Calendar: Feb. 23-March 2

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Feb. 23, 2011

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Wednesday, Feb. 23

Anat Fort Trio
After years on the New York circuit, Israeli-born pianist Anat Fort scored big with A Long Story, a 2007 date featuring legendary drummer Paul Motian. That the album came out on ECM Records, home to Motian as well as Keith Jarrett and Paul Bley (two of Fort’s main influences), made the triumph even sweeter. A fluke? No, in 2010 Fort returned with a second ECM disc, And If, this time featuring her working trio with bassist Gary Wang and drummer Roland Schneider. They may not be big names, but they’re solid as they come, completely at home in the intricacies of Fort’s music. The sound is poetic, darkly lyrical, with rough improvised edges, Middle Eastern echoes and hints of classical grandeur. -David R. Adler

8pm. $12. Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th St. 215.545.4302.

The Philadelphia Story
Despite M. Night’s best (and worst) efforts, Philadelphia’s contributions to cinema are still dominated by a certain Sylvester Stallone product. Jump back half a century and you’d find public perception erred on the other side of the class divide. Instead of picturing working-class shlubs pounding away at meat, people might have identified the City of Brotherly Love with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant as Main Line socialites, swapping tony quips with James Stewart’s skeptical journalist. The Philadelphia Story, which proved the antidote to Hepburn’s box-office poison period, is the least of her work with Grant (the others being Holiday and Bringing Up Baby), which is to say it’s merely jaw-droppingly wonderful. It’s a fine kickoff to the Philadelphia Film Society’s series of films shot in (or, in this case, inspired by) our fair city; others include Trading Places, Blow Out and, of course, Mannequin. -Matt Prigge

7:30pm. $5-$10. International House, 3701 Chestnut St. 267.239.2941.

Thursday, Feb. 24

Lower Dens
Baltimore’s Jana Hunter rode the Naughts’ folk revival wave to underground-sized success. She released a fistful of capable albums on Gnomosong, the label started by Devendra Banhart and Vetiver’s Andy Cabic, with 2007’s There’s No Home considered the crown of her corpus. Her new quartet Lower Dens lunges into shadowy territories built on a sturdy percussive backbone and painted by expansive, reverb soaked guitar-tones. Impossible with her sparse instrumentation as a solo artist, the full-band landscape compellingly elevates the heavy elegance of her throaty blues. Their 2010 debut, Twin-Hand Movement, finds Hunter unexpectedly evoking the switchblade-bravado of Chrissy Hynde rather than woodsy delicacies. Tonight they open for emerging locals Reading Rainbow. -Elliott Sharp

8pm. $5. With Reading Rainbow, Adventure + The Ox, Second and Oxford sts.

Flip the Switch Gala
Finally, technology has created a use for the city’s roofscapes that doesn’t involve drinking or moonlit heart-to-hearts. Solar-powered outfit Solar States has teamed up with Kensington’s Crane Arts to install 450 solar panels, capturing 81 kilowatts of awesome power, on the Crane Arts Building’s 20,000-square-foot roof. (81 kW might not sound like a lot, but it’s enough to power Crane Arts with some left over to be pumped into the local grid.) They’re celebrating this step up in Philly’s sustainability in style with a gala celebration featuring food and drinks. Mayor Nutter and a handful of local officials will be on hand to flip the proverbial switch. Toast to Kensington’s continued greening, and see how many city suits it takes to turn on a whole lot of light bulbs. -Alexandra Jones   

6pm. Free. Crane Arts Building, 1400 N. American St. 215.232.3203.

Friday, Feb. 25

The Armchairs
Tonight kicks off the FERNCHAIRS 2011 Tour as Philly’s the Armchairs and too-cute-pop quintet Arrah and the Ferns descend upon the world with their eyes focused on total world domination. They’ll trek up through Chicago, down to Austin for two SXSW dates, and then up the East Coast stopping at every city and sleepy hollow along the way. Summoning the spirit of Frank Zappa’s pranksterism, the Armchairs have been working on their “Custom Song Project,” where they’ve been commissioned to write songs on timeless topics like dumplings and heartbreak. For $25, they’ll record a tune about anything you want. With the long, winding road awaiting they could really use the gas money. E.S.

8pm. $5. With Arrah and the Ferns, The HI-TONES + Bird Names. The Ox, Second and Oxford sts.

Michael Showalter

Armed with a dry wit and a penchant for absurdist, slyly subversive comedy, Princeton-born writer/actor Michael Showalter has become one of the more recognized, and busiest, members of the so-called “hipster-humorist” cabal. Showalter first made waves in the early ’90s as a cast member of MTV’s cult sketch-comedy series The State; later he briefly served as a correspondent on The Daily Show before co-writing and starring in 2001’s irreverent, critically panned (yet still beloved by many) Wet Hot American Summer. More recently, he’s been one-third of the surrealist sketch-comedy trio Stella; he’s hosted the offbeat online series The Michael Showalter Showalter; and was seen for a spell on Comedy Central with his Stella/State compadre Michael Ian Black in Michael and Michael Have Issues. Showalter also found the time to write a comedic memoir, Mr. Funny Pants, published this week—he’s in town tonight to deliver his oddball stand-up routine, preceded by a 4 p.m. appearance and signing at the Penn bookstore. Michael Alan Goldberg

7:30pm. $12-$14. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. 215.291.4919.

Saturday, Feb. 26

Fourth Wall Arts Salon   
Every month, Philly nonprofit Fourth Wall Arts brings artists and intellectuals of all stripes and disciplines together with the public to mingle in the European tradition of the “salon”—an intersection of performances, lectures, discussions, food, and drink. Tonight’s FWA Salon is hosted by Perry “Vision” DiVirgilio, the towering North Philly poet. Among the many local and international folks he’ll introduce you to this evening (if you don’t know them already): Hip-hop poet B. Yung, Haitian sculptor/painter Claes Gabriel, contemporary Indian dance troupe Courtyard Dancers, visual artist and Kutztown professor James Rose, singer-songwriter Marc Silver, UArts multimedia/communications professor Neil Kleinman, tap dancer Frances Bradley, poet and playwright Gina Dukes, and turntable wiz DJ Supreme. -M.A.G.

7pm, $20. Dorrance Hamilton Hall at the University of the Arts, 320 S. Broad St. 215.645.2424.

An Evening with Fonzworth Bentley

He burst onto the scene as Sean “Puffy/P. Diddy/Diddy” Combs’ umbrella man on sunny days, then went on to parlay that rather menial position into a career as an author, actor, haberdasher extraordinaire, recording artist and TV host with the charge of transforming rapscallions into refined men of class. The man in question is none other than MTV’s From G’s To Gents’ Fonzworth Bentley. As a part of its Black History Month festivities, The Community College of Philadelphia has invited Mr. Bentley to come for an evening that includes an interactive lecture, signing for his book, Advance Your Swagger: How to Use Manners, Confidence and Style to Get Ahead and a performance of material from his album C.O.L.O.U.R.S. The evening will also feature student performances by Deja tu and Seff Al-Afriq. For all those focused on getting their “swag on a million,” this is for you. Get fresh and come out. -Ryan Smith

5pm. $10-$20. Community College of Philadelphia, 700 Spring Garden St. 215.751.8082.

Sunday, Feb. 27

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