Your guide to Philly's diverse creative scene, nightlife, music, food & more
It's on! The BlackStar Film Festival launches today, and Philly is about to explode with more black cinematic action than you can imagine. That's right, over the next four days, BlackStar founder Maori Karmael Holmes and her team will present 75 films that explore the global black experience—and of course it's going down right here in Philly.
Just this week, news broke that black film icon Spike Lee will be making an appearance, participating in Friday's panel discussion, By Any Means Necessary: Producing Independent Film. In addition to Spike, there will be plenty of opportunities to get up-close-and-personal with the country's top black indie filmmakers, actors/actress and artists.
So, to get you started we pulled together the trailers for a few not-to-be-missed films. You can check them out below. You can also click here to view entire BlackStar film schedule, or to purchase tickets online.
Thursday, August 1
Question Bridge is an innovative transmedia project that facilitates dialogue between Black men from diverse backgrounds. The process is straightforward: On video, a Black man poses a question to another man from whom he feels estranged. A Black man representing that difference records his answer. These exchanges create a question bridge, a media-based forum for necessary, honest expression and healing dialogue about topics that divide, puzzle and unite Black males in the United States.
Friday, August 2
Death sometimes warns that it is coming. It can happen the day before, like a certitude that descends upon the bodies and minds of the one who has been chosen and the people close to him. No doubting it, no fighting it. Today will be Satché’s last day.
Saturday, August 3
Philadelphia Premiere: Actors Omari Hardwick and Dorian Missick will be present for a Q&A after the film. Wounded by a miscarriage and an angry husband, Kal tries desperately to find an outlet for her artistic voice.
Sunday, August 4
Actors Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Yolonda Ross, and composer Zakee Kuduro will be present for a Q&A after the film. A visceral coming-of-age story, “Yelling to the Sky” features a sobering, breakthrough performance from Zoe Kravitz, with an all-star supporting cast including Jason Clarke, Gabourey Sidibe and Antonique Smith.
Philly, an almost magical piece of black cinema has landed in our backyard, and trust us—it's a must see film! Boasting an impressive list of executive producers, including Jay-Z, Dream Hampton, and Wyatt Cenac, director Terence Nance’s mesmerizingly gorgeous debut feature An Oversimplification of Her Beauty opens in Philly this weekend at the Ritz at The Bourse.
Exploding with moving and stunning imagery, Nance's film explores the grey areas between lover and friend, through the eyes of Terence (played by Nance) and his female bestfriend (played by Namik Minter), as their relationship teeters between platonic and romantic. Add in the other external relationships both characters bring to the table, and you're left with a complicated, but beautiful and totally relatable story that will leave moviegoers testifying to its undeniable truth.
Throughout the film, Nance incorporates an unbelieveable kaleidoscope of imagery, including dazzling (and sometime dizzying) segments of hand-drawn and stop-motion animation, which heighten the sense of magic and surrealism that Oversimplification captures so effortlessly.
The film opens here this Friday, and Philly is definitely rolling out the red carpet for this one. There are special screenings on Saturday and Sunday of the opening weekend that will feature post screening Q&A's with the film's director Terrence Nance and a few notable Philly film buffs. So, definitely get out to see this fantastic work of black cinema! And, make sure you bring a friend, and tell three more.
Also, keep your eye on director Terrence Nance—we're pretty sure we'll be seeing a lot more from this rising cinematic visionary real soon!
Friday, June 7 - Thursday, June 20
Click here for showtimes
Ritz at the Bourse
4th and Walnut
Saturday, June 8 - 4:10 p.m. screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Terence Nance, moderated by Yaba Blay
Saturday, June 8 - 7:20 p.m. screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Terence Nance, moderated by Shantrelle P. Lewis
Sunday, June 9 - 4:10 p.m. screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Terence Nance
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
Lorraine Hansberry's production A Raisin In The Sun made its broadway debut in 1959, and would go on to forever change the face of American theater. Now, thanks to the Arden Theatre in Old City this iconic play is being restaged right here in Philly - and it's been receiving rave reviews all over town!
Just last week, Philly 360° caught up with a few members of the phenomenal cast for an exclusive interview. So, check out our video as Raisin in the Sun actors Jaleesa Capri, Peterson Towsend and Philly's own young-star Yannick Haynes share insights on their characters, the themes explored in Hansberry's production, and the scoop on working under the stellar direction of Walter Dallas. The interview is jam-packed with sneak-peeks from the actual play, so you'll most definitely want to check it out!
A Raisin in the Sun runs through April 21, and you can purchase tickets online here. But, don't delay! This production has already been extended and tickets are selling fast!
March 7 - April 21, 2013
Arden Theatre Company
40 N. 2nd Street
This weekend, the 2013 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) kicks off, and thousands of eager creative-connoisseurs will descend upon Philly to explore moments of the past, present and future through the lens of PIFA's time travel theme. This year, over 50 cultural partners and hundreds of artists will join PIFA to present an exciting and eclectic mix of 50+ shows featuring some of the world's top talent like Robert Glasper, Lalah Hathaway, Danilo Pérez, Savion Glover and more!
Once we all get into the PIFA swing, you should definitely make a point to stop by the Kimmel Center's gorgeous Commonwealth Plaza, where you can see free live performances, hear great music, grab a snack, or even take some time to experience the Kimmel's interactive Time Machine. Yup, you've heard right. The PIFA crew has installed a giant time machine right in the lobby of the Kimmel - and it's a must see! On April 27, PIFA 2013 will culminate with their signature Street Fair, as the Kimmel Center shuts down Broad Street for an all-out creative explosion jam-packed with some of the best entertainers and cuisine Philly has to offer.
With so many amazing experience packed into one month, deciding exactly what show to go see can be a challenge, right? But, don't worry! As always, we've pulled together a list of Philly 360° PIFA Top Picks to get you started. This time traveling spectacular kicks off this weekend and runs through April 27.
You can visit pifa.org to view full festival schedule and purchase your tickets today!
Thursday, March 28
National Museum of American Jewish History
101 S. Independence Mall East
April 4, 1969 was the first anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr It was also the third night of Passover. At the intersection of these two events in 1969, hundreds of people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds gathered in a church in the heart of Washington, D.C. to celebrate freedom. Stop by Independence Mall, as NMAJH revisits the spirit and legacy of this historical event as part of PIFA 2013.
Saturday, March 30
Academy of Music
240 S. Broad Street
Don't miss it as international tap-sensation Savion Glover brings his best moves to Philly as part of PIFA 2013. That's right - on March 30, Glover will present the world premiere of his latest-and-greatest creation Dance Space, which explores the origins of time and space through his explosive moves, undeniable rhythms, and a cosmic and imaginative stage set.
Friday, April 5 - Wednesday, April 17
Red Room at the Society Hill Playhouse
507 South 8th Street
Take a trip through time and discover Philly's rich jazz roots, as an young Dizzy Gillespie experiments with a new form of jazz called bebop. This innovative and informative production is sure to have you swingin' into the PIFA spirit in no time at all.
Sunday, April 14
Kimmel Center - Verizon Hall
Broad and Spruce Streets
In April, Philly's world-famous Avenue of the Arts becomes a soulful centerstage for an electrifying all-star tribute to the one-and-only Stevie Wonder. As Grammy Award-winning artist Robert Glasper recreates his hit show of new work inspired by the timeless sound of Stevie Wonder, and performed by a phenomenal group of musicians that include Lalah Hathaway, Stokley of Mint Condition, Eric Roberson and The Experiment Band. Yeah - this is one show you can't afford to miss!
Wednesday, April 17 - Friday, April 19
The Kimmel Center - Innovation Studio
300 S. Broad Street
Where Heaven’s Dew Divides is a multidisciplinary exploration of the politics of religion in Philadelphia as the nation's largest populations of free blacks worked to establish themselves during the late 1700's. Where Heaven’s Dew Divides mixes dance forms, original music and song, improvised vocalization and video projection to capture the history and legacy of early black Philadelphians.
Friday, April 19 - Sunday, April 21
Kimmel Center - Perelman Theater
300 S. Broad Street
Philly's favorite dance company gets in on the time travel action and explores the origins of the universe with The Big Bang. Come out and experience the phenomenal moves and power of Philadanco in a fresh new way.
This week, I caught up with one of our city's busiest creative business women - Philly 360° Creative Ambassador Syreeta Scott. She is the owner of one of the most successful natural haircare salons in the country, Duafe Holistic Hair Care. With an impressive list of clients that include notable celebs like Jill Scott, Bill Cosby, Questlove and Smokie Robinson, Syreeta works tirelessly around the clock as she continues to build her empire. But, always mindful of her Philly roots and humble beginnings, she's one shining star that's never too busy take a moment to help other budding creatives to set and obtain their own dreams.
On March 30, Syreeta will host her third PS with Syreeta: Vision Mapping Workshop where she will walk a group emerging entrepreneurs, business-owners, artists and other creative-types through the steps they can take to mirror the success she's had in her own life. So, take a moment a moment to check out our exclusive interview with Syreeta, as she gives us the scoop on her recent trip to Paris styling hair for a certain international music icon, her favorite Philly hot-spot and the upcoming workshop.
Satuday, March 30
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch Street
James: So, you’ve just returned from Paris styling the hair of a certain international superstar - give us the scoop?
Syreeta: Well, I started doing Janet Jackson’s hair, which is very exciting! And, the first time I styled her hair I was singing Principal Pleasure all the way through it. (laughs) This will would be my third time servicing her and it’s wonderful to be around that level of creativity. I’m so grateful to have the experience.
James: You must travel tons for your clients, what’s your favorite part about returning home to Philly
Syreeta: What I love most about coming home to Philadelphia is the familiarity. To be able to come home and see the people I know and love. Also, to experience the phenomenal restaurants - you know all of those small little “in the cut” places? And, I especially love the creative energy here in Philly. We’re known for our music, and there are so many wonderful creative opportunities at our reach.
James: So, as a Creative Ambassador and international tastemaker - tell us one Philly restaurant, artist, or event that you are super jazzed about?
Syreeta: You know I love North Third! It’s a small little quaint place with an interesting and amazing aesthetic, and the food is always consistently good. I’ve enjoyed North Third for years. The restaurant is divided into two sections, and one side will be playing old school hip hop and the other side will be playing Santo Gold, or maybe even some good rock music. Also, you never know who is going to walk in - it’s a little secret treasure.
James: Well the secret is out now! lol Ok, from Janet Jackson to Jill Scott, Bill Cosby and seemingly everyone in between, you’ve worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. Was that part of your original vision for yourself and Duafe?
Syreeta: It was a part of my vision to make sure natural hair was something that brought women comfort and that they walk confident in their natural selves. So, yes definitely. I really thank God for that whole neo-soul space and time, because when I started this I was just at the right place at the right time.
James: Tell us about your Visioning Workshop on March 30th - what can people expect?
Syreeta: Well, I am a firm believer that you can design your life. And, that it’s the little, well not really little - it’s the MAGNIFICENT tools that I been able to use over the years of being in business and throughout my life to create these amazing experiences - like traveling to Paris, doing hair for the Nobel Peace Prize, The Kennedy Honors, Smokie Robinson and owning a successful business for over ten years. You know all of those things? There were some extremely challenging times, but what helped me stay focused and move forward was my vision mapping.
And, when you find something that has brought such absolute success to you, it’s selfish to keep it to yourself. So, once I figured it out for myself, I decided that I had to share it with others. So, this will be my third workshop - the first two classes sold out! And, what a phenomenal opportunity! What I’ve found out is that when you are in purpose and passion for what God has for you, the doors just open up. You have to trust that voice, vision and spirit and just get out of the way. That’s what a lot of this is all about.
James: Great! Okay without giving away the full Vision Mapping scoop - can you give the Philly 360 audience one top tip for success?
Syreeta: Hmm, one top tip for success is... Honestly, it’s about forgetting everything you thought you knew and allowing yourself to be open for all new experiences. A large part of my success is about recreating from holes. Forgetting about the things that didn’t matter, or that didn’t suit me well and the things that didn’t help me to move forward. Getting over any barrier is always about not focusing on the problem, but honing in on the solution. And, it’s uncomfortable, but there is always success at the end!
We've all heard people say, "All good things come to an end." But, truthfully all GREAT things come back again - bigger and better. That's right! Philly, the hit broadway musical FELA! is returning next week with all of its hot and seriously cool afrobeat energy.
FELA! made its Philly debut in 2012, and played every night to a theater jam-packed with eager audience members and fans. In fact, it was so successful that this fantastic production, which boast an impressive list of executive producers, like Jay-Z, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Philly 360° Creative Ambassador Questlove and Okayplayer, had to return for another round of afrobeat-infused Philly fun.
The big news? Glad you asked! This year, in addition to a stellar and electrifying cast of hyper-talented dancers and vocalists, FELA! stars none-other-than Destiny's Child member and R&B/Pop superstar Michelle Wiliams. Say what? Yup, the GRAMMY Award-winning vocalist will spend the next week performing on Philly's Avenue of the Arts for crowds of excited old and new fans. A big win in my book.
This exciting smash musical will only be in town for six short days, and tickets are sure to sell fast! So, make sure you get your seats now and join in the celebration of afrobeat, dance, song, art and all things FELA!.
March 12 - 17
250 S. Broad Street
"Oh, what a day. What a day. What a day." It's hard to believe it, but it's been 16 years since Erykah Badu exploded on the scene with her instant masterpiece Baduizm. The album soared straight to the top of the charts and Ms. Badu hasn't come down since. Equally rooted in blues, hip-hop, jazz, and soul, Badu's album paved the way for the neo-soul movement that put plenty of Philly artists on the map. And, that's no surprised, because since day one, Erykah has gotten mad love from Philadelphia, working with longtime Philly creatives like Philly 360° Creative Ambassadors James Poyser and The Roots to craft her signature soulful sound.
So, to celebrate the 16th anniversary of Baduizm (and her 42nd birthday) Badu came to Philly to perform Baduizm in its entirety - maybe for the first time since the album was released in 1997. And, Philly definitely came out to show our love for Badu.
In her typical "fashionably late" mannner, Badu hit the stage donning the flyests of headwraps and a ecclectic mix of fashions that she-and-only-she could make look fly. And, it was clear from the background vocalist singing "it's Badu's show" to the masses fixated on her every note and move - we were now in Badu's world. From Next Lifetime, Otherside of the Game, Apple Tree, On & On, Tyrone to a Questlove dedication of "Afro", Badu sang us down memory lane, as we relived the memories and feeling of her '97 classics.
And, if you've ever been to a Badu show before, then you knew not to be fooled by her first "thank you and good night" exit. Erykah is definitely known to comeback for an hour-long encore performance and that's exactly what she gave her fans at the Electric Factory. Hitting the stage for part deux, Badu performed hits from her other albums like Danger, Out My Mind Just In Time, Window Seat and other fan-favorites.
Erykah closed the evening with a church-like moment of self affirmation as she instructed the Philly congregation to raise their hands and "shout your own name", as she performed her extended version of Didn't Cha Know, which ended in a moving rendition of Believe In Yourself from the Wiz. Genius, sheer black musical genius.
It was clear from the start, "It's Badu's show..." and Philly wasn't even mad about it.
Ask anyone in town and they'll tell you that Duafe Holistic Hair Care has cornered the market on all things "natural hair" in Philly. The brainchild and heart-work of Philly 360° Creative Ambassador Syreeta Scott, the talented stylists at Duafe have kept some of the Philly's most well-known natural crowns healthy and styled-to-the-T. From Jill Scott to Tye Tribbett, Vikter Duplaix, Res and even yours truly, folks all around town know where to head when they want freshest 'do on the scene.
To celebrate Women's History Month and Philly's ever-talented poetry scene, Syreeta and the crew of Duafe have gathered some of the area's dopest wordsmiths for a celebration of poetry and life in the 215. This Sunday, Poetry by Duafe has curated an experience that intersects the past, present and future of Philadelphia spoken word, as they present the immense talents of Philadelphia's own Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez, along with Philly 360° Creative Ambassador Ursula Rucker and the amazing rhythms of international percussionist and hometown-hero and Doc Gibbs.
But, it doesn't stop there, Just Greg Corbin, founder of Philly Youth Poetry Movement, is also slated to step to the mic and show the crowd what Philly poetry is all about. Always ready to give back and pay-it-forward, Syreeta and the folks at Duafe have arranged for the event proceeds to be donated to Obaatan, an organization that offers shelter and services to abused women and children in crisis. That's definitely a big win for Philly.
So, grab your friends, family, neighbors and anyone you can find and head down to Poetry by Duafe. It's sure to be an inspiring time celebrating women, poetry and Philly's big heart. After all, we are the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, right? For sure. I'll see you there.
Sunday, March 3
3 - 6 p.m.
Peche at Sherman Mills
3502 Scotts Lane
March 28 - April 27, 2013
Visit pifa.org for the festival schedule, times & locations.
Since its triumphant launch in 2011, Philadelphia and the rest world have been waiting patiently for the return of The Kimmel Center's explosion of all things arts and culture - The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts ( a.k.a. PIFA). Well, I'm glad to tell you that the wait is almost over.
Just last week, tickets for PIFA 2013 went on sale to the public and the full festival schedule was announced during a special press conference and preview. And, just like we expected the line-up is an amazing blend of local, national and international talent. From the Dance Space, an evening with international tap-sensation Savion Glover to the Stevie Wonder Tribute featuring Lalah Hathaway, Robert Glasper, Eric Roberson and Stokley Williams - the PIFA madness just doesn't stop!
This year, the festival will run from March 28 to April 27 and includes over 50 festival performances, 50 creative partners, and 32 new works - all exploring the festival theme "If You Had a Time Machine...". PIFA invited a diverse group of artists and partners to select a moment in time and create exciting, thought-provoking and fun interpretations that will transport audiences to a different time and place in history, or maybe even the future.
In fact,The Kimmel Center has plans to install an interactive time machine exhibit right in Commonwealth Plaza, which will serve as a cultural hub offering plenty of free activities and programs throughout the festival. And, like the 2011 festival PIFA will go out with a bang, as they welcome thousands of people onto the Avenue of the Arts to partake in tons of family fun during the PIFA Street Fair.
With a festival of this magnitude, deciding which shows to see can be a little bit daunting. But, dont worry - we've got you covered. Be on the look out for plenty of Philly 360 PIFA top picks and Insider scoops. But for now, you can visit the PIFA website to check out the full festival schedule and purchase tickets in advance. Ok, let's go!