Will Bunch’s The Backlash
After eight years under Bush, it’s become clear that merely pointing out when something is dumb isn’t exactly politically ineffective; this strategy discounts the validity of the opponent’s position before it has been properly grasped and evaluated. Daily News senior writer Will Bunch avoids this pitfall in his latest book, The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama. For the last couple years, Bunch researched the Tea Party firsthand, plunging into the belly of the ever-strengthening beast to gauge what makes its devotees tick. From high priest and priestess Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin to ground-level folks at gun ranges and anti-immigration rallies across the country, Bunch lays out the movement’s scaffolding before going to kick it over. This morning, he’ll be leading Nation magazine’s monthly public discussion group. E.S.
11am. Free. Moonstone Arts Center, 110A S. 13th St. 215.735.9598. moonstoneartscenter.org
In his heyday, Webb was one of his era’s finest songwriters, combining Leonard Cohen’s intimacy with baroque Brill Building arrangements. He created several huge hits for other artists (“Up, Up and Away,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman”) in the late ’60s, then launched a solo career in the ’70s. His seven-minute signature tune “MacArthur Park” (sung by actor Richard Harris) was a huge, boundary-stretching hit on pop radio, exemplifying his gift for elegant piano-driven pieces whose theatricality complements the lyrics’ brash vulnerability. He’s been particularly active lately, releasing three albums in five years including a new greatest hits/duets album featuring Glen Campbell, Billy Joel, Lucinda Williams and Willie Nelson, among others. -Chris Parker
7:30pm. $30-$32. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com
Monday, Jan. 10
While normally a jejune phrase, “there’s something for everyone” is an apt descriptor for Robert Rodgriguez’s and Ethan Maniquis’ 2010 neo-exploitation film Machete. Violence? There are many severed limbs and decapitated heads with so much blood squirting from them that Lone Wolf and Cub will seem like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Star-studded cast? Only if the names Danny Trejo, Don Johnson, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Robert De Niro, Lindsay Lohan, Cheech Marin and Michelle Rodriguez mean anything to you. Sex? The only thing Machete does to its characters more than killing them is getting them laid; on one occasion our hero enjoys a mother-daughter hot-tub double-up. Timely commentary? No other film has more creatively and ferociously investigated the politics of immigration. Repulse? Chica’s choice of cell-phone storage will make even the most twisted Takashi Miike buff cringe. ¿Bromas? Sí, muchas. -E.S.
8pm. $3. Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888. thetroc.com
In his excellent 2003 book, Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo, Andy Greenwald notes that “Being an emo band is kinda like being in the KGB—everyone knows who they are, but no one admits anything and no one likes talking about it in public.” Indeed, Philly quartet Everyone Everywhere doesn’t speak the dreaded E-word, but we spy it in their tunes: Crunchy, math-y, yet undeniably catchy riffs; soaring melodic choruses; nasally, introspective, bittersweet vocals. At least it’s reminiscent of the “good” emo—a la the Promise Ring, Sunny Day Real Estate, Jawbreaker and other bands who could do the “loud ‘n’ poignant” thing without coming off too silly or formulaic—enough so that we can forgive Everyone Everywhere for starting a song with the words “I’m too sad to tell you...” -M.A.G.
8pm, $5. With Young Leaves + Luther. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. kungfunecktie.com
Tuesday, Jan. 11
Sunshine is a rare commodity, in Venice anytime and in Philadelphia during the depths of January. That’s a good enough reason to check out this jittery, jump-up-and-down pop band, Venice Sunlight. Their short, sharp songs are shot through with sunny sweetness but also barbed with sharp, random stabs of irony. Up to now, their best-known cuts have been smirky, off-kilter pogo-pumpers like “Great Moments in Bad Timing” and “The Devil Wears Nada,” but a new EP, Venice Sunshine Vs. the Rabid Rabbits, takes things in a slightly less wise-cracking direction. The single “Annabel” is unequivocal power pop, though its sugar is cut with rackety drums, its sentiment diluted with the observation that “Love is fleeting and largely pharmaceutical.” -Jennifer Kelly
8pm. $5. With Right This Second. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. 215.291.4919. kungfunecktie.com
Kazuhiro Soda Master Class
Forget the ham-fisted stunts of Michael Moore and other soapbox documentarians. Kazuhiro Soda’s frank, taboo-busting “observational documentaries” immerse viewers in the action, forgoing dictatorial narration in favor of allowing the audience to form their own opinions about what they’re viewing, be it the operations of a Japanese mental-health clinic or the machinations of a local election. Tonight, Soda conducts a master class about his Buddhist-inspired, cinéma vérité filmmaking, introducing Philadelphians to the zen and no-frills honesty that has guided his oeuvre. For homework and follow-up, head to International House for the Monday night screening of Soda’s 2008 documentary Campaign and Tuesday night’s Mental, his disarmingly candid exploration of psychiatry in a society that associates mental illness with shame. -Lauren Smith
5pm. $15-$25. Scribe Video Center, 4212 Chestnut St. 215.222.4201. scribe.org
Calendar: Sept. 2-9