Action-packed Author

Duane Swierczynski

combines two of our favorite genres in his writing. In novels such as the new

Severance Package

(in which office workers engage in a deadly scramble), he engages in high-concept, hard-boiled thrillers. In his work as a comic-book scribe (



Immortal Iron Fist

), he carries on the great tradition of Ditko, Kirby and Lee. In the interactive

Batman: Murder at Wayne Manor

, he combines both comics and noir. To top it off, he's the author of

The Big Book o' Beer

. Swierczynski reads at 6 p.m. at


, 1508 South St. Admission is free. Call 215-545-0475.

Theater greats They don't make 'em like Thornton Wilder anymore - a winner of the Pulitzer Prize as both a novelist and a playwright. His portrait of the human community,

Our Town

, gets a distinctive production by the

Arden Theatre Company

, using the 17th-century neighbor next door,

Christ Church

, as a setting for the wedding scene in Act II (and giving theatergoers a chance to stretch their legs). The production goes on at 2 and 7 p.m. today at the company's theater, 40 N. Second St., and continues on a Tuesday-through-Sunday schedule to June 22. Tickets are $27 to $45. Call 215-922-1122. . . . Harold Arlen and E.Y. "Yip" Harburg are famed for the songs from the film

The Wizard of Oz

, but are less well-known for their work on Broadway. Originally written with calypso king Harry Belafonte in mind, the 1957 show


tells the tale of a Caribbean island dealing with the encroachments of modern life. A production reconstructed from the original work notes goes on at 3 p.m. today at the

Prince Music Theater

, 1412 Chestnut St., and continues on a Tuesday-through-Sunday schedule to June 22. Tickets are $40 and $55. Call 215-569-9700.


Classic jazz The sensational singer

Lauren Lark

has a cut-glass vocal clarity, a sure swinging style, and a smart, straight-ahead approach to the music. She performs at 8 p.m. at

Chris' Jazz Cafe

, 1421 Sansom St. Tickets are $8; $5 for students. Call 215-568-3131.


The enchafèd flood In her fantastic charcoal seascapes, artist

Kate Davis Caldwell

captures the sublime, ephemeral power of the breaking waves. An exhibit of her works is at the

Bridgette Mayer Gallery

, 709 Walnut St., to July 19. Admission is free. Call 215-413-8893.


American music The fine pianist

Leon Bates

plays a wide-ranging recital of works by American composers Edward MacDowell, Samuel Barber, Pat Metheny, Billy Strayhorn and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson at 7 p.m. at the

Woodmere Art Museum

, 9201 Germantown Ave. Tickets are $5. Call 215-247-0476.

Magnificent passion Even on film, Wagner's operas are pretty impressive, and his medieval romance

Tristan und Isolde

is the composer at the peak of powers. The film of a La Scala production conducted by Wagner specialist Daniel Barenboim screens at 7 p.m. at

the Bryn Mawr Film Institute

, 824 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr. Tickets are $8.75. Call 610-527-9898.


A cartoon life In her comics,

Lynda Barry

catches the fleeting profundity that underlies the vagaries of life. Oh, and it's funny stuff, too. Her new book

What It Is

mixes drawings and collage into a memoir and guide to creative expression. She discusses her work at 7 p.m. at the

Free Library's

Montgomery Auditorium, 19th and Vine Streets. Admission is free. Call 215-567-4341.

Dance dance The estimable

Group Motion Dance Company

performs works by Manfred Fischbeck, Silvana Cardell, Laine Fischbeck, Olive Prince, and Kun-Yang Lin at

the Arts Bank

, 601 S. Broad St., at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Tickets are $20; $15 seniors and students. Call 215-387-9895. . . . The

Paul Taylor Dance Company

performs works by its namesake at

the Annenberg Center's

Zellerbach Theatre, 3680 Walnut St., at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $29 to $46. Call 215-898-3900.

Distinctive voices The luminous Karin Bergquist is the voice of

Over the Rhine

, playing at 8 p.m. at

Sellersville Theater 1894

, Main Street and Temple Avenue, Sellersville. Tickets are $25. Call 215-257-5808. . . . Featuring the incandescent vocals of Jenny Lewis, the fab indie-rock combo

Rilo Kiley

plays at 8:30 p.m. at

the Electric Factory

, 421 N. Seventh St. Tickets are $27. Call 215-627-1332.

Friday & Saturday

Perceptive percussion The Doors always had a jazzy lining to their psychedelia, and their drummer

John Densmore

explores those roots with his new group


at the

Keswick Theatre

, 291 Keswick Ave., Glenside, at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $32.50. Call 215-572-7650.

Go outside Time for a big outdoor concert, and here's a good one, featuring

They Might Be Giants


Suzanne Vega


the Smithereens


Lucy Kaplansky


Red Molly

and more, at

Appel Farm

, 457 Shirley Rd., Elmer, N.J., from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $45. Call 1-800-298-4200.