Editor's Picks

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>>MUSIC

End of the Line 2

Fri., Sept. 9, 10pm-2am. $7. With Maylay Sparks, Adam 12 + Reef the Lost Cauze. PT's, 1640 Bridge St. illatropolic@comcast.net

Homegrown promoter and MC Digs Darklighter has a vision for the city's underground hip-hop scene-and downtown Illadelph isn't a part of it. "To be blatant, it sucks," says Darklighter of the city's more polished areas. "You can't park anywhere, and our fans don't want to mesh with the Old City dorks, Growing up Gotti wannabees and corny Jersey girls." So instead the 29-year-old former graf artist just migrated his nightlife digs up the Market-Frankford El for his End of the Line concert and party series at PT's. This time (the first installment was held back in March) the bash features performances by talented underground wordsmith Malay Sparks, a Philly rap world staple who'll be back after recently relocating to Europe, as well as crowd pleasers Adam 12 and DJ Cru Cut. Darklighter, who's also set to grace the stage, is proud to expand the city's nightlife scope: "I grew up in the Frankford area, and it's an honor to bring some quality underground hip-hop to that area." (Paul Farber)


>>THEATER

Ray Hill: The Prison Years

Wed., Sept. 7, 10pm. $15. Through Sept. 14. Eastern State Penitentiary, 22nd and Fairmount Ave.; Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival, 2111 Sansom St., second fl. 215.413.1318. www.livearts-fringe.org

There doesn't seem to be much Ray Hill hasn't done. After being convicted of participating in a $4 million burglary ring in the '60s, Hill spent more than four years in the Texas prison system. Since being freed from jail, he's enjoyed a career in radio as the founder/producer/host of The Prison Show, became founder and executive director of the First Amendment Lobby of Texas, is the author of Model Transgender Policy for Jails and Prisons, established himself as a leading activist for Houston's gay community, and became a celebrated playwright and performer. It's his theater experience that brings him to the Philly Fringe with his harrowing solo play The Prison Years. Staged first at the Eastern State Penitentiary before moving to the Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival stage on Sansom Street, Prison Years is a series of vignettes recalling Hill's days as a convict. Playing to considerable critical acclaim in Houston, Hill brings to life a grim world of minuscule cells, torturous field labor, casual violence and brutality and widespread corruption. While incarcerated he ran a multimillion-dollar prison construction business and dodged a warden who reportedly wanted him dead. (J. Cooper Robb)


>>THEATER

Squid & Fishy

Wed., Sept. 7 and Fri., Sept. 9, 7pm; Thurs., Sept. 8, 9:30pm. $10. Playground at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St. 215.413.1318. www.livearts-fringe.org

After building a small but devoted cult following with the popular late-night sketch comedy series Saturday Night Special, the appropriately named Madhouse Theater Company is branching out with the East Coast premiere of L.A. playwright Ralph Tropf's Squid & Fishy. The show marks the first time Madhouse has produced a play by a writer other than company co-artistic director John Stanton. Set in New York's Lower East Side during the days when crowds packed CBGB for bands like the Ramones and Television, the play concerns punk rockers Squid and Fishy. The young couple are madly in love and have just fulfilled their dream of owning and operating a thrift store. But then two events occur that throw their lives into turmoil: Squid discovers she's pregnant, and a homeless man with a yearning for parenthood shows up at the thrift store with apparently no intention of leaving. Although director Karen DiLossi promises the production contains plenty of the anything-goes humor that's Madhouse's trademark, she says Squid & Fishy's theme of taking responsibility in an irresponsible world marks a departure from the sketch comedy the comic troupe is known for. (J. Cooper Robb)


>>ART

"The Urban Outsider"

Fri., Sept. 9, 6-8:30pm. Free. Through Oct. 28. Journey Home Community Enrichment Center, 948 N. Eighth St. 215.413.1318. www.journeyhome.org

Each year the Philly Fringe provides a feast of nonstandard theater, performance and dance for those looking for edgy fare. But the visual art component of the Fringe typically pales in comparison with the hot stuff produced by the ladies and gentlemen in the big tents. Carolyn Healy and John Phillips' "Limbic Pentameter," a sculpture, light and sound work at last year's festival, was an exception. This year the fest organizers may have gotten it right-they've included under their umbrella of events a show of art by outsider artists. "The Urban Outsider," an exhibit of more than 100 works by members of Coalition Ingenu and two New York groups-Hospital Audiences Inc. and Fresh Art-could be the perfect visual accompaniment for the high-key theatrics of the Fringe. If you've seen paintings and sculptures made by self-taught artists, you know they're often the wildest, weirdest and most unrefined art in existence. The palette is hot, the materials are raw and the affect comes from the streets, not from something learned in an M.F.A. program. Outsider art is true Fringe art at last. (Roberta Fallon)

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