Calendar: April 18-24

By PW Staff
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Wednesday, April 18

Mayer Hawthorne and the County
A Strange Arrangement, the 2009 debut album from hip-hop DJ-turned-blue-eyed-soul singer Mayer Hawthorne, was an album certainly full of nostalgic, revivalist R&B numbers. However, in the back of our minds, there was this gnawing suspicion that Hawthorne’s throwback act might be just an ironic put-on, a quick and easy way to get the tongues of hipsters and tastemakers wagging. Now, with his second album, 2011’s How Do You Do, Hawthorne shows that he is quite serious about his soul. Surrounding himself on the album with such folk as ‘70s funk-guitar great Dennis Coffey, Noelle Scaggs (of the retro-soul outfit Fitz and the Tantrums) and old-school R&B enthusiast Snoop Dogg, Hawthorne indulges in his influences—everyone from Otis to Curtis to Smokey to even the Delfonics get sound-checked—and comes up with another soul album that sounds more genuine and enjoyable than the first. Yes, Mayer Hawthorne has proven once and for all that he’s not a svelte, dapper Har Mar Superstar. -Craig D. Lindsey

9pm. $18. With the Stepkids. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100.
utphilly.com

The Gayborhood Then and Now

Today, the Gayborhood is an attractive enclave of tree-lined streets and trendy bistros vital to the city’s commercial life. Former-Mayor John Street publicly acknowledged that fact exactly five years ago, when street signs featuring the distinctive rainbow design were installed in the neighborhood. But this welcome embrace of gay culture is a recent development, according to Bob Skiba, who discusses the Gayborhood’s history tonight. As director of the John J. Wilcox Jr. Archives at William Way, he’s in a unique position to explain the area’s transition from tenderloin district to tourist mecca. It’s a good tale, too, one that includes villains like Frank Rizzo, who harassed homosexuals from the police station formerly located near 12th and Pine, and heroes like Barbara Gittings, who championed lesbian visibility beginning as early as the late 1950s. Skiba’s history lesson is sure to be leavened with lighthearted moments, too. His encyclopedic knowledge of long-shuttered gay watering holes and forgotten drag divas will be complemented by rare images from both his private stash and the Archive’s collection. -Raymond Simon

7pm. $5. William Way Center, 1315 Spruce St. 215.732.2220. waygay.org

Ballet X Spring Show
What do you get when you bring the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and American indie-rock band Beirut together? Ballet X’s spring show, apparently. Set to choreography by the internationally renowned Jodie Gates, Edwaard Liang and Matthew Neenan, this year’s performance will integrate “athleticism, emotion and intimacy” through artist collaboration, using both music and art as inspiration for their pieces. The spring show also features on-stage audience conversations with the staff, choreographers and company dancers and surprise “pop-up” performances by local performers. -Trishula Patel

8pm. $35. Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad St. 215.893.9456. balletx.org

Thursday, April 19

Robert Polito’s David Goodis: Five Noir Novels
In his January 2011 feature story on noir author David Goodis, PW Music and Food Editor Brian McManus called Goodis “Philadelphia’s most famous unknown writer.” His first book, Retreat From Oblivion, was filled with horribly unhappy, brutally unlucky characters trapped within urban decay and the horrors of war. Before his death in 1967, Goodis wrote 17 gritty books about bleak folks wrestling with existential uncertainty in a shitty world gone shittier. Now, New School professor Robert Polito has assembled an anthology called David Goodis: Five Noir Novels of the 1940s and 50s, which includes Goodis’ books Dark Passage, Nightfall, The Burglar, The Moon in the Gutter and Street of no Return. Tonight he talks about Philly’s best-kept secret with Goodis fanboys and writers Lou Boxer and Geoffrey O’Brien. Get there early to catch a screening of the Goodis-inspired 1957 film The Burglar. -Elliott Sharp

7:30pm. Free. Central Library, 1901 Vine St. 215.567.4341. freelibrary.org
 
Bad Brains + GZA
Right now, you’re scratching your head and thinking, “What the fuck do Bad Brains and the Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA The Genius have in common?” Answer: Nothing, but don’t worry. Stop scratching. Stop thinking. Go with it. Washington, D.C.’s Bad Brains are one of the most slamming classic hardcore-punk bands EVER, and even though eternally pissed-off frontman HR is 56 years old, he still has more P.M.A. (that means Positive Mental Attitude) than all the 13-year-old Skrillex fans in the world combined. And, while Tical, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and Supreme Clientele are brilliant albums, GZA’s Liquid Swords remains the best Wu-Tang solo release EVER. How could this lineup fail? Answer: It can’t. -Elliott Sharp

8pm. $24. With Lionize + Solomonic Sound System. Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. thetroc.com

Friday, April 20

Marijuana Rally
The Legend of 420 dates back to 1971, San Rafael High, Calif. Three civilly disobedient wise-men, known as “The Waldos,” dubbed 4:20 p.m. as a hallowed time to partake of the sacred Herb (aka cannabis). Upon its introduction to the Grateful Dead touring culture, the tradition spread like wildfire and took on many meanings, until any iteration of the number 420 was considered a reference to weed. On April 20, 2007, the intrepid Edward “NJ Weedman” Forchion came to the Liberty Bell on Independence Mall to hold a peace vigil and marijuana legalization rally. It was a meeting of voices, at a site long hailed as a Mecca for Philly’s 420 faithful. The tradition continues this year (sans Weedman) with a march, peace vigil and smoke-in, comprising Philly’s contribution to the 4/20 Worldwide Cannabis Celebration. Brad Forbes

High noon. Independence Mall, 501 Market St. cannabisculture.com

MIX IT! Philadelphia
Tonight’s your opportunity to get blinded by beer AND blinded by science as the second annual Philadelphia Science Festival kicks off with a throwdown at Frankford Hall. Beer, of course, IS science in its absolute highest form (screw you, Stephen Hawking and your depressing black holes!), and to help celebrate, the fine brew geeks at Yards will unveil their newest creation—a Weizenbock (wheat beer) called ... well, that’ll also be revealed this evening. It’ll be: Heisenberg’s Drunken Principle, Avogadro’s Numbeer, Bucky Ball Bock, German String Beer-y, Atomic Blonde or FestivALE. We’re pulling for Heisenberg’s because we love Breaking Bad and we respect the chemistry. Meanwhile, as you drink your face off in the name of science, you’ll get the chance to build all sorts of bizarro gadgets with the help of Philly’s own NextFab, the “gym for innovators.” We’re totally gonna build a time machine so we can go back and party with Einstein. -Michael Alan Goldberg

7pm. $5. Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Ave. philasciencefestival.org

Bassnectar
Electronic DJ Bassnectar eschews labels like EDM or dubstep, but really, they’re right up his alley. A child of the rave era who grew up listening to metal and grunge, Bassnectar—nee Lorin Ashton—never got the message all of the above became passé. Instead, he’s been going strong since the late ‘90s, bringing the hardcore influences from his youth to the post-rave DJ scene. As he’s developed a reputation as a DJ, producer and powerful live artist, he’s seen his audience grow to tens of thousands of fans. His repertoire is primed with pulsating beats and adorned with any number of musical embellishments—jungle, Baltimore club, 8-bit videogame music and M.I.A.-style world influences. His latest album, Vava Voom, released last week, features a tribute to punk legends Pennywise and a collaboration with rapper Lupe Fiasco. -Katherine Silkaitis

7pm. $28-$150. With A-Trak + Vibesquad. Liacouras Center, 1776 N. Broad St. 800.298.4200. liacourascenter.com

Saturday, April 21

Jonathan Haidt 
As part of the Free Library’s annual book festival, hear a conversation with award-winning psychologist Jonathan Haidt as he discusses his new book The Righteous Mind. Best known for his book, The Happiness Hypothesis—a book Psychology Today called a “remedy for the modern glut of frivolous self-help literature”—Haidt possesses that fine ability of demystifying life in a way that even the saturnine can appreciate. Those closely following the “positive psychology” movement, of which Haidt is an active pundit, will find the talk especially illuminating. -Abigail Bruley

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