Saturday, August 23, 2014
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The Secret Order of the Libertines, An Intimate Revolution

A daring and funny revue of erotic poetry and monologues in a very relaxed atmosphere.

The Secret Order of the Libertines, An Intimate Revolution

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When I chose to see this I couldn’t guess what it might be about, but its title and location down by the river recalled to mind the film Querelle with Jeanne Moreau as the brothel’s madame singing “Each Man Kills the Thing He Loves.” I wasn’t far off. The Poetry Brothelᵀᴹ, a registered trademark of The Poetry Society of New York, has branches in Barcelona, Chicago, New Orleans, and New York and made its Philadelphia debut tonight in Grasso’s Magic Theatre. It’s a darkly pseudo-Victorian space with a bar, a ticket booth and a lobby that makes a perfect lounge where you can size up the lovely Poetry Whores and purchase $5 tokens to have them give you a private reading of their poetry. Its revue-like format also allows for suggestive songs by the Femme-Mynistiques, Geri Vanore, Alexa Gold, and Gabrielle de Burke -- songstresses of high-repute. Rachel Fogletto recounted sexual escapades in Safe Sex, and so did Monica Day, but I can’t give the title of her monologue here. During intermissions called Open Brothels, I gave my first token up to a pair of redhead twins who took turns with me, reading alternate lines of the same poem. Later, for two tokens, I engaged a set of triplets who knelt at my feet adoringly and read in a similar fashion, while shyly tucking little love notes into my handbag and pockets. Both South Philly Lou (Lynn Hoffman) and Doctore Bluez (Carol Moog) gave me freebies. I fled into the night with my clothes still on.

$25 Grasso’s Magic Theatre 103 Callowhill St. Sept. 15 7 and 10 p.m. Sept. 20 8p.m.

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About this blog
Toby Zinman's night job since 2006 is theater critic for the Inquirer. She also is a contributing writer for Variety and American Theatre magazine. Her day job: Prize-winning prof at UArts, author of four books about four playwrights (Rabe, McNally, Miller, Albee), and doer of scholarly deeds (winner of five NEH grants, Fulbright lecturer at Tel Aviv University, visiting professor in China). Her 'weekend' job as a travel writer provides adventure: dogsledding in the Yukon, ziplining in Belize, walking coast-to-coast across England, and cowboying in the Australian Outback.


Wendy Rosenfield has written freelance features and theater reviews for The Inquirer since 2006. She was theater critic for the Philadelphia Weekly from 1995 to 2001, after which she enjoyed a five-year baby-raising sabbatical. She serves on the board of the American Theatre Critics Association, was a participant in the Bennington Writer's Workshop, a 2008 NEA/USC Fellow in Theater and Musical Theater, and twice was guest critic for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival's Region II National Critics Institute. She received her B.A. from Bennington College and her M.L.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She also is a fiction writer, was proofreader to a swami, publications editor for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and spends all her free time working out and driving people places. Follow her on Twitter @WendyRosenfield.


Jim Rutter has reviewed theater for The Inquirer since September, 2011. Since 2006, he covered dance, theater and opera for the Broad Street Review, and has also written for many suburban newspapers, including The Main Line Times. In 2009, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him a Fellowship in Arts Journalism. Thames & Hudson released his updated and revised version of Ballet and Modern Dance in June, 2012. From 1998 to 2005, he taught philosophy and logic at Drexel, and then Widener University. He also coaches Olympic Weightlifting for Liberty Barbell, and has competed at the national level in that sport since 2001.


Merilyn Jackson regularly writes on dance for The Inquirer and other publications. She specializes in the arts, literature, food, travel, and Eastern European culture and politics. In 2001, she was dance critic in residence at the Festival of Contemporary Dance in Bytom, Poland; in 2005, she received an NEA Critics’ Fellowship to Duke University’s Institute for Dance Criticism. She likes to say that dance was her first love but that when she discovered writing she began to cheat on dance. Now that she writes about dance, she’s made an honest woman of herself, although she also writes poetry.

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