Calendar: May 2-8

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted May. 2, 2012

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Willie Nelson

Wednesday, May 2

Boston Marriage
Award-winning playwright David Mamet is known for his macho male characters, rapid-fire dialogue and his uncanny ability to make obscene language sound simultaneously poetic and emphatic. His best plays, Glengarry Glen Ross and American Buffalo, are testosterone-fueled explorations of cutthroat capitalism that are devoid of even a single female character. Boston Marriage (which opens tonight in a new staging from 1812 Productions) features the same musical and muscular language found in Mamet’s more famous works, yet this time the words spring from the mouths of 19th-century women. Focusing on two women involved in a covert but guiltless lesbian relationship, Mamet’s comedy explores the female experience in an era when women were supposed to be more concerned with developing their beauty than their brains. Director Jennifer Childs’ production stars four-time Barrymore Award-winner Grace Gonglewski and Suzanne O’Donnell as the discreet couple. -J. Cooper Robb

7pm. $36.Through May 20. Plays and Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey St. 215.592.9560.

Joe Carducci
Way back in the ’80s, while most of us were blasting Tone-Loc on the way to orthodontist appointments, a tight-knit cadre of social misfits were toiling seven days a week and sleeping a few winks each night on the floor of a rundown office in Southern California. Their charge: to market and distribute the music of genre-defining and -bending acts like Black Flag, Saint Vitus, Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. Just about any longhair that picks up a guitar is channeling the spirit of SST Records, whether he/she knows it or not. Elder statesmen of the bunch, Joe Carducci sheds none of SST’s caustic ambition in his writing, notably in 1991’s Rock and The Pop Narcotic, a hefty volume of rock cheerleading and industry criticism from a guy who’s had plenty of time to contemplate his subject. His new one, Life Against Dementia, collects writing previously seen in Arthur magazine, The Match! and The New Vulgate and covers subjects as varied as the Meat Puppets, Warren Oates and Hillary Clinton. -Richie Charles

7pm. Brickbat Books, 709 S. Fourth St. 215.592.1207.

Thursday, May 3

Gay Men’s Chorus Drag Show
Singing: It’s a drag? Tonight, the answer is YES, when a gaggle of the city’s finest queens descend on ICandy for a “FUNdraiser” benefit soiree for the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus, which is in the midst of celebrating 30 years of painting the town pink with song and, well, gaiety. We’re reasonably certain the evening’s festivities will feature a fair amount of Barbra, Liza and Gaga—and perhaps Whitney (R.I.P.)?—but we’re also counting on plenty of surprises from both queens and members of the PGMC as they belt out some tunes and party down to raise cash for one of Philly’s most essential arts institutions. -Michael Alan Goldberg

8pm. $10. Club ICandy, 254 S. 12th St.

Lower Dens
Jana Hunter got her start in the new folk movement, discovered in the mid-’00s by Devendra Banhart while opening for Banhart and Entrance in her native Texas. Her smoky, evocative voice, then and now, conjures Banhart favorite Karen Dalton, but in the decade since, almost everything else has changed. For one thing, Hunter is no longer a lone girl-with-guitar, but instead fronts the electrified, sometimes noise-infused rock outfit known as Lower Dens. For another, with new album Nootropics, she has ventured far from the whole-grain aesthetic of freak folk, into machine-dream landscapes of synthesizer, programmed drums and the spooky ecstasies of muted dance rhythms. -Jennifer Kelly

8pm. $10-$12. With Violens. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford St.

Miss Julie

Philadelphia is suddenly awash in frisky little theater companies that regularly defy dramatic conventions. One of these enterprising companies is InVersion Theatre, which is mounting a site-specific production of August Strindberg’s Miss Julie inside a private Colonial townhouse in Queen Village. Strindberg was an early practitioner of the hyper-realistic style known as Naturalism. To emphasize the play’s stark realism and the growing chasm between the have and have-nots in America, director Will Steinberger sets the play in a townhouse in modern-day Philadelphia. Entering through the foyer, the audience (which is limited to 40) is ushered into the kitchen where the young heiress Miss Julie (Angela Smith) first encounters her father’s chauffer John (Adam Darrow). Eventually moving to the home’s larger living room, Steinberger’s interactive production obliterates the usual boundary between audience and performer, allowing theatergoers to not only witness the divide between servant and master, but to actually take part in it. -J.C.R.

8pm. $18. Through May 6. Second and Fulton sts.

Friday, May 4

Released by Richie Records/TestosterTunes, Deep Thuds is the debut album by Philadelphia’s Spacin’. Led by guitarist/vocalist Jason Killinger (Birds of Maya), this new band includes bassist Sean Hamilton (Acid Kicks), guitarist Paul Sukeena (ex-Spooks) and drummer Eva Killinger (who shares Jason’s last name ‘cause they’re married). While Birds is all about rammin’-the-Valiant-into-the-wall, Spacin’ is all about coastin’ with the top down in the Millenium Falcon. Tunes like “Empty Mind” and “Wrong Street” certainly thump, but Spacin’ prefers chillin’. On “Some Future Burger,” which is probably about a sci-fi quarter pounder, they get lost in a fuzzy sonic warp zone of spaceship clanks and heavenly astral drift. And, when I say that “Chest of Steel” sounds like a bizarro combo of Genesis’ “Misunderstanding” and Jackson Browne’s “Somebody’s Baby,” that’s a sincere compliment. -Elliott Sharp

9:15pm. $12. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave.

Broken On All Sides

Today in the United States, there are more African-Americans in prison than were enslaved in 1850. Matt Pillischer, a staffer at Community Legal Services, first put his toe into the murky waters of Philly’s prisons when he was doing research for a lawsuit against the Philadelphia Prison System for overcrowding. Since then, he has worked tirelessly on a documentary that explores his findings and turns fresh eyes on the factors that put so many Philadelphians behind bars. Featuring interviews with Michelle Alexander (author of the groundbreaking The New Jim Crow), former inmates, prison administrators and local Philadelphia lawmakers, the film puts forth a radical revisioning of the role prisons play in Philadelphia and in America. Pillischer will be on hand after the film to facilitate a discussion, along with prison educator and former Graterford inmate Tyrone Werts. -Emma Eisenberg

7pm. Free.  Sharpless Building, 31 W. Coulter St.

Atomic Age
Artist Kelly Burkhardt’s urban safari through New York, London, Berlin and South Philadelphia takes center stage at a new exhibit opening this week at Ven and Vaida Gallery. “Atomic Age” consists of large format prints that offer a bold, often brightly colored look into the day-to-day lives of individuals and objects. Burkhardt uses stylization to bring out open-ended social commentary that invites the viewer to linger over each print. In a slew of otherwise mediocre art, she shows—as she has throughout her career—the power of art to reflect, and also change, the way we understand this relationship between the past, present and future. -Kyle Bella

6-9pm. Ven and Vaida Gallery, 18 S. Third St. 215.592.4099.

Dan St. Germain
Packed like a can of comedic sardines, tonight’s show kicks off with opening sets from local comedians Alex Pearlman, Jimmy Viola and Corey Cohen followed by the hilarious observational humor of Dan St. Germain. The stand-up comic, writer and uncanny Paul Bunyan look-alike has been seen on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, World of Jenks and Funny or Die. The night concludes with a screening of the third episode of Down the Show, a hilarious new sketch comedy web show created by writer, performer and PW contributor Abigail Bruley. The episode features a varied helping of funny locals including Paul Triggiani of sketch comedy group Secret Pants and Comedy Dreamz host Rose Luardo as well as a secret celebrity guest. (Hint: he starred in a certain Canadian sketch group discovered by Lorne Michaels.) -Nicole Finkbiner

8pm. $10. Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St.

Benefit for Survivors of Human Trafficking

This collaboration between the Women’s Caucus for Art and Permanent Wave Philly brings together local artists and activists united in their opposition to human trafficking. They’ve organized a multimedia extravaganza, mixing film, visual art and live music: singer-songwriter Suzi Brown; GhettoSongBird, a soulful performer who rocks out in platform boots and glitter; and Jurassic Shark, an indie-pop band formed at last summer’s Girls Rock Philly camp. Enjoy the music, dance your ass off, and be sure to buy some of the homemade goodies baked by participants and volunteers. All proceeds go to Dawn’s Place, a local nonprofit that helps women escape the cycle and rebuild their lives. -Raymond Simon

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