the Urban Noir Project, a show produced by Urban Noir Productions. It’s a series of vignettes that take audiences on a journey through the past several hundred years, bridging each era of African American history through song, dance and a powerful narrative.
The play is part docu-drama, part musical, incorporating everything from Civil War-era spirituals to James Brown and Public Enemy. “We use music and dance to talk about each era and move the story along,” explains Executive Producer Monica Moses. “For instance, we use hip-hop to take a look at Reaganomics and examine the economical impact on the African American community.” The performance begins with the slave trade and follows history all the way through to the election of the first African American president.
The production remains true to history and takes audiences on an emotional roller coaster. “There are a couple really heavy intense pieces, but we balance them out with some comedy. We’re giving you everything here. It’s a really, really unique piece.” Moses says. The show is entertaining and comfortable enough for audiences to sit through.
Monica Moses is the writer, director and executive producer of the play. The idea originated as a series of short stories Moses wrote in college. She then attempted to turn her stories into a television series, but was convinced the script would be better suited for the stage. Once the show was up and running, Moses wanted to test the community’s reaction by holding a performance at a local community center. Audience feedback was overwhelming, which led Moses to move toward larger venues.
The Urban Noir Project is a response to the civic unrest and racial tensions that are still embedded within contemporary society. Moses produced the play as a way to address these issues and encourage a dialogue among diverse demographics. “I want people to understand that we are all included in the African American history.” Moses explains. Her play is an attempt to bridge a racial gap and artistically express that “we are all part of a system and we do as the system dictates.” Once we are able to understand each other’s backgrounds we can gain perspective and acceptance. Obama’s inauguration is one of the final acts of the play, intended to leave the crowd with a feeling of hope and accomplishment.
To purchase tickets for the next performance of the Urban Noir Project, click here.