Do Something: Find Year-End Zen at the Art Museum

The final Art After 5 of 2016 is full of OMs. Plus, celebrate Kwanzaa, hand out winter goods to homeless people on New Year's Day and more ways to be a cheer-giving citizen this week

Do Something: Find Year-End Zen at the Art Museum

The final Art After 5 of 2016 is full of OMs. Plus, celebrate Kwanzaa, hand out winter goods to homeless people on New Year's Day and more ways to be a cheer-giving citizen this week

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.

Celebrate Kwanzaa, Fight Street Violence

Kwanzaa runs December 26 to January 1. To celebrate, the Free Library of Philadelphia hosts Kwanzaa at the Free Library. The two-day event aims to introduce local children and families to the principles and values of the often overshadowed holiday that celebrates African heritage and African-American culture. The gathering comes with live entertainment, lunch and Kwanzaa giveaways but also seeks to generate ideas and discussions from attendees in a session about “finding creative and viable tools to combat the escalating violence in our schools and streets.” December 28-29, noon-3 p.m., free, Central Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street. 

Get 2016 Off Your Chest

Every month at Frankly Bradley’s, a revolving troupe of some of Philly’s “most innovative and ballsy artists” gathers for a night of politically charged live performance. The curators of “Agitated!” ask performers to pick a social or political issue that affects them, and then create a performance piece around it. As we approach the end of 2016—a doozy of a year, I’m sure we can all agree—you can expect this go round to be particularly impassioned, loud and raucous. Salt and Honey host, with artists Chartreuse Chablis, Minnie Crisis and Dragon taking the stage for an evening of getting things off their chest. It should be quite cathartic, even from a viewers’ standpoint. The entry fee is always pay-what-you-can so that the event is open to anyone regardless of their financial circumstances. Thursday, December 29, 9 p.m. suggested $5-$15, Frankly Bradley’s, 1320 Chancellor Street.

Close the Year With Tranquility

The PMA’s final Art After 5 soiree of the year is taking a page from a yogi’s playbook for this decidedly zenned-out evening of soothing tunes, mindfulness lessons and a little yoga. What better way to say farewell to a crazy year than to drone out to the sound of a sitar in the Great Stair Hall, as part of the appropriately titled, “Just Breathe?” From 5:30 to 7:30, Dhyana Yoga offers one-hour movement and posture classes followed by a 30-minute guided meditation in the Indian Temple Hall. The Philadelphia Shambhala Center will also be on hand to lead a couple mindfulness programs, like contemplative movement, wandering and a compassion practice. It’s the perfect way to clean your slate and head into a new year with a  sense of peace and determination under your belt. Perhaps you could come a little early to stop by the “Jitish Kallat: Covering Letter” installation in PMA’s neighboring Perelman Building. The haunting exhibition, detailing a peaceful letter Gandhi wrote to Hitler, is the perfect complement for this night of meditative practice and self discovery. Friday, December 30, 5-8:45 p.m., Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2500 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. 

Make a Socialist Resolution

Philly DSA, a chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, throws a pre-New Years bash to raise funds for their game plan to push, push, push the socialist agenda during the time of Trump. As a line in the event’s description says, “You can’t beat capitalist trash without socialist cash.” If that sounds like a statement you can get behind, bring your wallet and a revolution resolution to this bash that promises dancing and good camaraderie. Your $20 ticket gets you unlimited beer and wine at the open bar till the party closes down at 11 p.m. Proceeds from the event help pay for the party venue and scholarships “so that new socialists can be trained up to lead the movement.” Friday, December 30, 7-11 p.m., $20, Banquet Hall at the Philadelphia Fire Fighters’ & Paramedics Union, 415 N. 5th Street. 

Lend a Helping Hand on New Year's Day

Start 2017 on the right foot at an event hosted by Power Through People that seeks to send out an army of do-gooders on New Year’s Day to distribute much-needed material goods to people living on Philadelphia’s streets. The focus is wintertime items. So come bearing items like sleeping bags, jackets, thermals, canned foods, hygiene products and more—anything, as the event description states, “that you would love to open up if you were on the street houseless… something that would give you a little bit of warmth in your heart and remind you that people do care.” The group will spread out around the city to hand the goods out to people in need, spreading cheer and good will along the way that should start off any New Year in the right direction. Sunday, January 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free, Thomas Paine Plaza.

Photo header from Philadelphia Museum of Art Facebook

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