Yee Ha! A Country Night...Don't Sweat It!... Surf's Up...Strictly Ballroom...these are only a few of the titles of upcoming Wednesday Nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as the Museum presents another inventive season of music, films, tours, performances, demonstrations and dining. The year will be inaugurated, appropriately enough, with a timely Inaugural Ball on January 15, a black-tie or blue-jeans bash featuring music by the Flamin' Caucasians, the politically incorrect humor of Comedy Sportz, a tour of ceremonial arms and armor, the film Dave with Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver, a sparkling wine tasting courtesy of Margolis/Southern Wines & Spirits, Ltd., and a DJ from WMMR awarding prizes for "First Couple," "Best Political Joke," and more.
The creatively themed evenings will continue from Winter through Spring as Yee Ha! A Country Night (on January 22 with old-time and avant-garde country music by Y'ALL, country-western dancing with Spins Dance Company, a scrimshaw demonstration, Borders Books and Music, Bryn Mawr's presentation of The Discerning Travelers, and the film Coal Miner's Daughter); Critic's Choice (on March 26 with critics Sarah Miller and Gerard Brown of Philadelphia Weekly, Marilyn Russell of WDRE-FM, and Daisy Fried and Jim Quinn of City Paper presenting their picks in film, art, rock, poetry and food); Don't Sweat It! (an aerobicized evening on May 28 with a "step" class and fitness show provided by Planet Reebok of The Plaza at King of Prussia and, naturally, a figure-drawing workshop); Surf's Up (on June 18 with the retro sounds of the After Dinner Mints, a show of summer fashions and beach-ball giveaway sponsored by The Plaza and The Court at King of Prussia, Borders Books & Music, Bryn Mawr's selections of best books for the beach, a tour of 19th-century seascape paintings, and a beer tasting sponsored by Dock Street Brewing Company); and, last but not least, Strictly Ballroom (on June 25 with lots of ballroom dancing to watch, both live and on film, and the chance for everyone to "cut a rug" in the Museum's Great Stair Hall).
Don't worry--despite all these brand-new programs, the schedule still makes room for Wednesday Night's favorite themes. The Art Museum will again provide Wednesday Night revelers with the opportunity to experience the cultures of foreign lands, as well as their own home-grown traditions, during Going German (January 29); A Family Reunion (a celebration of African-American culture and experience on February 19 featuring the Women's Sekere Ensemble, Tribe Performing Arts Entertainment, the Dynamite Demonstration Jump Rope Team, storytelling, woodcarving, the film Waiting to Exhale, and more); A French Symphony (February 26); An Irish Celebration (March 12); and Asian Medley (April 30).
Also continuing will be the Wednesday Night at the Art Museum tradition of showcasing great music and fine film. Jazz FM Wednesdays, sponsored by Jazz FM, Temple University Public Radio, will take place the first Wednesday night of every month and feature such distinguished acts as the Bright Hope Baptist Church Celestial Choir and pianist Dave Burrell (January 8), the Walter Bell Latin Jazz Unit and excerpts from The Wilma Theatre's production of the doo-wop musical Avenue X (February 5), blues with Steve Guyger and the Excellos (March 5), and the Sherry Wilson-Butler Ensemble (April 2). This season's cinematic roster, once more sponsored by the Ritz Theatres Group, will include such varied offerings as Trainspotting (April 9), Eat Drink Man Woman (May 7), and Strictly Ballroom (June 25).
Joining the Wednesday Night cultural mix this season will be a series of readings, storytelling, lectures and music taking place on the third Wednesday of every month and sponsored by Borders Books & Music, Bryn Mawr. These programs will include A Poetry Cabaret with The Underground Poetic Society (March 19), Renaissance Celtic music with Double Indemnity (April 16), and a lecture on revered dancer/choreographer Martha Graham (May 21).
Visitors to Winter and Spring Wednesday Nights may also register to win trips to destinations near and far. Caesars Pocono Resorts will sponsor a giveaway of a romantic three day, two night getaway in a luxurious suite (drawing on February 12 during My Funny Valentine), and Trafalgar Tours and AAA-Travel will present a tour of France's Chateaux, Champagne and Normandy regions (drawing on March 19 during Life is a Cabaret).
Wednesday Nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art begin at 5:00 and continue to 8:45 p.m. Spotlight 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. Call (215) 684-7860 for information and (215) 684-7506 for a free brochure on Wednesday Night programs.
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