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December 11, 2014

Zany Swiss Troupe Mummenschanz Brings Fantastic Entertainment Suitable For All Ages To The Annenberg Center, December 11-14


Theatrical Swiss performing arts troupe Mummenschanz arrives at the Annenberg Center this weekend. (Photo by Pia Zanetti)

Silent storytelling is almost a lost art, but it’s very much alive and well when Mummenschanz lights up the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts this weekend, December 11-14.

The Swiss-based troupe offers a one-of-a-kind performance that employs shadow, light and the clever manipulation of common objects, to present extraordinary scenarios that delight and amaze both young and old.

The show begins with a giant hand poking through the stage curtains, to elicit laughter and beckon you into the ensuing experience. Then comes a series of segments where performers don masks and everyday items, such a toilet paper, felt and a corrugated tube, to create abstract shapes and whimsical illusions that are full of fun and surreal metaphor.

Each segment offers a fantastic voyage into the imagination, where silent actors tell stories that speak a common language understood by any culture.

The company’s been at it for 40 years, and it’s go plenty of tricks up its sleeve, many of which are old favorites, like “Slinky Man” and “Clam Masks”.

Everything is decidedly low-tech, which is a rarity these days. Yet even a dedicated digital native can be readily drawn into the wacky and wonderful world that is Mummenschanz.

Tickets, starting at $20, are available online.

When: December 11-14
Where: Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut Street
Cost: $20-$75
More info:

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December 10, 2014

New Restaurant Alert: Iron Chef Jose Garces To Debut The Olde Bar At The Former Old Original Bookbinder’s In Old City On New Year’s Eve, December 31


Philadelphia’s Iron Chef Jose Garces will open The Olde Bar on New Year’s Eve in the former home of Old Original Bookbinder’s, a historic landmark in Old City. (Photo by Peter Woodall, Hidden City Daily)

Philadelphia’s Iron Chef Jose Garces has undoubtedly proven to be one of this city’s original culinary leaders. From his first restaurant, Amada, to the host of others under his Garces Group umbrella — Tinto, Distrito, Village Whiskey, Garces Trading Company, J.G. Domestic, Rosa Blanca and Volver — the superchef has served up key developments in Philadelphia’s dining landscape, and he’s not done yet.

Now, Garces and his team are set to revive the long-dormant Old Original Bookbinder’s space in Old City. It’s there that the celebrity chef will base his catering and events division, and open The Olde Bar oyster saloon to celebrate the landmark’s time-honored previous tenant.

Shuttered since March 2009, Bookbinder’s seafood house was a Philadelphia mainstay in its heyday and still retains a name for itself via a name license on a line of canned soups.

Later this month, the storied space will see new life as a modern oyster bar and restaurant under the guidance of Garces and an all-star team.

The Food and Drink

In the kitchen and from the raw bar, diners can expect updates on classic seafood dishes like fried clams, snapper soup, crab cakes and more from Chef Garces and Chef de Cuisine Mike Siegel, formerly Chef de Cuisine at Village Whiskey at Revel.

A carefully curated bar program for The Olde Bar is coming, too, with cocktails that will pay homage to Bookbinder’s history in more ways than one. Heading up the cocktail program, spirits consultant Erich Weiss is the the grandson of Old Original Bookbinder’s proprietor John M. Taxin.

Also on board to develop drinks is Charlotte Voisey, who has been recognized by no less than the James Beard Foundation for her contributions to mixology.

New Year’s Eve Debut

All of these elements are scheduled to come together in time for a grand debut on New Year’s Eve with a party from 8 to 10 p.m., ending in time to make the short trip to the waterfront to see the New Year’s Eve fireworks over the Delaware River.

The ticketed party includes a full open bar, a sumptuous-sounding buffet-style menu and live music from The York Street Hustle, a 10-piece soul and Motown band.

Tickets, $195 per person (including tax and gratuity), are available for purchase online.

In early January, The Olde Bar will open with regular operating hours Sunday to Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Note, too, that seating will be walk-in only.

Stay tuned for more on this latest opening from one of Philadelphia’s finest.

Coming Soon: The Olde Bar
When: Opening early January; New Year’s Eve Preview, Wednesday, December 31, 8-10 p.m.
Where: 125 Walnut Street
More info:

[Photo by Peter Woodall, Hidden City Daily]

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December 10, 2014

Tonight Picks: Spirits And Suds With Santa Bar Crawl, Stag And Doe Night In Chestnut Hill, The Philly Pops! Christmas Spectacular, Winterfest At Penn’s Landing And More

After work, watch the falling snow flurries from the porch at the lodge at RiverRink Winterfest. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

After work, watch the falling snow flurries from the porch at the lodge at RiverRink Winterfest. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

With Christmas just a little more than two weeks away, tonight is the perfect night to make progress on your Christmas shopping list.

Luckily, Christmas Village at Love Park continues to provide shoppers with a cool treasure trove of goods and Chestnut Hill hosts its second Stag and Doe shopping night. Hot chocolate and retail, check.

The East Passyunk neighborhood spreads cheer tonight with its annual Spirits and Suds with Santa bar crawl, which hits 13 bars throughout the neighborhood — wear your most festive holiday attire!

The Philly Pops continue the tradition of filling Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center with holiday tunes during the annual Christmas Spectacular holiday concert.

Read on for our top picks for tonight.

New Roundup: How To Spend Your Holiday Nights in Philly

Check out our new roundup of how to spend your holiday nights in Philly. After the sun sets, visit tried-and-true spots like the Macy’s Christmas Light Show or spend your evening at a new holiday attraction like Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest. Click here to plan your night using our 18 picks for after-dark holiday happenings.

When: Wednesday, December 10
Where: Various Locations
Cost: Varies

Spirits and Suds with Santa Bar Crawl

Celebrate the holiday season with festive food and drinks at East Passyunk Avenue’s Spirits and Suds with Santa bar crawl. From 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., 13 bars throughout the neighborhood are opening their doors to revelers and serving up festive cocktails, craft beer and bar bites on a discount. For a ticket fee of $5, enjoy $3 beer and $4 cocktails at all participating bars. Tickets are available online and at South Philly Bar and Grill tonight. Registration will take place at South Philly Bar and Grill from 5 to 7 p.m. The full list of participating bars is available here.

When: Wednesday, December 10, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Where: Participating Bars Throughout East Passyunk
Cost: $5 Ticket Fee; $3 beer, $4 cocktails

Blue Cross RiverRink Wintefest

Have you been to Winterfest yet this year? It’s been completely overhauled from last year and it’s amazing. As always the rink is great, but the real showstopper this winter is the all-new Lodge, which is literally like a ski chalet in the middle of downtown Philadelphia. There’s a front porch with rocking chairs overlooking the rink, fire pits, and a winter beer garden outside. Inside, there’s cozy leather couches, arcade games, hot chocolate, adult beverages and so much more. Check out our brand new photo tour of the top reasons you need to visit.

When: Wednesday, December 10, until 10:30 p.m.
Where: Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
Cost: Pay as you go

Stag and Doe Night in Chestnut Hill

Enjoy Christmas carols, refreshments and holiday shopping discounts at Chestnut Hill’s Stag and Doe shopping night along Germantown Avenue. The shopping event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Tip: Also keep an eye out for Santa Claus. Guests of Stag and Doe Nights are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy or book to benefit Chestnut Hill Cares: Give a Toy, Share a Book – Feel the Joy.

When: Wednesday, December 10, 6-9 p.m.
Where: 7900-8700 Blocks of Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill
Cost: Pay as you go

The Philly Pops! Christmas Spectacular

Tonight at 8 p.m., the Pops’ Christmas Spectacular treats guests to a special mix of joyous choirs, merry sing-alongs and a special visitor from the North Pole. The sounds of the season will fill Verizon Hall in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets for tonight’s performance start at just $33.

When: Wednesday, December 10, 8 p.m.
Where: Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Verizon Hall, Broad and Spruce streets
Cost: $33 and up

Pay-What-You-Wish Wednesday at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Spend your Wednesday night at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as it continues its pay-what-you-wish Wednesday promotion. The weekly event takes a festive spin tonight with holiday card making, in addition to regular offerings like yoga, themed tours and more.

When: Wednesday, December 10, 5-8:45 p.m.
Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost: Pay what you wish

Dilworth Park Ice Rink

Make the most of the season and don a pair of ice skates at the ice rink at Dilworth Park. (Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)

More, below. (more…)

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December 10, 2014

Score Deals At More Than 25 Graduate Hospital Spots During Cheer! A Shop Local Holiday Event On South Street West, Saturday, December 13


Shop the Graduate Hospital neighborhood, including shops like Mushmina (shown), on South Street West this Saturday, December 13. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

With a whole host of boutiques, small businesses and independent restaurants all concentrated within a few short blocks, the Graduate Hospital neighborhood makes for a super location for a shop-around.

Just in time to coincide with serious holiday shopping, the good people from the South Street West Business Association are presenting a deal-filled afternoon-long shopping event designed to get folks out and about to Graduate Hospital spots.

From noon to 5 p.m. this Saturday, December 13, more than 25 area businesses will participate in Cheer! A Shop Local Holiday Event and get in the holiday sprit with discounts on gifts and wares, free treats and snacks and plenty of general cheer.

The list of participants includes the likes of Bicycle Therapy, Fireside Camp Supply, Green Aisle Grocer, Mushmina, Neighborhood Books and many more.

The crawl is an afternoon event, so if you’re looking to extend the fun even further, check out our suggested Local Beer Bar Crawl Through Graduate Hospital. (It’s a doozie!)

A full list of participating businesses and special offers is available right here.

Cheer! A Shop Local Holiday Event on South Street West
When: Saturday, December 13, noon-5 p.m.
Where: South Street from Broad to 23rd Streets and adjacent businesses south and north of the corridor
Cost: Pay as you go
More info:

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December 10, 2014

The Reindeer Romp Bar Crawl Returns To 12 Bars In The Fairmount Neighborhood Next Thursday, December 18


On Thursday, December 18, popular bars throughout Fairmount host a slew of holiday celebrations for the annual Reindeer Romp bar crawl, including Rembrandt’s, pictured above. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

Drink up as the Reindeer Romp bar crawl fills bars throughout Fairmount with drink specials in the spirit of Christmas.

For an admission fee of $10 and an unwrapped toy to be donated to kids at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, bar crawlers will receive $3 deals on Sam Adams and Jolly Traveler brews. Participants will also receive antler headbands to wear throughout the bar crawl.

Visit bars including Alla Spina, La Calaca Feliz, Belgian Café, London Grill, Fare and Urban Saloon to participate in the neighborhood-wide bar crawl. Certain bars are designated starting points for the crawl where folks can go to donate their toy, pay the entrance fee and get their antlers. The full list of participating bars — and starting points — is available below.

Bonus: New this year, guests of the Reindeer Romp can travel from bar-to-bar via a free trolley. Trolley spots will be announced soon, check back here for the latest.

Fairmount’s Reindeer Romp
When: Thursday, December 18, 6 p.m.-2 a.m.
Where: Participating Bars
Cost: $10; Pay as you go drinks
More info:


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December 10, 2014

The Philadelphia Art Alliance Spotlights More Than 40 Artists In Its Shop On The Square Holiday Craft Sale This Weekend, December 12-14

Philadelphia Art Alliance

The Philadelphia Art Alliance hosts more than 40 fine artists — including Veruschka Stevens , whose jewelry is shown here — for its Shop on the Square craft and design sale this weekend, December 12-14. (Photo courtesy Philadelphia Art Alliance)

Housed in a gorgeous historic mansion just off of Rittenhouse Square, the Philadelphia Art Alliance is one of the oldest fine arts institutions in the city. These days, though, the galleries continually host boundary-pushing contemporary exhibitions, live music events and more.

This weekend, the mansion opens its doors to holiday shoppers for its annual holiday craft sale, Shop on the Square, a three-day pop-up shop that spotlights high-quality artists and raises funds for the Art Alliance.

From Friday, December 12 though Sunday, December 14, with a preview reception on Thursday, December 11, the shopping event features high-quality handmade items by more than 40 talented craft artisans from all over the United States.

The second-floor galleries will hold a wide range of fine decorative arts, wearbles and more — from hand-knitted scarves and handmade ceramics to hand-dyed silks and limited-edition handbags. For a sneak peek of the Shop on the Square artists, check here.

The sale opens its doors from noon to 5 p.m. each day and admission is free for Art Alliance members and $10 for non-members. Funds raised will benefit the Art Alliance’s educational programs and exhibitions.

Shop on the Square Holiday Craft Sale
When: December 12-14, noon-5 p.m.
Where: Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th Street
Cost: Admission $10 for non-members, free for Philadelphia Art Alliance members
More info:

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December 10, 2014

Quintessence Theatre Group Offers A Progressive Rendering Of A Classic With Its Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, December 10-January 4

Sedgwick Theater

The historic Sedgwick Theater hosts Quintessence Theatre Group’s rendition of the Lewis Carroll classic, Alice in Wonderland. (Photo courtesy Mt. Airy USA)

Quintessence Theatre Group continues to offer progressive versions of classic literature when it repels down the rabbit hole to present Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland at Mt. Airy’s Sedgwick Theater, beginning tonight, December 10, and running through January 4, 2015.

Quintessence is all about enlightening the classics through visceral, actor-focused text-driven productions.

Though this is modern adaptation of the tale, the familiar storyline of Alice as a bored little girl whose curiosity leads her into a topsy-turvy world remains intact.

The company’s exceptional brand of imaginative theater takes you on a headlong adventure where you can escape the holiday hullabaloo and enter the madcap world of Alice’s Wonderland.

With original songs by Philadelphia musician David Cope, the cast features Emiley Kiser in the lead role, supported by Quintessence regulars Sean Close as the White Rabbit, Sean Bradley as the Mock Turtle, Khris Davis as the Caterpillar, Johnny Smith as the Mad Hatter and Andrew Betz as the Dormouse.

Suitable for the whole family, it’s a wildly entertaining way to warm up your holiday season.

Tickets, starting at just $15, are available online.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
When: December 10-January 4, 2015
Where: Sedgwick Theater, 7137 Germantown Avenue
Cost: $15-$37
More info:

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December 10, 2014

The Punk Rock Flea Market Holiday Edition Returns With More Than 500 Vendors Selling Handmade, Vintage And Music Goods, December 13-14

Punk Rock Flea Market

The Punk Rock Flea Market brings a little edge to the holiday shopping scene for two days, December 13 and 14. (Image courtesy R5 Productions)

Inject a little rock ’n’ roll into your holiday shopping this weekend at the Punk Rock Flea Market, a two-day long funky flea at the Punk Rock Flea Market-Dome on 9th Street between Spring Garden and Callowhill in the Callowhill neighborhood.

Running on both Saturday, December 13 and Sunday, December 14, the R5 Productions-organized market includes more than 500 private and commercial vendors peddling any sort of flea-market find imaginable — everything from old record collections to lovely handmade jewelry.

Housed in a huge warehouse space, there is plenty of room for sellers of all sort to spread out. A true flea market, goods at this event really run the gamut and alway include tasty food and baked goods, too.

Plus, the market hosts a completely different lineup on each day. With so many options we doubt market goers will go home empty handed.

A $3 donation grants access for both Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Rock out and shop!

Punk Rock Flea Market
When: December 13-14, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Punk Rock Flea Market Dome, 461 N. 9th Street
Cost: $3
More info:

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December 10, 2014

Zoo Noel Returns To The Philadelphia Zoo With A Scavenger Hunt, Visits From Santa Claus And More, December 13-14 And 20-21

Philadelphia Zoo

On December 13, 14, 20 and 21, The Philadelphia Zoo spreads holiday cheer with its annual Zoo Noel event. (Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)

The Philadelphia Zoo and Santa Claus come together for a series of weekend events this holiday season for the annual Zoo Noel event.

On December 13, 14, 20 and 21, visit the Zoo for all-things holiday. Wander throughout the West Philly attraction and send seasons greetings to lions, polar bears, tigers and more. Pint-sized guests can also bring a holiday card for their favorite animal and watch zoo staff members deliver their card to the animal.

While there, guests are encouraged to embark on a scavenger hunt throughout the zoo, which will feature scenes of St. Nick throughout the world. Keep an eye out for farm scenes, safari scenes, a rainforest, the outback and the arctic.

After exploring the sights of the zoo and visiting the animals, guests can visit the treehouse to have their photo taken with Santa and share their holiday wishes with him.

Warm up with toasty treats from the hot chocolate bar and finish your Christmas shopping at the Little Elves’ Gift Shop.

Zoo Noel festivities are included in the price of general admission.

Zoo Noel
When: December 13-14, 20-21
Where: Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W. Girard Avenue
Cost: Included in the price of admission
More info:

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December 9, 2014

Roundup: Where To Celebrate Hanukkah 2014 At Restaurants And Attractions In And Around Philadelphia

National Museum of American Jewish History

The National Museum of American Jewish History invites guests in for multiple Hanukkah celebrations in 2014. (Photo by Jeff Goldberg/Esto for Ennead Architects)

The start of Hanukkah in 2014 is quickly approaching, and Philadelphia restaurants, museums and attractions are more than prepared to celebrate the Festival of Lights with a plethora of holiday celebrations.

To help you celebrate from the lighting of the first candle on Tuesday, December 16 through the end of the holiday on the evening of Wednesday, December 24, we’ve compiled a list of Hanukkah festivities, below. Whether you’re looking for a night of laughs, a fine meal or a festive family event, there’s something for you.

Plus, for even more Hanukkah celebrations, check out the Jewish Exponent for religious and community celebrations throughout the holiday.

Read on for our picks for Hannukah celebrations in and around Philadelphia.


Moo Shu Jew Show

Wednesday, December 24, 6 p.m., Ocean Harbor Restaurant, 1023 Race Street. While celebrants across the country gather on December 24 to deck the halls, going out to the movies and a Chinese meal has become a veritable Christmas tradition for Jewish revelers. Building off of that idea, comedian Cory Kahaney created The Moo Shu Jew Show. For seven years now, this holiday event has given audiences a live alternative to Hollywood blockbusters and long waits for dim sum. Tickets, $69 in advance and $80 at the door, are available online. MORE INFO

Free @ The Kimmel Festival of Lights

Sunday, December 21, 1-4 p.m., Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce streets. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the National Museum of American Jewish History host a free, family-friendly celebration in the expansive Commonwealth Plaza with festive songs, stories, games and more. Plus, attendees will be given half-price admission to the National Museum of American Jewish History. MORE INFO

Festival of Lights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Friday, December 19, 5-8:45 p.m., Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The museum’s weekly Art After 5 soiree celebrates Hanukkah with music from DeLeon, a New York-based band that plays contemporary Sephardic folk music. The event is co-presented in partnership with Temple University’s Feinstein Center for American Jewish History and the “Sounds Jewish” series. MORE INFO

This holiday season brings an abundance of Hanukkah celebrations in Philadelphia, including the annual lighting of the menorah in Rittenhouse Square. (Photo courtesy the Friends of Rittenhouse Square)

This holiday season brings an abundance of Hanukkah celebrations in Philadelphia, including the annual lighting of the menorah in Rittenhouse Square. (Photo courtesy the Friends of Rittenhouse Square)

More events and dinners, below. (more…)

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