42 Things to Do this Weekend

Boyz II Men plays the Wells Fargo Center with Paula Abdul and New Kids on the Block on Saturday. (Rory Shram)

FRIDAY, JUNE 23

Alejandro Escovedo Band @ Sellersville Theater
The Austin rocker was there when punk was young, and he’s still at it, backed by an all-star band featuring Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey. His latest is Burn Something Beautiful, which dropped last year.

Tigers Jaw @ Union Transfer
The Scranton indie rock band released a new record called spin last month (yes, all lowercase) but if it sounds different it’s because they’ve changed everything. Right nowTigers Jaw is just a duo, Brianna Collins and Ben Walsh. Still good though. Read more »

The Philadelphia Orchestra Does Return of the King at the Mann

“Next person who tells me to give the ring to the eagles gets turned into a newt.”

Peter Jackson’s action-packed conclusion to the Lord of the Rings trilogy won a stunning 1 trillion Oscars in 2004, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Costume, Best Makeup, Best Big Spider Scene, Best Painfully Long Hobbit Celebration, Best If All The Bad Guys Are Dead Why Is There Still An Hour Left In This Movie, etc. All the big categories.

Most relevant to this blog post, composer Howard Shore took the prize for Best Original Score for his work on The Return of the King. On Saturday, members of the Philadelphia Orchestra — along with the Mendelssohn Club and the Philadelphia Boys Choir — will recreate that ol’ Shore magic live at the Mann Center while you watch the movie on the big screen. Ludwig Wicki conducts.

Suggested topics for the ride home:

  • No, they couldn’t just give the ring to an eagle and let him drop it into the lava thing because you’re just going to end up with giant, evil, invisible eagle.
  • Why did Aragorn go off on that tangent about how men will forsake all their friendships one day? Not helpful.
  • Hey, did I see Bret from Flight of the Conchords in there? Yep. He’s in three Peter Jackson/Tolkien movies.
  • What if there were LOTR Garbage Pail Kids. i.e. Piggo Snortensen. That’s the only one I could think of. Never mind.
  • Is a single serving of lembas bread high in carbs?
  • Does Treebeard feel anything when acorns fall off his branches?
  • Ugh, that ghost army.

The Orchestra’s summer residency at the Mann continues with several movie and non-movie concerts including the Tchaikovsky Spectacular with fireworks on July 19, Jurassic Park on July 22 and Harry Potter and the Chamber Pot of Shame on July 28.

The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King with members of The Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Saturday, June 24, 7:30 p.m. More info here.

14 Things to Do in Movies, Comedy, Dance, Books and Hot Air Balloons

Dr. Alan Grant likes dinosaurs.

Jurassic Park @ FringeArts | Wednesday, June 21
Eat, drink and watch dinosaurs run wild in an outdoor setting. Upcoming screenings include E.T. (June 28), Friday (July 19), Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (August 9) and lots more. Hold on to your butts.

Solow Fest @ lots of places | Through June 25
The festival of daring dance performances continues. All shows are pay-what-you-can. Before you say you don’t think you like dance, check out the calendar. Read more »

Music: 8 Shows to See in the Next 7 Days

John Legend plays the BB&T Pavilion in Camden on Thursday.

The Bul Bey @ Boot & Saddle | Wednesday, June 21
Philly rapper The Bul Bey’s known for his wordy, mile-a-minute rhymes and his stylish videos that make our city look good. Looking back, we probably should have voted for him…

John Legend @ BB&T | Thursday, June 22
Classy, clarion-voiced John Legend remains one of the most enthralling performers in soul/R&B — and a particular favorite here in Philadelphia. His most recent record is Darkness and Light, released at the end of last year. Oh and hey, he just showed up in an episode of Master of None. Now watch this video and cry. Read more »

Listen Here: Five Philly Bands Dropping New Music This Week

Palm plays PhilaMOCA on Saturday.

Lisa Chosed @ Ortlieb’s | Thursday, June 22
Philly acoustic folk artist Lisa Chosed celebrates the release of her debut record Fly this week. Chosed’s voice shimmers like a great lake in this earnest song.

ZORN @ Century | Friday, June 23
Philly metal-punks Zorn welcome a new cassette into the world. Released on the Suicide Bong label, Cemetery Man is a heavy and agile, with blazing guitars and hellacious vocals that remind me of Starscream. Read more »

45 Things to Do This Weekend

Popular Irish folk band U2 plays the Linc on Sunday. (Anton Corbijn)

FRIDAY, JUNE 16

Marlon Wayans @ Punchline
The standup comedian and actor (White Chicks, Scary Movie) plays five shows over three nights, through Saturday. Wayans will star in his own sitcom on NBC starting in August.

Long/Gone @ The Rotunda
Visual artist Erik Ruin debuts his new 100-foot paper scroll that tells a story, while the Ominous Cloud Ensemble provides live musical accompaniment. Here’s a previous performance: Read more »

Mad Music Scientists Combine Drums and Magnets

The 16-drum Drumhenge can be played via strike, MIDI, or theremin.

Chances are, you’ve never seen anything like Drumhenge — a brand new musical instrument composed of 16 drums each of which can be vibrated electromagnetically. The sound is thick and oddly organic — somewhere between whale songs and the Inception soundtrack, maybe? I think we should keep it handy to talk to alien visitors.

Drumhenge was created by musician/artist Peter English and music/tech researcher Jeff Gregorio at Drexel’s ExCITe Center (more on that in a sec). The behemoth instrument makes its debut this Saturday when Chris Powell (of Man Man) and other musicians incorporate it into a live musical performance. After watching this amazing video, I fired off a bunch of questions to English.

I had no idea drums could be used in this way. Where did the idea come from? Read more »

14 Things to Do This Week

Adult Swim’s Joe Pera plays Good Good Comedy Theatre on Saturday. This is an artist’s rendering.

Liberty To Go To See @ Cliveden | June 14-17
Now in its fifth year, the Liberty To Go To See show in Germantown’s historic Cliveden Mansion tells the story of the Chew family and their slaves and servants who lived there from the 1760s to the 1860s. The audience follows the action as it moves throughout the mansion.

SoLow Fest @ multiple venues | June 14-25
This D.I.Y./experimental arts festival offers solo performances in multiple disciplines at several locations over the next two weeks. All show are pay-what-you-can. Solow starts with a launch party featuring preview performances (by Tiffany Bunch, Jess Conda, Michael Vandie and more) at Tattooed Mom on Wednesday, June 14. The reset of the fest runs June 15-25. There are way too many cool-looking things happening at this year’s SoLow to list here. Your best bet is to check out the schedule and tap into your adventurous spirit. Read more »

Music: 9 Shows to See in the Next 7 Days

The Kominas play Johnny Brenda’s on Wednesday. (Eva Wo)

The Kominas @ Johnny Brenda’s | Wednesday, June 14
The Boston-based Kominas have been mixing punk with psych, surf and Punjabi folk for more than a decade now. It’s got an edge but I swear you can dance to it. If you want. The band recently recorded an episode of the Shaking Through video series with the Philly-based Weathervane Music non-profit. The track below, from 2015’s Stereotype, puts a snarky spin on a sad-but-true story of discrimination, and hammers it home with bit of the Friends theme.

Wesley Stace and the English UK @ Pastorius Park | Wednesday, June 14
Not only is Wesley Stace a world-class singer, songwriter and showman, but this free concert is an excellent excuse to check out a park Chestnut Hill has been hiding from us. Read more »

The Firefly Festival Lineup Is Wonderfully Bonkers

Chance the Rapper (left) plays Saturday with Bob Dylan and Kesha.

The lineup at the annual Firefly Music Festival is always noticeably eclectic, but if this year’s bill looks especially insane, that might be your doing. The 2017 edition of Firefly claims to be “the first-ever fan-curated music festival,” with its roster being built via “fan surveys, votes, and contests.”

How exactly you turn the opinions of thousands of people into a working festival is beyond me, but the results are impressively weird. For example:

  • Friday: Twenty One Pilots/Weezer/Lil Dicky.
  • Saturday: Chance the Rapper/Kesha/Bob Dylan.
  • Sunday: Muse/The Shins/Busta Rhymes.

Pretty cool, right? There’s still time to purchase tickets for this massive festival, whether you wanna camp out all (long) weekend long or just drive in for a single day. Here are a few videos to help you make the call: Read more »

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