Calendar: Jan. 16-22

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jan. 15, 2013

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The third annual Philadelphia Opry is doubling as a record release party for the much-anticipated "Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night."

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Wed., Jan. 16

The Amish Project
In 2006, a man walked into an Amish schoolhouse about an hour outside of Philadelphia with a gun. He ordered the boys and adults to leave. Then, in a tragedy that remains sadly topical, the man shot 11 young girls and killed himself. Five of the girls died. For many the incident is remembered for the almost unfathomable forgiveness the Amish community displayed immediately following the murders and the compassion they showed to the killer’s widow. Written by Jessica Dickey and originally performed by Dickey at the 2009 New York Fringe Festival, The Amish Project is a fictional exploration of the crime, and the path of forgiveness and compassion forged in its wake. The play made its local debut at the 2011 Philly Fringe in a production from The Renegade Company. The new expanded version is co-produced by Renegade and Simpatico Theatre Project with Janice Rowland portraying seven characters under James Stover’s direction. —J. Cooper Robb

7pm. $11. Walnut Street Theater Studio 5, 825 Walnut St. 215.423.0243. simpaticotheatre.org

The Wailers
Although it doesn’t contain any of his big hits, Bob Marley and the Wailers’ 1979 album Survival is an important piece of the group’s history. Angrier and more politically charged than many of their previous efforts, Marley and the Wailers spend most of Survival calling for change and unity within Africa. (Musically, it featured more horns than ever before.) After Marley’s death from cancer two years later, some of the Wailers soldiered on, spreading the music and message of their late leader. Now anchored by longtime bass player Aston “Family Man” Barrett, the group is performing Survival in its entirety, with a historical multimedia presentation by reggae scholar Roger Steffens also on tap. Featuring rare photos and concert footage, Steffens will lecture on his time spent with the group on the original “Survival Tour” in 1979, including an interview with the tour’s opening act, Betty Wright. —Bryan Bierman

8pm. $22.50-$37.50. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. philly.worldcafelive.com

Speakeasy Night
Somewhere along the line, the golden age of a raconteur standing behind a mic in a clove-smoke-filled coffee shop got lost. There is limited opportunity for a writer or performer to try out material in front of their peers in this town. Enter Speakeasy Night at the Kelly Writer’s House. The bi-monthly evening offers an anything-goes environment, where storytellers, musicians and anyone in between can present their latest bards to a ready-and-willing crowd. —Abigail Bruley

7:30pm. Free. Kelly Writer’s House, 3805 Locust Walk. 215.746.7636. writing.upenn.edu/~wh/

Thurs., Jan. 17

Blonde Redhead
Blonde Redhead’s first few releases were solid noise rock offerings, but it was too easy to classify them as yet another New York-based band trying to sound like Sonic Youth. Around the time their fifth album, Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons, was released in 2000, they began to switch gears and leave their abrasive approach behind. Emerging from the cocoon was a new band, one experimenting with windswept, minor key melodies and ethereal vocals more akin to the Cocteau Twins or Slowdive. Their next release, 2004’s Misery is a Butterfly, solidified this change in direction and was heavily influenced by a horseback riding accident that almost claimed the life of singer Kazu Makino. This effect can be felt on the album’s lead track “Elephant Woman,” which was also used to hauntingly close out the 2005 film Hard Candy. Their latest, 2010’s tender sounding Penny Sparkle, shows a band who may have found a niche, but still manage to surprise. —Anthony Trivelli

8:30pm. $17-$20. With Exitmusic. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100. utphilly.com

Louis C.K.
Is there really anyone in the comedy biz right now hotter than Mr. C.K.? In addition to serving as the writer, director and star of the critically acclaimed and multiple-award-winning FX series Louie, more recently, his fourth full-length special Live at the Beacon Theater nabbed him his first Emmy while his stand-up album Hilarious scored him a Grammy. Now the everyman’s comic is bringing his dark, observational wits here to Philly for three back-to-back performances. Not surprising, all three nights have already sold out. So if you haven’t gotten a ticket, you have one of two options: pay more than double the original price for one through StubHub or pray that your friend becomes violently ill at the last minute. Should both those options fall through, you’re just going to have wait for the upcoming HBO special which he’ll be shooting next month on the last stop of his tour over the course of four shows. —Nicole Finkbiner

8pm. $45. Through Jan. 18. Merriam Theater, kimmelcenter.org

NextFab Studio: Bigger and Better Grand Opening Party
If you’re an artist or craftsman in need of studio space, equipment or even training to help you materialize those ideas and projects you’ve been sitting on, NextFab Studio is exactly what you need. Due to its success in the past three years, NextFab will be hosting a party at its new location that is five times larger, and even more capable than its old home. The “Bigger and Better” grand opening party is a great chance to see this amazing collaborative work space that houses a wood shop, photo/video studio, lounge, private offices and more. You can also see demonstrations of the vast collection of innovative tools in house such as water jet cutting and high-definition 3-D printing. And, even if you’re unsure if NextFab is the right work environment for you, don’t miss an opportunity to congregate under the same roof as some of the most talented and creative people in the city. —Lindsay Kenney

6pm. $15. NextFab Studio, 2025 Washington Ave. 215.921.3649. nextfabstudio.com

Soundgarden
Soundgarden has long been one of grunge and alternative rock’s defining bands. Simultaneously dark, apocalyptic, melodic and lyrically gut-wrenching, their songs tapped into the zeitgeist of Generation X, and Chris Cornell proved time and again that he was one of that era’s most dynamic vocalists. 2012’s King Animal—the band’s first album of all-new material in 16 years—was a pretty decent return to form. Despite the appearance of a surprisingly borderline semi-acoustic pop/rock track like “Halfway There,” the album still rocks like it’s 1996. “Attrition” is a cannon blast of fuzzy, distorted guitars and raucous drums, while “Been Away Too Long” and “By Crooked Steps” remind listeners that the band can still make headbanging alternative rock that is filled with meaty guitar riffs and Cornell’s signature growls and wails. More mature and less dark and brooding than past efforts, King Animal was one of 2012’s few noteworthy comeback albums. —Brian Palmer

8pm. $59.50. Tower Theater, 69th and Ludlow sts., Upper Darby. 610.352.2887. thetowerphilly.com

Fri., Jan. 18

Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night Present: The Philly Opry
The third annual Philadelphia Opry—a storied evening where some of the best local bands pay tribute to the likes of Hank, Loretta and Dolly—is doubling as a record release party for the much-anticipated Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night. Birdie’s been steadily crafting a sprawling, genre-defying modern American songbook since 2006 when she dropped her debut The Ways We Try, a gem of a record packed with charming South Philly ditties full of wonder and wanderlust. Several years and records later, our narrative hero has traveled a few places and is grateful, yet painfully aware how much work it takes to stay open as we get older. She sings: “I’ve got to trust in you/ I’ve got to trust in time/ I’ve got to trust that I can turn on a dime ... My hope is I can always, always remember this tune.” Speaking of dimes, crowd-funding the record enabled Birdie to finally get her full live band in the studio together and cut live to tape—a big difference from building each track as the money to pay for its production came along. “When you become free in the process of playing the music,” says Busch, “you start to really link up the power of emotions put through words and bouncing off a guitar riff or certain drum beat, and it kind of becomes inextricably bound ... Now I feel like I’m living inside both the words and the sound together.” —Tara Murtha

8pm. $12-$15. With Joy Kills Sorrow + Jason Loughlin. Johnny Brendas, 1201 Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com

Daisies
If the Marx Brothers had ever been directed by someone as anarchic as they were, the results might have resembled Daisies, a deranged 1966 blast from the Czech New Wave’s lone female filmmaker. In the opening scene, a blonde and a brunette, both named Marie, diagnose their era. “If everything’s going bad,” they conclude, “we’re going bad as well!” Jettisoned from drab B&W to loud color, they embark on a wave of destruction, gleefully obliterating social conventions, public spaces and, thanks to director VÄ›ra Chytilová, space and time itself. It’s comedy as a political act: the film was banned by Communist authorities for “depicting the wanton,” with one official singling out the waste of food (in a scene where they descend upon a banquet hall). After one more film in 1969, Chytilová didn’t direct again until 1975. Curiously, a filmmaker whose work preached liberty at its most extreme didn’t make like other colleagues (e.g., Milos Forman) and skip town, staying in her oppressive homeland as if to prove her point. —Matt Prigge

7pm. $7-$9. International House, 3701 Chestnut St. 215.387.5125. ihousephilly.org

Jessie Ware
Amid pop R&B’s reality TV carnival, Jessie Ware looks like the lone grown up, chic and understated, dark hair pulled severely up, body language queenly.  Her voice, too, benefits from restraint, a chilled, subtle beauty amid the Top 40’s proliferating vocal pyrotechnics. Yet there’s fire there, though sheathed in discipline. Ware’s way of pulling back only intensifies the drama when the singer lets loose. “Running,” her first single and a likely show closer, is all Sade-ish cool-ness until the moment when Ware’s voice flickers, flares and bursts into flame. Ware, lately nominated for the Mercury Prize, showered with year-end best of nods and embarking on her first full-scale American tour, will likely not be playing club shows for long.  —Jennifer Kelly

8:30pm. $15. With Rochelle Jordan. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100. utphilly.com
 
Sat., Jan. 19

Koresh Artist Showcase
Hosted by Koresh Dance Company several times throughout the year in an effort to keep Philly’s dance scene both flourishing and cutting-edge, this showcase invites a diverse group of emerging local choreographers and performers to present new and experimental works in an intimate black-box-style theater, entirely free of cost. For just $10, locals are given a chance to discover these talents and perhaps soak up unfamiliar styles of dance. This month’s performers include students from Grier School and the Koresh Youth Ensemble as well as a contemporary jazz piece from Sammy Reyes, Kyle Clark, Liz Lyle and Amy Harding of Alchemy Dance Company. —N.F.

7pm. $10. Koresh School of Dance, 2020 Chestnut St. 215.751.0959. koreshdance.org

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