Questlove to DJ at Free Prince Tribute Concert in West Philly

I count myself lucky considering the fact that I was #Blessed to be able to witness the guitar-shredding, soul and funk-ified sound of Prince live and in concert on two separate occasions – neither time in this state, to boot.

A virtuoso in the truest sense, the Purple One’s sudden overdose death in 2016 – a year in which there were many – has left a chasm in the pop music landscape, but his memory shines on through the delightfully raunchy and undeniably entrancing tunes he crafted throughout the decades. With that spirit in mind, the 22nd annual Neighborhood to Neighborhood (N2N) Festival is serving up a tribute concert to Prince with some of his old friends in West Philly on September 16. Read more »

Could West Philly’s Brand-New $50K Bike Lane Disappear?

Photo via the City of Philadelphia

A lot of people are talking about West Philly’s new one-way protected bike lane – the city’s first.

The 1.1 mile lane on Chestnut Street between 45th and 34th Streets, equipped with striping, signage and flexible delineator posts (think: quasi-plungers that separate bikers from cars) opened on Tuesday – to mostly cheers (and some inevitable groans).  Read more »

This West Philly Artist Will Bring You a Surprise Pizza

Photo by Alex Jones

Wanna crush some ‘za but don’t feel like going outside? You’ve got several options for delivery, from schmancy chef-driven pizza through Caviar to your neighborhood pizza joint. With luck, you’ll be eating an ok-to-pretty-good (depending on your location and desired price point), still-hot pizza within an hour.

But where’s the fun in that?

Instead, you could let West Philly-based theater artist and performer Donna Oblongata bring you a pizza…sometime. Somewhere, at a location you’re likely to be (a little social media sleuthing might be involved). And there’s no telling what she’ll put on it.

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Pentridge Station Beer Garden Gets Opening Date

Ephream Amare Seyoum/Pentridge Station

Back in April, we reported that an out-of-the-way block in West Philly’s Cedar Park neighborhood might get a new beer garden and community gathering spot from a team that includes Dahlak bar and entertainment manager Ephream Amare Seyoum.

Last week, one of the organizers, Jocelyn DeGroot-Lutzner, announced to a neighborhood Facebook group that the clearing of the vacant lot on the 5100 block of Pentridge Street has begun, and Pentridge Station has an opening date.

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LGBTQ&A: Clay Cane

Clay Cane

Clay Cane is a New York City–based award-winning journalist, author, television personality, documentary filmmaker, and contributor. Cane is the creator and director of the critically acclaimed original documentary Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church. We chatted with the Philadelphia native on his career, identity, and debut memoir.

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Eating Crickets, River Snails and Fertilized Eggs in West Philly

Photography by SQ Productions

Photography by SQ Productions

Back in 2002, before it strutted the Vientiane name, the Phanthavong family’s Laotian operation out of West Philly functioned more like an outdoor speakeasy than a cafe. It was known as the “Blue Tent” among locals — a tarp-covered wooden structure which served as an unofficial meeting place for the neighborhood’s blooming Southeast Asian community. The family-run setup was helmed by Phoxay Sidara and Daovy Phanthavong — Laotian refugees — and their two daughters Manorack and Sunny. Hordes of families, friends and neighbors would line up outside the Phanthavong household for a taste of Daovy’s cooking and a seat under the tent where they could spend the night drinking and gambling (before dinner, Sunny proudly mentioned, “Laotians know how to party.”). But, remember, this was an “underground” business with no licenses and permits, and those can only last so long. One night, L&I knocked on the Phanthavong’s front door — they were being raided. The Blue Tent was done.

A year later, the family opened their cafe at 4728 Baltimore Avenue. And that’s how Vientiane Café got its start as the city’s premier Laotian restaurant.

Now they’re serving bugs.

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