BlackStar Film Festival back to celebrate Black filmmakers first week of August

Posted on 28 July 2017 by Danielle Corcione

The sixth BlackStar Film Festival, the annual showcase of independent black filmmakers, will take place from Thursday, August 3rd to Sunday, August 6th at venues around West Philly.

This year’s venues include the Institute of Contemporary Art, World Cafe Life, Lightbox Film Center, and Pearlstein Gallery of Drexel University as well as Fishtown’s Johnny Brenda’s.

The event celebrates storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and global indigenous communities through work by black filmmakers.

In addition to feature documentaries and narratives, there will be several sessions featuring short films at the festival. On the opening day (Thursday, Aug. 3) at 3:50 p.m., the Shorts Program will include black enuf*, an “animated documentary exploring racial identity,” according to its website Continue Reading

Comments (0)

MOVE bombing site to get historical marker; MOVE! film screening and talk by Ramona Africa this Saturday at A-Space

Posted on 07 April 2017 by Danielle Corcione

West Philly bombing in 1985On Saturday, April 8 at 4:30 p.m., the MOVE organization will host a film screening and discussion at A-Space Anarchist Community Center at 4722 Baltimore Avenue. Howard Zinn narrates the documentary, “MOVE!,” about the 1985 bombing of the organization’s headquarters at 6221 Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia. Eleven people died and 61 rowhomes were destroyed.

MOVE’s Ramona Africa will lead a talk and Q&A after the film screening. The tragedy, which took place over 30 years ago, sheds light on state violence against marginalized communities, especially those dedicated to social change and liberation. Visit their Facebook event page to RSVP.  Continue Reading

Comments (4)

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.

Comments (1)

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!)

Comments (1)

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


Comments (0)

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


Comments (0)

Tag your photos #westphillylocal on instagram

Follow Us:


Upcoming Events