The Book of Mormon Breaks Forrest Theatre Record

The Book of Mormon

All the craze surrounding the Philadelphia engagement of Broadway’s The Book of Mormon, the oh-so-wrong musical by the creators of South Park, is clearly for a reason: It was announced today that the show has broken box office records at the Forrest Theatre.

According to the show’s management, “The Book of Mormon […] has broken the house record in Philadelphia, PA for the week ending August 10 at the Forrest Theatre, grossing $1,678,495.00 for a standard 8-performance week. This tops the previous record, held by Jersey Boys in 2012 of $1,617,700.00.” Read more »

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Delaware Valley Legacy Fund Divvies Out $32,000 to Philly LGBT Organizations

It truly is Christmas in July for eight local LGBT non-profits who will benefit from a $32,000 grant from Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF.) The money will be divided between each organization, and used to fund a specific program within each group. DVLF Executive Director Samantha Giusti tells me the money comes from the organization’s 2014 LGBTQ Emerging Needs Grant. Benefactors are chosen by a panel of community members “who have a diverse array of lived experience and professional knowledge in a variety areas” based on best practices, benchmarks, outcomes, and financials, she says.

This year’s recipients are:

“Every year I am more impressed by the ingenuity displayed by our community members at creating innovative programming to meet emerging needs faced by LGBTQ people in our region,” says Giusti. “Less than .3 percent of the over 50 billion given annually by U.S. foundations goes to LGBTQ issues. It’s a grave statistic as it is neither representative of the size of our community nor it’s need. With these grants we hope that we can be responsive to the the emerging needs in our community.”

Alive Inside Screening for the Alzheimer’s Association

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Greater Philadelphia Film Office, Derek Freese Documentary Fund and the Alzheimer’s Association hosted a screening of the award-winning documentary Alive Inside at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts last Tuesday night.

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award winner was presented at a red-carpet event and there was a post cocktail party afterward. All proceeds from the event will support the Alzheimer’s Association’s Delaware Valley Chapter.

The film, which focuses on the use of music in the treatment of Alzheimer’s patients, included a post-screening Q&A with CBS3 Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl. Michael Rossato-Bennett, ‎director of Alive Inside discussed how the project came about. He also announced that a meeting with Apple was in the works in hopes of expanding the program of getting music to patients on a much broader scale.

To see how music can make a difference in an Alzheimer’s patient’s life was very moving. The music provided to the patient was specific from an era in their life. It brought them back to life, singing, humming, dancing and they were able to recall memories of a time that had seemed lost forever. It’s a must see. The hope is that one day doctors will prescribe music as part of the treatment that is currently used for Alzheimer’s patients.

Photos from the screening of Alive Inside after the jump. »

Two Bells for Volver

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Craig LaBan weighs in on Jose Garces’ culinary return to Philadelphia. The Inquirer critic calls the cooking at Volvér “egocentric” though he does call many of the dishes three-bell worthy, if he could order them a la carte.

The plates, without doubt, were still camera-ready gorgeous: ember-seared cubes of Wagyu beef posed beside crimson swipes of beet puree; nasturtium leaves floated atop lubina sea bass in a composition of rice and shrimp evocative its own ecosystem; epic salads tweezered into perfect still lifes by talented chef de cuisine, Natalie Maronski. Those dishes were examples of Volvér at its best, in which the inspirations were prime ingredients, not biography. The intricate salad was a naturalistic playground of delicate greens, creamy cauliflower panna cotta, and sublimely sweet carrots drawn from the garden at Garces’ Luna Farms, lifted by tangy Meyer lemon puree and the faux “dirt” of goat-cheese crumbles tinted black with squid ink.

Two Bells – Very Good

Garces’ Volvér overdoes the culinary performance art [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Volvér [Foobooz]

Trey Popp’s four-star review of Volvér [Philadelphia Magazine]

WATCH: Summer Solstice Festival at Kimmel Center

On Saturday, June 21st, Kimmel Center celebrated the first day of summer with Solstice in the City. This extravaganza from 8 p.m. till 2 a.m., and featured performances by indie bands Beverly, San Fermin and Real Estate in Verizon Hall. Jazz residency artists Pablo Batista and the Mambo Syndicate, Josh Lawrence and the Fresh Cut Orchestra, and Bobby Zankel, Raphael Xavier, and Francois Zayas performed in the SEI Innovation Studio to packed houses.

We were there Saturday night to kick off summer with The Kimmel. Check out the video above for a chat with organizer Zach Blackwood, and scenes from some of the aforementioned performances.

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