In a Dark Dark House
There are 2,400 reports of child sexual abuse in Philadelphia every year. Most of these cases involve people of influence within these young accusers’ everyday circles: close kin, family friends, teachers, coaches, religious leaders. With the staggering number of these crimes and the devastating impact on each survivor’s life, it’s a wonder how these children fare during their development into adulthood. This month, Simpatico Theatre Project’s presentation of Neil LaBute’s play In a Dark Dark House gives local audiences a glimpse at the harrowing aftermath of such a traumatic, life-altering experience and the long road to recovery that follows.
After a particularly haunting stint at a court-appointed psychiatric facility following a DUI conviction, Drew reaches out to his older brother Terry to verify the specifics of long-since repressed memories of sexual abuse. Together, the men reluctantly face the dank details of their respective childhoods, and, in doing so, bring to light both buried animosities and unknown commonalities that each of them must come to grips with in order to truly heal their still-festering wounds.
With the assistance of the nonprofit Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, Simpatico continues to realize its vision of exposing theatergoers to real-life issues; believing the theater stage to be a force for powerful social change, Simpatico also connects educational partnerships with advocacy groups and audience members with organizations actively seeking solutions to humanity’s myriad problems. (The PCA has for years advocated for a team-based approach, building cooperative relationships and introducing more efficient responses and counseling services to the system and the vulnerable, young victims it serves.) By opening a dialogue through LaBute’s gripping story of survival, acceptance and resilience, In a Dark Dark House aims to inspire hope for victims and encourage action in those who want to help. // KENNEDY ALLEN
Through June 1. $5-$25. Walnut Street Theater Studio 5, 825 Walnut St. 215.574.3550. simpaticotheatre.org
Warren Hoffman: The Great White Way
Philadelphia playwright nonfiction author Warren Hoffman leads a discussion about the racial politics and subtexts found in famous Broadway musicals. Hoffman will be available to sign books after the reading. 7pm. Free. Central Library, 1901 Vine St. 215.686.5322. freelibrary.org
A Date with a Plate
The art of the table—the dinner table, that is—will be celebrated today as some of the area’s best decorators show off intriguing place settings to benefit the Center for Personalized Diagnostics at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center. 11am. $50-$55. Moulin at Sherman Mills, 3502 Scots Lane. 215.923.6000. adatewithaplate.org
Enjoy a night filled with music, dancing and gaming, all in support of the Philadelphia Center for Arts & Technology. The night features a massive multiplayer game, happy-hour specials, silent auction and prizes. 7pm. $5. 207 Chestnut St. phillygiveandget.ticketleap.com/philanthroparty
The Walker and O’Dare Mystery Radio Hour
Mechanical Theater takes us back to the early days of radio, recording 1932’s zeitgeist with the story of a thief-turned-private eye and his one-time vaudevillian girlfriend. 7pm. $18. The Powel House, 244 S. Third St. philalandmarks.org/powel.aspx
Food for Thought: La Vida Local
The pavilion at the Schuylkill Center will serve as the meeting place for folks to enjoy local food and drinks while Public Programs Manager Elisabeth Zafiris moderates a discussion on the intersection of food and culture. 7:30pm. $15. Schuylkill Center, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Road. schuylkillcenter.org
Acclaimed dance company MOMIX comes back to Philly to unleash its newest production courtesy of Moses Pendleton: a quirky exploration of the four elements that’s loaded with charm, sensuality and even a few laughs. 7:30pm. Zellerbach Theatre, 3680 Walnut St. annenbergcenter.org
Often dubbed “The Maestro,” Timmy Regisford is a Trinidad-born producer, DJ and all-around legend in the house and dance music universe. With a career that started in the ‘80s at New York’s WBLS as music director and took him to A&R positions at MCA, Atlantic and Motown, the man knows every angle of the industry, but perhaps shines brightest with a dance floor to work over and hours to whip it into a frenzy. His kind of music, you could definitely say, is influenced by the late, great Godfather himself—Frankie Knuckles—but Regisford’s sets skew further into endless, meandering and soul-stirring jams. The beats he uses and the vibes his tracks evoke sound like they greatly informed artists like Marsha Wash, CeCe Peniston and Crystal Waters. He’s also signed and remixed folks like Patti LaBelle, Diana Ross, New Edition, Bobby Womack and Steel Pulse. Still, he’s managed to carry those ‘90s-and-disco-flavored grooves into 2014 with grace and aplomb.
Tonight’s an opportunity to really twirl and freak for as long as you wish. For what promises to be a five-hour-long set with Voyeur’s “brand new renovation [with]… a booming sound system in full effect,” the Shelter NYC guru will delight dudes who—like Regisford will—want to take their shirt off and sisters who need room to groove. Slated as a multi-city gathering for seekers of soul spaces, even curating transport for those in NYC and Jersey, this jam may even help you make some out-of-town friends while sweating and sipping. // BILL CHENEVERT
9pm. $10-$20. Voyeur, 1221 St. James St. 215.735.5772. voyeurnightclub.com
Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta
More than 3,500 college athletes compete in this two-day river race, named after famous rowing coach Harry Emerson “Dad” Vail. After the race, head to Rowers Village, where vendors will be selling goods for rowing enthusiasts. 7am. Free. 2200 Kelly Drive. 610.246.5902. dadvail.org
Fitler Square Spring Fair
Gather ‘round the fountain at Fitler Square for Mother’s Day weekend and indulge in assorted flea market wares, a silent auction and loads of children’s activities. 10am. Free. Fitler Square. fitlersquare.org
Pennsylvania Ballet: Director’s Choice
The Pennsylvania Ballet presents three different ballets, each by a different choreographer, including a world premiere from the award-winning Trey McIntyre. The showcase will also mark Principal Dancer Julie Diana’s last Philadelphia performances before retiring. 7:30pm. $35-125. Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St. 215.893.1999. paballet.org
Crimes of the Heart
Drexel’s Co-Op Theatre Company wraps up the season with a Pulitzer-Prize winner. Beth Henley’s tragicomedy, directed by Nick Anselmo, follows the dysfunctional relationship between three sisters living in rural Mississippi. 8pm. $15. URBN Black Box Theater, 3401 Filbert St. 215.895.2787. drexelplayers.com
Graveyard Shift: Suspiria (35mm)
The Philadelphia Film Society’s new cult film series kicks off with a screening of Dario Argento’s acclaimed 1977 Italian horror classic, Suspiria. The movie centers on an American ballet student who discovers mysterious goings-on at her new school in Germany. 11:59pm. $6.66. PFS Theater at the Roxy, 2023 Sansom St. 267.239.2941. filmadelphia.org/roxy
The Luna Theater continues its “Once Upon A Time” season with the premiere of Jose Rivera’s critically acclaimed Brainpeople. Featuring performances by Amanda Grove and Jessica Gruver, Rivera’s evocative drama about a mysterious dinner party delves deeply into the human psyche of some troubled characters. Through May 24. $20. Luna Theater, 620 S. Eighth St.
LOVE Your Park Week Kick-Off Service Day
Now that the polar vortex of winter and the biblical floods of spring are behind us, we can finally begin to go outside and play. The thing is, though, that open spaces aren’t worth much unless the community cares about them. Starting today, it’s easy to show your love of our city’s fine parks with the third annual LOVE Your Park Week. With a swollen slate of events, educational programs, family get-togethers and service projects for the next eight days, the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation have provided you with many opportunities to not only give back to the community, but to have one hell of a good time doing it. Get details or volunteer at loveyourpark.org.
LOVE Your Park Week kicks off this morning, with a 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. citywide service day for citizens to help beautify Philly’s open spaces. Over at Parkside Evans Recreation Center at 53rd Street and Parkside Avenue, the cleanup will commence alongside the unveiling of the new Philadelphia PumpTrack, described by Parks and Rec as “a small dirt course of bumps, jumps and berms designed for BMX and mountain bikes” that bicyclists may maneuver through “without pedaling by using weight shifts and gravity.” It sounds both awesome and terrifying. Throughout the week, events range from a spring fair in Fitler Square and jazz performances in Hawthorne Park to an arts and crafts show in Malcolm X Park and pony rides for the kids at Marconi Plaza. // JOSH KRUGER
Through Sat., May 17, various locations. 215.988.9334. loveyourpark.org
Firefly Pajama Party
The First Banana hosts a 12-hour marathon screening of the complete season of Firefly, the cult-favorite space cowboy drama starring Nathan Fillion, followed by the feature film Serenity. Entrance to the BYOB pajama party gets you a bag of popcorn, and pizza will be available for purchase from Pizza Brain. 2pm. $5. The First Banana, 2152 E. Dauphin St. facebook.com/thefirstbanana
Legends, Past Meets Present
Some of the area’s finest professional dancers team up for an enthralling dance compilation, featuring routines choreographed to the music of Louis Armstrong, Michael Jackson and Fred Astaire. Proceeds benefit the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association. 6:30pm. $55-$60. Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St. 856.770.4294. moonstarmarketing.com
Pie in the Sky Festival
Kites and food trucks may not go together like spaghetti and meatballs, but that all changes today at Penn Treaty Park: Enjoy these arts side by side in an outdoor festival, featuring various food tastings and kite exhibitions. Noon. Free. Penn Treaty Park, Delaware Ave at Beach St. penntreatypark.org
The Clay Studio’s 40th Anniversary
To honor its 40th anniversary, The Clay Studio hosts a 40-hour marathon of events and activities, including studio tours, film screenings, workshops and more. It all culminates with tonight’s fundraising event, complete with food, drink, dancing and an auction of beautiful ceramic creations. 6pm. $250. American Street Showroom, 2201 N. American St. 215.925.3453. theclaystudio.org
Discovering Your Connection to Jefferson
Are you a long-lost descendent of Thomas Jefferson? Well, even if you aren’t, the National Constitution Center is hosting a genealogy workshop where guests will be presented with the tools to delve deep into their family history. 10am. Free with admission. National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St. 215.409.6600. constitutioncenter.org
Fine Craft Fair
Get your Mother’s Day shopping done at Rittenhouse this weekend with the PA Guild of Craftsmen’s three-day Fine Craft Fair. Featuring more than 150 of the Guild’s finest craft artists, beautifully handmade items will be available for purchase fitting all types of budgets. 11am. Free. Rittenhouse Square, 19th and Walnut sts. pacrafts.org
Art Star Craft Bazaar
Art Star Gallery and Boutique presents its 11th Annual Craft Bazaar, an outdoor retail art and craft show featuring more than 100 local and national artists. 11am. Penn’s Landing, Columbus Blvd. artstarcraftbazaar.com
Sandra Tsing Loh: The Madwoman in the Volvo
After writing about menopause literature for a Sept. 2011 article in The Atlantic titled “The Bitch is Back”—a piece that would be named among the Best American Essays the folllowing year—Sandra Tsing Loh, an editor at the monthly magazine, began writing about her own experience going through that feminine midlife change. Those scribblings would eventually turn into The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones, Loh’s hilarious, poignant new memoir about menopause and the other personal challenges she endured over a year-long period. She’s also the author of five other books: Mother on Fire, If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home By Now, Aliens in America, A Year in Van Nuys and Depth Takes a Holiday: Essays From Lesser Los Angeles.
In addition to her work at The Atlantic, Loh is a performance artist and actress, has a syndicated daily minute on public radio called “The Loh Down on Science” and a weekly segment dubbed “The Loh Life.” Her latest book, like her radio work, is very personal and candid, in which she describes the things that went on around her as the grip of menopause took hold: keeping pre-teen daughters off Facebook, the end of her marriage, dealing with her 93-year-old father and an incident in which she went to Burning Man and expressed her feelings for a male friend—who had the same feelings for her—when they both had families of their own. // RANDY LOBASSO
7:30pm. Free. Central Library, 1901 Vine St. 215.686.5322. freelibrary.org
More than 50,000 cans of healthy and donated food are transformed into gigantic, creative sculptures by American Institute of Architects students. CANstruction celebrates its 8th annual hunger drive with these staggering works, all of which benefit Philabundance. Through May 18. Free. The Shops at Liberty Place, 1625 Chestnut St. canstruction.org
Circus Sideshow Workshop
David Darwin presents a history of sword swallowers and fire eaters while performing live demonstrations of his mystifying tricks. 4pm. $35. School of Circus Arts, 5900 Greene St.
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Classic satire of 1960s big business returns to the Walnut Street Theatre with a fresh take. The play follows J. Pierrepont Finch as he uses a handbook called “How To Succeed In Business” to climb the corporate ladder from window washer to executive. Through July 13. $71.75-$81.75. Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St. walnutstreettheatre.org
The former Second Lady, America’s own Mrs. Vader, unveils her new biography, James Madison Rediscovered, this week at the National Constitution Center. Cheney’s exhaustive research covers the career of our fourth president and principal author of the Bill of Rights—she’ll sign copies, but don’t ask about Darth. 6:30pm. $25. Constitution Center, 525 Arch St. constitutioncenter.org
I can identify with Angel Olsen: She’s freaking lonely and vulnerable, and she knows how to articulate it in just the right ways. Her songs are full of “If onlys,” “I wishes” and “I don’t knows.” Her February-released, Pitchfork-approved Burn Your Fire For No Witness is her best yet, an essential sophomore full-length after playing and singing for hefty indie rock titans like Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Mike Kinsella. It’s got so much sadness, but is it because Olsen’s truly sad? Not really sure that matters, but for the listener who can’t understand romance, hates the process of courtship or misses an ex-lover, her record will punch you in the gut, in the heart and in the face. (And if you’re anything like me, it feels kind of good).
Unsurprisingly, this one’s a team-up with John Congleton, a visionary producer who’s brought out the best in St. Vincent, The Walkmen, Cloud Nothings, Wye Oak, Bill Callahan and Clinic. Give “Stars” a go; it sounds like she’s singing through or communing with an old spirit widow, and it’s here that the stellar drum work of Joshua Jaeger and Stewart Bronaugh’s bass and guitar skills are particularly amplified. The LP’s second track, though, “Forgiven/Forgotten,” is one of the year’s highlights, a track that channels Marnie Stern, Cate Le Bon and Waxahatchee in equal parts. “I don’t know anything, but I love you, yes I do,” she wails. Been there. And no song has ever so perfectly captured that helpless ennui and misery. // B.C.
9:15pm. Sold out. With Promised Land Sound. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com
Redefining the Meaning of Equality
Celebrate the 50th anniversary the Civil Rights Act at the National Constitution Center as Bruce Ackerman is joined by Steven Calabresi and Tomiko Brown-Nagin to discuss the turning points of the civil rights movement that led to worldwide social change and an unprecedented revolution in constitutional law, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. 6:30pm. $7-$10. The National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St. 215.409.6600. constitutioncenter.org
Please Touch Museum 5th Birthday Party
The Please Touch Museum hosts a birthday party complete with craft cocktails, games, celebrity appearances, five celebratory toasts and much more. The adults-only gala allows you to channel your inner child and explore two floors of interactive exhibit zones while eating delicious treats, including a huge birthday cake created by Cake Life Bake Shop, winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. 7pm. $75-$500. Please Touch Museum. 4231 Avenue of the Republic. 215.581.3175. pleasetouchmuseum.org
Greek Symposium Wine Tasting
Learn to experience, taste and pronounce ancient Greek wine varieties such as Assyrtiko and Xinomavro at a guided wine tasting led by Steven Gullo. Traditional Greek mezze will be on hand to feast on while learning about grape varieties, wine styles and professional techniques used in creating the delicious libation. Thurs., May 8, 6pm. $30. Paramour, 139 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne. paramourwayne.com
Tyler Perry’s Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned
New play from jokester-moralist Tyler Perry tells the story of a successful single woman who gets married on a whim while on a trip to Las Vegas. Heartbreak and revenge ensue as her shady new husband finds out you should never cheat in a Tyler Perry story. Fri., May 9, 7:30pm. $57.25-$62.25. Tropicana Resort & Casino, 2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ.. tropicana.net
Little Shop of Horrors
A hapless floral shop owner attempts to satisfy his giant man-eating plant’s thirst for human blood and win over the girl he likes in this hilarious musical. The show features the classic songs, “I’m a Dentist,” “Suddenly Seymour” and “Somewhere That’s Green.” Through June 8. $15-$55. Bristol Riverside Theatre, 120 Radcliffe St., Bristol. 215.581.3175. brtstage.org
Jenny McCarthy’s Dirty, Sexy, Funny
View co-host and polarizing autism activist Jenny McCarthy takes her jokes on the road in an all-female night of stand-up comedy, which also features Justine Marino, Tammy Pescatelli and Lynne Koplitz. The ladies don’t hold back their thoughts on the contemporary woman, single motherhood and casual sex. Sat., May 10, 8pm. $29.50-$35. Borgata, One Borgata Way, Atlantic City, N.J. 609.317.1000. theborgata.com
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide