Calendar: April 6-12

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Apr. 6, 2011

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Wednesday, April 6

Slow Runner + William Fitzsimmons
“You make me auto-happy. You make me sing to the houseplants, lovingly,” Slow Runner’s crooner and keyboard specialist Michael Flynn offers on the band’s newly released fourth LP Damage Points. The Charleston, S.C., natives play melodic, synthy, catchy rock capable of soaring power choruses and also simplistic and translucent ballads. The band has shared the road before with William Fitzsimmons, an articulate acoustic balladeer with a beard worthy of ZZ Top, whose delicate, down-tempo tunes are full of intimate moments captured by stark arrangements. His newest, Gold In The Shadow is more of this warm theme. The bill will list these two acts separately, but they’ll be doing plenty of friendly collaboration throughout the tour. -Kevin Brosky

8pm. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com

Thursday, April 7

PIFA Opening Gala
While Paris and Philadelphia may seem worlds apart, the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts is bringing back the spirit of the artistic experimentation of Paris that artists like Picasso and Matisse dominated in from 1910 to 1920. The event will kick off the month-long festival with performances from the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Pennsylvania Ballet in a production of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, as well as modern dance group Grounded Aerial. Dinner will be served by Wolfgang Puck in the style of French culinary genius Georges Perrier, who is to be awarded the Culinary Vision award on the night. To top off the evening, the 80-foot rendition of the Eiffel Tower that has been built inside the Kimmel Center will be lit, symbolizing the fire of artistic creativity and passion that the festival aims to inspire. Event is black tie, so be sure to pick up your finest feathers from the cleaners. -Trishula Patel

6pm. $750. Kimmel Center, 260 S. Broad St. 215.670.2386. pifa.org/gala

Toy Soldiers
Fresh off winning an Independent Music Award for a track off 2010’s Whisper Down the Lane (Mad Dragon), Toy Soldiers founder and principle songwriter Ron Gallo is also celebrating yet another reincarnation of the band. The project started as a duo then bloomed into an orchestra-sized band—and exploded with orchestra-sized problems. Everything that could go wrong went wrong on the band’s Whisper tour and Gallo came home without a band. He rang up his old friend Dominic Billett, and charmed a new band neatly into place. Their new EP—recorded in 24 hours in a Lancaster studio tucked inside an abandoned elementary school—reflects Gallo’s sharper focus and what sounds like sharper heartache. Like a Polaroid, the record develops quick and bright: “Love isn’t easy,” sings Gallo, who proceeds to tell you all about it through brass horns, gospel organ, fiddle and ardent vocals that veer into Otis Redding territory. -Tara Murtha

9pm. $10. With TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb, Up the Chain + Paper Masques. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com

Friday, April 8

Kick in the Eye
Vox Populi’s current exhibit explores queer art of the past five years, which eschews a directly confrontational style in favor of one that makes playful use of allusion and effacement. Stephen Irwin has altered vintage gay pornography through selective erasure; the resulting patterns of limbs owe their graceful eroticism to the sex-acts they both disguise and imply. Two nights of films complement the gallery show. In Warhol’s The Closet (1966), Nico and a very young Randy Bourscheidt converse awkwardly inside a small closet. Legendary filmmaker Derek Jarman’s film, Blue (1993), consists of a single shot of saturated blue over which Jarman and others talk of life, death, love and AIDS (from complications of which Jarman would die only a few months later). For the following night, more explicit fare is on offer: Wakefield Poole’s groundbreaking pornography Bijou (1972), as well as Community Action Center (2010), an attempt by filmmakers A.K. Burns and A.L. Steiner to create avant-garde, female-centric porn. Burns and Steiner will lead a discussion following the screening. -Hal Parker

7pm. $6-$8. Ibrahim Theater, 3701 Chestnut St. 215.895.6530. voxpopuligallery.org

The 9th Annual Northern Liberties Variety Show
Surely the vast majority of local performance cherry-popping has gone down in Northern Liberties—specifically at the Variety show, where seasoned pros and nervous newbs alike annually shake, strum and otherwise show off the goods to raise money for the community. “Lower your expectations and you won’t be disappointed,” teases Katrina Mansfield, this year’s organizer who admits she’s gotten her striptease on for charity in the past. “[Founder] Joanne was very specific in calling the event a ‘variety show” and not a talent show for a reason,’ she deadpans. Over the years, it has become an outlet for goofball moms, dads, neighbors and sometimes even the talented to perform for three minutes in front of a very forgiving crowd. This year’s showcase will be hosted by “D-List” celebrities Greta Alexander and David Murphy and all proceeds benefit the Northern Liberties Town Watch. Afterwards, burn off the jitters with a dance party courtesy of NYC DJ Crystal Clear. -T.M.

8pm. $10. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com

Saturday, April 9

Martial Solal
There are only three pianists who’ve had the honor of playing solo for a week at the Village Vanguard: Fred Hersch, Cecil Taylor and 83-year-old Algerian-born Frenchman Martial Solal. With a firm attack, dazzling chops and whimsical but unfailingly logical way of shredding chord changes, Solal is a modern master. But this is a virtuosity informed by deep firsthand contact with masters of old: Solal recorded with jazz founding father Sidney Bechet back in the ’50s, shortly before Bechet’s death. Recent collaborations with Dave Douglas (Rue De Seine), monster bassist François Moutin (NY1, Longitude) and others have kept Solal young at heart. He’ll return to the Vanguard next week with Moutin, but Philly gets him first, unaccompanied. Hear him and you won’t forget him. -David R. Adler

8pm. $32-$38. Kimmel Center, 260 S. Broad St. kimmelcenter.org

Mr. Philadelphia Drag King 2011
This is it: The Big Dance. Under the auspices of the fine gentlemen at Liberty City Kings Drag & Burlesque, a bevy of contenders will duke it out to see who the next Mr. Philly Drag King is. It could be that cute emo boy avoiding your glance or the mustachioed lounge singer eyeing you up. Comedian Kelli Dunham emcees, and a panel of celebrity judges—including Mayor Nutter’s Director of LGBT Affairs, Gloria Casarez—will put these studs through their paces. While the competitors flex their muscles and strut their stuff, the audience gets to enjoy the view and support a good cause. The event raises money for the Philly Dyke March and partners with local community organizations. It’ll be packed, so get there early to see which lucky guy walks away with the crown, the tool belt and those sexy prizes from Passional Boutique. -Raymond Simon

7:30pm. $5-$10. William Way Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. 215.732.2220. phillygaycalendar.com

Go West! Craft Fest

Perhaps you’re in the market for some funky new accessories to update your look; maybe you’re looking for Etsy-style products, but without the frustratingly slow delivery or the intense feeling of regret that happens a week later when you realize you have no use for a crocheted deodorant-cozy. The Go West! Craft Fest, hosted in Cedar Park by VIX Emporium, will feature life music by Jay Sand, a bike sale at the nearby Firehouse Bikes and work by more than 40 local artisans. Some of the gems that will be for sale include T-shirts printed with environment-friendly ink, hand-printed playing cards and jewelry made from real, preserved fruit slices. Philly illustrator Pragya Kotheri will be exhibiting her new work in a show titled “The Things Spring Brings” inside VIX Emporium, following the festivities. -Emily Crawford

Noon-5pm. Free. Cedar Park, 50th & Baltimore Ave. gowestcraftfest.bogspot.com

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