'Tis the season to focus on what truly matters: family, friends, and french fries, naturally. This Monday evening, National Mechanics will host Science on Tap: The Physics of the Perfect French Fry. Dr. Scott Paulson–physics and astronomy professor at James Madison University–will discuss the art of the heavenly delicacy and "explore the science behind the seemingly simple act of deep-frying a potato, including important questions such as: What variety of potato works best? Does the type of oil matter? Is fresher better?" Have a drink, mingle with fellow french-fry enthusiasts, and get your science on. Monday, December 8th, doors open at 5 p.m., National Mechanics, 22 S. 3rd Street.
Head to the Painted Bride Art Center this week and explore Jeffrey Stockbridge's new solo exhibition, Homegoing: Photographs from 2004-2008. The local artist and photographer highlights what he discovered while exploring abandoned homes in sections of north and west Philadelphia, capturing images of "cluttered rooms, forgotten artifacts, empty hallways and the occasional person." Using large-scale, color photography and natural light, Stockbridge recalls pieces of our city that have slipped between the cracks. More information about the exhibit can be found here. Tuesday, December 9th-Friday, January 16th, 12 p.m.-6 p.m., Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street.
Engage in some mid-week merriment at Spirits & Suds with Santa. This Wednesday, get extra jolly as you sip seasonal craft beers and festive holiday cocktails all along East Passyunk Avenue. A $5 ticket gets you a Santa or elf hat, drink specials at 13 participating bars and restaurants, and Santa's Sipping Stamp Card. Collect stamps for anything you purchase (a maximum of two stamps per location), then turn in your card at the end of the night for a chance to win over $325 in gift certificates and prizes. Registration will be held at South Philly Bar & Grill from 5:30-7 p.m., and all stamp cards must be returned to Adobe Cafe by 9:30 p.m. For a full list of participating bars and specials, click here.Wednesday, December 10th, 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., $5, 21+, various locations.
Be amongst the first to peruse the Pennsylvania Ballet's second annual Nutcracker Market, opening early for an exclusive preview party this Wednesday evening. The festive holiday market features three levels of shopping inside The Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, with over "75 select exhibitors offering a variety of gifts and hand-crafted works such as ornaments, jewelry, photography, and dance-inspired pieces." Guests of the preview party can shop the plethora of unique merchants and vendors while meeting the dancers of the Pennsylvania Ballet and enjoying live entertainment, hors d'oeuvres, and cocktails. Plus, artists of the ballet will model fashions by Nicole Miller and Jane Roth Jewelry. The market will remain open to the public from Thursday, December 11th through Sunday, December 14th. Tickets for the preview are available for purchase online. For more information, click here. Wednesday, December 10th, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., $100, The Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad Street.
If haven't been to the National Museum of American Jewish History, this is a great opportunity to take in the collection: For the entire month of February, admission is free, plus on Presidents Day, the museum is hosting a family-friendly day of activities. You'll learn about George Washington (and even get to see an actual letter that he composed), plus eager writers can try their hand at their penmanship with a quill pen. Monday, February 16, 10am, Free, National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 South Independence Mall East
Experience the sounds of the holiday season the best way: with the Philly POPS. Over 300 musicians, remarkable choirs, and an audience sing-along will bring your favorite seasonal classics to life. This year, Philly's beloved musical tradition features the return of celebrated conductor David Charles Abell, and the addition of vocalist Hugh Panaro from Broadway's Phantom of the Opera. (Sneaky tip: Score the most affordable ticket prices on Wednesdays!) Tickets are available for purchase online. For more information and a full schedule of performances, click here. Wednesday, December 10th, 8 p.m., $31-$116, The Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad Street.
THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED: Make your way to the Christmas Village in Love Park this Thursday for an evening of special holiday programming. Kids are invited to participate in a traditional German-style lantern parade throughout the village: just craft your own lantern at home and then head to the park to join a festive march of twinkling lights and classic Christmas carols. Guests can also look forward to live entertainment throughout the night, with performances from Jay Admin, Pat Warn, and The Philly POPS, plus shopping and delicious eats from the variety of vendors. For more information, click here.Thursday, December 11th, 4 p.m.-7 p.m., Christmas Village at Love Park (JFK Plaza), 1500 Arch Street.
Head to The Franklin Institute for some star-gazing this Thursday. The family-friendly monthly event, held in the Joel N. Bloom Observatory, allows guests the chance to view celestial objects–including stars, planets, and nebulae–using five different rooftop telescopes and free star maps. The evening also features a Fels Planetarium show and a lecture or presentation from the Institute's Chief Astronomer, Derrick Pitts. For more information, click here. Thursday, December 11th, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., $5 per person or free for members, The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th Street.
Eccentric standup comic Demetri Martin will take the stage at Keswick Theatre this Thursday. Best known for his role in the motion picture Taking Woodstock, Martin is also a frequent contributor on The Daily Show and the star of his own show on Comedy Central. Incessant laughter and slightly unconventional jokes are to be expected. Tickets are available for purchase online. Thursday, December 11th, 8 p.m., $37.50, Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, PA.
Expand your musical horizons a bit this week and check out Marian Hill, a Philly-based electronic duo, at Boot & Saddle this Thursday. Composed of Jeremy Lloyd and Samantha Gongol, the two draw on a range of influences–from Ella Fitzgerald to Drake–to produce their unique electro/R&B sound. The band's bluesy undertones coupled with the venue's low-lighting will have you settling in for a drink or three. Listen to their tunes before you go, right here. Tickets are available for purchase online. Thursday, December 11th, 8 p.m., $10-$12, 21+, Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad.