March, munch and marvel at black comic superheroes this May weekend

A parade celebrating the LGBT community, festivals with food at the forefront and black comic book superheroes are the focus of this week’s Things To Do.

Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o and Florence Kasumba are pictured in a scene from the film, Black Panther. Gurira says the representation of women in Black Panther is important for young girls to see. (Matt Kennedy/Disney/Marvel Studios via AP)

Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o and Florence Kasumba are pictured in a scene from the film, Black Panther. Gurira says the representation of women in Black Panther is important for young girls to see. (Matt Kennedy/Disney/Marvel Studios via AP)

A parade celebrating the LGBT community, festivals with food at the forefront and black comic book superheroes are the focus of this week’s Things To Do.

PrideFest Parade and Fair
Parade route begins at Lambertville House, Bridge Street, Lambertville, New Jersey, concluding on Waterloo Street in New Hope, Pennsylvania.
Fair, from noon to 4 p.m., takes place at the end of South Main Street in Pride Park (in the American Legion parking lot).
May 18; 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
$5 donation suggested for PrideFest

The culmination of New Hope annual Pride Week, the Pride Parade will showcase LGBTQ organizations in a dazzling promenade from Lambertville over the bridge to New Hope. PrideFest includes an outdoor concert beginning at noon. LGBTQ-friendly vendors, games, food, and a bar for 21 and over are among the highlights. No smoking allowed on PrideFest grounds.

“Dial M For Murder”
Bucks County Playhouse
70 S. Main St., New Hope, Pennsylvania
Through June 15

While many remember “Dial M For Murder” as the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock movie starring Ray Milland as a cuckolded, vengeful husband to wife Grace Kelly, it started its life on the BBC as a TV production. Written by English playwright Frederick Knott, it’s become an enduring classic in several incarnations, including film and TV adaptations. Directed by Mike Donahue, “Dial M For Murder” is at the Bucks County Playhouse through June, ushering in the theater’s 80th anniversary season.

Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival
Rittenhouse Square, Walnut Street from Broad to 19th; 17th and 18th from Sansom to Locust, Philadelphia
May 18; noon-5 p.m.

The annual Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival means Walnut Street becomes a pedestrian-only zone, the better to browse the offerings from retailers, vendors and restaurants. Live music performances are planned along with more than 100 booths. While it’s always well attended — OK, it gets crowded — it’s also one of the more intimate and easygoing of the city’s array of street festivals. It’s happening rain or shine.

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Wilmington Grand Prix Weekend
818 Market St., Wilmington, Delaware
May 17-19; noon-5 p.m.

It’s not just a bike race – it’s an event that takes over the city of Wilmington for the weekend. The international cycling competition was included among the top 10 criterium, or closed circuit, races in the U.S. by USA Cycling, the sports’ governing body. Along with the race comes a street festival, a parade, recreational rides, and special restaurant discounts on Market Street. King and Market streets offer the best positions to watch the racers spinning by,

South Ninth Italian Market Festival
919 S. Ninth St., Philadelphia
May 18-19; 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Rain or shine

The nation’s oldest outdoor market, the Italian Market deserves its distinction as one of the best places in Philadelphia for specialty herbs, spices and meats that can’t easily be found anywhere else. The market celebrates Italian heritage with the traditional Procession of Saints and the grease pole-climbing competition, among other events that anchor the two-day festival. Food will, of course, be the highlight, but live music, arts and crafts, fitness and kids zones, and a half-ball tournament make it a full day’s outing for all ages.

Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Festival (rescheduled from earlier date)
8000-8600 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia
May 19: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

The annual festival showcasing all things home-related (except mortgages!) brings more than 150 vendors to Germantown Avenue. Those vendors will showcase artisan wares including jewelry, art, and handmade furniture. Landscapers, beekeepers and gardeners will also be on hand to expound on their areas of expertise. Music will be provided by live bands on two stages, and there will be a Subaru car display, a book sale, kids’ activities including amusement and train rides, and food and drink available for purchase from restaurants and food trucks. All of the above makes for a day that encompasses more than just home décor buffs, although they will find much to enjoy.

“Boycott Esther”
Proscenium Theater at the Drake
302 S. Hicks St., Philadelphia
Through May 19; 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with 2 p.m. performances Saturday and Sunday
Pay what you like after the show

Playwright Emily Acker crafts a world premiere with “Boycott Esther,” a play pulled from the headlines of the #MeToo movement. Acker’s comedic take on the serious subject of workplace harassment is set in the office of a Hollywood mogul who becomes the center of a sexual misconduct scandal. Acker, a graduate of Northwestern University, may have drawn from her own life experience as well – she created the remake of the 1980s British sitcom “Three Up, Two Down” at the now- defunct Weinstein Company. Nearly 100 women claim co-founder Harvey Weinstein raped or sexually harassed them.

Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals
The Met Philadelphia
858 N. Broad St.
May 21; 7:30 p.m.
From $29.50

Anderson .Paak grew up with knowledge of both Korean and African-American cultures, and that may be one of the reasons why the California-based artist is best known for music that’s a hypnotic combination of R&B, soul, pop, and hip-hop. His collaborators reflect that musical dexterity as they include Philly’s own Jazmine Sullivan, along with Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000, 9th Wonder, Kaytranada, J. Cole, Snoop and Pusha T. His four releases since 2014 have all been named after California towns – the latest, “Ventura” came out in April.

Peddler’s Village Strawberry Festival
2800 Street Road
New Hope, Pennsylvania
May 18-19; 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Free (with free parking)

Should be a berry good time this weekend at Peddler’s Village 41st annual Strawberry Festival. Pardon the pun, but strawberries are front and center at this-two day festival that is a staple in Bucks County. Everything made from or with strawberries — from pies, crepes, cupcakes and fritters to strawberry popcorn — will be for sale. Live music will be performed through the weekend, and kids can enjoy a gamut of activities from sand art to animal shows to making their own slime. A strawberry pie-eating contest is set for both days at 3 p.m., and you can order a 9-inch pie to take home.

Big Apple Circus
Greater Philadelphia Expo Center
100 Station Ave., Oaks, Pennsylvania
Through June 16

Barnum and Bailey may be no more, but Big Apple Circus carries on without wild or exotic animals. The circus features rescue dogs, horses and ponies who are treated humanely. Ringmaster Stephanie Monseu represents the circus’s historic diversity. Instead of three rings, there is just one, which allows everyone to have a great seat. Beginning in New York City as a school for circus performers, over the years it’s included charity programs such as Circus For All. After a bankruptcy, many of those programs were dropped, but the troupe now offers “Embracing Autism” performances, which make the shows more comfortable for autistic children.

Singing Nina – A Cultural Festival and Conference
People’s Sanctuary
5507 Germantown Ave. and other Philadelphia venues
May 19; 1 p.m.-7 p.m.

Singer/songwriter Nina Simone led a life both triumphant and tragic, earning accolades for her prowess in multiple musical genres while struggling with domestic violence, cancer and bipolar illness. Germantown Arts seeks to pay homage to and preserve Simone’s legacy via the “Singing Nina” cultural festival and conference. The day includes a screening of the 2017 Netflix documentary on Simone’s life and work, “What Happened, Miss Simone,” a panel discussion that includes heralded Philly poet Ursula Rucker, a VIP reception, and a pop and classical performance of Simone’s music.

“Legally Blonde: The Musical”
Walnut Street Theater
825 Walnut St., Philadelphia
Through July 14

The film version of “Legally Blonde” made actress Reese Witherspoon a huge star in 2001 and was a massive hit, so a stage adaptation was the next natural step. Fortunately, the story of shallow sorority girl Elle Woods evolving into a law student was one that lent itself to musical comedy. It made its Broadway debut in 2007, winning multiple awards for productions on and off Broadway. The Walnut Street Theater presents a new production of the Broadway hit, with Richard Stafford in the director and choreographer seat and Adena Ershow in the lead role as Woods.

East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention
Temple University Student Faculty Center
3340 N. Broad St., Philadelphia
May 18; 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Opening night reception
African American Museum in Philadelphia
May 17; 6:30-9 p.m.
Both events are free

Comic book enthusiasts, unite! This Saturday, black superheroes have their day at the 18th annual East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention. Now that Marvel’s “Black Panther” has blown through box office records and stereotypes about superheroes, this is the perfect time for casual comic book fans to learn about more than just King T’Challa. Study and celebrate Misty Knight, Storm, John Steel, Monica Rambeau and other African American superheroes. Panel discussions, film screenings and workshops on self-publishing comics and graphic arts novels are part of the program. A costume contest should bring out your inner superhero, so get ready for your cosplay closeup.

Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall
700 S. High St., West Chester, Pennsylvania
May 17: 6 and 10 p.m.; May 18; noon and 6 p.m.

You’re familiar with the story – rich boy meets poor girl with family issues but great taste in shoes, one of which she loses in her hasty exit from a lavish party before her borrowed finery turns to rags. Sound familiar? It’s the fairy tale “Cinderella,” which Brandywine Ballet has transformed into a full-length ballet. West Chester’s own, choreographer Nancy Page, spearheads the new production featuring new sets, music and costumes.

KT Tunstall
World Café Live
3025 Walnut St., Philadelphia
May 17; 8 p.m.

Scottish singer/songwriter KT Tunstall can thank rapper Nas for her big break. When he dropped out of a performance on the British late night chat show “Later … with Jools Holland” in 2004, she took his place. She performed her song “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” which then became her first big hit. Since then, Tunstall has released six critically acclaimed studio albums, including 2018’s “WAX.” In recent years, Tunstall has turned her songwriting talents to TV and film after being named one of six fellows for the Sundance Film Institute Composers Lab in 2014. That led her to working on music for films like 2014’s “Million Dollar Arm” and 2016’s “Chasing Satellites.”

Rodrigo y Gabriela
Franklin Music Hall (formerly Electric Factory)
421 N. Seventh St., Philadelphia
May 17; 8 p.m.

Rodrigo y Gabriela have traveled a long way from their Mexico City hometown, both figuratively and literally. The two have played their passionate style of classical-guitar-meets-rock around the world, drawing acclaim for their dynamic live performances. Once romantic partners, Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero have transferred that passion into their music, releasing five studio albums, three live albums and an EP. They developed their unique playing style from the musical influences they absorbed growing up in Mexico to places as far-flung as Galway, Ireland, where they lived for eight years. Now back in their native Mexico City, they’ve contributed to the “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” soundtrack and the “Puss in Boots” soundtrack, In 2010, they performed at the White House for then President Barack Obama. Their latest album, “Mettavolution,” was released in April.

Damien Escobar – Elements of Love tour
The Keswick Theater
291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside, Pennsylvania
May 19; 8 p.m.

Juilliard-trained violinist Damien Escobar was at what he thought was the pinnacle of success when he and his brother Tourie enjoyed widespread recognition on “America’s Got Talent” as the duo Nuttin but Stringz. But following that peak came a downfall when they disbanded and Escobar ended up depressed and homeless. He’s rebounded, releasing his first solo project, “Sensual Melodies” in 2013. Since then, he’s partnered with Mitsubishi, launched a perfume line, performed for Oprah and written a children’s book, “The Sound of Strings.” His third solo release is due out soon.

The James and Jennifer Nixon Symposium: The Art of Collecting
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
118-128 N. Broad St., Philadelphia
May 18; 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Do you have an interest in collecting fine art? If so, this all-day symposium can help you with all the information you need to start. Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, it includes workshops on identifying, purchasing and preserving fine art. Art collectors Carolyn Lowe and Jim Nixon, Brodsky Center founder Judith K. Brodsky, Brodsky Center director Paola Morsiani, and art curator Brittany Webb are among the session leaders sharing their expertise. Artist and educator Nashormeh Lindo will headline a keynote conversation with Brooke Davis Anderson, director of the PAFA Museum, about her family’s approach to curating a personal art collection. A reception and the chance to view PAFA’s student exhibit concludes the program.

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