PW's Weekend Picks: June 6-8

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Friday, June 6

The Beautiful Noise: A Special Tribute to Sun Ra
Every once in a while, an artist comes through and rattles the cages of social conformity with their unique vision. Jazz composer and cosmic philosopher Sun Ra was such a soul. Born Herman Poole Blount in Birmingham, Alabama, but considered an adopted son of Philadelphia after planting roots in Germantown in the late ‘60s, this extraordinary musician influenced the world of improvised jazz like no other. With recordings dating back to the 1950s, Sun Ra’s unprecedented musical bravery and prowess cemented him as a controversial yet pivotal addition to music’s annals, and, since he claimed to be a member of the “Angel Race” from the planet Saturn, Ra’s cosmic philosophies established him as a pioneer of Afro-futurism.

Just in time for First Friday, Fringe Arts presents The Beautiful Noise: A Tribute to Sun Ra, featuring a stellar ensemble of musicians who’ll be sharing the stage for the first time in a lush meld of improvised dance, video and live, genre-bending music. Curated by choreographer Kate Watson-Wallace and globally-revered Philly producer King Britt, this collection of avant-garde expression is sure to be, like Ra himself, out of this world—featuring the likes of Tendai Maraire of Shabazz Palaces on percussion, Vernon Reid of Living Colour on guitar, Anthony Tidd on bass, Marlo Reynolds on keys, acclaimed vocalist Imani Izuri and Britt himself supplying electronics and beats. Paired with poet/performance artist Jaamil Olawale Kosoko’s interpretive movements, along with video imagery by Jason Senk, The Beautiful Noise is sure to be a truly immersive homage to one of the most celebrated and controversial artistic minds of our time.

To add another layer of poignancy, Friday’s show is being staged 15 days after would’ve been Sun Ra’s 100th birthday and one week after the May 30 anniversary of his 1993 death at age 79. Stick around afterward to raise a glass in his honor at a special after-party boasting the booming beats of HPrizm of the NY-based AntiPop Consortium. // KENNEDY ALLEN

8pm. $15-$20. Fringe Arts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd. 215.413.1318.

Meshell Ndegeocello
Meshell Ndegocello is a goddess, pure and simple. She’s a hero of culture who both defies and champions genres like funk, soul and jazz and does it with such ease and grace. The 45-year-old queer feminist definitely has a tight bass game, and in a way, it’s most potent on her outstanding 1993 debut, Plantation Lullabies. It’s very Ani DiFranco meets Salt ‘N Pepa meets Bootsy Collins. She’s been credited by some as a pioneer in the neo-soul movement and did so with short, tight hair, subtle sexuality—well, aside from “If That’s Your Boyfriend”—and that old-school girl-power that fueled the ‘90s. She’s as talented as Prince and Maxwell and undoubtedly soul sisters with the likes of misses Badu, Scott, Hill and Stone, plus greats like Les Nubians, Ledisi and the defunct Floetry.

Fast-forward 10 studio LPs later and, listening to her upcoming Comet, Come To Me, out this week, you can hear a beautiful maturation. Like on the title track, Ndegocello plays expertly with rhythms, patterns, layers and textures. It’s downright funky and contemporary; she seems to have gotten more comfortable with modernizing her special blend of reggae, confessional songwriting and experimentation—and is doing so with a full-ass band. Through it all is her delicately gorgeous voice, betraying that you-can’t-fuck-with me aesthetic; it undulates with vulnerability, hurt and intensity. This is the kind of show where you’ll want to be held, to sway and dip your head and lose yourself in the beauty of her world. // BILL CHENEVERT

8pm. $25-$40. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400.

Yoga in the Cemetery
It may sound odd on its face, but when you think about it, the picturesque setting of Laurel Hill Cemetery makes for the perfect site to achieve relaxation and inner peace. The session will be led by instructor Emily Golomb. 6pm. $20. Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Ave. 215.228.8817.

First Friday! Summer Chill
The unique jazz sounds of Carla Cook will serve as the musical backdrop for this First Friday celebration at the Barnes. You’ll also be able to catch a glimpse of the museum’s upcoming exhibit on the works of Paul Cezanne, with a discussion by curator Judith F. Dolkart. 6pm. $25. The Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. 215.278.7200.

Drexel Spring Outdoor Music Festival
Four Drexel ensembles will take the stage on the Lancaster Walk and ring in summer with a variety of styles. Slated to perform are the Fusion Band, who will be promoting a CD release, as well as the Rock, Guitar and Percussion Ensembles. 2pm. Free. Lancaster Walk, between 32nd and 34th sts.

Indie Music Fest
It’s often hard to find good independent music when there’s so many pretentious snobs who hog the spotlight, but tonight the Trocadero will attempt to filter through all the fraudulent nonsense with an eclectic mix of genres and bands, including Cee Knowledge and the Cosmic Funk All Stars, Naked Soul, Brezzy and more. 9pm. $7. The Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888.

Meet Us at the Corner
Dorothy Wasserman and Elisabeth Holowchuk put their heads together for this restaging of Meet Us at the Corner, which casts six tap dancers and four ballet dancers in a series of bewitching choreography. The duo recently completed a three-month residency in Philadelphia. 7:30pm. $12-20. Caplan Recital Hall, 211 S. Broad St. 215.717.6030.

Saturday, June 7

Wanderlust Yoga in the City
The 2013 debut of the Wanderlust Yoga in the City fest at the Piazza was so over-the-top amazing, with a turn-out so successful, there was little doubt, even for those in attendance last year, that it would be returning, probably bigger and better, in 2014. What wasn’t to love? Hundreds of yoga lovers, novices and veterans alike, all united in their efforts to elevate minds, bodies and spirits under the summer sun: Yeah, we’re so there.

This go ‘round, four dynamic hour-long sessions helmed by a mix of 10 able instructors—among them Robyn Freeman and Brad Young, Diana and John Vitarelli, Jean-Jacques Gabriel and Noelle Connolly—take place over the course of the day; the kick-off class is led by local yoga and meditation teacher Kilkenny Tremblay (pictured), who promises to kick your practice up a notch, like it or not. Dhyana Yoga favorite Justin “Bone” Reilley, more popularly (and appropriately) known as the Tattooed Yogi, closes it out, and Illvibe Collective kid Mr. Sonny James will be on deck to spin flavorful half-hour music sets on the tail end of each session. So your body’ll be moving on the outside as much as your spirit’s being lifted on the inside.

It’s all-inclusive, too: An array of healthy foods will be available to replenish and refuel, and Health magazine’s special “Zen lounge” will be flush with samples and special treats you’ll appreciate as much as Wanderlust itself. Only one thing left to say: Namaste! // KENYA BEVERLY

Noon. Free. The Piazza at Schmidt’s, 1001 N. Second St. 855.926.3375.

Jazz Dance Party
The Philadelphia Jazz Project celebrates four months of free jazz dance lessons (held weekly at the 52nd Street Y) with a night of blues, bebop, swing and plenty of boogying. Live DJ jams will be presented by Mr. Sonny James of the IllVibe Collective, and food, wine, beer and raffles are all included with ticket purchase. 8pm. $15. Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch Street.

Philadelphia International Children’s Film Festival
Filmmakers from around the world convene at the Roxy Theater for the three-day International Children’s Film Festival, featuring animated, live-action and experimental short and full length features. The festival is presented by the Philadelphia Film Society in partnership with the New York International Children’s Film Festival. Through Sun., June 8. $5-$10. PFS Roxy Theater, 2023 Sansom St.

Rittenhouse Square Fine Arts Show
Rittenhouse Square’s bi-annual Fine Arts Show returns for its 83rd Spring Show, featuring more than 150 artists from across the country. Through Sun., June 8. 11am. Rittenhouse Square, 135 S. 18th St. 610.299.1343.

Freedom Rap Session
The power of music in youth cultures is the topic of discussion at this performance and panel discussion. Innovative artists who have experienced and endured racism, such as Nina “Lyrispect” Ball, will be on hand to discuss the impact of race and its importance in writing music. 1pm. Free. Crecendo Restaurant at the Mann, 52nd and Parkside.

ROC Race 5K Philly!
Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge presents their original game show-inspired obstacle course run featuring 12 wild obstacles, including the World’s Largest Inflatable Water Slide. Team up and compete against friends in this untimed and exciting 5k run. 10am. $70-$84. Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizens Bank Way.

Off the Record with Kevin & Joe Jonas
Fans of the Jonas Brothers, rejoice; brothers Kevin and Joe come to the Keswick as part of their three-date talk tour. Off the Record will be an intimate, crowd-interactive event including Q&As and never-before-seen video footage of the JoBros. 7pm. $35-$120. Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside. 215.572.7650.

The Meeting
Jeff Stetson’s 1987 play The Meeting gets a special revival at the Dell Music Center tonight, in conjunction with the School District of Philadelphia. The play is a provocative tale of a fictional meeting between icons Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. 8pm. $25. Dell Music Center, Strawberry Mansion Bridge Drive. 215.685.9560.

Book It! 5K Fun Run
Runners of all ages and abilities are invited to this 5k Fun Run in support of North Philadelphia Neighborhood Libraries. 8:30am. $15. Widener Library, 2808 W. Lehigh Ave. 215.685.9798.

My Sista’s Keeper
Jewel Brown Smith goes back home to her family in Philadelphia to escape her abusive husband. The beautiful and bossy Brown sisters come together to help her cope with becoming a single mother in this play full of comedy, drama, tragedy and love. 2pm. $15-$20. Metropolitan Baptist Church, 3500 Baring St. 215.921.2911

Sunday, June 8

Chestnut Hill Book Festival
For the sixth year in a row, Chestnut Hill is transformed into a bibliophile’s dream. This year’s local author event features a kid’s zone of activities and a series of guest speakers. 11am. Free. 8426 Germantown Ave. 215.247.6696.

Rusty and Ready
Iconic sketch comedy troupe Kids in the Hall make their Philadelphia debut with their new performance, Rusty and Ready, featuring new and classic skits. The Canadians who gained notoriety from their smash HBO hit from the ‘90s are hitting the road for the first time since 2008. 8pm. $37.50-$45. Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St. 215.893.1999.

Odunde Festival
This celebration of African-Americans and those of African decent worldwide features an authentic outdoor African marketplace full of food, live music and dancing.10am. Free. 23rd and South sts.

LGBT Parade and Festival
Penn’s Landing is the ending point of Philly’s LGBT Pride parade, and the host to six hours of food vendors, dancing, family fun and games. This year’s festival promises to be one to remember as our LGBT community celebrates the landmark ruling of Whitewood v. Wolf.  Noon. $10-$15. Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Columbus Blvd.

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