February 18, 2015 |

Top 5 Events: Free Philly Fun

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This week’s Top 5 cover a variety of events—you can crowd the streets for the Chinese New Year, create poetry inspired by massive sculptures, or grab some pizza and learn about ballet. And best of all, every event this week is FREE! So don’t worry about your wallet taking a hit; drop that cash in your piggy bank or get dinner before an event instead. Grab a friend (or a bunch of friends) and enjoy all the fun for no charge!

Verbal Sculpture: A Poetic Gallery Tour by The Philly Pigeon
When: February 18, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Where: Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, URBN Center Annex, Drexel University, 3401 Filbert Street Cost: FREE!

Get your creative juices flowing! Verbal Sculpture is a slam poetry gallery tour conceived and performed by The Philly Pigeon, a local nonprofit poetry organization. The setting is American sculptor Chakaia Booker’s exhibition Are We There Yet?, featuring large-scale sculptures crafted from recycled tires. Local poets will create poems, or “verbal sculptures,” that are inspired by the artwork (which also includes paintings and prints).  And you can be a part of the poetic pulse of the night. At 6:30, a writers’ open studio will be held where you can respond to prompts written by the resident poets. After observing the various themes of Booker’s work, you can create your own spoken word pieces about the art. Then at 7:00, four of the top poets from The Philly Pigeon will present a curated tour-performance of the Booker exhibition. Don’t miss this fun night of creative discourse and art!

Midnight Lion Dance Performance
When: February 18, 11:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. Where: 10th and Race Streets, Chinatown Philadelphia Cost: FREE!

If you don’t have to be up early Thursday morning, enjoy a night in Chinatown to ring in the Chinese New Year. The Year of the Horse will make way for the Year of the Sheep, and firecrackers will burst on the streets. The Chinese New Year Midnight Parade will be led by the Philadelphia Suns lion dancers. Can’t make it out that night? Don’t worry; there are other ways to celebrate around the city. A Year of the Sheep Parade will be held on the 22nd, or there are various events being held at International House, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, or Independence Seaport Museum.

February Japanese Film Festival
When: February 19 & 26, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Where: Room B6 Stiteler Hall, UPenn, 208 S 37th Street, Philadelphia Cost: FREE!

This year’s Japanese Film Festival at UPenn is centered on dreams and dreaming. So leave your realistic expectations at the door, and step into cinematic worlds of imagination and Japanese culture. Two films are left in the series: Ten Nights of Dreams will be shown on February 19 and Jiro Dreams of Sushi on the 26. Ten Nights of Dreams is based on the novel by Natsume Sōseki and features ten vignettes that dip into the subconscious and present fantastical and weird visions. Sometimes wacky and sometimes nightmarish, this film is an imaginative exploration of the real and unreal. Jiro Dreams of Sushi is more rooted in reality—the documentary follows 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono. Jiro, considered to be the world’s greatest sushi chef, is still on a quest to perfect the art of sushi despite his acclaim and his age. Despite its realism, Jiro Dream of Sushi is a film about chasing dreams and capturing perfection. And, the spectacle of beautiful image after beautiful image of sushi will leave your mouth watering by the end. These great films showings are FREE, so don’t miss them!

A Conversation with Signe Wilkinson
When: February 19, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.  Where: Kelly Writers House Arts Cafe, UPenn, 3805 Locust Walk, Philadelphia Cost: FREE!

Enjoy an afternoon of conversation with editorial cartoonist Signe Wilkinson. Wilkinson is best known for her work at the Philadelphia Daily News, and drew a syndicated daily comic strip for United Media from 2007 to 2011. She was the first female cartoonist to win the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning, served as president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists from 1994-1995, and received a Visionary Woman Award from Moore College of Art & Design. Wilkinson’s talk will focus on “Redrawing Stereotypes” in cartoons. Whether you’re into comic books or the Sunday funnies, this discussion will be an interesting discourse on editorial cartoons, their messages, and their place in the media today. And it’s a great chance to hear from an acclaimed artist in the field for FREE!

BalletX: A Pie, A Pint, & The Process
When: February 21, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Where: Arch Street Meeting House, 320 Arch Street, Philadelphia Cost: FREE! (for Open Arts members)

So you know that en pointe is when ballet dancers are on the tips of their feet, right? But do you know how they do it? Or about the pointe shoe, and how it has been redesigned to allow dancers to stay en pointe for longer periods of time? Head to BalletX to learn about the evolution of the pointe show and contemporary ballet from the artistic staff, including artistic director Christine Cox, choreographer Norbert De La Cruz III, and Pennsylvania Ballet principal dancer Lauren Fadeley. And you can enjoy some pizza and beer (21+) too! This afternoon of audience engagement is great for everyone to enjoy, whether you known what a toe box is or not. It will also feature a demonstration by dancer Andrea Yorita. Be sure to check out BalletX’s Winter Series—discounted student tickets are just $25!

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