Calendar: Oct. 3-9

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Oct. 2, 2012

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The Professional Bull Rider Philadelphia Invitational is this Friday at the Wells Fargo Center.

Wed., Oct. 3

Andrew McCarthy
You may remember Andrew McCarthy as the adorable guy with the chipmunk cheeks and the broken heart in the ‘80s wrong-side-of-the-tracks classic Pretty in Pink. But for the past decade, he’s also been killing it as a travel writer: He’s won four North American Travel Journalists awards, including the Grand Prize; he’s National Geographic Traveler’s editor-at-large; and he’s just come out with a book, The Long Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down. Tonight, he sits down to discuss how a 19-year-old actor  “prone to worry and fret” transformed himself into the man every man wants to be. -Abigail Bruley

7:30pm. Free. Central Library, 1901 Vine St. 215.686.5322.
Reception: 5:45pm. $30-$35. Rose Tattoo Cafe, 1847 Callowhill St. 215.569.8939

Ben Harper
Though Ben Harper has never left his longtime bands, the prolific Innocent Criminals and Relentless7 frontman recently embarked on his first solo tour. The acoustic affair promises that crucial sonic element Harper’s past shows have only teased in brief bursts: a delicate rupture of grooving gospel, folk and blues, minus the throbbing percussion and crunching riffs. Those who haven’t witnessed Harper gracefully attack his lap-steel guitar will experience a bare-bones intensity he has yet to fully capture in the studio. “The great part about having different bands is they motivate you and inspire you in different ways, and they begin to inform each other,” Harper said in 2010. “And you have to commit to knowing that music is going to pull you in the direction it wants you, it needs you.” That direction led Harper to this one-man-band tour, during which he will play cuts from his forthcoming ballads retrospective, By My Side, a handpicked set of softer repertoire from 1994 to the present. Opening is 22-year-old Australian artist Grace Woodroofe, a Harper protege whom the late Heath Ledger discovered when the singer-guitarist was 16. -Patrick Flanary

8pm. $35-$55. With Grace Woodroofe. Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St. 215.893.1999.

Thurs., Oct. 4

Philly Food Swappers
Looking to diversify your pantry but think it will set your wallet back? Your own breads, preserves and canned goods will function as currency for all kinds of edible goodies at Greensgrow Farm this week. With plenty of participants gathering to exchange their goods, the Food Swap becomes a village marketplace with local specialties (think pickles, baked goods, honey, granola, fruits, vegetables, spices), but also provides the chance for those involved to offer trades in a silent-auction format. Swappers are encouraged to bring samples for participants to try, and there will be potluck offerings for everyone to enjoy. While this Philly Swappers event is free, donations will be accepted to cover the cost of supplies. -Ashley Kole

7pm. Free. Greensgrow Farm, 2501 E. Cumberland St.

Fri., Oct. 5

Elle Varner and Ryan Leslie
The big-haired, big-voiced Elle Varner emerged onto the music scene last year with her debut single with J. Cole, “Only Wanna Give It to You,” but it was with this year’s “Refill” that the talented singer/songwriter really made an impression. It’s nothing she wasn’t prepared for, given that she was literally born into the business. Her parents, Jimmy Varner and Mikelyn Roderick, are veteran songwriters, and from early on, Varner thought of the studio as a second home, getting her musical education from hands-on experience. Her debut CD, Perfectly Imperfect, out now, certainly deserves high marks. Ryan Leslie also began his career as a songwriter and producer, working with Beyonce, Carl Thomas, New Edition and former model Cassie Ventura, who hit with “Me & U” in 2006, a song Leslie wrote and produced. A Harvard graduate at 19 with a perfect SAT score behind him, Leslie instead chose music full-time and has since released two CDs. His third, Les Is More, is out Oct. 22. -Tonya Pendleton

8pm. $29-$52. Theater of the Living Arts, 334 South Street. 215.922.1011.

The Assassination of Jesse James
Once again, the intrepid EgoPo Classic Theater offers audiences a chance to spend the entire season immersed in a particular brand of theater. This season, the company is engaging in a year-long “American Vaudeville Festival” to explore “plays and stories that helped shape the American identity” beginning with The Assassination of Jesse James. Directed by Brenna Geffers, the play draws on a wide variety of sources to explore the thin line between the man and the myth. In keeping with her innovative approach to new theater, Geffers’ production features an all-female cast that challenges the stereotypical view of frontier women as schoolteachers, devoted wives or whores with hearts of gold. To bring to life the world of the notorious outlaw, EgoPo’s environmental production transforms Plays and Players Theater’s upper floors into a Western saloon that includes a “traveling exhibit” of Wild West memorabilia and a bar that will remain open during the performance so theatergoers can down shots of bourbon along with James (Melanie Julian) and his posse of ex-confederate renegades. -J. Cooper Robb

8pm. $20-$50. Second Story Saloon, Plays and Players Theater, 1714 Delancey Place. 215.735.0630.

Professional Bull Rider Philadelphia Invitational
What happens when you pit a 2,000-pound bull against the top bull riders of the world? A bucking good time! The Professional Bull Riders take over the Wells Fargo Center this weekend in Philly for the first time in eight years. The riders who survive the ordeal on Friday will make it through to the final rounds on Saturday, competing for the grand total of $125,000 in prize money. PBR World Champion Silvano Alves will face tough competitors to defend his title, all within the eight seconds that a typical ride lasts. There’s no need for binoculars—a 6,500-pound (that’s the weight of about 3.25 bulls) LED screen will be suspended from the center’s roof so you don’t miss any of the action.
-Trishula Patel

8pm. $10-$150. Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. 719.242.2800.

City Bisco
For more than a decade, Philly’s own Disco Biscuits has effectively bridged the gap between improvisatory jams and electronic raves at the annual Camp Bisco in upstate New York, a festival that routinely draws tens of thousands to the largest dance party on the East Coast. This year, the band is curating a two-day urban counterpart in their home city, on the lush, sprawling grounds of the Mann Center. Day One showcases the M.I.A. mastermind, Major Lazer collaborator and producer of the moment known as Diplo, and Def Jux mainstay RJD2. Day Two brings in turntablist and DJ A-Trak. The Disco Biscuits will be, as usual, playing everywhere and with everyone, finding unexpected jointures between disparate genres of music. And you can fully expect that they’ll turn this bisco out. -Jennifer Kelly

4pm. $47.50-$75. Also on Sat., Oct. 6. With Disco Biscuits, Diplo, A-Trak, RJD2, Paper Diamond and Aeroplane. Mann Center for the Performing Arts. 5201 Parkside Ave. 215.878.0400.

Sat., Oct. 6

5th Annual River City Festival
Spend the day celebrating one of Philly’s most vibrant neighborhoods while helping the Fishtown Neighbors Association reach its goal of raising $10,000 to benefit beautification projects, service awards and scholarship programs. It all kicks off with a 5K run with the Monster Milers. The rest of the afternoon, peruse one-of-a-kind wares from a variety of merchants, enjoy grub from several Fishtown eateries or chill out and listen to live tunes from a revolving lineup of local acts, including Rock to the Future, the Snails and the John Byrne Band with Wareika Hill. For the kiddies and young at heart, there will be a moon bounce, rock wall and obstacle course, circus performers and magicians. Although the event is free, those who make a donation of $20 will gain access to a private tent with a prime view of the main stage and bottomless cups of brews from Philadelphia Brewing Co., St. Benjamin’s Brewing and more. -Nicole Finkbiner

Noon. Free. Penn Treaty Park, 1199 N. Delaware Ave.

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Near-violent rock ‘n’ roll sets and tween/teen-oriented programming go together like peanut butter and vinegar, which is exactly why you must check out the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s appearance on Recovery. At some point in 1998, the New York City trio show up on the now-defunct Australian kids series. After playing “2 Kindsa Love” with no bumps, Jon Spencer began a rampage for “Flavor.” He ran around the stage, pushed a cameraman, hugged a stagehand, climbed into the half-amazed/half-creeped-out audience of kids and tore apart pieces of the set. All the while, he howled and shouted, and the two-piece left behind slammed away on their instruments. The reverb-heavy garage rock was fun and crunchy enough, yeah, but the real magic came from anxiety, subversion and gigajoules of energy the band foisted on their audience. Philly can only hope to be left in such exhilarating ruin. -Reyan Ali

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