India, Africa, France, Italy, the Ukraine, Mexico, Spain, Elvis-era Las Vegas--and even Manayunk--are just some of the exotic locales to be experienced as the Philadelphia Museum of Art embarks on a new series of its celebrated Wednesday Night programs. From July through December, the Museum will proudly host a season of great music, films, tours, performances, demonstrations, dining, and more. The following are some of the stops in this international artistic odyssey:
- Ukrainian Mosaic, on July 9 will showcase the costumes, music, dance, crafts and art of the Ukraine (and a vodka tasting, courtesy of Spirits of Valley Forge). The evening is presented in coordination with the Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center, and will feature a drawing for one round-trip ticket to Kiev, courtesy of Diaspora Travel Enterprises.
- The glories of Europe will be explored during Reviving the Renaissance on July 23, featuring the ancient music of Ensemble Galilei, and the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire's presentation of sword swallowing, sword fighting, as well as scenes from Taming of the Shrew. The Agony and the Ecstasy, the 1965 classic starring Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison, will be the evening's film.
- Namaste India, a celebration of India's 50th year of independence, will take place on July 30. Festive activities will include Shafaatullah Khan on sitar and tabla, a Gallery Talk about An Ivory Throne Leg from Eastern India, sari wrapping, North Indian vocals and music with Samir, Sanghamitra and Dibyarko Chatterjee, contemporary Indian choreography by Ananya, and Satyajit Ray's film Two Daughters.
- All Shook Up shocks with what was new on August 20, with rock'n roll by Beau Coup Blue, a look at Andy Warhol, a slide lecture on Materialism, Leisure and Design: Decorative Arts in the 1950s, and a flea market featuring collectibles, furniture, clothing and jewelry from the '40s through the '70s. Of course, Viva Las Vegas, starring Elvis Presley and Ann Margaret, will set the tone (and tune) for the evening.
- The vibrant cultures of Spain and Central and South America will be available for exploration during Latin Nights on September 3, South of the Border on September 17, and España on November 26. Performances during those evenings will include Edgardo Cintron and Tiempo Noventa on September 3; folkloric dances and traditional Mexican music presented by the Mexican Cultural Center and Borders Books and Music, Bryn Mawr, on September 17; and Flamenco Ole with Julia Lopez and Carlos Rubio on November 26.
- The delights of nearby Manayunk will be featured in Main Street on October 15, including the Christine Havrilla Band (often heard at the Grape Street Pub), a performance by the Mum Puppettheatre, informal modeling of fashions from Main Street's one-of-a-kind boutiques and craft demonstrations. NPR commentator, playwright and author David Sedaris will also be on hand for a reading and book signing, courtesy of Borders Books and Music, Bryn Mawr.
- On December 3, Continent to Continent will highlight the rich strains of African, African American, and Afro-Caribbean culture, with performances and discussion of music in the African American tradition presented by the Philadelphia Orchestra, reggae and African pop by the Kabudi Project, the 1989 film Yaaba, and Caribbean fruits and vegetables courtesy of Indian Rock Produce.
- On October 8, The Sundance Channel Singles Night will feature the Rat Pack Cocktail Party, a sake tasting courtesy of Spirits of Valley Forge, and the 1995 film Kicking and Screaming, with Eric Stoltz, Josh Hamilton and Elliot Gould. Dan Gottlieb, family therapist, WHYY radio host, and Inquirer columnist, will lead a discussion on "Being Single: The Birthplace of the Creative Spirit."
- L'Chaim (To Life) on November 19 will feature Middle Eastern Jewish music with Atzilut, the soulful Jewish a cappella of MIRAJ, a look at the art of Marc Chagall, and a Borders presentation of the acclaimed short documentary Echoes from a Ghost Minyan, followed by a discussion with directors Joseph Van Blunk and Gustave Rosanio.
- On December 10, Perfect Harmony will focus on diverse struggles for peace, equality and tolerance, with the film Celluloid Closet, coed a cappella with Counterparts, choral music from the Philadelphia Gay Mens Chorus, and a Gallery Talk about Thornton Dial's Everybody Got a Right to the Tree of Life.
Wednesday Nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art begin at 5:00 and continue to 8:45 p.m. Gallery Talks are given at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m., and films are shown at 7:10 p.m. Admission to the Museum is $7 for adults and $4 for children ages 5 to 17, students with valid I.D., and senior citizens ages 62 and over. All programs are free after Museum admission (unless otherwise noted). Call (215) 684-7860 for information, and (215) 684-7506 for a free brochure on Wednesday Night programs.
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