The Rundown | July 16-23

Events to consider and things to do that don't involve venturing out during a pandemic

XPN Fest
Live music as we know it has to get its virtual act on and many, like the annual XPonential Fest going online only on July 24-26 this year has seemingly figured it out. We break it down and some other events you can enjoy, safely. | Image: Nicola Gypsicola

How we’re attending the XPoNential Music Festival

WXPN is not letting the cancellation of its 2020 XPoNential Music Festival stop it from bringing music lovers an exciting, three-day music festival filled with dozens of hours of live music performances, from Friday night July 24 through Sunday, July 26. XPNFest Weekend will feature archived full-length sets and two-song sets presented online from some of XPoNential Music Festival’s most memorable past performers. Head over to xpn.org for lineups and details, but here are some of the highlights.

Full sets online July 24 starting at 3pm

The Atlanta-based duo Indigo Girls will be featured in their performance from 2015 but you’ll want to tune in to also hear full sets from the legendary Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires (2017), alt-rockers Guster (2019) and alt-country/folk musician Kathleen Edwards (2019).

Two-song sets July 24 starting at 3 pm

More than 20 additional artists and bands will have two-song sets also featured July 25 starting at 3pm. Among our favorites: Philly’s own Low Cut Connie (2018), gospel group Blind Boys of Alabama (2018), founding member of Carolina Chocolate Drops Rhiannon Giddens (2017), and rock duo Foxygen (2017).

Full sets online July 25 starting at 3pm

L.A.-based folk-rock band Dawes will be among the featured performers with its 2019 performance. Also offering full sets will be New Orleans’ Hurray for the Riff Raff (2017), country rockers Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real (2018), and Nashville-based Margo Price (2018).

Two-song sets July 25 starting at 3pm

Some 20 performers will be featured in two-song sets as well on July 26. Among the ones we’re looking forward to: Philly’s own blues rocker Greg Sover (2018), blues guitarist Christone “Kingfish” Ingram (2019), Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers (2017), gospel quartet The McCrary Sisters (2019), accordionist and zydeco musician Buckwheat Zydeco (2015), and indie folk band Lord Huron (2015).

New and exclusive full sets July 26 starting at 3pm

Seven of the artists who were scheduled to delight fans in person at the 2020 XPoNential Music Festival will be presented both online and on-air at WXPN. Tune in to hear soul singer and songwriter Devon Gilfillian, Pennsylvania rock band The Districts, Philly-based Great Time, alt duo Illiterate Light, Connecticut’s Liz Phair, Nashville’s Michaela Anne and New Jersey crooner Nicole Atkins.

Even more fun stuff

WXPN is also offering fun ways for festival-goers to maximize their enjoyment of the three-day XPNFest Weekend, such as tips for creating an at-home festival vibe, fest food recipes, trivia quizzes, and a commemorative T-shirt available for pre-order. Viewers and listeners can use #xpnfest to share XPNFest Weekend on social media.

If your setup looks like this right now courtesy of COVID-19, then considering testing your bandwidth with the following virtual events. | Image: Gabriel Benois

Other virtual events we’re excited about

Don’t step away from your computer or smartphone just yet. There are still plenty of things to do virtually while the pandemic continues to keep many venues closed to the public. Visit eventbrite.com for more information on these and many other events.

Rising Up: Commemorating Catto and Black Historical Figures

Much recent dialogue has focused on removing objectionable statues and monuments (Rizzo, Columbus, Confederate generals …). But what will rise in their place? Daniel R. Biddle and Murray Dubin, co-authors of “Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America,” will discuss Octavius Catto, the 19th-century, Philadelphia civil rights leader, and the long effort to erect his memorial at City Hall in 2017. Patricia Wilson Aden, president of the African American Museum in Philadelphia, will ponder what figures in Philadelphia’s Black history deserve memorializing and what should come next. Dick Polman, a veteran Philadelphia journalist, will moderate and provide national context. Presented by Design Advocacy Group. Wednesday, July 22 | 11am-12:30pm | Free.

Venture Cafe After Dark: The InGlorious

Join Venture Cafe for a musical performance sponsored by their friends at CIC Philadelphia featuring local Philadelphia duo, The InGlorious. The InGlorious is an American music group composed of singer-songwriter Stacey J. Harcum “Ace” and instrumentalist-songwriter Kyle D. Johnson. With both their classical backgrounds, gospel influence, and unique musical upbringing, they bring a fresh sound to the industry. With influences from Soul/R&B to Hip Hop to Country, they push the boundaries of genre to bring truth and love to the masses. Thursday, July 30, 7:30-8:pm | Free

Improv Comedy The N Crowd

Join The N Crowd for livestream improv comedy. There is no password required for this show. You only need an internet connection and a device to watch. The N Crowd has performed improv comedy shows every Friday since 2005. Its rotating cast of hilarious performers play a variety of improv games you may have seen before and ones you’ll never see anywhere else! The N Crowd was called “Philadelphia’s premiere improv troupe” by the Philadelphia Style Magazine and has often been named as one of the top places to see a comedy show by the Philly A-List. This is a free show, but purchasing a $5 ticket helps to maintain the services they need to produce the online show. Friday, July 24, 7-8:30pm.

Philadelphia Virtual Speed Networking | Business Professionals

Virtual Speed Networking works a lot like “Virtual Speed Dating” without the “Dating.” A structured opportunity to meet accomplished professionals just like yourself, virtually, one business professional at time. Whether you are an entrepreneur, small business owner, legal or medical professional, in the finance, real estate or entertainment industry, this event offers the perfect occasion to expand your business, social or enterprise contacts. Monday, July 27, 7-9pm | $19.

Art of Activism: Freeway & Greg Corbin

Murals Arts Philadelphia lives and breathes the notion that art ignites change, but what does that look like in practice? How can artists use their mediums as a catalyst for change? In the premiere episode, artist Ginger Rudolph will moderate a conversation between rapper and activist Freeway and Mural Arts Philadelphia Director of Restorative Justice Greg Corbin. The two recently collaborated on Mural Arts’ “Emerge” PSA project that gives voice to participants and artists impacted by both COVID-19 and the criminal justice system. This deep dive will discuss what motivated each of them to become advocates and how their artistry helped amplify their voices. Presented by Mural Arts Philadelphia. Thursday, July 16, 5:30-6:30pm | Free.

Five steps to keep your sanity while staying-at-home

It’s no surprise that social isolation amidst a worldwide pandemic can be stressful. If you’re feeling the stress or pressure of quarantine, you’re not alone. This talk will help you keep your sanity during this stressful time. Here’s what you’ll learn: Why the messages surrounding quarantine and productivity are harmful. How to identify exactly where you’re at in your stress management journey. Simple action steps you can take today to reduce the stresses of quarantine. Presented by NAWBO-SFBA. Tuesday, July 21, 3:00-4pm | Free.

We know there’s a ton of other streaming services out there. However, we appreciate a real O.G. | Image provided

Here’s what we’re watching on Netflix

Between this pandemic thing and super-high temperatures outside, it’s a good time to stay home and watch Netflix. Here are some of our favorite offerings.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

We love all things Will Ferrell, so we definitely have this epic on our list to see. However, the reviews we saw – and a couple of Ferrell interviews we caught on various talk shows while working from home – indicate this is actually a really touching movie. And it has great music, we hear. And if this isn’t what you are looking for from Ferrell right now, Elf is also available.

Sleepless in Seattle

A true blast from the past (1993 to be specific), if you like rom-coms, you have to check out this classic. It has it all: An all-star cast that includes Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan and more. A timeless tale of romance as widower Sam meets Annie after some help from his son on Christmas Eve of all things. Don’t miss it.

Inside Man

A Spike Lee Joint, Denzel Washington turns in a riveting performance as an NYPD hostage negotiator. Clive Owen and Jodie Foster also are awesome in this crime thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Stay with it until the end because there’s a twist you won’t see coming – and we won’t spoint it here.

Baby Mama

Upper Darby’s Tina Fey stars alongside Amy Poehler in this 2008 comedy. Fey’s character wants to have a baby, but can’t, so she hires Poehler’s character, a South Philly woman, to be the surrogate mother. Let the hilarity begin.

Total Recall

One of our all-time favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger flicks, it was made in 1990, but takes place well into the future when people can get fake memories implanted in them. To summarize, Arnold’s character wants to go to Mars, but can’t (kind of like we can’t go places now due to the pandemic) so he gets memories of Mars implante in his head. And then chaos ensues as Arnold does Arnold stuff.

The Social Network

This 2010 film is fairly timely these days, as you might have heard Facebook is in the news for all the wrong reasons. The movie, though, is outstanding, as it’s three Academy Awards can attest. As you can guess, it covers the founding of the social media network, but it’s way better than that description implies.

The way our favorite sports will look plans on being a lot different this year thanks to COVID-19. However, not much should change on the way you choose to tune in if you plan to do it from home. | Image: Hence the Boom

How we’re getting ready to watch sports

By now, we already should be complaining about the Phillies’ pitching. But we’re not. Pro sports have been shut down by the virus, pretty much like everything else. However, there are plans to start again, with one, MLS, already underway. Here’s where the various leagues are at in the process – at least as of early this week.

NFL

We’ll call this a wait-and-see situation since the season is still at least a couple of months away. The remote draft went pretty well, and the league has established plans for training camps. The NFL has already canceled two preseason games but the players are pushing for no preseason games. New things you might see on the field: face shields for the players and no jersey swaps after games.

NBA

By now you’ve heard about the “bubble” at Disney World in Florida that will, with any luck, provide a way to finally end the regular season and crown a champion. OK, not the greatest locale given Florida’s recent COVID spike, but, nevertheless, the teams are there and strict protocols have been put in place. Already several players have decided to stay home due to health concerns. New things you might see if games resume as scheduled shortly: Players arrive at the arena already in uniform, so no pre-game fashion statements. Also, players can replace their names on the backs of their jerseys with social justice messages.

MLB

The season finally is scheduled to start in the next week or so. Teams have been training. The usual protocols are in place as are plans for a 60-game season after the commissioner pretty much just mandated it after the league and players union couldn’t come to terms. And, like with the NBA, already a few players have opted out. New things you might see once the ump yells “play ball”: No spitting. No high fives. Players seated in the stands since dugouts don’t allow for much social distancing. The National League will be allowed to use a designated hitter.

NHL

Like the NBA, the NHL had to stop its season due to the virus. It hopes to face-off again next month in a 24-team tournament-like format to see which team can hoist the Stanley Cup – basically just skipping the rest of the season and going straight to the playoffs. Training camps were set to open this week. There’s no bubble and no home-ice advantage as Toronto and Edmonton are the “hub cities” for the tournament.

MLS

The MLS has its own Disney bubble, but that bubble already has shown signs of bursting. Serving as basically the canary in the coal mine, the league recently started play, but already two teams, the Nashville and Dallas squads, have had to withdraw from the tournament due to COVID concerns. The DC United and Toronto FC match were postponed 20 minutes before it was set to start. We shall see how the Union’s season plays out, but the early returns are not promising.

  • Eugene Zenyatta was raised on old-time Memphis 'rasslin' and strongly prefers the company of dogs to people. His greatest heartbreak came in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic.