Upcoming events: outdoor music & theatre, film festival, art shows (updated)

Posted on 30 July 2014


This week is rich in art happenings in the area, from outdoor theatre to a film festival to art shows. We already reported on Shakespeare in Clark Park presenting Henry IV in the park’s bowl. The performances, which feature a community army of over 100 people, begin tonight at 7 p.m. and go on through Sunday.

Also tonight, at 5:30 p.m., Penn Museum (3260 South St) invites music lovers to enjoy an outdoor concert by the West Philadelphia Orchestra. The concert is part of the weekly P.M. @ Penn Museum music series. Tickets are $10 and include museum admission. More details are available here.


Photo from BlackStar Facebook page.

BlackStar Film Festival, featuring films by and about people of African descent in a global context, kicks off on Thursday, July 31. The four-day festival features film screenings (many of them free) and events at the following West Philly venues: International House Philadelphia (37th and Chestnut), Scribe Video Center (4212 Chestnut St), Annenberg School for Communication, Penn (3620 Walnut St), and Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), 118 S. 36th St. An opening night reception with DJ Mr. Sonny James will take place at ICA from 7 – 10 p.m. on Thursday. This event is also free and open to the public. For more information and schedule, visit Follow the festival @blackstarfest and #BlackStar14.

UPDATE: Gush Gallery is opening on Friday, Aug. 1 at 5015 Baltimore Ave. The grand opening show, Embark, is from 6 – 9 p.m. (more info coming soon)

​Sharp with Art Group is presenting an art exhibit titled “Levels” at the Urban Art Gallery (52nd and Spruce) from August 2 – 31.  There will be a free opening reception on Saturday, Aug. 2, from 6 until 9 p.m. “Levels” will feature a diverse selection of art styles, such as street art, abstract art, sculpture, and mixed media works. Six amazing artists will be featured in the show: Natalie Flor Negron, Jae Martin, Nebulus Flair, Seven X, Noni Red and Vinson Houston. In addition there will be live performances by Raw Sinister Theatre, Chase Smiley The RockStar and April Fool Child.

And last, but not least, American Queen TJD, a West Philly artist we featured last fall (Meet American Queen TJD: Not the female Basquiat), invites neighbors to support her at a major art show on Saturday, Aug. 2  at the Arch Enemy Arts Gallery in Olde City (109 Arch Street). The one-day only show, titled “Too Many Basquiats Not Enough New Artists,” features over 100 pieces of art. The event will take place from 6:30 – 10 p.m. and includes music, food and an open bar. More details and tickets ($10.50) are available at


Artwork by West Philly artist American Queen TJD will be on display at the Arch Enemy Arts Gallery in Olde City Aug 2. (Photo via


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Man sought for punching and robbing woman at 47th and Baltimore

Posted on 29 July 2014

Editor’s Note: As is often the case with surveillance videos released by police, we debated how to report on this for fear of reinforcing stereotypes. In the end we decided to publish the video to help with some measure of justice, but also to maybe start a conversation about what our responsibility as citizens are in a situation like this. 

TrolleyattackPolice are asking for the public’s help in finding a young man who attacked and robbed a 39-year-old woman in what appears to have begun as a bump while getting off the trolley.

The incident took place at around 5:30 p.m., July 10 at 47th Street and Baltimore Avenue. Today, police released surveillance video where the attack can be seen (see below). The woman was exiting the route 34 Trolley when she appeared to push or bump into the man who was standing in the doorway. The suspect can be seen throwing something at the woman after she exited (police say it was a cup). He then followed the woman, punched her and after a brief struggle grabbed her headphones. The suspect can then be seen getting back on the trolley before quickly exiting and fleeing on foot toward 46th Street.

The victim was treated at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where she received two stitches to her lip, according to police.

The suspect is described as a black male, 20 years old, 5’11”, thin build, clean shaven, wearing a dark colored t-shirt with writing on the front. He was also wearing black shorts and had a multicolored backpack with thin shoulder straps.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact Southwest Detective Division, Det. McDermott #770 by calling 215-686-3183/3184. You can also text a tip to PPD TIP or 773847.


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Back-to-School drives, fundraising events

Posted on 29 July 2014

Six weeks are left before kids head back to school and we are passing along information from two area organizations that are helping low-income and homeless families and children prepare for the upcoming school year. We’re sure that there will be more school supply drives and fundraising events in the area. We’ll post new information when it becomes available.

ACHIEVEability Backpack Drive, Fundraising events


Photo courtesy ACHIEVEability.

ACHIEVEability is holding a Backpack Donation Drive to support over 300 school-age kids in the area. When donating a backpack, please consider the following school supplies as well: spiral bound notebooks, loose leaf paper, composition books, folders, pens, pencils, markers, highlighters, calculators, pencil sharpeners, glue, erasers, scissors, crayons, etc. Donations can be delivered to ACHIEVEability’s administrative office located at 35 N. 60th Street. All donations should be delivered no later than August 22.

For more information about making a donation please contact the ACHIEVEability Development Department at 215-748-8809 or

On Wednesday, July 30, from 5  to 7 p.m.all are welcome to join ACHIEVEability at Ben & Jerry’s shop at 218 S. 40th St and enjoy some delicious ice cream while helping ACHIEVEability help others. During the event, 20 percent of all sales will be donated to the organization.

Finally, on Thursday, July 31, ACHIEVEability is hosting a Coffee Happy Hour at the Creative Café @ Replica (3711 Market St)   from 5:30-7 p.m. The Coffee Happy Hour will feature the limited-edition signature drink, the ACHIEVEaJava, available to purchase for $2 along with discounted pastries and snacks. The Café will also raffle off a $25 gift card to be used for either design/print services at either Replica location, or to be used solely in the Creative Café @ Replica for coffee and pastries. No RSVP is required for this event.  Continue Reading

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Henry IV featuring community army this week in Clark Park

Posted on 28 July 2014


Preparations have begun in Clark Park’s bowl (45th and Chester) for one of the most epic outdoor theater productions in the history of Shakespeare in Clark Park. This summer, the company presents Henry IV for five nights starting Wednesday, July 30. We watched a rehearsal and took this photo over the weekend. This production has an unprecedented number of actors: A community army of over 100 people was selected for battle scenes in the play. These are folks from 36 Philadelphia neighborhoods, from teens to seniors. More details about the production are here. The free shows begin at 7 p.m.

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West Philly weekend: Just a few more Dining Days; free 40th Street concert Saturday

Posted on 25 July 2014

There are a couple of things we wanted to mention as the weekend rolls in.

There are only three days left for University City Dining Days when you can enjoy dinner at 27 area restaurants for three fixed prices: $15, $25, and $35. The annual Dining Days will run through July 27. More info and the list of participating restaurants is available here.

julysumserWEBSITEThe second concert in the 40th Street Summer Concerts series is scheduled for this Saturday, July 26. Bring your blanket or chairs to the lawn behind the Walnut Street West library at 40th and Walnut and enjoy live music by Avalon String Band and the fusion act - Raphael Xavier W.O.R.X. Meets Bobby Zankel & The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound. The show, which begins at 6 p.m., also features free treats from Ben & Jerry’s and face painting and balloon animals for kids.

The next 40th Street Summer series concert is on August 30, featuring Nation Beat. More details are available here.


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West Philly Tool Library plans expansion, launches crowdfunding campaign

Posted on 24 July 2014


West Philly Tool Library staff (Photo courtesy WPTL).

West Philly Tool Library (WPTL) is Philadelphia’s only library that lends tools to community members, both individuals and organizations. WPTL’s members borrow tools for home repairs, construction projects, gardening and even creating art. Recently, the tool library has announced some big plans that include increasing the number of members in more neighborhoods and their access to most needed tools and expanding their education and outreach programs.

Sounds great, but the problem is that WPTL can’t meet this demand without community help. Their current memberships fund only 34 percent of their annual operating budget of $40,000. So an online crowdfunding campaign was launched to help them make ends meet.

WPTL is currently raising $10,000 through Indiegogo and has already raised over $3,000. The money donated through this campaign will help the following projects, according to the campaign page:

 Increase availability of the tools they can’t keep on the shelves, like table saws, weed whackers, tile saws, and cordless drills
 Develop a robust education program to ensure that community members have the skills they need to properly leverage their tools
 Develop programs to reach into the neighborhoods they don’t fully serve

For more information and to donate, click here.

If you want to learn more about how to become the tool library member, visit this page.


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New benches coming to Clark Park (photo)

Posted on 23 July 2014

Earlier this week we reported about the plans to install new benches inscribed with Charles Dickens quotes at Clark Park. The work began today and is expected to take two days.

Photo: The old benches are being removed near the Dickens statue at 43rd and Chester.



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Loopy chairs now in Cedar Park

Posted on 23 July 2014

Cedar Park residents can now check out and try the loopy chairs. Since last fall, the loopy seating structures, a new type of social seating called Looped In, have been moving around various neighborhoods in the University City area and recently were installed in front of Dock Street Brewery (50th and Baltimore). They will remain in this location until early September, according to University City District.



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Registration is on for West Philadelphia Block Captains Forum

Posted on 22 July 2014

block captains forum flyerThe 2014 West Philadelphia Block Captains Forum will take place August 2 at Boys’ Latin School (5501 Cedar Ave) and registration is open until Monday, July 28. The forum, organized by The Partnership Community Development Corporation (TPCDC), is a great networking and skill-building opportunity for local block captains, filled with useful free workshops , such as Crisis and Emergency Management, Crime and Safety, Community Organizing 101, Vacant Lot Management and more.

Breakfast and lunch will also be served at the event. Click here to download the registration form. Note: only official block captains can attend this event.

For more information or if you have questions, please contact Leon Robinson at the TPCDC Neighborhood Advisory Committee office at: 215-662-1612 ext. 24 or stop by the office located at 4020 Market Street.


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Got something useful to say to SEPTA? Here’s your chance

Posted on 22 July 2014

trolleyOne of the best transportation organization slogans of all time is SEPTA’s simple and self-deprecating: “We’re Getting There.” So Philly.

Now SEPTA is asking you how they are doing. SEPTA is inviting the public to suggest modifications to current SEPTA routes and requests for additional services. If they make sense, SEPTA may work them into its next annual service plan – for 2016. The service plan will go through a public hearing process before a final vote.

SEPTA received a record number of submissions for its last service plan, perhaps a reflection of the growing interest in public transportation. The recent reintroduction of all-night trains is another indicator.

“We’re seeing a renewed interest in transit, with many residents embracing SEPTA as their primary and preferred choice for travel,” Richard Burnfield, SEPTA’s chief financial officer, said in a press release. “Many riders are showing a great interest in service improvements, and we welcome those suggestions.”

It sounds like complaints about drivers, schedules or the delays in updating the fare payment system won’t go far, but constructive suggestions might.

Send your ideas to You can also mail them to: SEPTA – Service Planning Department, 1234 Market St. 9th Fl., Philadelphia, PA 19107.

They will be accepted through Aug. 31.

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Dirt bike rider dies after accident at 47th and Cedar

Posted on 22 July 2014

flatbed truck

Photo by Ken Gregory.

7/22/14: The unidentified young man who was seriously injured in Saturday’s accident at 47th and Cedar has died, according to police. Police confirmed that the man was riding a dirt bike on Saturday night and was speeding when he crashed into a flatbed truck near 47th and Cedar.

7/19/14, 10:50 p.m.: Police are on the scene near 47th and Cedar investigating an accident reportedly involving an ATV whose rider is seriously injured. The accident took place around 10 p.m. when a young man in his 20′s riding a small motorized bike with no lights on southbound on 47th sped through a few stop signs and hit an AAA flatbed truck (pictured), according to witnesses.

A witness said that after the collision the ATV rider flew many yards and landed near Suzuki Piano studio on the corner of 47th and Cedar. The man appeared to be seriously injured and was taken to the hospital.

Police were on the scene and interviewed the truck driver. We’ll update when we have more information.


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Overturned car at 43rd and Locust

Posted on 21 July 2014

A reader sent us this photo of an overturned car on 43rd Street near Locust. The photo was taken shortly before 8 a.m. No word yet on what caused the car to overturn and the driver’s condition.


Photo by Bimal Desai.


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Clark Park gets more benches, orange chairs and trash

Posted on 21 July 2014

ClarkParkchairIf you’re in Clark Park later this week keep an eye out for new benches inscribed with Charles Dickens quotes set to be installed between Wednesday morning (July 23) and Friday (July 25). A total of six new benches will be placed around the park.

Speaking of seating, new orange chairs are also on the way. The Friends of Clark Park voted during its annual members meeting last week to order 20 new chairs to replace damaged or missing chairs. The chairs cost $50 a piece and many have worn out since the experiment to place the movable chairs and tables in the park began in 2011. Despite initial doubts, the chairs and tables have been a huge success.

Members also voiced concerns about the growing amount of trash in the park, particularly overflowing garbage and recycling bins. Right now a seasonal city employee bags the trash on week days and the University of the Sciences picks up the recycling once a week. Also, event organizers and food trucks sometimes bring bins. Increasingly heavy use of the park in the summer – everything from large events to birthday parties and food trucks –  has resulted in more trash.

This seems like a good time to mention events coming at the park this month:

The Awesome Fest continues this Thursday with Jingle Bell Rocks!, a wacky documentary on underground and alternative Christmas music.
Shakespeare in Clark Park kicks off next Wednesday (July 30) at 7 p.m. in the bowl.


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Celebrate local jazz and arts at Lancaster Ave Jazz Festival this Saturday

Posted on 18 July 2014


Saunders Park Greene (39th and Powelton) is the place to be this Saturday (July 19) where the Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival, a free one-day celebration of the rich history of jazz and the arts in Philadelphia, will be held. One of the most exciting community jazz events of the summer will feature a wide variety of both international and local jazz performers, as well as mobile food trucks, vendors, and family friendly activities.

The lineup of the musicians participating in the festival includes jazz saxophonist Azar Lawrence, headlining the event, Glenn Bryan & Friends, Charlene Holloway Band, kids orchestra Play On, Philly!, and more.

Complimentary free parking for guests will be available at Penn Presbyterian’s lot at Powelton Ave. and State St.

The event, hosted by People’s Emergency Center, will start at noon and end at 7 p.m. For more information and a full list of performers, visit


Lancaster Avenue Jazz Festival map / Courtesy of Lancaster Ave Jazz.


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Trolley tunnel to close for three weeks in August

Posted on 17 July 2014

It’s time to replace those worn out overhead wires and tracks in the Center City tunnel, says SEPTA. The tunnel maintenance and construction project is scheduled for August 1-18, 2014 and here’s what it means for West Philly trolley riders:

SEPTA Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 will not operate in the tunnel from 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 1 through 4 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 18. Trolley service will begin and end at 40th and Market Streets and passengers are advised to use Market-Frankford Line for travel to and from Center City, as the repair work will not affect that service.

During the so-called “Trolley Tunnel Blitz,” SEPTA crews will work around-the-clock to complete numerous overhead wire, track and station improvement projects, which will help improve safety and service reliability of the trolleys that run through the tunnel, according to SEPTA’s announcement. Some of this work includes replacing nearly 24,000 feet of worn overhead contact wire throughout the tunnel, installing more than 14,000 feet of new rail on the eastbound track, and making numerous station repairs and improvements such as on stairs, lighting and platforms.

You can also say goodbye to the graffiti in the tunnel. The project includes graffiti removal, painting and heavy cleaning at all stations throughout the tunnel.

For more details on the maintenance and construction work scheduled during the Trolley Tunnel Blitz, visit SEPTA’s website.

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Got a crime problem? Get the police districts and service areas straight

Posted on 16 July 2014

A recent post on the West Philly Local forum led us to think about the most effective way of reporting ongoing crime to the police. A forum poster wrote:

“I have seen an increase in drug dealing at 49th and Baltimore, right by and along side of New Third World. I was offered Drugs on several occasions, and felt very uncomfortable. This had occurred today in the afternoon and last week, & wondered if anyone had the same experience, or what to do about it! I am becoming increasingly uncomfortable in my own neighborhood!”


Map image from

One suggestion on our Facebook page where we shared the above post was to attend the monthly meeting of the police 18th District at the Calvary Church (4700 Baltimore Ave.), where a police lieutenant listens to citizen complaints and tips (the next one is Thursday, July 17 at 6 p.m.). But another reader rightly pointed out that the 18th District is divided into three “police service areas (PSAs),” and that the corner where the alleged drug dealing was taking place was just over the western edge of PSA 3, which has its community meeting at the Calvary Center. The northern border of PSA 3 (and all of the PSAs in the 18th) is Market Street. The eastern and southern border of PSA 3 is the Schuylkill River. Correction: The southern border of both PSA 1 and 2 is Baltimore Avenue and 57th Street divides them. 49th Street divides PSA 2 and PSA 3.

The neighborhoods south of Baltimore are in the 12th District. The Powelton and Mantua neighborhoods are served by the 16th.

Confused? How about it. We’re trying to get more information about the meetings at the other PSAs in the 18th. We’ll update when we get more info.

One way to alert police to ongoing problems is to e-mail the PSA commanders. Their e-mail addresses are here. For crimes in progress, 911 is still the way to go. A police officer we talked to said maybe the best way to get some action on a complaint is to call your police district, ask for a supervisor and request that a complaint be placed on the roll call. That will alert oncoming shifts of the problem each day for three days.

As for the drug problem at 49th and Baltimore, the cop we talked to said he would get the complaint on the roll call.


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3 Courses, 3 Prices: University City Dining Days return July 17

Posted on 15 July 2014


Photo courtesy University City District.

Are you ready for University City Dining Days? The popular annual 10-day event when you can enjoy dinner at a number of local restaurants for pre-fixed prices, returns this Thursday, July 17. Participating restaurants are now accepting reservations.

Through July 27, 27 University City area restaurants will participate in this year’s “3 courses, 3 prices” promotion, from craft beer bars to celebrity chef restaurants to cozy BYOBs, featuring traditional and international cuisine. The participating restaurants offer a pre-fixe three-course dinner specials for $15, $25 or $35. This is a great chance to visit your favorite local restaurant or try a new one without taking a big bite out of your wallet.  Continue Reading

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Talking Headz moves to new, bigger location on Baltimore Ave

Posted on 14 July 2014


Talking Headz’s new location at 4922 Baltimore Ave. (Facebook photo)

If you are heading to Talking Headz for a haircut, a trim or coloring, please take notice that the neighborhood hair salon with the motto “Rad Hair for Rad People” has recently moved a little further west on Baltimore. As of July 5, 2014, Talking Headz is operating in the heart of Cedar Park – at 4922 Baltimore Ave.

The salon first opened in 2011 in a small space at 4714 Baltimore Ave and quickly gained popularity for its friendly staff, awesome vibe, and reasonable prices (check out recent Yelp reviews and an older review by a neighbor and blogger West Philly Mama).

The new space seems great and has much more room. They have eight chairs now in comparison to just three at the old location and new staff was hired to keep up with the expansion. The salon has also added an extra day of operation. It is now open Monday through Sunday during the following hours: Monday 12 – 6 p.m., Tuesday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Wednesday 12 – 8 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 12 – 5 p.m.

According to their website, the Talking Headz people can cut your hair “ranging anywhere from classic to wild.” The place is also kid-friendly (we can confirm) and they even have a kids play area. By the way, kids haircuts start at just $16. Prices for adult haircuts range from $21-$36 depending on the length of your hair. Walk-ins are welcome but not always available, so appointments are recommended. You can make an appointment by calling 215-729-2028.

For more information about Talking Headz, their services and pricing, visit their website.

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Water main break, no water service reported near 50th and Osage Ave (updated)

Posted on 13 July 2014

UPDATE 2: Water came back on around 4:10 p.m., according to neighbors.

UPDATE: We spoke to the PWD workers on-site at around 2:40 p.m. and they said that the water main break should be repaired by 4 p.m.

City Water Department crews have responded this morning to a water main break on Osage Ave between 49th and 50th Streets. A number of households in the area lost water service due to the break. Neighbors reported that there was no water at their homes as early as 6 a.m. We’ll keep you posted when we have more information.


Photo by West Philly Local reader Daniel Chen.


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