Category Archives: Art Music

Poetry

Art of Poetry, Philadelphia Museum of ArtThe Tony, Peabody and Emmy Award winning, six time HBO Def Poet Black Ice (pictured) and many of Def Poetry Jam’s most recognized poets will reunite for an evening of spoken artistry on April 26. (Image courtesy of the artist)

Art of Poetry at Philadelphia Museum of Art

In April and May, Philadelphia Museum of Art is celebrating the art of poetry through artist collaborations including film, performances, talks, tours, and workshops.

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway Philadelphia, PA 19130
philamuseum.org

Now on View

Through June 9

  • Whitman, Alabama—Experience Walt Whitman‘s poem “Song of Myself,” brought to life through the voices of Alabama residents, to celebrate diversity and our connectedness to one another. This film by Jennifer Crandall is accompanied by photographs from the museum’s collection that suggest the complexity of American identity.This exhibition is offered in conjunction with Whitman at 200: Art and Democracy, a region-wide initiative organized by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, with major support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Wednesday Nights

April 3

  • Art of Poetry Opening Celebration—Heralding our two months of poetry-inspired programs, performance poets make our galleries sing with spoken word while artists blend language and art. Drink and Draw with Martha Rich—Sip while you sketch with this Philly-based artist and make zines inspired by memories, eavesdropping, and found text. Rich paints words and food with a penchant for the absurd. Her work has been featured in Rolling StoneBon Appétit, and Entertainment Weekly. (Materials provided; drinks available for purchase.) Poetry tours with The Philly Pigeon—Join this collective, which aims to elevate and popularize the art form of performance poetry, for a lively tour through the galleries.Gallery takeover with the museum’s Teen Ambassador Group (TAG)—This group of high school students work with curators, educators, and other museum staff to create programs especially for teens.

Slow Art Day

April 6

Slow Art Day—This annual international event encourages museum visitors to slow down with their favorite works of art and do some mindful looking.

  • Poetry Workshops with Michelle Taransky—Learn to slow down with the poetic techniques of describing and responding, and discover new ways of looking at art. 11:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.
  • Introspective Bookmaking with Candy Alexandra González—Explore the art of stillness and moving at a slower pace. Drop in for collaborative visual art and poetry exercises to produce a collectively made book.
  • Music in the Galleries: Lines/Patterns—Form and structure make the link between American visual artist Ellsworth Kelly and German baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Presented in partnership with the Curtis Institute of Music. 1:30, 2:15 & 3:00 p.m.
  • Spotlight Gallery Conversations—Engage in slow looking and thoughtful discussion as a different artwork takes center stage during each of five hourly gallery tours, 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m

Family Festival

April 7

  • Family Festival: Poetry Party—April is International Poetry Month, so words are our art medium during this month’s Family Festival. Read a painting, write a sculpture, draw a poem. Join artist Martha Rich and fill the Great Stair Hall with your wonderful words.

Friday Nights

April 5

April 12

April 19

  • Dawn Landes—Full of vivid storytelling, classic country themes, and eternal questions, the songwriting of this Nashville artist is as fresh as it is timeless.

April 26

  • Final Fridays: Def Poetry Reunion—Def Poetry Jam co-founder Danny Simmons invites some of Philly’s most recognized poets to gather for an evening of spoken artistry. Featuring Sonia Sanchez, Ursula Rucker, Black Ice, Vanessa German, Bonafide Rojas, and Jessica Care Moore. Hosted by Liza Jessie Peterson. A DJ set by Rich Medina with visuals by The Marksmen follows the performance. Please note that the museum will close at 5:00 p.m. before the performance, and will reopen at 6:00 p.m. for ticket holders only. Member tickets are on sale now. Public tickets go on sale March 8. Most galleries will be closed during this event, with the exception of exhibitions Whitman, Alabama, The Impressionist’s Eye, and Yoshitoshi: Spriti and Spectacle.

Talks & Tours

May 11

  • In the Artist’s Voice: Jennifer Crandall—Who is America? The filmmaker of Whitman, Alabama explores this question and more in a conversation with WHYY Executive Producer of Audio Content Elisabeth Perez-Luna. Support for this program was provided by the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation Fund for Education.

May 30

Thank you to Philadelphia Museum of Art for the content of this post.

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SLEEP

SLEEP + MUSIC, MikronesiaRecording in Manila, India in the foothills of the Himalayas. Michael McDermott

SLEEP + MUSIC

Event Horizon
Friday April 13, 8pm
Juan Garces, BEEP, Mikronesia w/ William Fields​
The Rotunda

“Hello everyone, I’m back from three months of traveling, listening, creating, sharing and exploring in Thailand, Myanmar and India. I’m excited to be back in Philadelphia for the month and looking forward to sharing lots of sounds with the world!” – Michael McDermott

First up, two events the weekend of April 13a solo concert and a day-long retreat / sleep concert!

Mikronesia will be playing a solo show at Event Horizon at the Rotunda. For this show Michael Mcermott will be joined by his old friend and artistic collaborator William Fields on real-time visuals. This show will feature a live presentation of Mikronesia’s Landscapes work. In this series he works with field recordings from environments and decontextualize them using “sonic photography” techniques to explore the intersection of inner and outer landscapes realized through memory, emotion, time and place. This show will feature recordings and sonic memories from ThailandMyanmar and India.

I can’t wait to experience these sounds on the nice sound system at the Rotunda and with Bill’s realtime visuals, it’s going to be something else! (Below is an image of Bill’s work, check out his website williamfields.com for more of his amazing AV work).

SLEEP + MUSIC, Mikronesia

Event Horizon

Friday April 13, 8pm
Juan Garces, BEEP, Mikronesia w/ William Fields​
The Rotunda4014 Walnut St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/189508868357704/

SLEEP + MUSIC, Mikronesia

Dream Yoga Retreat

April 14th – 15th

“The second event will be a day-long retreat of yoga, meditation, Deep Listening and an overnight sleep concert. This will be another event with a collaborator from my past with yoga/meditation teacher Michelle Stortz. Michelle and I worked together years ago when I provided music for some of her beautiful choreography. Currently Michelle and I both teach meditation at Springboard Sangha. In addition she does amazing work teaching yoga to people with cancer and as a Yoga Nidra (sleep yoga) teacher.

For this retreat, we’ll both be teaching and leading talks, classes and sessions throughout the day. Plus I’ll perform an overnight sleep concert at the retreat for people to practice lucid dreaming and listening (un)consciousness. If you’ve never experienced one of my overnight sleep concerts or my meditation / Deep Listening teaching, now is your chance! Also St. Raphaela Center is a beautiful space with lots of outdoor areas for walking and listening. The retreat cost includes the teaching, space, three meals and a place to sleep. Be sure to bring a sleeping bag and blanket for the overnight concert.” – Michael McDermott

Thank you to Michael McDermott, Mikronesia, for the content of this post.

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Unwilling

Unwilling: Exercises in Melancholy

EXPLORE MELANCHOLIA AT HAVERFORD’S CANTOR FITZGERALD GALLERY

HAVERFORD, Pa.- What if we saw sadness not as a giving up or giving in, but a getting out? What if, instead of being seen as a passive pain, feeling deep sorrow was understood to be an act of resistance? What if, given the current political and cultural moment in which so many feel ignored, maligned, or repudiated by the systems and people in power, mourning was not just an understandable reception, but a useful action against those systems? A new exhibit in Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, opening March 23, showcases the work of five artists from across different media to grapple with such questions of power, agency, and melancholy.

Unwilling: Exercises in Melancholy, curated by Vanessa Kwan and Kimberly Phillips, proposes a re-consideration of melancholia as defined through our contemporary condition. Resisting its historical definition as an affliction that creates disorder or inactivity, this exhibition reimagines passive sadness as a powerful refusal, a conscious (or unconscious) “standing aside,” a willful production of generative failures and resistant potencies. Each of the five contributing artists begins with the idea that outside the boundaries of “contentment” resides a potent flourishing. Unwilling is a resistance and a proposition: it responds to the profound cultural reckoning we are witnessing in this moment in time, as the boundaries and exclusions of state-defined citizenship become increasingly fraught.

The exhibition crosses disciplinary boundaries. Dance artist Justine A. Chambers explores choreographies of resistance, growing out of a studious and embodied interpretation of all the minor gestures on the way to hands raised in surrender. Sculpture- and performance-based artist Mike Bourscheid mines absurdities in relation to our cultural preoccupations with masculinist productivity, while social practice artist Ginger Brooks Takahashi works to create new networks of value in the production of food, drink, and community. (Her piece in the exhibit is a collaboratively created-and consumed-beer.) The “weeping” willow is at the center of media artist Noa Giniger‘s multi-faceted take on reversals of sadness and the refusal to succeed, and poet and critic Billy-Ray Belcourt positions mourning as a defining aspect of an active and resistant subject and proposes that the future must address this subject head on.

Unwilling: Exercises in Melancholy will be on view March 23 through April 27 at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. To celebrate the exhibit’s opening, there will be several events during its first week. On March 22, ahead of the official opening, a roundtable with four of the featured artists and the two curators will be held from 4:30 to -6:30 p.m. in the College’s new Visual Culture, Arts, and Media (VCAM) building, room 201. On March 23, Justine A. Chambers will perform an all-day, campus-wide, site-specific commission, ten thousand times and one hundred more. And later that day, at 4:30 p.m., there will be a talk with the curators followed by a reception at 5:30 p.m., featuring Ginger Brooks Takahashi’s Wyrt Blod Gruyt, a custom-made beer commissioned specifically for the exhibit and brewed in collaboration with Meredith Rebar Williams and Home Brewed Events. For further event details: exhibits.haverford.edu/unwilling.

Unwilling: Exercises in Melancholy is made possible with support from the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities. The exhibition is organized in conjunction with the Hurford Center’s 2017-18 faculty seminar “The Arts of Melancholy,” which is led by John B. Whitehead Professor of Humanities and Professor of Music Richard Freedman.

Overseen by the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities and located in Whitehead Campus Center, the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery is open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesdays until 8 p.m. For more information, contact Matthew Seamus Callinan, associate director of the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery and campus exhibitions, at (610) 896-1287 or mcallina@haverford.edu, or visit the exhibitions program website: www.haverford.edu/exhibits.

Haverford College is located at 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, Pa., 19041

Thank you to Rebecca Raber for the content of this post.

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DJ

DJ Robert Drake

DJ Robert Drake, Interview by Jimmi Shrode, 80’s New Wave Music

Robert Drake is synonymous with music in Philadelphia. When I met Robert in 1984, we were habitues of the Kennel Club, a now defunct New Wave/Punk Night Spot. The soundtrack of the Reagan era 80’s was New Wave/Post Punk music and we were steeped in it all. DJ Robert Drake is one of the most beloved radio and night club personalities in Philly. He started Sex Dwarf, a New Wave Dance Party following his 40th Birthday Party at Fluid Nightclub. Now in it’s 13th Year, Sex Dwarf is still going strong at Club Mousai at 1217 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. The second Friday of each month is a tribute to various influential New Wave Artists and music trends, such as the New Romantics, Synthpop and Electronic Music. You can listen to DJ Robert Drake on WXPN, Land of the Lost, all 80’s New Wave/Post Punk music, the Final Friday of the month from 7:00 – 11:00PM. Drake is also the co-host of Kids Cornera live, interactive radio show for children and host of Q’Zine; a look at Queer Culture and Arts at 11:30pm on Sunday nights. Read Robert’s blog at http://djrobertdrake.com/.

Who is DJ Robert Drake? Tell me about yourself.

“Born and raised in Philly, I carry my torch for Philly high and proud …. I love my hometown and always look for a chance to showcase it to new people. I’ve worked in radio for almost 30 years – all at one radio station (unheard of in this industry). I love music – but treasure my quiet time alone at home. I have a dog named Nomi – after my idol Klaus Nomi.”

What is your favorite part of being a Philly DJ?

“Being able to create a vibe and mood that will (hopefully) resonate with those attending the party – creating memories, friendships and even sparks of love by last call.”

Where’s your favorite place to play? Radio or clubs?

“While I love spinning for the masses – there’s something very personal about being on the radio. Even though I am reaching thousands of people at any second, I am talking to just one of them – and hopefully connecting with them as well.”

When did you decide to be a DJ?

“I stepped into the DJ mode back when I was hanging at a punk bar in Philly called The Love Club at Broad and South Streets … they had two scratchy Radio Shack turntables and I offered to play some of my LPs one happy hour … I was hooked! That had to be, wow – almost 27 years ago!”

Why do you prefer 80’s New Wave?

“As most people, it’s the soundtrack of my youth. But it’s also more – it’s inspired the current wave of pop music artists and so much of the 80s New Wave sounds like it could have been produced today … I love showcasing it!”

How would you advise aspiring DJ’s?

“As much as you might want to learn the best computer software programs – resist. Take time to learn the music itself. Don’t let the computer dictate what song should come next. Learn to read the crowd and be ready to make changes at any second. There’s no such thing as a playlist – so do NOT go into a gig with a plan. Just have fun!”

Written by Jimmi Shrode

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Star

David Bowie, Queer Star, Jimmi Schrode

Queer Star, David Bowie and Gender Anarchy

by Jimmi Shrode

At the age of 10, I had discovered David Bowie in the pages of 16 Magazine. The wholesome safe pop idols; David Cassidy, The Osmonds and The Jackson 5 were giving way to the Glam Rockers; Lou Reed, Alice Cooper and David Bowie. Bowie was the ring leader with a shocking vermillion rooster cut and tight satin pants. With shocking blue eyeshadow highlighting his mismatched eyes and lipstick, he lead the way for the Sexual Revolution by way of Gender Anarchy and Queerness.

As David Jones, young Bowie couldn’t get arrested with a string of forgettable Anthony Newley meets The Beatles songs that were too twee. Later he would don a maxi dress and sing folkish rock songs, some notice but not quite. The novelty of ‘Space Oddity‘ coincided with America’s Moon Landing brought minor fame, introducing us to Major Tom, an astronaut lost forever in the stars. It was Ziggy Stardust, a rock and roll messiah who came just in time for the end of the world to lead us to Mars, the world of Sexual Chaos. David had announced he was Gay despite being in a marriage with Angie Bowie and son Zowie (now filmmaker Duncan Jones). Bowie was launched into the stratosphere.

David Bowie, Queer Star, Jimmi Schrode

Bowie became godlike and seduced the teens of Britain and America. A clever ruse in an age where news traveled slowly. Bowie arrived on the shores of America with an entourage, claiming great status abroad in Europe. The record executives bought it all. Global success at last. Bowie’s androgyny smashed into the world of suburbia here in the USA and abroad. Queerness was on sale in a record shop near you. Boys dressed in make up and mom’s cast-offs, skinny jeans and experimented with each other leaving lipstick traces. Girls swooned for this Queer Elvis. Adults were dismayed. What was dirty and whispered about in secret was now wrapped up in Japanese Modernist Fashion and Kabuki via the LSD dreams of Timothy Leary, strutting under the spotlights for all the world to see.

Bowie rediscovered Lou Reed, Andy Warhol’s Superstar and leader of the Velvet Underground. The Velvet Underground had inspired Bowie when the Exploding Plastic Inevitable made it to the UK. The psychedelic multimedia show of music, lights and art inspired David Jones. Ever the avid student; he absorbed it and made it his own. His alchemy would extend into the music world and reinvent others as it had himself.

Iggy Pop, the sweaty, muscular singer with a proto-punk band The Stooges, was now clad in tight Lurex pants and had black eyeliner, mascara and lipstick. Bowie took Iggy into the studio and allegedly into his bedroom. Bowie’s aesthetic wiped off onto Lou Reed who now dressed in makeup and leather. Reed had taken a walk onto the Wild Side.

As he retired the glitter and paint in favor of Soul Boy clothes, the label of Queerness became an albatross. While good for breaking through indifference into Rock and Roll, rock was still a boy’s club. Even though some of them adopted Bowie’s fey ways, they were still hetero-normative. Bowie, addicted to cocaine and becoming increasingly paranoid retreated further away from Ziggy Stardust. With slicked back blonde hair, classic 30’s suits and a cigarette, he became the nihilistic Thin White Duke. Then Bowie made the famous Hitler Salute in Victoria Station, casting up shadows of fascism. It was apropos. Fascism had destroyed the Weimar Era Drag for the sturm und drang of masculinity.

David Bowie, Queer Star, Jimmi Schrode

As a chameleon, Bowie further reinvented himself and in the 1980’s had a renaissance into New Wave Music. Still, the shadow of homosexuality clung to him. Disavowing and ignoring it, yet, always present. Some Gay People felt betrayed that their idol who led them out of the closet had returned to the closet. It was a fearsome time when Reagan and Thatcher conservatism and AIDS ravaged Gay Liberation.

David Bowie always endured and was relevant in every decade nonetheless. The 90’s saw collaborations with Trent Reznor and Dr. Dre. In the Aughts; Bowie became the crooner he had been with his smash album Heathen. Then he dropped out of sight after a heart attack only to reemerge in time for his final curtain calls with his albums The Next Day and Blackstar. Blackstar saw the artist use his own impending death to craft his final statement, dying soon after.

David Bowie, Queer Star, Jimmi Schrode

To me and many others; Bowie’s act of Sexual Rebellion had forever changed us, bringing a deeper understanding of gender, sexuality and self-expression. Bowie’s image as Ziggy Stardust remains cemented in our psyche. Often copied and rebranded, a white faced Bowie with a bold red and blue lighting bolt in the center of his face crowned with orange hair is how we remember him most; the Queer Bowie. Our Queer Star.

Written by Jimmi Shrode

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