Weekly Entertainment Guide – Riverfront Blues and ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

    From Center City to the Jersey Shore, we’ve got your week covered. WHYY’s Arts Calendar curator Robin Bloom searches hundreds of listings each week to find out what’s happening in the Delaware Valley. Here are her picks:

    The Riverfront Blues Festival returns August 3-5 to the Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park in Wilmington, DE. This outdoor music festival features over 20 performances by artists such as the Kenny Neal Family Band and Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials. Guests can also receive harmonica lessons from Gary Allegretto in the HarmoniKids tent. Tickets for the entire weekend are $50, $20 at the door on Friday, and $25 on Saturday and Sunday. Children 12 and under are free. Rain or shine. Festival begins on Friday at 4:30pm, Saturday at 11am and Sunday at 11:30am.

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    The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire storms the grounds of the Mount Hope Estate and Winery this weekend and continues on Saturdays & Sundays (including Labor Day) through October 28, featuring a trip back to Merry Old England with performances, period food, crafts, children’s activities, Ultimate Joust, Human Chess Match, Shakespearean plays, and more, Route 72, 15 miles north of Lancaster and 14 miles east of Hershey, one-half mile south of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Exit 266.


    The 6th Annual Pennsylvania Guild Fine Craft Fair returns with over 190 independent local and regional craft artists promoting contemporary and heritage fine arts, Saturday, August 4, 10am-6pm, and Sunday, August 5, 10am-5pm, Chase Center on the Riverfront, 815 Justison Street, Wilmington, DE. Admission: General $8, Children 12 and under Free.


    Grounds for Sculpture hosts a “Summer Social,” Saturday, August 4, 11am-4pm, celebrating the summer 50’s style with live music, vintage cars, activities for all ages, refreshments, and more at 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, NJ. Come dressed for the occasion. Free with park admission: Adults $12, Seniors (65+) $10, children (6-17) $8, members and children 5 and under free.


    The 2nd Street Festival in Northern Liberties brings the community together through live music, food, games, and the arts, Sunday, August 5, noon-10pm, encouraging a positive, healthy lifestyle in a growing neighborhood, and this year DJ Matt Beck, The Great Unknown, The Kalob Griffin Band, Man Man, and many more perform, between Germantown Ave and Green Streets, Philadelphia. Free.


    In its 10th year, the “Give Back Festival” showcases great music and activities that promote volunteering and giving back to the community, Friday and Saturday, August 10, 1pm-10pm, and August 11, 12:30pm-9pm. This year’s theme is “The Sound of Philadelphia” and features a college fair, followed by poetry and “Philly Soul Stock,” a series of jazz, hip-hop, gospel, R&B, and reggae bands. Saturday begins with a Walk for Peace, and continues with boxing competitions, service awards, a tribute to Kenny Gamble, and an evening concert, Nicetown Park, 4300 Block of Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia. Free.

    Scribe Video Center’s 15th annual “Street Movies,” urban drive-ins without cars, begins Friday, August 10 with outdoor screenings of short films and live performances through the end of August with Sonia Sanchez, Ursula Rucker, Alexa Gold, Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble (pictured), Music Over Matter, Unity Community Brass Band, Cynthia Hughes, Mass Man, and more, starting at 7:45pm in neighborhoods in Philadelphia and Camden. Free.


    Celebrate Ol’ Blue Eyes with the Eagle Theatre’s latest production, “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra,” a comedy boasting the powerful music and arrangements that created an American music legend, August 10-19, 208 Vine Street, Hammonton, NJ. Tickets: General $22. Reservations recommended.



    Mauckingbird Theatre Company explores marriage, jealously, love, and honor through the eyes of gay men with the  Shakespeare comedy “Much Ado About Nothing,” August 10-26, Off-Broad Street Theater, First Baptist Church, 1636 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. Tickets: Adults $25, Seniors $20, Students $15.

    The Princeton University Art Museum explores how the creation of art is an encounter between the artist and their world with the exhibit “Encounters,” on view through September 16. From ancient to contemporary works from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe, the artistic media ranges from painting to calligraphy to photography, in McCormick Hall, Princeton, NJ. Free.




    Delaware River Waterfront hosts special events: Smooth Jazz Summer Nights celebrating women in music, Friday nights in August beginning with Maysa and Carol Riddick, Friday, August 3 on the RiverStage at Penn’s Landing; The ACANA African Festival on Sunday, August 5, from 2-8pm, at Great Plaza, Columbus Blvd at Chestnut Street, Penn’s Landing, showcasing African arts and culture in Philadelphia communities.

    The 2nd annual Phreak N’ Queer Festival is underway, celebrating LGBT culture with events for all ages including a “Family Day,” a free event on Saturday, August 4, 12-5pm, at Liberty Lands, 913 N. 3rd Street, Philadelphia, with The Simple Fix, Radium Angels, Myrna Cortes y sus Amigos, Celeste Polanco, Fauxlectralane cover band, Shara Dae Howard and DJs Andi & Niilo. Co-sponsored by Raices Latino Pride. Not all events free and family friendly; check website for more information.

    The namesakes and family origins of many Philadelphia streets, such as Rittenhouse Square or Wayne Avenue, end their stories at the Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia’s ultimate “dead-end.” In “The Streets of Philadelphia: Part II,” learn more about the roads most traveled in this twilight trip through Laurel Hill, led by President & CEO Pete Hoskins, followed by Philly-style hoagies and treats, Wednesday, August 8, 6pm, 3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia. Tickets: General $20, Seniors/Students $18, Members $17. Advance registration recommended.

    The 23rd Annual Pennsylvania Dutch Festival is Thursday, August 9 through Saturday, August 11, 8am-5pm, featuring handmade crafts and traditional food at Reading Terminal Market. Enjoy Amish buggy rides and horse drawn wagons, a farm animal petting zoo, and live bluegrass music on Saturday as the festival moves outside for a country fair in the city, 12th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia. Parking Fee: $4 at the Convention Center garage, 11th and Arch Streets, and the Parkway Garage, 12th & Filbert Streets.

    The Mummers Museum hosts free outdoor string band concerts, “String Band Music Under the Stars,” on Thursdays with “Aqua,” this Thursday, August 9. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy traditional Philly food and refreshments served at 7:30pm, followed by the performance at 8pm. Series continues through September 27, 1100 S. 2nd Street, Philadelphia.

    The 1st Annual “BlackStar Film Festival” is underway through August 5, a celebration of film by and about people of African descent at venues including the African American Museum, 701 Arch Street, Old City; Art Sanctuary, 628 S. 16th Street, Center City; International House, 3701 Chestnut Street, University City. Tickets: General $8, Students/Seniors $5, Panels/Workshops/Conversations Free.

    “ReSource Philadelphia” is underway through August 5, showcasing local and national artists from varying genres at Crane Arts Old School: The White Space with live performances, workshops, open mic nights, short-film screenings, and more, 1417 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia. Ticket prices range from free to $60.

    Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre presents the tragicomedy, “Cymbeline,” directed by David O’Connor and performed by The Classical Acting Academy, through August 19, 2111 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. Free.

    On display at Woodmere Art Museum are several exhibitions that focus on the accomplishments of two significant figures in Philadelphia’s cultural life: “Doris Staffel: Painter, Teacher,” a retrospective chronicling her career as an abstractionist, including pieces by her teachers, colleagues, and students; and a three-part exhibition of Alex Kanevsky, “Artist, Curator, Juror,” featuring a decade’s worth of his key paintings and drawings along with a display of works by 46 local artists selected by Kanevsky, on view through September 30 at 9201 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia. Admission: Adults $10, Seniors $7, Students/Children/Members Free.

    PA Suburbs & Delaware

    Musikfest 2012 kicks off Friday, August 3-12 with 10 days of concerts on 15 stages, and more than 500 performances including Joe Cocker, Huey Lewis and the News, Goo Goo Dolls, Janes Addiction, Sheryl Crow, Boston and much more in venues in downtown Bethlehem, PA.

    Bristol Riverside Theatre presents “Say Goodnight Gracie,” a one-man show following the real-life love story of Gracie Allen and George Burns, portrayed by Alan Safier, August 3-5, 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, PA. Tickets:  General $35, Student $15.

    The 3rd annual Green Earth Festival on the Schuylkill River Trail is Saturday, August 4, 9am-2pm, including a Phoenixville Greenway Hike, free bike rentals, “green” vehicle information, solar clothes dryers, the chance to build a “do-it-yourself” Solar Hot Water Collector, live music, and public art projects. Learn more about the Phoenixville Community Garden, and stop by the Farmer’s Market along the creek side trail from Taylor Alley to the Foundry, Phoenixville, PA. Free.

    The Norristown DanceFest is this Saturday, August 4, 8pm, and Sunday, August 5, 2pm, enriching, uniting, and inspiring the community through the art of dance. Companies include Chisena Danza, Angela Conte, Valerie Green/Dance Entropy, and Philadelphia Dance Theatre, 208 DeKalb Street, Norristown, PA. Tickets: In Advance $15, At the Door $18.

    The Allentown Arts Park hosts “Sizzling Summer Nights,” Thursday, August 9, 5-7pm, with art, music, entertainment, food, live art demonstrations, and more, 5th Street between Linden and Hamilton Streets, Allentown, PA. Free.

    The Eastern Shore AFRAM Festival gets underway Friday, August 10, 5pm-10pm with culturally enriched dance, music, activities for all ages, food and clothing vendors. A parade will kick start the second day of the festival on Saturday, August 11, from 10am-8pm, at the Seaford Sports Complex in Seaford, DE. Free.

    The National Collage Society celebrates the 100th anniversary of collage with the 28th Anniversary Juried Exhibition at the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art, featuring 82 unique pieces, through August 12, Upper Gallery, 601 E. Main Street, Collegeville, PA.

    Onstage at People’s Light & Theatre Company is the World Premiere of Bruce Graham’s “Mr. Hart and Mr. Brown,” running through August 19 on the Steinbright Stage, 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA. Tickets: $25-$45.

    New Jersey

    Bridge the gap between Pennsylvania and New Jersey with the 16th Annual Festival of Lights, August 4, noon-10pm. Spectators can cheer on the Kayak Race and Boat Parade from both sides of the river, while enjoying live music, tours, rides, and a final fireworks display at 9pm, Bristol Lions Park, Mill & Radcliffe Streets, Bristol, PA and Burlington Promenade, 525 High Street, Burlington, NJ. Rain Date: August 23. Free.

    Ray Rodriguez y Swing Sabroso perform a salsa concert on Saturday, August 4, 7pm, a Nassau Park Pavilion, Route 1 South, Princeton as part of the West Windsor Arts Council’s free summer music series.

    Tommy Conwell performs on Wednesday, August 8, 7:30pm with special guest Georgie Bonds, at Haddon Lake Park, Haddon Heights, NJ. Bleacher seating and parking available on first come first served basis. Free.

    The Trenton Museum Society and the D&R Canal Watch present “Home on the Canal: Bridge and Lock Tenders’ Houses on the Delaware and Raritan Canal,” an exhibit featuring never-before-seen photographs of the historic houses, on view now through August 19. The photographs show great detail of the houses, some still in existence today, of the people who were employed to tend to the bridges and canal locks of the area, some dating to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, at Ellarslie Mansion in Cadwalader Park, 299 Parkside Avenue, Trenton, NJ.

    “Down the Shore”

    Ocean City Music Pier hosts the 12th Annual “Art of Surfing,” featuring art from surfing’s biggest names and the chance to meet the artists themselves while enjoying live music, Friday, August 3 and Saturday, August 4, noon-10pm, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace, Ocean City, NJ. Free.

    The 4th annual Coquina Jam, the all-female, team-oriented surf contest, is this Saturday, August 4, beginning at 10am, Hudson Avenue, Harvey Cedars, NJ. Watch the contest while enjoying pizza, massages, a surf clinic, and more, followed by an after-party concert by The Brigantines at 6pm, Sunset Park. Alternative Weather Dates: August 5, 25, and 26. Admission: Free; Donations Recommended. All Proceeds benefit David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation.

    The 11th annual Stockton Goes to the Beach Summer Concert Series introduces Ricky Nelson to a new generation with “Ricky Nelson Remembered,” at the Cape May Convention Center, 8pm, August 6. Starring Nelson’s twin sons, Matthew and Gunnar, this tribute honors his music with hits such as, “Garden Party,” “Travelin’ Man,” “Poor Little Fool,” and more, 643 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ. Tickets: $30.

    Cape May Stage presents the fast-paced “whodunit” comedy, “The 39 Steps,” a play packed with over 150 crazy characters, virtuoso performances, and inventive stagecraft, August 8 through September 7, The Robert Shackleton Playhouse, corner of Bank and Lafayette Streets, Cape May, NJ. Tickets: $15-$35.

    Layer cakes, brownies, ice cream and fudge are just some of the delectable treats being offered in the “Chocolate Fair,” hosted by the Long Beach Island Historical Museum on Thursday, August 9, 6pm-8pm, featuring Ben and Jerry’s, Country Kettle Fudge, Kapler’s brand sweets, and much more. Tickets: Adults $10, children 12 and under $5. Located at 129 Engleside Avenue, Beach Haven, NJ.

    The Ocean Professional Theater Company presents “Gypsy,” through August 19, at Barnegat Ocean High School, 180 Bengal Blvd, Barnegat, NJ. Tickets: Adults $35, Children under 12 $20.

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

    Kelly Hagerty, Pamela Seaton and Jerome Gallman contributed reporting to this week’s guide

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