It’s hard to believe, but it was only one year ago that Philadelphians braced themselves for the unknown, when thousands would descend upon our city to see what Jay Z had brewed up with Budweiser. That successful two-day effort, Made In America, seemed to be a pretty time-hooked moment: Jay and Kanye West were creative partners at the time, still relishing in the critical success of Watch The Throne. And while Yeezy’s G.O.O.D. Music crew stormed the Rocky Stage for the last half-hour of Saturday night to blast through megahits (at the time) like “Clique,” “New God Flow” and “Mercy,” it seemed like no one could touch these hip-hop royals—like they were at the top of their game, and no one else was on their level. The royalty in reference, other than Messrs. Carter and West, would be the performers from last year’s MIA who graced the main stage: Rick Ross, Drake and the boys who jumped on stage with West, like 2 Chainz, Pusha T, Common and Big Sean. Odd Future graced the secondary Liberty Stage, but those OFWGKTW boys are a little more nihilistic and subversive than what I’m getting at.
But that was 2012. At 2013’s MIA, it’s really only about one emcee: Kendrick Lamar.
Indeed, Lamar blew up big over the last year, and mere weeks ago, he stepped onto a Big Sean track called “Control” that shook the hip-hop community up like it hasn’t been in a while. On it, Lamar spits: “I got love for you all but I’m tryna murder you n——s/Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you n——s/They don’t want to hear not one more noun or verb from you n——s.” This after shouting out a roll call of his contemporaries, in order: J. Cole, Big K.R.I.T., Wale, Pusha T, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Big Sean, Jay Electronica, Tyler (the Creator) and Mac Miller. Lamar also posits himself alongside Nas, Jay, Eminem and Andre 3000—as in they’re old, he’s new. It’s all anyone can talk about, Tweet and Facebook about. Well, before Miley.
This year’s lineup for MIA is decidedly hip-hop and young. With Beyonce headlining Day One and Nine Inch Nails headlining Day Two, you might believe that the festival was proportionately mixed in genre. Not really. Phoenix, Queens of the Stone Age, Imagine Dragons and the Gaslight Anthem are doing the heavy rock and pop rock lifting, with Emeli Sande, Miguel, Solange, Fitz & the Tantrums, HAIM and AlunaGeorge bolstering both days with modern R&B and soul. And yet, with one verse, all anyone cares about this weekend is catching Lamar’s Sunday set.
To our knowledge, none of the artists he noted by name are expected to be present, minus A$AP Rocky, who we’ll be sure to catch just to see if he addresses the call-out directly, hopefully in a hot verse of his own. Honestly, it’s just hip-hop—and admit it or not, hip-hop’s been pretty boring for a while. Diss tracks and petty beefs come with the territory and have since it began. Just ask Chuck D and Public Enemy, who’ll be performing on Saturday. Competition in hip-hop is as present as cheap gold, and Lamar will be strangely in his element all weekend, with all of his Black Hippie homeboys present and performing: Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and ScHoolBoy Q each go on earlier in the day on Sunday.
Otherwise, things appear to be pretty much exactly as they were in 2012. A map shows all the stages to be in the same places, with the exception of the Freedom Tent being turned into a Freedom Stage to showcase electronic dance music. EDM’s a strong component to the MIA lineup, for whatever reason, and, like the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Dan DeLuca told Daniel Rubin in a radio chat on The Talk: “If all EDM sounds like a car alarm going off to you, I would say you should bring earplugs and walk several blocks away in search of a fish taco during Deadmau5 or Wolfgang Gartner or Nero.” There’s also a brand new skate park smack dab in the middle of the fest’s campus, so there will now be a Skate Park Stage, with programming on it both days that’s in addition to the 30-plus acts slated for the main stages.
MIA has also ramped up its capacities by a not-insignificant number: 60,000 tickets can and will be sold for both days, as opposed to capacities capped at 50,000 in 2012. Warnings have been issued about what you can (one sealed water bottle) and cannot bring (everything) into the gates, and patdowns will be more substantial this year. The fuss that neighbors made leading up to last summer’s debut was significantly less this time around. There are always drunks and garbage on the streets, and businesses now know what to expect at midnight so have staffed and expanded their hours accordingly.
Speaking of hours, the music starts at 2 p.m., with gates opening at noon, and stops at 11:59 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday nights. There’ll be innumerable ways for you to spend money and get money to spend, and, hopefully, the two biggest kinks in terms of pure conveniences will have gotten ironed out: The beer will be cold, and your phone will work. Last year, on Saturday, nothing worked electronically: no cell phone service or WiFi all day, so no calling, texting, Tweeting, Instagramming and no journalists blogging—which may sound funny a year later, but sure as hell won’t be if there’s a repeat. Still, at the same time journalists like me are excited to blog and live-Tweet our wry observations and Instagram the shit out of the crowd antics and performances at Made in America, we’re also excited about the deliciously dank lineup of talent Jay’s put together. Oh, yeah: Beyonce included.
Sat., Aug. 31-Sun., Sept. 1. 2pm. $89.50-$499.50. Benjamin Franklin Parkway. madeinamericafest.com
It’s called Shooting Stars. And while the event may be described as a “surreal July 4 celebration,” that really seems to be selling it short.
Produced by local artist and musician Jon Shapiro, the one-night-only public exhibition is a collaboration between local artists and restaurants, combining a three-course dining spectacle with a cybernetic art installation that autonomously live tweets the entire event.
Confused? Allow me to break it all down, piece by piece.
The first two courses come courtesy of Soup Kitchen Café and Yumtown, USA food truck and will be served by a crew of actors abstractedly re-imagining the Declaration of Independence as a way of highlighting the ongoing deadlock in Washington today. Members of the audience will be completely immersed in the action, free to interact with the actors.
As you enjoy your grub, you will also be simultaneously generating content for an interactive social media art project called SPECTRUM, which essentially creates an objective, real-time account of the evening’s collective experience via Twitter. The piece was created in response to the recent scandal surrounding the NSA’s electronic surveillance program.
Finally, for dessert, Little Baby’s Ice Cream will debut an electronic music piece titled “Music for Ice Cream,” which is triggered by the act of eating electrically charged ice cream. This piece features work from Data Garden’s Sam Cusumano and Philly screen-print queen Candy Coated.
Sounds like one hell of way to celebrate this country’s independence, no?
It’ll all be going down this Friday from 7-10 p.m. on the third floor of the Philadelphia Art Alliance (251 S. 18th St.). Dinner will be served at 7:15 p.m., then again at 8 p.m. General admission is just $5, but if you want to partake in the meal (which is obviously the better idea), that’ll run you $25.
For tickets, contact Jon Shapiro: 484.744.2785 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gentleman Arthur Ties, $50-$75 each / Kembrel (1822 Chestnut St.)
Farmhaus “Gurt Blöc in Sapele Cutting/Serving Board,” $65 / Art Star (623 N. Second St.)
Philadelphia Phillies Pennant Race Windbreaker, $54 / Mitchell & Ness (1201 Chestnut St.)
Hortense B. Hewitt Glass Tankard with Personalization (Set of 2), $59.95 / Scarlett Alley (241 Race St.)
Trifold Luxe, $58 / Fabric Horse (1737 E. Passyunk Ave.)
Tokens & Icons Antique Golf Club Bottle Opener, $75 / Boyd’s Philadelphia (1818 Chestnut St.)
Sperry 2 Eye Neon Red Top Sider Shoes, $100 / South Moon Under (1731 Chestnut St.)
Jack Spade Duffle Bag, $295 / Art in the Age (116 N. Third St.)
Mainline Package (choice of tie, polo and tee), $123.75 / Duke & Winston (633 N. Second St.)
Triple C Designs iSolar Backup Battery in Bamboo, $34.95 / Scarlett Alley (241 Race St.)
Rocky Statue Tee (Black/Gold), $22 / Aphillyated.com
Camp Arrow Signs, $48 / Three Potato Four (376 Shurs Ln., Bldg. A)
Old Time Shave Set, $30 / Duross & Langel (117 S. 13th St.)
Robo Tea Infuser, $10 / SWAG Boutique (935 N. Second St.)
1canoe2 Letterpress Presidential Drinking Glasses (set of 4), $48 / Occasionette (1825 E. Passyunk Ave.)
Veteran’s Stadium Tee, $20 / Cheesesteak Tees (506 South St.)
Map Hip Flask, $26.99 / Hello World (257 S. 20th St.)
Circuit Board Photo Frame, $24 / Ten Thousand Villages (1122 Walnut St. & 8331 Germantown Ave.)
From our Philly Now calendar this week:
PrideDay Parade and Festival
Pride means a lot of things to a lot of different people. For some, their first, it’s a day they’ve been looking forward to eagerly just to be surrounded by queerness and celebration. For a host of others, out for decades, rejoicing in the brother- and sisterhood of gay simply never gets old. For 362 days of the year, we have pride in our own individualistic ways. But in June, for one weekend of every year, we come together in the spirit of Harvey Milk and Giovanni’s Room to shout “We’re here! We’re queer!” And with Philly Pride celebrating a quarter century of PrideDay this year, folks are having no problem getting used to it.
Friday night is a kick-off block party on 12th Street between Walnut and Spruce from 6 to 11 p.m.; word is that there’ll be a mechanical shark to ride, something called a “wrecking ball” and outdoor dancing, followed by Gayborhood revelry. On Saturday, you get the William Way Center’s homecoming and the annual Philadelphia Dyke March. Then on Sunday, the city explodes with rainbows. Starting at noon at the intersection of 13th and Locust, the PrideDay Parade finishes with a Penn’s Landing destination, where things’ll get a little weird and very gay. More than 150 groups and organizations are participating, and so is the evilly bewitching reality TV star Omarosa Manigault, with Henri David as the fest’s master of ceremonies. Miss and Mr. Philly Gay Pride will be heralded, youth grand marshals will beam, and gays will dance until their legs hurt. Pride month is here! And it is most certainly queer. Check out phillypride.org for tons of details.
And a few unofficial words to the wise: Drink lots of water, and stay hydrated, especially if you’re gonna consume alcohol. It’s a long weekend in the sun, and a sunburn is uncomfortable, not cute, dangerous to your skin and probably will make you get sick and dehydrated before you know it. So, a little sunscreen goes a long way. Don’t leave that drink unattended; you know the drill. Have a friend you trust hold it while you go pee or flirt. And, of course, be smart about drugs; don’t buy em’ from creeps, and don’t take em’ if you don’t know what they’re capable of. This is not the weekend to go that buckwild — just enjoy yourself responsibly, and you’ll have no regrets come Monday.
Arcadia Boutique – Now through Monday, take 20 percent off any article of clothing featuring stars and stripes, including that of fave designers Alternative Apparel, DV by Dolce Vita and BB Dakota both in stores and online (promo code: STARS). Meanwhile, starting this weekend and continuing every weekend for the rest of the summer, the shop will be taking 50 percent off select vintage clothes and shoes. (819 N. Second St.)
Jay McCarroll – Free shipping on all orders of $50 dollars or more (promo code: FREESHIP50). The Project Runway star is also marking down his colorful women’s Cambridge cardigans, originally $50 dollars, now just $35 dollars. Ends: Tue/28, 2pm.
Nicole Miller – Receive an extra 20 percent off all sale items now through Monday either shopping online (promo code: spring20) or in the designer’s Center City location at The Bellevue. (200 S. Broad St.)
Three Sirens Boutique – With the exception of items by local designers/artists, this weekend, the Old City boutique is kicking off the summer season by taking up to 20 percent off their entire inventory of summer clothing and jewelry. The sale ends at 5 p.m. on Monday. (134 N. Third St.)
Concrete Polish – You have till midnight on Monday to save 20 percent on your entire order when you shop the local jewelry line’s online store (check out code: BBQ). Should you want to see designer Angela Monaco’s jewels up close first, you can do so Monday night at Silk City during their Mad Decent Mondays dance party (10pm-2am).
South Moon Under – This weekend only, take an additional 25 percent off all the store’s already marked down selection of spring/summer items. (1731 Chestnut St.)
Joan Shepp – Peruse the local retailer’s huge selection of Y-3 apparel and accessories for men and women as it will all be 25 percent off now through Monday. You can either shop online (promo code: MEM25) or stop by their Center City location for the full Shepp experience. (1616 Walnut St.)
Kembrel – Save 40 percent off full-priced items and/or 20 percent off already reduced items this weekend when you shop online (checkout code: MEMORIALWEEKEND).
Eiffel Tower Tea Set, $50 / Omoi Zakka Shop (1608 Pine St.)
Rebecca Minkoff ‘Craig’ Camera Bag, $195 / South Moon Under (1731 Chestnut St.)
Hidden Secrets Book Box, $24 / Ten Thousand Villages (1122 Walnut St.)
Kembrel Jewelry, Allie Necklace (Pink/White), $24 / Kembrel (1822 Chestnut St.)
Farmhaus “Firewood” Candle Holder, $32 / Art Star (623 N. Second St.)
Floral Blazer by Rehab, $68 / Aoki Boutique (115 S. 22nd St.)
Imported Italian and Scottish Soaps, $12-$24 / Stadler-Kahn (1724 Sansom St.)
Trois Petits Lockets, $89.95 / Scarlett Alley (241 Race St.)
Hand Embroidered ‘Relax’ Pillow, $90 / Mushmina (1540 South St.)
Large Gift Set, $65 / Duross & Langel (117 S. 13th St.)