Unfinished Women, Black History Month activities, Spiritrials, and more

The Weekly BSR Arts and Culture Roundup, February 8-15, 2023

4 minute read
Three Black teens in school-like attire. One wears a bomber jacket, one a sleeveless top and skirt, and the third a plaid top
‘Unfinished Women’ will run through the rest of the winter at Camden Rep. (Photo courtesy of Camden Repertory Theater.)

Coming up in Philly this week are a handful of activities and performances that highlight contemporary and historical Black voices, including Camden Rep’s take on an underground theater classic, an audio walking tour in Northern Liberties, and a solo performance from hip-hop artist Dahlak Brathwaite. Be sure to check out Philadelphia Orchestra’s latest Our City, Your Orchestra entry, geek over history with the Philadelphia Association of Public Art’s new free archive, and discover the power of symbols in communication with a workshop from Sadie Red Wing.

Be safe, Philly, and try not to fall off any greased poles or bus canopies on Sunday, please?

Unfinished Women Cry in No Man's Land While a Bird Dies in a Gilded Cage
Through Saturday, March 25
Camden Repertory Theater, 445 Mechanic Street, Camden

Camden Rep presents the underground classic in the style of the Black Arts Movement from the 1960s and 1970s that tells the story of a group of teen women who are left to decide on their own whether or not to keep their babies or give them up for adoption. The performance tells the story through poetry and live music.

Our City, Your Orchestra: Pathways to Housing
Available on-demand online

This week, Philadelphia Orchestra released part one of Our City, Your Orchestra, a project that works to empower people with disabilities to improve their housing stability, achieve better health, and reclaim their lives. Part two arrives on Wednesday, February 15.

Philadelphia's Association for Public Art Digital Archive
Available on-demand online

Philadelphia's Association for Public Art just launched its free digital archive of historic documentation of more than a hundred years of art, much of which chronicles some of the earliest efforts to integrate public art and urban planning in the US, especially in Philadelphia. Scholars and public art lovers alike will get a kick excavating the extensive archive.

Northern Liberties's Black History walking audio tour
Starting Friday, February 10

A new audio tour kicks off this week in Northern Liberties, showing off the neighborhood’s often-forgotten history as not only one of the key stops in the Underground Railroad, but an essential part of Black culture in the times shortly after. The tour is paired with Window Stories, a series of vinyl window clings that tell the stories of Black residents living in the area in the 1800s.

Celebrations of Black American Music
Friday, February 10, 3:30pm
Wednesday, February 15, 4:30pm
Whitman Library, 200 Snyder Avenue, Philadelphia

A pair of musical events are popping up in South Philly this week. First up is A Celebration of Black American Music, a concert led by a performance by Renaissance Sextet highlighting the contributions of Philadelphia composers and the culture of Black American music. Then on Wednesday afternoon, attendants can get their hands on interactive drumming led by educator and musician Julius Rivera. Both programs are free and open to the public.

African American Children’s Book Fair
Saturday, February 11, 1-4pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia

The 31st annual African American Children’s Book Fair comes to town featuring authors and illustrators. The event is free and open to the public—check the website for a full roster of in-person participants.

Designing Indigenous Visual Languages
Sunday, February 12, 2-4:30pm
Fabric Workshop and Museum, 1214 Arch Street, Philadelphia

Sadie Red Wing, a Lakota graphic designer from the Spirit Lake Nation of Fort Totten, North Dakota, comes to Philadelphia for a lecture and workshop that asks: “How can design education support the understanding and revitalization of tribal visual sovereignty and the inclusion of an indigenous perspective?” Participants can learn how symbols reflect and evolve from elements of the landscape and shape our communication, and then create their own symbols by reimagining basic shapes that they can take home with them.

Dahlak Brathwaite: Spiritrials
Wednesday, February 15, 7pm
Mandell Theater, 3220 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

Hip-hop artist, poet, and performer Dahlak Brathwaite hits the stage at Mandell Theater with Spiritrials, an exploration of the personal shame of criminal stigmatization. The solo performance comes to Philly next week and is free with registration.

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