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:
Mural Arts celebrates 30 years from its start as an anti-graffiti program to an international leader in community based public art. October is “Mural Arts Month” and, as usual, the organization – that has created 3600 works of public art – offers a series of events including exhibitions, tours, mural dedications and rededications, artist talks and more. This Saturday, October 5, from 4pm-6:30pm, is 70X7 The Meal, act XXXIV, a visual and performance arts piece that gathers 900 invited guests around a communal table at the Municipal Services Building’s Thomas Paine Plaza, 1401 JFK Boulevard, across the street from Philadelphia’s City Hall (moved from Independence National Historical Park due to Government shutdown). For more Mural Arts events, visit the website.
The 14th Annual Philadelphia Open Studio Tours is October 5-6 for studios East of Broad Street and October 19-20 for studios West of Broad Street, as hundreds of professional visual artists in 22 Philadelphia neighborhoods open their studios to the public for the display and sale of their artwork, guided tours, workshops, artist talks and more, noon-6pm each day. Free. Presented by the Center for Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA) who also has launched “Made in Philly,” celebrating the accomplishments of the individuals behind Philadelphia’s ongoing renaissance through a coordinated takeover of street-level advertising spaces with large-scale artwork. Free mobile app and smartphone guide available to plan your own itinerary. Guided trolley tours available October 6 & 20. Pictured: Visitors to studios in the Viking Mills Building, Kensington.
New Jersey was a major catalyst for avant-garde art of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Many of New York’s leading experimental artists left their studios and headed to the Garden State to produce some of the most important works of their careers. Princeton University Art Museum has put together the first comprehensive exhibition to highlight 16 of these artists with over 100 works of experimental art including photography, collage, mixed media, found objects, film, audio, books, magazines, posters and other ephemera created between 1952 and 1976. “New Jersey as Non-Site” features Nancy Holt, George Segal (pictured), Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Smithson, Allan Kaprow, George Brecht, Geoffrey Hendricks, and more, October 5 through January 5. Curated by Kelly Baum, the exhibit is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with special programming that includes an opening with Nancy Holt, October 5 and “The Sky is the Limit: A Happening,” October 10, Princeton University Campus, Princeton, NJ. Enjoy the Festival of Music & Art, Saturday, October 5, 10am-5pm with family activities and a “Salute to African Americans’ Jazz Heritage” concert.
The Wilma Theater continues its effort to collaborate with regional theater companies with their season opener, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s “The Convert.” Written by Obie Award winning playwright Danai Gurira (of AMC’s hit television series The Walking Dead), the play examines the concepts of ownership, cultural identity, moral ideals, and faith from the unflinching yet compassionate perspective of a Zimbabwe woman. Directed by Michael John Garcès and starring Nancy Moricette, Starla Bedford, Irungu Mutu, Zainab Jah, Lance Coadie Williams, Steven Wright, and Joshua Nelson, October 9 through November 10, 265 South Broad Street, Philadelphia. Onstage, behind-the-scenes conversations accompany many productions.
Onstage at Allens Lane Theater is “Purlie Victorious,” the Civil Rights era satirical comedy written by Ossie Davis, set in the American South when Jim Crow laws were still in effect. The play stars Tiffany Bacon, Meryl Lynn Brown, Kareem Carpenter, Lawrence H. Geller, E. RaMona Sewell, Maurice A. Tucker, and Brian Weiser and is directed by Robert Anu, known for staging productions by African and African-American playwrights. Bring your own picnic to enjoy the theater’s unique cabaret seating through October 12, 600 block of West Allens Lane between Greene and McCallum Streets, West Mt. Airy. Free parking available.
Simpatico Theatre Project presents the Philadelphia premiere of “The Brothers Size,” by Tarell Alvin McCraney. Directed by three-time Barrymore Award-winner James Ijames, the bold play is set on the back roads of the Louisiana bayou and weaves Yoruba mythology into the plot to create an epic story of two brothers struggling with the line between law and liberty. Starring Carlo Campbell, Akeem Davis, and Kirschen Wolford, through November 3 at Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Related programming includes $5 student rush nights and talk backs, Industry Night & Simpatico Social, October 29.
With mime, musical improvisation, acrobatics, equilibrium and brute clown strength, GDP Productions presents “Do Not Push,” onstage October 4-12. The show, performed in London, Bilbao, Portland and Chicago, features co-creators Alex Suha and Kevin Chick, upstairs at Plays and Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Street, Philadelphia.
Malian guitarist Sidi Touré and Louisiana Creole multi-instrumentalist Cedric Watson return to Crossroads Music as part of their International Blues Express Tour, Sunday, October 6, 7:30pm, at Calvary Center for Culture and Community, 801 South 48th Street at Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia
Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra Tempesta di Mare opens a new season with “The Classics Club,” featuring harpsichordist Adam Pearl performing Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto 5 and other music that surrounded and influenced its creation. Works by Scarlatti, Telemann, Couperin, along with the Pachelbel Canon fill the air Saturday, October 5, 8pm at Arch Street Meeting House in Center City and on Sunday, October 6, 4pm at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill.
Mélomanie kicks off its 20th year with two world premiere pieces: Jennifer Margaret Barker’s Le Passage du Temps and Michael Stambaugh’s The Machine Comes to Life. The Delaware-based quintet, noted for its pairings of early and contemporary works, is joined by the composers, guest artists Jennifer Margaret Barker and Michael Stambaugh, at their new performance venue, the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (DCCA), 200 South Madison Street, near the Wilmington waterfront, Sunday, October 6, 2pm.
Down the Shore
The calendar says October, but it still feels like summer! If you’re “down the shore,” check out the Wildwoods 6th annual Seafood & Music Festival, Saturday, October 5, 10am-8pm; the Cape May Harvest Festival of Crafts & Antiques, Saturday, October 5, 10am-4pm; Sea Isle “Harborfest,” Saturday, October 5, 11am-4pm; “Chowderfest” in Long Beach Island, Sunday, October 6, 11am-4pm.
Festivals, Fairs & More
The 22nd annual “Terror Behind the Walls,” the massive haunted house inside the castle-like walls of the abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary, is back and scarier than ever with Hollywood-quality sets, custom-designed props, animatronics, digital sound effects and a cast of more than 200 performers in a theatrical production that consists of six haunted attractions including the “Gauntlet,” “Lock Down,” “Infirmary,” “The Experiment,” “Night Watch,” and the new “Detritus,” expanding into areas of the prison never entered by the public. New this year, visitors can choose whether to explore the prison passively or actively. Try the hour-long, After Dark VIP guided tour by flashlight. Ranked among the top 10 haunted attractions in the country, “Terror Behind the Walls” runs on select evenings through November 9 at 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue in Philadelphia.
The Revolutionary Germantown Festival is celebrated Saturday, October 5, a day of historic entertainment beginning at 10am with tours, programs and activities at historic sites in Philadelphia’s Germantown section, including the reenactment of the Battle of Germantown at Cliveden at noon and 3pm. The day closes with a traditional Oktoberfest at Grumblethorpe, a 1774 colonial German country seat, Germantown. Free.
The 11th Annual Collingswood Book Festival is Saturday, October 5, beginning at 10am. Stroll more than six blocks of Haddon Avenue filled with nationally recognized authors/speakers for adults and children including Will Schwalbe (who hosts a discussion on this year’s town book: The End of Your Life Book Club), Larry Kane, Pam Jenoff, Jon McGoran, Judy Wicks, Dan Gutman, Ty Drago, and many more as well as booksellers, storytellers, poetry readings, workshops, exhibitors, kid-friendly activities in Loompaland, and entertainment for all ages, Collingswood, New Jersey. All events are free. Rain or shine.
30th Street Craft Market is Saturday, October 5, 11am-4pm at the Porch at 30th Street Station, with more than 30 crafters offering unique, locally made gifts including jewelry, ceramics, stationery, art prints and originals, children’s items and more, along with food trucks and live music by the West Philly Orchestra.
Celebrate historic Fishtown at the 6th Annual River City Festival, Saturday, October 5, beginning at noon with a 5K fun run through Fishtown, followed by live local music headlined by the Fractals, John Francis and the Midnight Choir, Cheers Elephant, American Babies, and Vacationer. The whole family will be able to enjoy food, drinks, crafts, and other activities, Penn Treaty Park, 1199 North Delaware Avenue, Philadelphia.
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) hosts a free Family Arts Festival, Sunday, October 6, 12pm-5pm, offering free admission to the museum, live musical performances, art-making stations, games and other family activities including a chance to help make a one-of-a-kind installation with 7,000 cans donated by Campbell’s Soup. Activities take place rain or shine on Lenfest Plaza (pictured), 128 North Broad Street, Philadelphia.
Midtown Village’s 8th annual Fall Festival is Sunday, October 6, noon-8pm. The block party includes food, a beer garden, arts and crafts, shopping at the area’s boutiques, children’s activities and more, expanding to include Chestnut Street between Broad Street and 12th, Philadelphia. Free.
The Oval Fall fest is Thursday, October 10, 5pm-11pm, in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with up to 50 vendors hosted by PHAIR, the Philadelphia Open Air Market, food trucks, and a DJ, Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Get a glimpse of Mennonite life a century ago at the 40th Annual Apple Butter Frolic, Saturday October 5, 9:30am-5pm, with authentic Pennsylvanian German food, crafts, a baking contest, silent auction, and more at the Mennonite Heritage Center, 565 Yoder Road, Harleysville, PA. Rain or shine.
The 3rd annual Mid-Autumn Chinese Music Festival is Saturday, October 5, 6pm-9pm, presented by the Main Line Chinese Culture Center. The festival features multi-media entertainment and a musical program celebrating the Chinese Moon Festival and China’s ties to Philadelphia, Great Valley High School, 225 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.
Germantown Avenue will be transformed into an outdoor arts marketplace this Sunday, October 6, for The Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival. Artists and crafters from across the country will display their work between Willow Grove and Rex Avenues in addition to live music, food, and children’s rides and activities, 11am-5pm, Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill. Free. Rain date is Sunday, October 13.
The 22nd Annual Delmarva Folk Festival is October 4-5. The music begins at 5pm on Friday with the conclusion of this year’s Folk Hero contest, followed by a night of folk performances, continuing from noon-10pm on Saturday. This year’s lineup includes Ustad Shafaat Khan, Key of Red, Crabmeat Thompson, Possum Creek, Runaway Train, Swamp Weasels and more. Craft vendors, food vendors, kids’ activities, and more, presented by the Delaware Friends of Folk, 352 Downs Chapel Road, Clayton, DE.
The 2nd Locust Moon Comics Festival is Saturday, October 5, 10am-6pm, an annual celebration of comics, illustration, and graphic arts. This year’s event features more than twice as many creators in a larger space with a schedule of programs that include workshops, panels, and discussions on the art, business, and history of comics. Lots of local talent will be on hand to sign books and greet fans, like Robert Woods and his long awaited complete collection of Depressed Punx mini comics 36 Lessons in Self Destruction, at The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.
The inaugural Figment Philadelphia comes to Philly this Sunday, October 6, 11am-5pm, a free celebration of participatory art and culture with over 40 projects by dozens of artists at Clark Park, 43rd & Baltimore, Philadelphia. For all ages, rain or shine. See a list of projects and print an event map and schedule in advance on the website.
The 9th annual DesignPhiladelphia Festival is back, featuring nearly 120 events taking place across the city in various venues, October 10-18. This year’s theme is EXPERIENCEdesign. The festival seeks to unite the region’s dynamic creative community by bringing together individuals and organizations from across the design spectrum, placing a spotlight on Philadelphia’s rich design history and creative industries at work. With a mix of open studios, exhibitions, lectures, runway shows, tours, workshops, and more, many events are free and open to the public.