Calendar: May 9-15

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted May. 9, 2012

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Esperenza Spalding plays the Electric Factory this Sunday.

Wednesday, May 9

Carter’s Play
Promising local dramatist Josh McIlvain’s latest work, Carter’s Play, makes its world premiere tonight at the White Space. Carter’s Play is McIlvaine’s most ambitious work (following several one-act comedies), and the first full-length play produced by his SmokeyScout Productions. Structured as a play-within-a-play, the story focuses on a scheming, obsessive playwright/director who manipulates those around him (actors, friends, family, etc.) in order to realize his vision for his new play, an autobiographical melodrama that re-imagines the circumstances around his own failed marriage. McIlvaine (who co-directs the production with John Rosenberg) says his new comedy, starring intense local actor Mark Cairns as a desperate theater owner, is about how the past informs the present. J. -Cooper Robb

8pm. $20. Through May 19. The White Space, 1417 N. Second St. smokeyscout.com

Norwegian Arms
At first blush, there is nothing much to like about the self-described “weirdo-folk duo” of rural Pennsylvania’s Norwegian Arms. First off, duh, they call themselves a “weirdo-folk duo.” Also, they bang on Tupperware and strum mandolins with a glee that suggests they just heard R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” for the first time. The members of the band are named Keith Birthday and Dr. Awkward. Bleech. But patience is, indeed, a virtue, and after you give ’em a few listens, Norwegian Arms start to grow on you. What helps are the group’s beautiful and moving lyrics, which they yodel at top volume. “She always sees two different flavors/ And those are sour bones wrapped right up in sugar sweet.” See? That’s poetry right there. Give ’em a shot. You won’t regret it. -Gabrielle Chepurny

9pm. $8. With Ecce Shnak. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. 215.291.4919. kungfunecktie.com

Thursday, May 10

Jennifer Weiner
Author Jennifer Weiner once told the Huffington Post, “It’s a very old and deep-seated double standard that holds that when a man writes about family and feelings, it’s literature with a capital L, but when a woman considers the same topics, it’s romance, or a beach book.” Her books, including New York Times bestseller In Her Shoes, seek to take chick lit to a deeper level. Today, she talks about her latest, Then Came You, which surrounds the lives of four women and the issues surrounding surrogacy in modern families. -Trishula Patel

7pm. Free. Gershman Y, 401 S. Broad St. 215.545.4400. gershmany.org

Hanne Blank
Sex-positive queer feminist Hanne Blank uncovered numerous curious details about heterosexuality while researching her new book, Straight. Chief among them is the fact that the word heterosexual first appeared in an 1868 letter written by an Austro-Hungarian journalist and gay-rights activist. Of course, men and women had been getting it on for millennia prior to that, but as the feisty independent scholar notes, the medical and legal professions soon seized upon this newfangled notion of heterosexuality, portraying it as natural, normal and timeless. Blank’s in town this week to talk about the absurdities of heterosexuality—including the belief shared by some 19th-century doctors that cunnilingus would drive men into the arms of other men. -Raymond Simon

5:30pm. Free. Giovanni’s Room, 345 S. 12th St. queerbooks.com

Friday, May 11

(his)Story: a Generation of Documentation
Queer, gender nonidentified activist and videographer Helyx Chase’s latest work “(his)Story: a Generation of Documentation” responds to the corporatization of media by reclaiming queer communities’ voices in telling their own stories. Chase’s degree from Hampshire college is in video, social justice, youth empowerment and global power dynamics. What one can only assume to be a self-designed major has grown into a self-designed career highlighting and promoting overlooked voices through video. The five-channel video installation features an interactive television set which invites participants to choose and view clips from community storytelling projects. -Allyn Gaestel

7pm. $5. Scribe Video Center, 4212 Chestnut St. scribe.org

Spiritualized

Jason Pierce’s latest, Sweet Heart Sweet Light, took shape during a spate of track-for-track live performances of the landmark Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. Much has happened in the 15-year interim—Pierce’s near-fatal illness in 2005; the birth of daughter Poppy (who sings on “Headin’ for the Top Now”), and the comings and goings of erstwhile band members. Yet much is the same, too, in Spiritualized’s racks of pedals, walls of guitar sound and curious melding of gospel transport and rock ‘n roll grit. In concert, vamping, VU-ish “Hey Jane” segues easily into well-worn favorite “Lord I Let It Rain on Me,” the years bridged by blown out effects, stirring crescendos and hypnotic repetition. -Jennifer Kelly

8pm. $26. With Nikki Lane. TLA, 334 South St.  215.922.1011. tlaphilly.com

disTURBIA
Lancaster Avenue between 38th and 40th streets has become Philly’s newest gallery row. This week, Art on the Avenue Gallery brings us disTURBIA, a show that seeks to show the dark side of urban living. Romanian artist Raluca Ungureanu’s work aims at engaging the viewer in a dialogue about the rootlessness and alienation that comes from moving from the country to a big city. Born and raised in the mythic forests of Bucovina, Raluca has lived and worked as an artist and landscape architect in Europe and the U.S. Her sculptures have been exhibited widely in Vienna and Berlin, and she has produced large corporate metal structures covering plazas and intersections in Bucharest and Romania. Her newest work showcases the dysfunctional elements of New York and Philadelphia, but also how these cities can sustain and nourish us. -Emma Eisenberg

6pm. Free. Through June 2. Art on the Avenue Gallery,  3808 Lancaster Ave. 215.662.1074. artonave.org

Saturday, May 12

Swap-O-Rama-Rama
Far from your average clothing swap, this event is a series of DIY workshops in which locals can explore easy, creative and sustainable ways to upcycle used clothing and textiles. Dive into the massive pile of gently worn treasures and then have local artists work their creative mojo and revamp your new duds: Spruce up a boring tee with a screen-printed image with Candy Depew of the Philly-based silk-screen studio and then add some of local designer Nicole Rae Styer’s unique embellishments. Amber Zaraza of Phea Jean and the folks of Handmade Philly will even show you how to transform an article of clothing into a one-of-a-kind accessory. While not mandatory, those who come with at least a bag of unwanted clothing will save $10 on admission. -Nicole Finkbiner

Noon. $20. Broad Street Ministry, 315 S. Broad St. 215.735.4847. broadstreetministry.org

In the Pocket
The Hooters might not make as much noise around these parts as they did in their ’80s heyday, but drummer David Uosikkinen has been making his own racket of late with his In the Pocket project. With a rotating cast of local-hero musicians joining Uosikkinen, ITP’s been on a mission to record and perform some of Philly’s “essential songs”—tracks originally written by Philadelphians and/or recorded here, including well-known ditties from Robert Hazard, the Dovells, Todd Rundgren and, yes, the Hooters. It’s all to benefit Philly’s Settlement Music School, which provides lessons and activities for anyone, regardless of financial circumstances. Along with Uosikkinen, tonight’s ITP lineup includes Tommy Conwell, Ben Arnold, Jeffrey Gaines, members of Beru Revue and Soul Survivors, and others, with proceeds going to SMS. Admission is $20; $45 gets you an early dinner and a meet-and-greet with the band. -Michael Alan Goldberg

9pm. $20-$45. Brownies 23 East, 23 E. Lancaster Ave. 610.649.8389. brownies23east.com

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