Awesome Fest founder Josh Goldbloom has had an odd tune stuck in his head for the past, say, two decades: the theme song to Perfect Strangers.
Sometimes, when you just can’t get something out of your system, the best thing to do is give in to it. That’s exactly what he’s doing starting at the end of this month, when he kicks off a free weekly gathering at the Foundry in the new Fillmore Philadelphia that pays homage to all things TV from the 1980s and early-90s. The event, called Thank God It’s Monday!, promises “nostalgic overload of curated sitcoms, commercials, oddities, rarities, VHS movies, sweatpants & TV dinners.”
I never actually watched a single A Nightmare on Elm Street movie, but all it took was one peep at Freddy Krueger to keep me rattled for years. I spent nights wide-eyed in my sheets, jumping up to flip on the lights so I could check under my bed and in my closet to make sure he wasn’t there. I knew he only visited people in their dreams, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I eventually grew a pair and pushed those thoughts out of my mind, but I wouldn’t be lying if I said I still turn away when Krueger pops on the TV screen.
With that being said, you can be sure that I won’t be anywhere near Awesome Fest’s upcoming sleepover at Prince Theater that will feature six of the seven films in the Wes Craven-created Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, plus a handful of others from the thriller king’s catalog. It’s taking place on Halloween day, October 31st.
All summer, organizations across the city are setting up their projectors to host free screenings of American classics, mega blockbusters and even a few Philly premieres. Spray on the bug repellant and lay out under the stars. If you’re looking for a cheep date or an evening activity the whole family can enjoy, here are some options to choose from.
Every Friday at sundown from June 26th to August 14th, AwesomeFest will roll out a 40-foot screen for a free outdoor viewing at the public park in Northern Liberties. The festival returns thanks to a grant from the Penn Treaty Social Services District, which Goldbloom tells me he received over Veteran’s Day weekend.
For everyone looking forward to this year’s Awesome Fest, this isn’t good news. Founder and Artistic Director Josh Goldbloom announced today that all Awesome Fest events—free movies in Clark Park, the Kevin (Bacon) Fest, everything—have been canceled indefinitely. Read more »
Awesome Fest was created in 2010, per its website, to “showcase innovative and cutting edge independent cinema in unique and non-traditional spaces throughout the City of Philadelphia.” The past few summers, the festival has screened films and put on musical performances in spaces (primarily outdoors) in and around Philly. Last year, it hosted a wide variety of events: A Karate Kid screening and Q&A with Ralph Macchio, a concert by Macaulay Culkin’s Pizza Underground band, a Wizard of Oz/Dark Side of the Moon mashup at Clark Park and the Second Annual (Kevin) Bacon Festival. Some of these cost money, but all outdoor screenings were free. The festival even held an event in Chicago last year.
Now, the partnership behind Awesome Fest is in turmoil. Founder Josh Goldbloom sued partner Joanna Pang (who also owns the Trocadero) in February for alleged “misappropriation and mismanagement of Awesome Fest finances and for her secret usurpation of total control of the company and its assets” after she refused to give him Awesome Fest equipment — including a $25,000 projector, a $12,000 screen, $5,000 in audio equipment, and a van — that Goldbloom claims he intended to use to host events under the Awesome Fest banner. Read more »
The second week of GayFest! 2014 is in full swing. Some of the shows we mentioned last week, like The Haunted Host, and We Are People are still playing, but there's an array of new shows popping up, particularly the festival's popular, and cheekily named "One Night Stands." On Tuesday night catch Rachel Tension in Karma Came 'Round: A Witchy Celebration of Love and Life Lessons, and on Sunday, if you're lucky enough to have gotten tickets, R. Eric Thomas stars in a revamped version of his 2013 GayFest! favorite Always the Bridesmaid. If you're more in the mood for a full-blown play, this week sees the opening of local playwright—and longtime GayFest! participant—Daniel Talbott's trio of short plays "You Know My Name"; and Geoffrey Nauffts's Next Fall (pictured), which concerns the love affair between a gay Christian and his boyfriend Adam, who wouldn't step into a church if you paid him. For a full rundown of shows, including dates, times, and ticket links, go here.
Oh Lord. Shit's gonna hit the fan at Tavern On Camac Wednesday, when bartender Ashley Coleman hosts a back-to-back screening of two of gaydom's most cherished flicks: Auntie Mame (the one with Rosalind Russell) and Mommie Dearest. Chances are you won't be able to hear a thing that's happening on screen over all the heckling, but you know those films back to front already, anyway. Wednesday, August 12th, 9 p.m., free, Tavern On Camac, 243 South Camac Street.
Queer Books is teaming with Awesome Fest to host a pop-up book shop at this week's outdoor screening of Skanks in West Philly. Skanks—which is getting it's Philly premiere—is a documentary that follows a community theater in conservative Alabama as it rehearses for a drag musical called Skanks In a One Horse Town. When the movie's not playing, head over to the Queer Books booth, where founders will be selling "a curated selection of books, DVDs, jewelry, and gifts." Monies made will benefit Queer Books move to a brick-and-mortar space. Thursday, August 14th, pop-up shop goes from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., movie starts at 9 p.m., Clark Park, 43rd Street and Baltimore Avenue.
Your inner frat bro wants to come out and, surprise, surprise, he's wearing a toga. This week MANNA is inviting him and all his friends to Tabu for a fundraising event that features drag shows, karaoke, drink specials, and lots of hotties wearing nothing but a sheet and maybe a twig in their hair. Proceeds benefit MANNA's work to provide meals to Philadelphia residents who are living with life-threatening diseases, like HIV and cancer. Good cause. Good fun. Toga! Thursday, August 14th, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tabu Lounge and Sports Bar, 200 South 12th Street.
RuPaul's Drag Race season six bust-alicious star Darienne Lake will sit on the judges' panel at Drag Wars this week as the remaining contestants vie for the title of fiercest queen in Philly. This week, competitors must channel their inner showgirl to create a musical inspired by love-to-hate Hollywood flicks Sharknado and Showgirls. Lake will host a special pre-show meet-and-greet before the show. To snag tickets to that, go here. Thursday, August 14th, Voyeur Nightclub, 1221 Saint James Street.
There's plenty of fun to be had at The Oval this week, starting on Wednesday. Fan-favorite food trucks will be parked around the premises on Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and again from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., to help satisfy mid-week munchies. Learn to swing dance at a free class on Wednesday evening, or catch a live erhu performance on Thursday night. Plus the beer garden will be open, featuring lawn games like Cornhole and plenty of refreshing summer brews on tap. A full schedule of happenings at The Oval is available here.Wednesday, July 23rd-Thursday, July 24th, The Oval, 2601 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The Bearded Ladies cabaret and Opera Philadelphia celebrate the life and legacy of Andy Warhol with a pop-art inspired opera, or "popera." ANDY: A Popera is the second stage of a year-long collaboration between the cabaret troupe and opera company, an exploration of the legendary artist. Audiences are invited inside the creative process as they polish the cabaret with each performance, in preparation of the popera's final stage: the world premiere in spring 2015. The show, which features original music from Heath Allen, will run through Sunday, July 27th. A full list of showtimes can be found here. Tickets are available for purchase online.Wednesday, July 23rd - Friday, July 25th, & Sunday, July 27th at 7:30 p.m & Saturday July 26th at 10:30 p.m., $10-25, The Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad Street.
Geek out in the garden at Memphis Taproom this Thursday night. Gather your brainiest crew for Quizzo in the Beer Garden: a night of cold beers and some moonlight trivia. Get competitive–the winning team gets Beer Garden Bucks! Thursday, July 24th, 6 p.m., Memphis Taproom, 2331 E. Cumberland Street.
Al fresco movies are so hot right now.Catch a free screening of Zoolander at the Schuylkill Banks this Thursday evening. As always, movie-goers are encouraged to bring blankets or picnics, and a free raffle, as well as free snacks, beverages, and Shake Shack custard will be offered prior to the movie on a first-come-first-serve basis. Thursday, July 24th, 8:15 p.m., Schuylkill Banks by the Walnut Street Bridge.
Check out our roundup of 7 Shows to See This Week to find our picks for the week's best live-music events. There are some biggies this week, like Beck, James Taylor, Neutral Milk Hotel and more. For the full list, go here.