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Helen Haynes: Feeding The Roots of Art.

September 19, 2014

HelenHaynes01onlineCleveland native Helen Haynes arrived in Philadelphia more than 25 years ago to be the executive director of the Coalition for African American and Latino Cultural Organizations, which brought together 18 institutions that acted as a de facto inner city arts council. She then served as the director of cultural affairs at Montgomery County Community College. In June, she was named Philadelphia’s chief cultural officer in the city’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. She spoke with our G.W. Miller III about how the city’s art scene has evolved over the last 25 years.

What did you see when you first arrived in Philly?

I saw a very vibrant cultural community that had built and supported these wonderful institutions. That said, I knew about Philadanco long before I came to Philadelphia. Philadanco was considered one of the finest African American dance companies in the country. I used to read about them in the New York Times.  It’s funny. I think we under-appreciate our institutions here.

How’s it been going in your new role?

I’ve been very encouraged by the support and the goodwill that has come from the cultural community as a whole. I’m renewing old friendships. I worked in the Philadelphia area for a while, for more than 25 years. But for the last 13, I was out in Montgomery County. I was always a Philadelphia resident. I live in Mt. Airy.

I’m just so impressed by the amount of activity, commitment, creativity and innovation that has taken place in the city, even since I have been in Montgomery County. The things that have transpired have been tremendous. Read more…

Joyce Manor, The Exquisites, Dogs On Acid and Spirit of The Beehive @ Union Transfer.

September 18, 2014

joycemanor-5Text by Vince Bellino. Images by Jessica Flynn.

Joyce Manor headlined a high-energy show to a rowdy crowd at the Union Transfer Wednesday night.

Spirit of The Beehive kicked off the evening with an interesting brand of poppy garage rock that at times bordered on psychedelic. Justin Fox, newly added member of the band on guitar and keyboards and formerly of Kite Party, contributed some of the night’s most interesting sounds.

Dogs on Acid, the recent project featuring former members of Algernon Cadwallader, performed their blend of feel-good rock with uppity-emo. The band was friendly and got the crowd going, asking “What did you do today?” to a mixed response of silly answers throughout the room.

Seattle’s The Exquisites took the stage next, immediately thanking the previous bands for playing, noting Philadelphia’s awesome musical talents. The band added that one of its own members was from Philadelphia before launching into an energetic set that is well-described as “soulful punk music,” featuring fast-paced guitars and drumming to match vocalist Jason Clackley’s impressive voice.

Read more…

The Woodmere Art Museum: Music On The Walls.

September 17, 2014

Woodmere03onlineText by Beth Ann Downey. Images by G.W. Miller III.

The Woodmere Art Museum prides itself in offering the select sector of Philadelphians who know it exists a way to slow down from the pace of daily life.

In a 19th century, stone Victorian mansion nestled away from a traffic-heavy corner of Germantown Avenue and East Bells Mill Road in Chestnut Hill, the museum showcases the work of a wide range of Philadelphia artists with both rotating exhibits and its permanent collection.

Visiting the Woodmere, which is surrounded by a well-manicured lawn and offers free parking,  can be quite a different experience than stopping by one of the downtown institutes like The Barnes Foundation or the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

But happen to stop by on a Friday night, and your experience might not be as tranquil as you would expect. Since 2011, the Woodmere has been putting on “Friday Night Jazz” programming which has not only revved up the museum experience but also the number of visitors and joining members.

Read more…

Sex & Drive: Meet the Music-loving Women Behind Rock ‘n’ Roll Sex Toys.

September 17, 2014

RandRSexToys01Text by Jenelle Janci. Images by Michael Bucher.

A lack of gothic and rock ‘n’ roll-themed sex toys became a golden business opportunity for two Philadelphia women.

Lauren, of South Philadelphia, and Kali, of Center City, launched their webstore in January (both women asked that their last names not be used because creepy people might try to track them down).

Combining their love of music with an unusual industry, Lauren says she and Kali wanted to offer products with a bit more character.

“There are a lot of generic products,” says Lauren, who also works as a manager at Creep Records in Northern Liberties. “There’s not a lot of rock ’n’ roll products or fun products. We just saw an opportunity for us to create something in the market.”

Read more…

The Drums @ Underground Arts.

September 16, 2014

TheDrums08The Drums kicked off their Encyclopedia World Tour last night at Underground Arts with a rousing performance that had everyone dancing to the melancholy emo-surf pop.

Their new album drops on September 23 (three songs are available for preview here). It’s good old-fashioned, moody, ’80s-era fun, much like their first two albums.

Jonny and the boys performed music from across all three albums, including a few songs they hadn’t played live since 2009.

The tour takes the band across the country, then to South America, Europe and Japan.


Justin Townes Earle @ The Ardmore Music Hall.

September 15, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAText and images by Kyle Bagenstose.

Alt-country songwriter Justin Townes Earle seems a man that has done his share of wanton wandering, and is now interested in a more defined personal journey.

The 32-year-old from Nashville built a reputation early in his career as an outlaw artist of sorts, with admitted penchants for drugs and drink and wild performances that often showed signs of recent use of both. His work reflected the mindset, with many songs on albums like The Good Life telling tales of his traveling aimlessly by car, train, or foot– gambling and drinking until either his money or health ran low.

Read more…

The Gaslight Anthem, Jimmy Eat World and Against Me! @ The Mann Center.

September 15, 2014

gaslightanthem1Text by Gabi Chepurny. Images by Jesse Marass.

The Gaslight Anthem brought Jimmy Eat World and Against Me! with them to The Mann Center Friday night, for a show infused with punk, blues and good old fashioned rock and roll.

Read more…


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