My almost bullseye at the future site of Urban Axes in Kensington.
I must look stupid.
I have this fear a lot, but this time I’m sure of it: My left foot is forward, and my weight is all on my back foot. My hands are in front of me, and I’m trying to remember to keep my wrists at a 90-degree angle. Oh, and I’m holding a 1.5-pound axe. I pull my hands back behind my head, thrust them forward and release.
Thunk. The axe handle hits the wooden board 10 feet in front of me, then bounces harmlessly to the floor. “Maybe you actually need to move up,” my instructor says. “And keep those wrists straight!” Despite my errors, I think I’m getting the hang of it.
I’m at Urban Axes, the new axe-throwing space in Kensington a few blocks from the York-Dauphin El stop in the former Sazz Vintage warehouse. My instructor is Lily Cope, the former executive director at Cook who took a job as “axe master general” at Urban Axes earlier this year.
Four friends — two in Philly, two in Toronto — founded Urban Axes and plan to open in late July or early August, if the place gets through zoning. (It needs to switch from industrial to commercial zoning.) When it gets going, Urban Axes will hold private events and run leagues. Through it all, an Urban Axes team member will offer tips and make sure everything is running smoothly and safely.
Axe-throwing has no doubt been done in the woods for centuries, but the sport version of it traces its roots to Toronto. As Cope tells it, the founders were inspired by the dozen or so axe-throwing clubs in the Canadian city. They played the sport up north and decided Philadelphia would be the best spot for what they say is the first one in the United States. Read more »
Italian Market Festival will go on all weekend | M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia
We were pretty excited when we put together our compilation of May festivals, and then May happened. It’s been gray skies for much of the month with a good amount of rain mixed in (you know, except for today). And now we’re at the final pre-Memorial Day weekend and the fear-mongering weather people are predicting more rain. But if you’re like me, you’re like, “whatevs, It’s my weekend and I’ll party if I want to, weather be damned. So it’s good to know that at least some of the weekend’s outdoor events are happening regardless.
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Saint Benjamin Brewing’s Tap Room | Photo by Kelly Alderfer
About a month ago, we wrote about Saint Benjamin Brewing Company’s expansion, including a new taproom in the works. Well, that taproom is finished up, and the St. Ben’s team is softly opened this week for Craft Brewers Conference—and it’s pretty sweet.
This past Saturday, I was lucky enough to stop in to check out the taproom at 1710 North 5th Street, while on a Liberty Brew Tour as the finishing touches were being done. Quite possibly the coolest feature of the taproom is the retouched exposed brick and plaster walls, a labor of love by co-owner Christina Burris. She wanted the walls to be as close to the state as they were originally back in the 1800s when the three story building was built.
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Last minute prep work at Independence Beer Garden
The first two beer gardens of the season open this weekend. Today, Michael Schulson’s Independence Beer Garden softly opens at 6th and Market and tomorrow marks 8th anniversary and beer garden opening at Memphis Taproom.
Memphis is celebrating inside with some great beers from their cellar plus some of the newest beers in the state. The bar will be pouring four beers from Highway Manor Brewing of Camp Hill, PA. The beers are all all open fermented and barrel aged. The beers will be Mr. Blueberry, Taste My Place, Mr. Strawberry, and Sayjohn Saison. There will also be bottles on hand for takeout, with labels illustrated by Memphis Taproom’s own Keith Warren Greiman.
About those beer gardens »
Hakan Ibisi carries a photograph of his grandfather in his wallet. Ibisi was photographed for the Philly Block Project, a collaboration between the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center and Hank Willis Thomas. Photo by Wyatt Gallery/Hank Willis Thomas Studio.
A smile creeps onto Fada Ahmad‘s face as she passes around a photo of the newest member of the family, her 1-year-old granddaughter. In the picture the young girl clutches onto her grandfather and a wide smile covers her face.
“She loves him more than anyone,” says Ahmad, laughing softly, as she talks about how the girl’s grandfather spoils her with gifts and candy. This is only one of the cherished photographs Ahmad has to share. Ahmad is the self-proclaimed photographer of her family. She has two suitcases full of photos at home. Today, she’s brought several snapshots and a cellphone packed with pictures.
“You are the keeper of your family archive,” remarks Lori Waselchuk, the coordinator of the Philly Block Project.
Ahmad’s archive is joining with another archive — actually quite a few other archives. Ahmad is at the Al Aqsa Islamic Society for a photo scanning event. Her photos along with the photos of many Kensington residents are being collected by the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center for something called the Philly Block Project. The aim of the project is to create a “visual narrative” of South Kensington that will be comprised of photos submitted by Kensington residents, in addition to photos of present day Kensington which will be taken by photographer Hank Willis Thomas and several other collaborating artists. Read more »
A city work crew this morning came across skeletal human remains in an empty lot in the city’s West Kensington section.
A Philadelphia Police Department spokesperson said the city workers found the bones at 10:13 a.m. in a vacant lot in the 400 block of East Cambria Street. Read more »
We hope you’re hungry, and thirsty Photo by | Jeff Fusco
Maybe you think you know Frankford Avenue. You’ve met friends for table tennis, jenga and liters of German beer at Stephen Starr’s Frankford Hall. You’ve gotten the high score on Asteroids at Barcade. Maybe even checked out the pizza and pizza museum that is Pizza Brain. But even 12 years after William Reed took over Johnny Brenda’s and made it the Avenue’s shining welcome beacon, the best days for the corridor are still ahead of it.
Our field guide takes you on an eating and drinking tour of the rest of the best on the food mecca that is the Frankford Avenue — a full day’s worth of delicious debauchery.
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Children line up at the Lewis Elkin Elementary School in Kensington (Photo via Google Maps)
Just weeks after the Drug Enforcement Administration released a report claiming that heroin availability is up in Philadelphia when it’s down in most other parts of the country, another branch of the Department of Justice has announced charges against eight people for allegedly dealing drugs in Kensington, including at locations within 1,000 feet of a neighborhood school and playground. Read more »
Martha is coming to York Street in Kensington | Photo via Facebook
Martha is opening in Kensington, just off of Frankford Avenue at 2113 East York Street. The bar is fronted by Philadelphia restaurant/bar alum Jon Medlinsky (Chifa, Khyber Pass Pub, the Yachtsman) and backed by Marathon Grill co-owner Cary Borish and Mike Parsell. The eye-opening space takes over an old cube of a building with soaring ceilings, an intimate mezzanine, a warming fireplace and long bar.
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L.A.-based street artist WRDSMTH was in Philadelphia yesterday, where he left behind a couple of his iconic typewriter stencils in Fishtown and Kensington.
The works range in size, and carry different messages that sort of recall Steve Powers’ feel-good Love Letter murals in West Philly. One six-foot tall work on West Master Street in Kensington reads, “The only lie I ever told you is that I liked you when I already knew I loved you.”
Photo by Conrad Benner via Streets Dept.
Another smaller one reads, “Truth told, the odds are not in your favor. But that’s what will make it such a great story.”
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