Weekly Entertainment Guide – CITYWIDE, ‘Svadba-Wedding,’ First Person Arts Festival

    Looking for something to do this week? WHYY’s Robin Bloom has some recommendations on what’s happening in the Philadelphia region. Here are her picks:


    Opera Philadelphia’s “Svadba-Wedding”

    Opera Philadelphia, in collaboration with FringeArts, launches the Opera in the City series with the American Premiere of Svadba–Wedding, by renowned composer Ana Sokolović. Sung in Serbian with English supertitles, Svadba–Wedding tells the story of Milica (Jacqueline Woodley), a bride-to-be, and her five bridesmaids (Shannon Mercer, Laura Albino, Virginia Hatfield, Andrea Ludwig and Krisztina Szabó) on the night before her wedding. What ensues is a night long preparation for the impending marriage in a cathartic Balkan rite of passage, a cappella fusing operatic and Slavic/Balkan folk music. The production offers an interactive experience, as the audience is invited to join in on an authentic 90-minute Balkan wedding celebration after the performance, featuring traditional cuisine and live Balkan dance music from the West Philadelphia Orchestra. Performances November 2, 3, 6, and 7 at the new Delaware River waterfront home of FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    Nichole Canuso Dance Company’s “The Garden”

    Nichole Canuso Dance Company blurs the line between audience and performer with the world premiere of “The Garden,” November 1-17. The intimate performance is meant for 6 audience members at a time, linking performers with the audience through use of headphones, inspired by Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities and Jorge Borges’ short story The Garden of Forking Paths. The piece incorporates a maze-like installation set by Anna Kiraly and an original score by James Sugg and Michael Kiley at the Power Plant Basement, 233 N. Bread Street, Philadelphia.

    “The Real Legend of Sleepy Hollow”

    “The Real Legend of Sleepy Hollow” takes to the stage at TD Bank Performing Arts Center, Friday, November 1, 8pm and Saturday, November 2, 1pm and 7pm, the “untold” story of Ichabod Crane as he really was, cunning, manipulative and ambitious. Inspired by the short story by Washington Irving and created by South Jersey native Matthew Norcross, the play stars Brett Colby in the lead role and is directed by David Leidholdt, 519 Hurffville-Cross Keys Road, Sewell, NJ.

    First Person Arts Festival

    The 12th annual First Person Arts Festival is back November 6-16, presented by Penn’s Master of Liberal Arts Program and Harmelin Media. This year, look for more live performances in storytelling, dance, and theater, along with author events. Kicking off the festival this year is a celebration of Sonia Sanchez’s (pictured) tenure as Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate. Sanchez will be joined by Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner Toni Morrison and former United States Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Rita Dove.   Other highlights include storyteller Mike Daisey, Martha Graham Cracker, and more. The festival Hub at Christ Church Neighborhood House offers guests the chance to relax and snack. Other venues include the Drexel University Main Auditorium, Painted Bride Art Center, and Independence Seaport Museum.

    First ever DanceAfrica in Philly

    Experience the first ever DanceAfrica Philadelphia, November 6-9, a four day celebration of traditional and contemporary African dance, music, art and community. The festival is a local adaptation of the long-running Brooklyn Academy of Music annual festival which has broadened into a traveling series that now includes Philadelphia, combining traditional and contemporary dance, music, workshops, visual art and an African market. Performances by local troupes such as Kùlú Mèlé African Dance and Drum Ensemble (pictured), Kariamu and Company: Traditions, Illstyle & Peace Productions, plus special D.C. based guests Farafina Kan. Also included is a Philadelphia Folklore Project exhibition, family-friendly workshops with the dancers, lectures, and more, in partnership with Drexel University at Drexel Main Auditorium, 3141 Chestnut Street.

    Film Festivals

    Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival

    The Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival kicks off its 33rd season November 2-16, highlighting the diversity and commonality of the human experience with more than 20 films from 14 countries at 9 different venues throughout the city including the Gershman Y, International House, Ritz, and others. Look for 11 Philadelphia premieres, as well as documentaries, comedies, and dramas, along with post-film talkbacks, panel discussions, weekday matinees, a family film day, date night films, university programming, Lunch Box Docs, and an evening of short films. Films include “God’s Neighbors,” “Camp Commie,” “Red Flag,” and “Aftermath.” The award-winning film “Bethlehem” (pictured) closes the festival on Saturday, November 16. Also check out the 6th Annual Israeli Jazz Phest, November 8-18, at various venues including the Painted Bride Art Center, World Café Live, and International House.

    Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival

    The Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival returns November 6-10, showcasing approximately 100 of the best American and international films including features, documentaries, and shorts at one multi-screen location. Also, catch seminars, celebrity guests, special events including Children’s Cinema Corner, and more, Movies at Midway theaters, Route 1 in the Midway Shopping Center, Rehoboth Beach, DE.

    Art Appreciation


    CITYWIDE gets underway November 1 as approximately a dozen artist-run collectives band together to celebrate contemporary art in Philadelphia (and its many artist-run entities), with performances, panel discussions, gallery openings, and more, organized collaboratively by Little Berlin, Grizzly Grizzly, NAPOLEON, and many more including Space 1026, presenting “Fort Thunder Attaks…Again!” at 1026 Arch Street, Second Floor, Philadelphia.


    In SITU Philadelphia

    The Philadelphia International Institute (PII) Gallery launches IN SITU Philadelphia, exploring the world of everyday life through a multi-step process of 3-D technology and innovative photographic techniques. The creative new photography exhibition by Steamroller Labs artists Rachel Cheetham-Richard and Dan Rose highlights funky new perspectives on familiar scenes. Photos are first captured on a two-dimensional photographic plane and then bent and folded into 3-D sculptures, and then re-photographed. The process creates intriguing new perspectives with kaleidoscope-like vision on familiar locations, including I-95 as viewed from the Benjamin Franklin Bridge (pictured), the Philadelphia Navy Yard, the Reading Viaduct, and soldiers’ cabins at Valley Forge National Historical Park. Opening reception on November 1, 6pm, at PII Gallery, 242 Race Street, Philadelphia and on display through November 30.

    Hua Hua Zhang at Asian Arts

    The Asian Arts Initiative features new works by acclaimed Beijing-born, Philadelphia-based master puppet theater artist and sculptor, Hua Hua Zhang, on view November 1 through January 24. In the artist’s first-ever interdisciplinary gallery exhibition, she redefines the art of puppetry with a unique blend of exhibition and performance, allowing visitors to experience puppetry on new levels, including as static works of art. Informed by her childhood during communist China’s Cultural Revolution, when individual and creative expression was suppressed, Hua Hua Zhang makes use of her Eastern and Western influences to examine the universal themes of self and longing for home in the context of her tumultuous upbringing. Zhang is the recipient of many international puppetry awards, including the Jim Henson Memorial Prize in Puppetry. The artist performs with her puppets at the opening reception, Friday, November 1, 6pm, and Saturday, November 2, 3pm, as part of opening weekend at the Asian Arts Initiative gallery, 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia.

    Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show

    The 37th annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show is back at the Pennsylvania Convention Center with 195 selected artists and guest artists from Lithuania and artwork in all genres such as fiber, jewelry, ceramics, mixed media and more, November 7-10, with a preview party on Wednesday, November 6, 12th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia. Pictured: ceramic piece by Kina Crow, Allison Park, PA.


    “Finding Infinity” at Bridgette Mayer Gallery

    On display at Bridgette Mayer Gallery is “Finding Infinity,” a solo exhibition of work by internationally renowned artist Ryan McGinness. The show highlights new sculptures, prints, and paintings from three different bodies of the artist’s work, Mindscapes, Women, and Black Holes, which was the subject of a mural recently unveiled at the University City Science Center in Philadelphia. On view through November 16 at 709 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.



    Philadelphia concert spotlight

    Temple University’s student-run record label Bell Tower Music presents Chelsea Reed and the Fair Weather Five (pictured) in concert, Friday, November 1, 9pm, Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill Street, Philadelphia.Matt Nathanson’s Last of the Great Pretender’s Tour arrives at Electric Factory, Saturday, November 2, 8pm, 421 N. 7th Street, Philadelphia.Indie rock band the Dismemberment Plan is back and in concert at Union Transfer, Sunday, November 3, 8pm, 1026 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia.The alternative country/Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers travel in to the TLA Tuesday, November 5, 8pm, 334 South Street, Philadelphia.The five piece progressive bluegrass band Hot Buttered Rum performs at the Blockley, Wednesday, November 6, 8:30pm, 38th and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia.Less Than Jake brings their high energy ska-punk sound to the Trocadero, Friday, November 8, doors open at 7pm, 1003 Arch Street, Philadelphia.

    Turtle Island Quartet and Nellie McKay

    Bryn Mawr College Performing Arts Series opens a new season of music with singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Nellie McKay joining the Grammy Award-winning Turtle Island Quartet in “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing,” featuring music of 1920s Berlin as well as jazz standards made famous by Billie Holliday, Sunday, November 3, 2pm, Goodhart Hall, 101 N. Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA.

    Exit 0 International Jazz Festival

    Exit 0 International Jazz Festival returns to Cape May, New Jersey, November 8-10, featuring over 100 international touring musicians including Dianne Reeves, Eddie Palmieri, Kenny Garrett Quintet, Etienne Charles, Alidu, Henry Butler, Lakecia Benjamin (pictured) and many more at Convention Hall and other festival venues like Congress Hall, Carney’s, Cabanas, Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grill, First Presbyterian Church.


    Yifei Kong 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.

    Like us on Facebook to add the Weekly Entertainment Guide to your News Feed.

    WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal