March 25, 2015 |

Top 5 Events: Appreciating the Arts

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In a world where technology seems to be creeping further and further into every aspect of society and our lives, the arts still hold important cultural and societal value. And that doesn’t mean ancient statues or paintings that art history labels as important (although they’re cool too); it means everything that people create and share, and you don’t have to be an expert in painting techniques or dance to appreciate and engage in the arts. This week’s Top 5 captures some of the creative and artistic endeavors going on around Philly, with everything from theater to hip-hop for you to enjoy.

Selections from the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival
When: March 26, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Where:  International House, 3701 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia Cost: $7 each

This week, International House is showing selections from the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, which is a collection of fiction, documentary, and animated films about human rights. The first film being presented is A Quiet Inquisition, which follows the ethical dilemma of a Nicaraguan OB GYN who must choose whether to follow a new law that bans all abortions or to provide the care that she believes can save a woman’s life. The second film, Private Violencedepicts two women who are domestic violence survivors and pose provocative questions for addressing this societal issue. Lastly, Sepideh – Reaching for the Stars documents the story of Sepideh, a young Iranian woman who dreams of becoming an astronaut despite the societal and familial pressure she feels to check her ambition. All three screenings tell captivating stories of people rising above their situations, so be sure to catch at least one of these inspiring films!

Wednesday Nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
When: March 25, 5:00 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia Cost: Pay what you wish

Wednesday nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art aren’t your typical experience. You can get creative at art-making workshops, get your poses on at a yoga session, play games, explore the galleries, or enjoy regional artists and musicians. This week’s museum-at-night-exploration includes poets, performers, and scholars who will guide visitors through an evening inspired by Represent: 200 Years of African American Art. A multimedia piece explores the historic impact of the MOVE bombing of 1985, Tracie Morris will present original poetic works, and a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon will allow visitors to help improve how African American artists are represented online. Grab your friends and don’t miss this fun night at the museum!

JT Hip-Hop Workshop
When: March 28, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Where: Headlong Dance Studios, 1170 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia Cost: $20

This hour-and-a-half-long dance session will have you dancing like Justin Timberlake. Ok, maybe not exactly like JT, but pretty close. You’ll be doing slides, shoulder shrugs, spins, and any other move that the master beat-boxer, singer, and dancer pulls out in his music videos. Don’t worry if you don’t have dance experience–the combination are easy to follow and instructors will break down the steps for the routines. Past and present hits will be the soundtrack for the session, and you’ll be inspired to move with the fun choreography lined up. Don’t miss this chance to celebrate the work of Timberlake and to spend the afternoon dancing. 

The Gender Weave Project
When: Through March 29 Where: Mt. Airy Art Garage, 11 West Mt. Airy Avenue, Philadelphia Cost: Free!

In observance of Women’s History Month, the Mt. Airy Art Garage presents “The Gender Weave Project,” an exhibition featuring the work of Moore College of Art & Design students. It will also feature the work of professional artists like Carol Loeffler, Arleen Olshan, and Kathryn Pannepacker. All of the works explore gender and identity, focusing on the respective artist’s own relationships to those categories. Art forms and approaches vary; some of the women employ photography, and others present paintings. Traditional depictions of gender and identity are on display, but so are convention-challenging pieces and ones the explore the multiple identities one person can harbor. All of the works share one similarity, though: they all seek to raise awareness of and overcome social prejudices and misconceptions. This is a great opportunity to enjoy contemporary and captivating art for free!

Hamlet at The Wilma Theater
When: March 25 through April 19 , regular museum hours Where: 265 South Broad Stree, Philadelphia Cost: $10

Hamlet is one of Shakespeare‘s most renowned plays, following indecisive Hamlet as he struggles to make a decision about just about anything. The fight for the throne of Denmark unfolds in the background as the play explores morality and vengeance. But the Wilma Theater isn’t interested in the historicity of centuries ago–instead, their rendition places the intricate mental musings of Hamlet into a 21st century context. Hamlet is played by accomplished actress Zainab Jah in this modern twist on the classic tale. Student tickets are discounted at $10, so be sure to catch this entertaining and innovative approach to one of Shakespeare’s most popular tragedies. 

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