August is Family Fun Month, but this year it’s likely that many families are staying close to home or narrowing vacation options to the tri-state area. While outdoor events like drive-ins are popping up everywhere, they sell out quickly and many attractions are operating at limited capacity.
Black to the future
The BlackStar Film Festival has grown under the auspices of its founder Maori Karmael Holmes, but has had its challenges. The hub of the festival was once International House, which has been sold and no longer houses Lightbox Theater. Lightbox was the main screening room for BlackStar. Holmes has since moved the festival to the nearby Annenberg Center at the University of Pennsylvania where she has also been appointed curator-at-large and mediamaker-in-residence. This year, the pandemic made an in-person festival impossible, so festival organizers moved online, with an opening night virtual party spun by DJ Jazzy Jeff and a slate of documentaries, shorts, feature films and panels. BlackStar partnered for three in-person screenings with The Philly Drive-In series in Fairmount Park, but those screenings are already sold out. During the festival, Holmes will co-host a daily online streaming show with Black Thought of the Roots.
The virtual festival runs through Aug. 26. $5 for a day pass, full festival pass sales ended on Aug. 18.
Driving in park
Pop-up drive-ins have become popular all over the tri-state as both a nostalgic experience and a practical solution to movie houses shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The free Philly Drive-In in Fairmount Park is the latest, though its August showtimes have already filled up.
So make sure to mark your calendars for Thursday, August 27 at 10 a.m. when tickets for the first four September movies are released. If you miss that, set your calendars for Thursday, Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. when tickets will open up again for the next four movies. Movies screen Wednesdays and Fridays starting at 7:30 p.m. Upcoming films include “Trolls,” “School of Rock” and the 2019 version of “The Lion King.” Get there early to find a good spot: At each screening, the first 100 cars will get free treats from Dre’s Homemade Water Ice and Ice Cream.
Another pop-up drive in option is Philadelphia Film Society’s Drive-In series at the Navy Yard. “Get Out” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse” are showing Thursday, Aug. 20 at 8:30 p.m. PFS offers virtual screenings as well, and this month features docs on the seminal rock-and-roll magazine “Creem” and on author Flannery O’Connor. Drive-in films are $12, online films are $9.99.
Going for the green
Though some of college football’s biggest conferences have canceled or postponed their seasons, the NFL is forging on outside the “bubble” that sequestered the NBA and WNBA, allowing them to remain virus-free. That’s good news for Philadelphia Eagles fans, even though current realities mean there are no visits to training camps, preseason is canceled and fans likely won’t be able to attend games during the season. But the good news is you have access, both live and on demand, to Eagles training camp, as well as “the new normal” Zoom press conferences with players and coaches. You can see it all on the Eagles’ official YouTube page.
Childhood years may be limited, but childhood memories last a lifetime. Storybook Land has been helping families make those memories since 1955. The park’s theme reflects classic childhood stories geared to kids from 3 to 8 years old. Storybook Land features attractions including the Turtle Twirl, the Whirly Bug, the Rockin’ Tug, the Beanstalk Bounce, and a classic carousel. Due to COVID-19, the park has reduced capacity to 50% which gives children plenty of space to enjoy its 20 acres. You can bring food prepared at home as there are picnic tables available. Parking is free. You must reserve a space beforehand, before even purchasing tickets, to comply with capacity limits.
6415 Black Horse Pike (Rts. 40/322) Egg Harbor Township N.J.
Tuesday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. $26.95 ($3 off if purchasing online)
You may not think of the Barnes Foundation as your first choice for eating out, but its Garden restaurant offers outdoor dining on both its Garden Terrace and, in inclement weather, on its covered West Terrace. Made-to-order dining for lunch, brunch, and cocktails is available as well as a grab and go option of seasonal fare. The Marie Cuttoli tapestry exhibit closes on Sunday, in case you need that as an incentive to make it a day at the Barnes. Remember, online tickets are recommended, though you can also pay on-site via new contactless kiosks. You don’t have to pay museum admission to dine.
2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., Philadelphia, PA
Friday – Monday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Banking on music
Live music is still around at Citizens Bank Park. The Live-In Drive-In series in the stadium’s parking lot has already showcased artists from a variety of genres. This weekend, Baltimore funk-jam outfit Pigeons Playing Ping Pong checks in with one of the kinetic live shows that have brought them an international following. Fronted by Greg Ormont, the band met at the University of Maryland. Their latest release, “Pleasure,” is out now. Also this weekend, childhood friends Brian Sella and Matt Uychick hail from Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey and formed The Front Bottoms in 2006. The folk-punk band’s latest album “In Sickness and in Flames” is now available for pre-order.
One hundred years ago, women were granted the right to vote via the 19th Amendment due to the efforts of a multiracial group of suffragettes. While some of those names have been heralded, others have been lost to history. The Clay Studio in Old City celebrates those courageous heroines who ensured women would have full access to their civic rights. “100 Years, 100 Women,” open to the public through Sept. 27, features some of those inspiring women on commemorative plates designed by 50 contemporary artists. The artists were asked to choose two women, whether they are known to the world or just to the artist, that they admired and craft a plate in their honor. On Thursday, Aug. 27 at noon, The Clay Studio will host a Zoom wiki-thon to add accomplished women to the online encyclopedia who have previously been omitted. “100 Years, 100 Women” through Sept. 27.
The Clay Studio 137-139 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA
Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday noon – 6 p.m.
Keep checking with “Things To Do” as we continue to provide our picks for entertainment during the industry’s COVID-19 hiatus. Please consult our coronavirus updates to keep up with the latest information regionally.
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