A thrilled Bill Clinton meandered around the Made in America festival grounds on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Sunday, stopping to chat and take photos with fans and looking just about as happy as when he got to play with balloons at the Democratic National Convention in July. Read more »
Per several reports, it seems like the NFL Draft will be in Philadelphia in 2017.
In early July, Wendy Ruderman quoted Bob Brady saying it was a done deal to hold the draft at a temporary stage and arena on the Ben Franklin Parkway. Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said the city hadn’t signed anything, but Brady was insistent: “We are going to showcase the city for the whole country again, and we’ll have thousands of visitors coming in here and all the players, all the sports teams, and all the coaches and managers will all be around. It will be great.” Read more »
Our intrepid reporter HughE Dillon was on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway while preparations continue to be made for the Pope’s visit this weekend. Along the way, HughE snapped this shot of the food and drink menu for the weekend at 20th and the Parkway.
There aren’t any cheesesteaks on the menu but there is a Philly flair with Federal Street Soft Pretzels ($3), Italian hoagies ($9) and Italian sausages ($7). Not bad prices, especially when compared to the $5, 20-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola. As HughE points out, that’s a dollar more than Made in America. Also worth noting, no alcohol for sale.
Beyoncé will headline one night of the fourth-annual Made in America Festival. R&B artist The Weeknd will headline the other. It is Beyoncé’s second time headlining a night at the festival; she previously closed out the first night in 2013.
Other artists on the bill include De La Soul, Axwell & Ingrosso, J. Cole, Bassnectar, Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, Banks, Meek Mill, Big Sean, Future, Santigold, Nick Jonas, Matric, A-Trak and DJ Mustard. Philly’s own Creepoid is also playing the show. Read more »
It was announced this week that 50 local artists and cultural organizations will receive a total of $9.6 million in grants from the Pew Center for the Arts and Heritage, which means several projects that have been living in the heads of local artists will finally have a chance to see the light of day. Keep your eyes out for announcements from local organizations, including this cool idea from the Association of Public Art (aPA).
Greg Heller, author of Ed Bacon: Planning, Politics and the Building of Modern Philadelphia, knows something about the planning and evolution of Philadelphia’s Parkway. Aside from Inga Saffron, there are few people I can think of more qualified to offer an opinion on Frank Gehry’s plans for the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), now on view there in “Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art.”
While other critics have basically said, “Thank god Gehry’s plans for the museum don’t seem very Gehry-ish” — in other words, he’s kept himself in check in our rather conservative, Quaker city — Heller finds himself disappointed by the absence of Gehry’s flamboyance:
The exhibit showcases the results of a design process that has been going on since 2006—seriously, that’s eight years of planning by one of the top architects of our time, famous for massive, ambitious, bizarrely shaped, twisted sculptures of metal that (like them or not) become a permanent and recognizable fixture in their cities’ urban landscapes. Even if I didn’t like the proposed renovation design, I figured at least it would be ambitious and interesting. It was neither.
Heller knew it wasn’t going to be Bilbao — after all, the design is primarily underground, as he notes — but he thought we might get something “iconic and visionary—perhaps our own version of I.M. Pei’s pyramid at the Louvre, but Gehryesque.” Instead, he says, Gehry has offered a pallid plan for an “amazingly boring” museum expansion.
An apartment building has been proposed for the narrow space behind the Rodin Museum, and you can bet the Inquirer’s Inga Saffron has feelings about it (and her usual well-reasoned, bigger-picture analysis).
At issue is not just the aesthetics of the grounds ringing the well-loved museum. There’s also the city’s “low line” rail park to consider. The “low line,” of course, is the underground equivalent to the city’s other dreamed-of rail park. Should the Cross Properties (owned by David Blumenfeld — not that Blumenfeld, but his brother) plan move forward as proposed, the nascent park idea would be kaput.
The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that the 293-unit apartment building to be part of the planned Rodin Square complex has received a $20 million loan to finance its groundbreaking. The complex, which was approved in the fall, will face the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and take up much of the block bounded by 21st, 22nd, Spring Garden, and Hamilton streets. In addition to the residences, it will include a 55,000-square-foot Whole Foods with underground parking, a “sky park” with an outdoor pool for residents, several commercial spaces, and a parking garage for residents.