November 16, 2015 |
Why am I so excited by Into the Badlands ? AMC's six-part mini-series, starring kung-fu adept Daniel Wu as an assassin, marks the first time in eons that a TV show has been dedicated to martial arts. It'll be shown in six weekly episodes beginning at 10 p.m. Sunday. Yes, it's riddled with comic-book clichés. True, the dialogue is out of a Cracker Jack box, and most of its characters have less dimension than cardboard cutouts. But I'm a sucker for well-choreographed kung fu films.
February 1, 2013
BLACK HISTORY MONTH Unsung heroine Moonstone Art Center wraps up its commemoration of the life and accomplishments of antilynching crusader, suffragist, journalist and speaker Ida B. Wells with a discussion of the relationship between 19th-century lynching and modern-day capital punishment. Criminal defense attorney Michael Coard, Witness to Innocence activist Shujaa Graham and others to speak. Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square, 2 p.m. Sunday, free, 215-735-3456, moonstoneartscenter.org.
October 19, 2012 |
THE FIRST clue that Stephen Fung's "Tai Chi Zero" is not your usual kung-fu kickfest is when our hero - Yang Lu Chan (Yuan Xiaochao) - is introduced on a 19th century Chinese battlefield to the strains of heavy metal. And then, for several minutes that follow, it becomes a silent film complete with title cards. This is just a taste of the cross-cultural steampunk/ martial arts/ comic-book Sino-Anglo mash-up that makes "Tai Chi Zero" so visually entertaining. But, unless you're a die-hard fan of Chinese action films, its considerable charms - "Tai Chi Zero" is littered with in-jokes and references to other movies - may prove exhausting before its relatively brief 95-minute run time is over.
May 11, 2012 |
In an era of fashionista rappers with gangsta attitude, such as Nicki Minaj and Azealia Banks, it's awesome — even necessary — that Eve make her return. At 33, Philly's self-proclaimed "pit bull in a skirt" can show up any of her imitators. She proved as much during an intimate (200 people) gig Wednesday at Fishtown's funky Kung Fu Necktie. From her earliest days as one of the Ruff Ryders to her own pop-hop hits ("Who's That Girl?") and a klatch of smash collaborations with Gwen Stefani, Eve was always the queen of swagger.
May 5, 2012 |
'W e're at an administrative disadvantage but also a creative advantage," says the Spinto Band's Nick Krill. Krill and Thomas Hughes, the Delaware sextet's two principal songwriters and vocalists, are in a Wilmington coffee shop talking about the launch of their new label, Spintonic Recordings, and self-releasing and self-producing Shy Pursuit, their third official album. History is complicated for the Spinto Band. Their first album was really their seventh or eighth, and their new album is actually more than a year old. By the time they put out Nice and Nicely Done in 2006, they had been making records in their basement for years, although few were formally released.
March 15, 2012
Food: Vegan Vietnamese, starring banh mi hoagies ($4-$5) and rice noodles ($5), both starring deliciously fake (soy protein) chicken, ham and beef, dressed in cilantro, homemade pickles, coconut and/or jalapeños. Find it: For now, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 33rd and Chestnut; Saturday-Sunday at Clark Park, 43rd and Baltimore. Look for: A hand-painted hotdog cart with a red umbrella and kung fu trimmings. Eat on: The grass, or standing by a tall table balanced on milk crates.
February 25, 2012 |
Your TV hates you. How do I know? It's never there when you need it. Seriously, wouldn't you like some entertainment on a Saturday night? Ha! Let's take a gander at what the networks are offering this week, shall we? ABC starts off with Wipeout , its painful pratfall game show. Literally adding insult to injury, it's a repeat. In fact, the night has become such a den of reruns, it'll save us time just to list the original programming. To wit: back-to-back Cops on Fox, 48 Hours Mystery on CBS, and The Firm on NBC. In other words, two series that always seem like repeats anyway and a third - The Firm - that NBC has given up on and is merely burning off the episodes already paid for. I know, I know, there are a thousand other options out there.
January 24, 2012 |
Baltimore-based singer/songwriter Cass McCombs is renowned for his bleak, urbane lyrics and melancholy musicality. There's a cool sense of distance to some of his saddest, smartest songs. There's ambition beneath the laconic surface, though. McCombs is driven enough to have released two albums in 2011, Humor Risk and Wit's End ; energetic enough to write complicated, cosmopolitan, humorous songs that plumb valuable emotional depths; and calculating enough to plan a wildly entertaining tour with one-man-jug-band opening act Frank Fairfield.
December 19, 2011
THE BOX-OFFICE record for a movie directed by a woman stands at $663 million. Can you name the director? If you guessed Nancy Meyers or Nora Ephron, you can be congratulated for knowing the name of a commercially successful female director. But you are incorrect. You are also incorrect if you guessed Catherine Hardwicke, of "Twilight" fame ($392 million), or Betty Thomas, whose "Alvin and the Chipmunks" sequel grossed $443 million. You'd be very well informed, but still wrong, if you guessed Phyllida Lloyd, the British lass who directed the movie version of "Mamma Mia" ($609 million)
December 17, 2011 |
In a black shirt and pants with a white suit jacket and red pocket square, his hair upswept in a cross between a mohawk and a James Brown pompadour, JC Brooks could have stepped onto the stage of Kung Fu Necktie right out of a time machine. But while the songs that Brooks and his four-piece band, the Uptown Sound, played Thursday drew heavily on sweat-drenched 1960s soul, it didn't have the studied feel of a revival act. Aficionados of Stax and Motown had plenty to make them groove, but so did fans of the forgotten alternative rock band Luscious Jackson, whose song "Naked Eye" turned up in the middle of the set-opening "I Can See Everything.