The Inquirer’s Kevin Riordan spotlighted Philadelphia’s fluorishing local poetry culture via the excellent Apiary Magazine last week. From the piece itself: “Apiary’s first issue appeared in 2010. The magazine is Philly-centric but hardly parochial; 730 men, women, and children from all over the country submitted poetry and short fiction for the forthcoming Apiary 6.” And “Apiary, a print and online literary magazine as energetic and eclectic as the Philly poetry scene it nurtures.”
By the way, an apiary is, by Webster’s definition: “a place where bees are kept; especially a collection of hives or colonies of bees kept for their honey.” Just an FYI.
In a way, poetry’s never really been as sexy as it should be. It’s the art of words, an art form that dwells in ideas and nuance. And an intuitive and sensitive mind, one that cherishes the technicality of expression, doesn’t always lead to a well-attended and buzzworthy event. Poets have often been outsiders, too, writers who’ve known the burden of constant thought interpretation. The poetry reading and writers workshop has always been a haven of judgement-free safety. In the best way possible, the love of letters and expression of free literary thought has been a historic playground for freaks, outcasts, weirdos and philosophers.
With these two big events next week, there’s an opportunity to see just how diverse and lively Philly is as a poetry breeding ground. Apiary’s big on promoting poetry events in Philadelphia, and they’re pushing these two: the Philadelphia Poetry Grand Slam FINALS and the Philly Youth Poetry Movement Grand Slam FINALS. The more-adult Grand Slam Finals are on Friday night, May 3rd, at PhilaMOCA, but it’s still all ages; it’s at 8:30pm, and tickets are $8 in advance (and a little more at the door) and $15 for VIP. The young kids’ll be selling out the Art Museum (the Van Pelt Auditorium) with a quick 5:30pm door and 6pm sharp show time; tickets are $7 for students and the youth and $15 for adults. A special appearance is planned by the Swarthmore College Poetry Team, and last year over 400 people showed up for some slammin’.
Oh, and by the way, Apiary’s been highlighting local writers’ favorite poems all month, so I thought it’d be nice to share one of those here and now. This is Helen W. Mallon’s pick, a writer/writing coach/book reviewer, a(n excerpt from a) poem by Louise Erdrich called “Advice to Myself”:
“Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw out the cracked bowl and don’t patch the cup.
Don’t patch anything. Don’t mend. Buy safety pins.
Don’t even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and the the dead
foaming up in grey rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don’t keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll’s tiny shoes in pairs, don’t worry
who uses the toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic–decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don’t even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don’t sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we’re all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don’t answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks….“
Straight from the press release, here are the deets:
“Designed for solo artists, bands, and singers who are not signed to a major label record company, Unsigned Only’s goal is to find an outstanding, talented performing artist: a band, singer, or solo artist…a newcomer or veteran…raw or polished – the “gem” that needs to be discovered. Unsigned Only is looking for the total package. Launched in 2011 by the founders of the International Songwriting Competition (ISC), Unsigned Only offers the Grand Prize winner $10,000 and all First Place winners $1,000 in cash (plus additional prizes) as well as the unprecedented opportunity to be mentored by a group of record company presidents, A&R reps, and more. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for an artist to directly network with the highest level of record company professionals and get guidance, advice, feedback, and networking opportunities.
First Place and Second Place winners will also be selected in each category. Categories include: AAA (Adult Album Alternative), AC (Adult Contemporary), Christian Music, Country, Folk/Singer-Songwriter, R&B/Hip-Hop, Rock, Pop/Top 40, Teen, and Vocal Performance. All entries must be original music except for the Vocal Performance and Teen categories, which allow original or cover songs.”
That’s a lot of cash to grab at, friends. And look at all those categories! Check out the name-dropping in the list of mentors and judges:
“The judging panel is comprised of an impressive group of recording artists and top-level music journalists. Judges include: Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders); Cyndi Lauper; Iggy Pop; Carly Simon; John Oates (Hall & Oates); Eve; 3 Doors Down; Neon Trees; Brandi Carlile; Hunter Hayes; Manchester Orchestra; Black Francis (The Pixies); Ryan Bingham; Faith Evans; David Crowder; Craig Morgan; Robert Smith (The Cure); Darryl McDaniels (Run DMC); Of Monsters and Men; Wynonna; Aaron Shust; Kirko Bangz; G. Love; Jason Gray; Dustin Lynch; The Mountain Goats; Anthony DeCurtis (Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone); Josh Jackson (Co-Founder and Editor-In-Chief, Paste Magazine); Vanessa Satten (Editor-In-Chief, XXL Magazine); Christopher Weingarten (Senior Editor, Spin); and Chris Richards (Pop Music Critic, The Washington Post).
The panel of mentors who have signed on to participate is equally impressive. Included are: Monte Lipman (President of Universal Republic Records); Pete Ganbarg (Executive VP/Head of A&R, Atlantic Records); Shawn Holiday (Senior VP of A&R, RCA Records and Sony/ATV Music Publishing); Josh Bailey (Sr. VP of A&R, Word Label Group); Kim Stephens (President, Forward Entertainment and A&R/Capitol Music Group); Allison B. Jones (VP of A&R, Big Machine Label Group); Lisa Ramsey-Perkins (Senior Director of A&R, Sony Music Nashville).
Sponsors include: D’Addario, Disc Makers, Sony Creative Software, The Music Business Registry, CAD Audio, Celebrity Access and Mrs. Fields Cookies.”
Alright, Mrs. Fields!
Follow this link for details about how you put your hat in the ring. The deadline for submitting is April 16th.
Whether you’re already a regularly performing comedian or just a funny Average Joe dying to get your hands on a microphone, you now have a chance to become the Philly Improv Theater’s next bright and shiny comedic star.
For its first-ever Sweeps Weeks, the theater is currently seeking submissions for a hilarious original new monthly variety show to add to their already awesome weekly/monthly line-up. It could be a game show. It could be a talk show. It could be a show that incorporates music, dancing and puppetry. It could be a puppet game show. Whatever. As long as it’s not strictly improv or sketch, the sky’s the limit.
If interested, have your concept thoroughly fleshed out by March 10 and to shoot an email to PHIT’s Variety Producer and incredibly talented Jill of Trades, Ms. Jessica Ross (email@example.com) with your name, email addy and the subject “Sweeps Weeks.” You’ll receive a reply by March 14 with a brief survey regarding the various details of your show. Be sure to provide a very thorough description. The more they know, the better your chances.
In May, selected applicants will be giving a chance to perform a 30-minute “pilot” for a live audience, who will then rate the show, determining whether or not it advances to the semifinal round. Those final four semifinalists will perform again on May 29, then the two to make it out alive will perform one last time on June 5. Ultimately, it’ll be up to a panel of judges to decide who deserves to be invited back each month.
Even if you’re show isn’t picked, you’ll still get some much needed feedback should you want to go on and try to have it produced elsewhere. Or you’ll be the laughing stock of the town, which is exactly what you wanted in the first place.
I highly recommend checking out a few of the million different indie local comedy shows going on around the city, pretty much any night of the week for both inspiration and research. As always, PHIT has a jam-packed weekend of laughs in store.
Be sure to check back when the Sweeps Weeks get underway in May as I will most definitely be sizing up the competition.
If you’ve left your house at all the past week or so, chances are, you’ve notice one or more storefronts decked out in all sorts British-inspired décor. Seriously, you can’t walk down a street in this city right now without falling under the stern gaze of at least one cardboard cutout of Queen Elizabeth.
Needless to say, this is all apart of a promotional campaign and contest, held to fuel hype around the 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show while also giving local businesses a chance to really showcase their creativity. Using Britain’s picturesque landscapes, royal icons, traditions and pop culture as inspiration, a total of 71 participating boutiques, restaurants and other establishments around the Philly region have crafted stunning displays inside their windows or lobbies, all of which will remain on display through March 10.
A panel of judges will be selecting winners in various categories including, “Most Creative,” “Best Interpretation” and the ultimate “2013 Grand Champion.” Meanwhile, it’s up to the public to determine this year’s “Crowd Favorite.” All of the winners will be announced this Thursday, so if there’s any businesses that you think did a particularly stellar job, go ahead and “Like” the Facebook contest page, peruse the gallery of contenders and cast your vote. As an incentive, with every vote you place, you’ll be entered to win two tickets to the Flower Show.
With over a hundred votes each, right now the front-runners appear to be Urban Princess (750 S. Fourth St.), Indigo Schuy (8432 Germantown Ave.) and Worn Yesterday (4228 Main St.). If you want to check out a few of these displays on your lunch break or on walk home, there’s an interactive map online that shows where each of the participating businesses are.
In the meantime, here are a few of my own personal faves…
For what was, on paper, one of the most exciting Academy Awards in many years, I really wasn’t expecting such a lackluster red carpet. Apparently, Hollywood’s leading ladies collectively decided to rock simple, neutral colored gowns this year… Snoozeville!
I only have two picks for best dressed and a whole lotta worsts. So let’s start with them.
There’s no way she thought this looked classy.
She may just be one of the most beautiful women on the planet. Any designer would give their left arm to design a dress for her. AND SHE WORE THIS??? Besides the fact that it ages about 30 years, it’s not fitted properly around her waist and bust. Oh, and whoever told her it was a good idea to wear a necklace with a high neckline SHOULD BE SHOT.
I know Jen has never been one to make any bold statements on the red carpet, but this is just sooo fucking boring. This boredom got me thinking, “Why the hell was Jennifer Aniston invited to the Oscars?
Come on, Giuliana. As a member of the Fashion Police and all, you usually bring you’re A-Game. Would it have killed you to add a necklace or earrings?
Overall, I’m not sure this look is all that Oscars-appropriate. And that cockatoo hair really bothers the living hell out of me. Still, I’m totally in love with this Versace dress. And let’s face, few could pull it off quite like Halle.
This gunmetal Armani Privé gown was the first one of the night that actually made me say “Wow.” It was both stunning and interesting, a combo I can’t I saw much of last night.
For the past year, the Old City designer co-op has sought to expand and strengthen Philly’s fashion community, offering seven of the city’s most talented designers—Lele Designs, Lobo Mau, Mariel Rojo, Heartless Revival, Aso Damisi, Caterine Sanchez and Secret Bohemia—a shared space to showcase/sell their fashions and conserve resources. While enjoying complimentary drinks and light fare, guests are will have a chance to not only see the new designs in store, but hear straight from the designers themselves the various projects they’ve got in the works. 6:30-9:30pm. Free. US*U.S, 323 Arch St.
If your planning to head to the South Street/Fabric Row area tonight to check out the various Fourth Friday art openings and events, be sure to stop Paradigm Gallery, where a second reception will be held for talented young local artist, Dietrich Meyer’s latest show, a series of paintings based on the ideas of melancholy, duality, and mania. Sure, it might be a little depressing, but there’s will be plenty of other happenings going down in the vicinity that’ll cheer you back up if need be. 6-10pm. Free. Paradigm Gallery + Studio, 803 S. Fourth St.
Break out your most Oscar’s-appropriate attire and join local improv comedy vets Kristen Schier and Mike Marbach as they guide you through an evening of movie-based improv games as well as a few video parodies of last year’s nominated films. Rather than the usual $5 admission, the show will be asking folks to contribute what they can to help keep the weekly show going. Keep in mind that the venue is BYOB, but a limited selection of food and drinks will be up for grabs. Immediately following the jam at 10 p.m, there will be a screening of a surprise film, which got snubbed by the Academy this year and is also apparently one of the “best/worst movies of all time.” 8-10pm. $0-$10. The Arts Parlor, 1170 S. Broad St.
After being postponed due to fruitless winter storm hype, finally local crafters will be uniting at the Amtrak station to sell their handmade wares, whether that includes jewelry, knits, apparel, art prints, sculpture or home décor. Presented by VIX Emporium and the University City District, the daylong event has a slew of awesome merchants lined up. I’m personally feeling impartial to Phea Jean’s quirky line of accessories and handbags, the adorable kitchen accents of Dop Dop Designs, joeyfivecents’ one-of-a-kind, salvaged jewelry and the awesome nostalgic tees from The Captain’s Vintage. 11am-5pm. Free. 30th Street Station, North Waiting Room, 30th & Market Sts.
From the star of the Baltimore boylesque scene, Paco Fish to Philly’s own blossoming boylesquer, Mr. Fahrenheit, guests are in for a night of manly mayhem.In fact, host of the evening, Joey Martin of Peek-A-Boo Revue is promising to cover the audience in “hot man sauce.” Though, there are two glamorous gals in the group: local burlesque starlets Miss Rose and Lil’ Steph. Consider arriving early to get some dinner then stay late and party it up with the Bravissimo crew. Saturday, 10pm-1:30am. $10. Wine-O, 447 N. Poplar St.
Damn, was this hard. With Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj inexplicably absent from the Grammy festivities last night, we didn’t get the same sorta drama on the red carpet. For the most part, everyone looked sane, yet stylish. So stylish, in fact, that I couldn’t even rank my best dressed.
Matador-chic? Is that a thing? Guess it is now. And I like it!
Apparently she and Beyonce switched roles for a night. And with this daring Georges Chakra Couture number—accessorized with her chiseled arms—Kelly made Beyonce look like a chump.
I’m probably alone in my adoration for this dress, but how do you fight something so Pretty Pretty Princess meets the Ice Capades? You don’t, that’s how.
It’s not black! Hooray!!
Even though she’d look a lot better with her hair up and boobs in, I’m obsessed with this sea-foam green Gucci gown. And the slightly tacky embellishments make it very Grammy appropriate.
Wasn’t sure how she was going to top the incredibly sexy and simple goddess gown that she wore to the MTV Video Music Awards, but I definitely didn’t expect she’d do it with an equally sexy and simple dress.
The Grammy’s were almost as boring as this outfit.
Uhhhh…ummm…like, the fuck is this?