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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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