Open Arts Presents College Night: FREE Dance Party

 

Open Arts Philly  is a new initiative by Campus Philly to encourage students on a budget to explore the city without going bankrupt. In a place that houses world-famous orchestras and  considers the Rocky legacy such high art that they had a year-long debater over whether it belonged in the PMA, that’s a pretty noble mission.

Philadelphia Art Alliance is an exhibition space housed in Society Hill and dedicates itself to promoting the Philly art scene and uniting the arts by presenting music, theater, painting, and sculpture in a single venue.. It’s been around since 1915 and presents up to twelve exhibits a year, as well as hosting touring exhibits, workshops, artist talks and other things.

 

This Wednesday, November 20th, they come together to make sweet music on the dance floor.

 

I can’t believe I just said that. Allergy season is really getting to me.

Open Arts is partnering up with Philadelphia Art Alliance for a special College Night event featuring CaveCast, a series of live podcast events that document the Philly music DJ scene. Part lecture, part dance party (stay with me here), it features conversations with DJs about their craft, the Philly scene, and what it’s like to wear a fedora seriously. At least, that’s what I would ask a DJ if I actually knew one or knew anything about DJing to begin with. That’s how Kevin Federline got his start, right?Right?

The DJ featured on November 20th will be Apt One, who according to various websites has been on the forefront of many important movements in dance music over the last ten years, which has seen him play all styles imaginable all across the US and Europe. Which probably means he had some hand in the whole Euro-pop thing so we either have a lot to thank him or a reason to raid this place. He’s also a DJ that is near to my heart because my apartment number is indeed Apt. 1 too, so I feel like he really understands what I go through on a daily basis.

Does this guy look like he could make you dance or WHAT?

He’ll be talking on air and hosting a free live dance party straight after, so ditch your capstone outline for a different kind of lesson at 9pm on Wednesday, November 20th. It’s cheaper than Tigerbeats, and you’ll come out with some new knowledge on DJing you can impress your new frat bro with! What more could you ask for?

 

All right, you’ve caught me. The game is up. I am Apt One and this is my party and that’s why I’m writing about it on this blog and saying things like “make sweet music on the dance floor”. Please come.
This event has LIMITED FREE TICKETS. All ages, ID required for drink wristband. Discounted $5 Tickets are available when FREE tickets sell out. Register online here to claim tickets.

QSU Presents The Rocky Horror Picture Show- TONIGHT!

I’m going to go ahead and admit that I’m not a huge Rocky Horror aficionado. Not that I hate it, or anything, but the only time I did see it was in middle school and let’s just leave it at the fact that I was WAY too young to understand what the heck was going on with Tim Curry’s outfit, never mind following the plot itself. But try not to let that discourage you- this was the Twilight generation, after all. Simple things were much more my forte.

Maybe the only reason why I haven’t really  is because I never actually had the experience of watching the whole cult-performance aspect that comes round every Halloween. Every year around Halloween time, a bunch of cinemas all over the country will screen the 70s cult classic and audiences flock, often in costumes and with bags of props to throw at the screen. To college students all over the nation, going to Rocky Horror at Halloween is kind of a rite of passage. Judging by that standard I guess we can go ahead and say that since in my four years of university studies the only time I even saw what Rocky Horror live was during that scene in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, we can safely assume I am a complete and utter cultural invalid.

Luckily for me and other “virgins” (as they call Those Who Have Never Seen Rocky Horror), QSU is presenting The Rocky Horror Picture Show tonight at 8 at The Reel, with a second late-night option at 10:15pm. Tickets are $2 for Temple students and $4 for everyone else, so you could literally hold your daily pumpkin spice latte order and just spend that money on some real culture.  Temple students will be acting out the movie in front of a screening of the film, with Jay Oatis as Frank-N-Furter, Jacob Smith as Brad, and Sarah Berg as Janet. DON’T MISS THIS CHANCE TO SEE THAT RANDO GUY YOU ALWAYS SEE LURKING AT THE LIBRARY BUT YOU NEVER ACTUALLY TALK TO PERFORM LIVE FOR YOU (don’t deny it- we all have that kind of relationship, and it’s always the one person in a position of authority or performance)

Check out QSU’s Facebook page for more info, and make sure to stop by the Reel- leave your inhibitions at the door.

 

 

 

Just in Time For Halloween…

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You may or may not know this, depending on whether you’ve spent 3 seconds in my company, but I can be rather childlish a lot of the time. Usually, this wouldn’t be something to brag about- having just recently been declared old enough to walk inside a bar and not embarrass myself by the Pennsylvania state, it’s sort of a given that your dress-up princess days are kinda over.

But there are two nights a year where it’s totally acceptable to be as childlish as you’d like. Once is your birthday, and that’s a totally different story. Another is Halloween.

But you know me, even at my most childish I’m still a born snob. Which is why the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Halloween concert series has been the highlight of my year for the past four years. The premise is simple: one 11AM children’s concert in which the Philly Orch plays spooky and kid-friendly tunes like the theme to Harry Potter and Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (better known as Mickey’s Big Fat Screw-Up to Fantasia fans) to celebrate the Halloween season and to spark children’s interest in classical music. In the past they’ve played such classics as “In The Hall of the Mountain King” and a looooot of John Williams. My favorite part, however, is when the musicians come in costume.

 

 

THIS IS A GECKO IN A TUBA. I SWEAR TO EVERYTHING I DID NOT PHOTOSHOP THIS OR BRIBE ANYBODY INTO DOING IT.

THIS IS A GECKO IN A TUBA. I SWEAR TO EVERYTHING I DID NOT PHOTOSHOP THIS OR BRIBE ANYBODY INTO DOING IT.

Last Saturday was the orchestra’s annual Magical Musical Halloween. Conducted by Cristian Macelaru, the Philly Orch played such Halloween classics as Saint-Saens’ “Danse Macabre”, “Mirror Dance” from Faust and even the theme song from “Hook” (I told you- there’s a loooooot of John Williams here.) This year also had a special treat- troupe members from Cirque de la Symphonie kept the kids entertained (and most importantly, quiet) throughout a few songs with snippets of magic tricks and juggling.

Nothing makes you feel quite so untalented as watching a Russian world-class juggler and a Russian world-class violinist on the same stage.

The concert was, in all honesty, a great success. In terms of getting the next generation to love classical music, incorporating popular songs and a little fun into the program is nothing short of genius. The Philadelphia Orchestra is great at playing the greats, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also super refreshing to see them render “Hedwig’s Theme” to perfection, too.

Also, take it from someone who’s watched them perform “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” live no less than three times. It. Is. Astonishing. And no wonder- the Philadelphia Orchestra was the one who performed on the studio recording for the original Fantasia.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHEMkbyXFxs

DROP THE BEAT DUKAS!!

 

So you’re probably sitting there thinking: that’s great, Magali, but what about me? I didn’t go to this concert! Why are you bragging about how much fun you had and then saying “Oh well, you had to be there I guess!” and not even let us have a little of the fun?

I’ll say the following: 1) That’s kind of the point of reviews (yeah, I hate reading them too but whatever) and 2) YOU HAVE A SECOND SHOT.

Because here’s the thing: the Philly Orch takes care of its students. They want you to come out in hordes and take advantage of the beautiful and unparallel acoustically-amazing concert hall in your own backyard. They want you to have your Mozart moment that isn’t through “Amadeus”. They want to be there when you realize that hey, classical music is actually pretty cool once you listen to a properly tuned orchestra (and not your weird high school jazz band).  And most importantly, they get that at $55+ a pop, a night at the opera ain’t cheap. Which is why their EZseatU program is so awesome- as a college student you can sign up for a seasonal subscription for only $25 and receive unlimited concert tickets for the entire season.

It’s a pretty sweet deal, actually- pay $25 for a subscription and get free entry to over a dozen Philly Orch concerts over the 2013-2014 concert season. The way it works is easy: sometimes, concerts (even really, really awesome concerts) don’t sell all their tickets, or happen to have weird single-seating available all over the floor (this is especially trendy during couples seasons like February or spring). The Kimmel Center then gives those seats away to subscriber students who sign up ahead of time for the concert they’re interested in. They’re really nice seats too; I’ve gotten front-row a couple of times.

All you have to do is sign up  online the Tuesday of the same week the concert’s taking place (they usually have Thursday/Friday/Saturday shows) and come to the Kimmel Center at least 20 minutes before showtime. You’ll stand in the EZSeatU area (distinguished by a very corporate-looking sign) with a group of other like-minded classicists such as yourself) and get ushered in to whatever seating’s available.

And no, this isn’t a $25 a month subscription thing like in Save the Children or whatever new charity is harassing students on campus these days (what are you, made of money?). The entire season is yours for a one-time payment of $25.

If you’re still not sold, look at it this way- our seats for the Halloween concert were $25 anyway once you factored in the cost of the seat plus fees. (THOSE STUPID FEES! They get you. Every! Time!). So you might as well save yourself some money in the long run. Think of it as an investment for that date you’ve been thinking of asking that cute Voice Training major to since the beginning of the semester (stop being a wimp and JUST DO IT).

 

Interested? Check out the list of upcoming concerts and remember to check in at the Philly Orch’s Subscription website every Tuesday for available tickets. Mysef, I awaitBeethoven’s 7th with bated breath. Have you seen The Fall? Brilliant.

 

Perlman ReturnsNovember 21 & 23 8 PM
November 22 & 24 2 PM
All RachmaninoffFebruary 13, 14, & 15 8 PM
Firebird and CinderellaFebruary 28 2 PM
March 1 8 PM
Yannick & YujaNovember 7 & 9 8 PM
November 8 2 PM
The “Organ” SymphonyApril 11 & 12 8 PM

April 13 2 PM

Tchaikovsky Week 3: The Violin ConcertoJanuary 23 & 24 8 PM Mozart CelebrationApril 24, 25, & 26 8 PM

April 25 2 PM

Bronfman Plays BeethovenOctober 10 & 12 8 PM
October 11 2 PM
Radu Lupu joins YannickJanuary 30 & February 1 8 PM
January 31 2 PM
Ravel and DebussyOctober 24 & 26 8 PM
October 25 2 PM
Ax, from Bach to StraussFebruary 6 & 8 8 PM
February 7 2 PM
From Vienna to the New WorldNovember 14 & 16 8 PM
November 15 2 PM
Yannick’s EroicaFebruary 20 & 22 8 PM
February 23 2 PM
Vivaldi’s Four SeasonsNovember 29 & 30 8 PM
December 1 2 PM
Brahms’s FirstMarch 20, 21, & 22 8 PM
David Kim Plays TchaikovskyDecember 12 & 14 8 PM
December 13 2 PM
Mozart’s “Linz”March 27 & 29 8 PM
March 28 2 PM
Tchaikovsky Week 1: Symphony No. 4January 10 & 11 8 PM
January 12 2 PM
Beethoven’s SeventhApril 3 & 5 8 PM
April 4 2 PM
Tchaikovsky Week 2: The SerenedeJanuary 16 & 18 8 PM
January 17 2 PM
Bruckner’s Final SymphonyMay 1 & 3 8 PM

 

 

The Awesome Fest’s Drive-In Movie Series Starts TONIGHT!

If you hung out with me for at least five minutes over the past summer months, you’ll know that one of my most fervent wishes was to see the Guillermo del Toro summer blockbuster “Pacific Rim” in 3D. It was basically all I talked about during my family vacation to Florida. My parents were not impressed, no matter how much I went on and on about its many positive qualities, like the crazy special effects and inspiring racial diversity.

To be honest, I still have no idea what the &$*% that movie is about. All I know is that alien dinosaurs are taking over the earth, that Sons of Anarchy guy who was going to be in “50 Shades of Grey” has a thing with a badass kawaii Rinko Kikuchi, and Idris Elba is commandeering a platoon of Power Rangers to defend the planet.  Amazing, right?

There are, like, 4 different races featured in this film. By Hollywood standards this might as well be “We Are The World”

 

That wish alas was not fulfilled, as my parents chose “The Lone Ranger” instead, and when we returned to Philadelphia the film had already left theaters… and a big, empty hole in my heart. I mean, don’t get me wrong- I’m not opposed to seeing Armie Hammer in cowboy gear. At all. On the other hand… DINOSAURS.

LOOK AT THAT THING. That is either the coolest dinosaur you ever saw, or photographic evidence that a live-action version of Quest to Camelot is possible.

Thankfully Philadelphia is a city where dreams come true,  and they’re giving me a chance to get my very own Make-A-Wish-Foundation-Dream tonight without even having to go through a tragic life-altering event.  To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the drive-in movie theater (because why not?), The Awesome Fest and Enterprise CarShare are teaming up to bring Center City its first-ever drive-in movie theater. That’s right- every Friday from now until November 22nd  at 7:30 p.m., you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a double feature on the big screen in the middle of Eakins Oval with a truly spectacular skyline substituting those pesky widescreen black bars. And wouldn’t you know it- their opening night is featuring Pacific Rim.

Interested? Read ahead for all the info.

What?

The deal is pretty simple: every night you’ll be treated to two feature films ranging from Arachnophobia to Grease. Tonight’s special, aside from featuring Pacific Rim will also be screening King Kong vs. Godzilla. Eakins Oval has a giant parking lot in its center, which is where the screen will be placed. There will be approximately 75 parking spaces for vehicles, so get there early! There’s also going to be lots of food trucks and loud, noisy couples in cars. Food, movies, and a questionable amount of exhaust fumes- what could be better?

Here’s the full lineup, with food trucks

• October 18 (TODAY!): King Kong vs. Godzilla & Pacific Rim — Guerilla Ultima, The Tot Cart, Cherry Bomb Bus
• October 25: Grease & The Blob — Foo, Spot Burger
• November 1: The Car & Christine — Just Jackie’s, Mini Trini
• November 8: Arachnophobia & Big Ass Spider! — Surf and Turf, Delicias
• November 22: Planes, Trains & Automobiles & Santa Claus Conquers the Martians — Cherry Bomb Bus, Local 215

 

Who?

Anyone and everyone- racism is illegal now. It’s about $20 per car if you’re driving up, but Enterprise CarShare members will only have to pay $0.25. Too broke to buy textbooks, never mind a car? No worries! Bikers, pedestrians, skaters, and amphibians are all welcome free of charge.

 

Where?

The Oval, also known as The Stage Thing That Randomly Cropped Up In The Middle of That Weird Forested Area In The Benjamin Franklin Parkway And Made Everyone Really Confused For A Long Time.

 

When?

Every Friday night at 7:30pm from October 18th- November 22 (excluding November 15th, when the parkway will be overtaken by crazy maniacs, i.e. marathon runners for the Philadelphia Marathon). Every night is a double-feature, and the first film will get started around 7:30 p.m. The second film is slated to begin at 9 p.m.

How?

What do you mean, how? You sit down and watch a movie. How difficult is that to explain? This is a blog for deep intellectuals. Stop wasting my time.

 

Any questions? I DIDN’T THINK SO. But if there ARE… kindly head on over to Uwishunu for their complete guide and FAQ to the event. So grab a blanket, or a lawnchair… or if you’re real fancy, your four-wheel vehicle and get ready to get in THE RIM!!!

The Awesome Fest’s Drive-In Movie Series Starts TONIGHT!

If you hung out with me for at least five minutes over the past summer months, you’ll know that one of my most fervent wishes was to see the Guillermo del Toro summer blockbuster “Pacific Rim” in 3D. It was basically all I talked about during my family vacation to Florida. My parents were not impressed, no matter how much I went on and on about , like its crazy effects and its inspiring racial diversity.

To be honest, I still have no idea what the &$*% that movie is about. All I know is that alien dinosaurs are taking over the earth, that Sons of Anarchy guy who was going to be in “50 Shades of Grey” has a thing with a badass kawaii Rinko Kikuchi, and Idris Elba is commandeering a platoon of Power Rangers to defend the planet.  Amazing, right?

There are, like, 4 different races featured in this film. By Hollywood standards this might as well be “We Are The World”

 

That wish alas was not fulfilled, as my parents chose “The Lone Ranger” instead, and when we returned to Philadelphia the film had already left theaters… and a big, empty hole in my heart. I mean, don’t get me wrong- I’m not opposed to seeing Armie Hammer in cowboy gear. At all. On the other hand… DINOSAURS.

LOOK AT THAT THING. That is either the coolest dinosaur you ever saw, or photographic evidence that a live-action version of Quest to Camelot is possible.

Thankfully Philadelphia is a city where dreams come true,  and they’re giving me a chance to get my very own Make-A-Wish-Foundation-Dream tonight without even having to go through a tragic life-altering event.  To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the drive-in movie theater (because why not?), The Awesome Fest and Enterprise CarShare are teaming up to bring Center City its first-ever drive-in movie theater. That’s right- every Friday from now until November 22nd  at 7:30 p.m., you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a double feature on the big screen in the middle of Eakins Oval with a truly spectacular skyline substituting those pesky widescreen black bars. And wouldn’t you know it- their opening night is featuring Pacific Rim.

Interested? Read ahead for all the info.

What?

The deal is pretty simple: every night you’ll be treated to two feature films ranging from Arachnophobia to Grease. Tonight’s special, aside from featuring Pacific Rim will also be screening King Kong vs. Godzilla. Eakins Oval has a giant parking lot in its center, which is where the screen will be placed. There will be approximately 75 parking spaces for vehicles, so get there early! There’s also going to be lots of food trucks and loud, noisy couples in cars. Food, movies, and a questionable amount of exhaust fumes- what could be better?

Here’s the full lineup, with food trucks

• October 18 (TODAY!): King Kong vs. Godzilla & Pacific Rim — Guerilla Ultima, The Tot Cart, Cherry Bomb Bus
• October 25: Grease & The Blob — Foo, Spot Burger
• November 1: The Car & Christine — Just Jackie’s, Mini Trini
• November 8: Arachnophobia & Big Ass Spider! — Surf and Turf, Delicias
• November 22: Planes, Trains & Automobiles & Santa Claus Conquers the Martians — Cherry Bomb Bus, Local 215

 

Who?

Anyone and everyone- racism is illegal now. It’s about $20 per car if you’re driving up, but Enterprise CarShare members will only have to pay $0.25. Too broke to buy textbooks, never mind a car? No worries! Bikers, pedestrians, skaters, and amphibians are all welcome free of charge.

 

Where?

The Oval, also known as The Stage Thing That Randomly Cropped Up In The Middle of That Weird Forested Area In The Benjamin Franklin Parkway And Made Everyone Really Confused For A Long Time.

 

When?

Every Friday night at 7:30pm from October 18th- November 22 (excluding November 15th, when the parkway will be overtaken by crazy maniacs, i.e. marathon runners for the Philadelphia Marathon). Every night is a double-feature, and the first film will get started around 7:30 p.m. The second film is slated to begin at 9 p.m.

How?

What do you mean, how? You sit down and watch a movie. How difficult is that to explain? This is a blog for deep intellectuals. Stop wasting my time.

 

Any questions? I DIDN’T THINK SO. But if there ARE… kindly head on over to Uwishunu for their complete guide and FAQ to the event. So grab a blanket, or a lawnchair… or if you’re real fancy, your four-wheel vehicle and get ready to get in THE RIM!!!

Back… and Just In Time For The Greatest Week of the Year

 

IT.

HAS.

BEEN.

TOO.

LONG.

Hello you. Yes, you, my beautiful tropical fish of a reader, who’s stuck with me through blog post after blog post for two years. I know the separation has been tough on both of us, but I’m so very happy that we are reunited once again. As a devoted reader of this blog myself, I know it’s hard to go even one week without hearing from me at least once, but that’s all over now. I guess Bon Jovi was right all along: Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

I guess what I’m trying to say is: hi mom.

I gotta say, though, after a semester away in Rome, it’s good to be back writing about America’s 6th largest city. I’d almost forgotten about all the amazing things we have to offer, like a cracked liberty bell that doesn’t work, and carnivorous squirrels. I have to admit, though, leaving Rome left a pretty COLOSSAL hole in my heart (heh heh heh, pun most CERTAINLY intended). And believe me, it’s not that I miss the heavy flow of tourists, or the euro, or that I left some Dear Guiseppe sweetheart behind or anything.

No, my dear reader. I miss the food.

Thankfully, it seems like the universe is on my side for a change, and the food gods are smiling down on me and you- this week marks the near-end of Philadelphia Restaurant Week, where you can go inside any fancy participating restaurant and get a three-course meal for $35 (and $25 for lunch!).

 

Now, we weren’t born yesterday. We know everyone’s going to take advantage of this week to just go to Cuba Libre every night. RESIST TEMPTATION! Think about it- do you really want to be just another foodie sheep? Or even worse- spot your Sustainable Environments professor across the table from you? OF COURSE NOT! What are you, a sadist?

But never fear: there are plenty of other options that have not gotten nearly as much credit as they should. Check them out below, and go ahead and make reservations to wow your friends– I promise I won’t even take credit for it.

 

1. La Viola

253 South 16th St. Lunch menu/ Dinner menu

The fact that my parents took the priest who married them to this restaurant when he came around for a visit should tell you everything you need to know. This place is gorgeous and the Italian dishes presented will help keep off the Romesickness.

 

2. The Capital Grille
1340 Chestnut Street. Lunch menu/ Dinner Menu
Hardly indie, but it’s got the best crème brulee you’ve ever tasted, and it’s a great way to pretend you’ve got enough money to be a character in Mad Men.

 

3. Max Brenner’s Chocolate by the Bald Man

1500 Walnut Street. Lunch menu/ Dinner menu

You can have chocolate as a meal without anyone judging you and you’re telling me you’d rather go somewhere else?!?! Go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done.

 

 

4. The Plough and the Stars

123 Chestnut Street. Dinner menu

Noisy, but with so many combo options (their grilled lamb chops with Irish mint sauce are ridiculous) and live music, it’s a great place to kick back and relax without sacrificing taste quality.

 

5. The Dandelion

124 South 18th Street. Dinner menu.

In a move that will surprise absolutely nobody that knows a single fact about me, I will be spending the majority of this week eating mussels as my favorite restaurant of all time, gorging myself on English pub food and pretending I’m still in London.

 

 

Good luck, and happy dining!

You can contact Magali Roman at maga.roman@temple.edu

 

“Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow” – Me

mural-arts-if-you-were-here-philadelphia-8-600

Alas, all good things must come to an end, all’s well that ends well, other cliches about endings and moving on, etc. I have graduated and so must give up my throne that is this blog. Sighhhhhh.

I got to visit and write about a lot of Philly’s coolest cultural institutions over the past two years, but there are also a lot that I didn’t get to. Of course, in a city as big and versatile as this one, that’s always going to be the case, isn’t it? For those of you lucky enough to be going back to school this fall – especially freshmen coming from out of town, who may have yet to experience Philly’s hidden gems – here’s a quick rundown of the PEX Pass’s discounted opportunities, including the ones that I personally wish I had more time to take advantage of.

THEATRE

That’s right, theatre with the -re instead of -er, because we’re fancy here on the internet. Philly is lucky to host a ton of companies that cater to alternative tastes (though you can certainly find Broadway musicals and Shakespeare). Mauckingbird Theatre Company, for instance, exclusively features gay-themed shows, often shaking up traditional gender roles of well-known productions. Their 2013 season is just wrapping up with The Importance of Being Earnest, but check back in 2014 for more shows. PEX tickets are only $10. Similarly, Azuka Theatre specializes in plays that “giv[e] voice to the people whose stories go unheard.” Coming up in this fall’s Fringe Festival is Dutch Masters, about two young men whose conversation on a subway train addresses race relations in a post-Rodney King 1992. I’m excited for Azuka’s annual I Love You, I Hate You, a Valentine’s Day special featuring readings from City Paper’s ludicrous Missed Connections-esque page. Tickets are free with the PEX Pass. For fans of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” ComedySportz presents an us-versus-them improv show twice every Saturday night. Performers wear jerseys and are judged by a referee. PEX tix are $10.

MUSEUMS

Nerds unite! I’ve probably taken  advantage of these offers more than any other type, because there’s no set time or date that you have to cash in on them, and they’re fun activities to do with friends. I mean, if you have friends who are also nerds. I’d love to check out the Philadelphia History Museum, which most people seem to have never actually heard of. The museum showcases the city’s rich history that we all learned in fifth grade but have probably forgotten. There are also more modern exhibits, like their current “Face to Facebook” which examines how we Philadelphians see ourselves and have seen ourselves since the 17th century by juxtaposing standard portraits with 21st century multimedia. Temple kids get in for $5. Then there’s The National Museum of American Jewish History, which explores the impact of centuries of Jewish Americans on our country’s development. The Hall of Fame features artifacts of especially notable Jewish Americans, like Steven Spielberg’s first camera. Entry is free via the PEX Pass.

RANDOM CURIOSITIES

PEX gives love to non-traditional attractions as well. The Mural Arts Program’s Love Letters Tour stands out as being both educational and obscenely adorable. I have planned this date so many times, and it was never worked out, and my heart will be forever restless until I manage to take this tour. It follows the trail of West Philly murals spanning from 45th to 63rd on Market Street in the shade of the El. With colorful messages like “If you were here I’d be home now,” the series is meant to be a love letter to one person, and to the city as a whole. Admission is half off for Temple students.

****************

If you’re a freshman, I definitely recommend taking advantage of the free time allowed by your lower-level class load and exploring as much of Philadelphia as you possibly can. There’s a lot more to this city than the Liberty Bell and Citizens Bank Park, which is what I assume most people think of when they don’t come into the city often. If you’re not a freshman, I recommend it even more. By now you’ve spent enough time here to be comfortable with using public trans, and hopefully your tastes have matured a bit past thinking that Saturdays are only good for recovering from Friday nights. (Jahst keeding!)

To never be at a loss for fun and different things to do, just hit up the GenEd homepage and click on GenEd Virtual Passport. It’s super easy to explore the dozens of options according to your own interests. Check boxes like “Dance” and “Visual Arts” in the Organization Types section; look specifically for free events under “Offer Types”; search according to area under the “Neighborhoods” section if you’re looking to expand your knowledge to more than North Philly and Center City; or, if there’s a specific place you’d like to check out and want to know NOW RIGHT NOW if there’s a PEX discount for it, just type its name into the convenient Search bar.

Ah. I will miss you, little PEX blog. Farewell! Indeed, absence make the heart grow fonder.

Love and SEPTA tokens,

Julie <3

Summer Phun in Philly

Hullo! Summer is officially here, and for those sticking around, it’s absolutely necessary to make the most of this heat, the memory of which keeps us going during those harsh winter months. (Seriously, I want to move to Southern  California every time the temperature drops below 50). Philly is a multifaceted city, so if nothing seems to be going on around North Broad Street, you can be sure that there’s another neighborhood that would love to see you crack open a PBR* and chill out with it.

Free Movies at Liberty Lands Park

Break out those picnic blankets! NoLibs is celebrating the 80s with its annual free movie series, held at Liberty Lands Parks at N. 3rd Street by Poplar. July and August will show such classics as The Goonies and Lost Boys. Liberty Lands is within walking distance of North Bowl, Standard Tap and Honey’s Sit ‘n’ Eat.

Farmers Markets

Fresh produce is a blessing in the green-forsaken city streets. Clark Park at 43rd & Baltimore hosts a weekly market on Saturdays as well as every Thursday afternoon during the summertime. Take the 34 trolley west to stock up on fruits, veggies and flowers. Plus, there’s a tea cart. D’awwwww.

Rittenhouse Square Park also holds a market every Saturday on the stretch of Walnut between 18th and 19th. Grab some fresh food and have your own picnic amidst the dog walkers and lovebirds strolling through.

Dollar Stroll

Not enough Temple kids know how great West Philly is.** Explore Baltimore Ave at its spotlight event, Dollar Stroll, this September 12. For three hours in the evening, countless bars and restaurants from 43rd to 50th Streets offer items out on the street for just a dollar. Picture a neighborhood yard sale, except with tons of interesting-looking people, music, awesome food, and limited damage to funds. With the huge amount of business diversity in this area, you’re sure to find something for you. A standout for me is the Green Line Cafe’s dollar iced coffee and dollar vegan hotdogs. Nom!

2nd Street Festival

Set between Germantown Ave and Green Street in Northern Liberties, the 2nd Street Festival does for Northern Liberties what the Dollar Stroll does for West Philly. This community-driven event will be held on August 4th from noon to 10pm. Its website boasts four entertainment stages organized by the Philadelphia Folksong Society as well as dozens of food and craft vendors. Hopefully this year it won’t monsoon.

 

Still at the loss for what’s fun in the city? Well, that’s what the internet is for! There are several website to check out for more suggestions. Free newspaper City Paper has put together an entire Summer Fun Guide for your perusing. Every day of May through August is listed with one fun event to attend within city limits. For days when nothing too crazy will be going on, there are quirky recommendations – like that of July 8th, which advises readers to go out and look for corgis. uWishuNu is another goldmine of advice. You can opt to view events by a calendar, which then divides events into themes likes Nightlife, Drinks and Arts.

STILL bored? … I don’t know what to tell you. Get a bike, I guess.

 

*Obviously you, this hypothetical being, is over 21.

** Opinion. Also true.

Conquering Nature vs. Being Conquered by Nature

Ever searching for free adventure within city limits, I decided to spend a day exploring what nature spaces Philadelphia has to offer. The trip had its highs and lows.

Part I: Nature is Pretty

Adventure Pal Allison and I made the trek to Northwest Philly past LaSalle University to visit the Awbury Arboretum. Featured in the PEX Pass, these 55 acres are home to the historic Francis Cope House and tons of trees and plants. What’s the big deal about a bunch of trees? Well, I don’t know about you, but I get mad depressed when I go too long without seeing something natural. While I appreciate Temple’s attempt at creating green spaces, the manicured trees on Beury Beach just don’t cut it. Awbury’s land, in contrast, is wild and untamed.

The main point of the Arboretum is really just to preserve nature, by which I mean that the only thing to do if you’re visiting in the middle of a Tuesday is wander around and pretend that you’re home in Chester County (if you’re me, that is). That was just fine with us. We followed the beaten paths; we traipsed through Haines Field; we explored the roped off section – oops – that led to more and more trees. The visit was accented by the day’s lovely weather, and it was difficult to not feel romantic about it all.

It turns out that on some summer evenings Awbury holds workshops like Introduction to Yoga and How to Speak Dog, and community events like Picnic in the Garden, which is hosted by the East Mt. Airy Neighbors. Also, for kids, there are summer camps – like one called Camp Katniss, where 9- to 13-year-olds can learn to survive in the wilderness like their favorite Hunger Games winner. (Can I pass for a pre-teen?) Those relying on public trans can take either the 16 or the L bus north and walk for a few minutes, but the most convenient route is by car, as parking is available right on the premises.

Awbury-Map_rounded

Part II: Nature is Elusive

Inspired by the world’s beauty, Allison and I decided to continue our nature adventure by checking out Fairmount Park. I’ve driven past it many times while on the exits of 76 or lost in West Philly and have always wanted to get out and really explore.

That being said, I have never understood Fairmount Park. I know that there must be some sort of center in some stretch of it, but it is apparently hiding from (only) me. Armed with Siri and Allison’s faint recollection of swimming in a creek, somewhere, we drove along some roads until we saw horses instead of skyscrapers, and deemed ourselves as having found it what we were looking for.

We parked at the roundabout of the Chamounix Hostel and began following a very faint, very dirty, very steep path. It’s probably my fault for wearing flats on a nature adventure, but I had to move cautiously in order to avoid sliding down an extremely plant-ridden hill into possibly a creek or possibly unknown doom. It was around this time that I began to suspect that the outdoors and I were not meant for a long-term relationship.

We then got back in the car and drove a few hundred yards down the road until we saw some park benches, where we decided to sit for a bit. The thing about random, secluded benches at the edge of the city, however, is that other people will likely be sitting around them too. They may be looking to relax after a nice walk, like you, or they may be doing something sinister. Upon recognizing that I had developed a grouchiness that was bordering on paranoia, we decided that it was time to give up on Fairmount Park.

I think we were in the section of East Fairmount Park. But, like, I really don't know.

I think we were in the section of East Fairmount Park. Maybe.

Part III: Nature Doesn’t Like Me

There’s only so much tranquil greenery a girl can take. My legs were covered in little red bumps, I was hungry, and Allison wouldn’t let me drink the wine I had in my car because we were in public and that’s illegal or whatever. So, we went home, me reminded of why I moved to the city in the first place. Of course I’m grateful that places like Awbury exist, but if I’m being quite honest, I’m much happier when experiencing them in doses. Small ones, preferably.

Casually Hanging Out With Ben Franklin

When you spend all of your time on a college campus in North Philly, it can be easy to forget that you live in one of the most historically-rich cities in the United States – if not the most historically-rich, as our nation’s founding principles were scribed here. That’s what the National Constitution Center aims to remind of. Located in the aptly-named Old City, the museum is known for its themed exhibits, vast collection of Constitution-related memorabilia, and interactive educational stations all centered on that one document that so influences how we Americans live our lives.

I visited the Center in March in order to check out the Women’s History Month features, which were heavily hyped on its website. I learned pretty quickly, with great disappointment, that exhibits are not housed in one cohesive section. Instead, items and displays that relate to the theme are scattered throughout the museum and highlighted in brochures so visitors know where to find them. I also arrived at the museum so close to closing time that it didn’t make sense for me to spend much time hunting for small items, so I missed most of them. No snappin’ pics with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s judicial robe for me!

Trips to the Center begin with its original multimedia production, “Freedom Rising,” which runs every half hour. The performance itself is impressive, starring one actor who gives an oral history of America’s creation and maintenance of the Constitution and its values. The loud, sweeping orchestral music made the whole thing a little overbearingly patriotic for me, and yeah, that’s kind of the point, but there’s only so much Band of Brothers-esque trumpet a girl can take. Still, it succeeded in getting me in the mood for learning about some history.

The main section of the museum is a large circular room upstairs which features a ton of interactive stations, like a voting booth that randomly chooses two former presidents and asks you to vote as if they were running against each other this year. It seems to be geared toward children, but anyone could probably learn something by reading the fact snippets along the walls, figuratively spanning from the 1700s to today.

To me, the best part of the Center is the Signers’ Room, a space at the end of the main museum area where life-size metal statues of all of the signers of the Constitution reside. My friend Allison and I had a pretty fun time posing with the founders – shaking hands, chatting about liberty – as can be seen in embarrassing iPhone pictures that will not be posted online because I am an adult and shouldn’t enjoy this as much as I did. Ben Franklin was captivated by my charm, though, don’t doubt that.

The National Constitution Center is located at 525 Arch Street, near Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Plan to visit the area on an open afternoon to take in all of Philadelphia’s most historical sites. Get there from Temple by taking the BSL south to City Hall, then the MFL east to 5th and walking north toward Arch for about three minutes. The Center is open Monday through Friday 9:30AM-5PM, Saturday 9:30AM-6PM, and Sunday 12PM-5PM.

Finally, here’s a super fun online quiz called “Which Founder Are You?” (I’m George Washington – “Self-controlled, dignified, and even-handed.” Wahoo!)

"Yo, did you hear what Jefferson said in session this morning? What an ignoble wretch!"

“Yo, did you hear what Jefferson said in session this morning? What an ignoble wretch!”