Weekly Entertainment Guide – The return of PIFA

    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:

    PIFA 2013

    Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts takes audiences on a journey through the centuries, decades and years with the theme “If You Had a Time Machine…,” opening Thursday, March 28.  PIFA features a variety of programming for all ages with 50 partner organizations presenting performances and events across the city, with the Kimmel Center as the hub.  Highlights include an innovative time machine exhibit (pictured), a sculptural light, sound, and video installation in the Kimmel Center Plaza and the following activities designed to commemorate historic events:

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    The Life (and Death) of Harry Houdini

    EgoPo Classic Theater presents “The Life (and Death) of Harry Houdini,” Wednesday, March 27 through April 7. The world premiere examines the need to believe and the desire to prove as a mysterious magician’s assistant takes you along through a series of Houdini’s most famous magic acts, told through many of the magician’s own lectures, Plays and Players, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia. Harry Houdini’s final performance was in 1936.


    The St. Matthew Passion

    The Philadelphia Orchestra performs “The St. Matthew Passion,” Thursday, March 28 through Saturday, March 30. Originally premiered on Good Friday in 1727, Bach’s setting of the Gospel of St. Matthew features solo voices, The American Boychoir, The Westminster Symphonic Choir, and a double orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin, at The Kimmel Center.


    Everyone and I

    Onstage at Azuka Theatre is the World Premiere of “Everyone and I,” a play about Frank O’Hara and the death of Billie Holiday, a new work by local playwright Elizabeth Scanlon, an editor of The American Poetry Review. The show is directed by Kevin Glaccum, March 28 through April 7, Hamilton Garden, Kimmel Center. Billie Holiday died in 1959.


    Daringly High

    On October 30, 1965, Model Jean Shrimpton shocked the Australian establishment by attending Derby Day, a significant horse racing event in Melbourne, wearing a mini dress with a considerably higher hemline than was acceptable in Australian society. In doing so, she brought global attention to the fashion revolution already underway in Europe. Fly School Circus Arts presents “Daringly High,” a celebration of the empowerment, confidence, and freedom found in doing the unexpected, with outdoor flying trapeze lessons and performances, University of the Arts empty lot, 313 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, March 28 through April 27, 9am and 11:30am, 4:30pm and 7pm daily.


    Freedom Seder Revisited

    “Freedom Seder Revisited,” a multicultural celebration, is Thursday, March 28, 6pm, commemorating the original Freedom Seder that took place on April 4, 1969, the first anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as hundreds of people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds gathered in a church in the heart of Washington, D.C. to celebrate Passover, the Jewish holiday commemorating the biblical story of Exodus, when the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Guests include Rabbi Arthur Waskow (pictured, center), Founder and Director of The Shalom Center and leader and author of the original 1969 Freedom Seder, Rev. Alfred T. Day, III, Pastor, Historic St. Georges United Methodist Church, Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler, Ph.D, 52nd Pastor, Mother Bethel AME Church, National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall East, Philadelphia.


    From the Swamp to the Stars

    No Face Performance Group presents “From the Swamp to the Stars,” a re-imagining of the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981, March 28 through April 13, Aux Performance Space, 319 N. 11th Street, 3rd Floor, Philadelphia.


    Berlin: Landscape of Memory

    The Center for Emerging Visual Artists presents “Berlin: Landscape of Memory,” a solo exhibition of photographs by James B. Abbott, March 28 through April 26. The exhibit is a challenging, in-depth exploration of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the changes that resulted, on display at 237 South 18th Street, The Barclay, 3rd Floor, Philadelphia. Multi-media performance with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia on Sunday, April 7.


    Events to watch for this week:

    Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra

    Upper Darby Performing Arts Center hosts the Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra, Friday, March 22, 7:30pm. The world percussion orchestra blends Afro Cuban, Brazilian, Northern Indian and West African rhythms with high-energy contemporary drumming and choral compositions, 601 North Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.


    “The Art of Golf” at Philadelphia Museum of Art

    On display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is “The Art of Golf,” an exhibition devoted to the representation of the sport, demonstrating the correlation between art and sport in Victorian Britain. Among the works showcased is The Golfers, a well known 1847 painting by Scottish painter Charles Lee, widely considered to be his masterpiece and the greatest painting devoted to this subject. Also on view are portraits, oil sketches, a historic feather golf ball jacketed in bull’s hide, a silver trophy, antique Scottish clubs of ram’s horn, leather, and wood, and colorful attire that authentically recalls Victorian life on the famed Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland, through July 7, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia.


    “Bahu-Beti-Biwi,” a solo performance by intercultural, multidisciplinary director, choreographer and performer Sheetal Ghandi, comes to Bryn Mawr College for one performance Friday, March 22, 8pm. Bahu-Beti-Biwi, which translates to “daughter-in-law, daughter, wife,” is influenced by North Indian musical traditions that are brought into a contemporary context, incorporating elements of contemporary and traditional dance, dramatic multi-lingual vocalizations and percussive text to comment on the Indian diaspora and the traditional roles of women in India, Goodheart Hall, Bryn Mawr, PA.


    Pop-Up Museum at Eastern State Penitentiary

    For ten days only, Eastern State Penitentiary hosts its first annual “Pop-Up Museum” with the theme of “Inmate Life and Death,” as temporary exhibit cases house historic photographs of inmates’ and officers’ daily lives, a 1903 mug shot book, inmate-carved models, and homemade weapons, all dating back to the historic prison’s 142 years as an active, maximum-security facility, opening Saturday, March 23 through April 1, 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia.


    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 marks the 21st anniversary, Saturday, March 23, 8pm, Forrest Theatre, 1114 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.


    Frank & Malachy McCourt’s “A Couple of Blaguards”

    Frank McCourt and Malachy McCourt’s “A Couple of Blaguards,” a two person autobiographical account of their years growing up in poverty in Ireland, is onstage at the Stockton Performing Arts Center, Saturday, March 23, 2pm, 101 Vera King Farris Drive, Galloway, NJ.


    “White Boys” at Haverford College

    Opening this weekend at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery is “White Boys,” a collection of seventeen artists’ work of various media, exploring different perspectives that change the associations of the white male “norm.” Co-curated by photo conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas and Natasha L. Logan, the exhibit features photography, video, painting, printmaking and sculpture, on display through May 3, 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, Pennsylvania.


    Dexter Gordon 90th Birthday Celebration

    Joining in world-wide celebrations, International House Philadelphia hosts Philadelphia’s special event to commemorate the late jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon’s 90th birthday, Sunday, March 24, 5pm. The evening features a screening of the uncut version of Round Midnight, in which Gordon played the main character and was nominated for an Academy Award. WRTI’s Bob Perkins, along with Gordon’s widow Maxine Gordon, will be on hand for a post-film discussion, 3701 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.


    David Bromberg at Colonial Theatre

    David Bromberg performs with his quartet this Sunday, March 24, 7:30pm along with local favorite Tom Rush, Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, PA.


    “Second Home” at SCEE

    The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education (SCEE) presents “Second Home: Paintings by Maggie Mills,” a series of evocative and vivid portraits created from Mills’ observation of children in SCEE’s after school program and how they navigated the nature center’s unique spaces, March 25 through May 4, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Road, Philadelphia.


    “Cosmobilities” at Rowan University

    Opening this Monday, March 25 at Rowan University Art Gallery is “Cosmobilities,” an exhibit exploring mobility and immobility with local and international artists. Multi-media installations examine the accessibility, demobilization, geography, geology and ecological change in the world. On site performances include Polish artist Aleksandra Ignasiak and partner photographer Andrzej Sieczkowski who add color to grey urban streets. In Ana Vizcarra Rankin’s paintings inspired by ancient cartography, large scale maps chart the heavens and the planet’s continents. On view through Saturday, May 11, Westby Hall, 201 Mullica Hill Road, Glassboro, New Jersey.


    “Rich Girl” at George Street Playhouse

    Onstage at the George Street Playhouse is “Rich Girl.” Claudine has finally fallen in love, but her financial guru mother has a few problems with her new beau, a struggling artist. Directed by Michael Bloom, the clever new comedy runs through April 7, 9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ.



    “Sleuth” at Players Club of Swarthmore

    Onstage at the Players Club of Swarthmore is “Sleuth,” considered to be one of the all-time top theatrical thrillers. Written in 1970, by Anthony Shaffer, it was successful in both London and New York, where it ran for 1,222 performances. The play is set in the Wiltshire manor house of highly successful mystery writer Andrew Wyke. Milo Tindle arrives and declares he wants to marry Andrew’s wife. Andrew offers a peculiar solution that might satisfy both men, but weaves a tactful web between imagination and reality, through March 30, 614 Fairview Road, Swarthmore, PA.


    Poetic Visions: Dalí and Miró at Jersey shore gallery

    An extraordinary collection of rare artwork by two iconic Master artists of the twentieth century comes to the Jersey shore. “Poetic Visions: Dalí and Miró,” includes graphic works, lithographs, etchings, sculptures, and other works of art for a limited spring run March 28 through April 6 at Ocean Galleries, 9618 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, NJ. Opening receptions on Friday, March 29, Saturday, March 30, Friday, April 5, and Saturday, April 6, 6pm-10pm.


    Other events and listings throughout the region:

    Philly spoken-word poet and community activist Michelle Myers presents an evening of storytelling, spoken-word poetry and song, Friday, March 22, 7:30pm, as she debuts her new book about women’s empowerment, The She Book. The South Korea-born writer and co-founder of the Philadelphia spoken word duo Yellow Rage, is also a co-host of Asian Arts Initiative’s Family Style Open Mic series. She wrote The She Book to celebrate the strength and beauty of women and proceeds from the event will be donated to aid anti-trafficking efforts and community building in Haiti and Cambodia, Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia.

    The Delaware Symphony Orchestra presents “Beethoven’s World,” featuring Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, Ibert’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major, op. 92, with David Amado conducting and Kimberly Reighley on flute, Friday, March 22, 7:30pm and Sunday, March 24, 2pm, Laird Performing Arts Center at the Tatnall School, 1501 Barley Mill Road, Wilmington, DE.

    The Atlantic City Antiques Show is Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24, including toys, dolls, art, advertising, vintage fashions, jewelry, art deco, art nouveau, furniture, lighting, ephemera, memorabilia and more, Saturday, 10am-6pm (with early buying from 9am-10am) and Sunday, 11am-5pm, at the Atlantic City Convention Center, One Convention Boulevard, Atlantic City, NJ.

    University of Delaware hosts the second “Mid-Atlantic Brass Band Festival,” Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24, featuring a youth soloist competition, world-renowned clinicians and a performance by the two-time North American Champion brass band. The festival formed in 2012 to offer regional brass bands an opportunity to perform prior to the national competition and now provides world-class educational opportunities and performances for local youth and adult musicians, Amy duPont Music Building, 100 Orchard Road, Newark, Delaware.

    Delaware Valley Opera Company hosts “Bella Notte,” an evening of Italian arias, snacks and wine, led by Tim Oliver and accompanist Elise Auerbach, Saturday, March 23, 8pm, Cunningham Piano Company, 5427 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia.

    Act II Playhouse hosts “The Act II Price is Right,” an original live game show hosted by Artistic Director Tony Braithwaite, Saturday, March 23, 8pm. Contestants are drawn randomly from the audience to compete in games inspired by classic television game shows, including “Name That Tune,” “The $25,000 Pyramid,” “Jeopardy,” “Family Feud” and “The Price is Right.” Cocktail hour begins 7pm, 56 East Butler Avenue, Ambler, PA.

    Ama Deus Ensemble presents Bach’s “St. John Passion, BWV 245,” with Valentin Radu conducting on Good Friday, March 29, 8pm. Performed in English on Baroque instruments, the evening features the Philadelphia Boys Choir, soloists Dana Wilson, Megan Monaghan, Jody Kidwell, Kenneth Garner, Kevin Deas and Ed Bara, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia.

    The Dangerous And Movin’ Dance Company, the Philadelphia-based, contemporary dance company whose performances immerse audiences in surreal environments, performs “EvoL,” March 29-30, 8pm. Known for engaging work that incorporates props, technology, and a highly-stylized vocabulary while always trying to break the fourth wall to allow the audience to be truly in the performance, EvoL not only shows the company’s unique dance style but also includes video, singing, and acting, demonstrating a story that critiques love in a brutal fashion, at the Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine Street in Philadelphia.

    Sarah Pike and Corinne Hatton 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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