In Like Lions: Canary's Spring Arts Picks
Thanks to a welcome weather forecast (impending Tuesday snow notwithstanding), the Canary staff is thawing out, coming out of hibernation, getting out of the office and cramming our calendars with the best of the city’s cultural offerings to keep us entertained well into the warmer months.
Read on to find out where we’ll be this season (you can bet the 2014 Cherry Blossom Festival is at the top of our list) — hope to see you out and about!
—The Canary Staff
Mural Arts Program
Installation begins April 29
(Recommended by Carolyn Huckabay)Those of us who frequent SEPTA in its various forms know that commuting is a study in sameness. Same route, same buildings, same weird guy on the bus who must be avoided. This is why I’m so excited to see Berlin-based abstract artist Katharina Grosse’s psychylustro come to life on SEPTA’s regional rail line this spring. An act of invigoration, psychylustro will be a “real-time landscape painting” in a shock of spray-painted neon hues that ought to catch the attention of those who spend their mornings nose-deep in Candy Crush. (Read more about psychylustro, here.)
Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
Philadelphia International Children’s Festival
April 30 – May 4
(Recommended by Megan Wendell) I’m always excited for opportunities to experience art with my 6-year-old daughter. The first of its kind in the country and now celebrating its 30th year, this festival is a rare and wonderful chance to see acclaimed children’s theater, puppetry and live music from around the world. This year’s artists hail from Australia, England, Michigan, Louisiana and Pennsylvania and bring to us lively marionettes, “electroluminescent puppetry,” shadow play and poetry, and hip-hop and classical music. And the Annenberg’s “Fun Zone” gives kids (and parents) a chance to shake out their wiggles in between shows with arts and crafts, face painting, juggling and more. At $10-$12, or $30 for a weekend pass that includes lunch, this is a great deal for families who love the arts! (Get more information here.)
Arden Theatre Company
March 20-April 20
(Recommended by Megan Wendell)With a cast and creative team of some of my favorite area artists — Scott Greer, James Ijames, Sarah Sanford, Mary Tuomanen and composer James Sugg, to name a few — and the Arden’s claim that their “two year exploration of Anton Chekhov will explode the way American audiences experience his work,” how can I miss this one? I’d seen Chekhov in the past, but it was Lantern Theater Company’s stunning 2010 production of Uncle Vanya that first helped me to connect with his work in a new way. Now I’m excited to see the Arden’s new interpretation of Three Sisters.
April 17-May 11
(Recommended by Rose Mineo)This spring I’m really looking forward to Annapurna at Theatre Exile, running April 17-May 11 and starring Pearce Bunting and Catherine Slusar. Playwright Sharr White is making a name for himself from L.A. to Broadway, so it will be exciting to see what Exile does with this production.
When I’m not ducking into theaters, you’ll find me outside — so I’m absolutely planning to drop into an Impressionism tour at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, N.J. The tours take place every weekend in May.
Asian Arts Initiative
Yowei Shaw’s Really Good Elevator Music
Through March 31
(Recommended by Rachel Olenick)We’ve all seen the YouTube videos of opera singers breaking into song at a shopping mall, but Philly’s Chinatown North has a different kind of pop-up art installation happening through the end of March. Asian Arts Initiative’s artist-in-residence Yowei Shaw is playing “Really Good Elevator Music” on loop at the elevators in the Wolf Building as a welcome replacement for that awkward silence while you’re en route to the 10th floor.
My can’t-miss spring standby, the annual Devon Horse Show and Country Fair (May 22-June 1), is a horse show where you can take people who don’t go to horse shows. The internationally recognized competition is the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the U.S., and they throw in rows of jewelry and fashion vendor stalls, plus a fine art gallery of horse-themed artwork. Watch for the horse people buynig all their gifts for each other at one time, and then beat them to it.
Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia
(Recommended by Carise Mitch; pictured at top)
The annual Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival in Fairmount Park is a cherished tradition of my springs in Philadelphia. The drama of the taiko drums under the glorious clouds of cherry blossoms celebrates art and nature and the turn of the seasons in a way that never fails to thrill me.
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