Wednesday, July 30
West Philadelphia Orchestra
Penn Museum is breaking the stuffy-museum stereotype with its family-friendly summer concert series, which continues tonight with an outdoor performance from the West Philadelphia Orchestra. Take in the group’s multi-faceted Eastern European sounds, then check out the museum’s collection of art and artifacts from around the world. 5pm. $10. Penn Museum, 3260 South St. 215.898.4000. penn.museum
200th Anniversary Art Exhibition
The Athenaeum of Philadelphia celebrates 200 years with an art competition and exhibit focusing on historic landmarks and famous locations throughout Philadelphia. Come and experience the city’s history with pieces focusing on the Athenaeum itself, the Ben Franklin Bridge, the Woodlands and more. Through Aug. 8. Free. Athenaeum of Philadelphia, 219 S. Sixth St. philaathenaeum.org
Thursday, July 31
BlackStar Film Festival
In two short years, the BlackStar Film Festival has become a jewel in Philadelphia’s cultural crown, a summer weekend ritual for movie buffs and hungry students with an interest in compelling documentaries, narrative storytelling, screenwriting, composing and experimental filmmaking that captures, explores and celebrates the immense richness and diversity of African American and African life. Sandwiched between a festive ICA opening reception and an awards show at WCL is four days of informative panels, workshops and films—including some wisely-categorized shorts—that’ll delve into everything from the struggles of black LGBT youth and innovative artists’ challenges to the politics of black hair and what happens when a young Jewish woman finds out her father was black. That’s just the tip of the cinematic iceberg.
Saturday’s youth film program promises to resonate, when 10 engaging short films, whose writers and directors are ages 14 through 22, will be shown back to back—then 14-year-old Broadway and film actress Eden Duncan-Smith, who’s got familial ties to Philly, will chat with a selection of the future Spike Lees and Ava DuVernays who made them. Rap fans win big too, with BlackStar’s “Planet Rock: Hip-Hop Shorts” block early Saturday and two key Philly premieres: Friday night’s Til Infinity: Souls of Mischief revisits the seminal Bay Area crew’s mindblowing 1993 debut LP with a bevy of emcees and aficionados, and Sunday’s closer is Time Is Illmatic, the acclaimed documentary focusing on Nas’ landmark 1994 album, one that marked the arrival of one of rap’s most vital voices. Saturday night’s They Die By Dawn, is a story about black bounty hunters in the Wild West, featuring Erykah Badu, Bokeem Woodbine, Giancarlo Esposito and guaranteed heat-bringer Michael K. Williams; a Q&A with director Jeymes Samuel and Williams follows. Stick around afterward to watch Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose in Half of a Yellow Sun, the Biyi Bandele-directed drama based on the 2006 novel by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. // KENNEDY ALLEN
Thurs., July 31 though Sun. Aug 3. Various times and locations. Free-$125. blackstarfest.org
“We humble, but don’t mistake us for some corny-ass crew,” J-5 collectively proclaim on “If Only You Knew,” a track from their 2002 LP, Power in Numbers. It is excellent West Coast hip-hop that spoke—and still speaks—very clearly to a massive swath of rap fans who were looking for a different kind of L.A. hip-hop. Their self-titled debut came two years after 2Pac’s post-prison comeback, All Eyez On Me, and six years after Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. They spoke to the 17-year-old me that loved the UMCs, Grand Puba, Digable Planets and Pete Rock & CL Smooth. These guys find inspired and brilliantly-studied samples for every record and deftly drop hilarious interludes and voicemails, often reaching Beastie Boys-level of gut-busting laughs.
Arguably, they turned in their two best (2002’s Power In Numbers and 2006’s Feedback) before calling it quits. But Chali 2na, Akil, Zaakir and Marc 7 are ready to rhyme again, and their DJs Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist are set to help em’ turn the party out. They’ve hinted at a live record collected from this big reunion tour, and hey, they just did Glastonbury. These OGs are straight-up heroes. They’re like shamans who helped guide gangster rap back towards the cerebral, jazz-influenced urban artform honed brilliantly by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Sugar Hill Gang and Eric B. & Rakim. // BILL CHENEVERT
6:30pm. $27. With Dilated Peoples, Beat Junkies + Supernatural. Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, Columbus Blvd. and Chestnut St. delawareriverwaterfront.com
Star Trek Into Darkness with The Philadelphia Orchestra
Watch J.J. Abrams’ acclaimed Star Trek sequel on a giant screen at the Mann Center, as the Philadelphia Orchestra plays Michael Giacchino’s score live along with the movie. The performance will be outdoors, so feel free to pack a picnic. 8pm. $14-$75. The Mann Center, 5201 Parkside Ave. manncenter.org
Inside the Making of Letters Never Sent
Sandra Moran’s new book follows a daughter who discovers her dead mother’s unspoken relationship with another woman through a series of sealed letters dating back to the 1930s. Join Moran as she discusses the research that went into the book, as well as her analysis of the time period’s political atmosphere. 5:30pm. Free. William Way, 1315 Spruce St. 215.732.2220. waygay.org
Henry IV: Your Prince and Mine
Shakespeare in Clark Park teams up with Team Sunshine Performance to present Henry IV, a free outdoor performance complete with battle scenes featuring an army of 100 volunteers. Stop by the Conversation Station after the show to learn about the behind-the-scenes production. 7pm. Free. Through Aug. 3. Clark Park, 4398 Chester Ave. 215.764.5345. shakespeareinclarkpark.org
Friday, August 1
Arch Enemy Arts
What will the future look like and how will it change us? Arch Enemy Arts invites you to check out 13 artists’ views on ways future technology will change mankind in Heart of Wires, the second part of their two-exhibit showing. Last month’s show, Sight Beyond Sight, which focused on the mystery and spirituality of the future as envisioned by artists from around the world, will also be on view. Both exhibits run through the end of the month. 6pm. Free. Arch Enemy Arts, 109 Arch St. 215.717.7774. archenemyarts.com
First Friday at CHF: Game Night
Want to build your own lab and create chemical reactions? There’s an app for that! Chemistry-based games and activities take center stage tonight as the Chemical Heritage Foundation offers you the chance to play for prizes and try out its brand new iPad app, ChemCrafter. 5pm. Free. The Chemical Heritage Foundation, 315 Chestnut St. 215.925.2222. chemheritage.org
Ryan Wilson Kelly: Confabulation
This show serves as Kelly’s swan song in Philadelphia, as he’ll soon be leaving the city for a new job in Ohio. Come out and bid the artist a fond farewell with a “best-of” presentation featuring bits and pieces of some of his greatest work. 6pm. Free. Philadelphia Sculpture Gym, 1834 E. Frankford Ave. philadelphiasculpturegym.com
The Texas-based artist’s newest installation consists of a series of drawn covers of fake books, giving the illusion of a pop-up bookstore. McNamee-Tweed first debuted the concept in his Austin hometown, and he will soon publish the drawings in a book of their own. 6pm. Free. Little Berlin Annex, 2430 Coral St. littleberlin.org
Into the Woods
Dive deep into your childhood imagination, and watch characters from your favorite fairytales come to life in this Tony Award-winning book-turned-musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and more interact with one another along the magical journey. Stay after the show for a Q&A with the cast and crew. 8pm. $15-$20. The SkyBox at the Adrienne Theatre, 2030 Sansom St. 215.567.2848. adriennelive.org
Found Sounds: Underwater Edition
DJ Poseidon-Trident provides the tunes at Painted Bride’s annual fundraiser, this time raising money for their upcoming nautical-themed production, Deep Blue Sleep, slated to run during this year’s Fringe Festival in September. Dance the night away, and burn off the extra calories consumed after indulging in scrumptious apple pie from the 2014 Vendy Cup winner Pie Stand food truck. 7pm. $5. The Painted Bride, 230 Vine St. 215.925.9914. paintedbride.org
Saturday, August 2
Southeast Asian Dragon Boat Festival
Yes, we’re already mid-way through summer, but fret not: there are dozens of fun free events for the whole family to enjoy for the next five weeks or so. Saturday’s fourth annual Southeast Asian Dragon Boat Festival is among the well-developed slate of diverse cultural offerings PECO and the Delaware River Waterfront still has on deck this season.
The traditional Water Festival takes place annually on the banks of the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the nation’s capital and largest city. Determined boaters and their legions of fans pour into Phnom Penh by the millions for three days each fall, continuing to honor and celebrate customs that date back to the height of the Khmer Empire. This one-day version, founded by the Cambodia-born, South Philly-raised Song Phou, has a clearly defined mission to enrich and encourage future leaders within Philly’s Asian communities, while enlightening other cultures about his people’s glorious heritage. The best part? The community-at-large gets in on the action too, with businesses, organizations, friends and neighbors forming teams that vy to be the fastest dragon boat on the Delaware; this year, there are 21 squads competing.
All on-the-water activity aside, savory Southeast Asian foods will be available all day, and a wide array of musicians, dancers and other performers will fill the Dragon Boat Fest’s entertainment bill. Float on over if you can. // K.A.
Noon. Free. Penn’s Landing Marina and Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, Columbus Blvd. and Chestnut St. seadbf.com
Moonlight Movies in Mt. Airy: Pitch Perfect
Enjoy a screening of the 2012 surprise hit—starring the always hilarious Rebel Wilson—at the Trolley Car Diner tonight. Freshmen Becca (Anna Kendrick) reluctantly joins the all-female a cappella group the Barden Bellas and brings attitude and a new sound to the national competition. 8:30pm. Free. Trolley Car Diner, 7619 Germantown Ave. 215.753.1500. gomtairy.com
Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America
The seven-city traveling beer festival—which kicked off in Chico, Calif.—finally makes its way to Philly with the wares of more than 2,500 famous brewers in tow. Some of the stops have already sold out, so don’t sleep on getting tickets for the chance to celebrate the practice of craft brewing with the best in the game. Noon. $30-65. Penn Treaty Park, 1341 N. Delaware Ave. sierranevada.com/beercamp
Boys of Summer Swimsuit Party
Dance the night away with hundreds of men wearing nothing but swimsuits at the 11th Annual Boys of Summer Swimsuit Party, featuring live music and entertainment by DJ Drew G, Gunnar Montana dance troupe, SM Luke and Mike Munich from So You Think You Can Dance. All proceeds benefit PhillyGayCalendar’s mission to foster equality in the city. 9pm. $15. Voyeur Nightclub, 1221 St. James St. 215.735.5772. phillygaycalendar.com/bos
Scribe Presents Street Movies!
Making a name for itself by touring around the Philadelphia area, this community-hosted film series prides itself on bringing independent movies to local parks, lots, playgrounds and other public spaces. Tonight’s screening includes Listening Is An Act of Love, Revival From the Roots, Glorious Saturday and Esperanza Stories. 7:45pm. Free. Hunting Park, 990 W. Hunting Park Ave. scribe.org/streetmovies
Martha Graham Cracker
Martha Graham Cracker’s larger-than-life cabaret act includes new arrangements and mash-ups from a slew of artists, including Prince and Nina Simone. Headlined by Johnny Showcase and Rumi Kitchen, special guests include Pig Iron APT School graduate Jennifer Kidwell and Mark McCloughan of No Face Performance Group. 9pm. $15. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com
Trestle Inn’s First Annual Dog Wash
The Trestle Inn encourages anyone with a dog in need of a good bath to stop by this inaugural fundraiser benefiting the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). Owners can enjoy a KelSo Pilsner and a hot dirty dog BBQ while their pup is washed squeaky clean. 1pm. $20. Trestle Inn, 11th and Callowhill St. 267.239.0290. thetrestleinn.com
Sunday, August 3
Third Annual Reggae in the Park
Two years ago, the Mann Center ushered in a brand new, two-stage festival celebrating the feel-good power of reggae music with headlining performances by genre legends Jimmy Cliff and Beres Hammond, the latter of whom returned to headline the following year. This time around, Philadelphia welcomes back one of its favorite suburban sons in Matisyahu, whose name sits proudly at the top of the bill for the concert’s third edition.
The West Chester native certainly has big shoes to fill, but in the decade it’s been since he released his first album, Matisyahu has proven himself as a reasonably unique force in the game by injecting some Yiddish fervor into his rap-rooted style and letting his Hasidic Judaist faith shine throughout his musical catalogue. Fresh off the June release of his fifth record, Akeda (Hebrew for “binding”), it’s safe to assume he’ll be receiving a gracious homecoming.
Of course, Matisyahu won’t be alone up there; Veterans like Steel Pulse and Inner Circle—both of which have been around since reggae’s ‘70s glory days—along with more contemporary acts like Morgan Heritage, Sensamotion and Cultureal, can be found on both the main stage and the Crescendo tent. Plus, there will be plenty of live DJ sets, arts and crafts and divine Caribbean cuisine to add some Rastafarian spice to the festivities, all of which are guaranteed to make the subsequent work week fly by with the greatest of ease. // JAKE ABBATE
2pm. $40-$94.50. Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Ave. 215.546.7900. manncenter.org
Phreak N’ Queer
Get your phreak on at the return of one of Philadelphia’s biggest LGBT music and arts festivals. Coming on its fourth year now, Phreak N’ Queer unites artists from Philly and the surrounding area for four days of extravagant entertainment aimed toward creating social change. Musical performances, visual art and spoken word events are scheduled all over the city; don’t miss out on the festivities. July 31-Aug. 3. Various locations. phreaknqueerfestival.wordpress.com
The 7th Annual ACANA African Festival
As part of the PECO Multicultural Festival Series, the African Cultural Alliance of North America hosts an African festival for all families to enjoy. The day includes musical and dance performances from African artists and vendors offering traditional food, as well as arts and crafts. Enter a raffle to win two round trip tickets to West Africa. 2-8pm. Free. Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, 121 N. Columbus Blvd. 215.729.8225. acanaus.org
Bare! True Stories of Sex, Desire and Romance brings together storytellers, sex educators and regular people to share true tales from their own sexual experiences. If you’re feeling brave enough, you can put your name in a hat for your chance to share on stage. 8pm. $10. L’etage, 624 S. Sixth St. 215.592.0656. creperie-beaumonde.com
Monday, August 4
Rittenhouse Row Culinary Collective
Some of Philadelphia’s finest chefs along Rittenhouse Row come together for a food event featuring their best culinary creations. Sample exclusive menus at 18 restaurants, including Chef Eli Kulp’s summer menu at a.kitchen and Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby’s upcoming vegan food bar, V Street. Through Aug. 7. Rittenhouse Row. rittenhouserow.org
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
The Troc’s Movie Monday continues with Hedwig and the Angry Inch, directed, written and starring John Cameron Mitchell. The film, which follows a transsexual punk rocker from East Berlin, is told through a U.S. tour with her band. The $3 admission gets you entry and a drink or snack. 8pm. $3. Trocadero Theatre, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888. thetroc.com
Tuesday, August 5
Rick Perlstein: The Invisible Bridge
New York Times best-selling author Rick Perlstein follows up his critically acclaimed bestseller Nixonland with The Invisible Bridge, a novel that chronicles the fall of Nixon and the rise of Reagan and it’s effects on conservatism in America. 7:30pm. Free. Central Library, 1901 Vine St. freelibrary.org
B.Y.O Quizzo with Johnny Goodtimes and Rad Girls
Bring your own beer or wine, and participate in a stirring game night hosted by Johnny Goodtimes and co-hosted by rad-girls.com. Winning teams will receive $100 gift cards to the Market & Shops at Comcast Center. 5:30pm. Free. The Market & Shops at Comcast Center, 1701 JFK Blvd.
Wednesday, August 6
Wow, glam neo-psych rockers Temples play Lollapalooza five days before they play this free show on our very own Delaware River. From Lake Michigan to Morgan’s Pier, this baby band from Kettering, UK will bring psychedelic nu-prog stoner rock to an eager audience. Not necessarily what you’d expect from the R5 teams’ free-via-RSVP series that’ll bring Delorean to the same stage before summer’s over, but their first record, February’s awesome Sun Structures, has gained them loads of fans both big and small. Temples pride themselves on eschewing song structure, and they should—all 12 songs on their 53-minute debut beautifully employ harmonies, rhythm and hallucinatory drugs. Some sound like late ‘90s-era Fatboy Slim and some like The Horrors’ first joint.
They’re more Byrds than Beatles. They’ve already opened for the Stones. They’d complement Tame Impala and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti nicely in some weird gothic clouded haze. This is a good band—right there with outfits of the last year or two who pushed song envelopes with new records and bend genres blithely and easily: Foxygen, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Thee Silver Mt. Zion’s crew. Just think: James Edward Bagshaw and Thomas Edward James Walmsley were frustrated young post-grad Brit millenials who started fucking around with bedroom recordings, and, maybe a year later, they’re darling big-haired weirdos who preach mysticism and 12-string guitar. It’s the stuff of which dreams are made. // B.C.
9pm. Free with RSVP. Morgan’s Pier, 221 N. Columbus Blvd. 215.279.7134. morganspier.com
August Garden Sips
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens hosts its last August Garden Sips of the summer, offering art, refreshments, music and more. Visitors can enjoy the soothing jazz style of Fresco Jazz Duo while crafting key chains and bottle cap magnets. All proceeds benefit PMG’s education and outreach programs. 6pm. $5-$15. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, 1020 South St. phillymagicgardens.org
Head Over Heels
Quince Productions GayFest! 2014 opens with New York-based dance company Bang Group, whose electric dance moves to MGM musicals reference today’s gay culture. 7pm. $25. Plays and Players Theater, 1714 Delancey St. thebanggroup.com
Out of Town
Cooking with the Calamari Sisters
Delphine and Carmela Calamari are ready to take your order: Set on a fake live broadcast stage, the over-the-top Calamari sisters’ cooking show offers hijinks and homemade recipes, accompanied by some of your favorite Italian songs. July 30-Aug. 3. $30. Bristol Riverside Theatre, 120 Radcliffe St., Bristol. brtstage.org
The RockStar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival
The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival makes its way across the East Coast, featuring hardcore rockers Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Cannibal Corpse and more. Fri., Aug. 1, 1pm. $25-145. Susquehanna Bank Center, 1 Harbour Blvd., Camden, N.J. rockstarmayhemfest.com
Sixers Beach Bash
The 76ers 15th annual Beach Bash offers entertainment, silent auctions, cool prizes and an ocean view. Sixers players Tony Wroten, Brandon Davies and Darryl Dawkins are scheduled to attend the family-friendly event, which also features carnival games, face painting, a 76ers yard sale and much more. Sat., Aug. 2, 3pm. Free. Jack’s Place, 3601 Ocean Dr, Avalon, N.J. nba.com/sixers
Blake Shelton + Lady Antebellum
Country music fans are in for two free treats at the shore this week. First up is Blake Shelton, of The Voice fame, playing on Thurs., July 31 with an opening from country-music duo Dan & Shay. Then, on Sun., Aug. 3, Lady Antebellum will grace the sand with X-Factor winners, Alex & Sierra, opening up for the trio. Both concerts are free, but tickets are required for entry. 6pm. Free. Atlantic City Beach, between Caesar’s Pier at Arkansas Ave. and Central Pier at St. James Place, Atlantic City, NJ. 888.228.4748. atlanticcitynj.com
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide