As the election draws near, political conversations of all types abound, and what better place to start such a conversation than the cradle of liberty? Ann Coulter will be in town discussing her new book Mugged Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama, in which she asserts white liberals have skewed and hijacked the black civil-rights movement by focusing on issues such as feminism, gay rights and immigrant rights. Talk Radio 1210 host Chris Stigall will be hosting the event, and no doubt employing his background in comedy writing and politics to keep things entertaining. The ticket price includes a copy of Coulter’s book. Attendees of all political persuasions will likely leave with something new to talk about. —Nikki Black
Thu., Oct. 25, 7 p.m., $35, National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St., 215-409-6700, constitutioncenter.org.
THE DARK ARTS IN THE DARK AGES
Bryn Mawr professor and historian Elly R. Truitt will give a presentation with illustrations on the so-called alchemists, witches and sorcerers of the Dark Ages, a time when science and magic seemed so alike that the former was often mistaken for the latter. Truitt, who has a Ph.D. in the history of science from Harvard and a degree in medieval history from Cambridge, will examine the strange reputations for demon-friendliness and magic acquired by many scientists and philosophers of the era, a curious assortment of historical individuals like Gerbert of Aurillac (in illustration, lower left), a pope who promoted Arabic mathematics and science and was rumored to have sold his soul to Satan for sorcerous powers; Gerard of York, a reform-minded archbishop and student of astrology who got a rep for being a necromancer; and Albertus Magnus, a theologian who wanted to bridge Christian faith and scientific thought and, rumor had it, discovered the philosopher’s stone. —Elizabeth Gunto
Thu., Oct. 25, 530 p.m., $5-$10, Wagner Free Institute of Science, 1700 W. Montgomery Ave., 215-763-6529, wagnerfreeinstitute.org.
Long before Edward wooed Bella, Barnabas squired around Collins Wood or Anne Rice’s reporter interviewed Louis de Pointe du Lac, there was Dracula, the most famous vampire of them all. The guy truly is eternal, and he also happens to be darn light on his feet, as you’ll see when Brandywine Ballet presents Nancy Page’s Dracula. This one’s got great costumes, cool set design, an emotional music score and doomed forbidden love — all of which makes for a splendid ballet production. Brandywine had a hit on its hands the last time they brought this one to light, and they’re counting on the count again, with lead principals Tim Early and Hannah Telthorster reprising their roles as Dracula and Elisabeta/Mina in this fun show with a bit of a bite. —Deni Kasrel
Fri., Oct. 26, 10 a.m. and 730 p.m., and Sat. Oct. 27, 730 p.m., $25-$40, Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, West Chester University, 700 S. High St., West Chester, 610-696-2711, brandywineballet.org.
STOKER'S DRACULA: A SOLO TALE OF TERROR
Here’s another take on the count Local actor Josh Hitchens’ smart, intimate adaptation of the 1897 novel, making the original tale fresh. Hitchens has performed his acclaimed 75-minute solo project, directed by Ken Jordan, at the Ebenezer Maxwell Anderson Victorian Theatre, Elfreth’s Alley, the Rosenbach Museum, in the SoLow and Philly Fringe festivals and in private homes, too. Hitchens was inspired by another successful one-man adaptation of popular literature — Curio Theatre Company co-founder Jared Reed’s extraordinary A Christmas Carol. Now, Hitchens’ own version of Dracula opens Curio’s new basement performance space with late-night shows on Friday and Saturday and 8 p.m. performances on Monday and Halloween night. —Mark Cofta
Fri., Oct. 26-Wed., Oct. 31, $15, Calvary Center, 4740 Baltimore Ave., 215-525-1350, curiotheatre.org.
PUNK ROCK HALLOWEEN PROM
Frankenstein and his bride finally will have a chance to take some corny posed pictures Goldilocks Gallery is throwing their first annual punk-rock prom with a Halloween twist, with attendees encouraged to costume up for prom, Halloween or both. As will be happening all over the city this weekend, several local bands and performers will be doing cover sets as unlikely-to-be-playing-a-prom groups like Joy Division, Nirvana, Björk, The Pixies, No Doubt, Weezer and The Cure. (While the bands are not required to dress up, this could be a rare opportunity for Ian Curtis and a cross-dressing Gwen Stefani to be named prom king and queen.) The all-ages show will have jugglers and musicians performing between sets, as well as projections of classic high-school horror flicks. —David Spelman
Fri., Oct. 26, 9 p.m., $5-$6, Goldilocks Gallery, 723 Chestnut St., 215-432-8564.
DAY OF THE DEAD
Every day’s a day of the dead at the Mütter Museum, home of dearly departed medical oddities like the body of a 19th-century woman who turned almost entirely into soap. Appropriately, then, the museum hosts an annual festival paying tribute to the Día de los Muertos. This year’s all-day event will feature a talk by Mexican-American Philadelphian Sandra Telep and a reception with traditional food and drink, like pan de muerto and cinnamon rice milk. Attendees will also be invited to make paper flowers for an ofrenda and decorate sugar-skull cookies … with plenty of actual skulls around for inspiration. —Jess Bergman
Sat., Oct. 27, 10 a.m-5 p.m., $15, Mütter Museum, 19 S. 22nd St., 215-563-3737, collegeofphysicians.org/mutter-museum.
SUGAR TOWN HALLOWEEN
Once again demonstrating that lady-fronted music is about more than sex appeal, Sugar Town returns with a haunting Halloween lineup headlined by Philly natives Rainbow Destroyer, the undead pop duo of zombies Rainbeaux Bite and Brian Reignbow (pictured). Taking inspiration from the dark streets of Philadelphia, KeN fuses a love of alcohol, an unlikely collection of performers, and math rock into a unique blend of loud. PS XO attacks the ears by driving the dissonance of The Shaggs to new depths with an overload of effects pedals and samples. All guests dressed in costume or a holding a Dinosaur Jr. ticket stub enjoy a discounted admission. —Andrew Wimer
Sat., Oct. 27, 11 p.m., $8, Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., 215-291-4919, kungfunecktie.com.
After being bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey, a young man’s mother dies, comes back to life and starts eating animals. And neighbors. And pretty much anyone or anything that gets in her way. That’s Dead Alive, touted by some as the goriest movie of all time, which is the final entry in Dock Street’s “Month of Horror” screening series. This movie has just about everything a horror-film buff could hope for, including a kung-fu priest, zombies and the line “Your mother ate my dog!” If that’s somehow not appealing, Dock Street also has draft beer specials during the screening. —Catherine Haas
Tue., Oct. 30, 8 p.m., free, Dock Street Brewing Co., 701 S. 50th St., 215-726-2337, dockstreetbeer.com.
MEME COSTUME CONTEST
The Geekadelphia blog and co-working space Indy Hall have partnered up for the past four years of Halloweens on ultra-nerdy costume parties; this year, their theme for the fifth annual Indyhalloween is memes. Eric Smith of Geekadelphia is hoping some Envirokidz cereal box characters show up, while Alex Hillman of Indy Hall is looking forward to a bunch of Overly Attached Girlfriends. The main event of the night is, of course, the costume contest, but expect a twist in the judging It may be judged with Reddit-style “upvote” stickers distributed throughout the party. Meanwhile, Tattooed Mom will be serving up “Insanity Wolf” bourbon/gin cocktails. —Nikki Black
Wed., Oct. 31, 7 p.m., free, Tattooed Mom, 530 South St., 215-238-9880, tattooedmomphilly.com.
ROCKY HORROR PUPPET SHOW
There’s a light, over at the … Sesame Place? Director Amanda Sylvester, Sean Glass and Gloaming Productions — the minds who brought you this summer’s Hungry the Musical, about an invasion of flesh-eating alien plants — have put a new spin on Rocky Horror. Taking inspiration from sources like Siouxsie Sioux and Man Ray, this is a darker, new wave adaptation of Richard O’Brien’s original campy cult classic, with 100 percent more puppets. See Frank and company like never before in what promises to be one of a select few live performances of Rocky Horror featuring titillating human-on-puppet action this Halloween season. —Jess Bergman
Wed., Oct. 31-Sat., Nov. 3, 8 p.m., $15, RUBA Club, 414 Green St., 215-627-9831, facebook.com/rubaclub.
PHILADELPHIA POSTER GUILD/DEAD MILKMEN
The Dead Milkmen Halloween show at Union Transfer also serves as the first subject in a series of show posters from the Philadelphia Poster Guild, a nonprofit collective of local artists, venues and musicians. (The venue isn’t surprising, given that Sean Agnew’s on PPG’s board.) Guild members like pizza muralist Hawk Krall, several Awesome Dudes, Print Liberationists, Space 1026ers and two Dufala brothers will be involved. “Having great tangible poster art for a live event is parallel to a terrific album cover,” says spokesman Rodger Binyone, of Wicked Wanderer. —A.D. Amorosi
Wed., Oct. 31, 8 p.m. $22-$25, Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., 215-232-2100, utphilly.com.
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