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What to do in Philly Nov. 29-Dec. 5: Skate at RiverRink Winterfest, cast a spell at Wild Wizarding Weekend, laugh with Phoebe Robinson and more

Plus Chris Isaak, She & Him, holiday carols and more to do around Philadelphia this week.

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest's 26th season kicks off Friday.
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest's 26th season kicks off Friday.Read morePHOTO COURTESY MATT STANLEY

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. It would be perfectly understandable if you just wanted to spend the week slowly digesting this week’s feast while sitting as still as humanly possible. But if you do feel the need to leave the couch, there is a lot out there in the world to do. After the turkey + stuffing (or Pa.-fave potato filling), here are some other good combos to try:

  1. Drums + dance: Kulu Mele is celebrating five decades of bringing African rhythms to Philly stages with the Yoruba parable Ogun & the People.

  2. Jazz + comics: The Philadelphia Jazz Project is launching its first graphic novel this weekend at the Barnes Foundation. The book is full of stories about local jazz legends and what it felt like to be in the room when they played.

  3. Shopping + community: After the mayhem of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday lets you score deals and support your local merchants. Grace Dickinson rounded up a mix of participating stores with sales for everyone on your list (or just for yourself).

If you’re more in a get-comfy-with-popcorn mood, Philly Film Fest Audience Winner Knives Out is now in theaters. Director Rian Johnson apparently had a lot of fun making a film that’s not a Star Wars movie.

And if you decide to stay on the couch (no judgement) here’s a soundtrack for you: An album of Tom Waits songs covered by women musicians. Yeah, I’ll be going back for seconds on that one.

— Megan Griffith-Greene (@griffithgreene,


Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest Opening

Lace up your skates and cruise across the Olympic-size rink at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, opening for its 26th season on Friday. You can sip on hot chocolate or grab a beer in the chalet-inspired Lodge, chow down on fare from Franklin Fountain and Chickie’s and Pete’s, play arcade games, and more. There’s a full season of programming at the Delaware Waterfront destination, and the opening weekend includes skating princesses and a storytime session with free treats. — Grace Dickinson

11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, 101 S Christopher Columbus Blvd., free to enter, $4 to skating admission, $10 for skating rental, 215-925-7465,



Philadelphia’s contemporary ballet company specializes in commissioning world premieres, and its December program features two new works. One will be by company cofounder Matthew Neenan, who has become a brand-name choreographer. The second is from Jo Strømgren, who is associate choreographer for the Norwegian National Ballet, has his own company and is also a presenter at several Philadelphia Fringe Festivals. Neenan is planning to focus on the holiday season, with a piece inspired by Shaun Tan’s children’s book The Red Tree. Strømgren’s will be about outer space, astronauts, and the mysteries of the universe. — Ellen Dunkel

Dec. 4-15, Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad St., $25-$65, 215-893-9456,


Wild Wizarding Weekend

More Hedwig than Harry, the Academy’s take on the world of J.K. Rowling focuses on nonhuman, non-mythical — but nonetheless magical — creatures such as owls, bats, and insects. After storytelling and games, everyone goes home with a magic wand and a dragon’s egg. — Lauren McCutcheon

Nov. 29-Dec. 1, Drexel University’s Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., included with $16-$22 general admission, 215-299-1000,


Phoebe Robinson

Phoebe Robinson is the podcast queen, first for her podcast-turned-TV-show 2 Dope Queens, and now with Sooo Many White Guys, which responds to the sheer number of white men in comedy by interviewing comics who are nonwhite and non-male. Robinson is also a best-selling author, thanks to her 2016 book, You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain. Former first lady Michelle Obama even asked to moderate her Becoming series of dates. This week, Robinson rules the stage with some stand-up shows at Punch Line Philly. — Nick Vadala

Dec. 5-7, Punch Line Philly, 33 E. Laurel St., $30-$50, 215-606-6555,


An Organ and Brass Christmas

Organist Peter Richard Conte and brass from the Philadelphia Orchestra bring the organ’s deep rumble and brassy fanfare to the traditional Christmas repertoire. Newly minted Philadelphia Orchestra assistant conductor Erina Yashima presides over the seasonal cheer. (The full orchestra won’t perform at this concert.) — Peter Dobrin

7 p.m. Sunday, Verizon Hall, 300 S. Broad St., $25, 215-893-1999,


Philly Collective Holiday Gallery at Frankford Hall

Spend the evening with German beer in hand while browsing work from 20-plus local photographers at this pop-up gallery. Taking over Frankford Hall, artists will gather in the heated beer garden, where you’ll also find complimentary refreshments. — G.D.

6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Ave., free,


Chris Isaak

Combine the melancholic sweep of Roy Orbison, the jittery sexiness of the young Elvis and the all-American wholesomeness of Rick Nelson, and you have Chris Isaak. The Californian’s style has aged well over the last three-plus decades, thanks to a consistently sturdy body of original work. On stage he adds another dimension — a sly, self-deprecating wit — that leavens the often blue mood of his songs and adds to his appeal. — Nick Cristiano

8 p.m. Tuesday, Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside, $59-$84, 215-572-7650,

She & Him

Although She & Him — Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward — have released six albums since 2008, a third of them have been Christmas collections. And Christmas is part of the duo’s origin story, since Deschanel’s casual singing in Elf is what first caught Ward’s ear. Deschanel’s clear, cheerful voice and Ward’s jazzy, sophisticated guitar seem perfectly matched for holiday songs. Wednesday’s show at the Met is billed as She & Him’s Christmas Party, after their 2016 album (aside from a single last year, it’s their most recent release). It’s the first of only a handful of performances for Deschanel and Ward this year. — Steve Klinge

8 p.m. Wednesday, The Met, 858 N. Broad St., $46 - $56, 800-653-8000,

Vernon Reid / Jamaaladeen Tacuma / Calvin Weston Jr.

Now here’s a power trio for you. Genre-smashing guitarist Vernon Reid made his name in the 1980s as a founder of the Black Rock Coalition and leader of the band Living Colour. And Philadelphia jazz bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma and local jazz drummer Calvin Weston Jr. have teamed up before, playing with Ornette Coleman’s harmolodic band Prime Time. Together, the trio released an album together as Free Form Funky Freqs. This early evening show precedes Kelvin McDaniel & the 4 Notes weekly R&B-soul-and-jazz party. — Dan DeLuca

6 p.m. Saturday, Bob & Barbara’s Lounge, 1509 South St., $15-$25, 215-545-4511,

Tanya Tucker

While trying desperately to stay relevant by nominating young pop artists, the Grammys also have a tradition of celebrating legacy acts for whom recognition is overdue. Happily, they got it right this year with Tanya Tucker, the raspy-voiced country firebrand who began her career as a teenage hitmaker in the early 1970s. Tucker is up for four Grammys, including song of the year for “Bring My Flowers Now,” and album of the year for While I’m Livin’ (her first album in 17 years, produced by Shooter Jennings and Brandi Carlile). When Carlile played the Mann Center in September, Tucker was a surprise guest, and she returns for her own headlining date in Atlantic City this weekend. — D.D.

8 p.m. Saturday, Sound Waves at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City. $39-$109, 609-449-1000,


It’s been a good year for DaBaby. The breakout rap star from Charlotte, N.C., who can’t keep a smile off his face, has released two albums — Baby on Baby, which came out in the spring and spawned the ubiquitous hit “Suge,” and the new Kirk. At Philly’s Made in America festival last Labor Day weekend, DaBaby’s essential lovableness was cemented when both Megan Thee Stallion and Lizzo made surprise appearances during his set. Stunna 4 Vegas opens. — D.D.

8:30 p.m. Saturday, Franklin Music Hall, 421 N. 7th St., $57-$60, 215-627-1332,

Sun Ra Arkestra / Chris Forsyth

A top-notch double bill of Philadelphia musical adventurers. Since the death of Afro-Futurist composer and bandleader Sun Ra in 1993, the Germantown avant-jazz and so-much-more ensemble has carried on and thrived under the direction of alto sax player Marshall Allen. Allen, who turned 95 this year, blows all manner of woodwinds, while the Arkestra blows minds. Self-described guitar antihero Chris Forsyth, who opens this early show, also makes music with an experimental, cliche-avoiding outlook, most recently on his unpredictable, totally rocking 2019 album All Time Present. — D.D.

6:30 p.m. Sunday, Ardmore Music Hall, 23 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, $18-$35, 610-649-8389,

The Joy Formidable

Welsh band the Joy Formidable celebrate the 10th anniversary of their debut EP A Balloon Called Moaning with two shows at Boot & Saddle. The trio recorded an acoustic, Welsh-language version of the EP to accompany the obligatory anniversary reissue, and fans who purchase VIP tickets can attend a short acoustic preview set. But the main sets will be electric, which is as it should be: Songs like “Cradle,” “Austere,” and especially the magnificent “Whirring” ride on frontwoman Ritzy Bryan’s hard-strummed guitar-playing and powerful voice. The Joy Formidable excel at sounding huge, and they should be overwhelming in the Boot & Saddle’s small confines. — S.K.

8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., Sold out Saturday, $25-$55 Sunday, 267-639-4528,