Calendar: April 2-9

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Wednesday, April 2

Angry Planet: Volcanoes
Peter Rowe, Canadian director and producer of the Angry Planet series, screens his newest feature-length film. Rowe has captured stunning images of active volcanos across the globe and weaves together fascinating stories of those living amongst the natural wonders. 7:30pm. $17-$20. Ritz East Theatre, 125 S. Second St.

Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival: Sushi-Making Classes
Philly’s own Queen of Sushi, Madame Saito, shares her extensive knowledge on the craft of the famous Japanese delicacy. Geared toward all interested in hand-making sushi rolls, regardless of experience, Madame Saito will kick-start your journey to sushi expertise. 4-6pm. $50. The HeadHouse, 122 Lombard St. 215.815.8266.

Thursday, April 3

Rich Vos
Throughout his early life, comedian-writer Rich Vos struggled with alcohol and crack addiction after a childhood that would’ve broken lesser men. Humble-yet-hilarious bits on his hard-won triumphs over an incredibly painful past—the man’s currently in his 27th year of sobriety—are now tightly interwoven through his standup routines, and why shouldn’t they be? He’s got plenty to reflect on and celebrate. Now a sought-after talent, devoted family man and proud father of three young girls, Vos’ spot-on mediations on marriage, parenting and the everyday mundane come from a position of unique expertise. His off-the-cuff “everyman” routine has garnered critical acclaim within comedy circles for decades, earning the North Jersey jokester multiple appearances on Comedy Central, including two specials and notable cameos on NBC’s Last Comic Standing.
Vos’ regular contributions to The Opie & Anthony Show make his voice a recognizable one, but it’s on stage where he truly feels at home and shines brightest. His quick-witted interaction with loyal audiences is second to none, and hecklers across the country have felt his wrath like welts. Come take the opportunity to not only witness his on-stage hilarity, but have some very-cool “I was there” moments: Vos’ five performances during this week’s three-night Helium run are being recorded for his next live CD. // DANIEL GELB

Through Sat., April 5, various times. $17-$33. Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom St. 215.496.9001.

Mike Birbiglia: Thank God for Jokes
Award-winning off-Broadway comedian and writer Mike Birbiglia brings his stand up routine to the Kimmel. The comedic force has starred in three of his own Comedy Central specials and released an arsenal of comedy albums. 8pm. $29.50-$35. Kimmel Center, 250 S. Broad St. 215.790.5800.

Walter Kirn: Blood Will Out
Author of two critically acclaimed novels-turned-Hollywood films (Thumbsucker, Up In The Air), Walter Kirn has become a definitive voice of modern America. Tonight, he discusses his newest work, Blood Will Out, which traces the true story of his friendship with a man hiding a dark past of crime and murder. 7:30pm. Free. Central Library, 1901 Vine St. 215.567.4341.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson & Eric Stonestreet
The dynamic on-screen gay couple from ABC’s smash hit Modern Family come to the Keswick for an intimate discussion. Get a rare glimpse behind the scenes of one of America’s highest rated television shows as the two hold an extensive audience Q&A. 8pm. $39.50-$99.50. Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave. 215.572.7650.

American Wisdom
SmokeyScout Productions presents their newest mediations on human absurdity, with brilliant storytelling and acting. American Wisdom is a trio of new one-act performances questioning the boundaries of the human condition. 8pm. $12. JUNK Performance Space, 2040 Christian St.

Friday, April 4

H.R. (of Bad Brains)
Back in 1977, seminal hardcore punk band Bad Brains first fired up its engines in Washington D.C., leaving a deeply-embedded skidmark on a generation with its fiery music. Political and social commentary threaded their way through the Brains’ song lyrics, decrying injustice while promoting positive mental attitudes. With ahead-of-the-curve soundscapes, an overall passion for fairness and progressive concern for their fellow man, Bad Brains was far from your average band. They’ve inspired and influenced dozens of other groups like Cro-Mags, Living Colour and Fishbone, plus hellraisers like Henry Rollins of Black Flag, a former protégé.

BB’s major mouthpiece, Paul D. Hudson, better known as H.R. (for “human rights”), crafted powerful and insightful lyrics with a unique dual-genred voice, ranging from shrill, piercing nasal screeching to a rich, crooning baritone. His spiritual connection with Rastafari ideals heavily influenced BB’s social responsibility-espousing lyrical content, their reggae-tinged musical tones giving a smooth edge to its signature punk raucousness. Even with their starts, stops and near-rotation of line-up changes, Bad Brains’ unique brand of punkfunk has been virtually impossible to emulate. And rumor has it the fam’s back together, the once-homeless H.R. included.

BB members have long had side projects, like the White Mandingos, bassist Darryl Jenifer’s recent mesh with Ego Trip-founding journalist Sacha Jenkins, featuring Murs. H.R. is certainly no different, boasting his own discography outside the BB milieu since the ‘80s. Coupled with his crew Dubb Agents, he’s once again using his exemplary voice to rock heads, hearts and hemispheres. // KENNEDY ALLEN

7pm, $15-$18. With Bong Hits for Jesus + MCRAD featuring Chuck Treece. The Legendary Dobbs, 304 South St. 215.501.7288.

Philadelphia Dance Projects
Choreographer Niki Cousineau and designer Jorge Cousineau are the husband-and-wife duo that make up Subcircle, a collaboration placing emphasis on the performance environment. Their latest project, All this happened, more or less, explores themes related to rebuilding and casts the dancers, set and music as protagonists. 7:30pm. $15-$20. Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine St. 215.546.2552.

Invented Surfaces
Philly-based artist/writer and sometimes PW scribe Natalie Hope McDonald celebrates her debut solo show at Bluestone Fine Art Gallery with a series of paintings that utilize mixed media and drawing styles inspired by music, the written word and street art. 5pm. Free. Bluestone Fine Art Gallery, 142 N. Second St. 856.979.7588.

20th Annual Philadelphia Invitational Furniture Show
The PIFS gives artisans the chance to display and sell their wares, homemade furniture and furnishings to the public at a variety of prices. Find everything from handmade wooden kitchenware to ornate living room lamps. 6pm. $12-$40. 23rd St. Armory, 22 S. 23rd St. 215.387.8590.

First Friday! The Wide World of Art
Enjoy live music, cocktails and special performances at the Barnes Foundation this First Friday. The night will begin with a talk on European and American modernism, followed by a performance from Intercultural Journeys. 6pm. $25. The Barnes Foundation, 2025 Ben Franklin Pkwy.
Hackfit Philadelphia
Hackfit challenges those dedicated to a healthy lifestyle to combine fitness, healthy eating and entrepreneurship into a three-day Hackathon formula. The formula utilizes camaraderie-building activities that intend to push you and your team to the next level and create the future of health, fitness and sport technology. 5pm. $49-$69. Impact HUB Philly, 1227 N. Fourth St.
PAFA in Bloom
Schaffer Designs has collaborated with 15 garden clubs and 45 national floral designers to produce a three-day showcase of more than 60 fabulous floral designs. A series of feature floral presentations and workshops will be presented by internationally acclaimed floral designers Neil Whittaker and Wendy Andrade. 5:30pm. $5-$20. Hotel Monaco Philadelphia, 433 Chestnut St.

Saturday, April 5

Tamagawa Taiko Drum & Dance Troupe
“The taiko drum was originally used in shrines and temples as part of chants, to invite God to come down to Earth,” says Isaburoh Hanayagi, Tamagawa Taiko Drum & Dance Troupe’s lead choreographer and a professor at Tamagawa University in Tokyo. Hanayagi is a guru of this well-preserved art form, and he’s employed hundreds of Japanese drummers, dancers, performers and percussionists to keep it alive. “My students have all different backgrounds, some in ballet, modern dance, and others in jazz or hip-hop,” he explains in a PBS video mash of interviews and performances culled from one the outfit’s annual tours around America. “They learn the choreography in one day, and then train for about two months to get to the next level, where they can inflect their performance with expression and soul.”

There are nearly 30 performers in the Tamagawa Taiko Drum & Dance Troupe, on average, and they combine pristine choreographed movement with rhythmic drum-pounding and—sometimes most excitingly—ecstatic yelps. It’s like Drumline meets Kabuki theatre, infused with jazz and ballet; think Enter the Dragon meets Blue Man Group. As cherry blossom petals float over them, women in traditional Japanese finery shuffle to their drums and, slowly but surely, accumulate such momentum and energy until they they’re banging and bellowing. Are they calling out to God? To the audience? It doesn’t matter. You’ll find yourself in either stunned awe or simply clapping along to the beat. Their execution is flawless. In one segment, they work with percussive sticks and toss them in cycles a dozen feet in the air to each other and to a line of dancers 10 feet behind them. Each throw is exactly alike—in height, arc and distance.

U.S. audiences are usually the most expressive and open with their enthusiasm, according to Tamagawa members—meaning we probably all jump out of our seats and shout with joy after every number’s conclusive drum strike. Experience one of the ensemble’s performances to understand why, plus you’ll see and hear notes of classic ESG, color guards, Little Dragon and O-Ren Ishii—all of which add up to awesome. // BILL CHENEVERT

4pm and 8pm. $10-$30. The Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine St. 215.925.9914.

15th Annual Black-Tie GayBINGO!
The glow on this crown jewel of the AIDS Fund’s fantabulous GayBINGO tiara has only deepened over 15 years. It takes something they do every month and kicks it up a notch and a half. Tickets for this one are admittedly a little bit of an investment (in your community) due to the black-tie dress code, and the soiree features dinner, six bingo games—highlighted, of course, by the dragtastic Bingo Verifying Divas—a silent auction and dancing. The night’s extra-special, too, because it honors some really important team players in the Philly community’s fight against HIV and AIDS: Ronda B. Goldfein, Esq., Al Vernacchio and Kevin and Keisha Diggs. Goldfein currently functions as the executive director of AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, while Vernacchio’s dedication to issues of sexuality goes way back to the Friends Central sex educator’s leadership within ActionAIDS in 1994. The Diggs kids, healthy children born to an HIV-positive mother, have been marching and volunteering to raise funds and awareness to combat the virus since the age of three. How amazing is that?

Aside from all of the great entertainment and wonderful people in attendance making giant strides towards stigma-erasing tonight, your hard-earned dollars go to an amazing organization. And it’s events like these—and next month’s Spring Break GayBINGO at the Gershman Y—that’ll bring us closer to living HIV and AIDS-free in the future. // B.C.

6:30pm. $150. Crystal Tea Room, Wanamaker Building, 100 Penn Square East. 215.731.9255.

Arcade @ the Oval
Philly Tech Week kicks off with a game of Tetris played on the Circa Centre building, also known as the Guinness-certified “Largest Architectural Video Game Display.” Visitors will also have the chance to play games from more than a dozen developers, including Cipher Prime and Ninja Warfare. 7pm. Free. Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Philly Spring Cleanup
It’s time for the annual spring cleaning of our lovely city, and you can do your part to rid the town of litter and trash. Cleanup stations will be positioned all across the city, and volunteers are needed. Last year’s event hauled in more than 1 million pounds of trash! 9am. Various locations.

Los Angeles-based dance troupe BODYTRAFFIC brings their critically acclaimed contemporary dance routine to Philly. The high-energy performance features interpretations of Ella Fitzgerald’s classic jazz scores, as well as a new piece by acclaimed choreographer Kyle Abraham. 2pm and 8pm. $20-$55. Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut St. 215.898.3900.

Tangle Movement Arts
Stunning acrobatics and swinging trapeze artists highlight Timelines, the newest work from Tangle Movement Arts. The all-female company blends traditional circus arts with modern dance, theater and spoken word. 3pm and 8pm. $15-$20. Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American St.

GET LUCID! The Activist Dance Party
Are you an activist who also enjoys dancing, art and poetry? Well GET LUCID! is back to satisfy all your subversive needs. The party will feature a bevy of local talent, live music and DJs, and all proceeds will benefit HollabackPhilly, a local group fighting to end street harassment. 8pm. $5-$8. Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
In playwright Christopher Durang’s acclaimed comedy, movie star Masha returns home for an impromptu family reunion. Much to the surprise of her family, she brings her new boy-toy companion along, making for an unforgettable weekend. 8pm. $46-$59. Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St.

Sunday, April 6

Mt. Airy Brunch Sessions
Spring is in the air, and the wonderful restaurants of Mt. Airy are celebrating with a seasonal prix-fixe menu special. For just $16, guests can enjoy a choice of starter, entree, side and coffee or tea at participating restaurants. 11am. $16. For participating restaurants, visit

BRAT AID: Hail to the Thief
Brat Productions looks to aid their burgeoning theatre group with a special live performance of Radiohead’s 2003 album Hail to the Thief in its entirety. The performance will feature modern dance performances by the Birds on a Wire Dance Theatre. 7:30pm. $15-$30. Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St.

Fairmount Arts Crawl
Rain or shine, the 10th Annual Fairmount Arts Crawl kicks off this afternoon, featuring more than 50 local artists. The neighborhood will be transformed into a walking art gallery of all mediums, both indoors and out. 2pm. Free. Fairmount neighborhood.

MM2 Modern Dance Company opens its spring season with Breath, from choreographers Jessica Bryan, Jennifer Laucella, Alison Liney and Brianne Scott. The new piece focuses on how breathing connects us to nature and allows us to enjoy life’s nuances. 2pm. $10. The Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine St. 484.469.0288.

Monday, April 7

Let Them Eat Cake
Philly’s premiere cake design competition, Let Them Eat Cake, is back for another round of delicious delights. Local and celebrity chefs face off in the decoration contest and will be backed by live music, champagne, door prizes and more. Proceeds benefit City of Hope’s work fighting cancer and HIV/AIDS. 6pm. Double Tree, 237 S. Broad St.

Lynn Levin and Deborah Fries
As part of the ongoing Monday Poets series moderated by Lamont Dixon, Lynn Levin, author of the poetry collection Miss Plastique, and Deborah Fries, author of Various Modes of Departure, will read selections and engage in conversation. 6:30pm. Free. Central Library,1901 Vine St. 215.567.4341.

Tuesday, April 8

Bob Mankoff: Is Never Good For You?
The New Yorker’s most reprinted cartoon depicts a businessman in a large executive office overlooking the Manhattan skyline. He’s simultaneously looking at a date book and talking on the telephone, trying to establish the most convenient meeting time with the person on the other end.  “No, Thursday’s out,” reads the caption. “How about never—is never good for you?” Its creator, Bob Mankoff, is the cartoon editor of The New Yorker, and the title of his week-old memoir appropriates the punchline of that single-panel strip How About Never—Is Never Good For You? My Life in Cartoons.

Of the inspiration for that 1993 gem, Mankoff told NPR’s Terry Gross in a recent interview that it came from an actual conversation he had with a friend who couldn’t schedule a time to meet up with him. “It was a really snotty line,” he admitted. So it sort of makes sense that it found its way into the lauded New Yorker, Conde Nast’s urbane bible of urban snobbery, well known for its award-winning journalism.

Mankoff, who says he submitted more than 500 cartoons to the magazine before they published his first in 1977, is currently criss-crossing the country on a tour promoting the 300-page-plus Is Never Good For You? The book, he’s noted, traces his love for comics as a child to his time at the weekly magazine and features re-printings of many of his most beloved cartoons. // RANDY LOBASSO

7:30pm. $15. Free Library of Philadelphia, Central Branch, 1901 Vine St. 215.686.5322.

Lisa Scottoline: Keep Quiet
Twenty years. Twenty novels. Twenty-time New York Times best-selling author. Join Scottoline at Barnes & Noble today as she signs copies of her latest effort Keep Quiet, about the complex relationship between a father and son suffering the consequences of a split-second decision. Noon. Free. Barnes & Noble, 1805 Walnut St. 215.665.0716.

Tomorrow Never Knows
The Kislak Center at the University of Pennsylvania presents an exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ invasion of America. The exhibit traces the iconography of the Brits through a collection of autographs, memorabilia, illustrated books and more. Through Aug. 11. Van-Pelt Dietrich Library, 3420 Walnut St.

Wednesday, April 9

Art Unleashed Preview Party
Despite the cultural importance of visual arts, the presence of art education in public schools in Philadelphia has damn near dwindled into obscurity. After graduation, young people looking to further their art studies have many colleges in this area from which to choose, but like all higher education, it can be a bit pricey. Fortunately, the University of the Arts’ Art Unleashed does its part each year to help crush that “starving artist” stereotype for its students. It gives discriminating art buyers the unique opportunity to fatten their home or office collections while raising funds for the university’s Sam S. McKeel Promising Young Artists Scholarship Fund.

Art Unleashed features the finest work from both emerging and established UArts faculty, students and alumni in an array of mediums, ranging from sculpture, jewelry, photography, digital illustration, painting and even furniture. This year’s fifth edition spotlights the work of two renowned alumni artists: jeweler Hratch Babikian and fine artist Dorothy Attie, both of whom are internationally recognized in their respective fields and winners of multiple awards.

While Art Unleashed lasts through April 15, certain pieces are guaranteed to go quickly when the exhibition goes public on Saturday, so tonight’s preview party gives enthusiasts and serious collectors first dibs before the pickings get slim. // K.A.

6pm. $50-$5,000. University of the Arts Hamilton Hall, 320 S. Broad St. 215.717.6140.

Pinkalicious: The Musical
The Walnut Street Theatre hosts this musical adaptation of the children’s book by Elizabeth & Victoria Kann. A young girl ends up with a bad case of pinkitis—turning pink from head to toe—from eating too many pink cupcakes. 10:30am. $10-$16. Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St. 215.574.3550.

The Academy of Vocal Arts offers this free preview of its production of Jules Massenet’s Manon, which follows a young girl as she attempts to decide between a life of love and a life of luxury. The opera will be sung in French with English supertitles. 5:30pm. Free. Helen Corning Warden Theater. 215.735.1685.

Celebration of the 2014 Public Citizen for Children and Youth
Anne Morrissey, president of AmeriHealth Caritas, will be honored for her youth advocacy at this annual event that will also feature performances by Philadelphia school children and a silent auction. 6pm. $75-$150. Vie, 600 N. Broad St. 215.238.5750.

Out of Town

Garden State Film Festival
New Jersey’s “Premiere Film Festival” celebrates its 11th year of shining the spotlight on indie filmmakers with more than 200 productions set to be screened at a multitude of classy venues, including Dante Hall and Resorts Hotel & Casino.  To sweeten the deal, expect appearances by Golden Globe and Emmy winner Ed Asner as well as Jurassic Park actress Laura Dern. Thurs., April 3, 7pm. $60. Boardwalk Hall, Mississippi Ave and the Boardwalk, Atlantic City, N.J. 866.908.7050.

2014 Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival
For three days, the Atlantic City Convention Center will become a haven for beer connoisseurs to indulge in craft brews from the likes of 3 Beards, Anderson Valley and Ballast Point while enjoying an eclectic lineup of bands performing throughout the weekend, including emo heavyweights Saves the Day, reggae band the Dirty Heads and ska kings Less Than Jake. Fri., April 4, 7pm. $60. Atlantic City Convention Center, 1 Miss America Way, Atlantic City, N.J.

5K Run/Walk for S.A.A.M.
Victim Services Center of Montgomery County, Inc. will hold a 5K walk to launch April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Participants will walk to raise public awareness and provide education about preventing sexual violence. All proceeds will support programs preventing childhood abuse and sexual assault. Sun., April 6, 9am. $25. Norristown Farm Park, 2500 Upper Farm Rd., East Norristown. 610.277.0932

Chocolate Tour and Tasting
Chocolate lovers can indulge on a mini French pastry and chocolate truffles at the French chocolate museum of chocolate manufacturer Michel Cluizel. A private tour will take you through the history of chocolate and the conversion process of beans to creamy goodness. Sun., April 6, 11am. $30. Cooper Rich Executive Park, 575 Route 73 N, West Berlin, N.J. 215.7355283.

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