Dear culture vultures: We scoured the city to bring you the best of what Philly has to offer. Enjoy!
Friday, May 17
Tom Jones is the man on so many levels. His most recent, Spirit in the Room, is a stunning achievement from a 72-year-old stud. His 40th LP of covers—nay, let’s call them interpretations—bears the Welsh superstar turning Leonard Cohen, Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan songs into gut-punching, heart-wrenching exorcisms. It’ll be fascinating to watch this legendary entertainer swagger around the stage on South Street tonight. And Jones has had enough panties thrown at him to stock up a Victoria’s Secret outlet. With good reason: Back in the late ‘60s, when he was giving us “What’s New Pussycat?” and “It’s Not Unusual,” Jones wore tight pants and nearly unbuttoned shirts. He moved like a maniac, and his ‘fro game was tight, yet felt so natural and effortless.
In the ‘70s, he gave us “She’s a Lady,” and in the ‘80s, he blew Prince’s “Kiss” up into a million pieces. But just about every song he’s ever carried with that smooth, full-throated baritone larynx is compelling. The beauty of that gift he’s carrying around in his neck is that it’s so capable. You want pop? Bam. A little country? Twang for days. Sad spiritual? Man, that’s dark. Folksy capriciousness? Guess who just bested Joni Mitchell and Donovan.
Jones married his high school sweetheart, but don’t sleep—he’s like the 007 of the British Invasion. He may not tear up the stage like he did on his own TV show or in his endless slew of Vegas shows, but he’s still got that legendary bulge in his throat. / Bill Chenevert
8pm. $50. Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South St. 215.922.1011. tlaphilly.com
The Widow’s Joy: Listening & Talk with Ian Nagoski
Ian Nagoski’s new lecture presents 1910 to 1950 recordings from Eastern European immigrants living in America, whose lives were marked by displacement, tragic circumstance, opportunity and forces of history beyond their control. 8pm. Free. The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St. 215.573.3234. therotunda.org
This film looks at how government, industry and trade associations protect and promote the policy of water fluoridation, a policy known to cause harm, especially to small children. The 60-minute documentary aims to open eyes to this problem and encourage change throughout the nation. 7:15pm. Free. Mama’s Wellness Joint, 1100 Pine St. 267.519.9037. mamaswellnessjoint.com
Tangle Movement Arts
Tangle’s seven-woman cast delivers an evening of all-new aerial dance theater, as they mesh traditional circus with dance and live music. 8:30pm. $10-$15. Through May 18. The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St. 215.266.6215. tangle-arts.com
Civic Horticulture Conference
This conference examines how the city’s use of horticulture affects residents’ health and lifestyle, and the environment and economy. Leading experts will explain horticulture’s role in creating healthy, vibrant cities. 8am. $75. University of the Arts, 401 S. Broad St. tclf.org
Dubbed “A Titan of the Telecaster,” by Guitar Player magazine, Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Bill Kirchen boasts a career spanning more than 40 years. He’s worked with some pretty famous folk over the years, including Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe and Emmylou Harris. His 2010 release, Word to the Wise, features duets with a wide range of the artists he’s worked with. 8:30pm. $15. Tin Angel, 20 S. Second St. tinangel.com
Lynda Benglis: Everything Flows (1980-2013)
Locks Gallery presents an exhibition dedicated to the ceramic sculpture work of Lynda Benglis, spanning the years 1980 to 1993. An illustrated catalog and essay, written by Anna Chave, will accompany the work. Through June 29. Locks Gallery, 600 Washington Square. locksgallery.com
Morning River Band
These Philadelphia locals specialize in good old country rock music. Their soon-to-be released third album, To Suzie, is full of a traditional Americana sound and lyrics with a little bit of dark humor. “Hangover Blues” finds vocalist Morgan Caulfield lamenting about Jesus’ drinking habits before deciding that he would obviously turn to the sauce if given her lot in life. 9:30pm. $10. Milkboy Philadelphia, 1100 Chestnut St. milkboyphilly.com
The Jobs Project
What do you do? RealLivePeople(in)Motion attempt to find this out by combining contemporary dance with the least likely of all settings: the workplace. Director Gina Hoch-Stall interviewed 25 employed Philadelphians, ranging from CEOs to sanitation workers, and wove the voices into the mix with choreographed segments of labor type stuff. 8pm. $12-$18. Through May 19. The Latvian Society, 531 N. Seventh St. 215.922.9798. rlpim.org
Saturday, May 18
East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention
When Yumy Odom was hospitalized with an arm injury back in 1975, he was able to rectify his boredom and find solace in The Avengers and Silver Surfer comic books. “By 1982, I was creating my own comic characters,” Odom notes in the documentary White Scripts and Black Supermen. “Because even then, there was just a few black comic book characters,” he says, noting that of 1,000 comic characters, about five could be African-American.
Within 15 years of his first bedside taste of superhero fantasy, Odom would be living in Philadelphia—“the city of many national firsts,” he says—showcasing his own fantastic universe of mutants and mythology via his company, First World Komix, and teaching a comic-oriented classroom curriculum to local students. He’d soon put together an annual event, the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention—sort of a Black Comic Con—to examine and explore the images and depictions of blacks in comic books and cartoons. Its 12th iteration, which is open to the public, takes place this weekend.
ECBACC will feature more than 40 exhibitors, and among the noted artists, storytellers and scribes on panels and workshops are Eric Battle, Joe Illidge, Tony Isabella, N. Steven Harris, Michelle Hess, Kamau Mshale and Meki Ra. An opening night reception and awards ceremony at the African-American Museum of Philadelphia kicks it off the night before. / R.L.
11am. Free-$10. The Enterprise Center, 4548 Market St. ecbacc.com
Dance Theatre of Harlem
Former Dance Theatre of Harlem performer Virginia Johnson has revived this boundary-pushing ballet company from an eight-year hiatus with the blessing of founder Arthur Mitchell. This first tour under the new leadership will feature new works and a Balanchine classic. 7:30pm. $55-$80. Through May 19. Annenberg Center, Zellerbach Theatre, 3680 Walnut St. 215.8983.3900. annenbergcenter.org
Italian Market Festival
Experience the annual Procession of Saints, live entertainment, crafts and, oh yeah, food! You’re salivating just thinking about it, aren’t you? 11am. Free. Italian Market, Ninth St. between Federal and Fitzwater sts. 215.278.2903. italianmarketfestival.com
Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby
It’s not about winning or losing the race; it’s about getting there in the craziest contraption you can think of. Come out to the human-powered vehicle float parade to see what people have created, and get your ideas flowing for next year. Noon. Free. East Kensington, Trenton Ave. and Norris St. 215.427.0350. kinetickensington.org
Dance Party at the Pen: A Masquerade
Crumbling cellblocks provide an eerie backdrop to throbbing beats, drinks and very masked and very mysterious patrons. Proceeds go toward maintaining this historical landmark. 9pm. Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Ave. 215.236.3300. easternstate.org/dance
Kurt Vile and the Violators
His latest album, Walkin’ On a Pretty Daze, features a homage to Philly’s many murals on the cover, and if Vile keeps up with these awesome lo-fi triumphs, there might be a nice, surreal portrait of him sprouting up on the side of a building in his hometown soon enough. 8:30pm. With Angel Olsen + Steve Gunn. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100. utphilly.com
With Love: Super Adoption Day 2013
Rescue groups and shelters bring out some of their adoptable little buddies for you to meet, fall in love with and hopefully adopt. Organized by Citizens for a No-Kill Philadelphia, this will not only be the largest event of its kind in Philadelphia history, but one of the biggest adoption events worldwide. There will also be shopping, music, food, refreshments, raffles and prizes. 11am. Free. Walnut Street Plaza, 211 S. Columbus Blvd. phillynokill.org
Camp In For Kids’ Cancer
Join Eagles players, cheerleaders and even their team mascot Swoop as you camp out at The Linc for the night. Set up your own tent, play on the field, meet your favorite athletes, enjoy a cookout-style dinner, tell ghost stories, and go on locker room tours in this event for sports fans of all ages. The money raised will go toward Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the search for a cure to childhood cancers. 5pm. $75-$150. Lincoln Financial Field, 1020 Pattison Ave. 610.649.3034. alexslemonade.org
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide