Museums and streams for the holiday

The Weekly Roundup, November 24-December 1

4 minute read
Williams and Thomas in front of a building, urban setting. Thomas laughs looking at Williams, his hand on chin, at the camera
'The House of Jollof Opera' is part of the 'New Directions' series streaming on the Opera Philadelphia Channel. (Image courtesy of Music Theatre Wales.)

An official holiday weekend is upon us, and this coming week features offerings from Penn Live Arts, Opera Philadelphia, the African American Museum in Philadelphia, and the Brandywine River Museum.

Of course, you can also check out shows that are still running like Hamilton, The Garbologists, or Me and the Devil (which got extended through February 27) if you've missed them so far. Also, there are plenty of happenings with staples like the Christmas Village, Small Business Saturday happening all over town, and events at Longwood Gardens, Dilworth Park, and the RiverRink Winterfest opening on the Delaware River Waterfront to name a few.

There's still something to do, especially if Thanksgiving isn't your cup of gravy.

Poly Styrene: I am a Cliché (and more!)
November 26-December 2
Streaming online via Penn Live Arts

Penn Live Arts is bringing its film screenings back, and this week kicks off a virtual screening of Poly Styrene: I am a Cliché, a documentary film that follows Celeste Bell, the daughter of Poly Styrene. Styrene was the first woman of color (her father was born in Somali) in the UK to front a successful rock band, X-Ray Spex.

The film serves as a primer for the rest of Penn Live Arts’ upcoming screenings: their offerings in December will be the first in-person screenings since before the pandemic. Next week, they’ll screen No Ordinary Man, a re-imagining of jazz musician Billy Tipton. Then, keep an eye out for The Conductor in mid-December—the film highlights renowned conductor Marin Alsop who was the first woman to serve as music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Sáo Paulo Symphony Orchestra, and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. That’s a lot of pioneering.

Brandywine River Museum of Art reopens
Starting November 26
1 Hoffman’s Mill Road, Chadds Ford

After getting hit hard by Hurricane Ida this past September, the Brandywine River Museum of Art had to shut down. After working to restore the building and raising money from supporters, the museum is opening back up again this weekend. They’ll get their resilient restart with the Brandywine Railroad, an annual staple for nearly 50 years. Yes, it’s perfect for the kids, but if you’re a locomotive nerd like me, then you’re probably intrigued by 2,000 feet of tracks and over 1,000 pieces of locomotives, passenger and freight trains, and trolleys.

Now if only I could get a ride out to Chadds Ford… (is something you don’t hear people say often).

AAMP Griot Tale Saturday
Saturday, November 27, 12:30-1:30pm
Franklin Square, 200 North 6th Street, Philadelphia

The African American Museum in Philadelphia is holding its final Griot Tale Saturday this weekend. A griot is an African oral historian that passes on their culture through the practice of storytelling. The outdoor event is ideal for families, too, and is free and open to the public.

New Directions at Opera Philadelphia
December 1-May 31, 2022
Streaming online via Opera Philadelphia

Opera Philadelphia opens its new series New Directions this coming week, featuring three digital collaborations from artists new to opera. Writer, composer, and performer Tumi Williams teamed up with multidisciplinary director and dramaturg Sita Thomas to craft The House of Jollof Opera, a story about a budding chef Adeola who wants to impress neighborhood café boss Asha with his specialty dish vegan jollof. Pride (A Lion’s Roar) is the work of composer and music producer Renell Shaw, writer Rachael Young, and visual artist Kyle Legall and narrates the experience of people of color who have been told that they are “aggressive” or “too loud.” Then, writer and dancer Krystal S. Lowe and composer Jasmin Kent Rodgman mash dance and opera with themes of intimacy and relationships in Somehow.

All these are available to watch for free on the Opera Philadelphia channel through the spring, but what better time to cozy up with some unique takes on opera this holiday weekend? It’ll surely be a nice palette cleanse from spending time with that side of the family.

The productions come as part of a collaborative effort between Opera Philadelphia and Music Theatre Wales.

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