If you’re in West Philly, beeline to 4545 Girard Avenue right now to check out the brand new Will Smith mural being sketched and painted by London street artist Richard Wilson. According to a rep from Mural Arts Philadelphia, which broke news about the mural this afternoon on Twitter, Wilson was inspired to do the work after seeing some of Will Smith’s feel-good, togetherness-inspiring posts on Instagram. SNEAK PEEK: London artist Richard Wilson is in #Philly creating a mural honoring Will Smith! Check it out at 4545 Girard Ave. pic.twitter.com/dyzzy5LNB8 — Mural Arts (@muralarts) May 29, 2018 This isn’t a Mural Arts Philadelphia project, but the nonprofit has helped Wilson with essential organization and connected him with a nearby school, the Global Leadership Academy Charter School, where he will teach some art-making classes in conjunction with the mural’s creation. We haven’t been able to track down Wilson for comment, but this Instagram post from last week offers a few more clues in his own words as to what he has planned. Beautiful day in Philadelphia! Ready to start sketching up tomorrow, and yes there is a reason why that brick at top right has no paint ☺️ This wall belongs to a warehouse but I’m working in and this view is from a school, its an amazing place and i’m pretty sure all the kids just think the walls getting a coat of paint and thats it! I’m going to do a class with some of the kids and an Art teacher here which makes this really specia
Outdoor-drinking enthusiasts, take note: This summer the Good King Tavern is opening charming secret patio. Opening June 6, the space is tucked away just behind the restaurant, which sits at the corner of 7th and Kater Streets in Queen Village. General Manager Chloe Grigri says the patio will be decked out with market lights, greenery and casual garden furniture, where guests can hang out to sip a lineup of refreshing, summer-approved beverages. Drinks include Kronenbourg ($6), Aperol Spritz ($10), and rosé, red and white wines by the glass for $9. A selection of shots will be available for $5. Those include the TGK Fireball (Wild Turkey bourbon, cinnamon and chili) and TGK Kamikaze (Appleton Reserve, Grand Marnier and fresh lime). As good as all that sounds, the vino is truly where it’s at. The restaurant recently won the 2018 Time Out Philadelphia Bar Award for Best Wine Bar. Our judges were especially impressed with the Good King Tavern’s wine selection, because it’s just downright approachable. “While wine lists can be intimidating, the Good King Tavern has broken up its menu into flavor profiles, rather than listings by region or by grape, said judge David Powell. “This allows even a wine novice to find an incredible bottle without having to be a connoisseur. There’s also great diversity in the price points, inviting everyone to enjoy a bottle without breaking the bank.” If you’re itching to check out the secret patio before the grand opening, Grigri is hosting a Negr
Brilliant folk rocker Laura Veirs played a humid set at Boot & Saddle on Saturday that included a solid band and superb selection of new songs from 2018’s The Lookout. Here are some photos and highlights from the evening. 1. The show opened with The Lookout’s first track “Margaret Sands.” A song about the merging of humankind with nature, it was an apt beginning to a night that spans the flavors of Veirs’ emotions. There is the valuable look at females in music history in “Song for Judee”—from the awesome collaboration between Veirs, k.d. lang and Neko Case—and the masterclass in love-song writing that is “Galaxies.” Veirs’ voice and guitar skills were front and center, though when she stepped to the keyboard for “The Meadow” and “White Cherry,” her band’s talents bloomed into full view. The violin and viola work of Alex Guy, guitar and bass of Eli Moore and drumming of Matt Berger bring Veirs’s sound to expansive highs. 2. There are many standouts on The Lookout, but “The Meadow” shines live. The stunning sense of hope that lies within the lyrics carries this song. “No hate, just spring’s young light green leaves/ Showing us what life can do/ We went to the meadow.” The sharing in this experience set in nature, far from the song’s distractors of walls, ads, fear, confusion and hate, is only temporary, as are many of the moments in Veirs’s works. “We knew it wouldn’t last.” Thankfully Veirs continues to show us new paths to these truths, however sad they can be. 3.
Dust off your white threads; pull out your fanciest table linens and candelabras: Dîner en Blanc is returning to Philadelphia for its seventh year, and the waiting list is officially open. For those new to the game, Dîner en Blanc brings together upwards of 5,000 attendees dressed head to toe in white. All participants are required to tote their own white dining supplies: a table, chairs, linens, silverware, china and a picnic basket full of food and drinks. They’ll set up everything and have a fabulous meal together under the stars while the rest of us watch it unfold on Instagram (#dinerenblancphilly). Photograph: Georgi Anastasov The date for the 2018 festival hasn’t been announced yet. That will happen at a special party aboard the Moshulu on June 12. As fans know, the location of the soiree won’t be announced until moments before Dîner en Blanc takes place. But perhaps the Moshulu party offers a hint? Maybe something along the waterfront? I doubt organizers would be that obvious. The one bit of information we do know is the theme: “Passport to Le Dîner en Blanc,” a nod, says co-host Natanya DiBona, to the 30th anniversary of the party, which began in Paris 30 years ago before making its way to 80 cities around the world. As such, the party will celebrate the towns and cultures around the globe that participate in Dîner en Blanc, including Philadelphia, which was one of the first cities to take part when the party went international. Photograph: Courtesy Du Sol
Union Transfer was busting at the seams Saturday night for hometown heroes Hop Along, whose superb third record Bark Your Head Off, Dog, was released in April. It was a night that won’t soon be forgotten, as the pure love was felt between band and fan until the final note. Hop Along 1. Bathed in red light, vocal powerhouse Frances Quinlan took the stage and started with a stunning solo rendition of “How You Got Your Limp” a breathy favorite from the new record. The rest of the band was along soon after, including drummer Mark Quinlan; this year marks ten years sister and brother have being playing music together. There’s also guitarist Joe Reinhart, rock steady bassist Tyler Long, and the band’s newest secret weapon, Chrissy Tashjian of the band Thin Lips on keys and guitar. Hop Along crushed it all night, and the eager crowd ate it up, from the anthemic “How Simple” (“How simple my heart can be / frightens me”) to set closer “Prior Things” and its powerful discussion of what could have been (“Why don’t I try to make you mine? / Why is a lack of imagination the crime?”). Hop Along 2. The height of this in Bark Your Head Off, Dog is “What the Writer Meant,” and searching for meaning in Quinlan’s riddling lyrics and emotional lyrics brings the band and it audience closer. The refrain of “God is the one who changed” echoed in our ears and around the building. Eight 3. The other bands on the bill were tight. Philly punk trio Eight led by
Friday was day fourth and final day of the WXPN’s 18th annual NON-COMMvention at World Café Live, which closed with performances by Rhode Island rockers Belly and Britain’s Editors. Here are some photos and highlights from that show. 1. Belly are back with their signature alt-rock sound. On the heels of the release of Dove, their first album in 23 years, the quartet of Tanya Donelly, Gail Greenwood, Thomas Gorman and Chris Gorman delivered five stellar tracks—some new, some old—to a sold-out crowd of fans. “Feed the Tree” rocked as wonderfully as ever, while the new material, like “Stars Align,” sounds like classic Belly. 2. Set closer “Human Child” was the highlight from Dove. A song about lessons for newer life that holds universal truths, Donelly’s rich vocals stir up emotions of the human condition. Greenwood blazed away on bass and the Gorman brothers carved percussion and guitar into fascinating lyrics like: “Oh human child/ Your face to the wind, your back to the sun/ Oh human child/ You’re digging up bones and miss every point.” I certainly cannot wait to catch a full set of new Belly and old at Union Transfer in September. 3. British rockers Editors closed out NON-COMM with a solid set of indie rock. Lead singer Tom Smith cranked up the energy on a solid mixture of songs from their 2018 LP, Violence, and more familiar tracks from the past. Bright white and red lights provided a visual representation of the moody rock. Smith was often off balance, whether
Once upon a time, Broad Street came before Broadway: Philadelphia was a mecca for musicals in development, with shows like Bye Bye Birdie and Chicago trying out here prior to going to New York City. We even had the storied Prince Music Theater, which was specifically created to spotlight new work. Those days are gone: Philly’s once major role has largely been subsumed by private readings and industry-sponsored workshops. But Michael Philip O’Brien would like to change that. As cofounder and artistic director of 11th Hour Theatre Company, O’Brien has led a local musical-theater resurgence. Since its 2004 inception, his company has produced 21 full-length productions, including two world premieres. It’s also picked up 15 Barrymores and has been hailed as the most significant force for new musical theater in the city. O’Brien sees untapped potential for new musicals within the Philadelphia theater ecosystem. “The community here has been very passionate about new plays, but new musicals have lagged behind,” he says. “We feel like we have an opportunity to change that, and we have such a sophisticated and theater-savvy audience that we believe this is the prime city to try out new work.” That theory will be tested when 11th Hour premieres Big Red Sun, an original musical by John Jiler and Georgia Stitt, at Christ Church Neighborhood House in Old City. Jiler was so impressed with 11th Hour’s 2009 production of his musical Avenue X that he sent O’Brien the script for Big Red Sun.
No city does the patriotic holidays quite like Philly, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, sealed and delivered. Accordingly, there’s an abundant list of Memorial Day events in Philadelphia to cipher through. We’ve done the job of narrowing down the essential things to do in Philadelphia over the long weekend—from fireworks shows and Philadelphia concerts to street festivals. If you’re looking for a more laid back way to celebrate our troops and the unofficial start of summer, consider checkout out one of the beer gardens in Philadelphia, or scurry up to one of the city’s rooftop bars to check out those aforementioned fireworks. The Bok Bar opens this weekend, FYI. Find our full guide to the top Memorial Day weekend events in Philadelphia below. Friday, May 25 Sail Philadelphia at Penn's Landing; noon; $7–$125Nine tall ships from along the eastern U.S., Bermuda and Portugal will dock at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. The four-day festival includes tours of the traveling boats, admission to the Independence Seaport Museum and optional 90-minute or two-hour cruises. Tickets to sail aren’t cheap ($90-$125 for a day pass), but you don’t have to get out on the water to experience the vessels. On Deck ship tours are $10 for adults, or you can admire the beauties from land at the accompanying Sail Philadelphia Waterfront Festival, which costs $7 to enter. —Jared Brey Photo Pop Philly at the Philadelphia Building; 3pm; $25 Photograph: Briana Sposato A towerin
We hit up World Cafe Live Wednesday for the penultimate go-round of WXPN’s 2018 NON-COMMvention. at World Café Live. The day brought an assemblage of some of the best and emerging indie and world-music acts, such as Brandi Carlile, Jade Bird and Philly’s own Hop Along stopped by for a set before their sold-out show at Union Transfer Saturday. Check out some photos and highlights from the day below, and don’t miss our coverage of days one and two. 1. The award for most spine-tingling NON-COMM 2018 performance goes to Angélique Kidjo The NYC-based, Benin-born singer-songwriter (pictured up top) played selections from her forthcoming album, Remain in Light, in which she has reimagined the songs from the 1980 Talking Heads album of the same name with her own sense of danceable beats and flowing rhythms. It was pure musical joy. 2. Brandi Carlile put on a multifaceted performance full of special guests. The songmaster opened with a brilliant “The Eye,” playing with her brothers Phil and Tim Hanseroth, before moving on to full-band mode for “The Joke.” But the familial stage appearances didn’t stop there: Later she brought out her daughter for “Mother.” 3. Jade Bird wowed. Showcasing superb songwriting skills and a stunning voice, the British songstress spun tales of love and loss in the Americana vein. The set concluded with a rousing performance of the brilliant “Lottery,” certainly one of the year’s best songs. We nabbed Bird for a quick portrait session before the sho
An 18-story Center City office building may not seem like a good place to see local—and highly Instagrammable—street art. But starting Memorial Day weekend, it will be. Just as temperatures begin to (finally) reach summertime levels, an exhibition called “Photo Pop Philly” brings commissioned installations by some of the city’s best-known street artists to the comfortably air-conditioned indoors. “Our city is filled with creative and talented artists,” says Kate Marlys, who curated the show. “I knew if I brought them all together, we would come up with something special to really showcase our city.” Opening in a five-room retail space inside the historic Philadelphia Building, the highly selfie-conducive works are centered around a patriotic color theme: red, white and blue. But don’t expect everything to be all Betsy Ross and Ben Franklin. Some artists, such as Amberella, find it hard to be overly patriotic, given the current political climate. “Here was an opportunity to share a social justice message amidst the red, white and blue celebrations,” says Amberella, who is known for her graphic and message-containing goth hearts, wheat pasted all over the city. Adapting a version of her classic “CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP” entwined hearts, the artist has inserted “TIME’S UP,” referencing the national movement that addresses inequality in the workplace. Presented by Visit Philadelphia, the exhibition shows works by familiar artists but on a larger scale (and on more pristine wall