Black History Month begins with education and celebration, Chestnut Hill’s on ice and sleeping with sharks are on the calendar in this week’s “Things To Do”
A Celebration of African American Innovators: Black History Month Kick-off
Walnut Street YMCA
1000 N. Walnut St.
Saturday, Feb. 1, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
To encourage young people to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), the program will include exhibitors and guest speakers who have expertise in those areas. Speakers include 17-year-old entrepreneur Jacqueline Means, “The STEM Queen,” who founded the Wilmington Urban STEM Initiative; Dr. Jalaal “Dr. Jah” Hayes, the nation’s youngest Ph.D. in Applied Chemistry; and marine microbiologist/author Dr. Jeanette Davis. Exhibitors include the Delaware Children’s Museum, the Delaware History Museum and New Castle County Libraries. Live performances from comedian Kadreana Mack, the Pieces of a Dream Dance Academy and United Voices are scheduled as well.
African American Children’s Book Fair
Community College of Philadelphia
1700 Spring Garden St.
Saturday, Feb. 1, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
The African American Children’s Book Fair is in its 28th year. According to its website, it’s one of the nation’s oldest largest single-day children’s book events in the country. Over 30 authors and illustrators are scheduled to be there to sign and read from their books. Conceived by local literary consultant Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati, the fair is part of the African American Children’s Book Project, an initiative to support and promote multicultural literature. An Educator’s Book Giveaway provides teachers and educators with free books for classrooms and school libraries and there will be an extensive selection of books to purchase. Authors and illustrators scheduled to appear include Vashti Harrison, Tonya Bolden, Jerry Pinkney, G. Todd Taylor and more.
My General Tubman
40 N. 2nd St.
Through Sunday, March 8, varying times
$21 – $56
Author/scholar/playwright Lorene Cary is among Philly’s most accomplished hyphenates. The award-winning University of Pennsylvania graduate, and now long-time Penn professor, published a highly-regarded memoir “Black Ice” in 1991, then inaugurated the One Book, One Philadelphia initiative with “The Price of a Child,” in 2003. Along the way, she founded Art Sanctuary, a gathering place and events space for African American artists. Now, her latest work, “My General Tubman,” is onstage at the Arden. A contemporary reading of Harriet Tubman’s life, it reimagines her at a Philadelphia prison, recruiting freedom fighters. You can listen to the Radio Times interview with Cary and the play’s director here.
Little Big Town
The Met Philadelphia
858 N. Broad St.
Thursday, Jan. 30 and Friday, Jan. 31, 8 p.m.
$15 – $109
The quartet got started in Alabama and made their way to Nashville, like many budding country superstars before them. But Little Big Town were far from an overnight success. Known for their stellar four-part harmonies, singer/songwriters Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook (her husband), Karen Fairchild and Phillip Sweet were together for almost a decade before breaking through with their platinum second album “The Road to Here.” The 2005 release netted them four top 20 country hits. By 2013, they were invited to the Grand Old Opry by country icon Reba McEntire, cementing their ascending career. Nine albums and three top 10 singles later, Little Big Town are country superstars, and the first band in history to have a residency at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium. Their ninth album, “Nightfall” was released earlier this month.
Lady Alma with Vertical Current and DJ Reddz
World Cafe Live
3025 Walnut St.
Thursday, Jan. 30, 9 p.m.
San Diego-born and Philly-raised Lady Alma has established a career in the worlds of dance and house music. Her expansive, soulful voice is well-suited to anthemic dance songs that have earned her a reputation as one of the most talented singers in the genre. Renowned Philadelphia producer and DJ King Britt recognized her talents, putting her on his 1998 neo soul classic “When the Funk Hits The Fan.” Through the power of social media, Lady Alma’s recordings “Let It Fall” and “It’s House Music” went viral, exposing her to a wider audience. Last summer, she released an independent anthology album, “Twilight” with New Zealand remixer/producer Mark de Clive-Lowe, available on all streaming formats.
Best Picture Weekend
Philadelphia Film Center
1412 Chestnut St.
Friday, Jan. 31, 4 p.m. – last movie starts at 9:15 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 1, 10 a.m. – last movie starts at 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 2, 2:30 p.m.
Weekend Pass $50
If you’re one of those people who vow each year to watch every movie in the Oscar Best Picture category, but never actually do it, the Philadelphia Film Center can help. Their annual screening of all the Best Picture nominees is happening this weekend starting on Friday. All nine films, including Joker,” “1917” and “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” — which have already taken home multiple awards from critic’s associations — will be screened. You can’t pay to see the movies individually, but the weekend pass is less than what you’d pay to see all nine in theaters.
Getaway at the Greenhouse
Fairmount Park Horticultural Center
100 N. Horticultural Drive
Saturday, Feb. 1 – Sunday, Feb. 16, varying times
Free, food and drink available for purchase
Launched last year, Getaway at the Greenhouse turns Fairmount Park’s Horticultural Center into a summertime day party in the middle of winter. Hosted by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and Fairmount Park Conservancy, in partnership with Constellation Culinary Group, the event offers two weeks of relaxation and fun for all ages. There are myriad events to choose from each day, including storytelling, live music, face painting, food and drink for purchase and an indoor sandbox. While tickets are free, online registration is recommended to ensure admittance and to receive any weather-related updates. PHLASH is running a free shuttle service from three Center City locations to and from the horticultural center.
Winterfest for Wildlife
The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
8480 Hagy’s Mill Rd.
Saturday, February 1, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
The wonders of nature are in focus this weekend at a special event geared toward helping the Wildlife Clinic at the Schuylkill Center — one of the first environmental education centers in the country, according to their website. The Center is the custodian of 340 acres of farmland and woods gifted to them by the Smith, Meigs and Houston families and is the largest privately owned open space in Philadelphia. Activities including face painting, guided hikes and a tour of the wildlife clinic. The festival is also a supply drive for the upcoming baby wildlife season.
Chestnut Hill On Ice
8100 – 8500 Germantown Ave.
Friday, Jan. 31, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 2, noon – 5 p.m.
Free for some ticketed events and activities
The annual neighborhood winter festival offers an array of ice and winter-themed events throughout its two-day run. On Friday night, the festival features live ice sculpting, an ice bar and vodka tasting, as well as a “Yurt Village” and a group of “glamping” tents transformed for the occasion with the help of neighborhood home design retailers. On Saturday, Germantown Avenue is home to multiple entertainment options, including the iceless ice rink, restaurant chili specials and an ice bonfire.
Shark In the Dark
1 Riverside Dr.
Saturday, February 1, 6 p.m. – 9 a.m.
$70 – $75
Sharks aren’t cuddly creatures, but at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, they are the backdrop of a unique sleepover. Children ages six to 12 and their adult chaperones can stay overnight and see the sharks, sea turtles, stingrays and other aquatic creatures on display in the aquarium. They can also meet a diver, get a behind-the-scenes museum tour and see live animals and a 4D theater show. The overnight ticket comes with an evening snack and a continental breakfast. If you can’t make this week’s sleepover, there are more to come on selected Friday and Saturday nights through November.