Calendar: June 30-July 6

What to do in Philly this week.

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jun. 29, 2010

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Wednesday, June 30

Mrs. Miller’s Coffee, Me or Tea Party
Philly’s most fun, interactive improv troupe, Dumpsta Playas, is keepin’ it patriotic this week. When title character Mrs. Miller stumbles upon a Tea Party, she’s disgusted to learn the only beverage being served is a big ol’ dose of tax-induced Haterade. She jumps into her time machine in hopes of finding a less priggish lifestyle in 1776. Instead, she bumps into Paul Revere and Betsy Ross, who give her some vital info to bring back to 2010. Crazy shit goes down, and the show eventually devolves into a Celebrity Deathmatch-style cage fight between Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama. Like most episodes of Celebrity Deathmatch, Mrs. Miller’s Coffee, Me or Tea Party will end in death. Our bleeding hearts would be not-so-secretly pleased to see a faux Sarah Palin assassination, but a large part of what makes Dumpsta Players interesting is their improvisation, so the victim could very well be you. Better order up that special as soon as you get there. -Erica Palan

10pm. $1.99. Bob and Barbara’s, 1509 South St. 215.545.4511.

Though still under 30, Nick Thornburn has already been in enough bands to populate a medium-sized scene—bringing fey pop with the Unicorns, skewed folk with Human Highway (with Jim Guthrie), hip-hop with Reefer and Th’ Corn Gangg and gaudy electro-pop with current main project Islands. Last year’s Vapours brought his old partner Jaime Thompson back into the fold, as well as a glitzier, dancier, synthier vibe. Always theatrical, Thornburn has been known to perform in a glitzy opera cape and eye patch when the mood hits him and to swing from amps and dance deep into the crowd. He’s also collaborating on some recordings with Honus Honus now, so a guest turn from the Man Man frontman isn’t out of the question. -Jennifer Kelly

6:30pm. $12. With Steel Phantoms + Active Child. Barbary, 951 Frankford Ave. 215.634.7400.

Thursday, July 1

Down the Shore Party at Zahav
 Any citizen of the former title-holder of fattest city in America knows that going down the shore ain’t about the sand. A Jersey vacation is about stuffing your face with Mack and Manco’s and other artery-clogging treats. Now, you can cut out the middleman and eat your heart out without paying bridge tolls. At Zahav’s Down the Shore party, totally-worth-the-hype chef Michael Solomonov will handle pizza while other notable chefs—including Percy Street’s Erin O’Shea, Fork’s Terence Feury, Mémé’s David Katz and Bistrot la Minette’s Peter Woolsey—will prepare other shore favorites like ice cream sandwiches, popsicles, burgers and hot dogs. And in case you’re concerned that a party with Philly’s culinary heavy hitters is too classy to have the word “Jersey” in the title, they’ve got it covered. Word on the street is that all the chefs will don mullet wigs and a Journey cover band will provoke drunken sing-alongs to “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Beach tags not required, but advance tickets are, so get ’em now. -Erica Palan

5pm. $25. Zahav, 237 St. James Place, 215.625.8800.

Adrian Belew
As you probably know by now, Adrian Belew is the Gandalf of guitar, his experimental six-string wizardry a genre unto itself. For nearly 40 years, he’s held his own playing alongside such notable weirdos as Zappa, Bowie and fellow members of King Crimson, and he’s unleashed a batch of solo albums both unorthodox and conventional. In recent years he’s led the acclaimed Adrian Belew Power Trio with Philly’s own Julie Slick (bass) and her brother, Eric Slick (drums). But now that Eric’s drumming in Dr. Dog full-time, the trio is on hold and Belew’s bringing his one-man show—full of improvisation and loops and odd noises and strange gadgets and more—to town tonight. -Michael Alan Goldberg

8pm. $30-$42. With Julie Slick. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400.

Ale and Arts Tour

Remember when you were knee-high and you would go on school field trips? With a finger jammed up your nose, you’d gawk at the houses of dead people and eyeball large, fractured bells while resisting the urge to pee your pants. This is sort of like that, except instead of learning tedious history, you’ll get cultured on 10 of Philly’s fascinating murals. Even better, you’ll be swapping that juice box for a cold beer, courtesy of the three bars you’ll be stopping at between art talk, hopping from Dirty Franks to McGillin’s to Field House. Punctuality will ensure that you won’t be the only kid without a travel buddy and that you don’t miss out on an account of Philadelphia’s murals and the history of the bars that coincide with them. -Rachel Stumpo

5:30pm. $30. Leaves from Dirty Franks, 347 S. 13th St. 800.537.7676.

Friday, July 2

Delta Spirit
Cali-based Americana rockers stick close to their roots on this month’s acoustic-heavy sophomore LP History From Below. Yet, amid the tinges of country, blues and soul inspired by many others before them, there’s a continued freshness to the passionate vocals of Matthew Vasquez and his comrades and, even though the band has subtracted a guitarist, a fullness to their finely constructed melodies. There’s a tick-tocking heartbeat in the slowly building “White Table.” There’s minimalist poignancy in fragile acoustic songs like “Ransom Man.” There’s life and color all the way through, which should lend itself beautifully to the spontaneity of the group’s live presentation. -Kevin Brosky

8pm. $13-$14. With Ezra Furman & the Harpoons + the Romany Rye. First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St.

Sex Dwarf Beach Party

DJ Robert Drake has a baby, and its name is Sex Dwarf. Drake began the monthly dance party way back in 2003 and and despite launching other parties—including the new-ish Thursday night Time Warp at the Barbary—it’s remained his favorite. A nightlife staple, Sex Dwarf is the only fete in town where you can shake your moneymaker exclusively to the Cure, Joy Division, the Pet Shop Boys and other New Wave. This month, Drake (along with fellow DJ Marilyn Thomas) has gussied up his baby for a trip to the beach. The music stays the same, but now partygoers are encouraged to don Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops and drape themselves in celebratory plastic Day-Glo necklaces. Ditch the whole fashionably late thing; partygoers arriving before 10 p.m. get in for free and get first pick of the lei station. And this baby has drink specials till midnight.  -Erica Palan

9pm. $5. Fluid, 613 S. Fourth St. 215.629.3686.

Saturday, July 3

Barbershop Quartet Championships
The boy bands with their sex-you-up R&B harmonies come and go (and come back again: Philly-raised Boyz II Men are now adultz) but the songs remain the same for the barbershop quartets of the nation. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to get your hair cut at the Convention Center this week when thousands of old-school, four-part harmonizers are in town for the 72nd convention of the Barbershop Harmony Society, a week of events that began in a friendly way last week, but will culminate in a championship tessitura smackdown Saturday night. Contestants will wring every drop of harmonious sweetness from “polecats,” or barbershop standards, like “Sweet Adeline” and “Down by the Old Mill Stream.” Some ambitious crooners might try to tackle babymaker “I’ll Make Love to You” for kicks, but contest rules are stringent, so they’ll probably stray only as far as Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me.” -Peter Crimmins

6pm. $50. PA Convention Center, 1101 Arch St. 800.876.7464.

Orchestra Neighborhood Concert
In the second installment of their three-appearance summer Neighborhood Concert series, in which the Philadelphia Orchestra leaves their Kimmel Center home to hop around the city playing free concerts for people who might not otherwise get to see them, the Philadelphia Orchestra will play at Penn’s Landing. Given the date, it’s unsurprising that there will be a ton of American composers on the bill, from Bernstein to Copland to Berlin (the Irving one, not the German one), led by assistant conductor Danail Rachev. The closing number, though is Russian: the traditional summer-repertory pairing of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with fireworks as cannon-fire percussion. Say what you may about things that are overdone, this one is still totally fun. This concert series comes on the heels of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s hiring of Montreal native Yannick Nezét-Séguin (or, as it’s being thrown around, “YNS”) as their new music director, he’ll start in fall 2012.  -Kurt Hirsch

8pm. Free. Penn’s Landing, Columbus Blvd. at Chestnut St.

Faith No More
Twenty hot summers ago, the fish flopped, metal-met-rap-met-punk-met-funk, Mike Patton got his existential on like Kierkegaard, and Faith No More—which had toiled in semi-obscurity for much of the previous decade—attained superstardom. Before the ’90s were over, though, Faith No More was no more. Until last year, when the band’s final lineup (basically everyone you remember except guitarist Jim Martin, who quit in 1993 and is now a champion pumpkin farmer) reunited for some European shows, and have kept the party going into 2010. From the footage we’ve seen, the band seems into it enough to make the old grooves meaningful once more. By the way, the fish was Björk’s. -M.A.G.

7:30pm. $25-$49.50. Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Ave. 215.893.1999.

Sunday, July 4

Do West Philly kids celebrate Independence Day in an unironic way? Danger Danger Gallery is confident that—with a dose of live art-rock, a Beer-B-Que and Oliver Stone agitprop in its gallery space—it is pledging its allegiance the fun way. “Ameri-tacular” features a lineup of 10 bands on two floors and screenings of patriotic films like Born on the Fourth of July, Team America and The Patriot. Brooklyn’s bare-chested punk rockers O’Death are headlining. The band recently burned through its funds while drummer David Rogers-Berry fought off bone cancer. Since the Fourth rarely offers you the chance to be a Good Samaritan, unless you count wheeling your grandpa to the buffet table, chip in this once. The West Philly shindig relocates at night to Elena’s Soul Lounge for those over 21. The daytime festivities, however, are open to all ages. Because what screams family more than bands named O’Death, Skeletonbreath and Drunk Tigers? Certainly not the Goo Goo Dolls. -Mark Maurer

1pm. $5-$10. With O’Death, Paper Mice, Andrew Cedermark, Drunk Tigers, U.S. Girls, Skeletonbreath and Levee Drivers. Danger Danger Gallery, 5013 Baltimore Ave.

Monday, July 5

We Were Promised Jetpacks
We Were Promised Jetpacks are another batch of brooding Scottish rockers that’ve bubbled to the surface the last couple years, Not as twee as Frightened Rabbit or as noisily inscrutable as the Twilight Sad, WWPJ share a similar penchant for graceful melancholia draped in slashing guitars. If the music sometimes creeps with a moody sweep beneath singer/guitarist Adam Thompson’s keening croon it never aspires to the same level of grandiose pomposity as their atmospheric U.K. peers (i.e. Coldplay, Snow Patrol). These Four Walls features its share of drifting ballads, but they’re balanced by brash guitars echoing the Wedding Present’s ringing churn, and they escalate their sonic aggression live. -Chris Parker

8pm. $12-$14. With Bear Hands + the Static Jacks. The Note, 142 E. Market St.

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