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.
For the six straight year, the local comedy production company IdRatherBeHere returns to the Fringe Festival with yet another installment of their hit Philly-centric sketch comedy series Wawapalooza. Since the show receives rave reviews each year, and I’m such a big local comedy fan, I was pretty pumped to finally see it.
That said, allow me to cut right to the chase: Wawapalooza 6: The Great Almost was one of the most excruciating hours of live comedy I’ve ever endured.
It was literally just trite joke after trite joke after trite joke. For example, in the opening sketch (“Iggles Support Group”), one “insane Eagles fan” admits that she cut herself the other day only to realize she doesn’t actually bleed green. In another sketch, a group of hipsters from NoLibs confront their friend, who they suspect might be secretly be a Republican even though, like any hipster, he shops at Whole Foods, wears black-framed glasses and has a beard.
To make matters worst, the writing completely reeked of hetero white male (“I know more about periods than any man should. But when I talk about pooping they think its gross.”)
I really didn’t want to be one of those assholes who goes to a comedy show only to sit there stone-faced the entire time, so I tried to remain as receptive as I possibly could. But considering the really great original material local sketch troupes like Camp Woods and ManiPedi are producing, it was impossible to muster up anything more than a few faint chuckles.
Since everyone around me seemed to be pissing their pants, ultimately I’m left to conclude that the show is really only targeting people who a.) don’t see a lot of live comedy and b.) will laugh at anything with the word Wawa in the title.
Fri/21, 8pm. Sat/22, 6pm & 8pm. $15. Society Hill Playhouse, 507 S. Eighth St. 215.923.0210. societyhillplayhouse.org
Friday night, the Bostick Family welcomed me into their Tacony home. We talked. We laughed. We shared food. At one point, they almost brought me to tears.
It was by far the best theatrical social experiment of which I’ve ever been a part.
Conceived by the mad geniuses of Headlong Dance Theater, This Town is a Mystery takes locals out of their residential comfort zones and into the row homes of one of four local families. Despite having no professional performing experience, each night, members of the households blend personal monologues and tales of their childhood, family and neighborhoods with original dance routines. When it’s all said and done, they join their 10 guests for a potluck dinner.
It was clear pretty quickly why the Bosticks were chosen out of roughly 40 applicants. Delights on their own, mom Leah, daughter Princess and son Adam become all the more energetic and endearing when together.
Having been familiar with Headlong’s unconventional approach to modern dance, I found myself tensing up every time the music started. It wasn’t until they were halfway through a routine reminiscent of the opening of The Cosby Show that I really began to relish in the awkwardness of all. Still, it was rather impressive how at ease the Bostick clan appeared while under the scrutiny of 20 unfamiliar eyeballs. You could have easily mistaken them for seasoned actors, especially Princess, whose monologue—delivered slowly and stone-faced—is absolutely crushing. In that moment, Philadelphia suddenly felt as small as actually is.
I’d say more, but it’s best that the family remain a mystery up until the moment you’re sitting in their kitchen or living room looking at their photos, slowly piecing together their stories—hence Headlong not alerting ticket holders as to which home they’ll be venturing to until the day before. Should you be assigned to the Bosticks, just be sure to ask Princess or Adam how they wound up getting up involved in the show. It’s a good story.
Oh, and come prepared to dish out a lot of hugs. They’re all really big huggers.
Daily, 7pm. Through Sept. 22. $18-$35. Various locations. livearts-fringe.org
Fringe. I love it. No, not THAT Fringe, though I am already excited about the 2010 LiveArts Festival…
Today I’m talkin’ about flappin’ in the wind, hanging off your boots, shakin’ off the bottom of your suede vest fringe. It gives me something to twirl and it’s just good fun. I am trying to gather more people to join in my fringe-love so below you’ll find a collection of fringe-i-fied bags that range from classic to inventive. It’s my attempt at gathering more fringe-followers. Who knows, you just might discover that you dig fringe too.
Also, don’t worry, I didn’t allow myself to get sucked into any “on the fringe” jokes during this post.
As much as it pains me to suggest buying something at Hot Topic, the Jersey Fringe Hobo Bag is perfect for anyone who would rather a non-leather option.
A classic, simply put: The Minnetonka Hobo Fringe Bag
For a splash of color: Lucky Brand Get Laced in Coral
A clutch fit for a flower child: The Melie Bianco Multi-Color Fringe Clutch
Dramatic, yet simple: Aridza Bross Leather Fringe Bag
The perfect beach tote con fringe: Drip Dry Fringe Tote
Your summer festival must-have-bag: Fringe Backpack from Free People
A vintage beauty: Vintage Suede Fringe Shoulder Bag from FishboneDeco
Hip-hugger fringe fest, just clip it to the belt loops on your jeans: Fringe and Bullet Belt Bag