The Rundown | Oct. 8-15

This week's list of events feature a host of theater, film and Fright Night experiences

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COVID-19 is going to ensure that we’ll all be celebrating Halloween a little differently this year. We found a number of events you can still wear that sexy nurse costume too…you’ll just have to bring your mask along as well. | Image provided

How we’ll check out Theatre Exile’s upcoming season

Theatre Exile has announced its 2020-21 season, featuring productions that encapsulate the “grit” and provocative conversations that theater-goers have come to expect from the cutting-edge theater company. Here’s what you’ll see:

D-Pad 

By Jeremy Gable and directed by Brey Ann Barrett, the online performances will take place Nov. 27-Dec. 13. D-Pad explores the world of independent gaming through the lens of a wunderkind developer as she creates something beyond entertainment. Written with humor, thoughtfulness, and humanity, D-Pad follows Alex as she finds herself in a nightmare of production delays, self-doubt, and a rabid fan base.  Interactions with real and virtual characters lead her into self-isolation as she struggles with family and in her male-dominated industry. 

Sin Eaters 

By Anna Moench and directed by Matt Pfeiffer, the online performances will take place next year, Feb. 11-28. Toeing the lines between satire and harsh reality, Sin Eaters is a hilarious, poignant, and brutal examination of the human experience and how the daily toil of life transforms our perceptions of ourselves and those around us. Mary is a “content moderator,” one of the unseen people who scrub our social media feeds of violent, sexual, and otherwise disturbing imagery. As she goes deeper into the recesses of the internet, she finds a graphic video that makes her question her relationship, her sanity, and her own capacity for violence. 

Pass Over 

By Antoinette Nwandu and directed by Ozzie Jones, this production will take place next year from April 22 to May 9, with a venue to be determined. Moses and Kitch stand around on the corner – talking shit, passing the time, and hoping that maybe today will be different. As they dream of their promised land, a stranger wanders into their space with his own agenda and derails their plans. Award-winning playwright Nwandu purposely crafts language that many deem “profane” into poetic and humorous riffs, exposing the enduring human spirit of young men stuck in a cycle looking for a way out. A provocative take on Waiting for Godot, Pass Over is a timely tale told by a bold American voice. 

The Ever Present

Next spring, Out of Exile will present the world premiere of The Ever Present (working title) by R. Eric Thomas and directed by Brett Ashley Robinson. Playwright Thomas is working with South Philadelphia community members to create a truly “magical” tale about an empty lot in the local neighborhood. Full of folklore, the show will examine one neighborhood’s connections and attachment to place. More information to come.

Ticket information 

Subscription sales are available online, with packages starting at just $30. You can also purchase tickets by calling 215-218-4022. Programming and scheduling are subject to change. For more information, visit theatreexile.org, and follow Theatre Exile on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

How we’re watching the first wave of PFF29

The Philadelphia Film Society has announced the first wave of programming for the 29th Philadelphia Film Festival, spanning from Oct. 23 – Nov. 2. PFF29 features in-home screenings available through the Festival’s digital streaming platform, alongside nightly socially-distanced screenings throughout the 11-day Festival at the expanded two-screen PFS Drive-In at the Navy Yard. Individual tickets going on-sale for PFS members on Oct. 11 and to the general public beginning Oct. 13, with badge holders receiving a headstart on drive-in screenings on Friday, Oct. 9. Badges are currently available to purchase. Visit filmadelphia.org for details, but here’s what we’re anxious to see:

At the Drive-In

Centerpiece films exclusively at the PFS Drive-In at the Navy Yard are available first to Spotlight All Access and Premiere All Access badge holders with a limited number of individual tickets going on sale. They can check out Ammonite by director Francis Lee and Nomadland by director Chloé Zhou.

The Dilemma of Desire

This feature film from Maria Finitzo is about female sexual desire and the powerful gender politics that revolve around NOT acknowledging female desire. We know that the female body is the primary metaphor for sexuality – saturating advertising and mainstream erotic imagery. However, female sexual desire – what women actually want – is left out of the conversation. To make matters worse, cultural, religious and political forces, in fact punish women for expressing their sexual desire. The bottom line however, is this: there can be no equality without equality of pleasure.

Freeland

From directors Mario Furloni and Kate McLean, an aging pot farmer finds her world shattered as she races to bring in what could be her final harvest. The reviews we’ve seen all give it five stars.

Gunda

Director Victor Kossakovsky brings us the daily life of a pig, two cows and a one-legged chicken. Seriously, isn’t this something you’ve waited your whole life to see?

The Killing of Two Lovers

Director Robert Machoian’s piece revolves around a husband and wife split, the efforts to keep the family together and the struggles surrounding new relationships. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a bunch of high ratings and special points for authenticity.

Pass options

PFF29 offers three pass options for audiences. The Streaming Pass ($200) allows Festival viewers to watch all PFF29 films and filmmaker talkbacks available on the PFF29 digital platform from the comfort of your own home. The Spotlight All Access Badge ($300), available exclusively to PFS members, gives access to both streaming films and the ability to reserve slots for Opening Night, Closing Night, and Centerpiece screenings at the PFS Drive-In at the Navy Yard. The Premiere All Access Badge ($600), available in limited quantity, gives access to all streaming films; a free Roku Streaming device, allowing viewers to stream PFF29 films on your TV via the PFF29 customized app, sent to their house; access to Opening Night, Closing Night, and Centerpiece screenings at the PFS Drive-In at the Navy Yard; and premium parking at screenings at the PFS Drive-In at the Navy Yard. For more information and to purchase a badge please visit Filmadelphia.org/Festival.

Events to make your heart skip a beat

Halloween is about all things scary, and visitphilly.com has a list of places that definitely will take your breath away. Here are a few of our favorites. But remember, it’s 2020, and advance tickets are highly recommended or required at many events and attractions. Plan ahead. Look online or contact the venue to get a better sense of what experience to expect.

Fright Factory

Housed inside a 120-year-old factory building in South Philadelphia, the Fright Factory summons screams galore for its 20th anniversary year. Within the attraction, guests set out to explore 25,000 square feet of high-scream, high-startle environments across three separate areas. Due to reduced capacity for 2020, pre-purchased timed tickets are required. 2200 S. Swanson Street | Through Oct. 31 (select dates) | Frightfactoryphilly.com

Spooky Twilight Tours at The Betsy Ross House

Spooky Twilight Tours are on tap for visitors to the pint-sized home of the nation’s famous flag maker this October. They’ll hear true tales about smallpox and yellow fever in the courtyard before heading inside to continue their frightfully themed tour. Recommended for kids ages 10 and up. 239 Arch Street | Through Oct. 30 (Fridays only) | Historicphiladelphia.org

Candlelight Ghost Tours at Fort Mifflin

Rumors persist that Fort Mifflin is one of the most haunted sites in America. Find out for yourself on a popular Candlelight Ghost Tour, a three-quarter-mile, hour-long nighttime amble through the creepy historic fort. Advanced tickets are strongly recommended. New for 2020: Gather 15 to 25 of your closest friends for a private candlelight tour, which also includes access to the attraction’s Soldiers Barracks to enjoy BYO refreshments. 6400 Hog Island Road | Oct. 9-31 (select dates) | Fortmifflin.us

Night Tours at Eastern State Penitentiary

Explore one of the most famous prisons in the world like never before during Eastern State Penitentiary’s new Night Tours. Rediscover the attraction’s imposing architecture emphasized by dramatic lighting, listen to the real voices of men and women who lived and worked there, and watch large-scale video projections on the penitentiary’s 30-foot-high perimeter walls, including a silent film shot in 1929, and 20 animated short films created by incarcerated artists for Eastern State’s project Hidden Lives Illuminated. Note that Night Tours is replacing the annual Terror Behind the Walls for 2020. 2027 Fairmount Avenue | Through Nov. 15 (select dates) | Easternstate.org

Bates Motel & Haunted Attractions

With professional performers and hair-raising animatronic effects and pyrotechnics, it’s no wonder that the Bates Motel was named one of the 10 best haunted houses in America in 2019 by CNN. In addition to exploring the motel, other spooky attractions include the Revenge of the Scarecrows Haunted Corn Trail and – new for 2020 – the Bates Psycho Path, a 25-minute, half-mile walk-through featuring, among other frights, a 200-foot-long cave and a full-scale mock-up of a New England church. 1835 Middletown Road, Glen Mills | Through Nov. 1 (select dates) | Thebatesmotel.com

Sleepy Hollow Haunted Acres

Sleepy Hollow Haunted Acres moves to primarily outdoor scares for 2020. This year’s experience takes visitors through two attractions – The Hollow and The Field – featuring the ruins of a village, a massive cemetery, a deserted section of the farm and more. Advance tickets are strongly recommended. 881 Highland Road, Newtown | Through Oct. 31 (select dates) | Sleepyhollowhayride.com

Coming soon around town

With Halloween just around the corner and fall in full swing, here are a few of the events coming up soon you’ll want to check out.

Nightmare Before Tinsel

This year, during the global pandemic, the former spooky season pop-up bar will return as a socially distanced haunted restaurant with food, drink and art. Nightmare Before Tinsel opened last week. Weekly hours are Monday through Friday, from 4pm to 11pm, and Saturday and Sunday, from 2pm to 11pm. Tickets range from $15 to $20 and include one food and one drink item. For more about Nightmare, visit @TinselPhilly on social media. Come if you dare and enter a spooky new world created inside a former jewelry store space at 116 S. 12th Street in Midtown Village. Among the ghosts that still haunt the space, look for eerie ambiance, scary photo opps, and tons of frights and flights. Halloween fans can find witches bru cocktails, seasonal fall beers and other food and drink surprises too.

Fright Nights

The Bourse, Philadelphia’s modern artisanal food hall on Independence Mall, is getting in the Halloween spirit with Friday Night Fright Nights on the 5th Street patio every Friday in October from 6-9pm, featuring five showings of the cult classic, “Hocus Pocus,” themed treats and more. Through Oct. 30, The Bourse invites witches, ghouls and spooky season lovers alike to the patio every Friday evening to watch “Hocus Pocus” on a 16-foot projector, while enjoying themed treats from select The Bourse Food Hall vendors. Tickets are available for $20/table. theboursephilly.com.

AGITATED! Performance with a Point

For three years, HoneyTree EvilEye and Pilar Salt commissioned the most innovative artists in Philly to present funny, scary, sad, infuriating, weird, genre-bending performances based on social and political issues dear to them. Now, on the eve of the election, they’re bringing back the award-winning experiment that proves audiences can think, drink, get boners, and cry all at the same time. Enjoy a night of incisive drag, burlesque, theater and comedy – all taking aim at pressing social issues and current events. Friday, Oct. 16 at 8pm | Zoom | $5-$15 (sliding scale; suggested $10) | agitated.eventbrite.com 

Ride the Cyclone

The University of the Arts will present Ride the Cyclone, with book and music by Brooke Maxwell and Jacob Richman, and directed by Elana Mirella Mariani, as part of the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts Fall 2020 remote season. The project will be available for viewing via Broadway on Demand’s ShowStream service Nov. 6-15. A poignant and moving comedy that asks us to reflect on what we value most in life, our varying definitions of success, and the ways in which we identify and perceive ourselves and those around us, Ride The Cyclone challenges the meaning of “dying too young” and examines the legacy we leave behind after life. In this auditory experience with accompanying visuals, audiences follow six dead high school choir students who tell their stories in a bid to win the favor of an elusive fortune-telling machine, The Amazing Karnak, who promises to grant life to the most deserved storyteller. www.uarts.edu/brind-fall-2020

Graverobber Unholy Rye

This season, imbibers can drink dead people. Graverobber Unholy Rye, Tamworth Distilling’s annual limited-edition autumnal elixir crafted with specially curated maple syrup from mature and gnarled trees grown amid graves of human remains on Great Hill Farm in New Hampshire, is now available at Art in Age locations in Philadelphia and Tamworth. And for the first time, the spirit is available in a coffin Halloween Gram that can be sent near and far to ensure proper nod is given to this season’s All Hallows Eve. artintheage.com.

Virtual StorySLAM: BREAKING BREAD

Prepare a five-minute story about sharing food. Gatherings big or small and all flavors in between. Whether you’re at the head of the table or sitting with the kids, spending time with family, strangers, friends, or foes. Tales of feeding the heart, eating crow, or serving humble pie. French cheese, forgiveness, food for thought. Whatever’s on the menu, remember: “Mise en place” – everything is in its place. Friday, Oct. 16 | 7:15-9:15pm | $10 online | eventbrite.com

  • Eugene Zenyatta was raised on old-time Memphis 'rasslin' and strongly prefers the company of dogs to people. His greatest heartbreak came in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic.