Tonight: Janelle Monae, Johnny Brenda’s, $12, 21+ A few awesome things about Janelle Monae: 1. Her music. 2. Her hair. 3. Her history of collaborations with Outkast. 4. Her HAIR. Even though she’s got roots in the midwest, her music sounds anything but cornfed. Bump along with her upbeat singles “Cold War” and “Tightrope” and let her hip-hoppy, soul and R&B infused style sweep you off your feet. There’s really nothing else to say — the woman is perfect.
Saturday, 3/20: Magik Markers with Queening, the Love Club and Social Junk, Danger Danger Gallery, $10, All Ages Magik Markers, a noise duo from Hartford, have gained notoriety and quite a bit of buzz in the past few years — they come endorsed by the First Couple of noisy rock music, Kim Deal and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. Venture west to see them in the best possible environment: a good old-fashioned house show.
Saturday, 3/20: Black Lips, Johnny Brenda’s, $15, 21+ Blues, bluegrass, and jangly rock come together to form Black Lips, the Atlanta-based act that has recently developed an extremely devoted following. It’s well deserved, too, since these guys have been through a lot together — this year marks their 10th anniversary as a group. The administrators who threw them out of high school for posing a post-Columbine “threat” to the student body through music must be kicking themselves now.
Tuesday, 3/23: Surf City with Bachelorette, Kung Fu Necktie, $10, 21+ Do you already long to return to the warm and sunny locales of spring break 2k10? Surf City will take you there. True to their faux-surfing heritage, they keep things just up-tempo enough without crossing out of their decidedly static-y territory. Listen closely for tinges of Sonic Youth and the Jesus and Mary Chain, but like, fun.
Now — 3/21: Dance With Camera, Institute of Contemporary Art, Free Catch this landmark exhibition, now in its final week, which features work that exists at the intersection of dance and visual art. Artists use editing and the limitations of the camera to create dance pieces that could never be realized in reality and transform some unlikely figures into dancers in their own right. Artists on view include Eleanor Antin, Charles Atlas, Bruce Nauman, Tacita Dean and more.
Now — 5/30: Public Treasures/Private Visions: Hudson River School Masterworks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Private Collections, PAFA, $8 with Student ID Lucky for us here in Philadelphia, the Metropolitan Museum of Art owes a big one to PAFA. In exchange for a group of works PAFA will be lending them, the Met has shipped down a group of exquisite Hudson River School paintings. These works, which almost never leave New York, depict the vastness and diversity of the American landscape as seen in the 18th century and are a must-see for aficianados of American art.
Now — 4/3: Gnadiges Fraulein, The Adrienne Theater Second Stage, $20 Tennessee Williams never really seemed like the kind of guy who would coin a genre called “slapstick tragedy,” but he described his Gnadiges Fraulein as just that. The play (whose title translates to “Gracious Lady”) is difficult to summarize, mostly for the fact that it’s so surreal, but here’s a taste — the main character is dealing with the fallout of being kicked out of her Vaudeville act for upstaging a seal by catching a fish in her own mouth. She has to earn her keep by fishing in a tutu for the rest of the play. Shockingly, the play only ran 7 times during its original production. Sign us up!
Now — 4/18: Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins, The Philadelphia Theatre Company. $10 student rush tickets, or $46-59 Famed eighties femme-fatale Kathleen Turner will grace the stage in a world premiere one-woman show celebrating the life and times of the “unsinkable” Molly Ivins. The play, written by twin sisters Margaret and Allison Engel, depicts the sassy (and irrestibly bawdy) Texan journalist’s attempts to cut down the “good ol’ boys” and support her liberal causes. If the play has any hint of its main character’s wit and famously sharp-tongue, it’s bound to be a raucous good time.