Calendar: March 7-March 13

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Mar. 6, 2012

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Wednesday, March 7

Curse of the Starving Class
If debt collectors are harassing you, your fridge is bare and your home has been on the market for so long you’re ready to give it away, then rifle through the sofa cushions for some spare change and head to the Wilma Theater, where you can commiserate with the down-and-out clan in Sam Shepard’s Curse of the Starving Class. Helmed by Richard Hamburger (who received a Barrymore nomination last season for his direction of My Wonderful Day), Shepard’s 1978 play has newfound resonance in today’s difficult economy. A tragicomedy that, like Shepard’s masterpieces Buried Child and True West, exposes the American dream as an unattainable myth, the story focuses on a family in the economic doghouse that is desperately trying to sell their house and keep thuggish debt collectors at bay. As for how the family got in this dire situation, drunken father Weston explains simply: “I was banking on things getting better.” -J. Cooper Robb

7:30pm. $19.50-$39. Wilma Theater, 265 South St. 215.546.7824.

The Magnetic Fields
Since releasing the first Magnetic Fields album in 1990, frontman Stephin Merritt has explored sounds ranging from ’70s garage rock to tender love ballads, with his unmistakable bass vocals and quirky lyrics tying them all together. The band’s latest album, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, came out earlier this week, revealing Merritt has gone from writing soulful ballads to Aboriginal-influenced, post-punk dance music. There’s still a sense of grandiosity, enhanced by Merritt’s dramatic intonation and the epic beats packed into a three-minute tune. Although unexpected, the addition of ’80s synth rock and bubblegum pop to Magnetic Field’s extensive repertoire promises to break up the spunky sing-along campfire tunes and delicate folk with deep grooves and pizzazz. -Katherine Silkaitis

8:30pm. $32.50. With Bachelorette. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.332.2100.

Creative Writing Workshop
As part of their 10th year of participation in Philadelphia’s One Book, One Philadelphia program, (this year’s book selection is Haitian writer Edwidge Danticat’s Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work), Drexel University offers a series of Wednesday afternoon creative writing workshops. No prior experience is necessary—the instructors, who are faculty members in the Drexel English Department, lead the group in creative writing exercises. Following the workshop, participants will read their pieces aloud and have their work critiqued. “It’s a great workshop because it’s intergenerational,” says Harriet Levin Millan, co-director of the Drexel Certificate Program in Writing and Publishing, which is sponsoring the program. “Some high school and college students come, as well as community members,” she says. -Heather Taddonio

1-3pm. Drexel University, James E. Marks Center, 34th and Chestnut sts.

Thursday, March 8

New City Stage company continues its season-long exploration of terror with the local premiere of the Presnyakov brothers’ tragic farce, Terrorism. Artistic director Ginger Dayle compares the play’s episodic construction to the films Crash and Traffic. Instead of a single story, Terrorism is a collection of six interconnected scenes of stupefying terror. Originally presented by the legendary Moscow Arts Theatre, the play focuses on the most insidious and pervasive effects of terrorism, its ability to turn ordinary citizens (all the characters are nameless) into callous and paranoid agents of terror. Humorous in a disquieting way, the two Siberian playwrights create a surreal, nightmarish atmosphere where each of us is as capable of instigating terror as we are of being victimized by it. In the Presnyakov brothers’ fierce and disturbing play, terrorism isn’t political, it’s personal. -J.C.R.

8pm. $22. Through March 25. Adrienne Theatre, 2030 Sansom St.

Jonathan Safran Foer
Literary powerhouse and best-selling author Jonathan Safran Foer has had audiences’ turning pages since he broke into the book world at the tender age of 25. Since then, Foer has published four more books, including Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which was recently turned into a film that received a Best Picture nod at the Oscars. Foer—known for his captivating writing style and genre-jumping—has just released his latest project, New American Haggadah, a book intended to be read as part of Jewish custom, to explore Moses/Exodus through prayers, songs and rituals at Sedar holiday. Translated by award-winning author Nathan Englander, the prayer book takes on new life by bringing together storytelling, Jewish tradition and ceremony. The duo comes to Philly this week to talk about the book and field questions from the crowd. -Julian Lopez

7:30pm. $7-$15. Central Library, 1901 Vine St. 215.567.4341.

Abandon All Ships

As a whole, America throws “douchebag” and its variations around far too freely. “Douchey” should be reserved to describe a specific brand of arrogance and posturing so grating, so inescapable that it transcends “being a jerk” and “being a dick.” Abandon All Ships embody the quintessential aura of douche. The Toronto band has self-identified as “Guids” (Read: Guidos) and “bros.” Unsurprisingly, their music is brazenly obnoxious, pandering hard to current metalcore fans while throwing in some techno nostalgia. Savage screams, Auto-Tune-mangled melodic vocals, crisp production and trudging breakdowns share space with clean synth lines that sound plucked from a ’90s dance club. (The techno is the best part.) On paper, the combination looks innovative, but its execution is so over-the-top and scene-cliche-fixated that bringing up the D word almost feels inevitable. -Reyan Ali

6:30pm. $12-$14. With Sleeping With Sirens, Conditions + Secrets. First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St.

Friday, March 9

Starting with the opening reception tonight, artists from the Midwives Collective unleash a beast at Square Peg Artery & Salvage. Featuring the artwork of Ellen K. Bonett, Kelly A. Burkhardt, Carol Deutsch, Bette Greenwood, Kathy McLean, Cheryl Rybacki and Irma Shapiro, Beasts is a tribute to the various creatures with whom humans share the planet. Since 2005, the Midwives Collective has maintained a group of female artists to inspire one another and curate unique exhibits in intimate gallery spaces. Expanding on this idea, the presentation of Beasts seeks to remind humans that they are the minority when compared with the vast array of multi-legged animals on this earth. A portion of sales will be donated to Love Four Paws, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping homeless animals in Philadelphia. -Ashley Kole

6pm. Free. Through April 20. Square Peg Artery & Salvage, 108 S. 20th St. 215.360.5548.

Think hallways: Well-lit walls covered with smiley family photos. The Brady Bunch. Now think corridors: Cobwebby and booby-trapped, pitch black and breakneck, Indiana Jones. Same applies to New Yorker Byron Westbrook’s solo project that goes by the same name. As Corridors, he creates menacing and moony ambient drone music by looping live instruments (strings, horns, synths, others), and the sonics drift and shift across a series of speakers carefully situated around the audience while abstract, star-cluster-like patterns and shapes of various colors (d)evolve on multiple screens. Each movement of sound/sight invites the listener/looker to leap down a new, mysterious pathway, uncertain of exactly where, if anywhere, he or she will arrive. -Elliott Sharp

8pm. $5-$10. International House, 3701 Chestnut St. 215.387.5125.

Saturday, March 10

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