Your guide to Philly's diverse creative scene, nightlife, music, food & more
BMI is bringing its popular "How I Wrote That Song" panel series to Philly to take you inside the songwriting process with some of today's biggest hitmakers, as well as the legends that penned the songs that have become part of the soundtrack of our lives.
Special appearances by Radio One Chairperson and Founder Cathy Hughes; BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Atlanta Catherine Brewton; and Recording Academy Chapter President Ivan Barias.
Saturday, June 8
212 N. 12th Street
Tickets are $15. To buy tickets, click here.
Eight years ago, a pair of go-getters formed a partnership by combining over forty years of experience in event planning, audience development, marketing and special events. AfroTaino Productions arrived on the scene in 2005 after two individuals with a shared passion for global arts and culture made the commitment to serve as agents of change in their community.
A name says it all, and AfroTaino productions is a combination of Latino roots; Afro (Rahsaan Lucas) and Taino (Marángeli Mejía Rabell) blend their music, entertainment and art experiences into 35 years of multicultural marketing.
Rahsaan and Marángeli formed AfroTaino to make sure there was a fair balance between what media corporations offer and what the community needs in terms of the Latino music scene. Their business is to think about all of the elements that make an evening out an all around experience, and make that happen for their audiences. AfroTaino Productions does this by bringing out acts that people from the region would never get the opportunity to see anywhere else. With events like “M is for Musica” (a monthly Latin showcase) to Alo Brasil (playing at the Barnes Foundation next month), AfroTaino makes sure their shows are a one-of-a-kind event.
AfroTaino has also worked with organizations such as The Recording Academy®, Taller Puertorriqueño, Semilla Arts Initiative, the Hispanic Bar Association and the Greater Philadelphia Film Office and have bring artists to the Philadelphia area, such as Calle 13, La Mala Rodríguez, Chocquibtown, El Gran Combo, Bomba Estéreo, Los Amigos Invisible, Ana Tijoux, Antibalas and La Vida Bohème.
The duo has a lot of events happening through out this summer that you won’t want to skip out on. Check out their full schedule here.
This one is definitely for the Philly-foodies out there. On May 16, the sensational street food festival Philadelphia Night Market returns with an evening jam-packed with all of the best flavors of Philadelphia. This time, the neighborhood-hopping food festival lands in the Philly-fab neighborhood of Fairmount—home to world-renown cultural destinations Eastern State Penitentiary, and of course the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
This Thursday, Night Market will partner with local restaurants and food trucks to showcase the very best of Philly and Fairmount, as over 60 vendors set-up along streets of Fairmount for a culinary explosion you won't soon forget. From tacos to tots, curries and everything in between, Night Market is set to have more Philadelphia culinary treats than you can even begin to imagine in one place. The hardest part wil definitely be deciding what to eat—and when to stop!
And, since no Philly party is complete without the tunes, Night Market will also feature performances by a stellar line-up of local artists and bands.
The best part? The Food Trust has plans for three additional roving street food fairs this year. Click here for the latest information on this month's Night Market Fairmount, the West Oak Lane event on June 20, South Street on August 15, or October's Chinatown-based event.
Ok, now go and tell a friend, or three, and be sure to make your way to Night Market Fairmount to experience all of the exciting flavors Philly has to offer.
Thursday, May 16
Fairmount Avenue between 19th and 22nd streets
Hailed as “the black Sundance” by Ebony Magazine, the 2013 BlackStar Film Festival is set return in August for another round of fantastic films made for and about the black global experience. But, dont worry—you don't have to wait until August to jump into the Philly cinematic action!
This year, BlackStar is giving writers from all over a chance to take their work from the page straight to the silver screen. Just this week, BlackStar launched the first BlackStar Screen Play Competition, inviting writers of all genres to submit their scripts for a chance to win $2,500 to produce a short film based on that work. After all of the entries are reviewed, five finalists will be selected to have their scripts read live at this year's festival in front of an all-star panel of judges. The winner takes home the cash prize, and of course some very serious bragging rights.
BlackStar is a one of a kind festival, and it happens right here in Philly. So, don't miss out on the opportunity to be part of this innovative and groundbreaking celebration of the black cinematic tradition. Entries are due by Friday, June 7, and the festival will take place August 1-4, 2013.
Click here to apply or to learn more about the 2013 BlackStar Film Festival.
What an amazing event! I could end the story right there, but I won't. Let me explain further. CYL Creative Group in association with A Good Story, Cool Mentality and The McKenzie Estate celebrated the re-release of Reebook's Shaq Attaq sneakers back in April at the Grilled Cheese Steak Party sponsored by Reebok, Famjuice, Hot 107.9, UBIQ and Slingshox.
UBIQ was filled to the max with nothingbut dope people for a dope event. The first 50 attendees received swag bags that included limited edition SlingShox and DNTN, a Philadelphia-based apparel company, Branded band which allow recipients to customize their G-Shock watches. A live art painting by Don Scott, creative director of DNTN Brand Apparel, of Swizz Beats and The Reebok Shaq Attacks was done on site.
Hip-hop music blasting in one room, a competitive NBA 2k13 tounanament sponsored by Mitchell & Ness, in another. Both floors were fun and full of festivities and did I mention the food? Good eats were provided by Lord of the Kitchen Cupboard. Amongst other items attendees snacked on Grilled Cheese Steak bites keeping with the theme of the event. Complimentary beverages were flowing courtesy of the good folks over at Famjuice. Philly definitely showed up and showed out.
All roads lead to Philly, as the 2013 National Urban League Conference comes to town, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the historic March on Washington. For four days, newsmakers, policymakers and the brightest minds in business and communty empowerment will converge on Philadelphia—taking part in an exciting week of workshops, networking opportunities and professional development. This year's conference is already generating tons of buzz from all over the country, and is slated to feature appearances by Vice President Joe Biden and Olympic Gold Medalist Gabrielle Douglass.
Founded in 1910, The National Urban League has worked for decades to empower underserved communities, providing impactful resources, services and advocacy to more than 2 million people nationwide. In 2010, the Urban League celebrated its 100 year anniversary by launching I AM EMPOWERED, a bold nationwide initiative geared empowering communities to achieve in education, employment, housing, and healthcare.
Continuing to build on the success of these cornerstone principals, the 2013 National Urban League Conference will feature a Career Fair with hundreds of recruiters looking for diverse talent, and a College Fair featuring plenty of colleges, universities and scholarship opportunities. The conference will also include The Small Business Matters Entrepreneurship Summit with workshops on starting your own business and information on how to finance or take your small business to the next level.
And, since no Philly event is complete without music, this year's conference will feature an Empowerment Stage with all-star celebrity sessions, and performances by some of Philly's top artists and entertainers. Conference attendees will of course have plenty of opportunity to experience the full flavor of Philly, by exploring our booming creative scene, many cultural attractions, and of course our award winning restaurants and nightlife.
Registration is open now! So, hurry, signup today and make sure you reserve your space for this all-star week jam-packed with community empowerment—and of course plenty of Philly fun!
Thursday, July 24 - Saturday, July 27
The Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St Philadelphia, PA 19107
I recently caught up with designer, blogger and entrepreneur, Jeanine Hays of AphroChic. It’s always inspiring to see another woman living up to all of her creative potential and living the life she wants to live. As I found out more about her, I was intrigued and wanted to know more. I asked her a few questions to introduce you all to this creative super woman–Jeanine Hays.
Flygirrl: Who is Jeanine Hays, and what do you do?
Jeanine Hays: I am the creative director and co-founder of AphroChic. I work with my husband, Bryan Mason, who is the other half of our husband-and-wife team. Together we write the blog, design products, and create a lifestyle brand dedicated to proving that the cultural and the contemporary can and do work together in modern design. We want to provide women of color with quality options when looking for décor that speaks to their cultural heritage and inspire everyone to create spaces that tell their story.
Flygirrl: What is AphroChic?
JH: AphroChic is a lifestyle brand, and there are several different pieces that go into creating the overall aesthetic that the brand follows. We started in 2007 as a blog. I was working as a policy attorney in San Francisco and Bryan was pursuing a PhD at UC Berkeley. At the time we were simply aware of a gap in the conversation on modern design with regard to women of color and wanted to do something to fill it. We quickly realized that that gap in the conversation was also a gap in the market, and we decided to do something about that. AphroChic became a home decor company in 2009 when we launched our first collection of pillows. Since then we've expanded into table linens, shower curtains, and wallpaper.
We also do a lot of writing and expert work online. I am contributor to HGTV.com, and the DIYNetwork.com among others. This Fall, the AphroChic brand will take on a new incarnation with the release of our first design book, Remix: Decorating with Culture, Objects, and Soul, that will be published by Clarkson Potter. The book takes everything that we've been saying with blog posts, articles, and products and brings it together in an introduction to AphroChic style that combines history and global textile traditions with the best of contemporary design.
Flygirrl: Where did you find the courage to step out on your own?
JH: AphroChic has grown very organically, and so when the time came to step away from the law and focus on the business full-time, it was less of a leap and more just the next logical step. Bryan and I were living in California when we launched our first collection. Before we moved back to Philadelphia, we had reached the point where it felt as though we both had two full time jobs. We would work 9-5 at being a lawyer and a student, then come home and work until two in the morning on AphroChic. We were really encouraged by the reaction that our designs received from the design and blog community in the early years. It helped us to gain our confidence as designers and realize that we had a unique voice to share in the world of design. Upon our return to Philly in 2010, we committed ourselves to working on AphroChic full time, and it has been one incredible journey.
Flygirrl: Where are your secret gem locations to get inspired in Philly?
JH: I love the Philadelphia art and design scene. One of my favorite things about this city are all of the independently owned boutiques and galleries that can be easily explored. As an Old City resident, I love to pop into my favorite design stores on 3rd Street. Millesime is my favorite place for exploring the latest in European design. ReMod Gallery has an extensive collection of Mid-Century Modern pieces that are a must-see. I love to visit the Jonathan Adler store for design inspiration. We are lucky to have one of the largest showrooms here in Philly! On 2nd Street, Gallery51 is a favorite of mine for their unique cultural exhibits and collection of global rugs. HOME on East Passyunk is also a favorite shop. They offer cool furniture and accessories from DwellStudio and Ferm Living - two of my favorite design shops.
Flygirrl: What advice would you give to other creative people looking to step out on their own?
JH: Don't be afraid to start small. It doesn't have to come all at once. Design became my creative outlet when I was in law school and my days were filled with contracts and torts, but it never would have become anything more than that if I didn't make the small decision to start a blog. My second piece of advice would be to plan. Plan everything as much as you can, but do it knowing that putting things into action will require you to be flexible. Finally, and most importantly, do what you love. Owning a small business is full of ups and downs and there will be days when your love of what you do will keep you afloat. Being an entrepreneur is truly a labor of love. And when you love what you do, it shines through in your work as a designer.
Flygirrl: Where can people find out more about you and to stay connected?
Insider Tip: And this month Philadelphia design enthusiasts can follow my pins on the Visit Philly's Guest Pinner Board
It was a packed house at The Rotunda on Thursday, April 25 for the Red Bull BC One Cypher hosted in conjunction with Fame1. Wall to wall full of dancers, spectators and the like all there to see the top 16 b-boys in the Northeast battle it out for the opportunity to go to the national qualifier taking place in Houston, Texas.
It all came down to the last two, Hannibal and Knuckles both from Pennsylvania. After an intense three rounds of head to head competition, Knuckles came out with the win! Ecstatic and shirtless, Knuckles posed for the cameras after his name was announced as the victor. The winner in Houston will be heading to Seoul, South Korea for the championship.
There was an amazing amount of talent and energy in the room. The Red Bull BC One Cypher took place during The Gathering, the b-boy jam which normally takes place each month at The Rotunda.
In between each round of battles, the DJs Skeme Richards and the legendary Crazy Legs switched back and forth to rock the crowd. Impromptu battle sessions broke out all over the floor as most of the audience members were also dancers. I mean it was breakbeat heaven!
There were some familiar faces including Red Bull Thre3Style winner DJ PHSH and I AM PHRESH dance studio owner Smart Mark among the talented crowd.
With a plethora of raw, remarkable dancers sacrificing their bodies for the sake of dance, I did not envy the decisions the judges had to make. Judges for the evening included Ronnie (Red Bull BC One All Star), Domkey (Red Bull BC One National Champion 2012), and Float (Incredible Breakers Boston/NY). A few of my favorites were Sweet Liu, Chemistry, and Macca representing for the B-girls.
Hats off to Red Bull for another great competition. I am going to work on my upper body strength and maybe one day I’ll be able to compete. Not likely, but the energy present made me feel like I could!
El Vez is getting festive and will be converting the block of 13th and Sansom Streets into a Cinco de Mayo block party.
They're bringing the flavors and sounds of Mexico to the streets from noon to 9.m. on Sunday, May 5, with pop-up food and drink stands.
Bring your appetite and pay as you go - from tacos to specialty nachos to some of El Vez's best margaritas - you won't want to miss this fiesta!
Insider Tip: Want to know more about what's happening around Philly's Latino scene? Follow @phillyteama on Twitter!
Sunday, May 5
121 S. 13th Street
This month, Art Sanctuary kicks off the 29th Annual Celebration of Black Writing Festival (CBW) with a month long celebration jam-packed with exciting and innovative events and programs. From North Philly to South, the team at Art Sanctuary is set to bring the very best of the Philadelphia and the nation's black literary scene right to our doorsteps. The festival's theme this year will be Launching Beyond Legacy: Celebrating the Literary Achievements of Black Women.
Embracing the 2013 CBW theme, Art Sanctuary's annual Lifetime Achievement Award will honor an all-star lineup, including poet, playwright, and author of "For Colored Girls" Ntozake Shange, veteran journalist Annette John-Hall, and international music icon Valerie Simpson. The Lifetime Achievement Awards will also feature a stellar performance by world-renowned jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon, backed by Philly's own Urban Guerilla Orchestra.
Festival attendees can also catch the amazing exhibit, Beauty, which features images of women and children from around the world captured by Erinn Cosby. Yes, we're talking about the daughter of iconic black actor and comedian Bill Cosby! But, the party doesn't stop there. CBW 2013 also features a Storytelling Circle featuring veteran storyteller Mama Carla Wiley, a poetic tribute to the life and work of the incomparable Nina Simone, and tons of free workshops for aspiring writers and familes. Art Sanctuary is definitely pulling out all of the stop for this fantastic and inspiring celebration of the contributions of women and the nation's black literary genius. So don't miss out on this inspiring celebration—we'll see you there!
You can visit Art Sanctuary's website for the latest information on CBW 2013.