PW's Picks For The Week

Biped and eyeSpace, John Zorn, Way Down in the Hole: A Comedy Tribute to The Wire, and Wheelchair Rugby Atlantic North Regional Championships.

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Keeping it wheel: Murderball is yet another sport more interesting than baseball.

>>ruggered individualism

USQRA Atlantic North Regional Playoffs

Sat., March 1, 9am-6pm, and Sun., March 2, 9am-3pm. Free. Carousel House, Belmont Ave. and N. Concourse Dr. 215.205.3076.

God bless Canadians. They can hardly go a century without inventing a hyperviolent pastime. Their latest creation is wheelchair rugby--a contact sport for quadriplegic athletes. No, scratch that. Calling wheelchair rugby--aka quad rugby, aka murderball--a contact sport is like sitting pants-free over Old Faithful and calling it an enema. It's a collision sport--a hardwood-floor demolition derby, but with balls. It's more unadulterated violence on wheels than Mike Vick on roller skates being chased and caught by an angry pack of mama dogs. It's like Tyson vs. Tyson. But the men and women who play the game wouldn't settle for gnawing off a chunk of your ear. They'd bite your head clean off, spit it out and throw it to a friend who'd race it into the end zone for an easy goal. Come cheer Philly's Magge Eagles as they beat the living spit out of Virginia Beach's East Coast Cripplers, D.C.'s Capitol Punishers and New York's United Spinal Jets. (Jean Luc Renault)


John Zorn

John Zorn
Sun., March 2, 2pm and 8pm. $26.25-$35. International House, 3701 Chestnut St. 215.387.5125.

John Zorn doing Jewish music? Those dreading a two-minute noise version of "Hava Negila" with some guy screaming nonsense should fear not. The bad boy of experimental music has mellowed. In 1993 Zorn started writing the Masada Songbook, which explores traditional Jewish music in a contemporary context. This Sunday Philadelphia gets to experience the fruits of his labor with a Masada Songbook concert, the main event of the Radical Jewish Music Festival. It features several ensembles coming together to explore the 208 tunes Zorn has written to date. The music melds contemporary sounds to ancient melodies, creating gorgeous chamber music that's both haunting and ecstatic. Earlier in the day Zorn will present a performance of his new album The Dreamers, along with music from Essential Cinema--his collection of experimental film scores. (Jack Schonewolf)

>>smack and Cheese

Way Down in the Hole: A Comedy Tribute to The Wire

Wed., March 5, 8pm. $10. Shubin Theater, 407 Bainbridge St. 215.592.0119

Like gravity, Newton's third and entropy, Lorne Michaels' law is a universal truth: If a show is popular, a comedian will "honor" it. Sure, they shied away from The Wire for a long time. Too real. Too gritty. And no one would get the jokes. As much as people talked and read about it, most people hadn't actually seen it. But now it's the final season, and people are watching. It's time for the funny to start. Hole--a fundraiser for Project H.O.M.E.--is a collection of sketches, videos and improv bits dedicated to the most depressing television show of our time. It's going to be tough. The drug trade, corruption and murdered kids aren't the most obvious topics for comedy. But The Wire has a lot of hard-wrought tough-guy dialogue and political demagoguery. In the hands of comedy troupes like the Sixth Borough, Secret Pants and Meg and Rob, it might be pure gold. (Alli Katz)

>>Hoof and Beauty

Biped and eyeSpace

Thurs., Feb. 28, 7:30pm, and Fri., Feb 29, 8pm. $30-$50. Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut St. 215.898.3900.

The Merce Cunningham Dance Company's upcoming premieres of Biped and eyeSpace at the Annenberg are a rare chance to see the work of living legend Merce Cunningham--an octogenarian who still oversees production. Technology and the organic collide in Biped, an ensemble piece pulsating with electronic beats. eyeSpace, Cunningham's latest creation, splinters apart the usual performer-to-audience dynamic by equipping audience members with a iPod (yeah, you have to give it back). Makes sense--Cunningham's been reconstructing the space between movement and music since the 1940s, when he first collaborated with John Cage. Those who aspire to diversify their dance consumption beyond zippered-up foreplay and kung fu kicks are in for a treat. (Tara Murtha)

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