When Irish President Mary Robinson resigned her position two weeks before the end of her term in 1997, she did so with grace. And not that Nixonian “I’ve been bullied for the last time” grace, either. Rather, she left her position as Ireland’s political leader—after having made said position both meaningful and scores more liberal—to take a more powerful, prestigious gig as the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations. Since (and before) then, she’s spruced up her resume with one accomplishment after another—and another, not-as-graceful resignation. You’ll get your chance to see her speak and read from her new book, Everybody Matters, Friday night at the American Philosophical Society.
A well-known activist lawyer, Robinson worked both in the courts and as a member of the Irish Senate before her presidency, where she promoted liberal changes in Ireland’s social laws. She helped legalize both contraception and homosexuality.
As the High Commissioner for Human Rights, she made headlines when she led the controversial World Conference Against Racism in 2001. The conference, attended by international leaders, had set a goal to release a declaration that originally included a line equating Zionism with racism (the conference also attempted to deal with compensation for slavery). This caused the U.S. and Israel to drop out. Robinson was partially blamed for this, and her relations with the U.S. have remained tense since, especially as she is not a deferential supporter of Israel. She left her U.N. post a year later, it’s claimed, because of pressure from the U.S. In addition to her claims against Israeli foreign policy, she is a staunch critic of our country’s human rights record during the war on terrorism. That said, she was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009, which 45 Republicans blasted for her “failed, biased record as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.” / Randy LoBasso
Fri., March 8, 5:30pm. Free. American Philosophical Society, 427 Chestnut St. amphilsoc.org
Canada’s Stars are touring North America in support of their newest album, The North. They’ve also put together a free EP titled You Guys Are Awesome, which features two of their own songs as well as tracks from the various bands that will be supporting them this time around. 7:30pm. $20-$22. With Milo Greene. The Trocadero, 1004 Arch St. 215.922.6888. thetroc.com
Joe Terry, aka the Muffin Man, and company make up this Philadelphia three-piece pop/rock outfit. 7pm. Free. With Weird Hot, Blue Hippopotamus + Swedeland. The Grape Room, 105 Grape St. Manyunk. 215.930.0321. graperoommusic.com
This soulful four-piece focuses on the earliest form of rock ‘n’ roll. Their sound revists the R&B element that was so prevalent in early Rolling Stones records and is inspired by Otis Redding, Chuck Berry and Tina Turner. 8pm. $12-$15. With Leogun. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com
MIND & BODY
Meditation on Patience
Explore the practice of patience and the benefits of practicing meditation in our daily lives in a class led by Gen Kelsang Tenzin, Buddhist monk and resident teacher of the Amitayus Kadampa Buddhist Center. 7pm. Free. The Philadelphia City Institute, 1905 Locust St. meditationinphiladelphia.org
Girls Night Out
What do you get when you put a thousand women and more than 30 beauty, fashion and health vendors together in the same room at the world’s largest indoor flower show? You get one hell of a girl’s night out, that’s what. Due to soaring demand, this year’s ladies-only event has been moved to a larger space, with twice as many tickets now up for grabs. While enjoying the sounds of DJ Eddie Tully, guests will receive the royal treatment with exclusive samplings, consultations, product demos, DIY craft stations and sales from both local and national retailers/brands such as Burberry, Giovanni & Pileggi, Saks Fifth Avenue, Hope Chest Fine Lingerie and Baby Be Hip. Meanwhile, Stephen STARR Events will create two tasting stations serving up the catering division’s most popular dishes, along with those of Buddakan AC and Continental AC. Last but not least, throughout the evening, Macy’s offers up a salon-style fashion presentation featuring the retailer’s trendiest Royal Family-inspired fashions, all available for purchase during the event at their pop-up shop area. The $50 dollar ticket—which must be purchased in advance—includes admission to the Flower Show, as well as a premium gift and complimentary cocktail immediately upon arrival. Oh, and since you’re going to need something to carry all that free swag in, PHS is also going to be giving guests a special reuseable tote bag. / Nicole Finkbiner
6pm. $50. Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch sts. 215.988.8899. theflowershow.com
Labeled “goth pop” for song titles such as “Found Love in a Graveyard,” the band is out to prove they aren’t really as depressed as people make them out to be. 9pm. $13. With Cold Showers, and Juan Wauters. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com
Comix, Cartoons and the
Uncensored Artistic Mind
Examine how graphic commentary and political cartoons have been presented in American media. Philadelphia cartoonist Dwayne Booth, aka Mr. Fish, will speak about his experience working with Harper’s and Truthdig. 2pm. Free. Temple University, Annenberg Hall, 2020 N. 13th St. smc.temple.edu
Rah Rah represents their homeland of Saskatchewan, making music that evokes a prairie landscape and its accordant lifestyle. Now on their third album, they stick to the topics they know, like growing up in the country and being in a band. 8pm. $8. With Two Hours Traffic. Kung Fu Neck Tie, 1250 N. Front St. 215.291.4919. kungfunecktie.com
Aaron and the Spell + Merchant
One half of this co-headlining event, Aaron and the Spell, is a Philly-based band that encompasses the city’s heritage of soul and indie music, making it uniquely their own in the process. Merchant is Anna Christie’s new project, specializing in haunting deliveries and Americana. 7pm. $10. Tin Angel, 20 S. 2nd St. 215.928.0770. tinangel.com
Machine Gun Kelly
Twenty-two-year-old mohawked and tatted-up Cleveland rapper Machine Gun Kelly embarks on his Lace Up tour, in support of the recently released album of the same name. MGK’s rhymes focus on depression, addiction, family issues and other turbulent topics. 8pm. $20. Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South St. 215.922.1011. tlaphilly.com
These Scots who live in London have a Hot Chip sensability that places them in that immediately likeable category: trippy but danceable electronic-oriented, rhythm-conscious indie rock. The Rapture captured it a ways back with a heavier guitar contingent and a nasty drummer. Percussion’s key, but so is the production and the beats you use, if you’re gonna use em’ right. Thing about this band is, the drummer’s the mastermind Dave Maclean. He met his mates at Edinburg’s College of Art: vocalist and guitarist, Vinny Neff, Jimmy Dixon on bass and Tommy Grace handling synths.
No doubt they grew up blasting the Stones, the Who, Zep and maybe some Sex Pistols, too. And there is a tiny little nascent Brit-rock badass Oasis cover band buried deep within them. But then they introduce things like sirens and bells and handclaps, and it hangs out with surf rock with singalongs and feel-good vibes. Always with that wallomping hiccup of a beat that makes you bob your head and move your shoulders. Take “Default,” the searing standout on their 2012 official self-titled debut (via Because Music). It clearly uses some unnatural vocal tweaks, and it’s not unwelcome. At the chorus, the vocal gets chopped and hype. Plus a jangly, driving electric guitar bounce holds it all together.
They have something about them that approaches tribal and world. Don’t be scared. Those words can be frightening in an indie rock context. Animal Collective and Yeasayer are great bands, but there are unlikeable things about stuff they’ve done since their most beautiful, pure-human-animal moments. However, bands’ve been nailing it better than them since, like Young Magic and Quilt. You get a little dream pop, too, sometimes; Beach House, Chairlift and Grizzly Bear would not make unfriendly lineup partners.
Oh, and Django Unchained? Not related or thematically connected in any way. Also, Maclean’s related to John of the Beta Band fame. Looks like being awesome runs in the family. / Bill Chenevert
8pm. $15. With Night Moves. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100. utphilly.com
Yes, it’s the British-guy-writer-correspondent from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Did you know he’s been performing live standup ever since he graduated from Cambridge in 1998? Tonight, you lucky ducks can catch him live on the Helium Comedy stage. 7:30pm and10pm. $30. Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Samson St. heliumcomedy.com
Devotchka is probably best known for contributing the song “How it Ends” to a Halo commercial—or perhaps for composing the score to Little Miss Sunshine. In fact, they’ve been a band for more than a decade and have six studio albums under their collective belts, not including their latest live outing, which features their material reworked with an orchestra. 8pm. $24-$26. With Chamber Orchestra, and Pear & the Beard. The Trocadero, 1004 Arch St. 215.922.6888. thetroc.com
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide