There isn’t much left to 2019, but there’s lots on this week to keep the rest of the year busy.
If you like the sweet taste of victory, board game convention PAX Unplugged rolls into town tomorrow and this weekend. We’ve got a preview of the tabletop fest, and also a handy guide to help you find your next favorite board game.
Prefer to be your own opponent? Philly’s new super-giant climbing gym opens this weekend with a free day to try it all out, including its Olympic wall. (Why? Because it’s there.)
If you’re in the mood to explore the city, the Free Library now gives you free access to 11 cultural sites, including the Magic Gardens, the Eastern State Penitentiary and more.
If you are ready to holiday it up (or in the mood to hibernate), here are ten overlooked-but-great holiday movies, in case you’ve already rewatched the classic greats and bad flicks we secretly love anyway (I’m looking at you A Christmas Prince).
And, for a more glam week, popular local queen Martha Graham Cracker has an album release (see below) and Drag Race superstar Shangela (who Brandon Harden caught up with for a Q&A) will be on stage in Atlantic City. To which, we say Yas.
Museum of the Moon
Thanks to The Franklin Institute’s new pop-up installation, the full majesty of the moon is now closer than ever. Designed by UK artist Luke Jerram, a photo-realistic 23-foot-in-diameter sphere displays high-resolution NASA imagery of the moon’s surface, bringing detailed cliffs and craters into view. Each centimeter of the internally lit sculpture represents just over three miles of the moon’s surface. And the moon hangs in the museum’s main level rotunda, so you can access the exhibit for free. — Grace Dickinson
Through Jan. 5, The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St., free, fi.edu
Feminist Flea Market and Craft Fair
Shop from 100-plus local vendors while supporting a good cause at this pop-up flea market, designed to raise awareness of feminist organizations in the community. All ticket proceeds will benefit WOAR, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing sexual violence and helping survivors through counseling and advocacy. — G.D.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Bok, 1901 S. 9th St., $5, housecatpresents.com
Narberth Dickens Festival
If the Ghost of Christmas Past is definitely your guy, this annual Main Line mainstay is for you. Downtown Narberth transforms for the day into Victorian 1840s London, complete with costumed performers, carolers, carriage rides, and street vendors serving 19th-century street food (probably more along the lines of roasted chestnuts than jellied eels). There will also, of course, be the obligatory readings of A Christmas Carol. — M.G.G.
Noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Forrest Ave & Haverford Ave, Narberth, valleyforge.org
Jingle Jog 2019
Make friends — of the two- and four-legged variety — at this festive five-mile run. The guided route weaves through Fairmount Park, passing by Woodford Mansion, Strawberry Mansion, Laurel Hill Mansion, and Mount Pleasant Mansion before concluding at Lemon Hill Mansion. At the finish line, there’s a bonus: goats. Members from Philly Goat Project will be there, ready to greet you with their goofy goat smiles. — G.D.
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Lloyd Hall, 1 Boathouse Row, $15-$35, fairmountpark.ticketleap.com
Making Time PURE SPA
Ever dream of partying into the wee hours of the morning inside a Russian bathhouse? Then check out the second spa-meets-rager event from producers Steph Irwin and DJ David Pianka (better known as Dave P). Tickets include yoga classes, an open bar with free Red Bull, champagne, and kombucha, and all of the amenities of Southampton Spa. The Bucks County facility features not only Russian and Turkish baths, but also a salt sauna, scrub room, oxygen steam bath, Jacuzzi, and pool. — G.D.
1 a.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday, Southampton Spa, 141 2nd St. Pike, Southampton, $65-$70, eventbrite.com
DIY Holiday Greens Arrangement
Learn how to make your own holiday centerpiece with garden designer and horticulturist Elizabeth Belk. Tickets to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society workshop include all the materials you need, but you can also bring decorations from home to incorporate into your designs. — G.D.
6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Awbury Arboretum, 1 Awbury Rd., $30 for PHS members, $40 for nonmembers, 215-988-8883, Phsonline.org
Madonna’s four shows at the Met have been a big deal waiting to happen since they were announced in May, with an oversize banner hanging outside the North Broad Street opera house announcing her impending arrival. Last week, however, the pop star canceled three Madame X tour dates in Boston due to physical ailments, writing in an Instagram post that “the pain I’m in right now is overwhelming.” So far though, there’s been no announcement of any changes in her weekend plans in Philadelphia, so unless there’s further notice, the run of late shows — 10:30 p.m. is the scheduled start time — that begins on Saturday is set to go on. — Dan DeLuca
10:30 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the Met Philadelphia, 858 N. Broad St., sold out, 800-653-8000. themetphilly.com
Tyler Childers hails from the same coal country of eastern Kentucky that gave birth to Loretta Lynn and Chris Stapleton; you can hear the Appalachian upbringing in the redheaded singer-guitarist’s twangy voice. It took six years of scuffling for gigs between his 2011 debut Bottles and Bibles and its 2017 successor, Purgatory. His superb new album, Country Squire, was coproduced by fellow Kentuckian Sturgill Simpson (who also worked on Purgatory). And it shows a real knack for storytelling and the influence of Childers’ songwriting heroes Bob Dylan and John Prine. — D.D.
8 p.m. Wednesday, at the Fillmore., 29 E. Allen St., $41-$46, 215-309-0150, fillmorephilly.com
Martha Graham Cracker in Lashed But Not Leashed, The Album Release Show
Popular Philly drag queen Martha Graham Cracker performs her debut album, Lashed But Not Leashed, at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater on Thursday. The theatrical, 80-minute show will feature a wide range of musical styles, from funk to country to rock-and-roll to dramatic ballads. — G.D.
8 p.m. Thursday, Perelman Theater, 300 S Broad St., $30-$39, 215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org
Guided by Voices
It’s irrelevant, really, to talk about the most recent Guided By Voices album. By the time you’ve absorbed one, several more seem to have slipped past even the most ardent fan. Bob Pollard’s indefatigable indie-rock institution, whose current incarnation features guitarists Doug Gillard and Bobby Bare Jr., has released three albums this year alone with a total of 68 songs. Although Warp and Woof is lo-fi and fragmentary, both Zeppelin Over China and Sweating The Plague are worthy additions to GBV’s massive catalog, and should provide solid fodder in the band’s set list, which usually includes well over 50 songs, a high percentage of which will be perfect rock-and-roll anthems. — Steve Klinge
9 p.m. Friday, Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St., $35, 215-627-1332, undergroundarts.org
With a flurry of charming, idiosyncratic albums in the early aughts, Devendra Banhart became a leading figure of the freak folk movement, with bands such as Vetiver and Philly’s Espers in his orbit. For those of us who felt his free-associative, often childlike ditties wore thin on recent albums, this year’s Ma is a welcome return to form. With subtle acoustic settings tricked out with strings and horns, the album explores feminine love, ranging from the somber, Leonard Cohen-like “Memorial” to the jaunty, humorous “Take A Page” to the tropicalia ballad “Carolina.” The good vibes that characterize the album should also permeate his show at Union Transfer. Black Belt Eagle Scout opens. — S.K.
8 p.m. Sunday, Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $29, 215-232-2100, utphilly.com
Still in his early 20s, Marcus King nevertheless sounds as though he came straight out of 1970s Muscle Shoals, and his amalgam of rock, soul, blues and country even, at times, sounds like the late, great Eddie Hinton. King and his band will be performing material they have recorded together, but the South Carolinian singer, guitarist, and songwriter will also be previewing songs from his first solo album, the Dan Auerbach-produced El Dorado, due in January. Ian Noe opens. — Nick Cristiano
8 p.m. Tuesday, Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South St., $47-$93, 215-922-1011, venue.tlaphilly.com
Jamila Woods / Amber Mark
This Red Bull Presents: True Notes party is a dual celebration. It’s about Okayplayer, the still-going-strong music website founded by Angela Nissel and Roots drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson in 1999. And it’s about Black Lily, the weekly Philadelphia music series at the long-gone Old City club the Five Spot that helped give birth to the careers of Jill Scott, Floetry, Jaguar Wright, John Legend, Jazzyfatnastees and others. The event’s star attractions are Jamila Woods, the Chicago rapper and poet whose album Legacy! Legacy! is one of the best of the year, and singer-producer Amber Mark. Philly singer-songwriter Mereba and deejay Jasmine Solano are also on the bill. — D.D.
8 p.m. Friday, Warehouse on Watts, 923 N. Watts St., $15, 888-969-7459. redbull.com
Morbid Angel / Watain
Swedish black metallers Watain will be short one member at Union Transfer on Thursday, but the band may make up in anger what it lacks in manpower. Guitarist Pelle Forsberg was denied entry to the country last week, after a customs agent found photos of “motorbikes, hunting, and various things related to Satanism” on his phone (according to the band). The ordeal adds an extra sting to what they were already calling the “USA Sickness Tour,” which Watain co-headlines with black metal founding fathers Morbid Angel. Incantation opens. — N.C.
8 p.m. Thursday, Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $30, 215-232-2100, utphilly.com