Calendar: June 20-26

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jun. 20, 2012

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Wednesday, June 20

U.S. Air Guitar Championships
Get ready to have your face melted off ... or at least act like it’s melting. The U.S. Air Guitar Championships is holding one of its regional contests in Philly this week. Now in its 10th year, the competition lets people show off their air-playing skills and compete to be crowned Air Guitar Champion. Everyone in Philadelphia is encouraged to sign up and compete, or just come by Johnny Brenda’s and show your support. After two rounds, the winner (and the winners from 11 other cities) will be flown to Denver to compete in the nationals. There, the U.S. champion will be crowned and sent to Finland to compete in the world championships. Worth a shot? Yes! The event is hosted by Bjorn Turoque, star of the 2006 documentary Air Guitar Nation, and will be judged by the 2008 U.S. and World Air Guitar Champion, Hot Lixx Hulahan. -Brenda Hillegas

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

The Hives
No one rocks out in top hats and tails like Sweden’s Hives. Footage at Coachella shows a sun-bleached, half naked crowd, the 107-degree heat shimmering in hazy late afternoon light. Even so, Pelle Almqvist and crew, decked out like extras in a Jeeves and Wooster episode, make no concession to weather, strutting, lunging, leaping and high kicking. Their show is an explosive amalgam of unadulterated rockers like mid-1960s Stones, first-album Stooges and the MC5, as well as conceptual riffers like the White Stripes and Devo. The Hives’ albums—from 1997’s Barely Legal to this year’s Lex Hives—may sound the same, but the show is equal parts theater and rock show, and in every way a good time. -Jennifer Kelly

8pm. $25-28. With Fidlar and Flesh Lights. The Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St. 215.627.1332.

The Country

After two years, Tiny Dynamite finally pokes its head out of a bar and decides to go for a pastoral outing with its new production of Martin Crimp’s deliriously spooky The Country. Since 2010, Emma Gibson’s enterprising company has developed legions of fans with its smashingly successful pub drama series, A Play, a Pie, a Pint—in which audiences were offered a beer and a bite while enjoying a tasty one-act play served up in a Philly bar. The Country, however, will be staged without suds in the tiny Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5. A compelling psychological drama, Crimp’s play concerns a doctor who moves his family from the big city to an idyllic country hamlet in search of rural bliss. All seems well at first, but then the doctor discovers an unconscious woman along a road and takes her back to his house. Disproving the old adage that no good deed goes unrewarded, the doctor’s heroism turns into a nightmare as Crimp’s spare, surgically precise language turns the tale into one of the tensest and most unusually provocative thrillers on the modern stage. -J. Cooper Robb

8pm. $15-$20. Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St. 800.838.3006.

Thursday, June 21

Best of the Chefs
You sit through the telethons, the fund-drives and the PSAs from all your favorite public media outlets, but we’re willing to bet it takes a lot more than that to get you to open your wallet and donate. Well, wannabe-do-gooder, this event is for you: you can support WHYY television, radio and community programs by eating exquisite food and drinking in a garden. At Best of the Chefs, you’ll sample cuisine from a slew of local eateries and vote on which dish you think is the award-winning bite. There will also be raffles, live music, beer gardens and specialty cocktails. If this isn’t philanthropy, we don’t know what is. -Abigail Bruley

7-9pm. $35-$55. WHYY, 150 N. Sixth St. 215.351.0511.

Savage in Limbo
While knocking back a few local brews in one of Philly’s most intimate Irish pubs (Fergie’s!), DysFUNctional Theater invites patrons to eavesdrop on a group of five losers as they desperately search for meaning in their hilariously tragic lives. Though set in the ’80s inside a seedy Bronx bar, this play—by acclaimed playwright and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley (Doubt, Moonstruck)—tackles something that modern audiences can easily relate to: the feeling that our lives are stuck in neutral. Founded by Ruchama Bilenky, bass player for the local psycho-celtic/glam-blues group Sylvia Platypus, DysFUNctional Theater has been working to bring mostly obscure, female-oriented works to the Philly stage since 2001. Past productions include Fefu and Her Friends, The White Whore and Le Mirage/Dead City Philly. -Nicole Finkbiner

7pm. $8-$10. Through June 30. Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom St. 215.928.8118.

Walk the Moon
You really didn’t think that Walk the Moon could get any cuter, did you? The ’80s hairdos, synchronized aeroberdancing and face-painted hippies of their debut “Anna Sun” video ... it’s all enough to curl you into a ball. But then they went ahead and visited the elementary school superchoir P.S. 22, the adorable kiddies who make a habit of singing along with rock stars. Watching a few dozen youngsters belt out the uplifting lyric “I can lift a car up all by myself”—in tune!—is enough to melt even the coldest heart. The vids caught fire on the Internet, just as the dance routine on their original “Anna Sun” video did. It’s all a pretty ideal setup for this week’s release of their major-label debut, a pristine paean to indie pop, for which they actually painted 600 unique album covers. With tennis balls and paint guns. Adorable. -Jeffrey Barg

7pm. $12-$16. With Find Vienna + Vacationer. Theater of the Living Arts, 334 South St.

Friday, June 22

Turning Violet Violet
Turning Violet Violet has mastered the art of masking heavy lyrics with upbeat pop tunes. The band performs with a ferocious honesty not often seen in the indie scene. The song “Take Away” exemplifies touching, heartfelt lyrics covered by lighter tunes, where lead singer Sarah Gulish croons about the passing of her grandmother. This six-piece lighten things up with melodic guitars and swelling vocals and we wouldn’t be surprised to find a sound bite from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory thrown in, a nod to the origin of the band’s namesake. -Gabrielle Chepurny

8pm. $10. With the Deer Tracks and Nouela. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684.

Deconstructing the Reconstructive Surgeon
They call science and art "the two cultures"—two separate strands of creative endeavor that attract very different sorts of people, the rules-focused analytical left-brain thinkers and the more free-flowing artsy right-brain thinkers. That's an oversimplification, of course; lots of people have interests that bridge those two worlds, and the thinkers who deeply engage both sides of the brain are lauded as some of the most incredible and accomplished humans ever to walk the earth, from Leonardo da Vinci to Philly's own Benjamin Franklin. One such bilateral creative genius working around Philly today is biology instructor Caryn Babaian, who has taken time out from her Bucks County Community College classroom to produce an incredible art exhibit titled Deconstructing the Reconstructive Surgeon, encompassing pencil/pastel portraiture of physicians in surgery, chalkboard drawings of a thyroidectomy, silkscreen medical prints and a comic-book approach to teaching surgical procedures. Look at examples of Babaian's work in her essay currently online at the Yale Journal for Humanities—it's at the top of the page at—or head on out to the Penn Biomedical Library to see the art in person! -Stephen H. Segal

5pm. Free with RSVP to 215.898.8020 or University of Pennsylvania Biomedical Library, 3610 Hamilton Walk.

Saturday, June 23

Zombie Beach Party
With face-eaters in Miami and heart-and-brain-munchers in Maryland, it’s just a matter of time before the zombie apocalypse overtakes Philadelphia (and we’re not talking about the walking dead that is this season’s Phillies squad). So you might as well embrace the inevitable and head over to tonight’s Zombie Beach Party at the Troc and get zombified, because it’s much better to be the eater than the eaten. We think. Makeup artists will be on hand to transform the willing into flesh-chomping ghouls, and sets from surf-rockers the Sharkskins and the Slotcars will probably keep you dancing instead of looking for the human smorgasbord. Here’s a bonus joke to help you break the ice with the undead lass or lad of your dreams: What does a vegan zombie eat? Graaaaaaiins!! -Michael Alan Goldberg

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