Friday, January 10
Free to Love: Cinema of the Sexual Revolution
For all of known human history, people have been fucking. In the 1960s and ‘70s, they were fucking so much and starting to outwardly assert their sexual identities—and, yes, even their sexual rights—that millions of adults worldwide participated, knowingly or implicitly, in the tumultuous period known as the sexual revolution. Love and, well, making love (and talking about actual sex and penises and vaginas) got to be so mainstream that even humorist filmmaker Mel Brooks got in on the action, giggling (cinematically) about breasts and absurdist hormonal hijinks with regular zest.
With this in mind, the affectionate folks over at International House Philadelphia, long the concrete creative monolith for foreign-imported student culture in West Philadelphia, have slated Free to Love: Cinema of the Sexual Revolution, a month-long series of films aimed at provoking attendees to not only think about sex but to consider just how important last century’s political and creative upheaval was relating to our exploration and understanding of sex. The content-rich Free to Love—which, coincidentally, ends right after Valentine’s Day—promises to sate movie lovers’ appetites for silver-screen salaciousness via an impressively wide-ranging roster of over 60 commercial (and underground) films, including the not-at-all family-friendly ‘72 cartoon feature Fritz the Cat, the ubiquitous ‘72 porn gem Deep Throat and the aptly named Radical Sex Education Films from San Francisco’s Multi-Media Resource Center.
Alongside invaluable perspectives from movie historians and industry critics like J. Hoberman, some of the era’s original filmmakers, including queer director Barbara Hammer, will be on hand to provide insight into their work. And folks would do well to remember that one of Free to Love’s offerings, It is Not the Homosexual Who is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives, was produced in 1971 when homosexuality was still considered a mental illness by American psychiatrists and an outright crime by many state governments. And, while many screened films in the series are literally pornographic, there’s still not one single thing dirty about being human. / JOSH KRUGER
Through Feb. 15. $7-$9. International House Philadelphia, 3701 Chestnut St. 215.387.5125. ihousephilly.org
This space could easily be filled by simply listing the artists who’ve been touched by Leon Russell. The 71-year-old 2011 Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame inductee has covered, written for, collaborated with or been paid tribute to by hundreds of artists and penned songs loved the world over. A Tulsa, Okla., man through and through, Russell’s ascent to stardom found a catalyst in 1960s-‘70s Los Angeles, where he was a session musician for all kinds of great bands and records. Not only does he play piano—his specialty—but he’s also snagged credits on guitar, bass, vocals, arranging and, of course, songwriting.
Russell’s big solo breakthrough came in 1970 with his self-titled debut. Its first track: “A Song For You,” which has been made extra-iconic by Donny Hathaway (or maybe Aretha, Willie, Mavis, Ray or Cher). Even before that, Russell had found success penning “Delta Lady” for Joe Cocker and “Superstar,” kicked into heavenly territory by The Carpenters’ famous cover, plus versions by Luther Vandross, David Sanborn and a dozen others. George Benson’s take on Russell’s “This Masquerade,” also remade by a few choice acts, brought him more glory on the Billboard charts. After fading from the spotlight, Russell popped back up with 2010’s Elton John collaboration, the acclaimed double album The Union. And he dropped a new LP, Snapshot, just last month.
His gigantic and classically American songbook will undoubtedly get the love it deserves tonight, and tried and true music fans will be blessed with a rare opportunity to catch a genuine legend in action. / BILL CHENEVERT
8pm. $37.50 & $47.50. With Hot Tuna. Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Avenue, in Glenside. 215.572.7650. keswicktheatre.com
Cold Blood Club
Brooklyn trip-hop outfit Cold Blood Club has been bulking up on credibility since premiering on the New York indie scene back in 2011. Combining an acid house vibe with soul-pop vocal harmonies, their live shows are sure to appeal to a vast audience. The band released its debut six-song EP, Headlines & Firefights, in 2012, followed by a cover of LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends” and two new original songs in 2013. 8pm. With Minka + Marathon. $8-10. Milkboy, 1100 Chestnut St. 215.925.6455. milkboyphilly.com
My Life in 19 Inches
Craig Liggeons—of the Five Minute Follies variety show—explores television addiction and the evolution of the medium over the years in a hilarious one-man show. 8pm. $10-15. The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St. therotunda.org
Hardcore fans of video games and lovers of their retro 8-bit soundtracks will get pretty close to their idea of heaven at PhilaMOCA tonight. DJ Cutman stands out in the always-growing sea of EDM artists by bringing chiptunes into the fold. 7:30pm. With MegaRan. $10. PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th St. philamoca.org
Free to Love: I Am Curious (Yellow)
It might seem like nothing now, but in the more conservative mindset of 1967 America, I Am Curious (Yellow) was one of the most controversial films ever made. Though originally released in Sweden, it gained stateside notoriety thanks in no small part to its copious amounts of explicit nudity and a legal case that made it all the way to the Supreme Court. 7pm. Free-$9. International House, 3701 Chestnut St. 267.574.2704. ihousephilly.org
Domenic DiStefano: Memorial Works on Paper
This yearly exhibition is held in memory of painter Domenic DiStefano, known for his bold style of transparent watercolor. Artists from the Mid-Atlantic region of the country have submitted works on paper for this collection, covering two floors of the historic Philadelphia Sketch Club. Through Jan. 25. Philadelphia Sketch Club, 235 S. Camac St. 215.545.9298. sketchclub.org
Saturday, January 11
You probably know comic-actor David Koechner as “that asshole” from most of the things you’ve seen him in—but as a sort of witty, weird, sad asshole. He’s played Champ Kind, the clueless Ron Burgundy-worshipping sports guy, in Anchorman; the pathetic idiot manager in Waiting; the funny firearm lobbyist in Thank You for Smoking, and the schmuck womanizer in NBC’s The Office. Later this year, he’s set to star as an obnoxious redneck in My Asshole Neighbor. Indeed, Koechner’s made a pretty good living at portraying characters you’d gladly beat with a club, and he’ll likely be doing so when he hits the Trocadero this Saturday for a stand-up set.
Quick story: Koechner’s a lifelong Kansas City Chiefs fan and was cheering for them on Twitter throughout their epic loss to the Indianapolis Colts over the weekend, in which the Andy Reid-coached team blew a 21-point lead at the half. After the loss, he tweeted, “Thanks (sic) you! Lots of heart! Nothing but love! Have a great offseason.” What he didn’t say: Experiencing epic losses is what it’s like having Reid as your coach. (Of course, we knew that already.)
Koechner’s Philly stop is part of his 12-city Together Again tour—timed with the successful release of his latest film, Anchorman 2: The Legend of Ron Burgundy—and he’ll be testing out some new material. / RANDY LOBASSO
8pm. $19.50-$27. The Trocadero Theatre, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888. thetroc.com
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide