Jennifer Weiner: The Literary Lioness

Jennifer Weiner | Photograph by Jonathan Pushnik

This is what the world knows about Jennifer Weiner: She writes funny and emotionally gripping novels about plucky plus-size heroines. She writes insightful and pithy essays, often for the New York Times, about Judaism and feminism and race and motherhood and pop culture. She writes hilarious tweets about everything under the sun, including, until recently, The Bachelor, but in March she wrote an insightful and pithy essay for the Times about why she hasn’t been watching it since the 2016 election. She sells tons of books, she has her finger on the zeitgeist, and she’s a social media genius. Sometimes she effusively praises other writers, and sometimes she spars online with other writers, and sometimes her arguments are trenchant and dead-on, and sometimes, if you’re her friend, you want to save her from herself. But even then, you admire her fearless outspokenness. Read more »

James Ijames: Breakout Bard

James Ijames | Photograph by Colin Lenton

James Ijames (pronounced “like ‘times’ without the ‘t’”) is one of Philly’s most prominent theater people. As an actor, he’s given memorable performances in Angels in America at the Wilma, Superior Donuts at the Arden and many other works. As a playwright, he’s seen his oeuvre — including The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington (a fantasia wherein the now-ancient First Lady imagines her freed slaves will rise up against her) and White (a mischievous comedy with the very serious theme of white appropriation of black culture in the arts) — produced locally and nationally (Washington, D.C., New York and more to come). He’s a three-time Barrymore Award winner (including the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Philadelphia Theatre Artist) and a Pew Fellow for playwriting, and this year won a prestigious Whiting Award for drama. Read more »

42 Things to Do This Weekend

Laura Baird plays Brickbat Books on Sunday.

Friday, October 20

Guns N’ Roses Was Here: 30 Years Later @ The Trocadero
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of GnFnR’s concert at the Troc on the Appetite for Destruction tour, an impressive coterie of local talent will perform music by the iconic band. Performers include: School of Rock students, Northern Arms, a reunited Welcome to My Face (a personal favorite), Mr. Johnny Showcase, Thorazine, the Flannel Chucks, Cynthia Hopkins and members of Stinking Lizaveta, Misstallica, The Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret and Betty Whitetrash. Hosted by Casey Boy of the Preston & Steve Show.

Vita and the Woolf @ Johnny Brenda’s
Philly’s Vita and the Woolf is deliciously dramatic. Jennifer Pague’s hot-blooded vocals soaring over the cold, clean guitars, synths and dance beats. Powerful stuff. Read more »

Let’s Watch Some Philly Film Fest Trailers

The animated Chinese thriller Have A Nice Day screens at Ritz East October 20 and 29. (youtube.com)

As always, the Philadelphia Film Festival has put together an impressive lineup of features, documentaries and shorts. It’s a lot to sift through. Here’s the outside scoop on 14 films that look promising.

11/8/16
Too soon? This documentary intertwines the footage of 16 filmmakers — including Philly’s Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce — who were shooting all over the country on election day last year.

(October 21, 7:30 p.m. at Ritz East and October 28, 2:10 p.m. at Ritz East)

 

At the Drive-In
This documentary tells the story of the Mahoning Drive-In Theatre (in Lehighton, PA — about a two-hour drive from Philly) as its longtime owner/projectionist and a bunch of film buffs work to keep the place going. Read more »

17 Things to Do in Movies, Comedy, Books and Harry Potter Parties

A still from “Nikki Glaser: Perfect.” The comedian plays Punchline Thursday through Sunday. (cc.com)

Monument Lab Live: Hidden Histories and Missing Monuments @ Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts | Wednesday, October 18
Murals Arts’ provocative Monument Lab series rolls on, this time hosting TED-style talks about who gets honored and who gets left behind in history. Includes presentations from Paper Monuments (NOLA), Vashti Dubois (The Colored Girls Museum), Jarrett Drake (digital archivist), Venissa Santi (Cuban–American vocalist) and Monument Lab artists Kaitlin Pomerantz and Marisa Williamson.

Woke & Well-Read Book Club @ Big Blue Marble | Wednesday & Thursday, October 18-19
Writer Jamila Latham hosts a regular book club focusing on African-American authors. This month’s selection is The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Read more »

Music: 10 Shows to See in the Next 7 Days

Yumi Zouma plays Johnny Brenda’s on Monday.

Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions @ TLA | Wednesday, October 18
All these years and Hope Sandoval’s still the best in the biz at making shaky, aching rock music. Her voice is warm, distant and insistent, a lighthouse in a sea of oily reverb. But the once-and-future Mazzy Star frontwoman isn’t only interested in songs of searching and wonder, like “Fade Into You.” In recent years, Sandoval’s found a Leonard Cohen-esque sweet spot: spooky, earthly and mysterious:

 

Rickie Lee Jones @ World Cafe Live | Thursday, October 19
Rickie Lee Jones is rock royalty, known for blues/R&B-tinged hits like “Chuck E.’s In Love,” “Young Blood,” “Coolsville,” “Last Chance Texaco,” “A Lucky Guy,” “Satellites” and on and on. Here’s a recent favorite. Read more »

Listen Here: 4 Bands Dropping New Records This Week

HOUND celebrates the release of Born Under 76 on Friday at Space 1026.

HOUND @ Space 1026 | Friday, October 20
Philly artist Perry Shall’s pretty well-known in the music world, but not always for his music. He’s designed posters, albums and shirts for the likes of Kurt Vile, Modern Baseball, Dan Auerbach, Best Coast and tons more. Everybody loves him, from Tom Scharpling who had Shall on The Best Show, to Ted Leo who gave him a shout-out from the Union Transfer stage a couple weeks ago. Shall also makes music, of course, with his band HOUND — featuring drummer Chris Wilson (of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists) and bassist Pat Hickey (Purling Hiss) — and their new record, Born Under 76 is a blast. Comparisons to Sword, Sabbath and Hold Steady don’t really do it justice, but I’ll start there and you can tell me how wrong I am. Friday’s release party has lots of comedy on the bill, including Mary Houlihan and “Financial Guru” Greg Gethard.

 

Radiator Hospital @ First Unitarian Church | Friday, October 20
Radiator Hospital’s kinda the best — a jangly, unsinkable dreamboat of a band. Sam Cook-Parrott’s songs of wonder and longing really hit the spot on a rainy grey day. Where their early stuff was rustic and bedroomy, their new record, Play The Songs You Like, is lush and spacious. Like a living room. Here’s a video where nothing really happens but the song is quite nice: Read more »

33 Things To Do this Weekend

Vivian Green plays with Musiq Soulchild and Bilal at the Electric Factory on Friday. (viviangreen.com)

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13

Wyclef Jean @ Stratus Lounge
The Old City club celebrates its fifth anniversary with performances by DJ Menace Cartel and hip-hop superstar Wyclef Jean.

Vimpir-Cuadecuc @ Lightbox Film Center
Pere Portabella’s 1971 film about vampires as a political metaphor, “filmed on the set of Jess Franco’s 1970 cult film Count Dracula starring Christopher Lee.” Also screening is John Smith’s short film The Black Tower (1987). Read more »

Friday: On Your Marc with Double Dare’s Marc Summers

Everybody wanted to be slimed back then. (youtube.com)

In the late ’80s and early ’90s, every kid knew who Marc Summers was. These days he’s a friendly Food Network personality, but back in the day, he was the friendly host of Double Dare — the Nickelodeon game show that had contestants wading through oatmeal and sticking their hands up giant noses in search of that elusive orange flag.

For viewers of a certain age, it was the grossest, most hilarious thing on TV. How we dreamed of being the kid in the goggles and helmet sliding into the giant sundae or sitting in the giant bowl of spaghetti, trying to catch the gravy-covered nerf meatballs. Every episode ended with an obstacle course full of whipped cream, chocolate sauce, slime and every other disgusting thing.

It didn’t come out till years later that Summers — now based in Philly part time — had been suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder the whole time. So why’d he keep going? It was good TV.

The new documentary On Your Marc — premiering at the Troc on Friday — tells Summers’ insane, oddly inspiring personal obstacle course, from the Double Dare days to prepping his one-man-show on OCD, to the car accident, the cancer and everything else. It’s a wild ride. Here’s the trailer: Read more »

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