Calendar: Jan. 26-Feb. 1

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jan. 26, 2011

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Wednesday, Jan. 26

Let’s get this out of the way: Salieri did not kill Mozart. The idea that he did got into the, “Oh, I heard that somewhere” canon because of Peter Shaffer’s (fictionalized) play Amadeus. The 1984 Best Picture-winning film adaptation cemented “Salieri killed Mozart” alongside “Napoleon was really short” and “JFK once told a bunch of Germans that he was a jelly donut” in the Valhalla of popular historical misconceptions. But 30 years of the urban legend’s popularity can be taken as evidence of how powerful a storyteller Shaffer can be. The play uses the two composers as a jumping-off point for an allegory about genius and jealousy, and the bubbling rage of a good person divinely tapped for the drudgery of mediocrity while assholes are blessed with effortless talent. (The title, Mozart’s middle name, even means “beloved of God” in Latin.) Additionally: No historical evidence suggests that Mozart had a doofus laugh. -Emily Guendelsberger

Through March 6. 7pm. $10-$60. Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St. 215.574.3550.

Robert Plant
When the Pixies reunited in 2004, frontman Black Francis said, “We’ve had this chip in our back pocket for a long time. We’re cashing it in this year.” Robert Plant’s Led Zeppelin chip is probably worth about a half-billion dollars, but aside from that one-off 2007 London gig, the 62-year-old singer has adamantly and admirably refused the easy money of a full-scale Zeppelin nostalgia trip. Instead, he’s focused on Americana/bluegrass collaborative projects, first with Alison Krauss and now with his terrific, countrified six-piece ensemble Band of Joy (which includes Patty Griffin and singer-guitarist Buddy Miller). Frankly, we’d rather watch Plant pour his soul and still-great voice into new music he cares about than go through the Led Zep motions for the cash. Michael Alan Goldberg

8pm. $57.60-$101.50. With North Mississippi Allstars. Tower Theatre, 69th and Ludlow sts., Upper Darby.

Thursday, Jan. 27

Daniel Peterson’s Truth & Consequence Octet
Saxophonist/multireedist Daniel Peterson, a 2004 Temple graduate, co-curates the monthly Avant Ascension series at Tritone, and he’s honed his voice in a number of the city’s finer ensembles: Bobby Zankel’s Warriors, Odean Pope’s Saxophone Choir and more. His own recordings include the evocative suite Five Simple Worlds … And Ways of Getting There and now the audience-funded October, a live-in-studio document featuring his Truth & Consequence Octet. Heralding the new release this week, Peterson will summon a wealth of textural subtlety, rhythmic juice, bluesy bite and formal adventurism with vibraphonist Behn Gillece, violinist June Bender, trombonist Larry Toft, guitarist Mike Lorenz, bassist Matt Stein and drummer Wayne Smith. -David R. Adler

7pm. Free. Settlement Music School, 416 Queen St. 215.320.2600.

Making Music from Archives

Mary Elizabeth Hallock Greenewalt was, along the lines of Ben Franklin, one of those fascinating historical people who seem to have such a high-capacity pipeline of inspiration that it overflows into several fields. In the early 20th-century Philadelphia area, Greenewalt was an engineer, the principal pianist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, a writer, a political activist, an inventor and the creator of some of the earliest hand-painted films. A few of these interests combined in her “color organ,” an invention on which one could, through a console-operated light display and a rather beautiful system of notation she called “nourathar,” play color just as a musician would play music. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania invited five of some of Philly’s most interesting musicians, artists and sound designers to work with the archive of Greenewalt’s personal papers. Each took a subset of the collection’s finding aid (a written description of an archival collection—like a library catalog, but with more detail) for inspiration and composed audiovisual pieces that HSP terms “musical finding aids.” Tonight, the composers will give a recital of the results and discuss them. -Caitlin Goodman

6pm. Free. Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust St. 215.732.6200.

Friday, Jan. 28

Jenny Drumgoole: Real Women of Philadelphia
The YouTube sidebar for Jenny Drumgoole’s “Wing Bowl 13” suggests that you might also be interested in viewing “Wing Bowl 15 Dr. Slob Wingettes Best Assets,” “Sexy Wingettes and Wing Bowl 15 Hottt DVD” and something simply titled “tit cooking.” But as the pretty redhead flirts her way via a 610WIP contest into being a Wingette for Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas (the Wing Bowl 12 champ, generally reviled for defeating local Bill “El Wingador” Simmons despite being a tiny, Korean-born woman; spectators throw bottles at her), it’s clear that the leering DJs are overlooking the Yale MFA’s best asset: the deadpan humor with which she infiltrates ridiculous competitions. Real Women of Philadelphia is taken from the name of a Paula Deen-and Kraft-sponsored competition for video recipes that involve Philadelphia cream cheese, to which she submitted nine utterly off-the-rails submissions—Cognitive Developmental Special Cheese & Macaroni, for example, is prefaced by two minutes of her interacting with a terrifying baby with a face made of cream cheese. All nine of her recipe videos will be on display. -E.G.

Through March 15. 6pm. Free. Moore College, 20th St. and Ben Franklin Pkwy. 215.965.4027.

Iris Dement
More orchid than iris, Dement’s a rare beauty, ripe with tenderness and vulnerability. Her vocals slalom and soar. Their stark presence is matched by spare arrangements which render a sepia-toned reflection of backwoods country-gospel and small-town simplicity. Live performances are only slightly less rare than new recorded output. Her ’92 debut Infamous Angel created a stir, and her subsequent two albums cracked the Billboard Top 25, but since ’96 her only release is 2004’s collection of gospel standards, Lifeline. At its core, Dement’s allure springs from an unblinking honesty culled from truths likely emblazoned on her soul for all the power and passion she gives them. -Chris Parker

8pm. $22-$27. With Leslie Carey. Arden Gild Hall, 2126 The Highway, Arden, Del. 302.475.3126.

Micro-Fest: Philly
Each Micro-Fest in the Network of Ensemble Theatres’ series (think of them as bite-sized Fringe festivals) is loosely themed around a different question about the future of theater. Atlanta’s was race, culture and aesthetics; L.A. was new play development. Philly, the last in the series, gets the fun topic of genre-defying work, and the lineup for this weekend includes a lot of familiar names from Philly Fringes past: Punchkapow, an examination of why we love fantasy violence (interspersed with some fantasy violence) by Team Sunshine Performance Corporation; 2007 Fringe hit The Word: A House Party for Jesus, a tent revival in which Elastic Theatre Co.’s Brian Osborne will reprise his role as child evangelist Marjoe Gortner; plus more performances from the Shakedown Project, Headlong Dance Theater, Fatima Adamu, Illreality and others that mix up music, theater, art, dance, video and pretty much every media you can multi. Between shows, local fixtures Pig Iron, Strike Anywhere and First Person Arts will be workshopping some things for festival attendees. Though it be but little, Micro-Fest promises to be fierce. -Maddie Hoagland-Hanson

Through Jan. 30. 6pm. $50-$75. CEC Meeting House Theater, 3500 Lancaster Ave.

Saturday, Jan. 29

Normal Love
For the first time since delivering one of the only memorable sets at last September’s Bang on a Can marathon, Philly/NYC-based avant-ruckus collective Normal Love return to shudder the city into head-wrecking sonic convulsion. Tonight’s shake-up promises to be superior, though, as a new associate has joined their ranks: violinist, jazz and classical composer, and frequent Mary Halvorson and Anthony Braxton collaborator Jessica Pavone. Like daring contemporaries Zs and Original Silence, Normal Love don’t simply fuse noise, jazz, skronk, live electronics, fire-breathing and new music for the sake of genre-killing or academic posturing, but aim to build majestic, well fortified sound-castles for the post-nihilist movement of emerging experimentalists to dwell. -Elliott Sharp

9pm. $5-$10. Danger Danger Gallery, 5013 Baltimore Ave.

Making Things Blink and Buzz

The good folks at Hive 76—the Philadelphia hackerspace collective with the motto: “Make things awesome, make awesome things!” that’s home to electronics-minded tinkerers, inventors, artists, and, yes, hackers (the benevolent ones, we’re pretty sure)—probably won’t be able to teach you how to construct a teleporter or a flux capacitor. But if you’re more interested in learning how to modify your Roomba so you can make it chase your cats by remote control or swap the voice boxes of talking Barbie and talking G.I. Joe, you may want to swing by for their day-long Making Things Blink and Buzz workshop. Chief Hive 76 “maker” Far McKon and his crew will guide you through the DIY-electronics basics and help you unleash your inner geek via example projects like turning 555 timer chips into an “Atari Punk Console.” And who knows, maybe after a while you’ll be able to construct your very own time machine, in which case give us a shout (and a ride). -M.A.G.

10am. $40. Hive 76, 915 Spring Garden St.

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