Skip to main content

FunTimes Magazine

Whet Your Appetite For Spring Events

Apr 02, 2024 04:00PM ● By FunTimes Staff

FunTimes Magazine ‘Culture + Entertainment’ column, Week of April 1, 2024

   “The Earth is what we all have in common.” — Writer Wendell Berry

April is a lot of things. One of them is green. So, FunTimers, read on for low-cost, or free events, mostly focusing on earthy events that go a long way to preserving our environment during the timely observances of Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 26) this month. Spring into action: Plant a tree, pick up your trash, walk more, recycle. And don’t forget: When event-going, please take precautions, especially when in groups and indoors, with the current COVID-19 variants and other infectious health threats. Check with the event organizers about their safety protocols, and also any changes due to inclement weather. 

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation

Saturday in the park…

Saturday, April 6, 2024. Philly Spring Cleanups are taking over Philadelphia in April, as the city gets green and clean. Roll up your sleeves and make a difference in your neighborhood. Organized by the city’s Parks and Recreation department, it’s a clean sweep at these area parks during the first week of the month: Tacony Creek Park, 5180 Bingham St., 9 a.m. EST to 2 p.m. EST. Historic Rittenhouse Town, 208 Lincoln Drive, 9 a.m. EST to noon EST. Wissahickon Watershed. Lincoln Drive will be closed, from Wissahickon Avenue to Ridge Avenue for a big litter cleanup. Organized by Friends of the Wissahickon and Parks & Recreation. Register to help volunteer. All tools and supplies provided. or


The Black maternal workshop is the birthplace of ideas

Friday, April 5, 2024. The online 7th Annual Black Maternal Health Conference -- the largest gathering in the United States that addresses global Black maternal health outcomes – will premiere Black Motherhood Through the Lens -- filmmaker Dr. Ade Osinubi’s award-winning documentary. The film examines the informative birthing journey of four Black women, navigating the reproductive and maternal healthcare system, from conception to postpartum. Discuss the film with the producer after the screening. The conference is a timely warm-up for Black Maternal Health Week observed April 11-17. It is a pressing issue, especially since Black women are far more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than White women, and the fact that 80 percent of pregnancy deaths are preventable. The conference is designed to identify the ways health professionals can improve the Black maternal health experience and how systemic racism impacts maternal health outcomes for Black birthing people. The summit also encourages dialogue and advocacy to improve Black maternal healthcare. A theme this year will be technology’s influence and innovations in tackling the maternal health crisis. Hosted by Tufts University’s School of Medicine, nine maternal care and advocacy experts will lead the engaging virtual discussions. Conference: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST; film premiere: 4:45 p.m. EST to 7 p.m. EST. Pre-register, $15 to $25.

Read also:

Maternal Health Matters Centering Black Mamas and Babies

Maternal Health Matters: Centering Black Mamas and Babies

The miracle of childbirth should be a time of joy and anticipation. Yet, for Black mothers in the United States, it's often overshadowed by a chilling reality: they are two to three times... Read More » 



Hancock tribute hits high note 

Friday, April 5, 2024. Rockit with the best of Herbie Hancock in The Sounds of Herbie  Hancock’s ‘Maiden Voyage,’ a concert by pianist Junius Bervine and The  Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble. Jam to the music of the Grammy Award-winner featuring his best offerings including the catchy 1983 electronic instrumental, “Rockit,” which later helped to legitimize hip-hop. Vibe to  Hancock’s jazz hits “Watermelon Man,” “Maiden Voyage,” and “Cantaloupe  Island.” It’s a fitting tribute to the pianist-composer-bandleader who played among jazz giants like Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins. Free, 6 p.m. EST to  7 p.m. EST. Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Ave. E-mail:  [email protected], 215-247-0476 or

Philly Gumbo 

The great Gumbo-laya of funk 

Sunday, April 7, 2024. Gumbo is a tasty soup or stew. That precisely describes Philly Gumbo who will stir up a pot of its homemade “gumbo mix”  seasoned with New Orleans R&B and Mardi Gras anthems, blues, reggae,  funk, and soul. And it’s done in the New Orleans style of The Neville  Brothers. The songs are just as interesting as the musicians. Enjoy New  Orleans anthems like “Iko Iko,” “Hey Pocky Way,” and “Big Chief.” Philly  Gumbo has graced the Philadelphia music-scape for four funk-filled decades. The band has been mainstays at the Atlantic City Summer Jazz  Festival, Musikfest, Jambalaya Jam, Jam On The River, WRTI-FM’s Groovin’ In The Park, and The West Oak Lane Jazz & Arts Festival. Philly  Gumbo has opened for greats such as Dr. John, Buddy Guy & Jr. Wells, Rick Danko & Levon Helm of The Band, and Mutabaruka. Philly Gumbo members have performed with Wilson Pickett, Bo Diddley, and Big Youth. Free, 3:30 p.m. EST, Kimmel Center/ Commonwealth Plaza, 300 S. Broad  St. 215.893.1999 or


Jazz, gospel, and the blues unite 

Sunday, April 7, 2024. Composer Terence Blanchard is offering up new music from his history-making Fire Shut Up In My Bones, the first opera written by a Black composer ever staged at the Metropolitan Opera. This  “Opera in Jazz” chronicles a struggling young boy as he tries to create his own identity. It captured the 2023 GRAMMY Award for best opera recording. Terence Blanchard: Fire Shut Up in My Bones with The E Collective and Turtle Island Quartet features vocalists Justin Austin and Adrienne Danrich. Blanchard’s compositions are a musical melting pot of jazz, gospel, blues, and big band. His music has been highlighted in director Spike Lee’s Malcolm X and Black Klansman as well as The Woman King. $45 to $85, 5 p.m. EST. Kimmel Center/ Verizon Hall, 300 S  Broad St. 215.893.1999 or


Airport artwork needs your finishing touch  

By Friday, April 19, 2024. Just think: You get to influence a piece of  artwork at the Philadelphia International Airport, where thousands of travelers will see it. We’re talkin’ about the first impressions of Philadelphia when visitors step off of the airplane and into the airport. The City of  Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy (OACCE)  is asking for your help by voting on how to complete a public art piece that will be installed in the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), through the  City’s Percent for Art program. The commissioned artwork by Serena  Saunders, “Up, Up, and Away,” will consist of a three-dimensional wall installation, a floor tile installation, and a mural above the ceiling. The wall installation will feature 10 hand-painted circles of imagery that reflect the spirit of Philadelphia. That’s where you come into the picture: Just fill out an online survey focusing on 10 images that will best represent  Philadelphia. The most popular selections will be incorporated into the final painting. Pick from artist Saunders’ 15 Philly images, based on community suggestions covering the themes of transportation, activism,  Black joy, nature, grittiness, murals, community, and unity. Saunders, who was selected from among 111 artists for the project, will hand-paint them into the blank circles to finish the artwork. The city’s Percent for Art program designates that one percent of the total dollar amount of any construction project that includes City of Philadelphia government funds be dedicated to the commissioning of site-specific public art. The airport's “Up,  Up, and Away” top-10 online survey closes Friday, April 19, 2024.  215-686-8446 or

Photo courtesy of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society 

Pop up for a good cause 

Through the fall. Pop-up gardens are sprouting like flowers locally. Enjoy pet-friendly garden eateries featuring a bar, restaurant, events, games, and a community garden at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) Pop-Up Gardens at Manayunk and South Street. Check out the meticulously manicured outdoor gardens of impressive plants and flowers, fabulous food and drinks, a giant TV screen, and fun entertainment. Available are Vegetarian, vegan, and meat-based options,  plus water bowls and treats for the dogs. The gardens at Manayunk will feature native North American plants like eastern woodlands, an oak savannah, and woodland edges. The Pop Ups’ proceeds will support the mission of the nonprofit PHS to promote health and well-being through year-round greening work in the Philadelphia region. The Pop-Up Gardens are beautified with many of the reimagined greenery and exhibits from the recent PHS Philadelphia Flower; it’s part of the organization’s sustainability efforts. Also, take advantage of The Pop Up Gardens’ free Plant Swap events on the first Monday monthly in Manayunk, and the first Tuesday on  South Street. At the South Street Pop-Up, score with new plants thanks to Solo Real Estate, a Center City-based real estate company. Pop-ups:  Weekdays Daily, 10 a.m. EST to 10 p.m. EST in Manayunk, 106  Jamestown Ave., and 10 a.m. EST to 11 p.m. EST on South Street, 1438  South St.; plus weekend hours, which vary at both locations. Free entry and giveaways. 215-988-8800 or

Play it up at Smith Memorial Playground 

Saturday, April 6, 2024. Play-A-Palooza at Smith Memorial Playground is like a great big kids’ carnival. Frolic with nature on 6.5 glorious acres at  Smith Playground. Enjoy arts and crafts, games, music, nature play,  giveaways, snacks, free books, and community resources. Free admission,  10 a.m. EST to 2 p.m. EST. 3500 Reservoir Dr. in East Fairmount Park.  Register in advance here


Baskets & brews at weaving workshop  

Tuesday, April 9, 2024. If you are up for an evening of crafting with natural materials, then check out the educational workshop, Basketry Basics and  Brews at the Wissahickon Brewing Company. Make a simple basket to use as home decor, toy containers, biodegradable planters, and more.  Proceeds go to the Coyote Tracks Programs Scholarship Fund, which annually provides thousands of dollars to local youth and families, so they can participate in Nature Connection programming. Ideal for ages 8 and up, but families with younger kids are welcome to partake. $50, 7 p.m. EST to 9  p.m. EST. Wissahickon Brewing Co., 3705 W. School House Ln. 215-483- 8833 or