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'America's first queer jazz festival' coming to the City of Brotherly Love

Philadelphia will host Outbeat, the country's first "queer jazz festival."

OutBeat, a four-day event that organizers are describing as the first jazz festival with a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender focus (its subtitle is America’s First Queer Jazz Festival), will be staged in Philadelphia from Sept. 18 to 21. The festival, which was announced by its sponsor, the William Way LGBT Community Center, at a news conference in Philadelphia on Wednesday, will include panel discussions and receptions as well as performances at several clubs and halls around the city.

Original source: The New York Times
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Chinatowns gentrifying across the nation, and Philadelphia is no exception

Chinatowns are experiencing radical gentrification, speaking to wider trends in cities. Check out the infographics.

Restaurants are a good indicator of Chinatowns' ability to "serve local and regional Asian immigrants," the report says. Right now, just under half of the restaurants in New York's Chinatown are Asian; more than half are Asian in Boston and Philadelphia. But that's changing quickly, as these neighborhoods get gutted by gentrification.

The findings are based on a year of gathering data, block by block, on how space in the communities is being used, and by whom. Researchers say the neighborhoods are rapidly getting more expensive and less useful to the people who need them most. From 2000 to 2010, the share of the Asian population fell in all three Chinatowns. In Boston, it dropped from 57 percent of the population in 2000 to 46 percent in 2010; in New York, it shifted from 48 percent to 45 percent. In Philadelphia is fell from 49 percent to 42 percent.

Housing values and rents have soared; the average apartment in New York and Boston Chinatowns is now much more expensive than in the cities overall. High-end condos, businesses, and hotels have encroached heavily on places traditionally occupied by affordable housing, small businesses, and immigrant services.


Original source: The Atlantic Cities
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Philadelphia launches new campaign to lure LGBT travelers

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) is making a pitch to LGBT tourists using a saucy new commercial.

The new video builds on the city’s memorable 2003 “Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay” campaign by showing the flamboyant female impersonator Miss Richfield 1981 touring some of Philadelphia’s best-known sites, including Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Dressed in a red-and-white striped skirt and a tight blue bodice, Miss Richfield poses with Betsy Ross — the Betsy Ross House is in the city — and runs the “Rocky Steps” at the art museum but is distracted by the muscular torsos of a quartet of young male joggers on the banks of the Schuylkill.


Original source: The New York Times
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Penn doctors examine the black-white divide in breast cancer outcomes

For years, scientists and doctors have puzzled over the disparity in outcomes between white and black breast cancer sufferers. A team at the University of Pennsylvania recently published a report on the subject.

The findings were striking. Over all, white women with breast cancer lived three years longer than black women. Of the women studied, nearly 70 percent of white women lived at least five years after diagnosis, while 56 percent of black women were still alive five years later. The difference is not explained by more aggressive cancers among black women. Instead, the researchers found a troubling pattern in which black women were less likely to receive a diagnosis when their cancer was at an early stage and most curable. In addition, a significant number of black women also receive lower-quality cancer care after diagnosis, although those differences do not explain the survival gap.

Original source: The New York Times
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LGBT senior housing rises in the Gayborhood

The John C. Anderson Apartments are under construction in the Gayborhood. Housing developments for LGBT seniors were pioneered in Los Angeles and Chicago, now Philadelphia is onboard.

With LGBT seniors facing increased risks of poverty and poor health as well as a higher likelihood of living alone, the need for housing designed to their needs is dire. Cities including Los Angeles and Chicago are responding by building developments specifically geared to LGBT seniors, and now Philadelphia is joining the party, reaching out to several different entities to get its project built.

The six-story, 56-unit John C. Anderson Apartments is now rising in the heart of Philly’s gay village, with hopes of opening at the end of the year. Mayor Michael Nutter, along with Mark Segal — the publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News and founder of Gay Youth, one of the nation’s first organizations for LGBT teens — championed the $19.5 million project.


Original source: The Advocate
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The Atlantic Cities examines Philly's class divide

The Atlantic Cities is taking a look at how class and geography intersect in American Cities using data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey. This week, they tackled Philadelphia, finding a creative class concentration in Center City, huge swaths of service class-dominated space and a shrinking working class population. Check out the interactive map for an eye-opening look at our city.

Strikingly absent from the map (with the one exception of Juniata Park) are significant working class concentrations, identified on the map in blue. This is startling in a city that was an early manufacturing powerhouse, a center for ship-building, railroad manufacturing and pharmaceuticals, not to mention manufacturing capabilities in beer, candy, and even brooms. One historically blue collar enclave is Fishtown, to the northeast of Center City. The area is rapidly gentrifying, as the economist and blogger Adam Ozimek reminded me, but it still retains much of the Irish working class character that led Charles Murray to use it as the blue collar foil for creative class Belmont, Massachusetts, in his book Coming Apart.

Original source: The Atlantic Cities
Read the full story and check out the map here.

The New York Times notes a lack of diversity in school lit

Many young latino readers are noticing a dearth of diverse protagonists in available books. The New York Times visits a Philadelphia-area school to examine this issue.

At Bayard Taylor Elementary in Philadelphia, a school where three-quarters of the students are Latino, Kimberly Blake, a third-grade bilingual teacher, said she struggles to find books about Latino children that are “about normal, everyday people.” The few that are available tend to focus on stereotypes of migrant workers or on special holidays. “Our students look the way they look every single day of the year,” Ms. Blake said, “not just on Cinco de Mayo or Puerto Rican Day.”

Original source: The New York Times
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Philadelphia leaders take to Toronto to share and 'steal'

Greater Philadelphia Economy League Executive Director Steve Wray talkes to Flying Kite sister publication Yonge Street about his organization's Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange, which visits Toronto this week.
 
One the focuses of the Economy League is what it means to be a world-class region and what it would take for Greater Philadelphia to attain status as a world-class region. As we select places to go, we look for regions that are world class or striving to be world class. Clearly Toronto has attained the status in the global community as a city and region on the rise, as a global financial capital and as an international city. We thought there were a lot of lessons we could bring back to Philadelphia from Toronto that would serve us well.
 
Original source: Yonge Street
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Comcast renews investment in DreamIt Ventures minority-focused entrepreneur program

Comcast Ventures renewed its investment in startup accelerator DreamIt Ventures' minority-focused entrepreneur program in Philadelphia and New York, DreamIt Access, reports TechCrunch.
 
DreamIt and Comcast Ventures, the venture capital arm of Comcast Corporation, first partnered on DreamIt Access in May 2011, announcing at the time a $350,000 fund to give five startups in the Philly 2011 program an extra infusion of capital (These included ElectNext, Kwelia, MetaLayer, ThaTrunk and Qwite, whose founders are African-American, Asian, Hispanic and Indian.) Later, the investment was formalized into a year-long minority accelerator program called DreamIt Access.
 
Original source: Tech Crunch
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Women draft their way to the front of craft brewing

The Washington Post profiles prominent ladies of the craft brew scene, including Rosemarie Certo of Dock Street Brewing Co. iN West Philadelphia.
 
Certo’s interest in beer started when she began making beer at home because she wasn’t happy with what was available domestically at the time. She started Dock Street in 1985 and remembers in the early days going to make a sales pitch to a distributor and being the only woman in a room of more than 50. “I remember not being bothered by it,” she recalls.
 
Original source: Washington Post
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Soup's on: PhilaSoup promotes innovative education projects

Philadelphia sisters Claire and Nikka Landau and friend Jason Tucker have established PhilaSoup as a monthly dinner bringing together dynamic educators to fund the most ambitious and innovative projects, reports NPR.

On a recent Sunday night, the trio of friends welcomed about 45 teachers and other members of the local education community to a cozy gathering at the University Barge Club, a 19th-century boathouse on the banks of the Schuylkill River. As folks walked in, they were asked to fill out name tags -- with their names and the names of their favorite children's books.

"Teachers all over Philadelphia are doing terrific projects," Claire said. "It's really exciting to gather and break bread with teachers from across the city doing exciting things."


Original source: NPR
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Philly attracts more singles than most

The rise of college-educated residents and predominance of unmarried households put Philadelphia sixth on Kiplinger's 10 Best Cities for Singles list. Do you agree?

Now, one in two Philadelphians is unmarried, one in five is between 20 and 34, and one in three holds at least a bachelor's degree. Young people congregate in Northern Liberties, Fishtown and Fairmount, where rent for a two-bedroom apartment averages about $1,000.

Original source: Kiplingers
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Entrepreneur, Philly native has plan for more STEM opportunities in city schools

Technically Philly sits down with Dr. Chad Womack, a nanobiomolecular entrepreneur who is trying to increase opportunities  in science, technology, education and mathematics (STEM) for city children.

Womack’s America21 Project is focused on empowering urban centers and communities through STEM education and workforce development, high-growth entrepreneurship and access to capital. With his new venture, he’s still actively engaging the District around STEM priorities.

Original source: Technically Philly
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Philly startup eyes 51 million Hispanics for free, instant mobile-money transfers to family abroad

A Wharton School MBA is working with a University of Pennsylvania team on a local startup that aims to make transferring money overseas more efficient, reports el-emergente.com

Edrizio De La Cruz, a recent MBA graduate from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, founded Regalii and leads the UPenn team working on it. For Edrizio, It’s a personal mission. "I grew up in the Dominican Republic," Says Edrizio, "and immigrated to New York's Washington Heights neighborhood, which was probably 110 percent Dominican. But I went to high school in Queens, where I used to play basketball with Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Colombians and Salvadorians. I quickly assimilated to each subculture. But my social circle was pretty homogeneous. Almost everyone around me was an immigrant. So I assumed that only immigrants sent money or remained connected to family in Latin America."

Original source: el-emergente.com
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An interview with Germantown native Rel Dowdell, writer/director of 'Changing the Game'

The Hollywood Official sits down at Sabrina's Cafe with Germantown native Rel Dowdell, a writer/director whose latest film "Changing the Game" looks at a young man emerging from 1980s North Philly and will premiere at the Hollywood Black Film Festival on Oct. 29.

DOWDELL:  'Changing the Game’' is a film about a young man who came out of Philadelphia in the 80's. The worst part of the 80's. 8th & Butler in North Philadelphia was one of the most notorious streets in the United States at the time.  All types of heinous activity was going on there. It was an area where you never heard about anyone getting out and doing well in their life. I wanted to make a film about a young man in that tumultuous environment who saw all the demons around him and somehow managed to get out. He was a genius and intelligent enough to make himself successful on Wall Street. He was also guided by his grandmother. It was the spiritual aspect of his life that helped him to somehow avoid the pitfalls and other things that would've been his demise.

Original source: The Hollywood Official
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Mural Arts Month, of course, means rooftop dancing

October is Mural Arts Month, with 31 days of art activities and celebrations, as told by the Los Angeles Times.

Art is in the air in October as Philadelphia celebrates many of its more than 3,500 murals during Mural Arts Month.

What began in 1984 as part of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network has blossomed into the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.  Muralist and founder Jane Golden redirected the energy and creativity of graffiti artists from marring neighborhood walls into murals, and the program now gives birth to about 150 murals a year. 

Highlights of "31 Days, 31 Ways: Art Ignites Change" include mural dedications, outdoor celebrations and free tours.


Source: Los Angeles Times
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Flourtown man's startup online bookstore creates jobs, scholarships

A Huntingdon Valley online bookseller with a socially conscious focus, Education By Inclusion recently gave a $40,000 scholarship to a Camden, NJ resident, according to The Chestnut Hill Local.

Who would have thought that reselling books and electronics could be such a lucrative business and result in scholarship money for needy students?  Flourtown resident Chetan Bagga, a Columbia University graduate, ran the numbers and started Education by Inclusion (EBI) about a year ago.

The home page of their web site offers this comment to customers. "We are a socially conscious online bookstore with a simple promise -- everything you buy contributes to a deserving student’s education. This year, you’ve made over 100,000 purchases toward scholarships. We sincerely thank you! Let’s keep the momentum going."


Source: The Chestnut Hill Local
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Narrowing the digital divide in Philadelphia

Voice of America reports on Philadelphia plans to open 48 computer centers in homeless shelters, recreation centers and libraries in order to give more people access to the Internet.

The United Nations recently declared Internet access to be a human right. But in the United States, as in many other countries, millions of people do not have access to the wealth of information found online. In Philadelphia, communities are responding to narrow the digital divide.

Source: Voice of America
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Where did the soul of Philly go?

The grassroots soul music movement of Philadelphia that created The Roots and Musiq Soulchild hasn't disappeared, and its latest practitioners are worth seeking out, according to Urban Cusp.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Philadelphia had one of the most diverse and respected cultural scenes on the East Coast. One could walk down South Street and hear poets on the corner, see Rasta street vendors selling patchouli and flags, and not make it too far down the block without receiving at least two hand-bills advertising upcoming events. You could walk on UPenn and Temple's campuses and see a range from tattooed Rockers with spiked hair to B-Boy wannabes in full Adidas gear. The culture was so bountiful that it made you stop and ask, "Are we still in Philly or is this Brooklyn?" But, now it almost seems like the diversity has disappeared or at least gone into hiding. Where did all of the culture go? Have all of the true artists been pushed out? Have they sold out or have they all given up and relocated to New York and DC?

Source: Urban Cusp
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Gay plays take over Shubin Theater this month

This month, Philadelphia GayFest! presents four GLBT-themed plays and a reading at the Shubin Theater, according to Passport Magazine.

August gets very gay in Philadelphia with the debut of GayFest!, a new GLBT theater festival presented by Quince Productions. With four plays running in repertory and a staged reading of a new gay play, the event promises to make the tiny Shubin Theatre a hotbed of gayness.

Source: Passport Magazine
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TechGirlz creates next-gen technology workers

Where will your future tech workers come from? A Philadelphia non-profit encourages math and science training for future careers in technology, according to CIO.com.

In the Philadelphia metro area, there's TechGirlz, a two-year-old non-profit group that works with young girls, encouraging them to study math and science in school so they can pursue careers in technology. The problem, according to TechGirlz, is that girls are often choosing to opt out of technology at a relatively young age because they're not being encouraged and mentored.

Source: CIO.com

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'Jazzy everywoman' Jill Scott releases fourth studio album

Three time Grammy winning Philadelphia native Jill Scott's new album The Light of The Sun carries a powerful feminine message, according to the New York Times.

"Womanifesto," the title of a song-poem on Jill Scott's fourth studio album, "The Light of the Sun," could apply to her entire catalog. Ms. Scott's songs are proudly and forthrightly feminine, and they set out to persuade and motivate. "Grown woman, making decisions and choices," she calls herself, "Utilizing everything inside of me -- my soul, my heart, my mind, my voices."

The intimate and the instructive are never far apart for Ms. Scott; neither are lyrics and prose, melody and recitation. Although she started her career as a spoken-word performer, she's a flexible, blithely swinging singer. With her 2000 debut album, "Who is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1," she settled into neo-soul that harked back to the early-1970s sound of glimmering electric piano chords and trickling electric-guitar lines, steeped in Marvin Gaye and Al Green.

Source: The New York Times

Read the full story here.



Philadelphia residents speak up about politics, economy, education in CNN's Listening Tour

Philadelphia residents speak up about politics, budget cuts and jobs for CNN's The Listening Tour.

Philadelphia is the nation's fifth-largest city, and just like most other places in the United States, it's struggling with budget cuts, layoffs and crime.

As the 2012 election nears, Philly residents say their top concerns include political nepotism, joblessness and a struggling public education system:

"With government, it's like you keep moving up, and you stay and you stay with your old ideas that don't make sense, and they don't work," said AinÚ Ardron-Doley, 34, a Philadelphia marketing manager.

Source: CNN
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NYT goes off beaten path to Germantown for history, trolley and veggie burgers

The New York Times takes a tourist's road less traveled into Northwest Philly, where visitors get a heaping helping of Philly's quirks and charms in Germantown.

The No. 23 city bus running along the cobblestones is still known as the "trolley,"and you can take it to visit the house where a young Benjamin Franklin stopped for advice on books or to other homes where Revolutionary War battles left powder marks and bloodstains. George Washington slept here, a lot, and decades later so did runaway slaves at a well-preserved stop on the Underground Railroad. There's also a homey lunch spot known for its veggie burger.

Historic sites in Philadelphia (and restaurants that serve veggie burgers) may not seem so notable, but visitors don't often make it to Germantown Avenue, where the trolley runs, preferring instead to brave the crowds at Independence Hall and the National Constitution Center in Center City.

Source: The New York Times
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Young, involved Philly: City has second-largest rise in young professionals nationally

The USA Today reports the young professional population is on the rise in urban centers, especially in Philadelphia, which saw a 57 percent increase among college-educated 20- and 30-somethings.

In more than two-thirds of the nation's 51 largest cities, the young, college-educated population in the past decade grew twice as fast within 3 miles of the urban center as in the rest of the metropolitan area - up an average 26 percent compared with 13 percent in other parts.


"This is a real glimmer of hope," says Carol Coletta, head of CEOs for Cities, a non-profit consortium of city leaders that commissioned the research. "Clearly, the next generation of Americans is looking for different kinds of lifestyles - walkable, art, culture, entertainment."

Source: USA Today
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Philly schools battle against bad eating habits, in classroom and at home

The School District of Philadelphia puts new programs in place to help kids eat more healthfully, according to The New York Times.

Tatyana Gray bolted from her house and headed toward her elementary school. But when she reached the corner store where she usually gets her morning snack of chips or a sweet drink, she encountered a protective phalanx of parents with bright-colored safety vests and walkie-talkies.

The scourge the parents were combating was neither the drugs nor the violence that plagues this North Philadelphia neighborhood. It was bad eating habits.

The parents standing guard outside the Oxford Food Shop are foot soldiers in a national battle over the diets of children that has taken on new fervor. With 20 percent of the nation's children obese, the United States Department of Agriculture has proposed new standards for federally subsidized school meals that call for more balanced meals and, for the first time, a limit on calories. The current standard specifies only a minimum calorie count, which some schools meet by adding sweet foods.

Source: The New York Times
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One Philly rapper's 'Freeway' to Islam, art

Philly rapper Freeway talks about how Islam shaped his life and career, according to CNN.

It's noon on a Friday, and the parking lot at Al-Aqsa Islamic Society in North Philadelphia is quickly filling up.

One of Philadelphia's best-known rap artists, Freeway, jumps out of a black sport utility vehicle and dashes through the pouring rain to the prayer hall inside.

Islam has been a part of his life since he was a teenager. Yet it wasn't until adulthood that his faith changed who he was an artist.

Source: CNN
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Steuer: Creative economy can lift Philly's poorest neighborhoods

Philadelphia's Office of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy boss says underserved neighborhoods will improve with cultural infusion, in an essay Steuer writes in The Huffington Post.

The new Census numbers for Philadelphia are in, and the city managed to actually record a population increase, the first in 50 years. And while the increase was tiny -- 8,456 residents, which represents a .6% increase to 1,536,006 - the reversal of the decades-long decline is huge.

Virtually all the neighborhoods that have seen huge population increases during this ten-year period have also seen large increases in the number of arts organizations and artists living and operating in them.

Source: The Huffington Post
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Big Willie Style: Smith saves the day with donation of computers for West Philly HS

Actor and rapper Will Smith provided 30 computers to West Philly High School, according to ABC News.

Will Smith is donating replacements for 30 stolen computers to a high school in West Philadelphia, where he was born and raised.

The Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation and the Charlie Mack Cares philanthropic organizations are giving 29 Apple laptops and one desktop to West Philadelphia High School.

Source: ABC News
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Tek Lado Magazine goes all digital

After just two paper issues, the bilingual tech and culture magazine Tek Lado is going to an online only format, according to Technically Philly.

Editor Liz Spikol, with whom we spoke last fall about the new gig, and former publisher Mel Gomez have struck out on their own, aiming to build Tek Lado as an online-only brand, grabbing the naming rights and the tek-lado.com domain.

The Tek Lado blog will still feature English and Spanish writing on geek culture, gaming, gadgets, social media and the like, the same as the magazine, but won't have to remain tied to this region exclusively.

Source: Technically Philly
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What Philly Has That Pittsburgh Wants

Pop City takes a look across the state at assets in Philly that Pittsburgh would love to make its own.

Making the most of Philadelphia's identity as the cradle of liberty is a single-subject museum that speaks to the city past and present. The National Constitution Center opened its doors in 2003 and shines a light on the four-page document from every conceivable angle.

In a city fueled by immigrants, food is on everyone's lips. Restaurateur Stephen Starr has leveraged that in recent years, opening a slew of stylish concept eateries in and around Center City. Eating his lunch of late are chef-driven restaurant groups helmed by Iron Chef and James Beard Award winner Jose Garces and fellow Beard award recipient Marc Vetri.

Original source: Pop City
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Open less than a month, President's House continues to draw comparisons, ire

New York Times critic Edward Rothstein unceremoniously lumps Philly's recently opened President's House into a growing group of identity museums that frame history to tell a neglected story.

Then there are the two most recent examples. The President's House site is where the nation's executive mansion stood from 1790 to 1800. And a display there could have provided some unusual insight into the American past, because not only did George Washington, as he shaped the institution of the presidency, sleep there, so did nine of his slaves. On Independence Mall in Philadelphia, which is devoted to ideas of American liberty, it would have made sense for this site to explore the conjunction of these two incompatible ideas--slavery and liberty--particularly as both were knit into the nation's founding.

Instead, during eight years of controversy, protests and confrontations, the project (costing nearly $12 million) was turned into something else. Black advocacy groups pressed the National Park Service and the city to create an exhibition that focused on enslavement. Rosalyn McPherson, the site's project manager, emphasized in an interview that the goal was to give voice to the enslaved. Community meetings stressed that slaves had to be portrayed as having "agency" and "dignity." A memorial to all slaves was erected, inscribed with a roster of African tribes from which they were taken--a list that has no clear connection to either the site or the city.

Original source: The New York Times
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NPR catches up with Philly's Hamilton and Night Catches Us

Acclaimed Philly filmmaker Tanya Hamilton talks with NPR about her new film Night Catches Us, which tells the story of ex-Black Panthers looking back on their radicalism in the 1970s.

"I often try to say that there's something both tragic and very romantic in that period, during the civil rights [struggles] and the transition into black power," Hamilton says. "I felt like the film not only needed to talk about the waning days [of the Black Panthers], but also about what ultimately destroyed the Panthers and the complexity of that destruction."

Hamilton, who wrote and directed the film, explains that she titled the film after a common saying in Jamaica: "Don't let night catch you."

Original source: NPR
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Egypt's last queen takes over The Franklin, sheds light on her life and times

Voice of America gives us a multi-media look inside the Cleopatra exhibit, which features more than 150 artifacts of ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures, at The Franklin Institute.

University of Pennsylvania Egyptologist and the head of the Penn Museum's Egyptology section - David Silverman - is curator of the exhibit. He said he hopes it dispels some of the misconceptions about Cleopatra and gives visitors a glimpse of her time.

"People know the name Cleopatra, but what about the history? And they're learning that we don't know all the answers, but they are also learning how we can find out some of the answers," said Silverman.

An accompanying audio tour attempts to provide some answers through an actress portrayal of Cleopatra. Visitors hear the queen describe the artifacts, as well as something of their history and purpose, including those dating from her torrid romance with Mark Antony - a relationship that ended with both of them committing suicide.

Original source: Voice of America
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Bienvenidos Tek Lado: Latino techies get a voice

Tek Lado, the new (and free) Philadelphia magazine catering to tech-savvy Latinos, launched last week with a print run of 20,000, reports the Associated Press.

Mel Gomez, director of niche publishing for Bartash Media Group, self-described geek and Tek Lado publisher, said it fills a void in the marketplace of publications for tech-savvy Latinos.

"I love technology, gadgets, smart phones, gaming, graphic novels. I watch Star Trek," he said with a laugh. "Typical Latino publications are often tabloids, either general publications or some sort of (gossip) rag -- nothing that speaks to geeks and their different subcultures we have in the U.S."

Gomez, Tek Lado editor-in-chief Liz Spikol, two staff photographers and eight bilingual freelance writers are based for now at Bartash's offices in southwest Philadelphia. Tek Lado is the first venture in magazine publishing for Bartash, a 58-year-old printer of catalogs, magazines, newspapers and niche publications for hundreds of companies from Maine to Alabama.

Original source: Associated Press
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This look at Philadelphia Freedom worth an overnight stay

The Washington Post travel section puts together a respectable Philadelphia Freedom package that gives a refined look at U.S. history and the city's ability to share it, including the newly opened National Museum of American Jewish History.

Independence Hall is where the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and ratified the U.S. Constitution in 1787. The Liberty Bell, cracks and all, became a symbol of the abolitionist movement and of efforts to attain freedom around the globe.

In the past decade, the historical events embodied by these icons have gained new context as the Liberty Bell moved to its own interpretive center and a museum dedicated to explaining the Constitution opened at the northern end of the mall. Now several new attractions on or adjacent to the mall are adding their own chapters, some with unexpected twists, to the traditional understanding of American freedoms and how they came to be.

The National Museum of American Jewish History, affiliated with the Smithsonian, opens its dazzling new home on the mall to the public today. The President's House commemorative site, on the spot where presidents George Washington and John Adams, as well as nine enslaved African Americans, lived before the nation's capital was moved to Washington, is set to open Dec. 15. A 15-minute 3-D film, "Liberty 360," premiered this fall in a theater across from Independence Hall and offers yet another perspective on the goings-on that led to the nation's founding.

Original source: Washington Post
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Alessi: Ethical and Radical opens at Phila. Museum of Art

The world-renowned Italian manufacturer of designer household objects has long collaborated with top architects and designers, and the resulting artistic innovation is the subject of of a new exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, reports ArtNow Magazine.

On November 20, 2010, Alberto Alessi, President of the company and grandson of its founder Giovanni Alessi, will be honored at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with Collab's distinguished Design Excellence Award.

"The objects in this exhibition demonstrate the results of Alessi's unique, risk-taking approach to design and, consequently, how they blur the boundaries between industrial manufacturing and art," said Kathryn Hiesinger, Curator of Decorative Arts After 1700.

The exhibition is organized into two sections: family and factory history and a survey of past, present and future Alessi objects by collaborating designers, including the radical experimental projects Tea and Coffee Piazza of 1983 and Tea and Coffee Towers of 2003. The introductory section includes a map of the exhibition plan designed by Alessandro Mendini.

Original source: ArtNow Magazine
Read the full story here.


Drexel's cross-genre duo Chiddy Bang gets hip hop love

South Philly bred Noah Beresin and Chidera Anamege, who met as Drexel University freshmen last year, get solid grades on their latest EP The Preview from HipHopDX.

Like many cross-genre duos, pinpointing your sound can be a daunting task, one that DXnext alumni Chiddy Bang seemed quite capable of pinning. When producer Noah "Xaphoon Jones" Beresin and rapper Chidera "Chiddy" Anemage joined forces at Drexel University and recorded their first mixtape The Swelly Express at school, it was a mishmash of sounds that somehow collectively fit. Rarely can anyone take MGMT and Tom Waits samples and still call it "Hip Hop" and mean it, but they did. After the mixtape sparked 100,000 in downloads and the group inked a world record deal with EMI, their recording budget clearly went up, but sadly their uniqueness went down. The Preview, an eight-track EP reflects the transition from using pots and pans to drum samples, pulling the raw talent that these two offered just a year ago.

That isn't to say this short EP is bad. It's actually quite good, with the introductory "The Good Life" serving as an excellent entrance into the project. Pharrell co-produced it with signature Neptunes swooshes and synths that fit the band so well that they could join the ranks of Star Trak (then again if they did that their album would never drop).

Original source: HipHopDX
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Philly's championship 100 mpg hybrid goes to Poptech

Sixteen year-old Azeem Hill, part of the after-school team that beat out top competitors for the Automotive X-Prize by building a sporty hybrid car that can get 100 mpg in the city, is profiled by Treehugger at annual big-idea conference Poptech.

They entered the car in the Automotive X-Prize, and beat out numerous top competitors--MIT and multimillion dollar tech firms among them. Hill and Hauger brought the car to this year's Poptech, and I caught up with them to get the story.

And yes, he and his classmates had to learn everything that goes into making a hybrid car--from the relevant physics to the design applications to the under-the-hood mechanics. How else could they build this. Azeem's instructor, Simon Hauger, created the after-school hands-on hybrid car program 13 years ago, and decided a couple years ago to aim for the X Prize.

Original source: Treehugger
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Sixth borough my foot; Philly stands alone

Beauty and style editor Ysolt Usigan goes on a whirlwind tour of our city, dispelling the New York elitist notion that we're its "sixth borough," reports The Huffington Post.

When it came to partying, two speakeasies, and I was had! Once defined as "an establishment that illegally sells alcoholic beverages" in the '20s and '30s, I discovered two venues with that feel nestled in Philadelphia's Penn Center neighborhood. First stop: the sexy Ranstead Room. With entrances through El Rey's kitchen and outside on the street (just look for the door marked with double Rs), I had cocktails with names so complicated I can't even remember them. Even though it was quite dim inside, the naked ladies gracing the walls were hard to miss. The venue is hot, to say the least.

From vintage shops to lux salons, even vast department stores with plenty of preppy and chic options to boot, there's no question--Philly knows style. I picked the best time to visit the city, too, with the Philadelphia Collection 2010 series underway. From September 23 to October 2, the city's many boutiques, stylists, designers and modeling agencies were hosting various independently produced events.

Original source: The Huffington Post
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The Roots' rapper launches new music venture

Philadelphia-based rapper/producer Dice Raw, a member of The Roots, has launched a new music company called R&S Music Group, reports All Hip Hop.

"We are all about the preservation of good music and culture while also trying to be innovative with technology and the web," Dice Raw told AllHipHop.com. "We want to open the doors to up and coming artists and provide a credible platform of digital distribution without them having to sell their life to a record company."

R&S is currently working with local producers Khari Mateen and Rick Friedrich, who have produced tracks for a variety of local artists, including The Roots and Jill Scott.

Dice Raw will be performing new material next weekend near the campus of the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, when he hits the Mojo On Main for an exclusive performance on Thursday (October 28th).

Original source: All Hip Hop
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New Jewish museum to remain open on Sabbath day

Leadership of the National Museum of American Jewish History earned CNN's attention with its decision to remain open on Saturdays, the Jewish Sabbath, but do its best to avoid financial transactions, which are among those things the religion forbids on that day.

"We chose to embrace this as a teachable moment that reflects not only the tradition itself but also the tensions that are at the core of the American Jewish experience," Rosenzweig told CNN Sunday night.

"We're a Jewish institution, but we're not a religious institution," (Museum president Michael) Rosenzweig said. "We want to be sensitive to Jewish tradition but we also recognized that a significant number of visitors will be non-Jewish."

Though the museum will open on Saturdays, tickets will be available only online and at sites outside the museum, which are yet to be determined, Rosenzweig said.

Original source: CNN
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Nutter raises spirits by raising rainbow flag at City Hall

Edge Boston, part of a network of LGBT news/entertainment online publications, gives Mayor Michael Nutter and Philadelphia big props for being one of the largest cities in the country to fly the rainbow flag at a government building, City Hall.

And when mayoral LGBT liaison Gloria Casarez approached Nutter with the idea, he was more than eager to make it a reality. She added the event became especially symbolic after the recent number of LGBT teen suicides.

"There's been a lot of conversation around the five or six young men who have taken their lives as a result of harassment and bullying," Casarez told EDGE. "We in Philadelphia have violence and bullying as well, but I don't want the message to get lost that we're especially concerned about violence against trans people. We've seen some recent cases of violence right on the streets of Philadelphia. As much as we're celebrating LGBT History Month, we have to be focus on the business of assuring that people report crime and that when they report it we're funneling them through the proper channels."

Original source: Edge Boston
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Irish travelers: Philadelphia, here we come

The travel section at Ireland's Herald.ie is high on Philadelphia for a variety of reasons, imploring the Irish to visit for our safe downtown, good eats and arts and culture.

It's puzzling why Philly isn't on most Irish people's radar. It's more historic than Boston, as Irish as Chicago, 30pc cheaper to live in than New York and has a food culture to match San Francisco.

The city centre proper, (known as Center City) is thriving, unlike many US urban areas. Sections of 15th Street are hubs of restaurants and nightlife, while the area's aptly titled Avenue of the Arts is the local equivalent of London's West End or New York's Broadway theatre districts. The best bit? It feels perfectly safe to walk around, by day or night (don't try this at home, kids).

Original source: Herald.ie
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St. Louis loves Philly for what it really is

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch travel section mentions booing Santa Claus but quickly moves on, digging deeper than most national media last week to reveal the insider's view of Philadelphia.

Once you get beyond the fighting fašade, Philadelphia is a city of tiny secret gardens, a diverse art and theater scene, a crazy diverse food/pub scene and a thousand walkable historical monuments and museums. Also, it's cheap as can be. You've got to work to spend $15 on a martini.

I moved here six years ago from St. Louis. The things I loved about St. Louis are the same things I love about Philadelphia--people are friendly, the streets have the same names (you copycats!) and there's no need to go to any chain restaurant ever.

Original source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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Jassi Chadha enriches entrepreneurial ecosystem with TiE-NJ/Philadelphia

Wildly successful entrepreneur Jassi Chadha has brought his expertise to TiE-NJ/Philadelphia, a newer chapter of the global entrepreneurship organization, reports SiliconIndia.

TiE NJ-Philly is an offshoot of TiE Tristate. New Jersey and Philadephia had quite a lot of entrepreneurs who would often find it difficult to make it to New York for various events of the Tristate. Hence the need for a chapter in this geographic area became a necessity. Today under the leadership of Chadha, the TiE-NJ-Philly Chapter is helping the budding entrepreneurs in this geography to realize their goals and dreams by conducting various events, providing mentoring, and networking opportunities.


"There are aspects of entrepreneurship like optimism, excitement, energy, and a sense of adventure that is inspiring to read and get excited. It also drives people to do more and pursue big dreams. However, the path of entrepreneurship is often lonely, hard, and the journey hectic with challenges of different sorts. That's why entrepreneurs need to be supported and find the right support in programs that TiE offers," says Chadha.

Original source: SiliconIndia.
Read the full story here.


Flying Kite among new online operations tackling local news

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on two online news publications that have launched recently, including yours truly.

As the market for news fragments, new models for journalism are emerging. Two of those experiments, Flying Kite and Patch, launched in Philadelphia last month.

"This is a fresh way to get fresh content about all the innovative things happening in our city," said Danielle Cohn, (Philadelphia Convention and Visitors) bureau spokeswoman.

Original source
: The Philadelphia Inquirer
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Urban Creators bring New Orleans back home to North Philly

A group of Temple University students dubbed the Philadelphia Urban Creators are taking lessons from rebuilding New Orleans and applying them to their work, which includes establishing community gardens, reports Temple News.

Our School at Blair Grocery and Epstein's Philadelphia Urban Creators were both recently featured in a Time magazine article about urban farming in the Lower 9th Ward. Together, the groups represent some good to be found in the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, five years after the storm ripped through New Orleans.

The Philadelphia Urban Creators are focusing on creating a youth-led movement that will teach people how to help themselves.

Source: Temple News
Read the full story here.



Jewish History museum new home for historic Irving Berlin piano from NYC

The New York Times tracks the move of an Irving Berlin upright piano moved from New York's Lincoln Center to near Independence Mall, where the $150 million National Museum of American Jewish History will open in November.

"This is one of those artifacts that was in our dreams when we started our planning: 'Wouldn't it be amazing if we were able to bring Irving Berlin's piano to the public,' " (museum deputy director Josh Perelman) said. "You can talk about him, you can show a movie about him, but to see the piano, to see the mechanism, to feel, as I did, that you're really in Irving Berlin's shoes--that's something."

Berlin bought the piano for $100, big money for a former singing waiter in a Chinatown restaurant, in 1909. He had other pianos later on, but that one was the one he had when he wrote "Alexander's Ragtime Band" in 1911.

Original source: New York Times
Read the full story here.


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