Weekly Entertainment Guide – First Person Arts, Philly Improv, GEOfest, and ‘215’ festivals

WHYY’s Robin Bloom searches hundreds of listings each week to find out what’s happening in the Delaware Valley. Here are her picks:


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215 Festival

The 215 Festival is back after a few years off, celebrating the written, spoken and visualized word and showcasing the vibrant community of literary talent in Philadelphia and nationally and internationally. Headliners include authors John Hodgman (pictured), Jon Roson and J. Robert Lennon as well as performers like John Wesley Harding and Doogie Horner, along with the Mural Arts Mobile Campfire, and much more at venues in Philadelphia’s Callowhill neighborhood through November 4.


PAWS “Mutt Strut”

The 6th annual PAWS “Mutt Strut,” Dog Walk and Adoption Festival is Saturday, November 3, to raise funds and awareness for PAWS’ efforts to save Philadelphia’s homeless, abandoned, and unwanted animals. Check-in begins at 9am, strutting starts at 11am, with music, food, pet costume contest, training tips, pet portraits, grooming and more in FDR Park, 1900 Pattison Avenue, across from the sports complex, Philadelphia. If you don’t have a pet, you can “rent” a PAWS dog. $25 adults, $10 children 12 and under. Free parking.


Penn Museum’s “Day of the Dead” celebration

Penn Museum hosts a World Culture Afternoon “Day of the Dead Celebration,” Saturday, November 3, 1-4pm, with family activities celebrating Mexican culture including music, dancing, art, and more, 3260 South Street, Philadelphia. Included with museum admission $12 adults, $10 seniors, $10 military, $8 children, free to members.


Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival

The Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival kicks off its 32nd season November 3-18, with over 20 feature-length films and shorts from countries including Argentina, France, Germany, Israel, Poland, Russia, UK and the United States at the Gershman Y, Bryn Mawr Film Institute, the Ritz and other venues throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. Films include the Philadelphia premieres of “The Day I Saw Your Heart” (opening night), “Kaddish for a Friend,” “Circus Kids” (pictured), and more. Tickets: $5-$15.


Pennsylvania Hands

Opening this weekend at the Northeast Philadelphia Regional Library is “Pennsylvania Hands,” a photo exhibit by Sally Wiener Grotta of individuals who keep alive the traditional crafts that built the state’s diverse culture and established the underpinnings of our present-day society, through December 1, 2228 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia.


Stephane Wrembel at Johnny Brenda’s

Stephane Wrembel brings his original mix of blues-flamenco-rock to Johnny Brenda’s, Sunday, November 4, doors open at 7pm, performance at 8pm, 1201 N. Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia. Tickets $20.




MOMIX, the internationally known dance company founded by Moses Pendleton, makes its debut at Zoellner Arts Center Sunday, November 4, 7pm, with “Botanica,” a family friendly event involving ground-breaking dance routines that combine illusion with surrealistic images, costumes, props and puppetry accompanied by an eclectic score ranging from birdsong to Vivaldi to techno-rock. The performance includes a pre-show lecture with Erin Cassano, former MOMIX company manager, Baker Hall, 420 E. Packer Avenue, Bethlehem, PA. Tickets: $30-$36.


“The Drowsy Chaperone” at Villanova University

Villanova University Theatre presents “The Drowsy Chaperone,” November 6 through December 2, directed by Rev. Peter M. Donohue, who returns to the director’s chair for the first time since becoming the President of Villanova University in 2006. The “show within-a-show” comedy can be seen in Vasey Hall, Lancaster & Ithan Avenues, Villanova, PA. Tickets $21-$25 with discounts available for seniors, students, Villanova Theatre alumni, and groups.


11th Annual First Person Arts Festival

The 11th Annual First Person Arts Festival is November 7-17, presented by Penn’s Master of Liberal Arts Program, and under new leadership with Executive Director Jamie J. Brunson. Events take place at Christ Church Neighborhood House, Ortlieb’s Lounge, and Underground Arts at the Wolf Building in Philadelphia. Highlights include celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, Philadelphia Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez (pictured), Bernice Johnson Reagon and Toshi Reagon, Janeane Garofalo and Kevin Allison, and PNC Arts Alive Story Day: All Roads Lead to Philadelphia, a family friendly day of storytelling, dance performance, workshops, food and more, Saturday, November 17, 11am-5pm. Ticket prices vary per event.



The 2nd annual GEOfest, a film and food festival featuring renowned explorers, scientists and travelers, is November 7-10, at various locations including the Chemical Heritage Foundation, 315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, WHYY, 150 N. 6th Street, Philadelphia, and the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, 824 W. Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA, presented by the Geographical Society of Philadelphia. Events include “ABus2Antarctica: ‘Digital Nomad’ Andrew Evans” (pictured). Admission ranges from $15-$85 with discounts for GSP, WHYY & Bryn Mawr Film Institute members and for event receptions.


BalletX opens new season

BalletX opens its new season with distinct collaborations, uniting modern European and American choreography in a unique program featuring two World Premieres by award-winning Philadelphia-based performance artist Kate Watson-Wallace as well as internationally-celebrated choreographer Mauro Astolfi, who makes his Philadelphia debut. The program also includes the Philadelphia premiere of Switch Phase, a new work created by Matthew Neenan, BalletX Co-Artistic Director and Co-Founder, November 7-11 in residence at the Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia.


8th Annual Philadelphia Improv Festival

The Philadelphia Comedy Collective presents the 8th Annual Philadelphia Improv Festival, November 7-11, showcasing the city’s robust and thriving improv scene while paring it with some of the top rising improv acts in the country. Headlining the festival is Live Nude Improv from Austin, Texas as well as ImprovBoston (pictured) and local teams such as Davenger, King Friday, Mayor Karen, along with members of ComedySportz Philadelphia, at Independence Foundation Black Box at the Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. Tickets $10 single block of performances, passes available nightly for $15-20 and $60 for all 5 nights. The 5th Annual Philly Sketchfest follows, November 12-17.


David Krakauer, “Beyond Crossover”

The Bryn Mawr College Performing Arts Series presents “Beyond Crossover,” a concert with clarinetist David Krakauer. Known for performing emotionally engaging transitions from classical works to exciting interpretations of traditional klezmer pieces, including original composition, Krakauer has appeared with the Tokyo, Kronos and Emerson Quartets, plus as a soloist with the Dresden, Seattle, and Detroit Symphony Orchestras, and performs Friday, November 9, 8pm in Thomas Great Hall, 101 N. Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA. Tickets $5-$20.


“Problem Child” at Walking Fish Theatre

“Problem Child,” opens this weekend at Walking Fish Theatre, the first show of Bloody Someday Productions’ season of “Comedies about things that aren’t funny.” The play is part of the “Suburban Motel” series by Canadian playwright George F. Walker and is onstage through November 17 at 2509 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia. Directed by Stan Heleva and starring Gina Martino, Michelle Pauls and more. Tickets: $20.


“Pretty Fire” at Theatre Horizon

Theatre Horizon presents “Pretty Fire,” by Charlayne Woodard and directed by James Ijames, starring storyteller Cathy Simpson (pictured), about two sisters growing up in a close-knit family who venture into the wider world and encounter Ku Klux Klan riders in Georgia and three generations of a family’s struggles and triumphs, through November 18, along with related programming at 401 DeKalb Street, Norristown, PA. Tickets: $20-$21.


Isa Barnett exhibit at University of the Arts

On display at the University of the Arts is a unique exhibition in tribute to the late Philadelphia/Santa Fe artist, illustrator, and University of the Arts alumnus and faculty member Isa Barnett. “Generation to Generation,” is presented by his artist son and fellow UArts alumnus Ivan Barnett, and features a wide range of Isa’s works including paintings, drawings, historical illustrations and photography as well as contemporary mixed media by Ivan, through November 26 in Hamilton Hall, Broad Street, Philadelphia. Isa’s illustrations appeared on covers and inside the Saturday Evening Post, National Geographic, Readers’ Digest, Life and more. Approximately 75 of his pieces will be offered for sale in a wide range of media; many of which have never before been seen by the public. Proceeds from sale benefit student scholarships.


Duct tape drawings at the DCCA

The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts presents the solo exhibition of Joseph Girandola, “Rise and Fall: Monumental Duct Tape Drawings,” featuring large-scale “drawings” using duct tape as the primary medium. The artist brings to life images of iconic cultural symbols, including the Taj Mahal (pictured), built up layer by layer using different colors of tape, on display through February 10 at 200 South Madison Street, Wilmington, DE. Free admission.


Other events in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s 15th Annual Every Family Party, “Night at the Museum,” is Saturday, November 3, 5:30pm-8pm, as the museum is transformed into a nocturnal wonderland where the collection comes alive with children’s art activities, music, and dancing, including ballerinas dancing alongside Degas’ “Little Dancer,” flashlight scavenger hunts, and much more culminating in a performance by Philadelphia-based dance theater company Brian Sanders’ Junk in the Great Stair Hall, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. Tickets $30, $25 for groups of six or more.


Dear Fleisher,” 4×6 Inches of Art, is this Sunday, November 4, 1pm-5pm, a biennial exhibition showcasing the work of hundreds of artists from Philadelphia and beyond in a wide range of media and styles, sold on a first-come, first-served basis for $50 at 719 Catharine Street, Philadelphia. $5 suggested admission donation. Preview party, Friday, November 2, 6pm-8pm.


The Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center (MRAC) hosts “Wild at Art,” an animal and nature-themed show featuring the works of Pennsylvania artists Melanie Fisher, Ken Januski, and Lynnette Shelley, opening with a reception on Sunday, November 4, noon-3pm and on display through November 25 at 419 Green Lane (rear), between Mitchell & Pechin Streets, Philadelphia. Admission is free.


The Chestnut Street Singers present “Sing, Muse! Songs of Inspiration and Invention,” featuring works by Benjamin Britten, Olivier Messiaen, Eric Whitacre, and Veljo Tormis, Sunday, November 4, 2pm at the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, 2125 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. Donations accepted.


Children and their families can join in the excitement of the 2012 presidential election with special Election Day events at the National Constitution Center on Tuesday, November 6, 9:30am-5pm, including activities, interactive exhibits, and one-of-a-kind artifacts designed to inspire guests to participate in the democratic process, 525 Arch Street, Independence Mall, Philadelphia. Free with museum admission: Adults $14.50, seniors, students and youth (13-18) $13, children (4-12) $8, active military, members and children under 3 free.


Plays & Players Theatre presents “The American Presidency: A Theatrical Response,” a play festival combining elements of commentary, critique, parody and direct response to the election. Elements include: 24 Hours Later: A Presidential Survival Guide, November 7, 7pm & 9pm; Voices of a People’s History of the United States, November 10, 8pm; The Republican Theatre Festival, November 12-14, 7pm; Presidents Who Kick A$$, November 15-18, 8pm; 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia. Tickets $15-$30.


Raw Yankee Theater presents “Ruthless Spouse,” by Philadelphia playwright Francine D. Miller, at the Rotunda, Sunday, November 4, 2pm, 6pm and 9pm, a new urban drama about a couple whose dreams of stardom spiral out of control, 4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Tickets: $15, with discounts available for students.


The Center for Architecture hosts “Art by Architects,” the exhibit and sale of new art work by Philadelphia architects including painting, photography, sculpture and more, now through November 16 at 1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia. Proceeds support the Center’s educational programs throughout the year.


Azuka Theatre presents the irreverent, off-beat World Premiere comedy “Pookie Goes Grenading,” by JC Lee, through November 18 at Azuka’s new home: Off-Broad Street Theater, 1636 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. Tickets: $18-$27 with discounts for students with valid ID.


The overwhelming popularity of David Ives’ play “New Jerusalem, The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza at Talmud Torah Congregation: Amsterdam, July 27, 1656” has led Lantern Theater Company to extend the production of Ives’ new play “The Liar.” Incorrigible liar Dorante falls in love with the beautiful Clarice while on a trip to Paris, but soon his own lies lead him into a world of trouble. Kathryn MacMillian directs through December 2, St. Stephen’s Theater, 10th & Ludlow Streets, Philadelphia. Tickets: $20-$38, discounts available for seniors, students, and groups.


The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education celebrates its 25th anniversary with “Rescue: Scenes from a Wildlife Clinic,” a display of the photographs by Jennifer Hynes of the animals, people, spaces and landscapes of the clinic, which sees over 3,000 animals a year. “Rescue” is the inaugural exhibition of its new, expanded indoor environmental art gallery and can be seen through December 29 at 8480 Hagy’s Mill Road, Philadelphia.


In honor of the centenary of John Cage’s birth and the 20th anniversary of his death, Philadelphia experimental music presenter Bowerbird hosts “Cage: Beyond Silence,” a major festival celebrating the acclaimed musician’s many contributions with various events at venues across the city, in three parts through January 20, 2013.


Other events around the region

The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival returns this weekend, November 2-4 with 250 artists from around the country offering unique handmade creations in ceramics, pottery, jewelry, glass, leather, wood, metal, fashion, photography, fiber and fine art, Friday, November 2 and Saturday, November 3, 10am-6pm and Sunday, November 4, 10am-5pm, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 100 Station Avenue, Oaks, PA. Admission: $8 online, $10 at the door, free for children 12 and under. Admission good for all three days of festival. Free parking on site.


Shemekia Copeland performs at Arden Gild Hall, Friday, November 2, 8pm, 2126 The Highway, Arden, DE. Tickets: $30.


The First State Heritage Park 18th Century Market Fair is Saturday, November 3, 10am-4pm, recreating the sights and sounds of the autumn market fairs held in Dover, Delaware in the mid-1700s, with living history characters, interactive performances, children’s activities, traditional trades and crafts, and more, rain or shine at The Green, Dover, DE. Free.


The Academy of Vocal Arts performs Rossini’s “Il barbiere di Siviglia” (The Barber of Seville), Saturday, November 3-8 at AVA’s Helen Corning Warden Theater, 1920 Spruce Street, Philadelphia and November 13-15 at Centennial Hall at the Haverford School, 450 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, PA and November 17 at Central Bucks South High School, 1100 Folly Road, Warrington, PA. Tickets: $0-$60.


Broadway Theatre of Pitman concludes their 6th main stage season with the musical comedy “Guys and Dolls,” by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, through November 18, 43 South Broadway, Pitman, NJ. Tickets: $25. Suitable for all ages.


The Roundabout Theatre Company brings the Tony Award-winning musical “Anything Goes” to the DuPont Theatre through November 4, 1007 North Market Street, Wilmington, DE. Tickets: $35-$80.


Onstage at the South Camden Theatre Company is Producing Artistic Director Joseph M. Paprzycki’s “Indoor Picnic.” The play follows four members of a fading Camden Polish American club through the 1960s into the 1990s and shows the neighborhood’s steady decline as well as its overt racism, directed by Ray Croce and onstage at the Waterfront South Theatre through November 11, 400 Jasper Street, Camden, NJ, $20.


Rutgers-Camden celebrates the 75th anniversary of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” accompanied by an innovative multimedia design, through November 11, at the Gordon Theater, in the Fine Arts Complex on Third Street, between Cooper Street and the Ben Franklin Bridge, Camden, NJ. General admission: $10. A lecture with Wilder’s nephew Tappan, head of the Thornton Wilder Society, will be Wednesday, November 7, 4:30pm.


Greg Oliver Bodine brings “Poe, Times Two” to the Cape May Stage through November 16. Directed by DeLisa M. White, Bodine performs a double-bill of one-person play adaptations of the Edgar Allan Poe classics “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Black Cat,” at The Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Bank & Lafayette Streets, Cape May, NJ. Tickets $17.50-$50, with discounts for seniors, students, and active duty military.


The love triangle between Gene Kelly, Co-Director Stanley Donen, and Dance Captain Jeanne Coyne on the set of “Singin’ in the Rain” is front and center in Bristol Riverside Theatre’s production of “What a Glorious Feeling.” The musical exposes the emotionally and creatively charged production, inspired by author Jay Berkow’s chance encounter with Stanley Donen, running through November 18, 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, PA. Tickets start at $41 with discounts available for students, seniors, military, and groups.


Haverford College’s new exhibit’s title is inspired by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s famous question, “What Can a Body Do?” but narrows the question down to “what can a disabled body do?” The exhibit, curated by Amanda Cachia, explores contemporary works of art through experiences, perceptions, and classifications of disabilities through December 16, at the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, PA.


On display at Allentown Art Museum is “Walker Evans & The American Social Landscape Photographers,” a selection of black and white photographs that document the living conditions in Bethlehem, Easton, and other Lehigh valley locations during the Great Depression as well as the social changes experienced in our country in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, through January 13 at 31 North 5th Street, Allentown, PA. Admission: $12 with discounts for seniors, students, and children.


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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