Delaware drive-in, digital orchestra and dining at a discount in this week’s ‘Things To Do’

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A block of Sansom Street in Center City is closed to traffic to allow expanded outdoor dining. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

A block of Sansom Street in Center City is closed to traffic to allow expanded outdoor dining. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Some restaurants are reopening for indoor dining in Philly with promotional weeks and COVID-19 protocols to lure customers back. But it remains an unpredictable fall events season, depending on weather and any hint of the virus’s resurgence. Many events, including most with live music, will remain virtual at least for now.

Eating out (and in) for less

Restaurants have been severely impacted during the coronavirus pandemic, some to the point where they won’t reopen at all. But for those still here, it’s welcome news that indoor dining has returned to Philadelphia. Now, the question is, will diners? Center City Restaurant Week, through Sept. 25, hopes to encourage reluctant patrons with $20 lunches and $35 dinners available from 60 participating restaurants for eating in or taking out. University City Dining Days hope to do the same with its promotional two weeks of discounted dining that includes add-ons, to-go cocktails, takeout, delivery and eating indoors or out.

Center City Restaurant Week, various locations, $20 and up, through Sept. 25
University City Dining Days $5 and up through Oct. 4

Classical celebration

The Philadelphia Orchestra is moving to a digital platform for the fall season. It kicks off with “Our World Now,” a virtual opening night celebration on Sept. 30 at 7 p.m., with performances by Lang Lang, Valerie Coleman and Angel Blue under the direction of Yannick Nézet Séguin. Tennis icon Billie Jean King and multi-talented actor/musician Steve Martin will be special guests. Performances include Coleman’s “Seven O’Clock Shout” commissioned to pay tribute to health care workers in the wake of COVID-19. Ticket buyers can watch live or on-demand for up to 72 hours after the show.

Philadelphia Orchestra, “Our World Now Opening Night Celebration”
Wednesday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m. $50 and up

Purr-fect piano

Philadelphia’s annual Fringe Festival continues both online and via select in-person presentations through Oct. 4 with an array of quirky events as befits its name and sensibilities. One of its most purr-fect options allows pet owners to have a classical music piece commissioned for their pet. Yep, Fluffy, Fido, or Mr. Magoo, whether he or she is a fish, cat, dog, snake, horse, or any other pet, can have their own theme music catered to their personalities. Classical pianist Barbara Browne will, after you provide her with a description of your pet via a Google Drive form, create a 15-20 minute piece for your loyal companion and send you the sound file via email.

Piano for Pets
$12 on-demand through Oct. 4

Night moves

It’s hard to know what Halloween will look like this year during the pandemic, though we do already have masks. One thing we do know is that Eastern State Penitentiary will not offer its popular “Terror Behind the Walls” this year. They’ve replaced it with Night Tours, which sounds equally suspenseful, given that ESP is believed to be the world’s first penitentiary. The after-hours tours, billed as “small scale” will offer much of what the daytime tours offer, including a tour of notorious one-time resident Al Capone’s cell and the “Voices of Eastern State” audio tour narrated by actor Steve Buscemi. Additionally, at night, the self-guided tours include a showing of a silent film actually shot at the jail in 1929, video from the 2019 “Hidden Lives Illuminated” project, and working searchlights sweeping the site to further the feeling of entrapment visiting a historic jail at night may cause. 

Night Tours, Eastern State Penitentiary
2027 Fairmount Ave., Philadelphia, Pa.
$26-$32 select evenings starting at 6 p.m.

Driving to the classics

Pop-up drive-ins are still happening all around the tri-state. Though Delaware’s last drive-in theater, Felton’s Diamond State Drive-In closed in 2008, the Delaware Art Museum is providing a new season of classic films to watch on the big screen. Every other Thursday through Oct. 29, DelArt will screen films in their Copeland Sculpture garden on the grounds of the museum. The classic movies include “The Birdcage” on Oct. 1, “North By Northwest” on Oct. 15 and “Frankenstein” on Oct. 29. Tickets include popcorn and soda or water, upgrades include beer and wine. 

DelArt Cinema Drive-In, Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Pkwy. Wilmington, Del.
Through Oct. 29, $19 per person, advance reservations required

TV time

If our nippy pre-fall temps and the deeper chill expected this weekend have you craving a blanket, fuzzy socks and a fireplace, you’re in for a treat as this week marks several TV debuts you can curl up with. Here are our top choices:

“Antebellum” – On demand, Friday, Sept. 18

Originally headed for theaters, the suspense film sends modern-day author Veronica Henley (played by Janelle Monáe) back to the antebellum past, then has her figuring out how to save herself and those she encounters there.

“The Devil All the Time” Netflix (out now)

A film starring several actors from movie franchises can’t be all bad, can it? Tom Holland of “Spiderman” fame is pitted against several sinister types played by Robert Pattinson of “Twilight” fame, actress Riley Keough (who is Elvis’ granddaughter), the always slightly creepy Jason Clarke and Sebastian Stan of “Captain America,” in post-World War II, small-town Ohio.

“Filthy Rich” (Fox, Monday, Sept. 21) 9 p.m.

If you’re looking for mindless, soapy entertainment and were a fan of Kim Cattrall’s role as the libidinous Samantha on HBO’s classic 90s series “Sex and the City,” you may want to try out this new show, which pits televangelist widow Margaret Monreaux against her late husband’s three out-of-wedlock heirs. Tate Taylor of “The Help” fame is the show’s creator, and Steve Harris of “The Practice” also stars.

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

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