Drive into the weekend with the Philadelphia Auto Show, Philly Theater Week and Fringe Arts’ comedy showcase in this week’s “Things To Do”
Philadelphia Auto Show
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St.
Saturday, Feb. 8 – Monday, Feb. 17, various times
$7 – $14, children 6 and under free with ticketed adult
The annual car extravaganza is here again, just in time for empty nesters to trade in the mini-van for the sexy new hybrid car, or for anyone who just needs some new wheels. Student, parent, empty nester, full nester, drag racer, tech entrepreneur or construction worker, the auto show will likely have the ride for you. Given all the technology available on today’s new cars and the myriad options – hybrid, electric or self-driving if you’re so inclined – the show provides all the information you need to make an informed car purchase. One caveat: weekends are crowded, so attend on a weekday if you can. This year, you can meet Philadelphia sports stars Alshon Jeffery and World B. Free, the Phillies ball girls and the Eagles cheerleader squad; adopt a puppy, sign up for a test drive and more.
FringeArts Comedy Festival
140 N. Columbus Blvd. (at Race St.)
Friday, Feb. 7, Saturday, Feb. 8, 7 p.m.
FringeArts, Philly’s alternate arts venue, is both the host and the location for Blue Heaven, the annual comedy weekend showcasing the talents of eight new and up-and-coming comedians. Each of the eight comics, including Jamie Loftus (“The Bechdel Cast”) Megan Stalter (“The Megan Stalter Show”) Max Wittert (“High Maintenance”) and Joel Kim Booster (“Sunnyside”) will bring a different discipline to the event, including performance, sketch comedy and multimedia stand-up. Face painting, temporary tattoos and food for purchase from La Peg is available. You can buy tickets per show or a one- or two-day pass, which allows admission to all shows.
Philly Theater Week
Various times and locations, including the Arden Theater, 40 N. 2nd St.
Thursday, Feb. 6 – Sunday, Feb. 16
Free, $15, $30
If you haven’t had the chance to make a live theater performance all year, now you have no excuse. 75 theater companies will put on over 300 performances open to the public over the ten days of Philly Theater Week. That means you can pick and choose productions from comedy to drama and from period plays to contemporary ones. There are also readings, interactive events, and more taking place in almost every Philadelphia neighborhood as well as in the suburbs, Delaware, and New Jersey. Among the highlights are a comedic one-man performance of “The Nutcracker;” a performance workshop for all levels by the Leah Stein Dance Company; “Grey Rock” about a Palestinian man attempting to build a space shuttle; “Heat Wave,” an outdoor, interactive performance at Bartram’s Garden; several Shakespeare productions including “King Lear”; a contemporary re-telling of “Romeo and Juliet” and the Bright Inventions Improvathon, a benefit for the William Way LGBT Community Center.
Hands-on History Presents: The Elite of Our People
Free Library of Philadelphia – Rare Book Department
1901 Vine St.
Saturday, Feb. 8, 10 a.m.
Free, with registration
While much of the early Black American experience is rooted in slavery, by 1790 there were approximately 2,000 free African Americans living and working in Philadelphia. Some were able to achieve a middle-class lifestyle that intimately linked them to the greater Philadelphia community. Hands-on History, an initiative at the Free Library’s main branch, is an interactive way to explore the past. “The Elite of Our People,” presented by the Free Library’s Kalela Williams, allows attendees to view and handle historical artifacts from middle-class African Americans who lived in Philly in the 19th and early 20th centuries. These items include historical documents, papers, photographs and illustrations.
2020 Citywide Black History Month Celebration
Sankofa Cultural Arts Center
39 South West St.
February 7, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 8, noon, 4 p.m.
Free, online registration required
Black history is celebrated this month throughout the Greater Delaware Valley, but in Dover, Del., it has a special significance. During the Civil War, Delaware was a slave state. Dover was an important stop on the Underground Railroad, as slaves escaping from across the Maryland border sought protection and shelter from the free Black people of Delaware and Quakers sympathetic to the abolitionist cause. The Dover Eight case is just one that illustrates the importance of the city to Black Americans’ fight for freedom. Dover’s Inner City Cultural League recognizes that history with a series of free events for Black History Month. Dance, music, poetry and a presentation on minority education before integration are on the program. You can get tickets online or call the Inner City Cultural League at 302-883-2180.
Occupation 1777 at the Powel House
244 S. 3rd St.
Friday, Feb. 7, 7 p.m.
$14 – $20
The British occupation of Philadelphia in 1777 made for a tense city that was already stratified along racial, social, religious and ethnic lines. The city’s African American population included slaves who were undecided about whether joining the American or British forces would work out in their favor. Despite a large population of free Black people and Quakers who supported abolition, many Black Americans joined the British effort after they were promised freedom to do so. Powel House was once owned by Elizabeth Willing Powel. As one of George Washington’s closest confidants, she hosted many of the political elite before, during and after the occupation. Now one of four home museums maintained by the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks, Powel House is hosting a lecture about the events of 1777 and how they shaped the city. After the lecture, there will be a guided discussion.
990 Filbert St.
Sunday, Feb. 9, 8 p.m.
Philly’s own Bilal has been an essential part of the neo-soul scene since his debut album, “1st Born Second,” was released in 2001. His retro soul stylings resulted in a classic of the genre with the release of the single “Soul Sister.” The song was remixed last year for the “Queen and Slim” soundtrack, the critically acclaimed film of love and tragedy starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith. In 2015, Bilal won his first Grammy Award for his collaboration with rapper Kendrick Lamar on “These Walls,” from Lamar’s 2015 platinum album “To Pimp A Butterfly.” Bilal’s last release was 2015’s “In Another Life.”
World Café Live
3025 Walnut St.
Friday, Feb. 7, 9 p.m.
Rep. Maxine Waters, the fiery Democratic congresswoman from California, became a viral sensation when she “reclaimed her time” in a Congressional hearing – although it’s a phrase drawn from House floor procedure. Singer Mykal Kilgore was as enamored with the comment as everyone else, and he put it to music, also going viral with his gospel adaptation. Before that, Kilgore was best known for singing in shows from “Motown the Musical” to “The Book Of Mormon.” The native Floridian headed to Nashville to pursue his dream of being a singer-songwriter. After a chance encounter with Broadway singer and actor Billy Porter, who was enamored of his talents, Kilgore made the move to New York City. He released his debut album “A Man Born Black” in 2019.
A Great Day In Burlesque
1320 Chancellor St.
Saturday, Feb. 8, 7 p.m.
$20 – $70
Black history encompasses more than just civil rights. The arts, cinema and theater are also a big part of the history of African Americans. But one part of the artistic community doesn’t get the credit it’s due for its contributions to the culture. “A Great Day In Burlesque” aims to change that with its celebration of Black burlesque and drag artists. Host Sophie Sucre and headliner Bebe Bardot “The Doll of D.C.,” are bringing a few friends including Renaissance Noir, Icon Ebony Fierce, Lavender Cakes and Mae Rose to town to showcase the best of Black burlesque. On Sunday, Sucre and Bardot host both a lecture and movement class in shake dancing, popularized by Black performers in the 1930s, at Philadelphia’s Burlesque Academy.
Vegan Pizza Crawl On Bikes
Various locations – ride begins at 2313 Frankford Ave.
Sunday, Feb. 9, 1 p.m.
When you think of a Philly crawl event, there are usually craft beers involved. But Philadelphia is truly a city with an activity or event for everyone. This week’s Vegan Pizza Crawl is for those who embrace both cycling and a vegan diet. It brings those folks together for a crawl without hops, dairy or animal products involved. As February 9th is National Pizza Day, it’s a good day to indulge. All non-motorized bikes, from unicycles to tricycles, are welcome. Discounted and free slices and pies are available, depending on restaurant. Though ride marshals will be along to ensure safe riding, helmets and bike locks are recommended. And you don’t even have to ride a bike, you can meet the group at each designated pizza place. All proceeds from the ride go to Lancaster Farm Sanctuary, which rescues farmed animals.
Lansdale Restaurant Week
Through Sunday, Feb. 9
$5 – $35
Fourteen restaurants are participating in Lansdale’s second annual Restaurant Week which offers discounted prix-fixe dining on regular menu items and special menus created specifically for the week. Participating restaurants include Stove and Tap, Lansdale Tavern, and Ristorante Toscano. For the duration of the Week, parking is free during lunch hours – noon to 2 p.m. and again from 4 p.m. on. Cuisines represented include Italian, Thai, American and restaurants from fine dining to casual eateries. Reservations are recommended.