Can you believe it’s been almost 40 years since Rocky Balboa first took his famed jog up the steps of the Art Museum, spawning one of the most iconic film series of all time? To celebrate, South Philly Bar & Grill is once again hosting an all-day Rocky love-fest and movie marathon, giving locals a chance to experience the entire rags-to-riches sports drama in reverse chronological order—even the installments we prefer to forget (Rocky II-V). We’re talking roughly nine straight hours of Sylvester Stallone. Following the screenings, fans can test their knowledge of the films during several rounds of trivia, enjoy various Rocky-themed food and drink specials and maybe even compete in a Rocky look-alike competition. To close it down, DJ Perry Angelozzi will host a special music and video tribute to Philly’s most famous fictional underdog. -Nicole Finkbiner
11am. Free. South Philly Bar & Grill, 1235 E. Passyunk Ave. 215.334.3300. southphillybar.com
New York-born, Philly-based singer Vanissa Santi can code switch from the mambo to Michael Jackson with ease. She has both feet firmly planted in her Cuban heritage (her grandfather, Jacobo Ros Capoblanca, was an exceptional Cuban composer) and in the infinite varieties of the African-American/jazz aesthetic. This University of the Arts graduate was the recipient of a 2008 Pew Fellowship in the Arts Artist Grant, and she burst on the scene the next year with her debut LP, Bienvenida, and has been patiently building her multi-lingual/multi-cultural music brand with a smoking combo that includes pianist John Stenger, bassist Madison Rast, drummer/arranger Francois Zayas and Eddie Palmieri’s trumpeter Brian Lynch. Santi’s silken contralto will light up Chris’ Jazz Café with selections from her forthcoming album, Big Stuff: Afro-Cuban Holiday, her Latin jazz tribute to Billie Holiday that bridges the 1,234 miles and five decades that separates Havana, the city of the African drum, from the City of Brotherly Love. -Eugene Holley, Jr.
8pm and 10pm. $20-$22. Chris’ Jazz Café, 1421 Sansom St. 215.568.3131. chrisjazzcafe.com
Sun., Jan. 13
Independent Voices Festival
Norristown’s Centre Theater wastes no time getting busy in 2013 with the company’s 4th annual Independent Voices Festival—an event that spotlights solo plays featuring the region’s top writer-performers. Not every play is performed by the playwright (a notable exception is Howard Zinn’s wonderfully engaging Marx in Soho, featuring Bob Weick in an immersive portrayal of philosopher Karl Marx) but one that does star the creator is Chris Davis’ innovative Drunk Lion. Writer-performer Davis’ solo play focuses on an alcoholic lion whiling away his time drinking in a Mexican cantina, where he is interrupted by a young foreigner attempting to learn Spanish. Performed by Davis in both Spanish and English, the play is a unique exploration of languages, loss and liquor. At 8 p.m., Bill Hollenbach’s biographical drama Citizen Paine—starring Adam Altman as the patriot Thomas Paine—focuses on Paine’s life and humanistic ideals as he waits anxiously for the New Rochelle government to determine if he has the right to vote. -J.C.R.
2pm and 8pm. $15. Centre Theater, 208 Dekalb St., Norristown. 610.279.1013. artscc.org
2013 WitOut Awards for Philadelphia Comedy
Tonight, members of Philly’s stand-up, sketch and improv communities will unite under one roof to honor their most deserving peers and celebrate the city’s thriving comedy scene, all while making a complete mockery of award shows. Nominees have been chosen in 13 different categories and, for the first time, the winners will be decided by both the general public as well as local performers. Co-hosted by Jason Grimley and Ralph Andracchio of local improv duo Grimacchio, guests can expect the ceremony to feature plenty of scripted and unscripted hilarity, in addition to an absurd “In Memoriam” and live performances from hip-hop group Philadelphia Slick and the Grimacchio Dancers. Tickets include a pre-show red carpet photo opp, one free beer courtesy of Narragansett and admission to the after-party. -N.F.
6pm. $20. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com
In 1999, UCLA bio-geographer Jared Diamond told us why western civilization was so successful in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Guns, Germs and Steel. Five years later, he outlined how environmental damage, climate change, population growth and short-sighted political choices caused the destruction of societies in his follow-up, Collapse. Now, the good professor comes to the Free Library to talk about the third installment of his civilizational trilogy, The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? Drawing on his extensive research in so-called primitive cultures in the Pacific islands, Africa, North and South America, Diamond comes up with a startling and humbling thesis: While modern life has many undeniable medical, scientific and technological marvels, pre-modern peoples exceed us in how they treated the elderly, resolved conflicts, left no carbon footprints and raised happy, less-isolated children. In light of super storm Sandy and the Connecticut school shooting, it might be a good time to hear Prof. Diamond remind us that we still have a lot to learn from our ancestors. -E.H.
7:30pm. $7-$15. Central Library, 1901 Vine St. 215.686.5322. freelibrary.org
Tues., Jan. 15
An Ideal Husband
Every January, the Walnut Street Theatre presents something a little more adventurous, challenging or controversial than the mainstream, populist fare that has made the company the world’s largest subscriber-based theater. This year, the company turns to one of theater’s greatest wordsmiths with their presentation of playwright-turned-prisoner Oscar Wilde’s clever comedy about morality in politics. An Ideal Husband features an all-star Philadelphia cast led by the talented Ian Merrill Peakes (who plays the outwardly respectable politician Sir Robert Chiltern). The play is set in motion when an old acquaintance threatens to reveal a secret that would ruin the illustrious Chiltern’s carefully cultivated public persona. It’s a complex tale of hidden indiscretions, ethical ambiguity and the particular challenges faced by those in the public eye. Peakes is joined on stage by the gifted Jennie Eisenhower, who portrays the regal politician’s wife Lady Chiltern, the always brilliant Charlotte Northeast as Mrs. Marchmont and local acting legend Grace Gonglewski as Lady Basildon. -J.C.R.
8pm. $10-$85. Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St. 215.574.3550. walnutstreettheatre.org
Attention graphic-novel enthusiasts and comic book aficionados: the Bernheimer Symposium is back, and it’s even more fantastical than last year. Program coordinator (and PW alum) Alli Katz is bringing in the brains behind the comics-anthology Once Upon a Time Machine from Locust Moon Press, a compendium of future fairy tales from Dark Horse Books and an upcoming collection of work inspired by Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland. Learn about their process and gain insight into the world of large collaborative projects. A.B.
6pm. Free. Kelly Writer’s House, 3805 Locust Walk. 215.573.9748. writing.upenn.edu/wh/
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide