Wednesday, May 22
Local rockers Pet Milk warble nonchalantly as power chords thrum and drums crash, uninterested in your feeble request to lower the volume. Normally, you wouldn’t try to domesticate a food item, but these local noise rock DIYers can be left out for days before you smell anything sour. 9pm. $10. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com
Mark Tercek: Nature’s Fortune
Let Mark Tercek, president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy, school you on the environment. Tercek’s new book explores why nature is the foundation of human well-being and of utmost importance for economic progress. Noon. Free. Central Library, 1901 Vine St. 215.686.5322. freelibrary.org
Group Show: All Black
This themed art show gathers nine artists who work extensively in black. The ink, graphite, charcoal and carbon works produced for this show focus on field, form and texture. Through June 15. Gallery Joe, 302 Arch St. 215.592.7752. galleryjoe.com
Diane Arbus in Manhattan
Diane Arbus, born in N.Y.C. in 1923, was a powerhouse of a photographer, intent on revealing the flaws people wish to hide. Tonight, The New Yorker’s Hilton Als discusses Arbus’ relationship to the city that raised her up and brought her down. 6:30pm. Free. Institute of Contemporary Art, 118 S. 36th St. 215.898.7108. icaphila.org
Thursday, May 23
Champions of Empty Rooms Artist Talk
With talented young artists flocking to this city in search of cheap housing and wall space to showcase their work and thousands of abandoned properties just rotting on our streets, it’s about time someone started making the connection—if not the folks in City Hall, then at least members of the local art community. Founded by Philly-based artists Veronica Cianfrano and Jessica Anne Clark, Champions of Empty Rooms (CHER) is all about putting this city’s many empty spaces to good use, briefly transforming them into vibrant cultural dens where emerging artists can gain exposure, and new audiences can be exposed to art in nonstuffy settings. Already, in just the past year, they’ve organized several noteworthy community specific installations and exhibitions around town, including a multimedia group show inspired by the life, work and times of Edgar Allan Poe.
For the closing reception of their latest pop-up exhibit, (no) Hope, which features mixed-media works from more than 20 artists examining hope and despair in the present tense, CHER is hosting an informal chat open to artists, art enthusiasts and nonart enthusiasts alike. After a brief presentation from the show’s curators and CHER founders, several of the featured artists will talk about their work before opening the discussion to the floor. Whether or not you’re able to come and join in on the conversation, be sure to remain on the lookout for upcoming CHER exhibits. Who knows? They may soon be popping up in a neighborhood near you. / Nicole Finkbiner
6pm. Free. Salon 1522, 1522 N. Lawrence St. salon1522.com
Unconventional Dwellings: Are There Sustainable Options for Challenged Communities?
Learn from Inhabitat.com's architecture editor Bridgette Meinhold and Urgent Architecture author Jonah Reynolds about alternatives to traditional housing for a future threatened by climate change and overpopulation. 5:30pm. Free. Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. ansp.org
Dr. J. at Wall Ball 2013
Celebrate the Mural Arts Program at the ninth annual Wall Ball fundraiser. Enjoy live entertainment, silent auctions, art-making and special guest Julius “Dr. J” Erving. 5:30pm. $200. Vie, 600 N. Broad St. muralarts.org
Fakes, Forgeries and Reproductions Seminar
If your dream is to impress charming and drop-dead gorgeous con man Neal Caffrey of USA’s White Collar, this lecture is most definitely for you. This all-day event covers ceramics, prints, furniture and other decorative arts in order to help you tell the difference between authentic and fake pieces. 9:30am. $65-$75. Freeman’s Auctioneers, 1808 Chestnut St. freemansauction.com
The Jost Project
The Jost Project covers rock standards in an acoustic modern jazz format. Listen to interpretations of Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, the Beach Boys and more. 8pm. $10-$12. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com
Friday, May 24
2 Live Crew
2 Live Crew is hilarious. Back in 1989, the Luther Campbell-led group put out As Nasty As They Wanna Be—and it was an eye-opening experience. Hip-hop had been sexualized for years, of course, but not quite like this. The album cover itself featured four bold, black beauties in thong bikinis with the Crew dudes drenched in gold chains beneath their spread legs, bringing to mind the classic MTV-era video of Wreckx-N-Effect’s “Rumpshaker”: curves, booty, skin, beaches, unabashed sex worship. Their crassness shocked masses in a way that no other rappers had up to that point, which is odd when you consider that so much hip-hop was full of gang violence and misogyny. Truth be told, it was that talk of pussy, clits, dicks and blowjobs that put the Florida quartet on the radar. And 24 years later, it’s that same talk fueling Brother Marquis and Fresh Kid Ice (minus Mr. Mixx and Campbell) who’ve got a stacked arsenal of party tracks to employ tonight.
Yes, 1989’s “Me So Horny” is permanently ingrained in the halls of hip-hop history, but “Pop That Pussy” is one gem of a time capsule, man. In its video, Luke pulls out a pair of crystal balls which he rubs to get the honeys out of bed and flock to the club for sexy leisure times like zombies. “I like big booty and big ole’ titties,” Marquis proclaims. Hey, we all have preferences. And if yours is raunchy rap, it’s your nasty night. / B.C.
8:30pm. $20-$25. With Sparklefight, Mad World Order + Bong Hits for Jesus. The Trocodero, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888. thetroc.com
Various Artists: Pant
Dogs are awesome. They eat everything and are never embarrassed by farts. And people really like taking pictures of them. At Gallery 339, you can view a litter of photographs featuring our leg-humping friends interacting with their environments. Though July 27. Gallery 339, 339 S. 21st St. 215.731.1530. gallery339.com
Bernie Worrell Orchestra
Parliament-Funkadelic’s influence is wide, and Worrel’s moog-heavy keyboard and musical arrangements helped establish that legacy. He’s now a part of a traveling 10-piece sporting his last name and the echoes of that grooving, amorphous P-funk nastiness. The songs they unleash are rollicking and dense, but worth a listen. 8pm. $14-$17. The Blockley, 3801 Chestnut St. 215.222.1234. theblockley.com
A beautifully shot coming-of-age film, Pariah focuses on Alike, a 17-year-old girl who is in the middle of accepting her sexuality while dealing with hostile outside forces. Light refreshments will be available throughout the screening. 7pm. $5. Scribe Video Center, 4212 Chestnut St. 215.222.4201. scribe.org
Like any other major city that’s been around for a while, Philly has some secret spots. Hidden City has picked nine of what they feel are the more interesting of the bunch and set up a four-day period full of talks, tours, concerts and workshops, all taking place in a spot of historical or community interest. From the vacant Germantown Town Hall to the Shivtei Yeshuron synagogue in South Philly, these are places you might not even be able to see any other time. Various Locations. 267.597.3808. festival.hiddencityphila.org
Folk Fest Showcase
Four local musical acts will show off their folksy skills and vie for attention at Milkboy in the hopes of being added to the billing for the Philadelphia Folk Festival in August. Enjoy the talents of these up-and-comers as a panel of judges determines their fate. 8:30pm.$10. Milkboy Philly, 1100 Chestnut St. 215.925.6455. milkboyphilly.com
FOOD & DRINK
Microbrews and Micro-moos
Be careful: Dining on fancy cheese and beer could be the first step in a spiral of serious luxury. First it’s just cave-aged cheese and Belgian beer, but then somehow you find yourself wearing a monocle at all times and demanding foie gras to accompany everything, including nonfood-related activities. It is a slippery slope, but it is definitely worth the trouble. 6pm. $60. Valley Shepherd Creamery, 51 N. 12th St. 267.639.3309. valleyshepherd.com
Liberty Bell Classic Party
iCandy hosts the City of Brotherly Love Softball League’s registration and opening party for their 2013 Liberty Bell Classic. This kicks off a full weekend of softball, drinking and good times. Check the Liberty Bell Classic website for a full break down of times and playing locations. 7pm. Free. iCandy, 254 S. 12th St. 267.324.3500. libertybellclassic.org
Girls, Girls, Girls: An All-Girl Motley Crue Tribute Band
Fittingly starting their tribute-tastic career in a Jersey strip club in 2007, Girls, Girls, Girls can hang with their testosterone-filled counterparts. They will wear those uncomfortable leather pants and chains with ease while pounding out the hits from the Crue’s heyday and beyond. 9pm. $5. Theater of the Living Arts, 334 South St. 215.922.1011. tlaphilly.com
Saturday, May 25
2013 El Zol Fest: Prince Royce
It’s funny how a cover can launch a career. In Prince Royce's case, his 2010 version of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” shot him into the stratosphere of superstardom. The 24-year-old Bronx-raised singer, born Geoffrey Royce Rojas, has seen an astonishing amount of success in his first few years out of the gate. Growing up, he was surrounded by the sounds of the Bronx: salsa, reggae and reggaeton, R&B, hip-hop and, especially because of his Dominican family, bachata. His music reflects this beautiful blend of influences, making him akin to a Latino Usher.
Royce’s self-titled debut went triple platinum on the strength of his King cover and the charming single “Carazon Sin Cara,” the latter of which he sings in both Spanish and English. Last year’s Phase II, his platinum-selling second LP, shot up the charts on the popularity of “Las Cosas Pequenas” (The Little Things). With just two albums, he’s already dominated charts, been nominated for some Latin Grammy Awards, issued a frickin’ hits collection (before age 25!) and opened for Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias.
Last summer, Royce was in town for Jay-Z’s Made in America fest, and panties galore wished to be dropped: The dude’s a real looker. In New York, when he appears in stores or performs, lines form that are blocks long. And it doesn’t hurt that bachata tends to specialize in romance. In fact, the root of the genre is said to be amargue, a term that literally means “bitter/bitter music.” In his video for “El Amor Que Perdimos,” he watches his girl swap spit with another dude, and it definitely hurts. Indeed, Royce’s songs are often about sadness, heartbreak and getting done wrong—and the ladies love it. There will be lots of screaming and singing along on the waterfront tonight. And while you may not speak Spanish, a few songs will be in English. Anyway, love’s a universal language, papi. / Bill Chenevert
Sat., May 25, 7pm. $32. With Alex Matos. Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, Columbus Blvd. and Spring Garden St. elzolphilly.com
40th Street Summer Series
Folks, the Fresh Prince lied to us. Between the soaring crime rates, inevitable string of flash mobs and the musty urine scent permeating the streets, summertime in Philly is anything but a “natural aphrodisiac.” If there’s anything to be desired about the summer months here, it’s the slew of free, family-friendly outdoor events like the 40th Street Summer Series, which has been hosting world-renowned performers at the greenspace behind the Walnut West Library for the past nine years.
Going down the last Saturday of each month now through September, this year’s series boasts some exceptionally diverse musical talent, as well as the usual sprinkling of fire breathers, jugglers, face painters and balloon artists. It kicks off tonight with the thunderous beats of New York’s 11-piece brass band, Brooklyn Qawwali Party. Capturing the spirit of traditional Pakistani folk music with a unique, modern blend of instrumental jazz and Qawwali, the group is guaranteed to get your feet tapping. The opening set will feature traditional Arab music from two members of Al-Bustan’s Resident Ensemble.
Mark your calendars: Next month, the 12 ukulele enthusiasts of the Philadelphia Ukulele Orchestra will be reinterpreting the music of the ‘20s and ‘30s, and in August, Man Man drummer Christopher Sean Powell will stun audiences with the futuristic/tropical electronic rhythms of his new solo music project, Spaceship Aloha. / N.F.
6pm. Free. 40th and Walnut streets. universitycity.org
Sun Ra Arkestra
This special show celebrates the 89th birthday of Arkestra leader Marshall Allen, as well as the 99th anniversary of Sun Ra arriving on Earth. A pupil of Sun Ra himself, Allen has been part of the Arkestra since 1958 and has collaborated with artists such as Sonic Youth and Digable Planets. 8:30pm. $15. With Mike Reed’s People and Places & Things. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com
Mount Airy Home Companion
This radio-style variety show celebrates Mount Airy through comedy and song. Saint Mad provides original songs, musical parodies and classic oldies, while the Mount Airy Players take care of the funny business. 7pm. $15-$20. Conkey Center for the Performing Arts, Springfield Ave. and Valley Green Rd. 215.848.4225. saintmad.com
The Thermals are a post-pop-punk trio out of Portland who’ve been around since 2002 and were actually “discovered” by Ben Gibbard. Their newest record, Dangerous Ground, is their sixth album overall, but their first release on Saddle Creek Records, famous for acts like Bright Eyes, the Faint and Azure Ray. 8:30pm. $15. With Hop Along Cayetana. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100. utphilly.com
Bravissimo Burlesque Grand Finale
After three years of dirty glam, the Bravissimo crew’s home turf, WineO, is closing its doors for good tonight. Lil Steph, Miss Rose, and the rest of the burlesque gang throw one final show to celebrate the good times of the past and the new beginnings of the future. 11pm. $10. WineO, 447 Poplar St. 215.925.0999. lilsteph.com