The N Crowd. Comprised of some of Philly’s most talented funny people, this short-form improv comedy troupe delivers 80 minutes of hilarity each and every Friday night. Fridays, 8pm. $12-$15. The Actors Center, 257 N. Third St. 215.925.7060. phillyncrowd.com
Municipal Waste. Perhaps best enjoyed while evading flesh-craving zombies, this hard-metal band will (a) scare the crap out of you, or (b) get you ready for the apocalypse. June 25, 7:30pm. $13-$18. With 3 Inches of Blood, Black Tusk. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100. utphilly.com
Architecture Walking Tour. Meet at statue of William Penn and discover the evolution of Fishtown’s residences—from the great industrial age when the neighborhood was developed to house the many factory workers to today as one of Philly’s most popular neighborhoods. June 30, 2pm. $8-$10. Penn Treaty Park, N. Delaware Ave. at Columbia St. 215.546.1146. preservationalliance.com
Make Your Own Terrarium. Learn everything you need to know to create and maintain your own mini oasis—from soil requirements, watering, planting and design. When it’s all said and done, you’ll be going home with your very own starter terrarium. June 30, noon. $30. Greensgrow Farm, 2501 E. Cumberland St. 215.427.2702. greensgrow.org
Radio 104.5 Block Party. For the third year, Radio 104.5 brings the sounds of summer to the Piazza. On July 7, catch The Dirty Heads and Steppin’ Razor. On July 28, the six-piece Icelandic chamber pop group Of Monsters And Men will be joined by West Coast pop-rockers JJAMZ and Philly’s own Tim Williams. July 7 and July 28, 4pm. Free. The Piazza, 1015 N. Second St. 215.467.4603. atthepiazza.com
Eraserhead Forever. PhilaMOCA hosts a David Lynch-themed art show in honor of an Eraserhead mural that is currently being added to the building’s exterior. They are seeking Lynch-themed/inspired submissions from artists of all disciplines. July 13-24. Various times. $25. PhilaMOCA. 531 N. 12th St. 267.519.9651. philamoca.org
Cockney Rejects, Sick Of It All. Both are brother-created bands, but the former fought at the national level as amateur youth boxers and the latter were accused of having inspired a school shooting (falsely, of course). And their music sounds almost as violent as its lyrics. July 13, 8pm. $20. With Ducky Boys, Hub City Stompers. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100. utphilly.com
Dick Dale. He is a surf guitar god and you should bow in his presence. With Blue Wave Theory. July 16, 8pm. $20. North Star Bar, 2630 Poplar St. 215.787.0488. northstarbar.com
Best Coast. This California band merges Beach Boys surf-pop with airy lyrics and echo whimsy. They also have an affinity for felines. July 16, 8:30pm. $18-$20. With Those Darlins. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100. utphilly.com
Murder By Death. Despite the dreary name, their music is a pleasant conglomeration of Americana, indie-rock, and classic-ballad—complete with Johnny Cash-esque vocals, punky drums and the clear strains of a cello. July 18, 8pm. $15-$17. With Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100. utphilly.com
Cast Your Own Hypertufa Pots. Learn how to easily cast your own pots using Hypertufa, a lightweight combination of aggregates and Portland cement. It’s all the rage these days. July 28, noon. $25. Greensgrow, 2501 E. Cumberland St. 215.427.2702. greensgrow.org
The Deep Dark Woods. The Deep Dark Woods’ unflinching pursuit of steadiness between decadence and minimalism is guided at every turn by their intuitive ability to balance grit, clarity, drive and restraint with a sure focus on experimentation. Aug. 2, 8pm. $10. Kung Fu Necktie, 1248 N. Front St. 215.291.4919. kungfunecktie.com
Scott Reynolds and Fred Mascherino. Reynolds formerly of All and the Pavers and Mascherino also formerly of Taking Back Sunday, Breaking Pangaea, and Terrible Things, the duo’s taking a late-summer tour around the country, sharing their punk rock talent on the way. With Toy Cannons and Joe Jack Talcum. Aug. 5. 7:30pm. $10. Kung Fu Necktie, 1248 N. Front St. 215.291.4919. kungfunecktie.com
Miniature Tigers. This Brooklyn-based foursome brings a frighteningly pleasant dosage of innuendoes to their indie-funk, psych, electronic-pop sound. Aug. 3, 7pm. $10. North Star Bar, 2630 Poplar St. 215.787.0488. northstarbar.com
Breath. This 2007 Cannes Film Festival Best Film nominee by South Korean auteur Ki-duk Kim traces the eerie and emotionally charged meetings between a betrayed woman and a death-row prisoner. Aug. 17, 8pm. $5. Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Ave. 215.236.3300. easternstate.org
House Plant Workshop. For all the city dwellers cooped up in tiny apartments, this workshop will show you how to bring the outside in. In addition to learning how to choose the right plants for your environment, participants will each pot up a companion container garden to take home. Aug. 25, 12pm. $20. Greensgrow Farm, 2501 E. Cumberland St. 215.427.2702. greensgrow.org
Looking for summer excitement in your neighborhood—or an excuse to explore new parts of the city? Either way, you’re golden: Here’s our compass-based manual for locating the hottest fun to be found around Philly, one direction at a time!
OK, so maybe South Philly doesn’t have as many museums and theaters as Center City. It also lacks the bustling college scene of University City and all the super-trendy, “up-and-coming” allure of North Portfishington. Nevertheless, when you take a stadium complex, a beautiful green oasis, a vibrant arts community, and a slew of stellar dining establishments and mix them together into one giant melting pot, inevitably you wind up with a pretty awesome recipe for summertime amusement.
An eclectic melting pot of Philly’s smaller neighborhoods, Center City has the most to offer with the greatest variety.
Unless you weren’t already convinced, hopefully we’ve proven to you by now that Philly is jam-packed with awesome summer events. But for a little suburban staycation, we threw in our top picks for events happening outside city limits.
Sunny enthusiasm, morbid fascination or retro nostalgia: Whatever mood you feel like cultivating in your culture, you can find it just inside the roundabouts-northerly edges of the Philadelphia city limits.
Who’s ready to have too much fun in West Philly this summer? We are!
First Person Arts Podcast: Proud Mom