For a couple weeks now, I’ve been Ice-packing about what Philly’s top-notch theater lasses will be up to in the immediate future. Deborah Block — one of the Fringe Fest’s original fire-starters and co-artistic director of Theatre Exile — will soon take on Exile founder Joe Canuso’s job as producing artistic director. “Joe and I have been talking about this transition for several years,” says Block. Canuso, she says, will move into the role of “founding artistic director” where he’ll continue to plan each Exile season and direct one show a year. (He and Trish Kelly, his wife and Exile co-founder, travel as well, so don’t be shocked at a Canuso Live in Krakow event.) “I consider this a gift that Joe is giving me,” says Block. “I will take good care of it. Joe knows that.”
Then there’s Jess Conda, who’ll start flaunting her new role as Brat Productions’ artistic director (Madi Distefano is off to New Mexico) with this week’s opening of the evilly comic spaghetti (emphasis on pasta) Western The Last Plot in Revenge at Lucy’s Hat Shop. “I’ve just ended two years of extensive, ass-kicking training at the Pig Iron School and am beginning my journey as Brat’s AD, so it’s a big week,” says Conda. Revenge is also the big debut of new Brat resident artist/playwright Brian Grace-Duff. “Everything about this show is badass, as it’s equal parts Deadwood, dinner theater and Brechtian barroom beer-buzz-infused party. If you want to get a good look at what the future of Brat looks like, attend this show.” (See Agenda, p. 28.)
Diner en Blanc, the now-annual everybody-in-white dinner party held in an undisclosed location, finally announced that this year’s event would double as my birthday party on Aug. 22. I like bow ties. More info at philadelphia.dinerenblanc.info.
I grew up near St. Mary of Czestochowa Church in Southwest Philly, so I’m into anything Polish: Developer Stanislaw “Stosh” Stachowski is going big for his 250-seat restaurant Royal Cracovia, opening in Magnolia, N.J., in late July. He’ll serve standards such as bigos (hunter’s stew), kielbasa, pierogi and zapiekanka (Polish pizza bread). Stosh spent $3.5 million on the spot, including a million-dollar kitchen.
On June 17, folk-punk doyenne Jen Hess and her pal Hotch play a benefit concert at Doobies for Piglet, the famed cat owned by Kirsten Hess (of Sisters fame), who has had pricey medical bills. I’ll second that.
This past Monday, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Philadelphia brought the irksome sounds of smooth jazz and WJJZ back to the airwaves on 1480 AM and 106.1 HD2, with Michael Tozzi back as programmer, like he was from 1995 to 2008. I’ll give Tozzi one more shot. If it’s too ripe, I’m on him like a lemur.
More Icepack appears every Thursday at citypaper.net/criticalmass.
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