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 »

OPINION: The Artless Radicalization of Philly Theater

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 »

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 »

Patti LaBelle on Playing Jazz, Great Steaks and Overcoming Shyness

The queen on her throne. Photo via Derek Blanks.

Bel Hommage is your 19th studio album. How do you stay excited about recording? How do you keep things fresh? Until I leave this planet, I’ll be excited to do new music and to record forever. And this is a new venture for me. It’s a jazz album. I never thought I’d do a jazz project, and when we did it, I still wasn’t sure, but now that I’ve heard it, I love it.

So is your Trop show going to be mostly you doing Nina Simone tunes, or do we get to hear “New Attitude”? Oh, there will be older stuff. People need to hear that older stuff. People need to see it. But I’ll add in some jazz music as well. 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 »

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