Voices of Kensington, Shoe Box Theatre, Curtis Summerfest, and more thrive this weekend

4 minute read
Molly Scullion is OK. Are you OK? (Photo provided by Philly Improv Theater.)
Molly Scullion is OK. Are you OK? (Photo provided by Philly Improv Theater.)

You can’t deny that the birds have come out to sing this weekend in Philadelphia. Performances by the Curtis Faculty, Philadelphia Sinfonia hosting an unusual concerto, a trinity of performers featuring Eastern and Latin influences, and jazz with Lauren Talese make for sonic pleasure in the middle of May. Be sure to check out some great prose and literature in Kensington with Amalgam Comics and the Kensington Storefront, and catch some seriously funny improv from Molly Scullion.

Malaka Gharib in conversation with Alli Katz

Malaka Gharib, a D.C.-based artist, journalist, and writer, reads her memoir I Was Their American Dream at Amalgam Comics (2578 Frankford Avenue) on Friday, May 17, at 5pm. The memoir is described as “at once a journal of growing up and a reminder of the thousands of immigrants who come to America in search for a better life for themselves and their children.” Gharib, a Filipino-Egyptian-American, will be joined by writer and cartoonist Alli Katz, a frequent contributor to the New Yorker, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Weekly, and more. The reading begins at 5:30pm.

Voices of Kensington Open Mic is back
Ursula Rucker, Miles Orion Butler, and Anthony Carlos Molden are bringing the Voices of Kensington Open Mic Nite back, by popular demand. Come together for open writing prompts, space to create, music, and live painting on Friday, May 17, at 4pm at the Kensington Storefront (2774 Kensington Avenue).

I’m OK, Are You OK?

A one-woman comedy show written and performed by Molly Scullion, the performance promises “a rollercoaster of wins, losses, overcoming, falling short, progress, and setbacks.” Scullion’s vulnerable progression goes through the depths of the secrets our brains keep from us to protect us, and those secrets can explode. It’s a hilarious, emotional journey about coping with PTSD, and it can be seen Friday, May 17, at 8pm at the Philly Improv Theater (2030 Sansom Street). Tickets are available online.

Shoe Box Theatre Collective invite you to clown with them all weekend long. (Photo provided by Shoe Box Theatre Collective)
Shoe Box Theatre Collective invite you to clown with them all weekend long. (Photo provided by Shoe Box Theatre Collective)

Shoe Box Theatre Festival

Approximately 100 artists will participate in the third annual Shoe Box Theatre Festival, a celebration of Philly’s live theater community featuring short performance pieces that may not have otherwise been. The event is full with a weekend of interdisciplinary performances, including drama, comedy, clowning, live painting, improv, interpretive dance, experimental music and film, and more. Check it out from Friday, May 17, to Sunday, May 19, 2019, at the Venice Island Performing Arts Center, 7 Lock Street in Manayunk. Pick up tickets online, and look at the full roster of performances to see what piques your interest.

Curtis Summerfest Faculty Recitals return

The 2019 Curtis Summerfest Faculty Recitals begin, featuring performers Mimi Stillman, Melissa White, Soo Bae, Hanchien Lee, and Amy J. Yang. A prolific roster of soloists and chamber musicians host a program with works by Dvorák, Gershwin, Mumford, and Villa-Lobos, as well as an original piece by Stillman. The recitals return to Field Concert Hall, 1726 Locust Street, on Saturday, May 18, at 8pm. Tickets are available by phone, (215) 893-7902, and online.

Philadelphia Sinfonia gets weird

Philadelphia Sinfonia, one of the city’s top youth orchestras, present the North American premiere of a piece by British composer Graham Fitkin, Concerto for Recorder and Orchestra, nominated for the BBC British Composer Awards last year. The concerto, with Belgian recorder soloist Tom Beets, will be performed on six different recorders, from pocket-sized to six feet tall. This unusual concert arrives in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center Sunday, May 19, at 4pm.

A trinity of performers at Trinity Center For Urban Life

Issam Rafea, winner of the 2010 Best Composer Award atthe Dubai International Film Festival (Matar Ayloul) joins Gao Hong and Hafez Kotain for an afternoon of musical improv at Trinity Center For Urban Life. Hong, a Chinese pipa player and composer, graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where she studied with pipa master Lin Shicheng. Kotain, receiver of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts in 2013, is a percussionist fluent in Arab and Latin rhythms—a fluency he honed in his native countries of Syria and Venezuela. Together, they will perform live on Sunday, May 19, at 4pm, promising for an eclectic merging of music.

Jazz in the Park with Laurin Talese

The first Jazz in the Park of the season features local vocalist Laurin Talese, and it happens this Sunday, May 19, at 4pm at Spruce Street Harbor Park. The versatile Cleveland-born musician has a long, diverse list of collaborators, including Philly stars Bilal, Patti LaBelle, and Vivian Green. The event is free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible.

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