Friday, February 7
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of its founding by artistic director Tom Reing, the Philly-based Inis Nua Theatre Company focuses specifically on contemporary theatrical productions from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales; their very name translates to “new island” in Irish Gaelic. With the casual theatergoer believing only traditional pieces come from the UK, Reing and his co-conspirators continue to show just how modern these islands can be. “All of those cultures have a great tradition of storytelling,” Reing says. “I also think there’s a connection with language. These plays are totally immersed in another culture, but you can still see they’re grappling with issues that America is dealing with—immigration, rich vs poor. I had gone over to Ireland, seen great work, and thought, ‘Wow, I can’t wait for these [shows] to make it to America,’ and they just kind of stayed there.”
Reing’s developmental involvement has resulted in him receiving two illustrious Barrymore Awards for his past programs at InterAct Theatre, and tonight’s Philadelphia premiere of Trousers puts another notch on the theatre company’s belt. “It’s about dealing with expectations, dealing with the past,” Reing explains: The play follows a pair of friends in a comedic look at the dramatic shift from youth to adulthood. It stars Jared Michael Delaney and Adam Rzepka and is directed by Reing himself. // KENNEDY ALLEN
Through Sun., Feb. 23, various times. $25-$30. Off-Broad Street Theater at First Baptist Church, 1636 Sansom St. 215.454.9776. inisnuatheatre.org
Tap Into A Cure
City Tap House and Victory Brewing team up for a fundraising night benefitting the Delaware Valley Chapter for Scleroderma Foundation. Donations at the door earn you a bracelet for a free Victory brew and various drink specials throughout the night. 8pm. $5 donation. City Tap House, 3925 Walnut St. 215.622.0105. citytaphouse.com
Liquor & Lace Trunk Show
Dirty Dolls Lingerie and The Velvet Lily partner to bring you a sultry trunk show modeling vintage undergarments of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Professional bra fittings are offered to all customers, and the full line of the new Film Noir lingerie collection will be for sale at discounted prices. Sip on complimentary cocktails while shopping and gazing. 6:30pm. Free. The Velvet Lily, 1204 Chestnut St. thevelvetlily.com
Roddy Doyle: The Guts
Irish novelist Roddy Doyle has built an impressive career writing from the perspective of the Irish working class. His newest novel, The Guts, is the fourth volume of his Barrytown Trilogy, the previous three of which have all been turned into successful major motion pictures. 7:30pm. Free. Central Library, 1901 Vine St. freelibrary.org
Saturday, February 8
Allentown noise punks Pissed Jeans manage to be both amazingly straightforward and nuanced at the same time. Pairing the no-holds-barred rants of singer Matt Korvette against a dense wall of sound that’s often grating on the senses, it’s fairly easy to see why Sup Pop—the Seattle label famous for introducing the world to the sludgy sounds of Nirvana and Mudhoney way back when—decided to take a chance on them.
Lyrically, Korvette treads somewhere on the line between meditative and full-blown apoplectic, sounding as if he’s yelling through a cheap megaphone. Case in point: Pissed Jeans’ fourth LP, Honeys, released last year. The opener, “Bathroom Laughter,” uses its ostensibly nonsensical refrain to describe pent-up emotions amid a menacing bass riff and primal screams, while “Chain Worker” lashes out at mundane office life with droning psych-fuzz and minimal percussion. Now in his 30s, Korvette’s venting about such adult frustrations might come off as trite and belated, but he does so in a way that channels a certain matter-of-factness that gets the point across without sounding overly bitchy.
Though Pissed Jeans earns regular praise for its output, the group tends to stay relatively quiet on the touring circuit, a fact Korvette attributes to the members all having to work day jobs. It’s anyone’s guess as to when they’ll pop up again following the three East Coast dates they have lined up for this month, but given how chaotic their live shows can become, local fans shouldn’t have any reason to complain after their gig at Union Transfer tonight. // J.A.
8:30pm. $15. With Purling Hiss + Trophy Wife. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100. utphilly.com
World Culture Afternoon: Annual Celebration of African Cultures
The Penn Museum’s annual Celebration of African Cultures celebrates its 25th year with all the beloved accompaniments, including African music, arts, artifacts and cuisine. Slated to make appearances are storyteller Momma Sandi and the percussionists of the Women’s Sekere Ensemble. 1pm. Free with admission. Penn Museum, 3260 South St. 215.898.4000. penn.museum
Philadelphia Song Book Concert
Aiming to create a local collection of songs in the vein of the Great American Songbook, the Philadelphia Jazz Project is putting together its own assortment of compositions written and/or performed by Philly-bred artists. On the list for the first volume are works by John Coltrane, Hall & Oates, Blue Magic and many others. 7:30pm. Free. Temple Performing Arts Center, 1837 N. Broad St. templeperformingartscenter.org
New York native Christine Wade’s debut novel Seven Locks is set against the scenic backdrop of the Catskill Mountains in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. The disappearance of a family’s patriarch inspires a mother’s struggle to care for her children as fighting looms on the horizon. 1pm. Free. Penn Bookstore, 3601 Walnut St. 215.898.6623. upenn.bncollege.com
Sunday, February 9
Usually, when rich, robust choral arrangements blast out of speakers during a singer’s live performance, audience members naturally assume the vocalist pre-recorded a choir in the studio, especially if there are no robed women onstage. In the hauntingly beautiful case of Julianna Barwick, that lavish, lush sound is all her. All of it.
Louisiana born, Missouri raised and Brooklyn based, Barwick credits her rural church-choir upbringing for the unusually innocent lilt to her voice. Typically beginning with one phrase, she records on a looping station and builds her sound by adding layer after layer of near-angelic tonality until it blossoms into a piece that sounds like a chorale of at least 25 people is at her beck and call. In fact, it wasn’t until Barwick’s most recent album, last August’s Nepenthe, that she made use of an actual teen girl’s choir to fill out the depths of her compositions.
The purity of Barwick’s instrument is rare amid today’s Auto-Tuned monotony. Coupled with a piano or some sort of percussion, her sweet and simple voice washes over listeners, transporting them to another time and place. And Barwick has began branching out, lending her talents to other artists within the remix arena. With four LPs and a number of collaborative side projects, the future holds mysterious and wonderful things for this lady. // K.A.
In Memoriam: Amiri Baraka