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The International House building is being sold; future of its arts programming is unclear

Joe Jack Talcum
Joe Jack Talcum at International House | Photo by John Vettese

The towering International House building at 37th and Chestnut has long been home not just for students from around the world attending college in Philadelphia, but for a vibrant array of arts and cultural programming. Their events calendar runs the gamut from film screenings to musical performances by traditional ensembles like the Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change, experimental artists like J.G. Thirwell and Zola Jesus, and left-of-center multimedia events like The 78 Project’s direct-to-acetate taping of a Joe Jack Talcum performance.

This week, however, the long-running institution announced plans to vacate and sell the property, and “set a new course for the organization.” Continue reading →

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Watch Brandi Carlile and Dave Grohl busk on the streets of Seattle

Brandi Carlile got her start by busking on the streets of her hometown of Seattle, and this past Saturday she took a nostalgic trip to Pike Place Market to play an impromptu set, bringing along fellow Seattle native Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters. The two musicians were accompanied by Carlile’s bandmates Phil and Tim Hanseroff, a.k.a “the twins,” and part of their set was streamed live on Carlile’s Facebook page, while onlookers captured their own video.

As crowds gathered outside the famous market to watch the unannounced set, Carlile and Grohl played a rendition of The Beatles’ “Let It Be,” plus some of their own songs, including the Foo Fighters’ “Times Like These.” Carlile wrote later on Instagram that the 15-minute set was “one of the most surreal moments of my life.” Watch clips of the performance below. Continue reading →

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Philadelphia poet and experimental artist Moor Mother joins Art Ensemble of Chicago for 50th Anniversary Album

Art Ensemble of Chicago ft. Moor Mother (standing, second from left) | photo by Barbara Barefield | via Rolling Stone

Fifty years after the creation of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. co-founder Roscoe Mitchell is taking on new recruits. The ensemble was formed in 1965 and, over the years, they have garnered praise for their avant-garde sound that successfully fused jazz with European art music and African folk styles. This year, the group is taking another leap this year by adding young, forward-thinking musicians to their ensemble. Among them is Philadelphia-based Moor Mother, a poet and experimental musician who has been collaborating with artists in the Philadelphia music scene for years.

Her work centers around ideas of freedom, future, and the abstract, and it is easy to see how she and Mitchell came together. Continue reading →

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Has Festival Pier sung its final Swan Song?

Festival Pier in 2016

In the wake of the Trocadero’s reported closing on the horizon, news broke that another iconic spot for concerts in Philly may no longer be hosting shows. According to Philly.com, the Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, a longtime host of outdoor summer concerts, will not open for a 2019 season.

One event Festival Pier may be best known for is the home of the annual Roots Picnic — so it was a bit of a red flag when it was announced earlier this week that after 11 years at the waterfront venue, the Picnic will be moving to the  Mann Center this year.

Philly.com’s Dan De Luca spoke with Geoff Gordon, the regional president of Live Nation, which booked shows at Festival Pier and operates several venues across town, including the new Met Philadelphia. Although the exact term Gordon used regarding the venue’s closure was “sabbatical,” it appears more likely that Festival Pier’s hiatus will be a permanent one. Continue reading →

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You can become a part of the Beastie Boys Story – filmed at the Tower Theater

Beastie Boys | Still from video

The Beastie Boys are documenting their legacy this spring with three live shows that will become a part of a film called “Beastie Boys Story Told By Ad Rock & Mike D.” Ahead of two NYC shows, the project will kick off with a show right here in Philly at the Tower Theater on April 5.

Last October, Beastie Boys members Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond released a seemingly career-culminating memoir, “Beastie Boys Book,” which recounted stories from their decades-long run. But with this announcement, which Horovitz and Diamond revealed to Amazon Music’s Nathan Brackett at a SXSW panel this week, it’s clear that the Beastie Boys aren’t finished yet. Continue reading →

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Free Cake For Every Creature will play its final shows this spring

Free Cake For Every Creature | photo by Francis Lyons | courtesy of the artist

Just a few months after releasing their latest album The Bluest StarFree Cake For Every Creature has announced that the project is coming to an end. The West Philly indie pop outfit is led by singer-songwriter Katie Bennett, who started the project in 2013. Since then, she’s gone on to release three home-recorded full-length albums under the Free Cake name, but has decided it’s time to move on to other projects. Free Cake For Every Creature will play two full-band farewell shows in May. Continue reading →

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Space 1026 finds a new home on North Broad

Space 1026 members Maximillian Lawrence and John Armstrong | photo by Peter Crimmins for WHYY

Longtime artist collective Space 1026 has found a new home in an unlikely space. Forced to vacate the Chinatown building it’s called home for more than 20 years due to rising rent, the artists behind the collective launched a crowdfunding campaign to find its new home, and according to a report by WHYY’s Peter Crimmins, they have purchased a former North Broad Street beauty salon.

The artists hope the new location will be able to accommodate the same uses of the old space, which housed studio spaces, a screenprinting facility and a gallery space for art exhibitions and musical performances. It’s also a fresh start for the collective, which includes about 20 artists. “We’ve always been held together by duct tape and hot glue, and dumb positive attitudes and blind faith that it’s going to work out,” Space 1026 founding member Maximilian Lawrence tells Crimmins. “Until this round, which was different.” Continue reading →

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Mannequin Pussy signs to Epitaph Records, new album due later this year

Mannequin Pussy | photo by Marcus Maddox | courtesy of the artist

Philly rock four-piece Mannequin Pussy has been working new music into their live set since not long after the release of 2016’s wonderful Romantic, and not only have we received word today that a new album is due later this year, the band found a new home for their music with legacy punk label Epitaph Records. Continue reading →

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Japanese Breakfast frontwoman Michelle Zauner to write memoir Crying in H Mart

Japanese Breakfast | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

Known for rocking the stage with cosmic sound and aching lyrics, Philadephia’s own Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast is embarking on a new artistic adventure: writing a book. Zauner signed a deal with Knopf to publish her memoir, Crying in H Mart, which shares the story of her childhood as a Korean-American, losing her mother to cancer, and her hunt for identity.

In 2018, Zauner published an essay in the New Yorker by the same title that explored the loss of her mother and how she connected to her late mother through Korean food. Continue reading →

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Slingshot Dakota will release their new album Heavy Banding this spring on Community Records

Slingshot Dakota | still from video

Lehigh Valley punk duo Slingshot Dakota has just announced that their next album, Heavy Banding, will be released May 24 on Community Records, Specialist Subject Records and stiff slack records. This’ll be the band’s first release since their 2017 Broken EP; they also re-released their 2004 album Keener Sighs last year. Continue reading →