The Infamous Philly Antics of Guns N’ Roses

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage/Getty Images

August 1988: The Axl Who? Incident
This Spectrum show was the band’s second stop in Philly on their “Appetite for Destruction” tour, the first being at the Trocadero in October 1987. (If you were at the latter, you’ve definitely unlocked some coolness tokens.) But this one almost didn’t happen. See, the parking attendants had no idea who Axl Rose was and didn’t want to let him drive onto the lot. A scuffle ensued, and he narrowly escaped arrest. Read more »

In The Swallowing Dark at Inis Nua, Action is Subjugated to Storytelling

Jessica M. Johnson and Walter DeShields in The Swallowing Dark at Inis Nua. (Photo by Kathryn Raines)

There’s a lighter, cigarettes, and even a small on-stage fire in The Swallowing Dark at Inis Nua. Yet I’m afraid the metaphor that kept coming back to me as I watched Lizzie Nunnery’s earnest but inert play is a watched pot. The ingredients seem to be good, and now and then there was a promising whiff. But ultimately, the whole thing doesn’t get above room temperature. Read more »

44 Things to Do This Weekend

Best Coast plays with Paramore at the Tower on Friday. (Janell Shirtcliff)

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6

DesignPhiladelphia @ all over town
The citywide DesignPhiladelphia festival is under way in earnest, with workshops and presentations pertaining to all manner of design (lighting, industrial, graphic, textile) and related areas (urban planning, architecture). On Friday, October 6, for instance, you can take a tour of NextFab — checking out their 3D printing and other cool tech. DesignPhiladelphia continues through October 14.

Terri Fridkin @ MUSE Gallery
First Friday reception for printmaker Terri Fridkin’s colorful Convergence exhibition. Runs through October 29. Read more »

See Chuck Close Up Close

Bill T. Jones (2008), black-and-white Polaroid diptych mounted on aluminum. (Chuck Close)

Photography has always at the heart of Chuck Close’s artwork, the painter famously recreating portraits on a massive scale. It was often portrayed as an arduous, painstaking process, with Close filling in little dots and triangles long after everybody else had gone home.

As a straight-up photographer, Close is less well-known. But the camera has always been there, we were merely blinded by those 10-foot-tall faces. Chuck Close Photographs is, according to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, “the first comprehensive survey” of Close’s work. Read more »

16 Things to Do in Books, Comedy, Theater, Movies and More

Comedians Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher play The Troc on Friday.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari @ The Mütter Museum | Wednesday, October 4
Watch the silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari — about a very scary cabinet — while Not-So-Silent Cinema plays a live score. (P.S. Next Tuesday, the Mütter hosts a discussion entitled Bugs & People: When Epidemics Change History.)

Yedoye Travis @ Good Good Comedy Theatre | Wednesday, October 4
You might’ve seen this NYC standup comedian on Colbert, Search Party and/or Coming to the Stage on Hulu. Read more »

Music: 11 Shows to See in the Next 7 Days

Alvvays plays Union Transfer on Friday.

Herbie Hancock @ Kimmel Center | Wednesday, October 4
Damn, I forgot how weird the video for “Rockit” is. I guess with the synths and the robot voice, the song was deemed “futuristic” by 1983 standards, so video full of kicking, writhing, nodding android parts made sense. All these years later, “Rockit” — which swept the Grammys and the MTV Awards back in the day — remains an uplifting instrumental hip-hop tune but the video is like a house of horrors for our robots companions that do our chores, cook our food and tuck us in at night.

 

Zakk Sabbath @ Underground Arts | Thursday, October 5
Yeah, it’s a cover band but also that’s Zakk Wylde up there, Bayonne-born guitarlord and Ozzy’s main axeman from ’88 to ’07. (Meaning he’s the dude doing all those shrieking trills on No More Tears.) And the rest of Zakk Sabbath has Ozzy, QOTSA and Danzig stints on their résumés as well. Read more »

In Carousel at Media, Life Lived Fully in a One-Horse Town

Joseph Spieldenner and Maxwell Porterfield in Carousel at the Media Theatre.

As you enter the theatre and hear the distant strains of a calliope, take a look at the stage. What you’ll see there, in Matthew Miller’s set design for Media’s Carousel, is a distillation of this small-scale but often imaginative and satisfying production, directed by Jesse Cline.

The visual world is fragmentary, even impressionistic. A lone carousel horse stands in for the thing itself, amplified through projected images. On either side of a metal arch are sepia photographs, evoking a 19th Century New England coastal town—in particular, its factory. There’s a sense of nostalgia, but not the picture-postcard kind—we perceive instantly that life here is hard-scrabble. The joys need to be celebrated when and where they can. When they can’t find joy, something else must keep them going. Read more »

The Return of Daniel Johnston

A press photo for The Devil and Daniel Johnston. (Jeff Feuerzeig)

It’s natural to wonder and worry about Daniel Johnston. The “outsider” musician with the impish voice and emotionally engaging lyrics — championed over the years by Kurt Cobain, Yo La Tengo, Sonic Youth, Lou Barlow and so many more — has had his share of tough moments: the derailed shows, the hospitalizations, the plane crash… Mental and physical ailments, among them schizophrenia, depression and diabetes, have been a factor in his career, forcing the lo-fi artist to tour only sporadically and release just a fraction of the reported thousands of songs he’s recorded at home over the years.

A recent profile in the New York Times describes a tired but not altogether unhealthy Johnston loping around his house in Texas just before the launch of his current tour, which has him performing with members of Wilco, Built To Spill and others. In Philly he’ll be accompanied by Modern Baseball and The Districts, two of our city’s finest who will likely be granted little if any rehearsal time with the star ahead of time. It sounds rough, but the system has worked in the past; I saw Johnston perform with members of the Capitol Years in 2008 and it was an entrancing if low-energy rock show.

It was altogether more pleasant than the time I saw him play solo at the Khyber years before. Devotees in home-sharpie’d t-shirts shouted over their hero, indie-rock Pharisees who want you to know that they know all the lyrics. They didn’t seem to notice how disgusted Johnston was with their behavior. He was, after all, the star, not their pet. It’s a distinction that gets blurred sometimes, as Johnston has over the years been propped up and hailed as a genius by his more famous friends and fans. In 2013, the A/V Club pondered whether Johnston was “a victim of hipster exploitation.” It can’t be that bad — I doubt anybody’s making much money off of Johnston — but it does qualify as a situation. Read more »

35 Things To Do This Weekend

Cabaret — starring John Jarboe and Charissa Hogeland — continues at Arden Theatre Company through October 22. (Ashley LaBonde, Wide Eyed Studios)

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

Dinosaur Jr. @ Union Transfer
Does J. Mascis have the best strained voice in rock ’n’ roll? When he says he feels the pain of everyone, I believe him. His guitar, however, sounds really free, really unstressed and unburdened. Anyway, here are some Dinosaur Jr. emojis.

Rezz @ Electric Factory
The young Niagara Falls DJ just released her debut album Mass Manipulation, and with it, a 60-page comic book about the time she arrived on Earth from Neptune to entrance us with techno/industrial dance music.

Read more »

Video Breakdown: “Owner of a Lonely Heart” by Yes

Yes, about to kill a person.

British prog/pop/prog-pop band Yes — who play the Kimmel Center on Sunday — had been active since 1968 and inactive for a year before rejiggering and scoring a number one hit in 1983 with “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” It’s the catchiest, most popular song in the Yes catalog, but it’s still pretty weird. Let’s watch the video. Which is also really weird… Read more »

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