33 Things to Do This Weekend

Samantha Fish plays the Folk Festival tonight. (Brian Rozman)

FRIDAY, AUGUST 18

Philadelphia Folk Festival @ Old Pool Farm, Schwenksville, PA
The annual, jumbo-sized celebration of folk, bluegrass and roots continues. Tonight: Old Crow Medicine Show, Samantha Fish, David Amram, The Infamous Stringdusters and tons more.

Roast of Your 15-Year-Old Self @ Good Good Comedy Theatre
This NY comedy show hosted by Alise Morales features comedians ripping into the people they used to be. Embarrassing secrets will be revealed. Featuring Nick Schug, Dan Vetrano, Molly Hanulec and more. Read more »

This Weekend: The Mustard Seed Film Festival

Bhuban Majhi screens on Sunday.

Many of the films in this year’s Mustard Seed Film Festival (Friday-Sunday, August 18-20) aren’t just making their Philly debut, they’re getting their first screenings for international audiences. Some of these movies were filmed places many Americans never get to see — India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal — while others offer views informed by the diaspora.

The films will be screened at venues all over town including Lightbox Film Center, Twelve Gates Arts and, on Friday, in a tunnel beneath the Reading Viaduct. Below are a few trailers that caught my eye. Click here for the full Mustard Seed lineup. Read more »

12 Things to Do in Arts, Movies, Comedy and More

The French animated film The Girl Without Hands screens at PhilaMOCA on Saturday.

Philly is Charlottesville March and Rally @ Congregation Rodeph Shalom | Wednesday, August 16
Gather then march down Broad Street in opposition to white supremacy. Concludes with a rally at Arch Street United Methodist Church (55 N. Broad St.).

That Just Happened: Cliff Hanger @ Good Good Comedy Theatre | Wednesday, August 16
That Just Happened puts on after-shows (a la Talking Dead) about TV shows that don’t exist. This week, Daniel Lewis Cupps and Shane Barbera — plus a ton of other comedians live or via video — will discuss the new HBO show Cliff Hanger (which, again, does not exist). Here’s the description: “Clifford ‘Cliff’ Hanger and his best friend go on a rock climbing adventure, only to find their worlds turn upside-down.” Read more »

Music: 9 Shows to See in the Next 7 Days

In the Valley Below plays Boot & Saddle on Wednesday.

In the Valley Below @ Boot & Saddle | Wednesday, August 16
This California duo first made an impression a couple years ago with “Peaches,” a synthy pop song and a video that would’ve fit nicely between Debbie Gibson and Roxette on VH1 Classics. But In The Valley Below got serious on their Elephant EP, released in July, which was inspired by the shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. This song, featuring Michigan gospel choir Majestic Praise, is lovely and passionate and nothing like “Peaches.”

 

Rita Fishbone @ Everybody Hits | Wednesday, August 16
I like everything I’ve heard from this young indie rock trio from Jersey. Their four-song Spilt Milk EP, released last year, is gritty, jangly, punky and lo-fi, with spontaneous moments of dissonance. Frontwoman Anastasia Lasky sings about tough subjects (rape, gender, eating disorders) in a somber, cutting deadpan. Rita Fishbone do down and droney just fine, but I especially like them when they get loud: Read more »

Video Breakdown: Lionel Richie’s “Hello”

Maybe stop asking the blind lady if she’s looking for you.

Pop megastar Lionel Richie is currently on the road with his All The Hits Tour — and looking back, it’s an impressive number of hits. Solo and with The Commodores, Richie’s list of memorable songs includes: “Easy,” “Three Times a Lady,” “All Night Long (All Night,)” “Say You, Say Me,” “Dancing on the Ceiling,” and on and on. The tour touches down in Philly on Wednesday.

Which brings us to one of the most important music videos of the MTV era. Released in 1984, “Hello” is a gorgeous, wondering love song but it’s the video, placed in heavy rotation, that made “Hello” an inescapable part of the pop landscape.

The premise is a strange one: Lionel Richie plays Mr. Reynolds, a high school acting coach who has the hots for one of his students. First, let’s watch: Read more »

32 Things to Do This Weekend

Joe Mande plays Underground Arts on Sunday.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 11

Marah @ Ardmore Music Hall
The veteran Philly rock band always puts on a memorable show. Rolling Stone called one of their records the “Best Americana Album You’ve Never Heard” and they’re right except I’ve heard it. It is really good, though.

Gina Yashere @ Punchline Philly
Standup by the British comedian/actor. She also popped up on the Daily Show in March as their Brexit expert. Through Saturday. Read more »

Gimme That Good-Time Grunge

Detail from the cover of the album Bleach by Nirvana.

The passing of Chris Cornell earlier this summer got me wondering about the legacy of grunge music. There’s an unshakeable sadness attached to a lot of its best music now.

There are plenty of grunge survivors, of course, Courtney Love and Pearl Jam being the biggest examples, but also L7 (recently revived), Mudhoney, the Melvins, etc. But several of the scene’s most important voices are gone. Read more »

10 Things to Do in Movies, Comedy, Arts and More

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure plays at Fringe Arts tonight. Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure @ La Peg/FringeArts | Wednesday, August 9
This didn’t occurred to me the first 100 times I watched this movie, but, like, were Bill and Ted stoners? What else would explain their poor attention span and low cognition? Not to mention their “be excellent to each other” mantra.

Feminist Karaoke Night for Charity @ Win Win Coffee Bar | Thursday, August 10
DJ Sara Sherr — whose Sing Your Life Karaoke just won a Best of Philly nod —hosts a karaoke party benefiting Soroptimist International of Rittenhouse Square. Read more »

Music: 8 Shows to See in the Next 7 Days

Frankie Rose plays Johnny Brenda’s on Friday.

a place both wonderful and strange @ PhilaMOCA | Wednesday, August 9
This scary electro-pop band claims both Janet Jackson and David Lynch as key influences. Imagine a dance party in the Black Lodge.

 

Gene Ween Does Billy Joel @ The Queen | Wednesday, August 9
Given Ween’s self-aware, post-everything approach to music and fame, you might think Aaron Freeman is being ironic with these Billy Joel tributes. Au contraire. Gener does it right, with a full band, belted-out vocals and a genuine love for the music. Worth the drive to Wilmington. Read more »

Philly Band The Districts Delivers its Best Record Yet

The Districts play Union Transfer on Friday. (Caitlin McCann)

The prevailing mood on the new record by Philly band The Districts is urgency. The band has always made music with artful rock vision, but the songs on the Popular Manipulations move with extra confidence and purpose. They need to be heard. This music is cathartic and invigorating, always building to bigger sounds.

Several tracks start out merely moody, almost quiet, but that’s usually a ruse, a ramp-up. When those drums start thumping, it’s a sure bet things are about to explode. “Salt” is like that. Same with “Violet” and “Will You Please Be Quiet Please?” which brings the album to a soaring, crashing conclusion. The Districts are always finding interesting ways to get lush and wild. Read more »

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