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Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

A Dreadful Sound

Posted October 30th, 2017

In describing their mission, Not So Silent Cinema notes, “Some suffer from the delusion that the history of cinema is a straight-line of progress from primitive, clumsy beginnings to high-tech, modern perfection.” This ever-changing ensemble of musicians—helmed by Philadelphia-based composer Brendan Cooney—provide a much more engaging means of dispelling this delusion than streaming a classic to your computer. Performing new original scores to accompany silent film classics, they manage to invoke the manner in which these films were originally presented and bring a fresh perspective to material we may believe we already know well. This Halloween night, Not So Silent Cinema will perform their new score for Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1932 film Vampyr live here at FringeArts. The film was the largely unheralded but supremely influential filmmaker’s only explicit foray into the world of horror and a watershed achievement for the genre and film itself.

Cooney’s scores in NSSC’s repertoire are always a diverse melange of musical styles, composed to fit the film’s aesthetic, but unafraid to add some modern experimentation. As he describes it, “This is not historical performance, but rather it’s historically evocative performance.” His score for Vampyr fits this bill perfectly. Imbued with an old-world, Eastern-European atmosphere, the music suits the gloomy environs we’ve come to associate with vampires, but additional electronic production gives it a dark, transcendental element that calls to mind the soundtrack work of later horror greats like John Carpenter. If that sounds a little bit disparate in theory, in practice it melds surprisingly well to the film’s evocative unraveling, paying respect to it’s context while also nodding to its legacy as a pioneering psychological horror film.

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Making Art in 2017: Irina Varina on Socially Conscious Friends

Posted August 22nd, 2017

Name: Irina Varina

Show in 2017 FestivalSocially Conscious Friends

Past Festival showsSpeculum Diaries

FringeArtsTell us about your show.

Irina Varina: In the past couple of years I’ve become increasingly aware of unfair things happening in the world (lucky me). I’ve also binge-watched Friends (a lot). I started to notice moments in the show reflecting current conversations in my head/the world. Each day of the 18 days of the festival, I’ll post one of these moments.

This project came out of that “Look, look, did you see that?” impulse that arises while watching an old, very popular TV show. It’s doing two things for me. It pokes fun and calls out inactivity (like binge-watching a TV show) at times of much needed real life action. And, at the same time, points out surprising and currently relevant conversations hiding in a universally loved TV show.

FringeArtsHow have your interests in or approach to art making changed in the last year? 

Irina Varina: I am becoming more open to different containers for my work, like doing Digital Fringe or possibly starting a podcast. But also, through that openness, gaining a deeper understanding of why I want to continue performing live and the intimacy and connection that I can only find there.

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Whispers from the Wall: The Silk Graffiti of Aubrie Costello

Posted August 4th, 2017

Walking down many streets in Philadelphia is like wandering an art gallery for graffiti. The tags of artists like SAGA, KAD, and LAZZ fill the walls with a calligraphy that has become a unique Philly handstyle. These, along with colorful street art projects, have made the city a vibrant center for the growth and evolution of graffiti, some even becoming three dimensional installations. You may spot some of these words made of flickering strands of fabric hanging from a wall, a fence, or a bridge. This is the work of “silk graffiti” artist Aubrie Costello, who uses long strips of Dupioni silk to write phrases around the city. Although the pieces are often large, they feel intimate, like their speaker is whispering to passersby. Some of her work is hung on the streets, while other pieces reside in nature, and others still have migrated into gallery spaces. This year, she is collaborating with dancers Jess Noel, Leslie Davidson, and Fatima Adamu in an interdisciplinary production, Show Me What You Want Me To See, or SWMYWMTS. The dance performance will take place inside a gallery with its walls covered in silk writing. An accompanying film by Lendl Tellington follows the trajectory of a romance between Jess and Leslie in the apartment of Victoria Prizzia, which is similarly filled in Aubrie’s silk calligraphy. This is interspersed with a separate story of love lost, performed by Fatima in a cemetery, as well as shots of more silk words and phrases fill a forest in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The work is also a collaboration with composer Josh Hey, who has created ghostly and powerful original score (with a few surprise musical guests!) This interdisciplinary performance is in an intimate gallery space, accompanied by a screening of the film. The curves in the silk are mimicked in the movements of the dancers, bringing through its ephemeral but powerful emotive voice.

Silk graffiti by Aubrie Costello in Gravy Gallery and Studio

Aubrie grew up in the quiet Pine Barrens, and went to a public school where the arts were nurtured. Without much to do in their area, the kids in this town chose to make art. “There were a lot of graffiti artists, and skate kids, and musicians that are in Philadelphia now in bands. So I guess we all had that deep itch to make stuff, and now we’re in a city that is more nurturing for that.” Aubrie’s father was a woodworker, who did everything with his hands. “He would even hand draw all of his estimates and specs and documents. He didn’t do anything on a computer.” Aubrie herself absorbed the love for “do-it-yourself” aspect of a project—if given the choice, she also prefers a more analogue approach to her work. She went to the Moore College of Art and Design in 2003, where she began studying fashion design before transitioning to a major in Drawing and Painting. While she loved drawing and making her own clothes, she couldn’t enjoy the business aspect of fashion. She threw herself instead into creating art installations, and began investigating new ways of using silk. One such installation involved a huge pile of high heeled shoes, bound, or “mummified,” in silk. She would cover the gallery wall with drawings that would mirror the installation. While she was at Moore, professors would often wander into students’ studio spaces to check out their work and give them advice. One such offering was from a professor who taught fiber arts, which she had never even taken. “She came into my studio one day, and I was using silk very differently. I was stretching it on canvas stretcher bars. She said she liked it, but she said ‘You’re not letting the fabric speak for itself.’ And that was one of the things that stuck with me, I actually think about that to this day. Sometimes I want to do more to the fabric, but then I think back to what she said. The fabric alone can have its own emotive quality.”

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A glitch in the festival: BIG CRUNCH Comes to Fringe

Posted August 8th, 2016
160521_TOLVA_0432

Congdon as TOLVA (photo by Monique Baron)

Sam Congdon’s new solo piece, BIG CRUNCH, envisions a future world where a ruthless government strictly enforces gender roles. In this dystopian fantasy, one cyborg with a queer glitch rebels against the state enforced gender binary. “I’m inspired by the radical power of science fiction,” says Congdon. “I think especially right now we need stories of queers fighting back against the system. Science fiction allows us to both examine what things might look like in the worst case scenario future, but also how we might be able to change the world for the better.”

Congdon is a Philly based curator and multimedia artist. His work combines live performance, experimental electronic music, video, and new media. Two years ago, Congdon created the alter-ego TOLVA, “a space princess who travels the universe in an orb of vibrating color in search of the weird, the queer, and the magical.” Since TOLVA’s inception, she has evolved from an alias for Congdon’s musical work to “her own character with a developing back story and very separate personality,” says Congdon. He explains that this development has happened through performance: “It’s a process of trying things out, understanding what works and doesn’t, and building on that. I don’t think her evolution will ever really be complete.”

In BIG CRUNCH,  TOLVA performs as cyborg BC108. The robotic protagonist packages products at a make-up factory, where it obeys strict rules of gender expression. That is until one day when a “queer glitch” occurs in its programming. For Congdon, the piece explores the power of queer possibility in the face of government control. “Instead of thinking of glitches as problems that occur in a computer,” says Congdon, “I like to think of them in the same way mutations contribute to evolution in living organisms: they change and develop an entity in new and exciting ways. The ‘big crunch’ refers to the moment this glitch occurs in our cyborg protagonist.”

Audience members can look forward to spacey electronic music and a glitter-filled post apocalyptic landscape. For a peek at Congdon’s earlier work, check out this music video “faavric” by TOLVA.

Besides his independent work, Congdon is a founding member of the curatorial collective SuperObject. The collective celebrates queer experimental theatre and performance art by emerging Philadelphia artists. Two SuperObject co-founders, dramaturg JD Stokely and costume designer Najee Haynes-Follins, are collaborators for BIG CRUNCH. Congdon is also joined by musician Stephen Piccarella, and cinematographer Max Gideon Basch.

BIG CRUNCH premieres in the 2016 Fringe Festival this September at the 319 Performance Space at Vox Populi. A limited number of zines featuring local artwork can be purchased to accompany the performance.

BIG CRUNCH
Vox Populi’s 319 Performance Space
N 11th and Wood Streets
Sept. 15 and 22 at 8pm
Sept. 16 and 23 at 9pm

—Hannah Salzer

Humane Digitization: Bolstering the Acoustic with the Electronic in Daniel Wohl’s HOLOGRAPHIC

Posted February 3rd, 2016

Much of the talk about Daniel Wohl’s latest album Holographic points to the artist’s proficiency in seamlessly melding the digital with the analog, employing his background in composition, and interest in electronic music to create something unconventional and adventurous. This, however, just feels like scratching the surface. Wohl has a remarkable talent for blending those elements, but such a concept is not exactly new to music. So why, despite this, does Holographic feel so contemporary? What I often find most striking on the album is those instances when he lets the veil slip: a momentary interjection of a vibraphone, a sudden crash of breaking glass, a mournful bowing of a violin. These moments of unmanipulated instrumentation help mark the listener’s path through Wohl’s labyrinthine compositions, and imbue the work as a whole with a sense of unpredictability. These moments can jar, they can bring relief, but regardless of the outcome they ground us in the work’s human reality while its immersive digitally altered atmospheres swell all around.

Final Cover

Daniel Wohl’s Holographic, out now via New Amsterdam Records. Cover: “The AK-47 vs The M16.” Design by DM Stith. Photo by Nathan Lee Bush.

While the initial recordings may be organic—such as the gentle drone that opens “Replicate, Pt. 1,” recorded by a microphone placed on a resonating snare drum—Wohl alters and layers these samples until their sources become indecipherable. “I’ll process it in different ways, and stack up the recorded versions against the live, acoustic performance to create a sort of augmented reality,” the composer revealed, speaking to The Boston Globe, adding, “When you listen to the album it’s kind of a mystery as to what’s being played live and what’s electronic.” This process yields innovative, slyly disorienting results, with each track possessing its own enchanting ambience, echoing the works of influential compositional and experimental music innovators, both forebears and contemporaries. “Formless” is marked by the ebbs and flows of a muffled beat, recalling the loop-based works of William Basinski and ambient techno explorations of Wolfgang Voigt. “Pixel” flies by in a gleeful rush, like a toy piano ensemble covering one (or maybe all) of Conlon Nancarrow’s Studies for Player Piano. The chopped and screwed, otherworldly vocals of “Source” nod to the sonic experimentation and voice manipulations of Katie Gately and Holly Herndon, but utilizes them to much different ends.

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Tonight! FREE Castellucci Screening and Discussion

Posted August 19th, 2014

castelluccifilmscreeningTonight, FringeArts wants you to come talk about Italian theater director Romeo Castellucci. We presented his On the concept of the face, regarding the Son of God as the centerpiece of last year’s festival. As part of the 2014 Presented Fringe, we’re offering The Four Seasons Restaurant.

If you saw one, or want to see the other, stop on by. We’re screening Castellucci excerpts, and Yale School of Drama professor Tom Sellar (who also edits the renowned performance journal Theater) will discuss things like: why does Castellucci use a NASA-recorded sound of a black hole? Are those police in that picture actually helping that guy? And why might women appear to cut of their tongues? I’m not sure if there will be free beer, but I’m guessing the evening should be mind-altering anyway.

RSVP here.

Romeo Castellucci Film Screening and Discussion with Tom Sellar
Free
Tonight!
7:30 pm
FringeArts
140 N. Columbus Boulevard

–Nicholas Gilewicz

The Weekender: QFest, family friendly community disco, the mass appeal of sugar substitutes, and storming the Bastille with high-kicking ferocity

Posted July 12th, 2013
Who's Afraid of Vagina Wolf?

Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf?

See such born-to-be classics as Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf?, The Secret Disco Revolution,and Meth Head at the biggest queer film festival on the east coast, Philly’s QFest! The festival, kicking off Thursday, July 11th and exciting our filmic senses until July 22nd, is stocked with goodies from the cow hide-laden James Franco/Travis Matthews film Interior. Leather Bar. to the scintillating Pratibha Parmar documentary Alice Walker:Beauty in Truth. View the event shedule and venue map and make good choices!

Caili Quan, Billy Cannon and Richard Villaverde in Beautiful Decay, Photo by  Alexander Iziliae

Beautiful Decay, Photo by Alexander Iziliae

“Is it like, all classical?” a friend asks as we enter The Wilma Theater, 265 South Broad Street.  “No, it’s BalletX! Like the “Z“ in Zorro, the “X” clearly indicates that we are about to see edgy, cerebrally demanding contemporary ballet!” And that’s just what choreographer Nicolo Fonte and the BalletX company deliver in their Summer Series piece, Beautiful Decay. Running July 10th through the 14th with tickets ranging from $22 to $40, it is an enthrallingly impressive work The Philadelphia Inquirer pronounces as “too important to be unknown to Philadelphia ballet lovers.” (TIX)

PARKJAMfinalWEB-205x300

ParkJam at Malcolm X

Strap up your workman’s boots and prepare to A-town stomp the chlorophyll out of West Philly’s outdoor discotheque, otherwise known as the spacious green at Malcolm X Park, running between 51st and 52nd Street and between Pine Street and Larchwood Avenue. On Saturday, July 13th from 2pm to 7pm, the green lends itself to ParkJam, a  Garden Community Association sponsored community dance party featuring co-presenter and Philly DJ Danophonic Dan, folk rock/golf enthusiast band HighKick, a moon bounce (!!), local artisans, food trucks, and community members and groups galore.

tastier_cover_w_bleed_5x7

Tastier by Leslie Friedman

Ongoing until July 26th, Philadelphia printmaker and installation artist Leslie Friedman, explores the bodily and psychological effects of our culture’s strange sexual attraction to Coke ZeroTastier, showing at Space 1026, 1026 Arch Street, 2nd Floor specifically aims to stage interventions between Crystal Light lemonade packet suckers and art goers all over Philadelphia by drawing parallels to the allure of simulated pleasures and stripping sleek, sexy soft drink labels from bottles and replacing them with bright sugar-rushes of technicolored sex. Bring your own juice box.

Bearded Ladies, Bastille Day 2011

The Bearded Ladies, Bastille Day 2011

As we mourn the loss of Twinkies, we look to Marie Antoinette, patroness of good will and hope, as she cries “Let them eat Tastykake!” from atop Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue. All day Saturday, July 13th the Penitentiary will celebrate Bastille Day with discounted tour rates, the beheading of Antoinette, emcee Edith Piaf, French-themed menus at surrounding restaurants, and a slew of sobering, historically faithful theatrical performances including a visit from experimental cabaret group, The Bearded Ladies. Before you go, check out this instructional video on how to dance like a revolutionary. 

Spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon entranced by ornately costumed body rolls and globally infused instrumentals. For $12 on July 14th at 7:30pm, World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street provides the scene for ANIMUS- Philadelphia’s Belly Dance Spectacular. Musical ensemble ANIMUS brings its culturally diverse musical concepts and traditions–Greek, Blues, Middle Eastern, Jazz, Spanish, Funk, Latin, Rock, Indian, Jewish Klezmer, and African and tosses the norm amongst the reverberations of emotional rhythmic energy. (TIX)

–Maya Beale

Dostoyevsky with an iPhone Camera

Posted September 12th, 2012

Festival Blog contributor Richard Bon lives in Northern Liberties with his wife and daughter. He posts original flash fiction of his own or by a guest writer every other Monday on his blog, liminalfiction.com.

He’s written plays, films, and television shows, and taught others about all of the above. But his newly produced seventy-seven minute movie, co-directed by and starring Seth Reichgott, is the product of a more than twenty years of thinking, and is the first full length film he’s produced himself from soup to nuts. The man is Larry Loebell, and the film he’ll debut as part of Philly Fringe is Dostoyevsky Man.

In his Mount Airy home, Larry discusses the evolution of this one-actor movie where Seth delivers all of its lines in the form of a monologue spoken into his smart phone. True to his art, Larry shot the entire film on his own iPhone. As he puts it, “The reality and the fiction of the piece is that he’s talking into his phone, the actor and the character he plays.” Interior footage was taken in Larry’s basement and at Arcadia University, with exteriors shot around Mount Airy and again at Arcadia, where Larry teaches playwriting and dramaturgy (he also teaches film history at University of the Arts).

After the jump: The history of man. Dostoyevsky Man.

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Philly Fringe Vital Stats: Martine Pelletier of the Film Fringe Tour

Posted August 15th, 2012

Film Fringe Tour is in Scotland right now, strutting its reels at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Even fitted with international features that include Runaway, filmed in Bangladesh, and Viette, which explores the divide between a first-generation American and her Vietnamese parents, one real draw is local. The Prep School Negro is a feature-length film by André Robert Lee, and explores the consequences of elite education: as a 14-year-old growing up in a low-income Philly neighborhood, Lee receives a scholarship to attend Germantown Friends School. Soon he finds himself sharing classrooms with children of the city’s wealthiest (and whitest) families, while feeling increasingly ousted by his neighborhood allies. Watch a preview below:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c14sWbuTw8&w=560&h=315]

After the jump: One of the tour’s producers Martine Pelletier Vital Stats’d us.

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Why Philadelphia Rules: David Lynch Edition

Posted July 23rd, 2012

“I always say my greatest inspiration came from the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. So many reasons, the mood of the place, the architecture, what I saw and heard and felt. It was very magical, but laced with a deep tormenting fear and sickness. And I ate many steak sandwiches there.”

I Like America and America Likes Me: A Meditation on Performance and Violence

Posted July 22nd, 2012

“When you’ve begun to think like a gun / the days of the year are already gone.”
—John Cale, “Gun”

“John Kennedy shot John Wilkes Booth in the heart. Booth went to a farm bleeding. He ate a live cow. Kennedy found him and shot him with Kotex. He shot him in the Goddamn fucking empty American heart. He shot him with McGeorge Bundy. He shot him with Arthur Schlesinger. He shot him with miracles and master plans. He shot him with everything. Everything has 13 or 26 or 89 letters. Kennedy, Booth, Oswald, Ruby and Lincoln are all dead.”
—Bill Hutton, A History of America

In 1974, Joesph Beuys came to New York and spent three days living with a coyote in the Rene Block gallery. Beuys titled his performance Coyote: I Like America and America Likes Me. Of the show, Beuys, ambivalent about the United States and its role in global warfare and perpetuation of violence, said, “I wanted to isolate myself, insulate myself, see nothing of America other than the coyote.”

Beuys fashioned himself a mystic, a shaman, and he hoped in some way to commune with what, perhaps, he saw as the spirit of America, the coyote, the spirit with which Americans themselves were (and are) at war. According to David Levi Strauss, Beuys “engaged the coyote in a dialogue to get to ‘the psychological trauma point of the United States’ energy constellation; namely, the schism between native intelligence and European mechanistic, materialistic, and positivistic values.” The investigation has been framed as one of artistic authority. But in its connection to the United states, the question regards authority more broadly.

Aspects of this schism pervade United States culture. The coyote is reviled by ranchers, for example, as an agent of chaos; but we also laud the coyote for its freedom to roam the United States heartland, and in some way, respect its ability to resist and adapt to our attempts to exterminate it. This tension—between what we understand (and desire) as pure freedom and what we accept (or inflict) as order—undergirds how we think about what it means to be American. And that includes how we think about our gunmen.

After the jump: the duplicity of terror, and getting free.

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Biting the Hand That Feeds You? IdRatherBeHere’s “One Man Audience”

Posted July 25th, 2011

IdRatherBeHere is known for poking (mostly) gentle fun at Philadelphia’s foibles with its wildly popular Wawapalooza shows. This year, they’re back with Wawapalooza 5: Under Destruction at the 2011 Philly Fringe. They spare no one: including us! Check out the rough cut for one of this year’s comedic short films, One Man Audience:



It’s all in good fun, so won’t you come to their Fringe show? IdRatherBeHere’s Wawapalooza 5: Under Destruction runs every weekend of the 2011 Philly Fringe at Society Hill Playhouse, 507 S. 8th Street, Philadelphia. Dates and times vary, $15.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Philly Fringe TV: Gender Reel

Posted July 11th, 2011

At the 2011 Philly Fringe, the folks behind the Gender Reel Festival are offering up two days of film, art, and photography, as they say, “dedicated to enhancing the visibility of gender non-conforming, gender variant/queer and transgender identities.” Festival chair Joe Ippolito tells us that two dozen films and 16 artists are already confirmed, and that the full schedule of events should be up by the end of July.

In the meantime, click here to learn about some of the programming, and watch below to learn about the genesis and need for Gender Reel:

The Gender Reel Festival runs during the 2011 Philly Fringe on September 9 and 10, CBS Auditorium, 320 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia. Tickets on sale soon!

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Philly Fringe TV: “WHISKEY AND ELEPHANTS”

Posted June 30th, 2011

I like Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey myself: bleak, God knows, but sweet. Nonetheless, I could roll with the 2011 Philly Fringe show WHISKEY & ELEPHANTS, especially after watching the trailer below (with gorgeous music, I must say):

Weight—directed by Richmond-based filmmaker and choreographer Charli Brissy, and inspired by the eponymous Jeanette Winterson book—is but one part of the Meako Film Project-produced show, which will also feature dance, music, and installations at the Performance Garage during the first weekend of Philly Fringe.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

WHISKEY & ELEPHANTS opens on September 4 for four shows at the Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine Street, Philadelphia. $12. Tickets on sale soon!

The Weekender: What You’re Doing and Why

Posted June 23rd, 2011

I’m sending off an old friend who’s leaving Philly for a job, boo. But I can take solace in some of this:

>>>All weekend: Philadelphia Independent Film Festival digs into its fourth year, at Media Bureau, Raven Comedy Lounge, Random Tea Room (!), IMAX at Franklin Institute (!!), and Cafe Treece (‽) on Brown Street in Northern Liberties. It’s one of the only times of the year you can see film shorts in Philly, and pretty much you’re only shot to see most of everything else on the big screen. Get cracking.

>>>Friday: AGGROCRAG winds up its run of The Most Inspiring and Magnificent Tale of Alfridge Von Waddlegrave, The Greatest Actor Who Ever Trod the Boards of Earth at Underground Arts (stay tuned for next week’s story on the venue). The group’s 2010 Philly Fringe show Hello from the Children of Planet Earth was a “What Not to Miss” pick in Philadelphia Weekly, and got a lovely review (“sweet, endearing”) from the Inquirer‘s Howard Shapiro. AGGROCRAG will be back at the 2011 Philly Fringe with a new work.


>>>Saturday: Fringe fundraisers The Groundswell Players host a party at Arts Parlor to celebrate the successful end of their Kickstarter campaign–they raised about 25 percent more money than they needed. But you can give them more. $25 VIP tix get you in at 8:30 pm for beer and wine, and grilled feed. $15 tix get you in at 9:30 pm for music from George Urgo and DJ Apt One. They emphasize: Free drinks after entry. Whoop!

>>>Saturday: If you’re in the mood for something more northerly, Found Theater Company is hosting a fundraiser for its 2011 Philly Fringe show Event End up at BookSpace (a venue we’re also profiling, crazy!). $7, mostly music, including Rosie Langabeer. Her score for Pig Iron’s Cankerblossom at last year’s Live Arts Festival was utterly charming.

>>>Sunday: Recovery! And PIFF.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

GENDER REEL

Posted March 24th, 2011

The genesis of an idea by Joe Ippolito and a few friends, Gender Reel is an annual event dedicated to enhancing the visibility of gender non-conforming, gender variant/queer and transgender identities. As a festival, the goal is to empower artists, filmmakers, and photographers to continue creating works that is reflective of gender non- conforming experiences and identities.

The idea for Gender Reel stems out of a desire to bring more visibility to gender variant/queer and transgender communities in Philadelphia, particularly in realm of art. For Joe, Gender Reel aims to fill a large void in the art scene here. As Joe put it, “When you don’t see what you want, you have to find a way to have it.”

Want to be a part of something this awesome?
Click HERE for more information on how to attend, submit, and participate.

Lights, camera, PUNCHKAPOW

Posted November 11th, 2010

ninja vs robot
“You’ve got to ask yourself a question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya punk?” –Dirty Harry… “Say hello to my little friend” –Scarface… “I’m a cybernetic organism. Living tissue over a metal endoskeleton. My mission is to protect you” –Terminator 2… “I’ve come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass…and I’m all out of bubble gum” –They Live.

These little nuggets come from some of the most awesome (or awesomely bad) action films. Movies and movie franchises like Terminator, Spiderman, Star Wars, and Kung Fu Panda – whose stories and characters aren’t nearly as well-developed as the explosions, fight scenes, and car chases – are hugely successful. The most violent movies tend to break the most blockbuster records. We eat this stuff up, but why do we love it?

To explore this question, and for the part of us who loves to watch Ironman slam that guy in the face, or who sees Bruce Willis walk across the glass in Die Hard and thinks “I could do that,” check out Punchkapow, by Team Sunshine Performance Corporation (LAB Fellow Alex Torra of Pig Iron Theatre Company, Ben Camp, and also LAB Fellow Makoto Hirano). Inspired by action movies, comic books, anime, and video games, Punchkapow is a sweaty, hilarious, and unique look at powerless people in search of their superpower.

It premieres at Underground Arts at the Wolf Building tomorrow, November 12, and runs through November 21.

After the jump, creator/performer Ben Camp answers some thorough questions.

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Tonight: Final “Dance” Film With “Einstein on the Beach”

Posted August 24th, 2010

Come on over! We’re screening the third part of our Dance film series celebrating the work of Lucinda Childs.

Tonight, it’s Einstein on the Beach: The Changing Image of Opera. The Philip Glass/Robert Wilson/Lucinda Childs collab broke the opera mold, and changed what we thought was possible with the genre. Nonetheless, I still can’t find a full five-hour recording. Anybody have any leads? Email me.

Even though it’s last-minute, please do RSVP to RSVP@livearts-fringe.org. Thanks!

Einstein on the Beach: The Changing Image of Opera screens tonight at 7:00 pm, Live Arts Studio, 919 North 5th Street, Northern Liberties. Free! For information on and tickets to Dance, click here

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Babysitting Winnipeg: Daniel Barrow Looks Back At The Golden Age Of Public Access

Posted August 17th, 2010

Some kids grow up watching cartoons. Daniel Barrow, a Montreal-based media artist whose practice centers on drawing and collection, watched public access. Yes, that public access, where you can watch taped recordings of school board meetings, PSAs about fire safety and alternative religious programming.

But in the 1980s in Winnipeg, Manitoba, public access was a little different. Daniel’s film Winnipeg Babysitter, which will be screened at the 2010 Philly Fringe, is a collection of archival footage from Winnipeg’s golden age of public access. I got him on the phone to talk about the making of the film, the YouTube generation, and what we lost when the big cable companies destroyed public access.

Live Arts/Fringe: Tell me a little about your project Winnipeg Babysitter.

Daniel Barrow: I’m best known for overhead animation work. I make manual animations using an overhead projector, and the piece that I’m presenting in Philadelphia is different in that I’m projecting video and using an overhead projector on top of the video projection to create a pseudo-documentary. Do you remember Pop-Up Video?

After the jump: archives from memory, the advent of user-generated content, and Winnipeg as a conduit to filmic fame.

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The Week Ahead

Posted August 13th, 2010

You’re today’s big winner! You might not think so because we skipped The Weekender, but you seriously need to rest up for next week:

>>>Today, and through August 29: New York Fringe, if you’re New York way. The New York Times gives an overview of their festival. After checking it out, come home into our loving arms and tell us how great we are, and how you won’t leave us ever again. We’ll forgive you.

>>>Sunday: In high school, I skipped the New York Math League finals to go to my prom. Looking back, it was the wrong decision. Anyway, need a date for Sunday night? Let’s go to Brat Productions’ music video shoot. In October, they’re doing a comedic adaptation of Carrie—yes, that Carrie—and upstairs at RUBA is going to be all 1979-styled prom night. We’ll be extras, and yes, the bar will be open. Erik Ransom (pictured), the star, has written a theme song for the show, and the Scott Johnston-shot video will get out into the world next month. Like Ol’ Dirty Bastard, you wanna see some blood, right? RSVP on Facebook, or by email to rsvp@bratproductions.org. 9:00 pm, RUBA Hall, 414 Green Street, Northern Liberties.

>>>Monday: Boom, Philly Fringe preview night is back at Plays and Players on Monday, and each Monday until the Festivals start. This week’s lineup:
Mindless Drivel from Reap Productions
Hear Again Radio Project
The Play “Ben” from the Historical Theatre Acting Group
Sephro from Quinn Compositions
Between Trains from Gas & Electric Arts
The preview takes place at Plays and Players, 1714 Delancey Place, Rittenhouse Square. $12.

You think that’s it? Friend, you’re sadly mistaken. Click “more” and Josh McIlvain will pitch you on his FUNdraiser, find out about the next free film in the Dance series, and, um, more!

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