August 30th and 31st: Made in America
Ben Franklin Parkway
There are only two places to be this Labor Day weekend: the Jersey Shore, or the Parkway, where Jay Z and tens of thousands of his closest friends will finish out summer concert season with the third annual installment of his huge two-day music festival. This year’s co-headliners are Kanye West and Kings of Leon, with Pharrell, Girl Talk, the National and De La Soul among the many other acts that made the cut. Though our friends in Fairmount hate MIA, we have to say we’re sold on it. But we do have one modest proposal: a couple of satellite stages in cool places like FDR and Penn Treaty parks, where local bands can share the stage with some of the bigger boys and girls. Are you listening, Mr. Z?
More of this month’s must-do events. Click on links for ticket/location information.
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Philly’s only LGBT theater festival, GayFest!, kicks off tomorrow (August 5th.) Now in its fourth year, Quince Productions founder and GayFest! producer Rich Rubin says the theme of the season is new meets old.
There are a handful of Philadelphia premieres—Next Fall, Some Are People, and You Know My Name—playing alongside old-school favorites. The Haunted Host, for instance, celebrates 50 years on the stage. “It is considered by many to be America’s first full-length gay play,” says Rubin. “I’m excited about combining the new and cutting-edge work with historic work. More than ever, there’s a real range of tone and style in the festival.”
So get out there and support our city’s sole LGBT film festival. Here’s a preview of what’s happening this week during the festival:
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The Make Music Philly festival hits Philadelphia and hundreds of other cities across the world this Saturday, with 235 events at a multitude of venues across the city. Make Music Philly is an egalitarian festival: All the musicians play for free, all the events are free and they take place all over the city.
Well, okay, looking at this map they mostly take place in Center City and Northwest Philly. But it does hit some far-flung—well, far-flung from downtown—locations: The Youth Latin Jazz Ensemble is playing a Northeast Treatment Center, a rap/pop duo named Epoch Failure is playing at an apartment complex near the Northeast Airport and the Bluesberry Blues Jam is playing Morris Park in Overbrook Farms.
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Celebrate the magic of the sea at Cape May’s Harbor Fest. The all-day event will have all the things you’d expect out of a seafest: food, beer, music, games, craft vendors, demonstrations, and, of course, activities for the kids.
The festival will go down on June 14th, starting at 10:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m., at the Nature Center of Cape May (1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ) and it will, for sure, have something for everyone.
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We sent writers/photographers/brothers Christopher Sarkis Graham and Bryan Armen Graham to Randall’s Island in New York to check out this weekend’s three-day Governors Ball 2014. Here’s their photographic recap of the day, which kicked off with Philly’s own Kurt Vile:
Who better to help kick off a weekend of world class, genre-spanning pop music than Philly’s own Kurt Vile?
Early on Friday, Vile and his Violators helped usher in this year’s Governors Ball, a music festival that's settled into a three-day format since launching as a one-day event with an emphasis on dance acts in 2011.
Vile's vinyl psychedelia-flavored lo-fi was the perfect volley to Janelle Monáe’s cosmic funk that would soon follow.
OutKast might have had a bumpy start to their festival comeback run after a (in)famously lackluster Coachella reception, but Friday night's confident set — backed by a live band — showed they've worked out the kinks.
Guest stars kept the energy level cranked to 11, with Sleepy Brown weaving in and out of songs through the night, and Killer Mike emerging just in time for his verse in the finale, “The Whole World.”
Day 2 brought more pristine weather and hometown talent in West Philly expat RJD2.
The collage artist’s celebrated electro-analogue style laid just the tone for the day, leaving the crowd in a sea of fist-pumps with the “Ghostwriter” set closer.
Later, The Strokes took the main stage for their first festival appearance since 2011 — but if there was any dust to shake off, no one could spot it settle.
Soon after came a far-and-away fest highlight in Jack White, who may have swapped his trichromatic theme from a red to blue base, emerging on Saturday night’s cerulean-drenched stage — but White was sure to remind us he’s not turned on the work that’s secured him as rock’s saving grace for near 15 years.
Seems the only Jack project left untapped was the Dead Weather (something of a missed opportunity, considering the super-group cofounder Alison Mosshart was on deck for a Kills set on Sunday.)
Tyler, The Creator joined Earl Sweatshirt, Jasper Dolphin and Taco for a raucous, profanity-laden afternoon set that drew a massive crowd on Day 3, demonstrating why Odd Future is the biggest punk attraction in the business. Seattle folk-rockers The Head and The Heart alleviated the adrenaline rush with a set drawn heavily from Let's Be Still, their sophomore effort for Sub Pop Records. British singer and electronic producer James Blake reached into his back catalog with a sexy set drawing on his inimitable blend of R&B, soul and electronic influences. Homestanding veterans Interpol delivered a tight, focused set before a massive crowd that conflicted with eccentric Australian electro-pop duo Empire of the Sun, whose "Walking On a Dream" set an overflow tent crowd into hysterics.
Vampire Weekend drew the bigger crowd of Sunday night's two headliners, but Axwell & Ingrosso — veterans of EDM kings Swedish House Mafia — closed the festival with a bang (literally) with a fist-pumping set punctuated by fireworks above the stage.
The trail of defunct, failed New York City music festivals is long (remember All Points West, Vineland, Field Day, Across the Narrows or Bonnaroo N.E.?) but another successful weekend on Randall’s Island proves that Governors Ball just may have cracked the code. Keep scrolling for more photos from the three-day festival.
Kurt Vile and the Violaters
Julian Casablancas + The Voidz
The alcohol- and drug-induced mayhem that was Wired Fest was a huge hit — with music, booze and other clearly observable extra-curricular activities. Hosted by local hip-hop station Wired 96.5, thousands packed the Festival Pier Friday to see artists perform with the Delaware River as their backdrop. The show’s first big artist, Iggy Azalea, had the audience swaying to hits “Fancy” and “Work.” The Australian-born rapper was actually one of the strongest sets of the day, and the only artist who wasn’t behind a movie-theater-screen-sized DJ table.
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I was 17 the first time I ever felt old at a concert. I went to the Rancid show at the Electric Factory with a friend from my freshman hall. It was so awkward. We saw so many kids. We hung in the back. Security stopped him from smoking a cigarette. The lead singer of opening act AFI was named “Davey Havok.” We felt so old. Is this what life would be like now? “This is definitely my last Rancid show,” my friend said as we walked back to the El. I agreed.
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We roundup 11 of the weekend’s must-do events in Philly — including annual favorites the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and the Italian Market Festival.
All the monthly bouts of secret-sharing and storytelling culminate this Friday, as First Person Arts crowns Philadelphia's Best Storyteller. Winners from the monthly storytelling gatherings compete tonight for the grand prize, the title of "The Best Storyteller in Philadelphia" — high praise, indeed. Speakers tell stories under the theme "Out There," so expect performances that are just that. The event will be hosted by Corey Cohen and feature Steve Clark, Kat Duggan, and Dave Hillis. Friday, May 16th, $20, Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill Street.
Some of Philly's most exciting street artists are showing work in James Oliver Gallery's newest exhibition, "I Am Here." On display will be work by graffiti artist Cornbread, world-famous glass muralist Isaiah Zagar, and Streets Dept. photographer Conrad Benner — all folks Content Specialist & Educator of “I Am Here" Ginger Rudolph calls true artistic trailblazers. "They bond our communities with shared visceral moments — constantly shaping a culture that defies the trappings of being boxed into idioms that try to define creativity in terms of subversive elements of expression. These artists follow a history of groundbreakers whose actions resulted from a need to be heard." Opening reception, Friday, May 16th, 6:30-10 p.m., free, showing through August 2nd, James Oliver Gallery, 723 Chestnut Street.
The rain is supposed to dissipate just in time for this weekend's annual 9th Street Italian Market Festival. Join the crowds packed into the nation's oldest outdoor market to enjoy live entertainment, tons of grub, crafting hubs, and South Philly people-watching out the wazoo. Saturday and Sunday, May 17th and 18th, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Italian Market, 919 South 9th Street.
Leave it to Kensington to come up with the whackiest, most interesting and downright weird iteration of a parade even among Philly's plethora of unique day fests. The Kensington Sculpture Derby returns this Saturday, with human-powered floats — all works of art on their own — turning the neighborhood into a true spectacle. It's an honest testament to human ingenuity, and all the things a soldering iron and a little gumption can achieve. Saturday, May 17th, noon-5 p.m., Trenton and Norris streets.
If you're in 'festival withdrawal' after last week's shindigs, look no further than Clark Park's Party in the Park. Eat well, with onsite food trucks aplenty. Check out the beer garden, listen to some great live music, and enter raffles with $1000 prizes. It's a perfect opportunity to unwind with a beer and some outdoor games, or just take in the forecasted beautiful West Philly weekend. Saturday, May 17th, 4-8 p.m., Clark Park.
From Foobooz: The DO|AC Fire on the Water Festival is a free two day festival (May 17th-May 18th at 800 New Hampshire Ave.) that will be host to theWorld Famous Firefighter Combat Challenge Tour in Atlantic City and the 7th annual "Guns vs. Hoses" Battle at the Basin, which looks to be a cops vs. firefighters boxing match. What does this have to do with Foobooz? Well, there's going to be a beer garden, with food vendors, music, and according to their facebook, Seinfeld's Soup Nazi. More info here.
From Be Well Philly: This Sunday, the Philly Yoga Factory is partnering with Lululemon Walnut Street to host a free Synergy Partner Yoga class—a therapeutic yoga that incorporates elements of Thai massage, yoga and Capoeira, all done with a partner. Sounds like a nice way to start your Sunday off, huh? The free class will be from 10 to 11 a.m. at Bikram Yoga of Philadelphia (where all Philly Yoga Factory classes are held) on Sansom Street. More info here.
Score free entrance to plenty of Philly museums in honor of International Museum Day and Art Museum Day this Sunday. That means a trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art ( 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway) costs nothing. Admission to Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (118 North Broad Street)? Zip. The historic Penn Museum (3260 South Street) opens its collections for the appealing price of nada. Or check out some modern masterpieces at the Institute of Contemporary Art (118 South 36th Street) without spending a penny. No reservations are necessary. Just show up Sunday to take advantage of the town's culture on the cheap. Sunday, May 18th.
From Be Well Philly: 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. More here.
Get your fill of absurdism Friday night with IRC Theater Co.'s slick lineup of exciting new short plays. Featuring works from Tony-winner Christopher Durang (helmer of Philadelphia Theatre Company's recent Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike), there will be tons to see and experience in this rare performance of his shorter works. proceeds will create IRC's spring production of Rhinocerous, and a preview of the upcoming show will debut during the event. Sunday, May 18th, 6 p.m. & 8 p.m., $20, L'Etage Cabaret, 624 South 6th Street.
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Our best picks for what to do in Philadelphia (and a little beyond) this weekend.
The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen brings back its annual show of wares to Rittenhouse this entire weekend. The square will be taken over by kiosks and tents for vendors who are all jury-selected artisans. Pick mom up something handmade and lovely, with a selection of furniture, jewelry, houseware, ceramics, pottery, glassware, and just about anything else two hands and some serious talent can make. Friday, May 9th to Sunday, May 11th, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Rittenhouse Square, 18th and Walnut streets.
From Foobooz: All week the Trestle Inn is presenting Kitten Week, a series of events and cocktails to support PAWS (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society). One dollar of allKitten with a Whip (Old Forester Bourbon, Licor 43, Prosecco and Angostura bitters) cocktails will be donated to PAWS. Tonight, Old Forester Bourbon is featured during the Trestle’s complimentary tasting and of course the cocktail will be available for order as well. See the list of Kitten week events here.
Queer As Folk star and former Talk Soup host Hal Sparks is rolling into Philly for a two-night, four-show standup gig at Helium Comedy Club. Friday, May 9th, 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., and Saturday, May 10th, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom Street.
From Be Well Philly: Namas Day is back for its third run. The one-day yoga festival is hitting the WHYY Building with yoga workshops, master classes and a vendor marketplace. If you do yoga around town, you'll see a lot of familiar faces: Shawn DeClue of Maha Yoga, Sue Elkind of DIG Yoga, Beth Filla of Yogawood, and Biz Margarity of Nava Yoga Center, among others. The event runs from 8:30 to 6 p.m. More info and registration are here.
So many festivals, so little time! This one's a goodie: Philadelphia hosts its 11th annual Art Star Craft Bazaar this Saturday and Sunday, with plenty of glitter and decoupage to dip into. It's a juried art festival with over 100 carefully selected national and local artists showcasing wares to show and sell. Philebrity.com is presenting live music, and there'll be craft demonstrations and kiddie activities. Saturday, May 10th and Sunday, May 11th, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., The Great Plaza @ Penn's Landing, Columbus Boulevard between Chestnut and Walnut streets.
For the eighth year, the Pan Asian Association of Greater Philadelphia puts on a day of cultural celebration and festivities. It's Asian-American Heritage Month all May, and there are plenty of events going on in and around Philadelphia, but this Saturday's festival is a surefire hit. Enjoy Asian-American grub from Poi Dog and Foo Truck, while learning about Cambodian, Thai, Filipino, Japanese, and so many other cultures. Expect animal visitors from the Philadelphia Zoo, plenty of activities for the kids, and live performances of traditional dance from all over Asia. Saturday, May 10th, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Franklin Square, 200 North 6th Street.
It's another weekend full of festivals (blame it on the heat; blame it on a town in bloom) and one not to miss is the Pie in the Sky Food Truck Festival at Penn Treaty Park. It's a gathering of Philly's favorite mobile food vendors and a kite-making, kite-flying field day. Pie in the sky, indeed! Saturday, May 10th, noon-5 p.m., Penn Treaty Park, 1341 North Delaware Avenue.
Brewerytown, the up-and-coming hood just beyond Fairmount, takes over the 2600 to 2800 blocks of West Girard Avenue for its own spring celebration. What exactly Brewerytown is celebrating is its unique art, food, and music. Activities for kids will round out this neighborhood fest sure to draw people well beyond Girard. Saturday, May 10th, noon-5 p.m., 2600-2800 West Girard Avenue.
The Queen Village Art Center hosts an afternoon of crafting for parents and kids that doubles as a preview for the Center's summer camps. There will be stations set up for young ones of all ages: 9 to 13 year olds get to tinker with sewing machines and easels, while younger tots, those aged 4 to 8, explore "a range of two- and three-dimensional projects. There will also be a scavenger hunt for kids and parents alike that takes groups to various business around Queen Village to compile an art bag that can be brought back to create something crafty. Saturday, May 10th, 2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m., free, Queen Village Art Center, 514 Bainbridge Street.
It’s that time of year again: birds chirping, flowers blooming, and an aged Barolo airing as you sample Philly’s finest bites. Yes, it’s Philadelphia magazine’s Wine + Food Festival, coming to the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. This year’s festivities include dining from some of Philly’s finest eating establishments, wares from local vendors, an on-site Fine Wine & Good Spirits store, and over 600 (!) samplings of wine from around the world. Also slated is a silent auction to benefit The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Saturday, May 10th, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. (VIP), 6:30 to 9 p.m. (general), $130-$225, Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, 6825 Norwitch Drive.
From Be Well Philly: Heads up if you’ll be on the Main Line this weekend: Paoli’s new Purenergy Studio is hosting a massive open house on Saturday with 35 free half-hour sampler classes from 10:30 am to 2 p.m. Options include Buff Barre, Spin Power, boxing, rowing, yoga and more. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. Editor Emily Leaman has a recommended game plan here.
Foobooz has put together a great list of new local spots worth considering for your Mother's Day brunch/dinner plans — from a brand new brunch menu at Petruce et al to a decadent-sounding duck scrapple egg skillet at Society Hilly Society. See the full list here. Still looking for a gift? Shoppist has five good ideas here.
More events now through June on our Philadelphia Event Listings page.