Highlight: The Swining

There are only a few annual events in Philadelphia that I would rate on the don’t-miss level, and Pig Iron Theatre Company’s benefit party at the Trocadero, starring Pig Ironers Quinn Bauriedel and Dito van Reigersberg (pictured), is one of them. (And yes, Saturday’s Academy Ball, featuring Billy Joel and Chris Matthews, is as well, but it’s completely sold out — though you could try your luck with the $300 nosebleeds on Craigslist … insane!)

If you follow local theater at all, you know that Pig Iron and their brand of experimental and physical performance have been at the epicenter of the city’s surging arts scene since their inception 13 years ago, with award-winning shows like Gentlemen Volunteers, Cafeteria and Hell Meets Henry Halfway.

This Friday, the group and their oh-so-talented friends take over the historic Trocadero Theatre for The Swining: A City Screams in Terror!, featuring a dizzying array of acts, from Matthew Neenan’s BalletX to cellist Daniel DeJesus to something called Japanese Unicycling Monkey (which I just have to experience first-hand I guess), to a virtuoso trombonist from Greece. And, even without considering Pig Iron’s $20 ticket price, it sounds a whole lot more entertaining than listening to Chris Matthews anyway.

The Swining: A City Screams in Terror!, January 25th at 8 p.m., Trocadero Theatre, 1003 Arch St.. For Tickets, contact the Pig Iron box office at 215-627-1883, or go to pigiron.org