Under the Radar: Purity Ring, Cat Power, Chinese New Year, ‘Assistance’

Under the Radar for the week of Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013.

Purity Ring
Jan. 29
Doors 8 P.M., Show 8:30 P.M.
Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St.

Canadian synth-pop duo Purity Ring has dedicated most of the month to almost incessant touring, and Jan. 29 will be no exception. Although the two were first members of a larger band Born Gold, one half of the duo, Corin Roddick, began experimenting with electronic beat-making and after asking band mate Megan James to sing on a track, Purity Ring was formed. Since then, they’ve gathered a considerable amount of critical attention and a debut album, “Shrines,” released last year. During concerts, the band creates a unique visual setup, from often wearing costumes that Roddick sewed himself to using a custom-made instrument that Roddick syncs with songs to flash light when a certain sound is played. The atmosphere is set with large cocoon-shaped bulbs that dangle from the ceiling throughout the performance. Before Purity Ring takes the stage, the show is scheduled to begin with the Brooklyn-based electronic group Young Magic.

Cat Power
Jan. 30, 8:30 P.M.
Electric Factory, 421 N. 7th St.

Despite spending the past year battling bankruptcy and an unpredictable skin disease, Chan Marshall, better known as Cat Power, is coming to Philly in support of her newest album, “Sun.” Cat Power’s shows are infamously similar to the music she’s been making since she began in the early 1990s — fragile, erratic, often bleak, yet unwaveringly earnest. “Sun,” released in September 2012, differs from her previous work in favor of a more upbeat, bold and almost dance-friendly sound, though it didn’t begin that way. After beginning work on the record in 2007, Marshall said during an interview with Pitchfork, “I was writing all these really slow guitar songs, and my friend said, ‘This is like depressing old Cat Power,’ which made me feel like I got shot. I didn’t work for eight months after that.” She added that the rest of the process was filled with the trial and error that goes along with experimentation, as Marshall tried to turn her ideas into songs. The album was met with generally positive reviews and appeared on year-end best of lists by NPR, Los Angeles Times and Billboard. Philly will be the last of the U.S. dates.

Chinese New Year Celebration
Feb. 2
11 A.M. – 4 P.M.
Free with museum admission
Penn Museum, 3260 South St.

As the year of the dragon ends and the year of the snake commences on Feb. 10, the Penn Museum is hosting its 32nd Annual Chinese New Year Celebration. Attendees can learn about how the Lunar New Year is celebrated in Asia through entertainment and education. Events include a Kung Fu demonstration, a performance by a dance team from the Greater Philadelphia Minghui School, a lecture on the art of Feng Shui, a calligraphy workshop, crafts and a Ba’z Tai Chi demonstration. There will also be live performances using traditional Chinese instruments with a discussion on the country’s musical history, storytelling of Chinese folk tales and more. The day culminates with the grand finale ancient lion dance, with dancers and drummers from Cheung’s Academy in Chinatown. The performers will begin in the museum’s Harrison Auditorium and wind their way through the main entrance into the Warden Garden. The dance is even said to bring good luck to the incoming year.

Now – Feb. 3
Student discount available
Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad St.

Whether one has had a job or not, many know the familiar office scene: ambitious young adults driving themselves crazy as they try to climb the corporate ladder, while dealing with the politics and often infuriating bosses that come with it. This is the inspiration for the Off-Broadway comedy, “Assistance,” by playwright Leslye Headland and director David Kennedy. The play features Nick and Nora, two young, career-driven employees with a nightmarish boss at a Manhattan headquarters. While the office thrives with volatile competition, pushing some forward and leaving others in the dust, the two continue to be oblivious to anything but the lure of success. The play is part of Headland’s “Seven Deadly Sins,” series, with “Assistance” representing greed. After another Headland’s works, “Bachelorette,” turned into a film. NBC announced its plan to bring “Assistance” to television, produced by comedian Will Ferrell. On Feb. 1, two days before the play’s end at Wilma, a free wine tasting will be held before the show from 7-8 p.m.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.