>>> The carefully nurtured art rock of Jane Sibbery will find a perfect venue at the Tin Angel tonight when the Canadian chanteuse returns to Philly in support of her new album, Ulysses’ Purse. If you go, and you should, expect to hear material that is uncompromising and challenging, kept buoyant by Sibbery’s unique approach to her craft.
>>> Michael Eric Dyson will appear at Central Library to discuss his book The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America in a conversation with MSNBC Contributor/Director of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University Dr James Peterson.
>>> Tattooed Mom presents the 9th installment of You Can’t Kill A Poet, celebrating works by queer and trans poets. Hosted by Boston Gordon, the night will include readings from Sherri Nicole, Emma Sanders, Barry Grass, Kai Chandler, and Elizabeth Grace Barber.
At 11:30am, Governor Tom Wolf will give his 2016-17 budget address…and you can watch all the political magic unfold live via the Internet. The above video offers a preview of what Wolf will have to say in Harrisburg today, with a Facebook Town Hall to follow this afternoon at 3:30. Will this go better than things did last year? We are, to quote Alphaville, hoping for the best but expecting the worse. Budget woes are forever young too.
Travel/tourism website Lonely Planet has selected Philadelphia to top its 2016 Best of the U.S. list. We’ll allow ourselves a bit of cockiness here and say, well duh. The site’s reasoning is as follows:
Visited by Pope Francis, hosting the Democratic National Convention in July, and freshly crowned as the US’s first and only World Heritage City (joining the ranks of Cairo, Paris and Jerusalem), Philly’s on a roll. NYC’s more neighborly neighbor is experiencing a transformation to its urban core, as many US cities are right now. Craft breweries? Check. Hot new locavore restaurants? Big check. But Philadelphia is steadfastly managing to retain its historic roots and gritty flavor, as well as its affordability – a pleasant surprise for a city so cosmopolitan and accessible. Hands up to the sky, Rocky fans: celebrate the film’s 40th anniversary in 2016 with a sprint up the 72 steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The site’s deeper dive on the city mentions everything from the obvious historical draws to Pizzeria Beddia, which fills us with a deep and all-consuming dread that we’re now going to have to battle tourists to land a pie there. That hesitation aside, we do appreciate how Lonely Planet writer Adam Karlin does an admirable job of promoting the Philadelphia of 2016 as a place of more than just cheesesteaks and the traditional tourist bait — making this the first one of these lists in awhile that we feel actually comes close to capturing the essence of what we love about this ragtag home of ours in the first place. Not that this will fill us with any less rage if we see tourists taking over Laurel. For now though, we’re cool with this.
During their recent protest of construction being done at the site of the former Parker Hotel and The Westbury that was held last month, members of IBEW Local 98 sent one of their drones up, up, and away to record the event. They’ve uploaded the footage to YouTube, explaining that “Local 98 has three drones to check on construction sites and to film 98’s own picket lines and protests to protect the union from false claims against it.” This is all fine and good, but what if there’s a malfunction with the drone and it crashes into one of the inflatable rats. WON’T ANYONE THINK OF THE INFLATABLE RATS? Related: There needs to be an app that notifies users everytime one of these things is stationed throughout the city as there are a growing legion (okay, like 20 of us) who are obsessed with the rats and Fat Cats and never want to miss out on a photo opportunity.
Breaking news out of Center City: Kathryn Knott has been sentenced to serve between 5 and 10 months for her involvement in a disgusting 2014 gay bashing incident. She has been taken into custody, and will also get two years probation after serving her time. We are relieved to hear that she will be held responsible for her deplorable actions and hope that somehow that whole stomach-churning episode further illustrates the extreme foolishness of such crimes to anyone out there who thinks this bullshit can fly in 2016 Philadelphia. More here.
It’s not hyperbole to call Fritz Lang‘s Metropolis the most influential science fiction film ever made. Everyone from George Lucas to Madonna has incorporated elements of the 1927 Expressionist classic in their work, and despite its age the film remains as visceral of a viewing experience as ever…and that’s not even going into the multi-layered critique of the class system that subtly runs throughout the work. (The movie even featured a brief 1980s revival that included a flashy new rock soundtrack that featured stars of the era like Freddie Mercury and Pat Benatar, seek it out for a look at how you have to work overtime to age this one).
On February 27th, the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall will host a special screening of the film that will be highlighted by a live musical score played on the venue’s Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ by Peter Richard Conte. And we want to send you there! We’re giving away three pairs of tickets, and to win all you have to do is to email e-mail ihopeiwin[at]philebrity[dot]com with “MARIA” in the subject header by midnight on February 19th. We will notify the winners on February 22nd. Good luck!
Being a patriot and seeing comedy shows are one in the same and always have been since the dawn of this fine nation. Which is why it is more important than ever that you go see something that will make you laugh, a chance to do so will happen this Thursday at Friday when Philly Improv Theater sketch house team Goat Rodeo debuts their new show Make America Goat Again. This all-new show will feature more laughs than a caucus when Goat Rodeo will be joined by sketch group It’s the New. Thursday/Friday, 9pm. $10
This week DTF is back on Friday with a monthly sex-ed/comedy/game show hybrid where you are sure to learn and laugh in equal measures. If you haven’t been keeping up-to-date with the world of sex in the last month, this is your chance to stay knowledgeable and relevant. This month Dr. Timaree is joined by special guest host Dr. Simon Ruchti and comedians Sidney Gantt and Hillary Rea. Friday, 8:30pm. $10
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and what better way to show your love than with some crappy art you made while you were drunk? Maybe you don’t like the convention of manufactured holidays and just want to get drunk and paint some crap? You can scratch either of those itches this week at Good Good Comedy’s Painting with a Load On. Your host Christian Alsis will help lead you through a painting lesson…and also you’ll get to get very drunk. A win/win if there ever were one. Saturday 5pm. $8.
Food, drinks and comedy. That’s the holy trilogy of a great night out and on Saturday night, City Tap House on Logan Square has all three at their first ever Brew Ha Ha stand up showcase. Hosted by Ashlee Rose-Toll, the show will include stand up sets from Tommy Pope, Alison Zeidman, and Aaron Hertzog. You receive a complimentary cocktail with admission which makes this show a perfect date idea, unless the person you are dating has awful taste. Saturday, 8pm. $20 or $45 with three-course meal.
— Joe Moore
Joe Moore is the genial jerk who is head writer of sketch group Dog Mountain, host of monthly show Guilty Pleasures and a sketch comedy instructor. Hunt him down on Twitter @TheJoeMoore.
With the Democratic National Convention poised to take over Philly in late July, the DNC Host Committee has released their newly revamped volunteer webpage. Launched today, the portal “can more easily aggregate volunteers based on what tasks they are interested in doing, their level of experience in a given field, and more.” Among the positions available are:
• Volunteer Leaders
• Administrative and Office Support
• Hospitality and Hotel
• Operations, Logistics, and Delivery Support
• Press and Communications
• Social Media
• Technology and IT
• Venue and Event Support.
More details on all things volunteering for the DNC can be found at this FAQ. With an undertaking of this size, the event is going to need whatever help it can get, so don’t hesitate to become involved.
>>> ICON ALERT: Richard Thompson makes trekking to the Sellersville Theater worth it tonight. Through his groundbreaking work with Fairpont Convention and then later as a solo artist, Thompson is something of a musical Zelig, as he has seen and done it all. And oh the musical tales he has to tell, so If at all possible do not miss this.
>>> Philly’s RFA bring their garage rock to Kung Fu Necktie to kick away the early week blues.
This past Friday, Mayor Kenney announced that writer, performer, educator, and bandleader Yolanda Wisher is the city’s third Poet Laureate. In her new role, Wisher, a 2015 Pew Fellow, will work tirelessly throughout the city at schools and various events to illustrate how words can change lives. In a press release, the Mayor and Yolanda Wisher made the following statement:
“I’m pleased to continue the City’s commitment to bringing poetry and art to the residents of Philadelphia,” said Mayor Kenney. “The Poet Laureate is an invaluable asset to our city. Ms. Wisher will go into our schools and neighborhoods, and provide our citizens with access to an arts education and a form of expression they might not have otherwise experienced. I’m grateful for her work and the work of her two predecessors.”
“It is a breathtaking honor to be selected to serve as our city’s Poet Laureate, following in the footsteps of Sonia Sanchez and Frank Sherlock,” Wisher said about her appointment. “I’m proud that my city has a post that affirms poetry as a vehicle for civic engagement and expression. Born in Philly, I returned sixteen years ago in search of a poetry community. I found it, and it has shaped and inspired me.”
We are expecting great things for Wisher, and continue to be thankful that the city has such a prestigious position to honor poetry as a vital and life-changing force of art.
Attention people of the 1990s: The X-Files is currently in the midst of a creative rebirth on birth that has been attempting to course correct from the mythology-bogged tedium that weighed down the show’s last couple of seasons into a post-9/11/Snowden exploration of paranoia. It’s still the conspiracy-obsessed romp it always has been, only this time the series has an urgency and self-awareness — best demonstrated by last week’s comedy episode — that it has never possessed before. With tonight’s fourth installment of the show’s six-episode relaunch taking place in Philadelphia (and concerning the mysterious death of woman that MAY INVOLVE A MONSTER), we find ourselves consumed by thoughts of what other strange Philly phenomenon Mulder and Scully can investigate while in town…
• In Philadelphia, LED lights placed upon the top of the historic Lit Brothers building convince residents to only ingest Dunkin Donuts, leading Mulder and Scully to the City of Brotherly Love to investigate.
• During Philly’s annual Wing Bowl event, several contestants and audience members vanish in a puff of hot sauce-scented cosmic justice, sending Mulder and Scully to the City of Brotherly Love to investigate.
• Years after every other major city has already initiated a smartcard system for mass transit, Philly still hasn’t implemented one. Suspecting a conspiracy by aliens performing an elaborate behavioral experiment on humans by posing as SEPTA employees, Mulder convinces Scully to travel with him to the City of Brotherly Love to investigate.
• When a family attempts to order cheesesteaks at Geno’s in a language not heard for centuries, Mulder and Scully travel to the City of Brotherly Love to investigate.
• Suspecting that the crack in the Liberty Bell was actually caused by a riff in the space-time continuum, Mulder and Scully travel to the City of Brotherly Love to investigate. The Roots’ Questlove guest stars.
• Following a blizzard, a man uses a plastic lawn chair to save the parking spot he dug out. When a neighbor moves the chair, it mysterious reappears in the place it was before — causing Mulder and Scully to travel to the City of Brotherly Love to investigate.
• After a man falls into the machinery at a popular Philadelphia baking company, Mulder and Scully travel to the City of Brotherly Love to investigate sightings of the so-called Kandy Kake Man.
• Concerned that secret weather experiments have caused it to snow in Philadelphia on the first day of Spring, Mulder convinces Scully to travel with him to the City of Brotherly Love to investigate, get some free Rita’s Water Ice.
• While researching Toynbee Tiles, Mulder learns that the citizens of Philadelphia have been inexplicably heaping praise upon the cheesy mosaics of a local folk artist for years, so he and Scully travel to the City of Brotherly Love to investigate.
>>> Opera Philadelphia‘s eagerly anticipated production of Cold Mountain gets underway this evening. Whatever your thoughts on Charles Frazier‘s book and the following film may be, it’s hard not to be impressed by the technical majesty and beauty that this performance will offer up.
>>> The Jayhawks by way of Iron & Wine vibe of The Pines will sprinkle World Cafe Live with liberal doses of prairie dust tonight. Expect songs of bruised Americana and hope hanging on by threads that might just have you crying into your beers. And that’s perfectly okay.
>>> As we mentioned yesterday in our Q&A with the post-shoegaze act, The Morelings are at The Pharmacy tonight with Thief, Steal Me a Peach, Brackish, and Moto Surf.
>>> The Disco Biscuits do their thing at The Fillmore. AND THERE ARE SO MANY LASERS!
>>> Say goodbye to The Underwater Sounds tonight as they play a farewell show at Underground Arts with The Snails and The Rosemary Fiki Band.
>>> Philly indie act Whiting will take a break from recording their debut to open for singer Catey Shaw tonight at Milkboy.
>>> In support of her new LP Promise, multi-instrumentalist/sampling great Emily Wells will showcase her sound, best described as baroque soul, at Boot & Saddle this evening. Kicking this off will be electronica artist Lorna Dune.
>>> Bear Happy Hour at Tabu celebrates the larger members of the LGBT community in a laid back environment packed with beards, bellies and would-be lumberjacks.
>>> Ortlieb’s will host a true happening tonight as Paul Collins Beat, Sheer Mag, Metalleg, and The Whips play, DJ Roro Coco spins, art will be displayed, frito pie will be eaten, and fun will be had by all.
>>> We’ve been on an Italo disco frenzy this week. Will the Philadelphia Flea Market be able to help us fill some gaps in our LP collection on this matter? We’re pretty certain it will, along with the requisite things such events showcase.
RECOMMENDED:Hail, Caesar! is the Coen Brothers latest, finding the siblings in full and frantic genre-hopping mode to relate the misadventures of Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), a Hollywood problem solver tasked with keeping things running smoothly while dealing with trying to resolve the kidnapping of superstar Baird Whitlock (George Clooney). As can be expected from a Coens effort, complications ensure. Though a tad lightweight, the true magic of the flick comes from the cast, which also includes Ralph Fiennes, Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, and Jonah Hill.
ALSO NEW IN THEATERS THIS WEEK: The Quirk Books hit Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes to the big screen, and we can hear the griping from lit majors already. Lily James, Sam Riley star; and The Choice is the latest life-affirming flick for boring basics based on a novel by Nicolas Sparks and starring Benjamin Walker and Teresa Palmer. Philly’s Ross Katz directs.
It has been said that when the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills. Which that Edward Coryell Sr. will construct — and whether or not Fat Cat will be on standby, just in case — now that he has been ousted from the Carpenter’s Union remain to be seen.
(For maximum impact read this post while listening to Bette Midler’s version of “Wind Beneath My Wings”).
Listening to the music of Philadelphia’s The Morelings is like being thrust into an anachronism. The group draws on the spacey ethereal magic of 90s acts like Lush, Chapterhouse and Slowdive but there’s much more going on here than just simple shoegaze revivalism. Listening to their debut EP No Sign is like witnessing evolution at work, with Matthew William‘s sweeping melodies and Kedra Caroline‘s vocals stretching towards infinity, building upon the foundations of shoegaze to create a new sound that is expansive and full of unexpected twists. This sound out of time distances the act from their backwards-looking peers and establishes them as a group whose temporal disruption is more than part of the appeal. They’ll be playing at The Pharmacy tomorrow night with Thief, Steal Me a Peach, Brackish, and Moto Surf, and they took a few minutes to discuss via e-mail their sweetness and light:
Let’s talk Morelings history. How did the band form, when did you all meet, influences, etc.
Kedra Caroline: When Matt and I first met, we connected over music, and we eventually sat down with two guitars to write music together. Our original musical interest in common was British 60’s psych folk, but then we plugged in and started working with effects. After initially recording a few demos in the studio, we had a sort of musical pause and didn’t play or write for a couple of months. One evening, we went back to it and played for several hours, drawing on multiple influences for rhythms and textures. That was when we really found our sound: the blending of my vocals with Matt’s guitar.
Now that we have the “Getting to Know You” portion out of the way, let’s talk about No Sign. Why did you choose Screen Vinyl Image’s Jake Reid to work on the EP and how do you feel his background impacted your sound?
Matthew William: We recorded No Sign with Kyle “Slick” Johnson in Philadelphia in the fall of 2014. When it came time for mastering the EP, we looked to Jake Reid. We knew about Jake mostly because of his work with some East coast noise pop bands like Crimson Wave and Wildhoney. It was great working with him because he had just the right background to support our aesthetic. Jake also mastered our version of “Lonesome Tonight” recorded for a New Order tribute album called Dreams Never End.
In a time when the music video medium is a shell of its former self, you have embraced the format. How do you feel about the process of making these clips? What has the response been like so far?
Kedra Caroline: I’m a very visual person, so the filming and editing of these videos, the merging of the music with images is an exciting process. Last week we released the video for “No Sign” where, for the first time, we brought in live concert footage of Matt and me. It seems that those people who have been reached by our videos have enjoyed them, as the feedback we’ve received has been positive. Where ever the art of music video making is now, there’s no getting around the fact that images with music can create an emotional depth that the music cannot do alone.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask your thoughts on the Lush reunion…
The reunions of Lush and other dream/noise bands from the 90’s are of course exciting for fans. It also seems to have generated an interest in new bands that have been influenced by music from the 80’s and 90’s. This could be said about The Morelings, and it has been said. But we really try to mix things up and would like to think that our music is difficult to place in any one genre or time period. The new album reflects this for sure. It’s the juxtaposition of sounds that intrigues us.
How is the recording process for the new material going? What can you tell us about it, and, more importantly, when can we hear it?
The tracking on the new album is complete, and now we are in the process of mixing. This is the largest project we’ve ever undertaken, and we are very pleased with the result. Working with Jeff Zeigler has been great! You can expect to hear some similar dynamics in terms of vocals and the guitar, but also some departure from our past work. When it will be released is going to depend on our search for the right label. That’s the next step.
The Morelings play The Pharmacy tomorrow night. For more information, click here.
In the latest would-be development in the ongoing SS United States saga, Philly.com is reporting that Crystal Cruises (not Crystal Castles, which we originally misread and thought would’ve been AMAZING) has signed a purchase option for the ship that would see it removed from its current Philadelphia home to New York City, where it would be refurbished into a cruise ship and travel the globe. Uh huh. The piece also reports that the option deal is only for nine months, and things could very easily fall apart if Crystal’s detailed any inspection of the ship yields any results that would thwart the estimated $800,000,000 restoration of the vessel to make it seaworthy once more. This news feels like the SS United States entering the bargaining stage of the Kübler-Ross model to us, yet we would like to be wrong. We already dread having this thing move to NYC and start filling our Facebook feed with bon mots about Astoria. Sheesh, we never realized the far-reaching impact of Brain Drain until just now.