Wednesday, Sept. 14
Like a street artist, guitar virtuoso Monte Montgomery sketches with extraordinary dexterity, deftness
and intricacy, his hands a blur of activity producing a sound stunning as a Taser. At 13, he skipped a year of school to join his folk-singing mother on tour and never looked back. He plays electrified acoustics with a surgeon’s skill segueing from moments of delicate folk beauty to raw, slashing blues, notes gathering into foreboding storms that part to reveal beatific blue skies. Not
content with guitar divinity, Montgomery’s honed his songwriting skill, reaching a new level with 2008’s self-titled seventh studio album. His daughter’s subsequent accidental death prompted a career re-evaluation, only recently picking up the touring pace. -Chris Parker
8pm. $21. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. worldcafelive.com
Chicago-based graphic novelist Anders Nilsen’s new book, Big Questions, collects the strips he’s been self-publishing in individual issues for 10 years. It’s heavy. Yeah, yeah, it’s more than 600 pages and weighs about six pounds, but not just that kinda heavy. Nilsen wrestles with the BIG metaphysical jawns: What’s it all about? Why are we doing what we’re doing? But the questions are asked by birds in a bird-world, specifically one where the birds have encountered a bizarre event. When a plane crashes and they mistake one of its bombs for a gigantic egg, their lives turn upside down. There’s also a snake, an idiot and a fowl named Algernon, and their stories unfold with the grace and grandeur of a Terrence Malick film. Nilsen’s reading at Brickbat tonight, but not alone. He’s bringing comic Marc Bell, the artist behind Pure Pajamas, with him. -Elliott Sharp
7pm. Free. Brickbat Books, 709 S. Fourth St. 215.592.1207. brickbatbooks.blogspot.com
This year’s Feastival unites dynamic artistic performances with world-class restaurants, brought to you courtesy of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe. Attendees will be treated to a culinary feast from 75 of Philly’s top restaurants and bars, led by co-hosts and cuisine superstars Stephen Starr, Michael Solomonov and Audrey Claire Taichman. As you nosh on delicacies, you will be entertained by the less edible but equally palatable choreography of Brian Sanders, live painting by the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and a circus performance by Montreal’s 7 Fingers. You’ll definitely want to come back next year for seconds. -Trishula Patel
6pm. $250-$350. Pier 9, 121 N. Columbus Blvd. 215.413.9006. phillyfeastival.com
The Big Bang
The most brilliantly stupid production in Philadelphia theater history returns to Center City with the Kimmel Center’s revival of The Big Bang. Penned by Jed Feuer and Boyd Graham, the 80-minute musical made its area debut in 2004 in a riotous production at Act II Playhouse starring the irresistible Ben Dibble and Tony Braithwaite. Braithwaite went on to win a Barrymore Award for outstanding actor in a musical and the production became an instant classic. At the Kimmel’s cozy Innovation Studio, the duo recreate their spectacular performances as two neophyte producers hoping to recruit investors for their lavish $83,000,000 musical depicting the entire history of the world. Pitching the show to would-be backers, the pair performs all 318 roles from their conceived extravaganza (include a stunningly funny bit involving the Virgin Mary and Mrs. Gandhi) and harmonize on catchy songs like the spectacularly silly showstopper “Free Food and Frontal Nudity.” -J. Cooper Robb
7pm. $30-$39. Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St. 215.893.1999. kimmelcenter.org
Thursday, Sept. 15
It’s been so long since San Francisco indie-folk duo Two Gallants have made a peep (they’ve been on hiatus for a few years), it’s almost hard to remember they were once touted as the “next big thing” in the mid 2000s. Or that singer-guitarist Adam Stephens and drummer-singer Tyson Vogel once got Tasered by a cop investigating a “noise complaint” at a 2006 gig in Houston. Or that the duo offers a brilliant sound that combines evocative, mostly acoustic folk-blues with a stormy punk ethos that especially comes through in the raw vocal harmonies. But tonight should be a reminder of all of that. Well, not the Taser thing, hopefully. -Michael Alan Goldberg
9:15pm. $10-$12. With the Mumlers. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com
Friday, Sept. 16
Dance On Danco
The dance brand may be 40 years old, but the Philadelphia Dance Company’s newest generation of movers and shakers are keeping it fresh at their annual Danco on Danco performance showcase. The night aims to show what its dance apprentice companies are working with and will include new choreographed pieces. Presented by the Painted Bride, the performances are typical of the innovative work that characterizes the art center. Its history and performances lie in the Alternative Art Space movement, which sought to establish organizations where artists had greater control over the presentation of their work and were able to present the work of the underrepresented. T.P.
8pm. $25-$30. Painted Bride, 230 Vine St. 215.925.9914. paintedbride.org
Nearly a decade after releasing their first EP, WHY?’s artful combination of angsty hip-hop, spoken word and indie rock still turns heads, even in this day of ephemeral designer genres. Helmed by singer Yoni Wolf and backed with any combination of keys, guitar, toys and samplers, WHY?’s tunes are both minimal and memorable. Without hiding under reverb, cymbal crashes or pounding bass drums, a strong beat and catchy chorus drive each tune. Most arresting are Wolf’s vocals—his slightly nasal voice is half a pitch too high for comfort, snarky and snarling in its fatalism. He uses it as an instrument, playing with syncopation, enunciation, phonetics and vocal pitch. Lyrics, meanwhile, are vague narratives, detailed thoughts and stories that may or may not make sense. -Katherine Silkaitis
8pm. $15. With Serengeti. First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St. 215.821.7575.
Saturday, Sept. 17
French director Marcel Camus’ 1959 film Black Orpheus boasts one of the greatest soundtracks ever, and tonight it screens on one of the city’s finest soundsystems. Featuring the music of Brazilian composers Antônio Carlos Jobim—who once wrote a little ditty called “The Girl From Ipanema”—and Luiz Bonfá, the bustling, banging sounds launch into the gritty, celebratory Rio de Janeiro streets during Carnaval as Camus modernizes the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice. On the run from his awful fiance and that most unflinching assassin we call Death, playboy trolley conductor Orfeu and country girl Eurydice twist, dash, samba and smooch through colorful, noisy plazas packed with masked revelers donning rainbow costumes and mad, swirling robes. Horns blaze and polyrhythmic marches simultaneously summon feelings of heart-booming exhilaration and dreadful anxiety as the darkest cosmic forces in the universe clash in a once-and-for-all battle with love. -E.S.
7pm. $9. International House, 3701 Chestnut St. 215.387.5125. ihousephilly.org
Clark Park Fall Equinox Festival
“Where will we be when the summer’s gone?” asked Jim Morrison, the shitfaced frontman
of the Doors. He was attempting to arouse a poetic response, but there’s really only one place we’ll be. It’s called Fall. Just because you’re still wearing cut-off jean shorts doesn’t mean summer’s not over. It’s dead, and it’s time to move on, and the Clark Park Fall Equinox Festival ushers in the change. Ten bands are playing, and two of their names include bad words: Fuck Face and Total Fucking Destruction. Two others also share a theme: Catnaps and Pet Milk. Conversations With Enemies sounds like a sequel to Julia Roberts’ blockbuster film Sleeping With The Enemy and headliners Algernon Cadwallader could be a Lord of the Rings reference. -E.S.
Nightlife: Cooking Up Couture
Calendar: September 17-24
PW's Weekend Picks
PW's Fall Guide 2014