Briefs: June 21, 2022

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Scanlon receives ‘Champion for Children’ recognition

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon has been named a 2021 Champion for Children by the bipartisan advocacy organization First Focus Campaign for Children. Just 40 members of the U.S. House of Representatives receive this distinction each year. This is the second consecutive year Scanlon earned the award.

First Focus Campaign for Children’s 2021 Legislative Scorecard ranks members of Congress according to votes and bill sponsorships during the 117th Congress that prioritize the well-being of the nation’s children. The new report examines key pieces of legislation on children’s mental and physical health, child hunger, homelessness and poverty, treatment of immigrant children, environmental dangers to children, and other issues critical to advancing the needs of kids and the families who care for them.

“It is an honor to be named one of this year’s Champions for Children by First Focus Campaign for Children,” said Scanlon. “Time and again, research proves that investing in our children makes them — and our nation — healthy, strong and productive. If we want to truly do what is in the best interest of our country, lawmakers must put our children first.” 

Philly native releases poetry book

Screenwriter Chris Courtney Martin, a Philadelphia native, has released The Book of I.P. (Idol Poems) – a short hybrid poetry and essay collection. Each work in the collection represents an “ode” to story concepts Martin finds screen-worthy. The 65-page work contains 30 poems and two memoir-style essays. The book is available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B148JKLM. For more information, go to https://alienbuddhapress.wordpress.com/2022/06/16/spotlight-the-book-of-i-p-idle-poems-by-chris-courtney-martin/

BlackStar Festival arrives in August

BlackStar Film Festival, the world’s premiere celebration of Black, Brown and Indigenous film and video artists, will take place Aug. 3-7.

In addition to virtual programming accessible to BlackStar’s global audience BlackStar is hosting a series of in-person screenings and events in Philadelphia, including opening and closing parties, and a panel on disability justice and filmmaking with visionary cultural workers. Passes for the festival—with early bird rates—are now available at https://www.blackstarfest.org/festival/tickets/.

The lineup of films ranges from feature documentaries to sci-fi films and addressing themes such as Indigenous sovereignty, the US maternal health crisis and Black queer love with insight, power, humor and artistry. The 2022 BlackStar Film Festival is set to feature a total of 76 films representing 27 countries, including 16 world, 8 North America, 12 East Coast and 8 US premieres.

AARP ending tutoring program

The AARP Foundation will be closing four Experience Corps branches, including the one in Philadelphia.

The volunteer program trains people 50 and older to help students become better readers by the end of third grade by building their fluency, accuracy and comprehension skills.

The tutoring is done one on one or in small groups, twice a week for 30 minutes each session.

Emily Allen, Senior Vice President of Programs at AARP Foundation, said, “To reach more schools and students, we are evolving AARP Foundation Experience Corps to implement our work through community-based organizations, building on an existing model we’ve accomplished with 19 Program Partners in 11 states. After careful evaluation, we’ve determined this is the most effective way to increase our impact for both students and volunteers. In this move, AARP Foundation will close four Experience Corps Branches currently staffed by AARP Foundation employees, including Philadelphia, at the end of this program year. We are working to identify Program Partners in Philadelphia to implement our new business model as soon as possible so we can continue serving students in the city.”

Summer of Wonder begins at library

The Free Library of Philadelphia has launched a new season of reading, literacy and activities for all ages that continues through Aug. 12 at libraries across the city.

The Free Library’s Summer of Wonder program encourages students to continue reading and learning throughout the summer. Free activities held at libraries across the city include writing sessions, introductory culinary sessions, story times and college and career prep for teens. 

“Summer is an awesome time for reading, learning, and exploration, and you can do all of that at the Free Library through the Summer of Wonder program,” said Kelly Richards, president and director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. “Stop by your neighborhood library or visit us online for free programs that will infuse literacy and fun into your summer months.” 

Summer of Wonder and Science in the Summer will be hosting virtual and in-person events throughout the summer. A full list of library events is available at freelibrary.org/calendar.

35th anniversary show for Anne-Marie Mulgrew and Dancers Company

Anne-Marie Mulgrew and Dancers Company returns to the stage to celebrate its 35th Anniversary Concert. “PROJECT 35” reflects back while moving forward, featuring the premiere of Beautiful Chaos. Performances take place June 24 at 7:30 p.m. and June 25 at 3 p.m and 7:30 p.m., at the Chi Movement Arts Center, 1316 S. 9th St. Tickets are $20. Seating is limited. For more information or reservation, contact ammdco2000@verizon.net or 215-462-7720. A Q&A and meet and greet will follow immediately after the performances.

Diane Pieri at No. 5 Butchie Allie

No. 5 Butchie Allie at 1175 S. 13th St. presents Diane Pieri: Once Upon A Time through July 30.

Pieri creates sublime, delicate works on paper that weave meaning, symbol and color in cascading landscape compositions. Each work is a microcosm of multiple intimate compositions that unfold under close inspection. Upon exhaling, they reveal a universe of saturated color and texture as the whole comes into view.

Pieri is unapologetically driven to create radical beauty. She finds power and freedom in embracing every glorious opportunity to be purely decorative. Her newest images incorporate 3D elements that billow unexpectedly from quiet surfaces.

Pieri will host a decorated bookmaking workshop on June 25 from noon to 3 p.m., the family-friendly event is for ages 6 and up. Children must be accompanied by parents, and the workshop is limited to 10 participants. In exchange for the experience, donations to Philabundance will be accepted.

Catholic Charities Appeal Night with the Phillies

The Catholic Charities Appeal is partnering with the Philadelphia Phillies for its ninth annual “CCA Night with the Phillies” at Citizens Bank Park on June 30.

A portion of the proceeds from all tickets sold through a dedicated link will directly benefit CCA beneficiary programs that provide support to those experiencing homelessness, special-needs students, food cupboards, afterschool programs and more.

The Phillies will host the Atlanta Braves that night. Seating will be located in the Outfield (sections 101-107) at $38 per ticket, Pavilion (sections 201-205) at $30 per ticket and Pavilion Deck (section 310) at $20 per ticket.

Those interested in supporting CCA by purchasing tickets for the game can visit https://www.mlb.com/phillies/tickets/specials/catholic-charities.

If 500 or more tickets are sold, a student from Our Lady of Confidence School of Special Education, a CCA beneficiary, will throw out the first pitch of the game. In addition, a CCA beneficiary will sing the national anthem.

Giant outdoor sculpture at Jewish museum

The newly named and reopened Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, at 5th and Market streets on Independence Mall, is displaying the OY/YO sculpture on its grounds.

The outdoor installation is by Brooklyn-based artist Deborah Kass and will be on display until at least May 2023.

The bright yellow aluminum statue is creative word play using just two letters, with several meanings. One side says “YO,” referencing the phrase used throughout Philadelphia, while the other side reads “OY,” a popular Yiddish phrase used in Jewish and American culture.

At 8 feet tall, 16 feet wide and 5-feet deep, the statue is intended to become part of Old City’s cultural fabric and a destination for tourists and locals.

The museum is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

Activities at Academy of Natural Sciences

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is hosting several current and upcoming exhibits.

Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss will run through July 24.

Sea Change is running indefinitely.

The River Feeds Back, going through Oct. 30, is an immersive sound installation created by artists Annea Lockwood and Liz Phillips. The exhibit brings visitors into the deep sonic environment of the Schuylkill River watershed through recordings and a layered sound map that captures glimpses of the river system including the life of aquatic insects, eels, fish and swirling currents.

Ocean Bound will run from Aug. 20 to Jan. 15, 2023.

Explore ocean depths

A new exhibition at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, reveals the mysteries of the ocean’s greatest depths.

Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss invites museum visitors to explore newly discovered life forms, thermal vents, deep-sea research submersibles and shipwrecks including the Titanic.

Museum visitors will observe firsthand the technology that only recently has allowed scientists to travel to the ocean floor and discover the creatures that thrive in total darkness. They can test their skill at manipulating a robotic arm of a replica of the submersible Alvin to pick up lava rocks and clams similar to what scientists do to gather samples of creatures from the ocean floor.

Visitors can also fly a remotely operated vehicle over a model of the Titanic’s deck and, in another display, see how currents created by superheated water erupting from thermal vents carry nutrients that support life forms few ever dreamed existed. 

Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss will be on view through July 24.

South Phila. HS class of ‘68 reunion

The South Philadelphia High School Class of 1968 will hold its 55th reunion on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Waterfall Room, 2015 S. Water St. Tickets cost $60 and include buffet dinner and open bar. For tickets and more information, call Arleen Liberi [609-922-2419], Maria Leati [856-287-3734] or Stephen Michielli [267-252-2740].

Upcoming cruise

The Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation is sponsoring a fully escorted Holy Lands & Aegean Majesty cruise that will sail Oct. 6-17, 2023, featuring 10 ports-of-call. Rates, including airfare, range from $4,198 to $7,998 per person, double occupancy. Call 215-788-9408 for information and reservations. 

Kimmel schedule

The Kimmel Cultural Campus has returned to live Broadway programming.

Here is the schedule through the summer: To Kill A Mockingbird (July 12-24, Academy of Music); and Dear Evan Hansen (Aug. 16-28, Forrest Theatre).

For more information, call 215-893-1955 or visit kimmelcenter.org