Wednesday, Jan. 25
Coming & Crying
When Melissa Gira Grant and Meaghan O’Connell hatched the idea for Coming & Crying, an anthology of true-life sex stories, their goal was self-knowledge rather than self-love. Consequently, they solicited contributors willing to write frankly about the risk and vulnerability that sex entails. The 24 stories they selected portray a diversity of behaviors and genders but are united by an honest acknowledgement of the intense emotions associated with sex. The editors’ adventurous spirit extends beyond their approach to the subject. Eschewing the normal route for publication, they took to the Internet, soliciting capital via Kickstarter. The campaign went so well that they created Glass Houses, an agile publishing company equally at home in print and online and which they refer to as a media label. For this event, sponsored by the Feminism/s series at Penn’s Kelly Writers House, they will discuss the anthology and address developments in feminist publishing and grassroots activism. -Raymond Simon
6pm. Free. Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk. 215.746.7636. writing.upenn.edu/wh
Robert Earl Keen
Country/Americana troubadour Robert Earl Keen could probably pull off the forlorn cowboy routine easily, but he’s far too lively a guy to do that. The 50-something Kerville, Texas, resident is best known for “The Road Goes on Forever,” an amusing parable about two bad seeds getting caught up in drug dealing and cop shooting. The song’s refrain—“The road goes on forever and the party never ends”—has become something of a motto for the artist himself. He’s also made it clear that he’s willing to speak his mind: Keen’s called Kings of Leon “sissies” for canceling 2011 dates due to their bandleader’s “vocal issues and exhaustion,” and has beef with Toby Keith for the close resemblance between the stories of Keith’s “Bullets in the Gun” and “The Road Goes On Forever.” -Reyan Ali
8:30pm. $25. With The Deep Dark Woods. Union Transfer, 1024 Spring Garden St. utphilly.com
Reasonable Discourse with Jerks
When stand-up comedians hang out, they don’t just hang out. Every interaction is a chance to peacock, to beguile, to outwit the other. Reasonable Discourse with Jerks, the show formally know as Bully Pulpit and hosted by Luke Giordano (whose gone off to L.A. to write for Two and a Half Men), is a monthly panel show hosted by comedian Jim Grammond and four revolving funny-people guests as they make their way through a variety of topics, such as political mumbo jumbo, celebrities and supplying their own advice to Dan Savage’s weekly victims. -Abigail Bruley
9-10pm. $5. Philly Improv Theater, 407 Bainbridge St. phillyimprovtheater.com
Why Don’t American Cities Burn?
University of Pennsylvania history professor Michael Katz uses an incident that occurred on Aug. 4, 2005, in North Philadelphia as a starting point to explore this question in his book by the same name. On this day, Herbert Manes murdered Robert Monroe over $5. Katz’s experience as a juror on the murder trial led him to ask, Why, despite the growing inequality, poverty, corruption and violence in American cities, don’t urban communities revolt? Rather than direct rage toward the political structures and policies that uphold such wretched (and, perhaps, improvable) conditions, anger is redirected such that the poor rage against one another. Katz charts neoliberalism’s impact on cities since the 1970s, namely how market-based solutions and various myths—such as a modified version of the “bootstrapping” myth—have structurally and ideologically replaced alternatives that might eliminate the ills of American cities. Katz discusses alternatives tonight at Grindcore House. -Elliott Sharp
7pm. Free. Grindcore House, 1515 S. Fourth St. 215.839.333. grindcorehouse.com
Thursday, Jan. 26
Spring Arts Preview
Celebrate another semester of art-house films, singular live performances, experimental music and art exhibits that span all media at the International House’s Spring season-opening party. In true I-House fashion, they’ll be screening surprise 16mm animated films along with Jean Vigo’s 1933 classic Zero For Conduct a banned French film about four boys who spark a rebellion of their boarding school on celebration day, an anarchist tale that heralded coming-of-age films like Fanny and Alexander and 400 Blows. Stick around for booze and food and catch a live performance from the kraut-rocky, new-age noise of Blues Control. -A.B.
7-10pm. Free. International House, 3701 Chestnut St. 215.387.5125. ihousephilly.org
Lamb of God
Richmond, Va.-rooted five-piece Lamb of God prefer to call themselves a group that plays “Pure/American/Metal.” In more concrete terms, this means the 18-year-old band makes thrash that’s hefty, melodic and not overwhelmingly fast or coarse. Lyrically, the act traffics in the kind of cynicism you’d expect of a metal group of their background. LOG enjoy talking about mafia codes of silence (and the assholes who break them), disturbing Biblical imagery (i.e., hell and armageddon becoming real things), and ravaged societies. “Ghost Walking,” off their brand-new record Resolution, indicates that their worldview hasn’t changed recently, as the song’s end cheerily reminds you, “There’s no one left to save/ Shots fired just to numb the pain/ There’s no one left to save.” If you like the cut of their jib, support vocalist Randy Blythe and his tongue-in-cheek presidential campaign. Think of America’s future and vote for a self-avowed “man who just DOES NOT GIVE A FUCK.” -R.A.
7pm. Sold out. With Too Late the Hero + the Acacia Strain. Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. thetroc.com
Friday, Jan. 27
The Asian Arts Intiative commemorates the 30th anniversary of the HIV/AIDS epidemic with an exhibition featuring a range of artists who reflect, respond and probe deeper into the impact of the disease in the social, cultural and political context. Seeking to transcend boundaries relating to race, gender and sexual orientation, AAI introduces multimedia artwork reflective of the moving and defining periods in the lives of the artists in tandem with our communities. Curated by poet, writer and co-founder of Casa de Duende, David Acosta, the exhibition offers a remarkable display of diverse experiences and perspectives through a noteworthy cause. -Tushara Jewahar
Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine St. asianartsinitiative.org
LP Stiles: J DillaSessions
J Dilla, one of hip-hop’s most innovative producers, died at age 32. Always the experimentalist, Dilla gave the artform a sonic workout from which it, thankfully, never recovered. From Slum Village, his first rap group started with two high school pals, Dilla moved on to produce for Pharcyde, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. Along with Philadelphians Questlove, Bilal and James Poysner, in the late 1990s Dilla formed the Soulquarians—a neo-soul/hip-hop collective with rotating members including Common, Talib Kweli, Mos Def and Erykah Badu. Dilla deserves a tribute, and tonight he gets one when local jazz/funk quartet LP Stiles performs his work with guest MCs/vocalists Mic Stew, Kuf Knotz, Lee Mekhai, Aime and Na’Mean. -E.S.
8:30pm. $15. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide