Events, music, movies and more.
Camper van Beethoven/Cracker
It's hard enough to put together one terrific, successful and influential band. David Lowery's done it twice. First with Camper Van Beethoven, the singer-guitarist's quirky '80s outfit that combined punk, country and folk and helped define the underground "college-rock" era. Then when alt-rock exploded into the mainstream, he formed Cracker, inserting a bit of power-pop into his jangly, rootsy rock and scoring radio smashes and hit albums. Lowery has kept Cracker truckin' along nicely for the past two decades--their recent Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey is one of their best--and he's revived CVB in recent years, too. He brings both to town tonight for a hell of a career overview. Michael Alan Goldberg
Wed., Jan. 13, 7:30pm. Sold out. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com
All That Jazz
Nine may be an ill-advised musical version of Federico Fellini's iconic movie-about-making-a-movie 8 1/2. But only one filmmaker has had the cojones--and the all-encompassing ego--to make a true descendant of 8 1/2. Riding high on the success of Cabaret, choreographer-turned-film director Bob Fosse unleashed 1979's All That Jazz, starring Roy Scheider as a choreographer-turned-film director who, much like his maker, was popping too many pills and likely overextending himself into a early grave. (Fosse died of a heart attack in 1987.) But instead of Fellini's lyrical long takes (and despite the hiring of Giuseppe Rotunno, il maestro's cinematographer), Fosse goes with speed-freak hypercutting, stirring up a phantasmagoria equal parts juvenile and brilliant. Jazz will be complimented with a host of dance shorts, including Maya Deren's Ritual in Transfigured Time and Bruce Conner's Breakaway, featuring one Antonia Christina Basilotta, aka Toni Basil of "Oh, Mickey you're so fine" fame. Matt Prigge
7pm. $5-$8. International House, 3701 Chestnut St. 215.387.5125. ihousephilly.org
Montreal-born, Boston-based Marc-André Hamelin may be a classical-piano giant sitting astride the globe with more than 35 CDs and endless awards to his credit, but he studied at Temple, so Philadelphia can claim a piece of him. And the Kimmel is an ideal setting in which to behold his jaw-dropping virtuosity. There, he'll tackle Liszt's hair-raising Sonata in B Minor and Berg's Sonata Op. 1 (also in B minor, but far weirder), along with excerpts from Debussy's majestic Préludes Book II and Hamelin's own Twelve Etudes, which highlight the maestro's evolving compositional gift. From Romantic and Impressionist masterpieces to 20th-century puzzles and beyond, Hamelin knows no bounds. David R. Adler
8pm. $27. Kimmel Center, Perelman Theater, 260 S. Broad St. 215.893.1999. kimmelcenter.org
ICA Winter Opening Reception
After a few decades of whimsical, smile-inducing illustrations and design work via her Max Stravinsky-the-dog-poet children's books, New Yorker covers and inventive collaborations with musicians David Byrne and Nico Muhly, fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi and choreographer Mark Morris, Tel Aviv-born artist and writer Maira Kalman unveils her first major museum exhibit, "Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World)," at the Institute of Contemporary Art's winter opening reception. In addition to original illustrations, photography and textiles, the installation features tables filled with ephemera ("bobby pins, balls of string, things that have fallen out of books, lists, moss") displayed to provide insight into Kalman's worldview and artistic process. Also opening is the second part of ICA's yearlong Video Art: Replay series, "Everyday Imaginary," featuring 10 video animations exploring the confluence of the real and the imagined from such artists as Martha Colburn, Rob Carter, Aurélien Froment and Shahzia Sikander. Michael Alan Goldberg
6pm. Free. Institute of Contemporary Art, 118 S. 36th St. 215.898.7108. icaphila.org
If you've heard of Movits!, you're a) Swedish, b) a devotee of Nordic hip-hop/swing-jazz fusion, or c) a dedicated Stephen Colbert fan. That last is the ringer, due to the band's surprise appearance on Colbert's show last summer. There, nattily dressed in tuxes and high-tops, they were called on to defend the whole concept of Swedish hip- hop. (Colbert: "What do you have to rap about in Sweden? What do you have to gripe about--that you no longer control Norway?") Clearly, no one's going to throw over Doom or Dam-Funk for Movits!' brand of jazzy, light-hearted, vaguely klezmer-tinged rap. Still, as weirdo hybrids go, this is a fun one. Jennifer Kelly
8pm. $10. With River City Extension. North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St. 215.787.0488. northstarbar.com
River North Dance Chicago
Coming straight out of the Windy City is the River North Chicago Dance Company, who kick off their 20th anniversary in Philadelphia with a three-day engagement. Among the highlights will be the sexually charged and culturally rich "Habaneras, the Music of Cuba," a tribute to Cuba's dance heritage set to the music of some of the island's most popular composers, including Ernesto Lecuona and Silvio Rodríguez. The piece, choreographed by artistic director Frank Chaves, a Cuban native, is a large-scale, 23-minute performance featuring the entire dance company costumed in flowing, tropical-colored outfits. Raymond Tyler
7:30pm. $28-$48. Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut St. 215.898.3900. annenbergcenter.org
You can learn a lot about a town by looking at its yarn. With "American Pastime," Katherine Kesselring offers a textile tour of the Americas, from our own fruited plains to the lush tropics of her recent travels. In this new installation, her first with InLiquid and the Painted Bride, the artist presents the ongoing narrative of the western hemisphere through provincial arts and crafts. Grandmothers may knit to pass the time, but what they weave is a reflection of their personal stories, the folklore of their heritage, the concerns of their day-to-day lives. It's biographical theater in thread, dramatized through local materials and technique. Kesselring uses color and texture to simulate this American landscape as a kind of geographic tapestry. It's vibrant and complex. It's rough-and-tumble. Sometimes gaudy, sometimes plain. You might call it the fabric of our lives. Paul F. Montgomery
Fri., Jan. 15, noon-6pm. Free. Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine St. 215.235.3405. inliquid.com
We're just gonna make the unfounded assumption that the Brooklyn-based Earl Greyhound is one of a long line of bands you've been meaning to listen to, but just haven't gotten around to. And even though we here at PW aren't one to judge our readers based on unfounded assumptions, we just have to say ... For shame! This three-piece combo of guitarist/vocalist Matt Whyte, bassist/vocalist Kamara Thomas and drummer Ricc Sheridan indulge in the kind of hard-driving, down-and-dirty blues-rock that people whose iPods are littered with White Stripes and Black Keys albums could easily enjoy. However, since this is an interracial troika, with Thomas and Sheridan both being African-American, one can't help but find some historical context in their music. When they perform live, it's like a microcosm of rock 'n' roll's conception, with black musicians supplying the beat and a white guy picking up the pace. Craig D. Lindsey
8pm. $13-$20. With the Heavy + the Cobbs. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com
The punk-rock old folks' home sure has cleared out in recent years, what with Negative Approach, Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, Suicidal Tendencies, the Exploited and other old-timers hitting the road again to show new generations how it's done. Add D.R.I. (aka Dirty Rotten Imbeciles) to that list. Formed nearly 30 years ago, D.R.I. was one of the first to fuse traditional hardcore with thrash; in today's extreme music climate, albums like 1985's Dealing With It sound more quaint than scary, but they still pack a nice punch. We're glad to hear that after a lengthy battle with colon cancer, founding guitarist Spike Cassidy has fully recovered and plans to help lead D.R.I. into a new era of touring and recording. M.A.G.
7:30pm. $16.50-$18. With Common Enemy, Sutter Cane + Decadence. Trocadero,1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888. thetroc.com
Rocco Renzetti's Elevator Parade has grown over the '00s, from the warm hiss of home taping to fuzz-boosted, power-chorded psychedelia. The Parade's third album, Headphone Revolution, contains its share of snaky raga hooks and bubbly Mersey melodies, but also a bit of the Love decade's abandon. "Grey Sky Scene," already getting some local play, layers squalls of distortion over its jangle and chaotic drums onto its folk-rock symmetries. It's like a Zombies song disintegrating in a sandstorm. Live, Renzetti heads a five-person, double-drumming band who are sure to accentuate any aggressive tendencies and beat the twee out of his songs. (Check out Renzetti's Gearheads video with PW.) J.K.
8pm. $8. With Imaginary Friends, Music For Headphones + the Choice Tasters DJs. M Room, 15 W. Girard. 215.739.5577. themanhattanroom.com
International Association of Blacks in Dance Showcase Members Performance
Everybody knows Philly is the birthplace of the Constitution, the cheesesteak and ?uestlove, but few outside of dance aficionados realize the first national organization devoted to dance by people of Africandescent also originates in this storied city. Philadanco founder Joan Myers Brown launched the International Association of Blacks in Dance in 1988 to serve the black dance community with workshops, lectures and showcases, but the organization's keynote conference hasn't been held in Philadelphia in 15 years. This year, it returns to a city brimming with dance that is top-notch and socially conscious. The conference has ballooned from a humble attendance of 80 in 1988 to an average of 600 international attendees today. With such black-dance ambassadors as Philadanco, Rennie Harris/Pure Movement, Kulu Mele and Smoke, Lilies and Jade, this city of both literal and figurative movers and shakers is the perfect stage. Gerald Johnson
8pm. $35-$55. Merriam Theatre, 250 S. Broad St. 215.387.8200. howard.edu/iabdassociation
The Gaymazing Race
Ravenchase Adventures brings its brand of interactive mayhem to Center City with a treasure hunt designed to thrill your inner queen. Questers are given game bags containing instructions, maps and gadgets to help solve a series of encrypted clues a la The Da Vinci Code and race toward their destinies--or just the next riddle. The whole shebang lasts about two hours, and ends with a free round of drinks for all at Š well, wherever it all ends up. Better still, the top three teams receive gloriously tacky prizes for their troubles--golden gnomes and such that will look fabboo next to your Franklin Mint collectables. Assemble your favorite gym bunnies, leather guys and bears (oh, my!) and register online or call the day of the event to find out the secret starting location. Appropriate footwear (ruby slippers, Wescos, whatev) suggested. LD Beghtol
3pm. $25. For more information, visit ravenchase.com.
Sasquatch and the Sick-A-Billys
Truthfully, you don't really need a preview when you see the band is called Sasquatch and the Sick-A-Billys. The name pretty much tells you what you're gonna get: Hairy dudes playing big, stomping, revved-up psychobilly. Like early Reverend Horton Heat and the Supersuckers, the Providence, R.I., trio adds a punk-metal edge to their hollowbody guitar/upright bass/drums-constructed rockabilly--punctuated by lots of growls, grunts, and hollered "Yeah!"s--all in the service of songs about whiskey, babes, hot rods and being evil and/or possibly going to hell. But even if you know exactly what you're getting into before you even set foot in the club, Sasquatch and company will still probably kick your ass in ways you never imagined. M.A.G.
7pm. $10. With Gas Money. Kung Fu Necktie, 1248 N. Front St. 215.291.4919. kungfunecktie.com
Edgar Allen Poe: Secrets of the Purloined Letter
Master of suspense and foreboding Edgar Allen Poe was always a bit of a crank at surprise parties thrown in his honor. This year we celebrate his 201st, and though it won't be the multimedia blowout of last year's bicentennial, there are still scholarly festivities to enjoy. Penn State DuBois professor Richard Kopley offers a lecture on "The Purloined Letter," Poe's third C. Auguste Dupin mystery, published just a month before "The Raven." Poe's Dupin stories are often credited as the first examples of detective fiction, predating Columbo by well over a century. Not a bad legacy for a writer who may have died from rabies while wearing someone else's clothes. After the lecture, stop by 532 N. Seventh Street, Poe's last remaining Philadelphia residence, where you can listen to recordings of Vincent Price and Christopher Walken waxing Poe-etic. P.F.M.
2pm. Free. German Society Library, Seventh and Spring Garden sts. 215.597.8780. nps.gov/edal
An Old Cemetery in A New Year
There are cemeteries that creep the crap out of you when you explore them, giving you the vibe that a horde of evil undead is suddenly gonna burst through the ground and drag you down into the underworld. Then there's Laurel Hill Cemetery in East Falls, which, in the words of Glenn Frey, gives you that "peaceful, easy feeling." Sprawling and serene, the 78-acre cemetery is more than just the final resting place of thousands of Philadelphians, including many of the city's most historically significant figures. It's also full of gorgeous artwork, architecture and flowers, and--as generations of locals have discovered--it's one of the city's prime picnicking spots, where you can contemplate the meanings of life and death as you munch on a Wawa shorti. If you've never been, the annual "An Old Cemetery in A New Year: An Introduction to Laurel Hill" tour is a great, fascinating way to learn about the lovely grounds and some of its more famous inhabitants. Say hi to General George Meade, David Rittenhouse and Harry Kalas for us! M.A.G.
2pm. $15. Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Ave. 215.228.8200. thelaurelhillcemetery.org
Being an acoustic-guitar-sporting singer/songwriter is a lot like having a blog--there's enough of them out there to blur the line between dilettante and true talent. Two-plus decades in, Wilcox has established his bona fides enough to stand out even in this cluttered landscape. His light, jazzy folk strum certainly covers territory familiar to fans of the many John Alagia-produced clones (Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Josh Kelley, Jason Mraz), but there's a finesse and subtlety to the arrangements that escapes those coattail-riders. His hearth-like baritone caresses with wit and understatement, guiding where others push, working a soft-sell aesthetic more appropriate to the folk circuit than the pop charts. Chris Parker
7pm. $25. Tin Angel. 20 S. Second St. 215.928.0770. tinangel.com
Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT)
Dave Douglas co-curates this annual New York festival, which imposes no aesthetic limits even if it sees cutting-edge jazz as a natural starting point. FONT is now trickling down to Philly, where three widely varying acts will appear. The Open Circuit International Trumpet Ensemble is six horns plus bass and drums, boasting the talents of Joe McPhee, Taylor Ho Bynum, William Parker and more. The Meridian Arts Ensemble will join trumpet notable Dave Ballou for the world premiere of David Sanford's "Seven Kings." And don't forget the experimental wizardry of the Chicago Underground Duo (Rob Mazurek and Chad Taylor), topping off the bill with music from the new Boca Negra. D.R.A.
7pm. $12. International House, 3701 Chestnut St. 215.895.6546 arsnovaworkshop.org
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service
It was John F. Kennedy who famously stated, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." But it was another slain American leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who uttered a similar sentiment with less fanfare but more emphasis and gravity when he said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?" Since becoming a U.S. holiday in 1986, Martin Luther King Jr. Day has evolved into a national day of service that honors MLK's call to action on behalf of your community. The Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service, now in its 15th year, has become one of the largest King Day events in the country, with thousands of volunteers lending their time to hundreds of projects and events around the Philly area--from constructing houses and playgrounds to helping train mentors who work with children throughout the year. To find out more about this year's projects and how to volunteer, go to mlkdayofservice.org. But if you just help out a neighbor in need, you'll help keep Dr. King's spirit. M.A.G.
For more information, visit mlkdayofservice.org.
Dublin-born, New York-based singer Laura Izibor is making a serious case to become the next huge soul-pop diva with her creamy, ardent voice and songs teeming with inspired R&B, gospel and hip-hop textures and grooves. On her arresting 2009 debut, Let the Truth Be Told, the 22-year-old Izibor gives Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill a run for their money on the buoyant "From My Heart to Yours," reaches Mary J. Blige passion planes on the strings-laden "If Tonight Is My Last," and reveals her vulnerable side on the hushed, near-perfect piano ballad "MMM." Based on her talent and the buzz swirling around her, we highly recommend catching Izibor tonight before she trades the intimate confines of World Cafe Live for much bigger venues. M.A.G.
7:30pm. $25-$35. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com
Say My Name
Lately the landscape of female rap has looked as barren as the Wachovia Center during a 76ers home game, with most of the '90s heavyweights who took the mantle from MC Lyte and company having fallen by the wayside. Foxy Brown, Lil' Kim, Lauryn Hill, Eve: all AWOL. But from the rubble rises a star with lipstick and a Louis Vuitton clutch. The rapid ascent of Niki "The Answer" Minaj shows that there is an underserved market for female MCs, as evidenced by her ever-growing, female-heavy fan base. Say My Name, directed by Netherlands-based artist Nirit Peled, explores this hunger for an alternative to misogynistic, male-centric hip-hop. The documentary travels the streets of Philly, New York, London and other cities, profiling lyricists of varying levels of success--Rah Digga, Remy Ma, Estelle and Jean Grae, to name a few--who aspire to get equal playing time in a world that traditionally relegates women to the bench. G.J.
Tues., Jan. 19, 7pm. $5-$8. International House, 3701 Chestnut St. 215.387.5125. blacklily.com
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide