39 Things to Do This Weekend

Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble plays Johnny Brenda’s on Saturday.


Ghostly Circus: Heaven’s Theatre @ Laurel Hill Cemetery
BYO blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy an evening of fire dancing, aerial performance, theatrical sideshows and more. Food truck and cocktails will be sold. Show up on time or you’re not getting in.

Comedy for Gentlemen @ The Republican
Standup comedy at South Philly’s most revered go-go club. Erin Dohony and Rachel Fogletto host, Raquel Dominguez, Tom McDonough, Jes Bolduc and Dan Vetrano perform. Read more »

Movies: Blackstar Film Fest Starts Tonight

Activist Brittany Ferrell in Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis’ documentary Whose Streets? about protests in Ferguson, Missouri. (photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.)

This year’s edition of the Blackstar Film Festival — the annual celebration of filmmaking from the African diaspora and global indigenous communities — is packed with events that put storytelling front and center. The fest runs August 3-6, with most screenings taking place at the Lightbox Film Center (formerly known as International House). The schedule is packed, but here are some highlights, including lots of trailers.

Who Gets To Tell Which Stories? @ Institute of Contemporary Art | Thursday, August 3
This panel discussion on cultural appropriation features filmmakers Iyabo Boyd, Michael Premo, Felix Sutcliffe and Numa Perrier (co-founder of Black&SexyTV).

Wilmington 10 — USA 10,000 @ Lightbox Film Center | Thursday, August 3
A screening of Haile Gerima’s 1979 underground film about political prisoners in the United States, particularly the Wilmington 10, whose cause was taken up by Amnesty International. Read more »

12 Things to Do in Comedy, Movies, Poetry, Guns, Ghosts and More

Married comedians Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher play the Troc on Thursday. (Robin Van Swank)

Summer Coven, Had Me a Blast @ Martha | Wednesday, August 2
The 215 Festival presents an evening of poetry readings by Alina Pleskova, Amy Saul-Zerby, Nicole Steinberg, Gina Myers and Elizabeth Scanlon (editor of The American Poetry Review).

Moshe Kasher & Natasha Leggero @ Trocadero | Thursday, August 3
A double-bill by two very funny comedians who are also married to each others. They’re calling it the Endless Honeymoon Tour. The New York Times did a funny, pretty adorbs story on the two of them recently. Read more »

Music: 8 Shows to See in the Next 7 Days

Chappie’s BFFs Die Antwoord play the Electric Factory on Tuesday, August 8.

Blondie/Garbage @ The Mann | Wednesday, August 2
Debbie Harry and co. are into bees these days. Blondie’s Pollinator album, released in May, has a bee on the cover and raises money for the band’s BEE Connected campaign to educate people about colony collapse. To hammer home their message, the band will release 10,000 bees at every concert. Collectible epi-pens are available at the merch table. I made some of this up. I’m really pretty scared of bees. If one stings me I have to go to the hospital.

GrandeMarshall @ Johnny Brenda’s | Thursday, August 3
The young North Philly rapper signed to Fool’s Gold Records last year. Download his most recent mixtape here and go to the show so you can say you saw him when. This is NSFW:
Read more »

Everybody’s Wrong About Belle and Sebastian But Me

Hot Take: Belle and Sebastian has better songs than “Piazza, New York Catcher.” (Søren Solkær Starbird)

I believe in vaccines and the moon landing(s)*, but I don’t believe in Spotify. And I’m not just saying this because streaming services encourage the false expectation that we deserve every song ever made by anyone for free, on demand, at the expense of the artist. I have no opinion on that.

No, I’m talking about the play counts. Look up your favorite bands.** See which song has been played the most. The top song is almost invariably not the best, right? Why? It’s people, man. A person, of course, is entitled to her/his/their opinion. But people? All together? People get it wrong, more often then not.***

Why do I bring this up now? Because I just looked up Belle and Sebastian, heroes of Scottish indie-pop and a longtime favorite of mine. They’re playing the Mann on Thursday. (Cred check? Okay, I’ve not only seen them play a bunch of times, I was there when they didn’t play! At the Troc that one time! Bow before my oldness!) So I look them up, already bracing myself for disgust because the band had a strong 20-year existence before Spotify was born, and because I’m feeling snobby. And what did I see? This: Read more »

The Hit List: The 10 Best Shows in Philly in August

Martha Graham Cracker. Photograph by Kevin Monko

1. Roger Waters
It seems a full-blown Pink Floyd reunion is as likely as Jerry Garcia coming back from the dead, and Waters, the brain behind much of the band’s catalog, has hinted that this 60-plus-show tour may be his last. Expect tunes from Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, Animals and Wish You Were Here, plus a mind-boggling stage production. August 8th, 9th and 11th at the Wells Fargo Center

2. “Mohamed Bourouissa: Urban Riders”
Look for depictions of the well-known urban cowboys of North Philadelphia in this exhibition of more than 85 works by the Algerian-born artist, whose media include photography, sculpture, drawings and video. $25 Barnes admission too steep? The museum is free the first Sunday of each month. Through October 2nd at the Barnes Museum, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway Read more »

35 Things to Do This Weekend

Nite Jewel plays Johnny Brenda’s on Friday. (Leo Garcia)


Nite Jewel @ Johnny Brenda’s
Supporting her new record Real High (and its corresponding b-sides collection, Real Low), L.A. artist Nite Jewel, aka Ramona Gonzalez, is touring for the first time in five years. Inspired by Janet Jackson and other titans of pop/R&B, Nite Jewel woulda crushed it on q102 in 1989. Works today, too.

In the Steps of Trisha Brown @ Lightbox Film Center
A behind-the-scenes movie about choreographer Trisha Brown staging her classic work Glacial Decoy in Paris. Read more »

Tonight: Snakehead Hunting at John Heinz

The invasive Northern Snakehead fish can survive on land for three days and in water indefinitely. (Brian Gratwicke/Flickr)

All summer long, the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge — a big, gorgeous stretch of protected marshland near the airport — is hosting Snakehead Fishing Nights, calling on the public to help rid their waters of the dreaded “frankenfish.” Why is this organization, usually dedicated to keeping animals alive, so intent on killing these particular fish?

Here’s what we know about the Northern Snakehead:

  • They’re an invasive species, imported from China, with no natural predators in North America besides all the things that usually eat fish.
  • They breathe air, meaning they can squirm around on land whenever they want to.
  • They are slimy and have teeth.
  • They have snakes for heads.
  • Adult snakeheads eat other fish and frogs. Sometimes they eat mammals, including rats.
  • Oh so now we like rats?
  • The species is sometimes called the “frankenfish” because you can just name things whatever apparently.
  • OMFG I just watched a video where some dude tries to catch one using a duckling as bait. Don’t look it up.
  • Snakehead fish have been found in FDR Park, the Schuylkill River and video games.
  • The Syfy network has released three informative films about this animal: Snakehead Terror (2004), Frankenfish (2004) and Swarm of the Snakehead (2006).
  • Snakehead fish dream of sprouting hands and seeing what kind of trouble they can get into that way.

Read more »

Best of Philly 2017: Music, Comedy, Theater and More

The War on Drugs plays the new-look Dell Music Center on Sept. 21. (Shawn Brackbill)

Best of Philly 2017 is now online as well as at newsstands, celebrating outstanding food, people, shops and more from across the region. Here are some highlights from the Fun & Games section:

Musical Instrument Collection at the Free Library
Thanks to an innovative new program at the Central branch, you can check out all sorts of musical instruments for three weeks, for free. One of our editors borrowed a ukulele, a bass guitar, and a Fender Stratocaster with a surprisingly loud amp. Our apologies to the neighbors.
1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA | 215-686-5322 | Website

Sing Your Life Karaoke at W/N W/N Coffee Bar
Sara Sherr has been ruling the local karaoke scene for a while now, but her newest series—in this unexpected coffee shop/bar/co-working space mashup—is the freshest one yet. The themed Thursday nights include Queer, Feminist, Big Gay Country and, our personal favorite, Protest.
931 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA | Website Read more »

Music: 10 Shows to See in the Next 7 Days

Jamila Woods plays Johnny Brenda’s on Wednesday. (courtesy of the artist)

Jamila Woods @ Johnny Brenda’s | Wednesday, July 26
With her supple voice and message of resistance and persistence, this Chicago soul singer makes you sweat and swoon on last year’s HEAVN. These songs are groovy, optimistic and empowered.

Boston / Joan Jett & the Blackhearts @ BB&T Pavilion | Thursday, July 27
Save a space for Boston in the amazing history of fans becoming the lead singer of their favorite bands. After the death of longtime singer Brad Delp in 2007, Tommy DeCarlo — then a manager at Home Depot — wrote a tribute and posted it on MySpace. Within a year, he was hired full-time, singing “More Than a Feeling” and touring the world. He’s got the pipes. Anyway, here’s some Joan Jett, because she’s great. Read more »

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