Category Archives: Entertainment

AMERICA TO ZANZIBAR: Breaking Barriers and Celebrating Diversity by Zenab Toure

“America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far” is one of the newest exhibits to come to Philadelphia. Opening just a few short weeks ago at The Please Touch Museum in Parkside, this multimedia interactive exhibit highlights the Muslim Culture, Religion, art and traditions. Religion has always been a sensitive subject, especially Islam. Therefore, it was definitely a huge surprise when I learned that ‘America to Zanzibar’ was coming to the Please Touch Museum. One might ask, why the Please Touch Museum? Why a Children’s museum? Exhibit consultant Salima Suswell stated, ”In Islam, we have this term called Da’wa, which is to teach. So it’s a teachable moment for not just children but for their parents as well.” This exhibition’s targeted audience is not only children but for people of all ages as well from various backgrounds and religions.

We are currently living in an era when there is so much controversy and hate happening all over the world, particularly toward Islam and its followers. One way to help foster peace in the world is to teach one another about each other’s religion, cultures, and traditions. Islam is a religion of peace. Philadelphia happens to have one of the largest Muslim populations in the United States, with over 50 Masjids (Mosques), which the Exhibit showcases in one of the
galleries. Thus, one must ask once again, what better city to come to, other than The City of Brotherly Love?

The President and CEO of The Please Touch Museum, Trish Wellenbach, has this vision to break down barriers and bring/teach the importance of diversity to not only Parkside but most of all, to Philadelphia as a whole. After seeing the America to Zanzibar exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Wellenbach was determined to bring the exhibit to the Please Touch Museum, in order to see her vision of diversity come to life. She did it along with
Salima Suswell, who heads a community advisory group of approximately 20 members from different faiths and cultures. This group helped adapt the exhibit to reflect Muslim culture in
the city of Philadelphia. As a Muslim woman myself, I’d say they have done an excellent job recreating the flavors of the Muslim religion.

At the VIP Grand Opening of ‘America to Zanzibar’, it was evident that this exhibit was not going to be a clichéd, stereotypical version of how Islam and Muslims are usually portrayed. In other words, from the virgin drinks to the halal food, to the heartwarming speeches, to the guests from all faiths and backgrounds, and finally- to walking through the exhibit that has such an authentic depiction of this beautiful and peaceful religion. I must say that I was blown
away! As I have never seen this many Muslims at an event that is not specifically run by Muslims for Muslims. It felt surreal, yet so gratifying! It was so obvious that Wellenbach, Suswell, and the community advisory group worked on every detail to really embody and reflect the true meaning of Islam and its various cultures and traditions from all over the world.

There are so many fun activities that you can do in the exhibit. I can say this because I have already visited the exhibit 3 times, and I plan on visiting again, along with my family and friends. I say this because, to me, America to Zanzibar is not just fun, creative, bold, and filled with valuable and authentic information, but it feels like home. Where I feel safe to believe in my faith and proud of where I come from. This is the safe environment that Wellenbach was hoping to create “As you explore the exhibition and discover the prayer room, I invite you to think about the importance of creating a safe space where Muslim children and families can see their faith reflected with joy and respect and where visitors from all faiths can learn about the Muslim faith in a place of joy and without fear.”

Throughout the duration of the exhibit, there will be a range of art
workshops, led by the artists featured in the exhibit. “My whole idea was to create artwork that young people could then look and find other shapes and symbols in, to learn so it’s always easy to draw someone in, and teach them something then to try to just bang them upside the head with something.” Said Keisha Whatley, a Philadelphia Artist. “So for young people, this style really works, because it’s like all this going on! and they are kind of looking like oh look there’s a star! and hey, what’s that symbol? and oh that’s what that symbol stands for? Oh and that means this! and it opens up a dialogue about the faith, and the culture, the religion and all these other things, as opposed to just being like this is this.

There are other programming activities scheduled to run through
September 2, 2019. Therefore, I recommend asking for an event calendar when you visit the Please Touch Museum, in order to stay up to date with the upcoming events, programming, and workshops. Like the Festival they will have for the first Islamic Holiday, Eid-ul-Fitr on June 4, 2019.

The exhibit consists of five different galleries. You will find one of the
oldest Quran’s, dated from 1854, a prayer room, and a living room filled with objects donated from Muslim families in the community. There is also an architecture area where visitors will be able to see and learn about Mosques from various countries. A global marketplace is the perfect hands-on experience for youngsters. Children and their families will be able to see and smell spices and fruits, wear different African fabrics filled with beautiful colors, see rugs from Morocco and ceramics from Turkey. The representation of Islam and Muslims in artwork is magnificent. I could go on and on, but I would rather let you, the reader go see for yourself and indulge in this amazing journey that America to Zanzibar brings!

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Smith Memorial Playground’s Black History Month Exhibit Celebrates 120-Year History of Racially Integrated Play

In celebration of Black History Month, families are invited to Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse at 3500 Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19121 on Saturday, February 23 from 10am-12pm for “120 Years of Integrated Play” presented by Ballard Spahr LLP, a free exhibition of historic photographs and artifacts that highlight Smith’s commitment to the African American community and integrated play spaces since 1899. Visitors will also enjoy special craft activities and a story collection room where families can share their memories of playing at Smith.

Even during the Jim Crow Era of segregation in public schools and facilities, Smith remained a racially integrated play space and operated additional locations that served large African American and immigrant populations. Smith has been an important part of many Philadelphia families’ lives for generations and continues to serve a diverse population, welcoming children from every zip code in Philadelphia and beyond for free family visits as well as a wide range of on-site programming, events, and community programs.

Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse is a non-profit organization located in Philadelphia’s East Fairmount Park. Founded in 1899, Smith welcomes visitors from more than 500 zip code areas including every zip code in Philadelphia. The mission of Smith is to provide and promote opportunities for unstructured free play for children and it contributes to the development of healthy children, strong families, and safe communities by: 1) maintaining a proud tradition of free family admission; 2) partnering with community-based organizations to reach a diverse audience; and 3) advocating for the importance of play. For more information about Smith please visit http://www.smithplayground.org. 

Contact: Zoe Lowry

215.765.4325 x101 (O)
610.609.1590 (M)

zoe@smithplayground.org

 

THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE HOSTS 1ST ANNUAL BLACK HISTORY TRIVIA CHALLENGE

PHILADELPHIA February 5, 2019—The Franklin Institute and its Partnerships for Achieving Careers and Technology and Science (PACTS) program, host the first ever region-wide Black History Challenge, Monday, February 25. The event invites local teams to compete in a high-level trivia competition celebrating the contributions of African Americans to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) while raising awareness and funds for youth programming initiatives and scholarships provided by the Franklin Institute’s PACTS program.

The event takes place during the Institute’s monthly Community Night, where admission is free for all visitors after 5 pm. Hosted by the PACTS alumni association, the evening includes live science demos and educational resource tables from The Franklin Institute and local partners offering advice and support for future STEM leaders.

Tickets for contest registration are now on sale through February 15, or until full. Trivia challenge entrance fees are $25 per person or $100 for a 4-player team. All trivia proceeds go toward supporting PACTS youth programs and scholarship funds.  General Museum Admission is free.

For more information, or to register a team, please visit http://www.fi.edu/events.

About PACTS

Partnerships for Achieving Careers and Technology and Science (PACTS) is an academic youth leadership program offered by The Franklin Institute for middle and high school students in Philadelphia. It promotes science enrichment, career development, mentoring, and leadership opportunities through science workshops, field trips, educational resources, and research.

 About The Franklin Institute

Located in the heart of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is a renowned and innovative leader in the field of science and technology learning, as well as a dynamic center of activity. Pennsylvania’s most visited museum, it is dedicated to creating a passion for learning about science by offering access to hands-on science education. For more information, visit www.fi.edu and follow The Franklin Institute on Twitter @TheFranklin and Instagram @FranklinInstitute, hashtag #franklininstitute.

Contact: Stefanie Santo, ssanto@fi.edu | 215.448.1152

Noah Lattanzi, nlattanzi@fi.edu | 215.448.1388

2019 SUBARU CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL OF GREATER PHILADELPHIA Saturday, April 6 through Sunday, April 14, 2019

Presented by The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, PA (January 29, 2019) — The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival returns to Philadelphia in April to mark the start of spring. Presented by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP), the annual festival begins on Saturday, April 6, 2019 and ends on Sunday, April 14, 2019. It will feature family friendly events highlighting Japanese culture throughout the region. Attendees will experience traditional performances, music, and arts, learn how to make sushi and matcha tea from experts, and take part in the colorful contemporary cultures of cosplay and anime.

Sakura Sunday marks the exciting conclusion of the festival and transforms Fairmount Park’s Horticultural Center into the region’s largest Japanese cultural experience. This day-long outdoor event on Sunday, April 14, 2019 is a celebration of all things Japanese. It features a Sake Garden presented by Parks on Tap, Japanese food, live music and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, crafts, the Little Akiba anime & cosplay area, access to Shofuso, Fairmount Park’s Japanese house and garden, and activities for all ages. For more information, visit subarucherryblossom.org.

Festival events begin on Saturday, April 6, 2019 with extended hours at Shofuso. The 17th century style house and garden will be open until 7:00 p.m. daily during the Festival, granting visitors plenty of opportunities to tour the house, visit the garden, and view the world class collection of koi. Attendees can also enjoy a drink at the Sake Garden, a pop-up beer and sake cocktail garden presented by Parks On Tap located just outside Shofuso’s walls on Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7 and from Friday, April 12 through Sunday, April 14.

In University City, the University of Pennsylvania will present a free public screening of Hirozaku Koreeda’s 2011 film I Wish on Wednesday, April 10. Internationally acclaimed taiko artist Kaoru Watanabe will bring a “musical dialogue” performance to the festival on Friday, April 12 at the International House Philadelphia. Sushi making classes led by Madame Saito, Philadelphia’s Queen of Sushi, will be held throughout the week at Tokio HeadHouse, culminating in an amateur sushi making contest on Thursday, April 11.  For seasoned athletes and casual walkers and runners alike, the Cherry Blossom 10K/5K returns to Fairmount Park on Saturday, April 13 with courses that offer great views of Shofuso, Memorial Hall, and MLK Drive. A complete listing of events is available online at japanphilly.org/phillysakura or call 267-237-3550 for more information.

The Cherry Blossom Festival takes its name and central inspiration from the fleeting beauty of the sakura, the Japanese name for cherry blossoms. The first blossoming cherry trees in Fairmount Park were planted in 1926 as a gift to the City of Philadelphia from Japan. Cherry blossoms are gorgeous pink and white flowers, a must-see natural wonder calling everyone outdoors to welcome spring, and an annual inspiration to artists and photographers. The events of the Festival celebrate Philadelphia’s rich cultural connections with the art, music, food, natural beauty, and industry of Japan.

The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia is a project of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP) with support from Subaru of America, Inc as its title sponsor. JASGP inspires mutual curiosity, understanding, and respect between Japan and Philadelphia, and the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival builds on this mission by fostering the Japanese tradition of blossom-viewing and planting and maintaining cherry trees. JASGP has planted more than 1,000 cherry trees, supplementing the 1,600 flowering trees presented by the Japanese government as a gesture of friendship in 1926. Digital photos and additional information on cherry tree viewing, cherry blossom traditions in Japan, and the work of the JASGP are available at subarucherryblossom.org. Follow @phillysakura on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

MARVEL: UNIVERSE OF SUPER HEROES

FROM THE EARLIEST MARVEL COMIC BOOKS TO ORIGINAL THEATRICAL COSTUMES OF BLACK PANTHER AND CAPTAIN AMERICA MARVEL’S MOST ICONIC COMICS, COSTUMES, AND PROPS ON DISPLAY MARVEL: UNIVERSE OF SUPER HEROES OPENS APRIL 13 AT THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE

TICKETS NOW ON SALE

 The world’s first and most extensive exhibition celebrating decades of Marvel’s visual and cultural impact opens at The Franklin Institute in a newly expanded form during Marvel’s 80th anniversary year.

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes, an immersive exhibition featuring more than 300 original artifacts, including some of Marvel’s most iconic costumes, props, and original art opens at The Franklin Institute on April 13, 2019—tickets are now on sale. The exhibit debuts in Philadelphia as the East Coast premiere during Marvel’s 80th anniversary year, and immediately follows the world premiere at MoPOP in Seattle, which drew more than 300,000 visitors. The Philadelphia stop brings a thoroughly reimagined layout, ambitious new installations, and never-before-seen content.

The 15,000 square-foot exhibit traces the story of Marvel and its influence on visual culture, while also uncovering the narratives of individual characters such as Captain America, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Doctor Strange. It gives insight on how Marvel has influenced and drawn inspiration from the ever-changing tides of popular culture, tracing how their stories have responded to historical events and addressed broader issues such as gender, race, and mental illness. The exhibit also pays tribute to pioneering creators such as Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko whose collective imagination made Marvel into the endlessly expansive fictional universe known today.

“Marvel transformed the idea of the Super Hero in the 1960s—and beyond—by ratcheting up the visual spectacle, emotional dynamism and philosophical sophistication of the action-adventure comics genre,” says Brian Crosby, Creative Director of Marvel Themed Entertainment. “Marvel has always been a reflection of the world outside your window, and one of its most compelling messages has always been, that anyone—regardless of race, religion or gender—can be a Super Hero.”

Exhibit features:

– A fully-immersive exhibit design with life-size scenes that bring the comic book world to life.

– Iconic props and costumes including those worn by Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) in Marvel’s Black Panther (2018), and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) in Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World (2013), plus the Captain America costume worn by Chris Evans (2015).

– Rare, hand-drawn images of iconic heroes such as Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Captain America — by the artists who first designed them.

– Many more pages of historically significant hand-drawn original comic art by some of Marvel’s most admired creators, including Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Byrne, and Frank Miller — as well as exclusively commissioned original paintings by fan favorites Steve Rude, Esad Ribic, and Jenny Frison.

– Detailed life-size sculptures of Marvel’s beloved characters, including Spider-Man and The Thing, to complement the larger-than-life super hero narrative.

– Special sections designed to provide optimal snapshot moments with classic Marvel characters, and a digital    feature that transforms guests into Iron Man.

– An immersive soundscape created by acclaimed composer Lorne Balfe.

“Our show begins with the origins of the Marvel Universe and moves through to the present day, giving a chance to see some of the rarest and most precious objects from the past 80 years of pop culture history, and pointing toward the future with work from some of today’s foremost creators” says curator Ben Saunders about the exhibition.

“Marvel created a cultural landscape that spans generations and delivers massive, undeniable global appeal,” says Franklin Institute President and CEO Larry Dubinski. “Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes is a unique exhibit experience that brings together some of the most iconic films, comics, costumes, and props—bringing characters to life and showcasing the legacy and impact of the Marvel Universe. We are thrilled that The Franklin Institute will be only the second stop for the new exhibit, and the East Coast premiere destination come this April.”  The Franklin Institute is proud to present Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes in the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion and in the Mandell Center from April 13 through September 2, 2019. PECO, the premier corporate partner of The Franklin Institute is the presenting sponsor of the exhibition.  Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes is an exhibition by SC Exhibitions, Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) and Marvel Themed Entertainment.

THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE

Located in the heart of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is a renowned and innovative leader in the field of science and technology learning, as well as a dynamic center of activity. Pennsylvania’s most visited museum, it is dedicated to creating a passion for learning about science by offering access to hands-on science education. For more information, visit fi.edu and follow The Franklin Institute on Twitter @TheFranklin and Instagram @FranklinInstitute, hashtag #franklininstitute.

 ABOUT SC EXHIBITIONS SC Exhibitions creates exhibitions, which travel worldwide, and hosts international exhibitions in Germany, Austria, and German-speaking Switzerland. SC Exhibitions is a division of Semmel Concerts, the large German live entertainment producer. Since SC Exhibitions started touring its exhibitions TUTANKHAMUN – HIS TOMB AND HIS TREASURES; THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT; and recently MAGIC CITY – THE ART OF THE STREET, they have reached an audience of more than seven million people worldwide, and built a strong international network within museums, science centers, cultural venues and the creative industries. The network is the basis for the biennial Touring Exhibitions Meeting, the world’s only conference entirely dedicated to touring exhibitions. ABOUT MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT

Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over eighty years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing, publishing, games, and digital media.

For more information visit marvel.com. © 2019 MARVEL

A Season for Giving by Jasmine Bullock

The holiday season is always an exciting time of year. Families and friends often fellowship and exchange gifts. It is also a time for giving and the West Philadelphia area is abundant with opportunities to give to people in need, of all ages. Community Coordinator, Pamela Evans has made it her mission to provide opportunities for students and families in need. Ms. Evans spent fifteen years serving the students and families of Discovery Charter School. Within the last year, she transitioned to Alain Locke Elementary, a Community School in West Philadelphia, where she has instituted several programs to service the families throughout the area.

The Locke school and Pam Evans have initiated a “Community Closet.” This space is open for donation of clothing and hygiene supplies for people of all ages. The donations of clothing, toys, baby supplies, and bath supplies are open to all but specifically those who reside in the West Park High Rise apartments and shelters. The Locke School is continuously open taking in tax deductible donations. They are especially in need of donations of diapers children’s clothing, and clothing adults can wear for job interviews. They are also looking for school uniforms and sweat pants to help discourage student absences due to lack of appropriate clothing.

This particular community closet is special because of the personal attention “shoppers” get when looking for items. The school has acquired a volunteer to work as a shopping attendant. This individual not only sorts and maintains the items donated to the closet, he also works with individuals to choose items to best fit their needs. The personal attention allows those in need to feel special and guarantees that they receive the right items.

Throughout the Thanksgiving holiday season, Ms. Evans has several missions planned. With the help of local organizations and businesses such as Westside Church and the People’s Emergency Center, Ms. Evans was able to organize the donation of approximately 45 Turkeys to families for their Thanksgiving feasts. Ms. Evans is proud that Lavish Restaurant at 4308 Lancaster Avenue will provide dinner on Thanksgiving for 300 people free of charge.

Ms. Evans also arranged for three students at the Locke School to have a dinner at Lavish Restaurant with their families. The students will be chosen through raffle based on their attendance and timeless to school throughout the month of November.

Another initiative that is thriving is the Gifts of Warmth Drive. This project looks to collect socks, hats, gloves and scarves for children in the area. Ms. Evans has partnered with local hair salons and barber shops on Lancaster Avenue to host donation boxes for their clients and members of the community to drop off donations.

The Gifts of Warmth initiative goes beyond the doors of the Locke School. Each year, the Please Touch museum collects coats for children in need. They send all of their donations to the Second Antioch Baptist Church. Rev. Dr. Joe Nock and his leadership team distribute the gifts of coats to not only members of the church who are in need but also to community members throughout Parkside. While winter is often thought of as a season for giving, donations to many of these initiatives can be given throughout the year. Sweater, scarf, hat, glove and sock donations can be left at the Please Touch Museum from November 24th through December 8th. All donations to the Locke School for the Community Closet can left in the main office of Alain Locke School, 4550 Haverford Avenue, from 8am to 3pm weekdays.

Remember, the holiday season is a time for fun and family but also a time to think about giving to families.

Food Cupboards in the Parkside Area

PEC
325 North 39th Street
267-777-5477
Saturdays; 10:30am – 1:30pm

Church of New Hope and Faith
662 N. 39th Street
215-222-7672
Monday, Wednesday, Friday; 9:30am – 3:30pm

Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral
19 South 19th Street
215-386-0234
Mondays; 10am until 150 households are served

Grace Lutheran Church
3529 Haverford Avenue
215-222-3570

Mt. Zion United Holy Church
4110 Haverford Avenue
215-349-6734
West Philadelphia Seventh Day Adventist Church
4527 Haverford Avenue
215-222-5707

June Rocked with the 11th Annual West Park Arts Fest

by Niesha Kennedy

What a beautiful day with more than 20 arts, cultural, and community partners contributing to provide a fun day for over 2,300 attendees of all ages in West Fairmount Park. This annual free public event created by West Park Cultural Center (WPCC) in 2008, moved into the park two years ago with Fairmount Park Conservancy joining WPCC as a presenter. This year Mural Arts Philadelphia also came on board.

The West Park Arts Fest brings communities together in the park and promotes greater awareness of the area’s history and heritage, all while celebrating the arts and cultural diversity of Philadelphia. On June 9, 2018, the 11th West Park Arts Fest took place on South Concourse Drive adjacent to the Centennial Commons along Parkside Avenue. Centennial Commons, a “new park within a park” is the project of Fairmount Park Conservancy as part of Philadelphia’s Reimagining the Civic Commons initiative.

There was something for everyone!

Live music performances by the West Philadelphia Orchestra, always a crowd favorite. Patrice and The Show gave us some R&B flavor and got the crowd to their feet, dancing and singing along. West Park Arts Fest veteran performers, Badd Kitti and Gretchen Elise Music rocked the stage with their upbeat performances. And that was just the music stage.

At the other end of the festival attendees enjoyed performances on the dance stage by Sam Watson, who performed the history of dance, starting with jazz and culminating with recent hip hop. The Philly Clicks tap-danced their way around the stage keeping the crowd excited. Penn Chinese Dance Club is always a visually appealing, cultural performance. The teen girls of West Park Cultural Center’s dancelogic program, performed after completing Saturday classes that combined dance and coding. Festival-goers shopped the Handmade Marketplace with artwork, handcraftedjewelry, clothing, ceramics, children’s books, pet gear and much more. Food vendors were a hit, from Korean Fried Chicken with Slurp Philly to water ice, pretzels and ice cream to keep cool with Cold Pink Treats.

Activities for kids of all ages, young and old included art making, robots from the Franklin Institute, storytelling, face painting, make and takes, interactives with the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, Philadelphia Zoo and many more. Attendees hopped aboard and enjoyed the West Park Arts Fest, free narrated trolley tours of the Fairmount Park Centennial District. Kathy Lee and Ed Miller of the Fairmount Park Conservancy shared the history of the area going back to the World’s Fair in 1876 as well as information about the cultural and natural resources that are currently available in West Fairmount Park.