Calling it a jam-packed weekend would be an understatement. This weekend features so much, from Blue Stoop’s winter fundraiser, A Very Philly Christmas, the inaugural Jewish New Media Festival, West Craft Fest doubling up, and PAX Unplugged taking over the Convention Center.
I hope this list will find something to warm your heart as we dive into the first weekend of December!
A Very Philly Christmas
Six of Fairmount Park’s historic houses celebrate 48 years of holiday-themed events and tours. At Cedar Grove, Laurel Hill Mansion, Lemon Hill Mansion, Historic Strawberry Mansion, Woodford, and Mount Pleasant Mansion, several events are lined up beginning Thursday and through Wednesday, January 1, 2020. Check out the full schedule online.
Student-Directed One-Act Play Festival
The annual Student-Directed One-Act Play Festival is back at the Rutgers University-Camden theater. The performances, all free and open to the public, are Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday, December 8 at 5pm in the Black Box Studio. On deck is The Walk, written by senior English major Matt Fulton of Browns Mills, dramatizes the story of America’s first mass shooter, Howard Unruh, who gunned down 13 people in Camden in 1949. A pair of short comedies are also featured.
Nerdy By Nature Open Mic
Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse is hosting its holiday edition of Nerdy By Nature Open Mic on Friday at 8:30pm. The stage is open to anything nerdy and creative—comedians, poets, singers, magicians, storytellers, burlesque, cosplayers, and rappers are all welcome to do their thing. Sign up is at 8:30pm, and there’s a $5 cover charge. The event is 21 and over and is BYOB.
Feminist Flea Market
On Saturday from 10am-5pm, Bok (1901 South 9th Street, Philadelphia) will host the Feminist Flea Market. Over 100 vendors and artists whose identities include womxn, trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming will be in attendance to benefit WOAR, the Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence. Bok is ADA accessible via a ramp on Mifflin Street with ADA accessible restrooms on the main floor. The restrooms are not gender-neutral.
West Craft Fest
For the first time, the December West Craft Fest is now a 2-day event, with different vendors each day. Get your handmade holiday gift shopping done with jewelry, knitted accessories, prints, clothing, ceramics, children’s items, and much more. Check it out at the Rotunda on Saturday and Sunday.
The East Coast's largest tabletop convention is back with three days of panels, live D&D, board games for sale, open tables, competitive tournaments, and much more. Peep the schedule, and if you can’t make the show, stream it live!
Blue Stoop Winter Fundraiser
Blue Stoop is hosting Here We Stand, a night of readings, reflections, and dancing on Saturday, December 7 to benefit the Paul Robeson House & Museum. The night will pay tribute to the cultural richness of the Black community in West Philly with fiction writers Zinzi Clemmons and Asali Solomon, activist Mike Africa Jr., and filmmaker Louis Massiah. Cut some rug at the dance party with music spun by BSR contributor John “The Liberator” Morrison. Admission is free, but register ahead of time.
Jewish New Media Festival
The Gersham Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival is presenting the first Jewish New Media Festival, an event dedicated to Jewish storytelling in the digital age. Jessica Katz, co-host of Tech Talk, Jamie Elman & Eli Batalion of YidLife Crisis, panels, workshops, and more are happening December 7-8, with opening reception at 5pm on Saturday at 5pm. Get the full schedule and tickets here or call (215) 545-4400.
Postmodern dance vignettes intertwine with parody, code switching, and poetry for a chaotic interdimensional theater experience with Blaow! Cosmos? from Philly Kerplop. The performance stars William Robinson and Nikolai McKenzie, backed by original compositions featuring upright bass, loop pedals, and a sample machine from Matt Engle, and features interactive art from multimedia artist Paige Fetchen. Check it out at Urban Movement Arts on December 7-8 at 8pm.
The King Who Wanted to Clean the Moon
Playwright Ashley Kern’s musical The King Who Wanted to Clean the Moon is part of the Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival. The interactive family play uses music to explore climate change, gender roles, and curiosity through the lens of the King, who loves to read each night by moonlight—until one night when she discovers that she can’t read because the moon is dirty. The play features music by Damien Figueras, and you can catch it on Sunday, December 8 at 4pm at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, 201 Washington Street, Reading, Pennsylvania. Admission is free, but reserve ahead of time!
Christmas Time is Here with Dianne Reeves
Five-time Grammy Award winner and 2018 NEA Jazz Master Dianne Reeves will be at the Zellerbach Theatre on Sunday, December 8 at 7pm. Tickets are available via the Annenberg Center.