7 Shows to See in Philly This Week: Bryan Adams, Capital Cities, Cold War Kids, Misfits, and More

7 Shows to See in Philly This Week: Fleetwood Mac Reunites, Finch, STS9 and Flyleaf

7 Shows to See in Philly This Week: Ed Sheeran, Parachute, Grouplove, and More

New Mural Illuminates Backside of Union Transfer

Photo by Steve Weinik

Photo by Steve Weinik

Tomorrow afternoon Union Transfer is hosting a ceremony to dedicate a gorgeous new mural that now adorns its backside. The work, called Amplify, was created by artist Ben Volta, and members of Mural ArtsRestorative Justice Guild program. Mural Arts explains how the concept for Amplify, which incorporates radiant stain glass windows and a variety of designs symbolizing “properties of music, sounds and the amplification of voice,” came about:

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Connor Barwin’s Make the World Better Foundation’s Ralph Brooks Park Fundraiser


It was only a few weeks ago I was writing about Bud Selig’s visit to Philadelphia and his comments about the Phillies being the most philanthropic team in the MLB. The Philadelphia Eagles aren’t too shabby, either. There’s Brent Celek’s “Take Flight” Foundation for kids’ education, DeMeco Ryan’s Foundation supporting children’s healthy eating, and Todd Herremans Foundation, which raises money for various children’s charities in need.

Now Connor Barwin has started a foundation called the Make the World Better Foundation (MTWB is an acronym for his parents’ names: Margret Thomas and William Barwin). Friday night Barwin hosted a concert at Union Transfer to raise money for Ralph Brooks Park at 20th and Tasker Streets, a park in need of renovation that Barwin would pass on his bike rides to “work” from his Rittenhouse Square residence. Plans were already underway to revitalize the park; they just needed that extra push — including money to meet the goals set out by the organizations that were in place, including Urban Roots, the ACE Mentor Program, and the Philadelphia Water Department.

The major fundraiser to get them over the hurdle was held Friday night at Union Transfer where Connor Barwin hosted a VIP cocktail party were fans could meet their favorite players. Afterward there was a concert where Kurt Vile and the Violators, The Districts and The Tontons played to a sold-out crowd. The artists donated their services to the organization as did the music hall, along with all proceeds from the bar that evening. When the total is tallied, Connor Barwin is going to match it. In no time, the Ralph Brooks Park will be a safe place for kids to play again.

Connor Barwin’s Make The World Better Foundation’s Ralph Brooks Park Fundraiser »

7 Shows to See in Philly This Week: Sharon Van Etten, Music to Make the World Better and the Dad Concert to End All Dad Concerts

You know what the doctor says: A little music every day keeps the blahs away. To help, we round up a concert for every day of this week.


Eagles’ Connor Barwin, Kurt Vile Team Up to “Make the World Better”

make the world better philadelphiaEagles Linebacker Connor Barwin’s “Make the World Better” charity project is hosting a concert to raise money for much-needed improvements to Ralph Brooks Park in South Philadelphia. The park was constructed in honor of Ralph Brooks Jr., who, when he was 7 years old in 1988, had his spinal cord severed when he was struck by a bullet in a gang-related incident. While the park was named in his memory, the violence in the area has continued, leaving the park in dilapidating condition. The purpose of the effort is to give kids a safe place to play and have fun.

The concert will be on Friday June, 20th, and will feature local groups Kurt Vile and the Violators and the Districts, and Houston’s The Tontons. All money raised will be used to improve the park, which involves adding a new, state-of-the-art basketball court, safe and well-lit play areas, a large community garden and a mural by local artist Steve Powers.

VIP/Meet and Greet tickets are available, giving you the chance to hang with Barwin and his Eagles teammates LeSean McCoy, DeMeco Ryans, Jason Kelce, Brent Celek, Trent Cole and more. There will also be raffles for Eagles memorabilia, and some of Kurt Vile’s personal pedals and keyboards. Union Transfer has agreed to offer their venue for the concert free of charge and will be donating all bar proceeds from the night. Connor Brown has promised to match the funds raised from the show, doubling the total amount raised. It’s a night not to be missed. Get your tickets here.


Spruce Foundation Gala To Honor The Attic Youth Center and Others


Members of The Attic Youth Center, one of the Spruce Foundation's award recipients.

Members of The Attic Youth Center, one of the Spruce Foundation’s award recipients.

A gala at Union Transfer on Saturday, June 7 will celebrate the achievements of a host of local associations that have contributed to Philadelphia youth, and there’s a strong (although not exclusive) focus on the LGBTQ population.

The host of the evening, The Spruce Foundation, is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 that supports at-risk youth in Philadelphia through grant making and volunteer services. The gala is the group’s largest fundraiser of the year, and serves as a celebration for the excellent work of various service organizations throughout the city.

Jake Tulsky, Spruce Foundation’s Chair of Communications, says the group’s “dual mission is to redefine philanthropy and cultivate the next generation of philanthropists through community giving and grant-making in support of Philadelphia’s youth.”

This year marks the 7th anniversary of the gala, and the recipients include iPRAXIS, Asian Arts Initiative, Girls on the Run, and, of note to the LGBTQ community, The Attic Youth Center, Philadelphia’s only gay youth center. As a matter of fact, 25% of The Spruce Foundation’s grant money is going to The Attic, a huge amount, according to Co-President Rudy Flesher.

“Spruce’s dedication to LGBTQ youth is basically unparalleled in the philanthropic community,” said Flesher. “It’s an inspiring reason for our community to make the Spruce Gala part of their weekend.”

Tickets and more information about the event are available by clicking here.

PHOTOS: The Both at Union Transfer

While The Both’s Friday night show at Union Transfer may have been in promotion its eponymous debut LP, Aimee Mann and Ted Leo made it clear the band is already pretty familiar with Philly, considering the video for their single “Milwaukee” was shot here.

The night proved one part super-group show, and one part close friends shooting the shit. They casually delivered pristine folk-pop duets between banter bouts of Paul Stanley impressions, Henry Winkler bronze statue anecdotes, and corroborations of Leo’s J.R.R. Tolkein expertise.

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TONIGHT: Gary Shteyngart, Phosphorescent, an ’80s Party and More

Our daily roundup of what’s happening tonight in Philadelphia. Quick note before we move on: All tonight’s events are subject to cancellation because of weather. Be sure to double check before heading out in the cold.

gary shteyngart

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED: New York Times best-selling comic novelist Gary Shteyngart is returning to the Free Library of Philadelphia to share stories from his latest memoir, Little Failure. (Fun fact: The book was released via a funny trailer starring big-namers James Franco, Rashida Jones and Jonathan Franzen.) The story goes back in time to when Gary was a small boy living in Leningrad named Igor Shteyngart. Eventually it follows him to America — where he is given the name “Gary” — and offers a witty glimpse into his experience as an American immigrant. The evening’s conversation will be led by Daniel Torday, author of the National Jewish Book Award-winning The Sensualist and visiting professor of creative writing at Bryn Mawr College. Tue., Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m., $15, Central Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine St.

Three more events after the jump

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