TONIGHT, South Philadelphia's Grindcore House is going a little batty. The coffee shop known for its vegan menu and political engagement — it carries cookbooks and political literature — shows some love for an animal that doesn't usually get much with "Empty Night Skies." More than 50 local, national and international artists will celebrate bats in sculpture, jewelry and prints to raise awareness about dangers facing the insect-devourers.
White-nose syndrome has killed more than 5.7 million bats since it was discovered in 2006. "There's also habitat loss, bat fatalities linked to wind-energy sites, declining populations in areas where they are hunted for bush meat and species that are on the brink of extinction," said Michael Bukowski, one of the show's three curators.
Bats are critical in controlling insect populations, which factors into disease control and mitigating crop damage. All sale proceeds will be donated to the nonprofit Bat Conservation International.
"Empty Night Skies," 7-10 p.m. Friday, free, Grindcore House, 1515 S. 4th St., 215-839-3333, grindcorehouse.com.
— Amanda Wagner
A trip to Bali inspired Swarthmore music professor Gerald Levinson to compose "Black Magic/White Magic," an exotic piece for traditional Western orchestra that reflected Balinese traditions. Thirty years later, former students and colleagues from Orchestra 2001 and Swarthmore's Gamelan Semara Santi pay homage to his work with "Boulez, Black Magic and Bali."
Traditional Balinese and classical Western music don't normally go hand in hand. "Philosophically, they have nothing to do with one another," said Tom Whitman, director of Gamelan Semara Santi, a student percussion group that plays Balinese music with instruments such as the xylophone-like calung and ugal. Balinese and Western music use different notes, so a collaboration involves a lot of approximation.
Whitman has composed a piece, "Inside/Outside," that complements Levinson's. Whitman did this in part because Orchestra 2001 invited the Indonesian Cultural Club dancers to participate in the performance. "Gamelan and dance go hand in hand," he said. "A gamelan concert without dance would be like performing Beethoven's 9th without the chorus. You simply can't."
Philadelphia Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square, 8 p.m. Saturday, $15; also, Swarthmore College, Lang Concert Hall, 500 College Ave., Swarthmore, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, free, orchestra2001.org.
— Mary Sydnor
Songs protesting warfaremay not be new, but not so anti-war ballets — especially one in which some of the performers are volunteers with no dance experience. In Naked Stark's "Goodnight War," a funeral provides a glimpse into the lives of people affected by war and what their lives might be like if war did not exist. The use of untrained as well as professional performers strengthens the focus on ordinary life. Live a cappella and folk music accompanies the piece.
Choreographer and director Katherine Kiefer Stark founded Naked Stark in 2009. The contemporary-dance troupe uses its medium to deconstruct social and political norms. The group has explored the idea of war protest in past performances such as the series "Eulogy for War." Rather than appeal to policymakers and the media, Naked Stark takes its anti-war message directly to the people through a form of art not typically associated with war or protest. n
Broad Street Ministry, 315 S. Broad St., 7:30 p.m. Friday, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, $8-$12, thenakedstark.com.