Two years after finishing sixth on the 11th season of American Idol, Elise Testone has done a decent job of laying out a career path for herself, including gigs opening for B.B. King. The South Carolina native is set to release her debut album this fall. 8pm. $15. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. philly.worldcafelive.com
Community Design Collaborative hosts a celebration of volunteer design professionals working within local communities. Proceeds from tonight’s event, which will feature food, visuals and stories from volunteers, will benefit the Collaborative’s Design Grants Program, which helps community organizations throughout the region. 6pm. $85-$150. University of the Arts, Hamilton Hall, 320 S. Broad St. cdesignc.org
Philly Queer Media Activism Series
Kiyoshi Kuromiya, who passed away in 2000, was as unique as he was brazen: Not only was he one of the most fervent and fearless queer and AIDS activists in Philadelphia’s history, but the Japanese-American visionary who worked at the side of Martin Luther King Jr. also fought just as tirelessly for equal rights for blacks, peace during wartime, democratized access to the internet and ending transphobia. Having been born in an internment camp during WWII, Kuromiya’s entire biography is notable—and Che Gossett and Luce Lincoln couldn’t agree more. They’ve been toiling away on Kiyoshi Kuromiya: A Queer of Color and AIDS Activist Inspiration, a film project that documents the enduring impact of one man’s mission to advocate for just about every community that’s struggled in America over the past four decades.
One key resource that proved invaluable to Kiyoshi Kuromiya, Gossett says, is the 40 boxes of Kuromiya’s stuff found in the William Way Center’s archives. The production’s coming along, in large part, due to the inspiration found in connecting to Kuromiya’s survivors. “It’s very powerful,” said Gossett, “to listen to himself narrate about his life because he’s no longer here. And I was able to find a lot of interesting archival material.”
For tonight’s launch of Philly Queer Media’s new arsenal of programming, Gossett will be on hand to present some bits of the still-unfinished Kiyoshi Kuromiya, show off some of those great archival finds and speak about the fascinating lessons to be gleaned from its subject’s life. And there are many. From the infamous and momentous LGBT protest at Independence Hall in 1965, to the Black Panther Party’s Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention at Temple in ‘69, to his lead litigant status in the Critical Path AIDS Project’s Supreme Court overturning on the Communications Decency Act on internet censorship, Kuromiya’s lent his voice to so many struggles. Someone’s got to fight. He did so with legendary might. // BILL CHENEVERT
6:30pm. Free. Temple University, 201 Annenberg Hall, 2020 N. 13th St. phillyqueermedia.com
Mega-Bad Movie Night: Jurassic Park III
There’s a scene in Jurassic Park III where the characters dig through piles of dinosaur shit to find a cell phone. And if you’ve seen the film, chances are you had a similar experience sitting through all of its 92 minutes trying to find a soul. The 2001 debacle takes center stage at tonight’s installment of Drexel’s “Mega-Bad Movie Night” series, where experts will point out the myriad scientific inaccuracies a la Mystery Science Theater 3000. 6:30pm. $18. Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. 215.299.1000. ansp.org
Combining the edge-of-your-seat feel of a thriller with a few laughs, the Edgar Award-winning play Accomplice promises to keep its audience guessing till the end. The 20-plus-year-old production was written by Rupert Holmes, also known for penning The Mystery of Edwin Drood and the infamous “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” that has plagued elevators everywhere. 8pm. $15-$25. Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St. 215.574.3550. walnutstreettheatre.org
Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason, known for lending their design expertise to the AphroChic blog, will lead a discussion—with help from a group of panelists—of modern trends and how they can be applied to interior decorating. The duo will also be signing copies of their latest book, Remix: Decorating with Culture, Objects and Soul. 5:30pm. Free. Philadelphia Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch St. 215.569.3186. philadelphiacfa.org
A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran
In 2009, Americans Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal were arrested while hiking near the Iranian border for what border guards suspected to be espionage. They remained in Tehran’s Evin Prison for two years and are now sharing their harrowing yet rousing tale of perseverance with the release of their memoir, A Sliver of Light. 7:30pm. Free. Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine. St. 215.686.5322. freelibrary.org
Avenue Q: School Edition
Avenue Q, the satirical take on life’s little anxieties as told through puppetry, has become a staple of contemporary musical theater. With so many of its staples touching on basic social issues, a show like Avenue Q can appeal—and has—to a younger demo than its content would suggest. And West Philadelphia’s innovative Project Arts isn’t afraid to tackle some of its rougher material.
Specializing in theater pieces and performance art that incorporates issues of the lives of real teens—such as gender identity, class, diversity, LGBT rights and drug use—Project Arts became an educational theater company when founding member Rich Wexler produced Rent: School Edition three years ago as an after-school project while studying at Drexel. By blending a multi-disciplinary approach to the craft of musical theater and their outreach to teens without access to theater materials, Project Arts provides young people with an opportunity to grow creatively while addressing the reality of issues within their communities.
For Avenue Q: School Edition’s third production, teen performers were given puppetry workshops to better manipulate their characters and improv training to explore the range of their characters’ personalities. It addresses the same issues as its racier Broadway counterpart, but with a milder tone. These kids aren’t shying away from controversial topics; they’re striving to understand them. And ensure their peers do, too. // KENNEDY ALLEN
Through Sun., March 30, various times. $10-$15. The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St. 215.301.2914. projectarts.info
This acclaimed South Philly-based dance collective looked to the visual arts, Persian poetry and Hindu traditions for inspiration when crafting its newest production, Be/Longing: Light/Shadow. The meditative show will also feature music composed by Cory Neale. 8pm. $21-$35. Mandell Theatre, 33rd and Chestnut sts. 267.687.3739. kunyanglin.org
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
In playwright Christopher Durang’s acclaimed comedy, movie star Masha returns home for an impromptu family reunion. Much to the surprise of her family, she brings her new boy-toy companion along, making for an unforgettable weekend. 8pm. $46-$59. Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St. philadelphiatheatrecompany.org
Hang On: Marc Summers Returns
Aaron Nevins’ monthly talk show returns with guests Marc Summers, host of Nickelodeon’s Double Dare, and Ron Gallo, frontman of Philly’s own Toy Soldiers. A panel of some of the city’s best comedians will also be on hand to provide auxiliary laughs. 8pm. $5. Playground at the Adrienne Theater, 2030 Sansom St. 215.567.2848. hangon.brownpapertickets.com
Tomorrow Never Knows: The Beatles in Text and Image
The Kislak Center at the University of Pennsylvania presents an exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Brits’ invasion of America. The exhibit traces the iconography of the Beatles through a collection of autographs, memorabilia, illustrated books and more. Through Aug. 11. Van-Pelt Dietrich Library, 3420 Walnut St. 215.898.7088. library.upenn.edu
Don Juan Comes Home From Iraq
Returning home to Philadelphia from Iraq, Don Juan finds that his lover is missing and embarks on a surreal mission to find her. The play is the newest offering from Pulitzer Prize-winning Paula Vogel and Wilma Theater Artistic Director Blanka Zizka. 8pm. $17.50-$35. The Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad St. 215.546.7824. wilmatheater.org
Lil’ Steph presents Rasputin’s Room
Renowned burlesque performer Lil’ Steph and her ragtag band of dancing vixens encourage patrons of Ruba to engage in a night filled with carefree sin. Other dancers set to take the stage include Joey Martini, Cherry Bomb and Legs Malone. 9pm. $10. Ruba, 416 Green St. 215.627.9831. lilsteph.com
Shut Up and Dance
Twenty-two years ago, Pennsylvania Ballet’s dancers looked around at the state of their friends and their city, wondering how they could give back to Philadelphia—specifically, to combat HIV and AIDS. On their own time, with no promise or hint of getting anything in return, they choreographed and rehearsed a fresh, sexy and fun set of dance performances to raise funds for MANNA, the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance. All these years later, Shut Up and Dance has become one of the most anticipated and feel-good ticket buys of the year.
This magically serendipitous connection between two organizations yields an annual celebration of dance while also collecting a huge pot of cash that goes to a much-need community. MANNA doesn’t just bring nutritious meals to sufferers of life-threatening cancers and illnesses—they bring hope. They bring smiles and encouragement to keep fighting. Often times, it’s more than a fight; it’s a war, something no one should have to endure hungry and alone.
XPN’s Michaela Majoun will emcee tonight; PA Ballet’s Ian Hussey will act as producing director; the choreography of Colby Damon, Harrison Monaco and Alexandra Hughes will be featured, and a dance film project created by Harry Paris and Candice DeTore will get its due exposure. Not only will Shut Up and Dance treat you to a fantastic aesthetic feast, but you’ll be providing a dietary one to people who really need to know we haven’t forgotten them. // B.C.
8pm. $25-$100. Forrest Theatre, 1114 Walnut St. 215.496.2662. mannapa.org
Philadelphia Youth Dance Fest
Tonight’s performance features more than 10 area companies, giving young dancers an opportunity to perform in a professional setting. The festival is designed to unite dancers from all different backgrounds and training in a combined performance celebrating their shared love of the medium. 7:30pm. $15-$20. Painted Bride Arts Center, 230 Vine St. paintedbride.org
8 Beers to Try Before You Die
The Wine School’s beer sommeliers took the liberty of conjuring a list of the eight brews they believe you must sample before you hit the Pearly Gates. Find out which delicious suds made the cut and try them for yourself at this featured tasting. 6pm. $56.98. The Wine School of Philadelphia, 127 S. 22nd St. vinology.com
Women’s Power Lunch
Pathways to Independence presents an afternoon of food, networking and career development for women. PTI is an entrepreneurship-based organization for women who have survived domestic violence. 11am. $20-$200. The Enterprise Center, 4548 Market St. theenterprisecenter.com
World Water Day
Organized by Keiyo Soy Ministries, this morning walk starting at the Art Museum is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for the Kerio Valley in northern Kenya. Proceeds will go toward providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene education. 9am. $15-$30. Martin Luther King Drive, 640 Waterworks Drive. 267.528.8285. ksmministries.com
Would you be willing to part with your precious family heirloom for the right price? That’s the question playwright Theresa Rebeck asks in Mauritius. The Drama Group presents this show about what happens when cherished antiques passed down from generations turn out to be worth substantial amounts of money. 8pm. $15. First United Methodist Church of Germantown, 6001 Germantown Ave. thedramagroup.org
SundayFest! at Charlie Salon
The chic Washington Square West salon hosts an benefit for the Quince Productions theater group. Enjoy free admission, raffles and prizes, drinks and snacks from Hip City Veg and other local restaurants. 1pm. Free. Charlie Salon, 203 S. 12th St. 215.627.1088. quinceproductions.com
Goals for Giving
The Philadelphia Flyers Alumni team laces up their skates for some friendly competition benefiting the NHS Human Services Foundation. Former Flyers greats like Brian Propp, Bob Kelly and Joe Watson will participate in the skate. 1:30pm. $10. Flyers Skate Zone, 10990 Decatur Rd. flyersskatezone.com
How to Dress Well + Forest Swords
How to Dress Well’s music has been described with every amalgamation of buzzwords you can fathom—and plenty that aren’t even musical distinctions. From ambient-electonic to PBR&B, HTDW’s sound has baffled plenty a scribe attempting to pigeonhole it. At its core, HTDW is indie R&B; think The Weeknd or Frank Ocean.
The stage name of Chicago’s Tom Krell, HTDW began in 2009 with a slew of online EPs. Honing his sonics into a sea of distant-sounding samples and fractured, minimal beats, Krell crafts moving works of modern soul, aided by his impressive falsetto-vocal confessions of lost loves and depression. His two LPs, 2010’s Love Remains and 2012’s Total Loss, have been praised immensely for their poignancy and artistic merit. Earlier this month, Krell self-released a new single, “Words I Don’t Remember;” highlighted by glistening synths and his signature crooning, the single is a memorable continuation of HTDW’s musical journey.
Tonight at the Church, How to Dress Well will be complimented by Forest Swords, another bastion of trip-hop/experimental R&B. Forest Swords is the stage name for Merseyside, England’s Matthew Barnes, whose EP, Dagger Paths, received widespread acclaim. His newest release, last year’s Engravings, plays towards the dark, psychedelic side of modern electronic music. Leave the glow sticks at home, and prepare yourself for the slow jams. // DANIEL GELB
8:30pm. $15. With Ricky Eats Acid. First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St. 215.821.7575. r5productions.com
For a Woman
As part of the Philadelphia Jewish Film Fest, the Gershman Y presents a screening of the 2013 French film For A Woman. The film tells the intricate story of a young film director rediscovering her family’s past in the wake of the death of her mother. 7:30pm. $7-$12. Gershman Y, 401 S. Broad St. pjff.org
Russian playwright Anton Chekhov’s tale of three young girls’ coming of age gets a reboot at the Arden Theatre. This vibrant retelling of the classic play follows the family through their lives and experiences. 8pm. $15-$48. The Arden Theatre, 40 N. Second St. 215.922.1122. ardentheatre.org
Jane Golden and David Updike: Philadelphia Mural Arts @ 30
Philadelphia’s amazing Mural Arts Program is one of those things of which we’ve always been in awe, and not only because it’s an internationally-known entity that directly helps make our slice of urban landscape so unique. Begun in 1984 as part of the Anti-Graffiti Network, it actually sought out and befriended graffiti writers throughout Philadelphia—not to discipline them, but to hone their talents and direct them toward something objectively useful. Twelve years later, Mayor Ed Rendell reorganized it, changed the moniker to Mural Arts and named uber-passionate muralist Jane Golden, who’d originally begun the outreach to city graffiti artists, as its director. Since then, the program has created more than 3,800 murals in every neighborhood throughout our city, making it more beautiful, one brush stroke and laid tile at a time.
The agency’s original creation was 30 years ago. And to celebrate, Golden and David Updike, an editor at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and board member of the Friends of Glenside Free Library, have put together and edited a book tracing and detailing its history. That book, titled Philadelphia Mural Arts @ 30, features essays by a selection of the many people who’ve been involved in the program throughout its decades: artists, activists, policy makers, educators and curators, all of whom have had an impact on, or been impacted by, the Mural Arts Program. They’ll be sharing those experiences tonight. // RANDY LOBASSO
7:30pm. Free. Free Library of Philadelphia, Central Branch, 1901 Vine St. freelibrary.org
PW’s Drink City Live!
Join PW for a special happy-hour welcome to spring. Enjoy drinks, conversation, an exclusive performance from superstar guitarist Clayton Sears, and a preview of the upcoming Vanishing Goddess art and music show. 5-7pm. Free. Victoria Freehouse, 10 S. Front St. philadelphiaweekly.com
Technology, Privacy and Security
The Philadelphia Center for History of Science hosts a discussion on the struggle for privacy in today’s technology environment. New York University Media, Culture and Communications Professor Helen Nissenbaum and Columbia University Associate Professor Matthew L. Jones will discuss big data, surveillance, new Fourth Amendment challenges and the digital era’s shifting communication culture. 6pm. Free. Drexel University, Main Building. 267.386.3487. pachs.net
It’s always encouraging to see people pelted with life’s lemons emerge with a fresh pitcher of lemonade, and Wild Ones have a story that makes you want to root for them. It took the band about nine months to record and mix their debut, Keep it Safe, and in the past couple years, they’ve experienced some serious setbacks—guitarist Clayton Knapp’s blown-out eardrum and drummer Seve Sheldon’s punctured lung among them. But this crew’s got determination. And though they’ve all been in bands before, this one’s particularly democratic; they all preach the egalitarian nature of each member of their sextet.
Still, let’s be clear: It’s Danielle Sullivan’s butter-soft and perfectly airy vocals that tie up the Wild Ones package particularly nicely. She embodies notes of Emily Haines, Jenny Lewis, the Dirty Projectors’ Amber Coffman and even a little bit of the Cardigans’ Nina Persson. The vehicle, though, is just as pleasant: a deliciously retro and yet simultaneously modern combination of synths, airy atmospherics, percussive grace and twee indie charms. And they’re not exactly wild, but a fondness for Rilo Kiley, Metric or Beach House will turn you into a Wild Ones cheerleader.
Despite the hindrances of health woes and empty pockets, there’s no shortage of delicacy and beauty on this Portland-born collective’s only LP. They recorded around that city’s greats, like Quasi and the Thermals, so maybe a little professionalism and fight rubbed off. Sure sounds like it. // B.C.
8:30pm. $10. With Weekender + Geology. The Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad Street. 267.639.4528. bootandsaddlephilly.com
“Modern Love” on Tour
New York Times “Modern Love” column editor Daniel Jones stops by Philly to discuss the contemporary love column as well as his new book featuring selected essays. Noon. Free. Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk. 215.573.9748. writing.upenn.edu/wh
2nd Annual Bourbon Battle
The Trestle Inn hosts this cocktail competition featuring four of Philly’s slickest bartenders. Enjoy sample drinks and hors d’oeuvres, with a portion of each ticket benefiting the city’s largest no-kill animal shelter, PAWS. 6pm. $30-$35. The Trestle Inn, 3399 N. 11th St. 267.239.0290. thetrestleinn.com
Arsenic and Old Lace
Elaine Harper can’t quite fit in with her fiance, Mortimer Brewster’s, family. Brewster has an uncle who thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt and two crazy aunts who have a bizarre hobby: tricking lonely old men into drinking wine laced with arsenic, strychnine and cyanide. Through April 27. Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St. walnutstreettheatre.org
Laughter on the 23rd Floor
Side-splitting comedy follows the writing, fighting and wacky antics that occur in the writers’ room of a weekly variety show. While chaos reigns backstage, star Max Prince battles with NBC executives who fear his humor is too sophisticated for Middle America. Through April 13. $31. Bristol Riverside Theatre, 120 Radcliffe St., Bristol. 215.785.0100. brtstage.org
The Strange and Horrible Stories of Edgar Allan Poe
This five-week mini-course will cover the stories and poetry of Edgar Allan Poe. Some of the famous work that will be discussed include “The Raven,” “Annabel Lee” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Through May 6. $25. Camden County College, 1889 Rt. 70 East, Cherry Hill. 856.227.7200. camdencc.edu
Lehigh Valley Science Festival
The newly renamed Lehigh Valley Science Festival returns with a free public carnival, featuring entertaining experiences with science and technology. Sat., March 22, 9:30am. Free. Coca-Cola Park, 1050 IronPigs Way, Allentown. 484.664.1002. lehighvalleysciencefestival.org
Costumes of Downton Abbey
It’s quite a display: 40 exquisite outfits from the award-winning British drama Downton Abbey. The exhibit, which also includes workshops and lectures about lifestyle during the turbulent time period, features a stunning wedding gown, a harem outfit and a gorgeous scarlet dress. Through Jan. 4. Winterthur Museum, 5105 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, Del. 302.888.4600. winterthur.org
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide