April 26, 2016 |
The formula for so-called black films is both specific and ill-defined: Jenifer Lewis, Lynn Whitfield, or Loretta Devine lead a mostly black cast, with Taye Diggs or Morris Chestnut in there somewhere. Spike Lee or Tyler Perry is writer, director, and star. Every character hides her purse around cousin Pookie, and prayer is the only substitute for a doctor's visit. There's often also a Soul Train line to Maze featuring Frankie Beverly's "Before I Let Go" and plenty of sassy neck rolling to go around.
March 11, 2016 |
At the F.A.N. Gallery over more than a decade, I've watched the evolution of the work of Philadelphia realist painter Carlo Russo, particularly the stunning still lifes he's known for. He's showing those, along with some figurative and landscape works, at F.A.N. through March 26. Over the years, one could see Russo - who studied fashion design at the Art Institute and painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, from which he graduated in 2004 – aggressively attack complex subject matter across several paintings.
November 21, 2015 |
Wonderful, wonderful - and yet again - wonderful. Wednesday's world premiere of Beasts , an evening-length work made for BalletX by Nicolo Fonte, was so good, I wanted to see it again while it was still happening. So what if the theme of the piece (that old chestnut about nature vs. nurture) was overly ambitious? And so what if a few extraneous elements (the stage smoke, for instance) quickly became annoying? Beasts gives BalletX the choreography that is worthy of its 10 superlative dancers, allowing them to show off both their astonishing technique and their impressive stylistic and dramatic range.
October 30, 2015 |
The campaign stop was routine - hands to shake, photos to be taken. Yet on a Sunday afternoon in Northeast Philadelphia, Jim Kenney started to tear up. The son of a firefighter, Kenney was at a school to help paint a mural honoring Michael Goodwin, a firefighter killed in the line of duty. After taking a turn with a paintbrush, he bent to talk to Goodwin's young grandson, telling him his grandfather was a hero who watches over him still. "I'm a little leaky today," said Kenney, long known for the kind of emotional outbursts that get a politician in trouble - or show that he is human.
October 10, 2015 |
In the 13 years since he released his breakout horror picture, Cabin Fever , director Eli Roth's name has become synonymous with torture, bloodletting, and mass murder. He gained international notoriety with 2005's Hostel . That movie captured with clinical precision the most horrific ways the human body can be beaten, torn, cut, stabbed, pulped, and sliced. It made the term torture porn a byphrase. Yet nothing in Roth's oeuvre is more disturbing than his latest picture, Knock Knock , a home-invasion thriller that scrupulously avoids even a single act of physical violence.
September 12, 2015 |
Vegetarians need not apply for this one. French director Franck Ribière, along with his favorite butcher, Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec, goes on a quest to find the perfect steak in Steak (R)evolution . They travel the world, to Brooklyn's Peter Luger, to Montreal's Joe Beef, to Le Bourdonnec's Parisian butcher shop, to farms in Argentina and beyond. Through their mouthwatering journey, they consider trends in the beef industry and the ways globalization has affected how we eat. The breeding of cows in France, for instance, was affected by the rise of grilling in the United States in the 1950s.
September 12, 2015 |
Chip Kelly walked into Disneyland, down Main Street, U.S.A., past Sleeping Beauty Castle, through Tomorrowland, and smack dab in front of Space Mountain. He did all this while playing imaginary games of football, as if he were on a field instead of in one of America's most popular amusement parks. Kelly didn't get on any rides. The roller coaster was in his mind and his companion was another coach. Kelly and Dana Bible liked to talk football. Their conversations always drifted toward X's and O's, and the animated, Northeastern-bred coaches would often act out the plays they crafted in their heads.
January 1, 2015 |
When Jason Weckstein looks at a bird, he doesn't just see a creature with feathers that flies. He sees the bird as a habitat of related creatures, a teeming community of wee beasties, some of which live - and feast - on its feathers, others that roam more widely and engage in more general mayhem, including gorging on the bird's blood. When he talks about these nasty things, his eyes light up and he smiles with pleasure. "When I'm in the field," he said, "when I'm out bird-watching, I think, 'Boy, I'd love to get the parasites off that host.' " Weckstein, 43, is an expert on chewing lice - about 4,000 of them are known to live on birds - and this year left the Field Museum in Chicago to become associate curator of ornithology at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
October 15, 2014 |
WHEN THE SEASON began, it seemed that one thing the Eagles lacked was a slam-dunk Pro Bowl performer on defense, a talent other teams would have to game plan around. There was a time when Trent Cole was that guy, and Cole is still playing well at 32, but Cole's most recent Pro Bowl appearance followed the 2009 season. Though it's early yet, if the squads were chosen today, you'd have to think Connor Barwin, the outside linebacker opposite Cole, might be that guy - maybe along with Malcolm Jenkins, the safety whose cover skills have freed Barwin to rush the passer to the tune of six sacks, tied for third in the NFL going into last night's action.
August 1, 2014 |
* EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL. 12:45 p.m. Sunday, BlackStar Film Festival, International House. Tickets: $10. Info: blackstarfest.org. * THE KILLING. Season 4 on Netflix beginning today. LANDING SPIKE LEE as executive producer of his first film is only a piece of the good fortune of Darius Clark Monroe. An honor student who became a bank robber at 16 in an attempt to help his family, Monroe was sentenced to five years in prison, emerging with a determination to go to New York University to learn how to make movies.