XPN Weekend Arts Crawl…Motion, the Lincoln Highway, pizza and more!

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courtesy of

You can literally put yourself in the middle of the technology of knowing where you are when you go to Fronting Motion: an Exhibition by PolakVanBekkum at the University City Science Center’s Esther Klein Art Gallery! Artists Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum explain it this way:

Imagine yourself standing between two screens. Sound is all around you: you hear cars approaching, while from your back you hear the sluggish blowing of a sea tankers horn sounds, distant gulls? Everywhere you hear this other, constant noise. Is it the sea you hear or is it the sound of a highway? There is no way to distinguish other than by seeing or imagining, because both are in E flat… Meanwhile on the front screen the upbeat swelling of lights make you want to get out of the way, whilst the horizontal scrolling bars behind you, combined with its meditating sound keep you clamped to the ground. There’s no escape…

video preview can help prepare you for this unique experience, which starts Friday and runs through August 16th.

Historian Brian Butko, author of Lincoln Highway Companion, Diners of Pennsylvania, Roadside Attractions, and Roadside Giants, highlights the rich past of America’s first coast-to-coast automobile road, the Lincoln Highway, at the Mercer Museum Saturday afternoon. He’ll cover its origins, architecture and roadside attractions and sign copies of his book about the famed route. (There’s also a documentary about the fabled road produced for its centennial last year and a Lincoln Highway blog.) While you’re at the Mercer you can view the extraordinary collection of handmade items assembled by historian Henry Mercer and placed in the 6-story concrete castle he built to house them.

the Pizza Underground...courtesy of
the Pizza Underground…courtesy of

Whatever happened to Macaulay Culkin, the child star famous for the Home Alone movies?  Pizza, that’s what!  He’s now fronting a band called The Pizza Underground. The band starts with Velvet Underground songs and as pizza box percussionist Deenah Vollmer explains: “…you can replace most any word with slice or cheese.” They’re appearing at a free Pizza Party Friday, part of the Awesome Fest, that also includes a screening of the 1990 cult classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on a big screen…and free pizza!  Ang & The Damn Band and Modern Colour also play.

PHILADANCO, Philadelphia’s world renowned dance company, presents its third annual Founder’s Day concert, a tribute to founder Joan Myers Brown and a benefit for the company, Friday at the Dell Music Center. On the bill is Suite Otis, a ballet set to Otis Redding’s music and choreographed by George Faison of Broadway’s the Wiz, and performances by four other dance troupes. The affordable tickets are meant to encourage families to experience a special quality evening of dance under the stars.

Rob Becker spent three years writing his one-man show Defending The Caveman and started performing it in 1991.  Since then the comedic take on the battle of the sexes has become the longest running solo play in Broadway history and has toured 45 countries and been translated into 18 different languages! The new production at Penn’s Landing Playhouse stars Vince Valentine and runs through August 24th.

On Saturday from 1 to 4, Headhouse Square hosts the 3rd annual Dog Days of Summer Cook Off. Twenty restaurants and food trucks from around the Philly area are going to head-to-head to see who makes the best frankfurter.

Brave New Voices: International Youth Slam Poetry Grand Slam Finals are at the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts Saturday, featuring  some of the up-and-coming voices of the spoken word world.

The Institute of Contemporary Art has an interesting exhibition closing this Sunday, Benjamin Tiven: Synthetic Spectrum. As a response to the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s 2004 exhibit The Big Nothing, Tiven shows two film projects, his 2012 film A Third Version of the Imaginary and something new, an essayistic film “exploring the changing visuality of contemporary information technology and dissemination.”

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XPN Weekend Arts Crawl…celebrating the Schuylkill River and The Blob, the 20th Annual Bastille Day celebration in Fairmount, and more!


The Blobfest 2014 Streetfair is Saturday in front of the Colonial Theater in Phoenixville! This is an annual celebration of the original 1958 cult classic horror movie,The Blob, partially shot in Phoenixville, which was Steve McQueen’s first movie and had a hit title song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. In it a jellylike thing from outer space lands in rural Pennsylvania and starts consuming townspeople. The free street fair has a fire extinguisher parade, costume contest, and live music. Throughout the day, several Blob related movies will be screened, including the original Blob, The Blob and Mothra, and The Blob and the Giant Spider. Special guests include Kris Yeaworth, son of the director, and Wes Shank, “the caretaker of the blob silicone,” which he acquired in 1965. And The Blob itself will be in attendance!

image courtesy of
image courtesy of

Over a 2.5 mile stretch of the Schuylkill River on Saturday and Sunday choreographer Alie Vidich’s Invisible River intends to inspire, stun and educate Philadelphia. Vidich melds aerial stunts, dance, theatre, music and the beauty of the Schuylkill itself to ask viewers: what can we do to sustain this river for years to come? Audience members can catch the spectacle for free on the river banks or buy a ticket (in advance only!) for the full experienceboating along as the show moves downstream in a 65-boat flotilla of dragon boats, kayaks and row boats. 

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courtesy of

Eastern State Penitentiary presents its 20th annual Bastille Day extravaganza Saturday, and this version of the French Revolution has it all — the experimental cabaret group the Bearded Ladies, baguettes, beheadings, confetti cannons, Tastykakes, and appearances by Napoleon and Ben Franklin! The show is free and many neighborhood restauraunts in Fairmount offer drink and food specials and a French themed bar crawl. You can even find help with dressing like a revolutionary to prepare! Continue reading →

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XPN Weekend Arts Crawl…Fourth of July Weekend in the place of America’s birth!

courtesy of Fort Mifflin
courtesy of Fort Mifflin

At historic Fort Mifflin’s Freedom Blast! the American flag is raised at 10:15 Saturday to kick off a day of readings of the Declaration of Independence, cannon and gun demonstrations and tours of the forts casemates (storage areas built into hills)  guided by Revolutionary War era living history soldiers and civilians in authentic dress.  The fort is one of Philadelphia’s gems, and you get an added boost of anachronism with the planes flying overhead to land at the Philadelphia Airport.

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courtesy of

The Wawa Welcome America festival, which began earlier this week, gets underway at 10 am Friday with the Celebration of Freedom ceremony on the steps of Independence Hall, made extra special this year since it’s the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board Supreme Court decision paving the way for integration and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This is followed by a parade through Historic Philadelphia, ringing of the Liberty Bell, and the annual celebration on the Ben Franklin Parkway from noon on ending with the big free concert, this year featuring The Roots, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Ed Sheeran, Nicki Minaj, Aloe Blacc and Vicci Martinez, and culminating as always with fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art!

Historic Philadelphia hosts many other holiday events…

At the Independence Visitor Center Friday, Betsy Ross teams up with the Termini Brothers Bakery to produce the nation’s biggest flag made entirely of red, white and blue cupcakes!

Betsy will be in two places at once because she’ll also be at the iconic Betsy Ross House for Betsy’s Independence Day Bash, complete with a children’s naturalization ceremony and ceremonial bell ringing.

Also Friday Colonial reenactors are encamped at 6th and Market Streets and will perform cannon drills, and John Adams is available for a chat at the Historic Philadelphia Center.

Saturday such luminaries as Martha Washington, Baron Von Steuben, Thomas Jefferson and Octavious Cotto, who was a major in the Union Army in the Civil War and later registered black voters in Philadelphia, will be at Historic Philadelphia sites…and there are many activities for the kids.

one of Will Brown's photos
one of Will Brown’s photos

Aside from 4th of July celebrations, other events are happening this weekend…

The annual Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival is all weekend at Penn’s Landing.  The admission fee goes toward funding childhood leukemia research.

The Awesome Fest presents a free outdoor 20th anniversary screening of The Crow Saturday at Liberty Lands on North American Street in Philadelphia.  This 1994 American supernatural action film was based on James O’Barr’s 1989 comic book and tells the story of a rock musician who is revived from the dead to avenge his murder and that of his fiancée.  Rochelle Davis, who appears as Sarah in the movie, will be there!

Arch Street’s Fabric Workshop and Museum has been exhibiting photography by Ray Metzger, Will Brown, and David Graham. Brown captures still street photos, Metzger is well known for his black-and-white city-scapes, and Graham’s landscape work has been described as “bizarre” and “vibrant.”  The exhibits stay up through the end of the summer.

Spiritual Strivings:A Celebration of African American Works on Paper is at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts  It presents two collections. There are 70 works from the expansive Harmon & Harriet Kelley collection that spans the 20th century and is considered the preeminent collection of its kind (through October 12th)…and Eldzier Cortor:Theme and Variations from a living artist in his 90s who has just made a generous gift of his work to PAFA (through August 31st).

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XPN Weekend Arts Crawl…The first ever Kindie Comm, an annual beer fest, and the premiere of a new movie!


KindieComm, a brand new music conference, debuts this weekend at World Cafe Live Philadelphia. WXPN’s award winning program for children, Kids Corner, hosts the only independent music conference for family entertainers paired with a music festival specifically designed for kids ages 12 & under. Saturday evening is 21 years old +  industry only showcase for family musicians and those who promote them and play their music.  Sunday morning starts the family day with performances from Kids Corner favorites Trout Fishing In America, pictured above, Dan Zanes, and others.

Australian film and TV star Toni Collette appears as a veteran rock journalist on a quest to find a long lost rock star in a new feature film called Lucky Them screened Friday and Saturday by the Philadelphia Film Society at their PFS at the Roxy Theater in Center City. The Friday screening is hosted by XPN Morning Host Michaela Majoun and features a Q&A afterwards with screenwriter/producer Emily Wachtel, who spent ten years trying to get this movie made and succeeded (and yes, she’s the cousin of Waddy Wachtel, one of the most famous session musicians in rock!).

One of the featured paintings at the 73rd Juried Exhibition...courtesy of
One of the featured paintings at the 73rd Juried Exhibition…courtesy of

Woodmere Art Museum, housed in the historic 19th century Charles Knox Smith mansion in Chestnut Hill, focuses on local artists past and present.  Its 73rd  annual Juried Exhibition opens Saturday with the artists on hand to discuss their work.  You can also click here to get 10 word biographies of each! Juror for this year’s show is nationally noted Philadelphia painter Sarah McEnearney.  Through September 1st.

The annual Garden State Craft Brewers Festival is Saturday on the iconic Battleship New Jersey docked on the Camden waterfront. You can sample the wares of about 20 craft breweries from around the state, also food, live music, and tours of the ship.

courtesy of
courtesy of

Gallery Joe has a stunning group show of works on paper of a widely varied sort, though attention to detail is a characteristic of all of them.  Sharka Hyland’s reproductions of text from Proust and Henry James are done freehand in graphite pencil in a font of her own devising, though they look like they were taken out of a book.  Alex Paik’s colorful cut paper works (shown above) are at once geometric and painterly.  In all there are 10 artists in the show, which runs through July 26th.

And other happenings…

Painted Bride Arts Center’s Courtyard Dancers present Asunder tonight and Saturday, a celebration of India before the partition, with dance, poetry, and songs.

The Bazemore Gallery’s States of Mind Exhibit opens Saturday in Manayunk (through August 2nd) .  It’s the first US solo exhibition of Ella Kolanowska, a native of Poland who got her Masters at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  Her inspirations are fashion, vintage fabrics and historic scenes, and this show features 14 paintings that interpret and translate the barrage of daily information using thousands of brush points to create the illusion of larger shapes.

The Free Library of Philadelphia hosts a free concert Saturday night in the 40th Street Summer Series. Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra performs their signature music, and Music Over Matter presents their soulful beats.

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XPN Weekend Arts Crawl: The 2nd annual Make Music Philly, the 25th annual Manayunk Arts fest and more


The big event of the weekend is the second Make Music Philly, the Philadelphia version of a worldwide event celebrating music on the longest day of the year, the first day of summer. Planned on World Music Day, the global observance encourages the do-it-yourself attitude that makes music so accessible from novices to skilled performers. From 8 am to 8 pm on Saturday, venues all across Philly will host free music events, with highlights being a festival at Clark Park, performances at the Franklin Institute, and shows at the Fleisher Art Memorial. Join WXPN for our kick off at 10AM at Love Park for a play along percussion jam with the Philly Drum Project. We’ll be ending the evening at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing with a harmonica jam session and play along hosted by John Colgan-Davis followed by a concert with Ted Leo and R&B singer Lee Fields & The Expression

ManayunkArtsFestPosterSmal.a8cbf1ea822724e075a3260bed04eeb4126Has it really been 25 years already? It seems like just yesterday when the Manayunk Arts Festival started. This weekend the festival celebrates its 25th anniversary. Go here for more information. Continue reading →

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XPN Weekend Arts Crawl…Fleisher arts festival, Father’s Day festivities, a walk through baseball history and more!


It’s the 8th annual Artspiration at The Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial in Queen Village, a community arts center with a long history. Since 2007, this free festival has offered visual arts workshops led by local artists, dance and music performances, comedy shows, and storytelling. There’s even an open drum circle where all are invited to grab instruments and join in. This year’s highlights include performances by the West Philadelphia Orchestra and Fleisher’s own Cambodian Dance Class.


Many places are celebrating Father’s Day Sunday…

The Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Fairmount Park has a Father’s Day Classical Dance Performance featuring teachers and students.

Mount Airy Village celebrates the day with a free Daddy’s Day Concert of dad and granddad themed songs in styles ranging from soul to rock at the corner of Carpenter Lane and Greene Street.

Admission to The National Museum of American Jewish History’s exhibition Chasing Dreams: Baseball & Becoming American is free on Sunday in honor of Father’s Day.   This first large scale exhibition about the history of Jews and baseball speaks to the experience of minorities in this country and the importance of the game of baseball in the integration of immigrants from many countries into American society.  Through October 26th.

It’s Stars and Stripes Saturday at the Betsy Ross House at the end of a week long Flag Day Festival. The event is The City of Philadelphia’s Official Flag Day Celebration and  takes visitors back to the first Flag Day celebrations held at the Betsy Ross House in the 1890s.  There is also a naturalization ceremony for new citizens.  A similar celebration is happening on Independence Mall.

Full House 2014 - Sklar
via Society Hill Playhouse

The Pennsylvania Ballet culminates its 50th season with A 50th Finale: The Ultimate Celebration on Friday and Saturday at the Merriam Theater.  The program includes both a favorite and a brand new work by resident choreographer Matthew Neenan, a lush Jerome Robbins ballet set to Chopin, and an experiment in abstract movement by William Forsythe accompanied by an electronic soundscape.

And there’s more…

The sixth annual Full House: A Series of Cabarets is presented by Quince Productions at the Red Room at Society Hill Playhouse all weekend.  Each show is unique and has different performers.

The first annual Philly VegFest is Saturday at Head House Square, where patrons can watch vegan cooking demos, celebrate vegan culture, listen to live music, and learn more about the plant-only diet.

Concert Operetta Theatre, the only concert operetta theater in the United States,  presents the Philadelphia premiere of Frederica, about the early romantic life of German poet Johann Goethe. It’s at the Academy of Vocal Arts on Saturday and Sunday.

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XPN Weekend Arts Crawl…Chinese New Year celebrations plus vibrant theater and dance!


Moore College of Art & Design presents Pretty Vacant: The Graphic Language of Punk through March 15 with opening reception on Friday. The exhibition is a survey of the diversity of punk and post punk graphic design, from the musical world as well as the visual art world, and the places where they intersect.

Taken from the collection of Andrew Krivine, Pretty Vacant features posters, flyers, fanzines, handbills, record sleeves, badges and other graphic materials. For more information, read Shaun Brady’s interview with Krivine about the origins of his collection and how punk design of nearly 40 years ago is still influential today.


The Penn Museum presents its 33rd Annual Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday. The festivities include martial art demonstrations, dance performances, and language workshops.

In celebration of 2014: the year of the horse, the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Organization presents an open air flower market – which contains more than just flowers, but also “traditional candies, fruits, arts and gifts, such as homemade lanterns [and] red envelopes.” The market runs on Saturday and Sunday in Chinatown and includes traditional gifts and art.

Koresh Dance Company presents the Koresh Artist Showcase on Saturday and Sunday.
The first show to be performed in Koresh’s new Rittenhouse Square home, the performance features choreography by Koresh Dance Company members and other local choreographers.

Fury is an examination of rage, revenge, and redemption in song, presented by Philomusica Chorale, with works from Verdi to Adele.  This 60-member community chorus is joined by professional musicians and the rock band Reckless Amateurs Saturday and Sunday at Christ’s Lutheran Church in Oreland.

 Old Academy Players perform Something Intangible through Sunday. Written by Philadelphia playwright Bruce Graham, the play follows the conflict between brothers Walt and Roy Disney as they created Fantasia.

And there’s more… Continue reading →

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XPN Weekend Arts Crawl…End the year with family-friendly arts and culture!


Constructing Play: Classic Building Toys at the Philadelphia Center For Architecture through January 30th explores the history of play and has Tinker Toys, Legos, and other building toys from the past 175 years.  There are hands-on activities and special workshops.


Quintessence Theatre Group takes its first foray into family entertainment with a musical stage adaptation of the beloved children’s book Kenneth Grahame’s THE WIND IN THE WILLOWSThe stage version was written by Alan Bennett, author of The Madness of King George. . Mole, Toad, Rat, and Badger’s woodland escapades are at the historic Sedgewick Theater in Mt. Airy  through January 5th.

It’s All Star Week at the Academy of Natural Sciences…starting today with Dinosaur Day and featuring other highlights like LIve Animal Day (tomorrow) and Weird-Thing-In-a-Jar Day (Monday).

ComedySportz for Kids is a version of the long-running comedy show at ComedySportz Philadelphia but it’s shorter, sillier and kiddy-er than the adult show.  Three ComedySportz players and a Ref do comedy games with some audience participation.  For children 3 and up, Saturday (and the last Saturday of every month) at The Playground in Center City.

And more to do on the last weekend of 2013… Continue reading →

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XPN Weekend Arts Crawl: Old Pompeii, new dogs, Children’s films, the Philadelphia Marathon…and more!

The Franklin Institute’s new exhibit on display through April is One Day In Pompeii, featuring over 150 artifacts preserved by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the year 79 AD. The full body casts, bronze sculptures, and Gladiator’s helmets portray life in the Roman Empire and its tragic end.

Also this weekend, The National Dog Show returns to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks. Last year’s show brought us this flawless Wire Fox Terrier pictured at aright as best in show, This year 2,000 top dogs of over 150 different breeds are competing. Saturday’s events will be taped for a national television broadcast via NBC.

The Philadelphia Film Society presents the Philadelphia International Children’s Film Festival at the PFS Theater at the Roxy. The festival features a global selection of captivating films for kids ages 3 – 18, including a Belgian adventure film reminiscent of The Pink Panther called The Zigzag Kid. Continue reading →

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