This Tuesday (May 21) there’s a rare chance to see a Curio Theatre show at an historic location. For one night only Curio presents “William Hamilton: Not Your Typical 18th Century Gentleman” at the Hamilton Mansion at the Woodlands (40th and Woodland). The show runs from 7 to 9 p.m.
Here are some details about the show from the Curio website:
“This light-hearted performance will feature fictionalized accounts of the life of William Hamilton, written and performed by members of the award-winning Curio Theatre Company. Presented in the historic eighteenth century home of one of Philadelphia’s most prominent citizens, this one-night-only production chronicles the life of the man behind The Woodlands, based on historical accounts, documents, and letters from his Founding Father contemporaries (including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Charles Drayton).”
All in all, it should be an unforgettable evening that also includes complimentary cocktails served in “true Hamilton style.” For more information and to buy tickets ($15), go here.
Founded in 2011 by Repstyles Crew members Steve “Believe” Lunger and Mark “Metal” Wong, Hip Hop Fundamentals work to “empower and educate” local youth by teaching academics and social issues through hip hop assemblies. Their new hour-long “Civil Rights Movement” show (view video below), which will be performed at 10 Philadelphia public schools, will use dance, history lectures, music, interactive workshops, and audience participation to showcase the critical role students played in advancing civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s. A free May 5 public performance of the show at Clark Park kicked off the crew’s fundraising efforts.
During the show, students will have the opportunity to unite to “overcome prejudice, breaking unjust laws, writing letters to elected officials, marching and protesting, and boycotting,” Hip Hop Fundamentals’ Education Director, Aaron “Professor Peabody” Troisi. Hip Hop Fundamentals five-performer cast will read samples from different Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. letters and speeches, including “I Have a Dream” and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” as well as highlight examples of student leadership and involvement in the Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-Ins, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the Freedom Rides.
“Civil Rights Movement” will also illuminate hip hop’s connection to the historic movement, with particular focus on Afrika Bambaataa and other founders of the politically and socially-conscious genres. According to Troisi, in drawing this connection, Hip Hop Fundamentals will show how hip hop “is one of the many legacies of the Civil Rights Movement; an empowering modern culture in which young people play a critical role.”
The tour will kick off before the end of this month and last through the end of the school year. While Hip Hop Fundamentals is still hammering out schedule and location details, the crew hopes to perform in West Philly’s Samuel Gompers and Overbrook Elementary schools, as well as Dimner Beeber Middle School.
According to Troisi, all funds raised through Kickstarter will go towards tour overhead, which costs roughly $1,000 per show for performers, transportation, production, and other expenses, with no costs passed on to the schools. He said some of the money will also fund arts programming provided free to local high-need schools, and hiring local young dancers for HHP’s youth-teaching-youth mentorship framework.
“We are hoping to bring empowering arts programming back to Philly’s public schools. We are hoping to work with and educate the youth in our communities who need it most,” he said. “This campaign has been so successful, it is obvious that our city is starved for good, educational arts programming. We’re honored to be a part of providing that to youth in our city.”
Less than two weeks are left before the Indiegogo fundraising campaign for A Man Full of Trouble, writer/director Michael Johnston’s dark comedy about a suicidal Alexander Hamilton reenactor, comes to a close, and it’s under $300 shy of $7,000.
Money raised for the West Philly-based indie short (view trailer below), which serves as Johnston’s thesis project for Temple’s MFA program, will fund the bulk of production costs, including equipment and location rentals, and costume fabrication by Regalia Costumes, said A Man Full of Trouble’s producer, David Leith Fraser. The total budget, which ranges from $12,000 to $14,000 depending on the final Indiegogo amount, is also funded by a $4,500 Temple University Grant, and a $500 Allied Pixel gift certificate Johnston received with his 2013 Media Film Festival’s Allied Pixel Silver Award for his previous film, Irina. A Man Full Trouble is slated for completion this fall.
A Founding Father and one-half of one of the first sex scandals in American politics, Alexander Hamilton makes for mysterious and complicated anti-hero. A Man Full of Trouble explores his inexplicable life through the eyes of Nick Crane (the aforementioned suicidal reenactor), who is “fighting to keep Hamilton’s voice relevant in Philadelphia, a city dominated by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington.” And in the midst of this battle, Nick unknowingly reenacts Hamilton’s affair with Maria Reynolds through his relationship with fellow reenactor, Isabella.
“Michael is fascinated with Philadelphia’s history and architecture. He wanted to write something that was specific to the city. Hamilton’s affair with Maria Reynolds, which took place in Philly, and Hamilton’s tragic end provided the perfect back-story for creating the film’s dark-comedic tone,” Fraser told West Philly Local. “The film examines one man’s conflict and the ending of the film will elicit different responses from different people. If I had to choose one, I would say the film asks that we study and preserve our history.”
The majority of the project will be filmed at The Woodlands Historic Mansion, Cemetery and Landscape, which was originally purchased in 1735 as a 250-acre swathe on the Schuylkill River’s west bank (today, the estate, overseen by The Woodlands Trust for Historic Preservation, consists of 53 acres nestled between S. University Ave and 41st Street south of Woodland Avenue.) Other filming locations include Independence Hall, the Second Bank of the United States, and Society Hill.
According to Fraser, money allocated for filming on the cemetery grounds will go towards restoration efforts on the Mansion. The premiere party for A Man Full of Trouble will also be held at The Woodlands, planned for some time in late fall, and double as a fundraiser for the historic landmark.
Randi Fair, a West Philly resident and photojournalism student at Temple University, has recently completed an interesting project for one of her classes and wanted to share the results. The assignment was to find old photographs of Philadelphia and to re-photograph the same location, at least 60 years later. Randi focused West Philly and we think it came out pretty cool. While working on this project, Randi discovered that some things haven’t changed at all in these years. Check out some of the images below. To see more photos, including Randi’s commentary, go here.
Corner of 43rd and Baltimore.
The other corner of 43rd and Baltimore.
The entrance to Clark Park.
The Charles Dickens statue in Clark Park.
Corner of 47th and Baltimore.
The entrance to Malcolm X Park, then called Black Oak park.
On May 13, 1985, a Philadelphia Police Department helicopter dropped a bomb onto a row home at 6221 Osage Avenue, the headquarters of the group MOVE. Eleven people lost their lives, five of them children, and inexplicably, despite heavy fire department presence, 61 houses on the block burned to the ground.
Writer Andrea Walls grew up just blocks away from the bombing and witnessed its aftermath, and now, a quarter century later, she’s telling the story of that night into morning through her poetry. Walls’ chapbook, “Ultraviolet Catastrophe” examines the events from all sides, even at times transporting the reader into the mind of the helicopter pilot that dropped the bomb. With empathy, bravery and electric twists of phrase that speak to her project as both poet and witness, Walls brings light to this crucial moment in West Philadelphia history.
Photos from www.threadmakesblanket.com
“Ultraviolet Catastrophe” was the first publication of Thread Makes Blanket press, a local small press operating out of the Cedar Park area, headed up by West Philly resident, writer, and creative writing professor Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela. Most recently, the press also released “Letter from Tombs Prison, 1917,” a collection of writings surrounding correspondence between Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman that includes writing by Julie Herrada, Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela, Emily Abendroth, Anna Martine Whitehead, Shaun Slifer and Megan Gibes, as well as a reproduction of an original letter.
Now a Camden resident, Andrea Walls remains active in the Philadelphia literary arts scene and with the Leeway Foundation. For more information about Andrea’s work, or Thread Makes Blanket Press or to buy “Ultraviolet Catastrophe,” click here or pick one up at the Queer Literary Festival on October 14-16.
Here’s a great chance to learn more about the historic West Philly neighborhood of Powelton Village. On Saturday, Oct. 1., the Powelton Village Civic Association is organizing a 4-hour-long tour which will guide you through the neighborhood’s tree-lined streets and will introduce you to its beautiful homes and gardens and their history.
The tour will begin at 11:00 a.m. with the starting point and check-in at 3501 Baring Street (four blocks north of Market). Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. Check the flyer for more information. All questions should be addressed to: president [at] poweltonvillage.org