CINEMA: The Mad King

THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND (dir. by Judd Apatow, 136 minutes, USA, 2020) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC In The King of Staten Island, now streaming on VOD, director Judd Apatow returns to the formula that worked so well with Trainwreck : creating a vehicle around a comedian’s perceived public persona. This time around he’s chosen SNL’s resident bad boy Pete Davidson, who’s been going through a bit of a rough patch recently. After a very public and messy relationship/separation from Ariana Grande, he then went on to bite the hand that feeds by publicly criticizing SNL during a sit-down […]

WORTH REPEATING: Being Pete Davidson

  BUZZFEED: It’s a shame that the name “Pete Davidson” is now synonymous with the name “Ariana Grande.” I can’t imagine dating someone in my mid-twenties for a few intense, absurd months, and then having that relationship die like a star burning through its own fuel supply, only after it’s come to define a significant portion of my public persona. Davidson became one of the most overexposed celebrities of 2018, the face of Big Dick Energy and the boyfriend of a few other famous women. But the tabloid coverage from those relationships clearly got to Davidson, despite the fact that […]

TINA FEY: My Walnut Story

RELATED: The Walnut Street Theatre, America’s Oldest Theatre, announces My Walnut Story, a new platform where both artists and audiences can share their favorite Walnut stories online for everyone to enjoy. For its launch on May 7, Walnut artists were invited to submit videos sharing their Walnut Street Theatre related stories. The Walnut has collected scores of unique anecdotes and memories from both artists and theatregoers, ranging from onstage bloopers to their first memories attending the theatre. “You never know who has a story,” remarked Bernard Havard, Producing Artistic Director of the Walnut.  A recent submission came from actor/writer/producer Tina […]

REST IN POWER: Comedian Fred Willard Was The Obi-Wan Kenobi Of White Male Cluelessness

Fred Willard as Elvis Presley on SNL circa 1978 NEW YORK TIMES: Fred Willard, the Emmy Award-nominated comic actor best known for his scene-stealing roles in Christopher Guest’s improvised ensemble film comedies like “Best in Show” and “Waiting for Guffman” and on sitcoms like “Modern Family” and “Everybody Loves Raymond,” died on Friday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 86. His death was confirmed by his agent, Mike Eisenstadt. No specific cause was given. Mr. Willard made an art of playing characters who, as The New Yorker once noted, are “gloriously out of their depth.” There was Buck […]

SNL: Brad Pitt Does Dr. Fauci

ROLLING STONE: Brad Pitt portrayed and paid tribute to Dr. Anthony Fauci on the latest episode of Saturday Night Live at Home. Earlier in the month, when asked who should inevitably play him on SNL, Dr. Fauci jokingly told CNN, “Oh, Brad Pitt, of course.” That dream casting became a reality Saturday in the cold open sketch where Pitt’s Fauci attempted to stem the spread of the misinformation that President Donald Trump has been telling the American people. MORE

GOD OF THUNDER: A Q&A With Gene Simmons

  EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview originally published in June 2017. We are reprising it now in advance of Kiss’ performance at the PP&L Center in Allentown tomorrow night, the second date on the End Of The Road farewell world tour, with David Lee Roth opening. We will be sending a writer and photographer, stay tuned for a complete report. In the meantime, enjoy. BY JONATHAN VALANIA In advance of his performance at the Trocadero tonight as part of the Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con nerd jamboree at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (June 1-4), we got Gene Simmons, commander in chief […]

Q&A: Everything You Ever Wanted To Ask Monty Python But You Didn’t Have His Phone Number

[illustration by ALEX FINE] EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview originally posted in 2007, hence the crappy-looking overcrowded layout. We’re reprising it today to mark the sad passing of Monty Python’s Flying Circus performer/writer/creator Terry Jones. Enjoy.  BY JONATHAN VALANIA FOR THE INQUIRER In 1969 Michael Palin quit smoking, a pasttime he was quite fond of, through sheer will power. Having achieved a victory for mind over matter, Palin decided to raise the stakes — he would keep a diary for the next 10 years come hell or high water. What makes this enterprise interesting to people like you and me is […]

EXCERPT: Postcard From The Edge

VULTURE: [Carrie] caused deep worry that was somehow hidden by the movie crews’ obsession with John’s addiction rather than her own. Carrie—younger than the others—was intensely fragile. She was generous, brilliant, witty, charismatic, caring—and deeply vulnerable: friends could see that. When they all got to the Belushis’ Vineyard house, “my brother was most concerned about her. He had to carry her limp body from room to room. I guess she was conscious enough that he didn’t call an ambulance, but he had a strong sense that she was really out of it.” It was during that spate of days on the […]

ALBUM REVIEW: Redd Kross Behind The Door

  If any band on Earth can deliver us from evil, it’s Redd Kross. The brothers McDonald, pride of Hawthorne, California, have been bringing sonic sunshine to punk’s heart of darkness since 1978 and their seventh full-length release, Behind the Door, is here to tell you – yeah, you! – to stop tweeting, step away from CNN, and get your ass back to the party. It’s a goddamned all-American rager and it’s not over till Redd Kross says so, which won’t be anytime soon judging by the 11 rambunctious cuts on Behind the Door, which brings them to Underground Arts […]

BACK STORY: The Complete Oral History Of Spoon

  BY JONATHAN VALANIA In the last 26 years, Spoon has gone from great white hype to major-label train wreck to “the most consistently great” band of the last decade, according to Metacritic. Algorithms can tell. They are the one band upon which we can all agree. The lion’s share of the blame and the glory rests squarely on the shoulders of singer/songwriter/guitarist Britt Daniel. Spoon is essentially a one-man band that’s had 11 members come and go or stay the course since 1993. MAGNET got all Spoon hands back on deck—not just the currently Spoon-fed, but the exiles and […]

THE MAGIC PILGRIM: A Q&A With Damien Jurado

EDITOR’S NOTE: This Q&A originally published on May 18, 2018. We are reprising it now in advance of Damien Jurado’s performance at Johnny Brenda’s Friday May 17th in support of his new album, In The Shape Of The Storm. BY BRIAN HOWARD Damien Jurado is back. That statement is more literal than figurative. With his brand new album, The Horizon Just Laughed (Secretly Canadian), Jurado—the heart-on-his-sleeve indie folker who’s spent the last two-plus decades honing his signature style of spare, probing songs that are at once hauntingly beautiful and emotionally devastating—has returned to the real world, in a way. Jurado’s […]

Win Tix To See Patti Smith @ The Met Philly

  From the Phawker archives, we present this ode to the high priestess of punk written by Amy Z. Quinn, circa 2007, to mark Patti Smith’s induction into the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame: “She’s hardly the most famous performer to ever come out of Jersey — The Boss and The Chairman Of The Board still hold those titles — but without a doubt, Patti Smith, the High Poetess of Punk, remains the greatest communicator of the kind of nameless electric angst that drives Kids In Search Of Something to head north on the Jersey Turnpike and never look […]