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Philly Weekly Entertainment Groove

Let’s weekday and be jolly because there is lots to do this week and beyond.

Did someone say The Color Purple is in town? Yes. 

Let’s go. 

There’s the always lit Christmas Village (1501 JFK Blvd.) which is delightfully surrounded by ice-skating at City Hall (through February 25th) tons of locally made snacks and goodies, local-made Philly Holiday Gift Show (there’s an ugly Christmas sweater store that you must go to), magnificent carousel, a grand 50 foot tall Christmas tree, but most importantly…lots of fun for every one of all ages…including you!

The Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest is also in full skate at (101) Columbus Blvd through March 4th, and with grub served up from Garces Group and Chickie’s and Pete’s as well as spectacular views of the Ben Franklin Bridge and beyond, it’s sure to warm your holiday spirit all season long! Go here for more ho, ho, ho action.

Not that the beloved Philly holiday tradition of the Macy’s Christmas Light Show needs any introduction since you’ve seen it forty times already, but for those who haven’t, the stunning lights are now warming your holiday spirit right oh, so high atop the Grand Atrium at Macy’s Center City (1300 Market St.) through December 31st beginning from 10 a.m to 8 p.m every two hours! Let’s twinkle. 

Franklin Square Holiday Festival A fabulous mix of lighted Philadelphia history and simply stunning light show, this beloved Philly tradition (200 N. 6th St.) is sure to illuminate ya life all holiday season long. The Electrical Spectacle Light Show hosts free shows every 30 minutes between 4 and 8 p.m. on week nights and 4 and 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. And with 50,000 gleaming lights set on top of a blissful music background with one composition featuring an illuminated kite and key, this is one holiday event that even Mr. Benjamin Franklin himself would approve of. Bring the kids and don’t miss it!  

A Philly POPS Christmas Merry up for a simply magical evening of pure holiday bliss as Maestro Michael Krajewski takes the reigns to lead the acclaimed POPS for a delightfully festive show featuring vocalist Justin Hopkins, the Philadelphia Boys Choir, the Philly POPS Festival Chorus and the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir. But perhaps the best of it all this year? There’s a POPS style holiday tribute of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Get those tickets. Dec 2nd-19th/Kimmel Center/300 S. Broad St.Various dates and showtimes

Pennsylvania Ballet presents The Nutcracker Imagine a Philly holiday season without the PA Ballet’s stunning presentation of  George Balanchine’s legendary entertainment creation? Actually, no, we don’t want to, we just need to grab those tickets because like the holidays themselves, this beloved entertainment affair will be dancing away soon, so don’t miss out and go right here for more holiday tip-toe action. Tonight-December 31st/The Academy of Music/various ticket prices and showtimes/240 S. Broad St.

The Color Purple  It looks like we’ve been very good boys and girls this year because we’re getting a true entertainment gift  (and 2016 Tony Award winner for Best Revival!) when The Color Purple takes over (and that it will) the Forrest Theatre this week for a very special limited engagement. Besides being blessed with an all-star cast (go here to get know all of this talent), the show also stars the incredibly talented Adrianna Hicks, who’s gaining critical acclaim for her bold and stunning portrayal of show heroine, Celie. And guess what? The incredibly lovely Ms. Hicks will be stopping by the Philly Mixtape tea table this week to spill about it all, but before she graces us with her electrifying presence, there’s one thing you must do…get those tickets because this is one spectacular night out to that you absolutely should not miss this week…or ever. Tuesday/Dec 12th-Sunday, Dec 17th/Forrest Theatre/Various showtimes and ticket prices/1114 Walnut St. 

Sing Your Life Karaoke w/ Sara Sherr Looking to slay your favorite karaoke grooves all holiday season long? Well, you’re in luck because chances are the always musically gift-wrapped Ms. Sherr has everything you need for your song butchering/slaying pleasure at any one of these fab Philly locations listed below! Happy holidaze! Sun, 9-2 Bob and Barbara’s, 1509 South Street Tues, 9-2 12 Steps Down, 9th and Christian Thurs, 10-2 W/N W/N 931 Spring Garden, Fri, 9-1 Southhouse, 2535 S. 13th St. Saturday, 9-1:45 Les & Doreen’s Happy Tap,1301 E Susquehanna Ave

ANNIE For the love of all things Sandy and “Tomorrow,” there’s simply no denying that it’s been a hard knock year for all of us, so what better way to treat the whole family and go see this forever cherished Broadway musical while it’s in town through the Philly holiday season! There’s really nothing else to say here except that Daddy Warbucks, Ms. Hannigan and everyone’s favorite ginger curled cute, Ms. Annie, will be waiting for you! Tonight-Jan 7th, 2018/Walnut Street Theatre/Various ticket prices & showtimes/825 Walnut St.

Full Front Street   If you think there’s no time left to get your Philly Burlesque fix on before 2017 comes to an end, that’s absolutely not the case as the always yas HoneyTree Evil Eye as well as the stunning Mora Love, the voluptuous Connor Michalchuk and the red-hot Fleur de Soleil (who’s making her FFS debut!) are more than ready to make all of your tassel twirlin’ dreams come true tonight. Every Monday/9 pm/Victoria Freehouse/10 S. Front St. 

Cloud Nine Your hump day is about to get lit like a fireplace this week because DJs Brando Calrissian and Michael Mythix are about to bring the beats and the heat to Tavern on Camac this week just in time to make your holidays oh so Mary and gay. Let’s f@#king dance, shall we? Yas.  Wednesday/9 pm/Tavern on Camac/243 S. Camac St.

Lip Smackers  Since pretty much every track from the late ’90s/early ’00s still rules, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t shimmy over to Tabu this Thursday night and let DJs Mike Shaffer and Javascript put in that millennium werk for you on the floor for this special dance party celebrating those good ol’ TRL-worthy times.  Thursday/Tabu/9 pm/200 South 12th St. 

Fantasia:Christmas After Midnight Yes, that Fantasia of American Idol and The Color Purple fame (perfect timing, eh?) is about to sleigh our holiday lives with what’s sure to be a stunning stop at The Fillmore this Thursday night. Grab those tickets. Thursday/8 pm/The Fillmore/29 E. Allen St. 

Also on the local and legendary entertainment decks for your…….

Monday/December 11th 

John Doe@Boot&Saddle(830 pm, 1131 S. Broad St.)…………Vesperteen @Voltage Lounge(730 pm, 421 N. 7th St.)…………Dylan Jane and The Clavacles(8 pm, 705 N. 2nd St.)…………..Girl Germs@Johnny Brenda’s Downstairs(8 pm, 1201 N. Frankford Ave)……….Laughs On Philly@Ortlieb‘s(7 pm, 847 N. 3rd St.) 

Tuesday/December 12th 

Angel Olsen @Union Transfer(830 pm, 1024 Spring Garden St., and Wednesday, too!)……………The White Buffalo@The Foundry(8 pm, 29 E. Allen St.)…………….Rolo Tomassi@Voltage Lounge(7 pm, 421 N. 7th St.)…………West Philadelphia Orchestra@Franky Bradley’s(9 pm, 1320 Chancellor St.)…………Sole Pursuit@The Fire(9 pm, 412 W. Girard Avenue) 

Wednesday/December 13th 

Jason Vieaux@World Cafe Live(730 pm, 3025 Walnut St.)…………Rondi Charleston@South(7 pm, 600 N. Broad St.)………..Buffy @The Dolphin Tavern(10 pm, 1539 S. Broad St.)…………Droopies@Kung Fu Necktie(8 pm, 1248 N. Front St.)…………Stab&Grab@Kung Fu Necktie(10 pm, 1248 N. Front St.)………Rich People/Year of the Knife@The Pharmacy(6 pm, 1300 S. 18th St.) 

Thursday/December 14th 

The Dear Hunter @Union Transfer(8 pm, 1024 Spring Garden St.)………..Neil Hamburger@Johnny Brenda’s(730 pm, 1201 Frankford Ave)………Ryan Kinder@The Foundry(8 pm, 1000 Frankford Ave)………..Vincent Ingala@South(7 pm, 600 N. Broad St.)………..Betty Iron Thums@The Barbary(745 pm, 951 Frankford Ave)………..The Stolen@Voltage Lounge(630 pm, 421 N. 7th St.)……….Snaggletooth@Kung Fu Necktie Upstairs(9 pm, 1250 N. Front St.)….Christian Smith@Rumor(11pm, 1500 Sansom St.)

Friday/December 15th 

Michael Bolton@Sugarhouse Casino(9 pm, 1000 Frankford Ave)………..Municipal Waste@The Trocadero(7 pm, 10003 Arch St.)………Trophy Eyes/Free Throw@The Fillmore(6 pm, 29 E. Allen St.)…………Ofenbach@Coda(8 pm, 1712 Walnut St.)……….The Dan Band@TLA(8 pm, 334 South St.)……Two Friends@NOTO(10 pm, 1209 Vine St.)……….Owel@Voltage Lounge(730 pm, 421 N. 7th St.)……….Muscle Tough@Johnny Brenda’s(9 pm, 1201 Frankford Ave) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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‘The Patriot Tour’ Tea w/Taya Kyle

While most of us will never know what it’s like to fight for our country like so many brave men and women from all walks of life have done before us, what we can do is never forget to respect, obey and honor them completely. 

But most of all, when an opportunity arises where we can listen to their stories and how they truly define the word “freedom” for all of us, we should take heed and join them. Tomorrow night we’ll all be able to do just that when The Patriot Tour stops by the Merriam Theater at the Kimmel Center for a one-night only engagement that you simply do not want to miss. 

An emotional and engaging live stage experience, The Patriot Tour not only highlights incredible stories from some truly incredible men and women who’ve had their landscapes profoundly changed by their service and sacrifice for our country, but its a story that will resonate with all of us, especially in today’s seemingly crazy and almost desperate times. 

Among the list of esteemed patriots speaking at tomorrow night’s show are retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell; Executive Director of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, retired U.S. Army Capt. Chad Fleming, as well as retired Navy SEAL David Goggins.

Also moving the Philly stages tomorrow night will be Taya Kyle, who’s the wife of late U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and the author of the New York Times bestselling book, American Wife. Some of you may also recognize those above names as part of the blockbuster film, American Sniper, which was loosely based on the memoir American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by the late Mr. Kyle, with Bradley Cooper playing the fallen hero and Sienna Miller taking on the role of Taya. 

But before Taya shares her story with all of Philadelphia, she was gracious and kind enough to stop by Philly Mixtape for an exclusive chat where she talked, well, about it all in one incredible chat below.

For much more with Taya and how you can get your tickets to The Patriot Tour, check this out

First up, Taya, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with Philly Mixtape. How are things with you these days?
Things are always interesting in my world. My children and I have great leaps in healing and we continue to take some hits. I am really focusing on how to find calm in the eye of the tornado swirling around. I want to learn how to sit in the eye of the storm and find peace there.

I want to talk to talk about your book, American Wife, for a moment. As someone who aspires to be a book author one day, tell me a little bit about the process from start to finish and what kinds of emotions you went through while writing it. And how did it feel the day it got published?  I am working on some other books right now. When I finish them, I think I will have a better answer for you from the standpoint of an author realizing a dream or accomplishing a goal. American Wife was a book I wasn’t ready to write. There was interest from the public and the publisher felt it was important to get it done in a timely manner. Fortunately, Chris and I worked with Jim DeFelice on American Sniper and already established a friendship based in trust. Essentially, Jim worked with the publisher and agreed to put my words to paper in a time where I wasn’t able to pull the intensity of the emotions together to write it myself. I somewhat jokingly refer to the writing of American Wife as me emotionally vomiting on Jim DeFelice for months. The truth is, he loved Chris too and we grieved together as we worked on the book. He is the genius behind the organization and presentation of what we talked about during those months reflecting on my life with Chris and my kids and the toll of grief.

Moving on to The Patriot Tour, what is the thing that you hope the audience will take away from the story?  In years past, we have been humbled to hear how individuals have unique experiences with Patriot Tour. People typically see some parts of their own life in our varying stories. As speakers, we bare our souls, and share not just the end results, but the journey riddled with ups and downs. We laugh at ourselves too. Audience members express comfort in the reminder we all struggle. We all need to dig deep to find the strength to persevere. Sharing an evening of truth and determination to fight the good fight even when it seems impossible, tends to leave audience members and speakers grateful to live in a country where we have the freedom to fight our battles with friends, faith and whatever else we muster up in our darkest hours.

What’s it like for you personally to be a part of this journey?  It takes a lot of people working really hard to make Patriot Tour something audience members don’t just attend, but experience. I love the sense of family and teamwork unique to touring with a shared passion and desire to serve.

It’s been such a hard year for all of us. What words of inspiration would you give to anyone trying to make it through hard times this year, whether losing a loved one or dealing with the aftermath of such horrible natural disasters. With Patriot Tour, we see how real change happens in the hearts of individuals as opposed to group mentality which tends to work only in the short term. When we dig deep and get involved on a personal level we change this generation and the next. When extreme views and crises are the focal point of our world view we run the risk of becoming hopeless. I encourage people to bring hope back to their own lives by filtering through the extremes and looking at their own community. Resist the urge to yell and scream about a problem we can’t fix from afar. Instead, lets roll up our sleeves and use peaceful direct communication and hands on experiences to change what we don’t like. Let’s look for solutions. Seek to understand more than to be heard.  More than any words of wisdom, the best help I am able to give is encouragement for a relationship with God where people will find lifelong help and more wisdom than I can ever provide. It starts with a conversation. It’s that simple. Talk to God; the answers are there.

Just to lighten the mood a bit, any favorite or fall T.V. shows that you’re totally obsessed with right now?  (Laughs) I ended up getting so frustrated with social agendas and bickering presented as entertainment, I turned off the television for a while. My kids and I are getting great family time, more time to read and my hope is I will also translate the lack of TV time into more sleep.

Lastly, describe ‘The Patriot’ in 1 word. Inspiring.

For much more with Taya and how you can get your tickets to The Patriot, check this out

To become part of The Patriot Tour Team, volunteer opportunities and sponsorships are available at www.patriottour.com 

 

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‘My Son the Waiter’ Tea w/Brad Zimmerman

Outspoken, outlandish and all together downright hilarious.

Although Jewish comedian/actor/performer Brad Zimmerman didn’t get his career in full ignition until a bit further down the entertainment road when he was in his ’40s while working alongside the likes of late, great comedic legends George Carlin and Joan Rivers, he’s certainly doing his thing now judging by the massive success of his little/big traveling one-man play, My Son the Waiter:A Jewish Tragedy.

And lucky for everyone in and around the tri-state area, the critically acclaimed show is currently in week two of its six week run at the Penn’s Landing Playhouse right here in Philly. 

Labeled as the “story of one man’s struggle to fulfill his dream and ‘make it’ as a comedic actor in New York,” the play can be best described as one part Brad’s on-point standup comedy and the other part his well-crafted theatrical skills, which are mixed together to give all of us one hell of a fun evening of entertainment. 

But since there’s never a bad time to spill some entertainment tea, Mr. Zimmerman took a little time away from the stage to chat with Philly Mixtape where he broke mugs over his influences (or lack there of), what it was like to work with Ms. Joan and why everyone should go see this show that he himself calls “poignant” and “inspiring.”

And no, you don’t have to be Jewish to go see it. Read on to find out more and get to know the many, many talents of Mr. Brad Zimmerman below. 

For your chance to see My Son the Waiter:A Jewish Tragedy while it’s in town at the Penn’s Landing Playhouse until Nov 19th, go here now. 

First up, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with Philly Mixtape, I truly appreciate it. So…..how are you? Things are good! I just finished Chicago and I’m on the longest break that I’ve ever had (we chatted a few days before he hit Philly), which is six weeks ’cause I’ve been doing the tour for four years! So, [I’m] getting used to not performing and getting that energy, which is really good cause I needed it ’cause I did seventeen weeks in a row this year at one time–and it’s six shows a week..it’s grueling. But I’ve been using the six weeks [to work] on the sequel. I’m busting my chops and I would like to eventually sell it…but that takes as long as it takes. Just to write [this one] it took me seven years to get sold. You never know…but the process is fabulous.

Speaking of your lengthy run, how do you keep the material fresh after doing it for so long? What I do is first of all–I’m a pro–so I stay in great shape. I get plenty of rest. It’s very difficult saying the same line for the ten thousandth time, in which the audience has to know that it’s the first time–you want to give them their money’s worth. It’s very difficult when you’re doing that, sometimes you’re just exhausted. You have no choice but to just get out there, suck it up and do it. That’s probably the biggest challenge and that’s one of the reasons why I’m working on new material is to get a freshness. I can still go out with old material, but look, people on Broadway have been doing the same show for eight years. You have to take that you’re not alone in this and that you’re a professional and this is what you do. All of the negative stuff pales in comparison to the positive. So, I’m making a living doing something that I wrote. I have to be honest, there’s very few people who can stick with something until it’s ready for marketability. I know friends who’ve been trying to do this for years and they have the talent but they don’t have the intangibles that go with it.

Do you still get nervous before each show? You’re always going to have a certain amount of nerves. The nerves are lessened by a couple of things. One is being really prepared. [Another is] having the confidence, that’s you know, using a mantra that it’s work…it works. But of course, you never know, depending on where you are what the demographic might be. There’s certain demographics I’ve done where the laughter is remarkable. And there’s also certain demographics where they’re much more reserved and yet they’re still really enjoying it. Another is that sometimes there may be fifty people in your audience–which is depressing–but other times there may be 200 people in your audience. Sometimes you have may audience and get nothing…it’s like pulling teeth because they might be afraid to laugh. Now, I wouldn’t trade that because it strengthens you. If every show is just an A plus you don’t learn anything. But when you’re in the middle of doing a show and some line the night before in some other city kills and you get noting that night, well…

How are the Philly audiences? Philly is phenomenal. First of all, I know the demographic, I live in New York. I opened for George Carlin once in Philly years ago at the Tower Theatre. [There’s the] Jews in Cherry Hill–and I don’t even need Jews–it’s not a question. But I know there’s a lot of Jews in the area and it certainly doesn’t hurt. Remember, Philly’s a cultured area..it’s only an hour and forty-five minutes from New York. It’s an area that has tremendous history. I consider it like a suburb of New York, [so it’s] definitely got the same type of demographic. 

Okay, back to the play. It took you seven long years to write. Tell me a little about the process of…it all. Let me explain how it went. In 2005 I was still waiting tables and I had a guy who’d known I’d done a couple of one-person shows that I never made money off of–I just wrote them and did them. But he knew of my history and said to me, ‘Look, if you ever decide to do another one-person show, I’ll produce it.’ At some point, I said..’Why not?’ So, what I did was something quite unique–I decided to do, like, a hybrid. [This was] where I used the comedy material that I was doing [at the time], and I took the material that was funny and I put it together with the more serious stuff about my Father dying and so forth. So, from 2005 to all the way to 2013 when I sold it, I started doing [the material] on the road and soon, word of mouth became huge and two producers ended up flying down, saw it and offered to buy the touring rights for seven years the following day. It was less writing it in that period, but more performing it and getting it up to snuff. 

Who are some of your comedic and acting influences? Remember, I started comedy when I was forty-two, I’m sixty-three now. I was a consummate late bloomer. The only thing where I was an early bloomer was in sports, actually, and I was really great. But when people ask me who my influences are, I always say..’nobody.’ Doesn’t mean I don’t think there are certain comics who are great, I was more influenced by when I saw John Malkovich in an Off Broadway play called True West–he was extraordinary and remarkable. I knew from the moment he did that show, that I was set for life. I would also say early Pacino, early DeNiro, Meryl Streep, and you know that whole group of people who were doing their masterful work back then. 

I also understand you worked side-by-side with the late, great Ms. Joan Rivers. What was experience like? You know it’s interesting, that weekend she went into the hospital, I was coming to New York for a new [show run]. My producers and my PR guy reached out to her and she was going to do a radio spot as soon after she [got] out of the hospital. And of course, sadly we didn’t, but I would say working with her from the past was a joy because I made her laugh spontaneously off stage. She was a character, a real pro. She loved working, she loved the money. But she always said an empty calendar was her biggest fear…..she didn’t want to stop and, you know, if it wasn’t for this stupid procedure, we’d still be performing. We lost a legend. 

One last moment of truth….why should everyone and their Jewish mother come see you at the Penn’s Landing Playhouse over the next month? I would say, first of all, [the show’s] real. There have people that have said to me-‘I feel like I’m not in the theater, I feel like I’m in your living room when you’re just telling us stories. That’s the highest praise you can get. I think that what people can get from my show is that I’m sharing me in a way that’s raw, unguarded and genuine. Also, everybody will always find something to relate to. There’s something for everyone–you don’t have to be Jewish you just have to be willing to have not just a good time, but an experience. 

For much more with Brad Zimmerman, check this out. 

Brad Zimmerman cover photo courtesy of Heron Agency