Your guide to Philly's diverse creative scene, nightlife, music, food & more
This weekend, you can get a taste of Philly's diverse and vibrant creative scene, as The Barnes Foundation gets into the First Friday action with their Philadelphia Artists Spotlight.
Located along Philly's world famous Benjamin Franklin Parkway, The Barnes is best known for its impressive collection of art, which includes 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes (more than all the museums in Paris) and 59 Matisses, along with works by Manet, Van Gogh, Degas, and Picasso. In addition to works by these well-known artists, the collection also includes an amazing selection of African Art, period furniture and antique brassware—all painstakingly curated over six decades ago by the museum's founder Dr. Albert C. Barnes.
So, to celebrate First Friday, and the diversity found within the Philly creative scene, The Barnes has pulled together an extra fresh lineup of dancers, poets and performing artists for an entertaining exploration of all things Philly.
The spotlight will include performances by Pattern is Movement, a two-man indie rock band who will pay tribute to the music of famed hip-hop producer J Dilla; Latina performance troupe Las Gallas performing their signature work Ghetto Bolera; DJ extraordinaire Mr. Sonny James of the Illvibe Collective holding down the First Friday playlist; theater collective Team Sunshine; and poetry by the infamous spoken word duo Yellow Rage.
With an uncomparable collection of art, and an amazing line-up of artists ready to throw down in their own unique way—The Barnes is the only place to be for this upcoming First Friday. Grab your crew, and come out to watch these artists shine like only Philly stars can.
When: Friday, December 6, 6 - 10 p.m.
Where: The Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost: $25, members freee
More Info: Click here to reserve your ticket online.
Do you know blackness when you see it? This is the question Dr. Yaba Blay, one of today's leading voices on global skin color politics, asks with her new book, (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race. The book officially releases this week from Blay's recently-launched independent press company, BLACKprint Press.
Yaba introduced (1)ne Drop to her quickly expanding network of followers earlier this year, and over the summer successfully ran a Kickstarter pre-sale campaign, which raised over $22,000 to fund the project. Since then, (1)ne Drop has been generating some serious buzz. In the last month alone, Yaba has appeared on W. Kumau Bell's show, Totally Unbiased, presented a sold-out show as part of the First Person Arts Festival, and even graced the front cover of the Philadelphia Weekly.
To celebrate (1)ne Drop's early successes and the book's official release, Yaba is throwing a release party at The Painted Bride Art Center in Old City—and appropriately on Black Friday. The event will feature light fare, wine, and a fresh soundtrack provided courtesy of Mr. Sonny James of the Illvibe Collective. Also, party guests can browse an amazing two-floor exhibit of the portraits from the (1)ne Drop in the Painted Bride's gallery space.
The event is totally free, so make sure you grab a copy of Dr. Blay's book. And, since it is Black Friday, you might just want to pick up a couple of extra copies to hand out as gifts during the holiday. We'll see you there.
When: Friday, November 29, 6 - 9 p.m.
Where: The Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street
More info: http://bit.ly/1gMtuLM
As the birthplace of our nation, Philly is a city of "firsts", and home to tons of one-of-a-kind creative places, people and events. So, it'll come as no surprise that the only festival in the world dedicated to the art and power of storytelling, The First Person Arts Festival, happens right here.
From November 6-16, First Person Arts' innovative and entertaining festival explodes with 11 days of fantastic events that celebrate the power of the personal story through stand-up storytelling, theater, story slams, poetry, music, memoir writing, dance and more. And, this year FPA is definitely taking the festival to an entirely new level.
On November 6, the festivities kick off with Philadelphia Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez in conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, and former US Laureate Rita Dove for Conversation & Song: Walking the Laureate Road. Talk about a triple-threat, right? And, as if that wasn't enough, the second week of the festival will see Sonia return to discuss The Politics of Poetry with Chicana author Ana Castillo, and long-time activist and author Angela Davis.
Other Philly-fresh festival events include hip-hop and breakdance pioneer Raphael Xavier's first solo show, The Unofficial Guide to Audience Watching Performance, and Dr. Yaba Blay's groundbreaking book release, exhibit and storytelling event (1) Drop Live. This year's festival will also see the return of signature FPA events, including the always sold-out GrandSlam, a Festival StorySlam, and Kevin Allison's hit live podcast taping Risk!.
You can check the full First Person Festival schedule online, and be sure to take a look at the Philly 360° Package, which offers three of our favorite festival programs at one low price. Okay, so get out there and experience another exclusively Philly experience with the 12th Annual The First Person Festival. Let's go!
When: November 6 - 16, 2013
Where: Various Venues (see festival website for details)
Cost: Tickets range from $10 - $35
More info: festival.firstpersonarts.org
Last year, Philly became home to another first, as Philly 360° Creative Ambassaor Maori Karmael Holmes successfully launched the inaugural BlackStar Film Festival. People from around the country gathered in Philly to experience the wonder of black cinema, and Ebony even hailed the event as Philly's own "Black Sundance". #bigwin
Next month, we're hype to announce that BlackStar is returning—bigger and better than before. Philly 360° caught up with Maori for an exclusive interview, just as she and her powerhouse team are putting the finishing touches on this year's festivities. Maori gives us the inside scoop on the festival venues, can't-miss films, and her three favorite black films of all time!
You can checkout our insider interview with Maori below. Also, be sure to visit blackstarfest.org to view the full festival line-up, and purchase tickets online today!
Philly 360°: BlackStar is back for its second year, and was recently hailed as "TheBlack Sundance" by Ebony Magazine. That's amazing! How rewarding is it to create this platform for black cinema here in Philly?
Maori: Creating BlackStar was by accident, but a wondrous accident. Producing it has been amazing for me personally and professionally. I continue to meet and connect with awesome folks in Philadelphia and beyond who care deeply about promoting the work of folks of color.
Philly 360°: Well, Philly is definitely buzzing about this year's festival, and most certainly showed up in mass for last year's festival. What do you love most about presenting BlackStar here in Philly?
Maori: That's exciting to hear that there's a buzz. It feels really good. Philadelphia is the home of so many "firsts" in American history and this idea of independence and a DIY/indie aesthetic is in our bones, so in many ways there is no other place that could house a festival like ours. The ourpouring of support from community partners, sponsors, and audience is tremendous and we feel so much love and gratitude.
I am also really excited about having a niche neighborhood festival primarily in University City. You will be able to walk from City Tap House to Drexel and International House and the Sheraton and back in under 5 minutes. It is really cool to be set up in that way.
Philly 360°: Can you give us the big picture view on this year's festival? How many films are you presenting? And, are there any exciting new programs or events this year?
Maori: We have basically doubled in size. We are presenting 75 films in three venues. We have a screenplay competition with a $2,500 cash prize and we have an awards ceremony and for the first time an awards competition including audience awards. As part of our awards we are honoring the Howard University film program.
Philly 360°: Tell us about the venues for this year's festival - any exciting new places or partnerships?
Maori: International House of Philadelphia is one of the best places to see film in the city. The screen, projection, and audio, as well as their staff are top-notch and amazing to work with. They will continue to be our festival hub. We have an additional site at Drexel University through our new partnership with the Africana Studies Program, as well we are presenting a program at The Barnes Foundation and hosting an opening night reception at City Tap House.
Philly 360°: Okay, I know you and the Blackstar team have curated an amazing line-up of black films this year. If you had to give us a few highlights, or not-to-be-missed movies—what would they be?
Maori: Did I say there were 75 films?!! Some of our highlights are our evening features of course--Tey, Nairobi Halflife, Mother of George, and Question Bridge: Black Males. I am also really excited about the Arts Shorts at The Barnes and our Youth Program.
Philly 360°: The Brother From Another Planet (Re-contextualized) w/ Live Score at Johnny Brenda's sounds like an amazing experience. How did this concept come about? Who are the masterminds behind this genius production? Tell us!
Maori: King and I are friends (and in the same class of Philly 360° Creative Ambassadors). At a dinner party last year we came up with this idea to collaborate for the festival around a loose idea based on Afrofuturism. We wanted to do something at Johnny Brendas, another fantastic venue, and King came up with the remix event and enlisted his collaborators, Marlo Reynolds, Anthony Tidd, Jason Senk, and Damon Bennett.
Philly 360°: Any other special appearances this year? Notable filmmakers? Actors? Actresses?
Maori: We are excited to have lots of filmmakers this year. Notably Omari Hardwick (Things Never Said), Haile Gerima, Bradford Young (Mother of George), Andrew Dosonmu (Mother of George), Dennis Dortch (Black & Sexy TV), Numa Perrier (The Couple), Yolonda Ross (Yelling to the Sky), Tanya Wright (True Blood), Lisa Cortés (Precious), Tariq Trotter, Dorian Missick (Big Words), and Muhammida El Muhajjir (Hip Hop: The New World Order).
Philly 360°: Okay, let's end on a fun note As a filmmaker and Philly's reigning expert on black cinema name your top three black films of all time? The Wiz is a given right?Or, is that just me?
Maori: The Wiz is amazing and phenomenal in so many ways, but for me as a filmmaker, the top three black films that shaped me are--although that list could easily go on to 10 or 20. Eve's Bayou, Daughters of the Dust, and Sankofa.
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
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.
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!