Celebrating Black love, John Coltrane and Marian Anderson in this week’s ‘Things to Do’

The week’s events in and around Philadelphia include celebrations of Marian Anderson and John Coltrane.

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John Coltrane (NPR)

John Coltrane (NPR)

As Black History Month comes to a close, events around the region celebrate the accomplishments of extraordinary African-Americans

John Coltrane: His Life and Music

Philly Jazz Legacy
Philly Jazz Legacy is a collaborative discovery process to explore how to preserve, interpret, and share Philadelphia’s expansive jazz history. (Philly Jazz Legacy)

The legendary John Coltrane revolutionized jazz music with his innovative style of play. Though he died of liver cancer at just 40 years old, Coltrane’s legacy as one of the most prolific and influential artists of all time endures. The Philadelphia Jazz Legacy Project will pay homage to him in a free talk with Lewis Porter, a musician/educator who authored two books on Coltrane and documentarian/historian Steve Rowland, producer of the audio doc “Tell Me How Long The Trane’s Been Gone.” Jazz Legacy project director Suzanne Cloud will host.

WCL House Concerts: Arthur Thomas and the Funkitorium

Arthur Thomas and the Funkitorium
Arthur Thomas and the Funkitorium performing at World Cafe Live (NPR)

They may have just started in 2019, but Arthur Thomas and the Funkitorium sound like they’ve been playing together for decades. Their old-school combo of funk, soul, hip-hop and blues has already brought them an avid fanbase, even though last year’s COVID-19 shutdowns slowed their momentum. The band will funk it up Friday night as the featured artist in this week’s World Café Live House Concerts series.

  • What: Streaming live concert
  • Where: Online, via World Café Live’s YouTube channel
  • When: Friday, Feb. 26, 8 p.m.
  • How Much: Free, but donations are appreciated

Black History Untold: Love

Aja Graydon and Fatin Dantzler of Kindred The Family Soul. (Photo courtesy of Kindred, photographer Matt Muse)

Journalist Sofiya Ballin’s Black History Untold project has spawned a new documentary simply entitled “Love.” It explores Black love in the face of racism and the emotional and spiritual upheaval that comes in its wake. The doc features local couples and tells the stories of their respective journeys.  Ballin will join Aja and Fatin Dantzler of Kindred the Family Soul and Syreeta Martin, host of WURD’s “Safe Space” for a post-screening discussion.

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Living Room Lecture: Cultivating Creativity in West Philadelphia

Ellen Tiberino
Mosaic and ceramics artist Ellen Tiberino (Penn Museum)

Mosaic and ceramics artist Ellen Tiberino grew up in West Philadelphia in a family of artists so creative they eventually had to found their own space, the Tiberino Museum. She’ll be hosting a conversation about her life as a creative and how her family’s legacy inspired and influenced her own work. The assistant director of the Community Education Center in West Philly, Tiberino will also talk about her work there and what it means as well as how community organizations maintained through the pandemic.

Opera Philadelphia: Blessed

Courtney Bryan for Opera Philadelphia (Opera Philadelphia / Arielle Pentes)

Pianist and composer Courtney Bryan was inspired to create “Blessed” based on last year’s racial protests. She says that the biblical Scripture ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth’ (Matthew 5:5-9) informed her as well. Bryan worked remotely through the pandemic with soprano Janinah Burnett, vocalist Damian Norfleet and sound engineer Robert Kaplowitz to pull together the piece, a process she dubbed “sonic quilting.” The result is a concert film that includes footage from protest in New York, Philadelphia and New Orleans. “Blessed” makes its Opera Philadelphia debut this week.

  • What: Streaming opera film performance
  • Where: Via the Opera Philadelphia channel
  • When: Premieres Friday, Feb. 26, 8 p.m.
  • How Much: 7-day rental, $10, Digital commissions bundle $25 or free with $99 season pass

Stories of Freedom and Justice: A Virtual Black History Month Celebration

Choir School of Delaware rehearsing. (Courtesy of Choir School of Delaware)

The Choir School of Delaware hosts its annual Black History Month program this weekend with poetry from beloved African American artists like Paul Laurence Dunbar, Jacob Lawrence and the 2015 twin Poet Laureates of Delaware, Al Mills and Nnamdi Chukwuocha, set to music. After the performance, there will be a community social and discussion with the composers.

  • What: Black History Month event
  • Where: Streaming via the Choir School’s webpage
  • When: Sunday, Feb. 28, 4 p.m.
  • How Much: Free, suggested donation $25

Syd Carpenter: Portraits of Our Places

Michener Art Museum
Michener Art Museum (James Quinlan)

African-American educator, sculptor and ceramicist Syd Carpenter’s large-scale work is on display through the weekend at the Michener Art Museum. The 11 pieces in the collection connect her two passions —art and gardening — through her research on several Black-owned farms in South Carolina, Georgia, and the Gullah Islands. Each of the sculptures are named after one of the farm owners or gardens, and contain both botanical elements and items associated with agricultural labor from tools to sheds. Pittsburgh native Carpenter was also inspired by her mother and grandmother, both of whom were avid gardeners.

Vintner Wonderland at Renault Winery

Bottle of wine
(Liza Pooor / UnSplash)

The historic South Jersey winery and resort, one of the oldest continuously operating wineries in the country, was renovated in 2019. This weekend, it concludes its Vintner Wonderland event with options to ice skate on their outdoor rink, wine, dine or shop.

Kennett WinterFest

(Kezadri Abdelhak / UnSplash)

This year the festival goes virtual with a ‘backyard’ bonfires and beers event. Participants can purchase cases of local craft beers and enjoy with their housemate, family or quarantine pods – the ones over 21, of course. There are two case options, the Kennett Case and the Winterfest case, with 48 different beers available in each. Cases must be picked up on Saturday, Feb. 27 from downtown Kennett Square from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are limited tickets and pick-up time slots left.

  • What: Virtual beer festival
  • Where: At your preferred home or quarantine pod location
  • When: Saturday, Feb. 27, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • How Much: $110 per case

Marian: The American Story

A portrait of Marian Anderson by artist Jeffery McNutt. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Contralto singer and pianist Marian Anderson struck a chord for anti-racism when she performed at the Lincoln Memorial after segregationists denied her a chance to sing at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. The Philadelphia native enjoyed a long, storied career despite the obstacles she faced as a Black woman in Jim Crow America. Her life is celebrated through a virtual guided tour of the three-story National Marian Anderson Museum now through January of 2022.

  • What: Virtual tour
  • Where: Online, via National Marian Anderson Museum and Historical Society
  • When: Saturday, Feb. 27 – Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022
  • How Much: $10, call for group rates

Keep checking with “Things To Do” as we continue to provide our picks for entertainment during the industry’s COVID-19 recovery. Please consult our coronavirus updates to keep up with the latest information regionally.

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