PW's Weekend Picks: Dec. 20-22

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Dec. 20, 2013

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Friday, December 20

A Sip Down Memory Lane
Scent is strongly and inexorably tied to human memory. Certain smells can stimulate brain activity and carry a person’s thoughts back in time. Never is this phenomenon more pertinent than during the holiday season: Most of us create an idyllic memory of our childhood holidays, an environment we can always revert back to during the season. The smell of the house you grew up in, the tree in the living room, feasts cooking in the kitchen—the holidays are a revered time in American culture, and it’s worth deconstructing why that is.

The Lantern Theater Company’s A Sip Down Memory Lane is all about exploring and celebrating the aromas that can evoke memories in our brains. The Wine School of Philadelphia’s president, Keith Wallace, will present an array of carefully chosen wine and cocktail samples meant to stimulate your taste buds and recollective synapses. Seven wines, spirits and classic cocktails will be smartly paired with traditional holiday tavern fare, and Wallace will lead a discussion on the conjuring of memories that the drinks have, as well as a general reflection on the ties between scent and memory.

Following A Sip Down Memory Lane, the Lantern Theater presents its Christmas special A Child’s Christmas in Wales, which focuses on holiday memories, seen through the scope of a child’s gaze of his Welsh village at Christmastime. Tickets are available for both great events as a package, as well as separately. / DANIEL GELB

6pm. $27-$50. Lantern Theater, 10th and Ludlow Sts. 215.829.0395.

The 5th Annual Art Dash
Still need a gift for your art fanatic friend or loved one? Original pieces at the Art Dash are available for a $25 flat fee, with the artist’s name revealed to you at the time of purchase. All works are locally sourced, and proceeds benefit Little Berlin’s 2014 art programs. 6pm. Free. Little Berlin, 2430 Coral St.

Family Style Open Mic hosted by Michelle Myers
An eclectic mix of artistic performance and storytelling highlights the Asian Arts Initiative’s monthly open mic night. Open slots are available to all community members, with the dialogue geared toward promoting multicultural awareness. 7pm. $5-$10. Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine St. 215.557.0455.

Huggy Lowdown’s Holiday Comedy Showdown
D.C.-based funnyman Huggy Lowdown brings his celeb-gossip and entertainment news gags to our neck of the woods. Featuring fellow comedian Chris Paul, the duo will meet-and-greet fans after their gut-busting performance. 7pm. $22.50-$35. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St.

Saturday, December 21

Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Paul O’Neill’s baby has succeeded far beyond his wildest dreams, and it’s all because the music of his Trans-Siberian Orchestra is so universally well-received. Yes, TSO’s focus has long and often been on Christmas, but their take on holiday music is so unique that they have complete dominance over much of the market. Who else does Christmas tunes incorporating classical music with prog, metal and symphonic rock? O’Neill’s been known to attribute the crowd and the crew as integral components of the band’s success. And when they touch down on Broad Street a few days before Christmas, the energy in the Wells Fargo Center’s going to undoubtedly be electric.

Citing a wide but unsurprising breadth of bands that inspired O’Neill and his friends Jon Oliva, Robert Kinkel and Al Pitrelli, TSO draws flavors from Yes, Rush, Queen, The Who, Floyd, Zeppelin and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Their initial motives weren’t so Christmasy, but after a handful of unforeseen circumstances, personally and record label-wise, their debut, 1996’s Christmas Eve and Other Stories, came out to a roar of critical excitement. Just about every classic Yuletide jam you could possibly hope for is rendered symphonic rock gold. It’s a stunner, one that’ll rightfully be brought out and dusted off each December for heavy rotation—probably until there are no more Decembers.

You know what else is cool about these guys? They actually establish multiple touring armies so that, during the holiday season, they can blanket their fans with shows all over the world. Even cooler: When TSO first started touring in 1999, they played a small handful of dates, and one of em’ was in Upper Darby at our fair Tower Theatre (so they’ve got obvious affection for the City of Brotherly Love). An envelope containing tickets to either their matinee or evening show would be an awesome surprise to find nestled between string lights and candy canes on someone’s tree. / BILL CHENEVERT

3pm and 8pm. $30-$70. Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St.

A Tribute to Bob Marley with Junior Marvin and One Love
Not too many of us can say, with all honesty, that we’ve worked closely with actual legends. Sure, we may all be special or gifted within the boundaries of our own individualism, but a select few can count any of the most influential artists as colleagues, fewer still as friends. And inside this very marginalized space of exceptional people, can the majority count themselves as equals amongst those legends? No. But musician and actor Junior Marvin can.

Jamaican born and London raised, Marvin’s interest in performing was encouraged early in life. Debuting in The Beatles’ 1965 Help! led to several television appearances for the young artist. Marvin later became a member of the London cast of Hair and can be heard on the original London recordings. “It was a great run,” Marvin tells PW. “I was about 16 or 17 years old at the time. The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’ was my audition piece.” After meeting Bob Marley in ‘77, Marvin’s musical dexterity has been enjoyed the world over as guitarist for the planet’s most influential reggae group, Bob Marley & the Wailers. Since Marley’s death in 1981, Marvin has gone on to release four albums worth of material with The Wailers Band, and continues to this day with a group called One Love.

Earlier this year, Bunny Wailer, along with Marcia Griffiths, threw a celebration in Negril, Jamaica to commemorate Marley’s birthday. Together with musicians from several of the Marley sub-groups, a tribute to the life and memory of the late, great icon was born and took to the road. “It was such a great atmosphere,” Marvin recalls of the boisterous reception the tribute show got at The Hamilton in D.C. in September. “We had such a good time, we decided to keep the recording.” He hopes to bring the same energy to The Blockley’s final days. / KENNEDY ALLEN

9pm. $18-$23. With SensaMotion + Cultureal. The Blockley, 3801 Chestnut St.

All Bets Are Off III
Six local comedians and one live house band highlight this holiday week special. Featuring Chip Chantry, rated “Philly’s Phunniest” of 2013 at the Helium Comedy Club, this comedy special is a great way to start your winter vacation. 7pm. $5. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut

Naughty Knee-Slapping Burlesque with Minnie Tonka
The lovely and petite Minnie Tonka hosts this burlesque dance class, where you will learn to appear both sexy and funny in front of an audience. Showcase your naughty nature and your silly side; just don’t forget to bring gloves and heels. 2pm. $25. Peek-A-Boo Dance Clinic, 2400 E. Cumberland St. 215.470.7074.

Manayunk Winter Solstice
Manayunk hosts their first annual Solstice Fire, an outdoor festival celebrating the winter season. The gathering kicks off with a birds of prey show, followed by a ceremonious drum circle where the torches and fire are lit. 3pm. Free. Canal View Park, Manayunk. 215.482.9565.

Mayhem and Mistletoe
Party at the South Philly stadiums during their holiday celebration. Come dressed to impress for costume contests, including Ugliest Sweater and Sexiest Santa; have your picture taken with Kris Kringle himself; and enjoy live music while you quaff holiday-themed drinks. 9pm. $20. XFinity Live, 1100 Pattison Ave. 267.443.6418.

Gender Comedy: A Less Stupid Twelfth Night Gay Fantasia
For anyone who thought Shakespeare’s comedies needed robots, here you go. Gender confusion, needlessly cruel drunks and cyborgs are all here in the play the queen never wanted you to see. 8pm. $20-$25. Curio Theatre Company, 4740 Baltimore Ave. 215.525.1350.

Sunday, December 22

Saves the Day
After nearly two decades and an abundant helping of line-up changes that have left singer Chris Conley as the sole remaining original member, Saves the Day has remained one of the most important staples of contemporary emo, with no indication of becoming stale.  In September, the band unveiled its eponymous eighth studio effort boasting a collection of boisterous power pop anthems demonstrating its ability to change with the times while retaining Conley’s confessional lyricism that fans know and love. 

It’s a style that’s contributed to the rise of the genre’s new wave with mixed results. Patrick Stump reportedly auditioned for Fall Out Boy by covering “Through Being Cool,” and on the more local scene, Balance and Composure frontman Jon Simmons has cited the group’s breakthrough release Stay What You Are as one of the albums that shaped his musical palette. In an almost poetic twist of fate, the latter will  join his heroes as one of the opening acts for a short run of acoustic shows, which kicked off last week in Chicago. Also joining in the fun will be Walter Schreifels of legendary post-hardcore bands Quicksand and Rival Schools.

Though the tour got off to a bit of a rocky start—the band’s tour van was robbed of a MacBook and Schreifels’ guitar after their first concert—it has continued to go on without a subsequent hitch, with the headliners promising long sets, deep cuts and the possibility of taking requests. Not bad tricks for a bunch of old dogs. / J.A.

7:30pm. Sold out. With Walter Schreifels + Jon Simmons. First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St. 215.563.3980.

Twelfth Night, or What You Will
Pig Iron Theatre Company tackles one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known comedies with the physically taxing antics people have come to expect from their performances. Drunks, drag and duels all come together for a classically lurid night out. 2pm. $25-$49. FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd. 215.413.9006.

Santa Paws Adoption & Photos with Santa
The third annual Santa Paws event is a great way to save a life and bring home a new best friend for the holidays. Discounted animal adoptions are the important portion of this event, but the cute part is the option to get pet photos on Santa’s lap. 10am. Free. ACCT Philly, 111 W. Hunting Park Ave. 267.385.3800.

The Wind in the Willows
Quintessence Theatre Group presents their first foray into children’s theater, with a pastoral vision of English countryside. This adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s children’s classic revolves around several anthropomorphic creatures and their adventures in the woods. 2pm. $15-$25. Sedgwick Theater, 7137 Germantown Ave. 215.987.4450.

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