Archive for Philadelphia

Storm the “Bastille”!

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Community News, Food, Neighborhood Noir, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2011 by nicholeprh

Philadelphia seems to love it’s quirky traditions – on Saturday, July 16 join Philly in storming the Eastern State Penitentiary for it’s Bastille Day celebrations!

By Nichole Baldino

Bastille Day is the French National Holiday commemorating the beginning of a new type of government. On July 14, 1789 the French revolutionaries stormed the prison (or the Bastille) where the monarchs sent those who disobeyed their orders, releasing the captured prisoners. It helped the French to gain a feeling of independence. This day is celebrated annually in France and throughout the world. Philadelphia does it’s part celebrating as hundreds of “revolutionaries” (natives, tourists and professionals alike) storm the “Bastille”, or in this case the Eastern State Penitentiary, dragging Marie Antoinette with them straight to the guillotine on July 16!

The Penitentiary has a line up of French inspired events and activities all weekend, with a huge reenactment commencing at 5:30pm on Saturday. Starting at 2:00pm on Saturday, come dressed in your revolutionary-best for the pet and bicycle parade, followed by a French fashion show, musical performances, and Can-Can dancers! At 5:30, 2,000 Butterscotch Krimpets will be thrown from the towers to capture Antoinette as she cries “Let them eat Tastykake!” (Get it? ha ha ha)

Throughout the day explore the “Bastille” ($12 admission)  and visit tents hosted by local owners featuring everything from face painting to flowers to tips on French cheeses.

Be sure to reserve a table at a Fairmount area restaurant for after the celebrations, as French cuisine specials will carry on into the evening and even the next day. Don’t miss this unique city tradition weekend, where you can start out with a “Fairmount French Fling Bar Crawl” on Thursday night and end it with a French “champagne brunch” Sunday morning!


Fourth Annual Philadelphia Film Festival

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Community News, Local Treasures, Music and Film, Neighborhood Noir, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2011 by laurarobbprh

By Laura Robb

This week, the city of Philadelphia will be hosting its Fourth Annual Independent Film Festival. This five-day festival will start Wednesday June 22, and end Sunday June 26.

This festival will bring thousands of people from all around the country to view the over fifty films at the five different venues.

On Wednesday evening, the Media Bureau in Philadelphia will feature the opening film, a documentary called Guns and Weed: The Road to Freedom. This hour and a half documentary will feature two current hot topics in American culture and Politics, the right to bear arms and the war on drugs.

Starting on Thursday, the festival will begin full force at all five of the venues;  The Media Bureau, The Franklin Institute (the Franklin Theatre and Imax Theatre), Cafe Treece, The Raven Lounge, and the Random Tea Room.  

The Raven Lounge will exclusively be holding comedies, while the other venues will be mixing it up with genres ranging from documentaries, drama, horror and comedy.

For local moviegoers’, this local film festival can bring some films that range vastly from the typical summer films you will find at your local theatre.

This eclectic event will be sure to open eyes to the world around us with the documentaries, laugh at the hilarious indie comedies, cringe at the newest thriller/horror movies, all at a very competitive price.

Each screening is only $8.00, which is less than the normal theatres. At the Franklin Institute, each individual screening will cost $10.00, just two more dollars more than the other venues. If you want to make a day of it, $25.00 will get you a day pass to all the screenings at every venue. If film is really an interest, $100.00 will get you an all access pass, for every event at every venue for all five days.

This is a great way to spend a Philadelphia summer evening, for all who choose to stay in town this week. This out of the box event will surely be interesting for film experts as well as amateurs.

For more information, including schedules and box office sales, go to:

The African American Museum in Philadelphia Celebrates its 35th Anniversary

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Community News, Music and Film, Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 16, 2011 by mariamprh

The African American Museum in Philadelphia will host its 35th Anniversary Celebration June 18th and 19th with a 35 hour party.


The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) is celebrating its 35th birthday with an unprecedented 35 hour marathon celebration. Beginning at 8am on Saturday, June 18th and continuing through 7pm on Sunday, June 19th, AAMP will host a “35 hour blockbuster of continuous activities” entitled “The Juneteenth Jam.” Some activities include historic reenactments, family fitness activities, musical performances, tours, book signings, family workshops, snack socials, live media broadcasts, and film screenings.

AAMP President and CEO Romona Riscoe Benson places great importance on the Anniversary’s theme: Honoring Our Legacy, Embracing Our Promise. Developed from the spirit of Sankofa, which connotes taking from the past what is good into the present, AAMP’s overarching theme aims to commemorate the past 34 years and toast to a promising future.

The Juneteenth Jam will continue AAMP’s 35th birthday celebration, which has seen a variety of other programs so far this year. Still ongoing is a weekly evening program called RAAMP It Up Wednesdays, which features live music from 5-8pm every Wednesday. RAAMP It Up will continue up through September 28th.

Below is a full list of activities for the Juneteenth Jam:

8a – 9a                   Prayer/Coffee
9a – 11a                 Family Fitness Activities
11a – 12p               Welcome /Opening
11a – 1p                 Virtual Fitness Activities
12p – 3p                 Philadelphia’s Largest Line Dance
12p – 2p                 Mural Arts Mural Painting Activity
12p – 1:30p            African American Historic Walking Tour
12p – 5p                 Roaming Historic Reenactors
1p – 3p                   Chess Lessons
2p – 4p                   Face Painting/Balloon Art
3p – 4:30p              African American Historic Walking Tour
4p – 6p                   Live Theatrical Presentation
4p – 7p                   Senior Bingo
5p – 7p                   Snack Social
8p – 12a                 Fourth Wall Arts Salon
9:30p – 11:30p       Stargazing, with famed astronomer Derrick Pitts

12a – 2a                 Midnight Snack Social (Lobby)
12a – 3a                 Game Tournament
3a – 8a                   Film Screenings
6a – 8a                   Snack Social
8a                          Morning Libation/Praise
9a                          Prayer/Coffee/Juneteenth Address
10a – 12p              Family Fitness Activities
12p – 1:30p           African American Historic Walking Tour
12p – 5p                Roaming Historic Reenactors
2p – 4p                  Take Home Crafts for Dad, Carla Wiley
4p – 6p                  African American Mural Tour
5p – 6p                  Snack Social
5p – 7p                  Live Theatrical Presentation

Mummies of the World

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Local Treasures, Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 15, 2011 by nicholeprh

This new exhibit, Mummies of the World, opens at the Franklin Institute on June 18.

By Nichole Baldino

The famous Mummies of the World exhibit is described as “the largest exhibition of mummies and related artifacts ever assembled”. It’s making it’s East Coast Debut at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia’s favorite  science museum, on June 18 and will remain open to the public until October 23.

In the exhibit, visitors can learn about the ancient practice of mummification, as well as the ancient people that took part in it. It is comprised of over 150 real human and animal mummies dating back 6,500 years. These mummies originated from Asia Oceania, South America, Europe, and Ancient Egypt.

Mummification happens two ways: naturally and artificially.

According to the Mummies of the World official website, “natural mummies are preserved by the environment in which they died”. Climates that are hot and dry or cold and dry aid in this process.

Artificial mummification is the practice of bandaging or wrapping the dead as part of a burial tradition. This was most commonly done by the Ancient Egyptians. During the exhibit, visitors will come face-to-face (quite literally!) with both types of mummies. The Franklin’s tradition of hands-on displays coupled with multi-media exhibitions guarantees this to be a unique and unforgettable experience.

Included in the exhibit will be the “Detmold Child” – a Peruvian child mummy from 6,420 years ago, “Baron von Holz” – a 17th century nobleman, and various animal mummies – an Egyptian cat whose cast is elaborately decorated, a howler monkey dressed in a grass skirt, and a lizard from the Sahara desert.

Visitors can visit the mummies and explore the museum seven days a week. The mummies will stay up past museum hours  Thursdays through Sundays from 5 to 8:30pm, with the last admission at 7pm.

On these nights, tickets are $19.50 for adults, $17.50 for seniors, and $14.50 for children. On regular business hours (9am to 5:30pm) admission is $26.50 for adults, $24.50 for seniors, and $19.50 for children, but includes admission to the rest of the museum. Tickets can be purchased on their website or at the Franklin Institute.

Two Fun and Free Concerts

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Community News, Music and Film, Neighborhood Noir with tags , , , , , , on June 7, 2011 by laurarobbprh

DEK : By Laura Robb

This past Saturday, the Philadelphia area held two large free events, one in the Northern Liberties area of Philadelphia, the other in New Jersey’s Camden.

Philadelphia’s popular country station WXTU held its 27th anniversary show at the Camden waterfront’s Susquehanna Bank Center.  Performers included American Idols Casey James with Jason Aldean as the headliner.

WXTU throws this massive party each and every year to celebrate its birthday. They make this event free to all, planning ticket runs to raffle off tickets.

They hold the ticket runs all over the The Pennsylvania and New Jersey listening areas where listeners come out by the hundreds to win a coveted pair of these tickets.

Many people of all ages come every year hours before the concert ever starts for the annual country-style tailgate. The parking lots quickly filled up  with cars, pickup trucks, grills, and beer where people celebrated the unofficial start of summer country concerts.

“We come to this show every year, and always get here by 9 AM,” forty-year-old mother of two Beth Wilson said.

Wilson, her husband and a large group of their friends all come to this concert to start off their summer. They all come for the party, and look forward to it all year.

Across the River in Philly, The Piazza at Schmidt’s hosted the  seasons second Summer Block Party show hosted by Radio 104.5.  This alternative rock station hosts several concerts for their listeners free of charge. 

This years first lineup was with the talented Company of Thieves and She Wants Revenge. Just the day prior, Company of Thieves played another free show, live on the radio.

A few thousand people showed up to the Philadelphia event experiencing the beautiful Piazza, in the charming neighborhood of Northern Liberties.

Both events were a great time for anyone who attended. Summer is a time where people love to celebrate life, and there is no better way than to do that with a concert, not to mention a free one!

Check out 104.5′s website to view a lineup of the other Block Parties this summer.

Tune Up Philly

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Community News, Reaching Out with tags , , , , on June 2, 2011 by nicholeprh

Tune Up Philly director Stanford Thompson aims to help Philadelphia’s underprivileged children one instrument at a time.

By Nichole Baldino

Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s Tune Up Philly is holding a free concert at St. Francis De Sales on Sunday, June 5 at 2pm. Located at 47th Street and Springfield Avenue, this school holds weekday after school music instruction for students living in difficult social and economic conditions.

Tune Up is inspired by El Sistema, a similar program in Venezuela where professional musician José Antonio Abreu began a free classical music program for children from impoverished backgrounds.The lives of participants in this program have all improved, and Stanford Thompson saw the need for that educational reform here. Just like El Sistema, he is choosing to use music to model social organization and peer development.

According to Thompson’s website, “Tune Up Philly believes that music education is a powerful vehicle for children to master skills that will enable them to acquire valuable tools for cooperative learning, teamwork, academic success and self-esteem.”

The program operates on four core values – (1) that everybody has the right to a dignified life filled with contributions, (2) that each child can express themselves through music and art and therefore reap the benefits, (3) that effective education should be based on love, approval, and community, and (4) that there is no such thing as a musical disability.

For the students involved, music can act as a mode for change within their own lives. It brings a sense of accomplishment and pride, responsibility and possibility, and allows them to overcome their disadvantages in an accepting environment.

A strict class schedule promotes structure and discipline and performances allow the students’ pride to resonate to their family, friends, and neighbors. Having an opportunity to experience this overwhelming feeling  first-hand (for free!) is sure to be an unforgettable and inspiring experience, so don’t miss it!

Equality for All

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Community News, Local Treasures, Neighborhood Noir, Reaching Out with tags , , , , , , on May 5, 2011 by katelynnprh

Philly’s LGBT community gathered at the Piazza in Northern Liberties last Sunday to round out the Equality Forum.

By: Kate Hartman

Philadelphia hosted its 19th annual Equality Forum this past week. The city was a buzz with many different activities designed to raise awareness and celebrate the LGBT community. Throughout the week, there were a series of panels, parties, films, and art galleries. The whole forum ended with SundayOUT @ The Piazza.

The Piazza opened at noon and was packed throughout the day with people coming to see the performances, mill around the tables, and enjoy the Sunday sunshine. Outside the Piazza there were stands selling baked goods, scarves, t-shirts, and photos. There was plenty of outside dining so that patrons could enjoy the festivities like the drag queen karaoke while they had lunch. Restaurants, shops, and galleries lined the Piazza. There was plenty for visitors to see before they even entered the main square.

General admission into the Piazza was $10 and $5 for students. People had access to over 150 artisan tables and food vendors. There was plenty of stands to walk around and admire. There were companies selling t-shirts and artwork. Also, there were rows of tables handing out information on LGBT programs in Philly. There were even STD testing sites and stands that promoted safe sex practices and handed out protection. 

There was a large stage at the end of the Piazza where Kid Akimbo, Kat DeLuna, and Jonathan Bascope performed throughout the day. There was a large screen above the stage that broadcast the performances so that people could wander through the stands and still enjoy the show. The bars that lined the square invited people to wander in and out all day. SundayOut @ The Piazza united Philadelphia’s LGBT community in a large celebration. It was the perfect way to end the Equality Forum.

For more information on the Equality Forum visit their website: