Wednesday, December 4
Isn’t it weird the way we talk about “conscious” hip-hop? If there’s a hero of the subgenre, it’s Lupe Fiasco (and Common and Mos Def and Talib Kweli), but what makes what he does distinct from the rest of the field? His faith in Muhammad? Or the fact that he grew up in the ghetto with hookers and drug-dealers and guns everywhere, but kept his head buried in encyclopedias and National Geographics without MTV? Fiasco’s a poet. Though he wanted so badly to be like Benny Goodman, he was better with words than a clarinet: Once he heard Nas’ 1996 opus It Was Written, he knew that hip-hop was an art form that he could make his own.
Fiasco raps about poverty, lack of education, health care, and he’s anti-misogyny. While it’s tough to market that in 2013, the 31-year-old’s found a way, even nabbing a Grammy along the way—for “Daydreamin’,” the excellent duet with Jill Scott from his outstanding 2008 debut, Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor. Fiasco has been on a journey, seemingly just wanting to work and perform, accepting invitations to pair with all kinds of artists and turning mutual respect into bangin’ collaborations. He’s teamed with just about everyone worthwhile: Jay Z, Kanye West, Snoop, John Legend, Pharrell Williams, Bilal and a bunch more. What’s even better is that Fiasco’s a smart dude, an entrepreneur and businessman who’s realized that he just has a gift for hip-hop. (He also sings with a rock band called Japanese Cartoon.)
Fiasco may only have four LPs to his name, but obviously the man’s overflowing with mixtape-ready imagination, haunting poems and anti-establishment ideas. There are a handful of singles that charted real high that this Troc crowd will be looking for (“Kick, Push,” “Superstar,” “Bitch Bad,” “Lamborghini Angels,” and even the slightly corny “Battle Scars”). Don’t be surprised, though, if, in the middle of his Tetsuo and Youth Preview Tour set, he straight-up embarks on an anti-Obama tirade in the form of spoken-word fire. In fact, that’s totally gonna happen. / BILL CHENEVERT
8pm. $32.50-$35. With Mickey Factz, Stalley, Dosage, The Boy Illinois + Dee-1. Trocodero Theatre, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888. thetroc.com
City of Philadelphia Tree Lighting
Eat your heart out, Rockefeller Center: LOVE Park’s famous Christmas tree gets lit tonight with Mayor Michael Nutter on hand and a list of performers including Motown artist MPrynt, the String Theory High School Choir and others. 5pm. Free. LOVE Park, 15th and JFK. facebook.com/phltreelighting
Village House Party
The Village of Arts & Humanities organization devotes time and effort into fostering communities through various arts programs. Celebrate the hard work of its youth with snacks, beer and wine, craft markets and a presentation of their latest film, Mourning at Night. 5:30pm. $75. Christ Church Neighborhood House, 21 N. American St. 215.922.1695. villagearts.org
Phase One: Fundraiser for Rail Park
Michaela Majoun of WXPN and Daniel Ralston of the Low Times podcast host this fundraiser for the proposed Rail Park, which would convert an unused rail line into a path between Fairmount Park and Center City. The event kicks off with a fashion show followed by a concert headlined by the Walkmen. 6pm. $30-$100. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. therailpark.org
Thursday, December 5
Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey of The dB’s
It’s been hard to keep up with all the ‘80s and ‘90s bands reuniting over the last five years. Often after nominal but compelling careers, many understated groups discovered that their hardcore fans were now acting as ambassadors, introducing 20-something-year-old tunes to the present amid a music scene that’s not all about shocking the audience—and world—with on stage antics or odd media appearances. Many of the acts that broke through—Neutral Milk Hotel, Archers of Loaf, Pavement, the Replacements—have come back big, selling out large tours and select dates all over the world.
Returning with a bit less fanfare is the dBs, a so-called “jangle-pop” group from the ‘80s—who, last summer, released their first album in 25 years.
NPR called 2012’s Falling Off the Sky “utterly worthy of an estimable legacy,” and the band recorded a World Cafe Live session, speaking on their original formation in North Carolina and subsequent decades-long absence. And NPR wasn’t the only media outlet showering the dB’s with praise: The Chicago Tribune said the band was “still very much at the top of its game,” Popmatters called their LP a “case for their enduring importance” and Rolling Stone said the album’s music is “wise, as well as crafty.” Key dB’s members Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey will hit World Cafe Live again this week playing Mavericks, an album the duo put out in 1991. / RANDY LOBASSO
8:30pm. $15. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. philly.worldcafelive.com
African Style at Uhuru Furniture Holiday Party
Check out the goings-on at Uhuru Furniture and Collectibles, where Tribal Home curator Karen Riggs will talk about African-inspired home décor. Pick up living room must-haves from lamps to chairs to throw pillows as live music provides a little extra authenticity. 4:30pm. Free. Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles, 1220 Spruce St. 215.546.9616. ufurniturephilly.blogspot.com
Alice McDermott with Lauren Grodstein
Alice McDermott’s new novel, Someone, tells the story of an Irish-American girl growing up in pre-war Brooklyn. Lauren Grodstein’s A Friend of the Family deals with a well-to-do father who sets out to disrupt the blossoming romance between his son and his friend’s troubled daughter. Both authors share the stage tonight at the Free Library. 7:30pm. Free. Central Library, 1901 Vine St. 215.686.5405. freelibrary.org
Cedric the Entertainer
Cedric the Entertainer is pure comedic royalty (he was one of the Original Kings of Comedy, after all). This week, the funny man takes a break from his TV Land sitcom The Soul Man and hosting duties at Who Wants to be a Millionaire? to bring the laughs to Philly. 8pm. $45-$110. Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave. 215.572.7650. keswicktheatre.com
Friday, December 6
The #whyilovephilly Party
Philadelphians are rarely bashful when it comes to civic pride. The adoration for this place youze guys call home goes much deeper than cheesesteaks and soft pretzels: The green awnings draped over South Philly rowhomes on a tiny side street; the gut-warming, readily-available special at the neighborhood bar; your grizzly neighbor’s penchant to gripe how “it’s gonna be a rough winter” on the first 30-degree night—Philadelphia’s minutia endear its residents to the place. Thankfully, Phillyites love to express their affection, giving #whyilovephilly its raison d’être.
Co-started by Indy Hall and Young Involved Philadelphia, #whyilovephilly began circa Valentine’s Day 2011 as a mission to spread cheer, positivity and a bit of hometown snobbery. Since then, the hashtag has taken a life of its own, used daily on various forms of social media by locals to express said adoration. This week, it’ll morph into a full-on First Friday soiree when a host of Philly-centric agencies and businesses team up for the #whyilovephilly Party at the Hamilton Family Arts Center (the Arden Theatre Company’s newest Old City outpost).
Come leave a Philly Love Note and transform your #whyilovephilly tweets into written word. Area food, drink and music will fortify the night’s revelry, and rumor has it that Little Baby’s Ice Cream will be debuting a Philly-themed flavor—which alone is cause for cartwheels. / DANIEL GELB
6pm. Free with RSVP. Hamilton Family Arts Center, 62 N. Second St. 215.922.1122. whyilovephilly.com
Alan Greenspan: The Map and the Territory
Greenspan released his newest book, The Map and the Territory, in October; In the book, the author—the former Fed chairman (1987-2006)—re-evaluates his deepest held beliefs about risk management and economic forecasting in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008. 7:30pm. $36. Central Library, 1901 Vine St. 215.567.4341. freelibrary.org
ContempraDance Theatre’s Philly Nutt Crak-Up
ComtempraDance’s annual spoof of The Nutcracker is a can’t-miss Philadelphia special. Complete with a bevy of references to Philly personalities, places and area culture, this hip-hop comedy is a one-of-a-kind local performance. 7:30pm. $25-$35. The Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad St. 215.546.7824. contempradance.com
Doylestown native P!nk brings her widely popular The Truth About Love Tour back to Philly. Since 2000, Pink has released six full-length albums, amassed a multitude of awards and cemented her status as one of the key female pop icons of this generation. 8pm. $39.50-$125. With the Hives. Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. 800.298.4200. wellsfargocenterphilly.com
A History of Science Holiday Celebration
The Chemical Heritage Foundation harkens back to mid 19th-century lectures for this interesting spin on yuletide scientific history. Staff and scholars will be dressed in period costumes and utilize English scientist Michael Faraday’s annual Christmas lectures from the 1800s for an informative look at the history of modern science. 5pm. Free. Chemical Heritage Foundation, 315 Chestnut St. 215.925.2222. chemheritage.org
Christmas Ale Spectacular
You might have enjoyed Victoria Freehouse’s dishes at PW’s Taste of Philly; now, take in their selection of holiday themed brews at the Christmas Ale Spectacular, featuring British-themed Christmas ales from various breweries, including Ridgeway, St. Peters and more. 4pm. The Victoria Freehouse. 10 S. Front St. 215.543.6089. victoriafreehouse.com
Art Star Holiday Market
Penn’s Landing and the Blue Cross RiverRink undergo a holiday transformation with Art Star Holiday Market, a pop-up Christmas village. The market will encompass the skating rink with food, local beer and shopping. Keep warm under the massive 400-person warming tent (made specifically for the event from recycled shipping containers). 4pm. Free. Blue Cross RiverRink at Penn’s Landing, 201 S. Columbus Blvd. holidaymarket.artstarphilly.com
Saturday, December 7
Vejigantes of Puerto Rico: Origins, Myths & Messengers
In 12th-century Spain, St. James the Apostle led a militia into battle against the Moors, defeating the African Muslims and thus “liberating” Spain from their influence. By the 17th century, celebrations of St. James’ feast day began to include elaborate horned masks called vejigantes, which sported toothy beaks and playfully malicious grins, initially representing the fallen Moors while also symbolizing the struggle between good and evil. The tradition traveled to the Caribbean and, in Puerto Rico, has taken on a life of its own. Incorporating elements of African and Taíno cultures, vejigantes can be found throughout the island in a vast array of styles and sizes. Typically worn during the Festival of St. James, a massive carnival taking place before the beginning of Lent, those wearing the masks used to frighten people into repentance and going to church. Now, the mask is believed to represent resistance to imperialism and colonialism, yet remains a lasting symbol of cultural resilience.
Through Sat., Jan. 11, Taller Puertorriqueño proudly hosts Vejigantes of Puerto Rico: Origins, Myths & Messengers, a collection of reinterpretations of this centuries-old icon. Providing Philly with an opportunity to explore the traditions and ponder its influences, this exhibit of masks by eight artists portrays both traditional and contemporary representations of the vejigante, featuring staples in the artform like Raul Ayala and Miguel Caraballo. In today’s special event, Taller will present a panel discussion featuring Ayala, Caraballo and the other artists whose work is on display. / KENNEDY ALLEN
3pm. Free. Taller Puertorriqueno, 2721 N. Fifth St. 215.426.3311. tallerpr.org
My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, I’m Home for the Holidays
From Steve Solomon, creator of My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m In Therapy, comes this dysfunctional family holiday comedy. Starring comedian Peter Fogel, the play takes place at Grandma’s house, where guests under age 55 still sit at the kid’s table, and 35 overfed people share one toilet. 2pm and 8pm. $31. Penn’s Landing Playhouse, 211 S. Columbus Blvd. plplayhouse.com
Running of the Santas
Drunken Santas fill the streets and crawl from pub to pub for this annual event, a sort of incredibly slow marathon (in the name of charity). More than 8,000 Santas will “run” from Finnegan’s Wake to the Electric Factory, where 10 bands—including Split Decision and Go Go Gadjet—will perform all day. 11am. $15. Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St. 215.627.1332. runningofthesantas.com
Celeste Giuliano’s Pin-Up Peepshow
This third annual vintage burlesque extravaganza fetishizes music and fashion of the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s. Alongside performances by Peek-A-Boo Revue and the Striptease Orchestra, Miss Pin-Up Philadelphia will be crowned in Philly’s only vintage-style pageant. Best of all, the whole show is a fundraiser and official calendar release party for nonprofit charity Pinups for Pitbulls. 9pm. $20-$40. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100. utphilly.com
University City Arts League’s Holiday Craft Show
West Philly’s historic arts instruction and enthusiast group hosts a craft show and sale, offering ceramics, dolls, drawings, purses, paintings, wallets, knit teddy bear hats and just about any other unique gift you might want for someone on your list. Noon. UCAL, 4226 Spruce St. ucartsleague.org
Sunday, December 8
FOOD & DRINK
The Philadelphia Bacon and Beer Festival
The time has come for the inaugural Philadelphia Bacon and Beer Festival, and if you don’t have tickets, too bad: It sold out in a mere 30 seconds. The BBF’s three previous gorgefests in Boston have sold out in minutes, sure, but never in half of one, according to organizer Aaron Cohen. “Thirty seconds is the record for fastest sell-out, and it’s only the first year here, too, so I was surprised!” he tells PW of the BBF’s foray into Philly. An event that celebrates two of knuckle-dragging man’s most highly-desired palate pleasers in a city with a river-deep appreciation of both is no real surprise: The surprise is that no one’s done it before.
So, what’s on tap? The name says it all. Expect savory and sweet bacon offerings courtesy of dining hotspots like Alla Spina, Pub & Kitchen, Southwark, The Mildred, Standard Tap, Lemon Hill, Cheu Noodle Bar and 10 Arts, while craft masters from places including Victory Brewing Co., Sly Fox, Troegs Brewing Co., Dogfish Head, Nodding Head and Barren Hill Tavern & Brewery promise to keep the ice-cold beer flowing freely. Proceeds will help fund MANNA; eating well so others can do the same this season is an absolute win-win.
Can’t get your fill at the Fest? Check the afterparty at Hotel Monaco’s rooftop bar, Cohen says, featuring “some nibbles from Sweet Box Cupcakes and Ribs Within, beer from Vault Brewing and a special bacon and beer related cocktail menu from Stratus’ mixologists.” / R.L.
2:30pm. Sold out. Hotel Monaco, 433 Chestnut St. baconandbeer.net/philadelphia
African-American choreographer Christopher Huggins rose to fame and helped to break down barriers in the field of dance. Now in their 44th season, Philadanco pays tribute to the choreographer with performances inspired by Huggins’ extensive catalog. 2:30pm. $29-$46. Kimmel Center, 1500 Walnut St. 215.790.5800. kimmelcenter.org
Rock to Remember
This benefit show supports Music & Memory, whose mission is to collect iPods to be used for those with Alzheimer’s. Performers include acclaimed rapper Mic Stewart and indie band Hopscotch Jefferson, along with a handful of DJs spinning upstairs. 5pm. $5 or iPod donation. Grape Room, 105 Grape St. graperoommusic.com
Monday, December 9
Shoes: We’ve Got Sole
Temple U’s talented theater collective entertains with Shoes, a multifaceted variety show. Featuring performances created entirely by Temple students, the show includes music, dance, poetry, monologues and other collaborative works. 7pm. $10. Tomlinson Theater, 1301 W. Norris St. 215.204.8414. temple.edu/boyer
A Very Quince Holiday Cabaret
Known for their alternative and eclectic theater performances, Quince Productions celebrates the holidays with their annual fundraiser. Compete for prizes and learn about Quince’s upcoming 2014 schedule at this cabaret celebration. 6pm. $15-$25. Tabu Lounge. 200 S. 12th St. 215.964.9675. quinceproductions.com
Tuesday, December 10
Black Professionals Got Talent
Chief executive officer. Certified financial planner. Director of marketing and public relations. Each of these titles suggests years of corporate ladder-climbing, implying its holders are all work and no play. But who expects the company’s sales manager to be a classically trained vocalist? And what if that VP of accounts is a gifted saxophonist? Use it or lose it, they say—and this week, some of Philly’s top executives, educators, movers and shakers are using their off-the-clock acumen to raise funds for one of Philly’s most worthwhile arts organizations.
Back by popular demand, the third Black Professionals Got Talent is no ordinary talent showcase—it’s a fundraiser for Art Sanctuary, founded in 1998 by author Lorene Cary to focus on the preservation and creation of black art. Its programming includes the annual John Coltrane Jazz Tribute & Festival, the Celebration of Black Writing, a children’s storytelling circle, a “hip h’opera,” and educator workshops to help further the AS mission.
Through a partnership with University of the Arts, this year’s show moves to the Arts Bank to provide more space for its array of confirmed participants, including Malik Boyd, president of Philadelphia Young Democrats; Jamie Brunson, executive director of First Person Arts; Natalye Paquin, CEO of Girls Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, and many others, while the sensational Urban Guerilla Orchestra serves as house band to set the mood. Come support these civic and arts leaders as they let their hair down and show the more artistic sides of themselves for a worthy cause. They ought to be lauded—and applauded. / K.A.
7pm. $25-$35. The Arts Bank, 601 S. Broad St. 215.545.1664. artsanctuary.org
The oft-told story of the rise of tech giants Bill Gates and Steve Jobs gets a makeover in the musical journey of Nerds. The performance follows the two titans from their garage-dwelling days through their massive success, with hilarious musical numbers marking the time. 6:30pm. $56. Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St. philadelphiatheatrecompany.org
Brian Sanders’ JUNK: Snowball
Experimental dance troupe JUNK does not stray very far from their namesake. Utilizing found objects and discarded debris in their performances, the dance-theatre company is consistently creative. Through Dec. 15. $20-$40. Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut St. 215.898.3900. annenbergcenter.org
Wednesday, December 11
Lunch with Ed Rendell
Enjoy an exclusive lunch and conversation with Ed Rendell, the larger-than-life political figure Philadelphia helped build, as he reads excerpts from his 2012 book, A Nation of Wusses. Never shy about sharing his opinion, Rendell’s certain to drop some insider knowledge about the current local, state and national political landscape. Noon. $25-$30. The Gershman Y, 401 S. Broad St. gershmany.org
A Child’s Christmas in Wales
Dylan Thomas’s famous work of poetry, A Child’s Christmas in Wales, transforms into a full stage adaptation. Written by Thomas through the lens of a man reflecting on a childhood walk through his Welsh village on Christmas, Philadelphia performance artist Sebastienne Mundheim weaves Thomas’ poems of imagination, myth and wonder into a stunning visual presentation. Through Jan. 5. $30-$38. Lantern Theater, 923 Ludlow St. lanterntheater.org
Out of Town
Fegley’s Brew Works Craft Beer Festival
All three floors of Allentown’s Brew Works will be buzzing with delicious samples of craft beer, pub food favorites and more. The fest features more than 46 seasonal beers from 23 fantastic craft brewers and vendors, including local favorites like Weyerbacher, Yards and Free Will. Sat., Dec. 7, noon. $35-$45. Allentown Brew Works, 812 W. Hamilton St. Allentown. 610.433.7777. thebrewworks.com
The Twelve Dates of Christmas
Tony Braithwaite directs the regional premiere of this comedy of dating errors. Maggie Lakis stars as Mary, who catches her fiancé cheating on her on Thanksgiving and spends the next year trudging through one awful date after another. Through Dec. 29. Act II Playhouse, 56 E. Butler Ave. Ambler. 215.654.0200. act2.org
Popping blood vessels on stage for your entertainment for decades, Lewis Black has rightly earned his reputation as one of the angriest men in showbiz. His political satire and black comedy routine is always fresh—with the endless source of American absurdity fueling his fire. Fri., Dec. 6, 9pm. $75-$85. Borgata Music Box, 1 Borgata Way. Atlantic City, N.J. 609.317.1000. theborgata.com
Few things in this world are more adorable than getting your pup’s photo taken with Santa. The Ocean City Humane Society makes it all possible this year, with a jolly old Saint Nick on hand this Saturday. Support the great work of the Humane Society by bringing in your pet for a pic. Sat., Dec. 7, 10am. $10. Ocean City Humane Society. 1 Shelter Rd., Ocean City, N.J. 609.399.2018. hsocnj.org
Compiled by Jake Abbate, Drew O’Meara and Daniel Gelb.