Category Archives: Entertainment

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.

 

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Grammy Nominated and Award Winning Children’s Music Artists Perform at Smith Memorial Playground for 5th Annual Kidchella Music Festival

Philadelphia, PA (June 28, 2018) The 5th annual Kidchella Music Festival is in full swing at Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse with remaining concerts on Friday, July 20 and August 17!  Each date will feature live music in the 6 ½ acre Playground by nationally acclaimed Children’s Music artists, youth performances, arts stations, and yummy food trucks.   

 At 4pm families are invited to Smith for free play in the Playground and family fun in the Youth Arts Zone which includes a youth music stage, arts stations, and giveaways.  Families may purchase dinner from a variety of popular food trucks or bring food for a picnic in the Playground.  

 The main concert will begin at 6pm and will feature a fantastic lineup of family-friendly music curated by Jeff Bogle of OWTK.com and emceed by Kathy O’Connell of WXPN Kids Corner.  Shine and the Moonbeams (Soul/R&B) and Grammy-nominated The Alphabet Rockers (positive Hip Hop) will perform in July and Red Yarn (foot stomping Americana Folk) and Vered and the Babes (Doo Woop inspired Acoustic Rock) will perform in August. 

Smith’s Executive Director Meg Wise noted, “Kidchella started in 2014 as a small performance on our front lawn for an audience of a few hundred people and grew to a summer-long concert series in the Playground welcoming over 2,000 children and adults from all sections of the City and surrounding suburbs as well as out-of-state visitors. This year, we are excited to give as many families as possible the opportunity to experience this awesome event by offering discounted tickets to PA ACCESS cardholders and free admission for families participating in our Play For All community programs.” 

 Kidchella is a rain or shine outdoor event.  Tickets are $10 per person (children age 1+ and adults) or $5 for Smith members and PA ACCESS Cardholders.  Purchase tickets, memberships, and learn more at: https://smithplayground.ticketleap.com/kid2018/

 Support for Kidchella provided in part by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, MetroKids, Power Crunch, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Inspire, Kia Motors America, Simple Society, Honest Tea, and Lee’s Hoagie House.  

Shine and the Moonbeams are singer-songwriter Shawana Kemp and guitarist John Heagle, two New York musicians who have collectively been in every musical genre from Musical Theatre to the circus. Learn more at Shine & the Moonbeams (Facebook) 

 Alphabet Rockers are known as the premiere children’s hip hop artists who focus on social change and racial justice. Learn more at www.alphabetrockers.com  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Contact: Zoe Lowry                                                 zoe@smithplayground.org                                                             215.765.4325 x101 

West Park Arts Fest – Saturday June 9th, 2018

Founded by West Park Cultural Center in 2008, the West Park Arts Fest is moving to South Concourse Drive in West Fairmount Park. The site is adjacent to the Centennial Commons project along Parkside Avenue- an exciting public space project by Fairmount Park Conservancy as part of Philadelphia’s Reimagining the Civic Commons initiative.

Fairmount Park Conservancy and Mural Arts Philadelphia are joining West Park Cultural Center as organizers for this free public event advancing the festival’s mission to bring communities together in the park, promote greater awareness of the area’s history and heritage, while celebrating the arts and cultural diversity of Philadelphia. The festival embraces partnership and has over the years been made possible in great part to the participation of many arts, cultural and community partners from West Philadelphia and across Philadelphia.

On Saturday June 9th from 12pm to 5pm attendees of all ages will enjoy stages of exciting culturally diverse performances by some of the area’s best dancers, musicians, vocalists, and spoken word artists. Some of the talent includes the popular West Philadelphia Orchestra, Badd Kitti, Gretchen Elise Music, Lauren Putty White, The Philly Clicks, Jasmin Yahne Dance Company, and many more. The event will engage attendees in dance, art making, and many other activities including guided historical trolley tours through the Centennial District. The Franklin Institute will showcase prototypes of its new exhibition “Game Masters” as well as providing PACTS program activities. Attendees can buy unique items in the Handmade Market, browse other vendors and enjoy refreshments from diverse food vendors. An estimated 3,000 are expected to attend. There are Sponsor and Vendor opportunities.

Fairmount Park Conservancy’s Arts & Culture Program, with the support of ArtPlace America, will commission one artist or artist team to create an outdoor art installation for Arts Fest with interactive elements that draw their inspiration from the neighborhood. Festival goers will also see a standing timeline created by Global Philadelphia that documents Parkside’s history and heritage with pictures and text.

To see more visit http://www.westparkcultural.org /westparkartsfest or call 215-473-7810

Niesha Kennedy, PR Manager West Park Cultural nkennedy@westparkcultural.org

Chess Cadets Championing West Philadelphia- by Jasmine Bullock

Chess mentor Fred Austin Working with students

Throughout the years, movies like Life of a King and Queen of Katwe have shown us how small, local clubs can change lives. This is happening at the 40th and Walnut Streets Library. The Walnut St. West Chess Cadets Chess Club has been practicing and competing for approximately ten years. The club is sponsored by the Local Friends of the Walnut St. West Library lead by group president, Alice Wells.

Each year 30 children ages 6 to 18 participate in the Walnut Street Libraries Chess Club. Children must be in first grade to attend and many of them return for several years. The current program consists of 32 students ranging from age 6 to 13. The children are expected to attend club sessions each week in order to make progress throughout the year. The students are broken into four groups based on skill level. Their continued participation and weekly commitment is exemplified through the wide range of growth throughout the year!

Student success would not be possible without the dedication of 8 coaches. Most of the coaches and mentors are solicited via word of mouth, the After School Activities Partnerships (ASAP) organization and local community groups. Current coach and mentor, Fred Austin, stumbled upon the club in 2011 when searching for a group to play chess with. He was impressed with the enthusiasm of the children and decided to share his talent and love for the game. In past years, former participants have returned to coach younger students while in high school. The club also has unwavering parent support. Each week, parents take turns helping during meeting sessions.

The team participates in approximately four tournaments, sponsored by ASAP, per year and has had several victories as individual competitors and as a team. In their most recent tournament, the Checkmate Violence Tournament at Temple University, Walnut St. West Chess Cadets competed with approximately 300 other participants and went home with four trophies including the 1st place prize!

Each year, the Walnut St. West Chess Cadets Chess Club meets on Wednesdays from September through June. Students are required to complete applications, which are available from librarians. The program runs on a rolling application process. Once spaces are filled, any additional applicants are placed on a waiting list. All students must re-apply each year in August.

For more information about the Walnut West Chess Cadets, contact library personnel at

https://www.freelibrary.org or wswlibraryfriends@gmail.com.

 

The Black Panther Movie

The Disney/Marvel superhero movie The Black Panther is based on an African King named T’Challa who is the leader of the fictional African nation of Wakanda.  Along with possessing enhanced abilities achieved through ancient Wakandan rituals, T’Challa also relies on his proficiency in science, rigorous physical training, hand-to-hand combat skills, and access to wealth and advanced technology to combat his enemies.  The character has been around as a, superhero, in the comics since 1966, he’s a fantasy but he’s a fantasy that’s about to play an important role in black American culture.  The movie the Black Panther is about to become a world-wide hit.  Between now and Monday the movie is expected to bring in more than $250 million.  The Black Panther movie is about to prove that movies centered on black culture can become global blockbusters.

Historic Houses of Fairmount Park Welcome Parkside Residents for “A Very Philly Christmas”

The Historic Houses of Fairmount Park have a popular longtime tradition of decorating for the holidays and entertaining visitors, and this season, four special days of special programming will be added to showcase what makes Philadelphia a very special place: great music, delicious food, family, and friendly neighbors. “Christmas in Fairmount Park” celebrates its 46th year of delighting visitors with this year’s theme, “A Very Philly Christmas.” Presented by Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, this holiday tradition will feature five of the park’s treasured historic houses – Cedar Grove, Laurel Hill Mansion, Lemon Hill Mansion, Historic Strawberry Mansion, and Woodford – each decked out in the season’s finest and offering special events on the weekends of December 2-3 and December 9-10. Information about visiting the houses is at www.holidaysinthepark.com

Parkside residents are encouraged to visit the historic houses for Neighbor’s Day, Saturday, December 9th from 10-4pm when the houses will host performers from the surrounding Fairmount Park neighborhoods-East Falls, Strawberry Mansion, Brewerytown, Fairmount, and Parkside.

Residents of these neighborhoods will receive free admission that day as well as free “in park” transportation via PHLASH’s special service exclusive to the historic houses on December 9th. Residents can find out more information and obtain their free tickets by calling 267-457-4944.

“The holidays are a time for entertaining, and the Historic Houses provide the perfect setting,” says Ed Miller, Historic Houses Coordinator at Fairmount Park Conservancy. “We are thrilled to offer events inspired by our city geared towards music lovers, food lovers, children, and especially, our neighbors. And we would like to send a special invitation to all Parkside residents to join us for this celebration.”

Cedar Grove, a 250-year-old stone farmhouse which served as a summer residence to five generations of a single Philadelphia family, is the historic house located closest to Parkside. Built by wealthy widow Elizabeth Coates Paschall in 1748-50, the house features an unusual two-sided wall of closets and many of the original family furnishings.

Cedar Grove depicts life as it might have been in the early 1800s. . Originally located in the Frankford section of Philadelphia, the house was given to the City of Philadelphia and moved to its present location in West Fairmount Park, stone by stone, in 1927. “The last family member to own Cedar Grove, Lydia Thompson Morris, wanted it to be preserved for the future in Fairmount Park and opened as a museum for the public to imagine the lives of early Philadelphians.”, says Justina Barrett, Site Manager for Historic Houses, Philadelphia Museum of Art. “We are excited to welcome Parkside residents to explore Cedar Grove during this holiday season and beyond.”

Cedar Grove is owned by the City of Philadelphia and administered by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Promotion and programming for the historic houses are supported through a partnership between the City of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department, the Fairmount Park Conservancy and various stewardship groups. Proceeds from the events support the ongoing stewardship, maintenance and promotion of these treasures. For more information on the holiday programming in Fairmount Park, visit holidaysinthepark.com. To learn more about the history of Cedar Grove, visit http://www.philamuseum.org/historichouses

 

Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary Announces 2017 Season with New Haunted Attraction Blood Yard

  • Experience a massive haunted house inside the cellblocks of a real abandoned prison! Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is NOW OPEN! https://www.easternstate.org/halloween/

 

  • Consistently ranked among the top haunted attractions in the nation, Philadelphia’s Terror Behind the Walls is now open. Experience their newest attraction for 2017, Blood Yard! https://www.easternstate.org/halloween/

 

  • Named “One of America’s Scariest Halloween Attractions” by the Travel Channel, Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is a haunted house in a real abandoned prison! Get your tickets today. https://www.easternstate.org/halloween/

 

  • It’s hunt or be hunted in Terror Behind the Walls’ newest attraction, Blood Yard! Experience this massive haunted house inside a real abandoned Philadelphia prison. Get your tickets today! https://www.easternstate.org/halloween/