Kwanzaa principles, grunge music and circus performers

Posted: December 28, 2012

KWANZAA IS A time for unity, when communities come together and reflect on their common heritage. This weekend, the African American Museum in Philadelphia will do just that with a full schedule of Kwanzaa-related events. The holiday is usually celebrated over a week - Wednesday through Jan. 1 this year - with each day representing one of the seven principles of African heritage. Saturday is Ujamaa, the day of cooperative economics, and Sunday is Nia, the day of purpose. Among the events Saturday is a session on the African diaspora and black genealogy with the African-American Genealogy Group. Facilitators "are individuals we have built relationships with over the years," said Adrienne Whaley, the museum's interim curator of education and public programming. "Philadelphia is lucky enough to be home to talented artists, musicians and individuals who are knowledgeable about African diaspora history and culture."

Both days, join the museum for candle-lighting ceremonies, dancing, drumming, arts and crafts, and screenings of "The Black Candle: A Kwanzaa Celebration," an award-winning film by M.K Asante Jr., narrated by Maya Angelou. Bring canned goods to donate to the AAMP's Philabundance Food Drive.

African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch St., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Sunday. $8 adults, $6 children, 215-574-0380, aampmuseum.org.

- Amanda V. Wagner

"Singles" again

Long, greasy hair. Floor-length floral dresses. Flannel shirts. Grunge music. That was Seattle in the 1990s, an era captured in Cameron Crowe's 1992 film "Singles." Saturday night, local bands will recreate the grunge scene at Center City's Milkboy by playing the film's chart-topping soundtrack. "Y-Not Radio Presents: A 20th Anniversary Tribute to the 'Singles' Soundtrack" celebrates the best of '90s alt-rock with favorites from Pearl Jam, the Smashing Pumpkins, Alice in Chains and others, as performed by such bands as It's a King Thing, the Not Fur Longs, Strangled By The Stereo Wire, the Space Merchant, and Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start.

"This is the music I listened to as a teenager. I grew my hair out, wore flannels, worshipped Kurt Cobain. I taught myself how to play guitar, bass and drums, playing along to the actual bands found on this soundtrack," said musician and event organizer Phil Apostol. Last year, Apostol did a well-received Kurt Cobain tribute session, "Nevermind." Expect the same enthusiastic turnout here.

Milkboy, 1100 Chestnut St., 8:30 p.m. Saturday, 21+, $8-$10, 215-925-6455, milkboyphilly.com.

- Amanda V. Wagner

Cirque √Čloize

Looking for some offbeat holiday fun? How about a futuristic urban circus? Through Sunday, the wild Cirque √Čloize iD, a show of 14 artists and 13 circus disciplines, plus a modern electronic-rock sound - is performing at the Merriam Theater. Director Jeannot Painchaud describes the French-Canadian circus as "an aesthetic at the crossroads of comic books, science-fiction movies and the rich universe of graffiti."

Expect vibrantly colored lights and urbane mixed media such as video and graffiti. The multicultural show moves through flashy acrobatics while simultaneously weaving together abstract tales of identity, confrontation, love and loss. iD embodies an urban feel while dazzling audiences with over-the-top acrobatics and sound. It's far from "The Nutcracker," but definitely worth a shot.

Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St., $25-$75, 215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org.

- Kailey Klug


Art Attack is a partnership with Drexel University and is supported by a grant from the Knight/NEA Community Arts Journalism Challenge, administered by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

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