August in West Philly: Outdoor theater, concerts, movies

Posted on 03 August 2016 by

July was great in West Philly, with its traditional Shakespeare in Clark Park nights, University City Dining Days, and other popular events. August doesn’t look too shabby either with more outdoor theater and concerts, outdoor movies, and more. Here’s what’s happening this month in the area:

Theatre int he x 4

Theatre in the X will present three Sundays of three powerful plays at Malcolm X Park this month.

Theatre in the X will present three Sundays of three plays at Malcolm X Park (51st and Pine): The Meeting by Jeff Stetson, Love, Queens who Suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder by Jamila Capitman and Heather Thomas, and New Black Math by Suzan-Lori Parks. Aug. 7 at 6 p.m., Aug. 14 at 3 p.m., and Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. Free event.

BlackStar Film Festival featuring work by and about people of color in a global context will take place at the International House Philadelphia (37th and Chestnut) on August 4-7.

After taking July off due to the heat and student exodus, Uhuru Flea Market will return to Clark Park ”B” (43rd and Chester) on Saturday, Aug. 20, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (rain date: Sunday, Aug. 21).

The 40th Street Summer Series‘ August concert will feature a powerful performance by The Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change, an award-winning group composed of renowned singers, dancers, and musicians from Liberia. Saturday, Aug. 20, 6 p.m. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page. Free event.

batnightDue to rain, Bat Night at The Woodlands was cancelled last week, but all are invited this month to enjoy a double feature event – Bat and Moth Night – on Thursday, Aug. 25, starting at 6 p.m. Free event.

The Clark Park Movie Series kicks off on Friday, Aug. 26 with a screening of Finding Nemo. This is a free, family-friendly event. Movies begin at dusk.

West Philadelphia Jazz Heritage Series will continue at Malcolm X Park. August performances: Aug. 4 – Budesa Brothers; Aug. 18 – Perfect Solution. 7 p.m. Free.

Summer Nights Concert Series continues at Penn Museum. Concerts are every Wednesday at 5 p.m. Aug. 3 – Barakka; Aug. 10 – Leana Song; Aug. 17 – El Caribefunk; Aug. 24 – Farah Siraj; Aug. 31 – Animus. $10.

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St. Francis de Sales students featured in Philadelphia Film Festival Premiere

Posted on 17 October 2014 by


Violinist Zebadiah plays with The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra and now attends Central High School.

This weekend, the annual Philadelphia Film Festival kicks off and we learned that students attending a local parochial school will be featured in one of the festival premieres.

Ilene Miller of Play On, Philly!, a tuition-free after school music program that has been operating for a few years at the St. Francis de Sales School near 47th and Springfield, sent us some more details about the film and the West Philly kids featured in it:

Play On, Philly! (POP), the innovative tuition-free after school music program in communities with little access to music education, was founded in 2011 at St. Francis de Sales School. The program, as well as two students, will be featured in the premiere of Crescendo! The Power of Music, at the Philadelphia Film Festival on October 20 and 25 (see a trailer here).

Filmmakers Jamie Bernstein (daughter of famed conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein) and Elizabeth Kling have been following Play On, Philly! at St. Francis de Sales since day one for their documentary about kids participating in two youth orchestra programs – POP and the Harmony Program in Harlem.


Raven started POP in 4th grade and now plays with Musicopia String Orchestra and Philadelphia Sinfonia. She wants to be a professional violinist.

You will be truly moved at the experiences of students Raven and Zebadiah – their struggles, heartbreak and joy – as they discover themselves through the mysterious power of music in the Play On, Philly! program.

Raven is a violin natural with a rambunctious spirit. Quiet, quirky Zebadiah overcomes his shyness and gains confidence through the viola.

Zebadiah is now in 11h grade at Central High School. He returns to St. Francis every week to mentor younger students as a POP Ambassador… Raven, now in 9th grade at String Theory Charter School, studies with a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra, plays in Philadelphia Sinfonia and Musicopia String Orchestra, and wants to be a professional violinist.”

Crescendo! The Power of Music will be shown on October 20 at 3:00 p.m. at The Ritz Bourse Theater and again on October 25 at 3:15 p.m. at The Prince Music Theater (including a performance by POP students and a discussion with Jamie Bernstein).

For tickets visit or call 267-607-3385.

(Photos by Steven Krull/Play On, Philly!)

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Weekend line-up for BlackStar Film Festival in West Philly

Posted on 02 August 2014 by Mike Lyons

m-S5pb_o_400x400West Philly is lucky to host the BlackStar Film Festival again this year. We sketched out the weekend line-up below. One of the highlights is the debut of They Die By Dawn, featuring Erykah Badu and Michael K. Williams (“Omar” from The Wire). The two main venues are the International House (3701 Chestnut) and Penn’s Annenberg School of Communications (3620 Walnut St.).

Click on the links for descriptions and trailers.

Many events are free. Where noted, tickets cost $10 for the general public, $7 for seniors and students and $5 for International House members.

Saturday, Aug. 2

Forever Young: Coming of Age Shorts • 11:30 a.m. • International House Philadelphia (IHP) • $10/$7/$5

Troop 491: The Adventures of the Muddy Lions • 1 p.m. • Penn’s Annenberg School of Communications (ASC) • Free

Planet Rock: Hip Hop Shorts • 1:40 p.m. • IHP • $10/$7/$5

Youth Program Screening • 3 p.m. • ASC • Free

• Book signing – Dismantle: An Anthology of Writing from the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop • Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela and Andrea Wall • Immediately after Youth Program Screening • ASC

Little White Lie w/Window Dressing Fail • 3:10 p.m. • IHP • Free

• Book signing: (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race • Immediately after Little White Lie • IHP

• Panel – The Crossover Between Film and Music • 5 p.m. • IHP • Free

Culture Strike: Social Justice Shorts • 5:15 p.m. • ASC • Free

They Die By Dawn • 6:50 p.m. • IHP • $10/$7/$5

Half a Yellow Sun • 8:30 p.m. • IHP • $10/$7/$5

Sunday, Aug. 3

Creative Class: Makers Shorts • 11:30 a.m. • IHP • $10/$7/$5

Evolution of a Criminal • 12:45 p.m. • IHP • $10/$7/$5 (Q and A with Darius Clark Monroe follows)

Panel – Composing for Film • 3 p.m. • IHP • Free

Time is Illmatic • 5 p.m. • IHP • $10/$7/$5


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Upcoming events: outdoor music & theatre, film festival, art shows (updated)

Posted on 30 July 2014 by


This week is rich in art happenings in the area, from outdoor theatre to a film festival to art shows. We already reported on Shakespeare in Clark Park presenting Henry IV in the park’s bowl. The performances, which feature a community army of over 100 people, begin tonight at 7 p.m. and go on through Sunday.

Also tonight, at 5:30 p.m., Penn Museum (3260 South St) invites music lovers to enjoy an outdoor concert by the West Philadelphia Orchestra. The concert is part of the weekly P.M. @ Penn Museum music series. Tickets are $10 and include museum admission. More details are available here.


Photo from BlackStar Facebook page.

BlackStar Film Festival, featuring films by and about people of African descent in a global context, kicks off on Thursday, July 31. The four-day festival features film screenings (many of them free) and events at the following West Philly venues: International House Philadelphia (37th and Chestnut), Scribe Video Center (4212 Chestnut St), Annenberg School for Communication, Penn (3620 Walnut St), and Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), 118 S. 36th St. An opening night reception with DJ Mr. Sonny James will take place at ICA from 7 – 10 p.m. on Thursday. This event is also free and open to the public. For more information and schedule, visit Follow the festival @blackstarfest and #BlackStar14.

UPDATE: Gush Gallery is opening on Friday, Aug. 1 at 5015 Baltimore Ave. The grand opening show, Embark, is from 6 – 9 p.m. (more info coming soon)

​Sharp with Art Group is presenting an art exhibit titled “Levels” at the Urban Art Gallery (52nd and Spruce) from August 2 – 31.  There will be a free opening reception on Saturday, Aug. 2, from 6 until 9 p.m. “Levels” will feature a diverse selection of art styles, such as street art, abstract art, sculpture, and mixed media works. Six amazing artists will be featured in the show: Natalie Flor Negron, Jae Martin, Nebulus Flair, Seven X, Noni Red and Vinson Houston. In addition there will be live performances by Raw Sinister Theatre, Chase Smiley The RockStar and April Fool Child.

And last, but not least, American Queen TJD, a West Philly artist we featured last fall (Meet American Queen TJD: Not the female Basquiat), invites neighbors to support her at a major art show on Saturday, Aug. 2  at the Arch Enemy Arts Gallery in Olde City (109 Arch Street). The one-day only show, titled “Too Many Basquiats Not Enough New Artists,” features over 100 pieces of art. The event will take place from 6:30 – 10 p.m. and includes music, food and an open bar. More details and tickets ($10.50) are available at


Artwork by West Philly artist American Queen TJD will be on display at the Arch Enemy Arts Gallery in Olde City Aug 2. (Photo via


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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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West Philly Events Roundup (December 13-15) (updated)

Posted on 13 December 2013 by

Editor’s Note: Go West! Craft Fest is this Sunday, Dec. 15, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at The Rotunda and not Saturday as it was originally reported in this post. Also, we have received a note from Play On, Philly! that their holiday concert has been postponed until after the New Year. We will keep you posted on a new date.

There are a lot of things happening in West Philly this weekend and we hope that the cold weather won’t deter you from checking out local holiday shopping events, music, films, theater, Christmas caroling, and other fun stuff. Our Events Roundup is below. For more events or if you want to submit an event, go to our Events Calendar. Also, don’t forget about ongoing events, like Holiday Craft Show and Sale at UC Arts League, and other holiday shopping and giving opportunities. If you need a Christmas tree, check out this post.

Friday, December 13

All dayThe Gold Standard Cafe (48th & Baltimore) is donating one third of their total proceeds to Kingsessing library. Your donation will go to serve the library’s reading and educational needs.

CedarWorks5-10 pm – Neighbors are invited to get together to celebrate the season at The Cedar Works‘ first Holiday Party and Sale. 14 artists who call The Cedar Works home will be selling their works for holiday gifting.

5-10 pm – This Friday is a special holiday Second Friday on Lancaster Avenue, with festivities spanning from 34th Street all the way up to 41st. Enjoy great music, fine food, and good vibes.

8 pm – Gender Comedy: A Less Stupid Twelfth Night Gay Fantasia opens at Curio Theatre (48th & Baltimore).

Saturday, December 14

NightmareBeforeChristmas2 pm – International House Philadelphia (37th & Chestnut) invites families for its Family Matinee program, featuring a special holiday screening of The Nightmare Before Christmas. The film is a Halloween-Christmas hybrid and audience favorite. Tickets are $5; free for IHP members.

gift-basket-final2-5 pm – Neighbors are invited to build their own gift baskets at Milk & Honey Market (45th & Baltimore). Create unique and inspired gift baskets filled with local products and thoughtfully selected books and goods and also enjoy free hot cocoa!

Dr. John Bull concert3 pm – University Lutheran Church (3637 Chestnut St) presents harpsichordist Marcia Kravis with her solo program, Dr. John Bull and Company: Music from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book.

Mummy3:30 pm – Stop by Penn Museum (3260 South St) for “Unwrapping the Mummy: Hollywood Fantasies, Egyptian Realities,” a presentation by Dr. Stuart Tyson Smith, Chair of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Smith explores some modern myths about mummies, and the fascinating insights that can be gained from studying the “equipment” buried with mummies for the afterlife.

Sunday, December 15

lilpopshop1All day – Enjoy delicious organic and locally made popsicles at Lil’ Pop Shop before it closes until February 1, 2014.

GWCFDec2013-300uw11 am – 5 pm – The winter edition of Go West! Craft Fest is finally here. VIX Emporium boutique and As the Crow Flies & Co. online are teaming up to bring over 40 vendors – local artists, craftspeople and designers – to The Rotunda (40th & Walnut). While shopping, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy frozen treats from Weckerly’s Ice Cream and vegetarian-friendly fare from Black Orchid Foods.

5 pm The Friends of Clark Park invite you to come raise your voice with your neighbors in singing traditional Christmas carols around the Community Christmas tree (Clark Park “B”, near 45th & Regent). Refreshments will be served afterwards. This one always seems to work out much better after an Eagles win, so go Birds. For more info call 215-222-2255.

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