Celebrate National Poetry Day, party like a mad hatter, and say goodbye to Madea

Listen 5:06
(Courtesy of Shofuso Japanese House & Garden)

(Courtesy of Shofuso Japanese House & Garden)

This weekend, you can enjoy Japanese culture in Fairmount Park, learn about Philadelphia’s history of strong women, and listen to diverse wordsmiths on South Street. And that’s just the start.

The Rainbow Chorale Presents: This Is Me Showcase
Unitarian Universalist Society of Mill Creek
579 Polly Drummond Hill Road, Newark, Delaware
March 23; 7:30 p.m.
$25 and up

Delaware’s Rainbow Chorale celebrates its 10th year this month. The 35-50 member group is an all-inclusive musical group that provides the LGBT community and its allies with the opportunity to express themselves in music. The songs in year’s annual showcase reflect that mission. Pat Benatar’s “We Belong,” Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” will be part of the performance.

Ray Darten Pop-Up Shop and Fashion Show
Power Plant Productions
230 N. Second St., 3A (third floor), Philadelphia
March 23; 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Free; fashion shows 12:30–3 p.m
.
Moving beyond kente cloth, the African fashion line Ray Darten by Yetunde Olukoya continues the trend of bringing African prints and patterns into the mainstream. Nigerian-American doctor turned designer Olukoya named the company in honor of her two children and just this year opened a production company in her native Nigeria. Clothing for women sizes S to 3X and for men and children will be available to purchase, and stylists will be on hand to assist. Two fashion shows are set for Saturday as well.

Mad Hatter Tea Party
Moorestown Mall – Lord and Taylor Court
400 New Jersey Route 38
March 23; 11 a.m–1 p.m.
Free, with registration

Remember the first time you went down the rabbit hole with Lewis Carroll’s classic “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”? The story has transcended generations, and you can take part in a real-life version of that adventure via a tea party. The Mad Hatter Tea party includes guests Alice, the Easter Bunny, the Red Queen, and, of course, the Mad Hatter. A scavenger hunt, coloring stations, sing-a-longs, balloon sculptures, and a station where kids create their own hats are some activities planned.

Women in STEM Day
Franklin Institute
222 N. 20th St., Philadelphia
March 23; 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Free with museum admission

Celebrate Women’s History Month by bringing a girl to the Franklin Institute to learn more about careers in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — from women already working in those fields. Scientists will share their stories and preside over interactive workshops. A performance by the Philadelphia Studio Ballet is also planned.

Tyler Perry’s Madea Farewell Tour
The Met Philadelphia
856 N. Broad St.
Through March 24
From $141

Writer/director/actor Tyler Perry says this is the final run for his popular character Mabel “Madea” Simmons. If you’re not already familiar with the smack-talking, truth-telling Southern grandmother who stars in nine stage plays and 10 movies from Perry, this may be your final opportunity to see her in action. Cast members include Perry favorites David and Tamela Mann (“Meet The Browns”) and Cassie Davis.

Natalie Merchant
Scottish Rite Auditorium
315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood, New Jersey
March 23; 8 p.m.

The former lead singer of 10,000 Maniacs has released eight solo albums since the band’s heyday. Merchant has packaged those solo albums into a 10-CD box set, “The Natalie Merchant Collection” that includes outtakes and rarities and six songs rerecorded with a string quartet. Count on hearing some of those songs Saturday; the Irish band Lunasa will open the show.
NOTE: The show is almost sold out but tickets may become available via ticket retailers including Stubhub.com up to and including show date.

Ariana Grande
Wells Fargo Center
3601 S. Broad St., Philadelphia
March 26; 8 p.m.
$39.50 and up

Maybe you’re not a fan, but if you know any teenage girls, it’s likely you know one. Former Disney star turned platinum recording artist, Ariana Grande has followed the familiar path of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera — with more social media scrutiny. Over two years, Grande has weathered a fatal bombing at her 2017 Manchester, England, concert; the overdose death of her ex-boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller; and a public breakup with “Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson. Her album “Sweetener,” which this tour supports, was released in 2018. “Thank U, Next” was released last month.

A Celebration of World Poetry Day
Tattooed Mom
530 South St., Philadelphia
March 21; 7 p.m.
Free

The world will celebrate poetry Thursday. In the city, the Tattooed Mom bar and restaurant has planned a poetry show with a diverse group of Philly poets handpicked by one another. Those poets include Towhee Gordon, Sojourner Ahebee, Zach Blackwood and Kirwyn Sutherland. Regulars will be happy to know the usual pierogi Thursday special with discounted food and drink will be available. Only those 21 and older will be admitted.

Button’s 22nd Birthday Bash
Adventure Aquarium
1 Riverside Drive, Camden, New Jersey
March 22-24
$21.99 children/$29.99 adults

Hippos may look cuddly in animated films, but — in their natural habitat — they are among the world’s most dangerous animals. Fortunately, Button, one of Adventure Aquarium’s two hippos, will be behind glass to celebrate her 22nd birthday this weekend. Kids can enjoy birthday treats; watch the hippos being fed and observe their bedtime preparation; ask the hippo handlers about Button’s life in captivity; and sign her giant birthday card.

Women’s History Series: Remembering Women of Slavery
Wyck Historic House, Garden And Farm
6026 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia
March 23; 2-3:45 p.m.
$25

Underground Railroad conductor, nurse, scout and spy – Harriet Tubman was a great American who will receive the big screen treatment this fall in a biopic starring Tony-winning actress Cynthia Erivo (“Widows”). But this weekend, she’ll be brought to life for Women’s History Month by actor/writer/producer Millicent Sparks. The Germantown resident portrays Tubman frequently via “The Harriet Tubman Living History Experience.” Gwen Ragsdale, the curator of Philadelphia’s Lest We Forget Slavery Museum, will discuss her book “Peculiar Relationships: A Fictional Novel That Describes the Evolving Relationships Between Black Women and White Women from Slavery to Current Day.”

The Women’s Mobile Museum Exhibit
Philadelphia Photo Arts Center
1400 N. American St., Suite 103
Through March 30
Free

Over the past year, South African artists Zanele Muholi and Lindeka Qampi collaborated with 10 Philadelphia women to create this exhibit on display at the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. According to the collaborators, the exhibit “explores representation, remembrance and identity” through the medium of photography. An audio tour and Braille guides are available. The first edition of the Women’s Mobile Museum Magazine, encompassing photography and written works from and about the exhibit, will be available for sale.

Opening weekend at Shofuso House
Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
Horticultural and Lansdowne drives, Philadelphia
March 23-24; 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
$2 -$12, 5 and under and military members free

Fairmount Park’s Shofuso House began as a Museum of Modern Art exhibit that was meant to connect Japanese culture with American culture. Utilizing the site of an existing Japanese garden in the park, the house was designed by noted Japanese architect Junzō Yoshimura. This weekend marks its 2019 season opener. Admission includes tours of the picturesque house and garden, including the koi pond and 20 murals donated by Japanese artist Hiroshi Senju.

Ranky Tanky
Bryn Mawr College
McPherson Auditorium, Goodhart Hall, 150 N. Merion Ave.
March 23; 8 p.m.
$5-$20

Ranky Tanky released its self-titled debut record in 2017, and it took just two months for it to rise to the top of the Billboard jazz charts. The group was born from the Gullah traditions of African slaves who settled on the South Carolina coast. Through their relative isolation, they retained much of their culture through language and music. The five members of Ranky Tanky, loosely translated as “get funky” in the Gullah language, incorporate a mix of jazz, blues and spiritual music in their sound.

South Jersey Hot Chefs Spring Restaurant Week
Various venues
March 24–29

Restaurant week comes to South Jersey as 21 participating restaurants organize around a special prix fixe menu of four courses for $35. Cuisines from Indian to Mediterranean are represented, and all the restaurants are independent.

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