Richard Avedon: Family Affairs
National Museum of American Jewish History
101 S. Independence Mall East
The National Museum of American Jewish History presents two bodies of work from the great, enormously influential photographer Richard Avedon. The first is a set of four portrait murals inspired by the cultural revolutions of the ’60s and ’70s. The second is a set of portraits for “Rolling Stone” entitled “The Family,” made in advance of the 1976 election.
Richard Taransky and Sandy Litchfield
Through May 17
53 N. 2nd St.
Architecture unites the two artists at the show, both of whom present imaginary built landscapes — Litchfield’s colorful works are inspired by 19th century maps, but Taransky’s are entirely made up. Human beings don’t factor into the work of either, unless you speculate that the buildings are stand-ins for people — maybe, but as Freud said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
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‘The Fair Maid of the West’
Through April 18
Broad Street Ministry
315 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia Artists Collective presents this English Renaissance play by Thomas Heywood, a swashbuckling adventure-comedy reflecting England’s appearance as a not-to-be-messed-with naval power during the reign of Elizabeth I. The Maid in question is Bess, a saucy bartender-turned-privateer who embarks on a series of high-seas adventures, as talented at finding trouble as escaping it. No doubt Queen Bess was quite amused.
Through April 12
Walnut Street Theater
3025 Walnut St.
This play tells the story of pianist Liberace, whose flamboyant showmanship made him a camp icon in the middle of the 20th century, even as it often served to trivialize his considerable piano skills. His famously diverse repertoire, ranging from Chopin to ragtime, forms the backbone of the play, which probes the inner life of the man behind the glitter.
Bach: B-Minor Mass
Friday, 8 p.m.
300 S. Broad St.
Vox Ama Deus, armed with a Baroque orchestra and full choir, performs Bach’s Mass in B Minor, usually cited as his greatest single work. It took 20 years to write (he had other things to do) and was never performed during his lifetime. In fact, it took a century before it was even discovered — by Felix Mendelssohn, as it happens.
Saturday, 7 p.m.
The Bainbridge Club
1529 Brainbridge St.
This is the CD release party for local jazz saxophonist and composer Dahi Divine’s new album, “The Element,” so named for the mysterious something each band member contributes. Elements of soul, gospel, funk and West African rhythms add to the musical cocktail for this ambitious young musician, soon to graduate from New York’s New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music.
Matthew E. White
Saturday, 8 p.m.
World Cafe Live
3025 Walnut St.
Singer-songwriter, bandleader of the avant-garde jazz group Fight the Big Bull, producer and co-founder of Spacebomb Records, Matthew E. White is a true captain of DIY industry. His 2012 debut “Big Inner” won praise for its big arrangements and a down-home Americana rock sound as timeless as it is fresh. His follow-up, “Fresh Blood,” just dropped this month.
Split Thy Skull Barleywine Festival
Saturday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
525 South St.
No cover, 21+, 215-238-9880
There’s no shortage of regular beer fests around town, but barleywine blowouts are a bit rarer. Tattooed Mom hosts the 20th edition of Split Thy Skull this weekend, with barleywines from a dozen different local and national makers and a complementary banh mi and pretzel buffet — which you’ll want to take advantage of, because these strong beers pack a punch.
Thursday through Saturday
Iron Gate Theater
3700 Chestnut St.
Strictly Funk, Penn’s student hip-hop/contemporary/avant-garde dance troupe, performs their spring show. They don’t offer too many details as to the content, but they do promise it’ll be “filled with intergalactic wonders,” so we’ll assume “Star Wars” is meant more in the George Lucas sense than the Ronald Reagan sense.
Thursday through Saturday
Helium Comedy Club
2031 Sansom St.
$23-$31, 21+, 215-496-9001
You have seen comic Deon Cole as Charlie on the new sitcom “Black-ish,” and he’s landed another role on the upcoming series “Angie Tribeca.” He’s also been a writer for Conan O’Brien since 2009, where he stars in a recurring segment called “Deon Cole Breaks Down the News,” which usually ends in Cole demanding someone “shut the hell up.”
Thursday, 6 p.m.
Kelly Writers’ House, University of Pennsylvania
3805 Locust Walk
The sparse meter of Kevin Young’s poetry, strongly influenced by the work of Langston Hughes, John Berryman and Emily Dickinson, both belies and enhances its emotional power. In previous books he’s explored the history of slavery and racial identity; in his most recent, “Book of Hours,” he explored the much more personal territory of his father’s death.
‘The Gold Diggers’
Thursday, 7 p.m.
3701 Chestnut St.
In this experimental feminist film from 1983, directed by Sally Potter, photographed by Babette Magolte and made by an all-female crew, a computer clerk, Celeste, intrigued by the connection between gold and worldly power, meets a movie star trying to piece together her childhood. Note: tickets are free, but you still have to RSVP on the website above.