This Fourth of July, You’ve Got Options

Mary J. Blige and Boyz II Men play on the Parkway on July 4. (Visit Philadelphia/Rich Myers)

Some people just hate crowds. And some people have to stay home to keep the dogs from losing their minds, and then posting about it of Facebook. For everybody else, maybe you want to venture out and watch the fireworks this year. If so, you have a decision to make.

Option #1
Wawa Welcome America Concert/Fireworks @ Benjamin Franklin Parkway
This is the obvious choice, the time-honored tradition: First the big concert then the big fireworks display over the Art Museum.
The Entertainment: Still no Roots, but the lineup’s impressive — Mary J. Blige, Boyz II Men, Mandy Gonzalez (from Hamilton), The Philly POPS, Tony DeSare and Luis Figueroa. Also: foodtrucks, beer gardens, some dude with a jackass getting in trouble maybe.
Sightlines: Well-organized people already have their tickets to be near the stage, or their gameplan for getting to the Parkway early to stake out a spot. You’ll have to work around them and stake out a patch of ground for yourself. The concert will be simulcast via lots of screens along the Parkway. Try to find a tree-less clearing. Better yet, do you know anybody with a roofdeck or balcony pointing in the right direction?
Crowds: Massive. The long trudge home is part of the deal.
Concert: 7-9:30 p.m.
Fireworks: 9:30-ish

Option #2
Freedom Festival Fireworks @ Delaware River Waterfront
Continuing a recently established tradition, Camden’s having its big Fourth of July party in Wiggins Park, and setting off its fireworks over the Delaware.
Entertainment: In Wiggins Park you can see WAR and The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies starting at 6:30 p.m. On the Philly side? BYO.
Sightlines: Penn’s Landing and lots of point South of the Ben Franklin Bridge should offer decent views. Know anybody in Society Hill Towers?
Crowds: Not as huge as on the Parkway, but still lots of people. Also may call for some trudging.
Fireworks: 9:30-ish

See Also: The Phillies will be doing their fireworks thing after the games on Thursday and Friday.


Get $10 Tickets to See the Naughton Sisters at Curtis Institute

Christina and Michelle Naughton

Christina and Michelle Naughton

The Curtis Institute of Music is offering Philly Mag Ticket readers special $10 tickets for the upcoming homecoming performance of Christina and Michelle Naughton, the identical twin pianists who are taking the national and international piano world by storm.

The concert, which is scheduled for this Sunday, September 20 at 3 pm, will feature a mix of genres and music from Bach to John Adams. The Princeton-born twins, who studied at Curtis, were recently interviewed by Philly Mag Ticket: You can read that piece here.

To purchase your $10 seats (normally a $25 value), visit this special link.

Joshua Thomas and His Obsession with Joni Mitchell

This is the (really old) YouTube video that started it all:

This cover of Joni Mitchell‘s “A Case of You,” by singer Joshua Thomas, caught the attention of Mitchell’s neighbor, who showed Mitchell an entire series of covers that Thomas uploaded to YouTube. Several months later, when Thomas met Mitchell at a concert, she immediately recognized him from the videos. Read more »

REVIEW: Taylor Swift Brings Down-Home Charm to Lincoln Financial Field

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Last night was my first Taylor Swift concert, and I learned a Taylor Swift concert is many things. There are costume changes—10 by my count, over the course of two and a half hours—and each one will involve sequins or rhinestones or fringe, perhaps leather or thigh-high boots, and almost always an exposed midriff (though never, ever navel). There are Fitbit-like wristbands for each concertgoer that flash and flicker, creating a mesmerizing light show across the crowd. There are surprises, and for anyone attending tonight’s second sold-out show, beware of potential spoilers ahead. There is excessive pandering to the hometown, though most of the assembled will consider it bonding, and weirdly, I sort of did, too. And you will become a part of a 50,000-strong group therapy session. There is also music.

Read more »

Tickets to Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett at Borgata Go On Sale at 10AM

Via Shutterstock.

Via Shutterstock.

It’s Mother Monster like you’ve never heard her before: The epic duo of Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett are coming to the Borgata in Atlantic City on July 24 with their “Cheek to Cheek” tour, and tickets go on sale at 10AM this morning.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a giant rock, most likely you’ve heard and seen Gaga and Tony perform classic jazz hits from their duo album, which just won a Grammy on Sunday evening. It’s been said once, but it is worth saying again: This is amazing music, and we finally get to hear Gaga reach vocal heights outside of her pop routines. Case in point:

And we can’t forget the iconic Tony Bennett. At 88 years old, he can still croon like none other. The event is a perfect compliment to the Atlantic City resort’s new OUT at Borgata LGBT initiative, which includes plenty of travel and entertainment opportunities.

Tickets to the show run $125-250, and can be purchased here.

Aretha Franklin at the Kimmel Center: The Queen Took Us to Church

Aretha Franklin

From the outside, the Kimmel Center looked as it always does on Monday evening. But, on the inside, the Queen of Soul took everyone inside Verizon Hall (donned with a disco ball, mind you) to church.

The iconic Aretha Franklin, in her first public Philadelphia performance since her 2010 concert at the Mann Center with Condoleezza Rice, showed exactly what it means to be royalty: she donned a stunning floor-length sleeveless black and white sequin gown for the first half of her act, looking every inch a queen. Her opening number, a cover of “Higher and Higher,” roused the nearly sold-out crowd to their feet…as if they needed a reason to give Ms. Franklin a standing ovation. Read more »

GIVEAWAY: Win Tickets to See Adore Delano at TLA on January 8th


It’s hard to pick a favorite from last season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but admit it, it’s probably Adore (aka Danny Noriega). Yes, Bianca’s a force of nature, and Courtney is just so damn pretty and talented, but nobody just doesn’t give a fuck quite like Adore. And that’s why we’re crazy about her.

Read more »

Francois Zayas and Venissa Santi Win Kimmel Center Jazz Residency. See Them Perform Tonight

Francois Zayas and Venissa Santi

Francois Zayas and Venissa Santi

Tonight, Kimmel Center’s Commonwealth Plaza will be jamming to the sounds of two of Philly’s most talked about jazz artists, Francois Zayas and Venissa Santi, as part of the Sittin’ In performance series. The free jam session starts at 8 p.m. and also features the beats of DJ PHSH.

But there’s another reason why music lovers should head on down to Broad Street this evening: Zayas and Santi will be named the winners of the Kimmel Center jazz residency, a prestigious honor for the two musicians. Read more »

PHOTOS: “It Gets Better” Finale Concert at the Kimmel Center

Community Choir

The huge community choir performs the closing number of the “It Gets Better” concert at the Kimmel Center.

It was quite a Saturday evening to remember as the Kimmel Center wrapped up its weeklong “It Gets Better Project” residency with a concert featuring nothing less than a 150-piece choir comprised of various Philadelphia area singers and members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. Concert goers were surrounded by some of Philly’s most renowned LGBTQ supporters, including State Representative Brian Sims and Kimmel Center CEO and President Anne Ewers. The musical event featured cover songs from the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Cher, Elton John, and Gnarls Barkley, amongst many others. We were there to capture the night’s festivities.

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