Remember Dude, Where’s My Car? (It’s hard, we know.) Get past the Dude/Sweet tattoo scene and enter UFO cultists babbling about a continuum transfuctioner. Their leader, Zoltan, comes in later, in all his bubble-wrap glory. This strange character was Hal Sparks’ first silver-screen role. Twelve years later, Sparks’ resume includes a starring role in Queer as Folk, VH1’s decade-loving specials, guest roles on several sitcoms and a current role in Disney’s Lab Rats. This week, the spiky-haired comedian stands up at Helium Comedy Club spewing hilarious social commentary that will leave you clutching your sides. Seeing a new comedian is a huge commitment, though; If he sucks, you will never get his bad jokes out of your head. So before you commit to the tickets, search “Hal Sparks Charmageddon.” You’re welcome. -A.S.
7:30pm and 10pm. $16-$33. Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom St. 215.496.9001. heliumcomedy.com
The NoLibs Holiday Shopping Spree
Here’s a great chance to check off those remaining folks on your gift list, all while giving our local economy a much-needed boost. Thirteen of Northern Liberties’ finest independent boutiques will be taking part in this annual holiday progressive sale, including Duke & Winston, Concrete Polish, Arcadia Boutique, Philly Paithful, Once Worn Consignment, Casa Papel and Art Star. Here’s how it works: At the first participating store, shoppers will receive a spree card with one sticker, as well as 10 percent off their purchase. Your savings will then increase by 5 percent at the next two locations, and once you’ve gotten three stickers, you are entitled to 25 percent off at any additional store thereafter. As an extra incentive, most of the participating retailers will offer light refreshments and free gift-wrapping. -N.F.
11am. Through Dec. 2. Free. Various locations. artstarphilly.com
Keys N Krates
Keys N Krates works without a net, remixing classic hip-hop, rock and electronic snippets in real time with live drums, keyboards, samples and turntables—and no backing tracks. It’s an exciting, volatile art form, balancing the pounding hedonism of electronic dance, the scrappy heat of live action funk and the scratch rhythms of old-school rap. The band—that’s Tune on drums, Jr. Flo on turntable and Matisse on keys and samples—started in Toronto’s vibrant underground and attracted early attention as one of Urb magazine’s “Next 100” bands in 2009. Lately, they have graduated to a larger scale, playing Camp Bisco and doing a sanctioned, official remix for Nelly Furtado’s latest album. Milkboy is a relatively small venue for the trio these days, a late-in-the-game chance to see this band’s adrenaline-fueled alchemy up close. -Jennifer Kelly
9:30pm. $10-$12. With Les Professionnels. Milkboy Philly, 1100 Chestnut St. 215.925.6455. milkboyphilly.com
“The A Word” Artist Collective
This week, O.U.R gallery hosts an art and music extravaganza featuring eight emerging female artists. Drop $5 at the door and crack open a free can of Pabst while you listen to the folk rock sounds of singer/songwriter John Cusumano and the hard-core punk raging of Creatures Like Us. Also playing will be singer/songwriter Jen Lightfoot, who is one of the artists whose ink/pencil figurative drawings you will see hanging alongside the Rubenesque paintings of Kate Transue, the Dada-esque photographs of Mikkie McGregor-Cogan, the abstract expressionistic paintings of Elaina Posey and the apocalyptic cartoons of Ali Thompson. And if you like what’s hanging, buy it. Artists’ work sells for $20-$500. -Jessica Foley
5-9pm. $5. O.U.R. Gallery, 3146 Richmond St. 267.273.3440. jenlightfoot.com
Sun., Dec. 2
John Cage: Behind Song Books
Avant-garde composer, musical theorist, writer and artist John Cage took a chance early in his career to challenge what deliberate sound meant when he performed his silent 1952 composition 4’33’’, thereby labeling him “that guy who sat and stared at his audience for nearly five minutes.” But Cage’s later work, though often over-shadowed, is just as revolutionary. His grand “magnam opuses,” quiet, meditative works and mathematical sonatas will be unpacked and unfurled at tonight’s Behind Song Books event with workshops on how Cage made music from a cactus, and talks with composers Joan La Barbara and Richard Kostelanetz. -Abigail Bruley
Noon-4pm. Free. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th St. and the Ben Franklin Pkwy. 215.763.8100. cagebeyondsilence.com
Pink Martini with China Forbes
This adventurous Portland, Ore., 10-to-12-piece emerged during the mid-’90s alongside the swing revival, but they’ve proven far more felicitous and difficult to categorize than their peers, suggesting Ozomatli with a cocktail fetish. While peers emphasized jump blues and jazz, Pink Martini has wandered more widely from moody big band balladry through lounge, cabaret and classic pop clear into world music. Last year, they teamed with Japanese singer Saori Yuki on 1969, featuring a blend of the two cultures. Meanwhile, PM’s sweet, sultry founding vocalist China Forbes has returned from a 17-month, post-throat surgery absence, though she splits touring duties with Storm Large, who filled in during Forbes’ convalescence. Be in good cheer, all: This performance is holiday-themed. -Chris Parker
7:30pm. $39.50-$59.50. Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside. keswicktheater.com
Tues., Dec. 4
Loving Openly: Navigating Open Relationships
The intrepid erotic educators at ScrewSmart have some good news: Monogamy isn’t for everyone, and that’s OK. The sex-positive trio even offers a workshop to help the curious to explore alternatives to monogamy in a safe, encouraging environment. Fortunately for people dissatisfied with the default relationship model but unsure of how to proceed, an open mind is all that’s required for the program, which is part of this fall’s Way Gay U classes. The first important lesson these delightful doyennes will impart is that loving openly takes many forms, including open marriage, polyamory and swinging. They’ll discuss those possibilities, and plenty more, in a facilitated conversation, as well as providing information and resources. The goal isn’t scoring oodles of hot sex, although that’d be welcome. Instead, it’s about helping people to connect with one another and express their sexuality in a way that feels right to them. So the second lesson these self-proclaimed sex nerds will convey is the importance of communication and trust, key components of any good relationship, gay or straight, kinky or vanilla, promiscuous or celibate. -R.S.
7pm. $30-$35. William Way, 1315 Spruce St. 215.732.2220. waygay.org
Dave & Aaron Go to Work
Founded in 1997, Philadelphia’s 1812 Productions is a professional company dedicated exclusively to comedy. Ironically, the company produces almost exclusively new work that is inspired by the classic comedy of yesteryear. Case in point is Dave & Aaron Go to Work, a wordless comedy that pays homage to Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy and Charlie Chaplin. The show is conceived by creator/performers Dave Jadico and Aaron Cromie as a “silent film for the stage.” Evolved from characters the pair created for their 2003 Philly Fringe cabaret Two Hats, Two Heads, Jadico summarizes the story as being about “two friends who find their true purpose in life.” Filled with magical moments that include trick props and moving set pieces, the absence of words gives the actors a chance to display their prodigious talent not only as physical comedians, but also as magicians and puppeteers. Tonight is the final preview performance before the official opening on Dec. 5, which means the tickets are slightly cheaper, and the production is pretty much raring and ready to go. -J.C.R.
8pm. $22. Through Dec. 31. Plays and Players Theater, 1714 Delancey St. 215.735.0630.
Calendar: December 17-24
Calendar: Dec. 10-17
PW's Holiday Guide 2014