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Shell Show, Día de los Muertos, Poe Festival, and other things to do in Philly, Oct. 27 to Nov. 2

Things to do in Philadelphia, Oct. 27 to Nov. 2.

Philadelphia Shell Show at the Academy of natural Sciences.
Philadelphia Shell Show at the Academy of natural Sciences.Read moreANSP


Philadelphia Shell Show

Thoughts of those warmth-of-the-sun walks on the beach may be fading like your summer tan now, but you still have mementos picked up from the surf. We’re all collectors when it comes to seashells — and this annual mollusk display offers gorgeous and exotic examples, plus a chance to talk to an expert from the Philadelphia Shell Club and have that neat, swirly magenta number you picked up in Barnegat Light appraised. Left your collection behind at the season’s end and regret it? There’s a market to buy some, plus jewelry, books, and more. — Michael Harrington

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Academy of Natural Sciences, 19th and the Parkway, $19.95; $16.95 seniors and students; $15.95 ages 3 to 12; free under 3. 215-299-1000,


Poe Arts Festival

This is the best time of year to contemplate writer Edgar Allan Poe, once of our city (and the Inquirer). The author of some of the creepiest stories ever, he also pretty much invented the detective story, and was a fine poet and prolific journalist. This event, at the German Society's 1889 headquarters just around the corner from the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, features art, films, performances, talks, and handwriting expert Robert Phillips offering his insights into Poe's penmanship. The National Park Service, in conjunction with the Poe Arts Festival, will offer special after-dark tours of the house where he lived in 1843, featuring actors reciting some of the artist's greatest works. — M.H.

5 to 10 p.m. Friday,  German Society of Pennsylvania, Seventh and Spring Garden Streets. $20.


Día de los Muertos Altar Celebration and Procession

For the fifth year running, Calaca Flaca and Fleisher Art Memorial host a wild, art-filled celebration in the Mexican tradition. Two altar celebrations, with altar art installations, and a procession through South Philadelphia will bring together the community for this year's theme: the Mayan Afterworld. The event also boasts performances and vibrant arts and crafts, perfect for a late October festival. — Thea Applebaum Licht

4 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catharine St. Free. 215-922-3456,


Dominick Argento at 90

Dominick Argento first met singer Carolyn Bailey on a blind date in the 1940s. He wasn't looking for a girlfriend, just a soprano to perform his latest work. But after marrying Bailey, he dedicated himself to writing for the voice. Lyric Fest celebrates the great American composer with a recital of songs written for his wife and performed by soprano Jessica Lennick and mezzo-soprano Claire Shackleton, with pianist Laura Ward. — M.H.

5:30 p.m. Friday, at the Ethical Society Auditorium, Rittenhouse Square, $25; $10 students,

Philadelphia Orchestra

2 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday, at the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall, Broad and Spruce Streets, $56-$158, 215-893-1999,

Curtis Symphony Orchestra

Juanjo Mena leads these gifted musicians in Strauss' Don Quixote, with cellist Oliver Herbert and violist Hae Sue Lee as soloists, plus Berlioz's supercharged Symphonie Fantastique. Conducting fellow Carlos Agreda takes the podium for John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine. — T.D.N.

2:30 p.m. Sunday, at the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall, Broad and Spruce Streets,  $20-$75, 215-893-1999,

Wister String Quartet

The Wister performs the unmistakable strains of Delius' String Quartet in E Minor, plus Grieg's Violin Sonata in C minor, and Frank James Staneck's Spring Dance on an interesting bill. — T.D.N.

3 p.m. Sunday, at the German Society of Philadelphia, 611 Spring Garden St., 3 p.m. Sunday, $20, 215-627-2332,

Schumann Quartet

Here's one Halloween alternative. The virtuoso ensemble based in Cologne, Germany, makes its first visit to Philadelphia, performing Shostakovich's powerhouse Quintet in G minor with guest Gilbert Kalish on piano, plus works by Haydn and Schumann. — M.H.

8 p.m. Tuesday, Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, Broad and Spruce Streets, $30, 215-569-8080,

China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra

Conductor Lu Jia leads the Beijing ensemble in Zhao Jiping's Violin Concerto, written for soloist Ning Feng, and Chen Qigang's Reflections of a Disappearing Time, with soloist Gautier Capucon on cello, plus Brahms' Symphony No. 4 in E minor. — T.D.N.

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall, Broad and Spruce Streets, $35, 215-893-1999,


» READ MORE: “Arsenic and Old Lace”

When a just-married  journalist (Cary Grant) and his girl-next-door bride visit home to meet his maiden aunts in Brooklyn (on Halloween), he finds things as he left them — one brother who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt and digging a Panama Canal in the cellar, another (thankfully absent) brother who's a murderous criminal, and general craziness. It gets worse, though, when he finds a corpse in the window seat, and discovers his aunts are homicidal maniacs. Then his long-lost brother (Raymond Massey) shows up, toting yet another body and bringing along a creepy doctor (Peter Lorre). Frank Capra's 1944 classic dark comedy is one of the funniest movies ever made, but you'll never look at elderberry wine the same way again. — M.H.

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, at the Woodmere Art Museum, 9211 Germantown Ave., $5, 215-247-0476,


Shady Ladies Tour at the Art Museum

So, here's the thing about that Jan Steen painting in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Doctor's Visit may look like what its title describes to us in the 21st century: a kindly physician treating a flushed young woman, albeit in an oddly crowded home (there's another woman playing a spinet, a dandy at the door, a laughing man dangling a herring). But to a 17th-century Dutch viewer, it would have been a fairly scandalous scene, with the doctor obviously a quack, and the young lady obviously a prostitute distressed to find she might be pregnant by the caller at the door, and the home obviously a place for the oldest profession. The Shady Ladies tour guides, who specialize in revealing the titillating details in art, take on the painting and others in the museum's collection to tell stories of sex, power, ambition, scandal, mistresses, seducers, and courtesans. — M.H.

2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th Street and the Parkway, $49,

“Happily Ever After”

This timely exhibit just closing at the Main Line Art Center looks at modern femininity, and contemporary challenges to women's rights, with highlights including altered photographs by Glynnis Reed, Mari Ogihara's ceramic chastity belts and female figures, and Jenny Drumgoole's videos in which her pubescent refusenik alter ego Soxx throws parties for sanitation workers, eats pudding for hire, and runs for mayor of Philadelphia. The show also features silk graffiti by Aubrie Costello, photographs documenting performance and fiber art by Jes Gamble, site specific installations of  geometrically arranged monofilament by Erica Zoë Loustau, and powerful paintings by Emily Smith. — M.H.



Haruki Murakami is one of the world's greatest fiction writers, deftly portraying the surreal nature of loneliness. Adapted by Naomi Iizuka from one of his short stories, this story of an insomniac woman who enters a world of dangerous visions, is performed by the Brooklyn-based theater company Ripe Time. — M.H.

8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut St., $30, 215-898-3900,


Power 99 FM’S Powerhouse 2017

There's much to be said about the fact that Philly is in the house at Powerhouse 2017, Power 99's annual state of the union address when it comes to the various shades and colors of hip-hop. Lil Uzi Vert and Meek Mill are part of the proceedings, with Meek's label boss, Rick Ross along for the ride, as usual. Travis Scott and Migos — both fresh from Jay Z's Made in America — will bring their action to the stage. But seriously, the only reason to go, and it's a great one, is Cardi B — the new mistress of atmospheric rap whose "Bodak Yellow" ruled the charts this summer, over and beyond Taylor Swift. That alone is worth the price of admission. — A.D. Amorosi

6 p.m. Friday, Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. $69.99 – $250.99,

Etienne Charles

Born in Trinidad, educated at Florida State and Juilliard and currently teaching at Michigan State, Etienne Charles is a jazz trumpeter whose music makes connection between the rhythms of the American south and the island cultures of the Caribbean. There's nothing academic, though, about the 34-year-old bandleader's enticing, easily accessible music, which invites listeners in with trace of calypso, reggae and New Orleans second line rhythm on his 2013 Creole Soul and its seasonal 2015 follow-up Creole Christmas. — Dan DeLuca

8 p.m. Friday at Arden Concert Gild, 2126 The Highway, Arden, Del. $23-$28. 302-475-3126.

Craig Finn & the Uptown Controllers

Craig Finn often ends shows proclaiming how much he loves what he does. His role as the vivacious front man for the Hold Steady is not enough for him: he spreads his evangelical belief in rock-and-roll catharsis on solo albums, too, and he's spent this year on the road for his third, We All Want The Same Thing, a collection of stories of desperate but redemptive love. The tone is slightly more restrained than on Hold Steady albums, but the stories are just as good, and Finn and his band will make a big sound for the small MilkBoy stage on Friday. John K. Samson, formerly of the Weakerthans and a fellow master of word-rich narratives, opens. — Steve Klinge

9 p.m. Friday, MilkBoy Philadelphia, 1100 Chestnut St. Sold out. 215-925-MILK,

Julien Baker

Back in April when Memphis songwriter Julien Baker was in town to open for the Decemberists at the Fillmore, the 22-year-old guitarist had already finished self-producing her second album, which comes out on Friday on Matador Records. "I'm nervous about it," she said then. "But I guess that's natural if you care deeply about the art you make." She needn't have worried. The arresting Turn Out The Lights is just as starkly beautiful as her 2015 attention-grabbing debut, Sprained Ankle, while adding musical depth to the song's unguarded spiritual and philosophical inquiries. Baker has a gift for commanding attention with just a guitar and her voice, and for making a concert venues feel like a sacred space. She plays Union Transfer on Sunday with Half Waif and Petal. — D.D.

8 p.m. Sunday, Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. $18-$20. 215-232-2100,


The timing is downright spooky: The Sound Of Fear tour by Italy's storied horror-movie soundtrack maestros Goblin puts them in town on Halloween itself. Since coalescing in the early '70s, Goblin has applied their adventurous Italo-prog rock with a floridly sinister edge to films by Dario Argento — Profondo Rosso, Suspiria — and others, including the Italian release of George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead. After two sold-out Philly performances in 2013 on their belated debut American tour, they return promising scary old favorites and never-performed gems from their deep catalog, with a lineup including core members Massimo Morante (guitar), Maurizio Guarini (keyboards), Fabio Pignatelli (bass) and Agostino Marangolo (drums). Opening is Morricone Youth, the savvy NYC soundtrack-specialist combo helmed by guitarist Devon E. Levins (who hosts the definitive soundtrack specialty radio show "Morricone Island" on WFMU). — David R. Stampone.

8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. $25-$70. 215-232-2100,