Archive | May, 2012

Waiting for Mercy: Free movie screening in Clark Park tomorrow night. Update: In Calvary Church if it rains

May 31, 2012

Suspecting Yassin M. Aref and Mohammed Mosharref Hossain of conspiring to aid a terrorist group and provide support for weapons of mass destruction, money laundering, and supporting a foreign terrorist organization, the Albany (New York) Counter-Terrorism Task Force and Federal carried out a sting operation in 2004 to investigate the two men, ultimately sentencing them both to 15 years in jail. Filmmaker Ellie Bernstein documents the case in his 2008 film Waiting for Mercy, which will be screened in Clark Park (45th & Regent) Friday night at 8 p.m. If it rains, the program will be moved to Calvary Church (48th & Baltimore).

The Philadelphia International Action Center will sponsor the free outdoor screening, the first in the 2012 Clark Park Summer Film Series. Representing Project SALAM, a support and legal advocacy group for Muslims, Lynne Jackson will introduce the film and lead a question and answer session after the screening. Bring movie snacks and a blanket, and prepare your mind for a film that boldly reveals a case of religious discrimination and racial profiling in the United States.

Neither Aref nor Hossain had any previous criminal record. According to the Albany Times Union, the investigation was allegedly sparked by an entry listing Aref’s name, phone number, and address in a notebook found in a bombed Iraqi encampment. Government officials originally claimed that the word “commander” had been written next to Aref’s name in the notebook, but when pressed by the judge of the case to see the entry in the notebook, the officials admitted they had mistranslated the Kurdish word “kak” which means “brother.”

Here’s the movie trailer:

Erica Kimmel

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West Philadelphia Jazz Heritage Series kicks off tonight in Malcolm X. Park. Update: Canceled

May 31, 2012

Stop by Malcolm X. Park tonight to see Glenn Bryan (pictured) on piano with Reference Point.

Update: Per Glenn Bryan’s Facebook post this afternoon, the Malcolm X Park concert this evening featuring GB and Reference Point is canceled. Glenn has reported on his Facebook page that bassist Aaron Hayes was shot on his way to work this morning. Please keep Aaron and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Here is the story about the shooting.

The West Philadelphia Jazz Heritage Series was supposed to kick off tonight at 7 p.m. in Malcolm X Park (52nd and Pine) with Reference Point, featuring Glenn Bryan, Craig Winn, Aaron Hayes and Tony “Stickman” Wyatt. These guys have a bunch of different influences, from classical to Latin to R&B.

This summer’s series includes eight more dates in June, July, August and September. We’ll fill you in on the acts as we get them. The series is hosted by Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and the Friends of Malcolm X. Park.


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Studio 34 to host Tiziou and David Wax Museum

May 31, 2012

This Friday, June 1, photographer and neighbor JJ Tiziou will team up with Studio 34 to present a special evening of photographs, dance, and music.

Tiziou will show a slideshow of images from his recent trip volunteering with Mercy Ships in Togo, West Africa, followed by a dance performance by Fatima Adamu and Melissa Diane (Jacelyn Biondo and Kristen Shahverdian). Then the stage will belong to The David Wax Museum, one of last year’s Philly Folk Festival headliners. Their particular blend of guitar and percussion made on a donkey’s jaw bone is not to be missed, especially in such an intimate setting.

Sliding scale contributions will help support JJ Tiziou Photography’s community projects.

Friday, June 1, 8 p.m., Studio 34, 4522 Baltimore Ave, upstairs.

Emma Eisenberg

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Painting, running and bidding: Local schools need help

May 31, 2012

Community members are invited to support local public schools and participate in these upcoming events at Henry C. Lea, Penn Alexander and Samuel Powel schools.

Lea Elementary recently received a $3,800 grant from Lowe’s to redesign the school’s interior, brighten up the hallways and make Lea a more welcoming place for students. As a part of this effort the school is teaming up with the Renewal Church to hold a paint day this Saturday, June 2. This is the second paint day (the first one was on May 19) and adult volunteers are still wanted to fill in the afternoon shift from noon to 2 p.m. To sign up, please add your name to one of the teams on the Google Doc here. If you have questions, email David Fox at This is part of ongoing renovations at Lea.

• This Sunday, June 3, Penn Alexander School is holding the 2nd Annual Run for Arts and Sciences. There is a 5k run and a 1 mile fun walk beginning at 8:30 a.m. The course will loop through the University of Pennsylvania campus starting and finishing at Penn Alexander. The 5k run will be chip timed. All proceeds will support the Art and Science program at Penn Alexander. For more information, go here. Note: The online registration with a discounted price is closed, but you can download paper a Registration Form and bring it to the event. Also you can support this event by making a donation at the provided link.

• Alumni & Friends of Samuel Powel Elementary and Powel Home and School Association are hosting a silent auction and fundraising event on Saturday, June 9, from 6 – 10 p.m. This adults-only event will take place at Art on the Avenue, 3808 Lancaster Ave.

This is a very important fundraiser for Powel, as they are trying to raise a substantial sum to buy new Science Kits and other instructional materials for their students and to support additional music classes. This event is for current and future Powel families, friends, alumni and anyone who wants to come out to support Powel school and bid on some great items from local businesses. Go here to order tickets, become an event sponsor or benefactor and see all the great items you can bid on.

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Some residents near African Cultural Center say they have had enough

May 31, 2012


Several residents who live near 50th and Springfield are taking their complaints about the African Cultural Center (Facebook page), a banquet hall that hosts everything from baby showers to raucous late night dance parties, to police tonight.

Residents say they have been complaining to police, the Liquor Control Board and the District Attorney’s office for several months about problems of noise and public urination at the center, which sits between residential homes and the train bridge that crosses Springfield Avenue. The Center includes an 8,000-square-foot banquet hall, with a stage and sound system, and a 1,700-square-foot reception hall with bar, both of which are frequently rented out for large events. These events include biweekly parties that run from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., require a $10 admission and include “tight security,” according to advertisements. Many of the large gatherings are organized by promoters who are not directly connected with the African Cultural Center.

Tonight some of these residents plan to take their complaints to a public forum at the Philadelphia Police Department’s 12th District headquarters at 6448 Woodland Ave. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.

Phone calls to the Center’s owner, Murphy Orji, were not returned.


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Walk-A-Thon Fundraiser for Health Center 3 this Saturday

May 30, 2012

Health Center 3 at 43rd and Chester (across from Clark Park) is inviting friends and neighbors to participate in a Walk-A-Thon this Saturday, June 2, from 9 to 11 a.m. This fundraiser will benefit preventive health programs at HC3. The event also raises awareness about healthy eating and a more active lifestyle through walking. Adults and children of all fitness levels can participate, and even family dogs are welcome.

You can choose one of the two routes – a full lap or a short lap around Clark Park. The full lap around Clark Park B and C is approximately 1/3 mile. The short lap around the “Dog Bowl” in Clark Park B is approximately 1/5 mile.

Registration fee is $5-$20 on a sliding scale at a discretion of each participant and participants experiencing financial hardship can register for free. Non-participants can make a donation. To register or donate, please follow this link. For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page.


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