Philly Men Are Cookin’, two film fests and Veterans Day activities in this week’s ‘Things To Do’

Two film festivals kick off, jazz music royalty celebrate an 80th anniversary, and a prestigious Philly crafts show returns in this week’s “Things To Do.”

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"Bird on Money" by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Courtesy of the Rubell Family Collection via the Barnes Foundation.

Two film festivals kick off, jazz music royalty celebrate an 80th anniversary, and a prestigious Philly crafts show returns in this week’s “Things To Do.”

Dinner With Sinatra
Tomasello Winery and Banquet Hall
225 N. White Horse Pike
Hammonton, N.J.
Friday, Nov. 8, 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

The late Frank Sinatra’s timeless music lives on. Long-time entertainer Lou Dottoli will crune his classic tunes at the Dinner With Sinatra event hosted by Hammonton’s Tomasello Winery. Founded by Frank Tomasello in 1933, the winery is still run by third and fourth generations of the Tomasello family. Through the years, Dottoli has proven himself more than capable of earnest renditions of the Sinatra songbook. His performance comes with a seasonal, three-course gourmet dinner prepared by Tomasello’s executive chef.

Philly’s Men Are Cookin’
Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
6825 Norwitch Drive
Saturday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m. – 11 p.m.

A fundraiser, a cookout, and a party all in one, the 27th annual Philly’s Men Are Cookin’ event brings about 200 professional and amateur cooks together for a good cause. The Ivy Legacy Foundation, the philanthropic division of the Philadelphia chapter of the African-American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., puts on the event to benefit their local service projects and to fund scholarships. To date, they’ve raised over $350,000 for those initiatives.

Justin Willman
Keswick Theater
291 N. Keswick Ave.
Glenside, Pa.
Saturday, Nov. 9, 8 p.m.

Magician/comedian/viral personality Justin Willman, host of the Netflix show “Magic for Humans” will bring his bag of tricks to suburban Philadelphia for a one-night, one-man show. A favorite on the talk show circuit, Willman also has a residency at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles called, unsurprisingly, “The Magic Show,” in a hidden theater inside the hotel. Willman’s Netflix series, which debuted in 2018 to positive reviews, is currently in production for a second season.

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Rebirth Brass Band
Underground Arts
1200 Callowhill St.
Friday, Nov. 8, Saturday, Nov. 9, 9 p.m.

New Orleans is justifiably famed for its brass bands. The Rebirth Brass Band was formed in 1983 by musician brothers Phil and Keith Frazier, Kermit Ruffins, and their high school classmates from the city’s historic Tremé neighborhood. The band won a Grammy in 2012 for Best Regional Roots album, the first year the category existed. By combining elements of traditional New Orleans music with other genres, including hip-hop, funk, and soul, they’ve developed their own unique sound. Despite changing lineups and collaborators, RBB maintains its ongoing Tuesday night residency at New Orleans’ Maple Leaf Bar in the city’s Uptown neighborhood. They released their 17th album “Move Your Body” in 2017.

Blue Note 80th Anniversary Celebration w/Kandace Springs, James Carter Organ Trio, and James Francies
The Grand Opera House
818 N. Market St.
Wilmington, Del.
Friday, Nov. 8, 8 p.m.

Jazz music is celebrating a renaissance, with talented newcomers creating new standards in the genre. But without Blue Note Records, many of today’s younger artists would have no one to draw inspiration from. Known for its embrace of hard bop, avant-garde, and free jazz, everyone from Art Blakey to Hank Mobley to Wayne Shorter has recorded for the iconic label. Blue Note’s moody album covers solidified their reputation as the arbiters of cool, and over the last few decades, the label’s embrace of hip-hop has kept them relevant. Current Blue Note artists – vocalist/keyboardist Kandace Springs, pianist James Francies, and saxophonist James Carter bring their trios to town as part of the 80th-anniversary tour.

Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival
Philadelphia Film Center
1412 Chestnut St., various locations
Friday, Nov. 9 – Saturday, Nov. 23
Pricing varies per screening/event

For the next two weeks, the annual Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival, a staple in the city since 1981, will highlight the contributions of Jewish filmmakers and Jewish-themed films. But it’s not all screenings – there are parties, panels, master classes, and appearances by actors, documentarians, authors, and more. Some highlights include the Philadelphia premiere of “The Passengers” about the struggles of Ethiopian Jews; “Heir to An Execution,” a new take on the story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg by directed by their granddaughter; and “Chewdiasm – A Taste of Jewish Montreal,” directed by comedy duo Jamie Elfman and Eli Batalion which includes a pre-screening bagel buffet. Single screening, as well as ticket packages with special access, are available.

The 43rd Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Crafts Show
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St.
Friday, Nov 8, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 9, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 10, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
One day pass $20, Two days $25, children under 12, $5

Almost 900 applicants vie for selection for one of the nation’s most prestigious contemporary crafts and design shows. The 43rd annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Crafts Show distills entrants, including emerging artists, down to 195 in disciplines from wearable art and furniture to mixed media, jewelry, wood, ceramics and more. This year’s Guest Artist Program features 26 artists from Israel. All art is for sale and ticketing options include group and individual tickets at an additional cost with a meet-and-greet with an artist of your choice.

Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival
Lightbox Film Center
3701 Chestnut St., various locations
Thursday, Nov. 7 – Sunday, Nov. 17
Pricing varies per screening or event

Billed as the largest of its kind on the East Coast, the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival provides exposure for the cinematic artistry of Asian American and Pacific Islanders. The festival includes music and theatre performances, including an Asian hip-hop showcase, and various panels and residencies. Some of the highlights include “Emma Stone”, a showcase by Daniel Park and Dean Rawlins; a screening of “Lucky Grandma” followed by an Artist Bash; a screening of the Vietnamese romance “Song Lang” with a Q & A by director Leon Le; and the Tongan documentary “For My Father’s Kingdom.” An all-access festival badge, providing entry to 100-plus screenings and events, is available.

Love Your Park Fall Service Day
Various locations
Saturday, Nov. 9, various times
Free, registration required

City living would be a dreary proposition without Philadelphia’s comprehensive park system. The annual Love Your Park Fall Service Day is a way to appreciate the importance of the green spaces that allow a respite from urban congestion. Sponsored by the Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, and the Park Friends Network, Love Your Park attracts about 5,000 volunteers via 100 friends groups to groom, clean, and re-green their local parks. It’s free to participate, but registration is required.

30 Americans
Barnes Foundation
2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy.
Through Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020
$5 – $25

The Barnes is hosting “30 Americans,” works by 30 African-American artists of significant distinction, courtesy of the Rubell Family Collection. If that name rings a bell, it’s because Studio 54 launched nightclub impresario Steve Rubell into New York City disco history. His doctor brother Don put contemporary art collecting on the map by being an early buyer of the works of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The disparate works in “30 Americans” include Basquiat, Mickalene Thomas, and Philadelphian Barkley L. Hendricks, who graduated from both Gratz High School and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In conjunction with the exhibit are various events including an Artist Bash with Activated Peoples, and an Artist Conversation with mother/son artists Hank Willis Thomas and Deborah Willis.

Pennsylvania Ballet: World Premieres
Merriam Theater
250 S. Broad St.
Thursday, Nov. 7 – Sunday, Nov. 10, Various times
$35 – $154

Three new ballets have been commissioned for the Pennsylvania Ballet from three choreographers with global reach. You can see them first during their world premiere performances. “A Dance of Inevitability” by Yin Yue, artistic director at YY Dance Company; “Connection” by Juliano Nunes, who trained at Rio’s Brazilian Dance Conservatory; and “Remembrance” by Utah-born Garrett Smith, who has worked with the Norwegian National Ballet, among others, will debut this weekend.

Veterans Day 2019
Monday, Nov. 11
Various locations
Military veterans certainly deserve their day to celebrate. This Monday, the nation will commemorate those who’ve served, past and present, along with those lost on battlefields foreign and domestic.
The Museum of the American Revolution leads the way with a schedule of events planned for Monday. A Veterans Day guided walking tour to the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier in Washington Square Park will depart the Museum at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Museum attendees can view the ongoing exhibit “Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier” that commemorates the life of Richard St. George, an Irish officer in the British Army who suffered from PTSD. Admission is free for active-duty military, retired veterans and Blue Star families. (For everyone else, regular admission is required.)
The National Constitution Center hosts a full slate of events throughout the day, including a wreath-laying and flag-raising ceremonies; letter-writing stations for those who want to send messages to military members; interactive military-themed crafting stations; and the opportunity to interact with veterans and military community organizations, among other activities. Admission for veterans is free.

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