Sultans of String
Thursday, 8 p.m.
World Cafe Live
3025 Walnut St.
This Canadian quintet performs an international mix of styles, from Spanish flamenco to Gypsy jazz to Latin rumba, combining ace musicianship and craft with an infectious enthusiasm for humanity’s shared musical heritage. Whatever they lack in native authenticity, they make up for it in eclectic vision, weaving their own unique tapestry from a myriad of traditional threads.
Saturday, 8:30 p.m.
1100 Chestnut St.
Local singer-songwriter Tess Emma has been performing live since she was 14, making her a veritable veteran at age 21. There’s wintry feel and a mix of sweetness and weariness in her voice, with its jazzy and bluesy tinges, both on her well-crafted original tunes and her eclectic repertoire of covers. This is the release show for her latest self-titled EP.
Saturday, 3 p.m.
Helen Corning Warden Theater
1920 Spruce St.
The Academy of Vocal Arts performs the work of 19th century German composer Johannes Brahms, with pianist Anne Faulkner Schoemaker, violist Pamela Fay and clarinetist Robert Kahn as special guests.
Essence of Place: Kerry Sacco, Joseph Sweeney and William Woods
Through Jan. 31
1355 Ridge Ave.
All three of these painters are showing landscape works for this exhibition, and the differences between their approaches to that venerable genre show the effect of individuality on perspective. Sacco and Sweeney prefer a softer, more impressionist approach, emphasizing the light in their seaside locales, while Woods, more of a realist, prefer inland locations with an autobiographical resonance.
Friday through Jan. 31
Philadelphia Sculpture Gym
1834 E. Frankford Ave.
For this show, a collaborative effort between literary journal Gigantic Sequins and the Philadelphia Sculpture gallery, writers and sculptors joined forces for an intriguing creative experiment. The writers were asked to create instructions, whether in fictional, poetic, non-fictional or hybrid form, for the sculptors to follow. Friday’s opening reception includes a reading by the instruction writers.
'More Between Heaven and Earth’
Friday, 7 p.m.
Benjamin Franklin Hall
427 Chestnut St.
This play tells the story of Thomas Jefferson’s relationship with Italian-British artist/musician Maria Cosway, which began in Paris during Jefferson’s tenure as the American envoy to France and continued through letters right up to Jefferson’s death. The script is drawn entirely from this correspondence, and the performance includes selections of the contemporary music they both loved, including Cosway’s own music.
Constituting Liberty: From the Declaration to the Bill of Rights
National Constitution Center
525 Arch St.
This exhibition includes three precious documents representing the cornerstones of American political philosophy: a first edition stone engraving of the Declaration of Independence, a copy of the first public printing of the Constitution and one of 12 original copies of the Bill of Rights. A few rather important edits have been made since, but here’s where it all began.
The ‘Lynchian’ Aesthetic
Thursday and Friday
3701 Chestnut St.
Screen Slate’s Jon Dieringer curated this program of films as a complement to the David Lynch art show at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. All five selections resonate in some way with Lynch’s own cinematic interests, whether they’re exploring the weird anti-logic of dreams or the freaky psychological underbelly of an apparently average small town.
Big Philly Beerfest!
Friday and Saturday
Early admission tickets 6:30 p.m.; general admission 7:30 p.m.
Pennsylvania Convention Center
12th and Arch streets
$45 to $65 ($20 for designated drivers)
Sample as many beers as you can handle from over 100 breweries pouring more than
300 different beers, from Leinenkugel's Big Butt Doppelbock to Six Point's Crisp PIlz. The event raises money for Animal Rescue Partners.
Salsa Caliente: Three Kings Edition
Friday, 8 p.m.
Painted Bride Art Center
230 Vine St.
This annual Puerto Rican-style dance party, celebrating Three Kings Day, returns once again to the Painted Bride Art Center. Hector Rosado y Orquesta Hache will lay down the salsa throughout the evening, and if you don’t know how to dance salsa, there’s instruction by Flaco’s Dance Factor at 8 p.m. — so you’ve got no excuse for being a wallflower.
Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine St.
The author of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” has returned with his latest novel, “The Last American Vampire”, in which he expands the weird alternate historical universe of “Abraham Lincoln,” detailing the continued story of an America shared (uneasily, of course) by the living and the undead, right down to the present day.
Friday, 11:59 p.m.
2030 Sansom St.
Hot today, forgotten tomorrow, and mocked a couple decades down the line — that’s the basic formula for popular culture. At this midnight show, comedians Rob Baniewicz and Paul Triggiani dig up a few old forgotten TV shows and provide an analysis of the unique form of terrible that each (mostly likely) embodies. Shrink not in horror! This is our shared awkward past.