There are some quality ways to keep busy this week, which has it all, from cool dance classes, pen fest, plant show, puppy contest, Irish ceilidh, year-of-the-rat Lion Dance, and some great ways to do good.
Hungry? Center City Restaurant Week is in full swing. If you need help choosing from the menu of participating restaurants, Craig LaBan can help you out. If you’re hungry for something a little more low-key, meet the guy who’s eaten 500 cheesesteaks in 20 months, rated them, and isn’t slowing down. Thirsty? How’s that Dry January going? If you want to keep it going, here’s how to make the most of it in Philly, and a few spots that are mixing up some quality mocktails that won’t make you miss the booze.
Move it like Queen Bey: The International Association of Blacks in Dance festival this week means performances and classes from big dance names including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Dance Theatre of Harlem and a hip hop class from Chris Grant, one of Beyoncé’s longtime choreographers. Cassie Owens has the dance fest’s best bets.
Meet some serious nib nerds. Hipsters have made fountain pens cool again, and this weekend’s Philly Pen Show is the best place to find out why (or even if you just want to see what a $100,000 pen looks like). Gary Thompson took a look at why the artisanal craft of penmaking makes the ink flow hot in some people’s veins.
Give back: MLK Day is Monday. But beyond the one-day volunteer fest, there are a lot of ways you can give back by doing things you’re passionate about, whether that’s running, gardening, hanging out with dogs or making food. Grace Dickinson has rounded some of the most interesting (and fun) ways to do good.
One more thing: Valentine’s Day is coming soon. But not everyone is the chocolate-and-wine-and-roses type. We’re looking for your best anti-V-day traditions, whether you’re single, or the romance stuff just isn’t your style. Tell us your best here.
Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service
Philadelphia’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, the largest event of its kind in the nation, brings tens of thousands of people together to take part in community projects. To get involved, visit mlkdayofservice.org for opportunities like prepping classroom art projects for underserved communities, making packed lunches to give to the homeless, cleaning up a playground, and other good community work. — Grace Dickinson
Monday, times and locations vary per service event, free, 215-851-1811, mlkdayofservice.org
Philadelphia Jazz Project MLK Celebration
The Museum of the American Revolution hosts a weekend of MLK activities, including the Philadelphia Jazz Project concert, “We Shall: A Lyrical MLK Celebration,” that blends excerpts from King speeches and gospel, jazz, and blues.
LUNAR NEW YEAR
Lunar New Year Culture Fest at Penn Museum
Celebrate the New Year, again. The Penn Museum marks the lunar new year with a family-friendly day that includes hands-on art workshops, kung fu demonstrations, taiko drumming, storytelling, calligraphy, a lion dance, and more. This is the year of the rat, by the way.
Longwood Gardens Orchid Extravaganza
Step into a rainbow of organic color during the annual orchid takeover of Longwood Gardens’ conservatory. The greenhouse space will be filled with thousands of beautiful orchids, this year spanning a wider color palette than ever before: look for vibrant purple-colored vanda, salmon-hued phalaenopsis, golden oncidium, and more, some of which will be hanging in elevated displays. On select dates, the conservatory hosts musical performances, too. (It’s heated, don’t worry.) — G.D.
Pizza Workshop with La Colombe
Learn how to mix, shape, ferment, and stretch fresh dough with John McGrath, the head baker at La Colombe’s Fishtown Cafe. The pizza workshop includes details on how to prepare a variety of sauces, too, along with tips for how to choose toppings that go well together. Come hungry. — G.D.
Philly Home Show
Don’t wait until spring to give your home a little face-lift. Back for its 39th year, the Philly Home Show brings nearly 250 home exhibitors and design experts to the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Show up to get professional advice on topics ranging from landscaping to furniture to construction and architectural projects. A variety of make-and-take stations and workshops will be available, too, including one this Saturday with DIY Network and HGTV host Jeff Devlin. — G.D.
Jan. 17-19, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Exhibit Hall F, 1101 Arch St., $13 for adults at the door ($10 online), $3 for children ages 6-12, free for children ages 5 and under, 888-604-6368, phillyhomeshow.com
All Breed Dog Show in Wildwood
Watch more than 150 dog breeds compete at this two-day show, featuring not only competitions like Best of Breed, but also a guaranteed-to-be-adorable contest among four- to six-month-old puppies. Check out the vendors while you’re there, and pick up something to pamper your own pooch. — G.D.
Making Time with James Murphy
LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy is set to DJ the next Making Time, Philly’s revolving dance party that heads Thursday to Warehouse on Watts. Be warned: The party goes ‘till 3 a.m., so a Friday “sick day” might be necessary. — G.D.
Broadway Philadelphia Presents Riverdance
Reinvented for its 25th anniversary, the Grammy-Award-winning Riverdance heads to the Merriam Theater for a six-day run, featuring innovative lighting, staging, and costume design, and a fresh grand finale. It’s your chance to see the popular Irish dance and music show under a brand-new light. — G.D.
A Winter’s Ball at the Museum of the American Revolution
Join the Museum of the American Revolution for a traditional Irish ceilidh, a social gathering with dancing and storytelling. You can learn how to perform Irish social dances, sip on cocktail samples, and listen to poetry readings written by famous Irish poets at this after-hours event. — G.D.
It’s been 28 years since Snoop Dogg — “Doggy” was then his middle name — made his debut with the title song to the movie Deep Cover (produced by Dr. Dre). He immediately established himself as one of the most recognizable rappers of all time, with a laid-back flow and the hint of a Southern drawl that vocally defined Dre’s G-funk sound. Nearly three decades later, Snoop is better known as a lovable celebrity — as in his cool cameo in Eddie Murphy’s Netflix Rudy Ray Moore biopic Dolemite Is My Name. But the cannabis entrepreneur does still dabble in music making, and he’s on tour behind his latest, the self-congratulatory 2019 album I Wanna Thank Me. — Dan DeLuca
How does a bluegrass band get big enough to play the Met? By taking a loose, non-respective approach to the roots music genre that Bill Monroe invented, and by doing lots of classic rock covers. Greensky Bluegrass is a five-man band from Kalamazoo, Mich., who’ve got plenty of original songs to their credit, but have become a popular festival attraction, partly because you never know when they’re going to drop a Pink Floyd, Beatles, Grateful Dead, Prince, or Talking Heads song into the set. Asheville, N.C., bluegrass practitioners Town Mountain, who are similarly nondoctrinaire, open. — D.D.
The Budos Band
Part of the Daptone Records stable of excellent retro-soul artists, the Budos Band play blaring funk and R&B that often sounds like the theme music for a forgotten ’70s blaxploitation movie. After a five-year hiatus, they returned last year with their fifth (and best) album, V, full of thrilling instrumentals that shift the leads between hard-edged guitars, spacey organs, and blaring horns. The large band will bring a soul party to the Fillmore on Sunday. — Steve Klinge
China Crisis and Richard Lloyd
While both acts play “psychedelia,” broadly, no one would confuse music from Britain’s China Crisis with New York City’s Richard Lloyd. Popular in the late ’70s post-punk-psych era of fellow Liverpool acts such as the theatrical Echo and the Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes, China Crisis was dramatic, but lighter and airier in its harmonies — the gentle side of new psychedelia mixed with swallowing soft synths. As a founding member of Television, Lloyd’s nervous version of psychedelia — informed by NYC’s then-burgeoning punk scene — was twitchy, yet pastoral. This should make for one oddball mix of an evening. — A.D. Amorosi
The Kurdish electro-folk music that Tufan Derince brings on his first U.S. tour is frenetic, hypnotic, and psychedelic. Derince, who is from Turkey but currently lives in Amsterdam, plays the electric bağlama, a heavily amplified bouzouki-like instrument, often in flurries of rapid, buzzy notes, and songs that can stretch for 20 minutes or more. The music is adventurous and loud, reminiscent of the Congo’s Konono No. 1 or occasionally the British indie band Cornershop, but with underpinnings of hardcore EDM and album-side-long ’60s-psych-guitar freak-outs. It’s wild. Agent Zero, the electronic project of Philly’s Noah Selwyn, opens. — S.K.