Growing things, a virtual literary parlor and a comedy competition for kids in this week’s ‘Things To Do’

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Picture in low key of glass of rose wine with reflection of old stone traditional provencal house in it. Rose wine in Provence, France. Light alcoholic drink.

Wine (Albina Sazheniuk / BigStock)

This week, we celebrate both National Rosé Day on Saturday and National Weed Your Garden Day. As the city, state, and world celebrate reopening after the coronavirus quarantine, we have ideas for those who want to go out and those who err on the side of caution and want to remain closer to home. However, we do have updates on two major summer festivals – the Manayunk Arts Festival has been cancelled for 2020 and the Roots Picnic, rescheduled for August, has been indefinitely postponed.

And now that George Floyd has been laid to rest in his Houston, Texas hometown, we know some of you may want more information on the issues that led to his death in the first place. So we’ve compiled a list of essential books and videos in our Hot Ten this week.

Hot Ten

Although it’s impossible to encapsulate the history and struggles of African Americans in a list of ten, here are some options that we hope will inspire further exploration.

  1. “The New Jim Crow” – Michelle Alexander
  2. “Sister Citizen” Melissa Harris-Perry
    A truly underrated book about Black women and their role in the political system by the author/scholar and former MSNBC host
  3. “The Eyes On the Prize: Civil Rights Reader” – Various Editors
  4.  “Are Prisons Obsolete?” – Angela Davis
  5. “We Were Eight Years In Power” – Ta-Nehesi Coates
  6. “I Am Not Your Negro”
    A must-see doc about the life and work of author James Baldwin streaming on PBS through June 21
  7. “Just Mercy” (2019) Now streaming for free on YouTube, Amazon Prime and Google Play through the month of June
  8. “The 13th” (2016)
  9. “The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975” (2011)
  10. “TIME: The Kalief Browder Story” (2017) (now on Netflix)
    A disturbing six-part documentary about an abject failure of the criminal justice system and its lasting and tragic impact on a teen and his family

Rosé day

Yes, Virginia, there is a National Rosé Day, celebrated the second Saturday in June. It coincides nicely with National Weed Your Garden Day, which celebrates that most annoying but necessary task. Well, for some it can be soothing, so the rosé should make it even more so. You can have it delivered along with a pasta meal from Cry Baby Pasta, or pick it up curbside from Philly’s state stores. Area grocery stores including Acme, Giant and Whole Foods have limited rosé selections as well. And while we can’t help you pull stubborn weeds, here are some tips from an expert on how to control them.

Parlor reads

Germantown’s historic Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion has shuttered temporarily due to COVID-19, but you can still attend one of their literary parlors online. The discussions don’t require you to join a book club, nor do you absolutely have to read the book, but it helps. The one I attended in person was a diverse mix of literary lovers. It will be nice when we can get back into the lovingly restored space. Until then, join the latest book discussion about “North and South” by Elizabeth Gaskell, a book that describes what happens when a family from southern England moves from their small town to the northern part of the country in the midst of the Industrial Revolution. Bibliophile Kate Howe will host the virtual discussion via Zoom. Saturday, July 14 at 1:30 p.m. $6

DIY food

The coronavirus pandemic has made many of us want to grow our own food for the first time. With all the uncertainty surrounding the crisis, growing food seemed the practical thing to do. But if you’ve never done it before, figuring out seeds and soil and sun requirements can be daunting. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has come to fledgling gardeners’ rescue by hosting a virtual workshop series “Beginner Food Growing Workshop Series: Intensive Gardening” on Monday, June 15, at 4 p.m. Free with registration.

Main ride

If you want to get out of the house but want to maintain social distancing, a bike ride is a good way to do both. You can wear a mask, enjoy the outdoors and maintain a six-foot distance from other riders. The Montco Explorer has released a downloadable guide of a short and medium-length tour that passes through some of the most scenic areas of Montgomery County. Not only can you enjoy cycling through some of the area’s prettiest trails, you can also view the county’s most beautiful homes. The guide even tells you where you can find SEPTA stations, intersections that require caution, and bathrooms along the route.

Stand-up kids

If your kid has what it takes to be the next Dave Chappelle, Amy Schumer or Adam Sandler, there’s a place they can showcase their talent. The Parks and Recreation Department’s performing arts division is hosting an online kid’s comedy competition through August 14. To prepare, your kids will take a Zoom master class and check out the tips from comedians The Legendary Wid, WXPN’s “Kid’s Corner” host Kathy O’Connell, Jen Childs, of 1812 Productions, Laff Factory host Keith FromUpDaBlock, and Jillian Markowitz. The contest is open to kids 9-18 who will be split into two age categories 9-12 and 13-18. Winners in each category will receive medals and a scholarship for the next Young Performer’s Theater Camp, a 6-week summer performing arts camp. Grand prize winners will get the chance to open for a professional comedian. Kids must get their parent’s permission and register online. Videos, which yes, can be from TikTok, should be no more than 3 minutes, must be clean and profanity-free and no copyright infringement (which likely means no music, unless you own the copyright). All details and the registration link are HERE.

Movie Night In

Two promising films drop on Friday on different streaming sites, so if you’d rather see a good movie from the comfort of your couch than venture out to a cinema just yet, here are two good bets – one for the grown folks and a family-friendly new Disney movie.

Spike Lee continues his work on Netflix with “Da 5 Bloods” a story about four men who travel back to Vietnam decades later to bring their fellow soldier – and a treasure – home. Delroy Lindo of “The Good Fight” and Chadwick Boseman of “Black Panther” star. Friday, June 12, Netflix

Originally scheduled for cinematic release, “Artemis Fowl” is Kenneth Branagh’s big-budget Disney film based on the Eoin Colfer book series about a 12-year old ‘criminal mastermind.’ When his father is kidnapped, young Fowl (Ferdia Shaw) must contend with a mysterious, secret world of powerful fairies to get him back. Starring Colin Farrell, Judi Dench and Josh Gad. Friday, June 12, Disney+

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

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