Dear culture vultures: We scoured the city to bring you the best of what Philly has to offer. Enjoy!
Friday, June 28
Darren Criss is really damn successful at 26, and his successes know no media bounds: He’s a TV star, a theater dynamo, a recording artist, an activist and actor (Can’t wait to see his big debut in Girl Most Likely). His Glee run started in 2010, portraying Blaine Anderson, chief Warbler and totally gay heart-throbbing teen idol. When he and the crooners’ crew lead a rendition of “Teenage Dream,” it ended up breaking Glee records—there are many—in terms of sales and reception. People ate it up. And you know what? Watching him do it in MTV’s studio on a simple Casio keyboard, it’s no surprise: The kid can really sing. And play. And emote. The San Francisco native caught television’s eye as a co-founder and lead in StarKid Productions’ A Very Potter Musical. And now, after a few years singing for the silver screen, he’s prepping a solo LP and sold-out a national tour, on which he plans to preview and share new tracks before he puts ’em on disc.
There’s a clip on the Internet of Criss singing a Bob Dylan’s “New Morning” with Chuck Criss, his brother, of Freelance Whales, and while there’s a tiny string of cheese laced throughout the performance, it’s plain to see that this Criss is incredibly talented and that his professional drive isn’t contrived or synthetic. There’s no doubt his sold-out TLA show will be filled with screaming girls—and, well, boys too—there to see those covers like he does on Glee. But it’ll also be genuinely interesting to hear what his new, original material will sound like. / Bill Chenevert
7:30pm. Sold out. Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South St. 215.922.1011. tlaphilly.com
Taking Back Sunday’s decline in 2007 prompted front man Fred Mascherino to make damn sure he’d remain a presence in the music world. Come check out his efforts with a new three-piece, Terrible Things. 7pm. $10. With Modern Suits. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. 215.291.4919. kungfunecktie.com
Motor Cars Under the Stars
United Cerebral Palsy of Philadelphia & Vicinity hosts a fundraiser at the Franklin Institute, for an evening of cocktails, buffet eats and, of course, elaborate classic and vintage automobiles and motorcycles. These mobile works of art are privately owned, so you may never have the chance to see them again, and certainly not at the Franklin Institute. 6pm. $250. The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St. ucpphila.org/motorcars
Chronicles of Sound
Tonight, for $10, Chronicles of Sound is going to perform for you, give you an album and give you a chance to see the first segment of their graphic novel trilogy: Revolutions Part 1: Dayside. Close to Good and Montoj will join tonight’s classic video game and epic TV show-themed party. 8pm. $10. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com
Four’s the Floor
Beer pong, flip cup, kings, quarters—the thought of these drinking games must stir some fond or embarrassing memory in the murky recesses of your mind. Whether you’re a drinking-game pro, like Aaron McMurphy, or you could never seem to get the quarter into the beer, there will be plenty of free beer for you at Four’s the Floor. Come drink and listen to McMurphy pitch an exciting new business endeavor you’ll want to be a part of. 9:30pm. Free. Plays and Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey St. solowfestival.blogspot.com
M. Night Shyamalan
M. Night Shyamalan, screenwriter of The Sixth Sense, Signs, The Village and other films you may have an opinion about, will be onstage with Inquirer film critic Carrie Rickey, sharing clips, talking about the stories behind his films and taking audience questions. 7pm. $10-$20. Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad St. kimmelcenter.org
Burlesque Showcase: Summer Tan Line Edition
Spice up your life, and hold on to your dough: Come see Philly’s hottest local talent showcase their skill at Sisters Nightclub. Catch a night of dancing and live performances featuring Bunny Bedford, Loretta Vendetta, Lobstar Bisque and PW fave Timaree Schmit. 9pm. $6. Sisters Nightclub, 1320 Chancellor St. 215.735.0735. phillesbian.com
The Props Party
The Props Party is coming to Philadelphia, as DJs Rich Medina and Akalepse treat crowds to a night of genre-spanning tunes at Silk City. With a repertoire that touches on everything from hip-hop and house to Afrobeat and funk, these DJs have been turning heads for some 20 years. 10pm. $5. Silk City. 435 Spring Garden St. silkcityphilly.com
Hidden City Wrap Party
Hidden City Philadelphia is celebrating the final days of its monthlong festival with a wine and music-filled party at Hawthorne Hall—the site of the Society of Pythagoras exhibit, which has transformed the 118-year-old building into a massive clubhouse-style art installation. 6-8pm. $20. Hawthorne Hall. 3849 Lancaster Ave. hiddencityphila.org
Saturday, June 29
Welcome to Anhedonia
Maybe you’re no stranger to live puppetry, and sure, you’ve probably been to your fair share of punk concerts. But until you’ve seen a punk rock puppet show, friend, you really haven’t lived. With an entire evening of befittingly offbeat entertainment, Zowee Productions is finally unveiling the pilot episode of Welcome to Anhedonia, its new Internet punk rock sitcom, which follows the adventures of ambitious half-man/half-puppet Jeff Connectorkit—along with his three slacker puppet roommates Harry, Artie and Scram—as he attempts to find a place for himself in a crazy world full of flesh and fabric faces, loonies, misfits and pony addicts. Clearly, it’s a story to which we can all relate.
Created in collaboration with the professional puppeteers of Monkey Boys Productions, whose work has been featured on Sesame Street and Crank Yankers, the show stars a brilliant cast of local actors and comedians and is really more of a parody of the sitcom formula. Before the screening, local burlesque queens Miss Rose and Hayley Jane will dazzle audiences with a puppet-themed performance—though no one’s really sure what that might entail, other than boobie tassels—while Mr. Deadguy freaks everyone out with his macabre ventriloquist act, of which everyone is certain will entail some freaky-ass puppets. Providing the soundtrack to it all will be none other than your host, legendary Dead Milkmen frontman (and PW’s Mayor Madness 2013 winner) Rodney Anonymous.
Having poured three years and much of his own money into the 20-minute pilot, creator Kevin Kelly is hoping that Anhedonia will gain some traction with audiences online and that he can eventually continue Connectorkit's awesome, punk rock adventure in a second episode. / Nicole Finkbiner
Sat., June 29, 8pm. $0. PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th St. 267.519.9651. philamoca.org
National HIV Testing Day Health Fair
There are an estimated 30,000 people in the greater Philly region currently living with the disease, and Philadelphians are infected at a rate five times the national average—more than 50 percent higher than the residents of New York City. Founded in 1985 in response to the increasing HIV/AIDS cases within Philly’s African-American community, Bebashi is part of a local alliance actively striving to combat the epidemic, providing a variety of services through its North Philly headquarters.
For National HIV Testing Day, Bebashi is inviting people of all ages, races, gender and sexual orientation to spend an afternoon being proactive about their health while having a little fun in the process. In addition to free HIV screenings, along with blood pressure and blood sugar testing, the all-day fair will feature live entertainment from local dance teams, food, giveaways and kids’ activities. For anyone interested in supporting the agency’s efforts, tickets are currently available for Halos for Hope, Bebashi’s first collaborative summer fundraiser event with Urban Angel Foundation. Slated for Sat., Aug. 3, at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the black-tie event will feature live music by Urban Guerilla Orchestra, a silent auction, open bar and globally inspired cuisine from PAFA’S exclusive caterer, Jimmy Duffy. / N.F.
11am. Free. The Athletic Center, 1401 N. 26th St. 215.769.3561. bebashi.org
What better way to celebrate the summertime than with some vintage reggae music? That’s what fans can look forward to when Jamaican legend Barrington Levy—best known for hits like “Under Mi Sensi” and “Here I Come”—takes to the stage as part of the Roots/Rock/Reggae Series. 9:30pm. $30-35. The Blockley, 3801 Chestnut St. theblockley.com
PW's 2015 Gift Guide
Calendar: Nov. 25-Dec. 2
Artie Lange knows the score
Calendar: November 18-25