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Posts Tagged ‘2012 Live Arts Festival’

Saturday Afternoon Play: Back to Back Theatre’s Performance Workshop

Posted October 1st, 2012

The chairs formed a circle in the Philadelphia Live Arts Studio on Saturday afternoon, and when I walked in over a dozen people were introducing themselves: “I’m an independent theater artist.” “Social media junkie.” “I just tried to get some gas at a gas station and it took all my credit information and gave me no gas.” The occasion was Australian Back to Back Theatre’s Performance Workshop, an addition to the company’s Live Arts performance of FOOD COURT, a show about violence and bullying performed by persons with intellectual disabilities. Company director Bruce Gladwin led the workshop, and he sat tall, thin, and quiet in his chair as the personal introductions continued: “New to Philadelphia.” “I’m an actor, with a background in theater.” “I’m the parent of a child with an intellectual disability.”

When they finished, Bruce nodded. “We only have two hours to come together and play. For the first hour we’re going to work with playful, experiential exercises. The second part is, I’ve got a new show and I thought we might play with some ideas for that.”

After the jump: a brutal version of Musical Chairs, and watch an interview with Bruce Gladwin about the company’s next performance Ganesh Versus The Third Reich

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Gourmet Ice Cream, Dark Skies, and Rafael Lozano-Hemmerʼs 24 Bat-Signals: Opening Night for “Open Air”

Posted September 28th, 2012

Julius Ferraro is a freelance writer in Philadelphia, a former Festival Guide intern, and regular blog contributor. We sent him to cover the opening night of Open Air. This is his story.

Rahzel performs with Mayor Nutter (left) watching the lights at the opening of Open Air. Photo by James Ewing.

My Thursday night started with a closeup view of the moon—craggy, cratered, with the arc of the earthʼs shadow slicing it out of the sky—from the lawn outside the Franklin Institute.

I was in the wrong place.

After the jump: a blacked-out parkway, love for computer glitches, and Rahzel jams.

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That’s All, Folks!

Posted September 28th, 2012


Well, not quite. A few more stories are coming down the pipe, and please come back from time to time to check out what we’re up to. We’re hoping to have growing year-round blog content, as we move in that direction as a presenter. In the meantime, read our board chairman Richard Vague’s Inquirer column about our future, new building and all.

We love you guys! Thanks for everything.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

All About Bullying . . . From Philly to Australia

Posted September 21st, 2012

“Billy was the bully on our school bus, always waiting to bother any one of us,” says Philadelphia’s WMGK Debbi Calton. Her voice is gentle, but emphatic. “When walking down the aisle to your bus seat he’d jump ahead and step on your feet…while on his face there’d be smirking, snickering, snide.”

Debbi’s spoken piece “Bully on the Bus Billy” (chillingly reminiscent of this year’s  bus monitor bullying) is part of 2011 release “All About Bullies…Big and Small,” a children’s album produced and directed by Warminster resident Steve Pullara. The album showcases voices from over thirty national artists, with Steve contributing his songwriting skills to a dozen songs. More than fostering awareness, the CD funds the cause: 100 percent of sales goes to the PACER National Bullying Prevention Center.

“Everybody brought their heart to the project,” said Steve, when we spoke over the phone. “You just hope to do the best job possible so that it becomes nationally recognized.” Steve and the contributing artists have garnered recognition beyond what they could have anticipated; at this year’s Grammy Awards “All About Bullies…Big and Small” won for Best Children’s Album, an honor that joins a recent National Parenting Publications Award (NAPPA), and a Parents’ Choice Award. “Now we’ve got the trifecta,” said Steve.

After the jump: Billy the bully reconsiders, and listen to the album’s opening song “Jump Rope” by Blue October.

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This is 7 Fingers Performing at the Comcast Center Plaza

Posted September 21st, 2012

Music by the Mountain Goats, who are also awesome. Sadly, they’re not performing, but you can still catch Sequence 8 tonight and Saturday at 8:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 pm. At the Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad Street, Center City. $20-$45 adults, $9-$23.50.

A public service announcement from PDDC

Posted September 20th, 2012

Mike Gerkovich makes zines and they are like roadside lookout areas: created in collaboration with members of the cultural arts program at the Philadelphia Developmental Disabilities Corporation (PDDC), each page makes you pull over, take a look, and wonder how each frame of vision marries the other to form one magnificent gorge you never knew existed.

Mike demonstrates screen printing zine covers. Photo by Laurence Kelly/Arc-PDDC.

And some are even handy, like the PDDC zine that espouses tips for the practical life: it’s entitled “Public Service Announcements, by Ike & Mike.” Made from thick orange paper, the cover features a monochrome flag of no known country. Fastened with thread strung through three punched holes is page after page of public service announcements, each with an accompanying sketched photo: “Remember to check your smoke detector twice a year,” reads the first page; “Don’t leave food out. Ever.” reads another, and on top of the words floats a mouse, nibbling at a large block of cheese.

Reading on, the PSAs begin to shed their impersonal quality and take on a human reproach: “Check out the expiration date before you drink that milk, buddy!” it reads, and “Drink plenty of water…or you will go insane.” The last page is by far, the most emphatic: “Never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever push ‘the button.’ Ever.” The button at the top of the page has the word “Doom” scrawled across it.

Flip the zine over, and the back cover features not a PSA, but a vague, and in lieu of the hilarity of “Never ever ever…push ‘the button,’” sobering wish: “I want to believe.” Above the words hovers a UFO, and so the writer seems to be gesturing playfully to the supernatural, but for some untellable reason the phrase is more earnest – perhaps it’s the handwriting, which eschews a conformity to straight lines, and follows an invisible upward slope. What then do these zine authors want to believe in, and what do they want us to believe in?

After the jump: oh, the possibilities

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Preview: “Open Air”

Posted September 19th, 2012

Open Air kicks off tomorrow night with opening celebrations beginning at 7:30 pm. Then it runs every night through October 14, from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Free!

This House Is Made of Waste Products Only: Thinking about Kyohei Sakaguchi

Posted September 18th, 2012

Julius Ferraro is a freelance writer in Philadelphia, a former Festival Guide intern, and regular blog contributor.

Kyohei Sakaguchi. Photo via Pig Iron.

One of the 2012 Live Arts Festival highlights is Toshiki Okada and Pig Iron Theatreʼs Zero Cost House. The show is about, among other things, Kyohei Sakaguchi. Though Sakaguchi is relatively unheard-of in the United States, his Zero Yen House project has traveled as close as Canada, and with the sustainability movement in full force here, heʼs a figure who bears extensive discussion.

Sakaguchi is an artist, a documentarian, the author of two books, a musician and illustrator, and an avid blogger and tweeter. He is Bear Grylls crossed with John Lennon. He is an architect who does not build houses, a Tokyo-based artist, a performance architect, and a revolutionary. But it was not until March of 2011 that he became the Prime Minister of Japan.

After the jump: Running the new government, living in a water tank, and questions of freedom.

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Illadelph or Portlandia?

Posted September 18th, 2012

Ellen Freeman is a freelance writer and former Festival Blog intern who is based in Oregon.

We’re iller than thou. Portland’s still pretty awesome, though.

Remember the segment Adam Carolla used to do on the radio show Loveline called “Germany or Florida?” Oh, you had better things to do at 11:00 pm on weekdays than listen to ecstasy-addled sexually-active teens discuss their problems with Dr. Drew? Well the concept was simple: listeners would call in with bizarre news headlines like “Woman wearing sausage earrings is mauled by pack of toy poodles” and the hosts would try to guess whether the event took place in Germany or Florida.

Here at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, we’ve come up with an even better game called “Philadelphia or Portland?” The two cities have been duking it out for supremacy in the categories of foodie snobbery, beer-lovers-per-capita, and rapidity of gentrification for years, but they’ve got something else in common—both are currently hosting some of the world’s finest performing arts festivals: the Time Based Art Festival in Portland and the Live Arts/Fringe Fest here, of course. We’ve compiled a list of highlights from both festivals, leaving it up to you to guess which city you can catch each event in. And before you say “That’s so ___________ (fill in city here),” remember that the answers may surprise you.

1) Shakespeare’s classic Antony and Cleopatra is transported through time and space to modern-day Egypt, as represented by the Nefertiti busts and sarcophagi of the Ancient Egyptian wing of the host city’s art museum.

2) Fat-livered audience members shotgun beers in time with the cast of a drinking-game-cum-sketch-comedy-show performed in a pub.

3) One of the creators of those wacky Old Spice commercials pulls audience members onstage for a live life-coaching session.

4) Audiences downward-dog and open their heart chakras to live acoustic music in a nirvana-inducing musical yoga journey.

5) More than 150 amateur dancers celebrate the joy of community in a performance that’s part flash-mob, part line dance extravaganza.

6) A genderqueer chanteuse belts out her R&B condemnation of societal evils like the gender binary and capitalism while making ample use of butt plugs and onstage golden showers.

7) An experimental American pop band plays auto-tuned covers of Tuareg desert jams.

8) A choreographer who suffers from Tourette’s syndrome crafts a dance inspired by her own tics.

9) Audiences will recognize the harsh fluorescent lighting and excruciating/hilarious mundanity of these gesture-driven vignettes depicting office life, performed in Japanese with projected English subtitles.

After the jump: Answers!

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Preview: “Sequence 8”

Posted September 18th, 2012

Tonight! Sequence 8 from 7 Fingers opens at the Merriam! Will it amaze? Watch the preview, and you decide.

Sequence 8 runs tonight, and September 20 through 23 at the Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad Street, Center City. Times vary; $20-$45 adult tix, $9-23.50 for the kids, because like Wu-Tang, 7 Fingers is for the children. Well, at least OK for children.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Because Y’all Love Naked Bodies So Much I Decided To Ref A Game of Skins vs. Skins

Posted September 12th, 2012

Because the press has failed to remark on the penetration of au naturel into this year’s Live Arts and Fringe shows (read my sarcasm, then read the Inquirer’s most recent article on the same), I’ve decided to introduce a resolving flavor to the chatty pot of “No clothes; oh no!” “Take it off!” “You want to show your hoo has and joysticks in Penn’s city?”

Maybe a more valuable question to ask is: how can we begin to read the bodies we encounter at this year’s Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe? How can we frame what we see? By mediating Alastair Mccaulay’s recent New York Times “Nakedness in Dance, Taken to Extremes” and CultureBot’s response to Mccaulay (by way of Jeremy M. Barker), I hope to begin to answer these questions, and craft some ridiculous metaphors while doing so.

After the jump: I use Russian dolls as claim-making devices, and how to discuss this with your fellow performance aficionados (hint: it’s during the free talkback that follows a show that rhymes with farguendo).

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Notes on “Notes on the Emptying of a City”: An Interview with Ashley Hunt

Posted September 10th, 2012

You may have noticed that we’ve been spreading our wings a bit, and wrapping them around visual and performance art more than ever before. At the 2012 Live Arts Festival, Los Angeles-based artist, Ashley Hunt, will perform Notes on the Emptying of a City for one evening only, September 11th at 7:00 pm (tomorrow!) at the Broad Street Ministry. And it’s a free event. After the jump, Theresa Rose, our visual arts program director, talks to Ashley Hunt about the project.

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No Snooze in This News

Posted September 10th, 2012

Spooky spooktacular! Not really. But after the jump, coverage of Fringe in cemeteries, my friend Cherri interviews Jumatatu Poe for KYW, some top picks from our media posse, and more. Rounding up the roundups again, here we go:

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And Proud We Are

Posted September 10th, 2012

YES! After all the talk about baring all at this year’s Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, we’ve definitely made the big-time. I found out over the weekend that this humble blog was linked to by another blog titled “Batty for Nudity.” I have done my part to advance art in these United States. VICTORY!!!

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Le Grand Rehearsals

Posted September 9th, 2012

In addition to talking with rehearsal director Sarah Gladwin Camp earlier in the week, blog contributor Marina Kec also chatted up Le Grand Continental rehearsal assistants Jacelyn Biondo, Gabrielle Revlock, and Rhonda Moore about working with the motley crew of awesome people who will seize the Art Museum steps with dance one more time today, at 4:00 pm. After the jump.

Nick G’s daughter, rapt by “Le Grand Continental.”

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All Your Media Belong To Us

Posted September 7th, 2012

I guess we’re kind of like a big deal! You probably shouldn’t play this too loud if you’re at work (unless your workplace is awesome), but you definitely should read the articles after the jump, which number approximately the same as the shell casings in this Clipse video.

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Le Grand Rehearsal Director: Sarah Gladwin Camp

Posted September 6th, 2012

Blog contributor Marina Kec talked to Sarah Gladwin Camp this week about Le Grand Continental, the energetic dance extravaganza taking to the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the 2012 Live Arts Festival. Over 150 performers from different walks of life and with varying levels of dance experience will band together this weekend, and Sarah’s been responsible for helping Sylvain Émard make this a reality. Here’s what she had to say, both to Marina, and in an interview with Philly.com, after the jump:

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At Home with the Aryadareis

Posted September 4th, 2012

Another piece of Newsworks’s coverage of This Town is a Mystery is this excellent interview with Andrew Simonet and Amy Smith of Headlong Dance Theater, and with the Aryadareis themselves. Watch:


This Town is a Mystery
opens Friday, September 7 and runs every night of the festival. Locations vary, but all will be revealed to ticket buyers. All shows 7:00 pm; $35.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Tumblr to RED-EYE to HAVRE de GRACE

Posted September 3rd, 2012

Labor Day special quick Q&A! Thaddeus Phillips and friends have been documenting their work on RED-EYE to HAVRE de GRACE on the tumblr. After the jump, Thaddeus explains the importance of production documentation, dislikes Poe, and talks about working with Teller.

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Roundup Roundup

Posted August 31st, 2012

It’s that time in a young cowboy/cowgirl’s life where we round up the roundups, as the Festivals are about to begin. Here’s some press and press-sorting of shows to help guide your way through the next three weeks:

>>>The South Philly Review has a beautiful cover story on the Aryadareis, one of the families performing in Headlong’s This Town is a Mystery.

>>>Great story from WHYY’s Peter Crimmins on the same. Hey, ditto for the Chestnut Hill Local!

>>>WHYY’s “Arts Calendar” pulls out some pics for the festivals, including Ivona, Princess of Burgundia, Brat RockPile, Tourettes: A Dancing Disorder, and Return Return Departure.

>>>uwishunu offers up lists of top participatory shows and top bets for unusual sites.

>>>Rep Radio‘s kicked off its podcast coverage of Live Arts and Philly Fringe this week. So far: interviews with Eric Balchunas about Wawapalooza, Whit MacLaughlin about 27, and commander-in-chief Nick Stuccio about all things festivals. Listen over here.

>>>J. Cooper Robb writes in Philadelphia Weekly about what is sure to be a most amazing post-show talk on body politics in the arts (following the single performance of Arguendo), featuring John Collins of Elevator Repair Service, Charlotte Ford (of this year’s Bang), and playwright Young Jean Lee (UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW).

>>>Art Attack, the Daily News-Drexel U collab arts reporting project plugs Barbie Blended, this year’s first Philly Fringe offering (opens tomorrow, whoa!).

>>>Top ticket for Stage‘s Debra Miller? The Gate Reopened.

>>>The Montgomery News runs down the MontCo connections.

>>>Ditto for Mount Airy, via the Mount Airy Patch.

>>>Dispatch from central Jersey, who loves us. We love you too! Come on down!

–Nicholas Gilewicz