Fairmount Park Conservancy Awarded $3 Million Arts Grant from the White House

FAIRMOUNT-PARK-KELLY-DRIVE-CYCLIST JEFF FUSCO

Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park Conservancy (FPC) is in the national spotlight this week after President Obama announced that it, along with only five other organizations nationwide, will receive a $3 million grant from ArtPlace America. The award, which will be doled out over the next three years, is meant to help the park “incorporate arts and cultural strategies into its core work.” The Conservancy is one of 227 projects that ArtPlace America has invested in from its start in 2011. In total, they’ve provided more than $67 million in funds to 43 states. Read more »

Connor Barwin, Mayor Nutter Dedicate Ralph Brooks Park in Point Breeze

Connor Barwin speaks at the Ralph Brooks Park dedication ceremony. | Photo by HughE Dillon

Connor Barwin speaks at the Ralph Brooks Park dedication ceremony. | Photo by HughE Dillon

Connor Barwin’s Make the World Better Foundation‘s first major initiative in Philadelphia was dedicated yesterday afternoon in Point Breeze. The new Ralph Brooks Park at 20th and Tasker streets was a collaborative project with urban development non-profit Urban Roots, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Mural Arts and many more. The area now boasts a full-size basketball court, a state-of-the-art playground, a community garden that will produce fresh vegetables for the neighborhood, and a fresh new work from “Love Letters” muralist Steve Powers.

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SEPTA Increasing Train Service for Made in America

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Center City will be a mess this weekend, with thousands of revelers heading to the Parkway for the 2015 Made in America Festival, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday. To keep things running as smoothly as possible, SEPTA has announced it will increase train and rail service throughout the weekend. They’ve also released information about any interrupted routes so you don’t get on a detoured bus.

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One Direction’s Harry Styles Visits Villanova Pizza Shop

In case the screaming teenage girls in the distance didn’t tip you off, One Direction is officially in Philadelphia. They’ll appear at Lincoln Financial Field tonight in their international On the Road Again Tour.

Somehow 1D frontman Harry Styles made it over to Villanova University last night to stop at a pizza shop near campus called Campus Corner. Naturally, the young clientele went wild, and Twitter blew up with evidence of his arrival:

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10 Must-See Curated Shows at the 2015 Fringe Festival

The Cast of A Doll's House. | Photo by Josh Mcilvain

The Cast of A Doll’s House. | Photo by Josh Mcilvain

As usual, there’s way too much to see at this year’s 19th iteration of the Fringe Festival, with 143 different events split between the “curated” shows, a.k.a. the performers who are invited and paid for by the festival, and the “independents,” a.k.a. the come-one-come-alls, which include everything from a comedy hypnosis show (ugh) to stuff you should actually see. Today, we’re focusing on the curated shows to bring you our 10 must-sees. (Click the shows’ title for ticket links.)

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The Marleys—and the Spirit of Bob—Lit Up the Mann Center Saturday Night

Stephen “Ragga” and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley held court with a house full of loyal fans during Saturday night’s Catch a Fire concert, the kick-off of a ten-city tour, at the Mann Center. The contrast between the two sons of Bob Marley and their sets — Stephen went first, then Damian — gives a nod to the foundation and the future of Marley’s musical legacy. The headliners completed a day of performances as marijuana-scented breezes swirled through the open-air venue. The stage was complete with a Rastafarian flag being waved by a member of their crew, a golden lion sculpture and Rasta red-gold-and-green lighting bathing the stage. 

The annual Reggae in the Park festival opened in the afternoon, with a lineup of acts on the Main Stage, including Bob Marley’s grandsons, Skip and Jo Mersa, as well as performers Morgan Heritage and Tarrus Riley, with more acts on the smaller Crescendo Stage. Jamaican barbecue and Jamaican-themed crafts were on sale in stalls around the edge of the lawn. Families, couples, and friends milled about, some dancing, some lounging on the lawn, and some watched from their seats. While the lines for the picnic food were long—up to 40 minutes to get some jerk-chicken—the chill Bob Marley “one love” vibe was thick in the air. 

Stephen Marley | Photo by Darco Lalevic

Stephen Marley | Photo by Darco Lalevic

By 8 pm, under a full moon, Stephen Marley, opened with his father’s fun anthem “Lively Up Yourself.” Stephen has become a kind of “keeper of the flame” and mentor to his younger brothers, producing Grammy-winning songs and albums for them as a co-founder of the Ghetto Youths International recording label. He delivered many of his father’s classics at an up-tempo beat during his hour-long set, with a few feeling rushed at times. The crowd responded to Stephen’s obvious pleasure at covering iconic songs of his father including “Roots, Rock, Reggae,” “Is this Love,” “Buffalo Soldiers,” “Iron Lion Zion,” and “Three Little Birds.” At times the show felt like a group sing-along with enthusiastic, swaying fans accompanying Stephen from their seats. He peppered his songs with exhortations to “Jah,” “feeling Irie,” and “Zion,” and the fans cheered harder. A few of his original songs — “No Cigarette Smoking,” “Hey Baby, “ “Iron Bars” — made it into the set as well as a brief appearance of his newest single, “Rock Stone.” Stephen finished up by introducing his son with obvious paternal pride, “Here’s Jo Mersa, my child, my seed.” Stephen’s genial stage presence, reverence for his father’s body of work and his own well-crafted songs serve as a foundation for the bold new reggae sounds of his youngest brother. Damian’s vibe is something different altogether, as he took the stage with a fierce, commanding rockstar presence.

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7 Shows to See in Philly This Week



24 Great Photos From Philly Naked Bike Ride

Philly Naked Bike Ride

Photo by Mike Toub.

Philadelphia paparazzo HughE Dillon was all set up at the Art Museum on Saturday to snap the 2015 Philly Naked Bike Ride, when word got around that the route had changed. The in-the-buff bikers wouldn’t be passing by the Art Museum, after all, leaving HughE twiddling his lens.

Thankfully his husband, Mike Toub, was walking around Center City when the horde came buzzing around Rittenhouse. So, like a good hubby, he pulled out his camera to get some shots, later heading to the Gayborhood to snap a few more.

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