Beware the ides of February isn’t a thing, is it? (It should be.) Here are the best ways you can occupy yourself this week:
With acres of inspiration and 300 experts and exhibitors, the Philly Home and Garden Show has what you need if you’re looking to revamp your house or dive into a new landscaping project. Several HGTV stars will be in attendance, too, to share tips and advice, while local designers will lead make-and-take workshops to send you home with some new handmade decor. — Grace Dickinson
First Person Arts is celebrating its 10th anniversary of Ex-Files, a story slam in which random audience members share their best and worst real-life stories involving an ex. The Valentine’s Day show always brings a mix of hilarious and vulnerably honest storytellers to the stage. If you want to participate, be ready to throw your name in a bucket once you arrive. Ten people are chosen to spill their guts on stage for a chance to win $100 and compete in First Person Arts’ season finale GrandSlam. — G.D.
Cheer our nation’s first president with a cupcake in hand at this Presidents’ Day celebration. The event takes place at the same location where George Washington held his first public birthday party, more than 240 years ago. Bring the kids along to meet President and Mrs. Washington as well as members of the Continental Army who will be teaching basic marching steps. — G.D.
A smiling two-toed sloth, a spiky African pygmy hedgehog, and a slithering ball python — meet and maybe even touch them all at the Academy of Natural Sciences’ newest special exhibition. Survival of the Slowest features 15 species of live animals, some of which will come out of their enclosures with their animal keepers to give you a closer look. The exhibit continues through Sept. 20 and explores how certain species evolved survival strategies against their faster and stronger predators. More about the event here. — G.D.
Head to the Barnes Foundation for its next Artist Bash party, bringing dancers, poets, cabaret performers, shadow puppeteers, and live musicians to the museum after hours. This party’s theme is love and loss, as it plays out across cultural traditions, music, and memories. Tickets also get you in to see the full Barnes collection. — G.D.
Local band the Wild Bohemians invites you to strut down South Street for a mini Mardi Gras. The NOLA-inspired parade kicks off at Fat Tuesday (which is what Mardi Gras literally means), before continuing on to Copabanana, Paddy Whacks, O’Neals Pub, and Copa Havana. Show up in your dancing shoes with an appetite for a little rowdy fun. — G.D.
You’re a pedestrian among 11 football fields worth of cars at this gearhead paradise featuring three dozen manufacturers. Check out the flashiest new makes, like the latest Chevrolet Corvette and the first-ever electric Porsche Taycan, or test drive select models from Toyota, Jeep, and Volkswagen. Also not to be missed, especially if you have little ones in tow, is the Hollywood Cars display, featuring celeb vehicles, including the Fast & Furious Fleetline Cuba Car, the Dumb and Dumber Shaggin’ Wagon, and the Toy Story-inspired Pizza Planet Truck. See our full preview of how to make the most of it. — G.D.
Friday is Winter Bike to Work and Wherever Day, encouraging people across the city to make their commute pedal-powered. Bundle up and get on your bike for an environmentally friendly cause, then hang out with fellow cyclists at a happy hour at Yards Brewing Company, hosted by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. Bike bonus: Beer is $3 off for those who register. — G.D.
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Yards Brewing Company, 500 Spring Garden St., free, 215-242-9253, Bicyclecoalition.nonprofitsoapbox.com
Need to pen a last minute Valentine’s Day love letter? Shut down your laptop, put your phone away, and grab some paper. Hotel Palomar has a pop-up love letter writing desk, tucked inside the hotel’s living room, for both guests and locals. The desk is stocked with pens and stationery supplies, as will as a stack of books of love letters and poems for those who need a bit of inspiration. When you’re finished, drop it in the hotel’s mailbox for free stamp-and-delivery services. — G.D.
Is space your jam? If so, the latest Astronomy on Tap event at Fergie’s is for you. This edition features a talk by University of Pennsylvania physics Ph.D. candidate Lucas Secco on dark matter and what it can do to galaxies, a round of “I’m an astronomer, ask me anything," and a quizzo where you can test your knowledge. Reach for the stars and seek answers to all your unanswered questions. Plus, if you’re struggling with big questions about the universe, there’s beer. — G.D.
Philly Theatre Week has improv shows, a Harriet-Tubman-themed play, a comedic look at Catholic guilt, and more. Take your pick of live theater, panels, concerts, and other events, some of which are free. Here are our picks for hot tix worth snagging. — G.D.
Through Feb. 16, locations and prices vary, theatrephiladelphia.org
Last year, Philly R&B crooners Boyz II Men celebrated the 25th anniversary of II, their aptly titled second album that included the smash hit “I’ll Make Love To You,” which topped the charts for a then-record breaking 14 weeks. In 2020, the trio have been busy with high-profile appearances, appearing with Tyler, the Creator, during the rapper-producer’s Grammy performance, and joining Alicia Keys for a tribute to Kobe Bryant, whom they also helped honor at a Los Angeles Lakers game last week. On Valentine’s Day, they’ll be taking care of happier, more romantic business in their hometown. Vocally, they’ll make love to you. — Dan DeLuca
Coming out of Memphis, Southern Avenue draws on the city’s storied soul heritage, particularly that of Stax Records, and makes it sound modern while remaining true to the roots. Keep On, the group’s second album, brings even more fire: In Memphis-bred Tierinii Jackson, Southern Avenue has a powerhouse vocalist whose style often hints at her church-singing background. It’s no wonder to find William Bell, an original Stax great, as a guest on the album. Opening for Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. — Nick Cristiano
Jake Shimabukuro has been called the “Jimi Hendrix of the ukulele,” which would seem absurd were it not so accurate. Well-known by his early 20s in his native Hawaii, the now 43-year-old ukulele wiz became a viral sensation when his jaw-dropping, four-stringed rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” landed on YouTube in 2006. Known for both original songs and unique covers of everything from “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Shimabukuro just released the jam-infused Trio album with touring band mates Nolan Verner (bass) and guitarist Dave Preston. Opener Sierra Hull has been a mandolin virtuoso and bluegrass star since her teens. — Nicole Pensiero
Singer Ileana Mercedes Cabra Joglar — who performs as iLe — got her start as a teenager with Calle 13, the Puerto Rican hip-hop act known for their fiery, provocative protest music. Back then, she was a rapper and backup vocalist, but on two solo albums, iLevitable and the new Almadura, the Latin Grammy winner has evolved as a songwriter and bandleader, simultaneously exploring traditional folk forms and musical experimentation as she continues to raise her voice in protest, particularly in the devastating aftermath of 2017′s Hurricane Maria. Rahsaan Lucas of Afrotainment, who booked this Valentine’s-Day-on-the-Main-Line show, opens. — D.D.
8 p.m. Friday, 118 North, 118 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne, $25, 610-971-2628, 118Nwayne.com
Who is Jill Scott? Word & Sounds, Vol. 1 was one of the greatest successes to grow out of Philly’s fabled Black Lily jam sessions at the old Five Spot. Combining slow hip-hop grooves, spoken word poetry and Scott’s thrilling, subtle vocals, the album is a classic of the neo soul movement, and its 20th anniversary brings Scott to Atlantic City’s Borgata on Saturday. Scott’s acting career has competed with her musical one over the past decade — she made a guest appearance on a recent Black-ish — so this is an opportunity to hear era-defining favorites such as “The Long Walk,” “Getting in the Way,” and “He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat).” Read our full preview of the show here. — Steve Klinge
North Philly’s Jeff Bradshaw isn’t only a jazz master when it comes to all matters of the trombone. He is R&B and hip-hop’s go-to trombonist, and has played on John Legend and the Roots’ Wake Up, DJ Jazzy Jeff’s M3, and albums from Michael Jackson and Floetry — to say nothing of Bradshaw’s own solo recordings, Bone Appetit, volumes 1 and 2. On Sunday, he’ll play a selection of soul and funk with Philadelphia vocalist Carol Riddick laying down her own brand of romantic vibes for Valentine’s. — A.D. Amorosi
The lustrous vocalist Alicia Olatuja first came to the attention of many listeners during Barack Obama’s second inaugural, when she was the featured soloist with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. The spiritual roots she showcased there run throughout her work, but her jazz singing also includes a wide range of influences. Case in point: the diverse songwriters she honors on her latest album, Intuition: From the Minds of Women, which covers repertoire by Joni Mitchell, Sade, Kate Bush, and Brenda Russell (among others). She’ll make her Philadelphia debut at the Annenberg on Sunday. — Shaun Brady
Angelique Kidjo, the acclaimed singer from Benin, has released over a dozen albums of mostly her own compositions, but her last two have been tributes. On 2018’s Remain in Light, she reappropriated the African roots of the classic Talking Heads album; on last year’s Celia, she reinvented the songs of Cuba’s Celia Cruz. Although she is a wonderful ballad singer — check out 2015’s orchestral Sings — on both of these albums, she pursues multicultural cross-pollination, in dense polyrhythms, in dance music. Thursday’s show at the Annenberg should be a lively celebration. — S.K.