Robin Bloom offers a selection of activities for Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend.

What's Happening

Philly Loves Bowie

Philly Loves Bowie week is underway, celebrating the legendary performer who died one year ago this week. Events include Bowie Karaoke at Johnny Brenda's, Words On A Wing: A Bowie spoken word event at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Night Skies in the Observatory at The Franklin Institute, The Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret at L'Etage, Guitar Army: A Tribute to Bowie at The Barbary, A Snowy Bowie Skate at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, Donny McCaslin Group (the band that backed Bowie on his Blackstar album) at The Arden Gild Hall, and A Night of Stardust at World Cafe Live Philly. Pictured: David Bowie performs during a concert celebrating his 50th birthday, on January 9, 1997, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Ron Frehm/AP.

Cirque Eloize: Saloon

One of the leaders in contemporary circus arts, the critically acclaimed, Montreal-based troupe Cirque Eloize brings their newest show, Saloon, to the Merriam Theater as part of Broadway Philadelphia. The original musical adventure blends live music and acrobatics in a mythical world at a time when America was expanding west, January 13-14, Broad Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Jim Mneymneh.

Happy Birthday Benjamin Franklin!

Honor what would be the 311th birthday of Benjamin Franklin with events this weekend. The Celebration! Benjamin Franklin, Founder seminar was established to bring national and international awareness to the beloved founding father's amazing achievements and productive life with a special theme to call attention to current day issues and events, Friday, January 13, 9 a.m., at Benjamin Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. Historic Philadelphia hosts Tippler's Tours, January 13, 14, 20, and 21, offering lighthearted toasts and spirited songs delivered by Dr. Franklin himself! The Benjamin Franklin Museum offers free admission on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 16, at Franklin Court, between 3rd and 4th Streets off of Market or Chestnut. Photo by Jeff Fusco for HPI.

Black Angels and Secrets at Penn Museum

Penn Museum creates an unforgettable evening of music and magic by partnering with the Daedalus Quartet, the university's internationally renowned string quartet-in-residence, for Black Angels and Secrets. George Crumb's classic masterpiece Black Angels: Thirteen Images of the Dark Land for Electric String Quartet was completed on the thirteenth of March in 1970 and the new site-specific, multi-media interpretation will be performed Friday, January 13, 8 p.m. The concert also features new work by Joshua Hey and Scott Ordway, whose work was inspired by the ancient artifacts of the Penn Museum and the acoustics of the 90 foot dome of the Chinese Rotunda, with guest shadow-choreography by designer/director Sebastienne Mundheim, 3260 South Street, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of the Daedalus Quartet.

"John" at Arden Theatre Company

The Philadelphia premiere of John takes to the stage at Arden Theatre Company. The moving Off-Broadway show by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Annie Baker tells the story of a young couple from Brooklyn who stay at a bed and breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and learn that it is the site of a former Civil War hospital and is full of strange and possible supernatural occurrences. Directed by Arden Associate Artistic Director Matthew Decker on the Arcadia Stage, January 12 through February 26, 40 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia. Related programs and events include post-show discussions and open and audio described performances. Photo by Mark Garvin.

11th Hour Theatre Company's "Lizzie"

The fascinating true infamous crime story of Lizzie Borden takes form in an explosive new musical, opening January 16. 11th Hour Theatre Company's Lizzie features an all-female cast fronting a six-piece rock band in a full production that retells the story of the woman tried and acquitted for the 1892 axe murders of her father and stepmother. With music by Steven Cheslik-Demeyer and Alan Stevens Hewitt, lyrics by Steven Cheslik-Demeyer and Tim Maner and book by Tim Maner, the Philadelphia premiere is directed by Associate Producer Kate Galvin, with Alex Keiper as Lizzie Borden, and Cara Noel, Meredith Beck, and Rachel Brennan, through January 29 at Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Daniel Kontz.

"Hamlet" and "Saint Joan" at McCarter Theatre

Known for their innovative, site-specific stagings, New York theater company Bedlam brings its critically-acclaimed, stripped down productions of Williams Shakespeare's Hamlet and George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan to McCarter Theatre Center in rotating repertory. Performed by four actors playing all roles (ensemble members are Eric Tucker, Andrus Nichols, Edmund Lewis, and Tom O'Keefe), the show shifts from show to show and act to act, January 13 through February 12, 91 University Place, Princeton, New Jersey. Related programs and events include Dialogue on Drama with the co-founders of Bedlam, January 22, plus post-show discussions, Pride Night, Open, Audio Described and ASL interpreted performances. Photo by Jenny Anderson.

"Water by the Spoonful" at South Camden Theatre Company

South Camden Theatre Company presents Water by the Spoonful, a Pulitzer Prize winning play by Philadelphia playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes. Hudes draws on her local roots as she explores the quirks of family and relationships in this drama set in Philadelphia. "Water by the Spoonful" is the second installment in "The Elliot Trilogy," Hudes' series that follows an American soldier and his extended family. Directed by Raymond Croce, Sr., Interim Artistic Director of SCTC, January 13-29, Waterfront South Theater, 400 Jasper Street, Camden, New Jersey. $5 tickets available to Camden City residents with proof of residency. Photo by Robert A. Bingaman.

Invention Convention at Hagley

Hagley Museum and Library inspires innovation and creativity with the annual Invention Convention, January 14-16. This year's theme is video and the afternoon features activities that explore how videographers create videos that entertain and inform, presented by Agilent Technologies. Also, the usual fun, hands-on activities include tinkering tables, Create an Invention, a science fair, experiments, and more, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day, Buck Road East entrance off Route 100 in Wilmington, DE. Photo courtesy of Hagley Museum and Library.

Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend events

Pictured: Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a rally protesting Girard College's segregationist admissions policy, Philadelphia, August 3, 1965, by John W. Mosley (John W. Mosley Photograph Collection, Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.), currently on display as part of the exhibit A Million Faces: The Photography of John W. Mosley, at Woodmere Art Museum.

 Philadelphia honors the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with the 22nd annual Martin Luther King Day of Service, this Monday, January 16. The event, run by Global Citizen, is the oldest, largest, and most expansive volunteer community service effort of its type in the country with more than 140,000 volunteers participating in approximately 1800 community service projects across the region. This year's theme is education and efforts support the Free Library of Philadelphia's "Read by 4th" literacy initiative. Mayor Jim Kenney will lead volunteers at the Girard College signature project. Find a project near you.

The Philadelphia Orchestra's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert is Monday, January 16, 1:30pm, Girard College Chapel, 2101 S. College Avenue, Philadelphia. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts a program of Bach, Barber, and more. Guests include organist Paul Jacobs, Xavier Foley on double bass, storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston reciting King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and Dorina Morrow directing choirs from the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Concert is free, tickets required.

Woodmere Art Museum hosts a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Festival for all ages, Monday, January 16, noon - 4:00 p.m. with the Philly Children's March, artmaking and storytelling, and more, and the opportunity to explore the exhibit A Million Faces: The Photography of John W. Mosley, a retrospective of over 100 photographs documenting black lives from the 1930s to the late 1960s, presented in partnership with the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University Libraries, 9201 Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill. Free.

Eastern State Penitentiary hosts readings of one of the most influential letters written by Martin Luther King, Jr. in the margins of a newspaper and smuggled out of Birmingham Jail, Saturday, January 14 through Monday, January 16, 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day. Free and open to the public. Children ages 7-12 can create art with Art Sanctuary in response to themes found in the letter on Monday, January 16, 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia.

The Franklin Institute celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on Monday, January 16, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., with the "I Have a Dream" broadcast hourly, hands-on arts and crafts, scavenger hunt, and more, 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia.

The African American Museum in Philadelphia hosts a MLK Weekend Celebration, January 13-16, with inspirational and family-friendly activities for the whole family including the opportunity to explore the exhibit, Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia, 1776-1876, 701 Arch Street, Philadelphia.

The National Constitution Center hosts a celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 16 with service projects, live performances by "Two of a Kind," a reading of the "I Have a Dream" speech, crafts, and more, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia.

The National Museum of American Jewish History celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 16, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., with family-friendly performances and arts and crafts activities, spotlight talks about social justice, and more, free and open to the public, 101 South Independence Mall East, Philadelphia.

Michener Art Museum's Small World, Big Hearts: MLK Day of Service and Art takes place Sunday, January 15, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m., with an art workshop. Learn about the Maasai people living in Kenya, write a letter to a "pen pal," and more, 138 S. Pine Street, Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Free.

The Delaware Museum of Natural History presents MLK Day: Scientists Make a Difference, Monday, January 16, 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., with hands-on crafts and activities that highlight scientific contributions to natural history from scientists all around the world. Send the kids to the Martin Luther King Day Camp, January 16, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. with activities for kids ages 5-10, 4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, Delaware.

The Arts Council of Princeton celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with family-friendly activities, workshops, demos, performances, interviews and discussions at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts on Monday, January 16 beginning at 10 a.m., 102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, New Jersey. Free.

The Music School of Delaware's annual MLK and Black History Tribute concert takes place, Friday, January 13, 7 p.m. The tribute is a collaboration between the Christina Cultural Arts Center, Delaware Jazz Alliance, and Delaware's Poets Laureate, Nnamdi Chukwuocha and Al Mills, and features a 100th birthday tribute to Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk, the reading of Dr. King's famous 1967 speech "Where We Are Going" and more, 4101 Washington Street, Wilmington, Delaware.

Delaware Art Museum offers free admission for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, Monday, January 16, 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., with artmaking activities and family-friendly tours featuring African American artists and subjects, free and open to the public, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware.

 


 

Each week, the Entertainment Guide spotlights interesting local arts offerings happening now, including music, dance, theater, museums, special exhibitions and other arts events from across the region.

To submit an event to be considered, email Robin Bloom at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .