33 Things to Do This Weekend

Snails, Hoots & Hellmouth, Shawn Wayans, Work Drugs and more.

Fringe Fest hit A Billion Nights On Earth returns to FringeArts this weekend. (Johanna Austin)

Friday, December 15

Philadanco @ Kimmel Center
The modern contemporary dance company presents H-I-S-T-O-R-Y, a program which includes the world premiere of “Pieces of My Heart,” choreographed by Sonia Dawkins and based on the poems by August Wilson. Runs Friday through Sunday.

A Billion Nights On Earth @ FringeArts
A revival of the family-friendly Fringe favorite by director Thaddeus Phillips and installation artist Steven Dufala. Runs December 15-17.

Muscle Tough @ Johnny Brenda’s
This instrumental “future funk fusion” trio from Philly — featuring Ross Bellenoit on guitar — likes psychedelic grooves and space jams.

Peter Pan @ Arden Theatre
Whit MacLaughlin directs the classic family-friendly adventure story. Runs through January 28.

Municipal Waste @ Trocadero
Thanks to looking these guys up on Wikipedia, I’m now aware of the “crossover thrash” subgenre. It’s a mix of thrash metal and hardcore punk. Seems like we could have called it thrunk. Virginia band Municipal Waste has been flying the flag for the thrunk scene since 2001.

Owel @ Voltage Lounge
The dreamy emo/indie band from Jersey released Live from Audio Pilot Studios a few days ago. Kind of a throwback to the alt-rock era.

Something Like a Monument @ Boot & Saddle
S.L.A.M. celebrates the release of their new Silhouettes EP with a hometown show. They’re kinda doomy and sort of garagey. Comparisons to Mars Volta are astute.

Victor Wooten Trio @ Keswick Theatre
The Grammy-winning bassist leads sonic explorations into jazz, funk, soul and psychedelia.

Snails @ The Fillmore
This Baltimore rock band (and Future Islands side project) oozes with ska and reggae overtones. More importantly, they all have names like Sandy Snailbelow, Snailliam, Sammy Snail, etc., and they wear big goofy snail-ish hats with eyes on stalks. Also, they leave a trail of slime everywhere maybe.

Philly Nutt Crak-Up @ Painted Bride
A holiday show by ContempraDANCE Theatre. Runs December 15-17.

Firebird Theatre Holiday Revue @ Colonial Theatre
Fireside offers two family-friendly one-act musical comedies, Annie JR and T’was the Week After Christmas.

Jean-Pierre Melville Centennial @ Lightbox Film Center
Lightbox wraps up its tribute to celebrated French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville (1917-1973). Anthony Lane of The New Yorker wrote this of Melville, earlier in the year: “He compensated for the modest tally of his films by insuring that pretty much every one is a gem. String them together, and you end up with a necklace to die for.” The lineup includes Army of Shadows on Friday and Le Circle Rouge and Un Flic on Saturday.

Shawn Wayans @ Punchline
The actor/comedian has had a long career in show biz, from In Living Color to White Chicks to the Scary Movie movies. Friday & Saturday, December 15 & 16. Here, have a cringe:

Justina Valentine @ Underground Arts
Funny and brash rapper from Passaic, NJ. Watch her go full Weird Al here.

The Color Purple @ Forrest Theater
Broadway Philadelphia presents the beloved drama based on the novel by Alice Walker. Runs through Sunday.

Orny Adams @ Helium
Kids today know Orny Adams from his recurring role on the Teen Wolf TV series, but oldheads will remember the 2002 documentary Comedian that chronicled his early days in the biz. Through Saturday.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker @ Academy of Music
PA Ballet presents the holiday classic about fairies, mice and such. Through December 31.


Saturday, December 16

Hoots & Hellmouth @ Union Transfer
The Philly roots/folk band always puts on a good show. Get there on time for Johnny Showcase.

Bruce Klauber @ Narberth Bookshop
The author (and “columnist, radio personality, award-winning filmmaker, drummer, singer”) shows off his new book, Reminiscing in Tempo: Farewells and Recollections of Showbiz, Jazz and Drums.

Love & Saucers @ PhilaMOCA
Brad Abrahams’ documentary tells the story of 72-year-old Hoboken artist David Huggins who claims to have been abducted (and seduced) by aliens throughout his life. Huggins will be in attendance and his paintings — many of which feature the extra-terrestrial beings he’s encountered — will also be on display.

The Melancholy Fantastic @ PUFF
PUFF (Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival) presents this screening of the director’s cut of A.D. Calvo’s “indie Christmas horror” from 2011. Though it’s billed as low-budget, The Melancholy Fantastic features a few notable stars (like Gotham’s Robin Lord Taylor) and looks pretty sharp.

Dai Burger @ Johnny Brenda’s
This Queens rapper has a bio on the JB’s site that’s either a sign our civilization isn’t worth saving or piece of short satire co-written by George Saunders and Bret Easton Ellis. Here, I’ll give you the highlights:

  • “The Breasts. The Hair. The Music. There’s no better way to describe Downtown’s best kept secret.” That’s how it starts.
  • “Dai Burger is a Hip-Pop star, fashion icon, trendsetter and your not-so-typical role model!” Exclamation point hers.
  • “Dai Burger’s growing success can be attributed to her numerous mixtapes and videos which drove the Internet into Burger Frenzies!” I don’t remember being in a burger frenzy.
  • “Appearing on numerous Instagram timelines, fans flooding her Twitter and Tumblr with questions and requests for more Burger, she has no intentions of letting down her fan base which has recently quadrupled in numbers!” Numerous Instagram timelines. Is she a Nick Kroll character?
  • “’Why the name Burger?’, everyone asks. She’ll tell you ‘Just look at me. Everything I do, I eat. Not to mention I’m all about my cheese, my lettuce and my bread! I’m out here serving this up daily!’ It’s lunch time children, and Dai Burger’s here to feed you all until you’re full. Hope you’re hungry.” That’s the end. Music hasn’t been mentioned in several paragraphs and I’m starting to think her publicist is a bot.
  • Okay, watch this video full of butts.

XMAS Induction Hour with DJ Jon Solomon
My old pal Jon Solomon, DJ on WPRB, will spin atypical holiday tunes in anticipation of his 25-hour marathon radio show on Christmas eve/day.

Work Drugs 7th Annual Holiday Spectacle @ Boot & Saddle
Philly rock band Work Drugs released their latest record, Flaunt the Imperfection, in September. On Saturday they’ll continue their holiday tradition with a night of smooth grooves and good friends.

Chynna @ Fillmore Philly
A hometown show for the Philly-born rapper/model currently living in Brooklyn. Billboard did a piece on Chynna kicking addiction and hanging out with A$AP Mob.

Matisyahu @ TLA
Did you know singer/rapper/beatboxer Matisyahu was born in West Chester, PA? Learn something knew every day. His most recent record, Undercurrent, came out in May.

Shamir @ First Unitarian Church 
Electro-disco-pop-meme-soul from Las Vegas. Shamir’s inventive and eccentric new album, Revelations, dropped in September.

Christine Larsen’s Holy Diver @ Brave New Worlds Old City
Larsen shows off her new wordless graphic novel Holy Diver.

Marah @ Underground Arts
The raucous Philly rockers keep on keepin’ on. Wasn’t long ago that Rolling Stone said Marah made “the Best Americana Album You’ve Never Heard.”


Sunday, December 17

Damien Escobar @ Keswick Theatre
The NYC violin wiz is known for his high energy shows that blend pop, jazz, classical and everything else.

World War 3 Illustrated @ Wooden Shoe Books and Records
Political cartoon magazine World War 3 Illustrated (in publication since 1979!) celebrates the release of its 48th issue, entitled Fight Fascism. Artists Seth Tobocman, Sandy Jimenez, Eric & Jenny Gonzalez Blitz and more will be in attendance.

Cinemaps @ PhilaMOCA
Authors Andrew DeGraff and A.D. Jameson show off their new book, Cinemaps: An Atlas of 35 Great Movies, which features essays and hand-painted maps that obsessively detail the locations in movies like Back to the FutureKing KongRaiders of the Lost Ark and The Shining. They are dazzling. Doogie Horner hosts.

Josh Gondelman @ Helium
The NYC comedian is a writer on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and has appeared on Conan and Night Train With Wyatt Cenac.

Trans Siberian Orchestra @ Wells Fargo Center
Celebrate Christmas like aliens do in the arctic circle.