PW's Weekend Picks: July 19-21

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jul. 19, 2013

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Friday, July 19

Jeff Thomas’ All-Volunteer Army
In an industry that can seem chock-full of singer-songwriters who don the mandatory skinny jeans and torn T-shirt and mimic Bob Dylan, talking to Jeff Thomas is exciting. The guy is nice. His emergence offers some hope that maybe this industry isn’t just full of hubristic wannabes after all. That’s because Thomas—who sings and plays piano and guitar in Jeff Thomas’ All-Volunteer Army—wants to treat audiences to a good time above all else. “My goal is always to make a show as high-energy and fun and interactive as possible, so people get their money’s worth,” Thomas says. “People aren’t buying CDs anymore, so the show is everything now.”

If his aim is to get people out of their seats, he’s certainly got the right group of musicians. With a full horn section in tow to complement more traditional rock-band instrumentation, Jeff Thomas’ All-Volunteer Army sounds like vintage Ben Folds Five going to lunch with the Talking Heads. In other words, it’s music that’ll make you want to dance. Despite having only formed this past January, the band’s already earned some impressive accolades, including a first-place finish at the Philadelphia Songwriters Awards, winning fans with their cheery melodies and energetic shows. Thomas and his All-Volunteer Army seem poised to stand out from the rest of the pretentious, jaded pack. Sign yourself up for a really good time. / MAX UFBERG

8pm. $13-$15. With Divers + Chelsea Reed and the Fairweather Five. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400.

July Films at the Fish
Area filmmakers and content producers will be showing work at the Walking Fish Theatre throughout the month. Tonight, view several shorts, as well as Steven Saylor’s Bodies, a murder mystery involving a news reporter, a police photographer and their respective obsessions. 8pm. $7. Walking Fish Theatre, 2509 Frankford Ave.

Unfinished Business: Art in Process
Too often we focus on the finished product. This exhibit explores the processes and means used to create art. Highwire members and guests will display new work and continue last month’s Cheap Art Wall. Through July 28. Highwire Gallery, 2040 Frankford Ave.

The Pinstripes
Multi-instrumentalist Michael Sarason is the leader of the Pinstripes, a pop/reggae/soul act that’s been active since 2003. While he has always remained a constant within the band, other members have come and gone quite frequently, leading the outfit to be known as a who’s-who of Cincinnati’s rich music scene. 9:30pm. $10. With The Echo Cellar Rockers and The Snails. Milkboy, 1100 Chestnut St. 215.925.6455.
The Best New Artist Grammy winners return to Philly to tour behind their humongous sophomore album, Some Nights. The album delivered them from obscurity and turned them into an act that can sell 10 million singles, two of which topped the charts for months. 8pm. $29.50-$39.50. With Tegan and Sara. Mann Center, 5201 Parkside Ave. 215.546.7900.

Secret Cinema: Hollywood Party
The AIDS Law Project holds its 14th annual Summer Movie Party. This year’s feature is Hollywood Party, a 1934 film about an actor who plays jungle inhabitant Schnarzan the Conqueror and a fiasco with some man-eating lions. Enjoy food, drinks and conversation about supporting the AIDS Law Project, the nation’s only independent public-interest law firm that provides free legal assistance to people with HIV and AIDS. 6pm. $20-$25. William Way Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. 215.587.9377.

My Dinner with Dito: A How to Be Gay Cabaret
This may be the only time a bearded lady invites you to dinner; how can you say no? London Grill and Paris Wine Bar provide the refreshments while the Bearded Ladies provide the entertainment and an exploration of stereotypes and what it means to be gay. 8pm. $20-$25. Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad St.

PLUNGE: The Official QFest Afterparty
Philly’s LGBTQ community takes over North Shore Beach Club for a night of poolside games, food and drinks celebrating QFest, the LGBT film festival. 9pm. $10. North Shore Beach Club,
1031 Germantown Ave.

Saturday, July 20

7th Annual Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival
The People’s Emergency Center is an organization that, as a motto, seeks to “nurture families, strengthen neighborhoods and drive change in West Philadelphia.” More specifically, they want to help homeless single mothers via sound programming, emergency shelter and residences, job training and countless other methods of removing barriers to success. What better way is there to support such a necessary agency than through the annual Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival? An all-day affair now in its seventh iteration, free performances start at noon and will run up to 7 p.m., but much earlier—at 10 a.m.—you can start browsing local booths of area artisans and participate in a family health challenge. It’s the free live music that’s the big draw, though, and boy, have they pulled together some rock solid talent this year.

The biggest name is that of Tim Warfield, whose expert sax technique has garnered the man a well-deserved Grammy nod. However, perfectly capturing the nature of the day will be inspiring performances from the city’s youth arts collectives: the Clef Club Youth Ensemble and the West Powelton Steppers. Catch sets from Glenn Bryan, local smooth jazz purveyors Philayva and the motherland-inspired Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble. So, no, it’s not all jazz, and it’s definitely not all sleepy improv runs or meandering solos. There’s sure to be a mix of R&B, dance and world music, plus, it’s all for a great cause. But some free outdoor jazz, lifted up by the community and funneled into philanthropy, doesn’t sound so bad, either. / Bill Chenevert

10am. Free. Saunders Park Greene, 39th Street and Powelton Avenue.

Summer Ale Festival at the Philadelphia Zoo
What could be better than an evening dedicated to sampling crisp regional craft beers and devouring delectable local cuisine? Doing it all the while gazing upon exotically colored birds and powerfully majestic big cats, of course! This one-of-a-kind beer tasting event is a must, and although ticket prices range from $35-$95, it includes a souvenir tasting cup, on-site parking, and shuttle service to and from 30th Street Station. 6:30pm. $35-$95. Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W. Girard Ave.

Celebrate the EP release for producer Justin Chapman’s new electro-pop project, Citadel. An example of his pop sensibility can be heard on the track “Weight of the World,” which comes complete with a female vocalist on the chorus and a tune that sounds like you’ve heard it a million times before. 9:30pm. $10-$12. With Cheers Elephant, W.C. Lindsay, and Lucy Stone. Milkboy, 1100 Chestnut St. 215.925.6455.

Haunted Philadelphia
Tired of spending your Saturday nights at a bar in Old City? Well, here’s the perfect chance to see Old City through a historic, and creepy, lens. How else can you meet the ghost of Ben Franklin and learn about Independence Hall? 7:30pm. $22.50. Washington Square, 600 Walnut St.

Midsummer Mayhem, Relentless News and Aesthetic Heart Promotions have gotten together to bring you 2013’s installment of Midsummer Mayhem at the Troc. There will be two stages pumping out music, including acts like Palisades, a post-hardcore band from New Jersey, whose debut album, Outcasts, was just released this May. 6pm. $13-$16. With Palisades, Us, From Outside, The Gift of Ghosts, After the Glory, Mercy Starts with Me, and Stealing Skies. Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888.

Summer Slam 2013
From the gritty street knowledge of Chic Raw, to the more light-hearted and youthful sound of Tayyib Ali, all the bases are covered with this solid group of Philly-area rappers. 7pm. $20. With Chic Raw, Inner City Hustlers, Dollarboyz, Tayyib Ali and Young Savage. Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South St. 215.922.1011.

Electric Run
This has got to be the coolest way to run: taking on a 5k through a electronically-decked-out Fairmount Park, with neon lights and dance beats thumping along the trail to make you feel like you’re living in Avatar. With glowstick-donned runners, bright neon trees and enough strobe lights to make Daft Punk happy, this is going to be fun. 8:45pm. $45-$70. Fairmount Park, 4231 N. Concourse Dr.

Gold Digger
Dance the night away to garage rock, old school punk and Britpop at the Gold Digger Go-Go Party. Add in the $2 PBR, and you’re sure to have a night to remember, or one you wish you could. 10pm. $5. Khyber Pass Pub. 56 S. Second St.

The Stroehmann Back on My Feet 20in24 Challenge
Running enthusiasts have a bevy of options to choose from with the Stroehmann races, which loop around the 8.4-mile Schuylkill River. With races ranging from the intense Ultra-Marathon to the cool Midnight Madness dash, there’s something here to appeal to everyone. And with proceeds benefiting Back on My Feet, which battles homelessness, you’re running for a good cause. Through July 21. Lloyd Hall, One Boat House Row, Schuylkill River.

Sunday, July 21

After catching fire and then fizzling out in the early 2000s, former rap metal crew/current Christian rock band P.O.D. are back with new music. The San Diego-founded outfit’s not rocking the same crowds as they did during the “Alive” years, but the band, whose initials stand for “Payable on Death,” a reference to Jesus dying on the cross, has continually put out albums over the last decade. Their ninth, Murdered Love, hit streets last summer. The LP’s third and latest single, “Beautiful,” is sort of an Uncle Kracker mashup of easy listening and late ‘90s alt-rock that makes you wait for it to break out. The chorus, “Life is beautiful!” isn’t so much catchy as it is inspiring for the right listener.

The four-man force is on tour with Flyleaf, a female-fronted Christian metal group who’ve actually recorded music with P.O.D. frontman Sonny Sandoval—though even through references to spirituality and the link in their music, and the proclamation they “we all share the same faith,” former lead vocalist Lacey Sturm had a hard time admitting that was the case. “It’s hard to say that because people all have a different definition of what that means,” she told Atlantic City Weekly. “If it means that we’re Christians, then yeah, we’re Christians, but if a plumber’s a Christian, does that make him a “Christian plumber?”

If you miss church, but make it to this show, Jesus will probably forgive you. / TESS MUMFORD

7pm. $25. With Flyleaf, Manafest + Stars In Stereo. Theater of Living Arts, 334 South St. 215.922.1011.

AWB Presents Fiddler on the Roof
Acting Without Boundaries is an organization that puts on theater productions comprised of physically disabled actors. A favorite of musical theatre, Fiddler manages to express joy while danger looms ever closer. 4pm. $20. Arden Theatre, 40 N. Second St. 610.922.8240.

Star Wars Day
Bring your kids to see a museum bedecked with Star Wars toys from the past and present. All your favorite characters will be walking around as well; you can even ask Han who shot first. 11am. $16. Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic. 215.581.3181.

Washington Square Community Collection
Get into the spirit of giving by supplying some items for children in need. Thomas Jefferson eschewed the afterlife in order to make an appearance, so you know it’s for a good cause. 2pm. Free. 210 W. Washington Square.

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