CONCERT REVIEW: Old 97’s and Heartless Bastards at Union Transfer

Old 97's Photographed by Chris Sikich

Old 97’s
Photographed by Chris Sikich

A Saturday night with the Old 97’s is one well spent. The dynamic grouping of lead singer and guitar slinger Rhett Miller, bountiful bass and vibrant vocals of Murry Hammond, guitar guru Ken Bethea and drumming professor Philip Peeples were on fire. And as part of double headlining show with the rocking Heartless Bastards it was a Saturday one would not soon forget. Read more »

THEATER REVIEW: In The Ballad of Trayvon Martin at New Freedom Theatre, History Looks All Too Current

Amir Randall in The Ballad of Trayvon Martin at New Freedom Theatre. (Photo by Ethimofoto.net)

It’s been a number of years since I attended Freedom Theatre, and I’m happy to return as they celebrate their 50th anniversary. The company, now called New Freedom Theatre, has always been more than a performance venue — their work includes substantial educational programs and outreach in the African American community.

Tonight, though, I’m here to see a play — and what I realize first is how much I’ve missed their theatre — truly, one of the finest in town, ideally intimate (around 300 seats) for a play; contemporary, but with a grandeur of scale and design that also recalls the great theatres of another time. That connection to our history is also present in its location on North Broad, once the home of the great Philadelphia-born actor, Edwin Forrest.

It’s good to be back. Read more »

Six Historical Exhibits to See This Week

Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science. at The Franklin Institute

Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science at The Franklin Institute

Alexander Hamilton and the Foundation of America’s Financial System @ The Constitution Center | Through July 10th, 2016
It’s basically the Broadway hit without the singing, dancing, and excessive media coverage. In case the mammoth musical mania of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton wasn’t enough to satisfy your Founding Father fancy, this exhibition commemorates our nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, whose approach to banking, finance, taxation, coinage, and currency utterly revolutionized the monetary methods of the United States. Read more »

Scott Stapp of Creed Is Playing at SugarHouse (Really)

Scott Stapp - SugarHouse

Photo illustration

Last month, an event blew up on Facebook: Supposedly, Limp Bizkit was holding a free concert at the Sunoco on Wayne Avenue in Dayton, Ohio, on April 20th. More than 9,000 people RSVPed on Facebook for the event, leading the Dayton Police Department to tweet that such a concert was not happening.

It was all a joke — one people extended by actually showing up at that gas station on 4/20.

Since then, it’s become an Internet trend to make fake Facebook invites for random bands to play random chain stores. For example: Gin Blossoms LIVE at Applebee’s of Port Richmond, scheduled for June 5th. (There’s an acoustic set opener by Ed & Dean from Collective Soul.)

With that in mind, peep this news: Scott Stapp, lead singer of the band Creed, will be playing SugarHouse Casino on July 9th. This, my friends, is not a hoax. Scott Stapp is playing the Fishtown casino. Read more »

Six Performances to See This Week

Pennsylvania Ballet's "A Program of Firsts"

Pennsylvania Ballet’s “A Program of Firsts”

A Program of Firsts — Pennsylvania Ballet @ The Academy of Music | May 12th–15th
The company performs its inaugural production of George Balanchine’s Serenade, the first ballet the celebrated choreographer created in the United States. Danced to Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48, the ballet entwines unexpected events, like students falling or arriving late, into the choreography. Continuing the theme of firsts, nationally renowned choreographer-in-residence Mathew Neenan, cofounder of Ballet X, presents a world premiere for the company. Rounding out the program, Liam Scarlett showcases a company and North American premiere of Asphodel Meadows, comprising three compelling pas de deuxs set to the compositions of Poulenc. Read more »

THEATER REVIEW: Questioning the Nature of Belief in The Christians at Wilma

Erika LaVonn and Paul DeBoy in The Christians at the Wilma Theater. (Photo by Alexander Iziliaev)

Erika LaVonn and Paul DeBoy in The Christians at the Wilma Theater. (Photo by Alexander Iziliaev)

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

The Bible is full of promises to the faithful, though most are unlikely to be realized during our temporary stay on earth; also, they’re fairly vague. So it falls to emissaries — pastors and the like — to give us clearer directives on the correct path to everlasting glory.

But “Time is filled with swift transitions,” as the church choir sings in Lucas Hnath’s sly, thought-provoking The Christians, now on stage in a marvelous production at the Wilma. We regularly encounter difficult situations that test our faith. And what happens if we’re wrong — if what we thought was the path to righteousness isn’t what we’ve been taught? Will our spiritual leaders have the honesty and fortitude to tell us? Read more »

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