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Playing off of this week’s editorial, I wanted to put together a roundup that emphasized identity and culture in the arts. Cowboy Versus Samurai stands out this week as a meditation on the Pan-Asian experience in America—especially in the less diverse corners of the country. Then, the future looks bright with Temple U’s first BIPOC Film Festival, which celebrates Black, Indigenous, and people of color coming up in filmmaking. NLM at Night is back in time for Black History Month, and Da Vinci Art Alliance (DVAA) offers a fellowship exhibit featuring three artists with works that give intimate looks into their own identities and cultures.
This week is a perfect chance to expand horizons, and I hope you get the chance to check out some of the items listed.
Cowboy Versus Samurai
Now through February 27, 2022
Hedgerow Theatre, 64 Rose Valley Road, Media
Cat Ramirez’s take on the early 2000s romantic comedy arrives at the Hedgerow Theatre this week. The performance follows Travis (Tyler S. Elliot), a high school English teacher who makes up one-half of the total Asian American population of a small town in Wyoming. Travis finds himself questioning the friendships of his two friends, including wannabe Asian rights activist Chester (Arthur Lee Robinson) and down-on-his-luck rancher’s son Del (David Pica) upon the arrival of Veronica Lee (Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters), a Korean American biology teacher from NYC.
The rom-com comes in partnership with the Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists. Opening night is on Friday, February 11, featuring a post-performance outdoor reception. There is also an industry mixer for theater producers and artists of Pan-Asian descent on Friday, February 18, and a relaxed, audio-described performance on Sunday, February 20.
BIPOC Film Festival
Wednesday, February 9, 5pm
On-demand through February 16
The Reel, 1755 N. 13th Street
Temple University hosts its first annual Diamond Screen BIPOC Film Festival. The fest will feature work from stories by Black, Indigenous, and people of color. The screening will be live in-person on Wednesday, February 9, with on-demand access available on Vimeo from February 10-16.
NLM at Night: The Sound of Philadelphia
Thursday, February 10, 5:30-9pm
National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut Street
NLM at Night is back with the soulful sounds of Vinyl Tap 215 founder DJ DuiJi 13 and writer DJ John Morrison for a night celebrating Black History Month. In addition to music and libations, the museum will feature the artwork of Shanina Dionna. There will also be artist talks and a chance to check out Deconstructing Bowie, the museum’s newest exhibition.
DVAA Presents: Forecast
Now through February 27, 2022
Da Vinci Art Alliance, 704 Catharine Street
DVAA’s 2022 fellowship cohort features artists Hagudeza Rullán-Fantauzzi, Michael Smaczylo, and Shwarga Bhattacharjee, all of whom who are “pursuing narrative explorations of their culture, identities, and sense of home” in this new exhibit of their works.
Rullán-Fantauzzi is an interdisciplinary artist whose work combines contemporary ballet and choreography with film, projection, and installation-based art. Smaczylo is an artist, educator, illustrator, and designer whose work explores the educational and social landscape of Philadelphia. Bhattacharjee is a North Philly artist who, as an immigrant from South Asia, relates issues of colonialism, racism, and migration through painting.
Morgan Craig - Select Works
Now through February 28, 2022
Black Moth Gallery, 18 E. Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore
Morgan Craig’s large-scale works document spaces in the world few witness in person. From abandoned warehouses to amusement parks, Craig’s paintings depict the “layers of time on surfaces once in use and now forgotten,” and the architectural structures are “repositories and vehicles for memory by profoundly influencing culture and identity.”
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