Matteo Scammell, Dito van Reigersberg, and Mikéah Ernest Jennings in The Legend of Georgia McBride. (Photo by Mark Garvin)
Can an edgy, cult art form be reimagined for mainstream audiences? Should it be?
I pondered this while watching The Legend of Georgia McBride, Matthew Lopez’s middle-of-the-road comedy about drag performance. Listening to the wildly enthusiastic audience who whooped and cheered through the final scene and curtain call, their answer was obvious. For me, not so much. Read more »
Halloween is fast approaching, friends, so it’s high time you locked down your plans. To help you out, we’ve rounded up 27 Halloween events happening around town, from costume fêtes to costume pub crawls to costume runs and plenty more. (Seriously, don’t be that guy who shows up without a costume, okay?) Here’s to a frighteningly fantastic Halloween in Philly.
Robert Drake (center) with members of TNP, a Rocky Horror shadow cast. (Photo by InFlux Photography)
On Thursday night, Fox is set to debut its television musical version of legendary cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and the reviewers who have seen screeners don’t have very many good things to say about it. We decided to ask local Rocky Horror buff (and WXPN producer, local DJ, and hobby meteorologist) Robert Drake for his predictions. Drake has been doing the Time Warp really hard ever since the movie’s release in 1975, when he was a student at George Washington High School.
I can’t imagine that big Rocky Horror fans have high hopes about this TV version. How are you feeling about it?
Well, it’s cool in the sense that it will introduce Rocky Horror to a whole new group of eyes. That part is kind of cool. But then you have the commercialization of a film that should never have been commercialized.
And there’s also been a lot of interesting conversation and backlash regarding the actress playing Frank-N-Furter: Laverne Cox. She’s the transgender woman who was on the cover of Time magazine. But the role of Frank-N-Furter is a man who is a transvestite. He is a male who dresses in women’s clothing and loves females. That’s the entire premise of the movie. To have a transgender woman play a man who is a transvestite is a little cloudy. I don’t personally have a problem with it, but people are talking about it. I try not to look too deep.
You seem like a man obsessed with Rocky Horror. How did that begin?
I was kind of an outside kid in high school. I didn’t really connect with the kids in school. So whenever I had time, I would take the El downtown from Northeast Philly and hang out at punk clubs and other scenes in the city, and of course a magnet for many under 21 was the Theater of Living Arts, where they showed a midnight screening of Rocky Horror that became a tradition for many kids. Read more »
When the Rain Stops Falling at the Wilma Theater. (Photo by Matt Saunders)
It’s coming down in buckets at the Wilma Theater. The onstage downpour that begins and intermittently continues through Andrew Bovell’s When the Rain Stops Falling is so torrential that the ensemble cast, clad in black raincoats and holding black umbrellas, barely stands a chance. Did I mention the set is also mostly black? If it sounds grim — well, it is, very. Also strangely beautiful. But it almost certainly signals the end of the times.
Theatrically speaking, that’s the good news. Read more »
PAAFF Preview Party @ Mayor’s Conversation Hall at City Hall | Thursday, October 20
Get a sneak peek of what you’ll be watching during the ninth annual Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, running November 10th-20th. The festival will feature more than 70 films, along with related talks, an academic conference about Asian Americans in the media, music and theater performances, and culinary exhibitions. The full lineup of screenings and events will be revealed at the preview party, where you can also check out movie trailers and sample food from Chabaa Thai chef/owner Moon Krapugthong.
Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell @ Annenberg Center | Thursday, October 20
The 1984 documentary Streetwise, about homeless kids in Seattle, included a then 13-year-old Erin Blackwell, known as Tiny. The filmmaker, Martin Bell, and photographer Mary Ellen Mark continued to check in with Blackwell over the next 30 years, leading to Mark’s 2015 book, Tiny: Streetwise Revisited, and Bell is now releasing another doc, Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell. He’ll be discussing the movie after the screening with a panel of University of Pennsylvania film and social policy professors. Read more »
It’s been almost 20 years since we were introduced to the world of wizards, muggles and He Who Must Not Be Named in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and the obsession is not dying down. Every fall thousands of wand-wielding fans flock to Chestnut Hill to manage some mischief during the two-day Harry Potter Festival.
The festivities start on Friday, October 21st, with the Harry Potter Conference at Chestnut Hill College during the day, followed in the evening by the popular Potter Pub Crawl, with the organizers reporting a record 1,000 tickets snapped up in under eight minutes. Both are already sold out. Read more »
For maximum scares go to Terror Behind the Walls. Photo by Jeff Fusco
Grim Philly’s Ghosts and Graveyards
Grim Philly added another offering to its lineup of ghoulish R-rated tours just in time for Halloween. Ghosts and Graveyards skulks through Old City, stopping at graveyards and other sites tied to death — accidental and not — while owner/history professor Joe Wojie shares creepy tales of grave robbers, medical experiments, hanged traitors, a bride burned to death at her wedding, and more. The tour is more focused on spooky history than straight-up scares, with Wojie ready to share an extensively researched tidbit for every inch of the area, but it’s definitely a side of the historic district they didn’t teach in social studies. If kids are in tow, the tour can be tailored. For a sexed-up, adults-only version, book the Vampires, Sex, Ghosts tour. Prices vary; tours are offered year-round and start at 6th and Market in front of the Independence Visitor Center. Read more »
Author Jennifer Weiner is at the Free Library on Friday.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14
Jennifer Weiner @ Free Library of Philadelphia New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner, who’s from Philly, will be at the Parkway Central Library talking about her new book of essays, Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing.
Philadelphia, Goddamn: Art in Dissent @ Little Berlin
Little Berlin and Streets Dept put together this exhibit of socially conscious art featuring “artists that seek to expose, reveal, represent, and reflect the truths of our time.” Check out the opening reception Friday and then come back October 26th, when contributing artists Aubrie Costello, Carlos Lopez Rosa, Michelle Angela Ortiz, and Nether will talk about their inspirations in a panel discussion moderated by Street Dept’s Conrad Benner.