PAPERBOY: Slow-Jamming The Alt-Weeklies

paperboyartthumbnail.jpgBY DAVE ALLEN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!


CP: The local arts scene starts up its Second Season, and CP highlights all the reasons to brave the cold (seriously, enough already — I left upstate New cp_2010-01-14.jpgYork for this?) for some culture. Pride of place goes to How Am I Not Myself?, a category-defying dance piece going up at the Painted Bride. Amanda Miller and Viji Rao made a deep artistic connection years ago, but their blend of ballet and Indian dance has confused some stylistic hardliners.

At the How Am I Not Myself? premiere in Bangalore, a conservative audience of traditional Indian dance enthusiasts packed the theater. “They didn’t understand what Viji was doing because it looked so contemporary, but whatever I did just looked like ballet to them,” explains Miller. “I have a feeling we might get the opposite reaction with Western audiences who know ballet but don’t know about Indian classical dance.”

Miller emphasizes that the dancers’ stories are the same, even though their styles of movement are different. “We share that we’re still connected to the classical and contemporary worlds,” she explains. “I’m very passionate about my teaching, but I make contemporary work. We each found another person who understood … how you could have passion for both, [and] maybe even contempt.”

…After two years of rehearsal and collaboration, the piece that has taken shape tells an intimate, highly personal story about dance, but its core ideas — about identity, drive and self-esteem — are accessible to just about anyone. Audiences well-versed in dance will recognize references to classical pieces and relate to some of the performers’ dance-specific struggles. But for everyone else? Rothlein puts it simply: “This is a just a story about two women and their baggage.”

Elsewhere, we have more predictions on where 2010 will take us musically, plus calendar selections for classical, jazz, theater and more. Oh, yeah, plus there’s this 24-hour play thing going on. Keep Philly weird and all that.

PW: When I’ve thought about the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, its totally unfair monopoly, and the impossibility of buying a six-pack in this city, I’ve said to myself, “At least I don’t live in Utah.” Better Puritans than Mormons. Better to have full-strength beer and liquor out from behindplexiglass. But as Tom Cowell points out, in a well-informed look at the PCLB, we’re actually worse off than folks in Provo and Salt Lake City. What in the name of Ben Franklin’s liver is going on here?

If you’ve ever asked yourself: “Is it harder to buy booze here than anywhere else in nation?” The answer is a loud yes. There are 618 state-run stores in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. To put that number in perspective, there are more wine and spirits stores in the city of Chicago than there pwcover0113.pngare in our entire state, despite Pennsylvania having four times as many people. A recent paper by two Wharton professors says Pennsylvania has the fewest liquor retailers per person than any state in the nation. We even have fewer stores today than we did in 2006.

Pennsylvanians love a stiff drink just as much as the next patriot—the National Institutes for Health says the average Quaker Stater drinks 2.2 gallons of alcohol each year, only slightly less than the national average of 2.3 gallons. So why on earth does Pennsylvania have so few places to buy a bottle? Well, it’s not a matter of taste. The simple truth is our government wanted it that way … in 1933.

When Prohibition was repealed, state lawmakers scrambled to write their own restrictive laws on alcohol. Like many others, Pennsylvania adopted a strict control system, in which the state retained the sole right to retail wines and spirits. The legislature passed a paternalistic liquor code (still on the books largely unchanged) that openly declared its intent to “prohibit forever the open saloon.”

Well, some of us want an open saloon, dammit! Cowell comes packing both heat and facts, and he even busts out a strategy for getting legislators to listen up, because it’s an election year and they want to keep their jobs.Philadelphians even have allies on this in Pennsyltucky: the CEO of Sheetz convenience stores (God bless ’em) is collecting signatures on a petition. The suggested acts of civil disobedience, along with floating the idea of a “Booze Party” movement to rival those crackpot TeaPartiers, really hit the spot as well. Cheers!


CP: Fire on the cover, and this inside? Questionable taste. Portuguese portions: Yowza. Burn down the Ben Franklin Bridge: Things are getting WEIRD across the river. Faux pho?: Demand pig’s feet in your soup!

PW: Hector Specter: Aww, look out! The BRT: Shaking the trust of the most rabidly pro-Philly transplants. A new record label in Philly: let’s get impractical in here! Baptised by fish soup.
WINNER: With a smooth mix of facts, figures, vitriol and good humor, PW’s cover story on the PCLB earns them the victory this week. Drunks unite!

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