Wed., February 12
Michael DeForge: Ant Colony
Ant Colony, the new graphic novel by Adventure Time character designer Michael DeForge, is a darkly funny meditation on demands a community places on the individual. It has some of that show’s whimsical weirdness, but with a delightfully unfiltered id. Its narrative is told through the lens of abused children, insane fathers, corrupt police officers and misanthropes who just want more out of life—all of whom, by the way, are ants. (There are also some bees, who may be incredibly helpful to the ants scurrying below them or just doing their own quasi-religious, semi-prophetic bee-thing. It’s hard to tell. Bees are weird.) The story spans several ants as they get ripped out of their secure lives in the colony by forces beyond their control. Unjust wars, unwelcome prophetic visions, unexpected deaths and basic relationship ennui slowly meld together, forcing the main characters into a makeshift community that doesn’t appear to be any more stable than the one that fell apart on them. But DeForge’s deft sense of humor keeps Ant Colony from wallowing in its own existential misery.
Rather than stick to any sort of biological fidelity, DeForge illustrates Ant Colony in a deeply metaphorical way, adding to its dream-state vibe. The ants’ internal organs are visible, making them as literally transparent as their hopes and dreams. The ant queen is beautifully grotesque. Spiders have the faces of cartoon dogs, all teeth and crazy eyes. A female ant introduced late in the story is drawn as human, which manages to be both visually jarring and make her brief back story instantly relatable. All of this is rendered in a children’s-book-bright pallet with dense, uncompromising pools of black ink.
There’s a creeping terror to Ant Colony from page one, and those swaths of black underscore it in every panel. Adult fans of Adventure Time and David Sedaris’s animal stories will find lots to love in this book, as will connoisseurs of black humor and surrealist imagery. And the author’s launching it at Locust Moon tonight.
But just what were those bees up to? Bees are weird. / JARED AXELROD
7pm. Free. Locust Moon Comics, 34 S. 40th St. 267.403.2856. locustmoon.com
The members of Dead Meadow seem displaced from an era not their own; they’re purveyors of bluesy throwback jams and moody lyrics that even your granddad can dig. It’s hard to understand how these D.C. natives aren’t on more people’s radar. 8pm. $12. Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St. undergroundarts.org
Ondine by Jean Giraudoux
Jean Giraudoux’s landmark play has been interpreted and reinterpreted for more than 75 years, but probably not in the off-kilter way the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium has in mind. Their version will involve 10 actors with the aid of puppets as they retell the story of the knight-errant who falls in love with a sea nymph. 7:30pm. $22. Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St. 215.574.3550. walnutstreettheatre.org
Thursday, February 13
Romance Author Panel
There’s more to romance novels than cover art featuring flaxen-haired body builders and pouty-lipped damsels—much more—and this Valentine’s Day season, the Free Library of Philadelphia is exploring the depth and range of literary (and literal) love via this engaging discussion with three popular genre authors.
Megan Hart focuses not only on the erotic, but on the terrifying; her work blends the seemingly opposing worlds of romance and horror. Her novel Stranger tells the sordid tale of a funeral director who pays for sex in an attempt to avoid an intimate loss of her own. Family law attorney and New York Times best-selling author Grace Burrowes balances her day job by writing novels in the genre she fell in love with—no pun intended—boasting an impressive quiver of sagas and stand-alone novels. And as a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a proud Navy wife, Geri Krotow’s three most recent novels feature protagonists, both male and female, who are active duty soldiers. In Navy Orders, she manages to illustrate the main character’s complex struggle to maintain her successful career in lieu of a love life and what happens when those two worlds collide.
Each panelist brings a unique flavor to the genre that promises to continue delighting current readers, while hopefully securing a few new life-long fans. Come hear them discuss the art of the paperback seduction. / KENNEDY ALLEN
CANCELED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER. Free Library of Philadelphia, Central branch, 1901 Vine St. freelibrary.org
Money causes strife in just about every relationship, but for Trey and Carleena, it could spell disaster. He’s a mechanic who earns a reasonable $40,000 a year; she’s a corporate attorney who works her way up to a six-figure salary, and the discrepancy between their respective incomes gradually pushes them apart, both emotionally and spiritually. 8pm. $39-$43. Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St. 215.893.1999. kimmelcenter.org
Ballet X Winter Series
For its annual winter concert series, the BalletX dance company will showcase productions courtesy of three master choreographers: Joshua Peugh (Dark Circles Contemporary Dance), James Gregg (Milwaukee Ballet) and Jodie Gates (USC Kaufman School of Dance). 8pm. $22-$40. The Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad St. 215.546.7824. wilmatheater.org
Yeesookyung: The Meaning of Time
Korean artist Yeesookyung makes her solo U.S. debut with The Meaning of Time, an exhibition boasting media as diverse as gold and porcelain sculptures, silk scroll paintings and a video dance performance. 10am. Free. Locks Gallery, 600 S. Washington Square. 215.629.1000. locksgallery.com
Friday, February 14
An Evening with Bob Weir and Ratdog
As legend has it, Bob Weir met Jerry Garcia on New Year’s Eve in Palo Alto in 1963. Weir was 16, Garcia 20. They started jamming—Garcia with a banjo and Weir, presumably, with his trusty rhythm guitar. Inspired by the meteoric rise of the Beatles, they formed a band. Well, not just a band—one of the most iconic drug-taking, hippy-twirling, psychedelic jam-out outfits of all time, the Grateful Dead.
But in 1995, Garcia died at age 53, and so did the Dead. Weir kept rollin’ with multiple other bands, and in that same year—a year of mourning, no doubt—Ratdog was born. Often called Bob Weir and Ratdog, this rotating crew brings it home with the entire Dead catalogue at its fingertips, plus they often blast out covers of Dylan songs, Primus, Chuck Berry or Elvis tunes. You may’ve also heard of Furthur, Weir’s other old-dudes-jammin’-hard vehicle.
Say what you will about the Dead or the psychedelics of the ‘60s and ‘70s being behind us, but this man is walking rock and roll history. His audiences will surely be full of old and current stoners wanting to hear “Not Fade Away” or “Shakedown Street,” but there’s one thing that these two Tower shows won’t be: Short. Weir and Co. love to jam long and hard, and there’ll be no shortage of longhairs looking to chill as seriously as they did 40 years ago. / BILL CHENEVERT
Through Sat., Feb. 15. 7:30pm. $29.50-$69.50. Tower Theater, 69th and Ludlow sts, Upper Darby. 215.922.2599. thetowerphilly.com
Valentine’s Day Events
Valentine’s Day 2014 Wedding Spectacular
The heart wants what it wants, and sometimes it doesn’t want to go through the hassles and costliness of an extravagant wedding. Luckily, the Philadelphia Wedding Chapel is offering elopements for 12 hours today, and the deals are pretty enticing. Couples will receive three professional wedding portraits, a glass of champagne or sparkling cider to toast their future, a slice of cake and a gift. 9am. $250. The Philadelphia Wedding Chapel, 4324 Takawanna St. Suite #3B. 215.906.0740. philadelphiaweddingchapel.com
Love Sux Party
Single or not, the folks at Howl at the Moon will be happy to have you at their anti-Valentine’s Day party featuring themed drink specials and games with $500 in cash prizes. The best part? If you bring in a mutilated photo of your ex before 10pm, you get in for free. 4pm. Howl at the Moon, 258 S. 15th St. 215.546.4695. howlatthemoon.com
Love at the Barnes
For the sophisticated couple, the Barnes Foundation presents this intimate performance by local cellist Daniel de Jesus. Chocolate and champagne will be served as you browse the Barnes’ wealth of galleries amidst warming classical music. 6:30pm. $24-$30. The Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. 215.278.7000. barnesfoundation.org
Men, Sex & Fashion: The Ultimate Single Girls V-Day Event
Uncover your inner Whitney Houston and celebrate the greatest love of all your love for yourself. At this single girls’ Valentine’s Day cocktail reception, you will learn from the experts how to date, love and dress for the life you want. Beats a night of Haagen-Dazs on the couch with your cat. 7pm. $20-$60. Pink Label Beauty, 506 52nd St. 215.528.5004. pinklabelbeauty.com
Join Equality Forum for an LGBT gala honoring Bruce Hanes and Rev. Frank Schaefer with the Equality Award. Learn more about the state fight for equal marriage rights while enjoying premier restaurant tastings, an open bar, live music and more. 7pm. $100. Liberty View Ballroom, Sixth and Market sts. equalityforum.com
Love Panel and Valentine’s Party
A panel of Buddhist teachers will provide wisdom to help people increase their feelings of love and kindness and thereby improve their relationships with others. 7pm. Amitayus Kadampa Buddhist Center, 1102 Pine St. 267.702.3817. meditationphiladelphia.org
Romeo & Juliet in Space
Experience the classic lovers’ tragedy as Shakespeare surely intended it be performed: in outer space. Two theater troupes collaborate to present this ambitious Star Wars-esque production, which puts a lighthearted spin on the war between the Montagues and Capulets. 9pm. $18. Walking Fish Theatre, 2509 Frankford Ave. 215.427.9255. walkingfishtheatre.com
Love Never Dies Ghost Tour
Love is a key ingredient in the best ghost stories ever told. The 5th Annual Ghost Tour Valentine’s Day event takes guests on a candlelight walking tour through historic Society Hill, exploring Philly’s oldest tales of romance, passion and scandal. Through Sat., Feb. 15, various times. $20. Powel House, 244 S. Third St. 215.413.1997. ghosttour.net
Saturday, February 15
Qlicious: A MasQuerade Ball
West Philly’s Spiral Q Puppet Theater uses creative arts to teach and inspire urban youth. Their yearly masquerade ball features a dance party, live music performances, art auction, delicious desserts, drinks and, best of all, puppets! 8pm. $35-$75. Ethical Society of Philadelphia, 1906 Rittenhouse Square. 215.222.6979. spiralq.org
Woodstock for dinosaur enthusiasts and fossil junkies, Paleopalooza spans two days and features rarely-seen specimens from Drexel’s world famous collection. Learn about animal motion, take guided tours and meet scientists at this festival celebrating ancient remains. 10am. $13-$15. Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. 215.299.1000. ansp.org
Afro-Brazilian Dance Workshop
Escape the cold for a few hours at this workshop that fuses traditional dance techniques from two warmer climates. No experience is necessary, and all are welcome, but bring water, and be ready to sweat under the leadership of seasoned instructor Elias Neguin Cdo. 4:30pm. $20. The Philadelphia Capoeira Arts Center, 1213 Race St. 215.601.9117. phillycapoeira.com
Sculptor Colleen O’Donnell shares this art exhibition with Shushana Rucker, who contributes her prints, paintings and drawings. O’Donnell’s expressive work is rooted in the context of the human figure, while Rucker’s illustrations depict her interest in the relationship between nature and technology. Noon. Free. Cerulean Arts, 1355 Ridge Ave. 267.514.8647. ceruleanarts.com
Sunday, February 16
Gesualdo, in Heaven
Carlo Gesualdo, often credited for inventing modern chromatic music centuries before its time, has a legacy shrouded in mystery and controversy. John Clancy directs a unique homage to the man, complete with life-size wooden puppets and original musical compositions. 7:30pm. $15. Pig Iron School, 1417 N. Second St. gesualdoinheaven.com
Curated by world-renown contemporary artist Kara Walker, Ruffneck Constructivists brings together 11 international artists for a fantastic new exhibition that aims to define modern urban architecture and change through various media. 11am. Free. Institute of Contemporary Art, 118 S. 36th St. 215.898.7108. icaphila.org
Monday, February 17
There’s a relaxed vibe in the creative works of Son Lux, the recording alias of Ryan Lott, that he might not necessarily feel himself. Lanterns, his latest album under this moniker, threads nine sonic experiments together under an ominous shroud of synthesized gloom—perhaps a fitting analogy, considering the album cover depicts some kind of eclipse. But whether this is intentional or not is left entirely up to the listener. Even when a particular song gets frenzied and reaches ambitiously toward the heavens, there’s always the stark contrast of Lott’s pained vocals—as well as those of several guest singers—to plant us firmly back on solid ground, albeit in a bit of a wistful daze.
Lott fits squarely in with the crowd whose success is hard to predict, having trained as a classical composer yet choosing to branch out into a style of music that’s often mired in banality. Nevertheless, he’s proven himself capable in the almost six years since the release of his debut LP. And somewhere along the way, he managed to attract the attention of NPR, who, in 2011, challenged him to write and record his entire sophomore album, We Are Rising, in the span of just one month.
So what does the future hold for Mr. Lott? He seems to be keeping a relatively optimistic attitude, if his record’s closing refrain serves as an indication: “I’ll keep my lanterns lit,” he coos. Wise words from a dude who appears to thrive in darkness. / JAKE ABBATE
8:30pm. $13. With San Fermin. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. johnnybrendas.com
A Guide’s View of Philadelphia
As part of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides’ winter-long lecture series, tonight’s guest speaker will be George Boudreau. Boudreau’s lecture will focus on “Franklin’s Philadelphia” and guarantees to be an informative trip through the early history of our city. 6pm. $25. Philadelphia History Museum, 15 S. Seventh St. phillyguides.org
Nikon Small World Photography Exhibition
The Wistar Institute exhibit features beautifully complex photos of organisms at molecular levels, providing glimpses into worlds’ only visible through microscopes. 9am. Free. The Wistar Institute, 3601 Spruce St. 215.898.3700. wistar.org
Tuesday, February 18
In adoption terminology, a “searcher” is an individual on a quest to locate and possibly connect with birth parents. Often times, it’s for personal health reasons or to locate possible siblings; other times, the searcher seeks to find their biological parents in an attempt to resolve more spiritual or existential concerns. In any case, these adoptive adults sometimes find what they’re looking for, and in the case of Beautiful Boy by playwright Eric Conger, the result is surprising.
This funny, suspenseful play confronts the turmoil of grown children in a closed system, one designed to protect the rights of the parents in spite of their children’s desire to explore their origins. The drama centers around Bill, a 50-year-old adoptee who feels compelled to locate his biological family after he loses his job and his adoptive parents. His search takes him from Missouri to Connecticut, and what he finds disappoints him, though he’s not at all surprised. In an attempt to find his folks, Bill ends up discovering himself.
Conger’s work is no stranger to the Philadelphia stage. His first full-length work, The Eclectic Society, premiered on Walnut Street Theatre’s mainstage in January 2010. The delicate nature of his Beautiful Boy requires a more intimate setting, and fortunately, the Walnut’s Independent Studio on 3 is the perfect space for this tale of love, determination and faith. / K.A.
Through March 9. $30. Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St. 215.547.3550. walnutstreettheatre.org
The Edmund N. Bacon Prize Honors Ed Rendell
The Edmund N. Bacon Prize is bestowed yearly to a local figure who has achieved widespread success in urban planning, development and design. This year’s honoree is former mayor and governor Ed Rendell, who’ll discuss his history promoting investment in transportation infrastructure. 7pm. $15. Philadelphia Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch Street. 215.569.3186. philadelphiacfa.org
Filmadelphia at the Roxy
The Philadelphia Film Society’s monthly film series has become an important avenue for local filmmakers to showcase their work. This month features three short films from area directors, followed by a Q&A. 7:30pm. Free. PFS Theater at the Roxy, 2021 Sansom St. 267.239.2941. filmadelphia.org
Adapted from the Alexandre Dumas novel, the timeless opera La Traviata first premiered in 1853. This classic performance of love and sacrifice will be sung in Italian with English supertitles. 7:30pm. $10-$50. Helen Corning Warden Theater, 1920 Spruce St. 215.735.1685. avaopera.org
Wednesday, February 19
Kings of Leon and Gary Clark Jr.
I used to love the hell out of Kings of Leon; “Slow Night, So Long,” from their second LP, 2005’s Aha Shake Heartbreak, was my absolute jam. One of the best first tracks of a bluesy, aggressive rock record out there, it totally hooked me in. But then KOL felt like a different band, and the Followill kin started to seem diva-like when they’d abandon sets at shows. “You know, no matter what set list you play every night, there are going to be people leaving there saying you didn’t play their favorite from their favorite record,” Nathan Followill told me. “But on the other hand, you’re going to have people leaving there saying, ‘They played every one of my favorite songs.’” Three Grammy Awards later and six albums in—their latest being last year’s Mechanical Bull—and these Southern rock charmers are still pressing on, keeping their rabid U.K. fan base happy.
As for Gary Clark, Jr., this Texan’s been on a steady, steep rise for a few years now, and the Kings have him guesting every night as an opener on tour. Fresh from the success of his own Grammy win (Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Please Come Home”) and his thrilling rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” alongside Dave Grohl and Joe Walsh on Sunday night’s The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles on CBS, this It-boy of the guitar world’s sure to keep dazzling folks at giant festivals and intimate gigs alike. He’s got some kind of blues. / B.C.
7:30pm. $29.50-$65.50. Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. wellsfargocenterphilly.com
The Bed in Othello with Dr. Kristin Poole
The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre continues its celebration of the Bard’s 450th birthday with Dr. Kristin Poole, who will discuss her essay, The Bed in Othello. The essay explores the sanctity of beds and bedrooms and their symbolic meaning in the deaths of various characters. 6pm. $20. Philadelphia Institute Library, 1905 Locust St. phillyshakespeare.org
The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess
Tony Award winner for Best Revival of a Musical, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess comes to Philly, featuring the award-winning Broadway cast returning to perform the 1935 American folk opera. 7:30pm. $20-$105.50. Academy of Music, Broad and Spruce sts. 215.731.333. kimmelcenter.org
Compiled by Jake Abbate, Daniel Gelb and Drew O’Meara
Calendar: Sept. 2-9