39 Things to Do This Weekend

Desoto Jones, Hal Sparks, R2D2, Wolf Alice and more.

Hiss Golden Messenger plays World Cafe Live on Saturday. (Elise Tyler)

Friday, December 8

Andrea Bocelli @ Wells Fargo Center
The celebrated Italian tenor performs with the Philly Pops and conductor Eugene Kohn. Expect traditional classical/pop numbers along with favorites from his recent album Cinema, his 1997 record Romanza and more.

’68 @ Voltage Lounge
The noisy Atlanta rock duo is touring behind Two Parts Viper, released in June.

Philadelphia Assembled @ Perelman Building
An art project centering on the themes of “radical community building and active resistance.” This Saturday, December 9, Black Quantum Futurism and the Reentry Think Tank lead a tour of the exhibition, followed by a forum on “intransigent issues like reentry after imprisonment and gentrification.” Through December 10.

The Fools’ Descent Tarot Artparty @ Benna’s Cafe
Artist Jeremy Eric Tenenbaum’s The Fools’ Descent — a “chain” of tarot cards telling “four charmingly tragic stories” — will be sold and displayed. Also: tarot readings, music, food and more.

Star Wars Found Footage: Sci-Fi Explosion x Video Pirates @ PhilaMOCA
A collision of comedy and nerdery concocted by Chris Cummins (Sci-Fi Explosion) and Eric Bresler (Video Pirates). Plus live music by Wookiedelphia. “Expect oddities, rarities, and a ton of Jar Jar Binks. And maybe a Porg or two.”

Star Wars Costumed Dance Party @ The Barbary
Unrelated to the event above, but surely there’s some crossover appeal. This “Rebel Princess” party pays tribute to Carrie Fisher and David Bowie with multiple rooms and music by Mega Ran. R2D2 (or some facsimile thereof) will be in attendance for photos.

Léon Morin, Priest @ Lightbox Film Center
Lightbox continues its Jean-Pierre Melville Centennial programming with this screening of the director’s cut of Melville’s 1961 film starring Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Earthquake @ Punchline
This D.C. comic is the funniest guy in history to accidentally drop a nuclear weapon. Through Saturday.

The York Street Hustle Holiday Spectacular @ Union Transfer
The high-energy ensemble does Aretha Franklin, Al Green and other Motown/soul favorites. Top notch.

Art Auction @ Space 1026
Bid on pieces by local (Adam Wallacavage, Andrew Jeffery Wright) and nationally known (Charles Burns, Tim Kerr) artists and help keep beloved Philly art institution Space 1026 up and running.

Beth and Ralph’s Porn Stash @ PHIT
Beth Eisenberg and Ralph Andracchio present the holiday edition of their fan-favorite comedy show inspired by strange pornography they found online. This month, their panel includes Yemima Cohen, Eoin O’Shea, Brian Finnell and Sarah Bell.

The Brownings @ FringeArts
Harriet Power directs this play about Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Reviewer David Fox bemoaned the play’s “comic schtick” but had positive things to say as well: “Elizabeth here is the wonderfully idiosyncratic Charlotte Northeast, whose quirky edginess has rarely been given such free rein. She’s terrific, as are the other two actors—David Ingram as a droll, slightly nerdy Robert Browning, and James Ijames, twinkling slyly behind a piano, as Robert Schumann (yes, the composer). They, and the entire production, under Harriet Power’s sleek and steady directorial hand, really could not be bettered.” Read the whole review here. Runs through December 9.

Hal Sparks @ Helium
The Talk Soup/Queer As Folk alum does standup.

Rebirth Brass Band @ Underground Arts
The long-running New Orleans brass band plays two nights in the basement (Friday and Saturday).

Help End Overdose Deaths in Philly @ Everybody Hits
A benefit show for Kensington org Prevention Point which distributes Narcan to help prevent death by overdose. Music by Tygerstrype, Aphra, Dolores and heatmap. Supplies like coats, toothpaste, etc. will also be collected.

The Roast of Your 15-Year-Old Self @ Good Good Comedy Theatre
Comedians talk about how awful they were when they were younger. Hosted by Alise Morales. Performers include Pete Steele, Kyle Harris, Shannon Fahey, Michael Kelly and Max Barth.

Vagabon @ First Unitarian Church
With her softly powerful voice and idiosyncratic lyrics, Vagabon is one of the most exciting indie rock acts to cross my path this year. Her debut full-length, Infinite Worlds (released in February), lures you in with sweetness and knocks you over with muscle. I know I already posted one of her videos this week, but:

The Art of Swimming @ Headhouse Café
The latest installment in Tiny Dynamite’s A Play, A Pie, and A Pint series is the premiere of this one-woman play by Lynda Radley about 1920s celebrity/athlete Mercedes Gleitze. Stars Lee Minora, with live music by Daniel Ison. Through December 17.

Every Brilliant Thing @ Arden Theatre
Terrence J. Nolen directs this one-man play starring Scott Greer. Extended through December 10.

Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG Playhouse Christmas Show @ Bucks County Playhouse
A “five actor holiday frolic” based on Dickens and written by Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen. A family-friendly production featuring laughs, music and more. Runs December 8-31.

Shooting Stars Holiday Spectacular @ Upper Darby Performing Arts Center
Family-friendly holiday entertainment featuring the singers and dancers of the Upper Darby Summer Stage Shooting Stars show choir. Friday and Saturday, December 8 & 9


Saturday, December 9

Hiss Golden Messenger @ World Cafe Live
I don’t know where this North Carolina folk/blues/rock band gets their name, but it brings to mind those gold records placed on the Voyager probe — a care package and primer from earth to whoever’s out there. Imagine some extra-solar heptapod putting the needle down on this groovy, psychedelic song and just blissing out. (For something more recent, click here.)

Handmade: Indoor Holiday Market and Philly Small Press Faire @ Fleisher Art Memorial
A chance to do some atypical holiday shopping and support local artists. Buy handmade arts and crafts by Amy Miller, Wind and Waves Soaps, Laneita Nelson, Noelle Egan and tons more. And on the small press side of things: zines, comics and books by Pat Aulisio, Steve Teare, Beth Heinly, Box Brown, Cyn Why and more.

Kweku Collins @ Johnny Brenda’s
The young Chicago rapper impresses with his smart, sly funny rhymes and overall oddball sensibility.

Excursions in Light @ PhilaMOCA
Dead Leaf Echo, The Morelings, The Silence Kit and Hidden Lights perform at this night dedicated to artists with a visual element to their music, like film, lights and projections.

Sean Conroy @ PHIT
The comedian performs his standup show The World’s Smallest Giant. Conroy has performed on Conan and written for several shows including Key & Peele, Crossballs and Adult Swim’s Mr. Pickles.

South Philly Handmade Brigade @ 1241 Carpenter St.
This “shopping event” offers gifts by local makers of jewelry, clothes, glass, ceramics, etc.

Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror 3-D / Dracula vs. Frankenstein @ Lightbox Film Center
As you can probably tell, this screening of rarely seen drive-in movie classics is a collaboration with Exhumed Films, a beloved and reliable source of horror film events in the city. (Preceded by a screening of the final four films from Exhumed’s 24-Horror-thon.)

Wolf Alice @ Trocadero
The slick, catchy London rock outfit famous for the 2015 single “Moaning Lisa Smile” delivered their latest record, Visions of a Life, in September. Ellie Rowsell’s powerhouse pop vocals remain the best reason to tune in.

Jamar Nicholas @ Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse
The Philly-based comics creator shows off his popular, all-ages graphic novel, LEON: Protector of the Playground.

Mogwai @ TLA
Experimental and sometimes instrumental, Scottish rock veterans Mogwai have always moved to their own currents. Right now, they’re feeling dreamy and spooky, judging by this fun-as-hell single off Every Country’s Sun, released in September.

Ryan Tennis @ Milkboy Philly
With his acoustic guitar and smooth vocals, this Philly singer-songwriter specializes in upbeat party music — light reggae, funk and other jammy, crowd-pleasing stuff. The Key did a Key Sessions with him recently.

John Waters Christmas @ Union Transfer | Saturday, December 9
The famous author and director of Hairspray, Serial Mom and Pink Flamingos performs his one-man show. Not for the kids.

Beaux Arts Bash @ Free Library of Philadelphia
The Free Library’s annual gala parties like it’s turn-of-the-century France. Then stick around for the Moulin Rouge After-Party.

Dreamgurlz @ Good Good Comedy Theatre
Standup and storytelling by NYC comedians/BFFs Christi Chiello, Marie Faustin, Sydnee Washington and Molly Austin.

Peter Max Retrospective — The Collected Works 1960-2017 @ Wentworth Gallery
An exhibition of works by the pop artist known for his brightly colored Summer of Love artwork, including paintings of the Beatles, Sinatra and more. Peter Max himself will also be in attendance.

John Waters Christmas @ Union Transfer | Saturday, December 9
The famous author and director of HairspraySerial Mom and Pink Flamingos performs his one-man show. Not for the kids.

Hip-Hop for Tots @ the Fire
Don’t bring kids — bring toys for kids at CHOP. Reef the Lost Cauze and Adlib host. Performers include John Morrison, DJ Skipmode, Bo Bliz +Emynd and more.


Sunday, December 10

Desoto Jones @ Underground Arts
The defunct alt-rock band reunites to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their record Aurora and raise money for some friends in need.

Nels Cline / Larry Ochs / Gerald Cleaver Trio @ Ardmore Music Hall
This crowd-rocking jazz trio — Cline on guitar, Cleaver on drums and Ochs on sax — dwells in a world of rare subgenre tags like “Midwestern free jazz,” “Bay Area structured improvisation” and “bicoastal noise punk.”

Joy Again @ PhilaMOCA
I don’t know much about this Philly rock band, but I like this song.

Hard, Lonely, & Vicious @ Helium
Rae Sanni, Rojo Perez, the hilarious Dina Hashem, Shane Gillis, Lindsay Boling, Mara Marek and Mike Falzone participate in some kind of standup comedy drinking game. Peggy O’Leary hosts.

Strand Of Oaks Winter Classic @ Boot & Saddle
The Philly folk-rockers are playing three nights in a row, Friday-Sunday. Last we checked, Sunday was the only one not sold out.