Wednesday, Sept. 21
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Tonight marks two returns from the dead. No, not Jesus and Jan-Michael Vincent’s acting career. We’re talking about the venerable building at 10th and Spring Garden that formerly housed the culinary shithole known as the Spaghetti Warehouse, but this evening gets its grand re-opening as the gorgeous new music venue Union Transfer. And we’re also talking about the reunited Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, which will christen Union Transfer with lots of fresh tunes. The heralded Philly/Brooklyn indie outfit with the Neutral Byrne Hotel sound split up a couple years ago after the “Pitchfork effect” wore off, but they’re back with a very good new album called Hysterical, the title of which we take to mean “troubled” more than “funny.” -Michael Alan Goldberg
8pm. $18-$20. With Polica. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100. utphilly.com
ICA Free For All
The Institute of Contemporary Art hosts their annual blowout party this week, and the name pretty much says it all. Rock out with a performance by lightly skuzzy, heavily shredding Philadelphia band Purling Hiss before they head off on their European tour. Or take a break from the tunes and let PennDesign MFA students show you a trick or two for crafting your very own tote bag. Round out the evening with a talk by Senior Curator Ingrid Schaffner on the subject of “What is Contemporary?” We suspect it has something do with going to this event. -Katherine Rochester
6:30pm. Free. Institute of Contemporary Art, 118 S. 36th St. 215.898.7108. icaphila.org
Ernest Hemingway loved his fishing boat. It was a fine boat. He named her Pilar. She was faithful. More honest than any woman he’d ever met. She was diligent and clever. She showed no signs of fear when faced with dangerous waters. Together they chased marlin. She was steadfast. Even after many daiquiris at Sloppy Joe’s, Ernest never raised his voice. He told her about Spain. Pilar listened. He spoke on war. She agreed. She talked of storms. He recalled a lion in Kenya. Their stories became one story. Pilar grieved when Ernest died. Paul Hendrickson is a lecturer in the English Department at the University of Pennsylvania. He has written many books. His newest is Hemingway’s Boat. Paul tells Ernest’s story through Pilar’s story. It is the story of a man and his boat. A boat and her lover. Paul talks about the affair tonight at the Penn Humanities Forum. -Elliott Sharp
5pm. Free. Rainey Auditorium, 3260 South St. 215.573.8280. phf.upenn.edu
Philadelphia is far from the harmonious community that William Penn once envisioned it would be. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t hurt for us to at least try to be for one day. In honor of International Peace Day, schools and organizations across the area will be holding a variety of peace and nonviolence activities and events. This includes an International Student Dialogue at Penn discussing changing views on multiculturalism and cultural tolerance and two afternoon “Peace Talks” at Drexel focusing on nuclear disarmament and community rebuilding in post-conflict countries. The day will wrap up with a Peace Sing-A-Long—lyrics and lemonade provided—outside the Ethical Society in Rittenhouse followed by “Bridges To Peace,” a presentation of music, poetry, spoken word and other art forms. -Nicole Finkbiner
Various times. Free. Various locations. 610.324.3602. una-gp.org
Thursday, Sept. 22
Vintage Dance Party
Age is nothing but a number this Thursday night at Philadelphia’s first intergenerational Vintage Dance Party. Dance historian Bob Skiba teaches the most active history class you’ve ever seen; the syllabus contains the steps to popular swing dances like “The Big Apple,” an improv jazzy swing step created by black kids in the ’30s, the “Rusty Dusty” and the “Shorty George.” The event is aimed at the “folks who are [as] eager to teach the dances of their youth as there will be younger people who’ve come to learn some new ‘vintage’ dances,” according to GenPhilly Leadership Committee member and event coordinator Lauren Ring. Nothing like bringing the good old pieces of the past back into the present. -Trishula Patel
6:30pm. Free. William Way Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. 215.765.9000.
Since resuming his solo-dom in 2006, the suddenly prolific Lindsay Buckingham’s set himself up in an indie pop singer/songwriter pad. And why not? Fleetwood Mac’s pretty, soft rock is a key genre touchstone. Buckingham’s take isn’t far removed from a Sondre Lerche or Cass McCombs album—rich but understated and elegantly crafted with subtle (but prodigious) overdubs, pretty guitar melodies, tasteful synthetic beats/keyboard swirl and the wistful vibe of autumn passing into winter. Buckingham’s third album in five years, Seeds We Sow, is the first he’s self-released, something evident in the intimacy and immediacy of these less-polished home studio recordings. Minus the sheen, Buckingham’s astounding musicianship and skillful writing are only more apparent. -Chris Parker
7:30pm. $30-$47. Keswick Theatre, 291 Keswick Ave., Glenside. 215.572.7650. keswicktheatre.com
Through the Weeping Glass
The Mütter Museum, of course, is hands-down Philadelphia’s coolest athenaeum—what with its collection of arcane surgical tools, a 9-foot-long mega-colon, President Grover Cleveland’s cancerous tumor in a jar, more skulls than a Parisian catacomb and lots more bizarre goodies. Meanwhile, Norristown-born and London-based identical twin brothers Stephen and Timothy Quay, now 64, are two of the most amazing stop-motion animators ever—their frequently dark and macabre visions influencing countless other filmmakers. So we can’t imagine that a Mütter documentary helmed by the Brothers Quay will be anything short of kray-kray. The 31-minute Through the Weeping Glass: On the Consolations of Life Everlasting (Limbos & Afterbreezes in the Mütter Museum) gets its world premiere tonight at the museum. The Quays will be on hand for a discussion about their visual feast; there’ll also be an accompanying exhibition on the making of the film. -M.A.G.
6:30pm. Sold Out. Mütter Museum, 19 S. 22nd St. 215.563.3737. collphyphil.org
Friday, Sept. 23
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals + Sam Roberts Band
Grace Potter’s vivacious vocal prowess seems to teeter between the sly gypsydom of Stevie Nicks and the bluesy soul explosion of Aretha Franklin. “If I was a man, I’d make my move,” she teases on “Paris (Ooh La La)” from last year’s eponymous release. Four-piece backers the Nocturnals sling smoky guitar riffs from behind their dynamic frontwoman, who often contributes another guitar or melodic organ. Montreal’s Sam Roberts has been a staple of the Canadian rock charts since his debut in 2002, and despite never achieving the same success south of the border, his extensive touring has garnered a hefty fanbase. This year, his Band released their fourth full-length, Collider, another tidy stack of riff-laden, atmospheric dream rock. -Kevin Brosky
8:30pm. $25-$28. Electric Factory. 421 N. Seventh St. 215.627.1332. electricfactory.info
Bruce Conner: The Art of Montage
If Bruce Conner’s name is unfamiliar, that’s partly because the sly provocateur eschewed the spotlight, but this two-day program co-presented by Bryn Mawr College and International House should rectify that. Beginning in the Beat era and continuing beyond punk, this San Francisco-based printmaker, photographer and sculptor made roughly two dozen films notable for their dark humor, loving use of music and tacit critique of consumerism. In 1958’s A MOVIE, Conner culled snippets from newsreels, silent movies and training films and fashioned them into a homespun, surreal gem. Throughout his oeuvre, the editing is deft and rhythmic, juxtaposing disparate images to forge a visual dialectic. In fact, close friend Dennis Hopper credits the retiring auteur as a major influence on how Easy Rider was edited. In addition to screening many of these pieces in their intended format, Bruce Jenkins and Michelle Silva will discuss the prolific artist’s life and work. -Raymond Simon
7:30pm. $7-$9. International House, 3701 Chestnut St. 215.387.5125. ihousephilly.org
Saturday, Sept. 24
Philadelphia folk musician Meg Baird just delivered the best album she’s ever made. Released by Drag City, Seasons On Earth is a splendiferous book of eight original tunes and two covers that shimmer with gentle electric swirls and her enchanted, hushed vocals. In Baird’s world, happiness is always inches out of reach—blooming beyond an impassable cliff, peaking through a sunny window without tapping the glass, whimsically breezing across layers of glowing leaves, buried under the weight of illuminative snow. But she accepts the always fleeting, incomplete object and celebrates its fragments: friends, stars, rain, sharing, comfortable solitude. Tonight she works a double-shift, headlining solo and banging drums in Watery Love alongside ex-Clockcleaner/PW contributor Richie Charles. Also playing: American Primitive guitar master Glenn Jones. -E.S.
9pm. $10. With Watery Love + Glenn Jones. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave.
Somewhat Subconscious Show
A 12-day art and style fete is currently sweeping through town in the most unexpected of places. The Whole Animal Gym will open its doors this week for a very different kind of well-heeled crowd. Somewhat Subconscious explores the fine line between wearable fashion and visual art. The event highlights three local artists all with a penchant for interpreting wearable art through different mediums and techniques. Stephanie Fuoco of the University of the Arts manipulates fabrics until the unexpected is reached, like her interpretation of dramatic collars made from long grass-like material. Alexandra Emeric exhibits work that features various dying techniques on natural fibers to form navajo-oriented accessory concepts. Sarah McCorriston displays her wearable sculpture work that explores the constant changes of beauty in nature. -Abigail Bruley
6-8pm. Free. WAG: Whole Animal Gym, 611 S. Second St. 216.839.9244.
Carnaval at Vanity
Calendar: Dec. 11-18
PW's Weekend Picks: Dec. 6-8