Dear culture vultures: We scoured the city to bring you the best of what Philly has to offer. Enjoy!
Friday, June 21
Juan Esteban Aristizabal Vasquez was born in Colombia 40 years ago. He had a guitar put in his hands early by his dad and brothers, and, at the ripe age of 16, he started his first band, Ekhymosis. The group had a great run: five LPs, decent sales and success in his native Colombia. But in 2000, he released his first solo album, Fijate Bien (Take a Good Look). Aptly, that title track is the opener on his newest, the MTV-released Unplugged. And this sound shall be the boss of his show at the Trocadero tonight, but fear not: It’s more than Juanes and a guitar. Even if it were, the Spanish-speaking troubadour is still guaranteed to put on a pretty charming show.
The man’s an inspiration; his songs have been praised and wildly well-received over the past decade and a half. Accolades? Dude’s got ’em in spades: 20 Latin Grammy Award wins (and even more nominations), two non-Latin Grammys, nine MTV Awards and a bunch of others, including humanitarian honors. He’s sung for peace and charity countless times over the years, using his round, beautiful voice for good. This acoustic tour, if the Unplugged album is any indication, includes a full band, just not a ton of electricity and feedback. No matter. Even without any Spanish language skills, this room will be overflowing with love and music that’s full of positivity and joy. / Bill Chenevert
8pm. $49.50-$249.50. With Raquel Sofia. The Trocadero Theatre, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888. thetroc.com
Return of Confessions of a Plate and Shoe
Director Josh McIlvain’s irreverent and outrageous evening of short comedies returns. Characters include an actual plate and shoe, and, of course, Ned Fellows: privates investigator, investigator of privates. 8pm. $12-$15. Through June 22. The Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St. 215.567.2848. smokeyscout.com
Visibility Project Exhibit Opening
The Visibility Project combines art, media and social justice to document the personal experiences of queer Asian-Americans. The exhibit features more than 30 photographs and videos of and by queer Asian-Americans. Tonight’s reception includes a panel discussion with the project’s director, Mia Nakano. 6pm. Free. Through Oct. 4. The Leeway Foundation, 1315 Walnut St. 215.545.4078. leeway.org
Val De Val
These Philly guys have described their style as “psycho-sexual post post post indie rock.” The first track on their latest release, Hot Blood, is titled “Ring of Bones,” and starts with a pretty standard fare indie jangle before bursting into a full-on rock affair somewhere in the middle. 9pm. $8-$10. With Blayer Pointdujour and Harbor. Milkboy, 1100 Chestnut St. 215.925.6455. milkboyphilly.com
Lil’ Steph presents Rasputin’s Room
Join one of Philadelphia’s leading burlesque performers and her crew of vixens for a night of debauchery. Among other things, Steph is known for her “single-cheek ass-bounce,” and Daddy couldn’t be more proud. 10pm. $10. Ruba, 414 Green St. 215.627.9831. lilsteph.com
The Stones will close out the North American portion of their “50 and Counting” tour in Philly. At the rate they’re going, at least one of these guys will end up dying on stage. That alone could easily justify the ticket price. 8pm. $147-$597. Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. 215.333.3600. wellsfargocenterphilly.com
Make Music Philly
Taking place on the longest day of the year, free live performances go down in venues conventional and not, from sidewalks to stages to shops, all over town. After 8 p.m., make your way to the Kimmel for one bonkers Rich Medina moment: Sittin’ In: Jump N Funk Live, an Afrobeat dance party. 8am-8pm. Various locations. makemusicphilly.org
Low & Mike Doughty
Low was formed in 1993 by the husband-and-wife team of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker as an experimental antithesis to the prominent grunge movement. Their latest record, The Invisible Way, was produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and finds the band going a little lighter on all the echo and reverb that made them famous. 8pm. $25. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com
Saturday, June 22
West Oak Lane Festival
The 2013 West Oak Lane Festival is indoors, but with plenty of room in the Keswick to dance in the aisles and at your seats, it won’t feel like a typical night there. The nonprofit Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation seeks to bolster community through the use of spaces and resources, and if this isn’t a great use of a space, we’re not sure what is. Tonight’s sure to be bursting with good vibes, literally, thanks to the talent: Roy Ayers! Bobbi Humphrey! Mind you, that’s just the headliners.
The whole shebang gets kicked off early, with opening remarks at 2:30 p.m. The energy will skyrocket shortly thereafter, with the Urban Guerilla Orchestra making it nearly impossible to stay still, then the Clef Club Senior Youth Band will get a chance to show off its skills. That’s a great afternoon of music as is. But the heavy hitters start taking the stage soon after, starting with Carol Riddick, a Jill Scott contemporary and teammate in Philly soul and R&B. Her voice is stellar, recalling old-school Anita Baker, and her performance will offer a nice transition into Humphrey’s anticipated set. Humphrey’s a pioneer in the jazz world, and the flautist’s ear for soul/jazz/funk/R&B hybrids will be on display starting at 6:15 p.m. The legendary Ayers, who needs very little introduction, goes on at 8, and his skills go way beyond tickling with mallets. Good job, OARC, on tapping all this brilliance. / B.C.
2:30pm. $43. The Keswick Theatre, 291 No. Keswick Ave., Glenside. 215.572.7650. keswicktheatre.com
Fish Fry and Cash 4 Gold
Pepperidge Farm is not the only one to put gold and fish together. New Beginnings of Philadelphia and the Stop Bullying Campaign have put the two together to celebrate their first fundraiser, Fish Fry and Cash 4 Gold. Snack on some fried fish, trade in your gold pieces and enter to win prizes, all in support of ending bullying. 5pm. $10-$20. Galaxy Lounge, 3348 Germantown Ave. 267.690.6319.
Simian Mobile Disco
SMD is an English production duo most known for their remixes, having been employed by the likes of Peaches, Muse, Klaxons and Arctic Monkeys. It’s safe to assume they know their way around a DJ set. 10pm. $5. With Dave P & JDH. Morgan’s Pier, 221 N. Columbus Blvd. 215.279.7134. morganspier.com
Whether you’re an art or bowling enthusiast, you’ll be excited to see the two in combination at Pinned. More than 25 artists will have work on display, all of which will transform bowling pins into displays of comedy, curiosity and mystery. If you find a pin that strikes you, bid on it at tonight’s auction. 4pm. Free. The University of the Arts, 320 S. Broad St. philasculptors.org
The Last Five Years
With a two-member cast, this chamber musical will portray the trials of a marriage that is as beautiful as it is heartbreaking. 8pm. $28. University of the Arts’ Caplan Studio Theatre, 211 S. Broad St.11thhourtheatrecompany.org
A pop-punk (or dare we say, emo?) band centering around core member Max Bemis. Last year’s Anarchy, My Dear found Bemis older and considerably more jaded. Lead single “Admit It Again,” is a rant against the highly disposable nature of his genre. 8pm. $20. With Eisley, HRVRD, and Northern Faces. Theatre of the Living Arts, 334 South St. 215.922.1011. tlaphilly.com
Full House: A Series of Cabarets
Quince Productions celebrates the much neglected song-and-dance art form of the cabaret. Tonight’s performances include Hillary Parker’s Breathe In, Exhale: A Heartfelt Cabaret of New Music, and Sean Thompson’s I Need a Sunburn: A Solivagant’s Summer Cabaret. 7pm. $15-25. Society Hill Playhouse, 508 S. Eighth St. 215.627.1088. quinceproductions.com
Thom Nickels Reading, Signing and Reception
Join Chester County native and pioneering gay journalist Thom Nickels for a reading and small reception. Nickels will be reading from Walking on Water and After All This, his two recent science fiction novellas. 5:30pm. Free. Giovanni’s Room, 345 S. 12th St. 215.923.2960. queerbooks.com
Manayunk Arts Festival
Art lovers rejoice: Manayunk again plays host to the largest outdoor, juried art festival in the tri-state area with the 24th annual Manayunk Arts Festival. With roughly 300 artists on hand to showcase their work in mediums like photography, sculpture and painting, buyers have a huge selection of arts and crafts to choose from. It’s an added bonus that they get to do all this while strolling through Manayunk’s scenic Main Street. 11am-7pm. Free. Main St., Mayayunk. manayunk.com/signature-events/manayunk-arts-festival.html
Sunday, June 23
There’s no such thing as someone only “kind of” liking guacamole: You either hate it, never had it or you’re an unabashed guaca-holic. For this inaugural fundraising event, MANNA (Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance) is now inviting all you avocado aficionados out there to come and put your taste buds to the test as Average Joes pit their above-average homemade guac against that of several trained professionals, including chefs from Mission Grill, Jose Pistola’s and Guerrilla Ultima. With a selection of local brews to help cleanse their palates, guests will go table-to-table sampling each variety of the glorious green stuff before ultimately casting their vote for their favorite. The chef with the most public votes will receive the People’s Choice Award, but it’ll be up to the judges—MANNA’s Executive Chef Keith Lucas and local food columnist Drew Lazor—to determine who goes home with the grand prize (a swanky two-night staycation and, of course, major bragging rights). Meanwhile, emceeing the event in her most glittery green dress is none other than the don/mother of Philly’s Drag Mafia, Miss Brittany Lynn. In exchange for the $20 ticket, not only will you get to consume all the guac you can, but you’ll be helping MANNA provide six nourishing meals to a neighbor battling a life-threatening illness such as cancer, renal disease or HIV/AIDS. So, yeah, anyway you chop it, that’s a pretty delicious deal. / N.F.
1pm. $10-$20. Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catharine St. 215.496.2662. mannapa.org
Calendar: April 1-8
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide