9am. $10-$25. FDR Park, 1900 Pattison Ave. pawsmuttstrut.org
POOKIE GOES GRENADING
Azuka Theatre opens its season this week with JC Lee’s provocatively titled Pookie Goes Grenading. The play focuses on an unlikely trio of high schoolers who arm themselves with an arsenal of weapons-grade explosives intent on making the most “epic play” in history. Originally crafted as a short work for a friend to use as an audition piece, the play parodies everything Lee views as being wrong with theater today. Set in the suburbs surrounding Camden, the characters include super-smart 14-year-old theatrical terrorist Pookie, teen techie Greta, and Benny, a savvy gay teenager who conquers the homophobic bullies to become the most popular student in the trio’s South Jersey school. J.C.R.
8pm. $18-$27. Off-Broad Street Theater, First Baptist Church, 17th and Sansom sts. 215.563.1100. azukatheatre.org
HOOTS & HELLMOUTH
Hoots & Hellmouth are back, briefly, in their native Philadelphia, bringing their stomping, slapping, strumming, shouting—and yes, hooting—brand of Americana home from the endless road. Though primarily acoustic, string-dominated and rooted in pre-electric folk and blues, there is nothing studious or archival about Hoots & Hellmouth. Instead, they recreate the sweat and swagger of Saturday night in an era before automobiles, and there’s plenty of rhythm at a Hoots & Hellmouth show. The band’s four members use hands, feet, instruments, bows and shakers to bang out harum-scarum beats. Expect lots of new songs this time around from the soulful and really quite excellent Salt, the band’s fourth and latest full-length. J.K.
8:30pm. $13-15. With Creepoid + David Mayfield Parade. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100. utphilly.com
Sun., Nov. 4
DAMIEN ECHOLS, IN CONVERSATION WITH TARA MURTHA
In 1994 in West Memphis, Ark., teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. were convicted of murdering three 8-year-old boys in what was perceived as a Satanic ritual. The trial, and the defendants, became famous as the subject of a trilogy of HBO documentaries called Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills. Echols, accused of being the ringleader, was sentenced to death. But last year, after more than 18 years behind bars, Echols and company were freed from prison under a deal wherein they had to admit guilt in exchange for time served—and an agreement never to sue the state of Arkansas. All three maintain that they are innocent, and new DNA evidence points in other directions. Now, Echols is celebrating the release of Life After Death, a dark, relentless memoir that is a pastiche of passages he wrote while on death row and reflections after release. As part of the 215 Festival, I am honored to host a public Q&A with Echols to discuss his memoir, memory and what life after death looks like to a man who says he was going blind from two decades spent staring only at the walls a few feet away from his face. TARA MURTHA
2pm. Free. Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St. 215festival.org
MILK CARTON KIDS
It’s not just that they sound old. Every time you think you’ve traveled back far enough to capture the Milk Carton Kids’ essence, you find your time machine needs more juice. Pre-empting Internet piracy culture by offering up their albums for free download on their website? They have, but it’s something deeper than being anti-technology. Pristine Simon and Garfunkel harmonies? Not bad, but keep going. Almost-antique 1950s Martin and Gibson acoustics? These two guitar virtuosos command some seriously deep hollow-body tones out of those vintage instruments, but keep on walkin’. Starting to hear the old-time flat-picking of Great Depression bluegrassers like Riley Puckett and the Delmore Brothers? Now you’re starting to get it. But just when you think you’ve pinned them down to an early 20th-century decade, you look up and see Joey Ryan’s and Kenneth Pattengale’s cherubic baby faces. It’s a hell of a mind warp, but the time warp has rarely sounded so good. JEFFREY BARG
7:30pm. $13. With Leslie Stevens. Tin Angel, 20 S. Second St. 215.928.0770. tinangel.com
A cool, crisp November day seems like a excellent time to fire up your insides. BBQ purists Keepers of the Flame and weirdo ice-cream purveyors Little Baby’s Ice Cream come together to bring you Chilifest, a chili cook-off and smorgasbord in which $10 gets you all-you-can-eat chili samples. Chili connoisseurs can enter the cook-off and pit their recipe against local chili chefs or choke down as many habaneros as they can for the hot-pepper eating contest. Bring your own booze or sample the cocktails made with Wine-Shine donated from the good people at Spodee Wines. All recipes will be judged on categories like Best Use of Spice or Most Unique Ingredients, and prizes will be provided from the freaks at Little Baby’s Ice Cream, as well as Spodee and Whistle Pig Whiskey. A.B.
4-8 pm. $10. Goldilocks Gallery, 723 Chestnut St. 215.432.8564. littlebabysicecream.com
Mon., Nov. 5
BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON
11th Hour Theatre Company is bringing some of the world’s biggest musicals to town this season with the company’s new Next Step Concert Series. The series launches this week with a concert staging of the Tony-nominated rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Directed by the company’s associate producer/general manager Kate Galvin, the groundbreaking musical combines fact and fiction to portray America’s seventh president and founder of the Democratic Party as a super-sexy rock star. Bloody recounts Jackson’s genocidal attack on Native Americans, who were massacred and driven from their homes to satisfy Jackson’s goal of expanding the nation westward. Jackson was as charismatic as he was brutal, and the musical draws parallels between his presidency and the Bush administration while simultaneously comparing Jackson’s appeal with the wave of Obamamania that dominated the 2008 presidential campaign. J.C.R.
7pm. $25. Christ Church Neighborhood House, 40 N. Second St. 267.987.9865. 11thhourtheatrecompany.org
Tues., Nov. 6
Tonight, America’s fate for the next four years will be decided. You could sit angst-ridden at home, hunched in front of CNN, holding your breath till every ballot is counted, or you could pass the hours of this historic evening at Jose Pistola’s commiserating with the Liberal Drinkers. It’s too early to tell whether you’ll be slamming back victory shots of whiskey or drowning your sorrows with pitchers of Allagash White, but this weekly gathering will be a good place to discuss the events as they unfold. Former PW columnist Brendan Skwire, a regular to the gathering since 2004, says, “Beer decimates political boundaries; American democracy was built on it. On September 15th, 1787, 54 delegates of the Constitutional Convention trotted down to City Tavern and knocked back 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret and 12 bottles of beer; two days later, they signed and ratified the Constitution.” Sounds like a plan. JESSICA FOLEY
6pm. Free. Jose Pistola’s, 263 S. 15th St. 215.545.4101. livingliberally.org/drinking
Calendar: Sept. 2-9