Philly musicians go live online, virtual summer classes for kids and adults, and festival updates in this week’s ‘Things To Do’

For certain this summer with Philly-area music festivals: Welcome America and the Philadelphia Folk Festival will be held in some virtual capacity.

Listen 3:51
Adam Weiner of Low Cut Connie and DJ Jazzy Jeff

Left: Adam Weiner of Low Cut Connie (Photo by [Paul R. Giunta]/Invision/AP) Right: DJ Jazzy Jeff (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

Shore things

Yes, beaches in New Jersey are opening, just in time for the Memorial Day weekend, Gov. Phil Murphy announced last week. But there will be some restrictions including recommended masks (though they are not required) capacity limits, social distancing requirements and restaurants restricted to takeout and delivery. There is some controversy around whether or not it’s a good idea to head to the shore en masse, but doing an assessment of your personal risk, using your best judgment and following best health and safety practices is a good idea. You can check in with your state’s updated guidelines before you head to the beach here: New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Hot Ten

In honor of the Memorial Day Weekend, we asked the good people at The Museum of the American Revolution to put together a Revolutionary War top ten list for us this week. Tyler Putman, Manager of Gallery Education at the Museum of the American Revolution was happy to do so.

“Here are ten things to read, watch, and listen to that will transport you back to the Revolutionary War. What was life like in 1776? How did people choose sides and decide what was worth the risk? My favorite modern takes on the Revolutionary War tell surprising stories about everyday people experiencing historic events.”

  1. “The Shoemaker and the Tea Party” by Alfred F. Young
    Meet George Robert Twelves Hewes, the last survivor of the Boston Tea Party, and read about how earlier generations of Americans remembered their heroes.
  2. John Adams” – HBO
    “This gripping dramatization of David McCullough’s biography is the best movie version of the Revolutionary War I’ve seen. Join Adams from local lawyer to retired president, including some Philadelphia scenes.”
  3. The Boghouse
    “Join Philadelphia hometown heroes Matt and Melissa Dunphy for one of the strangest true stories you’ll ever hear as they explore the 1700s by digging up a privy pit in their basement!”
  4. “Liberty! The American Revolution” – PBS
  5. “1776” – by David McCullough
  6. Journal of the American Revolution
  7. “Belle” (2013)
  8. Ben Franklin’s World
  9. Radicalism of the American Revolution”  – by Gordon S. Wood
  10. “1776” (the movie) (1972)

Color crafting

As you consider a summer that may look different from the halcyon vacation days of yore, we’re happy to tell you that content creators have stepped up to provide more things for kids to do online. That’s true on Easton, Pennsylvania-based Crayola’s Facebook page. Every Tuesday at 1 p.m., through June 30, crafter Lynn Lilly goes live with different themes around crafting and crayons. On Fridays at 1 p.m., the P’zazz art studio hosts a doodle-along on the page as well.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Cuttin’ up

Like just about all of the music industry, the pandemic sent Adam Weiner of the Philly-based band Low Cut Connie home to wait it out until concerts were deemed safe again. Weiner has made the most of it by hosting one of the most energetic Instagram Live shows around. Usually in his bathrobe, Weiner’s “Tough Cookies” concerts are live on Thursday and Saturdays at 6 p.m. His raucous Little Richard tribute drew praise from “Rolling Stone.” He’s even used the band’s downtime to create a new fragrance, Private Lives, billed as the scent of hope, intrigue, wild nights, strange days, and likely, artistic inspiration in the face of unprecedented challenges.

A touch of Jazz

DJ Jazzy Jeff knows firsthand the dangers of COVID-19 – the veteran deejay recovered from it last month. Now he’s preaching the gospel of social distancing and deejaying from Bel-Air. No, not really. He’s at home in the Delaware Valley. His Magnificent House Party series, an eclectic mix of classic hip-hop, R&B and any other music genre he feels inspired to include, streams live on his Instagram page on Saturdays at 3 p.m.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

First dance

Delaware’s First State Ballet Company is offering their studio classes online through the summer. The classes are divided into ballet levels for current students (but new ones can join as well) and open classes for ages 13 and up. Classes are conducted via the Zoom app by the school’s regular teachers and are priced differently depending on course and whether or not you’re already a student at the school. The site also includes content chosen by each teacher to keep budding ballerinas and ballet dancers informed. Picks include instructional videos, ballet performances and books.

Play time

The McCarter Center at Princeton University is offering special classes in theater arts this summer for children and adults starting on June 1. The classes include musical theater, playwriting, improvisation and storytelling for grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 and adults. Spaces are limited and there are fees for the classes. This Friday, May 22 at 5:30 p.m., in conjunction with the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice, the Center hosts a community reading of departing McCarter artistic director and resident playwright Emily Mann’s “Execution of Justice.” It’s about the murder trial of Dan White who killed gay City Supervisor Harvey Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone in 1978. It will be followed by a group discussion of the play, which will be sent electronically to registrants beforehand.

Equine online

The annual Devon Horse Show would normally be taking place right now but for a global pandemic. But the organizers would not be daunted – they’ve arranged for some of the events to go virtual and still raise money for their charities of choice. New content will be added to their official site through May 31 through what would have been the last day of the 124th show. Contests, photos, a junior fashion show and Ladies’ Day events as well as interviews with equestrians from around the world are expected to be among the virtual offerings. Instead of raising money for Bryn Mawr Hospital through proceeds from the show, an online fundraiser to provide breakfast for their essential workers is accepting donations.

The Welcome America celebration for the 4th of July is still happening, but virtually. Organizers have yet to provide a specific plan but are working to make sure Philadelphia still leads the Independence Day celebrations with its biggest annual party. Expect more details to come after a press conference scheduled for June 10. And the ever-popular Philadelphia Folk Festival will still happen August 13-16 but will be completely virtual and interactive with curated artist performances, Zoom campsites, a craft show and more.

View this post on Instagram

An Important Update on the 59th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival: Since March, the Philadelphia Folksong Society has been meeting with Philadelphia and Montgomery County epidemiologists and infectious disease experts to determine the best way to keep our Folk Family safe. So, the question you are all asking is whether Fest will happen this year and the answer is: Yes AND No. With your safety as our primary consideration, the decision has been made that we will not gather together in Upper Salford Township this August. However, we do have some really exciting news: The Show Must Go On... Line! The Philadelphia Folksong Society is thrilled to announce that we are partnering with Mountain View Staging, with 20 years of streaming excellence to their name, to present the 59th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival as a fully digital interactive musical experience, complete with multiple stages/streams of curated music, fully integrated chat features, campfire open mics, Zoom campsites, craft show, food and merchandise tents, and above all else: the invaluable sense of community and connectivity that comes from the shared experience of enjoying music together. This is not the Festival we originally planned, but with so many losses to our community and most other festivals cancelling, we couldn't allow for your to lose Fest too. This is a FULLY curated and produced Fest, with many of the elements that you know and love, on our very own digital festival platform that we will be able to use for years to come. Can't make Fest for geographic or mobility reasons? Enjoy the livestream EVERY YEAR! And best of all: you'll be able to watch what you miss on other stages or re-watch favorite performances for a select period after Fest ends! We look forward to the day when we will welcome you to the Folk Fest grounds with the sound of live music and your applause! Until then, we’ll keep the music playing and keep the banjo smiling to help bring us closer despite our social distance. Grab Your Tickets Here: For More Information, Visit:

A post shared by Philadelphia Folksong Society (@folksongsociety) on

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.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal