Calendar: Nov. 17-23

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Nov. 17, 2010

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Wednesday, Nov. 17

Sun Airway
Philly indie rock outfit the A-Sides died in 2008, just as two of its members were beginning a new project dubbed “Sun Airway.” It took two years, but guitarist Jon Barthmus and drummer Patrick Marsceill finally released the group’s debut album just last month, on Secretly Canadian offshoot Dead Oceans. The band’s sound isn’t a stark departure from the rock jams of the A-Sides—Sun Airway has less meandering guitar solos and more meandering synth jams (in the best way possible), and the music is a bit more atmospheric and experimental—less Pavement, more Animal Collective. But easy comparisons belie Sun Airway’s ability to combine Philadelphia’s “Psychedelphia” history with indie rock sensibilities for beautifully crafted pop songs, uplifting melodies, ethereal vocals and quirky sound collages. -Katherine Silkaitis

9pm. $10-$12. With Bear in Heaven + Twin Shadow. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com

Counterfeit Chimeras
With a highlight last month of a whirlwind lecture by Slovenian philosopher-celebrity (if such a thing exists) Slavoj Žižek, the 2010-2011 Penn Humanities Forum continues to explore questions of virtuality. Through April 2011, many reputable critical theorists and humanities scholars will explore dystopian and utopian manifestations and potentialities of new media and digital technologies through a series of free lectures. Tonight, director of Northwestern University’s Program in the Study of the Imagination Claudia Swan is delivering a presentation titled “Counterfeit Chimeras: Early Modern Theories of the Imagination and the Work of Art.”  Through early modern poetry, visual art, demonology and philosophy, Swan investigates the imagination’s power to supplement material objects and beings such that these non-existent correspondents take on a life of their own. Preregistration is required. -Elliott Sharp

5pm. Free. Penn Museum, 3260 South St. 215.573.8280. humanities.sas.upenn.edu

Thursday, Nov. 18

Puzzlebox
Philly-based Keith DeStefano is a late musical bloomer—he attended UArts to study painting—but the bassist/composer has made up for lost time with his enigmatic octet Puzzlebox. The group is Mingus-like in its swinging abandon and its aura of bluesy romance, not to mention its compositional seriousness. Fragments of baritone sax, trombone and flute leap out from an appealing tangle of reeds and brass. DeStefano’s ear leads him to longish pieces (six to 11 minutes or so) that are nonetheless tightly conceived, never overcooked. It’s all there on Puzzlebox’s two discs to date, Just When I Thought and this year’s sleeper gem A Place to Be, featuring the brightly promising Philadelphians Maxfield Gast (saxophones), Larry Toft (trombone) and more. -David R. Adler

9:30pm. $5. Tritone, 1508 South St. 215.545.0475. tritonebar.com

TEDxPhilly
(Burning Man - drugs + Apple Keynote presentation) x Mike Nesmith dinner party = TEDxPhilly. A satellite of the TED (that is, Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference, TEDxPhilly is a daylong ideafest of entrepreneurs, thinkers and machers in the fields of art, technology, music and design. Considering the challenges our fair city faces, many of the speakers have a social-justice bent to their work, like urban-agricultural advocate Nic Esposito and Stanford Thompson, director of youth music program Tune Up Philly. But performance artists and writers like poet Ursula Rucker and public-art proponent-cum-photographer Zoe Strauss will also engage in this epic mind-mingle. Tickets are technically sold out, but you can still apply for a spot on the waiting list. -Alexandra Jones

9am. $75. Kimmel Center, 260 S. Broad St. 215.790.5800. tedxphilly.com

Friday, Nov. 19

Hazelle Goodman
It’s official: America needs a padded cell. We went from calling Obama the Messiah to labeling him the Antichrist in the blink of a batty eye, and 40 percent of Delaware voters opted for someone who at one point thought she was a witch. Crazy times call for a crazy comedian, and luckily Trinidad has sent us Hazelle Goodman, a Renaissance woman with an artistic history of mental illness: Her self-titled (narcissistic, indeed!) HBO special was critically acclaimed, and she played a rivetingly unwrapped character in the TV’s Homicide. Hazelle turns up the crazy for the Philly premiere of her one-woman show, a hilarious, schizophrenic take on today’s hottest issues. From Jerrie Curl Ann, who politically protests from the toilet bowl, to a pro-Palin motivational speaker, Hazelle’s masterful display of multiple personalities is character change we can believe in. -Gerry Christopher Johnson

Through Sat., Nov. 20, 8pm. $25. Painted Bride, 230 Vine St. 215.925.9914. paintedbride.org

Earl Greyhound
We don’t know about you, but we’re kind of sick of rock bands that don’t really look like rock bands. No such beef with Earl Greyhound, whose three members include lank-haired, skinny axe-man Matt Whyte, fabulously Afro’d bassist Kamara Thomas and monolithic drummer Rice Sheridan. The music, too, is all 1970s throwback, with howled-out vocals, pummeling drums and the kind of annihilating guitar mayhem last spotted on the Physical Graffiti tour. The band’s website has a video of Whyte doing Zeppelin covers with Blues Traveler’s John Popper, but really, why bother when you’ve written “S.O.S.,” the best post-Zeppelin Zeppelin song ever? -Jennifer Kelly

7:30pm. $10. With Frost Watson. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. 215.291.4919. kungfunecktie.com

Wave Currents
Sounds appear and reappear in composer Olivia Block’s experimental soundscapes like wild animals darting through the forest. Her pieces—populated by inhuman crackles, purring electronic oscillations and strains of low, woody winds—are perfect fuel for the imagination, ripe with implication while allowing for conceptual freedom. That’s why her collaboration with visual artists Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder is so intriguing: This duo of abstract filmmakers creates “live cinema”– shapes, rays and waves of light created in real time–with projectors and other mechanical devices. Wave Currents will transform the Ibrahim Theater into a sort of sensory stimulation tank, an opportunity to immerse oneself in abstract light and sound (and stave off Winter Hibernation Mode for at least a few weeks). -A.J.

7pm. $10. International House, 3701 Chestnut St. 215.387.5125. ihousephilly.com

Saturday, Nov. 20

Bonerama
Bonerama’s four-trombone front line is capable of blowing out the nastiest vintage funk and modern masterpieces by Hendrix and the Zep. The N’Awlins ensemble—back in the day, they started out as a spin-off of Harry Connick Jr.’s band—is known for drilling deep brassy funk into a garage-rock sensibility that would do Little Steven proud. They’re changing up special guests throughout the tour, and Philly gets Kyle Hollingsworth of String Cheese Incident. We also get Bethlehem-bred all-star guitarist Steve Kimock, known for his work both in the Steve Kimock Band and taking a spin with every Grateful Dead-related band catering to the unwashed masses. All in all, it sounds like a deep-down dirty-good time. -Tara Murtha

8pm. $20-25. With Nate Wilson Group. North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St. 215.787.0488. northstarbar.com

Cartoon Kitties
If you’ve heard of the famously extravagant Atlanta hair shows, you probably have an idea of what to expect from HopeCuts’ Annual Master Hair Stylist Competition. It began four years ago as a new segment of City of Hope’s HairBall, the East Coast’s largest annual hair-design competition. The fourth installment boasts a fabulously bizarre theme: cartoon kitties with luxurious locks. On this night, Philadelphia’s top hairstylists will each be assigned a model and must transform the model’s hair to win awards and prizes in categories like Best Cut, Stylist, Color and Best in Show. City of Hope’s Harry Giordano will host the competition, which includes a night of celebrity impersonators, cocktails, music and dancing. The best part: All proceeds go to City of Hope’s medical research for cancer and HIV/AIDS. -Maryline Dossou

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