April 27, 2013 |
It could be a performance fair down Broad Street, a foodie-craft clash along East Passyunk Avenue, an arts stroll in Fairmount, or a bar crawl through the Graduate Hospital area: No matter where or what, block parties are essential to Philadelphia's spring and summer. Comedian Dave Chappelle did a movie about them. Rapper Will Smith made a song. Block parties are wild fun, inclusive of all family members and levels of taste. This weekend is the start to Philly's block party season.
April 26, 2013
PIFA 'If She Stood' Talk about leaning in. In the circa 1833 Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, women of all backgrounds stood up publicly to speak against slavery and for education. This play explores the who and how. Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine St., 8 p.m. today-tomorrow (and May 3-4), 3 p.m. Sunday (and May 5), $25-$30, 215-925-9914, paintedbride.org. Singing City . . . and the Singing City Children's Choir honor the 50th anniversary of the Children's March on Birmingham.
April 26, 2013
To say PIFA's Street Fair takes up six blocks of South Broad Street - from Chestnut just past Lombard - is to grossly understate the scope of the arts festival's open-air finale. The event, intended to celebrate and encapsulate a month of citywide shows, ends up doing more than just that. Sure, there will be variations on the festival's time machine theme: a dinosaur petting zoo (with a life-size T-Rex), a human fountain, acrobats overhead, medieval knights, postapocalyptic stilt walkers, a ton of live, global music, and French welders working on time machines of their own. But there will also be a giant Ferris wheel and Spanish galleon ride.
April 24, 2013 |
'If you had a time machine . . . " is the theme of the 2013 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, now in its final week. Unvoiced is the rest of the question: ". . . where would you go?"
April 23, 2013
By Suzanne Cloud When Jay Wahl, director of public events at the Kimmel Center, called to tell me my proposal to do a show about Dizzy Gillespie's gig at the Downbeat Club in November 1941 had been accepted for this year's Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), my knees went watery. What had I gotten myself into? The last play I'd written, an adaptation of Ben Jonson's 17th-century, five-act comedy Bartholomew Fair , was performed only once. Clocking in at four hours, the reading at the old Painted Bride on South Street should have required attendees to bring a sleeping bag. But, as I have always embraced writer Ralph Ellison's suggestion to "opt for that psychic uncertainty" needed to achieve one's full potential as an artist and human being, I decided to return to the boards.
April 14, 2013 |
Director Anise George interviewed more than 50 women for Animal Animal Mammal Mine , which opened at Underground Arts Wednesday night, and I wondered if it might be too academic to make it one of my Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts picks. But despite George's lofty pedigree - Jack Kent Cooke Fellow, graduate of Columbia University and the London International School of Performing Arts - I chose it and am pleased to report that it's a thoughtful, funny show. In line with PIFA's time-travel theme, Animal Animal is pegged to May 11, 1960, when the FDA approved the birth control pill.
April 12, 2013 |
With his Devo-esque brand of electronic music and highly physical live performances, Dan Deacon has been a Philly favorite since 2007's Spiderman of the Rings . Deacon thinks as much of this town as its fans do of him. "It's a major DIY city, with a good scene and a lot of community-based spaces that remind me of Baltimore," says Deacon, recalling his hometown. Deacon returns to Philly this weekend, not only to hype his Record Store Day exclusive, "Konono Ripoff No. 1," an homage to the legendary Congolese band Konono Nº1 ("I've been playing that music live for years and tried to record it, unfinished, until this," he says)
April 2, 2013 |
Sometimes you pick 'em right, and sometimes you don't. This was one of my don'ts. I chose EgoPo's The Life (and Death) of Harry Houdini as one of my three PIFA recommendations in Friday's Weekend section. Although I wasn't naive enough to expect a real magic show on stage, I did expect some stage magic, and not a dramatized Wikipedia biography of the world's most famous escape artist. Created/written/directed by Brenna Geffers (who has repeatedly proved herself an excellent director and who should stick to that)
March 30, 2013 |
So much to see and hear. So little time. Or maybe a surfeit of time. That's the promise of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, which begins its second monthlong citywide splash this week - two years after a rousing debut of more than 135 performances and events wrapping up with a street fair on the Avenue of the Arts that drew more than 200,000. This time, the festival, though smaller, returns with a bang, as in the Big Bang of almost 14 billion years ago, although this weekend the oldest moment being evoked is only between three and four billion, when life emerged from the primordial soup.