Nostalgia Fest, opera in books and film, STRUT!, and more

The BSR Weekly Arts and Culture Roundup, September 7-13, 2023

4 minute read
An outdoor beer garden is full with people, tables, parasols, light fixtures, and seating under a partly cloudy sky
Evil Genius will host the 12th Nostalgia Fest Block Party this weekend in Fishtown. (Photo courtesy of Kory Aversa.)

While Fringe is upon us, it can be a challenge to find other events happening around the city. Good thing we’ve got you covered over here at BSR! This week features a creative weekend at Laurel Hill Mansion, a new multidisciplinary exhibition at Fuller Rosen, a new music festival on East Passyunk, and a block party dripping with nostalgia from a local brewery. We’ve also got opera in the park from Opera Philadelphia, a live reading of an opera-themed children’s book, and a Harlem Renaissance-inspired cabaret.

Stay cool, Philly!

A weekend at Laurel Hill Mansion
September 8-10, 10:30am-3:30pm
Laurel Hill Mansion, 3487 Edgley Drive, Philadelphia

Artists and creatives are invited to Laurel Hill Mansion this weekend on Friday and Sunday for En Plein Air, a meetup series where you can spend the day painting, sketching, and creating on the grounds of the mansion. Then, chess players of all ages unite on Saturday—bring a chess set, a friend, and lunch. Reservations are requested but not required.

live laugh lobotomize
Opening reception on Friday, September 8, 6-9pm
Exhibition open through Sunday, October 15
Fuller Rosen Gallery, 319 North 11th Street, Philadelphia

This solo exhibition features new and recent paintings by Yuyang Zhang, a multi-disciplinary artist born in Wuhan, China, now living in Portland, Oregon. Zhang’s work investigates how the amalgamation of media contributes to a multicultural identity, accumulating visual media from the US and China.

Nostalgia Fest Block Party
Saturday, September 9, 12-6pm
Starts at the Lab, 1727 North Front Street, Philadelphia

Evil Genius Beer Company is taking over Front Street in Fishtown for an afternoon block party. The 12th Nostalgia Fest Block Party kicks off the fall season with an outdoor bar and beer garden, live music (rumor has it that it’s 90s music if that’s your jam), retro games and accessories, and pop-ups from Shibe Vintage Sports, New & Wesley Images and their vintage prints, and other shops from around the city. Be sure to check out other events from Evil Genius happening this month, including drag brunches, beer and cheese pairings, and more.

Lily’s First Trip to the Opera
Saturday, September 9, 11am
Athenæum of Philadelphia, 219 South 6th Street, Philadelphia

Families can check out Dr. Christine Jobson’s dramatic reading of her children’s book Lily’s First Trip to the Opera this weekend as part of the Athenæum’s Opera Storybook Time youth program. Jobson is a Jamaican American soprano paying a visit to Philly over the weekend. The event will also include a reading by Jillian Pirtle, CEO of the Marian Anderson Museum and Historical Society, and items of Anderson’s from the museum will be on display, including letters, dresses, and sheet music.

STRUT! A Harlem Renaissance Cabaret
Saturday, September 9, 11pm
Sunday, September 10, 9pm
The Closet, 201 South Street, Philadelphia

Cookie Diorio teams up with Opera Philadelphia for a musical journey celebrating creatives from the Harlem Renaissance. Works performed by Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Billie Holiday, Margaret Bonds, and Florence Price are on the program’s setlist. The September 10 performance is face-mask encouraged, and the hour-long cabaret is a relaxed performance that includes ASL, audio description, and is wheelchair-accessible.

Opera in the Park: Hansel and Gretel
Sunday, September 10, 6:30pm-9pm
FDR Park, 1500 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia

Thursday, September 14, 6:30-9pm
Drexel Park, 3100 Powelton Avenue, Philadelphia

Saturday, September 16, 6-9:30pm
Esperanza Arts Center, 4261 N 5th Street, Philadelphia

Opera Philadelphia is set to prime audiences for Festival O with free screenings of Hansel and Gretel, reimagined as an opera on film. Each screening features performances by local artists before the film begins at 7:30pm. Bring your own blankets, chairs, and dinner. English and Spanish subtitles will be available. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is encouraged—in fact, registration comes with a chance to win two tickets to Opera Philadelphia’s upcoming performances of Giuseppe Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra.

East Passyunk Music Festival
Sunday, September 10, 11am-6pm
East Passyunk Avenue between Broad Street and Dickinson Street

The inaugural music festival promises big things: five stages with two dozen acts, and food, art, and vintage market vendors all along East Passyunk. Be sure to check out the full lineup online.

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