What to do in Philly this week.
Dierks Bentley + Hayes Carll
Like Budweiser and Sam Adams, Dierks Bentley and Hayes Carll are country singers from separate sides of the mainstream. They share appreciation for Waylon and Merle, but are moving rapidly in different directions. After two platinum-selling albums demonstrating timorous rebellion, a crisp radio-ready croon and a mien for honky tonk ballads, Bentley’s subsequent two releases have polished off the edges and most of the distinctiveness. Meanwhile, Carll keeps getting better. Bringing together folksy shuffles and Texas twang, his canny, understated songs bypass Nashville self-aggrandizement for ambling wallet-sized portraits. They’re joined by the Travelin’ McCoury’s—progeny of bluegrass legend Del McCoury—who accompany Bentley on his forthcoming (much-needed) back-to-basics album, Up On the Ridge. -Chris Parker
8pm. $30. With the Travelin’ McCourys. Theater of the Living Arts, 334 South St. 215.922.1011. livenation.com
Coming Out Under Fire: Gays in the Military Workshop
In his 2010 State of the Union Address, President Obama insisted, “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It’s the right thing to do.” Easier said than done, especially in an election year where very few on the left—already poised to take a beating after the controversial health care overhaul—appear brave enough to support the elimination of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) against fierce opposition from the right. Tonight, Vietnam War medic Mike Felker, who for decades has been on the front lines of the gays in the military debate, facilitates “Coming Out Under Fire,” a workshop that will examine the history and impact of DADT and screen a documentary about gay former Marine Jeff Key, who hid his sexual orientation in order to serve in Iraq in 2003. Naturally, those in favor of DADT’s repeal will be in attendance. The real question: Will those opposed be open-minded enough to drop by and hear a different perspective? -Michael Alan Goldberg
7pm. $45-$75. William Way Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. 215.732.2220. waygay.org
The Anthropology Project launches a new series of pay-as-you-may theatrical performances under the umbrella of the SoLow Festival. A new handful of experimental plays will premiere each night through May 23, and you need only cough up whatever entrance fee you deem reasonable. While some shows—like Meghann Williams’ “Pretty”—are held in private residences and require an RSVP (e-mail the SoLow Festival for details), most take place in studio space at the Wolf Building on 12th street. First up is Thomas Choinacky’s free-roaming environmental piece “The Hour,” where the audience is invited to explore every angle of a live performance featuring music, movement, and traditional art supplies. Walk around the gallery as it happens for a unique one hour performance. BYOB for an opening night mixer following the show and learn more about the rest of the works in this inventively inexpensive festival. Oh, the benefits of fringe. Paul F. Montgomery
8pm. Pay what you may. Wolf Building, 340 N. 12th St. anthropologyproject.org/solow-festival
Party for the Park
It’s a good time to be a park. When New York’s High Line opened less than a year ago—reviving long-dormant rail tracks and transforming them into a bustling public space and unlikely tourist attraction—cities around the world took notice. Same goes for Chicago’s Millennium Park, which opened in 2004, and has drawn unprecedented numbers of visitors to the city. Just because we don’t have any of those celebrity parks, though, doesn’t mean our parks aren’t some of the best in America. Jane Jacobs was a fan of Rittenhouse, but for diverse activity and culture, our money’s on Clark Park. This 11th annual fundraiser for the West Philly epicenter includes food, drinks, entertainment and, best of all, announcement of the first winners of the Clark Park Community Grant Award to enhance the space. Little Nell might have global cred, but Clark Park keeps it local in all the most important ways. -Jeffrey Barg
5:30-8pm. $60-$250. Wilson Student Center, 714-34 S. 42nd St. partyforthepark.org
Bearded women used to be novelties, paraded and celebrated on boardwalks and under tents. Now they just look at you dispassionately and ask, “Credit or debit?” The Hydrogen Jukebox, the Squidling Brothers circus and emcee Jelly Boy the Clown invite you to bite into a mouse-trap sandwich and recapture that bygone era when swallowing swords and spitting fire didn’t land you in an asylum, but earned you a spot in a traveling talent show. Sure, the guy next to you bit the heads off chickens, but special gifts weren’t being wasted in retail and food services. Every second friday from now though October, freaks, clowns, acrobats, puppeteers, and regurgitators of all sorts will make a midway of the Ellen Powell Tiberino Museum with Carnivolution. There’ll be games. There’ll be prizes. There’ll be rubber chickens and ladders made of swords. They’re be steampunk melodies from the Radarmen. It’s all the vaudeville your little hearts can take. -P.F.M.
8pm. $8. Ellen Powell Tiberino Memorial Museum, 3819 Hamilton St. 215.386.3784. myspace.com/thehydrogenjukebox
Soft Power + Parts & Labor
Tonight, two widely extolled bands that should be able to scratch almost every artsy indie-rock itch you might have. First up, Soft Power, led by husky voiced singer-guitarist Mary Timony. She used to front the sweet ’n scabrous ‘90s outfit Helium before veering into the world of faeries and dragons for a proggy, Ren Faire-esque solo career. Soft Power brings both of those sonic worlds together, and brings a whole batch of new songs this evening. The equally clamorous and catchy Parts & Labor, meanwhile, might assault you with glitchy digital noise and then suddenly slide into dance-punk or something resembling a psychedelic Hüsker Dü. They’ve got some fresh tunes to unveil as well. -Michael Alan Goldberg
7pm. $10. With Mincemeat or Tenspeed. Kung Fu Necktie, 215.491.2919. 1248 N. Front St. kungfunecktie.com
Are you ever really too old for “Orgasm Addict”? Thirty-five years ago, Manchester’s Buzzcocks started their pop-punk rampage, churning out endless, brilliant singles like “Boredom” and “Have You Ever Fallen In Love,” launching new wave and paving the way for pop-punkers like Green Day. The band’s second life has been longer than the first now, with original members Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle teaming up for sporadic, well-received reunion shows since 1994 (when they opened on Nirvana’s last tour). For this one, they’ll be performing the first two albums, Another Music in a Different Kitchen and Love Bites, all the way through. Jennifer Kelly
9pm. $21.50-$24. With the Dollyrots. Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888. thetroc.com
Italian Market Festival
Outsiders know South Philly’s Ninth Street Italian Market—the oldest outdoor market in America—from Rocky Balboa running past the trash-can fires and garbage-dappled streets in his gray sweats and black Chucks (every now and then you’ll see some tourist recreating the scene, but mostly those yahoos stick to the art museum steps). Locals, however, know the market as simply one of the finest and more colorful places in the city to nab meats, cheeses, produce, breads, and more for their daily meals. Both factions will come together this weekend for the annual Italian Market Festival (aka “Philly’s biggest block party”). Highlights include the traditional St. Paul Parish Procession of Saints; three stages featuring music from Pawnshop Roses, Dog Bite Money, Dead Poets, and others; the third annual John Marzano Half Ball tournament (named after South Philly’s late, beloved pro baseball player and broadcaster); and, of course, a ton of amazing food. -M.A.G.
10am-5pm. (Also on Sun., May 15.) Free. Ninth Street between Wharton and Fitzwater sts. italianmarketfestival.com
Born in New York but raised from age 10 in Miami, guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg has a prog-rock and fusion past, but he’s bloomed into a fine straightahead jazz player with albums including Nine Stories Wide and Night Songs to his credit. He works tirelessly in New York clubs as a bandleader, and his fierce chops and musicality have earned him gigs with greats such as vibraphonist Joe Locke (Sticks and Strings) and organist Dr. Lonnie Smith (Spiral, due out later this month). This week he’ll front a tight and seasoned quartet with Will Vinson on saxophones, Matt Penman on bass and Mark Ferber on drums. -David R. Adler
8pm and 10pm. $20. Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St. 215.568.3131. chrisjazzcafe.com
East Coast Black Age of Comics
This is a great month for Philly’s Black comics geekocracy. First, it’s the first true screen debut for a homegrown Black superhero—James Rhodes (aka Iron Man 2’s War Machine, a born and raised South Philadelphian). Second, the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention returns: the annual gathering dedicated to Black comic-book characters, artists and their fans. As well as a chance to nerd out on archive titles from the Africentric comic book tradition (begun in Philly in 1947 with the first independent black title, All-Negro Comics #1), the Convention keeps it active, with tons of workshops for both adults and kids, to help you write, draw and market your own comic books. Most important, it’s a loving, judgment-free environment for all who rightly believe that Iron Man is a spoiled, drunk pansy and that War Machine would clean his clock in a street fight. All under-12s get in free with a paying adult. -Tom Cowell
10am. $15. Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1800 Market St. 215.561.7500. ecbacc.com
Art Star Craft Bazaar
Trust us, it’s cool to be weird. Saturday and Sunday’s Art Star Craft Bazaar, which has grown from a tiny little street sale into a weekend-long festival of awesomeness, will bring more than 100 artists to Penn’s Landing to offer handmade goods that don’t conform. Horrible Adorables’ taxidermy felt animals will vend alongside laser-cut felt jewelry from Maria Eife and thumbsized clay pots from Yummy & Company. Indulge your inner vegan with A Full Plate’s vegetarian riblet sandwiches and falafel or Soy Café’s super veggie wraps. Music is ongoing throughout the day and includes local bands Like a Fox, The Great Unknown and Songs for Lonesome Hearts. Stop by on the early side (doors open at 11 a.m.) to receive a goodie bag with coupons, beer cozies and recent copies of 215 and Grid magazines. -Emily Freisher
11am-6pm. (Also on Sun., May 16.) Free. Penn’s Landing, S. Columbus Blvd. between Walnut and Chesnut sts. 215.238.1557. artstarcraftbazaar.com
Book of Gazes
What makes an opera an opera? Is it the fat lady singing? The big stage? The viking hats? How much can you subtract before it starts being something else? The Rhymes with Opera company tosses all of it and crams what remains--the bigness of opera--into unexpected spaces around the country. Their current work, “Book of Gazes” settles into a warehouse space called <fidget>. Librettist Jenny Olivia Johnson tells a story of memory and broken childhood through the music of Soul Cannon, a Baltimore-based hip-hop quartet with some big honkin’ synths. Johnson conceived it as a narrative performance, but suggests that audience members will both bring and walk away with something wholly their own. A guitar riff, either pop or grunge, means something different to everybody. For a story about memory and coping with history, perception is the thing. Big emotion too. Viking hats aside, that’s what opera’s all about. -P.F.M.
7pm. $10. <fidget>, 1714 N. Mascher St. rhymeswithopera.org
If you missed the Figgs’ opening/backing slot with Graham Parker a couple of weeks ago, you’re in luck. Long one of power pop’s best kept secrets, the Figgs have been making twitchy, deliriously hooky music since the late 1980s. Their shot at major label stardom came and went more than a decade ago, but as the band once observed, “bitchin’ ‘bout the kitchen never cleaned up the mess.” Instead, they’ve soldiered on, touring with Parker and ex-Replacement Tommy Stinson and recording five more addictively tuneful studio albums (plus a couple of live ones). This show, likely an orgy of amp jumps and rock star poses, celebrates the May 11th release of The Man Who Fights Himself. -J.K.
8pm. $8. With the Broken Prayers + Pete Staff and the Oxford Circle. M Room, 15 W. Girard. 215.739.5577. themanhattanroom.com
At the Khyber in late 2008, veteran grungy power-rock duo Local H played exclusively new material plus a ferocious noise-jam. This prompted one irate fan to get in frontman Scott Lucas’s face afterward, screaming, “You didn’t play SHIT, motherfucker!” To which Lucas sneered, “Fuuuuuck YOU!” I was pretty certain fists and/or guns would follow, but dude just skulked away. He might wanna come back for tonight’s “Six Angry Records” show and be the one to pick from Local H’s hat—whichever of their six albums he pulls out is the one the band will play in its entirety. So if he draws 12 Angry Months instead of As Good As Dead, he only has himself to blame this time. -M.A.G.
8pm. $12. With Kinch + Honah Lee. Khyber, 56 S. Second St. 215.238.5888. thekhyber.com
The former teen prodigy turned jazz guitar icon has done it all—or so it seemed until Orchestrion, Metheny’s latest for Nonesuch. Recording a suite of new music for fully automated acoustic instruments was the first step. Now Metheny is schlepping his fragile gear all over Europe, the U.S. and Asia for an epic one-man show that prompts us to hear his entire oeuvre in a new way. The technology goes way back (orchestrions were something akin to early jukeboxes), but Metheny bends it to his futuristic purposes, making music that’s dizzyingly advanced, but warm and full of heart, the opposite of what you’d expect from machine-generated sound. -D.R.A.
8pm. $52.50. Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside 215.572.7650. keswicktheatre.com
Calendar: Aug. 26-Sept. 2