Calendar: July 21-27

What do to in Philly this week.

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jul. 20, 2010

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Wednesday, July 21

Konono No. 1
The hypnotically undulating rhythms and wavering repetitive melodies of this Congolese septet recall the ramshackle tribal energy of M.I.A.’s debut (with authenticity replacing the overweening ego/sense of entitlement). Though both gained prominence six years ago, Konono N° 1’s origins go back three decades. They come to their lo-fi thrum honestly, running their likembes (thumb pianos) through mikes and amplifiers constructed from junked automobiles, while banging on old radiators, pots, pans and car hoods for percussion. At once dreamy and vigorous, their ritualistic jams and chanted vocals emanate a vibe stoner drum circles have chased fruitlessly for generations. Their latest, Assume Crash Position, is fuller-bodied and less roughshod but just as vibrant as their 2004 debut Congotronics. -Chris Parker

8pm. $20-$32. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400.

BalletX Summer Series
BalletX is enough to make you forget everything you thought you knew about plies and relevés. Vigorous, athletic, expressive, and, yes, sexy, BalletX’s original choreography expands includes moves that don’t even have French names. The company is celebrating its fifth anniversary this week with a summer series of three challenging, emotive original ballets, two of which are world premieres: Matthew Prescott’s “Journey of the Day,” a buoyant piece set to the bluegrass-infused classical of Curtis double-bass prof Edgar Meyer’s Appalachian Journey, and Matthew Neenan’s “The Last Glass,” inspired by the street-parade choruses of indie band Beirut. We may still be nursing emotional wounds from second-grade dance recitals, but BalletX shows us just how relevant the art form can be. -Lauren Smith

Through July 25. $20-$30. Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad St. 215.546.7824.

Thursday, July 22

Bill Orcutt
Bill Orcutt ascended to outsider fame as the guitarist for exorcism-inducing 90s noise-rock outfit Harry Pussy, who released several records on Philly’s own Siltbreeze label. With album titles like What Was Music? and You’ll Never Play This Town Again, it’s clear their objectives were to destroy all musical preconceptions and burn all bridges with no remorse, no regret. While it might initially sound odd that Orcutt released a solo acoustic album last year, A New Way To Pay Old Debts, experiencing only a few seconds of his finger-bloodying, post-apocalyptic blues technique will surely eliminate any possibility that the beast within has been tamed. Experimental-rock duo and recent Philly transplants Blues Control kick things off. -Elliott Sharp

8pm. $5. With Blues Control. Brickbat Books, 709 S. 4th Street. 215.592.1207.

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus
The title says it all: Giant prehistoric sea creatures are unfrozen; boffo co-stars Lorenzo Lamas and Deborah Gibson plot to make the monsters kill each other before they destroy humanity. Obviously an instant classic. But the Academy of Sciences has turned the typical so-bad-it’s-still-really-bad movie night into an event for lovers of science as well as gratuitous CGI. Before the screening at 7, schlock fans will be treated to drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and the chance to get their From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler on while marveling at the Creatures of the Abyss exhibit after closing time. And, as if this three-in-one event—drinks, food, fantastically terrible movie—weren’t enough, Academy scientists Jason Poole and Paul Calloman will provide the kind of ultra-informed, snarky commentary Tom Servo and Crow can only dream about.  -Alexandra Jones

5pm. $40. Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Ben Franklin Pkwy. 215.299.1000.

Friday, July 23

George Burton Quintet
Philly’s George Burton is a jazz pianist who’s managed to obtain gigs with veterans like trumpeter Charles Tolliver, unsung drummer Donald Bailey, Jr. (Blueprints in Jazz, Vol. 3) and saxophonist Odean Pope (the brand new Odean’s List). Burton’s multitalented, too: If you stopped into Tritone in 2008 for one of Matt Davis’ Aerial Photograph gigs, you might have seen Burton playing viola and playing it well. As he imbibes jazz history from the source—something young musicians can’t take for granted these days—Burton is transferring that wisdom to his own bandleading. This week he’s got the alluring vocalist Gretchen Parlato, drummer Kendrick Scott (of Herbie Hancock’s band) and more. -David R. Adler

8 & 10pm. $15. Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St. 215.568.3131

Skeletor Karaoke Gong Show & Rock Band 2
Quasi-music technology has developed under late-capitalism such that it’s unnecessary to spend tedious hours learning to play an instrument. Thanks to Guitar Hero, Rock Band and karaoke, we can simply learn to “play” an instrument as if it were just another Halo level, or “sing” to the adulation of friends too drunk to know better. But that doesn’t mean the stakes have to be any lower for postmod pseudo-rockers, especially not at the Trocadero, where Eternia’s Skeletor is regularly dragged away from the eternal battle over Castle Greyskull to preside over an evening of “playing” and “singing,” and to bang the gong when someone fracks up. In one room, your version 2.0 digital self will be projected on a movie-sized screen; in the other, karaoke performances are harshly, hilariously judged. You won’t win a prize for dressing up like your favorite Masters of the Universe character, but you’ll likely get a rise out of Skeletor.  -Elliott Sharp

10:30pm. Free. Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888.

Saturday, July 24

First Person Arts Grand Slam and BBQ Bash
StorySlam has been a self-revelatory fixture in the city for self-deprecating folks with weighty diary entries for about four years—slams occur bimonthly at World Café Live and L’Etage—but this year’s Grand Slam competition (which starts at 8, after a few hours of BBQ) is the first legit roundup. Eleven Philadelphians who have won accolades in 2010 for their storytelling skills will compete, telling 5-minute tales on the kindergarten-esque theme “Show and Tell;” the winner, in addition to getting everlasting fame, never has to pay the StorySlam cover ever again. Brooklyn’s anachronistic rock outfit Peculiar Gentlemen will play the outdoor party before the competition. Let them ease you into that comfort zone between standup, def poetry jamming and spewing invective at your bathroom mirror. -Mark Maurer

5pm. $12-$30. With Peculiar Gentlemen. Painted Bride, 230 Vine St. 215.925.9914.

Sun Ra Arkestra
Despite the intergalactic research that motivates them, the Sun Ra Arkestra have been a local institution since 1968 when Le Sony’r Ra traveled the spaceways and his Afro-Futurist ensemble landed on Philadelphia soil. By combining Sun Ra’s cosmic philosophy, modern electronic instruments, and the traditional jazz idiom, the Arkestra created a singular approach to music that remains light years ahead of their contemporaries. Currently under the direction of Maestro Marshall Allen, the Arkestra continues to practice the teachings of their founder and create unrivaled sonic experiences. This free event, which will be held directly behind the Walnut Street Free Library on 40th Street, will also feature a fire and movement arts performance by Scorch. -E.S.

6pm. Free. With Scorch. Park at 40th between Walnut and Locust Sts. University City District 215.243.0555

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