Welcome to 2024! We want this to be the best year of your life, and we’re here to help you make it happen. Philly Loves Bowie Week kicks off with a week’s worth of fun, all dedicated to the legendary artist. The exhibit “Amplified: Art, Music, Power” opens Friday at the Museum of Liberty, which hosts the official kickoff party for Bowie Week attendees the same night. At the Academy of Music, the heyday of The Temptations is revisited in the stage musical adaptation of their rise from Motown to superstardom. And if you want to get rid of either unwanted holiday gifts or your dried-out Christmas tree, there are two separate events where you can dispose of them sustainably. Plus, if you appreciate Afro-Latin culture and music, be sure to check out the ascendant duo Okan tonight at MilkBoy Philadelphia.
Van Halen Nation
A tribute band pays tribute to the original Van Halen members, seen in this file photo: Wolfgang Van Halen, left, Alex Van Halen, and David Lee Roth perform at Cafe Wha? in New York, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
Your youth may have gone by faster than a washing machine spin cycle, but the appreciation you have for the music you grew up on never dies. Van Halen Nation brings back the glory days of the ‘80s hair band, which boasted the vocal chops and showmanship of David Lee Roth and the guitar prowess of Eddie Van Halen. They run it back at Saturday’s performance at the Levoy Theater, with a show that recreates the band’s most famous performances.
Princesses and Heroes: Frozen Fun
Kids never need an excuse to dress up. The Delaware Museum of Nature & Science understands that. That’s why they’re hosting a WYOC (Wear Your Own Costume) event that sneaks in a lesson about sustainability. The Princesses & Heroes: Frozen Fun event brings kids and “Frozen” characters together for an evening of fun and learning.
Unwanted Gift Swap
(Courtesy of Dock Street Fishtown)
Where: Dock Street Fishtown, 1229 N. Front St.
When: Thursday, Jan. 4, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
How much: Free, Pay as you go
Didn’t care for the Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa gift? We know the thought matters, but why not find someone who likes it better? You can do just that at the Unwanted Gift Swap, hosted by Dock Street Fishtown. They also have craft beer and artisanal pizza for purchase, so it’s a no-brainer. After the swap, stay for Thursday night Quizzo. (And, there are more swaps to come, including a Board Game Swap on Feb. 1, a Clothing Swap on March 7, and a Plant Swap on April 4.)
Philly Loves Bowie Week
Rock superstar David Bowie, making his first musical performance in America in half a decade, performs on stage at the U.S. Festival on May 31, 1983 at Glen Helen Regional Park in Devore, Calif. Bowie performed on closing night at the festival. (AP Photo/stf/Lennox McLendon)
Where: Multiple venues
When: Friday, Jan. 5 – Saturday, Jan. 13
How much: Various prices
Bowie fans, rejoice! It’s the annual celebration of the beloved musical icon and there are several events to choose from. Philly Loves Bowie Week was created by superfans after he died in 2016, just two days after his birthday on Jan. 8. Events include a free opening day concert and closing party, karaoke, film screenings, tribute concerts, and even a Quizzo night.
National Cheerleaders Association All-Star Cheer Competition
File photo: A member of the Western Kentucky cheerleading team performs during a first-round game against Baylor during in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Waco, Texas. Baylor won 87-74. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Where: Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 100 Station Ave., Oaks, Pa.
When: Saturday, Jan. 6, 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
How much: $18 – $23 (note, no tickets will be sold at the door)
Say it with me — “Brr, it’s cold in here, there must be some Clovers in the atmosphere!” That’s a chant from the 2006 movie “Bring it On,” starring Gabrielle Union and Kirsten Dunst as rival cheerleaders. If you want to see real-life cheering theatrics, head to the National Cheerleaders Association All-Star Cheer Competition on Saturday. The day-long event is one of the regional competitions to determine who goes to the already sold-out NCA All-Star Championship in Dallas in March, so the stakes are high.
Arts & Culture
Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
File photo: The Temptations singing group. From left are; Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin and Glenn Leonard. Back row from left, Richard Street and Dennis Edwards. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)
The Temptations are one of Motown’s most enduring groups. Founding member Otis Williams, 82, is still on the grind performing worldwide. Though he was pilloried in the famous line, “Ain’t nobody coming to see you, Otis,” from the 1998 TV miniseries, he gets more love in the Broadway stage adaptation, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations.” The Tony-winning show comes to the Academy of Music for a short run through Sunday, Jan. 21.
A Case for the Existence of God
Two men with differing attitudes, opinions, and lives meet at the place where differing perspectives often converge — the office. In “A Case for the Existence of God,” the men unexpectedly share the truth about money woes and the challenges of fatherhood.
Women’s Art Gathering – HERspace Arts Philly
Who run the world? Girls, of course. That’s the mindset of The Women’s Art Gathering, a pop-up art show and poetry night at an event space near Temple University. Good vibes, local artist meet and greets, a deejay, and ticket tiers that include date night perks like specialty cocktails and wine. Bring your credit card in case you want to buy any of the artwork.
Amplified: Art, Music, Power
Where: National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut St.
When: Exhibit: Saturday, Jan. 6 – Monday, April 8, free with museum admission, Bowie Week kickoff event, Friday, Jan. 5 from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
How much: $20 general admission for the Bowie event (VIP exhibit preview is sold out) general museum admission of $10 – $12 applies for exhibit visits
The National Liberty Museum hosts the kickoff party for the Philly Loves Bowie week, which coincides with the opening of their new exhibit. “Amplified: Art, Music Power” is a juried competition that includes work from artists who connect with music as a source of personal liberty. The exhibit preview, which includes a meet and greet with the artists, is sold out, but there are still tickets for the Bowie party.
Christmas Tree-Cycling #1
Goats devour a donated tree at he Farm at Awbury Arboretum. (Philly Goat Project/Instagram)
Where: The Farm at Awbury Arboretum, 6336 Ardleigh St.
When: Saturday, Jan. 6 – noon – 3 p.m.
How much: Free, $20 donation suggested
Time to get rid of those Christmas trees now that the holiday season is over? Donate them to a good cause. The annual Christmas Tree-Cycling event happens Saturday at The Farm at Awbury Arboretum, where the goats on-site will make short work of them. While a donation is suggested, you can still hang out with the goats while enjoying the fire pits and some hot cocoa without even bringing a tree! (Given the potential weather event this weekend, check their website for updates.) Tree-Cycling also has dates on Sunday, Jan. 14, and Saturday, Jan. 20, for those folks who keep their trees up well into the new year. Needles, er, needless to say, the recycling is for real trees only.
The Afro-Cuban duo Okan may not be on your radar yet, but they should be. The women are rare in the genre as they are instrumentalists and vocalists. Catch them at MilkBoy Philly, where they make a tour stop in support of their latest studio album, 2023’s “Okantomi.”
Ladies First: An Evening With Female-Fronted Bands feat. Gemtarra, Maggie Mae, Roxy Rollz, Sylvia Platypus
Come jam with some fly ladies at City Winery. Ladies First: An Evening With Female-Fronted Bands stars Gemtarra, Maggie Mae, Roxy Rollz, and Sylvia Platypus. It’s a rare chance to see the spotlight shine on female artists for a night of jamming with women powerful enough to take center stage.
Story of the Year
The St. Louis-based band Story of the Year certainly has a compelling one. The five-member band has been making music together for twenty years, releasing their latest album, “Tear Me to Pieces,” last spring. Opening for them at their Union Transfer show in support of the project are We the Kings and Youth Fountain.
Philly Tribute to Hank Williams
File photo: This is an undated photo of Country and Western singer and guitarist Hank Williams. He was born in Georgiana, Al., in 1923 as Hiram King Williams, and he died of a heart attack in 1953. (AP Photo)
The greater Philadelphia area is well known for its R&B, jazz, and rock scenes, but country? You may be surprised to know that Philly also has its country music aficionados. At the local tribute to country icon Hank Williams, The Rockafillys, Hank on the Range, Rich Myers, Scotty Rovne, and more pay homage to the late country great who made his mark despite his short life.