Every Friday we spotlight the buzz-worthiest new movie opening in Philadelphia.
Name: 300: Rise of an Empire
Genre: Action/Swords/Chiseled Abs
Logline: Sin City meets Troy
Quick Review: Zack Snyder only produced and wrote this grisly follow-up to his successful 300, but his handprints are all over the thing, from the inane dialogue to the beyond silly physics-defying action sequences, all totted up in CGI-enhanced overload. The story very loosely follows the Persian attack on Greece lead by the golden-Speedo sporting King Xerxes (played by Rodrigo Santoro), and his naval commander Artemisia (Eva Green), a fierce female warrior, who is slightly smitten with her formidable Greek opponent, Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton). Much blood and many body parts later, the issue is laid to rest, but not before giving us beheadings, disembowelment, fantastical sea serpents, and a 3-D sex/fight scene that ends with no one getting what they want. Welcome to the club.
Read more »
Philly free jazz great Henry Grimes returns to town tomorrow to perform in Celebrating Cecil at the Painted Bride. The event recognizes the innovative work of jazz pioneer Cecil Taylor at the Painted Bride. Both musicians were at the forefront of ’60s avant-garde, re-constructing jazz alongside Pharaoh Sanders, Albert Ayler and Don Cherry.
Read more »
Of all the tortures, to put it lightly, of elevator-sharing (awkward eye contact, microscopic talk, the dreaded cougher), the music may be enemy number one. Asian Arts Initiative (AAI) understands the pain, and is flipping it on its head with a new exhibit, “Really Good Elevator Music.”
The project, headed by AAI artist-in-residence Yowei Shaw, turns an elevator into a pop-up installation, where office-goers and art lovers can change how they view passive time — the habitual commute becoming an experience. Collaborators on the project include Steven Dufala (formerly of Man Man) and a slew of other Philly artists. Their two-minute tracks are an experiment in found sound, field recordings and music, with the hope of promoting active listeners and an active community. Expect to hear heart-warming, thought-provoking and light-hearted pieces piped in through the PA, with tracks ranging from a recorded discussion with men to take shelter at the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission to a soundbite of eighth graders rehearsing their Miley Cyrus-themed graduation video.
The project is running now through March 31st in the Wolf Building elevators, at 340 North 12th Street. Shaw will host a listening party on March 14th that features the music and video reactions from participants. That takes place at the Asian Arts Initiative, at 1219 Vine Street. For more information and to listen to some of the tracks, go here.
KindieComm’s culminating music festival will feature a performance by impossibly catchy Latin Grammy winner Lucky Diaz.
After being shuttered in July 2013, KindieComm (formerly known as KindieFest and StinkFest) has been given new life thanks to Philly’s WXPN and Kids Corner.
KindieComm is a convention for artists in the family music genre that will help aspiring “Kindie” (kids indie) musicians network with and learn from some big names in the biz. Rookies and veterans of the industry are excited to see a comeback for the event after the Brooklyn version fell apart.
Read more »
Photo by Abe Frajndlich for “The New York Times.”
Anthony Elms, artist and associate curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Philadelphia, is one of three outside-NYC curators the Whitney Museum of American Art handpicked for its 2014 Biennial. According to The New York Times, Elms’s exhibit is on the second floor of the museum’s Breuer building, and writer Holland Cotter says, out of the three exhibitions, “it has some of the work I liked best.” He goes into more detail:
A piece at the entrance by Jimmie Durham — Native American by descent, in self-exile from the United States since 1987 — was a good omen. His abstract but roughly humanoid sculpture called “Choose Any Three” is made of stacked wood chips inscribed with names: Vanzetti, E. Zapata; Crazy Horse; Ho Chi Minh, Cristóbal Colón, Johnny Colón, Kay Starr, Malcolm X, etc. Mix and match and create your own political meaning for the piece.
This is also sort of the general method underlying Mr. Elms’s show, which reveals itself slowly. You spot an LP playing on a turntable, but there’s no sound. You listen closer, and maybe there is: a kind of audible vacuum, moving air. The recording was made on Sept. 11 and 12, 2001, by Matt Hanner, a member of the collective Academy Records. He lived under a flight path near a Chicago airport. When planes were grounded after the news of the Sept. 11 attacks, he taped the extraordinary silence.
You can catch the Whitney Biennial now through May 25th. More info here.
The 2014 Whitney Biennial continues through May 25 at the Whitney Museum of American Art; 212-570-3600, whitney.org.
As we reported earlier this week, Philly soul queens Patti LaBelle and Jill Scott performed at the White House last night for Michelle Obama’s “Women of Soul,” an arts workshop for high school and college students. The reviews are in, and it sounds like Miss Patti brought the house down. From AP: ”First up in the East Room lineup was LaBelle, with a thundering delivery of ‘Over the Rainbow’ that had the audience on its feet. … [She] had plenty of stories and advice to share with the students, then got them whooping, hooting and swaying with a [song] in the intimate venue of the State Dining Room.”
Scott joined Melissa Etheridge, Janelle Monae, and Tessanne Chin on a “rollicking” version of Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary.” The concert streamed live on the White House website, and you can catch it on April 7th when it airs on PBS.
More morning headlines after the jump
Self-Portrait of a Madman: A Polaroid of John Hinckley used at trial.
Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
When John Hinckley Jr. pulled the trigger six times on March 30, 1981, he was trying to kill then-president Ronald Reagan. But his real motivation was fame. Ironically, since being found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982, Hinckley has faded from public view. But now a new play from Philadelphia playwright Ginger Dayle thrusts the would-be assassin into the spotlight.
The show, which opens on March 6th at the Adrienne, is the first major creative endeavor to center solely on Hinckley, a schizophrenic who these days divides his time between a psychiatric hospital and his parents’ home in Virginia. Dayle began the project in 2007 as a graduate student at Villanova and resurrected it to close out New City Stage Company’s presidential-themed season.
Read more »
Photo by Jauhien Sasnou
Even if you’ve been to a dozen Philadelphia Flower Shows, you’ve probably never met Barbara King. But you’ve no doubt seen her work. King, president of Wayne’s upmarket Valley Forge Flowers, has designed the extravagant entrance installations for seven shows and has been involved since she can remember. “I’m a third-generation florist,” King explains. “I was always trailing behind my parents.” Expect a more creative and innovative flower show than usual (thank goodness!) due to the theme: “ARTiculture,” with installations from scores of horticulture enthusiasts inspired by the masters. King’s is based on the work of sculptor Alexander Calder. “Normally the rules and guidelines for the show are very strict,” she says. “But this year, there is no wrong way. Every arrangement is its own picture — a thing of beauty.” March 1st to 9th, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Center City, 215-988-8800.
First appeared in the March, 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.
Remember the South Philadelphia house that blew up recently? No, not that one. This one.
The man whose house blew up was Ron Talton, a manager at Chris’ Jazz Cafe on Sansom Street, and on Thursday night, Chris’ is holding a benefit to help him out. Some of Philly’s best jazz musicians are coming out for it, and all of the proceeds ($10 suggested donation) go to helping Talton get his life back in order.
But what you really need to know about Ron Talton is that he used to be a professional singer in Germany, and in 1994, he starred in this semi-NSFW music video for his song, “Tie U Up.” And it is… amazing.
I’m pretty sure the lyrics go something like: “I would usually use my hammer, but with you, I’ve got the wood… I’m gonna tie you up, funk it down, hit you with my two-by-four…”
Enjoy this totally 1994 flashback to 1994. I don’t know whether to say, “You’re welcome” or “I’m sorry.”