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What to do this week: Joanna Newsom, Al Hirschfeld and X-Mas Philes galore


Artist Al Hirschfeld is, of course, best known for the single-line ink caricatures of Broadway figures he drew for the New York Times for 75 years (and for hiding the name of his daughter, Nina, in them). But he was also an accomplished painter and illustrator who worked for just about every major publication in the country. His archivist, David Leopold, discusses his book The Hirschfeld Century: A Portrait of an Artist and His Age, at 7:30 p.m. at the Free Library, 1901 Vine St. Admission is free. Information: 215-567-4341.


Though you may not have seen Marni Nixon in the movies or on TV, you've certainly heard her. The soprano did the (uncredited) singing for Natalie Wood in West Side Story, Deborah Kerr in The King and I, Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, and Sophia Loren in Boy on a Dolphin and sweetened the voice of Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She also appeared on screen and stage as an actress and performed in operas and recitals over a career that spanned 70 years. Nixon discusses her film work at 7 p.m. at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, 824 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr. Tickets are $25. Information: 610-527-9898.

Before she was a cultural icon talking about sex on TV and the radio in the 1980s, Ruth Westheimer was a Holocaust orphan named Karola Ruth Siegel who survived the war by being sent from Germany to Switzerland; a scout and sniper for Jewish paramilitary forces in Palestine who was severely injured by an exploding shell; a psychology student in France; and a single mother, graduate student, and prominent sex therapist in New York. Her story is told in Mark St. Germain's play Becoming Dr. Ruth. The show goes on at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Walnut Street Theatre's Independence Studio on 3, 825 Walnut St., and continues with shows on a Tuesday-through- Sunday schedule to Dec. 27. Tickets are $35 to $45. Information: 215-574-3550.

The country-roots combo called the Black Lillies brings a mix of Memphis blues, Southern swamp-rock, and Appalachian folk to a concert at 8 p.m. at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. Tickets are $12. Information: 215-222-1400.


In the National Theatre's production of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë's depiction of a Victorian woman's expanding sense of self is given a fractured look by director Sally Cookson, with Jane, Mr. Rochester, the moors, and even the madwoman in the attic (here singing "Mad About the Boy") mixed into a swirling froth. A film of the production screens at 7:30 p.m. at the County Theater, 20 E. State St., Doylestown. Tickets are $18. Call 215-345-6789.

Harpist and singer Joanna Newsom plays her winsome avant-folk at 8:30 p.m. at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. Tickets are $35. Information: 215-232-2100.


In J.P. Sniadecki's atmospheric 2014 documentary, The Iron Ministry, filmed over three years on China's vast train system, close-ups and unnarrated shots of coach-class sleeping cars, and passengers' talking about their lives and hopes create an immersive portrait of quotidian life in China that seems at once familiar and otherworldly. The film screens at 7 p.m. at International House, 3701 Chestnut St. Tickets are $9; $7 seniors and students. Information: 215-387-5125.

Friday & Saturday

The celebrated modern dance company Philadanco performs an updated version of its holiday tradition, X-Mas Philes, choreographed by Danny Ezralow, at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, Broad and Spruce Streets, at 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. next Sunday. Tickets are $29 to $46. Information: 215-893-1999.

The esteemed Mendelssohn Club vocal ensemble performs A Feast of Carols, with guests Michael Stairs on organ and Adrienne Knauer on harp, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 22 E. Chestnut Hill Ave., at 5 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $22 to $42. Information: 215-735-9922.