Neighborhood Chatter: Full slate of celebrations

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By Bill Gelman

Dr. Steven Larson appears in the upcoming HBO documentary “Clínica De Migrantes.” Photo Courtesy of HBO

The Philly AIDS Thrift, 710 S. 5th St., is commemorating 12 successful years in the battle for a world without AIDS with an all-day Saturday block party (Sept. 16) on the 700 blocks of South 5th Street and East Passyunk Avenue. The event kicks off at noon and goes until 6 p.m. Former South Philly Review Difference Maker Christina Kallas-Saritsoglou, who is the organization’s co-founder and manager, said there will be balloonists, face painters, a Halloween parade, as well as food trucks, artist/craft vendors and area businesses. WXPN DJ Robert Drake and the West Philadelphia Orchestra will provide musical entertainment while Reverend Mackenzie Moltov, the sword-swallowing and fire-breathing clown, is putting together a thrilling performance. Besides having a good time, the Philly Aids Thrift is celebrating another major milestone as the store recently passed the $2 million mark in donations to area HIV/AIDS organizations, both through its partnership with the AIDS Fund and its own grant-making. …

The Whitman Council is holding its election will take place on Tuesday (Sept. 19) at the Whitman Office, 2455 S. Third St. from 2 to 8 p.m. All voters should have proof of residence and be at least 18 years of age. For more information, visit facebook.com/whitman.council.

The Philadelphia International Block Party is slated for 5–8 p.m. Sept. 23 at Marconi Plaza, 13th Street and Oregon Avenue (east side of the park). The community event will include entertainment, music, arts and crafts and a beer garden to highlight the city’s diversity and international distinction as a World Heritage City. Call it a warmup for the Philadelphia Unity Cup soccer match taking place around the corner at 10th and Bigler street at 8:30 p.m. between Mexico and Ireland. …

St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church, 910 Watkins St., is holding its annual Italian Festival and Procession of Saints on Sunday, Oct. 1 from noon to 9 p.m. (rain or shine) on the 1700 block and beyond of South 9th Street (near 9th and Morris streets). There will be free parking at Neumann-Goretti High School, 1736 S. 10th St. Call 215–463–1326. …

Puentes de Salud health clinic, 1700 South St., is the subject of the upcoming HBO documentary “Clínica De Migrantes” debuting Monday, Sept. 25 10–10:40 p.m., during Hispanic Heritage Month, exclusively on HBO. Today, undocumented immigrants face countless daily challenges, including obtaining access to affordable health care. At Puentes de Salud, volunteers address this problem by serving uninsured Latino immigrants who have nowhere else to turn and are increasingly reluctant to seek care in the current political climate. It will spotlight the bonds between the doctors and their patients. From Maxim Pozdorovkin (HBO’s “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer”), “Clínica De Migrantes” will go beyond the politicized rhetoric to show the faces of real people in the middle of the immigration debate, asking if America can continue withholding basic necessities from an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. More to come in next week’s issue. …

Hurricane Irma may be dominating the headlines this week, but Hurricane Harvey did some serious damage to Texas. Alphabet Academy, 1510 E. Passyunk Ave., is doing its part to help the victims by holding a coin drive through Sept. 18. All proceeds will go to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. For more information, visit facebook.com/alphabetacademychildcare. …

Updating last week’s cover story (“Making IT big”) about former Passyunk Square resident Jaeden Lieberher, the star of the Stephen King film adaptation of “It,” the movie had a record $117 million opening weekend at the box office. The number includes a very strong Thursday night of $13.5 million. Pre-release estimates were projected at $60-million plus.

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