New children’s theatre programs & events

Posted on 05 February 2013

theatre-masks-hiThis is an exciting week for local kids, teens and adults who love theatre and are interested in acting, with a few new educational programs and events launching in the area. Here are the details:


New Drama/Acting Classes

The Community Arts program at the Woodland Presbyterian Church located at 401 S. 42nd Street is starting an eight-week (Feb. 7 – March 27) drama class on Thursday afternoons, 4:00-5:00 p.m. and children ages 5-14 are welcome to participate. Kids will play drama games, learn acting techniques and perform in a culminating production. A donation of $20/participant is suggested to help cover program costs. To register or for more details, please contact Carol Shih at

Theatre and Me, LLC (Facebook page), a new company providing training and development for kids, teens and adults in the performing and creative arts, i.e. theatre, dance, voice, etc., is holding an Open House/Information Session about their upcoming classes on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2:30-3:30 p.m., at Dreaming Tree Music (4721 Pine St.). For more information, contact Marcus Siler at


New Kids Show at Curio

Curio Theatre has prepared an exciting new show for kids: Hansel and Gretel, the beloved fairy-tale by The Grimm Brothers was adapted for the stage by Rosemary Fox and will run on Saturdays at 2 p.m. on Feb. 9, 16, 23 and March 2. Tickets ($10) are available here.



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Capture the Flag, a Clark Park tradition, suspended for now

Posted on 05 February 2013

Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 1.43.20 PM

A screenshot from CaptnFog’s Youtube channel.

A highly entertaining Saturday tradition at Clark Park will be put on hold indefinitely. The weekly Capture the Flag game at the park, which has delighted and puzzled park visitors for a decade, has been suspended.

The company that runs the game and supplies foam swords, knives and bow and arrows –  Epic Adventurez – will host the game at other locations in the city. The company has used the Clark Park gathering to help recruit participants for its larger events, annual summer camps and to keep its community of players active in the fall and winter months. But participation has been declining and the company is losing money on the swords and other weapons it supplies to players for a $5 donation, said Epic Adventurez Robert Bedford in an e-mail.

The game drew as many as 80 people in its early years, but Bedford said the game hasn’t drawn that many players in “quite some time.”

Bedford said he hopes Capture the Flag (CTF) will return this spring. He writes: “We do not think this will be the end of Clark Park CTF, we hope we can reorganize, and eventually resupply in order to provide the equipment necessary to encourage the level of play we desire.”

For those in the neighborhood who can’t go a weekend without it, there will be Capture the Flag games at Allens Lane Art Center in Mt. Airy on Sundays from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Bedford said he’s also looking to establish a game on Saturdays in Morris Park, near 66th and Sherwood, in the Overbrook neighborhood.


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Local chess club raising money to compete at state, national championships

Posted on 31 January 2013


Several second through sixth graders from four West Philly schools are members at the Minor Threats chess club. The kids are trying to get to the State and National championships this spring. 

The Minor Threats is a chess club based at S. Weir Mitchell Elementary school at 55th and Kingsessing and consists of 2nd-6th graders from four different schools in West and Southwest Philly. Their coach and school teacher, Jason Bui, would like to take this talented and hardworking group of youngsters to two important upcoming competitions – the State Championships in Carlisle in March and Supernationals in Nashville, Tenn. in April. But traveling to and competing at these events require some funding which the club doesn’t have. So the Minor Threats are seeking community support. A total of $5,000 is needed to take the kids to both events.

Here’s what Jason wrote in an email:

“This has been an exciting year for the chess club. The kids have worked very hard. They have attended eleven tournaments around Philadelphia so far this school year. They have won 19 individual trophies, medals, and awards. They have won 3 team trophies. Now they want to prove themselves on the state and national level. They will not be able to do that without your help.

We need $1,300 to take 13 kids and 4 parents to the State Championships in Carlisle, Penna. for two nights in March. Most of the kids will compete in both the K-6 under 800 section on Saturday and the K-9 under 1,000 section on Sunday. Last year 105 of the best K-6 chess players in the state played in these two sections. I took four fairly inexperienced students there. We missed winning a team trophy by 1 point. This year the team is much more prepared. They have been practicing and studying for months.

We need $5,000 to take 9 kids and 4 adults to Supernationals V in Nashville, Tenn. for four nights in April. Every four years the elementary, middle school, and high school national chess championships are held at one location. This event is called Supernationals. The Minor Threats will compete against hundreds of the best K-6 chess players in the country. Based on their accomplishments at local tournaments they stand a good chance to bring home some trophies and glory for the team.

Your donation will make a huge impact on the lives of inner-city youth who are eager to achieve great things through chess. A $20 donation would pay for a hotel room for one child. A $50 donation would pay the Supernationals tournament entry fee for one child. A $100 donation would cover one child’s expenses for the State Championships. A $200 donation would pay for one child’s bus ride to Nashville. A $1,000 donation would cover one child’s expenses for the Supernationals.”

If you want to help the Minor Threats club, please send cash or a check made out to S. Weir Mitchell School with “Chess Team” written on the memo line. The school’s address is: 5500 Kingsessing Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19143. Jason has also set up an online fundraising page. Please go here to donate.

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Craving Girl Scout cookies? Stop by Lil’ Pop Shop today

Posted on 26 January 2013

pop shop shot

West Philly Girl Scout Juniors and Cadettes are selling Girl Scout Cookies today in front of the Lil’ Pop Shop at 265 S. 44th Street starting at noon. The Lil’ Pop Shop is closed for the month of January but will reopen for business on Feb. 2. Stock up on Thin Mints while you can!

For general information on how the Girl Scouts use cookie proceeds, click here.


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West Philly boy, Evan, to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show today

Posted on 17 January 2013


Evan Sweitzer (photo from

Evan Sweitzer, a 10-year-old boy who’s been helping a local cat rescue, is a celebrity after Reddit shared a story about him and The Huffington Post picked it up a couple of weeks ago. Now Evan will appear on the Ellen DeGeneres Show that will air today at 3 p.m. on NBC (you can watch the segment here).

Since 2009 Evan has been sending letters and his allowance money to City Kitties, a West Philly-based cat rescue organization. His family adopted a cat, Macha, from City Kitties and Evan wanted to help other cats. For 2012, Evan donated $110, which his parents matched for a total of $220.

Here’s Evan’s letter that City Kitties received along with his latest donation.


To read more about Evan and how he’s been helping West Philly’s stray cats and kittens, visit


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West Philly Girl Scout cookies go on sale this week

Posted on 15 January 2013

girl-scout-cookiesMore table locations have been added for this year’s West Philly Girl Scout cookie sale, which begins this Thursday, Jan. 17 (see the list below). And if you can’t make it by a table, you can get a home or work delivery!

Here’s how you can help local Girl Scout troops by purchasing cookies (a message from Amy Kwasnicki, who is the cookie hub for three troops of girls, Kindergarten through 5th grade):

“Cookie sales make all of the Girl Scouts programs affordable, but also provide immediate funds for the troops to use. Our past community service projects, which have been funded by cookie sales, include clearing a vacant lot in Powelton, buying and planting trees for the lot, clearing invasive plants from a community garden in West Philly, planting a butterfly garden, and an earthworm and ladybug release in Clark Park. Cookie sales have also enabled the troops to spend the night at the Franklin Institute, purchase compasses for all of the Scouts, and, of course, go camping!”

Girl Scout Cookie Table Locations and Dates:

Fri. 01/18 Eastern Mountain Sports, 34th and Chestnut, 3:30pm-6:30pm
(check out the promo here)

Sat. 01/19 Clark Park “B” Park, 43rd and Chester, 10:00am-1:30pm

Tues. 01/22 SEPTA Suburban Station, table is located near stairs/elevator in Penn Square plaza, facing 16th Street, 6:00am!! – 6:00pm

Wed. 01/23 Locust Walk in front of St. Mary’s, 39th and Locust, 3:30pm-5:30pm

Sat. 01/26 Clark Park “B” Park, 43rd and Chester, 10:00am-1:30pm

Wed. 01/30 Locust Walk in front of St. Mary’s, 39th and Locust, 3:30pm-5:30pm

Fri. 02/01 Eastern Mountain Sports, 34th and Chestnut, 3:30pm-6:30pm

Sat. 02/02 Clark Park “B” Park, 43rd and Chester, 10:00am-1:30pm

Tues. 02/05 SEPTA Suburban Station, table is located near stairs/elevator in Penn Square plaza, facing 16th Street, 6:00am!! – 6:00pm

Wed. 02/06 Locust Walk in front of St. Mary’s, 39th and Locust, 3:30pm-5:30pm (though we may get an earlier start since schools are closed that day)

If you have questions or want a home/work delivery, email Amy at:

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