Boyz II Men, Philly Beer Fest and ‘Zooman and the Sign’ in this week’s ‘Things To Do’

Feb. 16 - 18: James Baldwin celebration in Philly, Rowan Jazz Festival in N.J. and Oleta Adams in Del. are among the weekend’s highlights.

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Boyz II Men members, from left, Wanya Morris, Nathan Vaderpool, Shawn Stockman and Mike McCary rehearse at the Shrine Auditorium

File photo: Boyz II Men members, from left, Wanya Morris, Nathan Vaderpool, Shawn Stockman and Mike McCary rehearse at the Shrine Auditorium in preparation for the Grammy Awards show in Los Angeles, Calif, on Feb. 28, 1995. (AP Photo/Chris Pizello)

Exhibitions make their debut this week with “The Art of Brick” showing the versatility of Legos at The Franklin Institute. At Drexel’s Academy of Natural Sciences, “Under the Canopy: Animals of the Rainforest” covers the animal life and ecosystems of the world’s rainforests. At the Woodmere, a new exhibit, “Henry Bermudez in Philadelphia,” opens for a three-month run. The Philly Beer Fest offers an array of local and national brews, while the Lunar New Year is celebrated at a free event in Franklin Square. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus is not your grandaddy’s circus, but it’s still the “greatest show on earth,” with performers from over 18 countries. In music, jazz hybrid Curtis Stigers stops by City Winery, while Philly’s own Boyz II Men take the stage at the Met.

New Jersey | Delaware | Special Events | Food & Drink | Arts & Culture | Kids | Music

New Jersey

Rowan University 54th Annual Jazz Festival Concert

Rowan University’s Jazz Band takes the stage at its South Jersey campus’s 54th annual Jazz Festival Concert. Featuring trumpeter Doug Beach and music by both accomplished and aspiring composers from Rowan’s Jazz Studies program, they focus on recreating the sounds of the genre’s classic big bands.


Rehoboth Beach African American Film Festival

  • Where: Cinema Art Theater, 1770 Dartmouth Dr., Lewes, Del. (behind the Wawa)
  • When: Friday, Feb. 16 – Sunday, Feb. 18
  • How much: $11.50, $5 for students

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society hosts the Rehoboth Beach African American Film Festival this weekend, featuring various films from African American filmmakers. The screenings include shorts, documentaries and Ava DuVernay’s acclaimed new film “Origin.” On Friday, there’s a ticketed reception to kick off the fest.

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Oleta Adams

Oleta Adams sings into a microphone
File photo: Oleta Adams sings before the first round of the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 27, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Whether you consider her a jazz or R&B artist, everyone can agree that Oleta Adams is a rare talent. She was discovered by U.K. band “Tears for Fears,” recording and touring with them until releasing her own solo projects. Her biggest hit, “Get Here,” is a cover of Brenda Russell’s original. Adams heads to The Grand in Wilmington Friday night.

‘Still I Rise’ with Courtney B. Vance and Dr. Robin L. Smith Soul Food Sunday Brunch

Courtney B. Vance
FILE – In this Jan. 19, 2020, file photo, Courtney B. Vance arrives at the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
  • Where: Wilmington Public Library, 10 E. 10th St., Wilmington, Del.
  • When: Sunday, Feb. 18, noon
  • How much: Free, and full right now, but there is a waiting list available

Actor Courtney Vance and Dr. Robin Smith teamed up for the book “The Invisible Ache: Black Men Identifying Their Pain and Reclaiming Their Power” earlier this year. They’re the guests at the Wilmington Library’s “Still I Rise” Soul Food Sunday Brunch this weekend. The bad news is the event’s already at capacity, but the good news is there’s a waiting list.

Special Events

Lunar New Year Celebration

Chinatown celebrated the Year of the Dragon during the Lunar New Year Parade on Feb. 11. 2024. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)
  • Where: Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th St. 
  • When: Saturday, Feb. 17, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • How much: Free

Franklin Square hosts its inaugural Lunar New Year Celebration this Saturday with the Philadelphia Suns and the Asian Arts Initiative. The Suns will perform the traditional lion dances to usher in the Year of the Dragon, and the initiative will provide crafts on site. Micheal Chow of Sang Kee will be on hand for a dumpling-making workshop.

The Art of the Brick

(Courtesy of The Art of the Brick)

Philly becomes “Brick City” when the new Franklin Institute exhibit “The Art of the Brick” opens this weekend. The exhibit is billed as the largest display of Lego art in the world. It showcases the versatility of the plastic pieces, which can be used to create just about anything — even a tone-by-tone recreation of the Mona Lisa.

Presidents Day Weekend

  • Where: The National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St. 
  • When: Saturday, Feb. 17 – Monday, Feb. 19, Monday hours are extended from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and admission is free.
  • How much: Free with museum admission

You’d expect the National Constitution Center to be all over Presidents Day … and they are. Special programming for Presidents Day Weekend includes a Saturday discussion on “The Strange Election of 1856,” and on Monday, a presidential/first lady costume contest, a kid’s town hall and a conversation with National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen on his new book, “The Pursuit of Happiness: How Classical Writers on Virtue Inspired the Lives of the Founders and Defined America,” with Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic.

Food & Drink

Philly Beer Fest

  • Where: 23rd Street Armory, 22 S. 23rd St. 
  • When: Saturday, Feb. 17, 1 p.m.  – 4 p.m., 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., VIP tix include early entry. Note: You cannot attend both sessions.
  • How much: $35 – $55 

The Philly Beer Fest comes to the city’s 23rd Street Armory Saturday with food, drink and live music played by Mr. Hollywood DJ (who you may recognize from Flyers games, as he’s the in-house deejay there). The beer provided by both local and national brewers is included with the ticket, but food is pay-as-you-go.

Arts & Culture

50 Years of Hip-Hop: Art, Music, Power

The National Liberty Museum is celebrating Black History Month with an event that pays homage to hip-hop. 50 Years of Hip Hop: Art Music Power celebrates the 2023 milestone with a full day of family-friendly activities. There are hip-hop dance and zine-making workshops, as well as a discussion of music sampling and how it changed the industry.

The Drunk Black History Show

New Jersey native Gordon Baker-Bone is a comedian on the rise. He’ll use his evolving chops as the host of The Drunk Black History Show, where guests will provide a perspective of Black history that’s been sorely missing in the by-the-numbers, earnest takes thus far.

Zooman and the Sign

  • Where: Harold Prince Theater in the Annenberg, 3680 Walnut St. 
  • When: Thursday, Feb. 15 – Sunday, Feb. 18
  • How much: $42

Philadelphia playwright Charles Fuller wrote “Zooman and the Sign” back in the ‘70s, but its themes are just as relevant today. Set in Philadelphia, it’s the story of what happens when a grieving father challenges his community after an incident of gun violence. Fuller won a Pulitzer, a Tony and an Obie for the play. The Negro Ensemble Company, in residence at the Annenberg, will perform it this weekend. 

Groucho Marx: A Life In Review

Four of the five Marx brothers, from left, Chico, Groucho, Harpo and Zeppo, pose in 1930. (AP Photo)

Frank Ferrante does double duty as the director and star of “Groucho Marx: A Life in Review,” which opened at the Walnut Street Theater this week. The story of vaudeville turned movie star Marx, the revue covers his life and work with music and humor.

Abbott Elementary Drag & Burlesque Show

It just started its third season, but Abbott Elementary is already getting dragged — in the very best way. Drag queens Ms. Peaches and Little Piece are paying homage to the cast in their SLAY is in Session: An Abbott Elementary Drag & Burlesque Show at Franky Bradley’s. They’re taking on every character from Janine Teague to… Gritty?

Henry Bermudez in Philadelphia

  • Where: Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Ave.
  • When: Friday, Feb. 17 – Sunday, May 19
  • How much: Free with museum admission

Venezuelan artist Henry Bermudez was a celebrated painter in his home country. But in 2003, while traveling in the U.S., he was informed that he’d become persona non grata and had to seek shelter in a country he’d never lived in. Bermudez regrouped, ultimately making his life and continuing his work in the U.S. Henry Bermudez in Philadelphia is an exhibit showcasing his evolution from painter to mixed media artist. It comes with a series of events through May, including tonight’s free opening night reception. 

Witness to Revolution: The Unlikely Travels of Washington’s Tent

  • Where: The Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd St. 
  • When: Saturday, Feb. 17 – Sunday, Jan. 5
  • How much: Free with museum admission

Though a million people have already come to the Museum of the American Revolution to see General George Washington’s war tent, their new exhibit, “The Unlikely Travels of Washington’s Tent,” will expand on the story with documents, artifacts and even works of art. It will include digital and online resources as well as specific programming for children and families.

Inaugurating the Year of James Baldwin: God’s Revolutionary Voice

James Baldwin in his house, March 15, 1983, Saint Paul de Vence, France. (AP Photo/Photo Pressenia)
  • Where: The Free Library, Parkway Central, 1901 Vine St. 
  • When: Saturday, Feb. 17, 11 a.m.
  • How much: Free (registration has closed, and admittance to the kickoff event is now first come, first served after registrants have been let in).

Author and activist James Baldwin was born 100 years ago. On Saturday, the Free Library starts the celebration of The Year of James Baldwin: God’s Revolutionary Voice. Throughout the year, there will be events including screenings, reading discussions and more at various venues around the city.


Ringling Bros. & Barnum Bailey Circus

Everything must change, and the circus is no different. Animal acts are no longer part of the reimagined Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. However, with its multi-talented global performers on high-wire, trapeze and trick biking, it can still be considered the “Greatest Show on Earth.” The circus comes to the Wells Fargo Center Friday through Monday.

Under the Canopy: Animals of the Rainforest

A bright green frog on a leaf
File photo: A frog named “rana azul” or “rana de cafetal” (Agalychnis annae) stands in a protected forest on the outskirts of San Jose, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022.(AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

As the world contends with climate change, rainforests are increasingly important as they absorb harmful greenhouse gases and help to moderate temperatures. But deforestation has put them at risk. The Under The Canopy: Animals of the Rainforest exhibit shows the public the importance of rainforests and the animal life that lives in them. Interactive displays, including animal sculptures and multimedia, are specifically geared towards kids so they understand how much they can do to help the planet.


Curtis Stigers

Singer/songwriter Curtis Stigers combines jazz, blue-eyed soul, R&B and pop in his music. He’s recorded with everyone from Al Green to Carole King and plays both guitar and saxophone. Oh, and he also wrote the theme song for the popular FX series “Sons of Anarchy.” Tonight, he’s here in Philly at City Winery.

Boyz II Men

Boyz II Men members, from left, Wanya Morris, Nathan Vanderpool, Shawn Stockman and Mike McCary pose for a photo
File photo: Boyz II Men members, from left, Wanya Morris, Nathan Vanderpool, Shawn Stockman and Mike McCary pose at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 25, 1993. (AP Photo/Julie Markes)

Philly’s most successful R&B group comes home to the Met Philadelphia for their annual Valentine’s show. Wanya, Shawn and Nate have traveled the world behind their hits “Motown Philly,” “On Bended Knee,” “End of the Road” and “One Sweet Day,” but Philly was the place where their journey began.

 LatinX Composers: Astral Artists

A chamber music trio plays several selections by Latin composers in the Teatro Esperanza’s LatinX Composers series. The latest edition, Astral Artists, features Katie Hyun on violin, Luiz Fernando Venturelli on cello and Priscila Navarro on piano performing works, including a world premiere by Latin composer Daniel de Jesús. 

Jamila Woods: Water Made Us Tour

Poet and musician Jamila Woods is a Chicago native who’s bridged the world between spoken word and R&B. She’s collaborated with Chance the Rapper and Ryan Lewis & Macklemore. She’s at the TLA in support of her album “Water Made Us” and her just-released single “Still.”

Saturdays just got more interesting.

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