Chili Cook-Off, toad walks and live jazz music in NW Philly

They say March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, but April seems much less predictable for toads this year. The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Roxborough reports that toads migrated toward their reservoirs in early March, but other signs of their seasonal revival, like the appearance of their eggs in pounds, have been scarce. Regardless, the SCEE is leading free toad walks on Friday and Saturday at 6:30 pm. Be prepared to explore the woods and look for toad eggs, listen to their throaty calls and maybe even see a few of the bumpy buggers. Just don’t lick one.

The Schuylkill Center is located at 8480 Hagy’s Mill Road in Roxborough. 

The Really Cooks at the Grape Room – 105 Grape Street With a drummer named Dr. Lemonade and a royal crown-adorned King Alon on bass and vocals, The Really Cooks blend 60s British pop with American surf rock to create a blend of culinary-inspired music. They will be bringing their quirky flavor to Manayunk with a performance at the Grape Room on Saturday night at 8 p.m., for a $7 cover. They should be wearing their chef hats for this one, too. Spring Cleaning at the East Falls Rock Garden in East Falls  Nestled between the Thomas Mifflin School and the railroad overpass is the East Falls Rock Garden, first built in the 30s. The arboretum has a cascade of boulders forming a rocky stairwell up the hillside, cherry blossoms and other shade-bearing trees, but it also needs grooming from time to time. Volunteers for Saturday’s cleanup should wear work clothes and sturdy footwear, and expect to carry branches, weeds and rubbish from the rock garden. Chili Cook-Off at Sherman Hall – 3544 Indian Lane Sample and vote on your favorite entry to help crown the East Falls Chili champion for 2012. Gift certificates from local businesses will also be available to the highest bidder. This event is from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and costs $15 per person, and $25 for two.

Live Jazz and Chamber Music at the Woodmere Art Museum – 9201 Germantown Avenue, April 13 and 15 The Philly-based Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble – joined by guest saxophone player and vocalist Marion Salaam, will belt out energetic and dance-worthy jazz numbers from the likes of Herbie Hancock and Lester Young on Friday night from 6 to 8 p.m. The event is $10 for members and $20 for non-members and includes wine. Children under 12 are admitted for free and welcome to a robot-building workshop during the performance. On Sunday, the Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra performs the classics of that era, including selections from Johann Sebastian Bach, Francesco Mancini, Francois Couperin and more, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for non members. Tickets for both performances can be ordered online and will be sold at the door an hour prior to the show.

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Linear Perspectives opening reception at Mount Airy Contemporary Artists Space – 25 West Mt. Airy Avenue Philadelphia-based artist Laura Watt sees patterns every day in nature and society. Her paintings are infusions of geometry, contrast and lines – a feast for the eyes to behold, but also a riddle for the mind to interpret. Joining Watt is Queens, N.Y.-based Ellie Murphy, who creates elaborate hanging pieces of braided rope, along with mixed media artist Bjorn Meyer-Ebrecht. April 14, from 6 to 9 p.m. Tour the Germantown White House Also known as Deshler Morris House, George Washington resided in this space during his presidency, and later during the yellow fever outbreak in 1793. It’s free for touring to the public on Fridays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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