It’s almost February, people. This is not a drill. What it lacks in length, it more than makes up for in sheer dreariness. But here’s a week-full of ways to fight back.
Ohio musician and activist Mark Lomax brings a jazz-infused history lesson to Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill College. 400: An Afrikan Epic is a concert based on Lomax’s 2019 album; it explores the past, present, and future of black America though jazz, told by a four-piece ensemble with Lomax on drums. Aside from music, Lomax’s work focuses on how African American art and music can build community, which he documented in his TED Talk “Activating The Transformative Power of Trust.” — Brandon T. Harden
Thousands show up every year for this annual book fair, one of the oldest and largest single-day events for African American children’s books in the country. Meet best-selling authors and nationally known illustrators, and look forward to a packed afternoon of activities designed to promote the power and joy of reading. See our full preview of the event. — Grace Dickinson
Turn winter into summer for a day inside the Horticulture Center’s 20,000-square-foot greenhouse, transformed to bring you a little cold-weather reprieve. Across the next two weeks, live music, food truck vendors, a cash bar, a giant sandbox, lawn games, and plenty of Adirondack chairs will fill the space. Visitors are also invited to BYOPicnic during any weekday. While admission is free, advanced online reservations are strongly encouraged. — G.D.
Philly Theatre Week kicks off Friday, Feb. 6, with improv shows, a Harriet-Tubman-themed play, a comedic look at Catholic guilt, and more. Head to an opening night performance, and then pick from nine more days of live theater, panels, concerts, and other events, some of which are free. — G.D.
Feb. 6-16, locations and prices vary, theatrephiladelphia.org
Join a makeup tutorial with YouTube star Ariel Versace, explore the cost and gain of technology to our humanness, enjoy a concert with Sun Ra Arkestra, and more at this Philadelphia Museum of Art’s after-hours event. Part of the “Friday Remix” series, the performances and entertainment will all be inspired by the special exhibition Designs for Different Futures. — G.D.
On February 5, 1975, Bruce Springsteen played a show at Bryn Mawr’s The Main Point; it has since been heralded as one of his greatest live performances. Coll’s Custom Framing and Gallery is honoring the 45th anniversary of the concert with a special Springsteen-themed exhibition, inviting fans to browse and buy Springsteen photographs and rare memorabilia. — G.D.
Following a soft opening in early January, the women-centric Harriett’s Bookshop will host its official launch party on Saturday. In addition to browsing shelves lined with books celebrating female authors, artists, and activists, come out for a full day of programming, including live drumming and a guest appearance by Philly’s 2020 Poet Laureate Trapeta Mayson. — G.D.
Strike downward dog alongside some very adorable and adoptable four-legged friends at this mixed-level yoga class. Taking place at Love City Brewing Company, the hour-long session features puppies and dogs, some of which will compete in a post-class “Puppy Bowl Sunday.” The competition pits puppy teams against each other in canine-oriented events for visitors to watch while enjoying a beer — and furry snuggles between events. — G.D.
Cruiser Olympia, the oldest steel warship afloat in the world, is celebrating a special anniversary. Wednesday marks 125 years since the ship was placed into commission by the United States Navy in 1895. To commemorate the occasion, the Independence Seaport Museum invites you to come aboard the ship and explore the museum for free. — G.D.
Bonny Light Horseman combines the talents of singer-songwriters Anaïs Mitchell (who wrote the book and score for the Tony and Grammy-winning Hadestown), Eric D. Johnson (of the Fruit Bats), and producer / guitarist Josh Kaufmann (who has worked with the National, Craig Finn, and Bob Weir). On their self-titled debut, the trio reimagines ancient folk songs from the British Isles, sometimes adding new choruses, sometimes melding them with originals. It’s a beautiful, lightly textured album, anchored by Mitchell / Johnson duets. The three artists have their own busy careers, so Wednesday’s sold-out show at Boot & Saddle is likely a rare event. — Steve Klinge
Glam rock is back in fashion since David Bowie’s death. Mott the Hoople toured last year, T-Rex is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Philadelphia’s Creem Circus continues to gleefully keep glitter rock alive. The band, which is named after two 1970s rock magazines, is led by Chris DiPinto of Fishtown’s DiPinto Guitars, who has made instruments for such notable axe men as Jack White and Dick Dale. The band also includes alliterative Philly rock vets Gloria Goodrich, Ben Brower, and Rockbottom Rob Giglio. Their new album is The Glitterest, Sladest, Rockin’est, Laidest, Over-Time Paidest, Boogiest Band in Town. Can any wham bam glam band live up to that title? Saturday’s release party at Creep Records will answer that question. — Dan DeLuca
Philly’s Aaron Luis Levinson and Bronx-born Oscar Hernández brought Spanish Harlem Orchestra to life two decades ago. Since then, the SHO has created six albums of boldly cinematic and brassy salsa jazz rooted in the traditions of the New York barrio, and won three Grammys along the way. From 2002’s Un Gran Dia En El Barrio to 2004’s Across 110th Street to the group’s most recent album, 2018’s Anniversary, the orchestra brings something fresh and modern to traditional Puerto Rican rhythms. — A.D. Amorosi
Last year, North Carolina emcee Rapsody — whose real name is Marlanna Evans — released her album Eve, which she called “a love letter to all black women” with songs inspired by Nina Simone, Michelle Obama, Whoopi Goldberg, Serena Williams, and Sojourner Truth, among others. After touring with Big K.R.I.T. last year, she’s now out on her own, kicking off her A Black Woman Created This tour in Philadelphia. — D.D.
This songwriter team-up is presenting what they call “The Exile Follies.” On the bill: Doe (who will play with his ex-wife, Exene Cervenka, leader of L.A.'s punk band X), Hersh, frontwoman of Throwing Muses, and Phillips, from 1990s L.A. rock band Grant Lee Buffalo. They’ll each do a solo set, and also play together. — D.D.
Country comeback queen Tanya Tucker made a surprise appearance when Brandi Carlile played the Mann Center in September, and the “Delta Dawn” singer played the Hard Rock in Atlantic City in November. Now Tucker is set to do her first Philadelphia concert in support of While I’m Livin’, which was produced by Carlile and Shooter Jennings, and oh, by the way, just won two Grammys. Tucker is touring with different opening acts in different cities, billed as the Next Women of Country. Philadelphia hits the jackpot: Formidable Nashville songwriter Brandy Clark is opening. — D.D.