Category Archives: Philadelphia Music

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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Wonder

NGCB – EPHEMERAL from Michael McDermott on Vimeo.

Don’t you wonder sometimes?

I’m really honored to be working with Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet again this season. Our new work EPHEMERAL is our grandest to date. Seven dancers, lighting design by Dutch artist Katinka Marac and an evocative score of environmental elements and sonic stillness.

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EPHEMERAL
Christ Church Neighborhood House Theater, Philadelphia
February 19 – 21, 2016. Tickets can be purchased online also running concurrently will be a dance-film festival that Nora has curated.

David Bowie Night

michael2

Last month planet Earth lost one of its a greatest visionary artists of the last century: David Bowie. David’s music and style had a huge influence on me. As I tweeted the morning of his death: “He taught the world it was ok to be different, it was ok to experiment, it was ok to change.”

In two weeks I’ll be part of an all-star night of Philadelphia musicians playing Bowie’s music. I’ll be playing keyboards with some (very talented) friends. I don’t want to spoil the surprise but we’ll be playing two songs from my favorite Bowie album as well as his last epic artistic statement.

DAVID BOWIE TRIBUTE NIGHT
Thursday, February 11at 8 PM
The Fire
412 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19123
$8 / 21+

Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State

michael mcdermott, Don't you wonder sometimes?

March 19, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. – March 20, 2016 at 7:00 a.m.

the fidget space 1714 N Mascher Street Philadelphia
$10 – $20 sliding scale

This is going to be a 12-hour long concert of sleep music! Bring a sleeping bag, pillow and blanket, enjoy some dream tea and snuggle in for 12-hours of dream drones and tape loop lullabies. I’ll be performing ambient music all night with visuals from Alex Bond focusing on themes of Bardo, reincarnation, Dream Yoga and sleep (un)consciousness.

To get a taste of the kind of music you’ll hear, please check out my 2014 sleep music album, Quiescent. It’s an eight-hour mix of music for the four sleep cycles.

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

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#PIFA2016

KIMMEL CENTER ANNOUNCES DETAILS OF

PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS

APRIL 8 – 23, 2016

World-Class Festival Showcases Groundbreaking Work from

 International Artists and Local Partners for a Curated Exploration of the

Performing and Visual Arts

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts announces the return of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), taking place across the venues of the Kimmel Center’s campus, as well as select locations throughout the city, from April 8 through April 23, 2016. A 15-day celebration of art and community, PIFA showcases innovation and a breadth of local and international performances and installations, all curated by The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. With more than 60 events across genres and art forms, PIFA is bookended by the Article 13 – a grand-scale fire and sand installation that tells the story of immigrants around the world – which serves as the grand opening of the Festival and culminates with the celebrated PIFA Street Fair.

 In this third installment of PIFA, the curatorial vision illustrates the concept “We Are What We Make.” The Festival will explore how our humanity is shaped, changed, inspired, and challenged by the world we create, all displayed through a variety of performing and visual arts. A massive installation by Mimi Lien – recipient of a 2015 MacArthur Genius Award – will consume the lobby of The Kimmel Center, bringing this vision to life and will be on display throughout the Festival.

 “We are thrilled to once again produce PIFA, the perfect manifestation of The Kimmel Center’s mission to introduce broad and diverse audiences to world-class, ground-breaking programming,” said Kimmel Center President and CEO, Anne Ewers. “To see our local arts organizations coming together in collaboration with one another, as well as with the renowned international artists joining us from around the world, is sure to be an extraordinary experience for the hundreds of thousands touched by PIFA.”

In addition to the featured international artists, local partners have joined forces with The Kimmel Center to present new works during this year’s Festival, further solidifying Philadelphia’s position as a pioneering force in the performing arts landscape. Local partners include The Barnes Foundation, The Clay Studio, The Center for Art in Wood, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Curtis Institute of Music, Jazz Bridge, Mural Arts Program, and PHILADANCO (The Philadelphia Dance Company). More local partners will be announced at a later date.

“‘We Are What We Make’ is the unifying thread and audiences will see it represented in countless ways through the art they’ll experience this year,” said Kimmel Center Artistic Director Jay Wahl. “The works were meant to challenge not only the artists but those who appreciate art to look deeper and get something unique from this experience, which will last long after the Festival is over.”

Tickets

Multi-event ticket packages are available now and include the PIFA Sampler Pass (three shows), PIFA Immersion Pass (five shows), or the PIFA All-Access Pass; all come with a wide range of added benefits including access to exclusive events. Single tickets for PIFA events will go on sale to the public beginning December 7, 2015. Tickets can be purchased by visiting kimmelcenter.org or calling 215-893-1999.

Full event details can be found below and a calendar of events is available at www.kimmelcenter.org/PIFA.

Thank you to Laura Krebs Miller for the content of this post.

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Love

Paint a Face for Dawn's Place

ART IN LOVE PARK TO SUPPORT SURVIVORS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Dawn’s Place to Display Public Art Project at Community Art Day: April 11 in Love Park

PHILADELPHIA –  Not many people are aware that slavery still exists. Most still find it hard to believe that slavery is happening in our country or state or neighborhoods today. Dawn’s Place the only residence of its kind in the tri-state area that proactively helps both domestic and international adult female victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is striving to change that & in the neighborhoods of the Delaware Valley. And they need your support.

On Saturday, April 11 in Love Park (JFK Plaza) Philadelphia, Paint a Face for Dawn’s Place, a community art project to support survivors of human trafficking, will be displayed at Community Art Day. Art Day will take place from noon to 3:00 pm, featuring an outdoor installation of painted portraits of women, live music, spoken word performance, and live street portraits. For more information, visit www.aHomeforDawn.org.

“Human trafficking is just the tip of the iceberg”, says Sister Teresita Hinnegan, a medical mission Sister and co-founder of Dawn’s Place, a 9-bedroom residence in an undisclosed Philadelphia area location. It happens because of all the social and human injustice that’s been around from the beginning. We can focus on rescuing and restoring the victims, but unless we look at the demand side, the injustices that cause trafficking, it will continue.

Consider the following:

  • Within the United States, women, children and men are trafficked daily for commercial sex and forced labor.
  • Victims may be rich, poor, foreign nationals, U.S. citizens, adults, or children under 18.
  • Human trafficking generates $32 billion annually – half of that made in industrialized countries.
  • 80% of all transnational victims are women and girls.

 “It’s all about people who are living in poverty and have very few choices, and how to survive, Sister Teresita continues. Our culture has accepted prostitution. It s seen as a victimless crime. It is not. Prostitutes are labeled as criminals. They are not. They are victims. They need to be treated that way.”

Paint a Face for Dawn’s Place is a public art project organized by Dawn’s Place and Philadelphia artist, Joanna Fulginiti. The project asks members of the community to paint a face of a woman they love or admire. The paintings will be collected and displayed alongside information on human trafficking to rally community support for victims of this crime in the Delaware Valley. Community Art Day will include live performances by musician Rosa Diaz and artist Bonnie MacAllister. Members of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia will take professional street portraits that can be posted to social media or stored on a smartphone.

For interviews and additional media requests please contact: Sr. Michelle Loisel at 215-849-2396

Joanna Fulginiti at joannfulginiti@aol.com

Paint a Face for Dawn's Place

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