Weekly Entertainment Guide – ‘Assistance,’ ‘One Year’ tribute, and ‘West Side Story’

    It’s cold outside! WHYY’s Robin Bloom has some recommendations about things to do in Philadelphia, South Jersey and Delaware to keep you warm as you start out the New Year.  Here are her picks:

    “Assistance” at Wilma Theater

    Onstage at the Wilma Theater is the off-Broadway hit comedy, “Assistance,” the second section of Leslye Headland’s “Seven Deadly Sins” series, directed by David Kennedy, portraying corporate office politics loosely based on the playwright’s own experience as Harvey Weinstein’s assistant, through February 3, 265 South Broad Street, Philadelphia.

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    “One Year” at Painted Bride Art Center

    Opening this weekend at Painted Bride Art Center is “One Year,” an installation of hundreds of wire sculptures that explore the public apathy toward rising urban violence, featuring one for each murder in Philadelphia in 2012. The exhibit features work by Janice Hayes-Cha, Brenda Howell, Karen Hunter McLaughlin, Julie Mann, and Kimberly Mehler, inspired by the action and resilience of Mothers in Charge, whose work transforms grief and aims to prevent violence, through February 10, 230 Vine Street, Philadelphia.

    “Permanent Collection” at Players Club of Swarthmore

    Opening this weekend at the Players Club of Swarthmore is “Permanent Collection,” by local playwright Thomas Gibbons, a deeply-felt examination of racial politics inspired by the Barnes Foundation debacle in the late 90s, directed by Ellen Wilson Dilks, January 4-19, 614 Fairview Road, Swarthmore, PA. A post-show “Meet the Artists” conversation is Sunday, January 13. Also on stage this weekend at PCS is “8,” a play chronicling the historic trial in the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8, written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and AFER (American Foundation for Equal Rights) Founding Board Member Dustin Lance Black, January 4-5.

    Philadelphia Chamber Music Society Concerts

    The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society starts the new year with concerts: Viviane Hagner, violin and Nicole Hagner, piano, Sunday, January 6, 3pm, Curtis Institute; Ieva Jokubaviciute, piano, Thursday, January 10, 8pm, Settlement Music School; Parker Quartet (pictured) and Kim Kashkashian, viola, Friday, January 11, 8pm, Independence Seaport Museum; Jason Vieaux, guitar and Sarah Shafer, soprano, Sunday, January 13, 3pm, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Ricardo Morales, clarinet and Natalie Zhu, piano, Monday, January 14, 8pm, American Philosophical Society.

    PJFF’s Documentaries and Dialogue Series

    The Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival’s Documentaries and Dialogue Series kicks off with films from the United Kingdom, Israel, Austria, Germany and the United States. Opening night is Monday, January 7, 7:30pm with “How to Re-Establish a Vodka Empire,” at the Prince Music Theater. The series follows on consecutive Mondays with “Soldier/Citizen,” “Six Million and One,” “Joe Papp in Five Acts,” and “Mendelsohn’s Incessant Visions,” at the Gershman Y. All screenings feature special events.

    National tour of “West Side Story” at the State Theatre

    The national tour of the hit Broadway revival of “West Side Story” comes to the State Theatre for two performances, January 8-9, 7:30pm, with Arthur Laurents’ direction recreated by David Saint and Jerome Robbins’ choreography reproduced by Joey McKneely, 453 Northampton Street, Easton, PA. Recommended for ages 13+.

    “A Steady Rain” at Lewis Center for the Arts

    The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater presents the gritty psychological drama “A Steady Rain,” by Keith Huff, January 10-13, the story of two Chicago cops, lifelong friends, trying to save their friendship and shared family as they confront the toughest city streets and their own personal failings, a senior thesis production directed by faculty member R.N. Sandberg, in the Marie and Edward Matthews ’53 Acting Studio, 185 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ.

    Niki & the Dove

    The Swedish “indietronica” trio Niki & the Dove arrives in Philadelphia for a show at Union Transfer on Thursday, January 10, 8:30pm, 1026 Spring Garden Street. For all ages.


    Dalet Gallery exhibits

    On display at Dalet Gallery is “Bestiary,” a series of absurd yet dramatic animal portraits by Allen M. Hart, and “Havana: Piercing the Darkness,” a collection of photography by Susan Bank, Ilya Genin, and Ron Tarver, uncovering the city’s realities, embracing its passion, and pointing out its contradictions. Both exhibits run through January 19, 141 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia.

    Merian Soto’s “Triangulations”

    Merian Soto’s “Triangulations: Revisiting OYWPP” is on display at the Lorenzo Homar Gallery as a part of Taller Puertorriqueno’s 2012-13 series of exhibitions, “Claiming Spaces.” This solo exhibition features two video works created from the award-winning “One Year Wissahickon Park Project, OYWPP.” Soto’s OYWPP performances were branch dances that worked with the four seasons, at four sites, for four performances at each site regardless of the elements including snow, rain, sleet, high winds, or insects, through January 19, 2721 North 5th Street, Philadelphia.

    Arden Bendler Browning solo exhibition at Bridgette Mayer Gallery

    The Bridgette Mayer Gallery presents its first solo exhibition of work by artist Arden Bendler Browning, featuring a variety of new paintings in latex and Flashe on panel, three vast pieces on Tyvek and an interactive digital piece, all reflecting on the artist’s technology-inspired navigation of the urban landscape, through January 26, 709 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.

    Other events in the region:

    The 4th Annual Independent Voices Festival takes place January 4-20, highlighting personal stories, fanciful journeys, historical visitations, and energetic encounters including the City Boy by Armando Batista, Drunk Lion by Chris Davis, A Sudden Burst of Inactivity by Kate McGrath, and more at Centre Theater, Montgomery County Cultural Center, 208 DeKalb Street, Norristown, PA. All tickets $15.

    VoxAmaDeus and Maestro Valentin Radu offer a special program devoted to George Gershwin and Duke Ellington, Friday, January 4, 8pm at the Kimmel Center. Acclaimed British pianist Peter Donohoe joins the Ensemble as a soloist on Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm,” the rarely performed “Second Rhapsody,” “Concerto in F,” “Rhapsody in Blue,” and Ellington’s “Satin Doll” and “New World A-Comin’,” which was first performed in its symphonic form by the Duke himself in July 1949 at the Robin Hood Dell.

    The International Performing Arts for Youth returns to its hometown of Philadelphia for IPAY’s 35th Annual Showcase, January 4-7, hosting performing artists from countries across the globe in 19 full technical productions of dance, music, theater, comedy, and puppetry. The Spotlight program features short, 10-minute performances including Philadelphia artists Brian Sanders and Sebastienne Mundheim. Performances take place at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Prince Music Theater and venues at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia.

    Bring a pillow, mat and sketch book and leave your stresses behind at Clay on Main for a “World Hypnosis Day Workshop,” Friday, January 4, 7pm-9:30pm, with presenter Zane Beller Szurgot, 313 Main Street, Oley, PA.

    Biggs Museum of American Art introduces the new “Family Movie Nights,” three blockbuster films in the museum’s newly renovated Grand Gallery, beginning with a special flashlight tour of the collection. Screenings are at 6pm. Saturday, January 5: The Lorax, Saturday, February 2: Brave, Saturday, March 2: Madagascar 3. Pre-registration is not required. All ages are invited to bring their own seating, blanket or sleeping bag and snack to enjoy the free movie.

    ETC. Performing Series, also known as “Philly’s FAVORITE hi-drama, lo-key performance series” is an opportunity for performance artists of any and all genres to show their work to a new and diverse audience including Sophia Rabinovitz, SURGE Dance Team, Andrea Mychels Dance Project, V The Phoenix, Scull and Bones Dance Company, Carla Hill, Lauren Williams, Brandon “Peace” Albright, and more, Saturday, January 5 and Sunday, January 6, 8pm at the Community Education Center, 3500 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia.

    The German Society of Pennsylvania presents Claire Huangci in a piano recital this Sunday, January 6, 3pm with a program of Bach, Schubert, and Chopin in the Society’s restored auditorium, 611 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia.

    Haddonfield Plays & Players presents “God of Carnage,” by Yasmina Reza, the 2009 Tony Award-winner for Best Play about a playground dispute between two boys that brings together two sets of Brooklyn parents to discuss and resolve the issue, January 10-26, 957 East Atlantic Avenue, Haddonfield, NJ.



    Brett Rader contributed reporting to this week’s guide.

    To submit an event to be considered for the Weekly Entertainment Guide email Robin Bloom at artscalendar@whyy.org.

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