'Fantasy Basement,' 'Spring Awakening,' PHonk! Philly, and the FirstGlance Film Festival

The Weekly Roundup, October 13-19, 2021

3 minute read
Number One film poster. A rotoscoped image of two people in all black. One is yelling to the sky, another covers their face.
'Number One' by Emily Dabney is a local entry in the FirstGlance Film Festival. (Image provided by FirstGlance.)

This week’s roundup features a pair of new music festivals celebrating the intersection of music and self-expression through other art forms. While both are at the same time, they’re on separate corners of the city, so maybe that will help you decide.

Otakus can rejoice with Flirt Vonnegut’s newest Fantasy Basement, a comedy show that celebrates various nerd culture themes, with this week focusing on Japanese anime. Then, Spring Awakening opens Temple Theaters’s doors for the first time since before the pandemic (and perfect timing for the fall!), and FirstGlance Film Festival returns to the area with over 45 independent films—shorts, features, documentaries, web series, and more.

Also, Indigenous Peoples’ Day was on Monday. Don’t sweep that under the rug! Revisit last week’s roundup—many of us (including myself) have a lot to learn beyond the holiday.

Flirt Vonnegut’s Fantasy Basement
Thursday, October 14, 8pm

Franky Bradley’s, 1320 Chancellor Street, Philadelphia

What is Fantasy Basement? Flirt Vonnegut says its a burlesque comedy and variety show in the style of a late-night talk show. The themes have been tailored to nerd culture, from retro gaming to Dungeons and Dragons, and this week’s edition is centered around anime. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a superfan to enjoy the show.

Guests include Rashid Zakat, Anne Ishii, Keane Cobb, Honeytree Evileye, DJ Steady State, and of course, Flirt Vonnegut.

FirstGlance Film Festival
Friday, October 15 - Sunday, October 17
Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge Street, Phoenixville

The Philly area’s oldest indie film festival is back with a roster of nearly 50 independent films screening next week. The fest features entries from right around the way to Canada, England, Russia, and Iraq. Submissions come from the likes of Margaret Cho to local filmmakers Kris Roselli, Emily Dabney, Jill Frechie and John Ricciutti, and many more.

Tickets range from $15 to 20; $150 for all-access passes. Check out the full list of films and times online.

Spring Awakening
Friday, October 15 - Sunday, October 24
Tomlinson Theater, 1301 West Norris Street, Philadelphia

Temple Theaters is opening its doors for its first in-person performance since the pandemic began, and it’s putting the Tony award-winning musical Spring Awakening on the stage. The show follows a group of teenagers who feel silenced and controlled by society. The reimagining of the early 20th century play (“early 20th century” is a weird thing to write) features Temple students and is composed by Duncan Sheik, who’s Barely Breathing remains as one of my go-to karaoke songs.

Mill Creek Community Partnership Hip Hop & Jazz Fest
Saturday, October 16, 1-7pm
Lucien E. Blackwell Park, 4615 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia

Another funky event, the festival celebrates the fusion of hip hop, jazz, and the arts. It’s the first annual, it’s outdoors, and it’s free!

PHonk! Philly
Saturday, October 16, 1-6pm
FDR Meadows, 1500 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia

On the other side of town at the same time is another new music festival, PHonk! Philly. The inaugural festival is a community-led celebration utilizing the power of art, music, and activism to move towards collective liberation. The event is free and open to all ages with a suggested $20 donation. An assortment of vendors, community sponsors, and performances will decorate the afternoon. Performers include Al-Bustan Community Percussion Ensemble, West Philadelphia Orchestra, Mad Beatz Philly, Philadelphia Freedom Band featuring Jock Witch Jams, and more.

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