El Compadre Restaurant to Launch Taller Grafica Popular Art Show

Cristina Martinez and Benjamin Miller at El Compadre, Phila PA - Photo by Reese Amorosi

By A.D. AMOROSI

When immigration rights activists and wedded restaurateurs Cristina Martinez and Benjamin Miller opened shop, part of their goal was to act as presenters of the art of protest. The marrieds presented gallery shows at their former restaurant, South Philly Barbacoa (just off East Passyunk Avenue’s culinary mile), and now at El Compadre in the Italian Market.

Interview: Comic Cole Escola on Inspiration and Spaghetti Hair


By A.D. AMOROSI

If sketch comedy was looking for a new king or queen you could easily nominate Cole Escola. A doyen of the NYC sketch comedy scene with radical showcases such as Help! I’m Stuck! and time spent with sassy comedian Bridget Everett, the young native of the Pacific Northwest has been branching out into television with Logo’s Jeffrey & Cole Casserole, Hulu’s Difficult People and Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle. It’s the sketch stage where he’s best served though, allowing him to wear an array of wigs and impersonate Broadways darlings such as Bernadette Peters. He called us from his home in NYC.

Interview: SNL Writer Anna Drezen Discusses Her Stand-Up Comedy


By A.D. AMOROSI

Once you get nominated on a list like Comedy Central's “8 Comedians You Need To Look Out For,” you have to live up to the hype. Author, editor and stand-up comedian Anna Drezen has more than surpassed that exposure as editor-at-large at the satirical women’s magazine Reductress, and as the co-author of both How to Win at Feminism (with the Reductress staff) and How May We Hate You? (with Todd Dakotah Briscoe). As a script writer, she’s noted for being part of Saturday Night Live’s controversial yet winning season – 2016-2017 – that featured Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump impersonation and Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer.

Interview: Gina Yashere Discusses Stand-up, Improv and Sketch Comedy


By A.D. AMOROSI

With her gravelly voice, wide eyes and offbeat sense of humor, Gina Yashere is one of Great Britain’s most recognizable comedians. The London-born, Nigerian performer appeared on the Blouse & Skirt panel program and the Lenny Henry in Pieces sketch comedy series in the UK, then moved to the United States in 2009, and became a regular on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  Despite her sketch comedy success, it is stand-up comedy that is her signature. We spoke to Ms. Yashere via phone to talk about her work on both continents.

Review: Earth Henna White Lace Temporary Tattoo Kit by Lakaye Studio

By REESE AMOROSI

The artists behind Los Angeles-based Lakaye Studio have earned a loyal following for their popular henna and jagua formulas and design kits. Now, in addition to their sienna and indigo colored stains, they offer White Lace Temporary Tattoo kits to make henna-inspired designs in white, and they can even be embellished with glitter.

Interview: Standup Comic Charles Gould Leaves 'em Wanting More


By A.D. AMOROSI

Charles Gould may seem put-upon in his online comedy of relationship errors, Charles, By the Way, and in his ComedyCentral.com show, Tips for a Happier, Healthier You, both web series with episodes shorter and sweeter than 4 minutes. He expands on this theme in his live stand-up gigs: Gould is convinced that he’s at a loss for finding the perfect love relationship. We spoke to Gould while he was on the East Coast leg of his current tour.

Michelle Obama to Speak at Pennsylvania Conference for Women, Release Book

By A.D. AMOROSI

Former First Lady Michelle Obama has spent her first seven months away from the White House on vacation with her husband, the USA’s 44th President, Barack Obama. As of July, however, she’s back in the public eye with the announcement of a speaking engagement at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women, and news of a book, Chasing Light, showcasing photos from her time in Washington – both in October.

Interview: Standup Comic Jeff Simmermon Tells (Not So) Tall Tales


By A.D. AMOROSI

Jeff Simmermon may be an award-winning slam storyteller whose live appearances at the Moth in NYC, on radio with NPR’s This American Life, and in written form in The Paris Review Daily, have made him the toast of the contemporary literati. Yet, it is as a standup comic that he is currently having the most effect (or at least the most fun). Now, as Simmermon commences his debut comedy club tour this Spring 2017 in support of his rousing new album (pink vinyl, yet) And I Am Not Lying, he covers everything from hanging out with Reverend Al Sharpton to dating in Australia. He called us from his home in New York City, just before the start of his tour.

Interview: Missy Suicide of SuicideGirls on Touring and Empowerment


By A.D. AMOROSI

When photographer Selena Mooney, aka "Missy Suicide," started the SuicideGirls community-based website dedicated to pin-up shots of tattooed women of all shapes, sizes, and colors in 2001, she couldn’t have known that she was starting a revolution. Sixteen years later, the SuicideGirls site is still a gathering place for empowered women. To coincide with their site, the SuicideGirls Blackheart Burlesque Tour brings the tattooed love goddess experience to the live stage. Missy Suicide phoned from an airport in New York to give us the lowdown.

Interview: Jonathan Katz Revives 'Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist'


By A.D. AMOROSI

Comedian Jonathan Katz is famous for many things including a wry stand-up career and acting in films by his old friend David Mamet such as Things Change, Homicide, The Spanish Prisoner and State and Main (Katz and Mamet co-wrote the catty noir drama, House of Games). But from 1995 to 2002, Katz was Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist, a Comedy Central animated program in “Squigglevision” – a device created by Katz’s partner Tom Snyder – where his comic pals (e.g. Ray Romano, Dom Irrera, Gary Shandling, Marc Maron) could vent on his psychiatrist’s couch. Seventeen years later, Katz is staging a live therapy session for fellow comedians as part of a May 7 event at Punch Line Philly. Proceeds benefit Artwell, a nonprofit that provides art education to kids.

Interview: Entertainment Reporter Nelson Aspen Comes 'Full Circle' with Cabaret Act


By A.D. AMOROSI

Nelson Aspen isn’t just an entertainment reporter with nice teeth and a sunny disposition. The one-time Hollywood-based producer/reporter for TV GUIDE Television, occasional on-air contributor to syndicated programs such as Access Hollywood, Extra, Inside Edition (in America), NEW with NELSON! (Ireland) and Sunrise (Australia) is a singer and storyteller as well. Nelson has traveled the cabarets of Manhattan, Los Angeles and Chicago with Full Circle, a music-filled, comedy-rich, gossip-laden cabaret showcase in which he partners with his favorite actresses. At Philadelphia’s Rrazz Room at the Prince Theater, Sunday, April 30 at 5 PM, he’ll be performing with Monica Horan from TV's Everybody Loves Raymond. We spoke to Aspen about television assignments, musical favorites and more.

Record Store Day Celebrates 10th Anniversary


By A.D. AMOROSI

When Record Store Day (RSD) started 10 years ago, it immediately became a great way for labels and artists to show their appreciation to their vinyl fans who loved the form, feel and pure sound of vintage LPs and 7-inch singles. Eventually, the masses embraced vinyl again; Forbes Magazine reports that sales shot up to nearly $1 billion by 2017.  On April 22, RSD 10 has its grand brand ambassador (St. Vincent), its honoree (Elton John) and finally, comedians to cherish (George Carlin, John Cleese).

Comedy Caper 'Going in Style' Remade for the Trump Era


By A.D. AMOROSI

When Martin Brest – the funny man behind the Robert DeNiro/Charles Grodin caustic action comedy Midnight Run – wrote and directed the first Going in Style in 1979, the world was a different place. Its three stars – George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg – were still-living legends of vaudeville, television and the dramatic stage, respectively. Morgan Freeman, lead actor in the new Going in Style, opening April 7, was still a member of PBS’ kid show The Electric Company. Zack Braff, director of the updated film was but four-years-old.  Donald Trump, a running punchline in the movie, was just starting to get negative press.

Interview: Comedian and Author John Heffron Stands Up


By A.D. AMOROSI

Stand-up comedian John Heffron will always be known as the winner of the second season of NBC’s Last Comic Standing in 2004, and for a brand of blue-collar humor he calls “middle class funny” (a term that also doubles as the name of his live DVD). Beyond that, however, Heffron is the author of advice book, I COME TO YOU FROM THE FUTURE: Everything You’ll Need to Know Before You Know It, based in part on his time as a psychology major at Eastern Michigan University, studies he still uses in his comedy.

HBO’s 'Big Little Lies' Soundtrack Hits No. 1 on iTunes


By A.D. AMOROSI

The only thing as haunting and suspenseful as the finale of HBO’s Big Little Lies limited series starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoë Kravitz, is its harrowing soundtrack, a digital-only release from ABKCO Records that hit #1 on the iTunes soundtrack chart (and #3 among all albums) on April 3.

Interview: Ritch Shydner on the 1980’s Stand-Up Comedy Boom

Ritch Shydner

By A.D. AMOROSI

With producer Jim Carrey’s television version of I'm Dying Up Here coming to small screens in June, the illustrious, notorious past of America’s stand-up comedy scene of the 1970s and the 1980s has come sharply into view. Not only was comedian Ritch Shydner a longtime part of that golden era, he’s been one of its keenest documentarians. In addition to writing on series such as The Jeff Foxworthy Show, Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, Roseanne and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Shydner authored 2007’s I Killed: True Stories of the Road from America's Top Comics, as well as the recently-released Kicking Through the Ashes: My Life as a Stand-Up In the 1980s Comedy Boom, the latter book released the same time as his General Maladies live stand-up album.

Philly Restaurants Named as Semifinalists for James Beard Awards

Photo of food from Saté Kampar ©Reese Amorosi 2015

By A.D. AMOROSI

Philadelphia is a world-renowned culinary destination with annual nominations for James Beard Foundation Awards for excellence in cuisine, culinary writing, and culinary education in the United States. For 2017, a handful of new and lesser-known (for now) in Philly’s restaurant scene join several notable veterans on the semifinalist list.

Philly’s Most Romantic Valentine’s Day Date: Morrissey Karaoke

Morrissey Karaoke Valentine's Day TLA Glamorosi Magazine

By A.D. AMOROSI

Of all the grandly romantic things you can do - and all the money you could spend doing so – for Valentine’s Day 2017, one of the most curious events is its most musical and lyrical: a night spent dancing, drinking and doing karaoke to the sad songs of Morrissey and The Smiths with MOZZAOKE. The party is at TLA (Theatre of Living Arts), 334 South Street, starting at 7 PM,  and the cost of admission is $8. The music of Morrissey, solo or with The Smiths, has always revealed the deepest of yearnings while remaining cleverly caustic. What could be better then, than lifting your voice in song to “Hairdresser on Fire” or “Every Day is like Sunday?”

Loving and Hating the 2017 Grammy Awards


By A.D. AMOROSI

On a yearly basis, critics, industry insiders and viewers ask the musical question, “Are the Grammy Awards relevant?”  For the 2017 Grammy Awards hosted by James Corden (The Late Show), there is controversy, with some artists declining to attend due to lack of diversity; there are triumphs, like Chance the Rapper’s historic nomination for his streaming-only album and Sturgill Simpson's spot in the Best Album category; and there are blunders, like David Bowie being relegated to the “Alternative Music” categories. Here's what we’re loving and hating about The 59th Annual Grammy Awards including our Grammy drinking game.

Best Albums of 2016: This Year's New Classics

David Bowie Blackstar album cover

By A.D. AMOROSI

It has been a hard year for music with so many beloved icons passing away: David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Alphonse Mouzon, Merle Haggard, Prince, Sharon Jones, Leon Russell and George Michael are among the greats we've lost. Despite such sadness, 2016 was a year of brilliant and inventive recordings, two of which came from Bowie and Cohen, who died after releasing wise, world-weary work as last wills and testaments to their genius. They top our list of 2016's best albums: read on for my baker's dozen of this year's new classics.

Like Mother, Like Daughter: A Conversation with Debbie Reynolds


By A.D. AMOROSI

The world barely had time to mourn the death of actor-author Carrie Fisher – a woman famed for roles ranging from her iconic Princess Leia in the Star Wars saga to the recent comedy series Catastrophe, and books including Postcards from the Edge (also a film released in 1990) and The Princess Diarist – before her mother, Debbie Reynolds, passed away. Renowned for her boundless energy and roles in classics such as Singin' in the Rain, The Tender Trap and her Oscar-nominated turn as The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Reynolds was a queen of Hollywood with Fisher as her princess. In January 1997, I met with Ms. Reynolds to interview her about her title role in the Albert Brooks film, Mother, for the now-defunct Philadelphia City Paper.

Childish Gambino's Stunning 'Awaken, My Love!' Debuts at Number 1


By A.D. AMOROSI

There has been much to hail in 2016 when it comes it music and television, but only one man had such a fascinating lock on both mediums with equal doses of daring and brilliance: Donald Glover. His FX Network series Atlanta was a subtle, assured socio-political comic triumph. Just as engaging, Glover’s newest album, Awaken, My Love!, recorded as his alter-ego Childish Gambino, ends the year with soulful, stylish, stunning and sexy innovation. Gambino made a real show of such sensuality on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on December 14, with a shirtless performance of the jittery, Prince-like “Redbone.”

Review: Haunted Historic Colonial Williamsburg Virginia by Tim Scullion


By REESE AMOROSI

Although American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare recently aired its finale, fans of haunted houses don't have to travel far for a scare. Just 150 miles north of Roanoke, North Carolina, lies Williamsburg, Virginia, and within it, Historic Colonial Williamsburg, an area so reportedly rife with paranormal activity that there are guided ghost tours. While working as a tour guide, author and photographer Tim Scullion was inspired to document sightings, and this led to his latest book, Haunted Historic Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia: with Breakthrough Ghost Photography.

Saying 'I Do' with Celebrity Wedding Officiants

Timothy “Chio in the Morning” Acosta re-married wife Shawn with Celebrity Wedding Officiant Mike Jerrick

By A.D. AMOROSI

We've noticed a wealth of weddings officiated by someone not ordained or elected – not a priest, rabbi, judge, mayor or ship’s captain – but rather, someone regal in his own fashion. Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead married Live Nation's Geoff Gordon and Sayeeda Kibria (now Gordon) between sets during his show at Philadelphia's Tower Theatre. Good Day Philadelphia host Mike Jerrick presided as Mix 106.1 FM’s Timothy “Chio in the Morning” Acosta re-married his wife Shawn. Throughout November, Grammy-nominated blues pop singer Elle King will be marrying couples during her "Matrimony Tour."

Comedian Murray Hill Looks to the Future and Tour with Bridget Everett

Comedian Murray Hill

By A.D. AMOROSI

Since the 1990s, alternative comedy has had a voice in Murray Hill, the cherubic Downtown NYC drag king entertainer known to one-and-all as "Mr. Show Biz," as well as the self-proclaimed "hardest-working middle-aged man" in comedy. Though a longtime fixture of the East Village's pre-gentrified performance art/comedy scene, it's only now that Hill is seeking greater fame with a Hollywood agent and a tour with Bridget Everett, the bawdy singing comedian who admits to having Hill as a nurturing inspiration. Their tour kicks off November 4 at The Fillmore in Philadelphia.