Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “Philly”

Philly Switch 3DS Meetup

Are you a Nintendo fan in the Philadelphia area looking to connect with like-minded people online and in-person? Good news! A friend and I just launched a group to serve this need. It’s called Philly Switch 3DS Meetup. It’s a group for owners of the Nintendo Switch and/or Nintendo 3DS to connect and meetup on a regular basis to play games together. And the awesome logo above was designed by my fiancée, Stephanie.

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Meeting the Godfather of Shock Rock: Alice Cooper

DSC08936As you know by now, one of my passions is music. And I love meeting the artists whose music inspires me. One of those individuals is Alice Cooper, whom I was lucky enough to meet this past Friday when he was in Philadelphia with Motley Crue.  Read more…

Philly’s Perfect Summer Spots: Spruce Street Harbor Park & Summerfest

FullSizeRender (2)Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kick-off of summer, and in Philadelphia it’s been kicked off in a big way with the return of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation’s Spruce Street Harbor Park (SSHP) and the brand-new Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest.

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Vintage Trouble Live In Philly

Backstage before the show with Ty Taylor, Vintage Trouble's lead singer

Backstage before the show with Ty Taylor, Vintage Trouble’s lead singer

A couple weeks ago I saw Vintage Trouble, my favorite young rock band, live in Philly. As always, they were terrific. Below are some photos and videos from the show. And as a reminder, I recently interviewed the band and will be sharing that with you within the next month or so. In the meantime, enjoy the photos and video below, and go see Vintage Trouble when they come to your area.

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Franklin Flea

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If you’re looking for a fun holiday shopping destination in Philadelphia, make sure to stop by Franklin Flea. Located on the first floor of the historic Strawbridge’s Building at 801 Market Street, you’ll find a uniquely curated collection of local vendors, as well as live music and food. The days and hours of operation are on Saturdays from November 16 to December 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also, a special weekday market is taking place on Friday, December 20 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, check out FranklinFlea.com.

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Spending time with one of the most iconic parts of the old Strawbridge’s building, Il Porcellino, a replica of the famous bronze boar fountain in Florence, Italy.

I’m Hanging Up My Apron

Behind The Register After 12 years of of working at the supermarket, I’ve decided to call it quits. I came to the realization last week that working a full-time job, being a part-time graduate student and working part-time at the grocery store was a bit overwhelming. I wasn’t getting enough sleep and I couldn’t devote the appropriate amount of time to school work. Something had to go, so I decided to bid adieu to the first job I ever had.

I started working at the supermarket when I was 16 years old, and I’ve met some great people and had wonderful experiences along the way. I’ve also encountered my fair share of crazies and been placed in highly stressful situations. Nevertheless, my time there was well spent and I have no regrets.

I’ve been telling my “regulars” (i.e., customers I ring up on a consistent basis) that this is my last week and many of them have said “this place won’t be the same without you” and “I’m going to miss you.” Hearing this made me realize the impact I’ve had on certain customers and the impact they’ve had on me. Yes, I may not be best friends with these people outside the store, but, in some cases, we’ve spent the past 12 years together and with it came a lot of laughter and memories. Some of these people have shared their most personal triumphs and failures with me and I’m honored that they felt comfortable doing so.

While I look forward to catching up on sleep and hitting the books, I’ll miss certain elements of my time at the supermarket. Thankfully, 12 years behind the register has provided me with a plethora of humorous and touching stories that I look forward to sharing with you. Similar to my supermarket stories blog posts, they will capture the essence of my memorable encounters with customers and colleagues. Stay tuned for more details.

Hall & Oates – 10 Years Later

Hall & OatesTen years ago, on March 8, 2003, I saw Hall & Oates live for the first time. Just a few months removed from the release of the legendary duo’s spectacular comeback album, Do It For Love, the concert was at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia. It was an amazing show, and I’ve seen Hall & Oates three more times since then. Tonight, I’m bringing my friend to see Hall & Oates live for the first time. And, of course, it’s at the Tower Theater. I’m sure it’ll be a wonderful show and she’ll be blown away by the musicianship and soul of two men who should have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a long time ago.

For your enjoyment, here’s the song that made me fall in love with Hall & Oates’ music ten years ago:

Review – Evil Dead: The Musical

Evil Dead: The Musical is at The Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia from September 25-October 20, 2013.

Evil Dead: The Musical is at The Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia from September 25-October 20.

Evil Dead: The Musical, a show that made its debut in Toronto in 2003 and has had many successful productions around the world since, has just come to Philadelphia. It will be at The Prince Music Theater from September 25-October 20, 2013, so be sure to get your tickets now. I had the pleasure of seeing the musical last night, and I can confidently say that whether you’re a fan of the film franchise or someone who loves fun musicals infused with irreverent humor, Evil Dead: The Musical delivers.

When I approached the box office to get my ticket, I was asked if I’d like to sit in the “splatter zone.” After asking what she meant, the woman behind the glass partition explained that at the end of the show the first few rows get “blood” on them. While the fake blood washes out pretty easily, I decided to sit a few rows back. I must admit, at the end of the show, watching people get squirted, misted and splattered with blood was very amusing; a handful of them wore ponchos, while the others took it in stride.

Evil Dead The MusicalWhile waiting for the show to begin, I was treated to mix of classic 1980’s rock music – which I love – including, KISS, The Scorpions and Twisted Sister, among others. It was a great way to set the mood for a fun show based on a horror franchise born out of the same era. And the music was reflective of the jovial mood in the room. The fans were eagerly awaiting the dimming of the lights and the rising curtain.

The musical kicked off with a fun, infectious song, “Cabin in the Woods,” that did a great job of setting the tone for the show. It also provided the shows’ five central stars with the perfect opportunity to showcase their chemistry with one another and vocal prowess.

The next musical number, “Housewares Employee,” was easily my favorite. Ryan Ward, who plays the lead character, Ash, stole the show and this song illustrates why he was the perfect person for the role. He’s funny, has an impressive voice and can convincingly sing wonderfully absurd power ballads. What’s not to love?

Another fun song that stuck with me was “What The Fuck Was That.” After a character becomes possessed by the Evil Dead, Ash and Scott sing and, eventually, tango to this number. It made for a fun and humorous break in the action.

Other than Ash, my favorite character was Jake. This role was masterfully assumed by Daniel Williston, who did a terrific job both with his lines and body language. At one point, his ear piece came out, in the middle of a dance number, but he quickly tucked it into his pocket and kept dancing, undeterred. In addition to being light on his feet, Williston turned in an impressive vocal with “Good Old Reliable Jake” that conjured up visions of Meat Loaf. This song, along with the others I mentioned, make listening to the full album worth your while.

In case it’s not already abundantly clear, Evil Dead: The Musical is a lot of fun. If you live in Philadelphia and you’re looking for something unique and exciting to do, make sure to see the show. It’s a great tribute to the films that inspired it, as well as an impressive musical production.

Tom Jones – Live In Philly

Photo 2013-05-18 02.45.27 PMLast Friday night I saw one of my favorite vocalists for the first time: Tom Jones. I started listening to his music more than 10 years ago and have been a fan since. But I’ve never had the chance to see him live until now. The concert took place at the Theatre of the Living Arts (TLA) on South Street in Philadelphia – a small, intimate venue perfect for getting close to the stage.

I decided to arrive at the TLA an hour early because tickets were general admission and if you were on the floor, which I was, it was standing room only. I got to the front of the theater and only saw a handful of people, so I thought I’d be right up against the stage. Then, a security guard walked up to me and said, “Are you here for Tom Jones?” I nodded and he told me to follow him down the street. We walked for what felt like 10 minutes. Pretty soon I thought we were going to grab cheesesteaks at Jim’s. But just before we reached the corner, he directed me to an alley where there were two lines of people waiting to get into the show. I couldn’t believe it; these people must have gotten to the TLA at least two hours ahead of time. Talk about dedication.

After getting in my line, the two women in front of me turned around and one of them said:

“How old are you?”

“28,” I replied.

“Name me a song by Tom Jones.”

I thought about this for a minute and said, “Well, the most obvious answer is ‘It’s Not Unusual.'”

This women, Mabel we’ll call her, was extremely pleasant and a hardcore fan. She and her friend affectionately referred to me as “28,” instead of asking my name. Both of them had seen Tom Jones many times before. I told the women I heard about the show on his Facebook page and that I wondered how many people attending were expecting him to sing his hits. We all nodded because we read ahead of time that the concert was meant to be a showcase for Jones’ newest album, Spirit In The Room, and its predecessor, Praise & Blame – both R&B albums with stripped-down arrangements that are permeated with gospel and bluesy-rock influences.

Photo 2013-05-18 02.51.46 PMWhile I love Tom Jones in all his schmaltzy glory, at 72, he’s earned the right to sing whatever he wants. And if he wants to sing deep, gritty music, I’m game. As we were called to enter the theater, I went in with this attitude. I also went in thinking there wouldn’t be a chance for me to get close the stage, especially since there were at least 100 people ahead of me. I was wrong.

I walked to the right of the stage and claimed my space, approximately three “rows” from the stage. Behind me, on the far end of the room, there was a balcony with seating for people who paid for VIP tickets. To me, paying more and sitting farther away didn’t make sense, so I was glad to stand, even though my legs were killing me later that night.

Security taking care of a little situation before the concert.

Security taking care of a little situation before the concert.

Before Jones came out, a woman and her 20-year-old daughters rudely tried to push their way to the front of the stage. But like most Philadelphia crowds at a public event, we weren’t having it. I told them, “You’re not getting in front of me.” And an older woman to my left pushed them out of the way with my assistance. A few moments later they incurred the wrath of a group of fans towards the center of the stage. It got so bad that a tall man waved over security to remove the three women. When security came, we all started chanting, “Throw them out! Throw them out!” After trying to explain to the security guard why it was OK for them to shove people out of the way who were there long before them, he led the trio away from the stage and the crowd erupted in cheers. It was an amazingly gratifying moment of communal solidarity.

With the fight behind us, the crowd started to chant, “We want Tom! We want Tom!” And at approximately 8:30 p.m. he arrived. When Jones stepped onto the stage, the people went crazy. It was a diverse audience of senior citizens, baby boomers and millennials. It seems that his music transcends generations and all of them were giving him a warm welcome. So warm, in fact, that I saw a pair of granny panties hit the stage, quickly followed by an enormous red bra and yellow scarf. I was tempted to twirl my underwear over my head and fling them at Jones, purely for a reaction, but I refrained from doing so.

Tom Jones - Live In PhiladelphiaThe concert lasted almost two hours and it was packed with music. Jones sang eight of the 13 songs from his new album, as well as a handful of tracks from its aforementioned predecessor, including songs by John Lee Hooker and Bob Dylan. The only hit of his that Jones performed was “Green Green Grass of Home.” The set was rounded out with three covers:

  1. “One Night With You” by Elvis – Jones’ personal favorite by the “King of Rock and Roll” 
  2. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones – this was sung as a tribute to the recently deceased country music legend
  3. “End of the Road” by Jerry Lee Lewis – Jones ended the show with this aptly-named tune

Tom Jones - Live at the TLATom Jones still has a tremendously powerful voice. While the material may have been heavier than his typical pop standards, Jones’ seemingly effortless ability to convey the raw emotion contained within each lyric was awe-inspiring and I’m glad I had the chance to see him live.

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