Weekly Entertainment Guide – Let’s Be Free

     Inspired by a local story, People's Light presents

    Inspired by a local story, People's Light presents "Project Dawn," based on playwright Karen Hartman's extensive research inside Philadelphia's court system. The play focuses on the thin line between freedom and slavery, activism and obsessions for women on both sides of the law. Photo by Mark Garvin.

    Robin Bloom offers 20 suggestions for what to do this week in the Philadelphia region!

    What’s Happening

    The Lighthouse International Film Festival (LIFF)

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    The Lighthouse International Film Festival (LIFF) returns to Long Beach Island, New Jersey for a ninth year, June 8-11, featuring over 85 dramas, comedies, documentaries, and short films from around the world. Opening with “King of Peking,” the filmmaker, Sam Voutas, will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening. Other films include Jonathan Olshefski’s “Quest,” a portrait of a North Philadelphia family that was shot over the course of a decade (pictured), “Fits and Starts,” “Missing in Europe,” “Brave New Jersey,” and “The Oyster Farmers.” Locations vary. The festival was inspired by the historic Barnegat Lighthouse and has emerged as the Garden State’s leading international film festival and includes breakfast panels, parties, talkbacks with filmmakers, and virtual reality shorts. Photo courtesy of LIFF.

    Anne-Marie Mulgrew and Dancers’ “Celebrating 31”

    Anne-Marie Mulgrew and Dancers Company returns to Philadelphia for Celebrating 31, three performances, June 8-10 at Christ Church Neighborhood House Theater, 20 N. American Street, Philadelphia. The program features the premiere of the whimsical “One Minute Dances for Small Spaces,” raising questions about time, space and how today’s fast-paced world impacts one’s attention span. Also, rarely seen “Dance 4 Camera” works in collaboration with Carmella Vassor-Johnson and Mulgrew, and a guest appearance by Ashley Searles in Asya Zlatina’s “Storm” (2016), set to music by Gustav Holst. Photo by Bill Hebert.

    “Backyard Adventures” at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

    Just in time for the end of the school year, investigate the great outdoors with a new exhibit opening June 9 at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Backyard Adventures offers families the opportunity to enjoy interactive play stations that include riding a bee bike, collecting nectar, copying critter calls, investigating a food web pond, dressing up as your favorite creature, and strolling through a digital garden to witness plants growing in super time, through September 10, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. Photo by Imagine Exhibitions, Inc.

    All-City Jazz Festival

    The All-City Jazz Festival, the all-day jazz festival, presented by the Philly POPS and the Kimmel Center, is open to the public and features local students and professional jazz musicians on Friday, June 9, beginning at 11 a.m.  Designed to inspire young Philadelphians and art lovers, the free (but ticketed) event features jazz student showcase performers, master class sessions, and the All-City Jazz Orchestra (featuring students from the School District of Philadelphia) from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. under the direction of Terell Stafford, in the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater and Commonwealth Plaza, Broad Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Bachrach Photo.

    One Liberty Observation Deck’s “Kite and Key Scavenger Hunt”

    On June 10, 1752, Benjamin Franklin first tested his famous theory that lightning was in fact electric. Join the Kite and Key Scavenger Hunt this June 10! From 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., One Liberty Observation Deck will take to the streets with kites and keys in hand and the first thirty people to find them (using clues from their Instagram @OneLibertyObservationDeck) receives a golden key with complimentary access to see Philly from the city’s tallest attraction, 1650 Market Street. Photo courtesy of One Liberty Observation Deck.

    Strawberry Festival at Historic Strawberry Mansion

    Pick your own berries at the 9th annual Strawberry Festival at Historic Strawberry Mansion, Saturday, June 10, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. The free family friendly event offers activities including tours of the fruit orchard, beekeeping demonstrations and honey tastings, a plant sale, crafts, games, Parks on Tap Jr. (a mini version of the Parks on Tap traveling beer garden with craft beers and food for purchase), and free tours of the mansion (pictured) that houses a collection of historic objects, antiques, and fine art, 2450 Strawberry Mansion Drive, Fairmount Park. Photo courtesy of Historic Strawberry Mansion.

    Fleisher’s ARTspiration!

    Fleisher Art Memorial’s annual ARTspiration! is this Saturday, June 10, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., a free community outdoor festival with family-oriented activities including art-making led by local artists, Fleisher faculty, and volunteers, plus music and dance performances, food, and more, along the 700 block of Catharine Street and in adjacent Palumbo Park, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of Fleisher Art Memorial.

    Chestnut Hill Plein Air Festival

    The 3rd annual Chestnut Hill Plein Air Festival takes place Saturday, June 10, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., as the neighborhood celebrates 20 years as “Philadelphia’s Garden District.”  Artists line Germantown Avenue creating works of art and competing for prizes, accompanied by live music, family friendly art and craft activities, and more. Woodmere Art Museum offers a free public tour at 2 p.m. called “Inside/Outside: Nature in Art.” The rain date for Plein Air will be Sunday, June 11. Photo courtesy of the Chestnut Hill Plein Air Festival.

    Old Fashioned Picnic at the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion

    Head to Historic Germantown to the 12th annual Old Fashioned Picnic at the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, Saturday, June 10, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. The afternoon includes activities for all ages including magic, Victorian photographs, scavenger hunt, croquet, ring toss, Industrial Revolution gadgets, face painting, and foods popular during the Victorian era. Discover the Enchanted wood at the only Victorian house museum in Philadelphia, 200 W. Tulpehocken Street, West Central Germantown, Philadelphia. Admission free with fees for activities. Photo courtesy of Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion.

    Privateers and Pirates Festival at Tuckerton Seaport

    The Tuckerton Seaport is a village sitting on 40 acres in Ocean County and includes historic and recreated buildings, maritime activities, live animals, boardwalk, miniature golf course and exhibits. The annual Privateers and Pirates Festival returns Saturday, June 10, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., when the Seaport will be taken over by Captain Black and the crew of the Valhalla who have been plundering the eastern shore of the American colonies for centuries, Tuckerton Creek, 120 West Main Street, Tuckerton, NJ. Photo courtesy of the Tuckerton Seaport.

    Flag Fest

    The 10th annual Flag Festival, celebrating the joint birthdays of the American Flag and the U.S. Army (both had their start in Philadelphia), kicks off Sunday, June 11 with Betsy Ross raising the flag over her house. The Master Builder from the new LEGOLAND Discovery Center Philadelphia will share tips and tricks and lead family friendly building activities. The full week of activities continues with free entertainment at various locations in historic Philadelphia including Independence Hall, Independence National Historical Park, and the National Constitution Center, culminating in Flag Day, June 14, and Stars and Stripes Saturday, June 17 with performances by the Give and Take Jugglers, Funicular Aerial Circus, Peter Pitchford’s Magic Show and much more. Photo courtesy of Historic Philadelphia.

    Odunde Festival

    The Odunde Festival is back, Sunday, June 11, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., offering an authentic African marketplace with vendors selling merchandise from many African nations, the Caribbean, and South America, live music and dance and entertainment by Kulu Mele, Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble, and more, covering 12 city blocks around 23rd and South Street, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of the Odunde Festival.

    Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale’s “Let’s Be Free”

    The Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale celebrates and honors America with their annual concert, Let’s Be Free, Sunday, June 11, 4 p.m. The performance explores the meaning of freedom and how important it is to remember the beliefs that we have in common with a program that ranges from a traditional Shaker song to a 20th century classic work, from honoring the Suffragist movement to a world premiere reflecting the Native American spirit. A central highlight of the performance includes author and musician James McBride’s “The William Still Guestbook.” William Grant Still was the first African American to have a major orchestra play one of his compositions, Afro-American Symphony, in 1931. He was also the first African American to conduct a leading orchestra. The performance also features music by Bobby McFerrin and McBride’s son Nash in the chorale, Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia. Photo by Helga Yang.


    The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord at Lantern Theater Company

    Lantern Theater Company asks what happens when great men of history are forced to repeat it with the Philadelphia premiere of The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord. Written by Real Time with Bill Maher writer and producer and former stand-up comedian Scott Carter, the raucous and provocative comedy sets three of the world’s greatest thinkers against each other in a battle of wits and wills as they find themselves locked in a room with no exit. Award-winning Philadelphia playwright, director, and actor James Ijames directs a cast including Andrew Criss as Tolstoy, Gregory Isaac as Jefferson, and Brian McCann as Dickens, through July 2, St. Stephen’s Theater, 10th and Ludlow Streets, Philadelphia. Special events include Lantern Pub Night and Artists in Conversation, post-show discussions with the artists. Photo by Mark Garvin.

    Quintessence Theatre Group’s “Uncle Vanya”

    Quintessence Theatre Group, known for producing progressive classic theatre, presents Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, the Philadelphia premiere of a new version by Annie Baker, through June 18. The classic Russian drama that is part romance, part tragedy, part farce, explores what is essential in the collective human struggle to progress and endure and is directed by Artistic Director Alexander Burns. Cast includes Steven Wright as Uncle Vanya, with Kevin Bergen, David Blatt, Susan Chase, Julia Frey, Daniel Ison, Rosalyn Jamal, Jessica M. Johnson, and Dan Kern, at the Sedgwick Theater in Mt. Airy, 7137 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia. Related programs and events include a post-show talkback with the cast and director on June 8 and 11. Photo by Shawn May.

    InterAct Theatre Company’s “How to Use a Knife”

    InterAct Theatre Company uses the world of a restaurant kitchen to tell the story of personal responsibility and the precarious survival of immigrants in the U.S. with Will Snider’s How to Use a Knife. A former master chef and recovering drug addict and his culturally diverse crew put everything on the line in the high pressure restaurant kitchen in New York City. The sharply funny, energetic, and accurate portrayal is a National New Play Network rolling world premiere, also produced in Sacramento, Indianapolis, and Kansas City. Directed by InterAct’s Producing Artistic Director Seth Rozin, with a cast including Barrymore Award winners Scott Greer and Jared McLenigan, Lindsay Smiling, J Hernandez, Angel Sigala, Trevor William Fayle, and Maria Konstantinidis, through June 18, The Drake, 302 South Hicks Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Plate 3 Photography.

    “Project Dawn” at People’s Light

    Inspired by a local story, People’s Light takes on Project Dawn, a vital and daring new play that gives voice to victims of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. The gritty, gripping, and shockingly funny world premiere brings audiences into a revolutionary Philadelphia court of lawyers, judges, parole officers and staff members who work to transform the lives of women repeatedly convicted for prostitution. The production is based on playwright Karen Hartman’s extensive research inside Philly’s court system and displays the thin line between freedom and slavery, activism and obsessions for women on both sides of the law. Directed by Artistic Director Abigail Adams, the play includes adult situations, violence, and overt drug use and is not recommended for audience members under 16 years old, through July 9, 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, Pennsylvania. Related programs and events include AfterWORDS, a facilitated post-performance conversation with the cast after Thursday evening performances, Scoop on Wednesdays, Community Conversations, and open caption performances. Photo by Mark Garvin.

    Art Appreciation

    The Loving Project

    This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court ruling that state laws banning marriages between individuals of different races were unconstitutional. A multimedia exhibit commemorating the 1967 decision opens Friday, June 9 at the Bill Russell Gallery. The Loving Project includes portraits of interracial married couples along with audio of them discussing the role of race in their relationships. The exhibit features a diverse array of couples across age, racial, and ethnic groups and includes same-sex couples and also celebrates the legacy of Mildred and Richard Loving. Open to the public on Saturdays in June and accompanied by a yearlong podcast series, 1215 Frankford Avenue, 2nd Floor, Philadelphia. Pictured: Olivia Taduran and John Vogel, featured in episode two of the podcast and featured in the exhibit. Photo by Aleks Martray.  Before you go, catch a screening of the award-winning HBO documentary, “The Loving Story,” Thursday, June 8, 6:30 p.m., The National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia.

    “The Woodmere Annual: 76th Juried Exhibition” at Woodmere Art Museum

    Woodmere Art Museum’s annual juried exhibition highlights contemporary work in a wide variety of media by artists living within fifty miles of the museum. The Woodmere Annual: 76th Juried Exhibition, Philadelphia’s longest standing juried museum exhibition, has the theme and Quaker concept of “speaking truth to power,” spotlighting the intersection of art and politics, addressing recent challenges to our country’s civil liberties, moral fabric, political institutions, and environmental issues. This year’s juror is Harry Philbrick, noted specialist in contemporary art. The exhibit is accompanied by an illustrated digital catalogue through September 4, 9201 Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill. Pictured: “Refugee,” by Oscar Page, Jr. American, born 1943, oil on canvas, 24 x 30 in., courtesy of the artist.

    “Myths & Nature: Early Prints by Sam Maitin” at Michener Art Museum

    The work of artist Sam Maitin (1928-2004) is featured at the James A. Michener Art Museum through August 27. Myths & Nature: Early Prints by Sam Maitin focuses on the Philadelphia based artist’s early prints from the 1950s to the early 1970s, which reveal his keen interest in exploring themes related to mythology, poetry, and nature and often grounded in literature and social issues. Enjoy half price admission during the month of June at the museum and a gallery talk with the curator will take place on Wednesday, July 12, 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Pictured: “Grand Symbol (Clumsy Fool)” by Sam Maitin, 1968 Collograph, Collection of the artist’s family.



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    Each week, the Entertainment Guide spotlights interesting local arts offerings happening now, including music, dance, theater, museums, special exhibitions and other arts events from across the region.

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