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FunTimes Magazine

Dancin’ into the new year

Jan 01, 2024 10:00AM ● By FunTimes Staff

Philadelphia celebrated its first public kinara sculpture display on the first day of Kwanzaa in a December 26th ceremony at City Hall. Photo by Tu Huynh

FunTimes Magazine, week of January 1, 2024: ‘Culture + Entertainment’ Column

Look in the rearview mirror: 2023 is reflectively waving goodbye. But the promise of an exciting new year beckons. Let’s swing open the door of 2024 (Yes, we have rhymes here at FunTimes). Here are a few entertaining ways to get the year started. So, listen closely, January is calling. But don’t forget: When event-going, please take precautions, especially when in groups and indoors, with the current COVID variants and other infectious health threats. Check with the event organizers about their safety protocols.


A book & EP release: A double dose of Lavonne Nichols 

Saturday, January 13, 2024. Call it a double booking. Rising recording star Lavonne Nichols is rolling out a dynamic double serving of music and prose at an uplifting concert and book release/discussion at World Café Live. It promises to be an entertaining and educational experience, with the power to lift the soul from the gutter most to the right uttermost. Ink & Sound Unleashed: Lavonne Nichols EP and Book Release will celebrate Nichols’ new EP and book, “Uncaged.” Enjoy melodies with messages of faith, hope, and healing. The event is an expression of resilience, empowerment, and the transformative power of the arts. Her music is infused with gospel, R&B, and Afrobeats, In 2020, she released "Trust," a gospel single reflecting her unwavering faith and her diverse range. In 2022, Nichol’s single, "I Choose to Win," flaunted her flexibility, blending soul and R&B. She has worked with Gloria Gaynor at the legendary Apollo Theater, on platforms like Radio One's One Love Cruise "New Artist Spotlight." and at community events. She has participated in the Stellar Award-winning music video, "Nobody Greater," by Vashawn Mitchell. She has hosted and performed on the stages of the City of Philadelphia, the Democratic National Convention (DNC), the Hero Thrill Show, and our FunTimes Magazine. Off stage, she is a special events coordinator and virtual event host at this magazine. Nichols also is a certified life coach and multi-media professional. She’s the founder of Say Something Good LLC, an endeavor supporting women's healing journeys. She is a professional speaker, women’s empowerment and trauma recovery coach, and certified ACEs trainer. $20. Register. Doors open at 6 p.m. EST; performances: 7:30 p.m. EST., followed by a book discussion of “Uncaged.” The Lounge at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St.,, or or 215-222-1400.

Message music with soul

Wednesday, January 3, 2024 & Friday, January 5, 2024. Tune into Arts Access TV featuring Sistahs Attune Winter Virtual Performance By Women’s Coalition for Empowerment, Inc. Enjoy the refreshing sounds of groups like Philadelphia’s Children of Adam Band, a 14-member “New World Music” band, performing original PMB or Positive Message Bearing Music. The sound is a captivating blend of jazz, funk, R&B, soul, Latin, African, Middle Eastern, and the spoken word. Sistahs Attune vocalists include Michelle Ray, Monica Fleurette, Ella Gahnt, and Shekhinah B, as well as musicians Tym Johnson, Chriz Burton, and Erica Mack.  See this concert and other performances by Philadelphia’s diverse organizations and artists weekly online or on TV. Free, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. EST. Arts Access TVPHLgovTV (Comcast channels 64 and 1164, Verizon channels 40 and 41) in the Philadelphia area. 215-686-8446 or


On the write college path

Raise your iPhones if you’re a high school student, and need help with your college admissions essay. No worries; the youth literacy nonprofit, Mighty Writers, is here for you. Mighty Writers is all about reading and writing. From getting your creative juices flowing to editing your essay, get your review by the Mighty Essay Team within two weeks of submitting your draft. Just fill out and submit a form online to Mighty Writers, 267-239-0899 or [email protected].


‘Canvas of Dreams’ exhibit tour at City Hall

Friday, January 5, 2024. “Canvas of Dreams” is a new art exhibit focusing on inspirational pieces by Individuals with disabilities. Join curator and Norwegian-born professional artist and photographer Lene Dronen, director of the Cultural Arts Center of SpArc Philadelphia in North Philly, for an engaging “Artist Walk and Talk” tour. One of Dronen’s passions is teaching art and photography to individuals with disabilities. Canvas of Dreams is designed to foster an understanding of people with disabilities through art while connecting them to the larger world. The exhibit is organized by the city’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and the Cultural Arts Center of SpArc Services, which supports people with disabilities. Free, but register in advance, 4 p.m. EST to 5 p.m. EST. City Hall (4th Floor, northeast corner), 1400 John F. Kennedy Blvd. 215-686-8446 or [email protected].


‘Get Ready’ for some high energy!

Wednesday, January 3, 2024 to Sunday, January 21, 2024. AIN'T TOO PROUD – The Life and Times of The Temptations is in town. And for the record, the members of The Temptations are as interesting off-stage as they were on stage. A New York Times critic even called the show “pretty close to perfection.” As the promotional material notes: “AIN'T TOO PROUD tells the story of brotherhood, family, loyalty, and betrayal, as the group's personal and political conflicts threatened to tear them apart during a decade of civil unrest in America.” See the dazzling Broadway musical showcasing The Temptations’ road from Motown to music’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. With their slick dance moves and harmonies, the Temps rode Motown’s musical wild wave in the 1960s and 1970s. They amassed 42 Top-10 hits including 14 that peaked at number one. The legendary quintet gifted the world such time-honored pop gems as “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” “Get Ready,” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” The show has been nominated for 12 Tony® Awards and was the winner of the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography. Appropriate for ages 13 and older. Tickets start at $27. Show times vary. Academy of Music, 240 S Broad St., 215-893-1999 or


Sing & dance to Disney

Friday, January 12, 2024. It's a night of Disney songs from the 1990s and 2000s eras. Enjoy "Be Our Guest: The Disney DJ Night,” a national touring DJ dance party for adults featuring classics from The Lion King and Hannah Montana. The tour features DJs spinning the hits from Disney Channel original movies and soundtracks. Enjoy themed Disney cocktails, audience members in costume, and a chance to go on stage to lip sync to a favorite song. Tickets start at $38, 10 p.m. EST. Brooklyn Bowl Philadelphia, 1009 Canal St. or



Saturdays, January 6 & 13, 2024. The Philly Goat Project’s motto is “Goats for the greater good.” Can’t argue with that. The nonprofit has created an innovative way to recycle holiday trees: Hungry goats. The Philly Goat Project’s annual Christmas Tree Cycle at The Farm at Awbury Arboretum is a real lesson in sustainability. They’re like four-legged shredders. So, feed the goats! $20 donation, noon to 3 p.m. EST. After recycling, goat-style, check out a few of the farm’s more than 30 public gardens and historic landscapes, a fire pit with free s’mores, free hot cocoa, farm Olympics games for kids, and a petting area with the event’s stars – the goats. The Farm at Awbury Arboretum, One Awbury Rd. in the Germantown section. 215-849-2855,