Calendar: June 15-21

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jun. 15, 2011

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Wednesday, June 15

Near-death experiences, mental telepathy, quantum consciousness, UFOs, a mystic astronaut, ghost hunting and the core of what it means to be human. These are just a few of the topics Steve Volk addresses in his new book Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable—And Couldn’t. Volk, a seasoned city reporter for Philadelphia magazine and former PW staff writer, takes us on a tour of the fringes of the American belief system. Volk isn’t interested in sensationalizing; he cares much more about what these stories can teach us about life’s less flashy but more elusive mysteries: What does it mean to be a person? How do we know what to believe? Where do we go when we die? Ever the journalist, Volk says, “The paranormal can be covered in the same way as any other story … in fact, these subjects are among the most important we would cover, yielding fascinating narratives that speak to the most fundamental concerns humanity has faced.” -Emma Eisenberg

7:30pm. Free. Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine St. 215.686.5322.

The Decemberists + Best Coast
Truth be told, we sorta miss the old Decemberists—back when they were making anachronistic, hyper-literate, semi-pretentious seafarer indie-pop or indulgent, bombastic quasi-rock operas. Polarazing as it was, we dug the audacity and theatrics of it all, and frontman Colin Meloy’s quirky, melodic compositions. Hard to say whether Meloy and company took some of the negativity to heart or simply decided to turn on a dime to confound expectations, but their album, The King Is Dead, is a straightforward, rustic country-rock album ... and kinda mehhh, mostly lacking that singular Decemberists charm. Perhaps they can inject some spirit into it tonight. Meanwhile, Best Coast opens. They’ll play garagey, girl-group-inspired surf-rock. Chances that singer Bethany Cosentino gets into a fistfight with PW scribe Elliott Sharp, who recently wrote that their music “will turn your brain to shit”? Slim! -Michael Alan Goldberg

8pm. $40. Academy of Music, Broad and Locust sts. 215.790.5800.

Thursday, June 16

Take the sprawling, dynamic post-rock of Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Mogwai and staplegun the grimmest Norwegian-style black metal to it, and you get Deafheaven—a San Francisco trio that’s making a ton of noise across the land these days. Their stunning, 11-minute “Exit:Denied,” from last year’s self-titled EP, best exemplifies the band’s turbulent, mesmerizing ethos: gorgeous and fragile melodies that step on a landmine of riffs, blast beats and tortured screams, then slip into a mournful requiem replete with doomy church bells and shoegazer atmosphere. It’s a welcome evolution of metal that crushes and inspires in equal measures. -M.A.G.

7pm. $10. With Gholas, Lonesummer, Hollenlarm + Dirge of Methusela. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. 215.291.4919.

Hungry, the Musical

What if a horde of ferocious plants the likes of Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors came to earth in droves? It’s doubtful that Rick Moranis would be able to get us out of that dilemma. In Hungry, the Musical, a new production by Sean Glass, humankind has to fend off carnivorous alien plants that seek gratification by consuming Grade A human flesh. In this science-fiction comedy, a brave, borderline alcoholic heroine, Marsha, played by Nia Charles, and her tagalong sidekicks fight to save the earth from the deadly horticultural apocalypse. With direction by Amanda Sylvester and music by Sergei Panov, it is a foray into sci-fi absurdity that recalls the campiness, comedy and horror that cult classics are made of. Don’t feed the plants. -Jessica Herring

8pm. $15-$20. First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St. 412.867.7267.

Friday, June 17

Philadelphia Comic Con
More than 500 of the biggest names in the comic book, sci-fi and video-game industries will be making their way to Philly for the nerd event of the year including Adam West, Vivica A. Fox, Pam Grier, Sean Patrick Flannery and Lou Ferrigno. Throughout the weekend, fans will have a chance to engage with their favorite heroes/villains as well as get the behind-the-scenes scoop from their creators during various workshops, presentations and lectures. This includes everything from a Buffyfest Q&A and a Green Lantern panel discussion to Smurfology 101 and a live saber-fighting demonstration. You’ll even have a chance roam the interiors of some of the most iconic pop-culture vehicles like the DeLorean Time Machine from Back To The Future and Scoobie Doo’s Mystery Machine. Be prepared to shell out extra cash for photo ops—the original Batman & Robin will sandwich you for no less than $125. -Nicole Finkbiner

Noon. $25-$35. Through June 19. Philadelphia Convention Center, 1101 Arch St. 215.418.4700.

Miracle Fortress
A Montreal, Canada-based musician who first emerged with indie-rockers Think About Life, Graham Van Pelt’s the creative force behind Miracle Fortress. Their first LP, 2007’s Five Roses, combined the swirling, multi-layered pop dervish of fellow Canucks like Caribou with the Beach Boys’ sunny flourishes and smiley smile vibes. Despite being finalists for that year’s Polaris Prize—an annual award for the best Canadian album—alongside Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible and Feist’s The Remainder, Miracle Fortress flew under most radars. They remained fairly silent until this April, when Secret City released their sophomore LP, Was I The Wave?. Pop-complexity persists, but club-banging beats and synth-mazes have replaced Van Pelt’s guitar collages. With fellow Canadian synth-poppers Junior Boys (also a Polaris nominee in 2007) headlining, prep your dancing shoes cuz tonight’s gonna be a strobe-light rampage. -Elliott Sharp

8pm. $15. With Junior Boys. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave.

Sauced Education

While lime and salt may be the most well-known accompaniments to the tequila shots that gave you liquid courage in college, the Wine School is hosting an event that shows a more classier side to the Mexican libation. The in-depth class in tequila-making will focus on small-production tequila and will be taught by bestselling spirits author of Boozehound and Washington Post scribe Jason Wilson. Forty bucks gets you eight artisanal tequilas and plenty of samples. Drunk-dialing prevention not included. -Trishula Patel

6pm. $40. The Wine School of Philadelphia, 127 S. 22nd St. 215.965.1514.

Saturday, June 18

Zombie Beach Party
Let’s face facts: Zombies need to relax just like everyone else. In the old days, they were either being ordered around by their masters or shambling inexorably toward their prey. The walking dead may be far more popular now than in the past, but everything’s just been speeded up and it’s always “Brains, brains, brains!” To help these reanimated corpses and their admirers chill out, Robert Drake and his co-conspirators are kicking off summer zombie-style with this sandy shindig. Come dressed in costume—retro beachwear was popular last year—and makeup artists will be on hand to help you get that rotting flesh just right. DJs Kiltboy and Ghoul will be spinning goth and industrial. There will also be surf rock courtesy of the Sharkskins and pop punk provided by the SlotCars. Everyone at this cadaver clambake must be at least 21-years-undead. -Raymond Simon

8pm. $10. Trocadero Theatre, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888.

Juneteenth (also known as American Emancipation Day) is the commemoration of the day that Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of the slaves in 1865. Celebrations will be popping off nationwide and Philly will be bubbling on Germantown Avenue, courtesy of the 6300 Germantown Avenue Business Alliance and the “Juneteenth Jam” at the African American Museum. Both fetes will feature rousing live entertainment, eats, activities for the young’ins, vendors, and most importantly, programs to educate on the black experience. The African American Museum will be a 35 hour nonstop extravaganza celebrating their 35th year in existence, featuring historical reenactments and worksops. And what black celebration would be complete without Philadelphia’s Largest Line Dance? The Germantown Avenue festival will feature tours and programs throughout Germantown’s historic Freedom Backyard at the different significant landmarks located there. There will also be various exhibits including one provided by the Museum of Slavery, which will feature their amazing artifacts and a screening of the award winning documentary My Slave Sister Myself. -Ryan K. Smith

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