Chekhov’s ‘Three Sisters’ as punk-rock cabaret at Curio this month

February 14, 2019

Photo by Rebecca Gudelunas

Three Sisters, By RashDash, After Chekhov opened to  an open house at Curio Theatre Friday night. The production is a progressive, “punky” look on the Russian classic, featuring absurdist comedy and musical cabaret numbers while asking the audience vital questions. This is the North American premiere of the play by British feminist theatre collective RashDash.

The play focuses solely on the women characters – sisters Olga, Irina and Masha – played by long-time Curio Theatre Company members Colleen Hughes, Rachel Gluck, and Tessa Kuhn (they also played three sisters in last season’s Crimes of the Heart at Curio). The show is directed by Meg Trelease. Check out this review by Broad Street ReviewContinue Reading

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A second apartment building coming to 4300 block of Market Street

February 13, 2019

An artist’s rendering of 4306 Market St. The city approved the adjacent building to the right in October.

The 4300 block of Market Street, which includes a Checkers, some vacant lots and a handful of row homes, will likely look completely different by next summer.

A proposal for a six-story, 22-unit apartment building at 4306-4310 Market St. met with a favorable reaction from the Spruce Hill Community Association zoning committee on Monday. The building would be fit in between a cluster of existing row homes and another building, 4312 Market St. that was approved last year. The two projects are related.

The proposal would combine three lots into one for the building (one is the former site of the Dirt Factory). The proposed building would include 13 two-bedroom apartments, 5 one-bedrooms and 4 three-bedrooms. No information was available on proposed rent prices, but developers said the apartments would be “higher end” and not aimed at students. There are no affordable housing units proposed as part of the project, which several zoning committee members asked developers to reconsider.  Continue Reading

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The Farmacy restaurant closes at 45th and Spruce; building owners seeking new tenants (updated)

February 12, 2019

After more than five years of operation, The Farmacy, the popular brunch spot at 45th and Spruce, has closed. The restaurant closed at the beginning of the month, and “For Rent” signs have been displayed in the windows since then.

The owners, local chefs Ross Scofield and Danielle Coulter, want to focus on their new restaurant in New Jersey, according to FooboozContinue Reading

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Public schools to open with two-hour delay on Tuesday

February 11, 2019

Due to sleet expected in the area throughout Monday night and early Tuesday morning, all public schools will open Tuesday, Feb. 12 on a two-hour delay, according to an announcement by the School District of Philadelphia. All buses will also begin their morning routes two hours later than their normal time.

Parents and caregivers are asked to be patient as some yellow bus routes may experience moderate to significant delays Tuesday morning due to road conditions. Families can also visit the Bus Status Page on the School District website to see if there are additional delays for their child’s bus route.  Schools will dismiss students in the afternoon on their normal schedules.

All District-operated early childhood programs will also open on a two-hour delay. After-school activities, including athletic programs and professional development sessions set for Tuesday, will continue as scheduled.

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City Council clears way for development at 4601 Market

February 8, 2019

City Council formally approved the sale of the sprawling Provident Mutual Insurance Co. building and surrounding land on Thursday, clearing the way for the long-anticipated development of the site.

Iron Stone Real Estate Partners has been shopping its plan to develop a healthcare campus on the site in collaboration with Public Health Management Corp. and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia around to neighborhood groups and public meetings since September 2018.

Last year, the city selected the proposal, which included an approximately $10 million sale price, after a bidding process that began in 2017.  Continue Reading

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Lifestyle art statues pop up near 48th and Market

February 7, 2019

Several art statues representing what appears to be the 1950’s lifestyle have been spotted on Market Street near 48th. The statues were placed on an empty lot near construction business T Depaul & Sons, but it doesn’t appear that they belong to it. Check out the photos sent to us by reader Shepard Ritzen:  Continue Reading

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Dozens injured in SEPTA trolley collision with paratransit bus at 41st and Chester

February 5, 2019

Multiple injuries have been reported after a packed SEPTA Route 13 trolley was struck by a paratransit vehicle late Tuesday morning. The incident happened near the intersection of 41st Street and Chester Avenue at around 11:30 a.m., according to reports, after a collision between a CCT Connect paratransit bus and another car.

At least 31 people were injured in the incident, according to a report by NBC10 Philadelphia. The drivers of the vehicles involved in the collision were taken to the hospital, and their condition is currently unknown. None of the injuries sustained by the trolley passengers are considered life-threatening, according to reports.  Continue Reading

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Free tax preparation sites open in West, Southwest Philadelphia

February 4, 2019

Free tax preparation sites have opened around the city helping individuals and families earning less than $55,000 per year to file their 2018 taxes. The sites are run by the Campaign for Working Families. This year, there are a couple of new tax preparation sites in West Philadelphia. Most sites serve customers on a first come, first served basis, but some require an appointment.

The following tax preparation sites are open in West and Southwest Philadelphia:  Continue Reading

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Black History Month begins with Cultural Institution and Resource Fair in West Philly

February 1, 2019

Philadelphia public libraries will hold an array of special events throughout February in honor of Black History Month. This Saturday, Feb. 2., Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library (52nd and Sansom), in collaboration with the African American Museum, is hosting a Cultural Institution Resource and Information Fair.

The public is invited to learn more about local African-American historical and cultural institutions and get informed about their programs, activities and volunteer opportunities. Representatives from the following organizations will be on hand to provide information and answer questions:  Continue Reading

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Grays Ferry Avenue Bridge undergoing reconstruction

January 31, 2019

Since the beginning of this month, PennDOT has been doing rehabilitation work on Grays Ferry Avenue Bridge, which connects the Kingsessing neighborhood in Southwest Philly with the Grays Ferry neighborhood on the east bank of the Schuylkill River. The bridge was built in 1976 and includes four lanes of traffic in both directions.

Here’s what motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians should expect in the next couple of years (the entire bridge rehabilitation project is expected to be completed in late 2020).  Continue Reading

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Garden Court resident to challenge Blackwell in City Council primary

January 30, 2019


Jamie Gauthier, a Garden Court resident and the former head of the Fairmount Park Conservancy, has announced that she will mount a primary campaign against Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, whose family has controlled the 3rd District seat since the 1970s.

Gauthier is a former president of the Garden Court Community Association, was born in the district and returned as an adult to get a master’s degree at Penn and raise her children here. She served as executive director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy from October 2017 until yesterday when she stepped down to announce her candidacy. She previously served as head of the Sustainable Business Network, a non-profit started in West Philly that helps small businesses balance profitability with social and environmental responsibility. Gauthier has a master’s degree in city planning from Penn.  Continue Reading

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Blackwell to host another community meeting on proposed sale/development of 4601 Market St

January 28, 2019

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell has scheduled another community meeting about the future of the former Provident Insurance Co. building at 46th and Market. The previous meeting discussing the proposed sale of the property to local developer Iron Stone Real Estate Partners took place last month, after which Blackwell halted a vote on the sale in City Council. The previous community meeting called for more transparency in the sale process.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 29, from 6 – 8 p.m. at West Philadelphia High School (49th and Chestnut).

The Walnut Hill Community Association also held a community meeting about the proposed development of the property earlier this month. Read more about it here.

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One nominee for the 190th state House seat resigns, another appointed, over the weekend

January 28, 2019

A few days after he was handpicked to run for the vacant 190th state District seat, West Philly native Darryl Thomas has withdrawn from the race following a Philadelphia Inquirer article questioning his place of residence and voting record.

Within 48 hours, Movita Johnson-Harrell, who runs the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Victims Services office, was unofficially named the new Democratic nominee for the special election on March 12. She announced the nomination on her social media late Sunday.  Continue Reading

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vybe urgent care opens near 36th and Market

January 25, 2019

Right in the middle of the cold season, a new urgent care center has opened in the University City District area. “vybe urgent care,” an independent operator of urgent care centers in greater Philadelphia, has opened its newest location at 3550 Market St.

“We believe the diversity of West Philadelphia is one of its greatest strengths, and we look forward to serving the diverse healthcare needs of this community,” vybe urgent care President Peter Hotz said in a statement.  Continue Reading

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Dems select Philly Cuts owner Darryl Thomas as candidate to fill 190th House seat

January 25, 2019

UPDATE (Monday, Jan. 28, 2019): Darryl Thomas stepped down over the weekend. Democratic leaders appointed Movita Johnson-Harrell as the nominee for the March 12 special election.

Democratic ward leaders have selected Darryl Thomas, a Howard University graduate and the owner of Philly Cuts barbershop on Chestnut near 44th, to stand in a special election in March to fill the 190th state House District seat left vacant when former Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown resigned in December.

Thomas has long been vocal on community issues, including zoning, and ran in the Democratic primary for the seat in 2016, losing to Brown.

“I’m not a politician, even though I’m running for office. I’m a social activist,” Thomas, a West Philly native, told West Philly Local during the campaign. Continue Reading

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The Rotunda hosting a West Philly community arts project, tax workshop for artists

January 23, 2019

rotundaWest Philly artists are invited to The Rotunda (40th and Walnut) for a couple of events this month – a planning meeting for a community arts project, and a tax workshop.

The community arts project, “When I am the Princess,” will take place on Saturday, March 9 when artists will have the opportunity to read, sing, perform, dance, show and/or exhibit at The Rotunda. The first planning meeting for the project will be this Saturday, Jan. 26, 2:00-3:30 p.m. (the second meeting is on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2:00-3:30 p.m.).  Continue Reading

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Giant to open ‘Heirloom Market’ near 34th and Chestnut

January 22, 2019

Those on and around Penn’s campus may be happy to hear this news: Giant Food has set its sights on a location near 34th and Chestnut for its second small-format food market in Philadelphia, aka Heirloom Market. The city’s first Heirloom Market is opening this week in Graduate Hospital.

The new grocery store will reportedly open at 3401 Chestnut Street, the location previously occupied by Eastern Mountain Sports.  Continue Reading

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Iron Stone and Walnut Hill Community Association near agreement on 4601 Market St. project

January 18, 2019

Walnut Hill residents got a chance on Thursday to ask the proposed developers of the Provident Insurance Co. building at 4601 Market Street what benefits the neighborhood would get from the healthcare campus planned for the site.

Iron Stone Real Estate Partners execs presented their plans for the building at a Walnut Hill Community Association meeting aimed at finalizing a “community benefits agreement,” a contract that would reflect community requests on everything from hiring practices to parking to the use of green space in development projects that get public subsidies.  Continue Reading

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Peace March, Social Change Symposium, and more MLK Day events/volunteer projects in West Philadelphia

January 17, 2019

On August 3rd 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at 40th and Lancaster during a Freedom Now Rally in front of a crowd of 10,000 people. The Peace March ended there in 2018 with speeches from community leaders. (Photo courtesy of People’s Emergency Center).

Beginning this weekend, local universities and other non-profit organizations will be hosting many events, for adults and children alike, and volunteer projects in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Most of the events are happening on the Martin Luther King Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 21.

Here are some of these events; more events in the area from now through Monday can be found at this link. Continue Reading

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