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XPN Weekend Arts Crawl…Running in the Philadelphia Marathon and running to holiday shows and sales

A scene from Instantly Bound... courtesy of http://www.criticaldance.org/
A scene from Instantly Bound.  Courtesy of http://www.criticaldance.org/

BalletX opens its Fall Series at the Wilma Theater with two premieres.  One is the world premier of Jorma Elo’s interpretation of the film noir classic Touch of Evil as a hip-hop ballet.  The other is the East Coast premier of Increasing set to Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major, and BAlletX also reprises its 2013 piece Instantly Bound about gun violence. Continue reading →

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WXPN Weekend Arts Crawl…Isabella Rossellini onstage, Fairmount Park houses in gingerbread, tap dance in Philadelphia…and so much more!

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Isabella Rossellini brings her one woman show Green Porno to World Café Live Friday. It’s based on her Sundance Channel series of incredibly imaginative vignettes about the sex lives of animals that she conceptualizes, writes, directs and portrays.  Isabella as praying mantis, sardine, hamster (shown above)! She’s my guest on the XPN Morning Show in the 9:00 a.m. hour Friday. Continue reading →

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Lost Soul Gems: A collection of Philly soul that lives up to its name

William DeVaughn | Photo by Eli Meir Kaplan | via Slate.com
William DeVaughn | Photo by Eli Meir Kaplan | via Slate.com

While Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff orchestrated The Sound of Philadelphia with bands like Harold Melvin and The Bluenotes, Billy Paul, and MFSB on Philadelphia International Records, there was also some incredible soul music being made around the edges of the music scene here. The record label Sound Gems Records was one of those, and the label has just released an excellent compilation of Philly R&B and soul, Lost Soul Gems. Continue reading →

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WXPN Weekend Arts Crawl…First Friday, First Person Arts Festival, Jewish Film Festival…and a lot more!

 

It’s First Friday…

William Glackens' 1908 painting Cape Cod Pier is on display at the Barnes Foundation through February 2nd. Courtesy of barnesfoundation.org
William Glackens’ 1908 painting Cape Cod Pier is on display at the Barnes Foundation through February 2nd. Courtesy of barnesfoundation.org

The Barnes Foundation celebrates the opening of its new William Glackens exhibition with a Vaudeville-themed First Friday party. Glackens was an American realist painter and one of the founders of the Ash Can School of art along with others who depicted scenes of everyday life in cities like New York and Philadelphia.  He also did illustrations for newspapers and helped his friend Albert C. Barnes acquire some of the important European work on display at The Barnes. This is first major exhibition of Glackens’ American realist work in 50 years. There’s free admission on First Sundays…through February 2nd. Continue reading →

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XPN Weekend Arts Crawl…HALLOWEEEEEEN!

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“Don’t come as your are, come as you want to be” is the theme of Henri David’s Halloween Ball, now in its 46th year!  This biggest and brightest of costume events offers some of the City’s most outrageous dressing up, culminating in a midnight costume contest with prizes for Most Sensual Fantasy (new this year!), Most Horrifying, Best Period Costume, Most Hysterical and on and on.  One of the great treats is Henri himself, always dressed fabulously, and towering over you on stilts!  It starts at 9:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel.

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Unlocked: Hey, Punks of Baltimore, this one’s for you; DRGN KING’s Dom Angelella shares his Baltimore Crush

Photo by Blake Gumprecht
Christine Cunnif, Lucy Stone, Ricardo Lagomasinos, Dominic Angelella | Photo by Blake Gumprecht

 

The sophomore album from DRGN KING, Baltimore Crush, feels personal. As an outsider, you’re immediately invited into this fuzzy psychedelic reality where suddenly there’s places and people who feel important. You know their behaviors, dreams, flaws and fears. That’s personal. This world comes from the strength of songwriting from frontman Dom Angelella, whose upbringing among the Baltimore DIY crowd comes out in this love letter of sorts to the scene. As a place where his self-discovery started to take shape, listeners gain a very real picture of what this scene means to those who were, are, and will be influencing/influenced by such a hotbed of creativity. This album thrashes in that convergence of ideas.  I hung out with Dom recently to ask him about the album, and he shared some insight into Moments Where Things Changed for him as well as fears and goals cultivated from the environment around him. Continue reading →

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20 more Philadelphia concerts you should go to if you ever invent a time machine

LIve Aid | via retropopplanet.blogspot.com

Earlier this year, we made a list of Philadelphia concerts from the city’s rock-era history that, given access to a time machine, would be amazing to check out. It would be the live music junkie’s dream: being able to see Chuck Berry in his prime as well as catching huge bands like Nirvana and The Black Keys when they were just starting out. Of course 20 doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of Philadelphia’s concert history, and when the list got a lot of response, we compilied another round of noteworthy performances from days gone by. Check it out below. Continue reading →

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Unlocked: The Key’s Review of DRGN King’s Baltimore Crush

Baltimore Crush artwork by Perry Shall | http://www.perryshall.com/
DRGN King’s Baltimore Crush | artwork by Perry Shall | http://www.perryshall.com/

“Do you remember we would go to church and play the pool shark?” trills Dom Angelella on “St. Tom’s,” the second track from DRGN King’s Baltimore Crush. This line is just one example of many that invites listeners into this fuzzy world of basement-moshers-with-guitars on the album, a follow-up to 2013’s Paragraph Nights.

Baltimore Crush isn’t just a shift from their debut LP; it’s a progression into a different branch of rock. Sure, the ten-track album still has touches of DRGN King’s signature electronic influences, but the driving forces on this effort come from thrash-worthy guitar solos counteracted by relaxed surf vibes, which in itself could be a description of the people the album’s written for; coasting along but screwing up big time in an attempt to mask unreached potential.

The percussion on “Solo Harp,” which the band played at the 2013 XPoNential Music Festival, has this intensity that personifies how important the rest of the album is, making it an interesting yet appropriate choice as the last track on the record. It hearkens back more familiarly to earlier work from DRGN King, but the song’s themes provide a fitting conclusion for this new album as well. Baltimore Crush is a spectacular collection of feelings about the common overwhelming pressure to break out and do something huge and what it’s like to watch people flounder along as they fail to meet those expectations.

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Scariest set in the city? A look at Eastern State Penitentiary’s most famous videos

The Dead Milkmen's "Punk Rock Girl" video features Joe Jack Talcum singing in the Rotunda as Rodney Anonymous walking around the cellblocks of ESP reading a newspaper
The Dead Milkmen’s “Punk Rock Girl” video features Joe Jack Talcum singing in the Rotunda as Rodney Anonymous walking around the cellblocks of ESP reading a newspaper

Most Philadelphians are familiar with Fairmount’s massive landmark Eastern State Penitentiary. The looming structure, which closed in 1971 after 142 years as a prison, reopened in 1994 for guided tours, and has since become a destination for thrill-seekers during Bastille Day and Halloween season. However, beyond the zombie-fied chaos, the space itself offers an amazing backdrop for, well, anything.  We decided to look back at a few ways musicians and other visual artists have used ESP over the last few decades. Continue reading →