Philly Loves Bowie Week Returns and Is Bigger and Better Than Ever

Somehow, Philadelphia became the center of one of the world's biggest David Bowie celebrations.

philly loves bowie week

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Is that David Bowie grilling hamburgers for people inside Veterans Stadium? Yep. It happened in 1987 during his “Glass Spider” tour, and it was one of many special moments that David Bowie had here in Philadelphia, from his time at Sigma Sound recording Young Americans to the iconic live album he did here. David Bowie was special to Philadelphia, and Philadelphia was special to David Bowie. And so, after he died in 2016, it was no surprise that Philly Loves Bowie Week was born.

The idea to pay tribute to David Bowie started with Patti Brett, the owner of Doobies Bar on Lombard Street, who also happens to be Philadelphia Bowie Fan Number One. (You might remember what happened after somebody stole some of her David Bowie memorabilia from the bar.) Anyway, after Bowie died of cancer in 2016, she knew she had to do something, so she called her friend and popular Philly DJ Robert Drake as well as a couple of other big Bowie fans, and soon enough, Philly Loves Bowie Week came together in January 2017, complete with a proclamation from Mayor Jim Kenney.

Now in its third year, Philly Loves Bowie Week is more than a week, actually. Philly Loves Bowie Week 2019 runs from January 4th through the 13th. The festival raises money for pediatric cancer research at CHOP and has, to date, donated $23,000 to CHOP in the name of David Bowie.

philly loves bowie week 2019

A promotional image for Philly Loves Bowie Week

Philly Loves Bowie Week 2019 offers a little bit of everything. Below are some standouts. Click here for more details on each event and for the full Philly Loves Bowie Week schedule.

Opening January 4th
“Oh! You Pretty Things”
How can you have a Philly Loves Bowie Week without a Philly Loves Bowie Week art show? Think artwork that depicts or was inspired by David Bowie.
Ruckus Gallery

January 4th
A Bowie Masquerade Ball
There will be a costume contest, so look fierce!
Ruba Club

January 5th
Let’s Dance! Sex Dwarf Spotlights David Bowie
DJ and Philly Loves Bowie Week co-organizer Robert Drake hosts a dance party.
New Wave Clubhouse

January 6th
Bowie Paint & Create Party
Make cool David Bowie art of your own while eating and drinking with other big fans.
Rebel Rebel Salon

January 6th
The Philly Loves Bowie Quizzo Night
And who better to concoct the questions than co-organizer Patti Brett, who attended every David Bowie tour in Philadelphia from 1972 until his last show here.

January 7th
Best of Philly-winning karaoke DJ Sara Sherr spins your favorite David Bowie tracks while you (attempt to) sing them.
Johnny Brenda’s

January 9th
The Sigma Kids
A documentary exploring David Bowie’s special connection with Philadelphia.

January 10th
The 3nd Annual Philly Loves Bowie Memorial
A full-blown, all day and all night memorial to the music legend on the anniversary of the day he died.

January 10th
Martha Graham Cracker Loves Bowie
A special Philly Loves Bowie Week edition of the popular drag cabaret series. (Full disclosure: I’m the pianist for Martha Graham Cracker.)

January 11th
A Night of Stardust
Local musicians like Jeffrey Gaines and James Michael Baker pay tribute. Plus: a wild, Bowie-worthy light show.
Union Transfer

January 13th
A Snowy Bowie Skate
Cap off Philly Loves Bowie Week with a family-friendly skate. I have to say, I’m pretty sure that I’ve never ice skated to “Space Oddity” before. Sounds fun!
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest