Teyana Taylor to Headline Philly FIGHT’s Hip Hop for Philly Concert

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Local AIDS-fighting nonprofit Philadelphia FIGHT announced today that Harlem-born songstress Teyana Taylor will perform at the third annual Hip Hop for Philly concert on June 27th at the Trocadero Theater. The concert is free and open to youth aged 13 to 24 who receive a free HIV test at a handful of participating agencies (see those below).

Taylor just released her first studio album, VII, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart last November. She is signed to Kanye West‘s G.O.O.D. Music label, and was featured on his recent single “Dark Fantasy.” You may also recognize her from her roles in Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming and Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy FamilyOther acts scheduled to perform at the concert include dance troupe Project Positive, and rapper E-Hos.

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Local Teens Record Audio Tours to Get Youth Interested in Philly’s Museums

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Many teenagers would argue that museum tours don’t exactly scream cool … up until now. The Philly museum scene is gaining youth appeal with the help of The Greater Philadelphia Culture Alliance’s Students At Museums in Philly (STAMP) program.

On Thursday May 28th hundreds of Philly teens will flock to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to partake in the debut of the teen-crafted STAMP Audio Tours. After special announcements by the STAMP Teen Council and  Mayor Michael Nutter, hundreds of youth will be released to partake in a free scavenger hunt that will take participants through five different museums along the Parkway.

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Here Are the Concerts You Can’t Miss in Philly This Summer

Well, the City of Philadelphia has officially announced our 4th of July concert festivities, and what a lame lineup it is. But never fear. There are still plenty of other shows worth checking out this summer. These are our favorites. Note: Click on a performer’s name for direct link to the official ticket site.

Pop/Rock

Taylor Swift plays Lincoln Financial Field on

1. Taylor Swift

When she dropped her earworm 1989 last fall, Taylor Swift effectively made the crossover from country-pop to pop-pop, shedding some of her down-home Berks County roots along the way. These days, Tay-Tay, as her fans call her, is all about New York City, where she rubs elbows with famous pals Beyoncé and Jay Z and lives it up in a $20 million penthouse. But to us, the 25-year-old Wyomissing gal will always be a Pennsylvanian, and we’ll come from far and wide this month when she plays a two-night homecoming at Lincoln Financial Field.

Like beloved quasi-local crooner Bruce Springsteen, Swift is among a handful of artists who have sold out the Linc—something she’s done three times. Better get your tickets fast. Lincoln Financial Field, June 12th and 13th. —Josh Middleton

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15 Things to Do in Philly This Week



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SEE THIS: Pig Iron’s I Promised Myself to Live Faster

pig iron I promised myself to live faster

Pig Iron Theatre Company has been at the avant-garde theater game for 20 years. For the first three-quarters of that run, the troupe could barely make a misstep, somehow producing theater that was both weird and experimental but also entertaining and crowd-pleasing. With its last two shows, however, they’ve run into trouble with theater- goers and critics, including Inquirer whiner Toby Zinman, who called them “rubbish” and “a waste,” respectively. So it’s good they’re going more, er, mainstream with their latest: I Promised Myself to Live Faster, an “intergalactic gay extravaganza featuring closeted extraterrestrials, high-stakes pursuits and nuns from outer space.”

But seriously, even Albert Einstein didn’t get the theory of relativity right until the eighth try, and with Pig Iron at the wheel, we’re happy to go along for the gay sci-fi ride, knowing full well that the destination is somewhere we’ve never been before. May 22nd to 31st, FringeArts, 140 North  Columbus Boulevard, Old City.

Major League Lacrosse Players Coming to Philly This Weekend for First Annual Courage Game

Major League lacrosse star Andrew Goldstein with Philly out youth and fellow lacrosse player Braeden.

Major League lacrosse players from around the country are convening in Philadelphia Sunday for the first annual Courage Game, held in conjunction with the NCAA Championship Weekend. The event was co-founded by two-time Dartmouth “All American” Andrew Goldstein and Washington-based coach Nick Welton to “encourage and support gay youth, rebuke bullying and promote wider education and awareness of LGBT equality within the sport of lacrosse.’

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INTERVIEW: Yoko Ono

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Next month, Ocean Galleries in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, will debut an exhibit of artworks by John Lennon. Curated by his wife Yoko Ono, “The Art of John Lennon” comprises limited edition prints adapted from the “Imagine” singer’s original drawings—from his iconic pencil-scribbled self portraits, to whimsical, comic book-like illustrations with sayings like, “He tried to consult the stars, but no one returned his calls.”

“The Art of John Lennon” is a traveling exhibit created by Ono around 15 years ago with the intent of not only sharing her husband’s work with the masses, but to support local nonprofits. In this case, Ocean Galleries requests that guests donate $5 to see the exhibit, which will be given to Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

I chatted with Ono this week in anticipation of the exhibit. She shared anecdotes behind some of the works in the exhibit, told me a funny story about Philly, and opened up about falling in love with Lennon’s music again after all these years.

Let’s talk about this exhibit coming to Ocean Galleries. Why is it important for you to exhibit John’s work in small galleries like this across the country? 

I really think that it’s very important—even if it’s in a very small space … because it has a power and that power you’re going to get anywhere.

How did you go about selecting the pieces that would appear in the exhibit? 
In the beginning—15 years ago when it was starting—I [chose based on] what hit me the most. And then, gradually, I realized that each one was hitting me very strongly. I started to get into his work more. Now, I really feel that each one is so special. So I rotate them: This time I show some things, next year I’ll show something different.

Photo courtesy of Yoko Ono

John Lennon’s Let’s Have a Dream. | Courtesy of Yoko Ono

One of my favorite pieces is Let’s Have a Dream (right). What’s the story behind that sketch?
John was really getting into the family scene. He was really getting into [his son] Sean, actually. I was surprised at how he felt so strongly connected with Sean. Maybe in some ways, subconsciously, he knew he wasn’t going to have much time with us. I don”t know. But there was that feeling.

I also like On Cloud Nine (below, right), which pictures the two of you naked sitting on a cloud. Nudity was a recurring theme in your works and activism. Why? 
It has to do with softness and the fragility of human beings.

How did John’s work influence the art you were making? 
I was doing my artwork for about 30 years before I met him. I was eight years older than him … I was very much deep into my own artwork, and I think that there were a lot of technical things I knew … So there was more giving than taking.

So he was more influenced by you?
I don’t think so. That’s another thing that was very interesting: He was an artist before I met him—he started when he was 9. He was very good, and extremely different from my kind of work. In a way, we didn’t really influence each other, but we loved each other, which helped in a way. … You know what I think: We were in Japan together, and I think he was influenced more by classic Japanese paintings.

John Lennon's On Cloud Nine. | Courtesy of Yoko Ono

John Lennon’s On Cloud Nine. | Courtesy of Yoko Ono

You guys met in an art gallery, right? Can you take me back to that moment?
[Singing] We met in an art gallery … When he came in, he was looking around, but not expressing his emotions so much. When he went up to see a [canvas on the ceiling], he went all the way up the ladder and saw it and came down. He said, “Hmm,” and sort of gave a little smile and left—never explaining how he thought about it. Later, on a TV show, he said, [imitating Lennon’s voice] “Well, you know, I saw this thing and I didn’t like it.” So  he felt something, but he was too shy to tell me about it at the time.

There are a lot of themes of peace and love in John’s art. How do you think his images speak to what’s happening now in the world, especially in places like Ferguson and Baltimore? 
He was so upset about people killing each other and hurting each other. … He would have hated what’s going on now in the world.

What are your thoughts?
Ditto. I’m with him, okay? … We tried hard to bring peace and a better world. And we still do. Don’t give up. Don’t give up.

Do you have any memories of Philadelphia?
Yes. It’s so funny: John was in L.A. and I was in New York, and they wanted me to come to Philadelphia to do a show or something. I went with a very attractive, tall girl, who was my assistant at the time. And she had glasses on. Everybody went up to her thinking it was John. She said, “I don’t look like a guy, do I?” She was a little bit offended. [Laughs]

Do you have a favorite John and Yoko song? 
Any song that John wrote—especially when it was about us—I love very much. I used to have favorites, but now I’m starting to listen to his songs more … and I’m starting to like all of them, really. … I didn’t usually like to listen to John’s songs. It reminded me of John not being here, but I started to listen to them because I had to, because of business. Then I started to really like them.

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
Ten years is a very long time these days. … In 10 years, maybe we’ll all be moths, or something. [Laughs]

It seems like you work really hard to preserve John’s legacy. How do you want to be remembered?
I don’t know. … I don’t know how people see me. I have no idea. I’m more concerned about John’s legacy, because he’s not here. I’m the only one who can work on it.

“The Art of John Lennon” will be on display at Ocean Galleries for a limited time only, from June 18th to 22nd. For more information on that and special events around the exhibit, go here. Check out more works from the exhibit below. 



Where to See Fireworks in and Around Philly This Summer

It’s that time of the year again to hear a lot of boom in the sky. Fireworks season is in high gear, and we compiled some Philly-area hints as to where to catch some fabulous displays. Of course, there are some tips and strategies that are universal, no matter where you see a show:

  • Get there early: Sometimes, the best seating gets taken long before the show starts. Bring some food (or, if it’s allowed, something to drink) and enjoy an evening under the sun before the display starts.
  • Take public transportation: Parking can get extremely tight at these events, and, well, if you’ve ever tried to leave a crowded fireworks show at night, you know what kind of a nightmare it can be. If you must park, try to get out of the facility as quickly as possible after the show ends.
  • Bring water: This may sound silly, but even though the sun has set, it’s still hot outside. Plus, with your mouth all agape, wowed at what you’re seeing in the sky, it’s bound to get dry in there. Don’t take the chance of getting dehydrated. Bring a bottle or two of water and stay quenched.

Without further ado, the fireworks:



7 Fun Ways to Get Your Kids Out of Your Hair This Summer

That hand won't go anywhere near your white walls if she's at summer camp. | Shutterstock.com

That hand won’t go anywhere near your white walls if she’s at summer camp. | Shutterstock.com

Yay Clay! Philadelphia
Throw on a smock and fire up the kiln! Yay Clay! is a ceramic art/pottery day camp program that offers a fun and creative outlet for kids and young teens ages 7 to 14. Professional instructors will teach campers the art of ceramics using real potter’s tools, techniques and the potter’s wheel. Yay Clay! offers 3-hour half-day (AM or PM) sessions or 6-hour full-day sessions. Pay by week starting June 22nd through August 15th. 3237 Amber Street. 

Philadelphia School of Circus Arts Camp
Fly through the air with the greatest of ease in a comfortable air-conditioned space. The Philadelphia School of Circus Arts operates three summer camps that accommodate all skill levels and youth ages 5 to 18. Campers will be moving, climbing and swinging upside-down while supervised by the regions most experienced aerials instructors. Here is a perfect opportunity to clown around without getting into trouble. Summer sessions start July 6 and run through August 28. 5900A Greene Street.

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