Weekly Entertainment Guide – Spring, Sakura, & Sex with Strangers

    Sex with Strangers is onstage at the Philadelphia Theatre Company April 8 through May 8. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.

    Sex with Strangers is onstage at the Philadelphia Theatre Company April 8 through May 8. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.

    Enjoy spring blooms with the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, Longwood Gardens, Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, Morris Arboretum, and more.  Robin Bloom offers suggestions for what to check out this week.

    Celebrate spring!

    The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival

    The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia returns for its 19th year to celebrate Philadelphia’s rich cultural connections with the art, music, food, natural beauty and industry of Japan with a week’s worth of events, April 11-17, in Philadelphia and throughout the region. Highlights include Japanese Culture Week at Liberty Place, the Cherry Blossom 10K/5K, “Sakura Under the Stars,” sushi making classes, amateur sushi making competition, film screening, and more, culminating in the annual “Sakura Sunday,” an all-day outdoor celebration featuring food, live music, dance performances, and activities for all ages on April 17 at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center. Presented by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, the festival began in 1998 to honor Japan’s sesquicentennial gift to Philadelphia with the planting of 1,000 cherry trees in Fairmount Park. Photo courtesy of the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival.

    Shofuso Japanese House and Garden

    Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, located in Philadelphia’s West Fairmount Park, was built in Japan in 1953 using traditional techniques and materials and moved to Philadelphia on the site of several previous Japanese structures continuously maintained since the 1876 Centennial Exposition. The traditional-style house with its hinoki roof, the only one of its kind outside of Japan, can be toured, along with the gardens, koi pond and island. Shofuso is now open for the season and offers tea ceremonies, workshops, Sakura Sunday, Tanabata (traditional Japanese star festival held midsummer), and new this year – Shogi (Japanese chess) Tournament – on the grounds of the Horticulture Center, Lansdowne and Horticultural Drives. Photo courtesy of Shofuso Japanese House and Garden.

    Japanese Cherry Blossom Celebration at Morris Arboretum

    Morris Arboretum hosts its annual Japanese Cherry Blossom Celebration on two Saturdays this year, April 9 and 16 with traditional Japanese cultural activities, the “Cherry Walk,” Kyo Daiko Drumming Crew, tea demonstrations, origami workshops, kimono dressing demonstrations, and more, 10am-3pm, celebrating Japanese art, culture and gardens inspired by the 35 varieties of cherry trees that blossom each spring in the 92 acre horticultural garden at 100 East Northwestern Avenue, Chestnut Hill. Photo by Susan Crane.

    Spring Blooms at Longwood Gardens

    Take in this year’s Spring Blooms at Longwood Gardens as indoor and some outdoor gardens burst with seasonal color. Walk the grounds to see blossoming crocus, daffodils, tulips, azaleas, and more, or visit the conservatory to enjoy lilies, echium, hydrangeas and more. Peak bloom is mid to late April when the 600 foot long Flower Garden Walk boasts over 240,000 tulips and other seasonal flowers, at 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, PA. Photo by Larry Albee/courtesy of Longwood Gardens.

    What’s Happening

    Cinedelphia Film Festival

    Cinedelphia Film Festival is back for another year with an eclectic lineup of films showcasing interesting work rarely seen in Philadelphia. Highlights include Adult Swim regular DJ Douggpound live, the Nigerian remake of Purple Rain (pictured), and the U.S. premiere of a revealing documentary on cult favorite “The Room.” All festival screenings April 7-23 are at PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th Street, Philadelphia. An exhibition of hand-painted Ghanaian movie posters on loan from Chicago’s Deadly Prey Gallery will be on display throughout the festival.


    Philadelphia Festival of the Arts (PIFA) kicks off April 8, a 16 day celebration of art and community with more than 60 performances by local and international artists, weaving together a variety of art forms and genres with many unique presentations, multi-disciplinary performances and installations, all curated by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Beginning with the American premiere of Article 13 (pictured), a ball of fire using sand, fire and water that tells the story of immigration around the world at Penn’s Landing and ending with the PIFA Street Fair on April 23 on Broad Street with art, food, entertainment, and vendors between Chestnut and South Streets. Photo courtesy of PIFA.

    Philadelphia Furniture Show

    The Philadelphia Furniture Show returns to the historic 23rd Street Armory, Saturday, April 9, 10am-6pm and Sunday, April 10, 10am-5pm. A preview party will be held Friday, April 8, 6pm-9pm. Bringing together patrons and artisans, the longest running exhibition of its kind features modern and traditional handmade furniture and furnishings – made in the U.S.A. – by 75 woodworkers, weavers, potters, and photographers. Nearly half of the exhibitors are new to the show including students from the Wood Program at the University of the Arts, 22 South 23rd Street, Philadelphia. Pictured: The work of Michaela Stone (courtesy of the Philadelphia Furniture Show)

    Camden Comic Con

    Don’t miss the Camden Comic Con, Saturday, April 9, 10am-6pm, a celebration of comics and related pop culture. Shop comics and memorabilia from over 100 vendors and meet comic creators such as Chris Claremont (Marvel Comic’s “X-Men” series), Bob McLeod, Larry Hama, Joe Del Beato, Diana Leto, Mark Poulton, Philip McNulty, and Collingswood resident Ryan Brady (writer, illustrator, and producer of the comics “The Bolt” and “The Anomaly,” which are set in Camden). Also, expect panel discussions like “Women Working in Fandom,” workshops, demonstrations, costume contest, and children’s activities including make-your-own monster workshop, Rutgers Camden Athletics and Fitness Center, Fine Arts Building, Camden, NJ. Free and open to the public. Photo courtesy of Camden Comic Con.

    Shut Up & Dance

    MANNA hosts the annual Shut Up & Dance, a one-night only performance by dancers of the Pennsylvania Ballet to benefit Metropolitan Area Nutrition Alliance’s meal and nutrition program, featuring original pieces choreographed by the dancers. This year’s performance is hosted by Martha Graham Cracker, Saturday, April 9, 8pm, Forrest Theatre, 1114 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. After party at Voyeur Nightclub. Photo courtesy of MANNA.

    Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival

    The Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival is Sunday, April 10, 11am-5pm, as Main Street is lined with over 50 of Philadelphia’s best food trucks, gourmet food vendors and local farmers’ markets, food-centric arts and crafts, beer garden, live music and more, to kick off the Manayunk Restaurant Week beginning Sunday, April 11. Photo courtesy of Manayunk Development Corporation.

    Philly Farm & Food Fest

    Learn more about how food travels from farm to the market or table at the 5th annual Philadelphia Farm and Food Fest (PF3), Sunday, April 10, 11am-4pm. One of the country’s biggest single-day food festivals promises even more this year as Fair Food and Kitchen Table Consultants offers activities for all ages including PF3 Kitchen where the city’s best chefs and butchers share tips, tricks, and recipes, an all-day cheese festival, Local Libations Lounge, CSA Pop-Up Shop, Homesteading Workshops, over 130 exhibitors, and more. Presented by Chipotle Mexican Grill at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Christopher Landy.

    LUMA: Art in Darkness at The Grand

    LUMA: Art in Darkness lights up The Grand with 3-D illuminated illusions of light, color, and motion. The light spectacle, started by master juggler Michael Marlin, combines rhythmic gymnastics, dance, magic, puppetry, and physics with well-coordinated motion. The family-friendly, mesmerizing performance features an all-female cast led by Melissa Staroszik, Sunday, April 10, 3pm, 818 N. Market Street, Wilmington, DE.


    “Macbeth” & “Twelfth Night” at Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre

    Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre celebrates its 20th anniversary season with William Shakespeare’s dark and powerful tragedy Macbeth, performed in repertory with his romantic comedy Twelfth Night, through May 22. Twelfth Night opens April 14 and then performances alternate on different nights with the same cast under the direction of Artistic Director Carmen Khan. Cast includes Rob Kahn, Annabel Capper, John Zak, William LeDent, 2111 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. Recommended for ages 14 and up. Dr. Dan Gottlieb puts “Macbeth on the Couch,” April 19, 6pm, for a Shakespeare therapy session at WHYY, 150 N. 6th Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Kendall Whitehouse.

    “Sex with Strangers” at Philadelphia Theatre Company

    Opening at Philadelphia Theatre Company is Sex with Strangers, a co-production with and direct from the George Street Playhouse, April 8 through May 8. The drama by Laura Eason about an affair between two opposites – the young, brash writer Ethan Kane (Kyle Coffman) and novelist and teacher Olivia Lago (JoAnna Rhinehart) is directed by George Street Playhouse’s Artistic Director David Saint, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Broad and Lombard Streets, Philadelphia. Recommended for mature audiences only. Events include Meet-the-Artists talk backs and a backstage tour. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.

    Beacon Theatre Productions’ “Young Frederick Douglass”

    Beacon Theatre Productions presents the Philadelphia premiere of Young Frederick Douglass by Walt Vail. Inspired and adapted from the autobiography “The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass,” the production follows the young Douglass enslaved in Baltimore who becomes literate and escapes from slavery to become a social reformer, orator, writer, statesman, and a national leader of the abolitionist movement, April 8-24. Directed by John Mullany at Olivet Covenant Church Theatre, 608 N. 22nd Street, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of Beacon Theatre Productions.


    Gogol Bordello at Union Transfer

    Start wearing purple and see the gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello’s 10th anniversary tour and theatrical stage show “Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike,” Thursday, April 7, 8:30pm (doors open at 7:30pm), and Friday, April 8 (SOLD OUT), 8:30pm (doors open at 7:30pm), Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia. Xylouris White opens. Photo by Jeff Parsons.

    Dave Burrell in concert

    Fire Museum Presents features master jazz pianist Dave Burrell, composer in residence at the Rosenbach Museum of the Free Library of Philadelphia, in concert Friday, April 8, 8pm, Philadelphia Argentine Tango School, 2030 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia.  Free.


    Nicki Bluhm & the Infamous Stringdusters at World Café Live

    Singer Nicki Bluhm joins the acoustic bluegrass band the Infamous Stringdusters for their “Ladies & Gentlemen Tour,” Friday, April 8, 8pm (doors open at 7pm), World Café Live, 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. The indie/folk/pop band Paper Bird opens.


    Dar Williams at Colonial Theatre

    Acclaimed singer songwriter Dar Williams stops in the Philadelphia region before heading out on a European tour, Saturday, April 9, 8pm with special guest Jeffrey Gaines, Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, PA. Photo by Howie Grapek/GPO.



    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.

    To submit an event to be considered, email Robin Bloom at artscalendar@whyy.org.

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