SIGNS OF SPRING
March 25, noon-4 p.m.
Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse
3500 Reservoir Drive
Fairmount Park’s beloved and massive Smith Memorial Playground officially opens for the season this weekend, marking one of the first signs of spring in Philadelphia. Little ones are free to run wild around the 6 ½-acre playground and in the 16,000-square-foot Playhouse, taking an occasional break for special activities like a nature exploration, carnival games, and arts and crafts workshops.
Fishtown Chili Cook Off
March 26, 12:30-3 p.m.
The Fillmore Philadelphia
29 E. Allen St.
Bowl-of-chili season may be in our rearview mirror, but Fishtown Neighbors Association gears up for one more celebration of that spicy, soul-warming goodness at their seventh annual Chili Cook Off. Working chefs and everyday residents alike face off in the competition that seeks to find the best bowl of chili in the Riverwards. Your ticket lets you try unlimited recipes, and enjoy some extra delights, like live music from You Do You and Rock the Future, and free Weckerly’s Ice Cream.
1412 Chestnut St.
The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus have been crooning in this city for 35 years. This weekend, they mark the milestone with three shows that celebrate all things Philadelphia music. The concert features 1950s-era American Bandstand songs and more-modern hits from local-bred songsters like Boyz II Men, Taylor Swift, Hall & Oates and Pink.
March 24, 7-9 p.m.
624 S. Sixth St.
On their latest EP, “Blessings & Blasphemy,” West Philly folk duo Driftwood Soldier explore the spiritual power of music and the sometimes oppressive nature of organized religion. They do this through a mixture of reinterpreted traditional gospel hymns and tunes that are decidedly anti-religious. They debut the work this weekend during a night of song and storytelling at L’Etage with a host of other Philly musicians, like Katy Otto, Natalie Butts, Liana Moskowitz and Chenda Cope.
Flat Mary Road
March 25, 8-11 p.m.
847 N. Third St.
Influenced by late-1980s indie rock and Appalachian folk, Philadelphia five-piece Flat Mary Road effectively create songs that recall both the urban experience and country living. They stop by Ortlieb’s Saturday night to share songs from their latest full-length “Driving with the Numen,” which is, among other things, informed by road trips across the States.
March 23, 6:30 p.m.
Community College of Philadelphia
1700 Spring Garden St.
Catch a screening of the new documentary “Screenagers,” courtesy of local nonprofit Girls on the Run Philadelphia. The movie analyzes the impact internet addiction can have on young minds, and offers some tips on how parents can help their screen-glued teens find balance in the digital age. A discussion panel following the film features feedback and insight from parents, teens and academics.
Sleep Out: Young Professionals Edition
March 24, 7 p.m.-7 a.m.
The Friends Center
1501 Cherry St.
It’s perhaps the ultimate show of support: Friday night more than 100 Philadelphians will grab a cardboard box and sleep in a parking lot in Germantown to raise money for local homeless youth shelter Covenant House PA. The event seeks to raise $125,000 to buy more beds for the shelter—ensuring that no youth in need of a place to stay is turned away. There’s still time to sign up. All attendees are asked to raise a minimum of $1,000.
March 25, 10 a.m.
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine St.
Youth aged 12 to 19 are invited to the Free Library Saturday for the third annual Teen Comic-Con. The free event promises lots of fun, nerdy to-dos, like teen-led discussion panels on superheroes and manga, a gallery of original comic- and video game-inspired graphic art and a cosplay fashion show.
March 23, 6 p.m.
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine St.
The Emmy-winning host of MSNBC’s “All in With Chris Hayes” comes to the Free Library this week to discuss his latest book, “A Colony in the Nation.” The searing work takes the stance that, despite some claims that we’re living in a postracial country, America hasn’t made strides to improve racial inequality since the Nixon administration. Auditorium seating to the event is sold out, but you can nab in-house simulcast tickets for a measly $6.
March 26, 7:30 p.m.
291 N. Keswick Ave.
Rick Steves, host of countless travel-centric videos, guides and podcast episodes, comes to the Keswick this week for a wanderlust-inspiring discussion about how vacationing can broaden your perspective on the world. His concept revolves around exploring like a local and avoiding tourist hot spots so you can get an authentic feel for what it’s like to live in an unfamiliar place.