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Travel through time with the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (kicking off this Thursday, 3/28)

PIFAThe Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts gets underway this Thursday, March 28th and will run through April 27th.  With homebase returning to The Kimmel Center and a new theme of time travel this year, the month-long event will use performances, lectures and exihibitions to explore past moments in history including the discovery of America, the lunar landing and the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Below, check out a few musical highlights that you won’t want to miss, including a selection of free concerts happening in the Kimmel Center’s “Time Travel Plaza” (where you will also find a spiraling time machine).

Last Call at the Downbeat (4/5-4/13, Red Room at the Society Hill Playhouse):  Learn about Philadelphia’s jazz scene in the forties with this staged retrospective of trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.  Watch a short video about the play from show producers Jazz Bridge below.

Prima! Rufus! Judy! (4/21, Verizon Hall): Rufus Wainwright reprises Judy Garland’s return to the stage with selections from her 1961 Carnegie Hall performance.  The evening will begin with excerpts from Wainwright’s own opera Prima Donna.  Watch Wainwright perform “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart” below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals at The Electric Factory, Pomegranates at MilkBoy, Res and Kate Faust at World Cafe Live, Dan Deacon at Union Transfer and Purling Hiss at Johnny Brenda’s

XPN welcomes Grace Potter & The Nocturnals back to Philadelphia for a show at The Electric Factory.  The Vermont-based rock band wowed audiences at Coachella and XPN’s Non-COMMvention earlier this year with Potter’s undeniably charismatic stage presence and the band’s explosive songs.  In June the band released their eighth studio album with The Lion The Beast The Beat.  Tonight, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals perform with The Stepkids.  Tickets are $25 for the all-ages show and doors open at 8:30 p.m.; more information is available here.  Watch the video for “Timekeeper” below.

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Embracing America with Dan Deacon (playing Union Transfer on 11/15)

NYC via Baltimore electronica composer Dan Deacon, after 31 years of life in the United States, has finally become truly “American.”

“The United States was an evil, Earth-destroying monster of war, corporate greed and bigotry. I had been touring for years in the DIY scene, trying to live apart from consumer culture, feeling detached from what I thought of as the American lifestyle,” Deacon writes of his 2007 tour for Spiderman of the Rings. “But when I left for Europe, I was slammed into reality…While it was a beautiful experience and a great tour, I realized that no matter which subculture I chose to identify or what kind of lifestyle I led I would always be American. Nothing could ever change that.”

While travelling for the 2009 stateside Bromst tour, Deacon’s inspiration from his own heritage inspired material for his eighth album, America, which was released in August. Deacon, who is known for commanding crowds with his lively interactive performances, will be playing Thursday at Union Transfer. Tickets and information for the all-ages show are available here; doors open at 7:30. Below, check out Deacon’s creative challenge in the video for “True Thrush” from America.

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R5 Productions team up with local artists for new concert poster series

R5 Productions have called in local artists to contribute to a new poster series for their events.  The Philadelphia Posters Guild will feature at least one new poster each month created by an artist for selected concerts.

The list of currently confirmed artist/concert match-ups includes Thom Lessner for The Dead Milkmen show on Halloween at Union Transfer; Ralph Stollenwerk for Sword’s show at Union Transfer on November 13th;  Bonnie Brenda Scott for Dan Deacon’s show at Union Transfer on November 15th; Neil Burke for Om/Dan Higgs at Johnny Brenda’s on November 23rd; and JP Flexner for The Hold Steady’s show at Union Transfer on December 29th, with more to be announced.

From the Guild’s website:

Philadelphia Poster Guild project is an effort to merge local artists, musicians, & venues to create quality, affordable art for the masses. With a little luck, one or more posters will be released each month. These posters will be available at selected R5 shows for a fair price. They will also be available online for a reasonable price as well, shipped in a sturdy tube. Proceeds from this project will benefit local artists, musicians, and a few select non-profits. Support your local artists…they will reciprocate. More details to follow.

Images of the posters will posted on the Guild’s website, and you check out a full list of involved artists here.

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Tonight’s Dan Deacon performance at Starlight Ballroom canceled, Lightning Bolt to play with Yacht at First Unitarian Church

This just in from the folks over at The Swollen Fox, who got the scoop directly from Dan Deacon’s Facebook page.

Original Post: 1:36 PM
According to a post on his Facebook, Dan Deacon is not performing tonight at the Starlight Ballroom due to illness. That leaves Lightning Bolt and Ed Schrader’s Music Beat as the whole lineup. Tickets are still available HERE and are $12. Here’s what he had to say:

“philly: some bad news. it pains me to tell you i will not be performing at tonights show at the starlight. i’m too sick to perform. i’m the most bummed as both the other bands are two of my favorite bands in the world and its been so long since i played a show in philadelphia. i’m sorry. i wish i wasn’t feeling so shitty. at least now lightning bolt can play twice as long!”

UPDATE: 3:06 PM
With the news that Light Asylum (who was supposed to open for Yacht at the Church) had to cancel as well, R5 Productions has decided to combine the two shows. That means Yacht, Lightning Bolt, Jeffrey Jerusalem, and Ed Schrader are all now at the First Unitarian Church tonight. Tickets for both shows will be honored, and if you want a refund you can contact sean(at)r5productions.com. Check out all the info HERE.

Thanks to The Swollen Fox for the heads up. (And, if you haven’t read our interview with YACHT already, you can find it here.)