Weekly Entertainment Guide – BlackStar Film Fest, Dragon Boats & Music Festivals

     The BlackStar Film Festival returns to Philadelphia for a 3rd year, July 31 through August 3, celebrating film by and about people of African descent and the varied landscape of black life. Pictured: The Summer of Gods, Narrative, Short, Brazil, 2014 (photo courtesy of BlackStar Film Festival)

    The BlackStar Film Festival returns to Philadelphia for a 3rd year, July 31 through August 3, celebrating film by and about people of African descent and the varied landscape of black life. Pictured: The Summer of Gods, Narrative, Short, Brazil, 2014 (photo courtesy of BlackStar Film Festival)

    Enjoy dragon boats, blues, and a boat parade on the river, get messy with science, see a one minute play, dance to Reggae in the Park, sing along with Patsy Cline, and take a trip back to the Tudor period. Something for everyone this week!

    What’s Happening

    BlackStar Film Festival

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    The BlackStar Film Festival returns to Philadelphia for a 3rd year, July 31 through August 3, celebrating film by and about people of African descent and the varied landscape of black life. The only event of its kind in Philadelphia features over 40 feature and short films from four continents. This year’s theme is “Music is the Weapon,” exploring the intersections of the two creative industries of music in film. Events include Q&As with filmmakers, staged readings of screenplay competition finalists, in-depth conversations and panels with artists and industry professionals, and the first ever awards show featuring special musical performances by Bilal, Ursula Rucker, Mr. Sonny James (DJ Statik), and Matthew Law (DJ Phsh). Most screenings take place at International House and other venues include Scribe Video Center, Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, the Annenberg School for Communication, and World Café Live Philadelphia. Pictured: Black and Cuba, feature film, USA, 2014.

    Riverfront Blues Festival

    The Riverfront Blues Festival returns August 1-3 to the Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park in Wilmington, DE. This outdoor music festival features over 20 performances by artists such as the Southern Hospitality featuring the Damon Fowler Band & Victor Wainwright and the Wild Roots, James Harman’s Bamboo Porch Revue, Tommy Castro & the Painkillers, Popa Chubby (pictured), Marcia Ball, and more. Festival begins on Friday at 5pm, Saturday at noon and Sunday at 12:30pm.


    Musikfest kicks off this Friday, August 1-10 with 10 days of concerts on 14 stages, and more than 300 performances including Sheryl Crow, The Moody Blues, Keith Urban, Jason Derulo, Steely Dan, Alan Jackson, Weezer, Craig Thatcher Band w/Mike Dugan, and many more in venues in downtown Bethlehem, PA. Many performances free. Additional activities include artisans, food, children’s activities, music camp and more.

    Southeast Asian Dragon Boat Festival

    The 4th annual Southeast Asian Dragon Boat Festival races back for another year to Penn’s Landing, promoting the understanding and appreciation of the rich, cultural heritage of the people of Southeast Asia, with contemporary and traditional dancing and singing, food, and of course, dragon boat races, Saturday, August 2, 12-7pm, Columbus Boulevard between Walnut and Dock Streets, Philadelphia.

    Mess Fest

    Bring a change of clothes and prepare to get messy at the Franklin Institute’s Mess Fest, Saturday, August 2 and Sunday, August 3, noon-4pm, offering the best in slimy, oozing, exploding, and gooey science with fun demonstrations and “make-n-take” activities including a 42 foot watermelon drop and 2000 ball explosion. New this year is the Color the Sky Rocket and Finger Paint Wall, 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia. Included with museum admission.

    Long Live the King! (at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire)

    The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, in its 34th season, storms the grounds of the Mount Hope Estate and Winery this weekend and continues on Saturdays & Sundays (including Labor Day Monday) through October 26. New this year, travel back before the Elizabethan era to the year 1525. King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon arrive for opening weekend on Saturday, August 2 with over 90 shows daily, period food, crafts, children’s activities, Ultimate Joust, brand new Human Chess Match, man-powered rides, gaming village, and more. Each of the 13 Fair weekends has a theme including Tim Traveler’s Weekend, Children’s Fantasy, Scottish & Irish weekends, Halloween Daze & Spooky Knights, and much more, Route 72, 15 miles north of Lancaster and 14 miles east of Hershey, one-half mile south of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Exit 266.

    Summer Social at Grounds for Sculpture

    Grounds for Sculpture, the 42 acre sculpture park and arboretum, hosts a Summer Social, Saturday, August 2, 11am-4pm, celebrating the summer season with live music, art workshops, family activities, sculpture tours, refreshments, and more. Catch the retrospective of GFS founder Seward Johnson, in three indoor galleries and across the park, on view through September 21, at 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, NJ. Included with park admission.

    Festival of Lights

    Bridge the gap between Pennsylvania and New Jersey with the annual Festival of Lights, Saturday, August 2, hosted by the Greater Burlington Chamber of Commerce and the Historic City of Burlington, NJ. Festivities begin at 3pm with food, vendors, and children’s activities, and live music by “The Full Circle Band” at 4pm, Burlington Promenade at end of High Street and Pearl Boulevard. Cruzin Tunes DJ goes on at 6:30pm.  The decorated and lighted boat parade takes off along the waterfront at 8:30pm and fireworks at 9:30pm. Enjoy the display from the other side of the river in Bristol, PA. Rain date Sunday, August 3. Free.

    Street Movies!

    Scribe Video Center kicks off its annual, month-long Street Movies!, urban drive-ins without cars. Now in its 17th year, the series is a citywide tradition that brings neighbors together for outdoor screenings of short films, discussions and live performances and begins on Saturday, August 2 at Hunting Park, 990 W. Hunting Park Avenue, North Philadelphia. All events are family-friendly and free and open to the public, beginning at 7:45pm and continue through August 21 in Camden, West Kensington, North Philly, West Philly, Spring Garden, and South Philly.

    Reggae in the Park

    The Mann Center’s 3rd annual Reggae in the Park is this Sunday, August 3. Doors open at 1:30pm, show at 2pm. Enjoy the sounds of Matisyahu (pictured), Steel Pulse, Mavado, Konshens, Morgan Heritage, The Expendables, Inner Circle & more performers on both the Mann’s Main Stage and Crescendo tent. Also, live DJ sets at the top of the hill, arts and crafts vendors and Caribbean and global cuisine, 5201 Parkside Avenue, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. Kids 12 and under enter for free with a parent or guardian.

    ACANA Festival at Penn’s Landing

    The 7th Annual ACANA Festival features nonstop music, food, games, and activities for the whole family, Sunday, August 3, 2pm-8pm. This year’s festival includes artists from all over the world including Davido and celebrates the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela at Great Plaza, Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia. Free.  ACANA is the African Cultural Alliance of North America.


    One-Minute Play Festival

    The 2nd Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival is coming back to InterAct Theatre Company for three performances only, Sunday, August 3, Monday, August 4, and Tuesday, August 5, all at 8pm. The New York based company The One-Minute Play Festival has collaborated with InterAct to feature over 90 brand new one minute plays by close to 60 Philadelphia playwrights, selected by invitation. Playwrights include P. Seth Bauer, Seth Rozin, Bill D’Agostino, Jacqueline Goldfinger, Jim Christy, and many more, directed by Tina Brock, John Doyle, Daniel Student, and many more. The plays, curated by 1MPF Producing Director Dominic D’Andrea, are organized thematically to explore the relationship of the individual voice to the spirit of a specific region, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.

    “Always…Patsy Cline” at the Candlelight Theatre

    Take a nostalgic journey back to the early 1960s with Always…Patsy Cline, based on a true story about the friendship between the legendary singer and a fan from Houston named Louise Seger who befriended the star in 1961 and stayed in touch with her until her death in 1963. The show is onstage at the Candlelight Theatre and features 27 of her hits, directed by Tom Hornung and starring Erica Harr (pictured). Music director Tony Romano leads the live 6 piece band at 2208 Millers Road, Wilmington, DE. All tickets include dinner and the show.

    Last chance to see “Cooking with the Calamari Sisters”

    Cooking with the Calamari Sisters is onstage at Bristol Riverside Theatre, a live “broadcast” of a public access cable cooking show hosted by two larger-than-life Italian sisters who sing and dance to beloved Italian favorites. The show was created by Jay Falzone and Stephen Smith, who star as the alter-egos Delphine and Carmela, through August 3 at 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, PA.

    Sassy Says…

    Sassy offers the following recommendations for fun dog-friendly events this week!



    2nd Street Festival

    The 2nd Street Festival in Northern Liberties brings the community together for another year this Sunday, August 3, noon-10pm. Partnering once again with the Philadelphia Folksong Society, expect great live music on two stages with All-Volunteer Army, Black Landlord, Davidson Ospina, DisCanto, the Downtown Shimmy, El Caribefunk, and much more. The free event includes restaurants and beer gardens, children’s activities, workshops, and over 150 vendors on 6 blocks lining North 2nd Street between Germantown and Green Streets, Philadelphia. The event is 100% pet friendly with Blind Dog Rescue, PAWS and the newly opened Northern Liberties Veterinary Center participating.

    Dog Benefits

    Bring your pooch to the Dog Wash for PAWS, a benefit for the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, Saturday, August 2, 1pm-5pm. For a $20 donation, treat your dog to an oatmeal shampoo and nail trim (for extra $10), care of BONeJour. Parents can enjoy a complimentary wine or beer while listening to 1970s funk classics and enjoy Hot Dirty Dog BBQ and more at the Trestle Inn, 339 N. 11th Street, in Philadelphia’s Callowhill neighborhood.Growlers Bar celebrates the opening of the Willy Penn Pet Foundation with a kick-off party, Sunday, August 3, 1pm-5pm. The foundation raises money for Philadelphia veterinary hospitals for pet owners who don’t have the means to pay for their pet’s life threatening emergency surgery. Bring your dog and enjoy food, beer, music and more, 8th & Fitzwater Streets, Philadelphia.



    Tricia Whiting contributed reporting to this week’s Guide.

    To submit an event to be considered for the Weekly Entertainment Guide email Robin Bloom at artscalendar@whyy.org.

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