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FunTimes Magazine

Colorful & Eventful Autumn

Nov 14, 2023 02:00PM ● By FunTimes Staff

A mild fall is still hanging on with a bit of color. Photo courtesy of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

FunTimes Magazine “Culture + Entertainment” column, Week of November 13, 2023

Experience and indulge in poetry, jazz, art, modern dance, circus acts, Pulitzer-Prize plays, youth workshops, and more. Move, groove, and schmooze your way into the winter holiday season with these engaging free or low-cost autumn activities in the Philadelphia area. Enjoy the fantastic fun of fall, but please take precautions, especially when in groups and indoors, related to the current COVID variants.


The art of jazz…

Thursday, November 16, 2023. Who’s up for a quaint pre-holiday community get-together? Here’s a chance to support your local arts and cultural scene when photographer-artist Steven Taylor and Khadijah Renee host a wine and cheese fundraiser at the 2nd edition of the Ubuntu Fine Art Jazz Series. The proceeds benefit the neighborhood Ubuntu Fine Art gallery, a vibrant modern space highlighting a harmonious combo -- local jazz artists and prize-winning art. $25, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST. Ubuntu Fine Art Gallery, 5425 Germantown Ave. 215-621-6707, or


Emerging poets perform

Thursday, November 16, 2023. For once, you can go to the library and not be quiet. New Voices LIVE – presented by Moonstone Arts Center and Free Library of Philadelphia – will feature rising Philadelphia-area poets, ages 10 to 25. So, let's hear ya! Who’s the next Sonia Sanchez, Major Jackson, Yolanda Wisher, or Ursula Rucker to wax poetic from Philly? Enjoy readings from the Fall 2023 edition of New Voices, a bi-annual publication by Moonstone, which avails opportunities to diverse developing writers through publishing books, poetry readings, and other cultural programs. It includes a monthly reading series and a bi-annual publication, which brings together young poets. The Fall 2023 edition of the New Voices anthology also will hold a companion event, a virtual reading, on Sunday, November 19, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST. Free, but register in advance. For the November 16th New Voice Live in-person event: Free, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. EST. Parkway Central Library/Literature Department. E-mail: [email protected], 215-686-5402 or


Modern dance in step with ‘West Side Story’

Friday, November 17, 2023. Doug Varone and Dancers is a highly acclaimed work of modern dance with the emotionally powerful energy and spirit of Leonard Bernstein’s time-honored musical drama, West Side Story, from 1961. It includes Somewhere, Two Piano Pieces (featuring a solo performed by Varone), and Rise. Free, but register in advance. Two performances: 10:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST. Penn Live Arts, University of Pennsylvania/ Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Zellerbach Theatre, 3680 Walnut St., 215-898-3900 or


Young playwrights step right up

Saturday, November 18, 2023. The Please Touch Museum is the perfect place in Philadelphia for kids (and adults) to let off some steam. Museum Matinee: Saturday!, hosted by the Philadelphia Young Playwrights, is a neat activity for kids to write their plays. Grade school to high school students can try their hand at the theater. Their plays will be performed by adult actors from the Philadelphia Young Playwrights, a local youth literacy organization that promotes the power of the pen in classrooms and the community. Five student-written plays will be performed in two hour-long sessions: 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. EST. Included as part of the general admission: $19 to $22. Memorial Hall, 4231 Avenue of the Republic. 215-581-3181 or


Take poetic photos…

Through Saturday, December 2, 2023. Words and images, through the expression of poetry and photography, are a perfect pairing. Photography/Poetry classes for kids, ages 8 to 13, will get the creative juices flowing. Hosted by the West Park Cultural Center, the sessions focus on different themes weekly on the scenic grounds of Shofuso House and Garden -- a 17th-century-style Japanese house and garden in West Fairmount Park. Kids can create a portfolio of photography and poetry inspired by the authentic Momoyama-style house, koi fish pond under a 75-year-old weeping cherry tree, a hill and pond garden with a tiered waterfall, a tea garden, a traditional tea house, a bathhouse – all on a beautiful garden landscape on more than an acre. For the first time, the instructor won’t ask students to put their cell phones away. A smartphone is required for photo taking. Free, Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST. Shofuso House and Garden, Lansdowne, and Horticulture Drives.  215-473-7810 or

Image from Facebook | UniverSoul Circus

Soul-searching for a good time?

Through Sunday, December 3, 2023. We’re not clowning around: The circus is in town. UniverSoul Circus pulled into Philadelphia recently. It is a whirlwind of flashy daredevil acts like flying motorcycles, music, dance, dynamic costumes, and acrobatics. The show has been described as “the coolest show on earth,” “a must-see” and “jaw-dropping.” And 25 million people who have attended at least one of the 15,000-plus shows over the last three decades may agree. $21 and $40 (ages 12 and older), times vary. 52nd Street and Parkside Avenue, Fairmount Park. or


Fat Ham is Juicy

Friday, November 24, 2023, through Saturday, December 23, 2023. Straight from Broadway to Broad Street, catch Fat Ham, James Ijames’ 2022 Pulitzer Prize-winning play. South Philly’s Ijames won the Pulitzer, based on a virtual production that streamed during the COVID-19 pandemic and a brief Broadway run. It also was nominated for five Tony Awards. It’s a clever modern twist on Shakespeare’s Hamlet set at a backyard barbeque in the South. The main character is Juicy, “who is Black, queer, and soft – and learning to love himself,” according to the promotional material. The ghost of Juicy’s dad sets out to haunt him and seek revenge on Juicy’s uncle, who has now married his widowed mom. It’s a comedy and tragedy rolled into one production. Times vary. $29 to $65. The Wilma Theatre, 265 S. Broad St. E-mail: [email protected], 215-546-7824 or