Calendar: May 26-June 1

What to do in Philly this week.

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted May. 25, 2010

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Wednesday, May 26

Robes
“Nothing can save us from the strangers of ourselves,” Robes’ vocalist Greg Nearhood sings hauntingly on “Nothing Can Save Us,” the title track of the band’s July 2009 self-released five-song EP. The dreamy Philadelphia rock quartet delivers ethereal keyboard swells, airy guitars, vibrant rhythms and layers of entrancing vocals that converge in Arcade Fire-style buildups. The group’s shoegaze, late-’80s-pop influences (The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Joy Division) are overt, and much of their lyrical fodder concerns self-awareness and mortality. Sings Nearhood: “Poke your head out of this grave/‘Cause there’s nothing worth saving that can’t be saved.” -Kevin Brosky

8pm. $5. With East Hundred + the Midnight Sounds. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. 215.291.4919. kungfunecktie.com

Of Mythic Proportions
The gentrification of Kensington in the past few years has been undeniable (see the proliferation of abandoned-warehouses-cum-venues and bikes with rainbow Deep-V rims). But there’s still plenty of reminders, from broken windows to the police blotter, of the historical and present blight in the long-troubled neighborhood. Young people growing up in such areas are often demonized as the root of urban violence; obviously, though, most of those who had to grow up with violence as a fact of life want nothing more than to rise above it. Giving their drastically underrepresented perspective a voice is a new production by students of Kensington Avenue’s Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter School. Created and performed by high school students, Of Mythic Proportions is a collection of personal narratives of the violence that remains a struggle in Kensington, and of the resilience of the young people who keep up hope while dealing with it. -Abdullah Saeed

4pm and 6pm. Free. Walking Fish Theatre, 2509 Frankford Ave. 215.427.9255. walkingfishtheatre.com


Thursday, May 27

Mr. America Pageant
Listen up, ladies. If you’re the type to wax on about the discrimination and stereotypes perpetuated by pageants, you’re going to have to eat your words (albeit for one night only). Dudes from our local ’hoods will participate in a head-to-head competition to crown the best and brightest in town—or somewhere else. There’s a wild-card category for interested participants hailing from weird (read: suburban or South Jersey) locales. Hosted by our city’s most popular dating blogger, Anna Goldfarb of Shmitten Kitten, the inaugural Mr. America will walk away with cases of Sly Fox and a judging slot at the next Varsity Cheerleaders pole-dancing competition. Audience members will walk away with male fantasies to last a lifetime. The evening will be infused with tunes spun by Making Time darlings Rocktits, and Sly Fox beer will be flowing. We’ve got our fingers crossed for you, Mr. Fishtown. Now is the chance to stick it to the denizens of Olde Shitty. -Erica Palan

8pm. $5. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. shmittenkitten.com

Fang Island
Fang Island—a quintet straight outta Brooklyn—has enough energy to make Andrew WK seem like Ben Stein. Every now and then they tap into one of WK’s righteous guitar riffs (as on “Daisy” and “Welcome Wagon”) and his power of ultra-positive thinking (they have a tune called “Life Coach”), but they merge it with infectious Matt & Kim-style synth-punk and some astounding four-part vocal harmonies that give Dirty Projectors a run for their money. On their MySpace page, Fang Island describe their sound as “everyone high-fiving everyone,” and we thank them for that because we really couldn’t put it any better. -Michael Alan Goldberg

7pm. $10. With Univox. Barbary, 951 Frankford Ave. myspace.com/thenewbarbary

Friday, May 28

Koboku Senju

No, it’s not a person. It’s a Japanese phrase meaning “selection of dead trees,” and also the moniker chosen by a unique quintet of Japanese and Norwegian improvisers: Tetuzi Akiyama on guitar, Toshimaru Nakamura on no-input mixing board, Martin Taxt on tuba, Eivind Lønning on trumpet and Espen Reinertsen on tenor saxophone and flute. Lønning and Reinertsen have a history as the duo Streifenjunko; Nakamura has roots in the Japanese onkyo or “quiet noise” movement. Their sound is electro-acoustic with an emphasis on the latter: slide guitar, subdued brass and reeds and otherworldly feedback create an open-ended atmosphere, beautiful in spite of its desolation. -David R. Adler

8pm. $10. With Eric Carbonara. Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, 1616 Walnut St. 215.545.7562 arsnovaworkshop.org

Celebration of Black Writing Festival
 When it comes to black American poets, Nikki Giovanni isn’t a household name like Maya Angelou or Langston Hughes, but she knows just as well why the caged bird sings or how a dream is often deferred. She’s an activist, an essayist and a poet for men and women of every stripe. She’s a poet for children, too, having written several youth-oriented volumes about history, community and hip-hop. She’s investigated the friendship of Lincoln and Douglass (that’s abolitionist and escaped slave Frederick, not Stephen of the Lincoln-Douglas debates), the defiance of Rosa Parks, the demise of Tupac and the rise of Obama. Giovanni boasts heaps of honorary degrees and accolades, including this latest lifetime-achievement award from Art Sanctuary, the hosts of this week’s reading. Stop by and take a listen to her powerful, lucid verse about shared struggles, race, tradition, education and maybe even Tupac. -Paul Montgomery

Fri., May 28, 10am. $5. Church of the Advocate, 18th and Diamond sts. 215.232.4485. artsanctuary.org.

Saturday, May 29

Takii: Asian Karaoke Idol
Sushi. Getting celebrities to make fools of themselves. Geometry. Cute stuffed kittens. What’s the link, you ask? These are all categories in which Asia consistently outperforms America. At the top of the list, of course, would be karaoke, as anyone who’s compared the beer-sloshed frat party at McGillin’s to the tripped-light-fantastic singalong of Yakitori Boy knows. At TAKII 9, whose subtitle “Yume Ga Kanau” translates to “Dreams Come True,” white Philadelphians will likely once again be shamed into cultural submission as “the world’s most extreme Asian culture fusion festival” mashes up Iron Chef, iron cosplay and ironman gaming contests, plus karaoke, talent game shows and lots more, including surprise celebrity performers. Outrageous outfits, world-class swagger and irresistible cuteness are strongly encouraged. -Jeffrey Barg

10am. Free. The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St. 215.573.3234. therotunda.org


Bad Doctors

Local garage punkers the Bad Doctors hammer the power trio concept slightly out of whack, with two guitarists switching off to synthesizers and no bass at all. Lyrically, too, these three refuse to hew to the three-chord playbook, with off-kilter stompers dedicated to Aaron Burr, the Tao and the WWII defense of Malta. With their cocktail of brainy allusions and blockheadedly simple rock riffs, Bad Doctors are like Marcus Welby selling meds between daytime soaps and confiding, “I’m not a dumb-ass garage band, but I play one on TV.” -Jennifer Kelly

9pm. $5-$10. With Univox, the Powder Kegs, Skeleton Breath, Quiet Hooves, Bubbly Mommy Gun + the Extraordinaires. Danger Danger Gallery, 5013 Baltimore Ave. myspace.com/dangerdangergallery

The Piazza Flea
If you missed out on Penn Christmas and you’re not particularly talented at breaking and entering, there’s another option for getting your paws on other people’s stuff: the humble flea market. Thankfully, for once you won’t have to take a bus out to a dusty lot somewhere in the burbs to dig for that coffeemaker, these John Denver LPs or those sweet Reeboks they never reissued; in fact, you’ll be within arm’s reach of the El, a couple of bars and even a magic store, likely selling some of the very same stuff you’ll find laid out on a towel for a bargain-friendly buck in the middle of the Piazza. This is the first of a whole summer of weekly opportunities to accumulate even more stuff that, in all likelihood, will make you deliriously happy for 15 minutes, then get chucked to its final resting place in your basement. Then again, 15 minutes of bliss for a buck isn’t a bad deal. -Abdullah Saeed

Sat., May 29. Noon. Free. Piazza at Schmidts, 1050 N. Hancock St. 215.467.4603. atthepiazza.com

Sunday, May 30

The Philadelphia/D.C. Exchange

Anne-Marie Mulgrew and her eponymous Philly dance company join with DC’s Malcolm Shute and Human Landscape Dance to ... well, you know. They’ll be premiering three new works drawing on multiple choreographic styles and motifs. In “The Big Dance,” a full-company audio-visual extravaganza, Mulgrew envelops herself in some 40 feet of red fabric amidst lifting pairs and spiraling solos. Burn focuses on the aftermath of medical trauma, set to a mashup of Bach and Philip Glass. Human Landscapes gets blustery with “January Night,” a lively piece set to Shute’s award-winning soundtrack, a series of ambient recordings including audio of styrofoam cups rolling on pavement and haunting wintry chimes. In the finale, “Closet Dances,” couples wax kinetic on intimacy and entrapment in relationships. No competition. No rivalry. Just two companies scuffing up the same stage with abandon. Call it a tale of two cities without all that guillotining. -P.M.

3pm. $10-$20. Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine St. 215.925.9914. paintedbride.org

Nice Nice
Portland’s Nice Nice build ecstatic, Boredoms-esque grooves out of post-tribal chants, clamoring percussion and bits of dub, free-improv and krautrock. The duo’s two principals—Jason Buehler and Mark Shirazi—have been head-tripping since the late 1990s, but their latest album, Extra Wow on Warp, takes their noisy, mantric aesthetic to new levels of celebration. “See Waves,” the disc’s highlight, has the shimmer of Konono No. 1, the singalong communality of Animal Collective, and the futuristic glamor of Fuck Buttons. When people talk about math rock, they’re usually talking about geometry—all sharp angles and dissonant parallels. Think of Nice Nice as more like calculus, employing abstruse formulas to map the curve of infinity. -J.K.

9pm. $12. With Holy Fuck. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com

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1. shel said... on May 26, 2010 at 06:37AM

“How do I see the full list of music events online that are published in the pages of the Philadelphia Weekly? What do I click on to get more than just a few featured highlighted music and other types of events?”

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