Friday, October 11
It’s easy to assume a comedian involved with modern film favorites like Pineapple Express and Hot Tub Time Machine must have similar modern sensibilities in his standup. Craig Robinson taps instead into a nearly-forgotten form of live comedy, melding his musical background with a hilariously juxtaposed stoicism. In short: He’s doing vaudeville. This type of wryness can go horribly wrong if not done correctly, but he’s got the act down pat. Laying a detached tone over a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor adds a delightful whimsy to his performances, taking audiences by surprise if they were previously unaware of Robinson’s musical abilities. But as the actor sits at a piano or keyboard and soberly sprouts lyrics like, “Oysters are a natural aphrodisiac. Ghost oysters are a supernatural aphrodisiac ... ghoysters,” audiences soon realize that sometimes the most unexpected pun can, in fact, be the funniest.
“Music is my partner,” Robinson tells PW. “Whether it’s on stage, screen or in life, I find the rhythm to whatever I’m doing and dance my way through it.” His experience with Chicago’s iconic Second City fed his appetite for improv, both fortifying his confidence and sharpening his skills. Now, Robinson says, “I have yet to do a project where improv is not highly encouraged or expected.”
What’s next? He’s developing a show with NBC called Mr. Robinson—not to be confused with Eddie Murphy’s hysterical SNL take on Mr. Rogers. Plus, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 comes out in March 2014. Plan accordingly, kids. / K.A.
Through Sun., Oct 13. $30. Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom St. 215.496.9001. heliumcomedy.com
After selling out overseas in Edinburgh and stateside at the Soho Theatre, the Inis Nua Theatre Company’s current production of Phil Porter’s Blink finds misfit characters Jonah and Sophie beginning a dysfunctional love affair set against a dark London backdrop. Oh, and there’s also a mangy fox named Scruffilitis. 7pm. $25-$30. Through Oct. 27. Off-Broad Street Theater at First Baptist Church, 1636 Sansom St. 215.454.9776. inisnuatheatre.org
The legacies of iconic French designers, including Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, live on at this fashion show presented by the Alliance Français de Philadelphie and CJ Shopping Tours. Learn about the history of French style while sipping on a glass of bubbly. 6:30pm. $15-$20. 3rd Ward, 1227 N. Fourth St. afphila.com
Three months after its debut on the SyFy channel, Sharknado’s glorious absurdity still awes us. The inevitable sequel is scheduled for next year, but until then, a brief theatrical run should be able to hold fans over in the interim. Midnight. $3. The Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888. thetroc.com
After fronting a string of short-lived post-hardcore bands over the last 30 years, Rick Froberg seems to have found a comfortable niche in playing old-fashioned garage punk. The resulting band, Obits, is one of the top artists on the revitalized Sub Pop label, formerly home to Seattle grunge kings Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney. 9pm. $12. With Hound + the Holidays. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. johnnybrendas.com
28th Annual Philadelphia Art Expo
Host to the largest, and one of the oldest, African-American Art Expos in the country, the October Gallery displays art that appeals to anyone curious enough to wander through its doors. This year’s expo includes art by the likes of Don Stephens, Edwin Lester and Annie Lee. Noon. Free. 7165 Lounge, 7165 Germantown Ave. octobergallery.com
Short Films by Director S. Torriano Berry
The Scribe Video Center celebrates its 30th anniversary with a sampling of films straight out of Philly’s indie circuit, with three shorts from the ‘80s directed by S. Torriano Berry and produced through WPVI-TV’s Minority Advisory Board. 7pm. $5. Scribe Video Center, 4212 Chestnut St. 215.222.4201. scribe.org
Saturday, October 12
Krall’s a class act. The 48-year-old British Columbian has been planted in front of a piano for the better part of four decades, and her comfort with the instrument is obvious in the poise and grace on display from the moment she places fingers on the keys. Then, she opens her mouth, and her incredible voice cuts loose. Indeed, her arsenal of cover interpretations is enough to leave one speechless: Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,” Burt Bacharach’s “The Look of Love,” Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under my Skin,” even Billy Joel’s “Just The Way You Are.” Her flawless contralto, her breathy, bassy delivery, always so controlled and even—she’s simply one of the best jazz singers of our time. In 2012 she released her 11th album, Glad Rag Doll, a T-Bone Burnett-produced affair covering mostly standards from the ‘20s and ‘30s pulled from her father’s collection of 78s. Krall doesn’t need to be a songwriter (that’s her husband Elvis Costello’s gig anyway)—when she teams up with the right arranger and producer, the stars align and magic happens. She electrifies songs from past eras with a feminine and modern elegance unlike anyone else. / BILL CHENEVERT
8pm. $80-$285. Academy of Music, Broad and Locust sts. 215.893.1999. academyofmusic.org
Art Market at Tyler
Temple’s Tyler School of Art presents this collegiate bazaar where Philly gallery owners select artists and craftspeople to sell local works. Silk-screening workshops and other demonstrations will be also be available. Noon. Free. Tyler School of Art, 2001 N. 13th St. 215.777.9000. tyler.temple.edu
With songs like “High as Hell,” “Keep on Fuckin’” and “Go Motherfucker Go” (that last one from their debut album Let Them Eat Pussy), it’s hard to believe this group is fronted by a husband-and-wife duo. The Grammy-nominated Southern sleaze-metal gods have maintained a strong cult following by assaulting crowds with good old fashioned, balls-to-the-wall, white-trash hard rock. 10pm. $15. With Jayke Orvis & The Broken Band. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. 215.291.4919. kungfunecktie.com
Lisa Lampanelli: NOT A Stand-Up Comedy Show
The original anti-skinny bitch returns with a new one-woman show, a departure from her usual self-deprecating stand-up routine. The production focuses on the controversial comic’s struggles with food, men and body image. Through Oct. 27. Kimmel Center, 1500 Walnut St. 215.790.5800. kimmelcenter.org
Kingston, Pa.’s reigning kings of melodic hardcore play straightforward punk rock in the vein of Kid Dynamite and Lifetime. They show no signs of slowing down with their full-length studio album, Floral Green, released last year, and a new EP set to drop next month. 6:30pm. With Balance and Composure, Cruel Hand + Slingshot Dakota. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100. utphilly.com
It’s the Year 2003
DJ’s Emynd and Bo Bliz continue with their year-themed parties at Johnny Brenda’s, playing all the bangers from the year 2003. Expect to hear 50, Timberlake, Britney, Missy, and Sean Paul along with Beyoncé, Lil Jon, R. Kelly and more. 9pm. $7. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com
Pennsylvania Guild Fine Craft Fair
More than 140 craftsmen from around the nation gather for this yearly exposition of craft goods. Boutique tents line Rittenhouse’s streets, offering furniture, clothing, pottery, art and more. 11am. Free. Rittenhouse Square. 717.431.8706. pacrafts.org
This comedic drama centers on an unlikely pair, 21-year-old Leo and his 91-year-old grandmother, who become unexpected roommates when Leo arrives at her doorstep following a cross-country bicycle trip. Over the course of a month, the two bond and discover the fragile line between growing up and growing old. 2pm and 8pm. $52-$59. Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St. 215.985.0420. philadelphiatheatrecompany.org
Regency And Revelry: The Jane Austen Festival
The Great English romantic, arguable feminist, novelist is celebrated all week with stage performances, discussions and book readings. The festival offers a multi-faceted exploration into the mind of Austen. 2pm. St. Stephen’s Theater, 923 Ludlow St. 215.829.0395. lanterntheater.org
St. Alban’s Place Autumn Arts and Collectibles Festival
St. Alban’s Place is a quiet block in South Philly that you might recognize as the location where M. Night Shyamalan filmed a large portion of The Sixth Sense. This week, the block hosts its first street festival featuring arts, crafts, antiques, live music and delicious eats. 10am. Free. 2300 St. Albans Place.
Keystone United Pageant Open House
Get your strut on at this positive beauty pageant where boys and girls of all shapes and sizes can participate. Every contestant will attend anti-bullying, etiquette and self esteem seminars before competing for cash prizes, gifts, giveaways and photo shoots. 10am. Free. Interact Theatre Company, 2030 Sansom St. 215.839.9276. positivepageant.eventbrite.com
Sunday, October 13
Cuba may be known today for the Castro family dictatorship and the La Cabana prison where homosexuals and dissidents were slaughtered under the direction of Che Guavera, but back in 1960, it was hoping to be known for something else: reading. That year, the Caribbean country declared to the U.N. General Assembly its campaign to eradicate illiteracy nationwide in one year’s time.
Did it happen? The 33-minute documentary Maestra, which explores how more than 250,000 Cubans answered their country’s call to teach its citizens, attempts to answer that question using archival footage and interviews of nine women involved in the effort. More than half of the campaign’s volunteers were female, Maestra notes, who had until their service not yet traveled to some of their homeland’s more interesting regions. A high risk, high reward initiative, the trip was, at least for those who lived to tell the tale, as rewarding as it was perilous.
Directed and produced by filmmaker Catherine Murphy, an adjunct professor at NYU who lived, worked and earned her master’s degree in the Cuban capital of Havana, Maestra is the culmination of her work with The Literacy Project, founded by Murphy to research and record oral histories of the heroes and sheroes who braved many challenges to uplift their people. It’s screening as part of the Penn Museum’s monthy Second Sunday Culture Films series, followed by a discussion on how “re-globalization” may impact Cuba led by Dr. Rachel Ellis Neyra of Penn’s Latin American and Latino Studies Program. / RANDY LOBASSO
2pm. Free with museum admission. Penn Museum, 3260 South St. 215.898.4000. penn.museum
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PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide