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Celebrating a King, Ben Franklin’s birthday party, and body art on display in this week’s ‘Things To Do’

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. makes his last public appearance at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tenn., on April 3, 1968. (AP Photo/Charles Kelly)

This week, Snoop Dogg lights up the stage, MLK and Ben Franklin will be celebrated and Philly hosts its annual body ink extravaganza.

2020 MLK Weekend Celebration
The African American Museum in Philadelphia
701 Arch St.
Friday, Jan. 17, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.;
Saturday, Jan. 18, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.;
Sunday, Jan. 19, 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.;
Monday, Jan. 20, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Free on Friday; $2 on Sat., Sun. and Mon.
The four-day Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration at AAMP is based around the theme Read, Write, Resist! Philadelphia-based poet Kirwyn Sutherland, who just released his book “Jump Ship,” kicks off the event with a free poetry reading on Friday night. On Saturday, the focus is on creating care packages for families in need. On Sunday, jazz vocalist Ruth Naomi Floyd will lead a song and poetry performance. Monday, the all-day celebration includes a scavenger hunt, a concert and a performance by Dr. King re-enactor Carlo Campbell.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black History Salute
Wilmington Concert Hall at The Music School Of Delaware
4101 N. Washington St.
Wilmington, Del.
Friday, Jan. 17, 7 p.m.
$5

The Music School of Delaware hosts a Martin Luther King Day performance incorporating some of its homegrown talent. Within the MLK Day festivities, they are also acknowledging the 100th birthday of groundbreaking saxophone player Charlie Parker and the recently-passed Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison. Longtime music teacher, singer and vocalist Jacqueline Beach Faulcon will lead a tribute to her late husband, Dr. Clarence Faulcon. The Faculty Jazz Quartet and Wilmington’s Mt. Pleasant High School Steel Knights are on the bill as well.

MLK Day Challenge
Burlington County Library
5 Pioneer Blvd.
Westhampton, N.J.
Monday, Jan. 20, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

The King Holiday has become a day of service with volunteer projects all over the country. The tri-state area has one of the biggest drives of this kind and the Burlington County library is hosting one with multiple opportunities to give. Their MLK Day Challenge includes a food drive for local food pantries, an animal supplies drive for Burlington County Animal Shelter, and a supplies drive for Operation Yellow Ribbon of South Jersey. There are other service initiatives, as well as a chance to meet representatives from local volunteer organizations.

The comprehensive annual MLK event at Girard College has some pre-registration slots still available and you can call or email for more options.

Martin Luther King Day will also be observed with special programming at several of the city’s cultural institutions. The National Constitution Center’s activities include MLK-themed lesson plans, a book and school supply drive, and arts and crafts. In celebration of King’s famous “Letter From A Birmingham Jail,” Eastern State Penitentiary is hosting three readings a day by actors and community members over the three-day weekend, culminating in a family day with a live music performances and activities on Monday. All the programming is free. The Museum of the American Revolution is hosting “We Shall: A Lyrical MLK Celebration” on Saturday afternoon, along with other programming through to Monday. The National Museum of American Jewish History is hosting a day of activities including live music, kid-friendly activities and more.

To see the full list of MLK Day service activities in the Delaware Valley, click here.

Lunar New Year Celebration
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Saturday, Jan. 18, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Free with museum admission

In many Asian communities, the Lunar New Year is a significant holiday. 2020 is the Year of the Rat, which officially begins on January 25th and ends on February 4th, 2021. In partnership with Philadelphia’s Asian Arts Initiative, the Penn Museum celebrates the New Year this weekend with a full day of family-friendly performances and activities. Among the scheduled events are a Tai Chi demonstration, mask and lantern making projects, a performance by Little Mulan Dance Troupe from the Great Wall Chinese School, a calligraphy workshop and at the program’s end, the traditional Lion Dance.

Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St.
Friday, Jan. 17 – Sunday, Jan. 19
$22 per day, $45 for a three-day pass, kids 12 and under, free

Almost 500 vendors will be on hand for the 22nd annual Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention taking place this weekend. If you’re interested in getting a tattoo on-site (and are at least 18) you can book ahead of time with the artist of your choice or get one as a walk-in, depending on availability. The convention highlights body piercing and other adornments as well as seminars and info for tattoo artists. Live entertainment is scheduled throughout each day, as are tattoo contests and what’s intriguingly described as the Philadelphia mankini contest.

Ben’s Birthday Weekend Bash
Franklin Institute
222 N. 20th St.
Saturday, Jan. 18, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Free with museum admission

When the British changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, Ben Franklin’s birthday moved up by 11 days from January 6 to January 17. So it’s possible that among his other noted accomplishments, Ben may have been one of the first to keep a birthday celebration going for longer than just one day. This weekend, the Franklin Institute celebrates its namesake over the holiday weekend. Activities scheduled include a self-guided tour, electricity demonstrations — some hosted by “Ben” himself — and on Saturday only, The Franklin Fountain provides free ice cream.

International Conference and Festival Of Blacks In Dance
Merriam Theater
250 S. Broad St., other venues
Through Jan. 19
$60

The 32nd annual Conference and Festival of Blacks In Dance brings African American dancers — both professional and amateur — to Philadelphia for auditions, performances, panels and seminars. In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Philadanco, the festival seeks to both expand knowledge about the varying forms of African and African American dance traditions as well as informing and inspiring Black dancers. The admission fee provides entry to all performances taking place at the Merriam Theater. A gospel dance performance and scholarship-awards brunch happens Saturday at the Bellevue Hotel and is separately priced at $100. Some classes are open to the public for a fee, and for aspiring dancers 10 and up, there is online registration available to audition for participating troupes all around the country.

Henna and Headwrapping
Kuumba Family Institute
6801 N. 16th St.
Saturday, Jan 18, noon – 3 p.m.
$20

Always wondered how to create those elaborate headwraps you’ve seen other women (and men) wearing based in the African tradition? The Kuumba Family Institute, a holistic community center and nonprofit organization, provides instruction and the opportunity to try henna body art (for an additional fee) at their location in the city’s West Oak Lane section.

Lambertville – New Hope Winter Festival
Various locations
Saturday, Jan. 18 – Sunday, Jan. 26
Various prices per event

Now in its 23rd year, the sister cities of Lambertville, N.J. and New Hope, Pa. collaborate on a festival that runs over nine days with events for the entire family. The festival benefits local nonprofits, including libraries, theaters and environmental organizations. Included in this year’s festivities are a walking food-and-shop tour, the 25th annual chili cook-off, a live tribute performance of the Beatles’ classic “Abbey Road” and more. There’s even an iOS and Android app to help you find activities and get directions. Last year, the event raised over $47,000.

Snoop Dogg I Wanna Thank Me Tour
The Fillmore Philadelphia
29 E. Allen St.
Saturday, Jan. 18; 8 p.m.
$70 – $79.50

Rap icon, media personality and internet philosopher Snoop Dogg is coming to town. Over his two decade-plus career, the lanky Long Beach, California-native has reinvented himself many times. He initially rose to prominence through his collaboration with iconic L.A. producer Andre “Dr. Dre” Young — first on the “Deep Cover” soundtrack and then on the classic “The Chronic” album. Snoop then moved on to solo success with canonical rap hits like 1994’s “Gin and Juice” and “What’s My Name” to 2004’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” Snoop’s only Billboard #1 single. In the past few years, Snoop has expanded his musical horizons by releasing both a reggae and a gospel album. He’s also starred on reality TV, acted in films and become a well-liked all-around media personality and pop culture icon. In one of his unlikeliest moves, he teamed up with home décor guru Martha Stewart for “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party” on VH-1 where the two shared cooking tips and recipes with celebrity guests. Snoop’s last release “I Wanna Thank Me” came out in 2019.

Prohibition: 100 Years
National Liberty Museum
321 Chestnut St.
Saturday, Jan. 17, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
$35 in advance, $45 at the door

Imagine a night out, a birthday celebration or a wedding without the option to imbibe alcohol. Teetotalers and those in recovery might welcome it, but what if it was illegal altogether? That was life for Americans one hundred years ago under the Volstead Act, more commonly known as Prohibition. From 1920 to 1933, the United States went dry. The National Liberty Museum offers a comprehensive look at this moment in American history – why it happened, how, and its ultimate impact on liberty and society. In that time, bootleggers and speakeasies — some of which have been revived right here in Philly — thrived in spite of the law. To accompany this event, a Prohibition-era murder mystery will be performed by the Riddlesbrood Theatre Company. Beer and spirits will be served, and attendees can learn to mix drinks in a mixology tutorial. All of the aforementioned is included in the ticket price.

Room For Living
Fabric Workshop and Museum
1214 Arch St.
Through Sunday, January 19
$10 and up

Multidisciplinary artist Jacolby Satterwhite is an African American gay man and those identities often inform his art. His multimedia exhibit “Room for Living” is on display through Sunday. In his first solo exhibit, Satterwhite used digital fabrication tools to incorporate music, video and virtual reality. A University of Pennsylvania graduate — he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree there in 2010 — he uses multimedia elements to ‘collaborate’ with late mother, Patricia Satterwhite, a prolific artist who struggled with schizophrenia. The exhibit is housed on two floors with various installations on each. The closing weekend features an artist discussion on Thursday, a free conversation with artists Anaïs Duplan, Yolanda Wisher, James Sprang and Amber Rose Johnson, and a Saturday workshop called Endgame: Black Artists on an Urgent Black Future.

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