Our PIFA Picks: A Cultural Playground in April
The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) kicked off this week, and the biggest question on the minds of any arts lover is how to choose from the vast list of performances and events. So we pulled up our Edith Piaf Pandora station, poured through the packed calendar, and made our picks. First, we’ll tell you about our clients’ excellent PIFA offerings, and then give you a few other Canary staff picks.
Paris map from the Rosenbach Museum & Library’s Exile Among Expats
Raving Beauty, April 9 at 2 p.m.
The Dolce Suono Ensemble performs a new composition by local composer Joseph Hallman at the Rosenbach Museum & Library. The piece is based on the life of controversial writer and socialite Mercedes de Acosta (1893-1968), whose life exemplifies the spirit of Paris in the 1920s. Also on view through July 31 is a companion exhibition highlighting objects from museum’s de Acosta collection that intrigued and inspired Hallman during his research at the museum.
Exile Among Expats: James Joyce in Paris, through August 28
The Rosenbach’s multimedia exhibition illustrates two entwined stories: James Joyce during his Paris years and Paris during its Joyce years. How did Joyce – an Irish exile, a devoted family man, a sequestered literary genius – influence the cosmopolitan avant-garde of the Left Bank? The exhibition answers these questions and more to demonstrate the debt Joyce owed to Paris and the bounty Paris received in return.
Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO, ongoing
Have you ever wondered about the stories behind the public art installed throughout Philadelphia? The Fairmount Park Art Association’s free interpretive audio program gives you the voices of people in the know, often the artists themselves. For PIFA, they’ll tailor the program to focus on the Parkway’s tie to Paris, including historic records and images about the planning and construction of the Parkway.
Demuth in the City of Lights
Violet Oakley and the Women Artists of Paris, both through June 26
Woodmere Art Museum’s PIFA exhibitions explore the artistic energy and brashly innovative spirit of Paris and its influence on two of Pennsylvania’s great twentieth-century artists. The museum is also offering a taste of Paris Nightlife with a Friday evening jazz series this month.
Kate Watson-Wallace/anonymous bodies, photo by Jacques-Jean Tiziou
AUTO, April 16-May 1
If you were one of the lucky passengers in Kate Watson-Wallace’s 2008 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival hit, Car, then you know it was an unforgettable experience. Kate and her anonymous bodies dancers give us a partner piece with this “movement installation that takes place in and around a moving vehicle.”
How Philly Moves, April 7-May 1
As a Kickstarter backer of JJ Tiziou’s How Philly Moves project, I’m particularly excited to see JJ’s gorgeous photos and videos of dancers from all walks of life projected onto the outside wall of the Kimmel Center.
MonTage à Trios, April 15-17
This new site-specific dance choreographed by Jeanne Ruddy will be performed among the paintings of Elizabeth Osborne, hung in the galleries at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Set to music by French composers Debussy and Satie, the performance also features video projections by Ellen Fishman-Johnson.
PIFA STREET FAIR, April 30
If you told me that the Avenue of the Arts was being transformed into a Parisian street, I’d ask if it was for a new movie being filmed in Philly. Not so! It’s just the PIFA Street Fair, an all day French party with music, entertainment, a Ferris Wheel (!) and children’s programming. I’m looking forward to seeing the aerial performance by La Compagnie Transe Express and musicians Philly Bloco and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.
Image courtesy of Philadelphia School of Circus Arts
Augmented Reality, April 7-May 1
I’ve been interested in this new media technology and its artistic implications long before it was an actual reality. Augmented Reality is an experience which allows something to be visible when viewed through a technological device such as a smartphone to see content which might otherwise not be visible to the naked eye. University City Science Center gallery Breadboard presents this exhibition, which will be on view throughout the city and can be viewed by using the geotag-enabled Layar application. The idea of a work of art being there/not there raises a lot of questions about what art is and how it exists in our new reality.
A companion discussion panel for this exhibition, Augmented Reality Check, Seeing the Future Now on April 26, will expound on the technology and the implications it holds for the arts and beyond at the Philadelphia Art Museum’s Van Pelt Auditorium.
Fly City, April 7-May 1
What child didn’t strongly consider the urge to run away and join the circus? Thanks to PIFA’s Fly School Circus, you might finally have your chance to experience the wind in your hair like you never thought possible with trapeze lessons, open to anyone ages 6 and up.
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