“Summer Wonder” series kicks off this week with Native American dance

July 2, 2013

Warrior DuoPenn Museum is bringing back its family-friendly “Summer Wonder” series, with the first program this Wednesday, July 3, when families with children are invited to celebrate the Native American culture and learn traditional Native American dance with the Native Nations Dance Theater.

The “Summer Wonder” programs will run weekly on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. through August 21, 2013 and will feature a great lineup of performances and demonstrations, including stories about ancient Greek mythology, a marionette theater, an exploration of medieval music and instruments, contemporary and ancient African and African American tales, songs and games, and more.

All “Summer Wonder” programs are free with Penn Museum admission. For more information and the full program schedule, please visit Penn Museum’s website and also check our Events Calendar for upcoming programs.

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Celebrate local arts and cultures at West Park Arts Fest this Saturday

June 7, 2013

The 6th Annual West Park Arts Fest is happening this Saturday, June 8, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the theme “Friends Across Cultures.” The festival celebrates the richness of art and culture in Philadelphia and focuses on the resources in the Fairmount Park Centennial District. Around 2,000 people are expected to attend this free public event that brings together more than 30 arts, cultural, nature, science and community organizations from West Philadelphia and across the city.

The festival activities will include a youth Chess Tournament hosted by A.S.A.P., drawing and theatre workshops, storytelling, science demonstrations, book giveaways, face painting, and more. There will also be live music and dance performances by more than 100 professional artists and 200 talented children and youth. The event will also include a free guided historical trolley tour of the Centennial District with Kathy Lee, educator and Associate Producer of the Trudy Haynes Show. Please check out the flyer below for more information or visit this page.


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Play On, Philly! year-end concerts begin Wednesday

June 4, 2013


A film crew from the documentary project El Sistema USA records Play On, Philly! students performing at Saint Francis De Sales last year. (Photo by West Philly Local)

Play On, Philly!, the vaunted, tuition-free after school music education program that takes students with no musical training and teaches them over a school year to perform classical music, will host a year-end concert on Wednesday, June 5, at the Please Touch! Museum (4321 Avenue of the Republic). The concert will feature 250 students from around the city, including many from West Philly’s Saint Francis de Sales School (917 S. 47th), Freire Charter School (2027 Chestnut St.) and West Philadelphia Catholic High School (45th and Chestnut).

This year’s show, entitled Beethoven Alive!, begins at 6 p.m.

The year-end gala is one of several Play On, Philly! concerts scheduled for the coming weeks. The others include:

St. Francis de Sales Choir Concert  – A salute to music from popular films.
Sunday, June 9, 2013 • 3:00 p.m.
Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church (5620 Wyalusing Avenue)

St. Francis de Sales Large Ensemble Concert  (final concert of the year)
Saturday, June 15, 2013 • 2:00 p.m.
West Philadelphia Catholic High School (4501 Chestnut Street)

Play On, Philly! began in 2010 at the Saint Francis de Sales School with 110 kids ages 6-13. The idea was to bring enrichment to their lives through music. Last spring renown jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis stopped by Saint Francis de Sales to talk to students in the program. Students go through a rigorous training program that includes three hours daily of after school instruction by some of the city’s best teaching musicians. Play On, Philly! hopes to establish a program in every city neighborhood.

Mike Lyons

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History lesson: Local b-boy crew explains the Civil Rights Movement using Hip Hop

May 16, 2013

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While West Philly’s Hip Hop Fundamentals has already reached—and exceeded—their $10,000 Kickstarter fundraising goal, there are still 22 hours left to donate to the campaign supporting the dance crew’s upcoming educational assembly, “Civil Rights Movements: The Power of Youth Engagement as Seen Through the Eyes of Dr. King.”

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.”

Annamarya Scaccia

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Summer camp registration underway; Camp Sojourner Walkathon; Curio Theatre Camp Scholarship fundraiser

April 29, 2013

With the summer fast approaching, many parents are now searching for information on day and residential camps available in our area, so we are trying to keep our Summer Camps page constantly updated as we get more information. Recently, we have updated the page with three more camps, two in Philadelphia and one in Poconos with transportation provided from a pick-up location in Philly. To see our list of summer camps, go to:

If you’re a camp owner, staff member or counselor and would like to share information about your camp with West Philly residents, please drop us a line at:

Camp-Sojourner-Staff-App-2013FYI, on Saturday, May 4, there will be a 5K walkathon through West Philly (starting in Clark Park, circling Kingsessing and Malcom X Park, and ending at the Calvary Center) to honor the leadership of women and girls and to support the wonderful West Philly-based girls’ leadership Camp Sojourner. The walkathon begins at 10:00 a.m. and is followed by a celebration at Calvary (48th & Baltimore) from 12:15 to 2:00 p.m. To register online go to:

This is a family-friendly event and even if you can’t walk, you’re welcome to come to the celebration event and support Philly girls and women.

There is also a chance to help another great local camp. You can combine your love of sports and theater by participating in the Curio Theatre Summer Camp Scholarship fundraiser. If you buy tickets for the Phillies/Marlins game on May 2, 2013, 7:05, net proceeds will go to support the Reuben Mitchell Scholarship Fund. Individual tickets are $32 (or 4 for only $100.00!) For more information contact Lewis Mellman at or call 267-252-6648.



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Get your science on: Stargazing at Woodlands, USP and science festival at Clark Park

April 26, 2013

stargazingIt looks like it will be a perfect night for some stargazing. Tonight from 6:00 – 9:30 p.m. two West Philly locations, the Woodlands Cemetery and the University of the Sciences, are inviting neighbors for Astronomy Night where you can check out the night skies and meet Philly-area astronomers. At the Woodlands (40th & Woodland), stargazing will be in the Center Circle, the highest point in the cemetery. You are also welcome to bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic with your friends and family.

Stargazing at the University of the Sciences will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Quad area on Woodland Avenue, between 42nd and 43rd Streets.

On Saturday, families are invited for Discovery Day at Clark Park that begins at 11 a.m. Kids can meet local scientists and science students, explore the park and its inhabitants and enjoy hands-on activities, such as sun gazing and creepy-crawly creatures.

Both events are part of the Philadelphia Science Festival.


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