How we’ll watch SoLowFest
Add SolowFest to the list of events going virtual this year. SolowFest is a Do-It-Yourself June 18-28 festival dedicated to new, experimental performance. With all shows being pay-what-you-can, the festival exposes audiences to performers breaking new ground in the raw. SoLowFest was founded in 2010 by Philadelphia performance artists Thomas Choinacky and Amanda Grove. It is currently run by Chris Davis and Tanaquil Marquez. You can visit solowfest.com for all the details, but here are some of the performances we’re excited to see.
Edith vs. Quarantine: 89 & One Tough Cookie
Edith Shlivovitz, a ferociously spirited octogenarian, hasn’t left her apartment since COVID-19 descended upon NYC. Through belting showtunes to her taxidermied cat,
pretending to be a snake, Zooming with her long-dead husband, and much more, she shares her journey during these solitary months and the lessons learned along the way. Created by Amanda Erin Miller.
Low Tones is an original tap dance, bass and poetry collaboration between Pamela Hetherington and Josh Machiz that brings together jazz and grunge grooves, along with meditations on coincidence, women’s work, and what we all inherit, in time.
Write Me a Letter
Say that thing you never got to say. Send the love you need to send. Scream the things that feel so good to scream. Any letter. Any recipient. Put words in the air. Let it out. Write me a letter. Letters are submitted anonymously. Pen Pal will interpret. Created by Katherine Perry.
The Telelibrary Travel Agency
The Telelibrary is back with a brand new adventure: The Telelibrary Travel Agency. Set your wanderlust to high, pack your bags, and stay home – the Telelibrary has you covered in this solo interactive experience. Part theater, part game, part self-care and all just a phone call away. Sign up today! Created Yannick Trapman O’Brien.
After Britain defeated the Nazis in WW2, the last thing English Jewish servicemen expected to face was Nazis at home. “When do you break the law and take up arms?” Based on true events. Work in progress with Monkey Poets award-winning trademark humor and politics. Created and performed by Matt Panesh.
Tumbleweed Sings a 60 minute song about Dust
Join Tumbleweed, a literal Tumbleweed, as it talks about the dark times (mostly dust) and reminisces about the downfall of civilization one toilet paper roll at a time. There will be burning bushes and wide open spaces. It’s exactly like the Beatles’ Rooftop Concert.
But with fewer instruments. And way fewer people. If you liked that one public reading of O, Possum and the five separate showings of Johnny Depp: A Retrospective On Late-Stage Capitalism you “missed,” you’ll love this quarantine shit show brought to you by the shit show kings themselves, Jenna Kuerzi and Val Dunn.
Virtual events we’ll be attending this month
The pandemic restrictions are going away – slowly. So we’re still looking for things to do online. Eventbrite.com has a long list of fun things to do this month and all of the details you’ll need to attend. Here are some of our favorites.
Study Hall: Theatre Philadelphia Emergency Relief Fundraiser
Study Hall: Comedy Inspired By Lectures is putting on a fundraising show to support the Theatre Philadelphia Emergency Relief Program. This program will award micro-grants to individuals who live in the Philadelphia region, work in theatre, and whose theatre income has been impacted by COVID-19. See a great show for a great cause and help the artists hit hard by this virus. Saturday, June 13 | 7pm – 8pm | $10
This free stretch session is aiming to reach the local dance community, students, families and anyone who just wants to stretch! Due to COVID-19, there are a lot of dance schools, companies, and programs suffering financially because they are classified as non-essential businesses. Stretchin’ Philadelphia’s purpose is to give back to as many local dance schools, companies, and programs as it can in this time of need. Thursday, June 25 | Noon – 1:20pm | Free, but donations are encouraged.
Philadelphia Virtual Speed Dating for Gay Men
The perfect opportunity to find a virtual companion! All the fun and efficiency of in-person speed dating events brought to your doorstep. Why wait to hear back from potential matches on traditional apps and websites when you can meet a group of single Gay Men in Philadelphia, all from the comfort of your living room? There’s also a Virtual Speed Dating for Lesbians on June 29. Ages 22-44 | Thursday, June 25 | 8pm – 10pm | $22
A Taste of African Heritage
Learn about the healthy food traditions of people with African roots. Powerful, nutritious and delicious. This program is presented by Healthy Communities, a partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention. Taking place on Saturdays, this event can fill up fast, so don’t delay in getting your ticket. Saturday, June 20 | 2pm – 3:30pm | Free
Fools for Good: Black Lives Matter
This virtual standup comedy event is hosted by Kara Mia and Shanell Renee and features a host of comics. Your headliners are LaTice and Lamarr Todd. Proceeds benefit Philly Bail Fund, Rock to the Future, Philabundance, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, City Year Greater Philadelphia, Philly COVID-19 Fund, Kohelet Yeshiva’s Face Shield Fund and more. Thursday, June 18 | 8pm – 10:30pm | $10
BAD COP, BAD COP!
This black liberation poetry reading will be hosted by Storm, a local organizer with years of experience, and feature poems by Dave G, Rabiyatu Jalloh, Davon Clark, afaq, Enoch the Poet, Kirwyn Sutherland, Miriam Harris, Shanel Edwards, Ashley Davis and Nayo Jones. All proceeds will be donated to Philadelphia’s Black Lives Matter chapter. Thursday, June 11 | 7pm | $5 – $20
What we’ll be reading this summer
Summer is almost here, and with that comes the need for a good book – or five. Visit Philly recently featured a long list of local authors who published works everyone should check out, whether you’re reading at a beach or on your back deck. Check out visitphilly.com for the full list, but here are a few of our favorites.
Lorene Cary is a triple threat – author, lecturer and playwright – as well as a Philadelphia native who still lives and teaches in the city. Her works over the years include her 1992 bestselling memoir “Black Ice” and the novel “The Price of a Child” – the Free Library of Philadelphia’s very first One Book One Philadelphia selection – about an enslaved woman’s struggles in Virginia in 1855. In 2020, she debuted her first play, “My General Tubman,” on stage at the Arden Theatre Company, following the story of a time-traveling Harriet Tubman.
The four-book “Love Walked In” series opens in a Philadelphia coffee shop and follows its main characters through friendships, loves, losses and a move to the suburbs. De Los Santos, who used to live in Center City and now resides in Delaware, mixes a little bit of Philly into each novel; the series is part of her larger body of work, which includes six other novels.
Eisenberg’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Paris Review, McSweeney’s and The New Republic. Her first nonfiction book, “The Third Rainbow Girl,” was published in early 2020 and earned positive reviews from The New York Times and NPR. Though the book isn’t set in Philly, the author is. In addition to living here, Eisenberg is the director of the Blue Stoop writers’ group.
Author, journalist and media personality Solomon Jones has used his platform to share his story of addiction, homelessness and recovery to help others. The Philadelphia resident writes often about these social issues, and Philly-set novels like “Pipe Dream” and “The Bridgedraw” on Jones’ own experiences and the stories of people he’s encountered.
Based in Philly with her wife, Machado has racked up honors like the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize. Following the short-story collections of “Her Body and Other Parties,” Machado released her memoir, “In the Dream House,” which The New York Times included on its list of “15 remarkable books by women” shaping 21st-century fiction.
“The Soloist” might have put him on the nation’s radar in 2008, but Steve Lopez became a Philadelphia staple in the 1980s and 1990s. Long before his nonfiction book of a talented musician who became homeless was turned into a film starring Jamie Foxx, Lopez reported on politics and city life for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Two of his novels, “Third and Indiana” and “The Sunday Macaroni Club,” are inspired by the people he met and reported on during his 12 years in Philly.
Fagone spent years writing about Philly and its people during his time at Philadelphia magazine before heading to the West Coast, and his first book, “Horsemen of the Esophagus,” was inspired by the Wing Bowl, Philly’s former competitive-eating event. He’s since published highly praised nonfiction, including “Ingenious,” about innovation and disruption in the auto industry, and “The Woman Who Smashed Codes,” the true story of Elizebeth Smith Friedman, America’s first female cryptanalyst.
What we’ll miss about self-isolation
All signs point to a gradual “return to normalcy,” or at least what might pass as normal moving forward. And while we’re happy to be out and about again, there are a few things we’ll miss about living at home for a few months.
Teaching our kids
Usually this is handled by the local school, but not during lockdown. And while there no doubt were more than a few trying times, watching the youngsters learn something new, participating in projects and the like gave us new insights to the little ones we never might have known had we not been responsible for their education for even a few weeks. That, and we really, really appreciate what teachers go through now.
Everyone who worked from home knows what we’re talking about. Take away the morning commute to the job, and suddenly you have much more time to snooze, especially in the morning. If you didn’t have to get all gussied up for work, that shaved even more time off your morning prep.
Fixing up the house
All of those projects you’d been meaning to get to, but never did? There was lots of time during the quarantine to tackle them. Once we’re all back to our regular tasks, that to-do list is going to start to grow again.
Discovering new stuff
The lockdown gave us time to explore. Maybe you found a new restaurant that was offering delivery or pickup. Maybe you learned a new skill. Maybe you finally had time to stream that TV series you always wanted to. Being trapped inside for weeks on end certainly gave us time to do things we would have missed out on if we were running around in what used to be our normal lives.
A sense of community
By the time we heard “we’re all in this together” for the millionth time, we were sick of the phrase. But there is something to facing a challenge together as a community. People stepped up in a big way. Frontline workers showed up to care for the sick and keep grocery store shelves filled. Neighbors helped neighbors. People dug deep into their wallets to support those in need.
Peace and quiet
There was no hustle and bustle and all of the noise and stress that came with it. It was the perfect time to reflect and gather one’s thoughts. As miserable as it was for us all, in many ways the lockdown gave us a chance to clear our heads.