In Philadelphia these days there are two kinds of theater experiences. There’s the Walnut Street Theater with its mostly mainstream fare like The Importance of Being Earnest and Saturday Night Fever, and then there’s the theater of ideas and politics, where the entertainment factor is of a different sort.
While the hordes are laughing it up at The Book of Mormon or watching a revival of Cabaret at the Kimmel, patrons at the Wilma Theater, the Lantern, and the Drake’s new four-theater complex are taking in plays that deal with racism, sexism, transgender issues, and the queer interplay between science and psychology. Read more »
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 »
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 »
!!! aka Chk Chk Chk plays Underground Arts on Friday. (Erez Avissar)
FRIDAY, JUNE 9
Unlimited Devotion @ Ardmore Music Hall
Two busy nights of jammy bands jamming out in tribute to the Grateful Dead. Talent includes: Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Steve Kimock, John Kadlecik, Vinnie Amico, Aron Magner, Marc Brownstein, Michael Travis and a bunch more, with guest of honor Wavy Gravy. Find out who plays Friday and who plays Saturday here.
Southern Culture on the Skids @ World Café Live
This North Carolina rock/soul trio has been doing their thing since 1983, amazingly enough. Their thing, of course, is funny, high energy and kinda trashy music you can dance to. Make sure to get there in time to see the GTVs, fronted by Sam Steinig of longtime Philly rockers Mondo Topless. Read more »
The 10th annual Roots Picnic is Saturday at Festival Pier. (Photo by: Mark Seliger/NBC)
FRIDAY, JUNE 2
Elizabeth Zharoff/Xavier Foley @ World Café Live
An alluring description for an atypical concert at WCL: “Two emerging composers and recent grads of the Curtis Institute of Music collaborating around their love of video games and their serious classical chops.” Elizabeth Zharoff is a soprano. Xavier Foley is a double bassist.
Talib Kweli/Vikter Duplaix @ Fillmore Philly
The two hip-hop stars do a Kiss-N-Grind DJ show at the Foundry performance space, upstairs in the Fillmore. Call it your Roots Picnic wind-up.
Michelle Biloon @ Good Good Comedy
A standup show by the Philly-based comedian heard/seen on Comedy Bang Bang, Chelsea Lately, 2 Dope Queens and more. Read more »
Wale plays the TLA on Friday. (Dante Marshall)
FRIDAY, MAY 26
Five Dollar Comedy Week @ Good Good Comedy
Cheap laughs and all new shows from the good people at Good Good. Continues through Saturday.
Final Fridays: Technologic @ Philadelphia Museum of Art
Tech and arts collide with events by Technically Philly, ChickTech Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute, The Hacktory and more. Includes a performance by Quindar (Wilco keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen and Philadelphia-based art historian James Merle Thomas) whose performance will include material from the Museum’s archives. Read more »
The cast of One More River To Cross at Pulley & Buttonhole Theatre Company. It opens at the The Latvian Society on Thursday. (James Jackson/raveneyes.com)
Commonspace LIVE @ FringeArts | May 24-26
Continuing a week of shows for the Commonspace program, presented by First Person Arts and WHYY. Wednesday: Gentrified, personal stories about neighborhoods in flux. Thursday: Now You See Me, “three astonishing illusionists tantalize audiences with the mysteries of masculinity and race.” Friday: Targeted, personal stories about being an outsider.
Sand Mandala Creation @ Material Culture | May 24-28
Monks from the Drepung Gomang monastery in Tibet will spend five days using dyed sand to create intricate, transient works of art. Read more »
That movie you pretended to understand is coming back in style.
Dive Bar Secrets @ The Barbary | Wednesday, May 17
Comedy at the Barbary presents standup comic Chris Cotton. The dude recorded a comedy mixtape. Why don’t more people do that? Listen on Spotify.
Tell Me A Story @ Shot Tower Coffee | Wednesday, May 17
Hilary Rea’s storytelling series celebrates its sixth anniversary with true stories by Kathleen Ackert, Julie Hancher, R. Eric Thomas and more. The topic is “Six Degrees.” Read more »
Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff of the My Favorite Murder podcast play the Keswick on Sunday.
Style of Attack Report @ Vox Populi | Wednesday, May 10
Philly sci-fi collective Metropolarity celebrates the release of Style of Attack Report, an anthology of sci-fi/futurist writing. The evening includes readings by Rasheedah Phillips, Camae Ayewa, Alex Smith and more.
Full Moon Ride @ around town | Wednesday, May 10
Meet up with other bicyclists at the Italian Fountain at the Lloyd Hall parking lot on Boathouse Row. Ends at the El Bar in Fishtown. Read more »
Tania Isaac performs at FringeArts Friday and Saturday. (LBrowning Photography)
FRIDAY, APRIL 28
Star Party @ The Mann
This sounds pretty cool: a free concert and stargazing get-together at the Mann featuring telescopes and astronomers who know where to point them. The current forecast for tonight is “partly cloudy,” so fingers x’d. Part of Science Fest.
Hot Chip (DJ Set) @ Coda
Alexis Taylor and Felix Martin of the band Hot Chip spin records because they’re DJs, too.
Spirit of the Beehive @ Everybody Hits
Idiosyncratic indie rockers Spirit of the Beehive celebrate the release of Pleasure Suck in their hometown. Actually, “idiosyncratic” doesn’t cover it. This band seems to be infected with a rare strain of deep-tissue, Philly-borne weirdness once fleetingly observed in bands like Man Man and Echo Orbiter. It’s not just a sound, it’s an aesthetic illness that prizes catchiness and freakiness equally. This is beautiful mutant rock ’n’ roll. Read more »