Friday, February 21
Dancing at Lughnasa
Curio Theatre Company is bringing the contemporary classic Dancing at Lughnasa—Brian Friel’s critically acclaimed tale of five struggling sisters in rural Ireland that’s been warming hearts for nearly 24 years—back to life on weekends through mid-March. Loosely based on the lives of Friel’s mother and aunts, the story has been adapted into a Meryl Streep film and produced on stage several times over.
Taking place in 1936, Dancing at Lughnasa highlights the five Mundy sisters: Kate, the eldest and primary bread-winner; Maggie, the chief homemaker and tension diffuser; the quiet and contemplative Agnes, who knits gloves with another sister, the simple-natured Rose, in an effort to earn extra money for the household. The youngest, Christina, and her son, Michael, round out the Mundy crew until their elder brother, Father Jack, returns from missionary work in Uganda. Told from the point of view of an adult Michael, Dancing tells how, in spite of their hardships, the Mundys take solace in their rickety radio and its random bursts of Irish folk music and 1930s hits. The wild movement it inspires enables the family to forget their troubles, if only for moments.
West Philly’s Curio Theatre Company has been working tirelessly since 2005 to continue the artistic development of their small yet talented troupe of creative dynamos. This production promises to be yet another under it’s “great stories, well told” banner. // K.A.
Through Sat., March 15. 8pm. $20-$25. Curio Theatre, 4740 Baltimore Ave. 215.525.1350. curiotheatre.org
24th annual Madrigal Dinner
One of the most highly anticipated events that Drexel’s campus has to offer, the Madrigal Dinner features the school’s chamber singing group at its anachronistic best, performing Elizabethan-era compositions while decked out in Renaissance attire. Guests will also be entertained by storytellers, jesters and the pleasing sounds of harpsichord music. 7:30pm. $21.95. Great Court, Main Building, 32nd and Chestnut sts. madrigal.westphal.dexel.edu
Project Sloopy’s Art Auction
Project Sloopy provides medical supplies to families with special needs children worldwide. Come down to Tattooed Mom and support the cause with this one-night pop up art show and auction that showcases the works of Lauren Curtis, Sara Karolina and a handful of others. 8pm. Free. Tattooed Mom, 530 South St. 215.238.9880. projectsloopy.com
HANG ON with Aaron Nevins
For once, there’s a talk show where the audience can be a part of the conversation. This installment of the monthly comedy event will find Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld (creators of the web series High Maintenance) and Ethan T. Berlin (creator of the IFC series Bunk) in the guest chairs. 8pm. $5. Adrienne Theater 2030 Sansom St. 215.567.2848. hangon.brownpapertickets.com
Saturday, February 22
Schomburg: The Masks We Wear
As a boy in 19th-century Santurce, Puerto Rico, Arturo Schomburg was told—by a teacher, no less—that people of African descent had no heroes, accomplishments or any contributions of historical note. Schomburg dedicated the rest of his life to disproving that notion, an effort that resulted in Harlem’s fabulous Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. A monumental collection of literature, art, slave narratives and other artifacts of African history, the Schomburg Center still serves as a cultural and historical point of reference for the diaspora, and it’s in that spirit that Philadelphia’s own Taller Puertorriqueño presents its 18th annual Arturo A. Schomburg Symposium. The day-long event will enlighten and encourage further research and conversation regarding a robust culture and its exuberant future, and its theme, “Afro-Latino Masks: Roots, Representations and Cultural Practices,” focuses on the masks we wear, both literally and metaphorically.
In December, Taller hosted the exhibit Vejigantes of Puerto Rico: Origins, Myths & Messengers, which provided Philly audiences with a window into the contemporary cultural impact of vejigante masks. Proudly boasting roots in Islamic 12th-century Spain, their symbolism rides the fence between rebellion against cultural assimilation and establishing identities to resist said efforts. True to Schomburg’s initial mission, much of this weekend’s symposium will bring light to this topic for an open and organized discussion, which will also focus on the influence of African culture as it is taught in many different Latin American and South American curriculums. There’s a distinct contradiction between what is reflected through cultural identity and what is taught in schools, and Taller Puertorriqueño intends to present a platform for debate. “It’s an incredible complex, fascinating and stirring set of conversations,” says Carmen Febo-San Miguel, TP’s executive director.
One more thing: Last year, Dean Schomburg, Arturo Schomburg’s grandson, actually attended Taller Puertorriqueño’s 17th gathering. His closing remarks gave educators and spectators alike a wonderfully unique opportunity to get an inside glimpse into his family’s lifelong dedication to a remarkable, important undertaking. // KENNEDY ALLEN
9:30am. $10-$25. Taller Puertorriqueño, 2557 N. Fifth St. 215.423.6320. tallerpr.org
Quizzo Bowl X
A local Quizzo host since 2002, Johnny Goodtimes has sort of taken the art of asking drunk trivia questions to new levels. This weekend, he’s hosting his infamous Quizzo party in the Delaware River on The Spirit of Philadelphia cruiser, with two key features: an admission fee that includes the price of food and a ride to the ship via UBER.
PW: So, Quizzo on a boat. Why?
JOHNNY GOODTIMES: When I did the first one of these 10 years ago, nothing like this had ever been done in America. In the years since, there’ve been similar events in Detroit and Austin and other cities, so it was time to step my game up. For the 10th, I wanted to capture the spirit of the first and do something nobody had done before.
What sorts of shenanigans have gone on at past Quizzo Bowls?
We’ve had celebrity rounds where I’ve had Mayor Nutter and Marc Summers ask questions. A couple got engaged on stage. We’ve had breakdancers, contortionists, magicians, Hall and Oates cover bands, a hair metal singer serenade my mom. Pretty much non-stop insanity.
Any trivia-related reason TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb is playing, or just ‘cause they rock?
TJ Kong has informed me his group was the house band for the short-lived game show Tic-Tac-Dough in the early 1980s. And though I think he’s lying, on the off chance that he’s not, I thought it was important I get a band that has game show experience. Oh, and I also hired them because they kick complete and total ass. // RANDY LOBASSO
2:30pm. $50-$60. The Spirit of Philadelphia, 401 S. Columbus Blvd. johnnygoodtimes.com
Secret Cinema relishes rare, old and unique motion pictures, insisting on showing only movies printed on film, never digitized translations. This week, they present Dark Waters, a largely forgotten 1944 psychological thriller starring Merle Oberon as a woman who escaped a sinking ship on which her parents drowned, only to remain haunted by the memory. 7pm. $5-$10. International House, 3701 Chestnut St. 215.387.5125. ihousephilly.org
Celebrating African-American Scientists
This family event and community resource fair will introduce, highlight and reinforce understanding of important African-American contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 2pm. $10. First District Plaza, 3801 Market St. grandhank.com
German Society Bierfest
The German Society of Pennsylvania presents this beer-tasting event celebrating the state’s brewing heritage. German-style beers from Pennsylvania and Germany, traditional cuisine, live bluegrass music and guided tasting seminars are all available at this day-drinker’s paradise. 1:30pm. $20-$65. The German Society of Pennsylvania, 611 Spring Garden St. 215.627.2332. phillybierfest.com
A Dark Place Inside
Cult filmmaker Mike O’Mahony premieres his newest horror flick and fourth feature under Maniac Films. A Dark Place Inside revolves around the tale of Andy Phillips, a man unable to cope with the illusion of civilization around him, forcing himself to kill and commit heinous acts of violence and desecration. 7pm and 9pm. $10. PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th St. 267.519.9651. philamoca.org
Sunday, February 23
The members of White Lies are unabashed about their dreams of becoming arena rockers. Hell, maybe they’re already there: These Brits have backed Muse and Coldplay on massive European stadium tours and even headlined Wembley Stadium a couple years ago. Often employing laser-light shows and encouraging rhythmic clapping at their gigs, their formula of rock success is tried and true. Three albums in, they’ve returned to America for a nationwide tour. Though it’s not quite the Wells Fargo Center, the blokes are set to invade Union Transfer tonight, with support from Frankie Rose, a founding member of Dum Dum Girls and Crystal Stilts.
To Lose My Life ... , White Lies’ 2009 debut LP, may have topped the U.K. charts, but it hardly made a dent into America’s Billboard ranking, reaching No. 146. Taking cues from other indie-to-mainstream success stories, the album featured gloomy lyrics wrapped around snare hits and distorted hooks (think The Killers). Following in that vein came 2011’s Ritual and their most recent offering, Big TV, which dropped last August. With each release, White Lies continue to rely on anthemic choruses and driving pop rock melodies.
Call them a throwback to a generation of dudes who just wanted to be rock stars. Maybe in 25 years, you’ll hear someone singing “Bigger Than Us” at a karaoke bar. // DANIEL GELB
8pm. $20-$22. With Frankie Rose. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. r5productions.com
Mardi Gras Parade
If you didn’t get your fill of weirdos in extravagant costumes at the Mummers Parade, the equally fabulous Wild Bohemian troop should satisfy your yearning. For their annual Mardi Gras Parade, they don over-the-top colorful gear, strut along South Street and dance to traditional New Orleans tunes provided by a huge ensemble of musicians. 1pm. Free. Fat Tuesday’s, 431 South St. fat-tuesday.com
East Passyunk Restaurant Week
Twenty-four award-winning restaurants in East Passyunk prepare to serve up great dishes at low prices all week long. Three-course meals, brunch, lunch and dinner menus starting at $15 are a spectacular bargain in one of the city’s best dining neighborhoods. Through March 1. $15-$35. Various locations. eastpassyunkrestaurantweek.com
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide