The Clothesline Muse
It’s no secret that oral traditions have long been a crucial part of ensuring a people’s heritage and culture remains alive and vital. Images of woe-hardened elders regaling their rapt, young grandchildren and great-grands with exciting tales of family lore, narratives lifted by their subjects’ god-given strength and endurance in often inhumane times, are woven into our nation’s tapestry, giving it a richness and depth only matched by the chronicles themselves. Today, amid an era in which instant information—literally, at our fingertips—has a global grip, storytelling to impart lessons of personal and collective histories has all but been lost. The Painted Bride’s multifaceted presentation of The Clothesline Muse brings theater aficionados, art lovers and history buffs a rare opportunity to be reminded just how important and influential oral tradition can be.
The Clothesline Muse explores the toils of domestic labor, focusing on the grind and grace of manual laundry-washing and its influence on the development of community. By acknowledging the hardships and realities of domestic life, the production manages to transform such difficulties into a vessel of cultural longevity. Choreographed by Kariamu Welsh, the monotonous movements of washing, scrubbing and ironing are transformed into explosive moments of dance, aided by award-winning jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon, who serves as the production’s Muse. Her daughter, Maya Freelon Asante, contributes as well, her vibrant tissue-paper art translating into laundry hung out to dry in the sun, the robust hues inspiring the audience to see beyond the drab, mundane household activity. The clothesline also serves as a metaphor, not only symbolizing the sacrifices mothers and grandmothers have made over generations, but paying homage to the inventive games they’d play as girls after the day’s washing was done: using its cording for duty as a jump rope for Double Dutch, or laughing and rhyming during a hand-clap game.
In addition to the production, an installation entitled Clothesline Musings will be on display at the Bride through April 12. // KENNEDY ALLEN
Fri., March 14-Sun., March 16, various times. $18.75-$30. Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine St. 215.925.9914. paintedbride.org
No matter how many music blogs you read or how many obscure 7-inch pieces of vinyls you own, when you hear that digitally-manufactured squawk that opens up Ellie Goulding’s semi-hit single (and unofficial New Girl theme song) “Anything Could Happen,” those feet of yours get to tapping. No one’s predicting this British-born synthpop songstress will be the next Amy Winehouse, but Goulding’s music is undeniably fun. And, truth be told, she’s got a hell of a voice.
Goulding has endured a good amount of publicity since her 2010 debut, Lights—some good, some bad. The Guardian described her voice as being “really something special,” while Pitchfork once described her sound as “not folky enough for purists, not sensational enough for the pop crowd, but mid-market, middlebrow.” At her best, Goulding sounds like a dance-heavy mash-up of Katy Perry and Florence + the Machine with a splash of Enya somewhere in there. (And, depending on who you ask, at her worst, she sounds like ... well, a mash-up of Katy Perry and Florence Welch.)
It took her last album, 2012’s Halcyon Days, two whole years to finally break through in the States, but thanks to songs like the aforementioned “Anything Could Happen” and the smash hit “Lights,” it looks as if Goulding’s moment may finally have arrived. This show’s at Temple’s Liacouras Center; if the pop machine has its way, it’ll be the Wells Fargo Center next time. // MAX UFBERG
8pm. $35-$45. With Conway. The Liacouras Center, 1776 N. Broad St. 215.204.2400. liacourascenter.com
QTPIT, a collective of queer and trans individuals looking to get into the trades, uses bimonthly get-togethers such as this to share experiences and discuss new ideas for the organization. Tonight’s gathering includes discussions on outreach and sprucing up your websites. 6:30pm. Free. The Ahimsa House, 5007 Cedar Ave. 215.485.8857. facebook.com/qtpit
Presented by the Pennsylvania Ballet, this classic comedic tale tells the story of toymaker Dr. Coppelius, who creates a life-sized dancing doll that comes between a young couple in love. Through March 16. $30. Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St. 215.551.7000. paballet.org
Playright and Philadelphia native Ginger Dayle examines the fractured psyche of John Hinckley, Jr., the man who attempted to assassinate a newly elected President Ronald Reagan in March of 1981. 8pm. $25-$30. Adrienne Theatre Main Stage, 2030 Sansom St. 215.567.2848. adriennelive.org
Skin & Bone
The second play in Jacqueline Goldfinger’s Southern Gothic trilogy finds sisters Midge and Madge and a new guest at their bed and breakfast on a tumultuous search through the building’s dark past. 8pm. $15-25. Off-Broad Street Theater, 1636 Sansom St. 215.563.1100. off-broadstreet.com
The Legacy of Julia de Burgos: A Reading with Magda Martínez
The cultural heart of Latino Philadelphia, Taller Puertorriqueño has been uniting local groups through art for 40 years, and its outreach efforts and multidisciplinary focus have been lauded for their excellence. Based in North Philly, Taller’s planned expansion into new facilities is a testament to the success of their community-centric programs, which often bridge the past, present and future.
Earlier this month marked the 100th birthday of Julia de Burgos, one of Latin America’s most enduring poetic voices. An advocate for Puerto Rican independence throughout her lifetime, de Burgos was an outspoken civil rights activist whose prose and poetry earned her tremendous respect and admiration globally, specifically from Chilean legend Pablo Neruda. Her standing as an indelible female voice in the Latino diaspora has continued to build since her untimely death in 1953 at the young age of 39.
To honor Burgos’ memory weeks after what would’ve been her 100th birthday, Taller has enlisted Philadelphia-based poet and playwright Magda Martínez, the nationally-recognized spoken-word performer who serves as director of programs for Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial and was one of 12 women to be honored with the Leeway Foundation’s inaugural Transformation Award in 2005. This afternoon, Martínez carries de Burgos’ brilliant flame high, reading selections of the late writer’s work, along with her own acclaimed poetry, and hosting a meet-and-greet afterward. // DANIEL GELB
3pm. Free. Taller Puertorriqueño, 2721 N. Fifth St. 215.426.3311. tallerpr.org
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: A Gatsby-style Fundraiser for Mt. Airy
Drag diva Martha Graham Cracker hosts this year’s benefit and auction supporting the neighborhood of Mt. Airy. The Gatsby-themed night includes tasty treats, live music and both a silent and live auction. Special guests include Aimee Olexy of Talula’s Garden, Project Runway alum Kirsten Haskins Simms and more. 7pm. $85-$165. Sedgwick Theater, 7137 Germantown Ave.
Brave New Worlds Ladies’ Night
It’s 10 percent off purchases at Brave New Worlds for Ladies’ Night tonight. Cupcakes and refreshments will be served as the comic store features its favorite female creators, artists and characters on its shelves. Local comic creators Christine Larsen and Annie Mok will be special guests for the evening. 7pm. Brave New Worlds, 55 N. 2nd St. bravenewworldscomics.com
Celtic Nights: A Night of Music, Song and Dance
The rich cultural history of the Celtic people is on full display this evening at Celtic Nights. An ensemble of powerful Celtic songs and music will be supported by traditional step dancing, featuring some of Ireland’s most promising artists. 8pm. $20-$55. Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut St. 215.898.3900. annenbergcenter.org
Brewing: An Introduction to Beer Making
Chef and owner of Terrace Street Bistro Josh Hunter leads an introduction to the art of brewing beer. Hunter’s tutorial will cover the complexities of different brews, as well as the fermentation process, to kick-start your homebrewing knowledge. 1pm. $35-$40. Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Ave. 215.247.5777. morrisarboretum.org
The Please Touch Museum’s annual Storybook Ball promises to be an enchanting evening for families, full of themed entertainment, dining and dancing. Guests of all ages are encouraged to dress up as their favorite storybook characters in celebration. 6pm. $35-$250. Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republics. 215.581.3175. pleasetouchmuseum.org
The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus: When I Knew
Hear the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus sing a combination of pop songs, Broadway numbers and modern LGBT hits as they perform tonight at the Prince Music Theater. Tonight’s set list will include the Chorus’ version of Al Shorter’s “Oliver Button is a Sissy.” 2pm; 8pm. $30-$55. The Prince Music Theater. 1412 Chestnut St. pgmc.org
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide