This just popped into our Inbox from the Morgan’s Pier team:
“We can’t believe it’s almost here! Our doors re-open TODAY at 4pm, and the kitchen fires up at 5, with some exciting new additions and some old summer favorites.
Dave P of Making Time will be kicking-off our entertainment season in a BIG way with a FREE DJ set of futuristic sounds for your ears from 10pm-2am! We’ve also got a weekend of incredible DJ’s lined up like Harvard Bass, Liv Spencer + Prince Language. See the full list here and click here to RSVP for FREE admission to this Friday & Saturday’s shows!
Keep the dance vibes going all summer with local DJs every weeknight, and DJs from across the globe every weekend—like Simian Mobile Disco, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, and Dimitri From Paris.
Throughout the season, our buds over at R5 Productions are pulling out all the stops with FREE shows every Wednesday Night—including some heavy-hitters like Cold Cave, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and We Were Promised Jetpacks—from June 5th-August 28th.
This year, we’ll have a picnic menu, with all items around $10, that’s foodie, vegan, veggie, kid, omnivore—you name it—friendly. This menu is served in our Picnic Area. Although we won’t be taking reservations for this section, with 300 seats, there should be plenty of room for all.
In addition to the picnic options, there’s also a $30 fixed price menu, served exclusively in the elevated Dining Area. Space is limited so we encourage you to make your reservations here.
You can always find our upcoming events, specials and information at MorgansPier.com and for our nightly dinner specials & updates as they happen keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter. Can’t wait to see you at the Pier!
Man, oh man. We’d been checking in on the site to see what kind of shows and schedule they were booking, but we weren’t expecting this kind of fullness. Not gonna lie: In reading the hours of operation—and by that, we guess, they mainly mean when the kitchen’s open, not how late they’ll be serving drinks—it’s gonna be a service industry summer at the Pier. The picnic menu’s available from 5 to 11pm Sunday through Thursday and only 5 to 10pm on Friday and Saturday.
Things I can’t wait to put in my mouth from that menu: Smoky Party Wings; honey + chili glaze ($7.50), Blistered Shishito Peppers; ranch dressing + lemon wedge ($7.00), BBQ Pulled Mushroom Buns; house tofu + cucumber salad ($6.50), Really Good Fries; spicy salt + daily aioli (Side $3.00/Basket $7.00), Poached Lobster & Bibb; green goddess + brioche crumbs ($10.00), White Fish Salad Sammie; baby arugula + pickled red onion ($8.00), Slow Roasted Bacon Sammie; pickled cabbage + spicy mustard ($7.50).
Oh, and the talent. A handful of shows that made our eyes bug: a Classixx DJ set on Friday, June 14th ($5.00), a Cold Cave show a few days later on Wednesday, June 19th (free), then a Simian Mobile Disco DJ set on Saturday, the 22nd ($5.00), and OMG a Small Black free show on Wednesday, June 26th, and DAMN a James Murphy DJ set on the weekend of July 4th ($10.00) on Saturday night, the 6th). There’s obviously a ton more booked, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg and the tip that’s closest to May.
Check out this cool lil’ mini-short doc about DFA records to get excited for James Murphy to visit our little pier on Columbus Ave.
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….“
With only four more performances left, you don’t have much time to debate whether or not you want to book yourself a ticket. So allow me to help guide you in this decision as quickly as I can…
Pro: The troupe’s signature choose-your-own-adventure narrative structure is incredibly innovative and fun. And unless you’ve seen an Applied Mechanics performance, chances are, it’s unlike any other theater experience you’ve had. The audience is free to roam the space as they choose and wherever they go, they become engulfed in the action.
Con: This “narrative” is convoluted to the point of unintelligible. It’s sorta like being led on a wild goose chase only to find out there was never an actual goose for you to chase—maybe a mutated duck, but no goose.
Pro: Every single member of the show’s whopping 26-actor ensemble is spectacular. With this having been my second or third time seeing several of the performers, I’m convinced they don’t get nearly as much praise as they deserve. Seriously, a bomb could have gone off and not a single one would have broke character.
Con: You may leave with a headache. There’s a lot happening around you and between trying to process all of it, making sure you’re not in a performer’s way and occasionally referring to the provided program/map/guide, it can be quite overwhelming.
Pro: They feed you chocolate. If you happen to be following the right character(s) at the right time, you might even get a little wine.
Con: As the explained by its subtitle (“The Epic Feats of Notable Persons in Europe After the Revolution”), the show revolves around the Napoleonic Empire and the French Revolution. I don’t know about you, but a lesson in 19th century European history doesn’t exactly elicit a great deal of enthusiasm.
Pro: For better or worse, you’re going to be enthralled. And for $15 bucks, I think it’s worth finding out yourself.
8pm. Through April 13. $10-$15. Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American St.
So. PIFA, the Philadelphia International Festival of Arts, is now in full swing and the Kimmel Center, its beating heart, proudly features a “time machine.” Yes, two years ago we celebrated Paris and now we embark on the heady task of time traveling: “PIFA asks audiences ‘If you had a time machine…’” The guide’s introduction says: “This journey takes us from the Big Bang to the invention of casual Fridays, and from a family-friendly puppet show in 1876 to the landing of Columbus in 1492, as the artists feverishly work together across time and space, crossing and blending a variety of styles to reflect PIFA’s core values of collaboration, innovation, and creativity.”
Alright, maintaining a positive attitude, we say this is cool. It’s cool that there’s loads of free programming, it’s cool that our city endeavors a month-long festival of arts that attracts artists of every medium to our city, and it’s cool that unique programming is created specifically for this festival.
But, uh, time travel? Could be cool. We love Back to the Future. But if we’re being real, like we do, some of these things are just so weird. When pushed and constricted by a theme, seems like some whacky stuff came about. Some stuff gets really specific, creating art based on a date in time. While other events stretch over hundreds of years of history.
Here are seven musical moments we’ve got our eyes on:
1. Last Call at the Downbeat (Jazz Bridge): “In November, 1942, 25-year-old trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie is in Philadelphia leading his own quartet at the Downbeat Club. He’s just been fired by big bandleader Lucky Millinder after a stint at the famed Earle Theatre at 11th and Market Streets – right around the corner. It’s war time, and big band swing is all the rage, but Gillespie has been experimenting a bit with a new approach to music. Something most people don’t even know about yet, something called bebop… he’s anxious to play you a little and tell you a lot about Philadelphia jazz – back in the day.”
April 5th, 6th, 12th and 13th at 8pm. $25. Red Room at the Society Hill Playhouse, 300 S Broad Street.
2. Bond and Beyond (Peter Nero and the Philly Pops): “Agent 007 has the suave sophistication needed to thwart the evil plans of Dr. No, Goldfinger, and Mr. Big – and so des his musical motif. Relive the thrill and adventure as The POPS, led by Michael Krajewski, play the iconic music of James Bond and other themes of espionage. Audience favorite Debbie Gravitte lends her sultry soprano to these tantalizing tunes for an evening you won’t want to miss. After all, you only live twice!”
April 26th-28th. $30-$114. April 26th, 8pm, April 27th & 28th, 3pm. Verizon Hall, 300 S Broad Street.
3. The Children’s March (Singing City and the SC Children’s Choir): “May 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Children’s March in Birmingham, Alabama – a major catalyst for bringing about the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. The newly commissioned work by Philadelphia composer Andrew Bleckner and acclaimed Philadelphia storyteller and narrator Charlotte Blake Alston features Singing City and the Singing City Children’s Choir, and tells the story of one moment that changed the course of civil rights in America. The concert will be followed by a conversation with the artists.”
April 26th, 8pm. $20-$30. Church of the Holy Trinity, 1904 Walnut Street.
4. Casual Friday (Stone Depot Dance Lab): “Stone Depot’s Casual Friday begins with a Happy Hour in the Ruba Club’s inviting lounge, sponsored by Philadelphia Brewing Company, and continues on a wild ride through an unorthodox history: a performance for anyone who has braved the work force, navigated the social strictures of bosses and co-workers, or simply needs a Casual Friday for any reason.”
April 12th and 19th, 6:30pm & 8:30pm. $15. Ruba Club Lounge, 414 Green Street.
5. Aquarian Exposition: A Trip Back to the Original Woodstock (Sharp Dance Company): “Join us for a night dedicated to the unique and controversial decades of the 60’s and ’70s. Aquarian Exposition: A trip back to the Original Woodstock taps into the spirit of love, acceptance and exploration that made the hippie movement one that will transcend time. Enjoy some of the most prolific music in history performed as dancers embody the groovy sixties through new and original choreography set by Diane Sharp-Nachsin. Audience members will feel like part of the performance… including a contest for the best dressed audience member in hippie gear! Don’t miss this beautiful homage to Woodstock.”
April 12th-21st, April 12, 13, 19, 20, 8pm, April 14 and 21, 7pm. $20. The Box, 2628 Martha Street.
6. SENDMSG (Dan Deacon): “Internet Hall of Fame inductee Ray Tomlinson sent the first email from one computer to another in 1971. For the past forty years the evolution of his contribution has grown to see over 3 billion email accounts in existence today and the generation of new social communication technology. Enter instrumentalist, composer and DJ Dan Deacon, who uses this moment as a springboard to creat an evening where the audience is as much a part of the performance as he is. Using smartphone technology, Deacon and the audience will creat a shared musical experience to open and close an evening filled with a unique show not to be missed.”
April 12th, 8:30pm. $15. Perelman Theater, 300 S Broad Street.
7. Songs in the Key of Life: Robert Glasper Presents a Stevie Wonder Tribute: “Firmly planted in the worlds of jazz, hip-hop, and R&B, Grammy-nominated Robert Glasper bring together an all-star cast featuring the Experiment Band (Derrick Hodge, Mark Colenburg and Casey Benjamin), Lalah Hathaway, Stokley Williams, and Eric Roberson, dedicated to Stevie Wonder’s timeless body of work. This performance, commissioned by Harlem Stage, includes new arrangements and new compositions written by Glasper, inspired by Stevie Wonder.
April 14th, 8pm. $25-42.50. Verizon Hall, 300 S Broad Street.
On Monday morning, another big announcement happened with a Michael Nutter photo op: Philadelphia Live Arts and Philly Fringe are combining efforts, solidifying a headquarters, expanding their scope, renovating a new space, and as Emily Guendelsberger put it, thankfully, shortening their combined names into FringeArts. This is big news. Not only is the nature of Philly Fringe and Live Arts morphing before our eyes into something bigger and better, they’re carving out a space for themselves across from the beautiful new Race Street Pier underneath the Ben Franklin Bridge. It’s going to be a massive space with multi-functioning spaces and a BAR. Oh, and public restrooms that’ll be open to the public all-year-round.
Take it from the horse’s mouth via their press release:
“Our future home is located across the street from Race Street Pier at the corner of Race Street and Columbus Boulevard. The 1903 historic former pumping station will be transformed into a year-round center for contemporary performing and visual arts; the 10,000-square-foot building will feature:
+ 240-seat Theater
+ Restaurant and Bar
+ Outdoor Plaza
+ Permanent Festival Hub
Programming under the new FringeArts banner will expand to include not only the annual 16-day Festival but also a year-round series of high-quality contemporary dance, theater and music performances both local and international; commissioned public art installations; and a residency program that continues to expand and grow as a state-of-the-art incubator for artists.”
As noted in Emily’s post, there might be a teeny, tiny problem – train and car traffic and the resulting noise. She said that even with a mic, when a NJ Transit train passed by, it’s all you could hear. But that’s outside. Even though an outdoor performance space sounds cool, you’ve gotta be crafty about what you do and when you do it. The theater sounds totally rad, though. We won’t say no to these kinds of things filling up our city.
With Morgan’s Pier, that damned beautiful Pier and Sugar House and all that, it looks like the city’s actually trying really hard to make that waterfront a thing. And while there’s plenty of room for improvement, they’re getting there. Like, can we do something with that monstrous Dave and Busters? Can we connect Old City more seamlessly with these new waterfront attractions? We gotta try.
With Third Ward and the looming reno and reuse of The Dolphin, it really feels like this city’s on the cusp of an explosion of art. With Union Transfer, we’re becoming a city with a world-class diversity of spaces. It’s happening, you guys!
There’s one other thing. Does Philly have enough actual art and artists to keep these enterprises humming? Maybe all this means that talent, voices, thoughts and art’ll be looking at our city with a keener eye; Philly has the resources and the spaces to facilitate every kind of show that can be dreamed up.
I’ve been getting a steady stream of emails since the beginning of January about all the different Valentine’s-related happenings going on around town. And while I ignored most, I did hold on to the ones that sounded particularly interesting, quirky or just flat out eccentric.
Here’s the 12 events I was left with…
Bad Cupid: An Anti-Valentine’s Cabaret: For everyone who can’t get down a greeting card isle this time of the year without wanting to puke, Diversion Productions is bringing back their raunchy 2011 hit show with new songs and characters to shit all over the same lame holiday. Rich Lee reprises his role of the jaded, chain-smoking, binge-drinking and porn-loving cherub of love. Wed/13, 8pm. $15. L2, 2201 South St.
Robot-Human Theater: That’s right, this innovative performance by internationally acclaimed playwright and director Oriza Hirata features acting robots. And given that the production’s two-night run is so close to V-Day, the folks behind Live Arts/Fringe festival are offering a special “CupidBot” package, which includes not only two tickets, but gourmet chocolates, a rose and two glasses of champagne. Fri/15, 8pm. $75. Christ Church, 20 N. American St.
Valentine Craft Sunday: If you’re attached, give your Valentine a handmade shout out, on T Mom’s “Wall of Sweethearts.” If you’re single and bitter, partake in a little revenge crafting and showcase your evil ex on their “Wall of Broken Hearts.” Either way, you’ll enjoy half priced drafts from 5-7 p.m and 10-11 p.m. Sun/10, 12pm-2am. Free. Tattooed Mom, 530 South St.
Phreak N Queer Valentine Karaoke Fundrasier: Whether it’s a solo or duet, host Sara Sherr of Sing Your Life Karaoke just wants you to come out and sing and help her raise some cash for the Phreak N Queer Art and Music Festival going down in August. Admission includes a free drink and the following night, Tabu will also be hosting a “Love Hangover” dance party. Thurs/14, 8-10pm. $5. Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar, 200 S. 12th St.
Blow Me A Kiss!: Sure to leave lovers feeling a little raunchy, Philly’s premiere neo-burlesque troupe, Peek-A-Boo Revue twirls their tassels with some of their tried and true crowd pleasers as well as a few brand new treats. Fri/8, 8pm. $20. The Troc, 1003 Arch St.
Cupid’s Undie Run 2013: A bunch of people strip down to their skivvies and take roughly a mile-long jog around the Art Museum for a good cause: The Children’s Tumor Foundation. Afterwards, everyone puts their clothes back on and seeks shelter inside one of the many fine watering-holes along Fairmount Avenue. Sat/9, 2pm. $30. Urban Saloon, 2120 Fairmount Ave.
Til Death Do Us Part: The Love Stories of Laurel Hill: During this hour-long walking tour, you’ll hear tales of undying romances as well as sorted stories of betrayal. When all is said and done, you and your mate can cozy up fireside and enjoy wine, hot chocolate and d’oeuvres. Sat/9, 1pm. $18-$20. Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Ave.
A Valentine’s Day MixMassacre: Perfect for punk-rocking pairs of all ages, this deafening music showcase has five underground bands on the bill including, Man World Order, The Final Statement, Of Dukes & Capulets, Here & Gone and Seany Hags & Spark Up Music. Thurs/14, 7pm. $8-$10. The Troc, 1003 Arch St.
Second Stories Presents: Love is a Battlefield: Really, you can’t ask for a more romantic setting than the intimate, smoky second floor bar at The Dive. And just incase the various doodles of male and female genitalia covering the walls don’t get ya in the mood, several funny locals are going to tell you true stories of great romantic victory and defeat. Tues/12, 7pm. Free. The Dive, 947 E. Passyunk Ave.
pOrnithnology: The Birds and the Bees and the Bees: Have you ever wondered what bird foreplay is like? Well, George Armistead from the American Birding Association is going to tell you. In fact, you’ll learn all sorts of interesting things about the unusual mating rituals of various bird species. Should you and your own mate be looking to spice things in the bedroom, perhaps you’ll learn a few new tricks. Wed/13, 5:30-7pm. Free. The Wagner Free Institute of Science, 1700 W. Montgomery Ave.
Valen-Zine Reading: Should you be seeking a more creative V-Day outing, four talented local zinesters will be discussing the things, people and places that they love the most. The featured zines include “Tazewell’s Favorite Eccentric” by Sarah Rose and “Beer Jawn” by Bibliophile which traces his experience learning about different beers as an atypical Philly beer drinker. Thurs/14, 6pm. Free. Wooden Shoe Books, 624 South St.
Moonshine & Valentine’s: Recreating the sultry vibe of a 1920s speakeasy, the center will be serving up whisky cocktails, beer and a decant dinner menu followed by equally decadent desserts like red velvet cupcakes and chocolate-covered strawberries. As for the evening’s entertainment, besides gaining access to the center’s current Prohibition exhibit, guests will be treated to live jazz music and special cabaret performances featuring hits from Broadway’s Chicago. Come dressed for the occasion as you and your mate will also have a chance to strike a pose in front of a 20s-era backdrop. Thurs/14, 5:30-8:30pm. $30-$35. Constitution Center, 525 Arch St.
If your new year’s resolution was to spend more time pampering yourself or perhaps upgrading your look, now’s the time to start following through. For this one-day-only Mary Kay pop-up shop, guests will have a chance to receive custom makeup and skincare recommendations during a free consultation with a Mary Kay professional as well as bites, bubbly and a 20 percent discount on the boutique’s entire selection of dresses. Be sure to RSVP on the Facebook event page before you go as you’ll be automatically entered to win one of several raffles and maybe even score a free Three Sirens gift certificate. Saturday, 11am-4pm. Free. Three Sirens Boutique, 134 N. Third St.
If the company’s provocative and mind-bending annual Live Arts show is any indication, this annual bash benefitting Brian Sanders’ JUNK is likely to be a rather epic affair. Tonight, UArt’s Hamilton Hall will be transformed into a winter wonderland where partygoers can dance under falling snow and maybe even partake in an indoor snowball fight while enjoying the live beats of DJ Chip Dish, cocktails, beer, wine and creative “JUNK” food. In addition, great deals for local theater and dance productions will be raffled off throughout the evening and a silent auction will be held featuring “junk-inspired” artwork and lighting. Best of all, you’ll get to see a bit of JUNK’s holiday show at the Annenberg Center. Come donning your most creative winter white attire and fairytale-like jewelry as prizes will be awarded for both. Saturday, 8pm. $35-$50. University of the Arts, Hamilton Hall, 320 S. Broad St.
There may be a few appointments still open this Sunday at Lakshmi Hair Studio, where they’ll be offering $40 haircuts and $20 blowouts, all in benefit of the Friends of Kevin Neary Foundation. A dear and client, Neary was shot last year in a random act of violence leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. The foundation was established to help cover the costs of his long-term care. Sunday, 11am-4pm. Lakshmi Hair Studio, 21 N. Second St.