Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
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Address: 300 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (Cross street: Manning St)
Neighborhood: Rittenhouse / Logan Circle
Specifics: NFT Pick
Phone: 215-790-5800
Website: www.kimmelcenter.org
Theaters-Performing Arts Centers Opera, ballet & broadway shows.

    
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On Our Radar:
Exhibit at Leonard Pearlstein Gallery
Posted by:  Meg Favreau

First, the disappointing news: This is not an exhibition about what the members of the different castes wore in Huxley's novel. It is, however, an opportunity to see original early 1900s dresses from Drexel's massive costume collection. Specially selected to go with PIFA's early 1900s Parisian theme, these dresses represent a decade when, according to PIFA, "the muted colors and the hourglass silhouettes of the late nineteenth century were abandoned in favor of short skirts, bright 'fauvist' colors and a slim uncorseted body." And not only do you get to see gorgeous dresses (for free!), but this exhibition is also notable because the costume collection is normally one of those by-appointment-only jawns. For PIFA, however, Drexel has put several dresses on display in their Leonard Pearlstein Gallery. Pop a soma and go.

Photo:  Meg Favreau
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Out 'Til Midnight
Posted by:  Meg Favreau

Okay, so PIFA's definition of "late night" is definitely "late night for people who need to go to relieve their babysitters"--the entertainment ends at midnight. But these free weekend evenings at the Kimmel Center do feature a nice selection of DJs and bands, including an apparent battle of sorts on April 30 that pits the raucous West Philadelphia Orchestra against a similar band from Chicago, Mucca Pazza. There’s a cash bar, too, in case you want to get sauced under that crazy fake Eiffel Tower. Or, better yet, see the entertainment, and then head to Bob & Barbara's, or the Tritone, or McGlinchey's...anywhere, really, after midnight. Assuming you don't have to get back for the babysitter.

Photo:  Meg Favreau
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Street Party Like No Other
Posted by:  Meg Favreau

Philadelphia is a city of many street fairs. Events that boast bands, food, and vendors pop up all over as the weather gets warm. But PIFA is managing to put pretty much everything except Fourth of July on the Parkway to shame. On April 30, they're bringing food, yes. And vendors. And music, sure--but this street fair is headlined by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. Oh, and that's not to mention the public garden, trampoline show, and giant ferris wheel that are rolling onto Broad Street. Hear all that, other street fests? You need to step up your game.

Photo:  Meg Favreau
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April 25: The Perfect Flower
Posted by:  Meg Favreau

Are you ready for some festival-on-festival action? Because The Perfect Flower, a performance that combines dance with "steel motion sculptures" to illustrate "survival in the natural world" is part of both PIFA and the Philadelphia Science Festival (hey, we have a science festival!). And this isn't just some pretend-you're-a-flower-in-elementary-school dancing; the choreography was developed in collaboration with researchers from the California Academy of Sciences. The Perfect Flower has two performances on April 25, and entry is free with admission to the Academy of Natural Sciences, which you should go to if you haven't been recently anyway. (Hello, dioramas and dinosaurs!)

Photo:  Meg Favreau
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New Play Festival
Posted by:  Meg Favreau

One of the best things about PIFA is the amount of free content the festival has rolled out. And it's not just outdoor concerts and a couple of food samples--fairly standard free-event fare--but in some cases, full theater performances. The no-cost PIFA New Play Festival (running 4/20-4/23) features two one-acts created with PIFA's turn-of-the-century Parisian theme in mind. The winning selections are described as "experimental one-act plays that border on the grotesque," which is a description I love with all the darkness in my heart. Wait, I think I love this description of one of the plays even more: "a woman and man role-playing as Marilyn Monroe and Groucho Marx engage in various acts of carnal lust." Uh, bring the kids.

Photo:  Meg Favreau
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Eat Like The French
Posted by:  Meg Favreau

There was a time when "French food" was pretty much synonymous with "the best food." And even though other cuisines have crept in and come to be held in as high regard, French food is still some of the most delicious, succulent, and expertly prepared stuff you can find in Philadelphia. But what if you want to eat French cuisine from France? Well, during PIFA, you can get about as close as you can without a plane ticket, as several local restaurants have paired up with guest French chefs in a sort of culinary buddy system. Bistrot La Minette, for example, has a four-course $40 prix-fixe menu created with Chef Joseph Viola, winner of the Un des Meilleurs Ouvier de France award. You'll have to forgive me for this one, but I have to say it: escar-go-go-go make some reservations.

Photo:  Meg Favreau
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Silent Films + Live Soundtracks
Posted by:  Meg Favreau

I love it when people perform live soundtracks for silent films, which is why I love that one of PIFA's events is just that. At the Kimmel Center on April 29, you can check out Le Voyage dans la Lune (a 1902 French film that the Smashing Pumpkins's “Tonight Tonight” video was based on) and Buster Keaton's Sherlock Jr. Music is courtesy of Martha Graham Cracker and "the kids of Independent Rock," which I assume is an organization that teaches music to children and not just a group of random kids birthed from alternative musicians. Although, I suppose, those things do not need to be mutually exclusive.

Photo:  Meg Favreau
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Arts of the Circus
Posted by:  Meg Favreau

There is the circus as many of us think of it: Garish clowns that terrify as many children as they amuse, sad elephants plodding along wearing tiny hats, mangy caged lions shuddering at whip cracks. But then, then there are the circus arts. This is where the true tradition and magic of the circus lives, with acrobats, jugglers, and other supremely talented physical performers. And lucky for us, the circus arts are a primary part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, featuring everything from international acrobatic troupes to the opportunity to try your own hand at the trapeze at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts. It's like all the best of the circus, with no sad elephants in sight.

Photo:  Meg Favreau
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Speak The Language
Posted by:  Meg Favreau

Parlez-vous Francais? If you don't, you can...at least a little. And I'm not talking about the crap you can pick up from commercials and the like (although repeating "c'est si bon" and "merde" makes for oh-so-interesting conversation). As part of PIFA, Alliance Francais is offering free ten-minute French lessons every day at the Kimmel Center at 5 pm, each centered around a particular topic. They won't make you fluent (I *think* – maybe the teachers really are that good). But they should at least give you the tools to be a better pick-up artist, improve the way you pronounce your order at Bistro La Minette, or realize how poorly I've used commonly known French in this write-up. C'est magnifique.

Photo:  Meg Favreau
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Fine French Wine
Posted by:  Meg Favreau

Sponsored Post: Free alcohol is a rare thing. Sure, you might be at an open-bar wedding--after you bought the newly minted couple a wedding gift. Or maybe, just maybe you get a free drink out of a bar by signing up for its mailing list (side note: Go to the Raven Lounge). And yes, a good First Friday romp can get you plenty buzzed. But can you imagine free wine available four days a week for almost a month? Mon Dieu! That's what's happening soon, though, as part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. The Wine & Spirits stores are sponsoring free French wine tastings Thursdays through Sundays, April 9 until May 1 at the Kimmel Center. And if you do try something you like, the bottles will be available for sale on-site--you certainly can't say that about First Friday. Stay tuned for updates on other interesting events as Not For Tourists explores the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts through May 1, with PIFA's support.

Photo:  Meg Favreau
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