What to do in Philadelphia, Nov. 8-14: See Elton John or Baby Shark Live!, go ice skating in Dilworth Park
Plus: A storytelling festival and Love Your Park Fall Service Day.
We’re a week into November, there’s talk of snow in the forecast, and the party-throwers among us are scheming for Thanksgiving and (to some, more importantly) Friendsgiving.
Reporter Grace Dickinson talked to Philadelphians who annually observe Friendsgiving — one epic example features a bathtub of booze, a gong, and a hundred-plus guests — the drama-free holiday that skips rigid family traditions. If you’re the host or the cook for Turkey Day, we’ve got some suggestions for ways to shake up the menu with fresh cocktails, snacks, soups, and sides.
And if you’re planning even further ahead, to holiday shopping, consider buying a ticket for the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Contemporary Craft Show at the Convention Center this weekend. About 200 artists will be selling wares, from jewelry and custom knives to light fixtures, hand-carved wooden bowls, blankets, and furniture. Prices and styles vary widely, but you’re certain to find a thoughtful gift for your partner, your parents, your friends, or yourself.
— Jenn Ladd (@jrladd, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fire & Ice Dilworth Park Winter Season Opener
Dilworth Park kicks off its winter season with the two-day Fire and Ice Festival. Visitors can watch live fire artists and ice sculptors performing for free while synthetic snow and fireworks effects enliven the plaza. Friday also marks the opening of the Rothman Ice Rink and Cabin, inviting visitors to lace up their skates and cozy up afterward with a warm drink in hand. — Grace Dickinson
5:30 p.m. Friday, noon Saturday, Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th St., free, 215-440-5500, centercityphila.org
First Person Arts Festival
Artists, poets, authors, and everyday people from across the city share their personal experiences during Philly’s largest storytelling festival. The two-week event includes plenty of onstage performances, along with workshops like this Sunday’s holiday gift-making session, which helps you package your own story into a present for family or friends. — G.D.
Through Nov. 19, location and price vary by event, firstpersonarts.org
Baby Shark Live!
Just when you thought you were getting the tune out of your head, Pinkfong turns its viral video into a touring production, tacking on Wheels on the Bus and Five Little Monkeys, along with a few more characters. — Lauren McCutcheon
2 p.m., Sunday, Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St., $29.50 and up, 215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org
Love Your Park Fall Service Day
Join thousands of volunteers in cleaning and greening parks across the city this Saturday. The biannual service day inspires events like tree plantings and litter pickups at nearly 100 locations every fall. Interested participants can register for volunteer opportunities online. — G.D.
9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, various locations, free, loveyourpark.org
Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF)
PAAFF, the largest film festival of its kind on the East Coast, returns to celebrate and elevate the voices of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Festivalgoers can enjoy dozens of screenings, including a few free ones, along with artist talks and workshops. — G.D.
Through Nov. 17, location and price vary by event, phillyasianfilmfest.org
Opening Night of the Franklin Square Holiday Festival
Get into the holiday spirit a little early during the Franklin Square Holiday Festival, kicking off this Thursday with the annual debut of the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show. The free show illuminates the park with 80,000 lights that dance to a soundtrack of holiday classics. Guests can also enjoy s’mores, seasonal beer, and beverages (think spiked hot cocoa) around outdoor fire pits. — G.D.
4:30 to 8 p.m., Thursday, 200 N. 6th St., free, 215-629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org
Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour began in September 2018 with a string of Philly dates, and he hasn’t found the end of the road yet. He’s stopping back in town on Friday and Saturday, and will continue to circle the globe until December 2020 (as it stands now). The former Reginald Dwight has two recent versions of his life story on display — in the biopic Rocketman and his own new memoir, Me. Don’t expect personal revelations at the Wells Fargo Center, though: His set list has barely changed since he was last in Philly. That matters little, since it’s full of the same timeless hits he composed with songwriting partner Bernie Taupin throughout his (mostly) glittery career. — Steve Klinge
8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St., $55.50-$245.50, 215-336-3600, wellsfargocenterphilly.com
Violist Wil Baptiste and violinist Kev Marcus keep returning to Philadelphia in ever-bigger venues — World Cafe Live, then the Merriam, and now, with this Impossible Tour appearance, the Academy of Music. The high-energy duo are part of the Kimmel’s jazz series, but their 2015 World Cafe Live performance included classical, hip-hop, and rock in the mix. — Peter Dobrin
8 p.m., Friday, Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St., $35 and up, 215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org
Providence, R.I., punk-rock band Downtown Boys made one of the best records of 2017 with The Cost of Living. The group’s step up to the Sub Pop label, produced by Fugazi guitarist Guy Picciotto, sharpened the Victoria Ruiz-fronted band’s incendiary attack on clear-eyed, confrontational collection songs rooted in real-life economic realities that grab hold of the listener and refuse to let go. A great live band. Clear Channel and Gosh open. — Dan DeLuca
8 p.m., Saturday, Ortleib’s, 847 N. Third St., $12, 267-324-3348, ortleibsphilly.com
Big Thief will have plenty of new material to play Saturday night at Union Transfer. The Brooklyn quartet, fronted by Adrienne Lenker, released their third album, U.F.O.F., this spring, and their fourth, Two Hands, a few weeks ago. Plus, both Lenker and guitarist Buck Meek have recent solo albums, which the band’s set lists occasionally dip into. Big Thief is equally adept (and impressive) with delicate acoustic folk tunes and tense, textured electric rock songs, and it will be fascinating to see how they weave it all together at Saturday’s sold-out show. Ellen Kempner’s garage-punk trio Palehound opens. — S.K.
8:30 p.m., Saturday, Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., sold out, 215-232-2100, utphilly.com
Chattanooga, Tenn., native Amythyst Kiah is a singer-songwriter who’s a solo artist and a member of the folk and roots music collective Our Native Daughters. That group consists of Kiah along with Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell — all women of color who happen to play the banjo. Kiah’s “Black Myself” is the standout track on the foursome’s 2019 debut, Songs Of Our Native Daughters, and there’s more of Kiah’s haunting folk-soul to be found on her 2013 album Dig and 2016 EP Amythyst Kiah & Her Chest of Glass. — D.D.
8 p.m., Saturday, the Locks at Sona, 4417 Main St., Manayunk, $12-$15, 484-273-0481, thelocksmusic.com
Leave it to Kinky Friedman, onetime leader of the Texas Jewboys, to title his new album Resurrection, appropriating a central tenet of Christianity. But the Kinkster has always been about more than sly pokes like that or blatant provocations such as “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore.” In recent years he has been doing some of his deepest and most affecting work, colored by a growing sense of mortality. Resurrection — produced by multi-instrumentalist and former Bob Dylan and Levon Helm sideman Larry Campbell, who leads the small support combo — is no exception. And with “Mandela’s Blues,” the Americana set begins with a soul-stirring tribute to a seemingly unlikely Kinky fan — the late South African president and apartheid fighter Nelson Mandela. — Nick Cristiano
7:30 p.m., Sunday, the Locks at Sona, 4417 Main St., Manayunk, 484-273-0481, thelocksmusic.com