Category Archives: Entertainment

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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/

Spotlight On Local Author With Parkside Roots

by Juanita Alexander

Saundra Terrell

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Saundra Terrell, an engaging and delightful author who grew up and was nurtured in our very own Parkside community. I was spellbound as I listened to her discuss her childhood experiences and her latest book, WATER THICKER THAN BLOOD.

She explained that the underlying ‘theme’ of the book is that “you can have people come into your life in a meaningful way and that they can have more impact on your life and often be more supportive than your blood relatives”. Ms. Terrell’s book is a work of fiction but she feels it is filled with characters that everyday people can relate to based on their own life experiences. Characters like Johnny Mae who suffers from unrequited love and Pearl who must deal with feelings of inadequacy because she feels she is too dark and too fat compared to her prettier’ sister, are people most of us can empathize with.

Saundra Terrell moved with her family to Parkside (near 42nd and Viola Sts.) when she was about six

years old during the 1950’s. She attended Leidy Elementary School (the ‘original’ Leidy before the larger school was built). She remembers a beautiful neighborhood with grocery stores, pharmacies, and produce shops lining Parkside Ave. and nearby streets. During the 1950’s, the neighborhood was predominantly Jewish and Leidy was racially mixed. She believes that Parkside began to experience a decline when people moved into the community who were not homeowners and who did not have a vested interest in maintaining their properties. It is her belief that the decline of the neighborhood accelerated when a nearby restaurant was converted to a bar, leading to fights and other undesirable activities.

Despite the challenges facing Parkside today, Ms. Terrell remains deeply connected with her childhood community. Her sister still lives on Viola Street, right next to the original family home that her son is renovating. In addition, members of her late husband’s family still live on Viola Street.

THE OVAL+ Launches Summer Season With Expansion

This week Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and its nonproprofit partner Fairmount Park Conservancy unveiled the latest version of summer at The Oval:  now called the Oval + (plus) because it includes installations and activities at two other parks along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  Public events began on July 20 and will run through August 20.  This year, the schedule of events at The Oval+ will include programming by The Free Library of  Philadelphia at the newly renovated Shakespeare Park and the Franklin Institute and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University at Aviator Park.

The Oval+ will have food, fun, and entertainment for a month between July 20-August 20, Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 am -11 pm. Highlights at the main Eakins Oval site include:

Eakins Tavern, a beer garden serving Meltkraft sandwiches, local wine from Blair Vineyards, craft brews by Yards, and “Adult Water Ice,” a vodka-spiked slushy.

A rotating line-up of food trucks including these that were ranked in the top 101 in the country in April: Chewy’s, The Cow and the Curd, Surf and Turf Truck, Foolish Waffles, and Cupcake Carnivale.

A brand new drinking fountain with water bottle refill station, a wheelchair accessible nozzle, and dog bowl station; free water bottles will be provided by sponsor PNC.

Wellness Wednesdays with CKO Kickboxing, Philly Dance Fitness, Power Yoga with Yoga Habit, CoreFitness, and Dance Boot Camp.

Arts & Culture Thursdays featuring Hip Hop Fundamentals and dancing with DJs lil’ dave, Skipmode, Mike Nyce, Rich Medina, and Matthew Law from 7pm -11pm.

Food & Flicks Fridays with free screening of the movies Clueless, Hidden Figures, Up, Spaceballs, and Invincible at 9pm.

Game Day Saturday featuring live kids’ music jams and the trivia game Quizzo by Johnny Goodtimes in Eakins Tavern.

Family Fun Sundays with an afternoon-long kid-friendly dance party called “Let’s Rock Recess.”

At Aviator Park, the Free Library will host a jazz series on Thursday evenings, storytelling on Saturday mornings, and improvisational theatre (involving kids from the audience) on Sunday mornings.

Also at Aviator Park, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University will present “Wild Wednesdays” at 1pm, a learning session about birds, butterflies, small mammals, and other creatures in our neighborhoods.

For an interactive calendar of events go to http://theovalphl.org

 

 

REMEMBERING A LEGEND – 2017 Jackie Robinson Day Celebration in Memorial Park

by Nikia Brown

“He could hit and bunt and steal and run. He had intimidating skills, and he burned with a dark fire.” -Roger Kahn, The Boys of Summer

On April 15, 2017, Parkside community residents and civic leaders gathered around the Philadelphia Stars Negro League Memorial Park to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut as the first African American to enter Major League Baseball (MLB). Robinson broke the color barrier in MLB when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. Nevertheless, his legacy far surpasses that of a typical athlete. He is an iconic legend, Civil Rights ambassador, record breaker, and a man he lived by his own ethos: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

The Memorial Park Celebration attracted a diverse audience including Gwen Gould, the last surviving wife of one of the Philadelphia Stars players, Harold Gould; Kenny Johnson, Coordinator of Community Engagement for the Philadelphia Phillies; Ron Whittington, a Jackie Robinson storyteller and impersonator; and, of course, the eagerly anticipated and wildly unpredictable, Phillie Phanatic.

Gould, who is now in her late 80s, expressed feelings of deep satisfaction and pride after the day’s event. “It was wonderful. I saw a lot of little kids out here which is encouraging. It’s a wonderful thing, and at my age you appreciate just getting out and being among friends.” Philadelphia Phillies Community Engagement Coordinator, Kenny Johnson, grew up in West Philadelphia right around the corner from the Philadelphia Stars Memorial Park. He feels a connection to the community and is grateful for the positive impact of Negro League baseball on urban neighborhoods.

“This event is important because baseball is an intergenerational sport. It’s grandmothers and grandfathers passing it down to their kids,” says Johnson. “Stories of Jackie Robinson and his exemplary legacy are very important (and must) stay within the consciousness of families and the community. It shows that when you persevere, when you work hard and bring folks together, you can do some amazing things.”

Two Phillies Ball Girls accompanied Johnson to the Celebration, Courtney Williams and Trisha Lang. This was Williams’ second year coming to the event and she expressed that it is important “to look back at our history to see the movers and shakers and how we got to be where we are today.” Williams, who is African American, feels her race provides a greater impetus to survey the events of Black history and how much the African American community has progressed since oppressive times. “It’s sometimes hard to see how far we’ve come, but we really have come very far,” says Williams.

While this was Lang’s first time attending the event, she was equally grateful to be a part of the experience. She stated, “I am thankful to be able to be in this position where I can come out and be involved in such a great event that involves the entire community and brings everyone together to look back at how far we’ve come and where we started.”

The event was also well-represented by key members of the Business Association of West Parkside such as Marjorie Ogilvie, Miller Parker, Lucinda Hudson, Cassandra Hayes, and Dennis Lee.

Parker, who has been the treasurer of the Business Association of West Parkside for about 15 years, remembers with fondness the early beginnings of the Philadelphia Stars Negro League Memorial Park. He shares, “One of the things we want to do is draw attention to this neighborhood and community and get the community involved in the park. We came up with this idea that baseball might be the way to go because there was a baseball field here a number of years ago where the Negro League played.” Parker believes this annual celebration is one way of keeping the legacy of extraordinary African Americans alive in the community.

Hayes, an animated and dedicated community advocate, continued, “This is something that we have been doing for the past eleven years. I’ve been a part of it every year. I come, I eat, I play, I meet folks. It’s a great way to just enjoy the community and recognize one of the historical figures in Black and American history.” Lee, who emceed the event, felt this year’s festivities was special because it marked their 11th year of hosting the Memorial Celebration and Jackie Robinson’s 70th year of remembrance. “The future is promising if we remember our legacy,” offered Lee before jetting off to his next event. The team is already expectant of next year’s activities and look forward to sharing the rich history of the Philadelphia Stars with a broader and more diversified audience.

 

WEST PARK ARTS FEST – CELEBRATING 10 YEARS on Saturday, June 3, 2017

Philadelphia, PA – Founded by West Park Cultural Center in 2008, the West Park Arts Fest is celebrating 10 years and moving to the Avenue of the Republic near the Please Touch Museum. This site is adjacent to the Centennial Commons – an exciting public space project under construction by Fairmount Park Conservancy as part of Philadelphia’s Reimagining the Civic Commons initiative.

Fairmount Park Conservancy and Global Philadelphia have joined 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 3rd from 12pm to 5pm attendees of all ages will enjoy two stages of exciting culturally diverse performances by some of the area’s best dancers, musicians, vocalists, and spoken word artists. Some of the talent will include the popular West Philadelphia Orchestra, Badd Kitti, Gretchen Elise Music, Pasión Y Arte Flamenco, Megan Flynn Dance Company, Academy of Classical Indian Dance, Jasmin Yahne Dance Company, and much more. The event will invite participation in dance, collaborative painting with WEPAINT, free guided historical trolley tours through the Centennial District, heritage storytelling with Global Philadelphia, children’s activities with the Franklin Institute PACS Program, Tree House Books and more to be announced. As part of the celebration, Fairmount Park Conservancy’s Arts & Culture Program, with the support of ArtPlace America, has commissioned artists to create special installations and interactive elements that draw their inspiration from the neighborhood, the park and the history of the 1876 Centennial. Festival goers will see a standing timeline created by Global Philadelphia that documents Parkside’s history and heritage with pictures and text.

Attendees can buy unique items in the Handmade Market, browse other vendors and enjoy refreshments from food vendors and the popular Parks on Tap – the traveling beer garden developed by Fairmount Park Conservancy with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and FCM Hospitality. An estimated 1,500 are expected to attend. Participating partners this year include Mann Center, Philadelphia Zoo, The Franklin Institute, Tree House Books, Keepers of the Culture,

Sponsors as of this writing include ArtPlace, UPS, ShopRite, Rockland Capital, Zakian, and Zerflin. The event is also supported in part by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

To learn more about the festival visit http://www.westparkcultural.org/westparkartsfest and http://www.facebook.com/westparkartsfestival  For more information call 215-473-7810 or email info@westparkcultural.org.

Niesha Kennedy, PR Manager

West Park Cultural Center

215-278-3450

nkennedy@westparkcultural.org

 

The Philadelphia Science Festival Returns with more than 80 Events over Nine days April 21 -29

Philadelphia Science Festival returns April 21 – 29

The Philadelphia Science Festival returns this spring to spotlight the very vital role science and technology play in today’s world, April 21 – 29.

Organized by the Franklin Institute, in collaboration with Philadelphia’s premier science, cultural, and educational institutions, and presented by the Dow Chemical Company for the seventh consecutive year, the 2017 Philadelphia Science Festival offers more than 80 events over nine days in communities all across the region.

The Festival debuts innovative new programs for 2017 including Life on Mars, Fake Out: The Science of Deception, Dance Engineered, Geek Out Gameshow, Sensory Overload, and Be a Scientist—and adds new elements to popular favorites like citywide star parties, Murder at the Mutter, Science On Tap, Fishtown Science Crawl, Cookie Lab, Cocktail Lab, and Tinker Lab. This year, the Philadelphia Science Festival aims to illuminate the essential work of scientists on Sunday, April 23 when the region’s finest institutions open their lab doors inviting attendees to Be a Scientist (Conservator, Food Psychologist, K’Nex Architect, Farm Scientist, H2O-ologist, Ecologist, Surgical Nurse, Engineer, Paleontologist, Architect, Engineer, Audiologist, and Marine Biologist) for a day.

Returning this year to the vibrant Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing is the Festival’s signature program, the Science Carnival at Penn’s Landing, which last year attracted more than 50,000 attendees. The massive outdoor science carnival is one of the most highly anticipated festival events, providing a packed day of non-stop family-friendly activities, hands-on experiments, live performances, educator opportunities, and explosive visuals from more than 150 partnering exhibitors to close the 2017 Philadelphia Science Festival, Saturday, April 29.

Throughout the Festival, Philadelphians can engage with the curiosities of science and technology through these and dozens more uniquely themed innovative events, self-guided tours, creative workshops, and stargazing parties. Events take place across the region in parks, cafés, breweries, libraries, museums and other neighborhood places—with many of them free of charge. For more information visit www.PhilaScienceFestival.org to learn more.