The Eighth Fish of Christmas, An Original Play at Connie’s Ric Rac
Not your usual holiday theater venue, the South Philly bar Connie’s Ric Rac invites you inside for a beer and a special holiday show, put on by the local production company Raw Street Productions. The performance centers on Anita DeSanto, a 29-year-old Roman Catholic divorcee who brings a new, secretly Jewish beau to the family holiday gathering this year. —Grace Dickinson
Dec. 7-15, Connie’s Ric Rac, 1132 S. Ninth St., $20, rawstreetproductions.com
First Friday! Argentine Tango at Barnes Foundation
Trying to tango this Friday night? Head to the Barnes Foundation, where dancers from the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School will not only perform but lead a beginner-level lesson, too. The Emiliano Messiez Tango Quartet will set the musical backdrop, and light fare including Argentine-inspired dishes like pulled chicken empanadas, plantain chips with guacamole, and Argentine spiced beef on tostones with melted mozzarella, tomato, and spicy peppers will be available for purchase. —G.D.
6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., $28, $10 for patrons, contributors, member guests, and students, barnesfoundation.org
George Balanchine’s `The Nutcracker'
The Pennsylvania Ballet tradition continues. Audiences in their winter coats and holiday finery may appreciate the Academy of Music's new wider, lump-free seats.
7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday with additional dates through Dec. 31, Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St., $35 to $154, 215-893-1999, paballet.org
MacGuffin Theatre actors aren’t your typical kid actors. They’re dead-serious about their dead-serious subject matter, throwing themselves into artistic director John Rea’s interpretation of ancient Greek mythology: gods, love, death, heartbreak, and all.
7 p.m. Saturday with additional performances through Dec. 9, MacGuffin at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St., $20 adults, $15 children, 215-922-1141, macguffintf.com
Independence Seaport Museum Parade of Lights
Boats sparkle with holiday lights as they parade up the Delaware, overseen by Cap’n Santa. Beforehand, the museum hosts a workshop with Santa, where kids can decorate homemade ornaments and take home a gingerbread boat. — B.A.
Parade 5:30 p.m. Saturday along Penn’s Landing, free; workshop starting at 1 p.m., Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Blvd., admission is $12 for kids, $17 for adults, 215-413-8655, phillyseaport.com
Punk Rock Flea Market
R5 Productions’ Punk Rock Flea Market heads to the new waterfront Cherry Street Pier this Saturday. Find dozens of local vendors selling vintage, records, crafts, art, antiques, and a variety of other, potentially giftable goods. — G.D.
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Cherry Street Pier, 121 N. Columbus Blvd., pay-as-you-go, cherrystreetpier.com/events
Jingle Jog to run by the Historic Houses of Fairmount Park
Fight off a Santa belly by signing up for the Fairmount Park Conservancy’s Jingle Jog, encompassing a scenic five-mile route along the Historic Houses of Fairmount Park. Afterward, participants are invited to grab a free drink at the Ice Bar at Lemon Hill Mansion, a pop-up venue featuring a bar carved from ice and an ice lemon tree with real lemons. — G.D.
10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, starts at Lloyd Hall, 1 Boathouse Row, $25, $15 for members of the Fairmount Park Conservancy, myphillypark.org/event
Winter Solstice Festival at Penn Museum
The Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, has been celebrated for centuries in many countries across the world. Come out to the Penn Museum to partake in an observance happening right here in Philadelphia, featuring live performances, art-making, storytelling, a winter market, food, workshops, and tours. When night falls, the museum will host a “celebration of light,” inviting adults to get dressed up for a drink-mixing workshop, watch fire dance performances, sit in on a divination presentation, and more. — G.D.
1 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Penn Museum, 3260 South St., family activities 1-5 p.m. free with museum admission, evening festival activities 5-8 p.m., $15, penn.museum
Family-friendly activities (1:00 - 5:00 pm) are free with Museum admission; evening festival activities (5:00 - 8:00 pm) are $15, or $10 for Members.
Mumford and Sons
The “I Will Wait” band kick off their tour at the Wells Fargo Center, supporting their fourth album, Delta, released earlier this year. Maggie Rogers, who performs on Delta, makes a guest appearance. — G.D.
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St., $44-104, wellsfargocenterphilly.com
Strand of Oaks
One cool thing about Philadelphia’s healthy music scene is that many local acts use breaks in touring schedules to play hometown shows during the holiday season. The War on Drugs have a three-show run at three different venues starting Dec. 19, and Japanese Breakfast do a trio of Johnny Brenda’s shows beginning Dec. 29. The artist who’s turned the holiday season into a yearly tradition, though, is Tim Showalter, the Mount Airy rocker who performs as Strand of Oaks. SOA’s annual Winter Classic allows him to go mostly solo, try out new songs, revive deep tracks, and connect with fans. This year, the intimate three-night run begins Thursday, Dec. 6, and includes Showalter pals Joe Pug and Carl Broemel (of My Morning Jacket), who will each open and are likely to join the headliner on stage. — Dan DeLuca,
8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, through Saturday, Dec. 8, at Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St. $22.50. 267-639-4528. bootandsaddlephilly.com
Rufus Wainwright is nothing if not ambitious: His second opera, Hadrian, debuted this year, and he has created album-length tributes to Judy Garland and William Shakespeare. But he was at his most accessible and charming as a singer-songwriter at the start of his career, and his current tour finds him revisiting his first two albums: his 1998 debut and 2001’s Poses. Each contained inventive, theatrical baroque pop and many of Wainwright’s best-loved songs, including “April Fools,” “Beauty Mark” (about his mother, the Canadian singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle), and “Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk.” On stage, Wainwright is a witty raconteur, and it will be fun to hear him reminisce on Friday at Glenside’s Keswick Theatre. — Steve Klinge
8 p.m. Friday at the Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside. $42-$62. 215-572-7650, keswicktheatre.com.
The gospel-soul singer Mavis Staples will turn 80 next year, but to say she’s still going strong would be an understatement. This decade alone, she’s released four formidable albums, three of which have been fruitful collaborations with Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, who’s served as producer and principal songwriter. The most recent, last year’s If All I Was Was Black, finds the longtime civil rights activist (and onetime paramour of Bob Dylan) in a political mood, irritated about the rifts that divide us as a people and still in command of one of the most powerfully emotive voices in pop music. — D.D.
8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at World Cafe Live, 2015 Walnut St.. $75-$88. 215-222-1400. worldcafelive.com.
Maxwell + Marsha Ambrosius
Existential and ethereal lover man/vocalist Maxwell recently released his newest song, “Shame,” a dreamily atmospheric precursor to next year’s album, the third in his most dramatic trilogy of recordings such as blackSUMMERS’night (2016) and BLACKsummers’night (2009). Opening is onetime Philadelphia native vocalist and composer Marsha Ambrosius, who recently released her third, stormy-weather solo album, NYLA, a work with the same sensual force as her previous recordings. And though this is no promise, Marsha’s mentor, Patti LaBelle, usually jumps on stage with the onetime Floetry vocalist when Ambrosius is in town. — A.D. Amorosi
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Tower Theater, S. 69th &, Ludlow Sts, Upper Darby, $40-$136, thetowerphilly.com
Sophie Allison worried about as cool as her peers on several songs on Clean, her official debut as Soccer Mommy, which arrived last spring. But it’s hard to imagine the competition being cooler: Clean, which followed several Bandcamp releases that Allison recorded while a student at NYU, is one of this year’s best debuts, full of stripped-down and stirring indie rock that’s a direct descendant of Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville, especially on the vengeful, Stooges-quoting “Your Dog.” And Saturday, she headlines one of Philly’s coolest punk venues, the First Unitarian Church. — Steve Klinge
8 p.m. Saturday at the First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., $15. 215-821-7575, r5productions.com.
Drive-By Truckers singer Patterson Hood co-leads that great Southern rock band with guitarist Mike Cooley. The Truckers were last heard from with 2016’s powerful election-year salvo American Band, and when the Alabama-born band is not on the road, the raspy-voiced now-Portland, Ore.-based Hood tends to be out on the road in lone-troubadour mode, with stories to tell and songs to sing from both the Truckers catalog and his three solo albums. Chris Kasper opens. — D.D.
8 p.m. Saturday at Ardmore Music Hall, 23 E. Lancaster Ave., $25-$39. 610-649-8389. ardmoremusic.com.