Dueling PIFA & PSF Fests Find A Common Ground Tonight

We’re not convinced that the scheduling overlap is a positive for  the Philadelphia International  Festival of the Arts (ending this weekend, with the big  Avenue of the Arts street fair on Saturday) and the Philadelphia Science Festival (concluding Monday.)  

But  the ventures’ one big  cooperative project “Icarus at the Edge of Time” filling the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall with sound and vision tonight is one clear positive.

"Icarus" is  a co-mingling of science and art that fits the agenda of both PIFA’s “time traveling” theme and PSF’s selling of science as a hip, cool thing. And yes, it holds  appeal  to both sides of  a  gizmo guy’s   tech and music  lovin’ brain and nature!

Very much a mixed-media adventure, “Icarus at the Edge of Time” tells the tale of a boy who “challenges the awesome might of a black hole” in outer space.   So  it’s a modern rethink of the Greek myth of Icarus , that  winged hero  too interested in the sun for his own good.

 Tonight’s  voyage through time and space features  a original score by the always hypnotic and math-centric music minimalist Philip Glass – to be performed by the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra – with an art-meets-science themed script collaboration between physicist Brian Greene and Tony-award winning playwright David Henry Hwang  to be narrated this evening by Broadway notable Kate Shindle. And there’s a spacey film backdrop, too, created by the likewise science-obsessed British creative team Al+Al.

If this sounds appealing, do  get there on time ( 8 p.m. liftoff at Broad and Spruce) as Greene will be warming up the night with insights on the science of general relativity and black holes  and, nodding to PIFA, on the notion that time travel might actually be possible.    

Tickets are reasonably priced   - $15-$25. For more info, visit  www.PIFA.org and www.philasciencefestival.org.