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.
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.
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.
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,