All you really need to celebrate 4/20—the holiest of weed holidays—is a few friends to puff with, some soft grass to lay on and, of course, some primo vegetation to inhale. Actually, though nice, the friends and the soft grass are optional. But if you’re looking for something a touch more “formal” to help mark the day, there’s a few things going on around town. Note: Some of these events are on the down-low, so you might have to do a bit of extra work on your own to get all the details.
Is there a more perfectly named band for today’s festivities than Gangstagrass? The New York City combo blends bluegrass textures (banjo, fiddle and dobro) with raw hip-hop beats, scratching and the dynamic, emotional flow of Bronx rapper T.O.N.E-z. It’s actually a lot better, and a lot less gimmicky, than you might imagine. And you’ve probably already heard at least one of their tunes—“Long Hard Times to Come” is the (Emmy-nominated) theme to the FX series Justified . We can picture fans of stoner-favorite G. Love being way into these guys.
8pm, $8. M Room, 15 W. Girard Ave. 215.739.5577. mroomphilly.com
Wooden Shoe Books
Over at Philly’s awesomely radical/anarchist, volunteer-run bookstore Wooden Shoe, things seem to start with Noam Chomsky and go progressively more left from there. In other words, don’t expect to find W.’s Decision Points on sale (unless there’s a copy with the word “dickhead” scrawled on every page). Wooden Shoe is always a presence at PhillyNORML’s annual Cannabis March down South Street, and the local chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws tells us they plan to send someone over to Wooden Shoe sometime today to celebrate 4/20 by educating your baked ass about various weed issues. Call Wooden Shoe to make sure that it’s still on (c’mon, you know anarchists don’t always stick to plans and schedules), and what time that’s going down (don’t just assume it starts at 4:20 p.m.).
Wooden Shoe Books, 704 South St. 215.413.0999. woodenshoebooks.com
?uestlove at Drinker's
If Roots drummer ?uestlove is indeed a weed head—and mind you, we have no visual proof that he is—he singlehandedly puts to rest the stereotype that stoners are lazy and unproductive. Dude’s got Fallon, Roots tours, session work, ’fro maintenance, and more on his plate, and yet he manages to squeeze in DJ gigs, such as tonight’s high holiday hometown appearance, on a regular basis. He’ll spin for four hours tonight, and we can’t imagine he’ll get through the night without playing Sly & the Family Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher.”
10pm, $10 (free with student ID). Drinker’s West, 3900 Chestnut St. 215.397.4693. drinkerswest215.com
Whenever the Fightins are in action at home on 4/20, it’s practically a tradition for tailgaters to toke up together in the parking lots outside the Bank (and the Vet before that) to celebrate the occasion. Just one problem this year: Cliff Lee is scheduled to start against the Milwaukee Brewers in this early afternoon affair, and if he tosses a complete game shutout in about two hours (as we fully expect him to do), you’ll be outta there well before 4:20.
Phillies vs. Brewers, 1:05pm. Citizens Bank Park.
Rasta Reality International
Empress and the good folks at Philly’s Rasta Reality International have been promoting Rasta culture, vibes, food, music and more for ages, and they’re behind a 4/20 all-day/all-night spectacular out in West Philly that starts at 3 p.m., runs until 4:20 a.m., and is set to feature tons of local bands, including jam-groovers Flux Capacitor and reggae-roots outfit I Yahn I Arkestra. This is one of those sorta-secret celebrations, but we hear that it’s happening at a compound near the park that shares a name with a certain downtown New York City district. Just sniff around…you’ll find it.
3pm, Free. West Philadelphia.
NORML has long considered the widespread acceptance of medical marijuana the clearest path to its ultimate goal—across-the-board legalization of marijuana—so getting a medical marijuana law passed in Pennsylvania is a priority for the PhillyNORML crew. But there was nary a mention of one of the most persuasive arguments out there—one recently adopted by NORML—for the end of marijuana prohibition: That legalization can and should be looked at as a civil rights issue.
To many inside the criminal justice and pro-legalization arenas, the racial disparity in Philadelphia's pot arrests is nothing short of an ongoing conspiracy. And a look into the policies and practices behind marijuana prohibition reveals a scheme in which weed culture is supported by the very agencies charged with eliminating it.