Ticket arts writers weigh in on what they think are the most important local arts moments of 2015.
Lisette Oropesa’s in Opera Philly’s “Traviata”
It’s been a banner year generally for Opera Philadelphia, but Lisette Oropesa’s Violetta in Traviata (her first performance of the role) was special. The beautiful young soprano met every vocal demand — fiendishly difficult as they may have been – and acted it superbly. Opera lovers around the world pay attention to debuting Violettas – the great ones are so rare. Here in Philly, we found one. —David Fox
Philadelphia Film Society Saves the Prince
The gorgeous Prince Theater seemed to be in quite a bit of limbo: The resident production company had vacated a number of years ago, and their presentations were random at best. With PFS purchasing the building, the theater has becoming a bustling hub not only for movies (it’s now the only mainstream movie theater in Center City) but performing arts, and their Razz Room is hosting some of the hottest NYC cabaret acts around. —Bryan Buttler
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Workers putting the finishing touches on the colorful beer garden.
After being delayed after yesterday’s rain storm, the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation are ready to officially open Eakins Oval tonight on the Parkway at 5 pm. I stopped by this afternoon to check out the space before the hordes come rushing in.
If you can, try to get there early so you can see the massive mural that’s been painted on the ground. Called Summer Kaleidoscope, it was done in collaboration with Mural Arts and Baltimore-based artist team Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn. Unterhalter and Truhn came up with the design and overlooked a team of 10 or 15 Mural Arts artists who laid down the paint—about 15 colors in all. One of those artists, Nathaniel Lee, was kind enough to take me up on a crane to get a bird’s-eye view of the mural in all its glory.
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The Oval opens this Thursday, July 16th, with an evening of activities including food trucks, face paintings and beer gardens, but the thing I’m most excited about is the huge, abstract and colorful mural that’s going to blanket the ground of the Oval while you take in all the summer’s activities.
The floor of The Oval will be emblazoned with a dynamic artwork called Summer Kaleidoscope by Baltimore-based artist team Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn, who work with a mission to “transform public spaces into colorful vibrant experiences.” They’ve teamed up with Mural Arts on a piece they’re currently putting the final touches on. It’s expected to be completed by July 15th. According to press materials, the duo’s work has ranged from large-scale murals and installations to sculpture that’s been featured all over the globe.
On Sunday, Mural Arts released a photo by Kate Jacobi that shows the progress. It looks fantastic, almost seeming to bleed right in to the Parkway as it juts off to City Hall. Check it out below, and for more details about this week’s opening party, go here.
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.
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Left: The “A Reflection of Progress” pavilion; Right: Joe Boruchow’s “A Closed System”
Eager Philadelphians have been waiting with bated breath for the opening of The Oval’s “Future Sensations” exhibit, a giant light-up series of installations that have been touring around the globe. But there’s one local artist who isn’t looking forward to the show as he claims that the event’s sponsor, Parisian building materials company Saint-Gobain, ripped off his own design for one of the giant installations. Read more »
As we mentioned before, Eakins Oval will kick off for the season on May 30th, with a massive light-up art installation out of France called “Future Sensations.”
That closes on June 6th, which leaves the whole summer open on the beloved park on the Parkway. Today we’re getting word about what organizers have planned for the 2015 season. As in years past, The Oval will host a variety of activities—from live music, movie nights, yoga, a rotating lineup of food trucks and a beer garden—that will run from July 15th to sometime in August. Here’s a general overview of what you can expect each day of the week:
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“Pavilion 3: The Stuff of Dreams”
Philly loves a pop-up experience, and starting May 30th, there will be one of glowing proportions invading Eakins Oval, as “Future Sensations,” a massive art installation, sets up shop. Read more »
This Wednesday, July 16th, Eakins Oval will transform into more than just a parking lot on the Parkway. For the second summer, The Oval returns, as Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation partnered with the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the Association for Public Art, changes the otherwise dull space into a public park. The Oval will be used to promote the parkway as a space all Philadelphians can utilize and enjoy, not just those looking for daytime parking.
The kick-off event will feature music, food, BEER and a performance by the Philadelphia Rhythmic Academy. The space also doubles as a canvas for this year’s art installation and theme entitled, Magic Carpet by the artist Candy Coated.
Yards Brewery will also be debuting something for Philadelphians to get excited about. The brewery will be launching their new concoction, the Fairmount Park Ale. The new brew is “for outbeersy folk” so there’s no better place to enjoy it than outdoors at The Oval, right? Do we even need to say more? Well, Yards will also be the exclusive draught beer at The Oval. The Fairmount Ale will always be available, plus a rotating tap.
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We recommend checking out these events going on around Philly this week:
The Phillies is hosting its annual fundraising day at Citizens Bank Park this Monday. Fans of all ages can take pictures with some of their favorite players while enjoying a host of games across the field. Those looking to channel their inner Steve Carlton can also sign up to take a few throws in the bullpens. A silent auction will round out the phestivities. All of the money will go to help strike out ALS, the neuromuscular condition commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Monday, May 19th, 4:30 p.m., Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizens Bank Way.
In a story slam local poets and artists deliver five-minute narratives built around a given theme. More than a storytelling competition, these artists invite listeners into their lives with passionate and real anecdotes. Expect a unique experience connecting with others as local raconteurs offer an intimate glance into their personal lives. All of the stories Monday night will be based on the theme of “Busted.” Monday, May 19th, 7:30, World Café Live, 3025 Walnut Street.
Get a look behind the curtain of an actual performing group at this exclusive open rehearsal. Two aspiring playwrights and two actors will bounce ideas off each other, channeling new means for inspiration and playing with different creative techniques. See the artistic process on full display with this behind-the-scenes glimpse into theater production. Monday, May 19th, 8 p.m., Plays and Players Theater, 1714 Delancey Street.
Only 1 in 10 registered voters went to the polls last election. That's just crazy. No matter what your politics, make your voice heard on Primary Election Day in Philadelphia. Check out Committee of Seventy for a great rundown of local elections, and its superb polling-place finder. Also keep track of the day's election coverage via Philly Mag's news blog. Tuesday, May 20, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., various locations.
Performers and audience members are welcome to join World Cafe Live on January 19th for their open stage night. Performers are given two-song performance slots and a panel will judge them for a chance to win some prizes. A great opportunity if you’re looking to check out emerging local talent—and perhaps the next Voice star. January 19th, 6:30 pm for signups and 7pm for performances, World Cafe Live , 3025 Walnut Street.
From Be Well Philly: This Wednesday, Bryn Mawr Running Company’s Bryn Mawr location is hosting a Prediction Run, sponsored by Brooks. The idea is this: Leave your Garmin at home, and try to predict your finish time for either a five-, seven- or 10-mile course. The 10 people who finish closest to their predicted finish time will win shoes, clothes and other prizes from Brooks. The run costs just $5. Runners will gather at the Bryn Mawr store (828 West Lancaster Avenue) at 6 p.m., and leave by 6:15. More here.
Art never tasted so good. The Philadelphia Museum of Art will be hosting a 90-minute cooking class lead by Executive Chef Gerald Drummond this Wednesday. Those who sign up will learn the recipes of fashion designer Patrick Kelly, who was known to entertain guests with comfort food favorites he learned from his grandmother. Kelly is the focus of a must-see exhibition being held at the museum, "Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love." Participants will be able to sample the food they create and will receive recipes for all dishes. Wednesday, May 21st, 6 p.m., The Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Birthdays are the theme for Tell Me a Story's three-year anniversary show at Shot Tower Coffee. The Queen Village shop will host a series of comedians and story tellers as they reveal comical yet true stories based around the theme. Producer and curator of “Tell Me a Story,” Hillary Rea will host. Nothing is off limits in this romp down memory lane. Wednesday, May 21st, 7:30 p.m., Shot Tower Coffee, 542 Christian Street.
William Shakespeare turns the big four-five-oh this year, and the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theater is pulling out all the stops to celebrate. Dust off your high-school copy of Hamlet to join one of said festivities this week. On Wednesday, Ursinius College English Professor Matt Kosuzko will host a discussion on the influence of Shakespeare’s tale of the tragic prince of Denmark. Wednesday, May 21st, 6 p.m., Parkway Central Library – Room 108, 1901 Vine Street.
Eakins Oval will play home to a festival of art, food and music beginning on Thursday. Shop, dance and stroll in front of the Art Museum on the first of this three-day soiree featuring food trucks, and live DJ’s. This open-air market is partly hosted by PHAIR to create a community of unique shopping and artistic businesses. Thursday, May 22nd, 5 p.m., Eakins Oval on the Parkway.
Photo via Facebook
Summer’s just around the corner, and the warm weather and sunshine means easing up on the gym in favor of breaking a sweat outside. So come ready to work out at Eakins Oval this Sunday, May 18th, for the first-ever Day in the Park event. Hosted by Naked Juice and Philly’s Core Fitness, this event is packed with fitness and fun. There will free fitness activities, like a Core Fitness boot camp class (2 to 3 p.m.) and a massive tug of war competition, plus prizes and giveaways, free juice and live music from 95.7 Ben-FM. You’ll be so busy having fun, you won’t even realize you’re working out—promise.
The event is from 2 to 6 p.m. this Sunday in Eakins Oval—after Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Yoga on the Steps—in front of the Art Museum. People of all ages are encouraged to come out and participate. More info is here.
Like what you’re reading? Experience Be Well Philly live at Be Well Philly Boot Camp fitness fest on June 7th!