Our big list of events to keep you entertained at home updates every Thursday. Here’s the best of the weekend ahead.
In March, Jeffrey Townes — known to the world as DJ Jazzy Jeff, partner of Will Smith’s Fresh Prince — endured an illness that he believes was COVID-19, likely contracted while in Idaho at a ski resort dance party. (He was unable to get tested.) Having since recovered at his home in Delaware, the West Philly-raised Townes is hosting a 12-hour Break the Monotony dance party on Saturday, with D-Nice, Dede Lovelace, Noodles, Just Blaze, and others joining him on the wheels of steel. Might Will Smith show up? You’ll have to watch. Starts at noon on Saturday on DJ Jazzy Jeff’s Instagram Live.
— Dan DeLuca
Get your candles and incense ready. Soul singers Jill Scott and Erykah Badu are the next pair of artists — first women contenders — to battle each other as a part of the “Verzuz” series, produced by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz. Both Scott and Badu come equipped with hit songs that have sustained for decades, like Scott’s “The Way” and Badu’s “On & On." Scott’s style is sensual and romantic — even operatic at times, while Badu is “Clever” in her lyrical delivery and infuses elements of funk into her songs. The action starts Saturday at 7 p.m. on the verzuz.tv Instagram Live.
— Brandon T. Harden
Founded by Talinda Bennington, the widow of Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington who died by suicide in 2017, 320 Fest aims to raise mental health awareness. The headliners of the festival, co-curated by Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman, include Chris Martin of Coldplay, Lindsey Stirling, Art Alexakis of Everclear, Grandson, Aunty Social, and Echosmith. Friday through Sunday at 320Festival.com.
The C.F. Martin & Company guitar shop in Nazareth, Pa., is closed due to COViD-19 restrictions, but the company is presenting an almost daily series of live-streamed acoustic performances, all played on Martin instruments. Los Angeles guitarist Angela Petrelli plays Friday, country songwriting ace Brandy Clark on Saturday, and Philly rocker Dave Hause on Monday. Sets by John Oates, Jade Jackson, and Anthony D’Amato are archived. At 4 p.m. at facebook.com/martinguitar.
South Carolina blues and gospel singer Rev. Gary Davis had a profound influence on the folk revival of the 1960s as a guitar teacher and street performer in New York. On May 4, this series began posting a tribute per day to him. (He died in 1972). Dom Flemons plays on Friday, Sonia De Los Santos on Saturday, and Jorma Kaukonen on Sunday. Previous postings from Amythyst Kiah, Bill Frisell, and Fantastic Negrito are archived. Daily at 4 p.m. through May 15 on the New York Guitar Festival’s YouTube channel.
Billed as “A one-time event. Just like your birth,” this online matinee 3 p.m. Sunday features Broadway stars, their children and their moms, with music from COVID-shuttered Broadway shows including Jagged Little Pill, Company, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. Performers include Vanessa Williams, Laura Benanti, Betty Buckley, LaChanze, and Harvey Fierstein. It’s a fund-raiser for Broadway Cares’ COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund. Find it at broadwaydoesmothersday.com.
— Howard Gensler
Music mogul Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds is hosting an Instagram Live on Sunday at 8 p.m. @babyface to play and talk about (song by song) one of his most beloved projects: The Waiting to Exhale soundtrack, from the 1995 adaptation of Terry McMillian’s novel. The movie — directed by Forest Whitaker and starring Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon — became a cultural touchstone, and so did the star-studded soundtrack, with contributions from Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Brandy, Toni Braxton, Mary J. Blige, and more.
British bard Billy Bragg is a protest singer of note, and a softy at heart. When the coronavirus prevented him from visiting his mother on British Mother’s Day in March, he wrote a song called “Can’t Be There Today.” On Sunday at 5 p.m., Bragg and illustrious guests Richard Thompson, Rosanne Cash, Steve Earle, Rufus and Loudon Wainwright, Stella Donnelly, and the Mountain Goats will play a virtual show benefiting the United Nations Fund addressing sexual and reproductive rights. Tickets are $10. Sunday at 5 p.m. at citywinery.com/newyork.
Gross-out moments meet science and history in this new tour, led by Mütter curator Anna Dhody. You’ll see fan favorites as the Hyrtl Skull Collection — 139 skulls collected by Dr. Joseph Hyrtl in the mid-19th century — and the Soap Lady, for whom postmortem decomposition was largely arrested through an accidental chemical process. Find it on the museum’s YouTube channel.
— Ellen Gray
Veteran producer (and Lower Merion High grad) Alan Poul (The Newsroom, Tales of the City) teamed up with Damien Chazelle (La La Land) to make this moody drama about an American musician (Andre Holland) running a jazz club in Paris. (Friday, Netflix)
If we must self-isolate, why not do it in a house with a seemingly infinite number of rooms and its own private park? The 2019 movie sequel to the beloved BBC series comes to premium cable. (8 p.m. Saturday, HBO)
The Top 10 will be whittled down to seven contestants as the competition continues from the singers’ homes. Will Narberth’s Louis Knight make the cut, and, if so, which part of his house will he be performing from this weekend? So far, we’ve seen him in his bedroom and on the porch. Knight, by the way, is the first Philadelphia area contestant to make it to the Top 10 since 2018. No one from this area has yet made it as far as Doylestown’s Justin Guarini, who was the runner-up to first-season winner Kelly Clarkson, way back in 2002. (8 p.m. Sunday, ABC)
With Claire (Caitriona Balfe) abducted in the final moments of the May 3 episode, expect Jamie (Sam Heughan) to be hard on her abductors’ heels as the fifth season wraps with an episode called “Never My Love” that could be one that fans of Diana Gabaldon’s novels have long had reason to fear. If you’re a little behind, the season’s first 11 episodes will be rerun beginning at 8:45 a.m. Sunday. (8 p.m. Sunday, Starz)
Mark Ruffalo plays identical twins, Dominick and Thomas Birdseye, the latter of whom has schizophrenia, in a six-episode adaptation of Wally Lamb’s 1998 best-selling novel about the uncovering of family secrets. Also stars Melissa Leo, Kathryn Hahn, Archie Panjabi, Juliette Lewis, and Rosie O’Donnell. (9 p.m. Sunday, HBO)
Independent Lens brings to television the critically acclaimed documentary film Rewind, in which Rosemont’s Sasha Joseph Neulinger recounts the story of his own childhood sexual abuse. (10 p.m. Monday, WHYY12)
Tina Fey’s wacky streaming series about a woman freed from captivity by a cult leader who makes a new life for herself in New York City ended its four-season run in January 2019, but now there’s a special, and it’s interactive. The choices you make for characters will lead down different story paths. (Tuesday, May 12, Netflix)
For those like me whose escape from thinking about disaster is viewing even greater (fictional) disaster, there is this Belgian thriller about a plane full of passengers flying west to escape a solar event that’s killing everyone in its path. Moving fast enough to beat the sunrise turns out to be just fast enough to keep the suspension of disbelief going. (Netflix)
Fans of Amazon’s raucous Catastrophe — and if you haven’t seen it, what are you waiting for? — should appreciate this somewhat kinder, gentler, but still very British dramedy about a couple (Rafe Spall and Esther Smith) who set out to adopt a child after learning they probably won’t be able to conceive one. Watch for Imelda Staunton as their eccentric fairy godmother of a social worker. If you only know her as Harry Potter’s Dolores Umbridge, you’ll forgive her here. (Apple TV+)
From England, the story of two young men (Stephen Odubola, Micheal Ward) whose lifelong friendship is sundered when they end up on opposite sides of bloody gang war in adjacent London boroughs. Buy or rent through Vudu. — Gary Thompson
A musical adaptation of the 1983 hit movie, this movie features period tunes in the story of a teen girl (Jessica Rothe) whose life grows complicated when she falls for a punk rocker (Joshua Whitehouse). Buy or rent through Fandango Now. — G.T.
Billed as a candid portrait of former first lady Michelle Obama, the documentary takes a behind-the-scenes look at her 34-city tour to promote her memoir, Becoming, and encourage others to tell their own stories. Available on Netflix. — G.T.
A lively documentary about Biosphere 2 and the eight people who volunteered to be locked inside a man-made ecosystem for two years beginning in 1991. The movie is available on-demand, and can also be accessed though streaming links available through many independent theaters, including the Philadelphia Film Society, Lightbox Film Center, and Renew Theaters’ four suburban venues (the Ambler Theater, Jenkintown’s Hiway Theater, Doylestown’s County Theater, and Princeton Garden Theatre).
If you stream via the website of your local art house, a portion of the revenue goes to that venue. For a complete list, visit neonrated.com, the website of the distributor Neon.
InLiquid artist Constance Culpepper will take over the Kensington art gallery’s Instagram account at 2 p.m. Saturday for a live demonstration of collaging that’s billed as “perfect for a quarantine date or an activity with the kids.” (Maybe they’ll make something for Mother’s Day?) A list of suggested materials to have ready can be found at inliquid.org/calendar.
Marlboro Music has called off the sounds of summer, 2020. Citing COVID-19 distancing, the Vermont chamber music retreat — the sister organization of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society — won’t be gathering for rehearsals or concerts this year. It’s no substitute, of course, but Marlboro will add content to its online trove of videos and recordings that, so far, includes the likes of pianists Rudolf Serkin and Mieczysław Horszowski. marlboromusic.org.
— Peter Dobrin
History and hysteria co-mingle in King Henry IV, Part 2, William Shakespeare’s comic telling of the end of the reign of King Henry IV (played by Peter DeLaurier). Complicating matters in a good way are the machinations of Falstaff (Scott Grier) and his band of irregulars. Lantern Theatre Co. hosts a reading via Zoom Friday at 7:30 p.m. It’s part of the Center City theater’s new “Lantern Anywhere” lineup. Free, but advance registration required at lanterntheater.org/lantern-anywhere.
— Jane M. Von Bergen
Here’s the story: Philadelphia saved the inner life of author and humorist R. Eric Thomas — a man adrift before he came here on a whim and found his artistic voice as a storyteller. Now he’s famous from Elle’s Eric Reads the News and has a new book out, Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America. He appears with Philadelphia storyteller Hillary Rey, of the Rashomon podcast, in a livestream “comedy conversation” from 1812 Productions Monday at 8 p.m. Details for how to register are at 1812productions.org/comedy-conversation. Pay what you wish.
Several years ago, Philadelphia’s prizewinning stage designer Thom Weaver and director Brenna Geffers teamed up to create Die-Cast, which stages works in unusual spaces — a schooner, an abandoned nightclub, a historic mansion. Audience members wander individually around the venue. No two experiences are precisely alike. Die-Cast now goes for the same vibe virtually in the online world-premiere Phyre, about a woman who has moved to Philly to care for a family member. She posts about her grief on Instagram and finds, miraculously, a community. You can immerse yourself in the work anytime at die-castphilly.org/phyre. Pay what you wish.
Here’s an activity for theater nerd families or roommates who know all the songs and choreography to A Chorus Line. Go to playbill.com and pick a scene from one of eight well-known shows. (Search the website for “livingroomtheater” to find them.) Then post video of your #LivingRoomTheatre performance on Facebook, tagging /ConcordShows, and send the link to email@example.com. You could end up on the Playbill website. Can’t carry a tune? The selection includes dramas, like Our Town. Submission deadline is May 13.
The rarely seen musical based on the P.G. Wodehouse Wooster stories, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and a book by Alan Ayckbourn, is streaming for free for two days starting 2 p.m. Friday. It’s the perfect choice for some low-key British entertainment if you’ve seen everything on PBS and BBC America. Available on The Shows Must Go On YouTubeChannel with other Lloyd Webber musicals.