Calendar: July 7-13

What to do in Philly this week.

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jul. 6, 2010

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Wednesday, July 7

Nels Cline Singers
Long before he became Wilco’s lead guitarist in 2004, Nels Cline was already a leading West Coast avant-gardist, making dissonant garage-jazz with rock ’n’ roll edge and even a certain melodic tenderness. Last year he released the gripping solo disc Coward, titled for the person who murdered his friend and fellow guitarist Rod Poole. Since 2002, Cline has devoted much attention to the Nels Cline Singers, a power trio with no singers. They’ve given us Instrumentals, The Giant Pin, Draw Breath and now the new double-disc Initiate (studio and live). Congregating with bassist Devin Hoff and drummer Scott Amendola, Cline locates a space between thrashing punk attitude and contemplative sound sculpture. -David R. Adler

8pm. $12-$15. With Richard Crandell + Good for Cows. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684.

Thursday, July 8

Aziz Ansari
Aziz Ansari is Indian-American. He is not, however, M. Night Shyamalan or, as he reminded us on Letterman, one of the stars of Slumdog Millionare. He’s also sick of being asked if he was excited about how successful Slumdog was: In one of his bits, he wonders whether white people are just psyched all the time. “Back to the Future, that’s us! Godfather, that’s us! Godfather Part II, that’s us! Departed, that’s us! Sunset Blvd., that’s us! Citizen Kane, that’s us! Jaws, that’s us! Every fuckin’ movie BUT Slumdog Millionaire and Boyz N the Hood, that’s us! We’re white people, suck our dicks!’” Since Ansari, who steals tons of scenes as Tom on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, has just jumped aboard the Apatow train, catch him now before he slides down into the fetid cesspool of stoner-boner movies where Seth Rogen reigns supreme. Admittedly, Apatow’s idea of casting Ansari in an as-yet-untitled film “about two disgraced astronauts who must return to space to clear their names” sounds pretty solid. -Tara Murtha

8pm. $35-$38. Tower Theater, 19 S. 69th St. 610.352.2887

Boz Scaggs
After a string of three platinum records, including the No. 2 charting, ubiquitous Silk Degrees, suave-voiced Boz Scaggs left his highly marketable blend of funk, R&B, jazz and classic rock behind in the early 1980s. He bought a club in his adopted San Francisco and began hanging out with jazz musicians. His last full-length, 2008’s Speak Low, bears the imprint of this= period, revisiting jazz standards like Chet Bakers “She Was Too Good to Me” and Johnny Mercer’s “This Time the Dream’s on Me.” His shows split the difference, reimagining 1970s radio hits like “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle” with slinkier, more sophisticated arrangements and slipping in some covers of old favorites. -Jennifer Kelly

7:30pm. $49.50-$59.50. With David Jacobs-Strain. Keswick Theater. 291 Keswick Ave., Glenside. 215.572.7650.

Friday, July 9

We’d love to be at customs when Katzenjammer arrives from Norway. On the plus side, these four ladies sport the kind of seriously attractive, high-cheekboned looks that can slice through bureaucratic obstacles. On the minus, they’ll be toting up to 30 different instruments, ordinary ones like keyboards and guitar and rarer ones, including tuba and balalaika. If they get through, however, this performance will be jam packed with orchestral flourishes, with bugle calls and calliope pipes, mad gypsy romps and caffeinated, Abba-esque harmonies. They’re touring the U.S. for the first time on the strength of their debut album Le Pop, a lighthearted, cheerful confection that could charm even the most conscientious Homeland Security guard. -J.K.

8pm. $10-$12. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684.

Tesla Birthday Bash
If it’s got a motor, runs on electricity or is wireless, engineering pioneer Nikola Tesla made it possible. But the Tesla legacy isn’t just power lines and iPods: The Serbian scientist’s ideas and inventions have inspired an inquisitive new generation in the search for sustainable energy. The Tesla Energy Independence Celebrations 2010 are how the Philly-based Tesla Science Foundation pays homage to the inventor/alpha nerd whose life’s work makes modern existence, well, modern. Tesla enthusiasts don’t celebrate with booze and cake (although they will sing for his 154th birthday at midnight), but with feats of art, engineering and community. Friday night has a Tesla coil competition (bring yours to show off), a dance party with projections from VJ Static, sculpture by Bat Country Art Collective and a collaborative mural organized by PANadelphia. Festivities continue on Saturday with outdoor exhibits, music and food. -Alexandra Jones

8pm. Free. Independence Visitors Center, Sixth and Market sts. 800.537.7676.

Saturday, July 10

Warrior Cup
After peaking in cornball cliché courtesy of the rinky-dink Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page movie Whip It a little while back, the most hardcore roller derby players and fans just keep doing their thing which is, of course, to wrap themselves in Courtney-Love-did-it-with-Avril-Lavigne outfits, bird-and-ribbon tatts and betty bangs, then go cruising for a bruising on skates. One-off fans come to see hot chicks bashing into one another, but real fans stay for the fierce competition beneath the glittery surface. It doesn’t get fiercer than the Warrior Cup, the annual championship at which two of the best three local teams—the Broad Street Butchers, Heavy Metal Hookers and Philthy Britches—will square off against one another while the third-ranking team will take on Baltimore’s Charm City Roller Girls for a double-header of smash ’em crash ’em craziness. And you thought field hockey was rough? You ain’t seen nothing yet. -Tara Murtha

6pm. $12-$25. Class of 1923 Arena, 3130 Walnut St. 215.898.1923.

Hispanic Fiesta

Start rolling those Rs for the 31st Annual Hispanic Fiesta, hosted all weekend by the Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations (Concilio) as part of the PECO Multicultural Series. Attendees can revel in the cultures (and awesome food) of Latin America, perusing the wares of traditional craftsmen, sampling delicious ethnic foods and dancing to salsa, mariachi and merengue. Saturday, munch on an empanada while shaking your hips to Venezuelan group Los Aviadores. Come back the next evening to see Cano Estremera, perhaps the world’s most famous albino Puerto Rican, who will be showing off the vocal chops he honed touring with trumpet legend Bobby Valentin. A number of Latin dance groups will also be gracing the stage, so if you don’t quite have the moves, you can at least watch the pros.  -Lucy McGuigan

2pm. Free. Penn’s Landing, Chestnut St. and Columbus Blvd.

Eastern State Bastille Day
So exchange rates got the better of your Parisian vacation, and all your plans for revolution have fizzled. Instead of drowning your sorrows in croissants and Godard, join Philadelphia’s sans-culottes and displaced Francophiles in an uprising against Bourbon tyranny and ridiculous wigs in Fairmount’s annual Bastille Day celebration. First build your esprit du corps with French cuisine and crafts supplied by local restaurants and shops, then watch as musket-toting revolutionaries storm the walls of the Bastille (played by Eastern State Penitentiary) to capture a TastyKake-hurling Marie Antoinette and drag her to the guillotine. Regicide is a possibility, but this commemoration of the French Revolution is more Monty Python than Intro to Western Civilization, and more likely to end in champagne at a bar than in a Reign of Terror. At least here there’s no Robespierre… and everyone accepts American dollars. -Lauren Smith

2pm (storming at 5:30). Free. Eastern State Penitentiary, 2124 Fairmount Ave.  215.236.5111.

Femi Kuti
Afrobeat—the absolutely consuming blend of urgent and feisty West African drumming, funky horn blasts, psychedelic rock horsepower, and post-bop jazz underpinnings—started in the ’60s with Nigerian legend Fela Kuti, who used the music’s unstoppable grooves as a delivery system for his fiery political dissent and demand for social change. Upon Fela’s AIDS-related death in 1997, the torch was passed to his eldest son, Femi, who’d played in his father’s band and had his own career going since the late ’80s. Though Femi, now 48, has updated the Afrobeat template a bit with dub/reggae elements and modern sonics, the potency of the grooves—and the messages they carry—remain unchanged. -Michael Alan Goldberg

9pm. $25. Theater of Living Arts, 334 South St. 215.922.1011.

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