Philly Tech Week’s Signature Event was held at the Comcast Center on Friday, April 11th. It was part cocktail party, part local tech expo, and part demo party. It was a great event to network and served as a great capper for another successful year of Philly Tech Week. Food was provided by DiBruno Brothers and Shake Shack. Local beer (and open bar) was provided by Yards.
Philly Tech Week 2014 Signature Event »
After a jam-packed weekend, Philly Tech Week blows past Manic Monday with a host of activities taking place in venues across Philly through April 12th. Some of the week's highlights? On Monday Tech Mix It Up: A Diversity Networking Affair welcomes people from minority backgrounds, including ethnicity, race, sexual orientation and people with disabilities, to gather to discuss ways to "crack the bro-grammer code." On Tuesday, Hive 76 is pulling vintage video games out of its closet for an evening of friendly throwback competition. On Wednesday play Tech Quizzo at Grey Lodge Pub, and Thursday sees the Rad Girls Philly launch party at the Philadelphia Art Alliance. But I'm just scratching the surface. Go here to see the week's full itinerary. Through April 12th, various times, locations and prices, phillytechweek.com.
Philly storytelling queen Hillary Rea is gathering some of her funniest friends for a night of deceptive raconteuring. Here's how it works: After a series of "personal, awkward, outrageous, gripping, and twisted tales" from each performer, Rea and the audience will do some interrogating to uncover the fibber. Performers include Chip Chantry, T.J. Hurley, Rose Luardo and R. Eric Thomas (pictured). Tuesday, April 8th, 6 p.m., free, Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk.
Rare-video scavengers Video Pirates kick off the 2014 Cinedelphia Film Festival with Video Wars, an indie film shot in Philly and Mount Airy in 1980. It's the first feature film for Mario Giampaolo, and features a handful of hotties from that year’s Miss Hemisphere pageant. The festival continues through April 26th with an itinerary full of other hard-to-find gems. See the full schedule here.
The April edition of Martha Graham Cracker's monthly cabaret series at L'Etage finds the hairy, dolled-up chanteuse sharing the stage with a handful of other Philly vocal talents. Her duet partners include Buried Beds lead singer Eliza Hardy Jones, drag queen Brittany Lynn, Johnny Showcase, and songwriter/musician/rapper Calvin Okunoye. This is the first time Martha's presented a cabaret in this format, though one can't help but think back to one of the cabaret queens earlier shows, "In Bed With Martha," where she invited local singers to crawl under the covers with her and belt out some tunes. Thursday, April 10th, $15, L'Etage, 624 South 6th Street.
Philadelphia favorite Kevin Allison, star of MTV’s The State and Reno 911: Miami, returns to the city of Brotherly Love for one night only to present a live taping of his popular podcast,RISK!, an award-winning storytelling platform that challenges performers to share daunting and revealing memories and experiences they never thought they’d share in public. The evening, presented by First Person Arts, is the fourth time RISK! has been presented in Philadelphia; this time, the storytelling showdown will take place at Underground Arts, and will feature local storytellers Thomas Dixon, Kitty Hailey, Teresa Marquard, and G Philly's own Alexander Kacala. Friday, April 11th, 8 p.m., $20, Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill Street. —Bryan Buttler.
Looking for something else? Visit our Philadelphia Event Listings page for a good rundown of local goings-on through June.
The first thing I saw after arriving at the end of the Ben Franklin Parkway was a man in a Tetris costume being interviewed by a camera crew. The second thing I saw were a bunch of teenagers singing the Game Boy Tetris theme a capella. I didn’t know this was going to be such a big deal, but it was Tetris. On a skyscraper.
Yes, people played Tetris on the side of the Cira Centre as the kickoff to Philly Tech Week, and it was pretty darn cool.
I went to see Pong played on the Cira Centre last year, and it had nowhere near the crowd this year’s did. Last year I remember freezing with a few other people, hoping the rain would hold off, watching a few rounds of uninspiring Pong play. But Tetris! What a great game. I can’t see any type of tiling without mentally positioning them into Tetris-shaped blocks; you just don’t do this with Pong. And so there were hundreds and hundreds of people eating from food trucks at The Oval and watching people play Tetris — as well as other games, including a giant, light-up version of Connect 4.
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To kick off this year’s Philly Tech Week, Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust have partnered to bring another mega-size video game, Tetris, to the exterior of the iconic Cira Centre next to Amtrak’s 30th Street Station. It’s too late to enter the lottery for a chance to actually play, but everyone will be able to watch as the game takes over both sides of the angular tower tomorrow evening.
During Tech Week last year, lucky players stationed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art got to play Pong on the north side of the building. That game got into the Guiness Book of World Records for “Largest Architectural Video Game Display”: it utilized 460 already installed LEDs over 59,800 square feet of the tower’s north side. This year’s game is set to top that: players will use both the north and south sides of the building to play simultaneously—against each other or cooperatively—with one set of players stationed at Eakins Oval outside the Art Museum, and the other at Drexel.
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Tracey Welson-Rossman of TechGirlz
“That Tech Girl Talk session? Seems pretty hot,” wrote Gene Marks in his article “The 56 Things You’ll Likely Overhear at Philly Tech Week” on this website. While the author was clearly attempting to satirize the event, this part missed the mark.
With that one line he brought to light what is wrong with so many technology events and conferences around the world. First, the statement is clearly from a man’s point-of-view, as if they are the only people attending Tech Week events. Worse, it marginalizes the involvement of women, not only with Philly Tech Week but also within the technology community, by reducing it to a visual spectacle.
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Christopher Wink isn’t yet on Philly Mag’s list of the city’s most powerful people (check out the newest issue!) but give it time. He’s a young man in a hurry, a co-founder of the Technically Philly website that has grown into a franchise covering the tech scenes in several East Coast cities. That venture gave birth to Philly Tech Week — the fourth edition of which starts today — and which is expected to draw 25,000 people to game-playing, hack-a-thons, seminars on starting up your own tech company, and much more. (And oh, yeah: People will be playing Tetris on the side of the Cira Centre.)
“It does inspire a sense of place,” he said. “It does create a community identity … It’s a vehicle to make a better community, not just a bigger party every year. Although parties are good.”
Wink talked this week about Philly’s place in the tech scene, how the town distinguishes itself, and how to encourage Philadelphia startups beyond the tech sector.
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More than 20,000 people are expected to attend more than 140 events at next week’s Philly Tech Week. AT&T and Chevrolet are the big named sponsors and all the big, local players in tech, finance and entrepreneurism are expected to participate. Are you going? If so, here’s what you’ll likely overhear:
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NewsWorks reports that the organizers of Philly Tech Week are taking steps to prevent the harassment of women during events this year; some high-profile incidents at other conferences and in the broader tech community have led to the caution.
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Philadelphia has made the national news again–and this time it has nothing to do with a restaurant called Chink’s. Now the country is talking about the giant game of Pong that will be recreated on the facade of the Cira Centre for Philly Tech Week.
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