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).
On Thursday May 28thhundreds 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.
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.
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
In honor of Memorial Day, the National Constitution Center is offering guests free admission on Monday. There will be special events scheduled throughout the day, including a flag ceremony, a founding documents tour, a lesson on the "Star-Spangled Banner," a flag etiquette workshop, and plant of activities and games. Monday, May 25th, various times, free, National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street,
Celebrate the holiday at the iconic Independence National Historical Park. At noon on Monday, there will be a traditional Memorial Day ceremony, featuring the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War raising a flag and laying a wreath in front of Independence Hall. Monday, May 25th, 12:00pm, free, Independence National Historical Park, 41 North 6th Street.
While his popularity here in the States grows, the redheaded Brit (and Taylor Swift pal) couldn’t be more loved at home: He plays three shows at Wembley Stadium in July. Tuesday, May 26th, 7:30 pm, $57-$61, Mann Center, 5201 Parkside Avenue.
See Philly favorite Bradley Cooper on the Trocadero's big screen this Tuesday night as they present a showing of American Sniper. You can apply the extremely cheap price of admission ($3) towards food or drink, which makes this an affordable and fun Philly night out. Tuesday, May 26th, 8:00pm, $3, The Trocadero, 1003 Arch Street.
Work up a sweat while helping The Spruce Foundation raise funds: On Wednesday, join this private class at Flywheel Sports followed by a complimentary smoothie. The cost of the class goes towards the Foundation's all volunteer nonprofit mission through grant-making in support of Philly's youth. Wednesday, May 27th, 7:45pm, $35, Flywheel Sports, 1521 Locust Street.
Hometown singer Cynthia G. Mason is taking to the World Cafe Live upstairs stage this Wednesday to celebrate her new record release. Mason has been called the "creepiest chamber pop songstress" by City Paper, and always creates music that serves as an ode to the city that she calls home. Wednesday, May 27th, 8:00pm, $10, World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street.
Three young rockers from Dublin, better known as The Script, take to the Electric Factory stage on Wednesday evening for a one-night-only concert. They've teamed up with Mary Lambert and Colton Avery for a jam session that is sure to have musical stylings for just about any taste. Wednesday, May 27th, 8:00pm, $29.50-35, Electric Factory, 421 North 7th Street.
This party for a purpose will celebrate Project HOME's employment services program, which offers homeless individuals a chance to build job and career skills. Young professionals are invited to join the party at the Mütter Museum on Thursday evening to enjoy food, cocktails, and a silent auction, all for a great cause. Thursday, May 28th, 6:30pm, $65, Mütter Museum, 19 South 22nd Street.
Enjoy an interactive evening that features 4 bands, 6 fashion runways, and 14 visual artists on Thursday. MergeArts, which aims to provide event platforms for artists, takes over Coda for this rock-and-roll party that is sure to inspire. There will be plenty of networking opportunities available for guests to discuss their own projects, too. Thursday, May 28th, 8:00pm, $15-20, Coda, 1712 Walnut Street.
Take it off in classy style: The first-ever Philadelphia Burlesque Festival kicks off festivities this Thursday evening with a Boylesque Bash and Opening Night Party. Hosted by Count Scotchula of the Peek-A-Boo Revue, the show will roar on to the early morning with a dance party to follow. Thursday, May 28th, 8:00pm, $15, Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill Street.
Pig Iron Theatre Company has been at the avant-garde theater game for 20 years. Here, they bring us an “intergalactic gay extravaganza featuring closeted extraterrestrials, high-stakes pursuits and nuns from outer space.” May 22-31, various times and prices, FringeArts, 140 North Columbus Boulevard.
Tom Stoppard spared no words when writing what has arguably become his most well-known play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. The Wilma Theater tackles this intense dark comedy with the same cast that starred in their production of Hamlet, and many of the same characters from Shakespeare's drama make interesting appearances throughout Stoppard's work. Through June 14th, various times, $25, Wilma Theater, 265 South Broad Street.
Experience the grandeur of Disney's The Lion King during it's triumphant return to Philadelphia. Directed by Tony Award winner Julie Taymor, the musical has been a world-wide phenomenon, playing cities around the globe. It isn't just the for the kids: Adults will be wowed by the amazing stagecraft and athletic dancing that tells the story of the classic animated film. Through June 14th, various times, $23.50-169.50, Academy of Music, 240 South Broad Street.
The Tony Award winning musical Memphis takes to the stage of Walnut Street Theatre, and it's perfect summertime fare. The show tells the story of 1950s underground dance clubs and how one singer was turned into a star. With a score by Bon Jovi's David Bryan, you'll surely be dancing in the aisles as the curtain goes down. Through July 12, various times, $20-85, Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut Street.
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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 TobyZinman, 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 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” AndrewGoldstein and Washington-based coach NickWelton to “encourage and support gay youth, rebuke bullying and promote wider education and awareness of LGBT equality within the sport of lacrosse.’
Out comedian WandaSykes will MC the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration on the Fourth of July at Independence Hall. The event is the grandmother of a slew of events throughout the city marking the anniversary of the nation’s first LGBT protests, which took place right here in Philadelphia.
Next month, Ocean Galleries in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, will debut an exhibit of artworks by JohnLennon. 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.
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
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.
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.
If huge crowds don't bother you, there's the epic July 4th fireworks showdown on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway which has become the definitive event of the holiday. Wawa Welcome America's fireworks show is pretty epic, and there are a wide variety of locations throughout the city where you can watch.
The home of the Phillies offers some spectacular fireworks shows several times throughout the season. What's great is you can catch a game and see the display right from your seat, so there's no need to scramble to find parking or get your butt wet by sitting in the grass of a park.
You don't have to wait until July 4th to see a fireworks show: Every Saturday evening game that the Camden Riversharks play at Campbell's Field is followed by a spectacular fireworks display. It's a great way to take your family out for affordable all-night entertainment, and you don't even have to fight for a seat to see the show.
This nifty website, operated simply as a hobby by a woman named Meg Geddes, serves as a one-stop location for fireworks shows across the state of Pennsylvania. Although it is clearly not a totally comprehensive list, the site is a very handy guide to fireworks displays, listed by city or county, and includes some other helpful tips about local shows.
The folks at Best of NJ have compiled a county-specific list of fireworks shows throughout the Southern New Jersey region. Updates for the 2015 season should be completed soon, and includes Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, and Salem Counties. The bloggers here provide the best advice: "Get there early and park so that you can get out easily."
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.