Friday, August 23
Katori Hall’s Hoodoo Love
Hexes and spells, magic and mojo: These are the elements that enthralled Katori Hall when she started thinking about her Southern roots and talking to folks who practice and peddle hoodoo. The award-winning playwright shelved Hoodoo Love to study acting and pulled it out for some readings with her fellow students, and that’s when it got noticed and mentored by Cherry Lane Theatre’s Lynn Nottage. Characters started getting fleshed out, scenes meticulously worked over, and the story of Toulou was molded into a narrative that, like Hall’s The Mountaintop, is pretty unforgettable.
Toulou’s story is one of escapism, dreams, desire and aspiration, fleeing the cotton fields of Depression-era Mississippi for the musicality of Memphis. With high hopes of stardom from singing the blues, Toulou meets the charming Ace of Spades and hopes that seducing and falling in love with this man is the answer to her prayers. She decides to rely on a little special help literally pulled from a bag of tricks by her neighbor, the Candy Lady. But when Toulou’s alcoholic, preachin’ brother, Jib, pays a visit from the Deep South, it all starts to get a little crazy. What unfolds is a testament to the ways in which the past can swallow progress, and how our families are not always escapeable.
Hall’s got an illustrious pedigree, one that informs the dynamism of a performance like this: Columbia, Harvard and Juilliard-educated and inspired by her roots. With a focus on black American history and an attention to performance, poetics and politics, Hall is on her way to joining a canon of black feminism alongside Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. This time, Hoodoo Love is being helmed by Malika Oyetimein, artistic director of Philadelphia’s own Ademide Theatre Ensemble, working with a dream cast. Candace Thomas will portray Toulou, and Philly native Keith Wallace takes on the role of the smooth-talking Ace. Perhaps one of the most uplifting and inspiring actors in Philadelphia, the UArts-trained prison guard-turned-thespian, Lee Edward Colston II, will inhabit Jib, the ominous arbiter of Toulou’s fate. / BILL CHENEVERT
Through Sun., Aug. 25. Various times. $25. Arts Bank Theatre at University of the Arts, 601 Broad St. 215.545.1664. yancygirlproductions.com
You’re probably just as sick of hearing “I’ll Melt With You” as we are, considering its been used in more movies and commercials than you’d probably care to count. However, these Brits really were a great post-punk/new wave act, with a sound much broader than just their hit. 8pm. $17-$26. With DJ Robert Drake. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com
Manic-Depressive Pixie Dreamboat
Part game show, part motivational seminar, Ben Storey brings you an interactive show about depression, anxiety, gender identity, OK Cupid and the pursuit of happiness. The whole thing is a play on film critic Nathan Rabin’s term “Manic Pixie Dream Girl,” a female character who exists solely to open up the eyes of a brooding 20-something male with no focus on her own happiness. 7:30pm. $15. Playground at The Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St. 215.567.2848. quinceproductions.com
Australian dwelling American ex-pat Maurice Felton is a house music pioneer. As both a DJ and a producer, he never fails to surprise listeners while still managing to keep things dance-floor friendly. 10pm. $5. Morgan’s Pier, 221 N. Columbus Blvd. morganspier.com
Smooth Jazz Summer Nights
A mellow waterfront evening filled with the smooth jazz stylings of Christian Scott, and a landside fireworks display. 7:30pm. Free. Penn’s Landing, Columbus Blvd. delawareriverwaterfront.com
Sami Hope CD Release Show
Sami Hope and her six-piece band bring their brand of banjo driven progressive world folk to the Painted Bride in honor of the release of their debut album. Her sultry voice compliments a mixture of light, airy textures and gritty rock elements that come close to chaos, but always balance out. 8pm. Free. Painted Bride, 230 Vine St. paintedbride.org
Saturday, August 24
“I remember there was this ridiculous bar fight where some dude got his head smashed with a bar stool. That was my first exposure to, like, the way Philadelphia deals with things,” says Jay Pepito, vocalist for Reign Supreme, in Pennsylvania Hardcore, a gritty documentary from Average Superstar Films partially funded via Indiegogo. Pepito, formerly of Blacklisted, is one of the nearly 200 artists and fans alike interviewed by filmmaker Loren W. Lepre, and they collectively craft the story of the music’s early ‘80s heyday to its impact some 30 years later.
According to former (and sometimes current) punks who lived here and in places like Reading, Scranton, Lansdale, Stroudsburg and other PA locales, the commonwealth was the place to be in the ‘80s and ‘90s if you were really into the sort of music that regularly led to riots. At the same time, Pennsylvania Hardcore attests, the state was often overlooked as a beacon of hardcore punk while places like New York, D.C., Boston and Los Angeles were eventually given national attention and housed bands that went onto achieve some commercial success.
Pennsylvania Hardcore debuts tonight at the Troc in a “test” screening before the film fest circuit and events across the state. “It’s because this is a mecca of hardcore,” says Mad Joe of Wisdom in Chains, waxing poetic about the scene, past and present. “We built this shit here, you know what I mean?” / RANDY LOBASSO
7pm. $11. The Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888. thetroc.com
Rally for Rock
The Dead Milkmen and The West Philadelphia Orchestra are among the acts gathering together for this outdoor concert that benefits Rock to the Future, a nonprofit that provides free music education to underprivileged youth in Philadelphia. Noon. Free. Liberty Lands Park, 926 N. American St. 610.416.6742. rocktothefuturephilly.org
MIND + BODY
Inner Peace Meditation Retreat
This retreat focuses on four of the 21 meditations Buddha taught that are thought to lead to permanent inner peace. No meditation experience is necessary. Why delay? Enlighten today! 10am. $5-$15. Amitayus Kadampa Buddhist Center, 1102 Pine St. 267.702.4083. meditationinphiladelphia.org
WALKS + TOURS
Haunted Philadelphia Scavenger Hunt
Watson Adventures presents this historically themed, adults-only poltergeist hunt. Armed with a flashlight, you’ll explore Old City buildings and cemeteries while learning the stories of the restless souls you might disturb. 7pm. $22.50. Washington Square Park, 600 Walnut St. 877.946.4868.
Comedian Mitch Bigos headlines a stand-up showcase, featuring a variety of new comics from the Philly area. Hosted by Pat O’Donnell. 9pm. $10. Comedy Cabaret, 11580 Roosevelt Blvd. comedycabaret.com
Sunday, August 25
Benjamin Franklin Museum Re-Opening
As a Philadelphia resident, you’ve probably served as tour guide for at least a dozen visiting friends or loved ones. Shoot, you can probably draw the iconic crack of the Liberty Bell with your eyes closed. Well, the next time your bored, out-of-town cousin decides to make a surprise trip to the city to crash on your couch and do the tourist thing, you can tack on a fresh new spot to your mutual must-experience list.
The Benjamin Franklin Museum is re-opening its doors after a nearly two-year hiatus and a reported $15 million worth of renovations. Located in Franklin Court—once the site of the founding father’s brick house, which was torn down about 20 years after his death—it’s a mecca of information about anything and everything related to the man of many inventions. Visitors can do everything from watch a life-size animation of Franklin penning his autobiography to interact with a computerized rendition of his famed glass armonica. And fortunately, this museum is perfect for all ages, whether history buff, Franklin-phile or neither.
Be one of the first to scope out the revamped museum for free this weekend ahead of its official Sept. 20 unveiling. You’ve only got Saturday and Sunday, though, so alert those faraway friends and family accordingly. And, like a good host, be prepared to break out the clean sheets and your comfy shoes. / LAUREN ARUTE
9am. Free. Benjamin Franklin Museum, 317 Chestnut St. 215.597.8974. nps.gov
Ice Water Flyswatter: Abstract Painting
Curated by Philadelphia-based artist Douglas Witmer, this exhibition, tinged with minimalist style and summertime hues, unites the work of seven abstract artists from across the globe. 6pm. Free. Tiger Strikes Asteroid, 319 N. 11th St. 484.469.0319. tigerstrikesasteroid.com
Philly Naked Bike Ride
Strip down, douse yourself in body paint, grab a bike and band together with fellow bike nerds of all skill levels to ride across the city. The ride, a “bare as you dare” event, aims to promote fuel conscious consumption, positive body image and cycling advocacy. 3pm. Free. Location to be determined. phillynakedbikeride.org
Calendar: Aug. 26-Sept. 2