Rabid Puffin could have worked. Or maybe Syphilitic Koala. But far as band names go, Bloody Panda does the trick, accurately representing the way the Brooklyn quintet decimates any notions of “cute” that one might surmise by spotting the diminutive, stylishly attired Japanese chick at the helm with their relentlessly brutal, forbidding and mournful doom metal and drone-rock. And executioners masks for everyone but said frontwoman, acclaimed visual artist Yoshiko Ohara, whose simultaneously gorgeous and chilling shrieks, moans, chants and operatic wails are the stuff of nightmares you actually look forward to recurring. Michael Alan Goldberg
8pm, $10. With Woe + Deathbeds. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. 215.291.4919. kungfunecktie.com
Before the pornographic photos of Jeff Koons, the canned feces of artist Piero Manzoni, before Carolee Schneemann and friends rolled partially naked in piles of raw meat, all it took to offend the public was reversing common symbolism or “inaccurately” representing a subject. When Édouard Manet’s Olympia came out—coded with suggestion that Venus was a whore—the art world erupted and modern art was born. Today, Impressionism is quaint and nothing if not tame; the offending art of the 19th century would blush at CosmoGirl. “Too Scandalous!” a tour of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s collection of historically offensive art, is the perfect way to familiarize yourself with the progenitors of our aesthetic obsession with the profane, to appreciate the way the controversial becomes the beautiful and to marvel at how far we’ve come. Jeremy Butman
Noon. $12-$16. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th St. and the Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. 215.763.8100. philamuseum.org
Sonia Sanchez is BaddDDD in the best way possible. Easily one of the greatest contemporary poets, Sanchez’s writing unapologetically balled issues of racial injustice and discrimination into a literary fist that pumped proudly throughout the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s. The renowned author, lecturer and activist can now be found inspiring the next generation of metaphoric masters through her residency at Temple University. For those who could’ve gone anywhere and didn’t choose the cherry-and-white institution, Sanchez will host “Where Writing Comes From,” a two-week workshop for aspiring scriptwriters. Participants will learn the foundation of storytelling and do exercises designed to help them find their voice and create monologues. “Scribe offers experienced and non-experienced future filmmakers and producers an opportunity to work with masters,” says Joni C. Helton, Scribe’s programming consultant. “To get feedback from someone as big as Sonia Sanchez will be a phenomenal experience for anyone serious about script-writing.” Shahida Muhammad
Program starts Wed., July 22, 7-9pm. (Runs through Aug. 5) $96-$120. Scribe Video Center, 4212 Chestnut St., third fl. 215.222.4201. scribe.org
Deeper Than a Party
Rick Ross wants you to know that he’s the “biggest boss that you’ve seen thus far.” Judging by the love handles and man-breasts that he’s tastefully covered in tattoos, we know he ain’t kiddin’. His gangster, though, has been under attack lately due to accusations of hip-hop treason, so his latest album Deeper Than Rap set out to prove there’s also no one trilla than he. Fans who aren’t averse to the sexual misrepresentation of women can head over to Onyx to see the Miami-bred rapper perform his latest hits off the album including “Maybach Music 2.” S.M.
7pm. $15-$20. Club Onyx, 2908 S. Columbus Blvd. 215.218.1040. ricks.com/Onyx/Philadelphia
Concrete, Steel & Paint
Can victims of violent crime embrace the humanity of those who’ve inflicted unspeakable pain on them? Do convicts serving long sentences in state prisons regret the anguish they’ve caused? Vexing questions, but Jane Golden never backs down from toughies. Concrete, Steel & Paint, a new documentary produced by Cindy Burstein and Tony Heriza, recalls the “Healing Walls” project that Golden, longtime head of Philly’s Mural Arts Program, launched at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford in 2002. Victims and inmates worked side by side on separate murals later affixed to walls in North Philly—but even more compelling, engaged each other in no-bullshit discussions about accountability and redemption. “I think you have no right … to ask the person you harmed to ever forgive you,” a victim’s advocate scolds an inmate at one point. “[Confronting victims] has been painful, it’s been frustrating, hurtful, sometimes
it’s even made me angry,” another inmate acknowledges later. Definitely grist for the mill ... er, cell. Frank Rubino
7-9pm. $10. International House, 3701 Chestnut St. 215.387.5125. ihousephilly.org
Casper & the Cookies
Expect nothing but cavities once you’ve encountered the puckish, toffeelike pop of the Athens trio Casper & the Cookies. But isn’t it worth the dental damage in exchange for such whooping melodies and carefree twang? Besides, fresh-faced songwriter Jason NeSmith and his band’s third platter, Modern Silence, isn’t just pop; the songs shuffle through psych, garage, glam and post-punk with a voracious appetite. What with past tours alongside the Apples in Stereo and cameos from that band’s Robert Schneider and the Olivia Tremor Control’s Bill Doss on the new album, Casper & the Cookies have brushed up against enough Elephant 6 royalty to become excellent studies in the process. Doug Wallen
8pm. $5-$10 suggested donation. With Everything Now!, Owl Stations, Herring Bones + Ethan Master of Hawaiian Ukulele. Danger Danger Gallery, myspace.com/dangerdangergallery
Scream it with me: “Hey, you guys!” Scream it in that absurd elephantine bellow that Sloth speaks in. Don’t you feel better than you did a minute ago? Don’t you suddenly love the stranger sitting next to you on the El with all your heart and soul (even if that stranger might only enjoy The Goonies ironically with the same sense of smug hipsterdom that allows them to don a mustache and listen to Iron Maiden)? Those three little words and that ridiculous howl, like the movie itself, are an incredibly beautiful and pure expression. They’re the sound of childhood innocence, of faith in treasure maps and impulsive weekend adventures. So scream it with me. Scream it with everyone else down on the Schuylkill docks with your mouths full of free snacks. Scream it and mean it. “Hey, you guys!” Matt Soniak
8:15pm. Free. Schuylkill Banks by the Walnut Street Bridge. 215.222.6030. schuylkillbanks.org
Remembering Arthur Lipsett
Here’s some arcane Star Wars trivia, fanboys: Princess Leia’s holding cell number is a nod to 21-87, a 1964 experimental short by Arthur Lipsett. As an arty young Turk, George Lucas was quite smitten with the Canadian collagist, whose films boast a rapid-fire collision of sound, image and darkly satirical ideas so dense their meaning can be tough to pin down. I-House’s two-night Lipsett retro begins with the doc Remembering Arthur, in which the filmmaker’s friends salute the artist as well as the man who suffered psychological maladies and killed himself in 1986. Saturday offers half of his 13 films, including the Oscar-nominated Very Nice, Very Nice (1961) and the aforementioned 21-87, a bleak and discomfiting portrait of mankind’s need to transcend the corporeal body. Matt Prigge
7pm. $5-$7 (free for Internationalist members). International House, 3701 Chestnut St. 215.387.5125. ihousephilly.org
The Blind Boys of Alabama
In the fickle and unforgiving recording industry, where being lauded or left to dry often hinges on riding the right trend, the journey of the Blind Boys of Alabama serves as a workshop on retaining one’s roots while remaining relevant. That the Blind Boys, formed in 1939 at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind, have endured a defection among black listeners from gospel to secular music, along with the Great Depression, Jim Crow and the civil rights movement—all while shouldering the double burdens of being black and blind—is a feat that will have even atheists humming “Amazing Grace.” The collective’s latest album, Down in New Orleans, was recorded post-Katrina and infuses jazz and soul into traditional gospel tunes, with the help of some of the Big Easy’s best musicians. The result is a sound that has recently taken the Blind Boys from segregated churches along the gospel circuit to concert halls around the world. Gerald Johnson
Fri., July 24, 8pm. $28-$58. With Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Ave. 215.893.1999. manncenter.org
Strict vegans, animal rights activists and 75 percent straight-edge (only their drummer allows himself the occasional “vice”), Chicago protest-punk quartet Rise Against likely sleeps well at night after spending their days fighting the Man and changing the world via sweaty rock shows and earnest interviews. Shame their music has steadily deteriorated from stirring Minor Threat-y hardcore to middling mall-punk. As for the return of ’77 punk retreads Rancid, Anal Cunt put it best in “Rancid Sucks (and the Clash Sucked Too)”: “If Kenny G had a Mohawk, he wouldn’t be punk/ If Yanni had dumb tattoos, he wouldn’t be punk/ If Garth Brooks pierced his nose, he wouldn’t be punk/ If Liberace sounded like the Clash, he wouldn’t be punk/ Rancid sucks, Rancid sucks, Rancid sucks.” M.A.G.
7pm. $30. With Rancid + Billy Talent. Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, N. Columbus Blvd. and Spring Garden sts. 215.569.9400. delawareriverwaterfrontcorps.com
Black Moth Super Rainbow
Despite the eerie and otherworldly sounds of Black Moth Super Rainbow—vocoded vocals, lush arrangements, mellotronic chords—and their reputation for being enigmatic and vague, they’re just a bunch of kids from Pittsburgh playing honest music that they really dig. And you can tell. Albums conjure serene naturescapes of raindrops on petals, butterflies dancing, Hansel and Gretel frolicking in the woods ... because for all the soothing and beautiful sounds, there’s still an undercurrent of unease, of the bizarre, of apprehension. Live, they just look ecstatic to be on stage, playing their tunes with non sequitur projections of Richard Simmons and Mr. T behind them. Katherine Silkaitis
9pm. $10. With Dan Friel. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com
When 22-year-old Scottish retro-soul dude Paolo Nutini, blessed with leading-man/billboard-model good looks, takes the stage this evening, it will likely be as if Brad Pitt, David Beckham or Robert Pattinson have arrived. Women and men alike will stand weak-kneed, slack-jawed and googly eyed; undergarments will be moistened and/or hurled toward the singer; phone numbers and sex proposals will be hastily scrawled on scrap paper and tossed at Nutini’s feet like rose petals; low-cut bosoms will heave, and drool will pour like a thousand Pavlov’s dogs; and Tweets about Nutini’s hotness will melt down the system. For the three of you who’ll be there for the music: He’s a laid-back, kinda likeable cross between Van Morrison and Rod Stewart. M.A.G.
9pm. $20-$23. With Erin McCarley + Matt Hires. Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South St. 215.922.1011. livenation.com
“This is not your typical ballet performance,” says BalletX Co-Artistic Director Matthew Neenan. The company is closing out its 2009 season with innovative choreography, lush music and passionate dance featuring guest choreographer Jodie Gates, former principal ballerina with the Pennsylvania Ballet. In addition to the closing performances, the company will present Jorma Elo’s Scenes View 2 and Matthew Neenan’s Broke Apart, both of which successfully premiered at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival in 2006. Dancers from the Pennsylvania Ballet will join the company to make up for the original cast of the two ballets. “Every dancer has a unique flair, with very impressive technical ability,” says Neenan. “It’s choreography that speaks to today’s audience and relates to them in a more human way.” Anastasia Kotsosavas
2pm. $20-$30. (Runs from Wed., July 22.) Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad St. 215.546.7824. wilmatheater.org
Making their way south from Burlington, Vt., Jazz Rehab offers detox and therapy in the form of sharp-witted electro-acoustic jazz. These young lads—saxophonist Andy Allen, guitarist Matt Jalbert, keyboardist Peter Krag, bassist Ian Kovac, drummer Peter Negroponte—have a way of sanding their pointy edges with an unlikely sort of melodic sheen, balancing compositional smarts with improvised mischief of high intangibility. Look for their forthcoming debut Have You Hugged Your Children Today? Sharing the bill, two off-the-wall duos: Philly wild-man percussionist Toshi Makihara with trumpeter Todd Margasak, plus Bowerbird’s Dustin Hurt playing trumpet with Sci Fi co-curator Jon Barrios on strings, in a project called Bebop Battles, Pt. 2. David R. Adler
8:30pm. $5. Gojjo, 4540 Baltimore Ave. 215.238.1236. scifiphilly.com
A decade old and brandishing the freakish new Psychic Maps, the formerly Philly-based instrumental trio Dysrhythmia has retained a densely webbed sound that’s crushing and rushing, mauling and bawling. Now based in Queens, guitarist Kevin Hufnagel, bassist Colin Marston and drummer Jeff Eber share a wowing ear for detail, transcending genres more than inhabiting them. The band’s been dubbed “technical post-rock,” and while stoners and metal fans may regularly wet their pants over Dysrhythmia, Psychic Maps gobbles up all expectations and proceeds to steamroller through its six tracks with rare intensity and flinty beauty. How can one not resort to hyperbole when three instruments are made to visit such unholy places? D.W.
9pm. $10. With Orphan, Malkuth + We Thieves. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com
The Khyber’s giving the city a reason to hop off the stoop this summer so folks can cultivate their tastes for beer with an extravaganza promising refreshing ales and a beer-on-beer competition. More than 12 brews are in contention, and you can vote for your favorite. Each time someone buys a drink, they can cast a vote for the best brew in their draft system, pitting hopped-up IPAs, APAs and DIPAs against malty Scotch Ales and Wee Heavies. “We’re trying to harken back to the years when the Khyber used to have awesome beer events all the time,” says bar manager Jeremy Thomson. “Hopefully, we can bring out some old-school Khyber beer nerds and also introduce some new people to it.” A.K.
5pm. Free. The Khyber, 56 S. Second St. 215.238.5888. thekhyber.com
Oh, those Harvey Milk dudes—self-deprecating to the very end: As of this writing, the headline of their MySpace page reads, “Not cancelled due to lack of interest yet.” Granted, the mainstream world will probably never latch on to the Athens, Ga., trio, but for anyone with even a passing interest in heavy, noisy, uncompromising underground rock à la the Melvins, Harvey Milk—which sometimes sounds like ZZ Top as interpreted by the Amphetamine Reptile roster—is a must-listen, must-see band. They broke up in 1998, six or so years into their run, but reformed in 2005 and didn’t miss a beat; in fact, last year’s Life ... the Best Game in Town is at least as good as 1995’s influential, monumental Courtesy and Good Will Toward Men. M.A.G.
8pm. $12. With Torche. First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St. 866.468.7619. r5productions.com
Root Cocktail Competition
The artists behind Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, the Old City store/gallery/collective space, are probably best known for a highbrow inquiry into the relationship between art and commerce, served up alongside cool T-shirts and homemade soaps. But their new entry into the world of fine spirits, ROOT, offers the expected amount of rigor. The makers emphatically assert that the spirit, modeled off a colonial-era recipe and distilled from organic cane sugar, is “not Root Beer-flavored vodka or a sickly sweet liqueur.” Instead, this is the kind of quaff that shoots for the descriptors “brooding” or “complex.” Figure out whether it’s to your liking at the ROOT Cocktail Competition in the newish beer garden at Silk City. Local bartenders will face a panel of cocktail experts while competing for a $400 prize for the best preparation; everyone else can sample the stuff in cocktail form on the cheap. Dan Packel
Tues., July 28, 7-9pm. Pay as you go. Silk City, 435 Spring Garden St. 215.922.2600. artintheage.com
Calendar: Aug. 26-Sept. 2