"Arts and culture"

‘Native American Voices’ exhibit opening this Saturday at Penn Museum

Posted on 28 February 2014 by

22 Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape

The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape people are an active tribe from Southern New Jersey, where they hold state recognition. Hear stories of their challenges and successes as they preserve their culture in Native American Voices: The People—Here and Now. (Photos courtesy Penn Museum)

The goal of a new, large exhibition opening at the Penn Museum (3260 South Street) on Saturday, March 1 is to help us leave preconceptions about Native Americans behind. “Native American Voices: The People—Here and Now” is a rich and highly interactive show that features a wide range of contemporary Native North Americans – artists, activists, journalists, scholars, and community leaders. They speak out in video and in audio, sharing stories, poetry, and short essays on issues that matter to them today: identity, political sovereignty, religious freedom and sacred places, language, celebrations, art, and cultural continuity.

Besides a central introductory video, touch screen towers and multimedia stations are placed throughout the gallery, allowing visitors to encounter Native American perspectives on key themes.

MocassinsThe exhibition will have on display over 250 Native American objects—ranging from 11,000-year-old Clovis projectile points to contemporary art, which will help to tell the stories of Native American peoples today, their aspirations, histories, art, concerns, and continuing cultural traditions.

The exhibition opening will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and will include Native American music and dance, presentations by Native American community leaders from around the country, as well as arts, crafts, workshops and children’s activities—all free with Museum admission.

For more information, visit this page.

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See it before it’s gone: Snow sculpture on 900 block of 48th St

Posted on 17 February 2014 by


West Philly is home to some talented folks. Check out this amazing, albeit not finished, snow sculpture created by neighbor Theresa Feo of the 900 block of S. 48th street, according to West Philly Local reader reports. Great work, Theresa!

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Help fund Anna Badkhen’s latest story

Posted on 06 February 2014 by Annamarya Scaccia

Fulani cowboys driving their cattle to water (Photo by Anna Badkhen)

Fulani cowboys driving their cattle to water. (Photo by Anna Badkhen)


To say the least, Anna Badkhen is a wanderer.

From the edges of Mexico to the villages of war-torn Afghanistan, the West Philly-based Badkhen has roamed the earth, searching for those societies in extremis—those people living in the farthest reaches. It’s often there, in those outlying regions, where she finds a fuller picture of life: of communities surviving in areas unheeded by the contemporary world.

As a journalist and writer by trade, Badkhen has written four books and countless articles about people in extremis, translating her experiences and their realities into exceptionally woven and affected stories. And now, Badkhen has launched an Indiegogo campaign to help fund her latest book, Walking with Abel (Riverhead Books), which will publish next year.

Donations to Badkhen’s campaign, which closes on March 8, will help fund the completion of the Walking with Abel manuscript. The book tells a nomadic Fulani family’s story of “survival, perseverance and adaptation” living in the Sahel region of Mali in Western Africa, where Badkhen spent much of 2013. Ultimately, says her campaign site, the fundraiser will “make truly communal the book that explores the mega-narrative of all of our human migrations, our ancestral restlessness, our shared hejiras.”

When West Philly Local asked Badkhen about what made this trip truly unique, she replied:

“‘Where are you from?’ My hosts in an Afghan village would ask, my hosts on a farm in Western Iraq, in the velvet mountains of Indian Kashmir, in the snakepit dugouts of Azeri refugee camps. I had grown up in a country that no longer existed, in a city that since had changed its name: Leningrad, USSR. I had moved away, and moved again, and again. My point of departure was never the same: Moscow, Massachusetts, Philadelphia. It made for relatively effortless travel. It made for uncomfortable silences, odd hesitations.

The Fulani ‘are regarded everywhere as ‘the other’ or ‘the stranger,’ writes the Dutch anthropologist Mirjam De Bruijn. ‘They are always the people who come from far away.’ They were hereditary outsiders who appropriated all the space their cows required at any given time but never more than that. The Fulani never asked me where my home was.”

Annamarya Scaccia

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Guitar music from around the world to fill Calvary Center this Sunday

Posted on 18 January 2014 by


Clockwise from top left: Quique Sinesi, Pino Forastiere, Michael Dawes, and Brian Gore. Photo via Brian Gore’s Facebook page.

A group of guitar virtuosos from four countries is coming this Sunday, Jan. 19 to Crossroads Music at the Calvary Center (48th & Baltimore) to take part in the International Guitar Night, a North America’s premier mobile guitar festival. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are still available. The festival has featured some of the best performing guitar composers from around the world since 1995.

Here’s who’s coming to perform in West Philly: Pino Forastiere (Italy), Mike Dawes (England), Quique Sinesi (Argentina) and Brian Gore (California). Each year Gore, the festival founder, invites a new cast of acoustic guitar players to join him for special evenings of solos, duets and quartets. Participating musicians relish the chance to express reverence for one another, and to collaborate rather than compete with one another. Since the beginning, audiences nationwide have cherished “the friendly informal ambiance” of the performances. So, now you can enjoy it too. More information and tickets are available here.

Also, check out this video of Pino Forastiere:

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This weekend in West Philly

Posted on 10 January 2014 by

Here are a few happenings this weekend we wanted to bring your attention to. For more events or to submit an event, go to our Events Calendar. And be careful out there – try to avoid slippery sidewalks!

FreetoLoveseries– Beginning this Friday, International House Philadelphia (37th & Chestnut) presents Free to Love: The Cinema of the Sexual Revolution. This is a groundbreaking series made possible with the support by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. The series will run through February 15. Here’s this weekend’s program (ADULT CONTENT): Friday, Jan. 10, 7 p.m. – I am Curious (Yellow); Sweden, 1967, 121 min. Saturday, Jan. 11, 5 p.m. – Pink Narcissus; US, 1971, 71 min. 7 p.m. – In the Realm of the Senses; Japan, 1976, 109 min. 10 p.m. – Deep Throat; US, 1972, 61 min. For more information and tickets ($9 general admission; free for IHP members) click here.

– Here’s a reminder that the Electronics Recycling Day, which was supposed to take place last Saturday in Clark Park, has been moved to this Saturday, Jan. 11. Bring your old phones, computers and other electronic devices and gadgets to Clark Park at 43rd and Chester from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Electronics recycling is free of charge, with the exception of $20 charge for recycling cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs and monitors.

trufflesBiunity‘s annual chocolate themed bake sale and fundraiser Death Bi Chocolate will take place at the A-Space (4722 Baltimore Ave) on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2-5 p.m. The event supports the only organization for bisexuals in Philadelphia and raises funds for appearances at pride events throughout the year, such as Philly Pride and OutFest. You can donate a chocolate baked good and enjoy the chocolates available at the sale, or just come and play board games with some friendly people.

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Help make Gush Gallery a reality

Posted on 09 January 2014 by Annamarya Scaccia

Gush Gallery co-founders Sarah Thielke and Stephanie Slate. (Photo courtesy of Thielke and Slate)

For local photographers Sarah Thielke and Stephanie Slate, art is a stimulus—a rapid stream of influence in their daily lives. After all, the lineage is there: Slate, a native of Florida, is the granddaughter of a professional photographer, and painters thrived in Theilke’s New Jersey-bred family.

“[Art is] just something that’s always been around us and that we are passionate about,” the duo, who met while attending Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, told West Philly Local via email.

It’s a passion that’s amassed to Gush Gallery—a West Philadelphia interactive art gallery, community center and boutique Slate and Thielke hope to open in April with the help of donations through their Indiegogo fundraiser, which ends next month. So far, since its launch, Slate and Thielke have raised $1,315 of their $8,500 goal, which will go towards repair costs and equipment for their space (a lease is not signed at the moment; the pair are considering spots on the 5000 block of Baltimore Avenue and the 4700 block of Spruce Street).

Once opened, Gush will be an epicenter of sorts, serving an eclectic lot of emerging and underground artists from a hodgepodge of disciplines and styles—a call back to the gallery’s moniker, synonymous with “enthusiasm” and “torrents”—ultimately catering to a community rich with creativity but lacking in resources to foster it. At the start, Thielke and Slate will run Gush, curating the exhibitions, designing the annual Gush “yearbook” of shows, and leading the photography-based workshops for members and non-members alike (membership fees are three-tiered and start at $25 per year). Services like printing, scanning, film processing, alternative process printing, and digital workstations are also available through Gush at an hourly rate plus use of materials (discounted for members). And, as Gush evolves, the pair hope to bring on local artists to teach workshops in their respective field (like painting, illustration, or sculpture), bring on interns and possibly a small staff, offer a free monthly critique, and classes for children.

But Gush Gallery’s reality isn’t driven by hard numbers. The Indiegogo campaign the two 27-year-old artists are running is flexible, meaning if Thielke and Slate don’t meet their goal by February 7, they will still receive the funds they did raise. In addition, they’re researching grant opportunities for the arts and small businesses, as well as possibly brainstorming brick-and-mortar fundraiser events to help push Gush from concept to tangible.

Still, they say, “if we don’t make our goal but raise enough to open, we’re going to do just that. We want to open Gush as soon as we can.”

Annamarya Scaccia

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