Your guide to Philly's diverse creative scene, nightlife, music, food & more
Entrée is a fresh spin on the old dinner-and-a-movie date night that celebrates the arts. Hosted by concretecakes.com and Common Ground Management, this event series brings together independent films, culinary arts, live music, visual arts, and great people. This month’s installment is themed, Concrete Jungle and will feature local filmmaker, Jamal Hill, as well as celebrated artist and Philly 360 Creative Ambassador Serena Saunders. So come out and immerse yourself in the arts in a cool new way.
Sunday, May 27
3:30 - 7:00 p.m.
1020 N. Delaware Avenue
Insider Tip: Get tickets here. Tickets are $10 online and $15 at the door.
We are only heard if we speak - a statement held close by the members of one of Philly’s most talented collection of poets Voices In Power. Since its inception in April 2011, Luis Marrero and his cohorts have used Voices In Power as a conduit for positive self-expression and community uplift.
Voices In Power can be found performing at various events throughout the tri-state area. Their staple event, however, is an open mic poetry slam that occurs ever third Sunday at The HeadHouse Lounge (122 Lombard Street). The doors open at 6:30p, there is a $5 cover charge, and you must be 18 to enter and 21 to drink. At this recurring event, the members of Voices In Power will perform as well as anyone else who’s brave enough to express themselves in front of an intimate audience.
Trust us, you won't be disappointed with this if you enjoy thought-provoking entertainment.
Sometimes it’s easier to purchase a Nikon D90 Camera than it is to find someone who can show you how to turn its lens into da Vinci’s paintbrush. And, if you are fortunate enough to find someone and some place to cultivate your photography skills, often times the monetary cost is absurd.
Project Basho is a place where aspiring photographers can go to hone their skills. Project Basho is a photography resource with a communal dark room, located at 1305 Germantown Avenue in Old Kensington (Northern Liberties, about 2 blocks from the Piazza at Schmidt's). It’s one of the only (if not the only) photography resource centers in Philly that houses every type of photo development and processing. Basically, you can shoot something with an HD digital camera and manipulate the prints to the point that it looks like it was taken in 1895.
Founded by Tsuyoshi (Yoshi), Project Basho also houses classes, workshops, private lessons, exhibits and a community of talented photographers who bounce off each other’s talents. It’s a great place for beginners to learn photography and for experts to grow their craft and find inspiration. And, the prices won’t break your wallets.
Once you are able to take advantage of sound resources, it’s now your job to perfect your craft. Grisha Enikolopov, one of the managers at Project Basho, brought up world renown photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson and his concept of the decisive moment. Cartier-Bresson said that a scene has one second where all compositional elements are in perfect unity and it is the photographer’s job to not miss it. This comes with practice, which is why Henri Cartier-Bresson also stated that your first 10,000 photos are your worst. Just think how great photo number 10,001 will be.
So, if you're looking to up your photography skills, definitely check out this place.
The days are getting slightly shorter, and the temperatures are getting slightly cooler. This can only mean one thing--summer is nearing its end. Soon, we’ll be deciding on Halloween parties, Thanksgiving trimmings and what to get that special someone for the holidays. Before we bid our dear summer adieu, we should take time to enjoy the outdoors a few more times with that special someone.
Make sure you close out summer with romance and style. Here are a couple favorite outdoor date spots:
1 Boathouse Row
Stop by one of the restaurants near the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Fairmount Avenue and pick up some takeout. And then head over to Kelly Drive. Grab one of the scenic spots near Boathouse Row and lay down a blanket. The scenery will do the rest.
6th and Race Streets
Franklin Square is the perfect spot for a romantic stroll with your date. Between the carousel, miniature golf, twinkling lights and the fountain, it has romance written all over it. Stop by Stephen Starr's SquareBurger which is also in Franklin Square for shakes, burgers and fries.
Bells Mill Road and Forbidden Drive
On your way to the Bells Mill Road section of Fairmount Park in Chestnut Hill, stop by Cin Cin restaurant on 7838 Germantown Avenue and pick up some fresh spring rolls. Once you arrive at Forbidden Drive, instead of pulling out a blanket just take a stroll down the long winding pathway along the river. You’ll be able to take in all the scenery with your date while digesting those spring rolls.
Walnut and 18th Streets
Some of the best things to do as a couple are also the simplest. People watching can be quite entertaining especially when amongst the diverse crowds of Rittenhouse Square. A slight divergence from the typical quiet setting of most parks, Rittenhouse Square offers charm that gives you the same magnetic pull towards your special someone. Before you settle in the park, make sure you stop by Alfa American Tavern for takeout. I recommend the cajun chicken wings and chicken quesadillas. Or, stop by Reading Terminal Market to grab some local food before heading to the park.
Montgomery and Belmont Drives
Belmont Plateau is famous for family BBQs and sizable crowds during the peak summer months, but as summer dwindles, so do the crowds. Try venturing to the plateau during a weekday after work and watch the sunset while snacking on a cheesesteak from Larry’s Steaks. With the city’s skyline in the background, you couldn’t ask for a more beautiful evening.
Sometimes we just need a release. When the day-to-day grind leaves us with the weight of the world on our shoulders, we need to find something to ease the stress. As complex as these stressors can be, the remedy is quite simple.
Not just any small chuckle. I’m talking about that buckle over, eye tearing, laughter. I don’t mean to trivialize anyone’s plight but it’s been proven that laughter helps us deal with our problems in a more sensible manner. It works even better when we can make others laugh too. That’s where the Philly Improv Theater (PHIT) comes into play.
PHIT is “a showcase of the city’s improv, sketch, and stand-up comedy community.” PHIT holds monthly runs of shows at The Shubin Theatre (407 Bainbridge Street) where you can BYOB for a night of uninhibited fun. However, the main attraction of PHIT isn’t the sketch comedy shows. As the saying goes, “Show a man some improv, and he’ll laugh for a night. Teach someone to improvise, and they’ll laugh for a lifetime.” And that’s what they do at PHIT.
Hundreds of people attend PHIT classes in Improv Comedy, Sketch Comedy and Teen Comedy throughout the year. Each class is broken into beginner and intermediate levels for those who want to work amongst their comedic peers. The instructors are comprised of local comedic standouts and former and current Saturday Night Live writers including Brian Kelly and Christine Nangle.
With a sanctuary for good old unadulterated foolishness, there’s no need to feel like you can’t find a release. For more info on Philly Improv Theater shows or classes, go here.
Insider tip: Looking to catch a PHIT show? The next one is at 8:30 p.m. on Monday, August 29, at the Adrienne Theater (2030 Sansom Street). There’s a $10 cover.
In case you haven’t noticed, this little thing called hip-hop is a pretty big deal. If you live in America and were born between the years of 1970 and 2000, it’s inevitable that hip-hop has influenced your life in some form or fashion--from the way you dress to the way you think.
Since the summer began, local station Power 99 has provided a platform for some of Philly’s best underground hip-hop artists via its online performance series called The Movement.
The Movement showcases artists who are considered to be the “B-side” of hip-hop. The side of the genre that doesn’t get played on traditional radio. Some of the artists who have already blessed the Power 99 performance studio include, Chill Moody, Writtenhouse, Aquil, Dave Ghetto, Hezekiah and Verso, all of whom have poured their souls into each line for a FREE show. That’s right, a FREE show.
Go to power99.com and type in the keyword, “movement” to be taken to where you can RSVP for the remaining shows, or just click here. The remaining artists are Amir Taron, Ako, and Fel Sweetenberg. All the videos from previous performances are onpower99.com.
The Movement airs on power99.com live every Wednesday at 5 p.m., at the Power 99 studio. To see the show in person, RSVP here.
Arts, Beats & Eats (ABE) is a networking event which is held every first Sunday of the month. ABE is organized by three outstanding collaborators. Shaheed Rucker of Change Makers Organization, Curran Swint of KingsRuleTogether.com, and Gianni Lee of Babylon Cartel have come together to give a space for young entrepreneurs and artists to network while enjoying good food and a comfortable atmosphere.
ABE also features a host of small business vendors (mostly from artistic backgrounds) spoken word artists, live painting and good music. Held at Primo Bacio Ristorante located in the Wyncote Towers, 8460 Limekiln Pike, Arts Beats & Eats has consistently drawn an upwardly bound crowd bent on having a good time while forging professional relationships.
Known for its fashionably chic atmosphere and artistically entrepreneurial fan base, ABE has also managed to incorporate social responsibility into the overall mission of each event. Each month features a new social cause that will be highlighted during the event. Partial proceeds from the event will also be donated to an organization tied to the featured cause. There you have it...something positive to support.
The next Arts, Beats & Eats is this Sunday, August 7.
Insider tip: Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. To purchase tickets go here.
Sunday, August 7
7 - 11 p.m
Primo Bacia Ristorante
8460 Limekiln Pike
We stand in long lines the night before the new Jordan’s come out. We cut our hair low and dye it blonde. We learn how to dance and try our hand at rapping or singing. We lie about what we have, what we do and who we did it with. We do it all...just to be popular.
Shenille Latrice, award winning playwright and director of the hit stage play When The Smoke Clears teams up with fellow award-winning playwright Donja Love to bring Philly the critically acclaimed stage play, Popular.
Popular offers an entertaining look at the effects of an overly imposing pop-culture. What happens when that culture collides with real life? What do we do when we can’t tell the two worlds apart?
Popular brings together a talented cast of local stand-outs including Tiffany Green, Keith Illidge and Jason Stewart and Stan Dixon.
Tuesday, August 2 - Sunday, August 7
2030 Sansom Street
To purchase tickets go here.
Popular was made possible by iChoose2Live LLC, a company started by Shenille Latrice, whose purpose is to motivate young adults by exposing them to the arts. If you can’t attend the play but would like to know more about iChoose2Live, please visit their website at http://ichoose2live.com/
“Who is this guy?” and “Why haven’t I heard from him before?” are thoughts that come to mind after listening to Ryshon Jones’ latest project, The Lower I Fall, The Higher I Aim. The next thought that comes to mind is, “This guy is special.” Not just talented, but special. Philadelphia is filled with talented artists but Ryshon Jones offers a beautifully unique and beautifully human approach to a genre that often gets locked in a cycle of repetitiveness and hackneyed subject matter.
On Mountain Top, Ryshon provides a hardcore dissertation on the plight of the ambitious, naming every conceivable obstacle including friends, lovers, execs and even himself. On Die To Feel Alive, over a hypnotic blues-infused track, Ryshon tells the story of a friend struggling to stay sober and sane after the passing of his mother. He switches it up on the double track This Aint Me / EverFor describing the struggle to keep vices at bay as his popularity rises. Ryshon concludes the double track with a melodic love letter to his girlfriend, explaining that she’s with him even when they’re apart.
Ryshon Jones provides Philly and the world with another “just push play” type of project. Combining a well versed production team with strong lyricism and a dark/introspective/inspiring subject matter, The Lower I Fall, The Higher I Aim easily falls into the national “best surprises of 2011” category.
Underneath the Liberty Bell, the Philadelphia Art Museum and Citizen’s Bank Park, down the block from Geno’s and Pat’s, and around the corner from The Kimmel Center, lies a scene seldom seen by travelers. Found in between the cracks and crevices of the inner city is arguably Philly’s most vibrant cultural attraction. We’re talking about hip-hop. Underground hip-hop. In an age where you don’t need mainstream media to become a national celebrity, Philly has taken full advantage by producing some of the most talented artists and most entertaining live music scenes in the country.
There are dozens of Philly acts that perform regularly at venues like the Theatre of the Living Arts a.k.a. the TLA, The Blockley and The Arts Garage--and of those acts, Writtenhouse has made it to the must-see list.
Named after Rittenhouse Street in Germantown where their studio is located, Writtenhouse combines lyrical prowess, passion and stage presence to produce the type of music that sounds great in the car and even better on stage. Their latest project While You Were Sleeping caters to fans of the rapid flow, boom-bap style of hip-hop that gained prominence in the 90s. Combining socially aware commentary with quick wit and a charismatic instrumentation, While You Were Sleeping proves to be a much needed trip back to hip-hop’s golden era.
Yet despite the reminiscent sound, Writtenhouse doesn’t come off as contrived or a forced attempt to distance itself from mainstream hip-hop. The sincerity in their music is evident in songs like Cigarette Smoke, where the protagonist raps about a personal addiction and the struggle to free himself from its hold. Writtenhouse digs even deeper on the title track While You Were Sleeping. The song (and album) is dedicated to their manager Muhammad Abdul-Sharif who had a horrible accident in which he lost oxygen to his brain. While You Were Sleeping describes the group’s fight to keep growing in their manager’s absence despite pressure to make crossover music. The title track concludes a “just push play” type of project from Writtenhouse that’s sure to be a cult classic. While You Were Sleeping is available now on iTunes.
Get to know Writtenhouse a little bit better and watch their video below.