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What to do in Philadelphia April 12 through 18

Manayunk's street food festival, PFS SpringFest, the Real Ale Invitational, and more.

The annual Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival brings 50-plus food vendors and a ton of hungry visitors to Main Street.
The annual Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival brings 50-plus food vendors and a ton of hungry visitors to Main Street.Read moreCOURTESY JPG PHOTOGRAPHY

This week, as Philly’s own Cherry Blossom Festival peaks in West Fairmount Park, we explored the city’s booming Japanese food scene — the perfect pairing to hanami (flower-viewing) picnics. This guide will help you navigate Philly’s sushi, ramen, izakaya, and omakase offerings, as well as the simpler Japanese home-cooking dishes available at an Ardmore market.

For a look at a totally different type of tree (the family kind), we also dug into the process of researching your genealogy — a seemingly daunting process that’s much more approachable with some basic knowledge.

Elsewhere, the Franklin Institute debuts its new superhero-themed Marvel exhibit this weekend, and it has sold more than 40,000 tickets. In Manayunk, they’re also expecting crowds for a street food festival. At the Museum of the American Revolution, they’re toasting to another Tax Day past on Tuesday. And at Yards’ Spring Garden Street brewery, they’re pumping more than 60 beer engines to quench the thirst of Real Ale Invitational attendees. There’s plenty more happening; read on.

Jenn Ladd (@jrladd,


Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival

Find French toast, wood-fired pizza, dumplings, meatballs, pierogi, crab cakes, and more at Manayunk’s annual convergence of roving food trucks and street vendors. Featuring live music, shopping, and more than 50 participants set up along Main Street, the food-centric festival foreshadows the neighborhood’s springtime restaurant week (April 15-26). — Grace Dickinson

11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, free, along Main Street in Manayunk,

Dining out for Life

There’s an especially good reason to dine out this Thursday: to support those living with HIV. On April 18, 150 participating restaurants — from Alma de Cuba to Villa di Roma and everywhere in between — will donate 33 percent of the bill from breakfasts, lunches, and dinners (and sometimes drinks) to the annual fund-raiser. The event benefits Action Wellness, AIDS Delaware, and Camden Area Health Education Center, which support thousands across the Delaware Valley region. — G.D.

All day Thursday, 150 locations throughout the Delaware Valley, pay as you go,


Philadelphia Film Festival SpringFest

Catch the Philadelphia premiere of a dozen films from the festival circuit at this three-day screening bonanza at the Philadelphia Film Center. A highlight reel: Keira Knightley in a political thriller inspired by a true story, an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez documentary set before the 2018 congressional primaries, Jesse Eisenberg in a black comedy-meets-karate movie, a food documentary about a pasta restaurant, and John Lithgow and Blythe Danner in a romantic dramedy. — G.D.

Various times, April 12-14, Philadelphia Film Center, 1412 Chestnut St., $13 per film, $100 for an all-access badge, $50 for opening night film and party,


Whiz City Comedy Festival Preview

Tattooed Mom and MilkBoy South Street pack in the comedians for this two-day lineup of comedian showcases, which lays the groundwork for this fall’s inaugural Whiz City fest. More than 50 performers — including headliners Mary Radzinski and Chip Chantry — will deliver their best material, and amateurs can partake in an open mike session on Saturday. To underscore the celebration, South Street Cinema will screen The Muppet Movie, Kentucky Fried Movie, and Miami Connection. — G.D.

Various times, Friday and Saturday, various locations, $5-$10 per show,


Pinelands Photography for Beginners

Journey through the picturesque Franklin Parker Preserve with photographer Robert Barnes Laucks. Laucks will lead an easy 2- to 3-mile hike through the preserve, guiding participants through the basics of a DSLR camera and snapping shots along the way. The early-evening workshop will cover photo composition, lighting, and using the camera’s manual settings. Besides your DSLR, a tripod and waterproof boots are recommended. — G.D.

4:30 p.m., Sunday, Pinelands Adventures, 1005 Atsion Rd., Shamong, N.J., $75,


Real Ale Invitational

Compared to regular beer, real ale (sometimes called cask or cask-conditioned beer) is naturally carbonated by yeast that hasn’t been pasteurized or filtered out; the resulting beer is smoother in flavor, creamier in mouthfeel, and supremely fresh-tasting. Yards Brewing Co. has corralled over 60 casks for this annual celebration. Look for local favorites (other than Yards) including 2SP, Forest & Main, and Love City, as well as further-flung entries from Fat Head’s, Duck Rabbit, and Sierra Nevada. — G.D.

Noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Yards Brewing Co., 500 Spring Garden St., $65 ($30 for designated drivers),


‘Death and Taxes’ at Museum of the American Revolution

As the apocryphal Benjamin Franklin saying goes, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” After hopefully having completed your annual filing obligation, come out for a post-tax day bash at Museum of the American Revolution. Guests will be invited to participate in Ben Franklin trivia while sipping on free Bluecoat Gin elderflower cocktails and Philadelphia Distilling samples. Author Stephen Fried, who recently penned a book on another famous founding father — Dr. Benjamin Rush — will lead a discussion filled with accounts of Rush’s many up-close-and-personal encounters with death. — G.D.

5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. Third St., $10,

Walt Whitman Look-alike Contest

To honor the 19th-century poet, onetime Camden resident, and friend of Philadelphia — who’s been gone from this earth for 200 years come May 31 — Philadelphia Brewing Co. celebrates with a look-alike contest. While the crowd enjoys drinks specials, bearded bards will compete to see who best embodies Whitman in body and spirit. They’ll be judged on costume, knowledge, poetry recitation, and their elevator pitch as to why they should represent the man himself in the city’s Whitman at 200 project. — Jenn Ladd

3 to 6 p.m., Saturday, Philadelphia Brewing Co., 2440 Frankford Ave., 215-427-2739,


Collingswood Green Festival

Sign up for a local bike share, score a discount rain barrel or compost bin, learn about organic gardening, and more at this 11th annual festival, which honors Earth Day a little early. Alongside sustainability experts, local farmers will set up shop, as will artists selling an array of upcycled goods. Festivalgoers can look forward to live music, a kids’ zone, and a Buy Nothing tent. — G.D.

9 a.m. to 2 p.m., along Irvin Ave. just off of Haddon Ave., Collingswood, N.J., free,


Philadelphia Autism Conference

The rate of autism has risen dramatically in recent years, and awareness has grown with it — thanks in part to depictions in television and film, including the 2010 HBO biopic Temple Grandin. On Friday, the real-life Temple Grandin — autism spokesperson and inventor of the “hug box” — comes to the Pennsylvania Convention Center to share her insights on methods for teaching those who think differently and for assisting older children and adults with social relationships. Other presentation topics include neuroplasticity and the impact of an autism diagnosis on families. — J.L.

7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Meeting Room 201 ABC, 1101 Arch St., $135 for professionals, $120 for family members, $70 for students, $50 for those with ASD,


Carsie Blanton

Long a humorous, honeyed, and high-pitched favorite of the Philly cabaret set and indie folk scene, Carsie Blanton has never shied away from the controversial and the topical. The lyricist, who spent nearly a decade in Philly before heading southwest to New Orleans, has got rage and sage wit under her big cowboy belt. On her spaciously clean new #MeToo-motivated, theatric mini-musical, Buck Up, she brings her edgy vibe to the politics of gender, sex, and dancing. — A.D. Amorosi

8:30 p.m., Friday, Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., $15,

The Claypool Lennon Delirium

Les Claypool and Sean Lennon sound like they’re having lots of fun on South of Reality, their second album as the Claypool Lennon Delirium. It’s readily identifiable as the sum of the unusual partnership: Claypool’s slap bass, grouchy vocals, and absurdist declamations, familiar from his Primus albums; Lennon’s psychedelic guitars, sarcasm-tinged voice, and fanciful ideas, an extension of his work with Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (and of his patrimony — there’s Beatles DNA in this album). It’s inventive and satiric, jokey and joyful. Claypool and Lennon bring their madcap, delirious collaboration to the Fillmore on Friday. — Steve Klinge

9 p.m., Friday, the Fillmore, 29 E. Allen St. $30, 215-309-0150,


The title of The Seduction of Kansas, the second album from the Washington rock iconoclasts, is a reflection of Thomas Frank’s 2004 book What Happened To Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America. The John Congleton-produced album is plenty political in its point of view, as singer Katie Alice Greer name-checks the Koch brothers, Applebee’s, and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. But footnotes might help provide understanding of deeper explorations of American exceptionalism, like “Good Time Charlie” (inspired in part by the Tom Hanks movie Charlie Wilson’s War). Whether you’re focused on the finer points of their political critique or not, the alternately jagged and intoxicating songs on Seduction pull you into the music. — Dan DeLuca

8 p.m., Monday, Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., $15, 267-639-4528,

Minas presents ‘La Giara’

Since the 1980s, Minas — our premiere back-and-forth from Philadelphia-to-Brazil bossa nova jazz band — has made gorgeously sonorous original music, taught student percussion skills, and promoted educational programs throughout the area that touch on issues of sound and racial tolerance. Now with its performance of frontwoman Patricia King Haddad’s La Giara: The Water Jug, the ensemble moves into rock-opera territory without the rock, using Italian and Brazilian music (from opera and folk to pop) to tell the tale of the composer’s family emigration from Sicily to Philadelphia. King Haddad also manages to work gender oppression, gentle comedy, and immigrant strife into the danceable mix. — A.D.A.

8 p.m., Saturday, World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St., $30, 215-222-1400,

This post has been updated from the original to reflect that author Stephen Fried’s talk at the Museum of the American Revolution will focus on Dr. Benjamin Rush, not Benjamin Franklin.