Calendar: April 20-26

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Apr. 20, 2011

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Wednesday, April 20

Prom Trash 420
The Dumpsta Players know prom is wasted on the young. And the sober. So for the past 15 years, DJ K-Tell and his rotating ensemble of gender-bending thespians have been celebrating this annual rite of passage, sans prama, keeping it real and hauling this so-called institution into the gutter. During its competition to crown the next prom queen, hair might get pulled and drinks tossed, but the topsy-turvy world they create in the cozy confines of South Street’s venerable dive bar is far more welcoming and hilarious than the genuine article, allowing nerds, sluts, sissies and, well, just plain freaks to strut their stuff. The ensemble’s mix of karaoke, cheap beer and drag encourages audience participation, so get sloppy drunk, heckle, or unleash your inner diva and vie for the title. This year, the event coincides with the stoner day of observance, which provides its theme. Support the environment by going green. -Raymond Simon

10pm. $1.99. Bob & Barbara’s Lounge, 1509 South St. 215.545.4511. dumpstaplayers.org

Seabrook Power Plant
Frank Zappa got it right when he referred to Steve Vai’s style as “stunt guitar,” and up to a point, Brandon Seabrook champions that strain of metalloid virtuosity (e.g., “Black Sheep Squadron”). But on 2010’s Seabrook Power Plant and the new Seabrook Power Plant II, the guitarist fucks with our heads by playing much of his crazy-impossible music on banjo (e.g., “Lamborghini Helicopter,” “I’m Too Good for You,” “Sacchetto Mal D’Aria,” “Forcep Protection”). The extraordinary sonic color, rhythmic daredevilry and sheer filth coming from Seabrook’s instruments can be downright alarming—if someone can explain what is happening at 1:15 on “Kush Lamps Ablaze,” please do. Drummer/brother Jared Seabrook and bassist Tom Blancarte help keep it fun. Catch ’em live and you’re surely in for it. -David R. Adler

8pm. $5. With iNFiNiEN, Split Red. Kung Fu Necktie, 1248 N. Front St. 215.291.4919.
kungfunecktie.com

Thursday, April 21

Science On The Simpsons
Believe it or not, sitting in your underwear watching The Simpsons and eating Cheetos may actually be a pretty intellectual pastime. As part of the Philly Science Festival, physics professor Dr. Paul Halpern will be discussing what you can learn about global warming, cloning, Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion, robots, evolution and the universe from the longest-running animated series. Halpern has also written a book on the subject, so you can be sure he knows his shit. If you recall the episode in which Bart finds a three-eyed fish in the river near Mr. Burns’ power plant, or the one where Lisa creates a perpetual motion machine, this may not come as a huge surprise. But did you know that several of the show’s writers hold scientific Ivy League degrees and often slip obscure mathematical theorems into episodes? See if you can spot one the next time you tune in. -Nicole Finkbiner

1pm. Free. Kingsessing Branch Library, 1201 S. 51st St. 215.685.2690. freelibrary.org

Iron & Wine
Upon his emergence nearly a decade ago, folk troubadour Sam Beam, better known as Iron & Wine, single-handedly made big bushy beards cool for indie kids. And then those freshly minted beardos started dressing like farmers, discovered their inner agrarian, and began growing asparagus on their rooftops. And then they bought Priuses and eco-friendly light bulbs. And then virtually every major corporation jumped on board the burgeoning green movement. Therefore, yes: Iron & Wine has quite literally helped save the earth. So if you haven’t yet checked out Beam’s magnificent tunes—which have evolved from the whispery acoustic fare of his first album to the richly orchestrated and assertive country-rock of his new Kiss Each Other Clean—you owe him at least that. -M.A.G.

8:30pm. $29.50. With the Low Anthem. Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St. electricfactory.info

Friday, April 22

Femi Kuti & Positive Force
Femi Kuti needed strong shoulders to bear the mantle of his father Fela Kuti after his ’97 death. No worries. He has not only upheld his father’s legacy but pushed that jazzy afrobeat sound in new poppier directions while incorporating other rhythmic influences such as Latin and Carribean music. With his fifth solo disc, Africa for Africa, the 49-year old Femi releases his finest album to date. Bristling with political outrage (“Bad Government”) and furious grooves (“Make We Remember”), it honors afrobeat’s musical spirit while settling into Femi’s uniquely smoother, more soulful, dubby jams. Unlike past albums that pandered to American hip-hop or his genetic heritage, this album feels truly Femi’s own voice. -Chris Parker

9pm. $30-$53. With DJ Ruder1. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com

Saturday, April 23

2nd Annual Kenzinger Challenge
To think of Fishtown is to conjure images of the city’s hippest domain, but the very name of the neighborhood suggests that something else swam beneath the current long before the cool kids floated to the surface: behold the mighty shad. Now in its third year, Shadfest is a celebration of the riverfront’s ecological past and present, and these river herrings have spawned a great party. Local bands rock the mainstage all day, featuring headliners Black Landlord. Nibbles are available from vendors including Johnny Brenda’s, which offers a hickory smoked version of the celebrated fish. But the highlight for Shadfest is the 2nd Annual Kenzinger Challenge, a scavenger hunt that has participants sleuth around neighborhood bars and breweries. Hunters piece together information on the history of imbibing and participate in beer-themed activities, like Beer Boot Camp at Philadelphia Brewing Company. Proceeds benefit the Friends of Penn Treaty Park. -Micaela Hester

Noon-3pm. $25. Penn Treaty Park. 215.287.3492. fishtownshadfest.com

Grails
Grails are nomadic wanderers of the psychedelic continum. Reaching the peak of Flower Traveling Band/Amon Düül-inspired flashback-heavy-rock with Doomsdayer’s Holiday (2008), Deep Politics (2011) finds the Portland-based quartet fully penetrating the sonically tranquil cult-sex psych-zone they’ve only previously tickled. One recent promo video featured footage by French softcore mystic-porn director Just Jaeckin as the band’s smooth soundscape complimented the slow-burning, mannequin-fondling erotica. British 12-string guitarist-composer James Blackshaw, whose last two albums appeared on Swans-founder Michael Gira’s Young God label, is repeatedly billed as a flag-bearer for the neo-Takoma aesthetic. But while John Fahey aspired to orchestral grandeur with just six-strings, Blackshaw’s epic arrangements delightfully implement classical instrumentation. -Elliott Sharp

7:30pm. $12. With James Blackshaw. Kung Fu Necktie, 1248 N. Front St. 215.291.4919. kungfunecktie.com

Sunday, April 24

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