Every Monday we round up a handful of fun ways to get involved throughout the week to make your city better. Have ideas for upcoming events? Email tips here.
Photo: Teacher Action Group
Now that we’re in the thick of a Donald Trump presidency, Teacher Action Group (TAG) is revved up to kickstart a series of gatherings about how to instill more social justice practices into our classrooms, something, organizers say is “even more critical in the current political climate.” Parents, educators, students and community members are invited to lend their voices to these Inquiry to Action Groups (ItAGs) to discuss topics related to social justice in education and then talk about ways in which they can take action to effectively enforce a more “liberatory” educational experience in Philadelphia. Each meeting addresses a different social justice issue. So far there are six ItAGs scheduled, and the first one is happening this week. It’s a series of workshops focusing on grassroots curriculum—covering things like what grassroots curriculum actually means to how to manifest it in our schools. Organizers say they’ll “explore existing models of grassroots curriculum and continue to create [their own models] to serve our immediate environments and communities.” Get more information, including details on upcoming ItAGs gatherings here. Thursday, February 16, 6-8 p.m., free, Science Leadership Academy, 55 N. 22nd Street.
Photo: Data Garden
Temple Library’s Beyond the Page initiative recently kicked off a yearlong series called “Seeing Stories: Visualizing Sustainable Citizenship” that “explores tangible, interdisciplinary, aesthetic practices that impact and address our environment and the biological world.” Throughout the year, the Library will host a series of panel discussions and workshop on the topic—ranging from talks about harvesting renewable energy to using solar technology as public art and more offbeat topics like this Thursday’s “Data Garden: Bringing Together Music, Technology and Plants.” The event is led by a self-proclaimed “engineer of the arts” named Samuel Cusumano, who’s part of a collective of musicians and sound engineers at Data Garden. He’ll be on hand to demonstrate his work on Electricity for Progress, which involves connecting plants to synthesizers to make actual music. Guests will also get a chance to tap into their DIY-making skills to help build the synthesizing tool that he uses to make plants mellifluous. The workshop is free, but you need to register. Do that here. Then check out more of the upcoming “Seeing Stories” programming here. They’ve got some really cool stuff coming down the pike. Thursday, February 16, 2:30 p.m., Digital Scholarship Center in the Paley Library, 1210 W. Berks Street.
Photo: Philadelphia Parks Alliance
Most of us would probably say that our experience with Philadelphia doesn’t reach much further than our own neighborhoods and office spaces. A cool series of spring/winter park tours led by Philadelphia Parks Alliance (PPA) hopes to open your eyes to what lies beyond your comfort zones, taking folks on adventures to “magical and often unseen places in Philadelphia’s parks and surrounding countryside.” One of those happens this weekend: a refreshing daylong visit to the Pine Barrens and its historic Whitesbog Village, where you’ll roam 3,000 acres of radiant cranberry bogs and dense forests and get schooled on the domestic blueberry that was first harvested there. The day includes a hearty breakfast with tour operator (and PPA Board President) Bob Thomas in the morning, then participants will carpool to the Barrens. PPA says hikers can expect moderate difficulty, mostly treading flat sand roads, trails and village streets. The hike is about five miles altogether, so wear good walking shoes and bring a picnic lunch to gobble along the way. The night ends with a pay-as-you-go warm dinner with Thomas and your fellow hikers. Saturday, February 18, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., $30, starting location in Powelton Village (exact address revealed after registration)
Photo: Mollie Kendall Photography
Runners taking part in this year’s Cupid’s Undie Run are probably wishing for one of those bizarre 60-degree winter days we’ve been having. The annual event invites barely clad locals to take to the streets in the middle of February for a run and subsequent bash that raises awareness, money and maybe a few eyebrows for neurofibromatosis (NF) research at the Children’s Tumor Foundation. The daylong affair starts at noon with pre-drinks before drunken runners lineup for the mile-ish jog near the stadiums in South Philly. After that the bash continues with drinking, music and revelry through 4 p.m. The run is organized by Cupid Charities, and takes place in 36 U.S. cities. Last year, the organization raised $3.7 million in total for NF, a rare genetic disorder that causes rapid tumor growth on the nervous system. The cash goal for the Philly run is $210,000, and so far they’re short of the mark, at $118,157. Care to strip down to your bloomers to help sweeten the pot? If not, you can donate to the cause here, or volunteer with all your clothes on. Find out how you can do that here. Saturday, February 18, noon-4 p.m., $35 registration, XFinity Live, 1100 Pattison Avenue.
Photo: Jeff Fusco for AIDS Fund
If you’ve never been to a GayBINGO!, make this the year you resolve to go. By now a bonafide Philadelphia tradition, the once-monthly—and oh-so-naughty—affair is given life by a bevy of drag queen hosts calling themselves the Bingo-Verifying Divas (or just the BVDs, if you’re nasty). They lead you through several games of BINGO, throwing in performances and bawdy banter along the way. Food, cocktails and laughs are in abundance. Each of these events benefits AIDS Fund, which uses the money to provide financial assistance to people in the Greater Philadelphia area suffering from HIV/AIDS. The first GayBINGO! of 2017 takes place this Saturday night with a 50 Shades of Grey theme, so expect whips, leather costumes and maybe even a playful spanking or two. The shows go monthly, so check this schedule to find out about GayBINGOs down the road. Happy BINGO-ing! Saturday, February 18, 6 p.m. (doors), 7 p.m. (game), $25-$30, Gershman Y, 401 S. Broad Street.