Brotherly Love

6-year-old neighbor hosting ongoing ‘Super Duper’ food drive in Clark Park

August 25, 2015

elliottSix-year-old Elliott is in Clark Park every Wednesday to collect canned goods and other non-perishables for Philadelphians in need. His ongoing “Super-Duper Food Drive,” which benefits Philabundance, started in early August, and the response so far has been great. This Wednesday, Elliott will be in Clark Park at 43rd and Chester from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for his 4th collection, so everyone is welcome to swing by and bring a donation. High-priority items are:

• Jelly, jams or preserves;
• Miscellaneous shelf-stable proteins (peanut butter, beans, canned stews, or chili);
• Pasta, rice, & dry mixes;
• Breakfast foods (hot & cold cereals, bars, & oatmeal)

Elliott plans to host many more events throughout the year, according to his mom Jennifer. “We’d like to get others involved, especially kids,” she writes. “Elliott wanted to fill my empty coffee cans with food + water for those in need, so this is our compromise: an ongoing food drive to benefit Philabundance.”

For more information on Elliott’s Super-Duper Food Drive check out this Facebook page.

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Branford Marsalis Quartet to perform at Community Unity Festival at Clark Park on Saturday

August 13, 2015


Branford Marsalis Jazz Quartet (from left: Joey Calderazzo (piano), Eric Revis (bass), Branford Marsalis (saxophone), and Justin Faulkner (drums)).

Internationally acclaimed jazz musicians will be guests at the 2nd annual Community Unity Music Festival at Clark Park (43rd and Chester). Saxophone legend Branford Marsalis and his band, The Branford Marsalis Jazz Quartet, will again headline the festival, which will be held on Saturday, Aug. 15, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. This year’s festival, which promotes nonviolence and unity in the Philadelphia community, is called “A Day to Remember.” In addition to live music performances, the festival program includes inspirational speeches from city and state dignitaries, food, games and other activities for kids.

The festival is organized with the help of Justin Faulkner, the drummer of the Marsalis Quartet, who grew up in West Philadelphia. One of the main goals of the festival is to show young community members that “creativity enriches the soul” (the festival’s motto is “Put down the guns and pick up an instrument”). To help local artistic youth, the festival organizers created “The Each One Teach One” coalition, which gives scholarships to five deserving students for private music lessons with one of the festival’s partners, the Clef Club for Jazz and the Performing Arts.

For more information about the Community Unity Music Festival and people behind it, click here.

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“Theatre in the X” to bring Othello and all-Black cast to Malcolm X Park

August 4, 2015


Theatre in the X presents all-Black cast Othello at Malcolm X Park on Aug. 8, 15 & 22. (Photo from Theatre in the X’s Facebook page).

The Winter’s Tale production in Clark Park is over, but more outdoor Shakespeare productions are coming to West Philly this summer. “Theatre in the X“, an artists’ collective that staged No Child… at Malcolm X Park in 2013, is presenting three free performances of Othello with an all-Black cast in the park starting Saturday, Aug. 8. The collective’s core is local theater artists Carlo Campbell, who plays Othello, Walter DeShields (Cassio) and LaNeshe Miller-White (Emilia). The play is directed by well-known director Ozzie Jones.

The play in this production is set in the criminal underworld. Campbell “is like the ‘muscle’ of the Duke of Venice’s crew,” according to Jones, while love interest Desdemona (played by Nastassja Baset) is envisioned as an underboss’ daughter. “In the language, it’s not so much race,” said Campbell, comparing the dynamic of this particular production to Will Smith visiting his wealthy uncle in California on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. “It’s this person who has this audacity to think that, from their station in life, they can be privy to rewards.”

Theatre in the X was created to provide free and accessible theater to the community, as well as provide local African American artists with acting and directing opportunities. The 2015 presentation is part of the City of Philadelphia’s Performances in Public Spaces program managed by the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and is supported by the Leeway Foundation’s Art and Change grants. Public donations are essential, too, so if you want to chip in, please visit this page.

Performances are on three upcoming Saturdays – Aug. 8 at 5 p.m. and on Aug. 15 & 22 at 6 p.m. 

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“Glen’s Village”: Must-see doc on West Philly kid, his mom and redemption

August 3, 2015


OK, first thing … You need to carve 30 minutes out of your day and watch the mini-documentary Glen’s Village, a film about a kid who grew up around 52nd and Haverford, was dealing crack by the 9th grade and is now, thanks to the strength of his mother and himself, a student at Penn. (It’s embedded below).

The film takes you through Glen’s childhood growing up with a dad who was, as one person in the film puts it, basically a “drug kingpin.” He was later deported to Jamaica, leaving Glen’s mother to raise him alone. It wasn’t going well as he entered his teens and by ninth grade Glen was regularly skipping school and selling drugs.

But at University City High School he turns it around. As one of the school’s star students, Glen testified before the School Reform Commission as it considered closing the school. UC High’s closure is an important part of the film, as is his work at Sayre High School, where he teaches part time to fulfill his scholarship obligations.  Continue Reading

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Lots of live music, fun at 40th Street Summer Festival and more events this Saturday

July 24, 2015


Mixed People band will perform this Saturday at 40th and Walnut.

The 40th Street Summer Festival which includes dazzling acts ranging from jugglers and fire dancers to puppets and percussions, kicks off at 5 p.m. this Saturday (July 25) in the green space behind the Walnut West Library near 40th and Walnut.

The festival will also feature live music from Mixed People, Red Cedar Strings (Facebook page) and Au Jus, and entertainment and activities for the whole family.

nejoehill-roadshow-philadelphiaLater on Saturday the University Lutheran Church (3637 Chestnut St.) will host the Joe Hill Roadshow, a tour commemorating the 100th anniversary of the death of International Workers of the World activist and songwriter Joe Hill. Hill, who was executed in 1915, had a long-lasting influence on radical organizing in the country. The tribute concert starts at 7:30 p.m. and includes music from MagpieCharlie King, George Mann and special guest John Braxton. Tickets for this show are also available at Bindlestiff Books at 4530 Baltimore Ave.

For more upcoming events, please visit our Events Calendar.

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Registration for 2015 Block Captains Forum ends July 27

July 24, 2015

Here’s a great opportunity for local block captains to meet other captains, share their experience and better their community organizing and other skills. The annual West and Southwest Philadelphia Block Captains Forum will take place at Philadelphia Boys’ Latin Charter School (55th and Cedar) on Saturday, Aug. 15, and registration for the forum is open through July 27. Several free workshops will be held at the one-day event, including Crime and Safety, Community Organizing 101, Vacant Land Management, and more.

Block captains who are registered with the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee (PMBC) are encouraged to attend this event and can register for the forum by contacting The Partnership CDC/NAC Office at 215-662-1612 or at 4020 Market St. See the flier below for more information.


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