Your guide to Philly's diverse creative scene, nightlife, music, food & more
Hailed as “the black Sundance” by Ebony magazine, the 2014 BlackStar Film Festival makes its return to Philly next week for a third round of cinematic awesomeness. This year the festival theme is "Music is the Weapon," and the BlackStar buzz is definitely building. The festival continues to gain attention, and accolades, from movie lovers, industry creatives, and press in Philly, around the country, and beyond.
World premieres, interviews with filmmakers, in-depth workshops, mixers and more — BlackStar 2014 has got it all. So, to get you started, we've pulled together a few of our top picks. But, seriously — with a lineup like this, you'll want, and need, to see it all.
Now, grab a friend (or three), spread the world and get out this experience this Philly treasure firsthand. #ByIndieMeansNecessary Let's go!
Arthur Jafa: In Process
12 p.m. | Scribe Video Center, 4212 Chestnut Street | $20
Filmmaker, cinematographer, intellectual, and visual artist Arthur Jafa will talk about the creation of his latest film, Dreams Are Colder Than Death, a project that has allowed him to test his theories of optics, frame rates, motion capture and sensor resolution as technologies that can be shaped to be part of uniquely Black mode of expression.
Dreams Are Colder Than Death
6:30 p.m | International House, 3701 Chestnut Street | $10
What does it mean to be Black in America today? Director and legendary cinematographer Arthur Jafa tears at the root of this question with hypnotic imagery, lyrical grace and an epic narration by a host of artistic visionaries, thought leaders and uncommon folks, including Kara Walker, Hortense Spillers, Fred Moten,Wangechi Mutu and Melvin Gibbs.
Opening Night Reception
7 p.m. | ICA, 118 S. 36th Street | Free
Kick off your BlackStar experience with a special opening night reception at the Institute of Contemporary Art in University City. View Kara Walker's RUFFNECK CONSTRUCTIVISTS exhibit late into the evening and mix and mingle with festival goers. Mr. Sonny James of Illvibe Collective will be the sonic guide for the evening. Cocktails and light fare will be served.
Short Screenplay Competition Reading
12 p.m. | International House, 3701 Chestnut Street | Free with RSVP
Join us for a staged reading with professional actors of the Short Screenplay Competition finalists! Entrance is free, but you must RSVP. This year’s finalists will have their short screenplays read by professional actors in front of a live audience. The jurors will select a winner whose film will be produced by BlackStar and directed by award-winning director Terence Nance.
BlackStar Presents Khalil Joseph
5:30 p.m | International House, 3701 Chestnut Street | Free
Kahlil Joseph is an award-winning LA based filmmaker, and In this special program, in conjunction with the Kara Walker-curated exhibit Ruffneck Constructivists at ICA Philadelphia, Joseph will screen Wildcat, Until The Quiet Comes, Black Up, andM.A.A.D., a new unreleased project featuring Kendrick Lamar.
Terence Nance & Khalil Joseph: In Conversation
7 p.m. | International House, 3701 Chestnut Street | Free
Join award-winning filmmakers Khali Joseph and Terence Nance, as the two artists discuss their practices, their collectives, and the source of their creative output.
Til Infinity: Souls of Mischief
8:30 p.m. | International House, 3701 Chestnut Street | $10
Til Infinity is a full-length documentary celebrating the twenty-year anniversary of the critically acclaimed Souls of Mischief’s album, 93 Til Infinity. With over 50 interviews with notable emcees, producers, and DJs, Til Infinity offers a retrospective, in-depth look at the famed Hieroglyphics crew’s landmark 1993 debut album.
Forever Young: Coming of Age Shorts
11:30 a.m. | International House, 3701 Chestnut Street | $10
Check out five short films exploring the lessons learned with age, including Deluge, Painted Lady, Perfect Day, Seventh Grade, and The Summer of God
Planet Rock: Hip Hop Shorts
1:40 p.m | International House, 3701 Chestnut Street | $10
BlackStar presents five short films exploriing stories centered around hip-hop, including Cakes Da Killa: No Homo, Jamaica House, Underexposed: Indie Hip-Hop in Atlanta, Words by Rakim, and Yrak de Doble Filo & Darwin de Golpe Seko (Hip Hop Cubano).
Panel: The Crossover
5 p.m. | International House, 3701 Chestnut Street | Free
This panel will explore the intersection between the film and music industries from music videos, television programming, advertising, and artists/executives whose careers span both worlds. Panelists include: Sherwood Herndon (Wu-Tang manager & film executive producer), Angela Northington (Revolt TV), Jeymes Samuel (They Die By Dawn and musical artist The Bullitts), and others.
They Die by Dawn
6:50 p.m | International House, 3701 Chestnut Street | $10
They Die By Dawn is a film based on the true life African American Cowboys of the old west. With an all star cast including Giancarlo Esposito, Michael K Williams, Nate Parker, Jesse Williams, Rosario Dawson, Isaiah Washington, Erykah Badu, Bokeem Woodbine and Harry Lennix, the film sets out to tell the story of a showdown between the real life characters.
Half of a Yellow Sun
8:30 p.m. | International House, 3701 Chestnut Street | $10
Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) are glamorous twins from a wealthy Nigerian family. Upon returning to a privileged city life in newly independent 1960s Nigeria after their expensive English education, the two women make very different choices. A sweeping romantic drama, HALF OF A YELLOW SUN takes the sisters and their lovers on a journey through the war which is powerful, intensely emotional and, as the response of readers around the world has shown, it is a story which can touch everyone’s heart.
Panel: Composing for Film
3 p.m. | International House, 3701 Chestnut Street | Free
Though we might think of film as an essentially visual experience it would be remiss to underestimate the importance of a soundtrack. This panel will focus on exploring the musical elements while providing insights on composition through professional growth and development. Panelists include Amatus, King Britt, Zakee Kuduro and Paul “DJ Spooky” Miller. Moderated by Rodney Whittenberg.
Time is Illmatic
5 p.m | International House, 3701 Chestnut Street | $10
Time Is Illmatic is a feature-length documentary that delves deep into the making of Nas’ 1994 debut album, Illmatic, and the social conditions that influenced its creation. Twenty years after its release, Illmatic has become a hip-hop benchmark that encapsulates the socio-political outlook, enduring spirit, and collective angst of a generation of young black men searching for their voice in America.
Closing Awards Ceremony
7:30 p.m | World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street | Invite / Passes Only
The BlackStar Awards will be the highly anticipated finale to the 3rd Annual BlackStar Film Festival, concluding four days of genre-defying, thought-provoking independent films. Hosted by Laiya St. Clair, the awards show will feature special guest presenters who will recognize the best of the fest. Bilal will anchor an all star bill of international, independent musical performances to include Shabazz Palaces, Zakee Kuduro, Ursula Rucker, and RadhaMUSprime backed by Luke O’Reilly and DJ Matthew Law.
Some artists are extroverts, but some artists let their craft do the talking for them. This is what Russell Whyte (a.k.a “Rustie”) might say if you asked the fast and furious, genre-busting, electronic beatsmith how he expresses himself through music.
The Scottish musician, hailing from Glasgow, is headed our way on July 23 to the go-to Philly dance spot: The Dolphin Tavern. If you’re looking for an all-out dance party experience with music and sound coming at you from every angle, Rustie is your man.
Rustie’s music is characterized as leading the new wave of “maximalism” in electronic music—a tapestry of musical sounds that won’t sit still — but his music has serious depth and feeling despite the chaos. When you listen to his tracks, rather than just a cacophony of sounds, the devil is in the details with rich layers that can take a few spins to digest. But, trust us — his tunes are a musical feast for the ears.
Rustie is well on his way to a successful career after releasing just two singles in 2007 and 2008. With innovative tracks infused with 80s pop, new-millenium R&B, and hip-hop, Rustie’s 2011 album, “Glass Swords,” won him The Guardian’s prestigious ‘First Album Award’ just a year later. The producer signed with Warp Records for the 2010 release of his EP “Sunburst,” and continues to produce from the label.
See you out on the dance floor!
Red Bull Sound Select (RBSS) has quickly become a front-runner for top-notch entertainment events in Philadelphia, and their next feature totally attests to that.
Get hype for rapper Spank Rock, as he headlines the next edition of Red Bull Sound Select at one of the freshest performance spaces in town, Underground Arts. Joining Spank for the show are RBSS artists Prowler and Mumblr, who will be opening acts.
For those of you who don’t know, RBSS is a long-term music initiative that connects artists and fans with one another while giving love to local music scenes. Past Philly curators have been Making Time, JUMP Magazine, Veteran Freshman and Little Giant Creative.
The coolest part is that you can RSVP for an entrance fee of $3! Tickets can still be purchased at the door for $10. But, c’mon now, when will you ever get to see Spank Rock for $3 again?
Doors open at 8 p.m., and we suggest you get there on time because these events have been known to draw a large crowd very quickly. So go ahead, RSVP now!
Looking for a serious night of comedy? We hope so, because one of the industry's most hilarious families is taking their show on the road.
This summer, writer-director-actor-producers Keenen Ivory Wayans, Damon Wayans, Shawn Wayons and Marlon Wayans, are touring the US — and they're bringing signature style of comedic antic our way. On August 2, the Wayans land at Tower Theater for a one-night-only family affair.
This sketch comedy/stand-up tour featuring The Wayan Brothers has been years in the making, and will bring the four talents together on one stage for the first time in years. Fans of the the Wayans will be treated to extremely funny set that showcases the versatile, multi-faceted acting skills of each of these phenomenally talented comedians.
Want in on the laughs? We know you do! That's why Philly 360° will be hooking a few lucky fans up with a pair tickets for this show, courtesy of our friends at Live Nation. Just fill out the below form for your chance to win.
Click here for the official rules.
In Philly, there are a countless number of non-profits that give back to their community — many directly impacting the lives of young people. One such organization, that is near and dear to my heart is The Community Angel Foundation.
The Community Angel Foundation began when founder Veneice Newton saw a lack of outreach to the children in Philadelphia — specifically children in poor communities, who are often overlooked. Veneice began her efforts to give back by answering letters addressed to Santa Claus with toy drives and personal toy deliveries. Since then, The Community Angel Foundation has continued to blossom with their mission to “empower, encourage, and educate underprivileged youth.”
Each year, The Community Angel Foundation honors individuals that have made contributions that impact our youth at The Angel Awards, and this year I had the honor of attending. This year’s Angel Award ceremony was held at Hotel Monaco, one of the city's newer hotels located in the center of the Philadelphia historic district. BTW — if you haven’t visited the rooftop at Hotel Monaco, do yourself a favor and go! You’ll thank me later.
The 2014 Honorees for the Angel Awards included Jeri Lynn Johnson of The Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, Dr. Steve Perry, and Ed Snider of The Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, and actor, rapper, philanthropist, and America’s Got Talent host, Nick Cannon.
I had the opportunity to speak with Jeri Lynne Johnson about why she is so committed to helping young people. “What I realized in working with young people is that there’s a hunger out there for mentorship, for guidance, and to be nurtured by people who come from their community… people that can kind of show them the ropes and walk them through it." She went on to say, “It’s important that they see people giving back who look like them.”
We also had the pleasure of sitting down to chat with Nick Cannon about his philanthropy, history with our awesome city, and upcoming projects. Be sure to check out our Philly 360° video recap below.
My hopes are that The Community Angel Foundation and The Angel Awards continue to bloom, and helps the young people of Philadelphia thrive. To find out more about The Community Angels Foundation visit Communityangelfoundation.org.
Sincerely Syreeta is back on the scene with another must-hit event. This time the popular Philadelphia blogger and lifestyle influencer is presenting the second edition of her new, provocative series, Sincerely Chosen: The Live Interview Series.
On Thursday, July 17 at East Eden Vegan Restaurant, the second Sincerely Chosen show will feature special guest Melanie Yvette Martin, Associate Beauty and Style Editor of Ebony.com. Melanie has local ties to Philadelphia by way of Temple University where she earned a B.A. in Communications.
Melanie has always been in love with beauty, style, and female empowerment which was manifested early in her college career as the host of her own radio show, Fabulously Focused. Her devotion to female empowerment continues to be seen and felt as the written voice behind Beautifully Brown, a weekly column where Black women of all hues are celebrated and beauty is adored from the brown girl’s perspective.
Melanie will be interviewed about her personal journey, trends in beauty and style, being a brown girl in the media industry, building a beauty/style based media brand, and her thoughts on other hot topics.
Definitey check this one out!
The weekend is finally here! #winning And, it's definitely time to turn-up, let loose and have some fun before Monday rolls back around. There are plenty of great concerts, parties, cultural happenings going down this weekend. So, grab your crew, get out of the house and enjoy everything summer in Philly has to offer.
To get you started, we've pulled together a list of a few must-hit events. Let's go!
When: Friday, July 11, 8 p.m.
Where: The TLA, 334 South Street
More Info: Click here to buy tickets online.
Veteran Freshman is back on the scene with another dope show! On Friday, July 11, VF takes over the stage at The TLA with some of Philly's freshest acts for The Kickback Live Concert, including Motown recording artist MPrynt, powerhouse vocalist/producer Guordan, Paris-native-turned-Philly transplant Ganou, R&B/folk singer Brianna Cash, hip-hop artist Bok Nero and more. This is definitely a must-hit concert for the summer.
When: Friday, July 11, 4-7 p.m.
Where: PHS Pop Up Garden, 1438 South Street
Cost: Pay as you go
After a one-week hiatus for the city’s July 4th celebrations, the Visit Philly Beer Garden Series is back and landing at the newly open PHS Pop Up Garden on South Street. Make this your first stop for the weekend.
When: Friday, July 11, 10 p.m.
Where: Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front Street
More Info: Click here.
Kick off your weekend with Philly's fave, gritty, underground music venue, Kung Fu Necktie. Hosted by DJ Ali, this jam session features performances by Mizz, Block Nine, and SKE Records Trel Mack & PeterJones.
When: Friday, July 11
Where: Silk City, 435 Spring Garden Street
More Info: Click here.
Two words. Silk City. This is most def a must-hit party at this late night Philly fave with Lee Mayjahs and DJ Everyday holding down the turntables. #bethere
When: Saturday, July 12, 5-8 p.m.
Where: 6401 Germantown Avenue, Festival gate entrance is on Cliveden Street near Morton Street
Cost: $20 per adult, $10 per child
More info: cliveden.org
What better way to cool off on a hot summer afternoon than with cool jazz tunes? Now that the Independence Day festivities have passed, Cliveden, a historic mansion in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, hosts Gtown Jazz on the Ave this Saturday, July 12.
When: Through November 30
Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art Perelman Building, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost: Included in general admission
More info: philamuseum.org
On display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Perelman Building, Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love explores the sudden rise and remarkable achievements of 1980’s American-born, Paris-based fashion designer, Patrick Kelly.
When: Now through October 12
Where: Historic Landmark Building, 118 N. Broad Street; Samuel M. V. Hamilton Building, 128 N. Broad Street
Cost: Included with museum admission
More info: pafa.org
In this tradition, this summer the renowned museum presents Spiritual Strivings: A Celebration of African American Works on Paper. Two distinct exhibits comprise this very special presentation. Check it out.
When: Sunday, July 13 | 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Johnny Brenda's | 1201 N. Frankford Avenue
Cost: Pay as you go.
More Info: Click here.
Recuperate from the Saturday night party with a little brunch, and some smoking hot soul music. DJ DNA helps you settle into a relaxing Philly weekend with a hefy dose of gospel. Feed your body and your soul with this one.
When: Sunday, July 13 | Doors: 12 p.m., Show 1 p.m.
Where: World Cafe Live Philadelphia | 3025 Walnut Street
More Info: Click here.
Join Philadelphia’s legendary Brazilian collective for a special afternoon performance to get you in the mood for the World Cup Final Match. Then stay for a free screening of the game to follow an after party with DJ Juanderful of Tropicalismo!
When: Sunday, July 13, Doors 8 p.m., Show 9 p.m.
Where: Warmdaddy’s, 1400 S. Columbus Blvd.
Cost: $15 Advance , $20 Advance Door
More Info: Get more information here.
Each and every Sunday, The R&B Collective brings a new, hot music lineup to popular soul food restaurant and live waterfront music venue, Warmdaddy’s. Stop through to experience the new face of Philly R&B.
When: Sunday, July 13, 9 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Where: Reserve Wine Bar, 724 Arch Street
More Info: Click here.
Each and every Sunday,DJ Cash Money, Stacey "Flygirrl" Wilson and crew bring you the hottest Sunday night afterhours party of the summer. Hosted at Reserve Wine Bar in Midtown Philadelphia, The Jawn is anchored by DJ Cash Money and includes a special guest DJ from the local music scene each week.
When: Sunday, July 13, 10 p.m.
Where: Silk City, 435 Spring Garden Street
More Info: Click here.
DJ Cosmo Baker lands at Silk City to help you end your weekend with a bang. Be sure to check out the all-styles dance battle with a $200 cash prize.
Eilon Paz’s 416-page coffee-table book highlights over 130 vinyl collectors and their collections in the most intimate of environments—their record rooms. With a foreword by the RZA, compelling photographic essays are paired with in-depth interviews to illustrate what motivates record collectors to keep digging for more black gold.
On the turntables will be Rich Medina, Skeme Richards, King Britt, Aaron Levinson, and the Eavesdrop Radio DJs, Lil'Dave & Junior, will be playing some of their favorite records.
Definitely a must-hit event for any vinyl lovers in the area.
What do you get when you combine a diverse group of friends, bachelor/ bachelorette parties, and Vegas? The answer: insanity and non-stop laughs.
Will Packer and Tim Story team up again with "Think Like A Man Too", the film sequel to Steve Harvey's best selling book, Act Like A Lady Think Man. The dynamic group of actors from the original cast are back for the sequel with even more relationship hurdles and adventures.
Stars of "Think Like A Man Too", Meagan Good and Michael Ealy, made their way to Philadelphia to promote their film. They gave me the inside scoop on just what it was like to be a part of "Think Like A Man Too".
Meagan plays Maya, the "90 Day Rule Girl" In the sequel, she has successfully managed to capture the heart of "The Player" Zeke, played by Romany Malco. The chemistry is undeniable with every member of the cast. One scene in particular was a full on debacle, and had me in stitches! Megan shared what it was like managing some level of order while working with a cast with such huge personalities. "Part of it was choreographed, the other part was like, get in where you fit in. Do whatever comes natural, and try not to hurt yourselves" (said with a laugh).
Michael Ealy, who plays Dominic "The Dreamer", shared Meagan's sentiment about working with a star studded cast, which includes Philly's own Kevin Hart.
"Kevin's kind of comedy...well he's just so charming. Kevin can talk about his infidelity in such a way that you laugh. Now when you discuss infidelity, there are a lot of women who don't find it funny at all!
Somehow, Kevin does it in a way that he's not running from it, and it's funny and charming. You just go with it. He's a lovable guy in that way. I find that working with Kev at his level, he's operating at a ten. If there's no one there to ground him, i.e. myself…I don't know what that looks like...but it seems that might be kind of a train wreck!
I feel like, comedy has to be balanced. That's how someone in comedy is able to shine, if you have that gravitas... that person that is grounding the scene... that makes it real."
Hopefully we can get the whole cast back for a trilogy, but in the meantime, Please treat yourself and go to see "Think Like A Man Too" in theaters nationwide. Hurry before it's gone!
Philly, another dope show is going down tonight — and you definitely can't afford to miss out on this one. That's right, tonight The Kimmel Center's monthly free music showcase and mixer, Sittin' In returns with another fresh lineup of Philly talent.
The July edition of Sittin' In features GRAMMY-nominated, highly sought-after guitarist, Ben O'Neill. A fixture on the local music scene, O'Neill has played for some of the best known names in hip-hop, pop and R&B, including Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Christina Aguilera, and Tye Tribbett.
Now, Ben is turning his attention to his solo career and debut album, Ghosts & Green Shoots, a heartfelt project that showcases O'Neill's soul-laced guitar playing and songwriting skills — calling to mind the music of acts like Bon Iver, Dirty Projectors and The Flaming Lips.
So, come out, pull up a chair or hit the dancefloor, and check out new music from one of Philly's finest. As always, Sittin' In will feature resident turntabilist, Matthew Law a.k.a DJ PHSH and special guest MC Hezekiah Davis III.
The Harvest When: Wednesday, July 23, 7 p.m. Where: World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street Cost: $9 - $11 More info: Click here for details. Philly's hottest poets, emcees, singers and even comedians will all step to the mic…
The Verbal Connections: The Conversations Party When: Saturday, July 26, 7 - 11 p.m. Where: International House, 3701 Chestnut Street Cost: $12 More Info: Click here to RSVP. Philly, mix and mingle with a sophisticated crowd, as The Verbal…
BlackStar Film Festival When: July 31 through Agust 3 Where: International House, 3701 Chestnut Street; See website for additional venues. Cost: $10, general admission; $125 all-festival pass More info: www.blackstarfest.org Hailed as “the black Sundance” by Ebony magazine, the…