Philly’s own, Freeway, paid a visit to Silk City for this month’s edition of Heineken Green Room… Performing classics such as “What We Do” to “Roc The Mic”, and fresh tracks from his new album “Diamond In The Rough”. Free tore it down with support onstage from Jakk Frost, Neef Buck and DJ Statik of the Illvibe Collective also kept the dance floor moving before and after the performance. You were unfortunate to miss the show, take a look through the gallery to see the action…
Black independent filmmakers get their time to shine… by Zenique Gardner (photos by Tim Blackwell)
If you are remotely connected to anything Philly, you have probably already witnessed the buzz about the Blackstar Film Festival. You may even have a faded Sharpie-painted star peeking out of your t-shirt at this very moment. At the very least, you have seen tweets, facebook posts, orOkayplayer.com updates about this year’s most unique film festival in the City of Brotherly Love. Sure, you may have caught a couple brilliant features at PAFA or The National Constitution Center during last month’s Philadelphia Independent Film Festival, or perhaps you have already bookmarked and emailed your friends about what you plan to see in October when the Philadelphia Film Festival showcases films from Sundance, Cannes, and Berlin. But even when backed by big names and budgets and potential Oscar-worthy performances, the films from the aforementioned festivals will likely give you more of the same movie drama, comedy, and suspense that you can catch on any small or big screen.
The brainchild of Kinowatt Films curator and Philly 360’s sole film creative ambassador and film insider, Maori Karmael Holmes, the Blackstar Film Festival will showcase forty films (including shorts and music videos) from four continents over the course of four days. The festival aims to shine a light on some of the world’s most prolific works in film created by men and women from across the African Diaspora and provide a platform to independent cinematic works from varying levels of expertise in direction and production across all genres of filmmaking. Initially only an event that would consist of four films from continental Africa, the festival has blossomed to include works from North America, South America, Europe, and Africa. “I got the dates last year and I was thinking I would do an African festival, just continental African,” Holmes explains, “And then as I was researching films to screen, I just realized how much had not come to Philly– films that I had heard about from people who lived in other cities.” Holmes and her team also emphasizes that while this festival is made up of films about black people, the festival welcomes all audiences to enjoy its offerings.
The event-filled weekend is jam-packed with film screenings followed by Q&A’s with film directors, a panel discussion on the state of Black independent media, and a special conversation with Ava Duvernay whose film, Middle of Nowhere, won Best Director at the Sundance Film Festival, a first for a black woman. And while The African American Museum and The International House will host most of the screenings over the four days, there will also be opportunities to mingle with members of the Blackstar production committee, the festival’s sponsors, guests and attendees at the Blackstar after-parties held around town at The Art Sanctuary, Fluid Nightclub, The Blockley and The Denim Factory.
Last week, we joined Holmes and the motley crew of artists that make up the Blackstar production committee and inquired about which films piqued the most interest. Here is a short list of descriptions of the group’s most anticipated films :
Click to view slideshow
Adopted ID: Dir. Sonia Godding Togobo, UK/Canada/Haiti, 60 min
Documentary (recommended by Adrienne Kenton)
Adopted ID is a gripping, observational film that uncovers Judith’s extraordinary journey as she bravely returns to the impoverished nation of Haiti to find her birth parents. From the poverty-stricken families who’ve given up a child to the foreign families looking to adopt one, these disparate worlds collide amid her quest to solve the puzzle of her past. With the insights and sounds of pre-earthquake Haiti as a backdrop, these intersecting lives provide a rare and intimate insight into the conditions surrounding transracial adoption. Followed by Q&A with Director, Sonia Godding Togobo. Showing Thursday at 4:15pm at The African-American Museum. $8/$5
Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years: Dir. Dagmar Schultz, Germany, 84 min
Documentary (recommended by Adrienne Kenton)
[This film] focuses on Audre Lorde’s relation to the German Black Diaspora, her literary as well as political influence, and is a unique visual document about the times the author spent in Germany. The film is also for coming generations a valuable historical document of German history, which tells about the development of an Afro-German movement and the origins of the anti-racist movement before and after the German reunification. Showing Sunday at 3:50pm at The International House. $8/$5
FunkJazz Kafe: Diary of a Decade: Dir. Jason Orr, USA, 134 minutes
Documentary (recommended by Phil Asbury)
Presented by Philly360°
This film is the story of a cultural legend as told by the innovators of an important, and in some cases overlooked, era in Black culture. Spanning the late 1980′s through to the early 2000′s, this story goes deep into the fabric of soul music, it’s definitions, it’s pioneers, it’s offspring, it’s movements, the challenges with the “mainstream” industry as well as the evolution of the FunkJazz Kafé Arts & Music Festival, a music and artistic renaissance movement born out of Atlanta’s diverse musical and cultural arts heritage. The film covers the decade when Atlanta’s underground music scene became established on the world stage and a new generation of soul singers and musicians emerged. FunkJazz Kafé:Diary Of A Decade (The Story Of A Movement) also explores the question of how we got to live soul bands being non-existing in the commercial music landscape of the 21st century when there once was a plethora of soul and R&B bands since the creation of recorded music. Followed by Q&A with Jason Orr. Showing Saturday at 8pm at The International House. $12/$10
Restless City: Andrew Dosonmu, USA, 80 min
Narrative (Recommended by Jos Duncan)
Presented by AFFRM
The story of a young man surviving on the fringes of New York City where music is his passion, life is a hustle, and falling in love is his greatest risk. Djbirl survives on a series of odd jobs that skirt the edges of legality, including a gig for an African gangster whose underground empire hawks everything from bootleg CDs to prostitutes, one of whom, Trini (Sky Grey), Djbril falls in love with. Showing Friday at 8pm at the International House. $8/$5
Soul Food Junkies: Dir. Byron Hurt, USA, 54 minutes
Documentary (Recommended by Chakka Reeves, Adrienne Kenton, & David McDowell)
Food traditions are hard to change, especially when they’re passed on from generation to generation. In this PBS documentary, award-winning filmmaker Byron Hurt shares his journey to learn more about the African American cuisine known as soul food. Through candid interviews with soul food cooks, historians, and scholars, as well as doctors, family members, and everyday people, Soul Food Junkies blends history, humor, and heartwarming stories to place this culinary tradition under the microscope. Followed by Q&A with Director, Byron Hurt. Showing Sunday at 7:30pm at The International House. $8/$5
United States of Hoodoo: Dir. Oliver Hardt, Germany, 100 min.
Documentary (Recommended by Jazmyn Burton & Philip Asbury)
A road trip to the spiritual sources of black American culture. The film’s main character is African-American writer Darius James who is known for his often bitingly satirical and self-ironic texts on music, film and literature. The film’s story begins when Darius´ world is turned inside out after his father´s death. Uprooted from his life in Berlin, he unwillingly returns to his childhood home. All that remains from his father is his mask collection and a cardboard box filled with ashes. His father had been a painter and sculptor, his work drawing deeply on manifestations of African-based spirituality. Yet while he lived he fiercely rejected any idea of being inspired by the old gods of Africa. Back in a house that is now his, but not quite, Darius finds himself confronted with many questions about his own life. In need of answers he sets off on a search, not for his roots but for traces of the spiritual energy that fueled and informed a whole culture. Darius´ journey begins in the urban intellectual milieu of New York City, then following the traces of popular Voodoo myths and legends to Mississippi and New Orleans. From there he moves on to Oakland, Seattle and Chicago. He immerses himself in the fabric of urban creativity where he encounters artists, musicians, writers, spiritual leaders and scholars. He finds out that the African gods have taken on new forms since their arrival on North America’s shores. Their spirit now manifests itself in turn-table wizardry, improvisational skills and mind-blowing collages, performances, and rituals. He also finds out that an age old figure from the voodoo pantheon, a divine trickster who comes with many names, plays a major role in all of this… Followed by Q&A with Director Oliver Hardt. Showing Sunday at 4:10pm at The International House. $8/$5
Clash of the DJ titans at Voyeur… Photos by Tim Blackwell
Questlove brings back the heavyweights for another amazing 4th Of July holiday eve at Voyeur Nightclub… DJ Statik, DJ Phsh, Rich Medina, J-Rocc, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Drama and Questlove himself formed like Voltron and delivered the goods… which is probably a major understatement. Especially if you were there, sweating profusely from excessive dancing, pouring cold Heineken on your head, or partaking in free ice cold shots of Ciroc courtesy of DJ Drama. I’m pretty sure I did all three (from what I remember..), and somehow managed not to lose my camera in the process. Despite the hedonism that was PSK, I still manage to get some great shots. This easily beats losing an eye setting off shitty fireworks in your driveway. If you were one of the few people who weren’t there, check out the flicks now, and we’ll figure out your punishment later…
Questlove pulls an all-nighter with Tastytreats after the Roots Picnic for the Heineken Green Room at Fluid… Photos by Tim Blackwell
So if you drum for almost 2 hours straight, headlining Philadelphia’s biggest musical festival which you created, what do you do afterwards? You head straight to South St., and DJ at Fluid Nightclub until 3am…
The Roots drummer/co-founder, Questlove, joined DJ Mike Nyce & Stacy “Flyygirl” Wilson for the Tastytreats/Roots Picnic after-party sponsored by Heineken. Playing for a wall to wall crowd (surprisingly still energized after a 10 hour day at Festival Pier), Quest flexed his skills playing the usual eclectic, genre clashing DJ set he’s known for. Check out the flicks and relive the incredible night… Or better yet, see what you’re missing.
Heineken pops green bottles with DJ Phsh at Fluid Nighclub… Photos by Tim Blackwell
Another one in the books for Heineken, as they bring the Green Room to one of the hottest new parties in Philly, Phsh Tank at Fluid with DJ Phsh. Created by DJ Phsh & Harlan Joseph (of Sedso Gallery), the focus is not only create an amazing party every month, but to feature a live art gallery showcasing Philly’s best local artists… utilizing slideshows, DJ mixes, and exclusive giveaways. Past artists this year have included such names as Nosego & El Toro, with this month’s featured artist being Juan Dimida.
Look for Phsh Tank every third Thursday at Fluid Nightclub, and don’t forget to sign up for your Heineken Green Room membership! Email your full name to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win a membership, and exclusive info on Heineken Green Room events. (Phsh Tank w/ DJ Phsh; at Fluid Nightclub every 4th Saturday)
Jazzy Jeff brings it back home to Club Whisper… Photos by Tim Blackwell
Heineken continues their series of exclusive Green Room event’s with Philly’s very own, DJ Jazzy Jeff… along with fellow West Philly native, DJ Phsh, warming up the crowd with a opening set. With endless green bottles, non-stop club bangers, the wall to wall crowd got a serious workout on the dance floor.
If you’re still sleeping on the Green Room events (Wake up!), sign up on the Two.One.Five Magazine email list for exclusive info on future Heineken events. Don’t get left behind…
Jay-Z comes to Philly to change your Labor Day weekend plans…
Once word got out that Jay-Z would be coming to Philly this week to make a major announcement with Mayor Nutter, rumors and speculation spread like wildfire. “I hear Jay-Z is headlining the Welcome To America concert on 4th Of July..” wrong… “I heard he’ll be performing at the Roots Picnic this year!” Nope. Jay & Mayor Nutter put all of the rumors to rest on Monday morning, announcing a 2 day music festival along the JFK Parkway called “Made In America”.
The festival, sponsored by Budweiser, will feature over 20 musical acts of all genres on 3 stages. Jay-Z stated that “70% of the acts are confirmed” with names to be announced very soon. Not only will this event boost the economy and culture of Philadelphia, part of the proceeds will be donated to United Way. In other words, everyone leaves with a smile on their face, and helps support a great cause in the process.
Tickets go on sale through www.ticketmaster.com on Wednesday, May 23rd, with a limited number of 2-day passes available. If you don’t have the patience to wait an extra day, “like” Budweiser’s Facebook page for a chance to grab tickets 24 hours earlier on Tuesday, May 22nd…
Emynd & Bo Bliz tear down The Barbary with Heineken…
Once again, it’s First Friday in Philly… Which means everyone’s favorite raucous party, The Bounce, goes down at The Barbary. The Heineken Green Room crew brought endless cases of green bottles, as resident deejays Emynd & Bo Bliz spun nothing but the best hip Hop bangers & party anthems we all know them for. Complimentary Heineken, and two of Philly’s best on the turntables, what more could you ask for? If you weren’t there to witness this epic event, check out the slideshow for all of the action… –The Bounce (Every 1st Friday at The Barbary; 951 Frankford Ave.)
The road to unveiling The Roots Mural begins with a new studio space…
With the much anticipated Roots mural soon coming to a reality, The Mural Arts Program have created a series of events leading up to the unveiling. The festivities were kicked off last Friday, with the opening of their new studio space located on 641 South St. Featuring local artist (and Roots Mural participant) Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. DJ Afrodjiak provided the sounds, as attendees enjoyed several of Tatyana’s portrait based works on display. The Mural Arts Program’s Director Jane Golden, and Special Events & Marketing director Almaz Crowe were on hand to show support. The goal is to provide future opportunities for students of the Mural Arts Art Education program to display their work, and also host boutique style, curated events featuring one-of-a-kind items.
For more info on future events & programs related to The Roots Mural Project, check outwww.muralarts.org.