Weekly Entertainment Guide – Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, and ‘Robot Theater’

    Chinese New Year 2008

    Chinese New Year 2008

    This week, treat yourself and others you love to Valentine fun with a variety of special sights, sounds and tastes. WHYY’s Robin Bloom has some recommendations on what’s happening in the Philadelphia region. Here are her picks:

     “To Fool the Eye”

    1812 Productions and Drexel University’s Mandell Professionals in Residence Project partner in “To Fool the Eye, Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of the romantic comedy “Leocadia,” by Jean Anouilh, mixing fantasy and reality as a duchess freezes her nephew in time at the moment when he met his true love, Leocadia, onstage Thursday, February 14 through March 3. Directed by Jennifer Childs with original music by five time Barrymore Award winner Christopher Colucci at The Mandell Theater, 3201 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.

    Valentine events:

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    More than forty wineries throughout the state of New Jersey will open their doors this weekend for a special Valentines Wine & Chocolate Wine Trail Event. Visitors can choose from six different wine trails in the state and spend a romantic weekend sampling chocolate, tasting wine, and enjoying live entertainment, Friday, February 9 and Saturday, February 10, noon-5pm at participating wineries including Amalthea Cellars, Hawk Haven Vineyards, Cedarvale Winery, Laurity Winery, Westfall Winery, and Beneduce Vineyard.

    Tin Angel hosts special Valentine events including 1812 Presents: My Funny Valentine, Monday, February 11, 8pm, and the 6th annual Hoots & Hellmouth Valentine’s Day Show, Thursday, February 14, with two shows at 7pm and 9pm, 20 S. 2nd Street, Old City, Philadelphia.

    Celebrate with your pooch at Smokin’ Betty’s and Devil’s Alley’s 6th “Puppy Love Valentines Party,” Tuesday, February 12, 6:30pm-9:30pm, with a night of cocktails, appetizers, sweet treats, silent auction items, live music, dancing, puppy photo booth, red carpet, and more, 23rd Street Armory, 22 S. 23rd Street, Philadelphia.

    World Café Live at the Queen presents “Shakespeare and St. Valentine,” a special evening presented by the Delaware Shakespeare Festival, including readings of some of the Bard’s greatest love scenes, sonnets, and more, Tuesday, February 12, 7pm, 500 North Market Street, Wilmington, DE.

    The Wagner Free Institute of Science offers a unique Valentine’s presentation this Wednesday, February 13 from 5:30pm-7pm, as George Armistead of the American Birding Association hosts “pOrnithology: The Birds and the Birds and the Bees.” The lecture looks at the unusual and complex behaviors of birds looking for a mate, with plenty of innuendo to keep the concepts in perspective. After the lecture, visitors can explore the museum until 7pm, 1700 West Montgomery Avenue, Philadelphia. Free.

    Diversion Productions offers a Bad Cupid Cabaret (an Anti-Valentines Day Cabaret), February 13-16, 8pm, a raunchy, sexy cabaret for those disenchanted with the holiday, directed by Dave Ebersole, L2 Restaurant, 22nd & South Street, Philadelphia.

    The National Constitution Center hosts “Moonshine & Valentines,” Thursday, February 14, 5:30pm-8:30pm, as the Grand Hall Lobby is transformed into a moody ’20s cabaret club with the sounds of the Boilermaker Jazz Band, cabaret theatre performances from the musical Chicago, food, whiskey cocktails and more including the opportunity to view the exhibit “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.” Guests are welcome but not required to wear their best Roaring ’20s attire, 525 Arch Street, Independence Mall, Philadelphia.

    Celebrate Valentine’s Day with BalletFleming’s “The Movement of the Heart,” Thursday, February 14 and Friday, February 15, 7pm. The production features the Philadelphia premiere of choreographer Christopher Fleming’s “Café Music” and “Edge of Assurances” with guest artists Jenn Rose and Janet Pilla, Painted Bride Arts Center, 230 Vine Street, Philadelphia.

    Featured events not to miss:


    Chinese New Year in Philly

    It’s the Year of the Snake! The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation celebrates the Chinese New Year with the Flower Market, Saturday, February 9, 10am-3pm, 10th Street Plaza, 10th & Vine Streets and the Midnight Lion Dance Performance at 11pm, 10th & Race Streets. On Sunday, February 10, 11am-2pm is the Philadelphia Suns Lion Dance Parade at 10th & Spring Street, Philadelphia.

    Media, PA celebrates with a parade on State Street, Sunday, February 10, 11am, featuring Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy Lion Dancers starting and ending at Margaret Kuo’s.

    The Main Line Chinese Cultural Center hosts its annual Chinese New Year Community Gala, Sunday, February 10, 1pm-5pm, Great Valley High School, Malvern, PA, called the largest suburban celebration of its kind in the region, with entertainment, games, prizes and more. Free admission.

    The annual Lunar New Year Party at International House is Friday, February 15, 7:30pm, including the Lion dance, traditional cultural performances, sampling of foods, and more, 3701 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.


    “State of the Art: Illustration 100 Years After Howard Pyle”

    Eight contemporary illustrators are highlighted in the Delaware Art Museum’s “State of the Art: Illustration 100 Years After Howard Pyle,” opening Saturday, February 9 as the conclusion to the museum’s centennial celebration reflecting on Pyle’s artistic legacy. In the century following Pyle’s death in 1911, American illustration has diversified into a wide range of art forms. The exhibit features over 60 works of art from eight of today’s most important illustrators including Bernie Fuchs, graphic designer Milton Glaser, MAD caricaturist and comic artist Mort Drucker, The New Yorker cover artist and character designer for animated films, Peter de Sève, editorial artist John Cuneo, painter and book artist Phil Hale, painter and magazine illustrator Sterling Hundley, and Pixar production designer Ralph Eggleston, on display through June 1, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware.


    “Unearthing a Masterpiece: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel”

    “Unearthing a Masterpiece: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel” opens at the Penn Museum, Sunday February 10, showcasing an exceptionally well-preserved ancient Roman floor mosaic first discovered during a road expansion in 1996. Most likely situated in a large reception room of a wealthy Roman living in the Eastern Roman Empire around 300 CE, the panels depict exotic animals involved in gladiatorial games. Opening ceremonies feature discussions on “Deciphering the Lod Mosaic,” exploring Penn Museum’s other mosaics, and a family activity to create an original mosaic. On its final American stop during an international tour, the mosaic will travel to the Louvre in Paris before settling in a new museum in Israel, through Sunday, May 19, 3260 South Street, Philadelphia.


    “Scattered” by Motionhouse

    Motionhouse brings its highly physical brand of dance theater to the Zoellner Arts Center on Sunday, February 10 at 7pm. “Scattered” explores our relationship with water using mesmerizing aerial imagery, thrilling choreography and projected images. The family-friendly performance will also have a pre-show lecture at 6pm with artistic directors Kevin Finnan and Louise Richards, Lehigh University, 420 East Packer Avenue, Bethlehem, PA.


    Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium’s “Paradise Park”

    The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium’s eighth season of absurdist productions begins this Tuesday, February 12 with the Philadelphia premiere of “Paradise Park” by American playwright Charles Mee. The show features Twilight Zone-like cast of ventriloquists, dummies, existential hitchhikers, and fractured families inhabiting a secluded island of their own and runs through March 3 at the Walnut Street Theater’s Studio 5, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.


    “Skindiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Harlot”

    GDP Productions and B Someday Productions continue to blur the line between traditional theater and burlesque with their second annual Valentine’s Day collaboration, “Skindiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Harlot.” The show features fight scenes, puppetry, action, adventure, and local Philadelphia burlesque talent, Tuesday, February 12 through February 17 at Walking Fish Theatre, 2509 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia.


    “Masters and Mavericks” show at Seraphin Gallery

    Seraphin Gallery hosts “Masters and Mavericks,” a group show featuring the works of Anne Canfield (pictured), Phillip Adams, John Altoon, David Borgerding, Chris Cooper, Brian Dickerson, Robert Goodman, Sidney Goodman, Grace Hartigan, Marko Kratohcil, Hiro Sakaguchi, Nancy Simonds, and Nora Sturges, on display through March 24, 1108 Pine Street, Philadelphia. Opening reception, Friday, February 8, 6pm-8pm.


    Professional Artists Exhibition at Main Line Art Center

    Fifty-eight regional artists are showcased in Main Line Art Center’s second annual “Professional Artists’ Exhibition,” opening Tuesday, February 12. The artists represent a wide variety of styles and backgrounds, yet share a commitment to art that pushed them through the competitive selection process with works by Karen Steen (pictured), Laura Pritchard, Linda Dubin Garfield, Mary Kane, and more, on display through March 12 with an opening reception on Friday, February 15 from 5:30-8pm, 746 Panmure Road, Haverford, PA.


    Theatre Exile’s “The North Plan”

    Theatre Exile’s sixteenth season continues with the Philadelphia debut of Jason Wells’ “The North Plan,” Wednesday, February 13 through Sunday, March 3 at The Latvian Society of Philadelphia. Directed by Joe Canuso and featuring Philadelphia actors Madi Distefano, Dan Hodge, Robert DaPonte, Aimé Donna Kelly, Carl Granieri and Mark Cairns, the dark comedy transports the audience to a small town jail in The Ozarks. With martial law declared and the government controlled by military commanders, the nation’s future lies in the hands of a federal bureaucrat, local sheriff and foul mouthed redneck heroine, 531 North 7th Street, Philadelphia.


    Philly Fringe: “Robot-Human Theater”

    Performance and science converge in the world’s first full-scale robot-human theater production, “Robot-Human Theater,” presented by Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe at Christ Church Neighborhood House, Friday, February 15 and Saturday February 16, 8pm. Created by Seinendan Theater Company leader Oriza Hirata and Osaka University Intelligent Robotics Laboratory director Dr. Ishiguro Hiroshi, the production features two short plays, “I, Worker,” about a robot worker suffering from malaise and “Sayonara,” where a human-like android comforts a dying girl, performed in Japanese and English with English subtitles, 20 North American Street, Philadelphia.


    Jane Comfort and Company at Swarthmore College

    Swarthmore College presents Jane Comfort and Company, Friday, February 15, 8pm, as dance, theater and song are layered in two featured works, “Beauty,” where Barbie explores female beauty, and “Underground River,” which illustrates the magical world unseen by those wanting to make an unconscious girl better. Creator of the critically acclaimed dance theater, choreographer, writer and director Jane Comfort was called by the New York Times “a postmodernist pioneer in the use of verbal material in dance” and was a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow, Lang Performing Arts Center, Swarthmore, PA.


    “Songs in the Key of Love” with Amy Correia at Steel City Coffeehouse

    Singer-songwriter Amy Correia performs at Steel City Coffeehouse Friday, February 15, a romantic set especially for Valentine’s Day weekend, “Songs in the Key of Love,” with special guest Dave Spencer. Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm, 203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, PA.



    “OPP: Other People’s Property” at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery

    On display at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery is “OPP: Other People’s Property,” featuring pieces from internationally exhibited Hank Willis Thomas’ series B®anded, Unbranded, Strange Fruit and Winter in America. A visiting professor at California College of the Arts, Maryland Institute College of Art and International Center of Photography / Bard, Thomas urges viewers to examine exploitation and stereotyping in professional sports and advertising, through Friday March 8, 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, PA.


    “The Magic Pencil of the Amazing F.O.C. Darley” at Brandywine River Museum

    On display at the Brandywine River Museum is “The Magic Pencil of the Amazing F.O.C. Darley” showcasing over 60 pieces by Felix Octavius Carr Darley, the Philadelphia-born artist who spent the 19th century illustrating for popular authors like Charles Dickens, Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and even Edgar Allan Poe. He was also renowned for his historical drawings related to the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and the American frontier. On display through March 10 at U.S. Route 1, Chadds Ford, PA.


    ICA Winter Exhibits

    The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at the University of Pennsylvania presents winter exhibits including “Glitter and Folds,” a series of photographs of the “by-products of revelry,” glitter, shattered mirrors, glass, and pearls, in “soiled wastelands of an uncertain ground, asking us to reconsider seemingly inalienable laws of physics and faith,” featuring the work of Crystal Z. Campbell, Field Kallop, Jayson Keeling, and Carter Mull (pictured), through March 31, 118 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia. Additional exhibits include the first career retrospective of photographer Brian Weil, through March 31 and “White Petals Surround Your Yellow Heart,” through July 28.


    Leonid Sokov exhibit at Zimmerli Art Museum

    One of the most significant Soviet nonconformist artists, Leonid Sokov, receives his first major show in the United States at the Zimmerli Art Museum. “Leonid Sokov: Ironic Objects” displays approximately 50 works of Sokov’s, created after Stalin’s death in 1953 until glasnost and perestroika in the 1980s. This artistic movement mocked the Soviet efforts to control creative expression by distorting propaganda images and juxtaposing Russian culture with myths about communist Russia and capitalist America, on display through July 14, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ.


    Other events happening throughout the region:

    Peter Nero and the Philly Pops performs “Mostly Gershwin,” with jazz pianist Marcus Roberts, February 8-10, as “Rhapsody in Blue” and more favorites fill Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center with three performances, Broad Street, Philadelphia.

    Mainstage Center for the Arts presents the classic story of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan, “The Miracle Worker,” Friday, February 8. The Tony Award-winning tale runs through February 16 at the Dennis Flyer Theatre and includes sign interpretation, Lincoln Hall, Camden County College, Blackwood, NJ.

    The 30th Street Craft Market has been postponed until Saturday, February 23, 11am-5pm, highlighting 30 local artists and craftspeople offering jewelry, knits, prints, glassware, ceramics, and more at the 30th Street Station, Philadelphia.

    The best in African American Children’s literature is offered at the 21st Annual African American Children’s Book Fair, this Saturday, February 9, 1pm-3pm, Community College of Philadelphia Gymnasium, 17th & Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, featuring a wide selection of books, visiting authors, illustrators, games, prizes. Free and open to the public.

    Historic Yellow Springs and The Mill at Anselma celebrate Mardi Gras this Saturday, February 9, 7pm-10pm, with New Orleans food, cocktails, and music by the ten member brass band The Hoppin’ John Orchestra, and more, 1701 Art School Road, Chester Springs, PA.

    Choral Arts Philadelphia celebrates its 30th Anniversary season with Rossini’s rare work “Petite Messe Solennelle,” directed by Matthew Glandorf, Saturday, February 9, 7pm. Developed five years before his death in 1868, the Mass is highly informed by the operatic style and is reproduced in the original fashion with a historic pianoforte played by Bernard Kunkel and harmonium with Alan Morrison, as well as a 40-voice choir and soloists Julianne Baird, Maren Montalbano, Aaron Sheehan and Brian Ming Chu, Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1625 Locust Street, Philadelphia.

    Boheme Opera NJ performs in its new home at The College of New Jersey with an English semi-staging of Donizetti’s comic opera “Don Pasquale,” Saturday February 9, 7:30pm and Sunday February 10, 4pm. Starring Philadelphia bass-baritone Edward Bogusz, tenor David Gagnon, soprano Sunjgi Kim and baritone Kevin Grace with a pre-curtain talk by Artistic Director Joseph Pucciatti before both performances at Mayo Concert Hall, Pennington Road, Ewing, NJ.

    The 38th Ocean County Bluegrass Festival is Sunday, February 10, noon-5pm, featuring Heidi Olsen & The Night, Past Times, and more, “Pinelands style,” at the Albert Music Hall, 131 Wells Mills Road, Waretown, NJ.

    The 43rd annual Rowan Jazz Festival is February 13-15, concluding with “Jazz Goes Around the World,” a musical tour spotlighting jazz interpretations from Russia, Brazil, Italy, Eastern Europe, and more, under the direction of Denis DiBlasio, with special guests including saxophonist Tim Powell, Metropolitan Opera tenor Jon Garrison, and jazz vibraphone player and Rowan alum Behn Gillece, joined by the Rowan Lab and Jazz Bands, Friday, February 15, 8pm, Pfleeger Concert Hall, Wilson Hall, on the Campus of Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ.

    Onstage at the Bridge Players Theatre is “Messiah on the Frigidaire.” Set in the evangelical town of Elroy, South Carolina, the play shows the increasing stress on a poor family that finds an image of Jesus on their refrigerator. As word of the miracle spreads, the spotlight on the family grows, causing them change and create lies to entertain the crowds, through February 23 at the Broad Street Methodist Church, 36 East Broad Street, Burlington, NJ.

    Temple Theaters continues its 45th year of performances with David Ives’ “The Liar,” opening this Wednesday, February 13. The play follows a 17th century French bachelor as his pathological lying creates comedic confusion and gets in the way of romance, through February 24 at the Tomlinson Theater, 1301 West Norris Street, Philadelphia.

    Brett Rader and Sarah Pike 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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