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FunTimes Magazine

Spice up January

Jan 16, 2024 12:00PM ● By FunTimes Staff

Photo by Randy Giancaterino

FunTimes Magazine, ‘Culture + Entertainment’ column, week of January 15, 2024.

As I write this, the letters on the word January are freezing up. But the best part of the cold is thawing out. So, let’s defrost and get on with the entertainment and merriment waiting for us during one of the colder months. 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 on the rise. Check with the event organizers about their safety protocols, and also any changes due to inclement weather. 


Grand opening of Campaign for Working Families’ building 

Thursday, January 18, 2024. Join Campaign for Working Families (CWF) to cut the official ribbon! CWF has moved into a landmark building that it recently acquired in Philadelphia’s Fairmount section. The larger home office will provide more space for its services and help furnish tax preparation, family stability programming, and public benefits support for low- and moderate-income communities. Check out the celebratory kick-off and official building dedication at CWF’s 6,600-square-foot three-story base of operations. The event also will mark the opening of the 2024 tax season and the organization’s annual Earned Income Tax Credit Day (EITC). The EITC is one of the nation’s most effective anti-poverty programs. So, tax-credit awareness is particularly critical, since more than 50,000 eligible Philadelphians do not claim this credit each year; this results in more than $100 million unclaimed. Under the EITC, a family can get about $7,000 back on its tax returns. Those who are single, with no kids, can receive even more. Attending the kickoff event, or volunteering in the future, help bring awareness about this money-saving tax credit that increases annual gross income for many people facing poverty. Campaign for Working Families helps hardworking families get back millions in EITC returns. Established in 2003, through free tax services and connecting people with public assistance, CWF ensures equitable opportunities for communities in need in Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. Free, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. EST (kickoff program, with a ribbon cutting, at 4 p.m. and a building tour upon request), 935 N. 29th St. (near 29th Street and Girard Avenue). To attend the kickoff or volunteer at CWF: 215-454-6483 or

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Photo courtesy of the Kimmel Center

Groovin’ to his drumbeat

Thursday, January 18, 2024. The best things in life truly are free. Check out the Anwar Marshall Trio -- a delicious musical dish of soul and jazz. Drummer extraordinaire and Philly-born Marshall is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer. His side work landed him two Grammys. He released ‘Cold’ EP in 2022. Free but pre-register, 5 p.m. Kimmel Center/Commonwealth Plaza, 300 S. Broad St., 215-893-1999 or

Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue

Classical and pop swing and bop

Thursday, January 18, 2024 to Saturday, January 20, 2024. Swing into the new year with Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra, under the direction of Yannick Nezet-Seguin. The orchestra will perform works by three legendary composers of the early 20th century. At just 28, Russian-born Igor Stravinsky (1882 to 1971) authored Petrushka, a mix of 16th-century puppet storytelling, Russian folktales, and “his signature bold rhythms and instrumentation that would rock the classical music world.” German-born American composer Kurt Weill (1900 to 1950) wrote his Symphony No. 2, reacting to his exile from Nazi Germany. Brooklyn-born George Gershwin (1898 to 1937) was on the verge of Broadway stardom when he created his Rhapsody in Blue in 1924 blurring the lines of classical and jazz. The works of all three icons come to musical life through masterful orchestration. The performance of the Gershwin masterwork will feature jazz great Marcus Roberts and his Trio. Tickets start at $48, January 18, 7:30 p.m. EST; January 19, 2 p.m. EST & January 20, 8 p.m. EST. Kimmel Center (Verizon Hall), 300 S. Broad St. 215-893-1999, or


Young musicians carry the tune

Saturday, January 20, 2024. Do you want a nice treat? Check out the Temple Music Prep Student Recital Hour, a lively performed by students from the Center for Gifted Young Musicians, individual lesson studios, and the Community Music Scholars Program at Temple Music Prep. The music has not been announced just yet, but hey, we like surprises. Free, 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST. The recital also will be live-streamed on Temple University’s YouTube channel. Temple University Center City, 1515 Market St. (5th Floor), e-mail: [email protected], 215-204-1512 or

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Jazz at its Max 

Sunday, Jan 21, 2024. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO,15 of the best jazz soloists and ensemble players, performs the Max Roach Centennial Celebration, a tribute concert to Max Roach, under the cool hand of Wynton Marsalis. Roach (1924 to 2007), a supreme American jazz drummer, used his music and status as instruments of racial, political, and social justice. In this ode to Roach’s important contributions as a revolutionary musician-composer and civil rights leader, the JLCO genuflects, illuminating the light of his legacy during his centennial. Roach played with the greats of his day -- Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie Miles Davis – working in different musical styles, and ultimately helping to pioneer bebop. He was the founder of the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet. $55 to $85, 5 p.m. EST. Kimmel Center (Verizon Hall), 300 S. Broad St. 215-893-1999 or

Photograph by Wide Eyed Studios

A giant tale of courage

Through Sunday, January 21, 2024. Check out the Arden Children’s Theatre’s production of The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), David Wood’s adaptation of the beloved (1982) Roald Dahl book. Eight-year-old Sophie meets a Big Friendly Giant leading to a whirlwind of activity of surprising kindness and valor in this 90-minute production directed by Whit MacLaughlin. Recommended for ages 5 and older. $20 to $45, times vary. Arden Theatre (F. Otto Haas Stage), 4
0 N. 2nd St. 215-922-1122 or

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Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Rock out at the Meet Me @ The Altar: Say It To My Face Tour concert. This electrifying concert will showcase the rich talents of Meet Me @ The Altar, as they vibe to their chart-topping hits and captivating energy on stage. Enjoy the strong melodies and lyrics that have made Meet Me @ The Altar a powerhouse. $35 to $49, 7:30 p.m. EST. Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South St. 215-922-1011 or

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