March 14, 2008 |
Brittany Stitt stepped to the microphone at Patterson's Palace for her third attempt at reciting a poem after losing her place twice. She was the first of seven open-mike performers at PhilaLive, a program offered by young entrepreneurs to let other young people express themselves on stage. "I swear, I can do this," she said through nervous laughter at the March 6 appearance. "Do you mind if I give it one more try?" More than 200 spectators - most in their late teens and early 20s - supported her with thunderous applause and shouts of encouragement.
May 6, 2007 |
'Generally speaking, it's men that sign the checks and men that control the images of women in pop music and movies," reflects Mercedes Martinez, half of Philadelphia's alt-soul duo Jazzyfatnastees. Martinez and her music partner, Tracey Moore, were frustrated that the dominant images of women were bootylicious video girls and that walking Wonderbra, Lara Croft. So in 1999 they ponied up $50,000, which their label gave them for promotion, to seed women's art. The result was Black Lily, weekly Tuesday-night music showcases at the Five Spot that from 2000 to 2005 nurtured artists such as Jill Scott, Floetry and Jaguar Wright.
March 20, 2007 |
The music industry may not know where the demand is going to come from. But there's never going to be any shortage of supply. That much was obvious at the South by Southwest Music Festival, or SXSW, which ended Sunday, where more than 1,500 acts played showcases, and hundreds of others plugged in at barbecue joints and taco stands in this city that becomes the capital of the music business every March. Band managers, booking agents and label honchos played I'll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours with digital mobile devices, as panels met on such topics as "Record Companies: Who Needs Them?"
March 17, 2007 |
All this week, our music maven Dan DeLuca has been posting dispatches on Philly.com from South by Southwest, the annual music industry confab in Austin, Texas. In this entry, he finds a touch or two of home in the Lone Star State. It's a long way from Broad Street to Sixth Street in this capital city in south-central Texas, but just as the shrinking music industry migrates to the growing South by Southwest Music Festival here every March, so does the Philadelphia music scene.
February 14, 2007 |
Let us agree that romantic comedies are the Hershey's kisses of movies and that the '80s duo Wham! is the caramel corn of pop. But don't prejudge Music and Lyrics. More substantial than a sugary treat, this crunchy rom-com with Hugh Grant as a has-been popster and Drew Barrymore as a never-was poet (they collaborate on a hit song) is simply irresistible. A half-sweet/half-acid satire of the music industry (and, also, of movie romances), M and L observes how the dimpled ditz and the caddish charmer alter each other's chemistry.
January 3, 2007 |
'BE SURE to get a good shot,' Robert Cooper said as he handed the digital camera to his lanky 16-year-old son, Davis. The two were standing in front of the Apollo Theater, amid the throng of thousands of mourners who flocked to Harlem last week from near and far to bid farewell to the Godfather of Soul. Cooper, a jazz saxophonist, has called Vienna, Austria, home for 14 years. It was there that he and his son first heard a live performance by James Brown some six years ago. Even though Brown was past his prime, "His music was simply amazing," Cooper said.
October 11, 2006
TOWER RECORDS HAS has gone the way of the vinyl LP, both victims of technology's unceasing pursuit of change and convenience. Tower, once one of the most powerful retail entities in the music industry, was sold last week to a liquidator for $134.3 million. The price is almost laughable when you consider in the mid 1990s, Tower racked up annual sales of $1 billion. But then the Internet matured. Young listeners found glee in file sharing and digital music. Wal-Mart and other "big box" stores lured customers with discounted-priced CDs. Tower tried to compete, but fumbled and lost.
October 10, 2006 |
When aiming for significance, rock songwriters reach for the A-word. On Boys and Girls in America (Vagrant . 1/2), the terrifically wordy, raucous new album about misspent youth by Brooklyn bar-band rockers the Hold Steady, Craig Finn spits it out in the opening stanza of the very first song. And he does it in a reference to Jack Kerouac's On the Road, no less: "There are nights when I think Sal Paradise was right," Finn talk-sings, name-dropping Kerouac's fictionalized alias in the 1957 novel.
April 28, 2006 |
Philadelphia's hip-hop and R&B artists continue to receive accolades outside the 215, but our rock scene is often a buried treasure to those beyond the Delaware Valley. However, our image as New York's scrappy younger brother is rapidly changing, a parallel to the rebirth of the city itself. Jeff Anderson, the man behind the Thrilladelphia Music Festival, is riding that wave. The 25-year-old Winter Park, Fla., native moved to Philadelphia to attend film school at Temple University.