Some kind of clown There are clowns. There are actors. There are dancers. There are acrobats. And then there is

Bill Irwin

, who combines it all to inhabit a corner of the theatrical world all his own. In his work

The Happiness Lecture

, commissioned by

the Philadelphia Theater Company

, the winner of a MacArthur "genius" grant looks at the nature of dreams and the meaning of performance - with special attention paid to pratfalls and a liberal use of puppets and funny hats. We can't imagine anything more true to the general experience of life. The comedy, featuring an all-star cast of local performers, including

Nicole Canuso


Jennifer Childs

, goes on at 3 p.m. today at

the Suzanne Roberts Theatre

, Broad and Lombard Streets, and continues on a Tuesday- through-Sunday schedule to June 15. Tickets are $46 to $58. Call 215-985-0420.


Scandinavian designs From Denmark, two experimental bands taking skewed approaches to chamber pop: the sensational


works the dramatic, tribal-ritual, big-band celestial-choir route, while the equally compelling quintet


takes an avant-jazz path, breaking up its gemlike tunes into pieces and reassembling the shards into operatic collages. The two team on their first U.S. tour with a stop at 8 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church Sanctuary, 2125 Chestnut St. Tickets are $12. Call 267-765-5210. . . . Finland's

Kemialliset Ystävät

(it means

Chemical Friends

) is a one-man musical collective composed of Jan Anderzén, who purveys a trippy electronica. He plays on a four-band bill at 9 p.m. at

Johnny Brenda's

, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. Tickets are $10. Call 215-739-9684.


Smart folk Singer and clawhammer banjo virtuoso

Abigail Washburn

fronts the

Sparrow Quartet

, playing straight-on, old-time country classics with a Bartok beat (and, yes, that's

Bela Fleck

up there as part of the band). They play at 8 p.m. at the

Sellersville Theater 1894

, Main Street and Temple Avenue, Sellersville. Tickets are $29.50. Call 215-257-5808.


Movement art The intriguing mix of dance and art


concludes with choreographers

Michele Tantoco


Liza Clark

exploring the experimental prints of

Rebecca Gilbert

and mixed media works by

Virginia Batson

, with music by violinist

Katt Hernandez.

The performance is at 8 p.m. at

NEXUS Foundation for Today's Art

, Crane Arts Building, 1400 N. American St. Admission is free. Call 215-684-1946.


Sophomoric hijinks Remember how you and your friends used to goof around in the hall at the dorm and you thought it was so funny you could take it on the road? It wasn't, and you couldn't. But the Muhlenberg College guys who make up the improv sketch group

Fun With Eggs

are a different story. They're hysterical. The octet has drifted into different theatrical milieus post-academia, but they reunite for shows at

the Playground at the Adrienne

, 2030 Sansom St., at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and 8:30 and 11 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $10. Call 631-833-5763.

Far out Our favorite psychedelic jammers

Bardo Pond

team with the similarly inclined Tokyo outfit

Suishou No Fune

at 9 p.m. at the Khyber, 56 S. Second St. Tickets are $8. Call 215-238-5888.

Friday & Saturday

The art of love Gilbert and Sullivan's


may not be their most well-known work. But the tale of a milkmaid caught in the feud of an ostentatiously aesthetic poet and another, even more histrionic bard neatly skewers the pretensions of art.

The Savoy Company

performs the work at

the Academy of Music

, Broad and Locust Streets, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $10 to $52. Call 215-735-7161. (The company will also perform the operetta at

Longwood Gardens

, Route 1, Kennett Square, at 8:30 p.m. June 13 and 14. Tickets are $25.)

World beat An unlikely mix of jazz, gypsy rhythms and Polish folk, singer

Grazyna Auguscik

is a transcendent performer. She sings at

Chris' Jazz Cafe

, 1421 Sansom St., at 8 and 10 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $15 per set. Call 215-568-3131.

Getting it together Inspired by John Zerzan's essay about the norming of psychosis in everyday life "The Mass Psychology of Misery" and Malcolm Gladwell's theory that popular culture trends develop in the same way as epidemics,

The Tipping Point

is a collaborative dance and theater project that also includes an interactive public forum on these ideas. The performance features

Jodi Netzer and the Conscious Collective

, an ad hoc ensemble formed on the principle that performance is not limited by age or experience. The event happens at the

Community Education Center,

3500 Lancaster Ave., at 7 p.m. Saturday and next Sunday. Tickets are $10 to $25. Call 215-387-1911. . . .

Flashpoints/Unbreakable Objects

is a double bill of theater and video:


is a collaborative play using poetry, puppets and everyday objects. The work was created over a 10-week period by participants in a workshop run by performance artist and poet Regie Cabico.


is a video collage created by filmmakers led by Anula Shetty of Termite TV Collective. The program goes on at

the Asian Arts Initiative's

Salon Space, 1223 Vine St., at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $8 to $12. Call 215-557-0455.

American music The polemical country singer

James McMurtry

gets to the roots on his provocative songs. He plays at

World Cafe Live

, 3025 Walnut St., at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $20. Call 215-222-1400. . . . Mandolin genius

Ricky Skaggs

teams with pianist

Bruce Hornsby

at the

Kimmel Center's

Verizon Hall, Broad and Spruce Streets, at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $55 and $65. Call 215-790-7171.

A complete guide to events in the region over the coming weekend will appear in the Weekend section in Friday's Inquirer. Send notices of events for "7 Days" to Michael Harrington at