26 Things to Do This Weekend

This piece by Hillary Waters is part of the "Stitched" group exhibition at Paradigm Gallery + Studio.

This piece by Hillary Waters is part of the “Stitched” group exhibition at Paradigm Gallery + Studio.


Candlelight Vigil for Lives of Trans Women Lost to Violence @ William Way
The title tells the story 5-7 p.m.

Chris Farren / Adult Mom @ PhilaMOCA
Adult Mom is prepping to release their new record, Soft Spots, and all signs point to more sweet indie-pop goodness, only more fleshed-out than their early stuff. Chris Farren (also of the Fake Problems), is usually pretty punky but he wrote a touching and simple song inspired by the untimely passing of comedian Harris Wittels and it hurts so good. I miss him too, man:

Aye Nako @ Everybody Hits
Don Giovanni’s angular pop-punk from Jersey is catchy and messy in a Jad Fair-vs.-Home Blitz sorta way. They’re joined by favorite local acts Pinkwash, Ursula and Solarized (hey, that’s Alex Smith’s band).

Amerikick Internationals 2017 @ PA Convention Center
Members of the North American Sport Karate Association gather to Amerikick each other for prizes and glory. Kick here for more info.

Dark Web @ Century
How about a little hardcore? This Philly band is like Wax Fang beating Bad Religion with a synthesizer and setting free all the broken hearts and tortured metaphors of the world. The show’s a release party for their new tape. Hell yeah, watch this Troma-esque video:

Steve Lehman & Sélébéyone @ Painted Bride
Ars Nova presents an eclectic evening of jazz, Senegalese rap and more.

Garth Brooks/Trisha Yearwood @ Wells Fargo Center
The husband-and-wife country-music all-stars set up shop in Philly all weekend long. Think they’ll show up at the rally on Saturday afternoon? Yeah, me neither.

Finesse Mitchell @ Punchline
The SNL alum and actor returns to do standup. Through Saturday.

By Ulla-Stina Wikander, by "Stitched"

By Ulla-Stina Wikander, part of “Stitched”

Stitched @ Paradigm Gallery + Studio
Part one of a group exhibition that focuses on “artwork that makes use of embroidery and stitching techniques.” So much cool stuff in this show. See above, and see right. Runs through April 22.

The King and I @ Academy of Music
Broadway Philadelphia presents the Rodgers and Hammerstein favorite through April 2. “No elephants? No wonder he is not winning war!”

Brad Williams @ Helium
The actor/comedian returns. Through Saturday.

New Jack City @ Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse
The makers of the Serious Rap Shit Podcast will screen the star-studded 1991 thriller and then record a show about it.


Films by Faith and Emily Hubley @ Moore College of Art & Design
“A juried program of shorts by women… Then American filmmaker and animator Emily Hubley will screen a program that includes her work as well as that of her mother and animation pioneer Faith Hubley.”

Trey Songz @ Creep Records
Power 99 presents a meet-n-greet with everybody’s favorite dirty (and touching and inspirational) R&B singer. Gotta buy the CD to get in.

Craig Finn @ Main Street Music
The Hold Steady frontman plays an intimate show in Manayunk for all the snifflin’ indie kids who bought advance copies of his new solo record, We All Want the Same Things.

Pennsylvania MAGA March/Anti-MAGA Protest @ Independence Hall
Anti-Trump supporters and regular Philadelphians gather for polite political discourse and the sharing of ideas in a casual setting. Everybody leaves happy and tired of winning.

Fursaxa @ Philadelphia Record Exchange
That’s not a name I’ve heard in quite some time. Tara Fursaxa and co. play a rare show in their old hometown. Psychedelic folk weirdness.

The Mystical History of the Wissahickon Walk
“Nick of the Woods” hosts an informative and family-friendly romp through the woods.

#Read4Refugees Fundraiser @ Big Blue Marble Bookstore
Includes a book fair and a screening of the animated movie Persepolis. Donations go to RefugePoint, a nonprofit that helps refugees. 


Jonatha Brooke @ World Café Live
An XPN mainstay going back to the old Singer-Songwriter Weekend fests, Brooke lays it all out with smart lyrics and an acoustic guitar.

Brooklyn Ford Presents Showgirls @ Fillmore Philly
A “drag show extravaganza” featuring Brooklyn Ford, Melony VonKruz, Jenna Tall, Maria Top Cat, Anita Manhattan and more.

Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon @ Philadelphia Museum of Art
BYO laptop to this “communal updating of Wikipedia entries on subjects related to art and feminism, with a special focus on women watercolorists.”

Data / Snow Caps  @ Fleisher Art Memorial
The Single Girl Married Girl label celebrates the release of new tapes by Philly bands Snow Caps and Data.

Queering Sound & Image @ The Rotunda
Live performances by daring and socially conscious artists Moor Mother, Sarah Hennies and Emily Bate. Clips from the documentary Queer Genius will be shown.

Foxygen @ Union Transfer
Sweet-singing dudes with over-the top rock tendencies. They’re known for breaking up and getting back together.

Bebe Rexha @ Underground Arts
Besides her own earwormy stuff, she’s co-written for Rihanna, Iggy Azalea, Nick Jonas and more.

THEATER REVIEW: In The Importance of Being Earnest, Victorian Bark Without the Bite


Mary Martello and Daniel Fredrick in The Importance of Being Earnest at Walnut Street Theatre. (Photo by Mark Garvin)

How do you like your Earnest?  Many modern productions of Oscar Wilde’s beloved, still delectable comedy of manners have, interpretively speaking, gone to town. We’ve seen The Importance of Being Earnest deconstructed and reconstructed, gender-bended and performed in drag. There’s probably even been an earnest Earnest, though that seems off the mark—if there’s one thing everybody can agree on, it’s likely that Importance of Being Earnest should be funny and naughty. But of course, that in itself is a spectrum—so there have been drily acerbic Earnests; also, raucously slapstick ones.

Do you find all this rethinking exhausting? If so, I have good news about the Walnut Street Theatre’s production—it takes a respectful, almost reverent approach. This is also the bad news—the show feels like a museum piece.  If some productions of Importance of Being Earnest run aground with too many ideas, this one has scarcely a single original one. Read more »

THEATRE REVIEW: Old Meets New and East Meets West in The King and I

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Laura Michelle Kelly and Jose Llana in The King and I at the Academy of Music.

Bartlett Sher, one of America’s busiest and most accomplished directors, has worked in every medium from straight plays to opera—but he’s won particular acclaim for two classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals that he revived at Lincoln Center. Before The King and I (now onstage at the Academy of Music) came Sher’s revelatory South Pacific. What was notable from the start was Sher’s approach—first and foremost, to fundamentally trust the material.  He and his designers gave the show a beautiful frame; he also focused on the acting values inherent in both Hammerstein’s book and Rodgers music. Otherwise, Sher allowed the piece speak for itself, even when it creaked a little with age. Read more »

Interview: West Philly Writer/Musician Alex Smith

Oscar at rest.

Oscar at rest.

West Philly’s Alex Smith is a man of many talents. I first encountered him at City Paper where I edited and assigned his pieces on arts and music. Then I realized he was everywhere: writing fiction (alone and with his collective of likeminded visionaries in Metropolarity), making comics, playing music (in Solarized) and more. When I finally read his NSFW sci-fi adventure comic Believers — and heard Metropolarity was up for an award — it seemed like a good excuse to get inside his head.

Believers is a fast-paced and funny action comic. Do you dream of continuing the adventures of Oscar?

Thanks, I like to keep storytelling light but the stakes relatively high. I would love to continue Oscar’s adventures, however my collaborator Jacob Mazer who runs Animal Kingdom is a pretty busy person! It would mostly depend on him because I could not imagine anyone else at this time drawing Oscar, although you never know. Oscar is one of my favorite characters I’ve created because there’s such a vast amount of weird stuff I can pull from in my own life to project onto the page, as well as so many rich possibilities with pulling him into a universe of kooky demigods and space aliens he knows nothing about.

Believers isn’t like most comics — starting with its gay Black stoner main character. Do you see comics culture in general becoming more accepting of new voices and perspectives? Read more »

11 Things to Do This Week in Movies, Comedy, Storytelling and More


Tell Me A Story @ Shot Tower Coffee | Wednesday, March 22
Hillary Rea’s series gathers some of the city’s most engaging storytellers to make you laugh, think and maybe cry. Always a good time. This time the topic is Near and Far.

A Tactical Urbanism Guide @ Johnny Brenda’s | Wednesday, March 22
Subtitled “Starting, Scaling & Growing Small Neighborhood Projects,” this program is about “designing, crowdfunding, maintaining, and building political support for citizen-driven public space design and activism.” Read more »

Music: 8 Shows to See This Week

Russian experimentalists Asian Women on the Telephone make a rare appearance this week. (pic from Youtube)

Russian experimentalists Asian Women on the Telephone make a rare appearance this week. (pic via ZaraPaz696/Youtube)

Asian Women on the Telephone @ Philadelphia Record Exchange | Wednesday, March 22
This Russian avant-garde/experimental band is known back home for its bizarre performances and freaky costumes. Their rock sound is moved by odd currents of feedback, throbbing noise, animal vocalizations and a general feeling of asymmetry. A rare treat you may never see again.

Stef Chura @ Boot & Saddle | Wednesday, March 22
Detroit rocker Stef Chura makes catchy, loopy “light grunge” that Lucy Dacus fans might appreciate. A little retro, a little thrift-store chic. Lots to sing along to. It’s a good time. Read more »

Are You Faster Than SEPTA?

Or you could just pay the $2.25. (Clean Air Council)

Or you could just pay the $2.25. (Clean Air Council)

Anybody who’s sat on a bus in traffic — or watched those creeping dots on the SEPTA app — has surely wondered if they’d have been better off just hoofing it.

But would you? You might have the advantage over a short distance, just by virtue of being smaller and more agile and not having to carry people. But buses have motors and don’t get tired, so the longer the race, the bigger the advantage for the machines, right?

This Wednesday, the Clean Air Council invites you to put it to the test at their annual Race the Bus race against the 21 bus. It’s a 3.1 mile race east through the city during rush hour. Starts at 40th and Chestnut. Ends with a happy hour at Plough & The Stars. Read more »

THEATER REVIEW: Murder on the Orient Express Arrives at McCarter by Way of Hollywood

The Cast of Murder on the Orient Express at McCarter Theatre Center. (Photo by T Charles Erickson)

The Cast of Murder on the Orient Express at McCarter Theatre Center. (Photo by T Charles Erickson)

I’m going to tell you whodunnit, and it’s not a spoiler. Are you ready? It’s film director Sidney Lumet—and what he did, in his 1974 blockbuster movie version, is fundamentally change the nature of Murder on the Orient Express.

Agatha Christie’s original novel—written and set four decades earlier, in a Europe on the brink of war—had moments of humor, but was mostly a mystery with a serious and sinister core, as well as a message about culpability.  Lumet reinvented it as a deluxe, star-studded romp, full of sumptuous costumes and décor. Oh, the mystery is still there—but it’s on the back burner, behind a lot of campy humor. Lumet knew what he was doing, certainly—his Murder on the Orient Express initiated a new cottage industry for lavish Christie film adaptations. Read more »

23 Things to Do This Weekend

Tennis will attempt to initiate a staring contest with you at underground Arts on Saturday. Do not accept this challenge. (Luca Venter)

Tennis will attempt to initiate a staring contest with you at Underground Arts on Saturday. (Luca Venter)


Fishbone @ Underground Arts
The original lineup of this revered funk/punk/reggae/ska band returns. Kinda surprised this one’s not sold out. Kids today.

Coriolanus @ Lantern Theater
Says theater critic David Fox: “Every inch of the playing area (including some of the house) is pressed into service in Charles McMahon’s production, and the updated visual world cleverly suggests Road Warrior — with all the visceral impact that implies.” Runs through April 16. Read more »

How to Guarantee Yourself Hamilton Tickets When It Comes to Philly

Hamilton Poster

Hamilton is coming to Philadelphia!

Okay, so the smash-hit hip-hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton won’t be here for a while. But you can guarantee you get tickets to it when it comes here for the 2018–19 Broadway Philadelphia season now.

That’s the deal the Kimmel Center is running. If you become a subscriber for 2017–18, you can make sure you get tickets for Hamilton when it’s here the following season. Read more »

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