The arts are on full display this weekend as new events and exhibits debut. The Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Festival will be at the Pennsylvania Convention Center all weekend long. The annual fest provides a one-of-a-kind experience along with ink, including the chance to win a trophy for a freshly-done tattoo. On Friday, Oscar- and Grammy-winning rapper Common will be in Delaware at Wilmington Public Library to support his new book on wellness. Plus, the re(FOCUS) event provides an updated view of the female artists who participated in the original citywide art exhibit in 1974, and the Philadelphia Art Museum kicks off its “Transformations: American Photographs from the 1970s” exhibit on Saturday. And with both Black history and love on the horizon in February, the Micheaux Mission hosts a screening and talk on the 1997 movie “Love Jones.”
Mel Brooks’ satirical musical “The Producers” comes to South Jersey for a brief run. It’s the story within a story of what happens when two hustlers looking for a come-up actually find one — and the real shenanigans begin.
And Then We Rise: Book Talk and Signing with Common
File photo: Actor and rapper Common speaks at OZY Fest in Central Park on Saturday, July 21, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Where: Wilmington Public Library, 10 E. 10th St., Wilmington, Del.
When: Friday, Jan. 26, 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
How much: Free
Chicago-born rap star/actor/author Common has a new book out focused on wellness. “And Then We Rise: A Guide to Loving and Taking Care of Self” came out this week. He’ll be at the Wilmington Free Library to support it in an appearance on Friday.
Wit López incorporates knitted basketballs, a crocheted hoop and self portraits into their work for ”(re)FOCUS 2024,” which celebrates the 50th anniversary Philadelphia Focuses on Women in the Visual Arts.
Where: Multiple venues
When: Saturday, Jan. 27 – Friday, May 31
How much: Various prices
In 1974, Philadelphia hosted a groundbreaking exhibit dedicated to female artists. Fifty years later, The Philadelphia Focuses on Women in the Visual Arts is celebrated at (re)FOCUS 2024, a city-wide event that includes exhibits, panels and receptions, with most of the 81 original artists participating.
Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Festival
Elisheba Israel Mrozik tattoos a cobra and skull on Gil Goodman. Both traveled from Nashville to the Philadelphia 2020 Tattoo Convention. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Tattoos were once a subculture but exploded into the mainstream in the ‘90s due to a confluence of cultural factors, including the rise of hip-hop. The annual Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Festival brings celebrities, tattoo artists and aficionados together for three days of events, contests and all things ink.
Arts & Culture
The Micheaux Mission: Love Jones Screening and Talkback
File photo: Nia Long, left, and Larenz Tate. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Len Webb and Vincent Williams are the co-hosts of The Micheaux Mission, a podcast with an ambitious aim — to watch and discuss every Black movie ever made. On Saturday, they’ll screen and discuss the 1997 film “Love Jones,” starring Nia Long and Larenz Tate. The movie’s portrayal of Black creatives was considered groundbreaking in its time.
Transformations: American Photographs from the 1970s
Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy.
When: January 27 – July 7
How much: Free with museum admission
In the 1970s, life was changing at a rapid pace. The Black Arts and feminist movements were in full swing, video was a fledgling medium and photography was experiencing innovations spearheaded by folks like Susan Meiselas, Joel Meyerowitz and William Eggleston. Their new exhibit, “Transformations: American Photographs From The 1970s,” opens Saturday. The work of those photographers and more are on display, providing a look into the evolution of the art form.
Step Mom, Step Mom, Step Mom
An interracial couple considers themselves progressive until turning up their sex life proves to have unexpected consequences. “Step Mom, Step Mom, Step Mom” opens on Friday. Note: A play with sex as a central theme means sexual situations, which the InterAct theater company makes clear multiple times on their website. You’ve been warned.
Germantown Art & Sound: Creative Kickback and Art Show
Where: Our House Culture Center, 6380 Germantown Ave.
When: Friday, Jan. 26, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
How much: Free
Germantown is increasingly becoming an arts center, especially for artists of color in various disciplines. On Friday, the Germantown Art & Sound: Creative Kickback & Art Show will highlight the work of five local artists. Vocalist and poet Sanovia will perform. Wine is complimentary (you can even bring your own) and food will be available for purchase.
Experiment and Pop!
Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
When: Friday, Jan. 26, 5 p.m.
How much: Pay what you wish
In conjunction with the exhibit “The Shape of Time: Korean Art After 1989,” The Asian Arts Initiative and the Philadelphia Museum of Art combine for a night of music, information, conversation and energy. Experiment and Pop! includes live music, a pop-up gallery talk, a live art workshop, and guest speakers and educators to provide more context to the exhibit.
CultureFest! Lunar New Year
(Courtesy of Penn Museum)
Where: Penn Museum, 3260 South St.
When: Saturday, Jan. 27, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
How much: Free with museum admission
Lunar New Year is coming and the Penn Museum is getting ahead of the celebration. Their CultureFest! Lunar New Year event is this Saturday. The 43rd annual celebration is family-friendly and includes music and dance performances, art-making activities and a discussion of the cultural traditions behind Lunar New Year.
Legacy Reclaimed: Guided Art Tour
Where: Mother Bethel African Methodist Church, 419 S. 6th St.
When: Saturday, Jan. 27, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
How much: Free
Relive Philly’s historic 7th Ward with historian Amy Hiller and artists Beth Naomi Lewis, Li Sumpter and Amelia Carter on the Legacy Reclaimed: Guided Arts Tour. The artists contributed to the exhibit’s street installations in areas of what is now Center City that were once a thriving African American neighborhood. The two-hour tour begins at the AME church and ends at the Rex at the Royal on 15th and South.
Dinos After Dark
Gavin Fisher, 5, peers into the mouth of an animatronic iguanodon at the Academy of Natural Sciences’ “Dinosaurs Around the World” exhibit. (Emma Lee/WHYY)
Dinos After Dark, the family-friendly night at the Academy of Natural Sciences, allows patrons free rein around the exhibits, including a 42-foot-long, 7.5-ton Tyrannosaurus Rex in Dinosaur Hall. Live animals, a specimen cart, and educational auditorium shows should engage everyone in your friends or family group. If not, there’s also a beer garden and music from DJ Osagie.
Hasan Minhaj: Off With His Head
File photo: In this Nov. 7, 2017 file photo, comedian Hasan Minhaj performs on stage during the 11th Annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit, presented by the New York Comedy Festival and The Bob Woodruff Foundation, at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, in New York. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP)
After The New Yorker profiled Hasan Minhaj, he was forced to explain how not every one of his jokes is true to his life growing up brown in America, but that hasn’t hurt his appeal. He added a show to his two-day run in Philly on his Off With His Head stand-up tour. Does comedy require truth or should comedians enjoy the same artistic license every artist does? You be the judge.
Brett Goldstein: The Second Best Night of Your Life
File photo: Brett Goldstein arrives at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, at the Peacock Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
“Ted Lasso” star, writer and co-producer Brett Goldstein promises “The Second Best Night of Your Life” at his standup comedy show at the Met Philadelphia. Friday’s show is sold out (see Hasan Minhaj above, clearly people need to laugh) but Saturday’s show still has tickets available. As for the title, we guess that means he’s still leaving room for your utmost peak experience… with his performance being a close second.
Food & Drink
Mean Girls Drag Brunch
Eat and be petty at the rescheduled Mean Girls Drag Brunch. Find your witty while indulging in specialty drinks that give just due to Tina Fey’s original 2004 movie and its reboot of the same title that was just released. And if you think you have the chops, register to compete onstage with the Queens. Remember, “the limit does not exist.” (Yes, that’s a line from the original movie.)
Madge is back. The icon Madonna finally makes it to Philly on The Celebration Tour, a show that had to be rescheduled when the 65-year-old got sick. Now, she’s embroiled in a lawsuit from disgruntled fans who said she was late to a concert. (Shades of Lauryn Hill?) But we expect she’ll be on time for this one, with her four decades of hits including “Into the Groove,” “Borderline,” “Like A Virgin,” “Vogue” and many more.
Berlioz, Ortiz and Barber: A Celebration of Orchestral Splendor
To name your show “A Celebration of Orchestral Splendor,” you have to be sure of the material. That shouldn’t be an issue when the composers are Berlioz, Ortiz and Barber. The Curtis Symphony Orchestra is up to the task. They will play selections from all three at Saturday’s performance under the direction of veteran conductor Michael Stern and student Benoit Gauthier, Curtis’s Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow.
Grateful for Biggie
The Notorious B.I.G. was a Brooklyn rapper who died an untimely death in the ‘90s before his rap career could evolve to the level of his talent. The Grateful Dead has a devoted fanbase dedicated to its music since its ‘70s heyday. It may not seem like a natural partnership, but at the Grateful for Biggie concert, the mashup is explored by musicians who play the Dead underneath Biggie’s rap lyrics. Surprisingly, it works.
Singer/songwriter Grace Potter was once the frontwoman of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, who released four albums before Potter’s divorce from her bandmate upended the group. But she’s done fine on her own, releasing five albums since the Nocturnals’ 2015 demise. She’s making a tour stop at The Fillmore in support of her latest, last year’s “Mother Road.”
Edgardo Cintron: Mambo Magic
The Philadelphia Clef Club welcomes percussionist Edgardo Cintron to their stage as part of its Jazz Cultural Voices Concert Series. The second-generation Puerto Rican brings his newly-formed band Mambo Magic to showcase the music of Latin greats Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Eddie Palmieri and Spyro Gyra, among others.