February 17, 2016 |
Sayed Kashua's life story reminds one of that wonderfully inappropriate line from Steve Martin's 1979 classic, The Jerk . "It was never easy for me," Martin says, forcing each syllable with the slow, careful deliberation of the addled. "I was born a poor black child. " Kashua was born a (somewhat poor) Palestinian child in Tira, a small, predominantly Arab town 20 miles north of Tel Aviv. But he grew up to become one of the most celebrated satirists in Hebrew literature. You heard right: The novelist and screenwriter writes passionately about the daily injustices faced by Israel's Arabs, yet he writes exclusively in Hebrew.
January 10, 2016 |
Bruce Graham's Funnyman opens at the Arden Theatre on Thursday. The lead character, aging vaudeville slapstick comic Chick Sherman, speaks for Graham - Philly's most Philadelphia playwright - when he says, "Nobody takes comics seriously until they do something serious. " Much of Graham's theatrical output engages people, places, and events from his past. North of the Boulevard is a blue-collar affair set in the Darby auto garage his cousin owns. His first play, Burkie (now 35 years old)
September 16, 2015 |
Girl power reigned at the third annual Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival Sunday at Susquehanna Bank Center. It's a tradition. Sarah Silverman and Whitney Cummings stole last year's show. Bridget Everett and Amy Schumer, who are, not surprisingly, close pals, stole it on Sunday. Opener Nikki Glaser had her moments, particularly when talking about her sex life. MC Big Jay Oakerson, born and raised in Philadelphia, talked sex, sex, and more sex, nothing new, but Oakerson was charismatic and a natural host.
July 13, 2015 |
A glance down the hallway toward the gallery of the Woodmere Art Museum, where its 74th Annual Juried Exhibition begins, reveals the quirky aesthetic of jurors and artist brothers Steven and Billy Dufala. In the distance, an enormous, featureless, off-white creature shaped like a cross between a duck and a sheep lies on the floor. Behind it is a large painting of two women standing side by side against a starry night, one holding an ungainly cloudlike form, the other's face hidden by a mass of droopy hair - or something like hair.
June 5, 2015 |
Theater has many applications. It can entertain. It can provoke intellectual debate. It can serve as a temporary distraction from the grind of everyday life. But Delaware County resident Michael Broussard uses theater to help him cope with being a victim of childhood sexual abuse. And he hopes his one-man production, "Ask A Sex Abuse Survivor," being staged this weekend in Elkins Park, may help others who have suffered this most heinous of crimes to deal with its often emotionally debilitating aftermath.
June 4, 2015 |
Donna Cavanagh says the world is brimming with mockable material - like the sex toy designed for those grieving the loss of a partner. The glass device can be filled with ashes of your dead lover. "I mean, come on. That story was like handing me gold," Cavanagh, 53, of East Norriton, says of the essay she wrote about it. Her writing finds a home on the website she founded four years ago, Humor Outcasts, where now more than 100 other humorists - cartoonists, novelists, stand-up comedians, and TV producers and writers, many well-known - contribute essays, memes, parodies, satires, and cringe comedy at a blush-under-R rating.
May 23, 2015 |
When Aaron Dontez Yates, the speed rapper/producer known as Tech N9ne, created the Strange Music label in 1999, he must have known his life's vocation. Tech N9ne's sound consistently has been odd yet alluring - quick, industrialized hip-hop with incendiary, socially conscious, sci-fantasy lyrics that would make Harlan Ellison green with Martian envy. And Yates' rapid, chopping style makes Tech N9ne a dog whose bark might just be as bad as its bite. Tech N9ne played the Trocadero on Wednesday night, with future-forward electro-rappers such as MURS and Chris Webby along for the ride.
May 15, 2015 |
With a new exhibition opening Saturday, the Barnes Foundation is entering a shadowy, self-referential, postmodern world it has never ventured into before. Certainly not during the lifetime of founder Albert C. Barnes, nor at any time since his death in 1951. "Mark Dion, Judy Pfaff, Fred Wilson: The Order of Things," running through Aug. 3, consists of three commissioned installations inspired by the famously idiosyncratic Barnes and the manner in which he displayed his art; "ensembles" he called his wall and gallery arrangements, and he stipulated they could never be rearranged.
May 1, 2015
WHEN HE WAS playing football at Lower Merion High School, Joe Chovanes didn't dream he would grow up to be a woman. It's hard to wrap your mind around it, but the Joe of long ago, now Julie, says she was a woman all along. If this sounds like Bruce Jenner, but without the fame and national adoration, it is. Transgender has transitioned into our national consciousness. Like Jenner, Chovanes was kind of a jock and had a way with the ladies. Unlike Jenner, Chovanes became an attorney and married his college sweetheart.
February 10, 2015 |
Why has Chris Tucker, big-screen comic foil, been crisscrossing the country doing stand-up shows? This is a guy who at the height of his popularity, when the Rush Hour movies made him for a time the highest-paid actor in Hollywood, never worked a day more than he had to. As he explained at the Tower Theater on Friday night, he owes a towering sum in back taxes. He joked that IRS agents were backstage as he performed, tallying the box office and eating chicken. His tax troubles are both the impetus and the foundation of his act. He complained about TMZ reporting his debt as more than $14 million.