CultureFest! celebrates Nowruz, films with Penn Live Arts, and EgoPo’s Life is a Dream

The Weekly Roundup, March 16-23

4 minute read
Film still. Muñoz, a Mexican woman, shouts out in a crowd, with dim tinted lights. Camera is close up on her side profile
Penn Live Arts screens 'Mija' and more in a trio of films about migration and "brighter futures." (Image courtesy of Impact Partners.)

With spring officially right around the corner, the city blossoms with a handful of performances and events. Kick off the weekend with Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, at Penn Museum. Learn about the legacy of legendary guitarist Lonnie Johnson with City Theater Company, and discover new perspectives through film with Penn Live Arts and Diamond Screen & Mise En Femme's sixth annual Women's Film Festival. EgoPo brings to life a different kind of dream, and Sarah Knittel and Bradley Kristian Wrenn have something cooking up for us at Pig Iron.

A little bit of everything

CultureFest! Nowruz
Saturday, March 19, 11am-4pm
Penn Museum, 3260 South Street, Philadelphia

Drexel University's Persian Students Association and UPenn’s Middle East Center team up to bring Nowruz to CultureFest! this weekend. Nowruz, or “new day” in Persian, is a festival that celebrates spring, rebirth, and good luck in the Iranian New Year. Activities include a live performance from the Silk Road Dance Company, drumming workshops with Arabic, Armenian, and Turkish music, a Persian bazaar, and more.


Blues In My Soul: The Legend and Legacy of Lonnie Johnson
March 18-26
Delaware Contemporary, 200 South Madison Street, Wilmington

City Theater Company hosts the world premiere of a new play from David Robson, Blues In My Soul. The play reimagines the meeting between guitar legend Lonnie Johnson (no, not the inventor of the Super Soaker) and music historian Chris Albertson in 1959. It sounds like a musical meditation on issues of injustice, authenticity, and legacy.

Film and TV

Films on migration with Penn Live Arts
March 17-19
Montgomery Theatre at the Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

Penn Live Arts will screen a trio of films that explore migration in pursuit of a better life. First up is La Casa de Mama Icha (Thursday, March 17), a film that follows Mama Icha, her move to the US to help her daughter care for her children, and a trip back to Colombia to “bravely struggle with her loved ones.” Then, Chèche Lavi (Friday, March 18) is a portrait of two Haitian migrants who find themselves stranded at the US-Mexico border with no way forward. It promises to be a story of finding a better life through migration but also serves as a story about friendship, and the world could use more friendship stories, really. Finally, Mija (Saturday, March 19) follows young music manager Doris Muñoz whose undocumented family depends on her ability to launch a pop star in Jacks, another daughter of immigrants who needs to “make it” as much as Muñoz.

The films will screen in-person on March 17-19, with streaming on-demand continuing through March 25.

Diamond Screen & Mise En Femme's Women's Film Festival
Friday, March 18, 5pm
The REEL, 1755 North 13th Street, Philadelphia

Temple U’s sixth annual Diamond Screen and Mise En Femme Women’s Film Festival is back with 10 participating entries. MFA films may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, I’ve been enjoying films that have this sort of aesthetic: the charm of DIY, the appeal of human stories packed into hearty but concise vignettes, and the promise of diversity in film and television. I don’t know, film and TV these days can be too clean which takes the relatability out of it, but maybe that’s just me becoming an old head who was a filmmaker once upon a time. Anyways, give the up-and-coming filmmakers some love this weekend if you can! RSVP online.

If you can’t make it out, the films will be available to stream on-demand from March 20-29.


EgoPo's Life is a Dream
March 16-27
Theatre Exile, 1340 South 13th Street, Philadelphia

The folks at EgoPo Classic Theater are bringing Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s Life is a Dream to the stage in South Philly. The show, called “the Spanish equivalent to Hamlet” explores the story of a king who imprisons his only child after a prophecy reveals that the heir to the throne will upend the kingdom.

Theater, I think?

Make A F*ckin’ Show, You P.O.S.
March 18 and 19, 7:30pm
Pig Iron School, 1417 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia

I have no idea what this is, and that’s why it’s here. All I know from what I’ve read is that Bradley Kristian Wrenn and Sarah Knittel are on the stage at some point, it might be sexy though there are no guarantees, and it’s part fractured workshop, part hastily created masterpiece. It explores vulnerability, nothingness, friendship, control, existence, voids, bearing witness, and art’s ability to connect humans. If you like danger and dumb fun, this is for you.

These are their words, not mine. There were more buzz words and phrases but I decided to include just these in hopes of avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome.

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