Don Rickles. Andrew Dice Clay. Lisa Lampanelli. Entertainment history knows them as the leading shock comics of their respective day, each with careers chock full of enough dirty jokes to choke a nun. While many wannabe-comedians aspire to reach the level of their derisively funny counterparts, precious few have managed to fill those pairs of clown shoes. Now, Amy Schumer has joined this pantheon of irreverent hilarity, her girl-next-door looks belying her knack for the particularly profane.
A native New Yorker, Schumer started working on her comedic stripes early by being voted “Class Clown” and “Teacher’s Worst Nightmare” in high school, later honing her skills at Towson University and the William Esper Studio in New York City. Appearances on NBC’s Last Comic Standing led to stints on 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm and a Comedy Central Presents special of her own, and the comedienne’s star began to climb. But it wasn’t until the Comedy Central roasts of Charlie Sheen and Roseanne Barr—after Schumer’s relentless assaults on both the roastees and some roasters—that she began to turn heads. An hour-long 2012 special, Amy Schumer: Mostly Sex Stuff, set the stage for last year’s Inside Amy Schumer, an entire sketch show hosted by—and, of course, featuring—the funnygirl herself. Its new season, by the way, premieres on April Fool’s Day. How apropos. // KENNEDY ALLEN
8pm and 10:30pm. $37.50-$47.50. The Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside. 215.572.7650. keswicktheatre.com
Vice Coffee, Tattoos and Books Opening
From the brain trust behind 12th Street’s The Institute comes Spring Garden’s newest business addition—Vice Coffee, Tattoos and Books. Celebrate the First Friday opening with two of the neighborhood’s newest tattooers, Jerome Gunn and Mark Petrunak; enjoy tasting specials, and browse through Vice’s growing book collection. 8pm. Free. Vice Coffee, 1031 Spring Garden St. facebook.com/vicecoffee
Visual artist Gunnar Montana opens his new fairy-tale installation at the Latvian Society, transforming the space into a winter wonderland, complete with indoor snowfall. The production includes a dance performance featuring drag, burlesque and contempory dance with found objects. 7pm. $15. The Latvian Society, 531 N. Seventh St. gunnarmt.com
Carmina Burana and Stravinsky Violin Concerto
John Butler’s take on Carmina Burana has been a Pennsylvania Ballet staple since the 1960s. This 50th anniversary performance remains relevant and fresh, and is coupled with a company premiere of George Balanchine’s Stravinsky Violin Concerto. 7:30pm. $50-$125. Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street. 215.551.7000. paballet.org
Meet Me on South Street: The Story of JC Dobbs
The Legendary Dobbs on South Street has played an important role shaping Philadelphia’s music scene. Tonight, Vinyl Revival screens Meet Me on South Street, the George Manney-directed film that documents the history of the venue since its opening in 1974. 7pm. $5-$8. Vinyl Revival, 35-37 N. Lansdowne Ave. 610.284.3537. vinylrevivalrecords.com
Lorde: Listen to the Rest
“Royals” is just about a year old, but it feels like—even if you haven’t purchased it or pulled it up on your Spotify—every single one of us has heard the song at least 100 times since last March. In stores, in clubs, in the car, from other cars, anywhere one generally gets unwillingly exposed to “radio hits”—and yet, strangely, we’re not even really that tired of it. That song’s got some voodoo. The magic Lorde has conjured, at the ripe age of 16 (when “Royals” first appeared on her debut EP The Love Club), has earned the single 6x platinum status in Canada and Australia and 4x platinum status in the U.S. and her home country, New Zealand.
But you know what’s a shame? Some folks might still be sleeping on the rest of Pure Heroine, her big, fat Stateside debut statement swollen with bangers and zen-filled trip-pop, an LP that’s really only about five months old. It managed to rocket its way to the top of 2013 year-end lists on the strength of the second single, “Tennis Court,” and the absolutely bonkers third, “Team.” The latter has one of my favorite beats in recent memory, it’s just so strong. “400 Lux,” Pure Heroine’s second track, pulls you in like a vicious undertow with its murky, dank funk. “Ribs” manages to capture that anthemic kineticism of youth, with a little bit of emotional schlock, in a completely earnest, palatable way. And “Buzzcut Season,” with its flawless piano plinks, feels like what Coldplay used to accomplish—a delicate balance between pop cheese and delicious adult contemporary.
Lorde’s aesthetic plucks from some of the greatest girls in pop: Robyn, Katy B, Santigold, HAIM and Charli XCX, to name a few. That she may just have the goods to establish a long, successful run at radio royalty is enough to make music lovers in both noble and common classes giddy with hope and anticipation. // BILL CHENEVERT
9pm. Sold out. Tower Theater, 69th and Ludlow sts., Upper Darby. 215.922.1011. thetowerphilly.com
Dragapalooza: Pop Divas
Nowadays, there are few unequivocal truths for a gay man, and one of them—for better or worse—is that drag and pop songstresses are part of the culture. It goes back to the pre-Stonewall days, when Judy Garland was our everything, then up through the “Paris Is Burning” era, pointing to the inspiring courage with which men dressed as women braved scrutiny and sometimes violence. While fresh-faced baby gays scream about Betty Who, Little Mix, Wynter Gordon or Kat Graham, the millions of men who came of age in the ‘70s and ‘80s looked to Diana Ross, Cher, Whitney, Tina Turner and Bette Midler to give them life. There’s room for all of them! We just love a fierce, strong woman, especially when they acknowledge and welcome their obvious—and voracious—gay following.
With production from Bruce Yelk and Carl Michaels, plus Brittany Lynn as a host, there’s going to be some seriousness to Dragapalooza’s night of diva worship—but not too much. Purported divas to be homaged are Gaga, Brit, Miley, JLo, Madge, P!nk and Janet, plus a few of the old staples previously mentioned. They’ll be impersonated by some of the city’s premiere drag talent, including Aeryanah Von Moi, Maria Top Cat, Omyra Lynn and last season’s (local) Drag Race winner, Zsa Zsa St. James. Just be sure to have some cash on hand to tip your bartenders and favorite queens. // B.C.
9pm. $20-$40. Voyeur, 1221 St. James St. 215.735.5772. voyeurnightclub.com
Latinas United for the Cure
This empowerment event looks to inspire Latina women to take the steps necessary to prevent breast cancer—the most prevalent killer cancer in their demographic. CBS 3 news anchor Ileana Diaz serves as mistress of ceremonies at this free bilingual event, featuring, lectures, workshops, group sessions and more. 8am. Free. Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, 1201 Market St. 215.238.8900. komenphiladelphia.org/Latinas
Brazilian Carnaval Fundraiser
Take part in an hour-long samba workshop and learn about other styles of dance—like the forbidden Lambada—at this fundraiser to support Project Capoeira. 6pm. $15. Project Capoeira, 1213 Race St. 215.601.9117. phillycapoeira.com
Local burlesque performer Lil’ Steph presents this celebration of the Jazz Age’s most decadent cities and the nightlife that engulfed their patrons. Vintage dress is encouraged. 9pm. $18-$22. Ruba Ballroom, 416 Green St. 215.627.9831. rubaclubstudios.org
Northern Liberties in Words and Film
The Philadelphia History Museum continues its in-depth look at the history of Northern Liberties with readings about the neighborhood from a handful of locals, as well as a screening of Northern Liberties: Destitute Urban Carnival Reborn, John Thornton’s 2011 documentary on the region. 2pm. $6-$10. Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, 15 S. Seventh St. 215.685.4830 philadelphiahistory.org
IKEA BYOF Day
IKEA’s third annual Bring Your Own Friends Day is the store’s way of thanking customers for their continued loyalty, so get a group together for a shot at exclusive deals, in-store activities and giveaways. And as an added bonus, you’ll have a few extra sets of hands to help put together that futon. Noon. Free. IKEA, 2206 S. Columbus Blvd. byofday.com
Dizzy Fingers: The Life of Joe Soprani
At 78 years young, Joseph Soprani has lived a remarkable musician’s life. Whether performing alongside opera legend Luciano Pavarotti at the Spectrum or receiving the prestigious Air Force Roger as a soloist in the U.S. Air Force Band under Col. George S. Howard, this vibrant Philadelphian has reshaped the way audiences view the accordion.
Most Americans identify the old-world instruments with polka—but here in Philly, Soprani (like fellow local squeezebox star Rob Hyman, of the Hooters) has been showcasing the accordion’s stunning versatility for decades.
While acting as a sound engineer for Soprani, audio tech/filmmaker Brendan McGeehan found himself captivated by the man’s amazing career tales and became inspired to tell his story. Funded via a successful Kickstarter campaign, McGeehan’s Dizzy Fingers: The Life of Joe Soprani, a documentary teeming with music and interviews of people within Soprani’s circle, as well as some handy historical context regarding the instrument itself from ethnomusicologist Marion Jacobson, is set for a premiere screening at World Café Live.
Preceding the film, Soprani will perform live with a full band, assuring that by the end of the night, audiences will have a completely different perception of a highly misunderstood instrument and a fuller appreciation of one of Philly’s unsung musical heroes. // K.A.
7pm. $12. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. philly.worldcafelive.com
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
Crowd-focused photographs of Philly’s DIY music community. Featuring the work of multiple area photographers, the exhibit documents the raw emotion of underground music from the ‘90s through today. Through March 19. PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th St. philamoca.org
Calendar: December 17-24
Calendar: Dec. 10-17
PW's Holiday Guide 2014