PW's Weekend Picks

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Oct. 18, 2013

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Friday, October 18

Hearkening back a few hundred years and armed with rustic-looking wind instruments, the folks who make up acclaimed renaissance band Piffaro give new meaning to the phrase “band geeks.”  Since beginning in 1980, the septet—which derives its name from the Italian word for pipe—is led by artistic directors Joan Kimball and Bob Wiemken. And, the group channels the baroque spirit of the 14th-17th century cultural movement with an acute frame of historical reference and a comprehensive musical know-how.

Though primarily based in Philadelphia, where they offer a subscription concert series on an annual basis, Piffaro now makes a name for itself on a global scale, having toured throughout Europe, Canada and South America in support of its recorded arrangements.  A total of 16 albums have been released under their banner since 1992, with the latest, 2012’s Los Ministriles in the New World, paying homage to renowned Spanish composers of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Its members may each be accomplished musical educators in their own right, but don’t think for a second that this band is afraid of bringing on outside help.  For added authenticity, they’ve augmented their lineup with a handful of singers, along with a few more obscure instruments such as dulcians, sackbuts and shawms.  Sure, those names might sound funny at first, but hey, you’re learning. And then you’ll be grooving. / JAKE ABBATE

8pm. $15-$40. Trinity Center for Urban Life, 22nd and Spruce sts. 215.732.2515.

Arden Uncorked
Enjoy an evening of wine tasting and cabaret performances while supporting the Arden Theatre Company. Master sommelier Brian Healy will be on hand to teach even the novice taster a thing or two. Hit the open bar, much on some snacks and grab a raffle ticket—tonight, everyone's a winner. Prizes range from an expensive bottle of champagne to a box of Franzia. 7pm. $100. Arden Theatre Company's Hamilton Family Arts Center, 62 N. Second St.

Selena Gomez
Released one day after her 21st birthday, Selena Gomez’s debut solo album, Stars Dance, finds the former Wizard of Waverly Place taking a fairly tame approach to entering adulthood … unlike, y’know, that other former Disney starlet. 7pm. $26-66. Wells Fargo Center, 3601 South Broad St. 215.336.3600.

The Philadelphia Horticultural Society, sponsors of the city’s annual flower show, turns its warehouse into a rustic-chic party locale for PHeaSt, now in its sophomore year. Local farmers and the area’s best chefs will come together to benefit the PHS City Harvest program. 6pm. PHS Warehouse at the Navy Yard, 5201 S. 13th St. 215.988.1698.

Malcolm Gladwell: David + Goliath
TIME hails Malcolm Gladwell as “one of the brightest stars in the media firmament” because he transcends his journalistic experience as a veteran staff writer for The New Yorker in books that encourage people to view the world from a different perspective. His latest tome explores the deeper meaning of the many obstacles life has to offer. 7:30pm. $7-$15. Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine St. 215.686.5322.

ICA Birthday Party
The Institute of Contemporary Art epitomizes inspiration and freedom of expression, so what better way to celebrate its 50th birthday than with a cake inspired by abstract painter Clyfford Still? Chief curator Ingrid Schaffner will be on hand to give her annual “What is Contemporary?” lecture focusing on the institute’s own history. 6:30pm. Free. Institute of Contemporary Art, 118 S. 36th St. 215.898.5911.

Harry Potter Festival
It may not be as extravagant as Universal Studios (now Universal Orlando), but Chestnut Hill College still brings the magic of Harry Potter to Philly. Complete with a Quidditch tournament on the softball field and the transformation of Chestnut Hill into Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, the Harry Potter Festival won’t leave you Hagrid. 10am. Free. Chestnut Hill College, 9601 Germantown Ave.

Saturday, October 19

Fiona Apple + Blake Mills
Let’s get down to it: Fiona’s a bit temperamental. She’s emotional, she’s intense and, well, she’s a little wild. So do not fuck with her. Last week in Portland, a heckler shouted “Fiona! Get healthy! We want to see you in ten years!” Apple was ripshit: She had the house lights turned on and the heckler ushered out. And that had come after about 90 minutes of stunning performance oscillating between her and her Idler Wheel ... tour-supporting guitarist and comrade Blake Mills. She tried to eke out one more song, but the emotions had already overcome her—she pushed through “Waltz (Better Than Fine),” sobbing, and apologized before heading offstage.

While Mills isn’t a household name, in the music biz, he’s a staple: a session and touring guitarist who’s played with Jenny Lewis, Dawes, Band of Horses and Julian Casablancas. And his 2010 solo debut, Break Mirrors, is excellent wanderer everyman rock. For all the locals who know and love Ms. Apple—and who adored every minute of her sold-out Tower moment last year and expect nothing less than gut-wrenching beauty from the piano-powered songstress (Seen the video for “Hot Knife” yet?)—this double bill offers a chance to see more fully into the creative kernel she and Mills nurtured for more than a year. / BILL CHENEVERT

8pm. $49.50-$65.00. The Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St. 215.893.1999.

The Improvised B-Movie!
Just in time for All Hallow’s Eve, the Asteroid improv team hosts unrehearsed performances inspired by the schlocky sci-fi/horror films of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Grab some popcorn, and welcome back familiar favorites in all their low-budget glory, from mutant insects to extraterrestrial armies and beyond. 7pm. $8-10. Shubin Theatre, 407 Bainbridge St. 215.592.0119.
Boo at the Zoo
Don your scariest apparel, and bring your kids to trick or treat at the zoo for ghost stories, games, spooky tunes and plenty of treats. 9:30am. $18-$20. Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W. Girard Ave.

Devotedly, Sincerely Yours: The Story of the USO
Inspired by a real-life letter written by a USO starlet, this energetic show travels back to 1940 to follow an adventurous USO singer who put her life on the line to entertain American troops during World War II. 8pm. $20-$30. Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut St. 215.898.3900.

The latest from award-winning playwright Mike Bartlett, this intimate play follows a man grappling with his newfound understanding of sex and love. 8pm. $20-$40. Studio X, 1340 S. 13th St. 215.218.4022.

Shell Show and Festival
The largest shell show in the Northeast, this extravaganza gives attendees the opportunity to dissect mollusks, sharpen their crafting skills, shop an international market of shells and get a sneak peek of the Academy of Natural Sciences’ vast collection of specimens—10 million at last count—from the Malacology Collection. 10am. $15. Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. 215.299.1000.

Between the Buried and Me
With 13 years of experience and seven studio albums under their belts, Between the Buried and Me are practically a household name (at least for fans of progressive metal). After touring with bands like Coheed and Cambria, August Burns Red and Lamb of God, the five-piece is on the road again for another full U.S. tour. 7:30pm. $20. Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South St. 215.922.1011.

4,000 Miles
This comedic drama centers on an unlikely pair, 21-year-old Leo and his 91-year-old grandmother, who become unexpected roommates when Leo arrives at her doorstep following a cross-country bicycle trip. Over the course of a month, the two bond and discover the fragile line between growing up and growing old. 2pm and 8pm. $52-$59. Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St. 215.985.0420.

22nd Philadelphia Film Festival
Philly cinephiles, unite! This year’s film festival brings more than 200 screenings of 100 domestic and international films to a number of venues across the city. Various locations. 215.925.4535.

We Are Proud To Present
Brooklyn-based playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury’s new production about African genocide in the 20th century already earned an Edgerton New Play Award thanks to its powerful message, anchored by a balance of chilling drama and comic relief. 7pm. $22-50. InterAct Theatre Company, 2030 Sansom St. 215.568.8077.

Sunday, October 20

Pennsylvania Ballet
The discounted price of a matinee ticket will get you 50 years’ worth of performance highlights from Pennsylvania Ballet’s rich history at the Academy of Music. Be sure to dress to impress: Today’s performance is set to be filmed by WHYY for an upcoming PBS documentary. 3pm. Free. Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St. 215.893.1999.
David Darwin
He didn’t win on America’s Got Talent, but David Darwin, the self-described “One Man Sideshow,” is still pretty neat. Juggling, plate spinning or unicycling, Philly can’t get enough of him. 3pm. $15. Grasso’s Magic Theatre, 103 Callowhill St. 215.413.2917.
Flames of Desire
Ten dancers, five of whom are recent world tango champs, accompanied by an Argentine music quartet, and bring new innovative techniques to the seductive art of the dance under the creative direction of young choreographer German Cornejo. 4pm. $35-65. Merriam Theater, Broad and Spruce Streets. 215.893.1999. 

AIDS Walk Philly and AIDS Run Philly
From the same folks who bring Philly GayBingo!, the Philly AIDS Run/Walk draws thousands every year. The event supports local charities in the fight against HIV/AIDS. 8am. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th and the Parkway. 215.731.9255.

The Brothers Size
This backwoods play follows the recently-paroled Oshoosi Size as he tries to embrace a fresh start in life. When a friend offers an alternative to working in his brother’s repair shop, Oshoosi must choose between family and following his dreams. Through Nov. 3. $15-$25. Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St.

Bunny Bunny
SNL writer-turned-playwright Alan Zweibel’s poignant play examines his relationship with former SNL actress Gilda Radner. The play explores their longstanding friendship and examines the relationship that could have been. $30. Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St.

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