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Meet A Poet Art Gallery, On the Groundís host in Parkside

On August 11, Flying Kite announced the official relaunch of On the Ground, and we’re already enjoying the hospitality of our home for the next three months, Girard Avenue's A Poet Art Gallery.

The gallery, founded in late 2010, was originally located at 4510 Walnut Street before moving to 40th and Girard in Parkside. The three founders, Rachelle Pierre-Louis, Shar Coles and New York-based Tina Albright recently chatted with Flying Kite about their history and mission.

"We just wanted to create a space for artists to basically have a home," explains Pierre-Louis.

Events at the Girard Avenue space include weekly (every Tuesday night) and monthly ("Sounds in the Gallery" every first Saturday) open mic events for poetry and music, plus art exhibitions, African dance classes and, coming soon, painting classes. The gallery is also available to rent for a variety of events, including weddings.

The three women's artistic backgrounds are about as diverse as they come. The Haitian-born Pierre-Louis came to the U.S. when she was 11, first settling with family in Los Angeles for a year, then relocating to Philly where she completed the rest of her education, including a graphic design degree.

"I’ve been drawing since I was six years old," she says; Pierre-Louis now works in acrylics and oils, as well as tattoo art.

Coles, an alum of University City High School, is a Philadelphia native who grew up in South and West Philly. She loves all kinds of art and describes herself as "an inside poet" because she enjoys putting words together, but doesn’t always share them in public.

Albright is an interior designer and art-decal maker, but she also shares carpentry skills with Coles. Her artistic expertise extends into the culinary realm: She creates custom cakes in a variety of shapes including handbags and shoes.

"We pretty much all had a hand in building the gallery," recalls Albright.

The three put even more work into their Girard Avenue space than the Walnut Street one -- they raised the ceiling, laid down new floors, and designed and created the bathrooms. The location even boasts a backyard.

The women admire the better-known gallery corridors of Old City, but saw no reason not to bring the same caliber of art and community-building to West Philly. According to Pierre-Louis, they have a broad client base across the city, but want to connect more closely with their nearest neighbors. When she got wind of On the Ground, it sounded like the perfect "missing piece" of their mission for the gallery.

"We’ve been trying to get in touch and pool a little bit more of the community and we haven’t had that chance," she continues; the Flying Kite connection was the right thing at the right time. "We want people to come out and appreciate art and see something different…and decide to pick up some paint and write some poetry, and we want to inspire people and be in our home base, which is West Philly."

The address is 4032 Girard Avenue, and Flying Kite will be in residence there every Monday and Tuesday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. through October.

"We’re always looking for artists," adds Pierre-Louis. "The door is always open."

Writer: Alaina Mabaso
Sources: Rachelle Pierre-Louis, Shar Coles, and Tina Albright, APoetArtGallery 

 

Kensington Quarters, Philly's only restaurant/butcher shop, opens in Fishtown

We're all used to picking up everything -- from steak to veggies to detergent to wrapping paper -- in one stop at the grocery store, and it’s hard to remember that we used to shop very differently.
 
Philly restaurateurs Michael and Jeniphur Pasquarello, who together own Bufad, Prohibition Taproom and Café Lift, want to revive the specialized shop tradition with their new restaurant/butcher shop Kensington Quarters (KQ).
 
Opening KQ, housed in a former welding facility on Frankford Avenue, was a journey that took two years. According to Michael, the 25-foot ceilings and sheer size of the spot -- 35 feet wide and 100 feet long -- was initially "very daunting."
 
But that surfeit of space is part of what inspired them to create something unique for Philadelphia: a restaurant that butchers humanely-raised, locally-sourced animals in its own kitchen (instead of ordering cuts of meat) and a butcher shop within the space where folks can purchase their own high-quality cuts.
 
In service of that goal, Michael teamed up with expert butcher Bryan Mayer, who he first connected with over a beer in 2012.
 
"Originally, the concept was a restaurant centered on whole-animal butchery," recalls Michael. "We’re buying animals from farms and not bringing them in in boxes…We believe this is the most efficient way to run a restaurant."
 
While the space was still in its design phase, the two men were touring it and stopped to look at an area that had originally been designated as a lounge and coat closet.
 
"Why don’t you put a butcher shop over here?" Michael remembers asking Mayer, who had been looking to launch his own small-scale, locally-sourced butcher shop.
 
"Come here, get your meat, make it an adventure, talk to the butcher," he explains, insisting on the appeal of getting people out of the grocery-store habit.
 
Michael now says it’s a good thing that the space took so long to develop.

"The more time it took to get that place built, the more the concept evolved and became better understood and well-rooted," he insists.
 
Today, along with the butcher shop, that means wood-fired meals (with herbs from the garden out back) from pastured animals that spent their entire lives on local farms dedicated to humane husbandry, no antibiotics or GMOs (even on the drinks menu), and a simple cooking philosophy.
 
And, starting n 2015, the KQ team hopes to offer classes for those who want to learn more about cooking, butchering, using the whole animal and where food comes from.
 
The kitchen at Kensington Quarters (1310 Frankford Avenue) is open Sunday through Thursday, 5 - 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 5 - 11 p.m. The butcher shop is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. - 8 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Writer: Alaina Mabaso
Source: Michael Pasquarello, Kensington Quarters 

 

An authentic taste of Nigeria comes to the City of Brotherly Love

Don’t call Tunde Wey a chef.

“I’ve been cooking to survive all my life,” insists the Nigerian-born Detroit resident, who’s been taking his brash take on West African cuisine on a coast-to-coast tour this fall and winter.  

"I don’t know how I feel about the word 'chef,'" the former restaurant owner continues. "I don’t consider myself a chef. I consider myself a person who cooks food for people.”

Wey, who has been cooking professionally for only the last eight months, insists that all the best experiences he’s had at the table were from ordinary folks who loved sharing a good meal.

That’s the vibe he wants to bring to his LAGOS bus tour. Shortly after selling his share of a new Detroit restaurant (operating with a rotating roster of eclectic guest chefs) to his business partner, Wey had the idea for a Nigerian food tour -- it struck him on a road trip from New Orleans to Chicago.

"Somewhere between New Orleans and Minneapolis, the idea occurred to keep going and keep cooking," he says. Now, his dinners are drawing 20 to 50 people in each city.

With six stops on the LAGOS tour under his belt as of December 7, Wey is loving bringing his distinctive West African flavor to Americans. He doesn’t want to say that American food doesn’t have flavor (even if the LAGOS website declares that it’s time to "unfetter diners from the tedium that is 'modern American cuisine'"), but honestly, he’s not impressed with our carefully cultivated and portioned subtleties.

With the bold approach of African food, he insists, "there’s no mistaking what just happened. I just had some food, and it’s like, wow, that was food. That was delicious. I’m pro-flavor."

Inspired by his love for his own mother’s rice or beans with tasty fried plantains, Wey says his dishes are tried and true, adding up to the kind of dinner that makes you "take off a couple of buttons on your pants because you have to catch your breath."

The LAGOS bus, where he cooks most of the food himself with the help of one or two others, is coming to Philly on Friday, December 12, at Sabrina’s Café (1804 Callowhill Street). The event is BYOB and the $45 ticket price includes authentic Jollof Rice, peppered goat meat, Egusi (a melon seed and spinach stew), Isi Ewu (stewed goat head) and, of course, fried plantains.

"Philly, get ready!" says Wey. "Cuz I’m coming!"

Writer: Alaina Mabaso
Source: Tunde Wey, LAGOS

 

Calling Local Artists: Frankford Avenue First Friday Fracas wants your work

In the riverward districts of Fishtown and Kensington, Frankford Avenue First Friday events have been showcasing the area's increasingly extensive creative output for some years. And it's not just the boulevard's art galleries, but also its cafes, eateries and boutiques.
 
According to Joanna Winchester of the New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC), that creative and economic energy has been steadily inching its way northward along Frankford Avenue over the past few years.

"We've been wanting to put a highlight on some of the newer businesses that are coming in on the northern side of avenue," she says.
 
At the same time, NKCDC has been keen for local artists to become more involved with the avenue's monthly First Friday events. In an effort to satisfy both those goals, a new-and-improved event was born: the Frankford Avenue First Friday Fracas, which Winchester describes as a fairly typical "art stroll-style event, but with a really energetic twist to it."
 
On September 5 from 6 to 10 p.m., Frankford Avenue between Susquehanna and Cumberland will be closed to traffic for the street party. "We're hoping to have performers, and food trucks, and artists selling their wares," adds Winchester.
 
NKCDC is currently soliciting applications from artists who may want to perform or sell their work at the Fracas. And while priority will be given to those from the 19125 and 19134 ZIP codes, anyone is welcome to apply, as long as they meet the August 20 submission deadline.

Applications can be found online at NKCDC.org and FrankfordAveArts.org

Source: 
Joanna Winchester, NKCDC
Writer: Dan Eldridge

Cooper's Ferry Partnership wins ArtPlace America grant to expand its Camden Night Gardens initiative

Cooper's Ferry Partnership, an organization that has been working for years to revitalize the city of Camden, was recently awarded a $475,000 grant from ArtPlace America, a group that supports creative placemaking efforts across the country.
 
According to Cooper's Ferry COO Joe Myers, it was largely the success of last April's Camden Night Gardens initiative -- a multi-disciplinary art festival held at the defunct Riverfront State Prison in North Camden -- that led to the grant.   
 
"We applied to ArtPlace with the idea of creating [a number of] smaller Camden Night Gardens events," explains Myers. The original event, which attracted roughly 3,000 attendees to the 15-acre former prison site and featured BMX riders and a Camden drill team along with art and music performances, created significant buzz throughout the community. "We wanted to use that as a kind of model to do [similar events] in smaller locations."
 
Those smaller events will take place somewhere within the North Camden and Cooper-Grant neighborhoods, which were most recently considered for redevelopment in 2008, when Cooper's Ferry released its North Camden Neighborhood and Waterfront Park Plan.
 
And while Myers says the future events might be similar in style to the original Camden Night Gardens, Cooper's Ferry plans to first spend the next four months consulting with the North Camden community.They hope to learn what local residents liked about the Night Garden, for instance, and get suggestions about underutilized sites that could be repurposed for events.  
 
Assuming that phase wraps up this fall, "I would hope we would begin the process of laying out new dates for these events," says Myers, "and having a conceptual idea of what they would specifically be."

Writer: Dan Eldridge
Source: Joe Myers, Cooper's Ferry Partnership

Camden is now home to New Jersey's second small-scale distillery

"It's definitely a long saga," says James Yoakum, sharing the story of how the three-week-old Cooper River Distillers, the first legal distillery to be based in Camden, N.J., since Prohibition, came to be. The gist features a mix of plucky entrepreneurial acumen and plain ole career dissatisfaction -- the same recipe that has given birth to so many creative endeavors before it.
 
After finishing the Wharton School's undergrad program and spending a few years in real estate brokerage, "I decided that I didn't want to do that for the rest of my life," says Yoakum. "And I've always been kind of entrepreneurial."

He'd also been brewing beer at home on the side, and about four years ago, he stumbled onto the concept of craft distilling, a growing trend that's now represented in all 50 states.
 
After finding a mentor in Paul Tomaszewski of MB Roland Distillery, he realized it was actually doable. And thanks to the three years Yoakum spent in business-building mode -- during which he acquired four silent partners and enrolled in Cornell's Artisan Distilling Workshop -- Cooper River's first product, the retro-tinged Petty's Island Rum, should be available in South Jersey bars and liquor stores by the end of May.
 
According to Yoakum, it was New Jersey's relatively liberal liquor regulations -- which allow small distillers to legally self-distribute -- that led to him choosing the state for his distillery's home.

"I love the idea of making a product one day," he says, "and then the next day taking it down the street to a bar and giving them a sample, and saying, 'Would you like the carry this?'"
 
For details about the availability of Petty's Island Rum, which Yoakum also plans to sell from his headquarters on Fourth Street in downtown Camden, visit CooperRiverDistillers.com.

Writer: Dan Eldridge
Source: James Yoakum, Cooper River Distillers

 

Nab tickets for the 2014 Filadelfia Latin American Film Festival

Thirteen percent of Philadelphia's population is now of Hispanic or Latino descent -- that's nearly 200,000 people within the city limits alone. The organizers of the third annual Filadelfia Latin American Film Festival (FLAFF) -- the only annual festival of its sort in the Greater Philadelphia area -- have released the scheduled lineup for this three-day event, which runs April 25-27 at The University of the Arts, the Kimmel Center and International House Philadelphia. This year's films represent a diverse range of Latin countries and include full-length features, documentaries, shorts and even a family-friendly animated film from Uruguay.

Standouts include Cesar's Last Fast, a film about a one-man hunger strike held by Cesar Chavez in an effort to shine a light on the negative effects of pesticides, and Yo, Indocumentada, an exploration of the Venezuelan transgender community.    
 
According to FLAFF co-organizer Beatriz Vieira, "part of what we want to do [with FLAFF] is to make sure the audiences are being built very, very carefully." To that end, a fair amount of community engagement has been baked into the festival, she says, "to make sure [it] has a lot of relevance for the region."
 
For example, a student member of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians will discuss the struggles of learning to read and write as an adult following the screening of Las Analfabetas, a Chilean film about a middle-aged illiterate woman. FLAFF is also partnering with The Food Trust and Fair Food; representatives from both groups will discuss their work with the audience after the screening of Cesar's Last Fast.   
 
Click here to view film trailers or purchase tickets.
 
Writer: Dan Eldridge
Source: Beatriz Vieira, FLAFF

 

Downingtown's Victory Brewing Company announces its summer beer lineup

According to the Colorado-based Brewers Association, a trade group responsible for supporting the craft beer industry in the United States, that industry is now worth some $4 billion in Pennsylvania alone.  
 
And the Commonwealth's largest craft beer producer? That would be Downingtown-based Victory Brewing Company, best known for its wildly popular india pale ale, HopDevil.   
 
Victory also has a reputation for its limited releases and seasonal brews. They recently announced their upcoming summer lineup, which includes a variety 12-pack known as Summer Selection, as well as the return of Victory's WildDevil IPA, a Belgian twist on its flagship beer.
 
But the summer lineup's most unusual offering is a rotating IPA series known as Moving Parts, which will be released in a staggered series of "batches" -- the recipe will be slightly tweaked every four months.  
 
"We're referring to it as our 'ever-evolving IPA,'" says Victory's Melissa Thomas. "The idea behind it is that in each release in the series, there will be a part that 'moves. [Moving Parts] celebrates the simple yet really cool ingredients in beer. It's kind of fun for consumers, to have an idea of how just one small change to an ingredient can really have a significant impact on the flavor profile."
 
Along with WildDevil IPA and the Summer Selection 12-pack (which will include the Visit Philly-commissioned Summer Love Ale), the first release in the Moving Parts series, MP01, will be available in May.
 
Source: Melissa Thomas, Victory Brewing Company
Writer: Dan Eldridge
 


Grocery delivery-service Instacart announces same-day liquor delivery in Philadelphia

If the rise of Web 2.0 has taught us anything about why we love the Internet, it's probably that convenience trumps all.

Instacart
, for example, a grocery delivery service startup with roots in San Francisco and operations in Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C., has just announced that its Philadelphia-area customers can now have alcoholic beverages from Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores delivered to their homes in as little as one hour.
 
If you've never heard of Instacart, you're not alone. In fact, when the company launched its local service on February 18, Whole Foods was literally the only choice available to customers willing to pay anywhere from $3.99 to $14.99 for the convenience of having groceries brought to their doorstep.
 
Super Fresh and BJ's Wholesale Club have since signed on (customers aren't required to have BJ's memberships), and with the recent addition of its liquor service, Instacart seems primed to capture a large portion of the food delivery market.

The company's deliveries are handled by a team of "personal shoppers" who use their own vehicles. And because Instacart has no warehouses, trucks, retail locations or full-time drivers, their overhead remains manageable.    
 
"We're growing every week," says Instacart operations manager George Shotz. "It's just constant."

Asking customers to complete wish-list surveys is one way Instacart aims to fill its customers' needs. According to Shotz, liquor has consistently been one of the surveys' most-requested items.

Securing an alcohol delivery license with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board was a breeze: "We just applied and followed their rules," he explains. "And they approved us. They were great."   
 
Visit the Instacart website to view a map of the company's local delivery area and to open an account. 

Source: George Shotz, Instacart
Writer: Dan Eldridge





Philadelphia region ranks first nationally in arts and culture job creation

Arts and culture has a $3.3 billion impact and accounts for 11 jobs per thousand residents in Greater Philadelphia, ranking the region first in job creation among 182 cities across the country, says a new report from the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.
 
Arts, Culture + Economic Prosperity in Greater Philadelphia, released on Monday, follows up on previous reports issued by the Cultural Alliance that measure the vast impact of the region's arts and culture sector. This report's finding are among the most impressive, with the sector contributing 44,000 jobs and $1 billion in income to the region. That includes $169 million in tax revenues for state and local governments.

The City of Philadelphia ranked behind only Washington, D.C. and San Francisco inper-capita cultural expenditures in a ranking of major cities, ahead of Chicago, Seattle and Atlanta.
 
Other highlights include:
 
-- The sector's $3.3 billion economic impact includes $1.4 billion of direct spending by organizations and audiences and $1.9 billion in indirect expenditures.
 
-- People working in the arts and culture sector and living in the City of Philadelphia earn a combined $500 million.
 
-- Cultural tourism accounts for $230 million in direct spending, 39 percent of cultural attendees and 44 percent of total audience spending (cultural visitors spend $45 per excursion versus $24 by locals).
 
-- Cultural audiences spend $237.8 million on meals before and after events and $84.3 million on overnight lodging.
 
The report was made possible by the William Penn Foundation, Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, Bank of America and the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts. It included data gathered from 345 local arts and cultural organizations through the Pennsylvania Cultural Data Project.

Source: Karim Olaechea, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
Writer: Joe Petrucci

Pizza Brain's viral dream opens in glorious reality in East Kensington

Walking into Pizza Brain is like walking into a dream. In 19 months from conception to grand opening, the combination museum and slice shop went from an idea in Brian Dwyer's head to multifaceted reality. "We want people to come in and have an otherworldly experience," says Dwyer, who hopes patrons feel grateful and confused, or perhaps the other way around. "You can't walk in and say these guys just phoned it in."
 
The public grand opening is tonight (Friday, Sept. 7) and at least a thousand people are expected, but earlier this week, we were treated to an intimate press preview. Located in the East Kensington section of Philadelphia on Frankford Avenue, Dwyer insists he doesn't care about the hype. But the New York Times has already been down three times, and there's a dedicated Wikipedia page. Dwyer's pizza collection is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records. "The second we got attention, we knew we had to deliver," says Dwyer.

Both Dwyer and co-founder Mike Carter say that while the neighborhood has a lot on offer, good pizza has been sorely lacking until now. Joe Hunter and Ryan Anderson are also partners. Pizza Brain's toppings range from standard to unusual, and it is a sweet potato, apple and goat cheese variety that is both one of the most unusual combinations and the tastiest. 
 
Dwyer, by nature an artist, says his collection of pizza memorabilia includes album covers, cartoons, comics, memorabilia and images. "When you look at the photos on the wall, you see America."

The custom built bar is fabricated from old pianos found on Craigslist. In the courtyard of what Dwyer describes as a weird hippie pizza commune, encompassing the pizza shop, Little Baby's Ice Cream and a number of residences, a large mural by Hawk Krall depicts famous Philadelphians like Ben Franklin and Tina Fey enjoying a slice.
 
Dwyer is a yarn spinner, a larger than life persona bursting with energy. The son of a schoolbus driver and a foreman at an air conditioning plant, he moved to Philadelphia from Syracuse to attend Temple University's film program. 
 
"There's tremendous freedom in putting your roots down," says Dwyer, who attributes the rapid success of the business in part to Circle of Hope, a community based non-denominational church. Additionally, people have simply shown up to pitch in, out of the blue, driving from as far away as New Orleans.

"A dream is typically up here and it's safe," says Dwyer, pointing to a head of fiery red hair. This dream has gone viral. And it's coming to a mind near you.

Source: Brian Dwyer, Pizza Brain
Writer: Sue Spolan (with help from David Greenberg)

Philly Geek Awards 2012: Girls, tears and robot-on-robot action

Philadelphia loves its geeky girls, as evidenced by the preponderance of female award winners at the 2012 Philadelphia Geek Awards. Geek of the Year went to Tristin Hightower, cofounder of Girl Geek Dinners, and Event of the Year went to Women in Tech Summit.

"Girls, if you are a little bit tech or geek curious, Philly is a good place to be," remarked Hightower. When CloudMine's Brendan McCorkle posted her quote on twitter, Nick Robalik quipped, "Maybe even binary-curious."
 
Geekadelphia's Eric Smith, co-organizer of the sold-out, black tie event with Tim Quirino, reports that an overflow audience of 500 attended at the Academy of Natural Sciences. "The museum was sold out last year, and was sold out again this year in record time," says Quirino. "It's incredible to see a packed house dressed to the nines just to support the local Geek community."

A sci-fi inspired, LED-enhanced podium glowed in an ever changing rainbow of color and video. The awards themselves, created by NextFab Studio, also glowed. The podium and visuals were created by Klip Collective. Quirino says of the awards, "NextFab took my robot illustration to a whole new level. Robotic lasers cut the form of the robot out of clear, thick, acrylic and etched the details in.  Imagine that. A robot creating a robot!  Then they built the base out of wood, which housed a simple electronic circuit that contained three LED lights that lit up the acrylic robot making it look like a hologram from afar."

"The passionate speeches by some of the winners were really quite moving. Scientist of the Year, Youngmoo Kim from Drexel University, and Geek of the Year, Tristin Hightower, gave particularly lovely speeches," says Smith. Adds Quirino, "Eric doesn't want to admit that he teared up a little bit. It's ok, Eric. I did too."
 
Kim says, "I was honored to be nominated alongside my Drexel colleague Andy Hicks, who does amazing things with light and mirrors using mathematics. And Paul Ehrlich is a giant in the field of population biology. Hopefully this award highlights the incredible work being done by scientists and researchers throughout the region.
 
"I met a bunch of people doing very cool things spanning all kinds of 'geek-doms.' I mentioned this during my acceptance speech, but I absolutely believe that within the auditorium, there's the collective intelligence, passion, and experience, in short the 'geekiness,' to address some really tough problems (education, unemployment, digital literacy) and transform Philadelphia. And I look forward to working together with everyone to make that happen. And whoever put together the podium (very cool trapezoidal obelisk with video projections on the surfaces) should receive a special award. That was awesome!"
 
Accepting the award for Startup of the Year, Curalate's Apu Gupta said, "We have to thank all the 13-year-old girls out there. Because they use Pinterest. Also, Brendan likes them." 
 
Other winners included Zoe Strauss, for her Foursquare campaign associated with the citywide photography exhibit earlier this year; BlueCadet Interactive won for Web Development Team of the Year; the Viral Project of the Year went to the Opera Company of Philadelphia's Random Acts of Culture, and Hacker of the Year was Georgia Guthrie. A complete list of winners can be found here, and you can see pics of attendees taken by Photobot 3000 here.

How drunk did Smith get at the afterparty that went for hours at National Mechanics? "No comment. Though if anyone found a size 10 shoe (right) at National Mechanics, please email me at [email protected]" We heard you had a big shoe, Eric.

Source: Eric Smith, Tim Quirino, Youngmoo Kim, Apu Gupta, Tristin Hightower, Phillly Geek Awards
Writer: Sue Spolan

Next month's Geek Awards will be ladies night

After the Philadelphia Geek Awards organizers finalized the nominees for next month's big bash at the Academy of Natural Sciences, something else had changed besides the categories for the second installment of what organizers have lovingly described as the Daytime Emmys version of the Webbys.
 
"It wasn't until after we finished going through nominations that we realized there were more women this year," says Tim Quirino, cofounder of Geekadelphia, the all-things-geeky blog and community that continues to grow. 
 
Make no mistake, this year's Geek Awards -- already sold out for Aug. 17 (but overflow tickets have just been released) - are indicative of Philadelphia's feminine firepower. No fewer than nine lady nominees dominate the event's 14 categories, which moved away from the "new" theme to include more static categories (like Indie Game Developer of the Year) that will have more staying power. 
 
Most notably, three women are up for Geek of the Year, including Tristin Hightower (Girl Geek Dinners), Gerri Trooskin (Franklin Institute) and Roz Duffy (TEDxPhilly).
 
Last year, only five women were represented individually among all the nominees. While the influx of women in the program might not have been entirely deliberate, it is clearly a product of Geekadelphia opening up the nomination process, receiving upward of 100 pages of nominations from across the region.
 
"Thanks to cool events like the Women in Tech conference and cool organizations like TechGirlz and Girl Develop It, I'm constantly hearing about the interesting things (local women in tech) are up to," says Geekadelphia cofounder Eric Smith. "The increase in nominations reflect them being passionate about making themselves heard."
 
Says Quirino: "There are more women doing things in the Philadelphia tech scene than before."

And next month, one of them will be called Geek of the Year.

Source: Eric Smith, Tim Quirino, Geekadelphia
Writer: Joe Petrucci

Largest show in festival history announced for 16th annual Live Arts celebration

With six world premieres and two U.S. premieres set for the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, which announced the lineup for its 16th annual edition on Monday, there will be plenty of cutting-edge dance, theater, music, visual and interdisciplinary works by renowned contemporary artists. It will also feature the largest work in Live Arts Festival history with Sylvain Emard Danse's Le Grand Continental, which will feature 200-plus dancers on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and go down as the largest presentation of its kind in the world.

The Parkway will also host interactive public art from Montreal-based new media artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. Montreal will also be represented by urban circus 7 Fingers. Philadelphia's leading contemporary art-makers are in the mix as well, including Pig Iron Theatre Company, Headlong Dance Theater, Brian Sanders' JUNK and Lucidity Suitacase Intercontinental.

"Our mission to present artistic voices from around the world alongside Philadelphia's best and brightest talent continues with our 2012 programming," says producing director Nick Stuccio in a news release.

Other noteworthy performances include the only American presentation of Australia-based Back to Back Theatre's FOOD COURT, a centerpiece production that confronts bullying and body image, and New York's Elevator Repair Service and Young Jean Lee Theater Company.

The Festival runs Sept. 7-22. Tickets go on sale in mid-June and are priced between $10-$30. Discounts available to those age 25 and under and for Festival Members. A full schedule with Festival events, and performance dates, times and locations will be released shortly. PNC Arts Alive is the presenting sponsor for the 2012 edition.

Source: Carolyn Huckabay, Canary Promotions
Writer: Joe Petrucci




Father's Day is every day with ManCaveKingdom

"There's no such thing as a typical man cave," says Joe Chiaccio, founder of ManCaveKingdom. The bootstrapped startup is in the business of creating safe havens for every man, no matter what his taste.

Maybe you're the kind of guy who's just waiting for beer o'clock. Or maybe you are more of a Super Street Fighter. Whatever your particular escape, ManCaveKingdom will help make it happen.

While Chiaccio, based in South Jersey, has full time designer Amanda Burke on staff, he explains it's more of a DIY thing. "Guys are traditionally not the decorators of the house. Typically women are the primary decorators. If a guy is lucky enough to get his own space, ManCaveKingdom makes it attainable for guys who have an idea of what they want," says Chiaccio, who adds that wives are often more than happy to hand over an area of the house where a guy can get as sloppy as he wants.

The target demographic for the fledgling company is pretty wide, ranging in age from men in their early 20s up to their 60s. "Younger guys live in apartments, and then there are guys who have been married 40 years and want a little bit of space," says Chiaccio. Most commonly, men are looking for a bar and a really nice TV viewing area. Add-ons include stand up arcade games, ping pong and pool tables.

How much is this going to set you back? "How much does a diamond ring cost?" jokes the recently married Chiaccio, citing a budget range from a few hundred dollars all the way up to the tens of thousands. In fact, it was Chiaccio's own experiences building out his man space that gave him the idea for the business.

Chiaccio reports that Philly Tech Week was great for business, and now counts among his clients a recently divorced local entrepreneur who does web analytics by day, but wants to get loose at night. We're not naming names, or even initials. What happens in the man cave stays in the man cave.

Source: Joseph Chiaccio, ManCaveKingdom
Writer: Sue Spolan
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