Sep. 30 - Nov. 03 , Media Theatre , $25-$42
Teenage boys who can’t help but sing whenever they see a can of Spam discovered the joys of musical theater when this mash-up of Monty Python’s films (mostly The Holy Grail) and some of their other film-and-TV-show sketches and songs won a Tony in 2005. Suddenly, a peculiar niche of nerd humor became mainstream, and we all crawled out of our parents’ basements to proclaim that we knew the British absurdist comedy troupe was great before you did. The Media Theatre’s production...
Nov. 01 , 10 p.m. , Underground Arts , $7
The Tropicalismo Mundial guys turn it up for a Day of the Dead-themed event featuring Latin club music ranging from traditional roots styles to modern electronic like cumbia sonidera and other global bass vibes. Resident DJs Juanderful and Gregzinho will be joined by guest toaster El Sabor del Barrio to help maximize the booty-shaking. There’s also gonna be a traditional altar where they’ll give away pan de muerto (bread of the dead) and attendees can post pictures of lost...
Oct. 31 - Nov. 09 , Luna Theater , $15-$25
Luna Theater opens its new space just off South Street with Anthony Burgess’ stage adaptation of his 1962 novel, perhaps best known via Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film. Gregory Scott Campbell’s production is going for those not familiar with either. The teenagers among the many characters speak “Nadsat,” Burgess’ artfully fabricated Anglo-Russian-Cockney-slang patois, so keep the program glossary handy. Burgess, a linguist, is nearly Shakespearean in his cleverness with words — for...
Oct. 31 - Nov. 10 , Theatre Exile , $20-$40
I doubt I need to tell you this, but Cock is not about a rooster. No, playwright Mike Bartlett's comedy-drama is the story of fraught sexual triangle. The ballsy title suggests there will not be much beating around the bush (OK, I'll stop now), but in the end, Cock is surprisingly tame. Read the full review.
Nov. 01 - Dec. 01 , Muse Gallery , Free
Nancy Kress swears she’s not judging you. But her paintings in the exhibit “Connected Disconnect” might make you feel bad anyway. While traveling across Italy by train, she sketched commuters who were wholly absorbed in their iPhones and iPads. Their absolute detachment from the outside world borders on being unhealthy, even unsafe. Kress later converted the pieces into busy, earth-toned paintings, which pair nicely with her chunky, semi-abstract landscapes also on display at Muse.
Nov. 01 - Nov. 23 , Cerulean Arts , Free
Kathranne Knight’s pretty, minimalist drawings reveal just how little an artist has to do to successfully portray an image. Her abstract pieces in the “Reverberance” exhibit are almost entirely made up of mere lines, yet they strongly suggest mountains, seas and grasses. Knight says the tendency to see complex images in her drawings, like imagining faces in clouds, reflects something deeply rooted in humans.
Nov. 01 - Nov. 30 , Indy Hall , Free
Thomas Buildmore’s spray paintings of flowers are drippy, pop-inspired delights that draw from Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock. Buildmore develops them from memory, not by observing petunias or dandelions. That process can be unpredictable. “The works are about control, and also the lack thereof,” he says. “I think that’s what keeps me coming back. They are exciting to make, and maybe that transcends a little bit to how they are viewed.” He hopes the works create a dialogue with...
Oct. 31 - Dec. 29 , Institute of Contemporary Art , Free
It’s possible to enjoy the work of artist Jason Rhoades for the experiential nature of it — shut down your brain and enjoy a chaotic-looking, well-constructed mess without trying to puzzle out what it means. It can be purely entertaining to look, listen and interact without wondering about the “why” behind it all. But the Institute of Contemporary Art’s “Jason Rhoades, Four Roads” — the first major U.S. survey of Rhoades’ work — steers you toward “why.” And once...
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Sep. 12 - Dec. 29 , Philadelphia Art Alliance , $5
The Philadelphia Art Alliance’s fall centerpiece exhibition explores the roles of family, collaboration, fabrication and the passage of time in a site-specific setting, taking up the entirety of PAA’s interior space as well as the roof and exterior. Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen: “The Way of Chopsticks,” on view Sept. 12 to Dec. 29, 2013, and supported by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, investigates domestic, cultural and generational environments literally, through found objects,...
Oct. 24 - Nov. 02 , Calvary Center , $25
Many issues about producing Shakespeare divide people into two camps, and one of the thorniest is faithfulness to the Bard's intent: One side believes in following historical and stage tradition, the other asserts that interpretive innovation helps make difficult plays accessible and familiar scripts fresh. I'm resolutely in the latter category, so I welcome Curio Theatre's "lesbian" Romeo and Juliet, in which a woman (Rachel Gluck) plays Romeo not as a pants role, but as an actual female...
Oct. 25 - Nov. 07 , Ritz Five
The most painful portrait in Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave, based on the true story of criminally enslaved freeman Solomon Northup, is one of its stillest. Noosed to a low-hanging tree branch after scrapping with cruel overseer Tibeats (Paul Dano), Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) struggles to draw breath, his mud-dug tiptoes the only force preventing his trachea from being crushed. All the while, McQueen's staid wide shot reveals Northup's fellow slaves in the background, dilly-dallying...
Oct. 25 - Nov. 08 , Ritz East
J.C. Chandor’s 2011 debut, Margin Call, took an incisive look at the moral bankruptcy of the banking industry, but was hobbled by its tendency to sit back while actors chewed on page after page of expository dialogue. That makes his follow-up all the more surprising: Aside from a brief opening narration, a few desperate cries for help and a single explosive expletive, Robert Redford remains resolutely silent throughout By Shaun Brady
Oct. 31 - Nov. 17 , Power Plant Productions , $20-$45
If taking a leisurely walk down a garden path tends to put you more in touch with your senses, then you can relate to Nichole Canuso’s The Garden. Of those who partake of this piece, Canuso says: “Ideally, they’re able to come out of the other side feeling a little more open, more connected to their surroundings and their bodies.” Be advised that this is strictly an urban garden, and not even a green one — the performance happens in the basement of Power Plant Productions in...
Oct. 31 - Nov. 10 , Adrienne Theater , $32-$38
Searing and provocative, or pretentious and gimmicky? You'll have to decide for yourselves about Jackie Sibblies Drury's We Are Proud to Present. I'm more in the latter camp than the former, but there's no doubt it's a show that will have audiences talking—and InterAct's production, beautifully staged by Pironne Yousefzadeh and well-acted across the board, makes a good argument for the piece. We Are Proud is a play about making a play—the plot deals with a group of performers...
Nov. 01 - Nov. 07 , Ritz at the Bourse
[Grade: A-] Director Jason Osder constructed his film entirely from stock footage and the result is like living through those horrific, city-scarring events in real time, framed by the televised hearings of a special commission convened to examine how a confrontation between police and a tiny but determined political organization ended with 11 dead and an entire block of row houses burned to the ground. Read the...
Nov. 01 , 8:30 p.m. , First Unitarian Church , $15
Sometimes to get weird, you’ve gotta get a little less weird. And if you’re a Sacramento-based time-signature prankster trio, maybe that means embracing traditional pop structure — at least just a little bit. X’ed Out (Sargent House) finds Tera Melos toning down all the schizophrenic tangents and zigzags that made Patagonian Rats an impressive demonstration of sonic control to some and kind of unlistenable to others, but it’s unmistakably Tera Melos. Their DNA —...