Things to do: Hot poetry, cool music and ‘altogether ooky’ family fun

Listen 4:28
Image courtesy of UniverSoul Circus

Image courtesy of UniverSoul Circus

With the Thanksgiving holiday bearing down quickly, you may find yourself in need of a break between running errands and planning for the annual family festivity.
Some popular local and international musicians will be playing in the area this weekend may lift your mood. And a slew of family-friendly events and several cultural happenings may help take your mind off the universal challenges of the holiday season
Even if you’re one of those holiday supermen or wonderwomen who have everything scheduled and prepped to the last detail (and we salute you!), try to take some time for yourself or with a loved one before the rush. Here are our recommendations this week.

Disruption: Poetry & Open Mic at the African-American Museum of Philadelphia
701 Arch St., Philadelphia
Nov. 16, 7 p.m.
$7-$10

Artist, poet and educator Nina “Lyrispect” Ball is one of Philadelphia’s most talented spoken-word poets. She’s selected some stellar poets and musicians for the latest “Disruption,” the museum’s quarterly open mic/poetry event.
Featured performers are: dancer/singer Kingsley Ibeneche, a Camden native; Philly poet Rienne Jahnai; poet, author and educator Evita Colon; and Philadelphia artist Jacob Winterstein, who is currently attempting to bike down every street in Philadelphia in an effort to explore how people soothe themselves in difficult times.
The museum has ramped up its cultural events programming in the last few years, so expect a night of the best of African-American creative expression.

“Into the Woods”
Ritz Theater Company
915 White Horse Pike, Oaklyn, New Jersey
Through Nov. 18
$20.50-$33.50

The Stephen Sondheim musical that upends your favorite childhood fairy tales – Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood among them – soon concludes its run at the Ritz Theater Company. It won multiple Tony Awards during its initial opening on Broadway in the ‘80s and again during a 2012 revival starring singer, actress and former Miss America Vanessa L. Williams. While it encompasses childhood fables we all know and love in their original versions, the musical – and its 2014 movie adaptation starring Meryl Streep – gives them darker, more adult layers.

2018 Directors’ Showcase
Cabaret Theater
7 Suydam St.
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Nov. 16-17, 8-10 p.m.
Nov. 18, 7 p.m.
$5-$7

Here’s a chance to see five short plays helmed by five first-time directors. If that sounds like an intriguing night at the theater – and it does to us – then direct yourself to the Cabaret Theater’s annual showcase. All five directors are getting their first taste of the process in with the plays, each running about 15-20 minutes.

An Evening With: Stephen Marley Acoustic
Keswick Theater
291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside, Pennsylvania
Nov. 16, 8 p.m.
$29.50-$49.50

Stephen Marley, Bob and Rita Marley’s second son, has had a prolific career of his own, earning eight Grammys as an artist, writer and producer. A member of the family band The Melody Makers, he has produced hits including “Welcome to Jamrock” with his younger brother, Damian Marley. He’s also collaborated with artists Pitbull, Erykah Badu, Rick Ross, Melanie Fiona and Bone Thugs N Harmony. His latest project, “Revelation Pt. II: The Fruit of Life,” was released in 2016.
On this tour, Stephen will play acoustic versions of his own music and some of his father’s beloved hits.

Bob Dylan
Hard Rock Live at Mark G. Etess Arena
1000 Boardwalk
Atlantic City
Nov. 17, 8 p.m.
$50 and up

It’s an unfortunate byproduct of time that, as we age, so do our musical icons. Bob Dylan, a man who’s spent more than half a century engaging audiences with his emotionally intimate songwriting is now 77. But like other classic rock stalwarts Mick Jagger, Billy Joel, Elton John, Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney, he’s still a viable musical presence.
Dylan’s just released “More Blood, More Tracks,” which NPR described last month as “a massive trove of outtakes that documents, in chronological order, every utterance from the New York sessions that led to Dylan’s 1975 opus ‘Blood On the Tracks.’”
Like all great songwriters, Dylan continues to parse meaning in every song, even those he crafted decades ago. He’ll be in Philadelphia in December as the inaugural performer for The Met’s reopening. But, alas, that show is sold out, so this will be the only chance to see him locally for a while.

Annual Newark Turkey Trot 10K and 5K
Handloff Park
1000 Barksdale Road, Newark, Delaware
Nov. 17, 9 a.m. start, onsite registration ($30) begins at 8 a.m.

The second oldest continuously run race in the state, the 46th annual Turkey Trot allows runners of all abilities to participate wearing their choice of turkey-themed costumes. One man ran last year à la mode in a snazzy pumpkin pie hat.
Costumes are not mandatory, but registration is, and you can do that until an hour before the race starts. Refreshments and a raffle follow the race.
Participants can donate gently used coats at the race site to be collected by the The Ancient Order of Hibernians for those in need. Proceeds will benefit the James F. Hall Scholarship fund to assist Newark youth with tuition to attend programs and activities.

Annual Jazz By Night Celebration
State Street, Media, Pennsylvania
Nov. 17, 6 p.m.-1 a.m.
$15-$20

If you love jazz, downtown Media is the place to be Saturday as be-bop, acid and classic jazz fills the night air. Media hosts jazz musicians from the region and across the country for their 16th annual celebration of America’s homegrown classical music. Local legends Bootsie Barnes and Elliott Levin will be there, as will the Hot Club Of Philadelphia, the Eric Mintel Quartet and other jazz bands and performers. Twenty artists will perform at 20 venues in and around State Street. Tickets allow you to roam, but dinner reservations at participating restaurants are at separate cost. A tribute to Aretha Franklin is among the special performances planned this year.

TRL Dance Party
Kung Fu Necktie
1250 N. Front St., Philadelphia
Nov. 17, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
$5

Fishtown has become one of Philly’s thriving new neighborhoods – and music is a big part of its renaissance. Kung Fu Necktie is one of the venues that hosts some of the most fun dance parties in the city. This week’s TRL Dance Party with DJ Dame Luz is dedicated to the days when Britney Spears, Destiny’s Child, Christina Aguilera, The Backstreet Boys and N’Sync ruled the charts, and MTV host Carson Daly was the host with the most. As the contemporary answer to Philadelphia’s “American Bandstand,” MTV’s “Total Request Live” made both careers and teenage memories. You don’t have to wear ‘90s gear, but if you’ve still got some in the back of your closet, it won’t be out of place.


Philadelphia Marathon 25th Anniversary Weekend
Various locations
Nov. 16-18

It’s the 25th anniversary of the Philadelphia Marathon, and even if you’re not planning to run the marathon, half-marathon or 8K – or have a loved one running to cheer on – you can still participate.
Kids from 3 to 12 can run in Saturday’s noncompetitive Munchkin Kids Fun Run. Online registration is closed, but you can still register for free in person Friday and Saturday. Activities start at 10 a.m. and although adults or guardians must be present with participating children, they cannot run with their children on the course. Children will get T-shirts and finisher’s medals.
If you want to find the best locations around the city to cheer on the runners, check out this list of locations citywide and their corresponding mile marker. The two-day Health and Fitness Expo featuring an array of fitness, health and wellness vendors is set for the Pennsylvania Convention Center. That’s free and open to the public from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday.

UniverSoul Circus
52nd Street and Parkside Avenue, Philadelphia
Through Dec. 2 (THURSDAY, NOV 15, 7 P.M. SHOW HAS BEEN CANCELLED)
$20-$40

This predominantly African-American circus troupe was founded in 1994 by Cedric Walker who wanted to create a more inclusive, interactive option to traditional circuses.
UniverSoul is a one-ring circus with a focus on dance and music. It’s suitable for children and adults who can still tap into their sense of childlike wonder in the face of engaging entertainment.

Penn Singers Light Opera presents “The Addams Family”
Annenberg Center Live
3680 Walnut St., Philadelphia
Nov. 15-17, various times
$6-$10

The “creepy, spooky altogether ooky” Addamses were the family I most envied as a child. Not only were Morticia and Gomez sexy – even to a child who didn’t quite understand what that meant – they lived in an expansive gothic mansion full of interesting things to do. Their kids had a fun uncle, and the family employed a very tall butler with a deep voice who appeared instantly every time they rang a bell. If your childhood imaginings were along the same lines, this musical comedy version of “The Addams Family” should provide a new perspective on the classic TV show that also spawned three movies.

Food and Fun Fair
Historical Society Of Pennsylvania
1300 Locust St., Philadelphia
Nov. 17, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Up to $25

Food, fun and history combine at the Food and Fun Fair taking place at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania Saturday. Visitors will find out more about the area’s rich food history while enjoying other activities and checking out vendors’ wares. You can even learn about the history of chocolate. A full day of events will conclude with refreshments for those 21 and over, who, while learning more about the history of the BYOB in Philadelphia, can partake as well.You guessed it: While there is a cost for the event, drinks are BYOB.

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