Valentine’s Day weekend events, Mardi Gras, and more this week. Robin Bloom shares her picks.
Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe
Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe opens at the National Constitution Center, February 13 through September 7. The Newseum traveling exhibit highlights unforgettable images of public and private moments of the First Family taken by JFK’s personal photographer. Jacques Lowe had unprecedented access to the President, his wife Jacqueline, and children Caroline and John Jr. from 1958 through their early years in the White House. More than 70 iconic photographs, along with images of the original contact sheets, and a film about Lowe and the Kennedy family will be on display, offering an intimate glimpse into the creation of the legend of “Camelot,” 525 Arch Street, Independence Mall, Philadelphia. Exhibition Ribbon Cutting Friday, February 13, 9:45 a.m. Enjoy Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day weekend activities, Saturday, February 14, with stories of John and Abigail Adams, James and Dolley Madison, and other great presidential romances. On Monday, February 16, activities include a Kids Town Hall, special guests – Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt – a costume contest, stories, games, and more. Admission is free on Monday, courtesy of TD Bank. Photo courtesy of the National Constitution Center.
The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement, 1887-1920
Opening this weekend at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement, 1887-1920. The exhibit focuses on Philadelphia’s role in the national garden movement and how it is intertwined with Impressionism, and the growing popularity of gardening among middle-class Americans during that time, the Progressive era. Featuring paintings, autochromes, stained glass, works on paper, rare books, and garden sculpture drawn from collections of art museums, botanical gardens, libraries and private collections. Artists include Gari Melchers, Maria Oakey Dewing, Childe Hassam, Hugh Henry Breckinridge, Cecilia Beaux, Daniel Garber, and Violet Oakley, many who taught, studied or exhibited at PAFA and were involved in the horticultural arts. On display February 13 through May 24 with a fully illustrated catalogue accompanying the exhibition at PAFA, 118-128 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia. Pictured: My Garden by Gari Melchers (1860-1932), collection of The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH.
Paleopalooza & Titanoboa: Monster Snake
The annual two-day festival Paleopalooza returns, Saturday and Sunday, February 14 and 15, to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Check out live animal shows, rarely displayed Devonian fossils collected in central Pennsylvania, the Academy’s world-renowned collection of dinosaur, reptile and other fossils, meet paleontologists, hunt for real fossils, and more. Also enjoy the special traveling exhibit Titanoboa: Monster Snake. In 2009 in Colombia, scientists uncovered the remains of the largest snake in the world, a reptile that lived approximately 60–58 million years ago. Explore a replica of the ancient, extinct reptile, through April 19, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. Photo by Will Klein.
The Robot Zoo
Explore the biomechanics of complex animal robots to discover how real animals work at the Delaware Museum of Natural History. The Robot Zoo, the latest special exhibit offers three robot animals and eight hands-on activities that help demonstrate how a chameleon changes color or a house fly walks on a ceiling, through May 25, 4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE. Photo courtesy of the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
Greater Philadelphia Scottish & Irish Music Festival and Fair
The 23rd annual Greater Philadelphia Scottish & Irish Music Festival and Fair returns to the Valley Forge Casino Resort and Convention Center, February 13-15, featuring The John Byrne Band, Albannach, Jamison, Screaming Orphans (pictured), and more, with continuous music and activities all weekend. Craft and jewelry vendors, traditional food vendors, dance lessons, kilt making workshops, Scottish and Irish Whiskey tastings, and activities for the whole family. Doors open at 6:30pm Friday night, 1200 First Avenue, King of Prussia, PA. Parking and children 12 and under free. Photo by Bob Felderman.
Terrence McNally’s “Mothers and Sons”
Tony Award winning playwright Terrence McNally’s moving and timely Mothers and Sons takes to the stage at Philadelphia Theatre Company through March 8. Emmy Award-winning Actress Michael Learned portrays a mother who lost her son to AIDS 20 years ago and her attempt to reconcile with her late son’s partner who is now married to another man. The play premiered at Bucks County Playhouse before moving to Broadway last season and is directed by Wendy Goldberg. Cast includes Hugh Kennedy, James Lloyd Reynolds, Patrick Gibbons and Jacob D. Wilner, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Broad and Lombard Streets, Philadelphia. Related programs and events include post-show meet-the-artists talk backs on February 12 and 26, a book club, backstage tour, interview with the playwright, Happy Hour and more. Photo by Mark Garvin.“Nora” at Delaware Theatre Company
The stunning drama Nora is onstage at Delaware Theatre Company. Swedish born film writer/director Ingmar Bergman’s stripped down and stark adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House focuses on the unbalanced relationship between Nora and her husband Torvald. Directed by Michael Mastro and starring Kim Carson as Nora, David Arrow, Chris Thorn, Susan Riley Stevens, and Kevin Bergen through February 22, 200 Water Street, Wilmington, DE. Related programs and events include a post-show talkback with the stars on February 12 and 19, and a viewpoints pre-show on February 18. Photo by Matt Urban, Mobius New Media.Quintessence Theatre Group “The Metamorphosis”
Quintessence Theatre Group continues its tradition of presenting progressive classic theatre with Steven Berkoff’s adaptation of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, in honor of the centennial celebration of the groundbreaking masterpiece. Considered one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century, the timeless play tells the story of Gregor, a traveling salesman who mysteriously transforms overnight into a gigantic insect-like creature. He attempts to adjust to his new condition as he deals with the reaction of his family. The hyper-physical production explores how bodies transform with cross-gender casting (Kristen Bailey as Gregor), along with Alan Brincks, Julie Frey, Douglas Hara, Anita Holland, Gracie Martin and Lee Minora. Directed by Rebecca Wright, through March 1, Sedgwick Theater, 7137 Germantown Avenue, Mt. Airy. Join the Elemental Recitation Series as members of Quintessence’s ensemble and actors from the Philadelphia theatre community gather to recite rarely performed classics including Kafka’s In The Penal Colony on February 16 and The Trial on February 23, both at 7pm. Also, post show talkbacks with the creative team on February 15 and 26. Photo by Shawn May.“Light Sensitive” at Montgomery Theater
Montgomery Theater opens its 22nd season with a comedy by Jim Geoghan. Light Sensitive centers on Thomas Hanratty, a blind former New York City cab driver who’s afraid of finding light in his “dark” world, along with his two friends who are in their own tough situations. The funny and touching story addresses the importance of love and friendship with Kristin Wiegand, Aaron Kirkpatrick, and Jared Michael Delaney, through March 1, 124 N. Main Street, Souderton, PA. Photo by Angela McMichael.“Hold These Truths” at Plays & Players
Plays & Players puts a spotlight on a dark time in our country’s history with Hold These Truths, the dramatization of the true story of forced internment of Japanese American citizens during World War II. Written by Los Angeles based playwright and actress Jeanne Sakata, the well-received production has its Philadelphia premiere February 13 through March 1, directed by Daniel Student, Producing Artistic Director of Plays & Players. The one man show stars Philadelphia based dance, theatre, and spoken word artist Makoto Hirano (pictured) who portrays over 30 characters including Gordon Hirabayashi, attempting to reconcile his love for a country that labeled him a second class citizen, Third Floor Skinner Studio, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia. Related events include a post-show talkback with the playwright and General Secretary Shan Cretin of the American Friends Service Committee on February 15 and post-show talkback with Makoto Hirano and camp survivors on February 22. Photo by Daniel Kontz.EgoPo Classic Theater’s “Stairs to the Roof”
EgoPo Classic Theater continues its American Giants Festival with the Philadelphia premiere of Tennessee Williams’ rarely-seen early play Stairs to the Roof, February 11 through March 1. The fantastical adventurous comedy is the last of the legendary playwright’s apprentice plays and his first full length play (written before coming out to his friends and family) and focuses on Ben Murphy, an unhappy young office clerk working in a shirt factory (as Williams did) who is unable to fit into the life expected of him. He takes the stairs to the roof searching for a life of freedom he can only dream of. The production is presented in partnership with Rowan University’s College of Performing Arts. The 15 person cast includes all Rowan students from an acting training program that focuses on integrating physical and psychological techniques. Drected by EgoPo Artistic Director Lane Savadove at the Latvian Society, 531 N. 7th Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Matthew Wright.BalletX Winter Series 2015
The contemporary ballet company BalletX’s Winter Series 2015 offers seven performances February 18-22 at the Wilma Theater. The varied program features the work of four diverse choreographers. Norbert De La Cruz III offers a world premiere featuring an original score by the emerging San Francisco based composer Ben Juodvalkis. Cayetano Soto’s critically acclaimed 2013 work Malasangre makes its U.S. premiere, an homage to the Cuban singer La Lupe. Val Caniparoli’s Triptych highlights the emotional complexities of soldiers before, during, and after combat. Amy Seiwert brings back her It’s Not A Cry, set to Jeff Buckley’s version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, 265 South Broad Street, Philadelphia. Go behind the scenes with the X-Process, interactive lectures and events, conversations with the artists, “A Pie, A Pint, and the Process,” and more. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.
Celebrate Mardi Gras
Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra perform at the Kimmel Center for a Fat Tuesday Celebration Party, Tuesday, February 17, 7:30pm in Verizon Hall. Join the party on Commonwealth Plaza beforehand starting at 6pm, Broad Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Erika Goldring. Brazilian band Minas celebrates Mardi Gras at Ortlieb’s Friday, February 13, 8pm, 847 N Third Street, Philadelphia. The Hopping John Orchestra plays a Mardi Gras show at Chris’ Jazz Café, Tuesday, February 17, 7pm, 1421 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.
Valentine’s Day Weekend Events
Celebrate love at the Barnes Foundation with an intimate performance by Koresh Dance Company (six duets), live music and free champagne and chocolate, Saturday, February 14, 6pm-9pm, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. Photo by Frank Bicking.
Painted Bride Arts Center hosts a salsa dance party, Salsa Caliente, with Adriel Gonzalez y su Orquesta, Saturday, February 14, with salsa lessons at 8pm with instructors from Flaco’s Dance Factory and party at 9pm, 230 Vine Street, Philadelphia.
Rothman Institute Ice Rink hosts a Zombie Skate on Friday the 13th! Hosted by Eastern State Penitentiary, 7pm-10pm. Skate along to love songs at the Sweetheart Skate on February 14, 7pm-10pm, Philadelphia’s Dilworth Park.
Tongue & Groove presents Secrets of the Heart: Busted, Lusted or Trusted, inspired by true secrets anonymously submitted by the audience. The ensemble instantly creates a montage of funny and heartfelt scenes and monologues, accompanied by improvised music, Friday, February 13, 8pm, the Playground at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.Delaware Art Museum hosts Art is Social: Valentine’s Day, February 13, 7pm-10pm, with live music by Philadelphia singer/songwriter Jesse Ruben, a gallery scavenger hunt, and an interactive love letter wall. Plus, enjoy dessert and wine tastings, Wilmington, DE.Delaware Symphony Orchestra collaborates with OperaDelaware for Love and Death with a program featuring selections by Bizet, Verdi, Gounod, Mascagni, and Donizetti reflecting drama, heartache, murder and reconciliation for both Friday the 13th and Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 13, 7:30pm, the Grand, Wilmington, DE.
Enjoy a night of music and chocolate tasting: From PhilHarmonia With Love: Serenading the Senses, featuring the PhilHarmonia chamber choir, Rachel Goldberg and Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland, Saturday, February 14, 7:30pm Fleisher Art Memorial Sanctuary, 719 Catharine Street, Philadelphia.
Fort Mifflin hosts Sweet History, Saturday, February 14, 11am-3pm, and evening of 18th century chocolate recipes and love letters to those serving our country from the Revolutionary War to the present, Fort Mifflin and Hog Island Roads, Philadelphia.Enjoy chocolate making at the Betsy Ross House on Saturday, February 14, 11am-4pm, with free demonstrations and samples, Old City, Philadelphia.Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre hosts a Valentine’s Concert featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra with a selection of Shakespeare’s famous love scenes presented with music inspired by the Bard, February 14, 8pm, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia.Try a Love Knot Wheat Weaving Workshop at Glencairn Museum, Saturday, February 14, 1pm-4:30pm, 1001 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn, PA.Romeo and Juliet, the contemporary version incorporating social media, bullying, modern music, video and dance, is onstage at Mainstage Center for the Arts, through February 15, Camden County College’s Dennis Flyer Theatre, Blackwood, NJ.Steel City Coffee House hosts Valentine’s Day Blues concert with the Deb Callahan Band and Blue Bizness, Saturday, February 14, 8pm, 203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, PA.
To submit an event to be considered, email Robin Bloom at email@example.com.