Better Than Ezra
This New Orleans-based trio has been around for so long, their first recording came out on cassette. Though the group has been making music under the same name for more than 20 years, they’ve had as many line-up changes as Destiny’s Child: one original member left, then sued his former bandmates; one tragically committed suicide; and the other rejoined Sugarland, the platinum-selling country duo he started out with. Over those two-plus decades, Better Than Ezra has released seven acclaimed alt-rock albums, including 1993’s stellar “Deluxe,” which went platinum. The current trio, bassist Tom Drummond, guitarist and lead singer Kevin Griffin and drummer Michael Jerome Moore (with James Arthur Payne as their touring keyboardist and guitarist) will not divulge the meaning of their unusual moniker, but their die-hard fans—dubbed the Ezralites—don’t care. Whatever inspired the name, the music stands on its own. -T.P.
8pm. $75. The Valley Forge Casino Resort, 1160 First Ave., King of Prussia. 610.354.8118.
Saturday, August 11
Caribbean Heritage Festival
The Caribbean Heritage Art Preservation Society (C.H.A.P.S.) is a nonprofit organization focused on preserving the Caribbean heritage by showcasing its many cultures and traditions through educational events, one-on-one interaction, media productions and community fairs. Their Summer Carnival Series aims to do just that by exhibiting African and Caribbean paintings, prints and sculptures for super affordable prices. There will also be plenty of food and drinks (hello, drinks in coconuts!), traditional clothing for sale and live island bands and DJs. -A.B.
2-8pm. Free. C.H.A.P.S. Community Center, 1529 Belfield Ave. 267.571.9258. chapsmuseum.com
Southeast Asian Dragon Boat Festival
Returning for a second year, this all-day festival celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the people of Southeast Asia, bringing the ancient tradition of the dragon boat to a modern world. In Southeast Asian culture, a water festival is a holiday that honors the water gods for irrigating the rice fields and for their life-giving forces. A total of 20 teams will compete this year (in community and corporate divisions), soaring down the Delaware River in some of the most spectacular boats you’ve ever seen. Meanwhile, the RiverStage will come alive with Southeast Asian-inspired entertainment, including a performance by the local Cambodian rap group Azi Fellas, and a performance of Neary Chea Chour, a classical dance that describes the beauty of Cambodian women and their elegant costumes. There will also be food vendors serving up all sorts of authentic cuisine—Filipino, Thai and Cambodian barbecue. -Nicole Finkbiner
Noon-8pm. Free. RiverStage at Penn’s Landing, Columbus Blvd. at Chestnut St. delawareriverevents.com
In a recession-shocked, post-Occupy climate, songs about the importance of owning currency (think 50 Cent’s “I Get Money” or Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money”) carry even more cultural resonance and relevance than years past. Aloe Blacc’s “I Need a Dollar” is another entry into this field, what with its pleading refrain (“I need a dollar, dollar/A dollar is what I need”), heartstrings-strumming ’70s soul aesthetics and inspiration having come from a chain-gang song. That being said, Blacc doesn’t give off the vibe that he’s going to threaten class war any time soon. The well-spoken Los Angeles-based MC-turned-crooner named Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III (his alias intends to convey smoothness) is fond of chic, retro-style wear and has a seasoned sensibility indicative of much international travel—disarming details in light of the brass tacks relatability of his signature tune. -Reyan Ali
7pm. $29. Theatre of the Living Arts, 334 South St. 215.922.1011. livenation.com
All-American Block Party
There are very few events in which you will leave with a free pet. No, that goldfish you “won” at the county fair doesn’t count. The Pennsylvania SPCA is hosting a pet-focused block party in which you WILL be able to take home a furry companion free of charge. As the kick-off event of the PSPCA’s participation in the ASPCA $100K Rachael Ray Challenge, the goal of the shelter is to find permanent homes for 100 animals. Not only will you leave with a cool cat or dashing dog, the party boasts an onsite DJ, face painting, Smokin’ Betty’s barbecue and complimentary water ice courtesy of Rita’s. Already have a pet? Then you’re in luck: the block party will hold a free vaccine clinic. And that’s fur real. -Caroline Newton
10am-6pm. Free. 350 E. Erie Ave. 215.426.6300. pspca.org
What do Hulk Hogan, Asher Roth and the Kensington Picnic have in common? Today’s their birthday! Hulk and Asher have been around a little while, but the picnic—a free block party that kicks off around 1 p.m.—enters the world today to offer some killer local music in an idyllic setting (well, the grassy lot next to Liberty Vintage Motorcycles, anyway). On the bill: Avant-folkie Meg Baird, psych-rock geniuses Blues Control and Birds of Maya, the noisy sneer of Watery Love, hypno-experimental guitar collaborators Chris Forsyth & Steve Gunn, the pairing of harpist Mary Lattimore & Arc in Round’s Jeff Zeigler (on synth) and Daniel Bachman, a fabulous folk fingerpicker in the mold of John Fahey/Jack Rose. Sounds like a great start to what organizers hope will be an annual tradition. Don’t forget your pikanick basket! -Michael Alan Goldberg
1pm. Free. Frankford Ave., between Susquehanna and Dauphin sts. kensingtonpicnic.tumblr.com
Sunday, August 12
PhilaMOCA hosts a variety night in their ’hood (the Eraserhood, Callowhill, whatever you wannna call it) with music, dance performances and booze. BodyFields Performance Collective is the dance project of independent choreographer and curator of physical theater, Mira Treatman. Her collective is a diverse group of musicians and dancers that aims to reveal the magnificence of life through quirky movements, gentle psyche tugs and ’70s French Riviera aesthetics. Also performing is 2nd Opinion, Joel Chartkoff’s seriously danceable band, and Liz and the Lost Boys, made up of Joel Sephy, Dane Galloway, Alex Nowak and Kirk Kubicek, who play accordion, piano, guitar, bass and kazoo during any given performance. -A.B.
7:30pm. $10. PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th St. philamoca.org
Monday, August 13
With a tagline of “a love story between four dudes and their ability to get free drinks,” it’s only fitting that at the Troc’s Movie Monday screening of Community College comes with a free beer. This 2009 comedy starring Jordan McSorley, Jon Dean, Tim Dean and Tommy Avallone focuses on a group of guys determined to keep their favorite bar from closing by going back to college in order to earn graduation money to help keep it open. -Olivia Hutchinson
6:30pm. $3. The Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888. thetroc.com
Tuesday, August 14
The Sky Tonight
Curiosity’s breakthrough touchdown in the Gale Crater on Mars is one of NASA’s greatest accomplishments to date. Naturally, now is the perfect time to refresh your knowledge of the stars. “The Sky Tonight” at Fels Planetarium is an educational presentation of the constellations and sky from sunset to sunrise. Changing with the seasons, the planetarium displays the most current positions of the stars and constellations on the ceiling of the dome. Attendees will learn where to look, what to look for and the best times to see specific planets and patterns in the sky. For future star-gazing adventures, maps of the sky will be provided as souvenirs. -C.N.
Calendar: Sept. 2-9